Thursday, November 30, 2006


David's father, D.R., died on Thanksgiving morning in Jackson, Mississippi.  We knew it was coming, as he had been seriously ill for some time.  But when it finally came, it was very very hard to get our minds around it.  He was such the patriarch ... a true father ... devoted husband ... strong Christian.  I loved how, when he said grace, he still said "thee" and "thou".  There were times when I could have wrung his neck, but in the next instant I loved him again.  He said he knew that I was the one for David, when we were at the beach one time, and I was patiently waiting for David to get all his stuff together.  No one was ever that patient with David, who D.R. nicknamed Uncle Harrison.  Apparently when D.R. was farming, he had a hired hand named Uncle Harrison who never did anything quickly.  David is the same way.  And I guess I had the right stuff to put up with that. 

Boy did D.R. love his grandchildren.  But he and Colin had a special bond.  We lived in Jackson for the first 8 years we were married.  When Colin was in preschool, Granddaddy used to pick him up and the two of them would go to Burger King.  Colin could get Granddaddy back on course if he took a wrong turn in the car.  One time when David wouldn't let Colin have something, Colin picked up the phone to call Granddaddy because Granddaddy would let him have it.  The other kids didn't know Granddaddy that well, because we moved away (and Granddaddy never forgave us!) but they all loved him nonetheless.  Even Melanie started singing right in the middle of the funeral (when everything was quiet, and the preacher was praying) but David said that was music to Granddaddy's ears. 

We can only rejoice that he is no longer suffering.  His blind eyes can see again, he no longer has to "stick" (his term for taking his blood sugar level) or take 10,000 pills with breakfast.  He can sit in the Big Recliner in the sky and watch his grandchildren play.  His golf swing is perfect, and the ball never slices or hooks.  The wind is perfect and the greens are smooth.  He can have grits and bacon every morning, and he won't have to eat broccoli any more.  No more "ambrosia" for dessert ... he can have the pound cake.  And he won't have to miss us any more ... he is with us all the time. 


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kazakh Dinner Party

Last night we had Mona & Jerry over, together with Dave & Jeannie, who adopted "Damir", a little boy from Melanie's group in Taldy-Korgan, and a baby boy, Mikhael.  Dave was on David's 2005 playground trip (the one Quentin went on).  Last summer Dave & Jeannie adopted twin girls from Schuchinsk, and Debi and I had a quick visit with them when we were there on our trip.  (See my trip journal - June 2006)  They were passing through town on their way to the coast, and I decided to do some Kazakh cooking.  I made "plov" ... Kazakh rice dish with carrots, garlic and beef.  David cooked lamb "shashlik" on the grill, and Mona brought an authentic Kazakh salad with carrots and daikon radish.  It was a Korean salad, which I remember getting at the Big Market in Uralsk.  The only thing missing was some "Baltika" beers, though we did have some Russian vodka.  It was great to see everyone again, and to meet the little girls (they didn't yet have custody when we saw them in Kokshetau).  (Note: they stayed in Kokshetau when adopting the girls, and drove every day to Schuchinsk, which is very small and there aren't any hotels there).

Here are some pictures of the fun.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Five Years Ago ...

...we were in Uralsk, Kazakhstan.  It had snowed that day, for the first time on our trip, and a fresh white coat had covered up all the mud and the dirt that had been so pervasive up until that point.  We looked at the snow as a good omen (although our travel partner, Donna, who was from Buffalo, thought otherwise).  We went to court, slipping and sliding along the sidewalks in the nose nipping cold.  The court proceedings started off, only to be cut short by the sound of a bulldozer right outside the window.  The judge moved us all into his chambers, where I stood and made a statement about why we wanted to adopt Lisa.  David gets all emotional when he talks, so I was nominated.  The judge saw that we had visited her for 14 days in the Baby House, and the Baby House Director testified that Lisa (then Asel) had bonded with us and that she recommended that he approve the adoption.  He did.

The afternoon was a flurry of buying flowers, assembling gifts for the Baby House staff and rushing around signing documents at various official looking places.  We finally came to the Baby House with Asel's "going home" outfit, which we turned over to her caregivers.  It was a sort of tradition that the ladies who had cared for her the first 3 years of her life would dress her for the last time, and to say their good byes.  Again, I was chosen to give a little speech to all the ladies of the Baby House.  I'm not emotional, but let me tell ya, I blubbered like a little baby.  I told them I would never let Lisa forget her first mothers.  Or her birth country.

We took Lisa back to the apartment, where we gave her a bath, washed her hair, and dressed her in her flowered nightgown.  We had a dinner of meat dumplings and fruit.  She slept with me the first night, as we had no crib, and poor David slept on the bed of nails ... er, I mean couch.  Not long after we fell asleep, I was awakened by the very loud sound of her sucking her middle two fingers.

Time flies.

Tonight we celebrated with a dinner at her favorite "dress up" restaurant, 131 Main.  Everyone was in a great mood, and a fine time was had by all.  Even her brothers were nice to her ... a small miracle.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cheesy Smile

Classic bad school picture ... I should be able to bribe her good with this when she's a teenager.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Pictures ... Maybe?

Attempting my new picture loading process with our new camera.  Wish me luck!

AHA!  I did it!!! 

Colin and Melanie are out of school today and I have a chiro. visit.  Other than that I might tackle the 100's of piles of laundry around the house. 

Short post!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Sure Happy It's Thursday

Wow, these weeks fly by.  Monday sucks, Tuesday's not so bad, Wednesday is super, (because the kids have no homework) Thursday's even better (getting close to the weekend!) and, well, we all know that Friday rocks.

We're still having remodeling people trickle in the door.  Yesterday the (beautiful) hood cabinet was installed, but that meant that some of the crown molding had to come down, and it's still down.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Some of the baseboards were installed, but no shoe molding.  We still don't have a threshold between the wood floor and the back sliding door.  The cabinet for the end of the refrigerator won't arrive until after Thanksgiving.  And of course the last coat of finish won't go on the floor until after that.  We did order chairs for the island ... I really like them ... but they won't arrive until next week.  Sheesh ... what an exercise in patience. 

I would LOVE to show pictures of the hood, but we just got a new camera and the memory card is not like the one we had before, and doesn't fit into the computer.  I know it must be something easy and "duh" but I can't figure it out.  Perhaps I should read the instructions, ya think?

Melanie has had a cold/sniffles/cough for a couple of weeks now.  I figured it would go away on its own, but yesterday I took her to the ped. and she has a full-blown ear infection.  What a putz of a mom I am!  But you know, if you take them in too early, the dr. thinks you're an overprotective mom, "What were you thinking bringing her in with just a cold?!?" and if you wait too long you get the, "What were you thinking not bringing her in sooner?" routine.  Sheesh, you can't win.  After just one dose of antibiotic she seemed better, as we didn't have the usual crying and carrying on at breakfast this morning.  She kept saying "My mouth hurts" so maybe she was confusing that sensation with her ear hurting.  40 lashes for me.

Wind in the Willows SeriesWe have a mole in our back yard.  It's so hard for me not to think of a mole as wearing a morning coat and wearing wire rimmed glasses, a la "Wind In the Willows".  I always thought they were big animals (well, he was big in the book!) but come to findout they're as small as a mouse.  But man can they do some damage to a yard!  We have a whole habitrail going on out there!  Boudreaux is earning his keep as his breed was meant to do ... digging after the mole.  But that also makes for one muddy-bearded dog (we're talking clumps of mud imbedded in his beard).  I don't think he's caught it yet.  And perhaps there isn't just one .. there's aunt moles and uncle moles and granddaddy moles.  I know they're just feasting on our smorgasboard of grubs (who will disappear when it turns cold .. if ever; it will be 78 tomorrow!) but we can't put out grub poison without killing the dog!  Oh brother, I can't go on.

I can't discuss the elections because David and I have a mixed marriage.  We just don't talk about it.  Suffice it to say that it's amazing that we even got married, as polar opposite as we are politically.  If the Democratic party calls and David answers, watch out.  If the Republican party calls and I answer, watch out.  It's a delicate balance we keep here.  The kids have decided that they are "Republicrats" ... as a result of their parents' affiliations.  We haven't tried to sway them either way, they are just making up their own minds.  As it should be, I guess.

But since this is my blog, I will put in a small "woo hoo!".

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

One More About Kazakhstan and Then I'll Shut Up

My 'Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'

By Gauhar Abdygaliyeva
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; Page A27

I'm a Muslim Kazakh woman who arrived in the United States two months ago to work on my master's in public administration. Almost every time I meet people and tell them where I come from, they ask me about the "Kazakh journalist" Borat, "the sixth most famous man" in Kazakhstan. I answer that Borat is a satirical fictional character who has nothing in common with Kazakhstan or its people.

Many of my new American friends find Borat's adventures in "US and A" hilarious and his remarks about my country amusing. Unsurprisingly, not many of the people of Kazakhstan are equally amused. So I want to tell you the inside story about Kazakhstan. And, to steal a line from Borat, please read my article, or I will be execute.


Kazakhstan is the world's ninth-largest country in land area. It is in Central Asia along the famous Silk Road, which once stretched from Venice to Beijing. We "walk on oil," but that's not the only thing we were blessed with. Our social and economic achievements in the past decade have been remarkable.

But I would rather speak of my people. I am in my mid-20s and am myself a good example of what today's Kazakhstan is about. I was the first of three children born to an average Soviet family in the year of the Moscow Olympic Games and the Oscar-winning movie "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears." My dad worked at the Space Research Institute of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences, while my mom taught computer science at the National Technical University. The tradition of education in my family, which led me to degrees in international law and business administration and now has brought me to this country, is strong in Kazakhstan. That is why its people are among the most educated in the world and have a 98 percent literacy rate.

Borat says women can now ride "inside of bus" in Kazakhstan. Actually, men and women enjoy equal opportunity, and our women are more likely to be driving the bus. Before arriving in the United States, I worked for the best local law firm and then a U.N. field mission, and I had a car and an apartment in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana.

People in Kazakhstan take pride in their ancestors, the nomadic Turkic tribes that managed to unite and retain a territory the size of Western Europe for centuries, despite their vulnerable location between the Chinese and Russian empires. For many years the mostly Sunni Muslim Kazakhs, first as part of the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union, welcomed Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Koreans, Jews, Chechens and Uighurs to their land regardless of their religious beliefs. Those people either chose to come or were deported to Kazakhstan by the communists for various reasons. At different periods my country has been affected by wars, famine and repression.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the economic turmoil brought hardship. Many of my Russian, German, Korean and Jewish friends left for their historical homelands, but many others chose to stay and build a modern, thriving Kazakhstan together. Today those troubles are a thing of the past, and our people look to the future with great optimism.

The Kazakh flag Borat uses in the movie, with an eagle soaring in the blue sky under the sun, is our symbol of independence and pride. If your eyes have ever welled up when you saw the Stars and Stripes, you will understand how we feel about it.

The "moviefilm" by Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," is playing well in American theaters. One can only applaud the humorist's talent, but the movie is entertaining only because the world is so unfamiliar with reality.

Perhaps that will change. The movie has already created unprecedented interest in Kazakhstan. Not only has Borat promoted our name and flag, he has also indirectly fueled a great wave of patriotism among my fellow citizens.

Please take an opportunity to visit us one day and hear our real language, not Borat's:

"Kazakhstanga kosh keliniz!" -- "Welcome to Kazakhstan!"

The writer is a student from Kazakhstan doing graduate work at George Washington University.

Monday, November 6, 2006

The "Real" Kazakhstan

The Real Kazakhstan
What does Borat get right and wrong about his native land?

First, a disclaimer: My wife and I recently adopted a baby girl from Kazakhstan, so my interest in researching whether Sacha Baron Cohen's new film, Borat, presents a realistic portrayal of the formerly obscure Central Asian republic is more than academic. After all, would you want your daughter associated with a urine-drinking, wife-beating, cow-punching, sister-f*cking, prostitute-ridden, anti-Semitic nation?

Having said that, I assure you I kept an open mind while doing my research. My conclusion: Borat's Kazakhstan bears little resemblance to the real Kazakhstan. Little resemblance, but not no resemblance. Here is a rundown of the many things Borat gets wrong about Kazakhstan, and the few things that he gets right.

Let's start with the man himself. Borat is not a Kazakh name (though there is a name Bolat). No one in Kazakhstan greets you with "Jagzhemash," which is most likely gibberish or mangled Polish. The official language in Kazakhstan is, not surprisingly, Kazakh, although Russian is widely spoken. Among the country's large ethnic Russian population, Russian is the only language they speak. And, oh yes, khrum is not the word for testicles, in either Russian or Kazakh.

Ethnic Kazakhs are related to the Mongols, and are direct descendants of the most famous Mongol, Genghis Khan. Kazakhs look Asian. Those in Borat's home village, however, look as if they are Eastern European. This can probably be explained by the fact that they are Eastern European. The opening scene was filmed in a village in Romania, not Kazakhstan.

Borat is a raving anti-Semite, fond of such Kazakh traditions as "The Running of the Jew." This is the characterization that most ranklesthe Kazakhs, and for good reason. When it comes to religion, Kazakhstan, a majority Muslim nation, is remarkably open and tolerant. Kazakhstan has several synagogues and diplomatic relations with Israel. Here's what the National Conference on Soviet Jewry has to say about the country:

Anti-Semitism is not prevalent in Kazakhstan and rare incidents are reported in the press. None have been reported in the last two years.

And, for the record, there is no such event as "The Running of the Jew" in Kazakhstan.

In Borat's Kazakhstan, nearly every woman is for sale. Borat's own sister was voted "number four prostitute in all of Kazakhstan," a fact of which he is evidently proud. Borat's portrayal is, of course, wildly exaggerated, but prostitution is a real problem there. In the 1990s, Kazakhstan was a big exporter of prostitutes, and human trafficking was a problem. Now, given wealth amassed from the oil boom, prostitutes are even more popular, and the country is importing them, as well. Every evening, one street in Almaty is packed with prostitutes looking for customers, and newspapers devote pages of classified ads to "massage girls."

Women's Rights
Borat portrays a country where women cannot vote or drive and are treated like property. In the real Kazakhstan, women, unlike horses, do vote and drive. They also run ministries and corporations, though they enjoy less equality than women in, say, Sweden.

In Borat's Kazakhstan, popular sports include cow punching and "shurik, where we take dogs, shoot them in a field and then have a party." In reality, Kazakhs, like most of the world, prefer soccer. But they also like horsemanship, wrestling, and, occasionally, buzkashi (literally "grabbing the dead goat"). In this popular game (a precursor to polo), players on horseback try to control the "ball"—the headless carcass of a goat or sheep. Then they have a party.

Food and Beverages
Borat claims that traditional Kazakh wine is made from fermented horse urine. I have tried Kazakh wine, and I can tell you it is definitely not made from fermented horse urine. It just tastes that way. However, Kazakhs, a nomadic people, do have a fondness for horse products. A popular dish is kazy, or smoked horsemeatsausage. Kazakhs like to drink kumyss, fermented mare's milk, which can supposedly cure anything from a cold to tuberculosis. In the country's vast steppes, people also drink shubat, fermented camel's milk. My Lonely Planet guide finds the camel's milk "less salty," but most Westerners find both drinks—how you say?—disgusting. They have the same reaction to mypalau, which is made from sheep's brain and served, eyeballs and all, to "honored" guests.

Relations With Its Neighbors
Borat takes several jabs at "assholes Uzbekistan." At one point in the film, he refers to Uzbeks as "nosy people with a bone in the middle of their brains." Disparaging comments aside, Borat is right that many Kazakhs dislike the Uzbeks, and the two nations have squabbled over territory in the past.

Borat, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, claimed that Kazakhstan's major exports are potassium, apples, and young boys to Michael Jackson's ranch. Not true. At least about the potassium and Michael Jackson. Kazakh apples are famous, and, in fact, the name of the country's commercial capital, Almaty, literally means "place with apples." Kazakhstan's main export, accounting for about half of all foreign earnings, is oil. The Tengiz oil field is one of the largest in the world.

So, what is an obscure Central Asian nation to do when faced with a satirical onslaught, not to mention a worldwide publicity campaign? At first, Kazakh officials responded the old-fashioned, Soviet way: with paranoia and thinly veiled threats, shutting down Borat's Kazakh Web site and intimating that lawyers would call. Lately, though, they've taken a more measured approach, taking out pricey ads, touting the nation as an attractive investment and a land of religious tolerance. And in the there-is-no-thing-as-bad-publicity department, a Kazakh travel company has started running tours called "Jagzhemash!!! See the Real Kazakhstan."

What will I tell people, post-Borat, when they ask me where my daughter is from? I will proudly say she is from Kazakhstan. It is niiiiice. Big country, peoplegood. People big enough to laugh at themselves. I like. You like?

Eric Weiner is author of the forthcoming book The Geography of Bliss, to be published in 2008.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Hey Borat! Don't Insult My Kid!

The adoptive parents of kids from Kazakhstan have a message for “Borat” Sagdiyev, the cartoonishly crude Central Asian character from a hot new movie mockumentary: their babies don’t hail from a country of ugly, hairy, horse-urine-swilling anti-Semites.
    “It’s completely inaccurate,” said Susan Saxon, administrative executive director of the Providence-based Kazakh Aul of the U.S. Association for American & Kazakh Families. “It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people. They don’t drink horse urine and the women are beautiful.”
    With yesterday’s release of “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” Americans are being introduced to the bristly-headed Borat, an oafish “reporter” from a backward homeland where letting women ride in a bus counts as social progress.
    Borat is played by British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Appearing in the character of Borat, Cohen recently spoke on CNN about Borat’s cross-country pursuit (in the movie) of voluptuous American sex symbol Pamela Anderson.
     “She’s unlike any Kazakh woman I had ever seen,” the Borat character said. “Pamela only had teeth that grow in the inside of her mouth and she had more hair on her head than on her back.”
    Those and other derogatory statements from Borat’s publicity blitz are upsetting parents of the once-orphaned Kazakh children.
    Amanda Clegg, 7, of College Station, Texas, burst into tears when she heard Borat go on VH1 and say Kazahkstan is not a good country for adoption. “It’s hurtful to young kids who don’t get satire,” said her mother, Susan. “She knows she’s from Kazakhstan. It’s not something we try to hide.”
    Alicia Riddell of Bar Harbor, Maine, adopted her daughter from Kazakhstan when she was 4. Now 9, the girl was at home with her family when she heard Kazakhstan mentioned on TV and ran into the room. What the girl saw next was an interview with Borat in which he said would not want to marry a Kazakh woman because they are ugly, her mother said. “She kept saying, ‘Why is he being mean to the Kazakh people?’ ” said Riddell.
    Parents of Kazakh children worry that Borat could become a lasting cultural phenomenon.

   “I think that would be hard to hear: ‘You never want to adopt from Kazakhstan,’ ”said Jill Updegraph of Boxford, who adopted her daughter, Darya, 4, from Kazakhstan in 2003. “We don’t know how it’s going to hit them at different stages of their life.”

From the Boston Herald by Laura Crimaldi

Friday, November 3, 2006

Pondering Borat

BoratEveryone is buzzing about Borat ... Letterman, Leno, Bob & Sheri (those of you who live in Charlotte).  He's all over the 'net ... and I s'pose sooner or later I should say something about him.  While I think he's hysterically funny, and that Sascha Baron Cohen has the accent down pat, on the other hand, I think it's pretty sad that from here on out, people will associate my daughters' birth country with a nutjob.  Why did Sascha Baron Cohen have to make a big joke out of a Real Country?  Why couldn't it have been a fake country like Blagovadistan or something like that?  There are thousands of kids in this country (not to mention other countries, like Spain, England, Netherlands) who were adopted from Kazakhstan.  In spite of this, very few people know where Kazakhstan is, much less that there really exists a country called Kazakhstan.  Now everyone knows about it (thanks to Borat) and thinks it is a backwards, Ugly Babushka, incestuous, drinking, sex-crazed country.  They think that Kazakhs use horses to pull their cars, that they make out with their sisters, and only have one thing on their mind: bonking Pamela Anderson.  I saw a clip from Letterman the other night, when Borat was talking about his wife.  "She's dead!" he said.  "High five! <laugh laugh>  She was boring!  At first she was exciting, but after a few years, when she turned fifteen ..."  Well, I won't go into what else was said, it's not appropriate for a family journal. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  There are so many different people in Kazakhstan.  Eurasian, Russian, German, Korean, and a beautiful mix of all of these.  Some of the women I have seen there are stunning.  Drop dead gorgeous.  Sure, there are older, overweight people (aren't there everywhere?)  but don't think that is all there is.  Even the older ladies I met (Aida's mother for one) took great care of the way they look, with fancy hairstyles and clothes you would find in Vogue.

Sure, there are some aspects of Kazakhstan that are backwards.  Technology hasn't really caught up to the rest of the world, but they are trying!  Even in the 3 years from when we first went in 2001 to 2004 when we got Melanie, things has progressed in a big way.  It won't be long.  You can't shake off the shackles of a Soviet regime overnight.  Give them time, and theywill be a world power.  You can bet on it. 

So ... help me spread the word.  Sure, Borat is funny ... we were laughing like crazy watching him on Letterman.  But he is a HUGE caricature.  Probably like a RedNeck here in the states.  Don't you think some people think we are all RedNecks and live in trailers and carry guns in our pickup trucks with the Confederate flag plastered over the back?  Kazakhstan is NOT Borat.

(My favorite radio talk show just came on -- I'm listening to it streaming on the computer -- and they have declared it to be "Borat Day".  Ugh.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Pictures from a Crappy Disposable Camera

Not the greatest quality, but I *think* you can tell who's who.

Oh yes, Halloween!

We did have Halloween last night.  Our digital camera has ceased to be, so we're waiting for the new one we ordered to show up.  Lisa chose to be a geisha, and a beautiful one she was too!  Did I hesitate for a minute, wondering if I should really be letting my 8 year old daughter dress up like a Japanese escort woman?  Yeah, yeah, I know they weren't really "prostitutes" officially, but come on, don't you think there was some extracurricular stuff going on with them?  Do you really think the men thought "Oh how well she plays the <Japanese guitar>!  Isn't she a great fan dancer?  Okay, time to go home to the wife and kids!"  Naaahhhh. 

Anyway .. Christian dressed up as an Army paratrooper, and Melanie was a little kitty cat witch.  Very cute.  Quentin stayed home with some of his buddies and watched "Dawn of the Dead".  They handed out the candy, so for the first time in a long time, David and I actually did trick or treat together!  It was fun to see all the people we haven't seen in a while (yes we went to our old neighborhood).  Melanie pooped out pretty early, and when we got home, Quentin had put her to bed and she was sacked out.

Overall a very nice evening.

Speaking of Backs...

I know, everyone hates people who complain about back pain .. something that is not visible to the outside, often used as a fake excuse, etc., etc., but heck on a stick, when it happens to you, it just plain hurts.  And it's a weird, electric shock kind of hurt, reminiscent of the way it felt when I got an epidural, only it hurts.  Pain shooting down the legs hurts.  And <hanging my head in shame> I have had several involuntary "F" words come out of my mouth, more so than usual, ha ha. 

How did it happen?  Was I in a spectacular car crash?  Lifting a 100 lb. bag of fertilizer?  Falling down a huge flight of steps?  No, nothing that exciting.  I was getting ready to get in the shower the other morning, and I lifted my shirt off over my head and ... *boing!* out went my back.  At first it's a sensation of "Oh sh*t that didn't feel good.  Doesn't hurt too bad, but wait for it ... wait for it ... NOW it hurts a LOT!"  That'll teach me to take my shirt off before I get in the shower!  Ha!

I always bend at the knees when picking up heavy objects.  Always try and do the right thing.  Bottom line is, though, according to my new chiropractor, I have a compressed disk ... L-something or other ... and I have a date to see him every day until the pain subsides.  This is day 3 and I still feel a lot of pain, even though he has folded me up like a rag doll, rolled me over until I heard a big crrr---ack and mashed on some pressure points in my skull.  I guess I still feel a little skepticism about the whole chiropractor thing, almost like they're witch doctors or something, but about a year ago I had some really bad neck pain which a (different) chiro. took care of quite well.  So I'm hopeful that this will help.  I did go to my regular doc. for a completely different issue (high cholesterol ... guess I need to cut back on those Big Macs eh?) and I mentioned the pain thing.  She gave me some honking big ibuprofen tabs., and told me to call in a week if I wasn't better and we might look into some prednisone.  Or an MRI.  Whatever.