Friday, October 28, 2011

Some of Katie's Wedding little shutter bug

Before the wedding, I was talking to the photographer about a girlscout that is passionate about taking pictures and he was telling me that he has seen amazing pictures taken by kids.  Katie had started taking lost of picture in Vegas, running out of space and batteries each day.  At the wedding, Judy Edwards, a fellow bridesmaid, told Katie she could take as many pictures as she wanted on her fancy camera.  When Katie really got going, she didn't put the camera down for hours.  Judy had about 5 minutes with her camera, but she was comfortable with Katie going to town.  and she started emailing selected photos the very next day.  She's amazing.

But Erik, the wedding photographer (photos posted in previous post about elegance and cfids) was right...I couldn't beleive what I was seeing.  Katie's pictures are really something.  He commented multiple times that she may have found a career and that we will need to be buying her some good equipment.  This is just a smattering so far.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

8:48 pm, October third recovery

Me dancing at Cheryl and Miguel's reception,
photographed by my daughter
At that moment, a wave of certainty washed over me.  One big, invigorating, epiphany-style, see clearly through the CFS-fog wave.

I have little moments like this from time to time, but three moments so far (including this one, at a random moment during Cheryl's wedding reception) have brought monumental waves of certainty that I will be okay.

The first was watching the sea turtles the day we first saw them this June in Waikiki and the second was watching them roll in the waves at the same spot in September.  These moments are gripping, like the rays coming down from the top of a fancy cathedral and falling into the hands or onto the faces of statues of angels and saints when you are a twelve year old being raised catholic, or focusing on a rare species you are dying to see and having it cross your path just then.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kids in Vegas Part 2 (video, photos, Christopher's hat, lion king tickets, and 3 mile goal)

Katie doing math by the pool

Monday was our first full day, and we sat through the time share gig, as planned, to earn 3 free lion king tickets.  It was still worth it, but of course it went long.  The kids were awesome for the first hour and a half of what was supposed to be a half hour (not that we ever thought it would be that short).  I did get a bit agitated with this one becasue my patience with subjective math is pretty short.  But its comical to watch them turn to Greg, as if he'd be more likely to accept their creative reaoning.  Trust me people, if I'm not buying what you're saying, you lost my husband a long time ago.

Our goal was to get to the Mandalay bay to book our seats and see as much as we could along the way.  It was a lot of fun zig zagging through the crowd and looking up at everything.  Christopher's hat disappeared in the Mandalay and he was pretty distraught until we (very luckily) found it.  The kids didn't know we where we were headed or why, and Katie couldn't stop trying to get me to spill the beans.  The video below shows her face when I finally told her.  They were pretty excited to have tickets to the Lion King for Christopher's birthday (Tuesday).

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're here.....Kids in Vegas Part 1 (video)

Sunday night we made it to Vegas.  The craziest part is how crazy it wasn't to get there.  We left our front porch at 11 am and were checking into our hotel by 5 pm.  Christopher cried when we landed because I mentioned that Vegas was in the desert and he didn't want to be in a desert for his birthday.  But now that he's seen the pool he is completely over it and back to being excited.

We packed what food we could and checked a regular sized suitcase and one of our carry ons instead of taking just carry ons.  In addition to saving money on food, it was nice to have less with us from plane to plane and it was nice to be able to protect my bridesmaids dress, which made it nicely to Vegas.

We signed up for a 30 minute time share schpiel in order to get 3 free lion king tickets and free breakfast.  It will save us at least $160 and let us see a show, which we would definitely not be able to do otherwise.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

If you're reading this, I'm in Vegas

So, I'm "scheduling" to post this, knowing (hoping) I will soon be on planes to warm places.  So, if you are reading this, we are on our way or we are there.  First, we are scheduled to use timeshare points in Vegas, traveling for free with Greg's standby benefits (my husband works seasonally for an airline so we can travel).

We would love to be heading to Hawaii or somewhere a little more amazing, but I haven't been earning a paycheck (though I would sure like to be) so we have no money.  In Vegas we can take a free shuttle to the strip and see fun stuff and spend lots of time together at the pool.  We are even bringing food to save money.  Then to Cheryl's wedding!  But Cheryl, if you happen to read this, wedding expenses are covered...we pre-planned and covered that by alternate means months ago.  So any fretting about money in any blog post is an entirely seperate matter!

At the moment I have a huge pile of laundry to fold for packing.  And instead of brushing his teeth, Christopher (who will be six next week) is standing with his tooth brush in hand explaining that he only has bad dreams here, but never in hotels.  The house smells like sugar cookies that Greg is helping him cook to share at school, since we will be gone for his birthday.  Katie is spraweled amongst the laundray reading "American History Revisted," a giant bathroom reader of Greg's.

Update Sunday closer to departure....

I'm updating from the Kalispell airport with a few pictures, as our first flight looks pretty good.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dogs and humans in sickness and health

I was watching a Nova series on the evolution and domestication of dogs and they spoke about facial communication and the ability of dogs to interpret gestures and facial expressions.  Dogs read emotions, which any dog owner knows, but it is interesting that they use the right side of the face first to read cues.  Humans do, too.  We are left biased in our gaze, drawing us naturally to the right side of a persons face....leading us (and dogs) to use the right side of the face first for reading emotion.

This is particularly fascinating given that it is the right side of my fact that was paralyzed.  This makes me wonder if people in general have a harder time reading me still, given that there are subtle lag times and differences on that side of my face.  And I wonder if it affects how Sweetie reads me.  She seems to think I'm mad at her lately.

I have to correct Greg sometimes in his interpretations of what I'm feeling or whether or not I'm angry about something. I am tired still a lot and CFIDS does not enhance people's social grace, so I chalked it up to poor communication on my part, but i think its very possible that i've lost more than i thought on the bells side of my face.  So it makes sense that Sweetie's been confused over time.  She has been worried about me at all of the appropriate times, so I still feel like she reads me better than most people.

So I have been a little nervous lately that she has been hanging very, very close to me.  It's been making me nervous.  I am afraid that she knows that either she or I am sick.

Researchers are finding similar interactions between dog and owner as human mother and newborn.  They have been looking at oxytocin as playing the same role between dogs/owners as moms/nursing infants....oxytocin levels rise in the blood of dog and owner after periods of petting and play.

If you have a dog you are less likely to have a heart attack and 3 to 4 times more likely to survive one.  But dogs began increasing our odds of survival even more directly thousands of years ago, when we were still hunter gatherers, by making humans better hunters.  This makes a lot sense to me.  After we adopted Sweetie from a shelter, I was seeing the woods differently at work...seeing tracks differently, as if she were with me.  I think that in a addition to assisting us with logistics in terms of hunting and herding, they help us heighten and hone our senses.

Like humans, wolves were social animals that hunted in daylight, which was not the case for many other species, making domestication a fairly natural and mutually beneficial outcome.  It turns out that dogs may think more like humans than any other species, including chimps, according to a cognitive psychologist featured in the special who is researching the responses of chimps and dogs to gestures such as pointing.  Dogs cue into social cues very naturally, noticing things as subtle as the direction of our gaze.  We may have evolved our eyes (almond shape, different amounts of white on each side when our gaze shifts) specifically for social communication.

So it seems like the things missing in my face may be too subtle for me to ever notice, but it is very possible that Sweetie does.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heaven is a cookie

Last week Greg made 4 giant chocolate chip cookies, one for each of us.  They were non-dairy, so I could eat them too.  My first chocolate chip cookie in a very, very long time.  It was so amazingly wonderful.  I was full after 1/3 of it, but managed to eath the whole thing.  I haven't been doing all that well with sugar, but this was very worth it.

Then, yesterday, we went out to lunch for Greg's birthday at a new restaurant in town.  The panini I got had goat cheese in it.  I had it without the full amount of cheese, since this was an experiment.  I am intolerant to dairy, probably as a CFS symptom, and also casein (a dairy protein that's in everthing, even non-dairy products, because they put it back into non-dairy foods).  I seem to have done just fine with it--no noticeable stomache pain yesterday, a little bit this morning but I'm not sure its even related.

So....soon I will try pizza!  Yay!

Also, I ordered a latte, but they didn't have soy...they only had almond milk, which is soooo much better.  Their almond milk was frozen, so they had to give me chocolate almond milk, which was terrific with their peppermint flavor/syrup that they make themselves.  Plus, it took him a while to bring it out, so the best latte I've had in months was FREE!

Food is wonderful.

The picture above is a non-dairy mocha cupcake I had in Hawaii that was also heaven, though it took me three days to eat it all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oahu underwater photos

These are what came of the underwater disposable camera my friend Jenni gave me in Oahu as part of my birthday gift.  I posted about the trip in this post, this post, this post, this post, *this post, this post, *this post, and this post.  This is Jenni snorkeling followed by fish we saw followed by the couple that helped me try to get my sunglasses back, followed by turtles.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Double-Edged Spoons

I just a read a blog on Wellsphere about the spoon theory (a chronically ill woman’s now-famous description to a friend about living with limited reserves).  A rush of memories came back related to my own sharing of the spoon theory and some crazy twists and turns that followed in my story that probably differ from what most people experience when they share it.

After I was diagnosed with CFS, a childhood friend with MS told me to "watch my spoons".  It took me a while to finally ask her what that meant.  After reading it for the first time, I referenced it often to help describe to people what I was going through.

The only down side was sharing it at work.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CFIDS and Elegance ~ Me as a bridesmaid : )

Not only is the couple in this amazing picture a real, live, engaged couple, but my amazing friend Cheryl and her fiance Miguel (who I can't wait to meet).

(This amazing photo is by Eric Gillet, from their wedding website,

More Yoga ~ Less Pain

In my early months of CFIDS, yoga was too much for me.  This is certainly not comprehensible to people in full health.  But there it is (and here are some pre-CFIDS yoga photos from a Glacier backpacking trip in 2009).

An awesome sleep technician with fibromyalgia lent me a DVD she had been using to manage pain.  She warned me that it would not feel like much when I was able to do it, but to start slow, as it would be more for my body than it seemed.  She said 20 minutes made her sore for a week.  I couldn't grasp that until I tried it, and she was absolutely right.  Yoga was always calming for me pre-illness, especially in live classes, but it wasn't 'enough' for me if I were looking for a work out or trying to build strength.  But five minutes was indeed enough to make me sore.