11.30.2010

Boots!

Like most women I LOVE shoes.  I mean right, who doesn't?   It is one of those things that whether you need a pair or not, you just have to look when you are in the store. I love seeing all of the new up and coming designs of any type of shoes.  I get a giggle out of looking at the children's (you know the itty bitty ones) shoes.  I have a few tons of shoes.  Tennis shoes, flip flops, sandals, high heels, low heels mid heels and flats.  Let's face it you gotta have a shoe in every color and every heel height, it just wouldn't be right if you didn't. I think it might even be sacrilegious!!  I will have to do more research on that one. 

Anyway, I have not been a good blogger buddy lately so I am now trying to catch up on some of my reads that I do like to follow.  I was reading Always in my Head and came across a most recent blog about an online clothing store.  Now if we remember back to my previous post about online ordering we know that I don't tend to have much luck with that kind of thing.  However, she mentioned ModCloth and showed a picture of a cute dress that she purchased.  So I thought I would check this place out.  OMG! They have tons of things... clothes, shoes, accessories, household things.  Way cool.  I was scrolling through the shoe section, because it was there and it was literally calling screaming my name. I am sure you have had the same thing happen to you.  You can admit it to me.  I won't go blabbing it all over the Internet or anything. :)   Anyway I came across a pair of gorgeous brown boots.  (I love browns, btw).


pic

Aren't these just wonderful dreamy (insert long heavy sigh)??? If you click on the link under the picture you can also see the other views of the boots.  These really hit me as soon as I saw them. 

I think might be falling in love...I mean a girl can NEVER have too many shoes!

11.25.2010

Happy Thanksgiving


“Turkey Day” - the infamous day that comes but once a year that allows everyone to over indulge in just about everything from watching sports and eating lots of turkey and carbs, to laying around afterwards because we are all so full of over indulging! Like I said it only comes but once a year. Everyone seems to have their own family traditions of what they eat or who does the cooking. I always find it interesting to hear other people’s traditions. Don’t you? Some are creatures of habit and others are always doing something new each year. I thought I would share some traditions of mine and of some friends.


This is "Thanksgiving"

~ A good friend of ours that is a chef went through a phase of deep frying his turkey and making a special marinade to inject into it. It was pretty tasty. Now for the last several years he enjoys making a duck instead of a turkey. I have yet to try that…not so sure I could do it. He actually leaves it to look like a duck. Umm... yeah that I could not handle.

~ Another friend of ours always has to have macaroni and cheese with their meal. If there is no homemade Mac and cheese, it is like a sin to them! We never did that growing up.

~ Some people seem to change off every other year. One year their house the next year the in-laws or a sister or something like that. Some have potluck, etc.

~For our Turkey Day there are always some things that have to be at the table otherwise it simply isn’t Thanksgiving. We make homemade Banana Nut Bread and Pumpkin Bread every year. I have yet to have anyone not like these breads. They are very yummy if I do say so myself. Then there are the deviled eggs. They always seem to go pretty quickly. Dad always really enjoyed them. It didn’t seem to matter if we were going to have a large gathering of family and friends or if it was just going to be “us” these items always are expected to be at the table. At those times when it would be just the three of us (mom, dad & me), dad would always say to mom and me to not go so overboard and kill ourselves with making so many dishes, but we always enjoyed it. We would say we were going to tone it down but by the time the day came it always seemed to happen. I am sure you know what I mean. For instance before you know it your menu consists of…turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, rolls, sweet potatoes, peas, relish dish, deviled eggs, on occasion we would have a small ham, cranberries, cucumber salad or creamed cucumbers (a favorite of my mom’s), creamed corn, pumpkin and banana bread, pumpkin/apple/pecan/sweet potato pie (we might have all or one), chocolate pie or cake (since not everyone likes pumpkin and pecan) and ice cream. I think that about covers it. I mean besides the little munchies that you have out before the big meal. For the most part we always did Turkey Day. On rare occasions we went to an aunt’s house. But the food was NOT good. Sorry but it just wasn’t. By the time dinner came, everything was cold. She didn’t know how to cook everything at the same time so it would be done at the same time and everything would be ready and hot at the same time. Oh well, thank goodness that didn’t happen very often and we don’t do that anymore! Now that it is just usually mom and I we do cheat a little bit I am sad to say. I think it is more because of my health than anything else. Now I order a meal from somewhere, so I get the turkey, potatoes, gravy, and rolls. Then I basically just “doctor” it up a bit and heat it up. I still do some extra sides because that is just what I am used to. LOL The deviled eggs, and breads, and peas, cucumbers and a dessert and there you have it. We still get left over’s.

My infamous Deviled Eggs
 What are your traditions? What items does your family insist be at the table on Thanksgiving?

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving. May you all eat to you are stuffed beyond your wildest dreams!

11.24.2010

Happy Happy Birthday Sister!!

Happy Birthday Tina!


Just a quick shout out to my favorite half sister (oh wait she is my only sister!) to wish her a very happy and blessed Birthday!  We are so different in our ways of thinking it is almost comical at times! But that is what makes the world go round, once she realizes I am always right then things will be perfect!  ha ha (I am teasing Tina). 

I hope that she has a stress free day filled with treats and a year blessed with love, laughter and good health. Enjoy your day and know that you are in my thoughts! xo 


Tina when she came for a surprise visit to see Dad in 2006

11.20.2010

That is your reference point?

If you have an illness or injury or are in chronic pain, I am pretty sure you have had someone if not many people tell you that they “know what you are going through”. They understand you. They get you. And then my favorite part comes and they compare a pain of theirs to yours. OMG! Really??? I have had this happen to me for years. I have had many different people tell me that they know what it is like to be “tired”. Now I laugh, because I am like really? I would love to be tired, I am fucking exhausted beyond your imagination and you are telling me you are tired. If I was “tired” I wouldn’t even think of complaining. That isn’t even worth mentioning. Or how about when people tell you that they have a “headache” so they totally understand when you say you have a migraine, oh but wait a minute I have had my migraine for years. I mean it is practically a freaking part of me. You are going to tell me that they sympathize with what I am going through? NO. NO they don’t. No they can’t. No they have no frickin’ clue as to what I have and am experiencing. And by all means please don’t tell me you do.


However, my most recent “comparison” was by far the most upsetting, and most unbelievable. The other day I was talking with someone who happens to be a nurse and a friend of ours. We were talking about having to keep the faith and how difficult that can be when you are not feeling well and it seems as if the cards are stacked against you. She then proceeded to tell me how she totally understands what I am going through because she has the same thing every day! Every morning when she gets up she has to run her hands under warm water so that she can even move them and while she is doing that she prays to the Lord asking him to help her hands work that day. I know I had to have the most shocked look on my face. I kept thinking I couldn’t have heard her right. I mean right? I just couldn’t have. I just sat there for a moment quietly thinking OH MY GOD in my head. I am not saying that no one else experiences pain but how could you even think of comparing that to me? Here she is comparing her hands hurting to where she has to run them under warm water so that she can move them to my excruciating pain, exhaustion, memory, focus problems, constant migraines and concentration issues. That is like comparing apples and oranges. She is in her 50’s and is able to work. Here I am in my late 30’s and am applying for permanent disability. I can’t work. I can barely move and walk at times. Don’t you think that if I could run my body under warm water and it would relieve my pain so that I could move, don’t you think I would frickin do that? Geesh! I would live in a flippin shower or bath if that is what I had to do so that I could be without pain, or lessen it or make it so that I could still live a “normal” life. I tried explaining to her this. And she said I know I know, I get it. I think the only thing that stopped me from going psycho is that we were in a public place! I told her No you don’t get it. Mom kept saying that you did, but I knew you didn’t. I had hoped you did, but I knew you didn’t. I guess in a sense I can understand why she doesn’t because she has never had to experience anything like this. She kept trying to justify and compare the hand thing. I had to tell her to stop.

If you have gone through something like this then you can imagine and sympathize. If you have not, then don’t even try to say that you get it; because you just don’t. You aren’t even close. You can try to imagine, but that is it, you are doing just that TRYING.

I couldn’t believe that she was actually comparing hands hurting to excruciating body pain that doesn’t allow someone to work or live their life anymore. That is just two totally different things as far as I am concerned.

11.19.2010

I got approved!

I have been off of work since April 2008. I know, it still sounds surreal to me. Since I was not getting any better it had been decided that I needed to move forward in seeking SSDI . I had written a previous blog about that here. It has been a long road. I was denied twice. So once that happens it usually goes to the next level of a hearing.


I have to say that I feel very fortunate to have had the help that I did. I was one of those people that when I signed up for benefits at work, I picked the short term and long term disability. Everyone always teased me about being young and “wasting” my money. Well, let me tell you, it was some of the best money I have ever spent!

On a quick side note here is some information that I think you might find helpful. The short term disability pays you for the first year that you have to be off of work. The LTD pays you after that. Now depending on what type you have and how it is set up make a huge difference. Usually they are based on a percentage of what you make. You can sign up to be paid a percentage of what your normal salary is. The amount that I had to pay on a monthly basis to purchase this insurance was minimal and it was well worth it. If you chose to get LTD please make sure that you select to at least get 50% of your salary if not more. Now if for some horrible reason you are unable to go back to work and actually end up needing to go on permanent disability your LTD company does not want to have to continue to pay this entire amount to you for the rest of your life. So they start preparing you to start applying for permanent disability. The LTD that I have has a 3rd party company, ALLSUP that helps you go through the entire SSDI process. I cannot tell you enough about how AWESOME this company is. They basically do ALL of the WORK. They are the ones that request all of the doctor’s records, and pay for them if need be, they fill out all of the paperwork for SSDI, and they keep all of the records. They basically do all of the legwork and then some. When it came time for my hearing they had a representative, a lawyer that called me a couple of weeks prior so that we could discuss my case and then we met a short time before my hearing to go over anything. I know that my case depended a lot on what my doctors had to say and if they sent in their notes and answered the questionnaires like they were supposed to, but I also know a large part was due to my representative, Deborah. She has been doing this for 18 years and has a great history with these judges.

Ok…back to the real reason of the blog. Good thing I don’t really ramble on and get side tracked. Phew! So the hearing was in Downtown Los Angeles. It had already been arranged that my mom’s BFF, Dee would go with me so that I wouldn’t have to drive or be alone for that matter. She also happens to be a nurse so that was kind of nice in case of anything. We got there with basically no traffic and found the place with no problems. Yeah for us!! We even got there a bit early! Yeah for us again! I have never done anything like this before so it was an eye opener to say the least. The entire 4th floor of the building is for Social Security Hearings. Once you get off of the floor there is an armed guard. You have to sign in, show your picture ID, he then looks through your purse and then does the wand thing over you to see if you are carrying anything metal. Oh yeah, and makes sure he reminds you to turn your cell phone off, NOW. He was a nice guy. So now you are in a large waiting area. Once it is your turn the Judges clerk will come and call you.

Deborah (my representative) had told me that it shouldn’t take any longer than 30 minutes. Can you believe that? I have been turned down twice and yet a judge will be able to say yay or nay in less than 30 minutes. Well sure enough when it was our time, the Judge wanted to see Deborah first for a few minutes. Then she came back to get me. If we were in there for 15 minutes, I am exaggerating. So basically we were in a small room, with the judge, his clerk, a vocational expert, my rep. (Deborah) and me. I was sworn in and the judge proceeded to ask me a couple of questions. It was very relaxed. This judge happened to be in a jovial mood and also tends to have a sarcastic sense of humor (I was in luck!!). He asked me a couple of questions about a doctor, and something about one of my meds, and asked what type of education I had. Asked what I did when I worked, if I lived alone. He asked me what I thought was the one thing that I would say is the thing that makes it so unbearable for me to work. I asked him if he meant illness or symptom. He smiled and said, it doesn’t matter just pick one. So I smiled and said, only one? Hmmmm.. and he interrupted and said ok so tell me all. I then told him what all of issues were but that the most upsetting were the mind issues. I don’t have the concentration, the focus, the memory, I don’t have that like I used to. I miss it. Don’t get me wrong, the pain, exhaustion, migraines, tremors, they all suck and all hurt, but the mental part is really killing me….slowly. He then looked at my earnings and told me that I made good money while I worked. I smiled and agreed with him. He then informed me that I wouldn’t be making that kind of money if I was on disability. I kind of chuckled and said that I was aware of that, but God willing maybe I won’t have to be on this for the rest of my life. He got a large smile and said, I agree with you, hopefully you won’t. He advised me that even if I did get disability I would still have to see my doctors. I was like, yes I know that. He then told me that I would be getting something every 2-5 years to check to see if I was still disabled or not. When I get that I have to answer it and/or send in new medical records. He then said good luck and that he hopes I get better soon and that I am not in as much pain as I have been in. I know I was in shock.

Deborah and I got up and walked out of the room. I looked at her and said that’s it? That means I got approved, right? She said yes, congratulations! She said I would probably get a letter around 2 weeks or so. With this disability I will also be able to have Medicare. I was not aware of that, or if I was I didn’t remember it. She said it will take around 2 months to get that. I will also have back pay coming to me. Since I have been on LTD for 24 months that is how much I will be expecting. However, since I have receiving the LTD, they will take the difference of what is owed to them. So I am not really sure what or if I will have anything left over from the back pay.

To say that I was exhausted would be a HUGE understatement. After the hearing was over and we returned home, I made mom and me some lunch. I changed into some comfy clothes pajamas since I was just going to be in the house. I laid down with mom on the bed to watch T.V. and before I knew it I was out like a light. I guess it really did take everything out of me.

I am thankful that this is over. I am grateful and appreciative to everyone who sent me positive thoughts and prayers.

I am finally approved!! Yeah for me!

11.15.2010

Congratulations!!

Congratulations Lewin Family!

I just wanted to send out a little "shout out" if you will to a friend with whom I used to work with.  He and his wife adopted a beautiful baby boy, Nicholas.  It took them a long 3 years but everything finally fell into place.  They brought him home from Russia not too long ago.  He is a healthy, happy 3  year old toddler boy.  I am so very happy and thrilled for them. 

Enjoy every moment that you can with him.  It will go by so fast you will wonder where it went.  Congratulations and God Bless you!!

 

Nicholas Lewin