Former, shitty GP just sent me a bill for transferring my medical records to a new doctor. This is the first time I have ever been told to pay for this, with all the different specialists, referrals and doctors I’ve seen over the years and over our many moves.
I think he’s doing it because he’s pissed off I switched, since it was obviously a response to his inability to manage chronic pain patients in any remotely helpful way.
You can be damn sure he’ll be last on my list of people who get money from me this month.

I had a billion things to do today, and actually got through half of them. I’m trying to be more productive, as over the last few weeks my ability to get things done has lapsed severely. Sessions that used to take me three days are now taking me a week and a half, and nothing has changed other than my fatigue level.
I nap most days now, too. Curtis is blaming it on initial adjustment to my new (temporary) meds and new dosing (double dose of old meds), which may be true, I’m sure as hell not enjoying the other (hopefully temporary) side effects from them – like total inability to have an orgasm. I cannot express the frustration that comes with going from a 10-per-session girl to a maybe-one-if-we-try-for-two-straight-hours girl, literally overnight. The med isn’t working that well anyway so I’m eager to get off it and just try something else. I’ve never had this side effect from a pain medication before, and I never would have blamed it had I not searched it out one day and read that it had an off-label use to treat premature ejaculation since it “delays orgasm so well”. Dude.

However, this also may be contributing to me getting more things done.

The last thing on my list is to make it to the post office to mail my 6’241* packages.

We’ve been taking walks every night after Tempest goes to bed, both in effort to get Xan to sleep and for the exercise. We have a route that takes about 40 minutes or more to complete, and 9 times out of 10 Xan is asleep by the end, although I doubt that’ll still be the case once we get to midsummer when it’s still light at 8:30pm.
Every night that we’ve walked now we pass by the same 4-6 different cats that are prowling about. We live in a suburban area, away from the main streets and it doesn’t get much traffic, so it’s pretty safe to do things like let your cat out or walk in the middle of the road. Xan has made it his mission to say “Goodnight” to each one of these neighborhood cats every evening. He’ll start calling for them as soon as we leave the house, making kissing noises and wiggling his fingers just like we do to call cats over, then he’ll wave and shout, “Nigh, nigh kitty cat!” if he catches a glimpse of one rustling about through the bushes.

This route we take brings us to the oceanside, and we get a chance to be right next to the sea for about 15 minutes of the walk. I love living by the ocean. When we were living up North, landlocked, the first time in my life I’d ever lived anywhere that was away from the sea… I was miserable. I even started missing the sound of the gulls fighting over food, and seeing trails of birdpoop around every parking lot.
I love going for these walks. We end up chatting all the way through; stories from our childhood or random trivia, dirty jokes and graphic conversations about sex that we rarely mute for other passers-by.
Eventually I’m sure we’ll have to cut the last part out once Xan gets old enough to really start listening in.

All that chance for lovely, deep conversation has also made me realize how excessively I use the phrase, “And so on and so forth”.

I have three album designs to do, possibly four. After never having anyone order albums over the last year, suddenly I have three in a month. Plus I want to do a sample album for the expo I’m doing later this year (eep).
Speaking of the expo, I am not prepared at all. I guess it doesn’t matter right now when I’m still seven months away, but I want to get a number of things set up far beforehand. I have to think hard about my layout and how I want photographs arranged. My father has offered to build anything I need for the show, and so far all I can think of is using the bifold door trick I’ve seen a number of times, and getting a faux wall with borders and wallpaper, and possibly renting a projector for the weekend to cycle through portraits from other sessions.
I need to get giant prints made so people can see them easily from the aisles, I need to get samples made up of literally every product I offer (soft cover and fine art albums, prints of various sizes, sample storyboards, canvas wraps, etc) have a schedule book ready for making bookings, have something made up for a draw and think about how to make all of this as eco-friendly as possible (like getting any extra brochures and such printed through eco-friendly companies) as “being green” is a major part of how I identify as a business.

Because literally all of this is going to be a huge loss on my part (probably over $1000) I’m hoping to find some way to make back a little bit by selling some blank cards with fine art prints on them (flowers and landscapes and such), but I also want to donate part of the proceeds to charity. I was thinking ICAN, but with the grief group just starting up, I may put he funds there instead.
… booking some sessions from this would also be a great way to get back some of the money, too.
If anyone has any suggestions, or has expo experience, feel free to share.
I’m also going to start working on a real logo. I am a graphic designer, I make logos for other people, and have even done so recently – but when it comes to myself I come up blank. I guess that’s not uncommon, that’s why people always pay professionals to do it for them. If I think about it in a more disconnected way, maybe I’ll be more successful. All my other attempts have come up with crap, mostly crap, or nothing at all.

Don’t believe everything you see on TV.
I very recently divulged the depth of my issues in an entry, and talked about methadone for pain management, and the worried notes on that entry are starting to crop up due to a recent “House” episode wherein methadone for pain management is touted as ‘more deadly than heroin’.
Don’t worry, the rumors are vastly overblown. There is a reason why heroin addicts are given methadone to get off heroin. One would hope that one of the key points is because it’s safer.

However, like any heavy painkiller, it can be dangerous when abused.
Methadone is flaunted as an extremely dangerous drug because of it’s long half-life (up to over 90 hours), so people who abuse it don’t feel it come on right away, there’s no euphoria sensation as there are with other opiates like oxycodone or percocet, and people looking for that high end up taking more… The long half life keeps it in your system, sometimes for days, so redosing in large amounts ends up in an unexpected overdose before you ever feel “high”, and in that sense it’s easy to OD.
There’s also the case every pharmacist knows, where liquid antibiotics were accidentally switched with a patient’s methadone, and then given to an infant, who died of respiratory failure some time later. Now all bottles of methadone carry a “POISON” label, and there’s a certain fear factor attached to it’s usage. Really though, a baby would be fatally overdosed on pretty much ANY adult dose of pain killers (or, most prescriptions really), regardless of what they are. This particular mix-up was due to lack of attention, and the fact that both prescriptions came as pink liquids.

For people who use it as prescribed (doses between 10 and 40mg at a time, three times a day, starting small and working up to a dose that works for their body) it’s a better painkiller than any other opiate, it’s safety is unsurpassed, and you can even mix with other painkillers and feel free to drink lightly/socially (just not heavily, as with any other CNS depressant type medication – because that’s stupid).
People who are taking it to get stoned learn quickly that you can’t – it just doesn’t work. Using it to get high can be very dangerous; like vicoden, or oxycontin, or literally any other pain killer that’s used for not-so-proper purposes. They end up taking 80mg at a time, or more, and repeat it more than once a day. That’s a fatal dose, particularly in someone who is opiate-naive. An opiate-naive person could actually overdose with as little as 40ml at a time, whereas an opiate-tolerant person would start their program on 10ml, 3x daily and work up to that dose over a period of weeks.
10ml of methadone is roughly equal to 20mg oxycodone. Would you take 160mg of oxycodone at one time, even if you wanted to get high? Hell no. Even addicts know not to do that. But, oxycodone offers a faster and more effective high, so they don’t “feel the need” to repeat the dose within a few hours – methadone gets a bad rap, being a better drug that offers you pain relief without the buzz and opiate fog, just because of the particularly moronic stoners that kill themselves because they can’t be bothered to try and find something a little safer to get buzzed off of.

Up here our system assures that every pharmacist has access to records of all your prescribed medications by computer networks, so that they can tell you immediately if any of your pills might not mix well. In the USA I hear this isn’t the case, which is why people like my great-aunt can go from doctor to doctor getting scripts for oxycodone in large amounts so she can be stoned all day long. She’s the kind of person who would probably kill themselves if they went for methadone.
Don’t be stupid: always research your medications.

I was good and productive and made it through my to-do list two days in a row. This leaves some spare time left to do some work on a personal project: actual photo albums of the kids lives.
I’m going through Blurb, which publishes great little books for personal projects and family albums (don’t use them for professional work, though – their templates are very limited and the books are not nearly high quality enough for paying clients, I use Asukabooks for client albums).
Blurb books are cheap, fast and do the job. I’ve used them once before to make a book about Xan’s first year which started as a plain photo album of him, but ended up morphing into a really personal look at our entire family’s life over Xan’s first year of life. It contained photographs of everyone (but, starring Xan) and had a lot of excepts from my journal to cover cute Tempestisms, events and stories from that year. I gave the book to Curtis’ parents as a Christmas gift in 2007, and they loved it so much they showed it to absolutely everyone… which was a little weird because a lot of the journal entries in there were quite personal.
They brought it with them when they visited last summer so I could get a look at it, since I’d had it delivered straight to them to make sure I made the Christmas shipping deadline and never got a chance to peek through it. The quality was surprisingly good for such a low cost (I think I paid around $40).

What I’m doing now really is going to be just a photo album, no text or stories – otherwise too much work and I really just want to be able to have a hard copy of all the photos from their childhood that they can easily flip through as they get older. Tempest has entered a phase where she loves looking through all of our photo albums and her baby books. Every night she picks a different one to go to bed with, and along with the Body Book mentioned a few entries back she reads through it obsessively.
So far I’ve finished Tempest’s first and second year books. They’re about 45 pages long each and contain hundreds of photos. The resolution of most of the photos is really low, so low I might end up with a lot of slightly pixelated photos, but there’s nothing I can do about that because everything I have from her first year was taken on this Oregon Scientific brand camera with a whopping 1.3 megapixels. My cheap-ass cell phone has more. Oh, how far we’ve come in such a short time.
As a cheat I used a lot of layouts that would hold 9-12 smaller images, to try and ensure they weren’t too badly pixelated. The book is only 7×7 though, so I’m not sure how easily visible the images will be. However, any larger a book and the images would be stretched too far – so I guess I’m kind of between a rock and a hard place.
The moral is: five years ago digital cameras sucked.

I have no idea what I’m going to do about the photos of the two of them together… maybe the last book (her third year) will stretch a few months past her third birthday into that October, the last of her being an only child, and from there on I’ll make the albums for both of them (IE. “Xan’s first year and Tempest’s fourth year”).
It’s a fun project and I’m glad I’m finally getting it done. I want to order them all together when it’s finished to save on cost, and I want to continue doing this until they’re both 18. I think it would be totally awesome to have 21 little 7×7 albums (Tempest’s first 3 years solo, plus 15 of them together until she’s 18 and Xan’s 15, then 3 more of only Xan until he’s 18 = 21) containing all the photos I ever took of them. I could put them all on a special shelf somewhere, just for those books and no others. How cool would that be?
I love looking through the albums of me as a child, I’m so happy my parents took so many pictures (and that they took them with a nicer camera, so the pictures are good quality and haven’t faded like so many other people’s photos from 20-30 years ago). It makes me feel special and loved. I can’t wait to do the same for my kids.
Plus, they would make an awesome thing for their future partners to look through, and to compare with when/if they have children.

I also regularly back up my journal in PDF form, and plan to one day, when they’re old enough, have it printed as a book (or a few books, probably, as it’s quite long) for them to read through.
When my mom told me stories about being a kid, even the rougher stuff, it humanized her… it made it easier for me, as an adult and a mother myself, to get through some of the more challenging times to know that every mom – including my own – goes through it, too. I hate it when parents try to convince their kids they’ve never fought, or never gone through difficult patches in their life, marriage or parenthood – it makes for screwed up kids/adults who can’t have a normal, healthy relationships until they go through a shitload of therapy (or enough life experience) to help them learn that fighting/difficulties are a normal part of any partnership and friendship.
I’d like to think that maybe reading parts of my journal where I talk openly about what our life was like would help my kids (then adults themselves) have a better perspective on the normal ups and downs of parenthood and relationships.
Plus, it’d be fun to have all those cute stories about themselves as little kids.

*Actual number of packages may be less.

Links of the Day:
Atlantis? Atlant-isn’t. – Google responds to the rumor that GoogleMaps accidentally discovered Atlantis.
One-armed host of a children’s show “Scaring children” – I cannot believe the gall of some people. Just yesterday we walked past a car with a license plate that read, “One man + one woman = love and marriage forever”. Curtis growled as he walked by, and said only half-jokingly that he felt tempted to vandalize it by writing, “= bigotry” underneath. I told him he had to learn how to not take these things as personally as he tends to; that bigots are everywhere and getting into heated arguments will just leave you more upset once you hear the depth of their hatred. Then reading things like this makes me a hypocrite because of how burned up I get. Sometimes, people are just gross.




  • Anonymous says:

    As an aside to your note on House and his use of metadone:

    I think the reason Cuddy went completely off-the-handle like that in regards to the dangers is because of House’s overzealous use of Vicodin and addictive personality.

    • admin says:

      ***HOUSE SPOILER***

      That was my opinion, too. She’s worried he’s going to abuse it the same way he does with vicodin, and admittedly it’s more dangerous to OD on because of that long half-life and the likelihood of taking too much out of impatience.

      But sometimes that doesn’t translate, and I still get the, “OMGZ METHADONE” emails/notes (I don’t write exclusively here, I cross-post everything at, which is the site I started on in ’99).

  • I am in such awe of your writing abilities…

  • alicianne3 says:

    you are amazing. i admire you(well the part of you that you share on your journal and through your photography)
    just had to say it.

  • Have you ever seen the episode of House where he deals with a small child whose mother chose not to vaccinate? I think his treatment of her would have made you see red. I’m not opposed to vaccination, and it offended me. And I still remember it, two years later. It was that bad.

    • admin says:

      Yup. About the little baby coffins?
      I wasn’t so much irked at the exchange as I was at how the mother was portrayed. The took the image of the educated mom who chooses more natural routes and turned her into a hippie flake, easily swayed by scare tactics and crap because she doesn’t know a damn thing about her own side and is clearly only doing it for “mom points”.
      Seriously, what non-vaxing mom would think a runny nose was a deadly disease (this is not to say I believe measles is deadly, btw)?

      • Very good point, now that I think of it. What I remember being bothered by was how he spun it around into her being a terrible mother. But thinking back, you’re right… part of what stung about the way he spoke to her was that she wasn’t really able to respond, because she didn’t really know much about it.

  • cmariewt says:

    like total inability to have an orgasm

    That must be ENDLESSLY frustrating!!

    My mom takes methadone for pain management. It has almost literally saved her life.

    Oh, I have to check out that blurb site when I get home. It looks like a great idea for my sister in law.

  • For the grandparents for Christmas I used “Mypublisher” to do a photo book of Rylan’s first year, and I was really impressed with the way it turned out. I think I will do one every year, since I haven’t been able to keep up with scrapbooking or even printing out photos regularly to put in an album. I love your idea of doing a photobook of every year of their lives… They’ll REALLY appreicate it as they get older!

  • I had methadone when I was in the hospital and I loved it.

  • picklebits says:

    I was really upset with the way House portrayed methadone treatment. It is a good alternative for chronic pain when managed correctly. I have assisted many women who have been on methadone while pregnant and are now breastfeeding.

    Not that I would suggest this to be the best alternative for pregnant women, but it works.

  • aliastaken says:

    Last year a doctor’s office tried to charge me two dollars per page for my medical records. They claimed that they didn’t do their own copies- they used a service, and that was the fee. Fortunately for me, I had only seen the doctor there twice and was switching for a reason, so I just bagged the whole thing.

    Re: methadone. We had a boy overdose (accidentally by all accounts) last year. The kids at our local high school have been buying it outside of methadone clinics, looking for a cheap high. Apparently this kid bought a quantity to split with his buddy. When his buddy had to work that night, he drank the whole amount and died ‘in his sleep’.

    • admin says:

      That’s really said, but damn. I’ve heard so much of the same when it comes to drugs, someone just taking a whole load meant to be split or popping more to “keep” the high and they all end up dead.

  • Logo design?? I really need to get one done for my little store. How much do you charge?

    • admin says:

      I’m not really taking clients for anything but photography right now, because I can’t take the workload. πŸ™
      But you can find some really reasonable logo design at Check out their forums for examples on what they do, it’s perfect for small businesses and they’re very reasonably priced.

  • the_lissa says:

    When I went to the U.S., Is aw a bunch of bumper stickers like that, so I took a picture. I haven’t seen any here.

    You should check into the legality of that doctor charging you. I know it is illegal here to do that.

  • i just recently interviewed a fellow photographer about making a blurb book. he’s a master printer, and went through a very fastidious and thorough process (i think four “test” blurbs) before settling on what he is satisfied with to maximize the printing workflow through blurb. he very kindly wrote down his process notes on his website , and specializes in black-and-white. maybe this could be of help to you if you do another blurb book.

    • admin says:

      If it works for him, that’s cool – but I honestly can’t imagine using them for people like wedding clients… who expect significant quality. They just can’t be compared to printers like Flushmount or Asukabook EX albums.
      In your interview he says, “With Blurb I don’t have to be famous” and that is true, which is exactly why you won’t find many photographers using it for clients. Anyone can sign up with Blurb, and their quality is nice but it honestly does reflect that.
      Whereas being able to access the pricing list and upload area of companies like Asukabook, Bon Match and Renaissance requires that you go through a process to be “proved” that you’re a professional. This is to protect the photographer from clients reading all the pricing info (as most don’t factor in the many hours a custom design process takes and will only see an ‘inflated price’) and protect them – they work for a specific market only, and that’s about 90% wedding photographers, 10% portrait or senior.

      Once you’ve seen, held and flipped through books from Blurb vs. books from a printing company like Asukabook… you’d see exactly why they’re #1. πŸ™‚

  • j_lew says:

    I had that side effect with a pain med for arthritis in my neck, it did go after a few weeks though, but god what an awful feeling, by the time Id had an orgasm I felt as if Id run a bloody marathon.

  • bluealoe says:

    It’s so funny to me to read about you loving the ocean so much. It makes sense since you grew up by the ocean. But since I don’t have that kind of connection, the idea of missing the ocean just doesn’t register. Though if I had to live away from rivers and lakes, I’d probably go crazy, Just depends on what you’re used to, I guess.

    Good luck on the expo! It sounds like a good opportunity, though expensive. =/

    The methadone: You’re probably the most well-informed chronic pain patient out there, plus you are a research goddess. I think you can be trusted to take methadone safely. πŸ™‚

    Heh, up until last year I had a 3 megapixel digital camera, bought in 2003. My new camera is…five megapixels, I think. It works fine for my purposes. πŸ™‚

    After my dad died, my sister made a photo book with pictures and a few stories about Dad (through Shutterfly, I believe). Now Aidan asks for the “Grandpa Pete book” almost every day. It’s nice he’s getting to know his grandpa through the pictures.
    When I was younger, my mom made a collage of photos for every year. We have them from when my sister was born up until I was about twelve. Then she kinda stopped, I don’t know why. But the finished collages are still hanging in the hallway. (However, there are very few photos of my dad with me as a baby. I don’t know why, and it’s a little sad.)

  • I cringe watching shows like house and ER(I’m a nurse).
    Methadone is bad when used wrong, like any other drug. It’s used for pain control in premature babies. They tried me on it as a teen for migraines(before all the awesome things like imitrex), unfortunately I have a severe allergic reaction. I’ve seen it work wonders though.

  • the photo books are a great idea!! how do you back up your LJ in pdf? I seriously need to do this!

  • gerimaple says:

    Not to attempt to make your shitty ex-doc look like any less of a prick, but AFAIK most GP’s offices are making some sort of fee for records transfer these days, claiming it’s an administrative fee covering the time their office people spend preparing and shipping the records πŸ™ Guess it’s one of their ways of getting around the “no extra billing by doctors” rule.

    • admin says:

      I’ve definitely heard of it before. I know most walk-in clinics do that (and/or charge you for ‘over 10 minute visits’) but I’ve NEVER run into it before with all the transferring I’ve done. So, it seems odd that the first time it happens is immediately after I dump my egocentric doctor.

  • ppplmgwiw says:

    I love the idea of those books.

    Also: how do you back up your journal? I’ve heard of this before but never paid attention to the details…

  • Yes Yes Yes! So great you understand how precious photographs and journal entries can be. “humanizing”.

    When I took my CPR class a few weeks ago, the teacher immediately told us to forget all the the crap weve seen on House and ER

    • admin says:

      Haha! When I was taking ambulance courses those shows weren’t on, but I did learn enough to know that those dramas were mostly bullshitted. πŸ˜‰
      That made me realize how lapsed my certificates are…

      Apparently all the writers and/or actors of those dramas had to take “nine weeks” of med school or something? I can’t remember where I read that, maybe TVguide back when that actually mattered. Clearly it wasn’t enough.
      I mean, the show is great, but most everything is exaggerated for dramatic effect.

  • One man + one woman = love and marriage forever

    Haha. Because it works out that way so often, right? 50% divorce rates say otherwise…

  • gardenmama says:

    I miss going for walks with my hubby. That comprised the majority of our courtship and first eight years of our marriage – nightly walks and talking πŸ™‚

  • _tzigane says:

    My dad has one arm. Gee, I guess that explains why I’m so messed up *rolls eyes*

    • admin says:

      OMGZ! That means your parents would have had to talk about “difficult issues before you were ready”. How did you ever survive?!

      You know, it sucks that Tempest has experienced so much death around her (Jericho, our cats) at such an early age and yeah, as a result she fears death probably more than other 5 year olds… but it’s also a part of LIFE, you know? This whole idea of sheltering children from nature because you need to “let kids be kids” is such bullshit.
      It’s the same excuse parents give to stuff their child full of sugar and make the Santa myth live on. You know what? Kids ARE kids – they have fun no matter what (well, barring extreme exceptions – I mean clearly your childhood must have been fucked if your dad only had one arm). They don’t need sugar and the tooth fairy for that.

  • Hmm, those books sound like a good idea for digital prints… might have to look into that.

    and re: one armed host – I doubt kids even notice she is missing part of her arm. Or they will say “Hey mum, why is that girl missing part of her arm?” and the mom will be “Oh, she was born that way!” and the kid will be “Oh, okay” and never even think about it again. People are freaking dumb.

    • Quite honestly, I had a one-armed swim instructor when I was about 5, and it really freaked me out when she put her stump on my kickboard.

      I have no doubt that kids will notice, and I don’t doubt that some may be bothered by it. That’s not to say I think it’s a bad thing. It’s possible that if I’d had the less personal exposure of a TV show host before meeting my swim instructor, it wouldn’t have had quite such an impact on me.

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