December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Would a Chess Femme Want in a Gift Bag?

Hola darlings!

Well, it's been a horrific couple of days.  I spent four hours yesterday morning/afternoon in the ER because guess what - I was overdosed on that rat poison stuff -- the Coumadin (warfarin) and was peeing blood.  Not cool.  I was actually sick since Thursday when I felt faint-headed at work but just blew it off because of a long history of mostly-controlled high blood pressure.  I was starting to seep blood internally then, I think, but it took a few days for it to really manifest itself. So in the meantime every morning I was dutifully dosing myself with more rat poison.  I was told to look for pink in the urine.  Well, my urine was first pale orange.  Not pink, I know the difference!  So I thought, okay, orange urine.  Could be the dye in the pills (for instance, when I take my "water pill", which is yellow, my pee comes out yellow for awhile in the morning before eventually turning back clear).  Friday, more orange urine.  Saturday, more organe urine, now getting darker.  Sunday morning, BINGO.  Blood red. 

First I called my clinic and got in touch with the doctor on call.  I was advised, based on my symptoms, to go to the ER because a hopsital is the only place that would be able to process blood work and blood tests quickly.  The doctor on call suspected an OD of blood thinner and told me I would probably need vitamin K to counteract.  Well, she was spot on, but it took awhile to get to that eventual conclusion and get the vitamin K I needed after I arrived at the ER.

I'm not complaining about the care I received at the ER.  I was processed in very quickly and received very good care.  It just took a long time. One of the nurses there said "we're not used to seeing someone as young as you."  Gee, thanks.

I had to take the bus to the hospital -- neither of my sisters who drive (I do not) were in town to give me a ride, and I didn't have cash on me to call a cab.  Well, I wasn't exactly thinking clearly anyway and didn't even think about calling a cab, not with $1 in my wallet.  Who uses cash these days, unless you plan for it in advance?  Thank Goddess for my Commuter Bus Pass!  Saved the day, and probably saved my life.

Cuz it turns out I could have bled out before I ever got to the ER.  It was just - I don't know, maybe the luck of the draw - that I did not.  The typical "count" the meds want to see when you're on a blood thinner is between 2 and 3.  Mine was at 8.75.  I though the doctor was going stroke out when he told me that.  He sure was cute.  Actually, he was probably thinking that I might stroke out in front of him at any time and what the hell would he do if that happened?  LOL! 

Anyway, to make a long story short, I arrived back home (via bus), around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon. I had the option of being hospitalized overnight "for observation."  What, I asked the ER doc, would being hospitalized help prevent?  Well, he said, we'd be able to get to you quicker if any one of these awful things would happen to you, and he listed the awful things.  I opted to have any one of those awful things happen to me back in my own home, if it was going to happen.

I'm still peeing blood, but not as much.  I had to go to my doctor's office this morning -- I was told this yesterday by the cute ER doctor, who told me he had made all of the arrangements -- but when I arrived this morning, already sweaty and pissed off/hacked off because I had to travel there in near 100 degree heat and high dew point, and miss more time from work, they knew nothing about it.  Lost it right then and there.  Stress, I guess.  You should have seen the patients in the waiting room cowering in a corner as I ranted and raved and screamed at the hapless woman behind the glass.  Now I know why they have glass there.  I would have killed her if I'd have been able to get my hands on her. 

The best part - yep, there is a best part - is when the doctor I actually saw, who is NOT my primary care physician, told me that the 8.75 I had yesterday was so dangerous, much more dangerous than the ER doc even told me. My nonclotting factor (or whatever the hell it is), has dropped back to 4, but still way too high.  But at least now if I trip and fall on the sidewalk (as I nearly did this morning on the way to the bus stop, half a mile away in the 100 degree heat), I won't croak in like 5 minutes from uncontrollable internal bleeding.  Nope, now it will be much slower.

Guess what - they're only going to charge me today for a "nurse's visit" to my clinic today because it was a nurse who actually stuck my finger with the thingy that measures what they're measuring.  So I won't have to pay for seeing the male doctor who told me well, this was REALLY dangerously high.  Yeah, tell me about it, dude. Of course they never explain it to you - I learned much of what I know from the internet. And thank Goddess I did that research.  Oh yeah, they offered to hospitalize me again. Like it's a frigging vacation or something.  Gee, we can put you in the hospital, all your worries will be solved, Ms. Newton. 


That male doctor had the balls to offer me some drugs to "calm my nerves."

Yeah, right.  Your drugs nearly killed me to begin with, and now you're offering me MORE drugs?  Get bent, dude.  I didn't exactly use those words to him, but he got the point.

So, that's the latest from Maison Newton, other than I have to go back and see the incompetents again on Wednesday morning (more unpaid time off work, since I have now blown through my entire stash of PTO for the year) for another blood test to see if the clotting factor in my blood is back up to an acceptable level.  And - get this - they want me to go back on the rat poison once I'm back to "stable" until I am able to get in to see a heart specialist. 

The heart specialist who wants to electrocute me, or burn out heart tissue with ultrasonic waves of some kind, or stick a pacemaker in me, not to mention shoving tubes and cameras into me to try and figure out what they already know is the flying F wrong.  I think not, thank you very much.

Okay, ladies, so this is the thing:  I am part of Goddesschess and Goddesschess is sponsoring a major women's chess championship in a few weeks in Montreal, Canada.  I don't expect any of you to give a rat's ass about that (har, that's a joke), but it's a big deal for me, personally, to be able to provide financial sponsorship for female chessplayers and this is actually a big deal in Canada because the winner of this particular champiionship will be able to attend the women's world chess championship contest later this year, representing Canada, that will be held in the far reaches of Siberia, Russia. Yeah, that's how they treat female chessplayers -- we go to Siberia.  The men chessplayers go to spas around the Black Sea.

So, I cannot attend the opening of the event due to obvious health issues, and unfortunately, my dear Mr. Don who lives in Montreal, cannot attend either due to his own health issues.  So we will have no representative there for Goddesschess, to push our "brand" so to speak.  Not that we give a shit about that, but it would have been nice to be able for someone from our group to be available to say a few words and shake hands, etc.  Ain't happening.

So, anyway and regardless, I had come up with the idea way before to present some kind of gift or "hospitality" bag to the ladies, but now it's more important than ever since those gift bags will be the only representation of Goddesschess at the tournament.  Yes, I have been assured that the organizers will have Goddesschess banners flying and brochures on our little group to hand out, etc. etc.  But it's not enough, despite these Montrealers being damn decent people, not your typical chess politician schmucks that we have unfortunately run into during the years we've been offering financial sponsorship.

Okay, to cut to the chase -- we do NOT have unlimited funds (the understatement of the year).  At first I thought about doing something like this:

This is an engravable sterling silver purse mirror from Memorable Gifts online, and far less expensive that what I came across at a trip to a mall near where I live last week Friday night (while in search of shoes for an upcoming wedding).  The only problem was paying for really expedited shipping so I could SEE the product before I sent it off to Canada.  May as well pay the outrageous mall price, $3 per word for engraving, $6 minimum. Not happening. 

So, as much as I love the idea of giving each of the female players in this upcoming Championship a keepsake that says 2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Chess Championship, it's just too expensive. 

By the way, it was just by happenstance that I learned today that there are actually going to be 12 female players, not the 9 registered players I THOUGHT were playing, just in case there is a last minute entry and a few withdrawals, therefore reserves are needed, so an extra gift bag or two are also needed.  I suppose I should have known this, but Goddesschess is not a tournament organizer, we provide FUNDS for tournaments - women's tournament, and on occasion we fund individual female chessplayers to appear in "open" tournaments (where male and female players both compete).

So, now that the budget has been further stretched, with the potential of 12 players, not 9.  And even if it ultimately comes up to 10 actual players, the reserve players will have commited a week of time and expense to potentially competing.  They deserve gift bags too.

I'm figuring out how I'm going to personally fund out the difference and what we can come up with that will be "chessly" and feminine but not really stupid and funky.  The engraved purse mirrors are out of the equation, just too expensive, much as I wish we could present them.  The other part of the equation you need to know is that most of the competing players are teenagers, and young teenagers at that.  They don't go for the old-lady stuff I like!

What to do, what to do?  I had a stroke (not an actual one) of genius when Sam Moon flashed into my mind.  I went to the website and sure enough, salvation is near at hand:


How about one of these cute little thingies to dangle a purse from?  This one has a "king" crown, or perhaps it could be a queen too, depending upon how elaborate the chess set was originally carved.  Chessly and best of all, it comes in different color options and the price is right at $7.50 (a slightly different version in "silver" and black-tone stones is available for $6.95):

I actually had to look it up on the internet how these operate.  Okay, I'm not a hip chick, I freely admit it.  Now will it work with most ladies' purses that weigh way more than 20 pounds?  Hell no.  But it's the idea...

And so, I thought about this


A little purse!  This one is also from Sam Moon (and no, I'm not being paid to plug Sam Moon products).  A sort of mini-purse, actually.  Here it is --

A chessplaying femme could stash some essentials in this and be good to go.  It's got space for ID card, credit cards, money, and you could stash a bi-fold comb and mirror into the "coin pouch" zippered part.  What's not to love?  Comes in this femme-y color or always cool black faux-croc.  $6.99. 


One of the gift bag goodies I had originally though about, and I am still thinking about, is something like this.  I thought these would be fun for the chess femmes, even the young ones.  Maybe especiallly the young ones.  I do not see too many women my age wearing such scarves:

What about this one?  It's a great color (who can go wrong with white?), and the lacey look could be dressed up or down.  This scarf also comes in black!  How about 6 in white and 6 in black?  But if the ladies should prefer black over white?  Or white over black?  Bah, Humbug!  Better to just get all one color, and I think white would be the preferred color - maybe.  Ach!  What do I know about teenaged tastes!  NOTHING.  $7.00 - can't go too far wrong with that price. 

Well, there's a little more but I'm closing out for now because I just got word from Mr. D's sister about his current health status and it is GOOD!  So I'm going to go read it again and then sob my eyes out all over the damn house.  Bye.

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