The man curse of American Idol

american idolIMy favorite American Idol contestant ever, Adam Lambert, did not win.  Kris Allen won.  You remember Kris, right?  He won that season.  I think no one was more surprised than he was.

krisThe ONLY possible reason I can think of for Kris’s win over a much more talented Adam Lambert was the song he did in the last week of competition.  He did a solo acoustic version of Kanye West’s Heartless, surrounded by teeny boppers looking up at him adoringly.  He appealed to that age demographic.  I loved his version of that song, and thought he did a good job.  Apparently so did the majority of voters that season.  I think Adam Lambert scared them.

Adam Lambert is lucky he didn’t win.  He would have been held to their contract and at their beck and call.  Most male winners have not fared well, compared to the women.  Instead, he went his own route.

He had a few rough starts (anybody remember the infamous AMA’s boy-on-boy kiss?  (Among other things).  People just weren’t ready for his in your face style of his recently declared gay lifestyle.  At least not on national TV.

adam

So he went on his “Glambert” tour, and sold out everywhere he went.  He went his own way, with his own style.  He played a few gigs with Queen in Russia.  The crowd went wild.  Literally.

Look where he is now.  On a worldwind tour with Queen.  Picking up the infamous Freddy Mercury mantle, and wearing it with pride.  And oh yeah.  Those pipes.  That amazing voice.  If anybody could throw down with Freddy note for note, it is Adam.  But he still shares the stage with Freddy.  Queen still pays tribute to him, with interspersed videos during the performance.  Gives you chills up and down your spine, to see Freddy and Adam on the same stage.  Check it out on YouTube.

Adam-Lambert-Freddie-Mercury

 

You don’t have to like Adam or his lifestyle.  But you do have to respect his talent.  And boy, he’s got it.  Lots of it.  Queen loves him.  So does Lady Gaga, who joined them for a performance.

queen

I don’t watch American Idol anymore much.  Just not the same since Adam, the talent level is just not there.  There are many more singing shows out there too.  So Idol isn’t the only game in town anymore.  I think the ratings reflect that too.

We all miss Simon……………. lol!

 

If I knew then….

jan youngMy Thursdays are ruined forever.  Thanks to #TBT (Throw Back Thursday), I now have serious picture envy…… of my younger days when I was skinny and fun and pretty but didn’t either think it or know it.  Crikey, I was 5’10” and weighed 150# and thought I was fat.  Pfffft.

Let’s face it, we all age.  Some better than others.  I probably have aged average on the outside, not so good on the inside.  Years of steroids and chemo treatments for my Crohn’s has not been kind to me.  Immune suppressor drugs were a cause of my malignant melanoma cancer, which ate up about 6 months of my life, and not in a fun way.  I have Crohn’s related arthritis which caused me to have a hip replacement at a fairly early age, and we all know how THAT went!

I’m doing better lately.  My Crohn’s has been much better since surgery to remove about 3-4 of bad intestine.  My hip is getting better, although I will always feel the nuts/bolts/screws/plates in my hip, and it still does hurt.  I will never be normal in that regard again, but at least I can walk.

I wish I could go back and tell myself to enjoy my youth and good health!  We take things for granted.   There’s a lot more things I would say, but that’s a story for another day.

I enjoy watching my nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews grow up.  Life is so much different now than it was back when I was a kid.  I want them to have the BEST life ever.  I want them to have all the advantages life has to offer.  I want them to grow up happy.  I want them to do well, and be good people.  I want them to KNOW that THIS is the time of their lives, and to ENJOY it!

It’s so funny to hear them say the same things to thseir parents that we said to our parents, and vice-versa.  Music is too loud, kids have it good, we had to walk to school 5 miles, our parents spanked us, etc. etc. etc.  Every generation has its unique characteristics.  I was a baby boomer, but I enjoy this generation better I think.  I hated the 70’s and the hair styles and clothing etc., and I knew it back then.  We did have great music tho, lol.

So I’ll continue posting my #TBT pictures, and reminisce about the good times we had in the past.  I will value the pics of my mom and dad and grandma and cousins and brother-in-law.  I will look at the smile on my face in those pictures and be grateful that I was happy, and grew up happy for the most part.  Many people still tell me I’m a smiley person.

I’mma gonna stay that way!

 

 

What I learned from Little League

LLJust as I had never watched soccer before this last World Cup, I had never watched a Little League game before.  After watching the team from Great Lakes/Illinois, called Jackie Robinson West (JRW), my whole perspective has changed.

The Chicago team is made up entirely of black players from an area where gang violence and poverty is the norm.  The team is named after Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League baseball.  It was a long road JRW traveled, to get to the World Series.  Once they won the Regional Championship, many parents were scrambling to figure out how to get the World Series so they could watch their boys.  Fundraisers were held, and assistance was given.  Talk about coming together for a good cause!

Yesterday, they won the US title, beating Las Vegas against all odds, who had previously beaten them 12-2 and decimated all the other teams they played.  But the JRW team was ready for them this time.  They are scrappers, coming from behind once again, to win the day.

Today they play South Korea, who also has beaten their opponents by impressive scores, for the International title.  I’m betting these 12 year old baseball players from a needy urban area in Chicago, come out champs again.  They have already won the hearts and minds of the U.S.  Win or lose today, they will always be considered winners in my book.  They have brought pride and dignity to Chicago youth, which is sorely needed in troubled times.

Now if they could just recruit Mo’ne Davis from Philly to move to Chicago, they would be unstoppable, yo!  Best team plus best girl……she is the champion of all girl athletes!

mone

The healing powers of touch….it’s true!

massageI didn’t realize until yesterday how messed up my WHOLE BODY is from all my hip surgeries.  I went for a massage from my good friend Donna who I met through swim class at the YMCA.  She is an angel and a godsend, with magical hands.

I have been having trouble sleeping, and was walking with a limp, and stairs were killing me.  My knees hurt, my legs were still swollen, my toes felt like sausages by night fall, and I could not fall asleep due to my restless legs.  I have been walking crooked or not walking at all since a year ago May.  I am tired of being tired and in pain 24/7.

Even taking out a break in the middle of the day laying on my bed with my leg elevated didn’t help much.  I usually ended up falling asleep while reading my book, and that didn’t help the insomnia later.

So I went for my massage.  Initially I told her that my back was fine, just work on the lower body, mostly my legs and feet.  Well.  She always checks EVERYTHING out, and when she started on my back, I winced with pain with almost every move.  My neck, back and shoulders were so out of whack and painful due to all the months of hauling my ass around on the walker.  All that non-weight bearing on my hip meant more weigh bearing on my upper body.  I still have huge calluses on my hands from that damn walker.

She got to work, informing me that my hour massage will now take at least 2 hours.  I said go for it.  I was a noodle by that time.

When she was done, I could not believe how much better I felt.  So much better in fact, that I was mad.  I had just been to both my GP and my Ortho doctor last week, and they both prescribed me more pills to take to deal with my issues.  Water pills, pain pills, muscle relaxers.  I’m so tired of taking pills that don’t work.

When I was in the nursing home and on some serious pain meds and IV antibiotics and laying in bed all the time flat on my back, I used to beg the Patient Care Techs to massage my legs so they would stop hurting.  They were so swollen I felt like they would pop.  Some of them did.  Most of them didn’t.  I guess it wasn’t in their “job description”.

I think this is so ridiculous.  A little hands on therapy goes a long way.  Even when you go to Physical Therapy, they use MACHINES instead of their hands.

If insurance companies started paying for legitimate massage therapy and chiropracters and naturopaths etc, this world would be much better off.  These therapies are a lot cheaper than pills and hospital visits.  And rehab for that matter.  How many people get addicted to pain meds?  Look at all the athletes they just shoot up and medicate.  I think the athletes are finally starting to wise up.  And look how many of our wonderful acting talents have lost their lives due to drug abuse.  Being famous doesn’t mean you aren’t lonely and in pain!

So go ahead, get a massage!  Live it up!

Before you pour that bucket of water over your head….

iceWell it seems like everybody is getting in on the action of the ALS ice bucket challenge.  I commend everyone for taking the plunge, so to speak, and also donating to a good cause.

But, before you video yourself and nominate other people to do the same, take a moment to think why this challenge came up in the first place.

Pete Frates, a former athlete with ALS, is credited with initiated the movement and going viral.  The effect of this challenge has been to raise millions and millions of dollars for research to fight this insidious disease.

So let’s take a look at this disease.  Most people know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease, because he puts a face and name we all know to it.  It is a motor neuron disease which robs it victims of motor function, leaving them with only their eyes and brains unaffected.

It is an ugly disease.  Nobody talks much about it, or wants to see pictures of videos of people in the later stages.  It is certainly not for the faint of heart.  I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy.  Well, maybe I would make a few exceptions ;) .

There is a new video out that I saw on Facebook.  It really puts the whole ALS thing into perspective.  I think everyone should see this video, whether they are doing the ice bucket challenge or donating, to see what it is really all about.  It is not about dumping ice on your head and making the coolest video.  (Although I have seen some very unique ones!)  It is about raising money for an orphan disease that big pharma doesn’t waste their research dollars on, because not enough people have this disease to make it profitable.  Please take a few moments to watch this video.  http://www.upworthy.com/the-last-ice-bucket-challenge-you-need-to-see-and-you-really-should-see-it?g=5

I hope all the donations help ALS suffers.  I really do.  I hope the money donated actually goes towards a real cure, and helps the people that need it, and doesn’t get lost in administrative costs or something other than what it is intended for.

I wish we could do an ice bucket challenge for every disease in the world, so we could eradicate all the pain and suffering.  Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, CANCER………big pharma only produces drugs to relieve the symptoms, because if they found a cure, they wouldn’t get money for their products.  One would think they if we can put a man on the moon, we could find some cures for things like AIDS and Cancer to name a few.  All the brilliant minds in the world….

How about Autism?  It affects so many of our children, and is on the rise.  It is scary stuff.  What is the damn cause?  Vaccinations?  GMO’s? (Genetically modified foods that allow us to eat corn etc that is sprayed with Round-Up.  Oh joy).  Who knows.  All kinds of bad shit out there.  Every day something new pops up.  Makes you want to drop off the grid and grow all your own food etc and become a hermit.

Anyway, I have been thinking about all this a lot, given all the pain and suffering I have experienced in the hospital/nursing home this past year and a half.  I thought I was the unluckiest person in the world, and often felt sorry for myself.  Let me tell you, after some of the videos I have seen about ALS sufferers, I am ashamed of myself.  My battles were temporary.  I got better.  There was always a light at the end of the tunnel.  These people don’t have a light.  They are handed a death sentence.  And a horrible path to the death.  I don’t know if I would be strong enough to handle it.

When it came out that Robin Williams was suffering from Parkinson’s, my first thought was, that was it.  The final straw.  He knew what was ahead for him, and maybe didn’t want to deal with it.  I can understand that to a certain extent.  My Crohn’s disease is a chronic incurable disease.  However, it is manageable, to a certain extent, and is not necessarily a death sentence.  It is definitely an inconvenience, but you adapt.  You may not have 100% control over your bowels, but you still can get up every day and walk and talk and go about daily life for the most part.  Yes, there are bad times when you can’t.  I have spent many weeks in the hospital due to my Crohn’s.  But in my mind I always knew it was a just a setback that I could overcome, and luckily for me, it got better after surgery to remove some intestines.  ALS, or Parkinsons, not so much.  I watched my BIL with his Parkinsons for many years and saw how he deteriorated.  He was a brave man, who soldiered on every day.  It was very sad for his family to see the effects.  Luckily, every day there are more and more treatments for diseases like Crohn’s and Parkinsons. So far, not much for ALS.

But we need CURES.  Cures for all these insidious diseases.  I think ALS would probably rate as one of the worst.  Your body fails you but your mind is still sharp as a tack.  I myself worry about Alzheimers, as my mother had it.  Your body might be ok, but your mind is gone.  The opposite of ALS.  But just as devasting.

So, I am glad to see the ice bucket challenge.  I am glad to see the money donated.  I hope it helps.  I really, really do.  These people need a glimmer of hope.

I wish I were a bear…..

casey_bearThis is my latest obsession.  The man, not the bear, although the bear is cute at times.  This is Casey Anderson, star of the Nat Geo Wild series.  He is a Montana home boy, who obviously loves the wilderness, and an animal magnet.

Casey adopted Brutus as a cub and Brutus was even Best Man in his wedding.  He has since divorced.  (Available!) :)

best man

Casey spends a lot of time off the grid (a reason for divorce?).  He is on Nat Geo a lot, and spends most of time at the Sanctuary he started, and studies grizzlies.

He seems like a really good person (he’s an animal lover, hello!) and is pretty damn easy on the eyes.  I think I would like to have lunch with him and Yogi Bear Brutus one day!

yogi

Mind Meld Moment

eyes-2979-1280x800Has this ever happened to you?  You have a moment with another person, and can read their mind or know exactly what they are thinking?

It happened to me, very clearly.  I was at the tender young age of 21, and was walking down the sidewalk in downtown Chicago.  I was carrying stuff from one Harris Bank building to another.  The streets were crowded, and all the parking places along the curb were taken except for one.

I heard a car coming at a high rate of speed, which was unusual, so I stopped and turned to look.  A man in a brand new slick expensive sports car was coming in hot to that parking place.  My immediate thought was, what an asshole, he’s going to hit something!  Like the nice sedate Mercedes in front of that empty spot.

I locked eyes with the driver for a few seconds.  In those few seconds, I could read his mind and knew exactly what was going on.  See, it seems his fancy new sports car had a manual transmission, that he wasn’t used to.  So as he wanted to slow down and pull into the empty spot, he hit the clutch instead of the brake.  He was stomping on that clutch for all he was worth, and nothing was happened.  He knew he was stepping on the wrong pedal, but he was committed, and it was too late to change it.

I knew all this from the few seconds of looking into his eyes.  I read it, I saw the panic, I knew he knew I knew, and for a moment we were one.  Then he crashed very dramatically into the Mercedes, and it was over as quickly as it had started.  He sat there slumped over the steering wheel, banging his fists on it, and his mind flashed to me, stupid stupid stupid!  Why didn’t I step on the other pedal?  I had time to do it.  But I just couldn’t.  My body could not execute the command my mind gave it.  It was too late.

He got out of his car when the man who owned the Mercedes came running out of the bank.  He was quite upset of course, as there was a lot of damage to both cars.  I stepped up to the Mercedes man and said, “Sir, I saw the whole thing happen, and I think this man got confused with his brake pedal and clutch, and smashed up his pretty new car.  It was an accident, plain and simple.”  The other man said yes, that’s exactly what happened, I am so sorry, my insurance company will cover your damages.

I went in the bank at that point to conduct my business, and when I came out, the two gentlemen were done talking and exchanging insurance information.  They shook hands, and the Mercedes man went on his way, as both cars were still drivable.  The sports car man looked at me and didn’t need to speak a word.  He just nodded his head, with his eyes on me the whole time, and drove away.

I never forgot that day.  That incident.  It has stayed with me all this time.  Sometimes no words are needed.

Cello anyone?

2-cellos-3_0

Take 2 hot dudes from Croatia, train them in classic cello, and then turn them loose on Youtube for Michael Jackson’s Criminal Minds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0xCI1jaUM) and you have yourselves an overnight viral sensation who has since swept the world with their electric cellos and penchant for rock songs like AC/DC and Michael Jackson among others.

So hot in fact that Elton John immediately signed them up for his tour. Since then, they headline and fill their own venues. And people go crazy for them, especially the ladies. Luka Sulic is the more serious of the two, while Stjepan Hauser is a wild man. The best of both worlds, I’d say.

I knew of these guys from various shows they appeared on, including Glee. I started checking out their videos online, and was flabbergasted by their talent and appeal. I highly urge you to do the same, but warn that they are addictive!

So when I was watching America’s Got Talent a couple weeks ago, imagine my surprise when two young fellows named Emil and Dariel got on stage and performed a rock cello cover of Purple Haze. They were total copycats of 2cellos, in fact, 2cellos had already nicknamed them 2cellos Jr. and had them on stage performing with them a few times! The young brothers have the mannerisms and style down pat, and it was glorious to watch them. The judges on AGT obviously had never heard of 2cellos because they remarked they had never seen anything like that before. My only criticism of Emil and Dariel would be that at that point they might have mentioned their heroes, 2cellos, as their mentors. But, whatever, 2cellos are quite famous, especially in Europe, and don’t need the plug. I’m just happy that America got to see how cool the cello can be!

So if you like music, do yourselves a favor and check them out, especially Thunderstruck and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. Well worth your time!

10 years ago in Mosul, I fell in love

UPDATE: I got to thinking about my army pilot and wondered if he was still active and perhaps had some insight into the current Iraq situation. Well he is retired. And running for Congress! (Does that mean I get to say that I’ve slept with a Congressman? lol)

I’m Almost Famous once again.

mosul

That is a helicopter, over the city of Mosul. There is a pilot inside. 10 years ago, we took over the city of Mosul, and filled the Iraq Army camp there with our own USA army guys.

How do I know this? I was there.

It’s true. Thanks to the power of the internet and web cams, I experienced a lot of Mosul (which I never should have) with my Army pilot that I met on Match.com.

Now, when I say “met”, there are different levels of met. I met him online and we made plans to meet. He was stationed with the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell KY, and lived nearby in Clarksville, TN. He was due for deployment to Afghanistan later in the year.

Right before we were going to meet in person, he got deployed. To Iraq. Basically under cover of darkness. He left, basically incommunicado.

6 months later he reappeared safe and sound in Mosul. He spent the rest of his deployment there, and so did I, via his web cam.

I fell in love with him over that web cam. I felt I knew him inside and out. When he finally got home his first order of business after his debriefing was to drive to my house to meet me. On Valentines Day. It was so damn romantic. As a gift he gave me a glass bottle of sand from Mosul. A few weeks later when I went to visit him in Clarksville, they delivered his foot locker to him at his house. When he opened it, I good a good whiff of Mosul. Sun, sand, sweat. It permeated everything in there.

We dated long distance for about a year, until he chose to go back to Iraq instead of staying home with me.

That’s ok, it was obviously not meant to be. But I am VERY SAD AND MAD that Mosul has fallen back to the Taliban. It was a very expensive city to take over, in terms of American lives/limbs/brains/finances. I heard that the Iraqi army we spent so much time and money on just deserted the place, leaving behind all the equipment etc. Costly mistake, for only 10 years.

E feel like I lost my heart in Mosul, and now the Taliban it to stomp all over. Not a good feeling. We cleaned those fuckers out once. Now I’m sure we’ll have to do it again. Sigh.

Go see Lone Survivor. This will happen again.

My glass is half full!

glass

So if my glass is half full, why am I not excited?

I had my aspiration surgery yesterday, which is yet another step in this wonderful hip removal/replacement process. I need a diagram chart to map out what all the possible paths are. So far, I have had
1. Infected hip removed
2. Antibiotic spacers inserted
3. 6 weeks of IV antibiotic therapy in a nursing home
4. 2 weeks of waiting period at home with NO antibiotics to see if infection is gone
5. Aspiration surgery where they insert a large needle into the hip bone joint and take samples, and also tissue samples, and culture them to see if any infection grows.

So this is where I am currently at. I guess over the years I have always expected the worst, because that is what usually happens to me. Just the mere fact that the brand new hip implant done a year ago was infected within the first five days proves my point. Only happens to 0.05% Lucky me! I fought the good fight for a year with multiple surgeries and at home IV therapies and months of antibiotics to no available. And, even now, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. With these last 5 procedures, here’s what has happened:
1. They tried for hours to remove my stake from my femur bone and finally had to break it open and cut out a large window and use saws to get it out and then put a metal cage around the femur with zip ties to hold it all together.
2. The antibiotic spacer floats with the femur and pops and grinds every time I move my leg. Sometimes it hurts cause it is “out of joint”. Most times it doesn’t.
3. 6 weeks flat on my back, the first few were awful as I was 100% dependent on nurses for EVERYTHING. My dignity suffered the most I think, even more than the awful pain.
4. 2 weeks at home was GREAT but I miscalculated how difficult it would be to take care of myself 100%, and especially with a walker on plush carpet and not hard floors. It was not a fun time, and I think I have used up all my the goodwill from my sister for the rest of my life.
5. Aspiration surgery went ok, my leg is a bit sore today but that is to be expected.

On the way home from the hospital, I actually WENT TO A RESTURANT! My favorite breakfast restaurant, The Point, on Rt 41 and Rt 21 is on the way home and I begged my sister as it is great for handicapped people, easy in easy out. So I had IRISH EGGS BENEDICT AND PANCAKES! It was the best breakfast ever, and my sister said her omlette was the best ever. So I can’t believe I got to eat out! It was so awesome, I wanted to cry. Instead I stuffed my face, lol.

I laid down when I got home, and the phone rang about 5 and I almost didn’t answer. Luckily I did, as it was my ortho surgeon. He said he wanted to call with good news so I wasn’t worrying so much over the weekend. My blood test numbers looked good! Sed rate (ESR) and CRP and WBC were all within normal range! He said to call back early next week, as we still have to wait to see if anything bad grows in the cultures. Also need to repeat blood tests on Friday. If all is good, I get my new hip June 13th.

So all that is great, right? Why do I keep looking up waiting for the shoe to drop on my head? I guess I won’t feel 100% comfortable till it is all over and done with. So many things could still go wrong between now and then.

I am NOT being NEGATIVE. I am seriously trying to stay POSITIVE. I am GRATEFUL for all the help I have received, especially from my sister. I have wonderful friends and family who have sent cards, food, prayers, hugs….you name it. I have dodged a big bullet with this latest news, so maybe my luck has finally changed.

THANK YOU GOD and please let me continue down this road. I will NEVER take simple things for granted again.