Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where to get help with medication costs!

Between the cost of ra prescriptions and the copays, we have little if any money left at the end of the month. And that's for folks with insurance! For the poor souls without insurance, the cost of ra is overwhelming.

Here are some online resources to hopefully help you…

"What is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance???
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them. Many will get their medications free or nearly free.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance will help you find the program that’s right for you, free of charge. Remember, you will never be asked for money by a PPA Call Center representative, or on this Web site."
"Patient assistance programs are run by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medicine. RxAssist offers a comprehensive database of these patient assistance programs, as well as practical tools, news, and articles so that health care professionals and patients can find the information they need. All in one place."
This next website seems more specific to mental illness medications; however, at the bottom is a list of all pharmaceutical companies with their corresponding phone numbers and websites. Two things…many ra patients are also treated for depression and might need assistance with these types of medications and we all need to contact our specific medication manufacturers directly to see if they offer assistance programs for our specific ra medications.
"Patient Prescription Drug Assistance Programs
Free or low-cost medications provided by pharmaceutical companies
Some pharmaceutical companies offer medication assistance programs to low-income individuals and families. These programs typically require a doctor’s consent and proof of financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance, or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance. Please contact the pharmaceutical company directly for specific eligibility requirements and application information."
Needy Meds - They also has a link to find medical clinics in each state that operate on a sliding scale. 
"Welcome! NeedyMeds is an online information resource of programs that provide assistance to people who are unable to afford their medications and health care costs.
Please note that we do not run any assistance programs, we do not have a NeedyMeds application, and we do not supply medicine or financial assistance. We do maintain current information about many sources of assistance that anyone can use without registering or entering any personal data.
All of our information is provided at no cost and is updated daily. All of the program information can be accessed from the links on the left-hand menu."
In addition About has some great resources on how to reduce your medication costs if you have to pay out of pocket for your medicine. I suggest you read the articles for full details.
A few of the About strategies include:
  • First, speak with your doctor
  • Generic medications
  • Shop around pharmacies in your area.
  • Shop for generics at "Big Box" stores.
  • Stick to the no-name brand when buying an over-the-counter (OTC).
  • Learn about pill splitting.
  • Go postal and buy thru the mail.
  • Buy medications online.
  • Choose your health plan wisely.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a cheaper alternative.

If you have any additional resources or suggestions that you have successfully used to cut your prescription drug costs, do share. The more the merrier!

Further Reading on the Internet:
7 Blockbuster Patents Expire Soon

Further reading on ABCS of RA:
My Wish List of Medical Tests
Adverse Reporting System...A Dirty Little Secret!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blog Party-At The Pool!

Pull up a chair! Pull up your towel if you dare (thought I would get a smile from you  on that one) and enjoy the second in the series…Blog Party - At The Pool!

Crank up the music…hit the play arrow and take a splash into the cool waters of the blog world. I have found these blogs to be refreshing and heartwarming. Jump on in!

Spotlight on ME: Can You Say Similar?

Thanks so much to Lyda at I Don't Know.....It's a Mystery for spotlighting me on her blog today.  It is a huge privilege to be a part of her blog.  I was drawn to her blog due to her rheumatoid arthritis and paleo style of eating and have grown to love everything about her.  We definitely do share a lot of things in common which is why I love visiting her blog.  If you haven't discovered her blog yet, be sure to check it out.  It is full of optimism, something I can't get enough of everyday.   Thanks for giving me a good supply Lyda!

My Nightshade Experiment

This is a post that I have been planning on writing for some time.  Around February of this year, I started experimenting with a nightshade plan.  Vegetables are part of a healthy diet, however "nightshade vegetables" contain alkaloids which can impact nerve-muscle and digestive functions. In addition, they can also compromise joint function.  Nightshade vegetables are in the Solanaceae family of plants. Among the most common, there are some 2800 nightshades, are tomato, potato, eggplant, and peppers of all kinds, except black pepper. Tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, Tabasco sauce  and tobacco are also classified as nightshade foods.

Wendy Bird

Running, Where We Actually Get A's for Effort

"Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best."

**H. Jackson Brown, Jr. **
       When non-runners look at the running world, they see the leaders like Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher eating up the roads at magnificent speeds and appreciate the skill, determination, and work that has gone into those hard won miles. Runners see the same things, but it extends much further. Anyone that has been part of the larger running community, like participating in local 5K charity races either as runners or volunteers, knows the blood sweat and tears that can go into the finishing chute with the average Joe long after the Ryan’s and Kara’s are gone. 

A scrumptious day the anti-inflammatory way!

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a fun challenge for me in the kitchen.  I enjoy changing recipes and experimenting with spices and ingredients that take a dish to the anti-inflammatory side.  Sometimes its a win and sometimes....well not so much.

Here is a day full of "wins."


Climbing through it

Went to Costco yesterday and found two thick, fluffy, memory foam pillows for my bed. Since my camp-out at Mom’s house became permanent, I’ve added a thick memory foam pad to the guest bed. It has helped a lot in the long, painful night department. Pillows of the same material, I figured, could only be good.
I was right. I felt enveloped in softness from head to toe when I crawled into bed last night. All of my body’s painful pressure points disappeared. I fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep all night. It was absolutely lovely.

ABCS's of RA further reading:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My RA Bathroom...Splish...Splash!

I love to pamper myself and I believe that our bathroom needs to be one of the most luxurious places we can afford. But, as we all know, reality sets in and I am left with the realization that although my bathroom is not a spa retreat, I do the best I can to make it work.

I have come up with a hit list of things I would like to have done to our bathrooms but because some of my items will be expensive, safety items will take precedence.

So for ra's sake, we need the following in our bathroom:

  • grab bar in the shower and/or tub area
  • grab bar near the toilet if you need one
  • good non slip surface on the bottom of the tub or shower
  • bath stool to put in the shower/tub to use while showering
  • hand held shower to use while seated
  • scrub brush with long handle for our back and/or feet
  • pumps on all items we use-there is nothing worse than fighting with containers while having to shower (figure out a way to put them in a pump dispenser). I have even been considering trying that new Lysol dispenser which is hands free or I might try one of those wall mounted dispensers for the tub area
  • raised toilet seat if you need one and/or soft toilet seat if this would help make it easier on your joints
  • 1 Handle faucet for the sink- the two handle versions require too many twists for our ra wrists in my opinion.
  • Good lighting in all areas

Non essential elements of luxury:
  • heated floor
  • heated towel bar to warm towels or bathrobe
  • self flush toilet unless you have a kitty in which case you might want to leave well enough alone

Handy Dandy tools of the ra trade:
  • blow dryer stand for hands free blow drying (I don't use a blow dryer any longer but many of you still do)
  • large handled items for hair care or you can wrap a wash cloth around the handle with a rubber band to make them easier to grip and this includes your toothbrush
  • chair in the area where you do your makeup and hair
  • hands free toothpaste dispenser or consider the pump type toothpaste
  • tooth floss pics (if you have caps or partials be careful with these..the floss may get stuck and you will have no way to pull the floss out like you can with regular dental floss)

The Vital Extras For those of you lucky enough to get down in a tub

  • music to relax you
  • candles with your favorite scents
  • a bottle of wine if you can drink

And for me, I have to have my best bud...

If you have any other ideas to make our ra bathrooms friendly and usable, please comment as I know we will all appreciate your suggestions.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Many Faces of My RA

I love taking pictures!  It gives me something to focus on other than achy joints, it is a form of exercise in my book and best of all a form of relaxation for me.

I take pictures of pretty much anything and everything.  As I started to look back through my photos, I realized that my pictures remind me of my ra.  The many faces of my ra.

Some days I feel like I am so aged and stiff...
Some days I feel like I can smile but I am stuck in one spot...
Some days I feel confident and I can look forward to the future...
Some days I feel mad but never, never want to ask why?
Other days I feel like going outside with my friends...
Sometimes I feel mischievous like a kid inside...
But most often I feel ok in my ra world...

Friday, July 15, 2011

IAAM is having a fundraising art auction July 16-18th

Mark your calendars and try to attend...

The International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM)started as The 'Buckle Me Up" Movement in 2009, created as a way to raise awareness by rebranding the face of 'arthritis' with young and trendy jewelry.  In just a month, the word of this rebranding went International and the need for global awareness became apparent.  On May 7th, 2011 (ironically also the 40th birthday of the Founder and CEO) notification was received that, what is now called the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, official 501c3 nonprofit status was granted. This weekend marks their first fundraiser, using donations to fund the start up costs necessary to get this nonprofit up and running!

For more information or to learn on how to participate in the auction go HERE

To learn more about IAAM, the history and their initiatives, and to find the link to the LIVE Auction, please visit

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

I have so many interesting tid bits of things I come across all the time that I decided I am going to create a reoccurring blog post entitled: Everything but the Kitchen Sink!  This way I can put all my tidbits into this area and share them with you all in one post rather than try to post them hither and yonder.

And as you might expect, you will find a mish mosh of all kinds of things that I just want to share.

So here goes...

A facebook friend, Jackie Pardoe had this on her home page and I found it fascinating. It is an instructional video on no dig gardening. To me it was great for a number of reasons but the first being I don't have to dig to make a garden and I can pretty much do this anywhere including on top of pre-existing grass.

Next up is something I have been considering but unfortunately since I have severe allergies to many antibiotics, I am a little hesitant. It is called antibiotic protocol for autoimmune illnesses. I do know that this process takes up to two years and that you would need to find a doctor that is familiar with this protocol should you be interested in pursuing this type of treatment for your ra.  I have never tried this treatment myself but do know one ra lady currently trying this therapy for her ra.

You have reached a unique resource. The Road Back Foundation's (RBF) Website includes information and support regarding an important and often overlooked treatment option for rheumatic and related diseases. The particular focus here is antibiotic therapy, proven safe and effective in NIH-sponsored clinical trials.  Thousands of patients have reported successfully using antibiotics for conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, dermatomyositis, ankylosing spondylitis, Lyme disease, Reiter's syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis.  Results of an international survey of patients documented dramatic results including relief of pain, the lessening of swollen joints and an overall successful return of  quality of life.*

Next is a topic that I know is near and dear to several bloggers, the anti-inflammatory diet:

Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Pyramid

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips
anti inflammatory diet diet tips the wellness diet
It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses - including heart disease, many cancers, andAlzheimer's disease. We all know inflammation on the surface of the body as local redness, heat, swelling and pain. It is the cornerstone of the body's healing response, bringing more nourishment and more immune activity to a site of injury or infection. But when inflammation persists or serves no purpose, it damages the body and causes illness. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like secondhand tobacco smoke) can all contribute to such chronic inflammation, but dietary choices play a big role as well. Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing long-term disease risks. (Find more details on the mechanics of the inflammation process and the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.)

And last for this month's feature is a website that I think we should all bookmark. It is a website that was given to me from a friend on facebook. It is entitled Adverse Drug Reporting. What I found fascinating about this website is that it lists all the adverse reports on medications world wide. I am NOT trying to scare anyone but I for one would like to know what others have experienced while taking some of the medications I have taken and could not continue. For one, it reassures me that I am not nuts and two, it allows me to research any prospective future medications should I be so inclined. You do with it what you want... - Drug side effects reported by patients

Keeping my eyes crossed for a pain free week ahead for all of us!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pressure Cooker: ABC's of RA and barometric pressure

The weather is a changing and I know.  I would know if my eyes were closed, my ears blocked from hearing….my joints just seem to know. So as the weather here in southeastern NC begins to rumble and roll….my joints begin to ache. 

It is like a clock for me but one that I have yet to completely understand how to read.  I do know that when I lived in sunny southern California where the weather tends to be more stable, my joint pain didn't fluctuate as much. But this isn't to say that sunny California is a place we should all take up residency in.  

That is where I was first diagnosed with ra and where for 1 1/2 years straight my joints screamed constantly.  Oh well…so much for that theory.  But on the flip side, when I have visited California, I do notice my joints don't flip/flop with the weather as much. Could be a placebo effect but I do enjoy the reprieve when I get it.  My Mom always told me, "Never look a gift horse in the mouth." So I don't.  Could be because I always believed and wanted to reply but didn't, "Because she will bite you. Right?"

Medicine Net seemed to have the best overall review of this topic:
"First, there hasn't been much real research science. In 1961, a famous arthritis specialist, J. Hollander M.D., conducted a study in which he built a climate chamber and demonstrated that high humidity combined with low barometric pressure were associated with increased joint pain and stiffness. Neither weather factor by itself seemed to influence joint symptoms. The study has been criticized because of the limited number of patients evaluated (12 patients). The theory of the study is that inflamed joints swell as the barometric pressure drops. This swelling irritates the nerves around the joints that sense pain and causes more stiffness."

And looking out on the great Internet there isn't much more scientific research that has been done on this topic. So I am left to my own non-scientific evaluation to try and come up with what do I feel when the weather changes, particularly wet, hot, stormy weather.

Not very good is all I can say!

And from Medicine Net Directly:
"The bottom line is that while the exact cause(s) of the activation of arthritis symptoms may not yet be scientifically understood, each patient must make lifestyle and/or medication adjustments according to the particular weather conditions that they note influence their symptoms."

Does this mean I am due another vacation trip to check out my hypothesis?

Further reading if you are interested:
Full article on Medicine Net: Whether Weather Affects Arthritis

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A perplexing problem...The Girls!

Not my ears but "my girls" sure do!!
Please enjoy the music as you read :-)

I have two of these, the girls is my nickname for them. They are rather large in size and currently are causing me a hefty say the least. Over the years I have been googled at due to the girls, whistled at too, and even jeered at by envious onlookers. Personally I would have gladly given "the girls" away.

Currently, the girls are causing me great problems. One because they are rather large and they are weighing on my achy ra ribs and back. And I have had one heck of a time trying to corral them also. They are forever out there roaming about freely like no ones business.  I really believe I should have to carry a weapon's license...I mean really they could do that much damage when they are flapping around.

Well, in any case, I am now trying to figure out what in the world can painlessly cage the girls. I have tried just about everything on the market out there and very few things have worked without causing great pain in my rib cage. By now, I am hoping you realize what I am talking about when I refer to "the girls". Call me old fashion or whatever but that is my name for "them".

So far, I have found through a dear friend's recommendation one bra that works great for the daytime. It comes in larger sizes too. And the most important thing to me is it doesn't have an under wire. Whoever came up with that invention should be tared and feathered and then forced to wear an under wire bra for the remainder of their days. Fair punishment in my ra book.

I have no doubt I have ra in my ribcage. But...even prior to my ra days, I was NOT one for under wire bras. They just cut off my circulation and I was a fit 130 lbs. back in dem dar days.

Anyway...back to taming "the girls".  What I am looking for would come in cotton, have NO under wire thank you very much, wider straps, and maybe...just maybe come in something more fashionable then white, beige or black. Yes, I have seen the nursing bras and I am considering trying one of those. But why? I am not nursing anything but sore ribs and shoulders. Why on this green earth can't someone design a comfortable bra for larger "girls" made out of cotton? Or maybe I will forever be left to wear my now (mind you it took me 13 years to find these...thank you Cathy for your recommendation) Playtex 18 hour exercise bras.

The girls are forcing me to harness them even in my sleep and it is for this reason I am looking for a cotton based pen for them.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Oh yeah...did I mention that "The girls" have graduated to a DD.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Wish List of Medical Tests

She's nuts! That is probably what you are thinking. Or maybe, she wants to run up my medical expenses. Nope to both counts!

My wish list of medical tests is a list I would have each and every one of us undergo to ensure we stay as healthy as possible.  Of course this wish list will depend on what medications you are taking, your age to some extent, and other conditions that you have that are not ra. But in my non medical opinion (as you know I don't hold a medical degree...a BS in Business...yes but no medical degree) this list would help to ensure that we continue to stay healthy and to help monitor for possible side effects from the ra medications we are taking. I say possible here because when one reads all the literature out there on DMRADS, one can become scared and not want to take these medications. RA is a serious long term disease that can possibly damage us permanently. These medications may be necessary to curtail this disease.

And for good measure, I added a newbie test list for those of you trying to figure out  if you have ra.

Newbie Test Wish List:
Lyme Disease Test (if you live in an area with ticks - this test should be done as this disease can mimic ra)
CBC (Complete Blood Count)
CCP (RF or rheumatoid factor test is the old test and this one should be used instead - in my humble non medical opinion that is)
CRP and/or ESR (I prefer the CRP one myself)
ANA (although a positive test result on this one won't narrow down too much by itself)
TSH (thyroid test as a thyroid that isn't functioning properly can come with joint pain, fatigue, etc. or mimic ra to some extent)
Base Line Xray(s) of impacted joints

WebMD has a pretty good overview of these tests and a few more but does not mention testing for Lyme disease or the thyroid testing . You may want to rule out Lyme disease if you live in an area with ticks...just to be on the safe side. Plus if this disease is not treated early it can cause a host of life long complications and it is treated with antibiotics. Why suffer if a simple blood test could help? And of course I am wishing for the thyroid screening because symptoms of an improperly functioning thyroid can mimic ra.

No wonder doctors have such a hard time trying to figure out what is wrong with new patients. It's alot to unravel and it can take time. The thing for you to remember is PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN! You need to keep on until you find out what is wrong with you. And I am sure that this wish test list is not an end all. If you have a good doctor, they will also do an examination and should do a detailed medical history on you. Combining all of it will hopefully unravel what you might have and if not...keep on. Don't let your doctor just hand you a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. Having an auto-immune disorder WILL require more then just this! This is your life you are fighting for, your ability to function, and your sanity at times. Stay strong! And if you can't, get yourself a friend or close family member you trust to help you in this process.

Two of my favorite bloggers are: Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy who has a great 60 second guide to RA and RAWarrior. She has a wonderful post about the newly diagnosed and initial tests.

And for those of us who have been given an autoimmune diagnosis of ra and are currently on the path to maintenance, this is my test wish list:

Ra Diagnosis (or seronegative diagnosis)
First and foremost I think we all need to have a Vitamin D level test done. For some reason this vitamin is lacking in alot of us. More and more I am hearing how once this test is done, the patient is low in vitamin D. Why? I don't know. Like I said I am not a researcher or a doctor just an everyday human trying to make my way through this ra journey. But I do have my suspicions. I think our bodies are somehow attacking whatever organ or system maintains vitamin D and this is why we are lacking. But this is just my humble opinion only. Wish some researchers would research this theory though :-)

And two other tests I would wish for: bone density and thyroid screening for all long standing ra patients. And I would love for all of us to see a cardiologist and pulmonologist to be sure we are free of heart problems and lung problems. RA has been known to attack both these areas and these areas are not often watched carefully by our docs. In addition it would be wonderful to see a naturopathic doctor as well. Unfortunately most insurances will not cover a naturopathic doctor but since I am wishing...I wish that was covered too!

This list will be broken down by medication and I hope that you will see why I want this wish list. Almost all of my wish tests are a direct result of possible side effects. Why you may ask? Well I have this motto...better safe than sorry. We must be vigilant when using DMRADS (disease modifying rheumatoid arthritis drugs - what a mouthful). These are potent medications that almost always must be taken (not to cure) to decrease the attack going on in our bodies.  We will most likely be on these medications for the rest of our lives. And hopefully that will be a long, long time. So to ensure that we are monitoring our health properly, I have my wish test list.

Prednisone -  only if this medication is used on a consistent basis should one be concerned with the following tests: bone density test (DEXA Scan), blood pressure monitoring, eye exam to watch for cataracts, and monitoring of blood sugar levels. And let us not forget, calcium and vitamin D level test.

plaquenil - eye test before you start this medication and on a regular basis as recommended by your doctor (you will need to see an optomologist for the correct eye screening). Two decent sites to read up on: plaquenil and eye tests (see an optomologist regularly). 

methotrexate - baseline lung xray (this should be done before you start the medication), liver chemistry, and CBC (Complete Blood Count). I would also like to see regular followup on a patients lungs if they stay on this medication. I would love for methotrexate users to be watched by a pulmonologist (a doc that specializes in the lungs). Chances are you won't get a referral to this specialist unless you develop problems, so at the very sure your rheumatologist looks out for your lungs while on this medication. And if you have any breathing difficulties, experience any asthma type symptoms...ask for a chest xray. If you are having great results with this medication but are experiencing a lot of stomach upset, talk with your rheumatologist about switching to the injectable form of this medication. 

Sulfasalazine - Liver panel, CBC and if you do show anemia, the John Hopkins mentions a test for "a deficiency of the enzyme glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) which may predispose patients to red blood cell hemolysis and anemia".

Leflunomide or Arava - Liver panel (hepatic panel) and CBC. Again, if you are experiencing alot of stomach upset, you should talk with your doctor about what can be done to help you.

TNF - Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors 
Etanercept or Enbrel - TB test before you start Enbrel.  CBC before you start Enbrel. Hepatitis B test. Liver Screening. Screening by a dermatologist before you start Enbrel (from the Enbrel website: "Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) have been reported in patients treated with TNF blockers, including ENBREL. Periodic skin examinations should be considered for all patients at increased risk for skin cancer.") And if you have ever had any type of cancer, I would talk with your specific cancer doctor about the use of tnf medications and if they are appropriate to you and your specific cancer history. And be vigilant on age and gender specific cancer screenings: breast, prostrate, ovarian, and colorectal. And if you have any history of heart disease or COPD in your family or have experienced any heart issues, seek the consultation of a cardiologist.

Adalimumab or Humira - Same tests as for Enbrel.

Infliximab or Remicade - Same tests as for Enbrel.

Abatacept or Orencia - Same tests as for Enbrel.

Rituximab or Rituxan - This medication is taken along with methotrexate. My wish list tests would include the tests above for methotrexate and those for Enbrel.

Anakinra or Kineret - CBC to monitor for infections.

Gold injections - According to Medicine net "Your doctor will be closely monitoring certain lab tests (e.g., white blood cells, platelets) before you start therapy and before each injection. It is important that you keep all medical/lab appointments." 

Azathioprine or Imuran - Same tests as for Enbrel. According to the John Hopkins website: "Screening for levels of the enzyme thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) is recommended before initiating therapy with azathioprine.  Certain individuals have deficiencies in this enzyme that metabolizes azathioprine with a concomitantly increased risk of toxicitiy for the medication. "

This list is just a test wish list that as an empowered patient you can talk with your rheumatologist about and other specialists that you may want to include in your healthcare team to monitor your health. And by all means if you are experiencing something that is not normal for you, do report it to your rheumatologist. Every person experiences medications differently and just because the side effect isn't listed somewhere, doesn't mean you shouldn't report it to your doctor.

I want you to improve your life which means containing your ra. I know there are no cures...yet. But hopefully this wish list of mine will keep you healthier and give you a heads up of things to keep an eye on. And do, by all means, inform any other specialist that might be caring for you of medication changes or proposed medication changes. For example if you are seeing a pulmanologist, cardiologist, or under the care of a doctor for any previous to them before you start any new medication for ra. Often a medication may not be advisible by another doctor treating you for something other then your ra. Be sure your doctors are talking to one another or do the talking yourself if your team doesn't want to play together.

And while I am at this wishing thing...anyone out there know of a fairy Godmother I can put into action to sprinkle fairy dust on all of us so that we can sprout wings and fly.  Nevermind...I'll just go find a medication that has this side effect...just kidding.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Fourth!!

I am wishing all of you a very Happy and Enjoyable Fourth of July!!

What I want most for all of us is a pain free fourth of July weekend. I just wanted to pass on some of my ABC's of how to party the ra way.

No one must have a barbecue for the fourth although this tends to be the biggest barbecue day of the year. You can always do a pick up of food, use paper plates and have a wonderful fourth of July this way.  Or you can take your fourth celebration on the road and eat at a park, the beach, or even out if you can find a restaurant open. We must be flexible with ra and part of that flexibility is being willing to change how we did things in the past.

But if you are hosting the barbecue this year...

Paper It! Buy all your serving things at the store for this holiday. Please don't try to fancy it up with regular china. Everyone will enjoy themselves eating off of paper products. And if you are a greenie like me...use the ones that are more environmentally friendly.

Buy Store Sides! Yes, I know how wonderful Gramma's coleslaw recipe tastes, how Aunt Betty's potato salad is your favorite and she won't be here this year....give out. Save your energy for your guests. And let someone else do the shopping for the groceries if you can. That is why we have grocery lists.

Or better yet, have every guest bring a dish with them. Your family can do the meat only and the rest of the guests can bring all the other sides and desserts. You can even ask them to bring those heavy drinks. You will just need to provide an ice chest with ice. Maybe someone can even bring the ice. I avoid all things heavy if I can.

Keep It Simple! You know me...I love KISSing things up, so of course I am going to KISS up the fourth. I am even wearing nice red lipstick for this KISS occasion. If you are hosting the party this year (Best if you are a guest in my book), keep it simple. I find that if I just add music, the party is on!

Divvy up the prep among as many people as possible. If you have other family members in your home, assign them jobs to do. And remember that this is suppose to be fun. Don't worry about cleaning all the nooks and crannies in your home....hopefully the party will be outside. One of my favorite tricks is to close all the doors to rooms that will not be used. That cuts down cleaning to a minimum. And assign the few rooms left to other family members to spruce up.

The most important thing to remember this fourth is that this is a celebration of independance. Declare your independance this fourth from your old way of doing things and try something more ra friendly!  Even if that means staying in, eating bought food and watching the fireworks on tv.

Have a wonderful fourth of July. And for my US readers, I would love your comments on how you plan on making this fourth more ra friendly.  For my readers that aren't in the US...I challenge you to try one new ra friendly thing this weekend and let us know how you celebrated your new found independance.