Friday, July 22, 2011


Headed to the Parkway Playhouse with my friends Judith and Chrissy tonight to see Seussical. Can't wait. Our friend Stephanie is in it as well as our friend Suzan's daughter, Myra. Love all the Playhouse actors. This will be my second musical this year, fourth overall performance, and they impress every time. I'm really enjoying this theatre thing. It's a great way to get your mind off the day-to-day stuff that can often bring you down. And you sure can't beat spending time with friends.

Next up in August is Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Notes From The Confusion

What do you tell someone when they ask how you are during a long illness that many people don't believe in in the first place? What do you tell someone when they ask how someone you love who is in that situation is doing? How do you explain something that has no exact known cause and no known cure? Something that causes a myriad of symptoms including depression and lots of pain.

My husband has had several health issues for the past two years. He had his gall bladder out in 2009 and was also diagnosed with hemochromatosis of the liver at that time. (Basically, he has too much iron in his blood.) Then depression hit along with muscle and joint pain over his entire body. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia soon followed. Here we are, two years plus in, and still no end in sight. He regularly sees his GP plus three specialists, with a fourth one soon starting. (I'm making him an appointment with a pain clinic.) He is also starting a second round of physical therapy that we are having to fight tooth and nail to get done, even though he did so much better during the first round.

Don't get me wrong, some things are better. The liver issue has really improved. For three months, he had to have a pint of blood taken every week. Now he's down to every three months. That might even get better, but ever three months is a major improvement.

And the stomach issues he had before and after he had the gall bladder removed have greatly improved. He can pretty much eat what he wants, although I do try to not give him many iron-rich foods for obvious reasons. Most days he even has a decent appetite, although he still has days when he doesn't want to eat anything at all.

The pain is the worst part. He hurts all over most of the time. Trips to the doctor's office two miles away are torturous, and don't get me started on the ones to doctors in Linville or Asheville (23 miles and 52 miles away). He feels every little bump in the road, and those of you who live up here know how these roads are.

Of course there are also medications. Many medications. All you can do is treat the symptoms and each doctor works with their specialty, and they all have their list of meds they start with and work through. So many pills.

Fibromyalgia is a real disorder which causes pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, concentration problems.....etc. The biggest problem is that some people, and even some doctors, don't believe it's real. I wish those people could be in my husband's shoes for just one day. I wish they could feel the way he feels for even one hour. They would change their minds very fast.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Cheesy Deal

Hello cheese fans. And when I say "cheese fans," I mean those who like/love cheese of all kinds, not those who love cheesy jokes and such. (You know who you are.)

I love cheese. It's one of my favorite food groups, right up there with bacon and chocolate. Any time I make a trip to my local Ingles grocery store, I check out their little gourmet cheese section looking for markdowns. Why markdowns? Have you ever looked at the regular prices of that stuff? Then you shouldn't have to ask.

A few weeks ago, I came across a small block of cheese marked down to .99. It was going out of date the next day, which is of course why it was marked down. How drastic was the markdown? Well, this little block of cheese normally costs $14.99lb. Yep, you read that right. $14.99 for a pound of cheese. Don't know who actually pays that much, but it sure ain't me.   :)

Anyhoo, the cheese I got to try that day was from a German company called Kaseberg, and the cheese is Butterkase. Buttery cheese? Well heck, I knew it had to be good. And for just under a dollar, what have I got to lose?

What indeed? OMG, I was in heaven. This cheese is so creamy and oh-so-freaking-good. And of course, I knew it would be a long time before I could ever get it again. Every trip to Ingles took me over to the gourmet cheese to see if maybe, just maybe, they had more marked down. But alas, it was not to be. Not for weeks and weeks.

Then, there it was. The beautiful image of an orange "Special Today" sticker on several packages of the wonderful cheesy goodness. I immediately rushed over and picked them up, only to find that the "Special" was a markdown to $7.99. There were several days before the sell-by date, and I guess they were trying to get them out of there as fast as they could. But still, $7.99?!?! Not this cheese eater. So I put the packages down, noting the sell-by dated listed. I had a plan.

The day before the sell-by date, I made a trip to Ingles. There were two "Special Today" packages left. Just two. And they were still marked $7.99. I grabbed my booty and approached a deli worker. I explained the situation. The cheeses were going out of date the next day and would not be able to be sold. I had bought some for .99 before and wondered if they might mark these down as well. He took the packages, thought for a moment and proceeded to affix a sticker for .99. I thanked the polite young man profusely and left the store that day a happy camper.

For $1.98 I got two packages of a wonderfully delicious cheese that would normally cost a bit over $11 a piece. Now that is what I call a cheesy great deal. (I did also check the other packages and the next date is mid-August. I will be watching.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

So, today we celebrate our Independence Day. There will be food, fun and fireworks...if your town hasn't had them already the way many have, including mine. That is one of my little frustrations. We should celebrate the holiday ON THE HOLIDAY. But, that's just my opinion, and we know all about opinions, don't we.

Nothing really special going on at the Bell house today. Just another day, although I am going to bake some of my super famous Chocolate Mint Chip cookies and maybe some brownies. Yes, I am baking in the middle of July. Can't help it. I like to bake. And as for it being too hot, well, that's what air conditioners are for.

I would like for everyone to remember something today. We are a great country that has made some mistakes. But in the end, we are all in this together. Our opinions may differ, but that shouldn't matter. Healthy debate is good, compromise is a necessity and name-calling is just plain stupid. Stop it.

Have a great holiday, y'all.