Friday, May 30, 2008



The following post contains some pretty strong opinions and a few nasty words ;o)

They did it to me AGAIN! AGAIN! What other word can you use for large insurance companies but SOBs! It seems that every road that I try, I run into a roadblock :o( I guess it's a good thing that I didn't boast about my meeting with P on Wednesday.

I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get an update to you but I've come down with a nasty chest cold and considering all the stress that I have been under, I guess that's no surprise. Luckily I managed to be composed early Wednesday morning. I have to say that I'm quite proud of my even temperament and ability to stand my ground. I think some of the meds were still in place from the night before ;o) LOL!

So, there was N, P, HR (my employer) and myself in this meeting. It began with P yakking away and I let her have her say. It probably helped that N sat between us, especially when she told HR that I was coming back to work solely on my 'mental' capability. WTF? Who gave her the right to tell my employer the reason I was out on leave?

When it came my turn to speak, I explained to HR what Manulife was basing their conclusions on. At this point it was out of the bag, so I figured what the Hell. I showed HR the letter from my specialist at the hospital stating he could only rate my mental health and not my physical. I also produced my work terms along with a note from my GP stating that I was only to return part-time. Little did I know, but I guess I had produced a few good hands because N said that P was furious and had uttered few comments of her own :oP

I went on to say that the Functional Abilities Evaluation (FAE) that was done last year was a joke and that it was inconclusive. It was also noted that I had kept VERY good records of those two days and that I had the evidence to back this up. I told HR and P that I was NOT going to start back to work on July 7 until this was all handled and figured out. DH and I decided I was not going to make the same mistakes that I did last time.

Secretly, on the side, I had made contact with a law firm in Ontario that specializes in cases like this and is quite well-known. They had taken all my information over the phone and things were looking pretty good until today when they called me back. Because the LTD was taken out in NB and not ON, they couldn't do anything for me because of jurisdiction restrictions. ARGH! So because I live in the armpit of the country, I am hindered from having a successful lawyer represent me. Un-be-lie-va-ble. UNBELIEVABLE! Honestly, there is NO hope for the little guy and that is very sad and very depressing :o(

Okay, so where does that leave me? Honestly, I don't know. I'm going to send another letter to LTD but I know it will just be another head-hitting-the-wall attempt that will get me nowhere. HR has stated they can offer me part-time work but I know the kinds of problems I'm going to run into based on last year. Why would they want someone around that can't really fit back in due to physical restrictions? I understand it, I really do. I have to wonder if my employer finds it just as frustrating as I do when it comes to dealing with these insurance companies. Then again, maybe they don't give a rat's ass. Who knows. They're a large corporation as well so what do they care?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Take A Hike

On Sunday, DH and I took Brie and headed into town. It was such a beautiful day that we wanted to take advantage of it so we decided on a hike :o)

We parked at Carlton Park, on the northside of the city. While DH went to get poop bags, I took the time to take some pictures of the lovely tulips that were in bloom -


Our city is divided in two by the Saint John River. There are two main bridges plus an old train bridge which has been converted into a walking path -


This path is part of the NB Trail system and this is what we took to cross over to the southside -


There were so many people out walking. A lot of dogs too and thankfully, Brie was not in one of her snotty moods. LOL! We took the path along the green and when we stopped for a drink, I took a picture of the ladies that are part of a fountain -


After reading Lori-Ann's Blog post about her trip to the Legislature, I took a picture of the top of it that was redone in copper -


We got all the way into the downtown core and found some ice cream :o) Hey, with all that walking, we needed the fuel! Brie even got her own. She eats the whole thing, cone and all. I wish I had taken a picture :oS

On our way back, we stopped at Officer Square and played fetch with Brie. I had brought her Kong along with us. Even though she was almost dead on her feet, she still wanted to play. At this point in our hike, DH wasn't sure who he should be more worried about, me or Brie. Luckily Brie got carried back across the walking bridge. Me, not so lucky ;o)

It was a wonderful day though and a nice chance to enjoy the sun. Unfortunately with all the stress, I came down with a cold :o( It's not surprising. My meeting with N, work and P is tomorrow so wish me luck! I told N that it was a good thing she was going to be there because I needed someone to stop me from strangling P ;o) LOL! Thanks for all the good wishes and I'll update you as soon as I can!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Good Things

I've been slowly working away at beading some more on Stargazer. I did move to the Petite beads and they aren't as bad as I had been anticipating. I just find that my eyes get tired fast using that invisible thread, so the going is slow. I am aiming for the end of June to have her complete :o)

Since I don't have much to show on Stargazer, I thought that I would finally share another WIP that has been jumping in from time to time. This is called Good Things and it's by Birds Of A Feather -


I love the nautical theme and DH will love it even more with the bare breasted mermaid ;o) LOL!

The title of this pattern and reading Berta's Blog, reminded me that there are moments when we should take a minute to list some good things in our lives. So, here are a few of mine :o)

A certain four-legged friend (Brie) that comes into the bedroom on the weekends to wake me up with a dance and lots of kisses.

Opening my email and seeing such wonderful and supportive comments from friends all over the world.

Walking around our property and finding new flowers tucked in amongst the grass.

Watching the swallows playing up in the sky.

Having the ability to capture the beauty of nature with my camera.

At the end of the day, having DH provide a warm chest and two big arms to wrap around me so I feel safe and loved :o)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bless You Karen!

On Tuesday, when I arrived home, I found a package stuffed into my mailbox. When I looked at the return address and saw that it was from Karen, a smile crept across my face :o) I couldn't get in the door fast enough to open it up! This is what I found inside -


I have a confession to make; I'm a closet Mr. Potato Head collector. LOL! I found it too funny that Karen loves to collect them as well. I'll have to dig mine out and take a picture of the whole family now. Along with my new potato addition, I also received an adorable card, some lovely hand-dyed pearl cotton threads from South Africa and another breast cancer memento :o) I can't thank you enough Karen because it definitely arrived on a day that I needed cheering up the most! You are a wonderful friend!!!!

There has been another update on the LTD front. Yesterday morning I received a phone call from none other than P, my 'Rehabilitation Specialist'. She called to "tell me" that I had an appointment with her and my employer next week. Well...I "told her" that I would not be able to make the appointment and apparently I ruffled some feathers ;o)

I explained that 'she' did not send my GP a copy of the back to work schedule and that his medical opinion still counted for something. I was going to be sending J the information and wanted to speak to her before any meeting was held. I guess this was not acceptable because she gave me the same date and time for the appointment. Maybe she's hard of hearing?

When I refused again, she demanded to know why not. I informed her that I had classes that day AND that I was going to be bringing someone to that meeting with me and I had to clear things with the other person as well. I'm sure if smoke could have travelled through the phone line, it would have ;o) After many calls back and forth between four people, we finally decided on a date and time next week. I guess this put P out because she didn't plan on travelling to town that day. I thought this rather funny when she slipped up and told me about an appointment that same day at the university. Hmmmm....I guess she must have a body double or something.

As much as I took control over this situation, she has still gotten to me. I feel the fight there but my endurance is not the same as it was before. The anxiety level is just as high as the anger level but unfortunately with the anxiety comes the depression and that's pretty much a heavy blanket :o( When I was talking to my OT, N, yesterday, she asked if I told P who I was bringing and I said no. I could almost see N smiling on the other end of the phone. This should prove to be a VERY interesting meeting :o)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

She Did It AGAIN!


The following post contains some pretty strong opinions and a few nasty words ;o)


She did it AGAIN! I can't believe it; she did it A-G-A-I-N!!!! Just when I thought I had this whole LTD insurance fiasco figured out, they pull another fast one >:o(

For those of you who are new to my Blog, here is a quick rundown. I've been on LTD for about three years now. After the first 18 months, the wording of my policy changed and because of that, the insurance company felt that I was fine to go back to work, even 'against' my doctor's orders. This caused a whole host of problems. There is NO room for being naive when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. DH and I quickly learned some of the 'tricks of the trade'. When we couldn't keep up, we hired a lawyer.

We won my back pay but I still had to continue working until things were sorted out. Due to my physical health problems, I only managed to get back up to 12 hours per week. As things progressed, my mental health started to disintegrate. They drove me to such a state, that in the end, I had no fight left in me :o( Finally, LTD let up and I stopped working in order to get some treatment. Now that I'm close to the end of that treatment, they are back on me like sharks circling their prey. I figured that this time I would be ahead of the game and I would begin damage control beforehand but little did I know they had one more trick up their sleeve.

I was told by my Case Worker, J that their 'Rehabilitation Specialist' would be in touch with me very soon. I cringed at the thought of dealing with P again and was hoping against all hope it wouldn't be her. She's a NITWIT! A total NITWIT! There is no other way to put it. I brought this up with my Occupational Therapist, N, and when she realized that I was talking about P, she validated my concerns and told me she was VERY familiar with P's ways. Good to know that P has made a name for herself.... I found out that P sent over a 'back to work schedule' to my specialist without even letting me OR my family physician know! WTF? At this point, we have no idea if it has been sent back or not because that specialist is away until Thursday. Since I saw my GP this morning, I know he had not been contacted AT ALL about whether my physical health still played a role in my going back to work full-time. It seems that LTD conveniently skipped over that.

I can't even begin to explain the rage that was building up inside by this point. It was almost like a volcano ready to explode! Thank goodness N was there. She made sure my head stayed on straight and we devised an action plan :o) I was able to get a hold of my GP and I faxed over a copy of the work schedule, along with another document. He has added his medical opinion and I can pick up that paperwork tomorrow. This will be faxed back to LTD as soon as possible.

My next course of action is to contact my employer because there is NO DOUBT they are in the dark about what is about to take place. This happened the last time and they were not happy. Quite understandable if you ask me. How would you like someone plunked on your doorstep without notice? I'm going to ask them for a meeting and N said she would go with me :o) I've got a number of accommodations that I will be requesting and if this cannot be done, then LTD will have to deal with that.

I'm SO tired of playing the victim but there is only so much that I can do. I thought I was going to be smart this time and get ahead of the game but it just goes to show that you can never be fully prepared. I really don't want to have to hire our lawyer again. I lasted about ten months the first time but I doubt that I have that much fight in me this time around. I think there is going to be a point where I'll have to ask myself if it's worth it to go on. It's a VERY scary option but maybe one that is best for me at this point.

Friday, May 16, 2008

$hit On A Stick

I've had a lot of people comment on how talented I am. It took a lot of doing but I never thought I could do this -


GOTCHA! Oh come on, I'm not THAT talented ;o) LOL! I figured that after such a long hard week, it was time for some poop humour :o)

Although it surely looks like poop, it really isn't. Honest! I don't think I could go that far seeing as the retch reflex comes on too easily for me. I can be up to me knees in horse poop but anything else, I start to gag and the bile rises from within :oP

This is actually a Pin Cherry tree. You can find these throughout most of Canada and they're about the size of a small tree or shrub. They produce lovely white petal flowers and later on, little red cherries about 1/4" in diameter. Apparently the fruit can be made into jelly, although I don't believe I've ever tried it. Please note though that the leaves of this tree are poisonous!

So what is that poop looking thing then? It's actually a disease and these trees are quite prone to it :o( I remember as a child playing around them and thinking how gross they looked. We called them the Poop Tree. LOL! The lump, or gall, is referred to as Black Knot. It's a fungus that feeds off the tree, eventually disfiguring it.

If you want to read more about Black Knot, check out this site. This concludes your nature lesson for today ;o)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

She's Got Beads!

My beautiful girl now has some bling on her and she's looking fantastic! So far I have completed the beading on her top coat (the dark grey area) and this is the result -


This area took a total of ten days. I'm not talking about 24 hours a day for ten days! On average, I've probably been spending about two to three hours a day working on her. It all depends on how fast my eyes tire out from looking at, or rather trying to 'find', that darn invisible thread ;o) Here's a up close picture of my work -


I've debated which beading to tackle next but I think I'm going to try the Petite ones. These mainly go in the swags of her dress. Hopefully I'll still have my 20/20 vision after they are done. LOL!

The girls and I have been throwing around ideas regarding how she will be framed in the end. In my mind, I picture a wide silver ornate moulding. I think the frame has to be just as flashy as she is :o) DH has suggested a mat but I'm not 100% convinced I will be happy with that look. I've seen different pictures of Stargazer with a rectangular mat and it really doesn't capture my eye (this is just 'my' opinion!). He would like a suede mat like my two L&L pieces but it would have to be a custom cut and after studying her, I can't seem to come up with something that I think will work.

If anyone has seen her framed in a unique manner, would you please leave the link in the comments section or email it to me? I'd really love to see other ideas before I make my final decision. Thanks a lot and thank you for all your wonderful, and amusing, comments :o)

Monday, May 12, 2008

For Hire: Worm Dog

Huh? What the heck is this you ask? No, it's not some new breed of dog ;o)

Awhile back, I was telling Lori-Ann that my little dog Brie, loves worms. The unusual talent presented itself last summer. DH and I would see her out in the yard sniffing around and then her nose would go right into the grass. A little scratching at the spot and then she'd roll. We kept wondering what on earth she was doing.

Finally, curiosity got the best of us. What we found was a nice big juicy worm :oP Ewwww, is right! For some reason and somehow, Brie loves worms. She not only rolls in them but she actually 'detects' them! On Friday, I had my camera out and was able to capture the evidence ;o) This is our little wonder rolling in the worm -


Here is the actual worm -


Yup, that's what she was rolling in! Gross, I know. That might account for some of her stench. LOL!

There's a house up the road that is advertising worms for sale. I'm almost tempted to take Brie up there and hire her out. LOL! Who knows, maybe Brie was a robin in another life ;o)

Friday, May 09, 2008

You Made My Week

It's been a long emotional week and with that, plus little sleep, it pretty much created a very cranky and depressed Pumpkin :o( Thankfully the sun came out today so I took a stroll around the property.

When I got to the mailbox, I found a package in there waiting for me! V had indicated already that she had sent me something but I had no idea what. I quickly ushered the dogs inside and grabbed a knife to open my surprise and this is what I found inside -


Aren't these just GORGEOUS! As soon as I saw them, I thought (besides thinking this was WAY too much) they would be perfect for a sampler so that's what I'm going to use them for :o) It was hard to arrange them so you can see just how pretty they are but I did make use of the beautiful sunshine to capture their brilliant colors -


Thank you SO much V!!!! You truly put a smile on my face and made my week :o)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Second Finish Of 2008!

Today I just finished up Peace Love & A Cure by Lizzie Kate -


I just LOVE the colors in this project and I was very happy that I went with the recommended threads :o) I've just got it tucked into the fabric that I'm going to use to make the pillow tuck with at a later date. It's so beautiful out today that I took advantage of the sunshine to take my picture. So this will go towards one of my small project pieces for 2008. Sigh. I feel so behind but I'm getting there! LOL!

The beading has begun on Stargazer! She is looking sooooo awesome! I'm waiting until I finish up the beading on her top coat before I take a progress picture. I'm afraid I'm going to run out of beads so DH is going to pick up an extra package for me today (hopefully!).

After a few trial and errors, I have finally found my grove for beading :o) I had originally started with my lovely stand but it was a no go. I'm wondering if I should just sell it because I haven't used it at all :o( Even with the evening light, I'm still able to keep beading, just as long as my eyes don't get too tired. That's when I can't see that 'annoying' invisible thread. They don't call it invisible for nothing. LOL!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

He's Alive!

Last week, I was 'trying' to have a nap when DH burst into the bedroom and announced that he had something big to show me. I thought - this had better be worth waking me up! When I asked him what it was, he wouldn't tell me. Instead he handed me the binoculars. So then I thought - oh cool, it must be a moose or something neat like that! Nope. Well what the heck was so important that he woke a sleeping bear????

As I put the binoculars to my eyes, DH told me where to focus. Lo and behold, I saw just what he was talking about. It was...GEORGE!


I'm not sure if I've mentioned George before or not but he's our resident groundhog :o) He's been around for a few years now. Around dusk, we can sometimes find him grazing on the front lawn. We have no idea where he spends his winters but as soon as spring starts, he eventually shows up. We were beginning to wonder where he was and we were worried that with the flooding, he would move on.

But no, he has come back home :o) I cannot be happier! We're not exactly sure where he's living now because our neighbours put wire along the bottom of their porch and that is where he was staying last year. George is very resourceful though. I think the only reason he has lived this long beside a busy road is that he uses the underground piping system :o) We know it comes out in our ditch but we have no idea where the other end goes to. LOL!

George is not 100% cautious though. Our neighbour caught him lying in the middle of the road last summer. Maybe he was up for some excitement in his life ;o)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dick's, Thanks For The Memories

This is about a week late but here's the rundown from our Bangor trip that the girls and I took last weekend :o)

We got away at a decent time on Friday. I gave Katie and Faith Ann a little package full of goodies for the trip :o) Last year, I made each of them a reversible purse. It looks like this might become an annual event! LOL! I just realized that I never took a picture though. D'oh!

As we hit US soil, I was able to get my hands on my Coke slushy so I was set for the trip. There was a lot of gabbing going on during the drive down and I think that it worked up a good hunger. Our co-pilot, Katie, suggested Olive Garden for lunch and there was no argument from Faith Ann or me. Would you believe that we got a table right across from the one we had last year, we had the same waitress AND she screwed up our bills AGAIN! We still don't know if it was Katie or I who got the alcoholic strawberry lemonade ;o) LOL!

To walk things off, we went to Jo-Ann's and AC Moore. I stocked up on floss but I was surprised at how little I bought in the way of crafty items. Even the new Emma Ginghers didn't grab me. I did however; do well in the clothing department. That's the weird thing because I 'detest' shopping for clothes. So before we headed to the hotel, I found a pair of capri's at Old Navy and a couple of tops at LL Bean :o) A pretty good start.

Once at the hotel, we put our feet up for a bit. The girls were geared up to use the pool but there had been an "accident" and it was going to be closed for 24 hours. I really didn't want to know what the accident was :oS After we caught our breath, we headed out again and hit Border's and Dick's Sporting Goods Store. It was Ruby's Tuesday's for a late supper and I'm not kidding you but they sat us at the exact same booth as we had last year! Too funny!

The next day we had a lot of ground to cover. We went over to Brewer to the Super Wal-Mart where the girls stocked up on groceries and I got my environmental awareness t-shirt -


ROFL!!!! What's even more hilarious is that at the regular Wal-Mart later that day, I bought DH a t-shirt that says -


We'll be quite the pair :oD

The mall was next and I got a sweet outfit at New York Company. It was even sweeter with my awesome discount! I picked up a couple of pairs of Columbia pants at Dick's and this is where Katie bought her oversized weapon ;o) She bought this 15 pound bar and I'm afraid to ask if it was for exercising or to keep her DH in line. LOL! We all stocked up on yummy scents and then we shut down the Bath & Body Works registers. At least we learned we have one of their stores coming to New Brunswick! Woohoo!

Target is where I stocked up on some of my groceries. I love their Archer Farms brand. The chocolate raspberry pancakes have been a hit and I'm anxious to try out the bamboo rice :o) I was 'the' best Mom when I bought Brie her favourite bickies from Petsco, along with some bacon flavoured microwave popcorn that we have yet to try.

Before we realized it, Sunday was upon us and it was time to return home :o( We got everything organized and it was a good thing we had a minivan because it was full. We timed things just right coming back through the border. The nasty guard had just finished tearing apart a U-Haul so thankfully she wasn't ready to get lug her butt off her chair again :o)

It was a very fun weekend and my Crocs literally saved my feet. There was a bit of sleep to catch up on but all in all, it was much more relaxed than last year's trip. I'm almost caught up with my Blog reading so hopefully by Monday, I'll be leaving comments again :o)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Flood Watch Continues

It sure was a different sight when we woke up this morning!


Those are the two DEEP ditches in front of our house. DH estimates them to be about a meter and a half deep.

Here's another view of our place and all along the right hand side there is water too -


DH and I figure we should quickly put our place up for sale and advertise it as water front property ;o) We can even say we have a fish pond since we saw a fish in one of the ditches this morning! No, I'm not joking! We both saw it. It was about a foot long and DH 'thinks' it might be a Bass. SO weird!

Since our road was cut off both ways by water, DH and I decided to take a walk with the dogs this morning. Talk about a 'nice' quiet road we have now :o) This is one of our neighbours and it's almost like he's got his own little island -


This is where we are cut off further up the road -


We did witness a Jeep go through it but we didn't want to chance it with a car.

We also came across a new neighbour who is actually enjoying all the water -


I thought it was a beaver at first but it's a muskrat. They look like a beaver but they are smaller and have a long thin tail. He was having a great time.

The water levels reached 8.2 meters and have gone down a few inches where we are. They are saying that it might stay this way for a few days. The downtown area is completely flooded. Businesses have been closed and power has been shut off.

If you want an interesting site to go to, check out River Watch. It contains pictures of the flood and from the flood of 1973.

Thanks to all those that have emailed me or left comments :o) We are fine and we believe the most we would see at our place would be water in the basement or a very soggy septic field. Others are not fairing as well and I just can't imagine what they are going through. I hope this will all be over soon.