Monday, October 31, 2005

Little Pre-Halloween Fun

Last night was almost a complete washout! Yumi and Dan picked me up and we were excited to do the salmon corn maze in Snohomish, WA. I forgot that with the fall back time change that it would get dark out an hour earlier but I had my hiking stick, head lamp, and I could always hold on to someone's arm if need be.

When we got there the entrance was all lit up but not many cars as it had started to rain. We were still prepared to go however as Yumi and I wore our rain jackets and waterproof shoes and Dan brought his umbrella.

While I was in the bathroom Yumi and Dan inquired about the presence of a map for the maze. Upon my return Dan was frantically writing something on my paper pad. Apparently there had been so much rain in the Snohomish valley that the maze was a mess of mud and water. We were guaranteed to sink up to our knees in mud and even possibly waist deep in some puddles......definitely the maze from H---! LOL

Yumi was still up for it as she had brought an extra pair of shoes and pants. However, Dan and I did not and really were not up for a cold weather mud wrestling event with the corn. Plus, in the dark and under those conditions it would be comparable to an unfit person attempting an ecochallenge with my bad balance in the dark!

Here is the link for a picture of the cool maze that became a washout this year:
Click on the photo to blow it up and take a better look.

Alright so the maze did not work but the haunted forest was at a park in Everett that I was familiar with. I was certain that with the higher elevation and established trails that we would not have the mud problem.

I think we were all hoping the rain would let up but it did not and it was dang cold in Everett! I was wearing a turtle neck, fleece vest, sweater hoody jacket, a good breathable rain jacket on top and water proof shoes. Yumi was dressed in the same fashion. We stood in line so long that we were starting to get cold. It was not that cold at my house when they picked me up or when they left Seattle. Poor Dan. He did not have a hat and only had a fleece jacket over a t-shirt. He had to keep going to the car to warm up and we eventually had to put a hand towel on his head with a plastic safeway fruit bag over the top.

I felt incredible sympathy for the volunteer monsters in the woods. All they had was their costumes on. They were out there in the rain and cold for hours! I don't know how they could stand it. I tell you they really worked for every penny of their fund raiser (The Everett Jaycees).

LOL I must say that when you are deaf, can't walk well in the dark, and have ocsillopsia (eye jiggling), your fear factor really diminishes. Those poor monsters. LOL They tried scaring and surprising me to no avail. They seemed to pop out from behind us and I could not hear them. Plus I was looking mostly at the ground to ensure safe footing. When I looked up it was hard to focus as the scenery was moving (due to the ocsillopsia). I had to stop, stand still, and focus to see what was ahead.

I could not help but laugh! I laughed at myself the whole time. Heck I probably scared those monsters. They could not tell how old I was but I was this woman hobbling along with a stick and laughing crazily!
They succeeded in surprising Yumi and Dan and I would not notice so Dan kept turning me around to show me the monster. Then I could not help but laugh at how funny the situation was. One monster was at a loss and just waved to me.

I think at one point I surprised a monster in this made up tunnel. I looked to my left and saw this large bag like object. I was wondering what it was so I started to jab at it with my hand and then it moved! LOL Poor fella!

Oh and I almost poked this girl lying on the ground. Moments before we saw a body lying on the ground. I could tell by observing the legs that it was a fake body. I mean who would be lying on the ground in this weather? So we were venturing up a hill (fortunately not downhill) and there was another body on my right where I was using my stick. Seeing as I had difficulty walking, I held onto Dan's arm with my left and used my hiking stick with my right. When we went up the trail it narrowed and of course while I am walking I cannot focus on objects well. I just assumed it was not a real body.

Thank goodness as I approached I noticed the reality of her hands and a ring on her finger. Then she moved! That was the scariest part just knowing that I could have possibly poked the tar out of her if I had not realized she was real!

In any case, even though it was not scary for me I really did appreciate the work that went into their whole setup. It was rather neat actually and after throwing a few Halloween parties myself, I know how much effort and time goes into decorating and creating a gauntly atmosphere. Additionally, I have wanted to go to this event for years but never got around to it. Even though I am deaf and my balance stinks, I wanted to do it while I was still able.

LOL Next year though Yumi and I made a pact to stick with indoor or warmer events. :o)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Land of Make Believe

Like Mr. Rogers, can we pretend just for a day, that we live in a world where brain tumors don't exist? Can we go to the neighborhood of make believe where everything will be alright and our troubles will fade? Can we run and swing on the trees like Peter Pan and the lost boys in Never Never Land? Oh what fun it would be to hop, skip, and play ever so carefree. Or to be like Wendy, Michael, and John flying through the sky like a bird.

But alas it was time to go home and Tinkerbell's magic dust only held so much power. Even in Neverland creeps the darkness of Captain Hook and his crew. Still it would be nice to escape to Neverland or the Land of Make Believe. Some days I want to go to that place where time stands still and just pretend for a little while.


Yay! We got some pumpkins! The season just would not seem the same without our friendly old Jacks. I don't know if I have ever gone through a halloween without one. Last year we had our halloween party and I waited too long to buy the pumpkins and the grocery stores were all out. Yet my friend Catie came to the rescue and brought a perfect looking pumpkin to the party. I carved a neat turkey design into it to give my mom over thanksgiving.

Anyhow, these pumpkins are marvelous and were a real bargain at 9 cents a pound! In addition, the market I bought them at gave $5 off with a $25 purchase. Thus I picked up some needed things and the pumpkins (huge by the way 17 and 22 pounds) were basically free! Can't beat that eh?

The tricky part was carrying them up the deck stairs in the dark and in the rain. Remember that with my balance I cannot carry things up and down the stairs without holding onto the railing. Thus I have to carry something one handed or lean on the one side of the rail as I go up and down. (Today I was able to carry a 40 pound and 50 pound bag of dogfood up the stairs using both hands!)

Good thing that my strength in my upper body has increased a little (a while back I could not lift dog food or potting soil). I had to prop the pumpkin in my one arm like a football and grab the railing with my other hand. This was not an easy trick with a slippery sweater so I had to kind of use my hip and arm to prevent the pumpkin from falling out and try to hurry up the stairs.

I am excited to make something cheerful and extraordinary with our orange marvels! I bought one for me and one for Harley.

Oh and by the way, this year my head will not be the pumpkin (my face has fortunately shrank since I stopped the steroids)!

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I am sitting here buried in piles and mounds of paperwork. I come upon my teaching materials (yes there is lots of paperwork with teaching). I am at a loss on what to do with it all. Harley tells me to throw it out but like a pack rat I cannot bring myself to do so. I do throw out old tests but keep all my readings from graduate school.

To save us money we did not buy books but photocopies of writings from a multitude of books. They are all very good. Anyhow, These articles are stapled but loose. Before all this treatment ordeal and turn of events, I had a master plan to create a computer library catalogue of my articles and file them nice and neatly in order and by topic into large 3 ring binders. I did have them in binders while in school but (chuckle) to save money I would take out the articles every quarter and replace them with the new ones I needed the next quarter. Thus I accumulated several piles of paper which also includes lesson plans, tests, experiments, nature and science poetry, and etc.

To simplify things temporarily, I decided to attach them together with black binder clips which I have always loved. LOL I used to hoard them (especially when I worked as a supervisor for the WSDA). In fact I liked them so much that I finally broke down and bought myself a huge tub of them at Costco before I graduated with other sized paperclips.

Unfortunately my hands don't function as nicely as I remember them. It gets so frustrating. I fidgeted around with a medium size clip for probably about 5 minutes before I finally said "The H__ with it!" I just could not get it opened wide enough. If I pressed it against my leg and used the palm of my hand I could get it open to what it was supposed to be but then it would slip before I could get the darn stack of paper in there. I could not get it wide enough with just my hand. I tried several different methods and it just was not working. Then it dawned on me that what was meant to be a modern convenience has become an inconvenience and was taking much longer than it should.

I don't know if I will get the strength back in my hands. This week my left hand has been weak and even shaky while holding a glass of water at times. I suppose I should start doing some hand and wrist strengthening exercises.

I am very frustrated often......many things.....walking, the eye bouncing, the clumbsyness of my hands, the burning of my eye when I wake up, ramming into everything when I first get out of bed, etc. Sometimes I feel so I skipped several years overnight. I look at pictures of myself doing all these things as if it were 30 or 40 years ago and wonder what happened to that person.

Ok this is getting a little too emotional. On a positive note, my face has seemed to improve yet not a 100% and this week I have learned to drink water from a wide rimmed plastic glass. Prior, I could only drink through a straw on the left side of my mouth. I am still eating on the left side but my taste has improved (unfortunately giving me some sugar cravings......I ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's Half Baked Body and Soul last night!). So looking at the bright side, even though I am slow I can still enjoy eating and don't need to be tube fed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Twinge, Pang, Snap!

Thursday morning I was awaken out of a dead slumber to a rude surprise. The calve muscle in my right leg seized up into a charlie horse bearing incredible pain. Half awake I attempted to stretch my leg while in bed but it was a no go. I stumbled out of bed and onto the floor in sheer desperation to straighten my tightly woven leg to get the muscle knot out.

Now I have had some of these cramps recently (over the past month to month and a half usually in the lower leg but sometimes in the foot). However, by stretching out my legs or feet I am usually able to loosen the muscle, gain relief, and return to sleep. Unfortunately the one on Thursday was a doozy and the worst I have yet (as far as recent muscle cramps are concerned).

Sprawled on the floor I eventually managed to unseize the muscle knot. Yet when I tried to stand up, my leg was in pain and it was even more difficult to walk normally and balance as I stumbled into the bathroom ramming my body parts into walls, doors jams, and shelves. In fact, the muscle has still been sore and tender over the last 3 days and upon first getting up I limp around or need to carefully descend the stairs.

What is the cause? Well it could be any number of things but I have put my money on the medication that I am currently taking, the Diamox, which depletes the body of potassium and sodium. There are different causes of leg cramps but this type generally occurs during sleep or when first awakening. Here is a great link explaining it:

While growing up I did have extreme leg pains at night when I was a kid. My mom told me it was because I needed some orthodic shoes or from growing pains. The pains seemed to subside as a teen and happened very rarely until I was a freshman in college. While doing laps in a pool for a swimming class, my calve muscle seized. Seeing as I was in water over my head, I had to grasp the lane buoy and a classmate came to my rescue to help stretch the leg.

Other than that, I only got these lower leg muscle cramps once in a blue moon when doing a long surface swim while diving. It is not an uncommon occurrence as one is exerting the muscles more on the surface with their fins while lugging cold water gear. Even when I had that type of cramp it was easily remedied by stopping, stretching the leg out, and taking things more slowly.

Knock on wood, my legs have not been cramping up the last 3 mornings as I have been trying hard to consume potassium rich foods: potatoes, squash, raisins, apricots, broccoli, and bananas. Here are a few links about the importance of potassium in the diet and what foods contain it:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Enough Is Enough!!!

All right I am getting pretty ticked off here. Every since my first mini vacation to British Columbia I have been getting spammed on this blog by some inconsiderate meatheads. I went thru back in September I deleted the spam comments that I found. In case you are wondering it goes something like this "Nice Blog. Read mine at blahblahblah."

If you have seen this under the comments section please do not click on the link they have provided. This is a scam to get as many people to click their link as possible so that they can make money off the number of hits they have on their blog. I naively did not know this at first and clicked on one of these links only to find there was no identity to the owner. Then I received a plethora of comments on my blog that appeared to be from different people but I clicked on the links and was brought to the same page. Some of these comments even had the EXACT same wording but a different name attached. I have been trying to clean this up but I got attacked again while I was on vacation and another one appeared today.

Whatever you do, PLEASE do not waste your time and click on their link. The reason this is happening is because I opened my blog up to annonymous comments so that my readers (friends, family, fellow NF2ers, and whoever is sincerely interested) would not have to register and enter a password each time they wanted to leave a comment. I apologize sincerely but it appears that this method is not working and that I am going to have to remove annonymous comments from the blog.

I do sincerely like your comments and it makes me feel good that someone cares and is reading. However, to protect the blog, my time, and your time, I am going to have to ask you to register to leave comments so that this spam does not continue.

Thanks for understanding and I hope that you continue on the journey with me.

Now spammers.....GET THE H--- OFF MY BLOG!!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Arizona Rocks!!!!!!

Hey we are back home now. I will write more about our fantastic trip when I get the photos off of Harley's computer. We left October 3rd and returned on October 12th. After flying into Phoenix we rented a car and drove to Chandler to visit our friends Chris and Darin Houle. We met their son Connor for the first time (what a cutie...he is almost 1 years old) and their dog Buddha. I would like to congratulate Darin and Chris as we discovered they will be expecting their 2nd child in approximately 7 months!

Just briefly here are the places we went: Black Canyon Creek for some hotwings, Sedona, the south Rim of the Grand Canyon, Slide Rock State Park, the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden, Kartchner Caverns in Benson, and the Mesa Southwest Museum of Arizona which houses the largest dinosaur exhibit in the state.

There is so much to do there that we could not possibly see and do it all so we called it the "taste testers" trip and plan to return.

Here are some great links to check out until we post some photos. I would recommend taking the online cave tour of Kartchner Caverns as we were not allowed to bring cameras inside the cave. We have visited 3 other caves on the continent and this one by far was the most impressive as far as preservation and living caves is concerned.

Kartchner Caverns State Park Cave Tour:

News Article:

Phoenix Zoo:

Desert Botanical Garden:

Mesa Southwest Museum:

Sedona (voted one of the most beautiful places in America):

Grand Canyon South Rim:

National Park photos of the Canyon: