Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Did a chunk of work this morning. I am also planning on cleaning the inside of my car today, really cleaning it, with the shampooing machine. (With two dogs always riding in there, it is needed...)

And then I need to do laundry and a few other things.

But the sky is gray, my head huuuurts and I have a slight fever. I am not in the mood. Me no likey shingles...

I will do a little here and there, but most likely wait until after Sarah gets home. i need my pain medication, I can't STAND the head pain! But I can't take any until I know I am not going to drive anymore, obviously. Vicodon is the equivalent to Citodon in Sweden, so NO driving...

So I am going to surf the Net, eat cheese crackers and feel sorry for my self for a bit. And maybe get something done this afternoon.

Just 2 more days until my aunt and cousin comes and VACATION TIME!

Monday, March 30, 2009

What an ending!

A great day like today, when everything just works out perfectly had to have a stressful ending, right?

After picking Sarah up from school we went by Publix to get some groceries, and when I parked the car back home in the garage, I realized I FORGOT MY PURSE IN THE SHOPPING CART OUTSIDE THE GROCERY STORE!!!

Luckily I live practically across the street from the store, so I hastily drove back, whilst having practically a nervous breakdown in the car... Why had I just today decided to use my fanciest $250 purse? Oh no, my prescription strength sunglasses were in there! And all those things in my wallet!!! What a nightmare...

As soon as I (almost skidding on two wheels) arrived at the parking lot I could immediately see that there was no purse anywhere...

Sarah thought it was a little exciting RUNNING into the store, although she clearly understood the stress I was going through. I was practically shaking when I got inside. All those cards in my wallet are not impossible to replace, but it would take a few weeks, and I am having Swedish family coming in a few days: NOT IDEAL!

I was hoping that some honest person had turned the bag in WITH all my stuff still inside...

I was in luck. Someone had found it and turned it in. I was a shaky mess. Loosing your wallet is NOT anyone's favorite thing for sure... On the way back out to the car Sarah asked: "Mommy, can we RUN again, it was so much fun!?!"

I have only lost my wallet once before, and then I was 15 and it was stolen at a camp ground, no big deal. But your wallet is such a personal thing. I know better than to store personal information such as my "green card", social security number ("personnummer") or passwords and such in there, but it would still have been a major pain to replace all those things...

Have you ever lost your wallet?

Great day so far

I was up reading until 2 AM, and I finally finished the third book this morning. So now I can get on with my life, ha ha! Only bad thing is that my neck is so stiff I can barley turn my head to the left, very irritating!

Then I got that payment I had been waiting for, so now I am all set for my Swedish visit. I also stopped by the mechanics we use for our cars to have a front bottom panel fixed that was hanging down underneath. They were nice enough to fix it for free, it pays to be a regular customer...

Then I went over to the YMCA and signed Sarah up for summer camp. I looked and looked for some kind of farm camp, but nothing seemed to be available for this year.

At the Y she will get swimming lessons, do all kinds of sports even more unusual sports such as archery, she is very excited about that one. They also do arts and crafts and large group activities.

They will also do stuff like Camp Carnival, go to the movies, go bowling, play mini golf, attend various museums, go to the Florida Aquarium, attend a major league baseball game, go roller skating and so on.

My main concern is that she has FUN, and I think she will here. The hours work well for me so I can work as well, 9- AM to 4 PM. It is on the way to work for Ken, so he can drop her off and I can pick up in the afternoon.

This also solves the problem to get a spot in the swim class, since it is baked into the camp. I have a feeling she will definitely learn how to swim this summer.

Oh, and I also got an offer to get in as a member of the community farm for the remainder 7 weeks of the season at a prorated amount of $125. Fresh veggies for 7 weeks? I think I will go for that! So starting next Wednesday we will start our veggie pick-ups... Awesome! The spot I got was at their sister farm, Gamble Creek Farm, and they are all organic and use mainly hydroponics and Earth Boxes. Will be interesting to see!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I knew it!

There was no chance that I would be able to resist the second book, Stieg Larsson's "Flickan som lekte med elden". I plowed through the entire thing, over 600 pages... and I have a feeling I will read the third and last book in the trilogy tomorrow. I just want to see what will happen next! Very well written, too bad the author is dead, I really liked these books!

I am right now testing out the Internet connection on our Smart Phone, using the phone's Internet connection to hook up the laptop. It is a bit slower than using the Internet card, but it would save $50 a month to use the Smart Phone as a modem instead of a separate Internet card, so I think it will have to do.

At home we use our home wireless network, which is very fast, so it is just for when Ken needs to connect to the Internet on the go we would use it anyway.

Nice to be able to browse the Internet on the phone as well.

So the question is, should I just read the third book right away and get over with it (and not get much else done this week), or wait and not being able to stop thinking about it... I have a feeling I will crack that book open after putting Sarah to bed here in a few minutes. It is not like Ken will be able to stay up and keep me company anyway...

Today we had really strong winds here, it almost felt like a tropical storm. It was so bad I had to tie my plants down, really windy!

Hey, on Thursday my aunt and cousin are coming! Sure hope I get paid by then, I am sort of counting on one payment that is due now to arrive in time for their visit, otherwise I will not have enough money to really have a lot of fun... At least I will have a lot of cash towards the end of the month, but I need this payment to have fun NOW, so I hope this particular client is not late in paying me...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping busy...

After a Mario Kart tournament with my aunt and cousin over the WiFi Sarah and I went out for a quick lunch and to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart.

Then I was off to clean the garage. Not an easy task, but since I did a really good cleaning out there a few months ago, it was not as bad as it could have been. I am the only one keeping track of everything out there, making sure we know what is where and that there is not too much stuff all over...

I also did my usual spider inspection, and I found a big, fat brown widow hiding in a corner with her egg sacks... Usually the black and brown widows prefer the outdoors, but this was a corner right next to the garage door... Anyway, I do not want deadly spiders around my family, and I brought out the spray. I have been noticing eggs sacks the last few weeks, so I just keep killing what I see and hope for the best. Each egg sack could hold up to 500 baby spiders, so it is important to take care of them. I don't mind bugs in general, but anything that could kill my family = GONE!

Sarah had a lot of fun riding her bike and scooter in the driveway while I was cleaning, and just when I was done, B and R came over to play. I had hoped to jump in the shower, but that will have to wait until they leave now, so maybe I will take the opportunity to straighten up the kitchen while I am at it... But that second Stieg Larsson books seems to be beckoning me, so I have a feeling I won't be able to stay away from it!

Thinking about making a chocolate banana cake for dessert, found this recipe for banana cake at the Swedish food blog Matplatsen. Seems really yummy!

I love reading, but...

when I get a hold of a good book, I just can't put it down! So I knew I was in trouble when "Män som hatar kvinnor" turned out to be so good. But at 1:50 last night I finally finished! I just HAD to read it in one day!

Now I just need to stay away from the 2nd and 3rd book on my desk, or I will not get anything done this weekend!

Sarah has a day off, and after a little bit of work we have a "Wii date" with my sister in Sweden, should be fun to play together! Sarah also have plans to spend most of the day playing with B and R next doors and here.

I have so far seen no relief from all this pain, but I have chose to just ignore it and go on, now I know what it is and that I can do nothing about it, so I will just try not to think about it too much.

The mornings are pretty bad, since I have just spent several hours with a pillow pushed to my head, ouch! And this morning I also had joint pain, no doubt form the low pressure that is north of us...

I planted some more seeds yesterday, all flowers, and I was thinking about perhaps cleaning the garage a bit today.

Tomorrow we are all going to check out a potential new office for Ken's business. His current lease expires in July, and since prices are so low now he can get a much nicer place for the same amount or less than what he is paying now. We found one with an awesome location, very central and super nice, so we are meeting our realtor there tomorrow morning to take a closer look. The market sure is at our feet, great time to lease or buy an office (or buy a house, for that matter!)

We had plans to go hiking with the dogs in DeSoto National Park in St Petersburg on Sunday, a rare time off for Ken during this time of the year, but apparently that low pressure is going to bring a rain storm with it, so Sunday is looking not so good. Hopefully Ken can shift some stuff around and we can go on Saturday instead. Would be nice with a dose of nature!

Hope you all will have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black Racer Snake

For you that are interested, I found out that the snake I saw yesterday is a Southern Black Racer, a non venomous snake pretty common in urban areas.

Relaxing day perhaps?

I am not feeling too great today, really could need some rest.

And since I already did a big chunk of work today and nothing else is waiting for right now (well, almost nothing, but nothing that can't wait), I was thinking about just relaxing with a book for awhile.

Yesterday I really wanted to read the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson, but none of the three books are available as e-books from the Swedish library, so no luck there. Then I started to think about the BIG bag of books I got from aunt Gitte last time I was in Sweden, and I thought I might have seen the name Stieg Larsson among those books...

So I dug out the bag, and lo and behold, all three books were in there! So I started "Män som hatar kvinnor" last night. I know, I am one of the last people to read it! But I definitely wanted to read it before I see the new movie.

So a few hours of reading curled up with the dogs sounds good to me...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Very exotic flower!

I was just taking the dogs for a long walk, and while I walked by one of the houses in the neighborhood who has a very nice garden, I noticed that their Jasmine shrubs that was recently trimmed seemed to have sprouted a long shoot. It actually looked like some kind of exotic flower sticking up in the middle, so I walked up real close to see, thinking it must be a different plant all together.

To my big surprise the "flower" turned out to be a slim, grayish black snake with its upper body straight up in the air, just like that!

I kept looking at it, it was very beautiful, but it never moved an inch, just stood there, erect out of the shrub. Odd but cool! Sure wish I had at least had my mobile phone camera with me to snap a pic of it...

Sarah was playing at the neighbor's house, but now she and the boy, B, are playing over here, and it sounds like they are having lots of fun. Unfortunately he is from one of those many American families that wear their shoes indoors, something I have a very hard time being OK with... I suggested carefully that he could take his shoes off so he wouldn't be so hot, but no... Sarah then told him he HAS to take his shoes off in our house, but I said it is OK if doesn't want to. I don't want to scare the poor guy off, he is shy as it is! :-)


I think I will skip the anti-viral medication, it is $142 WITH insurance :-(!

Also had to call Sarah's doctor to make sure she is vaccinated against chicken pox, which she is, and also check with the neighbor's kids, and they are up to date on their chicken pox vaccinations as well. That is good, since apparently I am contagious...

Things happen quickly...

The doctor's nurse called me back and asked if I could come in ASAP. They did not think it was an allergic reaction, and they wanted to see me to confirm their suspicions...

That sure had me a little worried! I hurried over and was seen right away, and the doctor took one god look at the rash and happily exclaimed: "You have shingles!"

Shingles is a very painful viral infection of the nerve rots, and it only affects one side of the body, called "bältros" in Swedish.

So now we are both very happy knowing it is something manageable. I have unfortunately had shingles before, nit fun.

He said that since my immune system is compromised due to the lupus there is no telling exactly what will happen, but I should count on the rash staying for a few WEEKS, and the pain longer than that! I guess he was serious, because he wrote me another pan medication prescription and said "You are going to need this". Not a good sign! He also gave me an anti-viral medication that might help suppress the virus (caused by dormant chicken pox virus ("vattenkoppor" in Swedish).

But at least it is something normal! I just wish it wasn't so darn painful. But every cloud has it's silver lining, right? At least it is only affecting HALF my body, ha, ha!!!

No relief

I was just really hoping to wake up to some relief this morning, but instead I get - RASH!

My the area under my chin and my ear on the right side is all rashy, WTF? So it looks like I am allergic to one of the meds. But that is the thing, I have taken all of them many times before without any reactions what so ever. And it is only on the right side, just like the lymph nodes. So I am waiting for the doctor to call me back now. Most likely they will just prescribe a different type of antibiotic, since that is the most likely culprit.

But I was just really hoping to be over and done with all of this...

Rash. Just great...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This list has been floating around on a bunch of blogs, so I grabbed it and here it is. Copy at will of course!

1. How old are you in five years? 40

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? Sarah, my daughter and our two dogs

3. How tall are you? 173 cm

4. What was the last film you saw? ”Flamman och Citronen”, Danish movie about the resistance movement during WWII, very good, thanks for the recommendation, Lotte!

5. Who did you last call? My sister Carina in Sweden.

6. Who last called you? Checking again… Actually, nobody has called all day! Last call was last night from Ken.

7. Do you prefer to call or send text messages? I rather call - but I use MSN Live to message Ken most of the time if I am at home and he is at work.

8. Are your parents married or divorced? Well, they were engaged to be married when my mom passed away.

9. When did you last see your mom? I guess February 1975, she died on February 24th that year, I was only 1 year old.

10. What color are your eyes? Blue

11. When did you wake up today? I had a hard time sleeping due to pain, but the alarm goes off at 7 AM, time to get up and get Sarah ready for school.

12. What is your favorite Christmas song? I like a bunch, but Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is really wonderful.

13. What is your favorite place? I think anywhere where I can relax and enjoy the company of friends, family and good food!

14. What is your least favorite place? Any hospital!

15. Where do you think you are in ten years’ time? I am hoping I will still be happily married living in the US, but with a summer house on Gotland, Sweden…

16. What scared you at night when you were a child? Perhaps the dark? I only really got scared of the dark after seeing “Twin Peaks” on TV when I was 15-16…

17. What made you last laugh? My sister Carina saying something funny on the phone.

18. How big is your bed? An American Queen size bed – that would be 152 cm x 203 cm.

19. Do you have a desktop or laptop computer? We have two desktops and one laptop at home.

20. Do you sleep with or without clothes? Always naked – hate being too hot or have clothes twisting around. Ken is the same way. Used to sleep in long nightgowns as a kid and later in just panties. But since after moving in with Ken in 1997 naked is the way to go – I think it is because he is like a furnace, making it too warm for clothes (plus Florida is not exactly a cool place!)

21. How many pillows do you have in your bed? We have four – Ken uses one, I use one and then I have one for between my knees – I hate whem my knees touch at night – too hot, sweaty and bony.

22. What countries have you visited? Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, The Netherlands, the UK, the United States, Mexico.

23. What cities/places have you lived in? About 13 different places in Sweden – mainly Östertälje, Rone, Hemse, Grötlingbo, Väte, Visby, Jönköping – and a bunch of smaller places in between. And then in my current city – Bradenton, FL of course.

24. Not on the list???

55. Are you social? Not really much for large social gatherings, I like intimate settings. I like my alone time, but I also love hanging out with a group of people I know well once in a while.

26. What is your favorite ice-cream? I have no set favorite, but I like plain vanilla and strawberry – as long as the ice cream is of good quality.

27. What is your favorite dessert? Nothing in particular. I don’t like overly sweet things.

28. Do you like Chinese food? My favorite Asian food is Thai, but I like Chinese as well.

29. Do you like coffee? I really hate coffee, though it smells great!

30. What do you drink for breakfast? I always start my day with water, since I get so dehydrated now with no colon, but with breakfast I always drink tea.

31. How do you sleep (side, back, stomach)? I prefer my left side, but now when I don’t have constant discomfort from my stomach I can sleep any which way, which his awesome!

32. Do you know how to play poker? Yes, used to play a lot when I was younger. Ken really don’t like any kind of card play, so in the lack of having someone to play with I haven’t played for years. But I always just play for fun, not money!

33. Do you like getting cozy/cuddling? The entire family is big on cuddling, we can pile all of us, including the dogs, on the bed to just hang out and cuddle. Love it!

34. Are you an addicted person? Yes, I think so, but mainly to things that are good for me!

35. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? Yes a few. The one that pops into my mind at the moment is Jennifer Aniston.

36. Do you want children? Got a start on that with the one. I would not be against another one if it wasn’t for health and money issues. But who knows?

37. Do you know other languages than English [the language you are writing in]? Swedish of course. Studied French and German, and I know a little Spanish as well.

38. Have you even been in an ambulance? Unfortunately way too many times, but only here in the US, never in Sweden. Last time was in August last year when I had an abdominal hemorrhage after surgery and was gushing blood all over.

39. Do you prefer the ocean or a pool? The ocean, no contest! The ocean has sooo much more to offer than just water to swim in. The sights, the smells and the awesomeness of it all!

40. What do you prefer to spend money on? Except for everyday necessities I like to spend money on our home and traveling.

41. Do you own any precious jewelry? Yes, I have several diamonds and real pearls. The most special piece in my huge princess cut diamond engagement ring.

42. What are your favorite programs on TV? I watch a lot of TV. No reality shows, I like some mystery and action, but my DVR is set to record everything from Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and Bones, to Lost, Heroes , CSI and Criminal Minds. We also watch a lot of nature shows. National Geographic’s Planet Earth series is awesome.

43. Can you roll your tongue? I don’t know, I can make it into a U, if that counts?

44. Who is the funniest person you know? Don’t know.

45. Do you sleep with cuddly toys? No, the less stuff in bed the better.

46. What is your mobile phone ringtone? I have a Swedish kid’s song called “Gullefjunlåten”.

47. Do you still have any of your baby clothes? Yes, a few things.

48. Dog or cat? I have always been a cat person, never was around dogs when I grew up, but due to Ken’s allergies I have now had two dogs for almost 9 years, and I really like having them. Great companions, cuddly and a reason to get out and exercise every day.

49. Do you flirt a lot? Not really, but I am always friendly.

50. Can you change the oil in the car? Yes, but I prefer Ken to do it, too messy for me.

51. Have you ever got a speeding ticket? No, no tickets or anything like that. I have never even been pulled over.

52. What was the last book you read? Can’t remember, it was an Ann Holt book (Norwegian author).

53. The best book you have read? No one book stands out, but I have been an avid reader since I was very young, so there has been quite a few.

54. Do you subscribe to a weekly or monthly magazine? I get tons of free subscriptions to everything from beauty to home and cooking, thanks to suing airline miles.

55. Do you dance in the car? I can get a little “twitchy” when a good song comes on, but not dancing…

56. What was the last radio station you listened to? It was 99.3 FLZ.

57. What was the latest you wrote down on paper? A phone number to a restaurant before calling to make reservations for Easter Brunch.

58. When did you last go church? I was in a US Lutheran Church for Lucia a few years ago.

59. Who was your favorite teacher in 7-9th grade (”junior high”)? No favorite then, but I was very positively influenced by my 5th grade teacher Rolf Olsson. He was super!

60. How long have you camped in a tent? A week in 9th grade on a school trip. Had terrible joint pain. Not fun. Last time was 3 years ago for 2 nights here in Florida in a beautiful beach national park with Ken and Sarah.

Back from the public defenders office

It was a very interesting case, the Swedish guy apparently is nuts, but not crazy enough that he will get off for what he did. He can expect most likely to spend the next 7 years in a US prison...

Sadly enough the guy doesn't even think he did anything wrong, he thinks he can go home to Sweden soon...

I guess this guy was involved with a Swedish company in Italy. The company had some shady dealings (and are under a separate investigation in Sweden for their financial crimes).

The guy that is in jail here thinks the owner of that company stole millions of dollars from him. Problem is there is no proof this guy even worked for the company. It looks like his ex girlfriend did, and she apparently wiped out the company's assets before disappearing. So now somehow this guy is blaming the owner of that company.

Regardless if that company has done shady business or not, the crimes this guy is accused of are second degree felonies. He threatened the business owner and his family back in Sweden, so badly so they fled here to Florida. The guy followed them and has been harassing them ever since. He told them he would kill them with a bomb, and the police found a fake hand grenade in his hotel room. He had also printed out pictures of the business owner's children with the address of their schools, with the treat he was going to throw acid in their faces.

So today we went through a bunch of papers to see if there is anything to corroborate the guy's story, but it seems he is delusional. We also spoke with his mother in Sweden, and she has no idea why he has acted like this also. Interesting stuff, makes me glad to be a "Normal" person with "normal" problems! It almost felt like this was all the scrip to some kind of soap opera or something! :-)

Unusal work

Today I get to do something I very rarely do; act as an interpreter. I only translate written documents, but once in a while local businesses needs help with something on site.

Today I am going to act as an interpreter during a phone conversion between an attorney and a psychiatrist and a mother of a (Swedish) man who is in jail. I guess the mother barley speaks any English and they have a few questions for her regarding the client's defense.

Should be interesting, but I really don't like the idea of having to play dress up and go down to the public defender's offices. I am in way too much pain to enjoy this type of outing. But a promise is a promise, so I will grin and bear it for a couple of hours.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Just got back from being at the doctors, pharmacy, picking up Sarah and the grocery store.

The doctor said that if I was a regular patient he would send me to get tested for lymphoma, since my lymph nodes are really involved, but since it is me and my lupus, his first guess was, as I predicted, that there is inflammation in the nerves.

He did surprise me when he discovered inflammation all the way down my shoulder into my upper right arm (that might explain why my arm felt so weird, I was just concentrating on the blinding pain in my head and neck.) He did however say that the lymph nodes should not react like this from just an inflammation, so he said I must have an infection going on as well.

And this is all probably connected to that thing that was going on last weekend when I was aching and having a high fever for a few days. He said I had a pretty high fever today, but I guess all the head pain made it hard to notice such a thing, I was, like, you know, occupied by not trying to rip my head off :-)!

So steroids and antibiotics, coupled with Vicodine for the intense pain (didn't exactly get better from him prodding my head, while saying "Oh, this sure looks like it hurts," poke, prod, squeeze...)

And if it is not all gone in two weeks, well, then we will rethink the C thing. But only then. Two weeks. Usually you feel better from an infection in a few days on antibiotics, and perhaps a week for the inflammation on the steroids. I will keep my fingers crossed. So most likely I will be back to normal by the time my aunt and cousin comes on the 2nd, perfect!


Just talked to the doctor, I now have an appointment at 1 PM. They said in my situation swollen lymph nodes is always a concern, since I have been on so many different immune suppressants, but in particular Remicade. One of the side effects of these meds is lymphoma.

Of course they were quick in saying that of course they don't think that is what is wrong with me, but enough to scare the shit out of me for sure. Did not sleep much last night due to the pain and worrying about the pain.

Will check back here after the doctor's appointment. Good I have a lot of work to do until then...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lymph node havoc

I mentioned small bumps yesterday - well, now I know what the heck is going on! All the little lymph nodes are swollen, from my head and all the way down to just above my collar bone! The nodes themselves feel like little beans, kind of hard but not in themselves painful, but the area around my neck and down is very tender. And still all that pain in my head.

I never really had more than perhaps a single swollen node here and there in my life, so this is certainly scary. I am calling my doctor first thing tomorrow. And I can't look anything up on the Internet since they all scream cancer when talking about the lymph nodes just above the collar bones. I am sure it is all related to the nerve inflammation and lupus somehow, but of course all those Internet articles scare me. So I try not to look at them.

I think I know my body pretty good. I am sure it is just the lupus. I sure hope so. Can't wait until tomorrow to put an end to this thing!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


This nerve pain is driving me nuts! Now when I have spent a few hours relaxing I realize how much it really freaking hurt! It feels like lightning going from my neck up over my head, and also down and kind of behind my right ear. Insane!

I am glad I have already been diagnosed with neuralgia before, because if I had no experience with head nerve inflammation it really would have freaked me out, I would have thought brain tumor at least :-), ha, ha!!! Jokes aside, it is not like any regular headache or migraine, it is just burning and stinging like hell.

I get a milder form on and off on my front left nerve, and it always goes away in a few days. Since my nerve pain is caused by inflammation caused in its turn by lupus (SLE), well, I better just get used to this shit. But, of course, it does not make it hurt LESS!

I also got all these bumps along the nerve, very freaky... I think I will have to go to my doctor on Monday, this is turning out to be a little tougher than I thought, not that I am sure what he can do except calm me down (I am a bit freaked out) and maybe give me a steroid taper (when you take a high dose for a few days and then taper down the dose for usually 10 days).

So this really sucks. But I should be freaking USED to things like this by now. I seem to be destined to always have medical problems. But that is what you get for having a screwed up immune system...

Sorry, I don't mean to complain or anything (well, I do, I am tired of this mother****ing shit!!!).

Too bad you can't get an immune system transplant, Wouldn't that be something, huh? I would be first in line... :-)

Just remember my friends, think about how truly lucky we all are: life could always be a lot worse. A lot. I should not complain so much, I have a pretty good life, many are not as lucky at all, not at all...


Nice not having a huge work load hanging over me, even if I do have quite a lot of work to do on Monday, as well as a little tomorrow...

The lupus keeps giving me little nice "presents". Even though the fever gave way early last week, now I have an inflamed nerve in my head. Normally it is the nerve on my front left, but this time it is on my left BACK.

Having an inflamed nerve is not anything I recommend at all, but especially not in the back of the head. It kind of feels like having a fresh bee sting, branching out from the base and up and down. Any pressure or movements of the head hurts, so I just try to ignore it.

If it is not better by early next week I will have to go to the doctor and get some cortisone steroids, which usually is the only thing that will do anything. Any kind of pain medication is fruitless since it won't work on nerves...

So my plan is to keep busy so I won't have much time to think about the pain too much. Right now Sarah and I are going through her room, sorting and organizing all her toys. So. Many. Tiny. Pieces.

We got a bunch of storage containers so we can at least attempt to control the madness :-)!

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Working to 10 PM last night paid off, I did not feel stressed at all today, and to my surprise I actually finished the last section much faster than I thought I would!

The big project is now sent off and invoiced, all done! This has been by far the biggest project I have ever worked on, so I am very happy to have it all off my desk.

Tomorrow I have another project that should take up most of the day, and then I have two smaller one for Monday, plus a test project that I need to complete for a potential new client.

But it sure feels good after all these weeks of super intense work to finally be done!

Happy 19th Day!

Ken and I always celebrate 19th Day.

That is, we met on a March 19th, we moved in together on a July 19th and we married on a December 19th.

Today it is exactly 12 years since we saw each other in person for the first time, we had "met" on the Internet about 3 weeks earlier (it might actually have been on a February 19th!).

And he remembered! I am pretty impressed...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bump on the head or IMMINENT DEATH?

As you all probably have heard, the actor Natasha Richardson seemed to have just a small bump on her head after falling while skiing yesterday, and a few hours later she was brain dead and on life support...

Well, my neighbor just came over with the kids in tow, saying that Sarah ran head first into the kitchen counter and bumped her head.

She had seen the news last night and was worried, but since Sarah was neither bleeding, had no visible bump, nor was crying, I think it is safe to say "she is fine".

So I sent her back there to play some more, which is what she wanted to do.

I hope they keep an eye on her, just in case.

But clearly, if everyone who bumped their heads became brain dead, the world would be fairly empty by now!

2 days to go!

Today is going to be tough.

Sarah gets home early, but I have secured a play date in the neighbor's backyard, so she will be good there for at least 2½ hours.

I have made it clear to the husband that he better come home bearing Chinese food, and that he has to entertain Sarah until bed time.

I will try to work all day, with breaks to pick her up in school and put her to bed.

The goal is to not be overwhelmed by what is left of the project tomorrow.

I am so freaking tired of technical terminology I can puke... But the light at the end of the tunnel is BRIGHT! Almost there now...

IKEA Tampa

Just a quickie in between work:

On May 6 IKEA finally opens its doors on their new TAMPA store!

IKEA within easy driving distance? Check!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Buckling down... In the home stretch!

Just to let you know, I will probably not write much this week. The BIG project is due Friday morning, and I have to really get going on this.

Plus, unfortunately I am still having 103F/39 C fever and pain all over, so not a good combination for working and concentrating...

I just want to get through it all. See you on "the other side" :-)!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Freaking lupus

I am very happy that I have been off all immune suppressing medications since the surgery, but this past week I have just felt so tired and achy.

Lupus fatigue is a bit different from being "regular" sick, so I can usually tell the difference. But I guess I just didn't want to acknowledge what it was.

Today it coupled up with a really high fever, another sign of lupus. In 1994 I had a fever on and off almost for a year!

Unfortunately there is nothing I can do except maybe pop a few Naproxene and rest... Luckily it is the weekend so I don't' have to work, but I really need to. Sigh. No dinner making tonight, I am too achy, it will have to be something ready made from the freezer...

Freaking medical problems! If it is not one thing, it sure is another. Just leave me the freaking alone! Argghhhh!!!!

Oh well, nothing I can do about it, even if I went back on my immune suppressants it take sup to 3 months before it starts working, so I am not even going to bother. Hopefully this is a short flare-up period and I will be OK with my regular minor pains and aches after this blows over...

Hope you are all having a great weekend!


I am so tired! I don't know why, just no energy. I slept to 8 AM and was only up to 11:30 PM last night, so I got plenty of sleep.

Oh well. I am trying to get some work done while Sarah is watching a movie, and then I need to clean the kitchen and do dishes.

I might throw in a few loads of laundry, but otherwise I was hoping to have a relaxing day, it has been such a long week. Next weekend is cleaning time, I will just let it roll for now.

This morning Ken noticed Stan was limping a bit on his right back leg, and when I just took them out I noticed it too.

Weird, he has nothing wrong with his paw, it is not his knee, so we are guessing the hip, poor thing. But the thing is he has done nothing to mess it up, no falls, no klutzy behaviour (which he otherwise can be pretty good at).

He lets me examine the leg, and he only complained faintly when I accidentally pressed the leg inward, so that is why I think it is the hip. Stan is a very athletic dog in great shape, but I guess his age is catching up with him.

He has no problem jumping or walking inside, it is just when you take him outside the limping gets noticeable.

We will most likely observe him over the weekend and take him to the Vet on Monday if he seems to still have a problem. I think I might give him one of Bob's pain pills, they are anti-inflammatory, in case he sprained something, it could help.

Now, back to work for now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When things work great...

I was just sitting here thinking to myself, "Man, that is great that I can smell the delicious and intoxicating scent of our citrus blossoms all the way in here!"

But then I started to think, how is that possible? The nearest citrus tree is in the back of of the house, and no windows are open!

Then it dawned on me: It is the scent from the reed diffuser I got yesterday, appropriately the scent was named orange blossoms, and I be damned, the thing really smells like the real thing!

That is it, waaay up on a high shelf in the office, next to the Swedish flag...

Pollen Overload

I just came back from our long morning walk, and it really struck me how much pollen is everywhere! The trees are really into overdrive right now, trying to compete for their propagation...

Ken has been sniffling a lot the last few days, he is one of the "lucky" people who are allergic to pollen. Though his allergies have improved immensely since we moved into this house and he started working in his own firm. We have no proof, but we are pretty sure his old job was in a mold infested building...

As you can see, our front yard is full of pollen. But lucky for us, we only have two kinds of pollen-producing trees on our yard, the Live Oak in the front, and another tree I am not sure what it is exactly in the back. Some places around here are covered in the powder-like pollen, our kind is big and not too bad.

This is how the side walk looks like...

And this is our lawn, you can barley see the grass in some places!

This is one of the culprits, our Live Oak in the front

One week to go!

Today it is exactly one week left of the BIG project. I sure hope I can get it all done, but I think I am good... Probably will work a little over the weekend, as much as Sarah will let me.

Then I am looking forward to some spring cleaning. I have closest to go through, things to donate and lots of cleaning to do!

And in just 3 weeks my aunt and cousin will be here and it is vacation time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Money Saving Tip

A while back I tipped you all to the Live.com (Microsoft) cash back offers on eBay. While still a great deal, they don't always have that offer available.

I was tipped by a friend to try something called PaymentKey.com. Basically they offer the same thing as Live's cash back: you created a free account, click on an eBay link in their web site (after log in) and shop at eBay. You can get a check for your cash backs, but I find it much easier to use my PayPal account.

They also offer similar offers for other stores, some big names once, but I think the eBay option is the best!

Cash backs are paid out after only 15 days, much better than Live's 60. I am very pleased so far! We are talking up to 25 % cash back, that can really add up fast.

It takes a few extra minutes to do, but considering the cash backs are automatic and works without hassle, all for free, why not?

The hardest part about it is to remember to actually click the eBay logo on the Payment Key's web site (logged in) before bidding or buying something on eBay. I really recommend it!

Sleepwalking dog

I know, I know, this is not very nice of me, but I could not help but laugh (and choke on my lunch) when I saw this clip of a sleep walking dog. Just too cute!

***It is not MY dog, just some random dog on YouTube named Bizkit...***

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mountain tips?

We are currently in the planning stages for a 4 day vacation trip to the mountains in June.

We want the least amount of driving, so we are concentrating oin the Blue Ridge Mountains area of the Appalachian Ridge, in the crossing area where Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina meet. The Smoky Mountains are tempting, but that would add a lot of extra driving for us.

We have already located several luxury cabins that cater to people with dogs. Three in particular are very nice, fenced back yards and right on the river. The hard part will be to choose which one!

Cabin 1

Cabin 2

Cabin 3

If anyone have any tips regarding this area I would love to hear them! Great day hike trails, things to do, national parks, things of that sort. Mainly in the Fannin County area. Perhaps Desiree might have some good tips, you live only about 3-4 hours from this area, or Fia?

We are looking forward to explore an area that is quite different from Florida. Should be a lot of fun, something that we have been talking about for years now!

Blue Ridge Mountains

Nice afternoon

The weather was just delicious yesterday! So nice to be able to sit outside without being roasted by the heat, this is truly a special time in Florida. Soon enough it will be sweltering hot again...

Last night I sat out on the patio reading while Sarah and the neighbor-kids played and had fun, running around only like kids in spring can! It was so much fun seeing the pure joy and excitement they exhibited, just from running around barefoot on the grass and playing...

Sarah also tried her luck at climbing one of our taller trees, and she liked sitting up there checking out the view.

It was 6:45 PM when we finally and very reluctantly went back inside to make dinner...

A ginormous cool looking bug we found in the tree, HUGE!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More gardening

Just decided to grow personal sized watermelons as well. Sarah really wanted that, and I found a great hybrid. I will get another Earth Box this weekend, ordered the watermelons as seeds, so that will be perfect. You can put up to 3 watermelon plants in one box.

I also got lots of flowers of different kinds, I figured that if I am going to garden, I really want some beautiful blooms around too!

I got pansies, lavender, nasturtium fordhooks, begonias, petunias, and oh, some baby spinach too!

Nasturtium Fordhook
I have no idea wha they are called in Swedish, so a picture will illustrate what they look like!

Now off to two banks (business and private), and then it is time to pick up Sarah. Got a lot of work done today, so that feels good! Sarah has requested we play some Mario Kart Wii this afternoon, so now I can do that with her without stressing about work. March 20 is almost here; not too much time left on this big project. I am itching to do some spring cleaning, I have a bunch of closets to go trough and organize, and I already have sacks of stuff that needs to be donated to Goodwill.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Forward

Sunday night it was time to spring forward again, that is, summer time is here!

Sunday morning was OK, but this morning my body did not want to get up an hour earlier, it was still dark outside!

It is weird that that have been playing around with the time changes. Last year former president Bush decided to let spring time come earlier, it would be good for the economy, he said. But if people get to work and hour earlier, won't that mean they also go home an hour earlier?

It used to be that Sweden got their spring time a week earlier than the US, lessening the time difference for a week. The fall time change always happen at the same time, luckily.

But since last year the US now get their spring forward time change much earlier, messing up the time change for a longer time. So instead of the usual 6 hours ahead, Sweden is now only 5 hours ahead. Very confusing!

Weekend gardening

This weekend we finally got the Earth Boxes and some other stuff. Everything is so full of life right now the trees are getting greener and greener by the day. The only thing that could use some color is the grass! We are in a drought and rain is hard to come by, so therefore the lack of green.

Our backyard is very boring. I wish we had a fence, so Sarah and the dogs could run around however they wanted, but that will be a project for next summer I think.

But after we were done yesterday I actually enjoyed sitting out in the back. I got a wrought iron "couch" bench and a table, and it was not too bad sitting there and reading the Sunday paper while Sarah played in her sandbox and the dogs were napping on the grass, tied up to a big tree.

So now I have regular tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, jalapenos, chili peppers, lemon grass, green onions, Thai basil, Italian basil, rosemary, Greek oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, dill, cilantro, salad. Should hold us over for a while.

Sarah at the Earth Box Research Center

Checking out some of the plants they had there

Seems to be a popular place, it was very crowded

Tomatoes and more tomatoes

The back entrance at the center

Our patio in the afternoon sun, it was 30 degrees and very lovely!

Tomatoes and four kinds of peppers. These are indeterminate tomatoes, they grow to be HUGE


Sarah playing in her old sandbox

Friday, March 6, 2009

Drama Update

The drama just made it to the news. I guess a man shot and killed another man at a hotel 2 miles form where we live. This happened at 12:30 PM, and there has been a massive manhunt for the armed killer since then.

Sarah's school along with a nearby daycare was under lock-down as a precaution. Police from a neighboring county is also aiding in the search.

The man killed was from Georgia and had only been in the area since yesterday together with two other men. They think the killing was drug related.

The Bradenton Herald

ABC News

A little eerie knowing there is an armed and probably desperate gunman running around somewhere not too far from here. I sure hope they catch him soon!

I have a feeling the movie night might be canceled, unless they catch him soon!

Good to have two dogs that alerts you about anyone approaching the house... It sounds like the helicopters are closer to our neighborhood than before, that is not good. So I guess I need to keep an eye out for a man with a crazed look in his eyes and a gun in his hand!

This map will give you an idea of how close the shooting was from Sarah's school, about 7 minutes by car:

A is the hotel and B is the school

Big Drama

On my way to pick up Sarah I noticed something was up. There was 2 Sheriffs parked with their lights on in each intersection on the main road leading to Sarah's school, and I saw 2 Police helicopters in the air. Not good, I figured, since Florida schools has a tendency to go into lock-down if there is a threat in the area.

Sure enough, when they opened the gates to let the parents in, the pick-up procedure was quite different.

The kids were all locked up in different locations, based on where they happened to be when the alarm from the Sheriff came in. Now they walked up to each car, got the child to be picked upped-name from the parent, walkie-talkied that to the other sheriff agents, who then HAND DELIVERED each child to their parents! No time to go to get their backpacks or anything, just grab on to the nice Sheriff's hand and GO! The kids all looked a bit timid when they got out to the cars :-)!

Something very serious is definitely going on! After I got Sarah, I was told to drive straight home, with my car doors locked and windows up. Gulp! But they would not let me know any further details. The entire pick-up procedure was extremely smooth, considering they were walking the children one by one to the cars...

Now I am just trying to figure out exactly WHAT is going on, I can still hear police siren sin the distance coming from that area...

Sarah seemed to take everything in stride, I explained that some bad guy probably robbed a bank or something, and that the sheriffs and the police were looking for him. On the way home we saw a pile of trash on the side of the road, and Sarah asked why that was there, not liking the idea someone was throwing trash on the ground like that. Then she said "That probably was that bad guy they are looking for, bad guys do stuff like that you know!"

Luckily our area don't see a lot of crime, so we are pretty lucky. Dramas like this is a rare occurrence around here, so no, aunt Elisabeth, you don't have to bring pepper spray :-)!

*** Just got an automated call from the school, the poor principal had almost lost her voice! She did a very good job informing about the lock-down, and that they were assisting in a "police effort" and working closely with the Sheriffs department. No explanation to WHAT the police is doing... The only thing was that one of the school buses is not able to drive the kids home, since the neighborhoods that bus go to are under a police lock-down, so the parents have to pick up their kids by car. Hmmm... Will be interesting to see what it was all about, still nothing on the news!***

Outdoors Movie Night

Tonight Sarah and I (and daddy if he can make it) are going to Sarah's school for an outdoor screening of the Disney Classic "The Swiss Family Robinson". For those of you not familiar with this movie, it is a 1960 movie based on the Johann Davis Wyss book from 1812 about a Swiss family that shipwrecks in the East Indies on their way to Australia.

Disney World here in Florida actually have a Swiss Family "adventure tree house", a replica of the tree house the family builds in the movie that you can climb around in and explore.

Since this is an adventure movie with pirates and things of that sort, the school have encouraged the kids to dress up like pirates, so we will see what we can come up with in that category...

Everyone is bringing their own chairs, and there will be hot dogs, popcorn, drinks and movie candy for sale, as well as glow bracelets and things of that nature.

Should be a great night for an outdoor movie, we are bringing a couple of blankets to stay toasty just in case. The event starts at 6 PM and the movie at 6:30 PM. Sarah actually woke up by herself at 6:45 AM this morning, asking me if it was the movie day today, she is so excited!

Great way for the kids and parents to mingle "out of uniform". I am looking forward to get to know some of Sarah's classmates and their parents, since Sarah talks about them all the time, and I have only met a few of them so far. Fun!

Warming up

I strongly believe we have had our last "cold" day. It just seems like the spring is here to stay. Looking at the weather report for the coming 10 days I think I am correct, it is not showing any upcoming days with anything lower than 25 C.

Right now it is actually colder inside our house than outside, due to our new stone floors. Great in the summer, it really helps keeping the house cool. Now I am actually having doors and windows open to let the 22 C and rising temperatures in... Good Florida houses have bug screens on all windows; no bugs get in and no dogs can get out... Good the dogs don't know they just have to push hard and the bug screens will pop out... Right now they are happy to lay on a chair and just sniff the breeze and watch people go by!

Bob has a great view out the office window; he can see two streets and the side walk right in front of our house. Plus the (southern) live oak (called "Virginiaek" in Swedish) right outside the window is the home of a rather large family of squirrels. Lots of things to keep track of! The bug screens are great, you really don't see them much, you can barley see them in this picture, but the lower part of the window is covered with a mesh screen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good reads

Since I love cooking so much, I have been a member of a book club called The Good Cook for a few years. Every now and then I add to my collection of cook books (yes, I collect them!).

But they have a few other things to offer than just cook books. One is these books that I just got in the mail. Can't wait to look though them this afternoon after work:

Trading Places

I would love to trade places with Bob right now, he looks so cozy in his little dog bed, not a care in the world, just him, a soft bed and a warming ray of sunshine...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dealing with incompetent idiots


I just got a letter from a health care provider that assisted in my surgery back in August.

This was not a covered vendor according to my insurance company, but after arguing that the surgery took place in a covered hospital by a covered doctor, and I had no control over which assistants were used, I got the insurance company to agree that it was covered, and they sent me a check in my name that I signed over to the health care provider and sent to them back in September.

Now I get a collection notice from them, since they say they have NOT received the check!

I immediately called the insurance company, who was actually very helpful; they said the check never was cashed, so they are stopping payment on that and are issuing me a new check. But it takes up to 10 business days for me to receive it.

I then called the health care provider and asked why I haven’t heard anything about this until just now, and they say they have sent me 3 notices. I think I would have remembered that, I stay on top of these kind if things…

Plus, I very clearly remember sending them the check; I even called their office and confirmed the address!

But the lady I talk to is a total BITCH, and she acts like I am some kind of dead beat, even though the problem is probably because someone in her office misplaced the check and messed up… I just wanted to strangle her!

She says she cannot call back the collection agency until she gets a payment, I did not ask for that, I just called to let her know that the problem is being taken care of and that perhaps she can put a note about this in my account. But she insists I pay them with a credit card immediately! I do not want to pay something with a credit card and occur interest when the insurance company has re-issued a check that is on its way… It is only $150, no big deal, but this is just a matter of principles!

Stuff like this just gets me boiling mad being treated like shit when I have done NOTHING WRONG!

Just don’t lose this check too, bitch, I am sending it CERTIFIED MAIL so I HAVE PROOF YOU HAVE RECEIVED IT!!!

As you can tell, I am not very fond of moron people trying to blame me for their mistakes... Now I need a little yoga and some calm breathing.... :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sarah's Salad Project

Last week Sarah planted some salad seeds, and she is eagerly watching the progress. This morning I noticed the first little sprouts peeking out of the soil.

The seeds were given to us as a bonus when we got some other seeds, and we have no idea of what kind of salad it is, just that it is in fact some type of salad. Will be interesting to see how it turns out! Sarah is very excited about having her own crop, watering and making sure it stays healthy.

We will plant the Earth Boxes this weekend when it warms up again. I went by on Saturday, but got there 20 minutes after they closed, so we will make a new try again on Saturday. At least now I know they close early on Saturdays!

Sarah's salad

Wonder what kind it will be?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pick up at school

American schools are very different from Swedish. They are very big on security here, which in a way is of course good. If you are visiting the school you have to sign in at the front desk and get an ID badge, there is no walking around by yourself on school grounds! They WILL chase you down and get you, I have seen that happen!

Sarah's elementary school has Kindergarten through 5th grade, and many of the kids arrive to school on the school bus. We have (like many other parents) decided to opt out of the school bus and drive Sarah ourselves. Our choice of doing so are based on many things, mainly that Ken get a chance to spend time with Sarah every morning when he takes her to school.

I am the designated picker-upper in the afternoons, and I often combine this pick-up with errands I have to do anyway, after all both the grocery store and the bank are on the way home from school.

But the pick-up process can be somewhat lengthy. The school bell rings out at 3:05 PM, and most parents are at the school just after 2:30 PM waiting to pick up. The line is looong: it circles all the way out onto the street. At least most people turn their ignition off while they wait...

I don't mind the wait that much, it gives me a great opportunity to catch up on some reading and often I write grocery lists and things of that sort. And sometimes it is nice to just sit there and do nothing, watching the blue sky and see the squirrels chasing each other around, clearing my head.

The actual pick up takes place under an overhang, and the teachers in charge are like drill sergeants getting all the kids in order. The kids have to sit on the ground on a colored line based on what grade they are in. Then an adult have to walk each child up to each approaching car. No child is allowed to cross the RED LINE without being escorted by a teacher! Oh beware of the RED LINE!!! Jokes aside, I guess it is good they take care of keeping our children safe, they are after all our most precious assets...

In the little video below that I filmed today you can see how this process works. You will also notice my car windows seem to be covered by some kind of cloudy film. This is dog snot, from little dogs pressing their little snouts against the windows over and over again, hoping to see something interesting... You will also notice I invented a new word: "snircled", he he...

Stormy week ahead

Lucky I did all that yard work on Saturday, when it was 27 degrees. Yesterday it was cold, rainy and WINDY!

Apparently the east coast will have some severe snow storms going on this week. Well, except Florida of course. We will just have storms. Chilly, no more than 15 degrees and windy.

And by Friday we are going back to normal, and this weekend we can expect temperatures over 25 degrees C again.

Yesterday was a good day to cuddle up at home. I was so sore form all that yard work, and I had a ton of laundry to do anyway. So Sarah and I mostly hung out, played a little Mario Kart (she is getting GOOD!).

Made some fish with rice and fresh asparagus, yum.

Today, back to the big project and hopefully a lot of progress on that front. It is difficult when you work on the same thing for so long, it get really boring.

Hope you all will have a great week!