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Friday, August 17, 2012

Do you wear polarized sunglasses?

What’s the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses? Polarized lenses offer 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays. Why is that important? Because when you wear sunglasses, your eyes dilate making it easier for those rays to invade and damage the eyes. The other plus is that polarized lenses cut out a certain direction of glare.

However, the polarized lens isn’t without disadvantages . The main one being the difficulty in seeing LCD screens that are on GPS systems and cell phones.

So the ultimate question comes down to should you pay more for polarized sunglasses? From my perspective, I would say yes. I would rather have the protection and remove my shades to view any screens that aren’t clear for the few minutes that are necessary to see them. Now, on the other hand, if it’s something that I have to view continually and frequently then maybe it would be practical to have to pair of sunglasses on hand. One for maximum protection and one for maximum visualization when it comes to viewing specific screens, if that’s important… although it wouldn’t be to me.

When shopping for polarized sunglasses there are sites to shop that can take a little of the pressure off of your pocket like shopbyus.com. This online retailer has brand name eyewear, free shipping, the lowest prices and the highest ratings. They are also 100 percent authentic and they can prove it: Each pair of sunglasses comes with a certificate of authenticity as well as a warranty  from the manufacturer that certifies they’re genuine. This documentation gives customers peace of mine that they’re spending their hard-earned money on quality merchandise.

Do you wear sunglasses? If so, are yours polarized or non-polarized and why did you make that choice? Leave me a comment before you and let me know.

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Was I wrong? … I know I’m right.

Earlier this week I so kindly shared this photo on Facebook and Instagram… Oh, and I texted it to a number of people as well:

IMG_20120813_152041The photo, alone, is obviously incorrect. However, when you look at it in context with its surroundings does it make more sense? In my opinion, it may make more sense, but it’s still incorrect.

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 IMG_20120813_151441IMG_20120813_151517 IMG_20120814_152058 Because the cones were in place (each with its own sign) it wasn’t necessary to have an arrow pointing to the right. I’m assuming the sign was meant to say, “Go to the right then keep left.” That still doesn’t make sense. What about, “Continue around car lane” and then ensure the pavement was clearly painted with the words CAR LANE. Ahhh, now that makes sense.

Of course, as myself and another U.S. Veteran were discussing, common sense doesn’t seem to be very popular these days. And like butt-holes, everyone has one; especially a Virgo, mom blogger who’s a writer. Just admit it: I’m right. *snorting laugh* An-t-way… What do you think? Am I wrong? Is the sign, wording, arrow okay and clear? I’m beginning to think it must be because I appeared to be the only one leaning out of the window laughing and taking pictures of it.

IMG_20120817_111628What I know I’m not wrong about is what is likely to happen to my son who just entered the third grade. (Yes, on to another subject.)  A letter was sent home from the principal that discussed lunch changes, enrollment, class sizes and changes, carpooling, etc. Concerning enrollment he said the school was below their enrollment by 79 students and if it does not meet that projection they will lose staff. “Class leveling is a probability in our 3rd grade classes in the coming weeks.”

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That news was obviously under the topic of enrollment. Later under “class sizes – common core curriculum – responsibilities,” he wrote, “Class sizes for 2012-2013 are 28 for 3rd grade and 32 for 4th and 5th grade.” (Yes, it said “grade” not “grades.”) Those class sizes are  under an approved waiver from the district and are considered large. If the 3rd grade classes are going to be leveled then how are they going to maintain 28-students per class? I don’t think they’ll be able to. There will be teachers responsible for 30 or more 8- and 9-year-old children. Is that what you ascertain as well?

With three children in elementary school and one in college there is always something going on. Although my college-aged daughter, who will be entering her last year, takes care 99.9 percent of her business there are still times when something requires my attention. With the younger children I’m bothered by a lot of this because they are still in their formative years. Everything that effects their ability to learn or detracts from it adds to what I’m already doing to pick up the slack.

It’s topics like these that add to my complaints. When I’m not fussing  about spelling or grammar errors in school correspondence and materials from teachers, complaining about a change in procedures and rules (especially if they’re different from what I did with my oldest daughter) then I’m miffed about changes that will negatively impact my children and ultimately ME.

What’s your overall opinion of the school system your children attend?

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Back-to-School BOGO at Famous Footwear

This post brought to you by Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.

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With so much to purchase for our children at the beginning of each school year it takes a little stress off of the budget to have coupons and deals to rely on. What has been the best deal you've found this school year?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

What you should know about invisible illnesses – Part II

Updated August 17, 2015

Click here for Part I

I used to look like this when the pain wasn't as bad.
I think this was taken January 2012.
Yesterday I mainly talked about fibromyalgia so I’m going to finish up with that then explain some of the other stuff that’s going on with me. Fibromyalgia [fahy-broh-mahy-al-juh] is considered by some to be a neurological disorder. “The prefix "fibro" means fiber or fibrous tissue, the term "myo" refers to muscle and "algia" relates to pain. The condition fibromyalgia involves systemic pain, particularly soreness in the joints, soft tissues and tendons. The cause of the disorder remains unknown, but it primarily affects females between 20 and 50.” All of what is described in that quote, (which I believe I pulled from HSS.edu) is what I deal with and as the HSS experts go on to say, associated symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, headache, fatigue and depression. Yes, I have suffered – and still do suffer – from those symptoms. Before I began receiving treatment, the pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression were so intense it would leave me too incapacitated to move.

According to HSS, “if physical therapy, stress relieving activities and regular exercise fail to produce results, physicians resort to prescription of muscle relaxers or antidepressants to reduce pain and help improve the sleep patterns of patients.” The medicines do help - off and on - but there are bad days when nothing seems to help.

About Sjogren's Syndrome

(c) 2015 A lot has changed since that picture above. My
illness is invisible is still invisible and now I feel invisible.
Sjogren’s (show-grins – Can you tell that’s my pronunciation?) syndrome. It’s “a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women and targets the salivary glands (in the mouth) and lachrymal glands (in the eye). The involvement of these two glands results in dry mouth and dry eyes (also known as sicca complex). The damage to salivary glands in Sjogren's syndrome cannot be reversed, but the symptoms can be controlled and, rarely, the disease goes into remission.” 
There are two forms of Sjogren's syndrome:
  • The primary disease occurs when you experience dry eyes and a dry mouth. Fatigue and joint pain can also accompany the sicca symptoms.
  • The secondary disease occurs when you experience dry eyes, a dry mouth, and another associated autoimmune disease**. Sjogren's syndrome may precede lupus by many years; however, it more often occurs late in the course of lupus. Sjogren's syndrome occurs in about two people of the general population, but in 20 to 30 people who have lupus. Rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma can also be associated with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Source HSS.edu

**My other associated autoimmune diseases are fibromyalgia AND multiple myeloma. You can read more about that in a health update.

Sjogren’s syndrome is difficult to diagnose, which often means one goes years after symptoms have begun before receiving a correct diagnosis. That is what happened to me and also one of the Williams’ sisters. Environmental contributors like viruses and stress in conjunction with other factors are believed to result in the disease development and can effect the management of it.
It’s these types of diseases and conditions that prompted the development of National Invisible Illness Week (a free virtual conference), which is scheduled for September 10th through the 16th this year (2012. It's September 28th to October 4th in 2015). About two years ago, I participated in the meme 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know. At the time I didn’t understand everything about sjogren’s, which is considered a form of lupus, and I wasn’t being treated for multiple myeloma. When you get a moment, take a peek at my 30 things.

In reviewing my list, I noticed there are some things that need to be changed, but it’s still relatively accurate two years later. I don’t feel as bad as I used to on some mornings and evenings because of the medications, and that’s a good thing!

Over the next couple of months, I’ll talk about invisible illnesses some more. I hope this post, albeit long, educated you on something that affects more people than you probably know. When you find out someone suffers from an invisible illness please don’t tell them to let you know if they need something; simply offer a helping hand. Ideas for things to do:

  • “I’m going to the store, can I pick you up something?” 
  • If you stop by and a trashcan is overflowing or dishes need to be washed, just say, “Where are your trash bags?” or “Let me wash these dishes (or clothes!) real quick.” 
  • If the person has young children offer to drop off a pizza or take the kids out to lunch or something. 

Believe it or not, every little bit helps and you’ll never know how much of a blessing you can be to someone who suffers in silence every single day.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Choosing a wedding venue

There are a lot of places in the world, and in the United States – for that matter, that I’d like to visit and attending a special event or occasion is the perfect opportunity to travel. Chicago is one of those places, which I’ve heard is a great place to visit, and it is home to one of the best Chicago wedding venues for hosting everything from wedding receptions and christenings to corporate events and communions.

The Stan Mansion can host any once-in-a-lifetime event with a goal to fulfill needs and create everlasting memories. That’s exactly what those seeking the ideal place are looking for.

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What you should know about invisible illnesses – Part I

In the five years since I’ve had this blog I’ve talked quite a bit about my health challenges in, what I call, my Health and Weight Loss Journal. Lately, I’ve not talked much about it except for a quick mention via Twitter or Facebook when I’m not feeling well. I was “reminded” about invisible illnesses when a blogging friend of mine, Carolyn Mullin, wrote the post Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (May 12, 2012), her personal story, on her blog Conversations with Carolyn.

Carolyn’s post prompted me to bring invisible illness to light today (well, I’ve been working on this for awhile in between my life, health and whatnot); a little in advance of National Invisible Illness Week, which is next month. Carolyn also posted My Name is Fibromyalgia – read a little bit of it here:
Hi....My Name is Fibromyalgia, and I'm an Invisible Chronic Illness. I am now attached to you for life. Others around you can't see me or hear me, but your body FEELS me. I can attack you anywhere, anyhow, anytime I please. I can cause severe pain or, if I'm in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over (like having flu!).
Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun? I took Energy from you, and gave you Exhaustion. Try to have fun now!
I also took Good Sleep from you and, in its place, gave you Brain Fog. You wake up each morning, feeling as if you've been run over by a truck. I can make you tremble internally, or make you feel cold or hot, when everyone else feels normal.
My favorite thing of all, is that I just love letting you do things (because often, you are capable) Such as, go to the gym, clean the windows, write a long report, pick something heavy up.....then I love to reward you.......with lots of pain and stiffness, AND I like to make sure it is widespread and varied.....bone, muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves. Just for good measure, I like to throw in some tiredness and/or exhaustion, let's not forget the RSI's (repetitive strain injuries) or RLS (restless leg syndrome). I have to live up to my name!!
You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus you had that you never recovered from such as trauma e.g. that car accident. Maybe it was the years of abuse, or am I just a mystery? Well, anyway, I'm here to stay!I hear you're going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. (I'm rolling on the floor, laughing. Just try!) You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively, but I can guarantee that they won't make me go away. You will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, none of them giving much relief, and most of them giving you lots of unpleasant side effects. (Oh I love it!)
So now you have to suffer with side effects AND Fibromyalgia. AND it doesn't stop there, I can't let you have too much of an easy ride. I give you plenty of associated symptoms as well....problems with your bladder, bowel, in fact most of your internal organs. Plus sensitivity to sound, light, temperature etc., as well as MANY other health problems, that I can think of giving you!
I love the way that post is written. Click through to read the rest at Conversation with Carolyn.

DSCF4702_thumb11[2]Quite a few people ask me for details regarding my condition because they either a) haven’t heard of it or b) they’ve always wondered what it really is. There has been a mixed message – even among medical professionals – as to what fibromyalgia is or even if it’s a “legitimate” illness or condition. From my perspective, I don’t care what they want to call it, it’s definitely real. Since I’ve done quite a bit of research on this topic, I believe that my “fibro” was brought on by an infected gall bladder. In 1994 I had a severe attack of pain in my stomach and went to the emergency room. Tests showed my gall bladder was extremely enlarged and it turned out to be gangrened. One of the speculations is (like Carolyn says in her post) that the condition is brought on by trauma to the body (I’d say that was traumatic), extreme stress and things of that nature. At the time I was the single mom of a pre-school daughter and I was taking 18 credits per semester to finish my degree while working two part-time jobs.
My life now is just as busy – if not more so – and there is more to my invisible illness story to share. Come back tomorrow evening to read Part II of What you should know about invisible illness.
Do you or anyone you know have experience with chronic pain or illness? Share some of your experiences in the comments section.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Enduring inhumane treatment, first day of school #backtoschool

There is nothing normal about getting up before the sun rises unless you’re a farmer or one who likes to watch the sunrise. Which is why my alarm scared the bejesus out of me this morning at 5:45. Once I emerged from the bathroom, still blurry eyed and dismayed, there still wasn’t a light in the sky except for the street lights, which burned brightly.

IMG_20120813_070525My children, on the other hand, were on full wattage. The girls bounded out of bed – although I didn’t see this, I could hear them in the kitchen getting their breakfast. Amareah is responsible for getting up first this year when her alarm goes off and since Anna is a light sleeper she gets up with her. After they eat, they wake up their brother then go in the bathroom. Their brother eats and by the time they’re out of the bathroom he’s ready to go in.

Well, that’s in a perfect world. Today was a somewhat perfect world except for the fact that I was all too sleep to fully participate in the excitement. However, I was smiling from ear to ear as I looked at how they have grown and how my youngest was all dressed up in her kindergarten uniform.
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Although I prefer the relaxed summer schedule the beginning of the year is exciting. My son is a big-time third grader – at the lower end of the totem pole at the elementary school, my daughter is a big-time second grader – one of the head honchos at her primary building, and my baby – along with her quivering lip and little hands rubbing her eyes – is experiencing kindergarten in the big-kid building.

Life.is.good.

I really like this picture (below) ‘cause I told them to act excited and that’s what the girls came up with. My son, on the other hand, looked at me like, ‘seriously?’ He just laughed and said, “I didn’t know what to do!” (ROFL!)




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Now, remind me I said life is good when I start complaining about homework, rushed schedules, naughty kids who don’t wanna do homework and every other annoyance that comes along with the school year. Oh yea, life will be good EXCEPT at 5:45 every morning. *snort chuckle*
      IMG_20120813_071312If your kids have started school, what is the best thing about the school year for you? If they haven’t, when do they start and what are you looking forward to?
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