Monday, April 30, 2012

And I Will Drive 5000 Miles...

On 11-26-11, the odometer on the Impala hit:
Today, 4-30-12, it reached:
This averages out to 1,000 miles a month (almost to the -day-, how funky is that?)

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average annual miles for a female driver in my age group is 11,464.  That puts me at slightly above average. *grins* (Of course, the number of miles I drive is going to slow way down now that sports seasons are over.)

Anyway, thought I'd share because a) I like weird things like this and b) I shudder to think how my Intrepid would have handled the number of miles I have driven in the last five months. Yay for new cars! (Also, wicked cool that my 2004 Impala only has 30,000 miles on it.)

Oh, and another detail that just tickles my fancy...through no deliberate planning, the car rolled to 30,000 just before it rolled into my driveway.  ~mk

p.s. I am amused by the statistics that show that in -every- age group, men drive WAY more miles per year than women.

p.p.s. I posted the 1000 miles/month comment on Facebook and got back some responses about other people having a much higher average. Mind you, these people also work outside the home and have social lives. Personally, I think my average is pretty darn good considering that except for kid-sports, I'm pretty much a hermit. :P

Friday, April 27, 2012

Must Be My Magnetic Personality

Ok, so this morning I had the MRI for my shoulder (followup appointment on Monday with the orthopedist for results).

Shoulder actually wasn't bothering me too badly before I went, and as I got the coils strapped on, etc, I was actually pretty comfortable overall.

However, as the MRI kept going, my shoulder started to hurt. And hurt more. And hurt -more-. By the last six minutes of it, I was in a LOT of pain. It's weird, but it seemed to be related to the magnets and the vibrations.

I told the not-as-friendly tech (the other tech was extremely nice, she was the one who got me set up) as he was unhooking everything, that I was in a surprising amount of pain. He just blew it off and said it wasn't uncommon, it came from lying still for 30 minutes.

Um. I've lain still for longer than 30 minutes with no pain.

I've had an MRI before (for my ankle) and it didn't hurt at -all-. I've never heard anyone talk about an MRI hurting. It's supposed to be a painless procedure.

Anybody got any idea what might have been going on there? ~mk

Netflix Killed the Cable TV

(ok, first off, imagine the title of this post sung to the tune of "Video Killed the Radio Star")

Just got a notice from our local cable company that they are "upgrading" their system. In doing so, they are restructuring the cable packages. Currently we're paying about $40/month for about 40 stations (basic cable). The new basic package is about $20/month and includes about 20 channels. The Tier 1 package is about $60/month and includes about 80 channels.

So, we have the option of a) paying $20 less a month and losing half our channels, including pretty much all of our favorites or b) paying $20 more a month and doubling our channels, gaining a ton of really good ones.

I didn't want to make this executive decision without at least consulting the kids, so I brought it up to them last night. Surprisingly, Mark -immediately- voted to drop to the $20 plan. Kira's first reaction was to vote for the $60 plan. (Great, I'm the tie-breaker. Sigh.)

Then Mark explained his reasoning. We have Netflix. Streaming and DVD. Between those two options we have a ton of shows already available to us, not to mention movies, and Netflix is adding new stuff all the time. That got us thinking, and what we discovered is that not one of us could really remember the last time any of us watched "regular" TV.**

We also -do- have the option that if we find we can't stand having "only" basic cable, for $35 we can upgrade our service. So as long as we can survive two months of basic cable, it will have cost us nothing to try the experiment of having much fewer channels available. Case closed, we decided to drop down to 20 channels.


I got thinking after we all went to bed, and it's $45 to reconnect after complete removal of services. We're paying $40/month now. That means that if we cancel our cable altogether, one month later we can have it hooked back up and not be out any money. And meantime, we'll have a chance to see if we can survive today's world without a cable TV package.

Between Netflix and our computers, I am betting that we can. New family meeting tonight to see what say the children.  ~mk

** The kids were recently gone for ten days on a vacation with their father. In that time, I turned the television on -once-, to watch a movie with a friend who came over. I've never been a big TV watcher. I'll be -just fine- without cable. :)

The Next Great Men's A Cappella Group

Every once in awhile Mark gives me these random amusing glimpses into his life that I would not otherwise be aware of.

Couple of days ago, we were all driving somewhere and were listening to random music from my iPod. All of a sudden Mark pipes up and says, "We used to sing this. The Varsity boys would sing this in the locker room. It was a thing."

I got quite a kick out of picturing a dozen high school guys belting this out. ~mk

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Living the Blogger Dream

Ok, -I'm- not living the blogger dream. But Jenny is.

Jenny is Jennifer Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Although when I first met her (in either 2006 or 2007), she had not yet morphed into the Bloggess, but was one of four writers on the blog MamaDrama for the Houston Chronicle.

Now when I say "met," I have not actually met Jenny in person, but we have read and commented on each other's blogs over the years, and are friends on Facebook (yes, me and like 4000 other people, but still. That's her personal Facebook page. There are 30-something -thousand- people who have liked her Bloggess Facebook page). For some reason, even though she has seen pictures of me, Jenny has a mental image in her head of me as Hawaiian (because of the name markira, even though that's not, y'know, Hawaiian).

Anyway, in June 2007 Jenny started her blog "The Bloggess" and it started out normally, in that she would get anywhere from no comments to 20 or so...and then her blog kind of exploded.

NOW, she is THE BLOGGESS and her blog gets somewhere between 2 and 3 MILLION hits a month. (To put this in perspective, I have had maybe 25,000 hits in the entire, what, six years I've had my blog.) She knows celebrities. She speaks at conferences. (Sometimes from the security of the bathroom.) She's been on CNN. (and Jenny, -did- you send your zombie apocalypse plan to the White House?)

And recently, after about 11 years in the making, she has published her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Which, she just found out, will be -debuting- at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (Why can't I underline more than once? I want at least -five- underlines on that one. So, imagine I did that. And add exclamation points. And flashing arrows and stuff. And confetti.)

I am the tiniest bit envious of this**, but mostly I am thrilled to death for her and, weirdly, very proud of her. She's overcome enormous obstacles to achieve this (including working around her anxiety and depression issues).

** And I mean very tiny. Michael asked me I would like to be where she is, and I said probably not, since if I did really want it, I think I would at least be more dedicated to my own blog.

So anyway, Jenny's awesomeness is just overflowing everywhere and you should all buy her book. Go! Go now! ~mk

(Like, y'know, I'm gonna help her book sales so much. I'll be responsible for, oh, one. [Because my buying a copy counts, right? Right?])

Injury Update--Shoulder

So, it's been awhile since I've updated the Stupid Ways That I Have Injured Myself. I mean, I've posted a couple of other things I've done, like this and...wait, is that the only other one I've posted? I didn't post how I got a concussion getting into the van when Mark was in 8th grade, or the incredibly nasty gouge-y bruise I got falling off the coffee table (no, I'm not going to tell you what I was doing on the coffee table), or the time I fell down the cellar stairs about five minutes after I had assured someone just leaving that I would be -fine-, or the number of times that I have tripped going upstairs because I catch my toe in the pant leg of my pajamas? Really? Wow, I have neglected this blog.

Anyway, I hadn't done anything stunning in quite awhile, and I was starting to lull myself into a false sense of security that perhaps I was becoming less accident-prone. And then I majorly messed up my right shoulder doing...I have no idea.

It started bothering me in February-ish, and at first I thought it might be related to being a stomach-sleeper my whole life, so I trained myself to sleep on my back (thank you, meds for my periodic limb movement disorder, which allow me to now wake up in pretty much the same position I go to sleep in). I lightened my purse and started carrying it in my hand instead of slinging it on my shoulder. And the pain would go away, and I would be all good, and then it would come back, and I would think about going to the doctor, and then it would go away again.

Well, finally it stopped going away and was hurting -all- the time, so I called the doctor and she did some basic tests in the office and told me that I had tendonitis, bursitis, and an impingement in the rotator cuff. Told me to stop using the shoulder as much as possible, take Aleve twice a day, ice it three times a day, and referred me to physical therapy.

Naturally, because this is me, my shoulder actually got -worse- after I started resting it. Ptherapist told me that I had additional tendonitis in the bicep and the pectoralis. Go me. My body has this thing where it will drive itself as long as possible, and then when I finally get a chance to slow down, it will pile all the crap on me that it's been putting off.

So anyway, blah blah blah, instability in the shoulder, blah blah blah, pain all the time, blah blah blah, suggestion that I should get some additional tests with the orthopedist. So I made an appointment. The very next day, I did something that gave me excruciating pain in my shoulder at the moment (boarded the boat, actually, to visit with Brenda, and hit something just wrong), but after that, I had almost -no- pain in my shoulder unless I was moving it in certain ways, BUT my collarbone started pushing out in a funny way which was -completely- freaking me out, and there was pain around -that-. Apparently I may have released the impingement, but caused some severe inflammation in the pectoralis muscle under the collarbone. So sez the physical therapist.

Now I've seen the orthopedist once, with XRays (which came out ok except for a couple of bone spurs), and have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow.

SO. Naturally my shoulder has now pretty much stopped hurting anywhere unless I do particular movements, and my range of motion is improving. This thing has been bothering me since -February-. I will not be at all surprised if very little shows up on the MRI. Which on the one hand is very, very good, because I really did not want to find myself going down a path that led to surgery.

On the other hand, if it was all going to go away as soon as I started getting it seriously checked out, why didn't I do that two months ago?? *sigh* mk