Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Family of four!

I wonder if it is discouraging to be a duck and go through all the mating rigamarole, have nine tiny ducklings and end up with only three almost-adults. What happens to all those ducklings from the time of birth until they reach adulthood? Do they know their numbers are diminished? They stick like glue to each other now and never past a whisper from their mother.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update on Mirapex!

My own experiment had to be altered. I spent one 24-hour period of time without Mirapex and with this new medication, Amandatine, used most often in treating the flu. I could sleep only two hours because the legs went wild, kicking and thrashing. I cried all day from frustration and in late afternoon took a Mirapex. It went to work within the hour. At bedtime I took one more, slept well--six hours! This morning I am experiencing dizziness and nausea, a small price to pay to keep my sanity.

What has occurred to me is why my doctor didn't prescribe a medication actually designed to treat fibromyalgia and, I feel sure, its offspring--restless legs. Questions to be asked... Answers hotly desired!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our first summer adventure!

I started a tradition three summers back by taking my three great-nieces and -nephew on adventures (or field trips--adventure sounds better, don't you think?). Over the last two summers we've done a number of things, but the one they clamor for every summer is our trip to Norton Art Gallery.

Not only is Norton a deposit for art, but it also boasts acres of azaleas of all colors and sizes--a visitor's paradise in the spring when these flowers are in bloom and site for annual picture-taking. Amongst all these flowering shrubs is a lake and man-made stream with little picturesque bridges and rock placements. We walked through this stream until we learned--the embarrassing way--that the water is off-limits to feet!

Inside Norton is the largest privately owned collection of western art in the country, art created by Remington and Russell. However, the collection is much larger than that. In fact, Norton owns one of the few extant elephant folios by Audubon, a book my five-year-old niece remembers viewing almost a year ago.

The last section I want to mention is the children's play section in one of the gallery rooms. It's the only place where items can be touched! Climbed on! Fingers stuck in noses! (see picture for details).

The life-size alligator fascinates little ones! Little Bo Peep and her missing sheep! Wilbur and Charlotte! Red and the Wolf! And a puffed-up frog prince! 

My nephew was off on his own adventure with another family the day I took the girls. This summer Cadie, almost three, joined us for the first time. Brag time: she can buckle her own seat-belt but her five-almost-six-year-old sister has to be buckled! She was so hesitant in the art gallery at first--so big and imposing, but by adventure's end, she was ready to gallop through the halls, in need of being quieted. Her 12-year-old sister was so embarrassed!

We took Cadie through the doll room. She squealed with delight when she saw all those dolls. But the item that drew the most attention from the two youngest was the Peter Ellenshaw wall-sized painting of a dwarfed monastery nestled amidst those breath-taking Himalayas! It is positioned to be viewed through two rooms and still looks huge. A painting of Norton itself Carolina declared, "That's this building."

Oh, notice the blase look of the middle schooler above! And Cadie? That look belonged to the we-first-got-here-hesitant Cadie.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Judy's Creations

Last summer I recovered pillows  and brought in new ones which I covered with my wild matching colors of chartreuse, aqua, purple, magenta, and orange. These pillows became a focal point in the new decorations in the school library where I am librarian. I even took my sewing machine to the school to sew and rip and resew.

I had so much fun! In fact, that was the first time I had done any extensive sewing in years. For too many years I graded papers and did lesson plans. As librarian I work hard during the day and do plan lessons, but grading papers? Minimal and easy.

All this is back story to a new craft and hobby I assumed during Christmas holidays. I looked through pattern books at my favorite craft store and found this pattern for a cat. Hmmm. Can I do this? It turns out, why yes, I could. Here's an example:

This is one of my favorites: Japanese Cat!

Bug Baby on the left and L'il Princess on the right.

And purses. I've created a mini business in purses. Here are a few:

So this is my work. I want to share it. I want to send out my purses to all the world--to create fun in toting one's possessions that need to be at hand on a daily basis, to have fun pulling out a checkbook from a purse that looks like a wine tasting or an English countryside spewed with polka dots or an antiqued look of Americana in anticipation of our annual holiday. Or any of the other fun purses I have created.

Someone recently told me that these purses are easy to make. Yes, they are, I said. Go make one. That's the point. Who wants to make a purse when you can find me and buy one already made and ready to tote!! I have the fun of mixing and matching patterns and colors, what goes where. Oh, the joy of colors! My favorite one pictured above is the first one: brightly striped, outdoor fabric matched with dramatic black. Isn't it glorious! Here's one more:
This one gets a wow, don't you agree?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mirapex--should this drug be banned?

I've taken Mirapex for about three years now.

"MIRAPEX is a medication used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe primary restless legs syndrome (RLS). Restless legs syndrome is a neurological sensorimotor disorder characterized by an urge to move legs in an effort to alleviate the effects of leg symptoms.1 Clinical trials of patients taking MIRAPEX for RLS have demonstrated significant improvement in range of RLS symptoms compared with placebo.2,3

"Important Information about MIRAPEX: MIRAPEX is indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
Patients have reported falling asleep without perceived warning signs during activities of daily living, including operation of a motor vehicle, which sometimes resulted in accidents. Hallucinations and postural (orthostatic) hypotension may occur. In clinical trials for RLS, the most commonly reported side effects of MIRAPEX that were more frequent than with placebo are nausea (16% vs. 5%), headache (16% vs. 15%), fatigue (9% vs. 7%) and somnolence (6% vs. 3%).

It took me two and one-half years to figure out that it is this medication -- so effective in alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms --that makes me literally fall asleep while driving--without warning.  By the Grace of God I have not had an accident--I wake up as I head off the road.

Or fallen asleep while at the computer. With my face on the keyboard without a clue that I'm going to sleep. Scary stuff!

My doctor investigated other medications for substitution. Each one has the same effect: falling asleep without perceived warning. If you've never experienced Restless Leg Syndrome, count yourself VERY fortunate. It's worse than Fibromyalgia, that other bug-a-boo that plagues my existence. RLS can drive a person insane, I imagine. But knowing there's a possibility of having an accident is even worse!!

"What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is a common cause of painful legs. The leg pain of restless leg syndrome typically eases with motion of the legs and becomes more noticeable at rest. Restless leg syndrome also features worsening of symptoms during the early evening or later at night. The characteristic nighttime worsening of symptoms in persons with restless legs syndrome frequency leads to insomnia.
Restless leg syndrome usually begins slowly. Over time, the legs become more affected. Less frequently, restless leg syndrome can affect the arms."

So, what's my point here? As my doctor and I were discussing Mirapex and its very negative effects, I began to get more and more apprehensive. Do without my RLS medication? A very terrifying thought (if you have RLS, you know what I mean--I hope you do not have it!). It means not being able to go to bed at night. Lying there with wildly thrashing legs is horrible!! That feeling. I would rather have a toothache, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia pain, for pete's sake!! than restless legs.

My doctor and I concluded with a new prescription which I have not filled yet--still holding onto Mirapex. However, as I decreased from 2 to 1 tablet each night, I have dual results--I have kicking legs but they're not wild. I have some relief but not enough. I'll name the new medication at a later date after I have a trial run with it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


_Oholicism, oholics--yes, authentic words, at least words in the dictionary. If you're one, you already recognize the designation, don't you? Rage-oholic, sex-oholic, shop-oholic. An "oholic" is a person of a particular addiction, or multiple addictions. Even though one may feel awful guilt in indulging, stepping into the waters again--even if those waters are different--make life feel better--so temporarily! It's the long-term effects that can be so devastating.

Hi, I'm Judy, and I'm a Shop-oholic. At one time I was that Alc-oholic. Got over that. Now I'm a shop-oholic and wreaking financial devastation on myself. Today I must shed some possessions to make ends meet.

More later...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What have I read?

Posted on this blog are two nice reading lists: one is arranged by the alphabet, the other just a hodge-podge of books I have eyed, but not read. Let's see how I have done since making those lists.

From the alphabet list, I have read:
As I Lay Dying
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Smilla's Sense of Snow
The World According to Garp
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The problem is that I read all of the above years ago and not one since I posted this list. Tsk-tsk!

Second list, or My Very Ambitious TBR list:
Vincent de Paul
The German Mujahid
The Giver
Imperium (at the bottom of this page is a book jacket. Please click on it for a my review.

I haven't done any better, except that I read ALL of these since posting the list. I will do better now that I have called my attention to my own reading lists. Let's call them:
Judy's Summer Reading Lists!
Early morning hydrangeas!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Books picked up at a warehouse sale!

Summer reading lists. Find one almost anywhere. As a librarian I look for lists to recommend to my patrons, in this case, middle school students. As today is the last day of school, I will have a little stack of these titles in bookmark form for each student to pick up . Even if they don't find them during the summer, the books will be displayed for their perusal come August. Call it Back-to-School Reading List then!

Oh, I bought these at a Scholastic warehouse sale at half-price, or less. They're trying to lessen their inventory; I'm trying to update mine. It's a perfect match!

1. Sasquatch, Roland Smith: recommended by Booklist, School Library Journal, and ALA
2. Sky High: Mission One, A. J. Butcher
3. Firegirl, Tony Abbott: Golden Kite Award Book (Link:
4. Magic Can Be Murder, Vivian Vandi Veldi: A VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Book of the Year
5. The Christopher Killer: A Forensic Mystery, Alane Ferguson: An Edgar Award Nominee
6. The Wild Girls, Pat Murphy: Winner of the Christopher Award
7. Cat Magic, Holly Webb
8. Dog Magic, Holly Webb (If I include cats, I must include dogs!)

For more lists and awards, please click on this link:

A favorite souvenir

A favorite souvenir
These are my two girls from Ireland!

Judy's shared items

Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)

  • *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing
  • The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
  • The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
  • In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
  • Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
  • The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
  • Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
  • Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
  • Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
  • *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • *Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
  • *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
  • Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
  • *The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

School Library Journal - NeverEndingSearch


A semester course in one book about the Soviet Union. Click on image for my review.