Friday, April 29, 2005

Sick, for real

As a little girl, I had one sore throat and cold, after another. I missed a lot of school. Looking back, I'm sure it was untreated allergies. When I was about 13, I finally went to an allergy doctor. After testing, they discovered that my ragweed, dust, and mold scores (among others) were off the charts. They treated me for a few years with shots and medication, and I have been virtually cold-free ever since.

A couple of days ago, I started sneezing really bad. The next day I woke up with a full-blown cold, and now I have a cold and cough.

I literally don't remember the last time I've been sick like this. I wonder if getting off the program lowered my immune system defenses. Maybe this is my body's way of ridding itself of the remaining methadone. Whatever it is, I wish it would go away. I hate feeling like this.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Scary


(Graphics submitted by Motomama)


What more can I say?

Air America billboard



I shot this photo while Tom & I were driving Uptown. I've been seeing these billboards all over town. They rule.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Over the hump

I'm doing well. I just feel a little fuzzy - kind of like having a mild flu. I made the right decision when it came to the slow decreases and ultimately stopping at 3 mgs.

Years ago, while on a different program, they kicked me off when I was at 20mgs. It took months to get to where I am now.

My support system has been awesome. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people that are helping me through this: Tom, Paul, Julie, Laura, Michelle, Wendy, Hallie, Noah, Norman, Stella, and, of course, all of my wonderful homies in blogland. Thanks a million.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Symptoms

The muscles in my legs hurt, my stomach is tight, I'm clammy and I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Other than that, I'm doing better than expected.

Being brave

It's 10:47AM and normally I would be at the program now. Withdrawal symptoms will probably start soon. If I'm up to it, I'll be blogging throughout the day with my progress.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A confident night

While tonight I feel confident that I'm going to stick to my plan, tomorrow morning may be another story. I'll blog again then.

Can someone explain this one to me?

This article comes under the category, "What the f*ck?!"
From the non-partisan, non-profit foundation, Judicial Watch:


FBI PROTECTS OSAMA BIN LADEN'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN DOCUMENT RELEASE
Judicial Watch Investigation Uncovers FBI Documents Concerning Bin Laden Family and Post-9/11 Flights

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified Secret FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in personnel and medical files and similar files when the disclosure of such information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))

Before invoking privacy protections for Osama bin Laden under Exemption 6, the FBI should have conducted a balancing test of the public's right to disclosure against the individual's right to privacy. Many of the references in the redacted documents cite publicly available news articles from sources such as The Washington Post and Associated Press. Based on its analysis of the news stories cited in the FBI report, Judicial Watch was able to determine that bin Laden's name was redacted from the document, including newspaper headlines in the footnoted citations.

It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public's right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks, said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day.

The redacted documents were obtained by Judicial Watch under the provisions of the FOIA and through ongoing litigation (Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security & Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 04-1643 (RWR)). Among the documents was a declassified Secret FBI report, dated September 24, 2003, entitled: Response to October 2003 Vanity Fair Article (Re: [Redacted] Family Departures After 9/11/2001). Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on October 7, 2003. The full text of the report and related documents are available on the Internet by
clicking here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I could make it easier...

Well, if I stick to my plan, tomorrow will be my last day on the program. As you might guess, I am starting to wonder if I should stop this way. Like I said a few days ago, I could decrease all the way down to 0 (instead of stopping abruptly at 3 mgs.)

Considering the way I felt when I withheld my dose for three hours, I might wimp-out and go to the program on Monday. It may be in my best interest to go down to 2 mgs, wait a week, go down to 1, than zero.

I have all day tomorrow to think about it. The final decision will be made Monday morning.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Testing the withdrawal

I usually drink my methadone between 8-8:30AM. I decided to hold off this morning to see how long it would take until my body notices. Around 11AM, I started to feel it. My stomach started to tighten up and that uncomfortable feeling started to creep in. I took it 20 minutes later.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

April 25, 1994 / April 25, 2005



Methadone is a rigorously well-tested medication that is safe and efficacious for the treatment of narcotic withdrawal and dependence. For more than 30 years this synthetic narcotic has been used to treat opioid addiction. Heroin releases an excess of dopamine in the body and causes users to need an opiate continuously occupying the opioid receptor in the brain. Methadone occupies this receptor and is the stabilizing factor that permits addicts on methadone to change their behavior and to discontinue heroin use.


Due to its stigma, I wasn’t sure if I should write about this. After much thought I decided that the only way to undo a stigma, is to talk about it. When most people hear the word methadone, it conjures up negative images of dirty junkies waiting in line to get their fix of legal dope. While that may be the case for some, for the majority it couldn’t be further from the truth.

In July of 1993 I went on the methadone maintenance program after five failed traditional & non-traditional drug treatment programs. The first year on the program was a little shaky. I was in an abusive relationship with a felon who was even more messed up than me. While I was with him, I got into crack/coke, which threatened my participation in the methadone program. It was during this time that I hit rock bottom. I was living in constant fear and I became suicidal. On April 25, 1994, I was at the end of my rope. When Chuck left our apartment, I made a break for it. I ran next door to the 7-11 and called my Mom. She must have heard the desperation in my voice and twenty minutes later they (Mom & Dad) picked me up. Later she told me that she had plans that day, but something told her to stay home.

The next day, along with my Mom & a Police escort, I went back to the apartment to pick up a few things. Luckily, Chuck wasn’t there. I left 99.5% of my stuff behind and never looked back. Subsequently, a restraining order was taken out on Chuck.

From there, I went into a psych hospital for a few days for the depression and then into my final in-patient treatment program.

Thankfully, the methadone program worked with me throughout all of this.

In May/June of 1994, I came home. Shortly after, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She had been diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland when I was 12, but she beat it, or so we thought. I feel this is where my addiction did the most damage. I truly believe that the constant worrying about me brought the cancer back, and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.

She successfully fought the cancer for five years – longer than doctors predicted. She was able to do so by embracing alternative therapies, while still working with her oncologist. She died in our home on December 04, 1999. She was the best person I will ever know.

For my parents, nothing meant more than family and they passed that down to us. When that value is instilled in a person, it resonates to your core. My parents did everything they could and more for me, and never asked for anything in return. When my mother got sick, that part she instilled in me took hold. Now that it’s just my sister, brother and me, we look out for each other. I know they would do anything for me, as I would for them. If more families had this kind of unconditional love, the world would be a better place.


Even though I consider myself an agnostic, I wonder if something bigger than us was watching over in 1994. Did I get clean in time to be with my mother, and later my father, at the end of their lives?

The reason I am writing today is because another personal life event is about to take place. I have decided that after being on the methadone maintenance program for 12 years, I am ready to move on.

The program did exactly what it was designed to do. It got me off heroin, stabilized me on methadone, which in turn afforded me to live a normal life. Over the last year and a half, I have been steadily decreasing my dose. (Methadone withdrawal is worse than heroin withdrawal. The key is to do it very slowly.) I had them decrease my dose by 1 milligram every 3 weeks. The highest dose I was ever on was 80 milligrams - I am now on 3. (It’s a liquid taken orally once a day.)

Every Monday morning, I’ve driven myself downtown to pick up a week’s worth. When I woke up last Monday, I thought to myself, this is it. When I got there, I told them that I was not coming back. I could keep decreasing down to 0, but I think I can take it from here. I have 30 days to change my mind, but I have no intention on doing so.

When I am done with this week’s doses, I may be uncomfortable and have trouble sleeping, but I’m sure I’ll be ok. If I’m extremely uncomfortable, I can always call my regular doctor to see if he can prescribe me something to get through it.

The first day I will be off it completely is April 25 – (very) coincidentally the same day, 11 years ago, that my Mom & Dad rescued me from hell.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


PS. Someday, Michelle (Motomama) and I are going to write a book about this.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Tom DeLay's House of Scandal



Open letter from James Carville to Tom DeLay:

Dear Tom,

Recently I heard you tell all Americans concerned about having an ethically challenged man leading the Congress to “bring it on.” I've also heard you and your allies crowing about how any real Republican will come and stand by your corrupt side in your time of need.

Well, Tom, I'm here to tell you that at your request, we are indeed “bringing it on.” As for forcing “real Republicans” to rally to your side, I have to ask: How much more do you want?

Your precious little rubberstamps in Congress have already gutted the ethics rules, forced out the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, and purged two other GOP Members of the committee, all to protect you. They've voted as you've told them more than 90% of the time, taken your dirty money, and helped bring your legal defense fund to over $1,000,000.

Can't remember who did what, too many to keep track of? Not to worry. You can find all the details on how each of them has done your bidding, courtesy of the DCCC, at the new website, Tom DeLay's House of Scandal:
http://houseofscandal.org/


Check out the video: Meet DeLay, Inc.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Slime-mold Beetles Named for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld

My cousin, Bruce, sent me this article. It's the best story of the week, or as I like to call it: "if the shoe fits..."


From Yahoo:

Slime-mold Beetles Named for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld

Namesakes of the U.S. President and two of his key people might be crawling around your back yard as you read this.

Three new beetles of the genus Agathidium have been named after members of the current administration: A. bushi, A. cheneyi and A. rumsfeldi.

Two former Cornell University entomologists, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller, were in charge of naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles, which they discovered while studying the insects' evolution and classification.

Wheeler, who is now head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London, said that the choice to name beetles after President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was out of admiration for their principles, not because they look like the beetles.


(I don't buy that last part.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sen. Paul Koering: Gay Benedict Arnold


From StarTribune.com:

(Minnesota) State Sen. Paul Koering, a first-term Republican from the Brainerd area who until recently had voted consistently for a constitutional ballot question banning same-sex marriage, revealed to the Star Tribune Wednesday that he is gay and has known it since he was a teen-ager.

He is believed to the first openly gay Republican elected official in Minnesota, and his announcement could affect the course of the raging legislative debate over gay marriage.

However, Koering, 40, a businessman and former dairy farmer, said his "coming out" does not change his position that the state's voters should be allowed to decide whether to ban same-sex marriage, nor will it change his basic conservative philosophy.

Read the rest of the article here.

(Nothing like betraying your own people.)

Our "Woeby Doubers"





I wanted to share a little about our "daughter," Stella. She is all about cuddling and love...aren't all pugs?

On the flipside, she also enjoys splashing in puddles and rolling in dead worms.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Kerry grows a pair



The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - and, in particular, Senator Lincoln Chafee - have a big decision to make this week. I've made my decision. I will vigorously oppose the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Have you ever noticed that in the Bush Administration, the only way to get a job promotion is to bungle our national security? As under secretary of state for arms control and international security for the past four years, Mr. Bolton has achieved little. In fact, we secured more nuclear materials in the two years before September 11th than in the two years after. North Korea and Iran are now burgeoning nuclear states. This record earned John Bolton a nomination to the UN?

How can we believe this nomination makes any sense at all?

We can't believe it.

But, unless Senator Lincoln Chafee puts principle over party, the inexplicable John Bolton nomination will squeak through the Foreign Relations Committee on a party line vote.
We have to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen.


That's why, in addition to being vocal about my own opposition to Senator Bolton, I am organizing johnkerry.com activists in Rhode Island to contact Senator Chafee, and I am running online ads in the Rhode Island media.

See the ad for yourself. http://www.johnkerry.com/action/chafee-ad.php

Why retain and promote those who have failed to make America more safe and secure? Donald Rumsfeld has been a disaster as Secretary of Defense. That's why over 800,000 people have signed our petition supporting my call for Rumsfeld's resignation. Yet the President stands stubbornly by him.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has made repeated and serious miscalculations about the costs and risks America would face in Iraq. Yet now the Bush Administration wants us to believe he is the right person to lead the World Bank.

And now, the Bush administration wants to add John Bolton to that astonishing list.

I will keep you posted on our efforts to stop this nomination from advancing.


Sincerely,
John Kerry



P.S. I'm sharing this with you because I want you to know how hard we're working on this critical vote. But, I also want you to be prepared. Should the Bolton nomination make it through committee, we may have to wage a nationwide effort to defeat it on the floor of the Senate.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The next big star...



Auditions for David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks were happening this morning at our local CBS station in Mpls. My French bulldog, Norman, has a stupid pet trick, so we went. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Norman is a (mostly) sweet little dog, but when you take out a big rubber ball, he goes bananas. All he wants to do is bounce it off his head...for hours. Ultimately, his goal is to pop the ball and then rip it to shreds.

The audition went well. Hopefully we'll get a call back. Norman is ready for his 15 minutes of fame.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Blogger problems again

Is anyone else having strange Blogger problems again? I've been having issues with page errors, and comments not showing up. Or, is it just me?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

House on crack


Our house was built in 1958. My parents bought it in 1967, when I was 2. After they passed away, my siblings & me inherited the house, but I get to live in it because they have their own homes (& my bro lives in NY.)

Over the last couple of years, my fiancé & I have been busy making the house "ours." We pulled up the wall-to-wall carpeting and had the original hardwood flooring refinished. We painted all of the upstairs rooms and have replaced practically all of the furniture. We took the house from 80's contemporary to mid-century modern. Next up, the basement and the house's exterior.

As I was getting estimates on vinyl siding, I noticed that this crack has gotten worse. (The white goop in it was put there as a barrier to bugs.)

If this crack in the foundation is really bad, Tom & I will consider moving sooner than later. We had planned to move sometime in the future, but I was putting that way on the backburner until I found out what his side was bringing to the table.

I'm having a foundation guy look at the cracks on Monday. In the meantime, is there anyone out there that knows about this stuff? Does this look bad?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm contagious

If you live with someone with OCD, can you catch it? Clinically, I'm sure the answer is no, but I've seen some familiar behaviors coming out of my fiancè.

He's been telling me for several months that my craziness has been rubbing off on him, but I hadn't seen it for myself -- until today.

Tom goes to school full time and has two part-time jobs. When he comes home from school, he has about 5-10 minutes at home until he goes off to work. Today, as he hurriedly walked through the kitchen on his way out the door, he straightened a few things that were on the countertops. I didn't say anything.

Now if I can only get him to have it with REAL cleaning...



To make this even stranger, I think my French bulldog, Norman, has it, too.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Brooklyn, NY 04/05/1965 @ 10:32AM

I was 29 when I got off drugs for good, so my thirties were spent growing up and becoming the person I am today. In these last 10 years, I've learned to accept a lot of things that I don't like about myself, but more importantly, I became aware: self and otherwise.

Who knows what this next decade of life will bring, but I'm hoping it will only get better. Does life really begin at 40? I'm about to find out.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Left of the Dial

I'm the youngest of 3 children. My sister is 48, my brother is 44, & I'll be 40 this Tuesday. My mother was a "dyed in the wool" Democrat, while my dad didn't have any affiliation until later in life when he came to his senses. His father, my Grandpa Manny, was a staunch liberal. He hated Nixon as much as I hate Dubya.

Looking back over our mostly liberal upbringing, I am confused over my sister's political leanings. While I'm on the far left, she leans toward the right. However, she did know enough not to vote for Bush in the last election.

She loves Bill O'Reilly. Yep, I said it. She watches his show every night and reads every book he writes.

The other night I watched the excellent HBO documentary, Left of the Dial. I'm sure everyone reading this knows about it, but if you don't:

In early 2004, a group of investors set out to launch a liberal radio network that would challenge the dominance of America's airwaves by conservative talk radio. The creative, financial and logistical challenges were immense, but on March 31, Air America Radio became a reality. LEFT OF THE DIAL chronicles the trials and tribulations involved in starting up - and sustaining - a nationwide radio network during a highly charged election year.



Bill O'Reilly claims that he's an independent, which you & I know is bullshit, but my sister believes him when he says that. That being said, I'd like to share with you an argument I had with her last night over dinner:

Me: Being that there are hundreds (or more) right-wing talk radio shows in America, why was Bill O'Reilly so full of glee during Air America's rough start when they almost went down?

Her: Because he hates Al Franken.

Me: But Franken is just one part of the whole station.

Her: Because he hates Al Franken.

I wasn't getting anywhere, so I asked: Why are all the right-wingers so against one little radio station? They have 99.9% of the airwaves. All we have is one little station.

Her: Because you guys have the New York Times & The Washington Post.

Me: (sarcastically) Yeah, Joe Bob from Alabama is reading the New York Times. Besides what you call "liberal," we call the truth.

That ended the conversation (and the food came.)

When I got home, I couldn't resist - I emailed her this article from Media Matters: Bill O'Reilly: MISINFORMER OF THE YEAR


We haven't talked much today.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Addendum

I almost forgot Real Time With Bill Maher (thanks Moto.) What can I say other than Bill Maher rules. Personally, I think the best part of the show is his "New Rules" segment at the end. He never fails to hit the mark.

How about this for a candidacy? Jon Stewart/Bill Maher. Works for me.