Sunday, October 30, 2011

I've Won a Bloggy Love Award!

I’ve received a Versatile Blogger and Bloggy Love Award from fellow MuseItUp author, Michelle Pickett.  Check out her award-winning blog, Michelle’s Musings!  Thank you so much for the awards, Michelle.
There are the rules that go with these awards:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. Thanks so much, Michelle!
  • Share 7 things about yourself. (see below)
  • Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it. Here are my 15 Choices (in no particular order):

Karen Cote, Karen Cote TV
Cassandra Carr, Hot Blogging with Heart
Penny Lockwood Ehrenkrantz, One Writer’s Journey
Wendy Laharnar, Wendy Laharnar’s Blog
W. Lynn Chantale, Decadent Decisions
Chris Redding, Chris Redding Author
Killarney Sheffield, Killarney Sheffield’s Blog
Suzanne Drazic,  Putting Words Down on Paper
Allison Knight, Allison’s Musings
Barbara Ehrentreau, Barbara’s Meanderings
Heather Haven, This and That

Seven Things About Me

1.    I’ve been divorced almost thirty years, and I live with my elder daughter, Elizabeth, and fifteen year-old granddaughter, Colleen.  We’ll be moving within a year or so, as she JUST got engaged and her fiancé, Marshall, is expanding his garage and adding a mother-in-law apartment.  He’s a great guy and I’m really happy for them.  My younger daughter, Christine, lives downstate and had three children—Alex, 15; Beth, 13; and Presley, 9.  I’m a doting grandma as much as I can be.  I tend to be heavy on hugs, as I’m broke a lot.  There are grandkid photos on my FaceBook page.

2.    I love animals.  When I was a suburban wife, we had a wonderful dog named Peaches.  When I became a divorcee living in apartments, I started keeping cats.  Right now I have Tinkerbelle and Acey Deucy.  Tink’s mom was Hamster, a barn cat Christine adopted.  I took two kittens from her litter, but we lost Titania this winter to cancer.  Acey’s mom was a stray who gave birth on my neighbor’s patio.  I would go outside and play with the babies.  One evening when I was on the phone, he climbed my screen door when he heard my voice.  He adopted me.  His mom and those siblings who didn’t find homes now live on a horse farm with temperature-controlled stables.

3.    We live at an auto and antique museum with all kinds of cool stuff from the original Batmobile to a haunted barn.  But we don’t have to worry too much about the ghost in the barn, because the Ghostbusters car is also here.  Our landlord owns the auto museum and his brother runs the antique museum.  Elizabeth works there.  She works in the food court, Betty Boop Grill and drives the trolley tours.  We’re about as far northwest of Chicago as you can get and still call yourself a suburb, but it makes for a nice day trip or “staycation.”  It’s the Volo Auto Museum and it’s open year round.

4.    Two years ago I went through addictions treatment at the Danville, Illinois VA Medical Center.  Oh, yeah—I’m a Navy vet.  I was a medic back in the seventies.  I worked surgical ICU and Women’s Surgical at the Navy Hospital in Oakland, California, and then got transferred to the clinic in Pearl Harbor where I promptly got pregnant with Elizabeth and got out.  (I was a newlywed, it was Hawaii…)

Back to treatment—I had reached a point where I was so obese, I was becoming crippled.  I hadn’t weighed myself in over a month when I finagled my way into the program, but I was 296 a month earlier, so I think it’s safe to say I was probably 300 pounds.  I was the only patient in the program dealing with food issues.  Everyone else was there kicking drugs or alcohol.  So, there I sat with my salad and fruit while the guys ate the day-old pastries the local bakery sent over every morning.  It was good practice since I went in Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and came out December 23.

I gave up sugar and white flour and began to lose weight, but I started to slip in terms of how much I was eating when I gave up my apartment and moved in with Elizabeth.  It turned out to be a really good thing, though.  A doctor at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago (they combined the VA with the Great Lakes Navy Hospital) diagnosed me with celiac disease.  I’m allergic to glutens.  I gave up ALL wheat, rye and barley and I read labels even more carefully than before and as of last week, I’ve lost 130 pounds.  My goal is to lose another twenty or thirty pounds and get my Body Mass Index into the normal range for the first time since I left the Navy.

5.    I’m so addicted to British TV, I’m developing an accent.  We were at a cruise-in for auto enthusiasts and I walked up to a man with an antique car and asked if it had a rumble seat or a boot.  He looked at me like I had two heads.  Then I realized my error and asked if it had a rumble seat or a trunk.  Oops!  We were there with Herbie—the one who went to Monte Carlo.  A man came up and started talking about VW Bugs.  He was asking all kinds of technical questions.  All I could say was, “But it’s Herbie!  He went to Monte Carlo.  Dean Jones drove him and Don Knotts was his sidekick.  Julie Sommers was the love interest and Herbie fell in love with her car.”  He’d ask how many litres the engine was or the size of the tires and all I could say was, “But it’s Herbie!”  Oh, yeah—I got to ride in him, where Don Knotts sat.

6.    I’ve been a member of Mensa.  My membership has lapsed because I couldn’t afford the dues this year.  OK—I’m gonna get political here.  Unless you have a disability that was caused by your military service, you can’t get dental care at the VA.  I’m bi-polar and that wasn’t caused by my military service.  Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, either, and because I’m a vet and seen at the VA, I can’t get Medicaid.  So, I’ve gone over a decade without dental care.  Needless to say, my teeth were falling out of my head.  I had to resort to pulling one myself with the old string and door method.  Someone said that if I could prove my bi-polar disorder was a pre-existing condition and get 10% VA disability, I could get dental care, so when I got up to Lovell I asked about it.  My first suicide attempt was when I was nineteen and the hospital hasn’t closed.  The person I spoke to told me that I could get dental care at Public Health.

So, I went there and it wasn’t free; it’s on a sliding scale.  I still owe them almost $200 for extractions, all of which were done with local anesthesia only.  After they pulled all of the teeth they deemed necessary, I went to get my dentures.  Now mind you, I walked in and said, “I need new teeth.”  There were signs everywhere that said, “No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.”  So imagine my shock when, after pulling most of my teeth, they said, “Oh, you haven’t signed your contract yet,” and told me they wouldn’t replace my teeth until I came up with $1,200.  Cash.  It’s a real testament to my bi-polar meds that I didn’t go into a violent, screaming rage and have the cops called on me.  In fact, I managed to hold my tears until I got into my car, and I only sat there for about twenty minutes before I pulled myself together enough to drive home and cry the rest of the day.

I actually managed to get credit from GE Credit Company’s Care Credit program.  They gave me $1,000 in credit and I found a place in Milwaukee called Affordable Dentures.  I had a major bite problem which the Public Health dentist never mentioned, but all three civilian dentists I saw did.  The first Affordable Denture franchise I went to suggested I try a dental school.  The University of Illinois doesn’t accept Care Credit.  The local dentist I tried suggested braces on the seven teeth I had left on top.  Yeah, right.  The doc in Milwaukee looked in my mouth, said, “I can’t work with this bite.  These teeth have to come out.”  I asked if he accepted hugs.  I had to save up another $500 before I could have the work done, and I’m now paying off Care Credit so I can get my bottom partials.  We definitely need better health care in this country.  It’s ridiculous when a person has to go ten years without dental care and pull her own teeth, and Public Health doesn’t tell you before they pull your teeth that you have to pay cash to have them replaced.  I suspect I wouldn’t have qualified for credit if I hadn’t given up my apartment to make my car payments on my Prius.

7.    Back to where I live.  The reason I live with my daughter is that I couldn’t afford both my car and my apartment.  I’m on disability due to bi-polar disorder and adult ADHD.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind of bi-polar disorder that lends itself to ups of great euphoria and creativity.  My manic episodes tend to be violent rages that come out of nowhere, do a lot of damage and leave wreckage to be cleaned up later.  I rate them on the Fugita scale, like tornadoes. There are three stages:  rage, crying and apologizing, and exhaustion.  My current book, Rock Crazy is about Katie McGowan, whose husband is at his wits’ end with her bi-polar disorder.  In a last-ditch, tough-love move to get her to have surgery for her disease, he takes her to the Moon and divorces her.  Katie thinks she’s space sick, but she’s wrong; she’s pregnant.  She finally agrees to the surgery, but it’s too dangerous while she’s pregnant—as are her meds.  I used some of my own manic episodes in the book, although Katie’s hallucinations are a more severe form of the disease than mine.  The Voice is real, however.  I have a Voice telling me my behavior is inappropriate, but I can’t stop once the episode starts.  That gets downright scary.  One of my doctors said it’s like being on a roller coaster.  Once the ride starts, no matter how much you want to, you can’t get off.

So—that’s seven things about me.  Thank you so much for this award, Michelle.  I greatly appreciate it.

The blog tour continues.  One lucky person will be able to choose a signed copy of my first book, Rock Bound, or a Rock Crazy tee-shirt or mug.  And don’t forget to go next-door and comment on my review of The Halloween Dino Trip by Lea Hovris Shizas.  Here’s the link:

Rochelle’s Reviews:


  1. Thank you so much for the award, but you took all the people who I would take. Thank you so much.

  2. I'm sorry, Roseanne.


  3. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Rochelle, CONGRATS on the weightloss!

    Thank you for the blogger awards. I just finished my blog post about them.