Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sneak Peak

I was up in the mountains again yesterday morning and then last night Harley and I tried out some full face dive masks in the pool at a Seattle dive shop with wonderful instructor Dominic. As evidenced in a couple photos from June when we stopped by one of the shops to try a mask on, I was equally as pleased with the mask under the water. It rocked and I did not want to come up! :D

The reason for giving the full face mask a test drive is not due to eagerness to have a new (AND EXPENSIVE toy). With most of my face now paralyzed, the ability to hold and keep a regulator in my mouth underwater is a big issue. As it was when we took a dive a couple weeks before my surgery, the partial paralysis on the right side of my face caused me to blow the regulator out of my mouth ever so often especially when turning my head one direction. No biggie as I am pretty comfortable under the water and have many dives under my belt over several years. What I noticed is that I really depended on the fully functioning left side of my face to bite down and use the facial muscles to keep the reg in my mouth.

Now however, the left side barely moves and I have recently noticed a major loss of muscle tone in both the cheek and chin. I cannot even keep my mouth closed to eat so how on earth will it work to keep a regulator in and water out???? Hence Harley came up with the idea of seeing if a full face mask could work. When they first became available years ago I was not too eager to ever get one for fear of it flooding but I absolutely loved it! So we will see what we can do when the winter comes around. For now I can keep myself plenty occupied by training for the Portland Marathon which will be October 9th and fully taking advantage of hike season.

As part of my visit in Oregon, I enjoyed a nice day on Mt. Hood Sunday hiking with my dad. I just got back to Seattle Tuesday night via the amtrak train. For years (since 2007), I have admired the mountain from the hospital after every surgery. Finally I had the opportunity to go there and set foot on the mountain which has beckoned me. Here are a couple photos from our Mt. Hood adventure

Dad makes such a cute photo model! ;-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's A Happy Anniversary Day!

Today not only marks our 11th wedding anniversary but is also exactly 2 months since my 3rd brain surgery.


To celebrate we are heading down to Mt rainier to spend the night at the Paradise Inn which is the highest altitude hotel in the state. After a relaxing evening and a comfort dinner in the beautiful log lodge, we will hopefully wake up to a stunning view of her majesty to enjoy a great day of hiking at altitude. Maybe we will even catch a glorious sunset as the sun has peeped through the clouds now. :)

This month I have been occupying myself with catching up the hike season, working on getting into full gear again, and commencing with my next big training endeavor which will require lots of discipline and fine-tuning a healthy life balance for optimum energy. So far this month I have spent 6 days of hiking, 4 days of training runs starting last week - 1 mile of a 5 mile walk, 30 minutes, 50 minutes, and 6.1 miles yesterday; returned to water aerobics this week, and started training with kettle balls again which is quite a workout. After working with Merrie on the kettle balls I am very sore for the next couple days and have taken Thursdays off as a either complete rest day or easy walk day with the dogs.

There have been some very beautiful days in the mountains. I am on the iPad right now so no pictures today. I will try to post a few photos early next week before I leave to Portland again on Thursday. I am returning for facial and eye appointments.

Stay tune for a report of my hike adventures! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Deafie has a FUNTASTIC 4th! :D

So how does a deaf person enjoy a parade with music, dancers including horses, and loud fireworks? It's all visual entertainment baby! ;-)

I gotta admit I was a LITTLE apprehensive to go worried that I might get bored but MOST OF ALL, anxious that it could possibly interupt intended hiking plans or even cancel them on such a glorious day. Harley REALLY wanted to go to the nearby rural Carnation parade and the 4th only happens ONCE a year whereas hiking is all summer and there will be plenty of other nice days. Therefore I agreed to a compromise.

We were late for the parade and immediately became distracted by the classic car show in the bank parking lot. I had forgotten how cool and enjoyable it is to see all the cars. I really love and admire how owners take such immaculate care of their trophy cars and add such unique detail. I am a REALLY big appreciator of detail so all the uniqueness is right up my alley.

Before deafness I had always paid particular attention to detail which became even more enhanced after I lost all my hearing.

While busy happily snapped photos to forever capture the art of antique vehicles, Harley heard music up the street of the parade still hsppening and wanted to catch the tail end of it. So we ventured to the middle of town in front of the Mexican restaurant where I was pleasantly surprised to find a cow boy bouncing gracefully upon his big black beauty dancing to the serande of a small marachi band. Yes! By beauty I mean a big black stallion of a horse with fancily long haired feet! How entertaining! It did not matter if I could not hear a thing! The horse was marvelous with keeping in step and ever so often did a little back step kick like a lephercaun kicking his feet up in the air. I was so intrigued by its cleverness! Seriously, I could have watched that for hours!

Meanwhile other cow boys, some with Mexican outfits, sat on their horses in the background waiting for the center of attention to finish so they could take turns dancing. One horse was particularly excited and kept eagerily bouncing his head up and down while the other horse was dancing. Haha! I called that one "The head banging horse"! ;-)

On the way to the focus of everyone's attention we passed a group of ladies dressed up in colorful Mexican skirts. Darn! I was disappointed to miss them (so I thought). Then as we were watching the horses doing their jig, the ladies ran out in the street waving their flowing dresses as they spun in circles. What a treat! I was thrilled!

After they were all finished we returned to the car show where they had some of my favorite cars on display......stingray corvettes and MUSTANGS! :)

Following the show we headed for our Poo Poo Point hike to see the paragliders and finished in time to journey back home for a quick shower and food before hitting the Lake Union fireworks in Seattle. Because my husband is a "rockstar" agent, he just sold a SWEET condo on the 24th floor of the Cosmopolitan in Seattle that his client welcomed us to enjoy the fireworks show from.

Isn't life GRAND!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The advantage of complete deafness ;-)

LOL Check out the people in the background of these photos! Notice how most of them are plugging their ears with their fingers. This is at the "Hot Rods and Harleys" show on 4th of July in our small neighboring town of Carnation, WA.

Harley was totally tickled and took an IPhone video of me cluelessly walking around getting photos of this hotrod at all angles without a care in the world while the people surrounding the green machine were cringing due to the loud exhaust. I could feel the low rumble vibrate entertainly through my body but had no idea it caused all the hearings great discomfort.

How fun to be able to walk around so closely to a roaring (maybe screaming) machine to admire it without any bother what so ever!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Back In Action!

I am already back to my beloved passion for hiking!

Before the half marathon I got in 3 hikes in June (2 with significant elevation gain and more distance requiring a jaunt of over 2 hours.

The last weekend I was at my parent's before coming home (June 4th), dad and I did some scenic tourist hiking to the marvelous waterfalls outside of Portland. It was a good practice adventure for gearing me up to rejoin my friends in the cancer survivor hiking group weekly. Many of the trails were short and some paved, but they had steep inclines and narrowing of the trail which were great for challenging my brain to coordinate with my balance and vision.

The first Saturday back, my trainer Merrie and I hit the trail together for the first time since our Kilimanjaro trek in October. There are not spectacular views on the Squak Mt hike we traversed but the NW woods is so lovely and pretty! Further, for most of the trail the terrain is wide and pretty easy which made it a good hike for me to start on post-surgery when I was still combating with abnormal vision.

The Wednesday following, I went out to an easy (but quite a workout with over 2000 ft elevation gain) on the neighboring Tiger mountain. For not hiking for a month and running 16.5 miles over the previous 5 days, I did amazingly well and was not tired out or out of shape. YES!:D

With the half marathon approaching on the 25th of June and my legs then insanely sore from doing a week of marine core rampage (21 miles ran and 2 hikes of 9-11 miles combined with over 3000 feet of elevation gain), I felt it best to cool my jets for 2 weeks from running or hiking - 1 week to rest up for the event and 1 week of recovery afterward. So NOW it is time to get back to it! ;-)

Summer has finally really hit here with sunny days and temps in the 70s and 80s. Fortunately those days Harley had off! :) So we hit the other trails on Tiger Mountain which is the closest mountains to hike locally (saving time). Sunday we ventured on the back side of the mountain (Dwight's Way) which he had never been on before. Unless someone shows you, you would not really know the trail is there. I learned of it from my hike group and I missed the hike with them this season as I was down in Oregon recovering.

Yesterday we went to another shorter hike on the front side of the mountain that I also missed during my time away. The day was brilliant with barely a cloud in the sky and an awesome view of Rainier in full detail. The trail meanders up to the point where Harley, my sister, and I paraglided off the mountain to celebrate my 15 years of cancer remission a few years ago. With such a fantastic day, there were LOTS of gliders floating in the air! I counted up to 19 before we entered the dark woods to begin our ascent.

Tomorrow I will be doing the first strenous and long hike this season with the hiking group to Annette Lake deeper and further east into the Cascades. There are lots of talus rock fields to cross so it will take a great deal of concentration for me throughout the hike. Gotta get off the computer so that I can get my stuff ready and to bed as I need to wake early.

Happy July and summer! :)