Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bringing Home the Bacon!

I am taking a class this summer, "Religions of the World," and I am supposed to be studying for Tuesday's test or working on my research paper. But I decided to take a break and upload a few pictures!

The state of Mississippi gets its share of the money first if you win over a certain amount. I am not positive of the exact amount; I have heard $1000, $1100 & $1199. I do know if you win $1500, they take out Mississippi state taxes and send you a 1099 in January. This is me signing the tax forms.

Show me the money! I still look like I am in shock, don't I?

DSD, however, looks like this is his just due! Isn't he cute?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thank you, Senator Nelson

I said recently that I had spent the day contacting all of my elected officials. Senator Nelson is the first to respond (except for Crist's automatic email respone). Below is the entire text of the email he sent me. Please support this legislation and keep the rigs off our beaches.

Thank you for contacting me about drilling for oil off Florida and other coastal States.
President Bush has proposed allowing drilling rigs off coastal States as a way, he says, to reduce gasoline prices. But he must know this won't happen. That's because a report from inside the Bush administration specifically shows that increasing offshore drilling won't have a significant impact on gas prices for decades.
And we simply cannot wait that long on the hope of giving Americans some relief at the pump.
To lower gas prices now by an estimated 25 to 50 percent, we must reign in the real culprits: speculators who are able, because of legal loopholes, to bid up the price of oil to unrealistic and shocking highs. Oil now costs about $140 per barrel, but recent congressional testimony from a leading industry executive showed that the price of crude should only be $55 per barrel given the laws of supply and demand. That means gas prices should be about $2.28 a gallon-- not more than $4.
This is why I have introduced legislation-- S. 3134-- that would ban unregulated speculative trading in oil futures. If Congress will pass this bill, we can bring gas prices back down to earth.
Meantime, the oil companies will claim loudly that they need to drill off the coast of Florida so they can increase the oil supply. But what they won't tell you is that they aren't drilling on nearly 32 million of acres they already have under lease from the Federal government. I think they should drill there first-- in areas where the infrastructure for transporting oil already exists-- before demanding more areas be open to leasing and drilling activities that could take years to produce a single drop of oil.
Americans are being gouged, and now is not the time to allow the administration to give away the store before it leaves office. It's time to do what's really necessary to lower the price of gas: reign in profiteers and speculators. I hope you will be able to support passage of S. 3134. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fourth Place!

Well, I arrived for the 2nd round feeling pretty good. I figured if I didn't actually win, place or show, then I had a pretty good shot at best single round. I didn't do as well the second time around, scoring 2,940. I didn't feel too bad about it, then DSD told me he talked to the lady inputting the scores and the highest score for the first round was 5500. I didn't score THAT well.

I didn't hit any Sizzling Sevens the second round, but I didn't do too badly.

So, DSD and I played slots for a while and then retired to the room to change. (There was still a slight chance I could win, and I wanted to look nice for the pictures!) We went back down to the floor and played for a bit before arriving at the bar for the award ceremony.

The awards started at #20. When they reached #10 I figured I was probably out of it. Imagine my shock and surprise when they called my name at #4! Wow! #4! I never win anything.

I collected my winnings (DSD taking pictures the entire time, watch for them) and then had a bite to eat and a couple of free drinks and returned to the slot machines. I then won a quick $50 and another $120 after changing machines. DSD's luck wasn't as good today as yesterday's, but he still held his own.

So I am back in the hotel room, writing this post, enjoying the fact that we have spent 2 weekends in the last 2 months dumping money into these machines and we are about $1000 up. Not bad.

It is probably a good thing we live several hours away or this could become an unhealthy addiction.

It is also a good thing that college football starts soon, because I won't have time for gambling on the weekends while my Gators are playing.

I certainly hope your weekend was as great as mine (not counting the fire scare!)

Live from Biloxi

Well it has been a wild trip so far. Less than 2 hours from home yesterday a co-worker called to see if my house was ok. From what he heard on the news, a house on my street was burning so badly authorities had closed the highway several blocks away.

I called BabyBoy in a panic, but he (and the house) were fine. He went outside and said that the house was 4 or 5 away and the firemen weren't even spraying anymore from what he could see.

No problem. We continued west.

Thirty minutes later the same co-worker called to say that he had misunderstood a HUGE brushfire had started NEAR a house on my street and the firemen were there to protect the houses. I almost hyperventilated and told DSD to 'Turn the car around NOW!' Not easy to do on I-10. He called his best friend who works close by; I called BabyBoy and told him to go talk to the firemen and we pulled over at the next exit.

And waited.

I don't wait well, so got I impatient and called the police department at home. (I live maybe a mile from headquarters). Yes, they said, there was a brush fire. No, it was not threatening my street. It was not under control, but it was being pushed north AWAY from my street.

We headed west again and received the same report from BabyBoy and DSD's bff. The first thing I did after checking in was check the news reports. Everything is fine. The 40 burning acres that my co-worker reported was actually 11 and the fires were under control.

So I registered for the Slot Tourney & we headed to the casino. I didn't do as well as I did last time and went through my alloted money during the evening. DSD played for about 4 hours on $20. So we didn't lose too too much.

This morning I reported for my first round in the tournament at 0945 for my 1000 play time. This is not something that takes skill. A person sits in front of a slot machine pushing the button over and over and over as fast as he can for 5 minutes. It is all the luck of the machine.

But guess who kicked ass? From looking at what the others around me got and listening to others in the casino and in the line for the lunch buffet, I honestly have a chance to win this thing!!

The people on either side of my had about 2400 & 1800 points, respectively. The lady I overheard in the line said she had about 2200, but there were people playing with her who had about 4000. I finished round 1 with 5,250 points!!! Wow. THREE SIZZLING SEVENS in less than 5 minutes.

So it has been fun (barring the stress about the fire yesterday!). Cross your fingers, I would just like enough to pay for the weekend; I would be thrilled with a couple of hundred dollars.

Gotta go report for Round 2.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rambling on a Thursday

I had my ultrasound yesterday. Hopefully I will get some information tomorrow or Monday. The entire thing was something of a nightmare and I am considering getting a second opinion before making any decisions. I am not really sure that I am happy with this Gyn office.


I did email all of my Federal congressmen and Charlie Crist. Plus I called my Florida senator and representative. Should I call every day? Do you think that would help? Hurt? Maybe I should have my son call also, because his last name is different from mine. If you live in FL, AL, MS, LA or TX, you may want to think about contacting your representation.


Iam going out of town tomorrow. Once they get your information at the Casinos, they send you sweet deals. I couldn't turn it down, so DSD are going back for this:

Isle of Capri, Biloxi

I'm not planning on winning, but it is a nice, inexpensive, getaway. And winning wouldn't hurt.


Have a great weekend.

Who Knew?

While I am supposed to be working, I am, instead, steadily writing each politician for whom my vote could make a difference. Two down, several to go. While I should probably have each of them in my Personal Address Book in Outlook, I don't, I just look them up on the website and use their forms. This way I can also see what they have been up to while I wasn't watching. Well, what they ADMIT they have been up to.

So, imaging my surprise when I came across this recently passed bill by the Florida Senate.

The Florida Senate today passed an amendment to the budget that would slice 10 percent from the salaries of all senators, representatives, and state-wide elected cabinet members including the governor.
The measure, sponsored by Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville), will save an estimated $600,000. The money would be redirected to reduce cuts to early childhood education.
"This is the toughest budget year in a generation," Gaetz said. "At a time when belts have to be tightened to balance revenues and expenses, those in elected positions should lead by example."
"Six hundred thousand dollars not paid to politicians will provide educational services to 500 four year olds who otherwise would not be accommodated in pre-kindergarten programs," Gaetz said.
Last year Fasano and Gaetz refused to accept automatic three percent increases in their Senate salaries. Gaetz's salary for representing Northwest Florida in the Senate is $31,000 per year. He contributes his salary to charitable causes, scholarships and recognitions for students, and operations of his office.

Wow! Obviously Gaetz is enormously wealthy if he does not need his salary to live on, but it is nice to see a politician actually give back to the communities that elected them. After more research, I may vote for him in the future. Even with that R behind his name.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keep Your Nasty Oil Wells Away from My Beach

Or is it oil rigs? Does it matter?

Dipshit Dubya, as I like to refer to him, has babbled about drilling in Alaska and along the Gulf Coast for years. I just tune him out. Of course, that is what I do when he speaks at all. It keeps me sane.

John McCain recently publicly supported drilling off the Gulf coast. Do I care what he thinks? No, he is not going to get elected, and he hasn't been able to do anything in the Senate about it.

Now, however, our "beloved" Governor Charlie Crist (R) has decided that Florida's families need the relief that drilling in the Gulf will bring. NOW Governor Crist is concerned. Now that gas has hit $4.00/gallon, not last year when it hit $3.00. Now Gov Crist seems to think that the relief of offshore drilling is very important, although quite distant. Why now, Governor Crist? Does it have anything to do with the fact that YOUR name has been mentioned in conjunction with the words VICE-PRESIDENT?

Of course, our future President, Mr. Barack Obama is against this, as anyone with a brain would be.

A GOP press release noted that once leases are secured 'a long, comprehensive exploration process begins that `can require years of mapping, testing, drilling and construction' and can cost millions or even billions of dollars. . . . It has taken nearly a decade to produce energy on leases in the past. . . .''A GOP press release noted that once leases are secured 'a long, comprehensive exploration process begins that `can require years of mapping, testing, drilling and construction' and can cost millions or even billions of dollars. . . . It has taken nearly a decade to produce energy on leases in the past. . . .''

A decade!

Not my favorite senator in the world, although better than the other choice, Bill Nelson (D-FL) was pretty upfront about what he thought.

Nelson said it would do nothing to lower prices, which he said are being fueled by speculation in the markets.
''For a major candidate to say his answer is to drill off the coast of the United States shows a lack of vision,'' Nelson said. ``It shows a coziness with oil companies and the Wall Street investment banks that are fueling this run up on prices.''

That is really what this country needs is anyone else in the White House with a coziness with oil companies. Or anyone willing to play the political game for their own selfish reasons.

I will remember this, Governor Crist, in two years. I hope the rest of the state does also.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

To my dad, who is the absolutely most wonderful dad in the world. Sure, we went weeks without speaking to each other during my teen years. Sure, he told me (at the top of his lungs) I was making a mistake when I decided to marry the X (and he was right!). Sure, he could be tardy when I needed a ride and managed to find SOMEONE he knew everywhere we went (no joke, we were on our way down a ski lift in Gatlinburg, TN and there was a guy at the bottom calling my dad's name!)

But he was always there. Everytime I did anything, whether cheerleading, band, chorus, softball, basketball or the time I was picked to do my Helen Keller in 6th grade in front of the PTA. And he is always there to this day. I could pick up the phone right now and say, "Daddy, I need ..." I would have it if it was within his power.

My wish is that every little girl have a Daddy like mine. The world would be a much better place.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

John McCain on Women's Issues

I received this video from I forwarded it to a few people, but most of those who I would really like to see it (who may be planning to vote for him) are people I know through work and YouTube is blocked there. Maybe someone will see it here and it will help to change their mind.

I wasn't voting for the man anyway, but I learned a couple of things I did not know. I don't want to be forced back into the kitchen. It is way too hot in there!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Still Am Not Sure About My Options

I had my doctor's visit this morning. The visit was with a GYN Nurse Practioner (NP). This does not bother me; I do not have a need to see the actual GYN. They are normally very busy people who are never on time, always running around birthing babies. I liked the NP. She was pleasant, almost on time and had plenty of time to talk to me about what is going on and what my possible options are. Unfortunately, I am not crazy about those options.

Apparently my uterus is significantly enlarged (should I be a little annoyed with my regular family doctor here? The damn thing is NOT where it is supposed to be, shouldn't he have noticed?), but that is all she could tell without an ultrasound. That is scheduled for next Wednesday. I had one about 7 years ago, which is when I was diagnosed with the fibroids, but that does not do me any good at this point.

The only options she really offered me, though was
#1. Endometrial ablation :
Endometrial ablation is a procedure that uses a lighted viewing instrument and other instruments to destroy (ablate) the uterine lining, or endometrium. Endometrial ablation can be done by:
Laser beam (laser thermal ablation).
Heat (thermal ablation), using:
A balloon filled with saline solution that has been heated to 85C (thermal balloon ablation). This is the one available to me.
Normal saline (heated free fluid).
Electricity, using a resectoscope with a loop or rolling ball electrode.
The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or prevents uterine bleeding.
What To Expect After Surgery

Endometrial ablation is usually done in an outpatient facility or hospital. The procedure may be done using a local or spinal anesthesia, although general anesthesia is sometimes used.
It takes a few days to 2 weeks to recover. (WebMd)

#2. Hysterectomy
The surgical removal of the uterus. It is done to treat certain gynecological conditions, including childbirth complications; cancer; and fibroids, endometriosis, or uterine bleeding that hasn't responded to other treatments. (WebMd)

But until the ultrasound is done, there is no way to know if the ablation will work for MY fibroids. And the thought of a hysterectomy does not sound even vaguely pleasant. Not to mention the fact that recovery time is normally 4-6 weeks and I only have about 3 weeks vacation time saved up. I have savings, of course, and so does DSD, so the bills will be paid, but what if I am out for 6 weeks and they don't miss me? What if they realize they can get along without me? I can't afford to lose my job and there have been issues lately with some of my co-workers.

After everything I have read in the last week, I was leaning more toward
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (also called uterine artery embolization):
shrinks or destroys uterine fibroids by blocking the artery that supplies blood to them. During a UFE procedure, a radiologist places a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the upper thigh and guides it into the uterine artery that supplies blood to the fibroids. A solution is then injected into the uterine artery through the catheter. (WebMd)

I like non-surgical! Of course, this isn't offered at the GYN, but it is something that I could possibly pursue on my own if hysterectomy is my only other option (I have already found 2 radiologists who perform this locally. One at the radiology place that does my mammograms and that will be performing my ultrasound). IF, of course, my insurance will pay for it. Sadly, from everything I have read, it is NOT cheaper than a hysterectomy and
in one study, about 1 in 5 women who had uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) needed another UFE or a hysterectomy within 3½ years. (WebMd) (Edwards RD, et al. (2007). Uterine-artery embolization versus surgery for symptomatic uterine fibroids. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(4): 360–370.)

So, I have been left with more questions than answers. My mom is a little pissed about it, but there is not a lot that can be done at this point. Just wait and see.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Men, Women, Race, Sex, Politics and Stupidity

I figure with a title like that, I should get a few extra Google hits this month. :-)

This has been an historic campaign year and I have failed to comment on that before now. Why? Because, frankly, the race or sex of a political candidate (whether for President or local Mosquito Control) does not make a bit of difference to me. I can not imagine supporting Hillary Clinton because she is a female, just as I can not imagine NOT supporting her because she is a female. I supported her because I honestly felt that she was the best candidate for the job (after the loss of John Edwards). Now that she has dropped out of the race (or was effectively beaten) I will support Barack Obama through November and throughout his first term as President, but it has nothing to do with the color of his skin.

So it was with dismay this morning that I read this article at MSNBC on the fact that his race may be a challenge for our future President. And it is with dismay that I realized that, had Ms. Clinton won the nomination, the article would have still been written with the word "woman" replacing the word "black." The year is 2008 and we are the most powerful country on the planet (well, except for China) and, yet, hatred and bigotry flows throughout as if it were, somehow, normal. Voters in West Virginia and Pennsylvania told NPR reporters that they supported Ms. Clinton because they could not vote for a black man. Yet, they did it on the condition of anonymity, because they KNEW they were wrong.

Yes, this country needs change. A new day, a new administration, a new direction. Hopefully some uninformed racists will not stop that from happening.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Post May Contain Too Much Information about the Female Reproductive System, Menstruation and my body

For some time now my menstrual cycle has run from 21-24 days. While that sounds fairly miserable, the actual period would only last 3 days, so it wasn't a bad trade off. Much better than a 28 days cycle with 5-7 days of bleeding in my humble opinion.

Now I have always had cramps to go along with the onset of my period. As a teenager, before the Pill, I usually spent 12-24 hours writhing in pain and throwing up. No kidding, actual vomiting. Nothing helped the pain. I finally started taking birth control pills at 18 and things were much better. I came off of them to get pregnant, but pregnancy seemed to help with many of the problems and I stayed off of them for a while after my son was born and then only took them intermittantly (they were expensive and we were without medical insurance for a while). I went off of them permanently when DSD moved in. He had a vasectomy many years before he met me, so birth control is not an issue and why screw up my system with hormones if I didn't to?

The cramps were more annoying than anything else. Painful, yes, but usually only lasted 12-24 hours and were easily managed with Motrin or Advil. The backache, which started 4 or 5 years ago was more painful. Maybe because it was new and unexpected, but it would usually knock me down for a day then move on until the next month.

So, imagine my surprise, and annoyance, the day before my birthday when DSD and I were out of town, to realize we had taken along an extra guest for the weekend. Aunt Flo apparently likes to play the slots and decided to tag along to Biloxi. Not a welcome guest, ever, but certainly not when she was not expected for another week. Add to that the fact that the cramps and backache are running closer to 3 days of actual pain that Advil will not kill and my periods are up to 4 days.. not fun at all.

It was time for my yearly visit to the family doctor, so I scheduled it for 10 days after our return, and then rescheduled it because (Hello!) I was on my period. Again. My mom went through very early menopause, so that it was I thought it probably was. I was poked and prodded through the usual PapSmear, two separate (and not even close to equal) mammograms, what seemed like a gallon of blood and the results? Nothing. No menopause, no anemia (which is what my doctor thought), nothing. Then he mentions that maybe, I have fibroid tumors. Well, duh. Now I love my doctor, but do you think he actually reads my chart? The information is in there. I gave a complete history when I started seeing him about 6 years ago that included the important things like, you know, Fibroid Tumors. Embedded. In. My. Uterus.

So, now I get to go see a Nurse Practitioner at an actual GYN clinic for MORE poking and prodding and, possibly, an ultrasound. Is there anything more relaxing than having someone press on your belly to take pictures when your bladder is full to the point of explosion? Then, probably, I will get an appointment with the actual GYN, then, we can figure out what we are going to do.

The choices range from medication (apparently RU486 works well in situations like this) to full blown hysterectomy. I would like to stay away from surgery if at all possible. I am over 40 and should be experiencing menopause in the next 10 years or so. We will see what MY options are. All I know is that doing nothing is NOT an option.