Thursday, December 23, 2010

The possibilities...

With the new year coming at me like a freight train on a midnight run, the possibilities of the next year look enticing. I am not big on resolutions - they don't last too long.  Here is what we'd like for this next year.

-I am working on my AA, and Adam is planning on adding to his AS with a BS degree.

-At the end of the next year, I hope that I'll be healthy enough to work some, or at least have a solid diagnosis to apply for SSI.

-I'd love to be able to get my mobility back, to turn my atrophied leg into one that will support me on quick jog.

-We plan to transition from working on learning when Emma wants to home school kindergarten next fall.

-We hope for another addition to the family.  Emma prays to God, and told me she'll have a sister named Elizabeth. (Make that Elizabeth Rainbow Flower)

- We'd like for Emma to start soccer and 4-H this next year.  She loves soccer and animals, and both teach valuable skills.

But mostly, we are just hoping for a normal year with normal challenges. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

joy out of sadness

I had the pleasure of another day at Mercy San Juan that ended in more frustration and confusion.  My heart has been racing for no apparent reason, and tachycardia is a little scary.  My second EKG looked great, my blood work is great, the poured fluids into me, so there is no apparent reason for it.  I feel like a fountain lately, but I've just got to get it out.  Having that time of uninhibited bawling helps me to stay level-headed the other 99% of the time.  

It was Adam’s turn to cry last night.  It is different being the shoulder cried on.  Poor guy got dehydrated and was peeing something closer to a tequila sunrise than straw.  We were worried that he was getting another kidney stone, but he lucked out with just a UTI. 

It's that time of year to look back at what has transpired, and it has been well...crazy.  We were heartbroken to lose our home due to my disability and a very shady mortgage company.  Our little dog, Hawkeye, went up to doggy heaven.  We lost a few friends, and gained some more.  Some goals were smashed, and others renewed.  Living with my mom has been a blessing.  Emma gets a lot of Grandma time, which is truly beneficial to both of them.  I’ll forgive getting called Grandma at least once a day to see them like two peas in a pod.

I decided to go back to school.  While I have no ability to forecast where I’ll be when I complete the schooling, I do it anyway.  Life dealt me a whole truckload of lemons for some reason, so I might as well make the best damned lemonade that I can.  This was the first semester that I finished without work or my health causing serious issues.  I had dropped so many classes because of that wonderful job at Swatch that I was on academic probation.  Not anymore! 

This semester’s GPA was 3.2, so I got off that icky list.  I even managed to score an A in my Library Research Process class.  My professor put the icing on the cake by asking if she could use my pathfinder project to show future classes what a pathfinder should look like.  The only class I didn’t get an A or B in was one of those 1-unit, preparing for college types of classes.  Somehow the class didn’t even have a book or a real curriculum, but I got a C.  Meh.  Wish me luck for next semester with a full load.  I signed up for Food, Science, and the Environment; Intro to Digital Imaging; Introduction to Mythology; and Human Sexuality. 

At times I feel like damaged goods without much accomplishment to speak of.  It made my day to get a nice compliment from my professor.  (Okay, more than just a day…maybe a week.)  This next year holds promise as every new year does.  By the end of next year, I could be a semester away from an AA degree.  By the end of next year, I pray that we will find a remedy to the relentless rigidity and spasms.  I pray that by that time, we might have a new little member to our family. 

Here’s a song with lyrics that touch my soul, and really describe my life.

Artist: Scott Darrell
A Crooked Road
A Crooked Road

I walk a crooked road to get where I am going
To get where I am going I must walk a crooked road
And only when I’m looking back I see the straight and narrow
I see the straight and narrow when I walk a crooked road

I sing a lonesome song to anyone who’ll listen,
To anyone who’ll listen I ‘ll sing my lonesome song.
And when I hear you singing too, the sorrow sounds so hopeful
the sorrow sounds so hopeful, when I sing my lonesome song.

And a lonesome song will be my true companion
When all else has abandoned for singing of their own
And a lonesome song will fill my days with gladness
Make joy out of sadness when I sing this lonesome song, to you

I love with all my heart, there is no way of stopping,
I have no way of stopping I just love with all my heart.
Through the broken and the beautiful, the bad news and the good news,
The bad new and the good news is I love with all my heart.

And a loving heart will be my true companion,
When all else has abandoned for loving of their own.
And a loving heart will fill my days with gladness,
Make joy out of sadness when I bring this loving heart, to you…

I long to be a happy man, in this life that I’ve been given
In this life that I’ve been given I long to be a happy man.
When the noise turns to stillness, I see I have the makings.
I see I have the makings to be one happy man.

And a happy man will be my true companion,
When all else has abandoned for happy of their own.
And a happy man will fill my days with gladness,
Make joy out of sadness when I show this happy man…

And a happy man will be my true companion,
When all else has abandoned for happy of their own.
And a happy man will fill my days with gladness,
Make joy out of sadness when I bring this happy man, to you…

I walk a crooked road to get where I am going,
To get where I am going I must walk a crooked road
And only when I’m looking back I see the straight and narrow,
I see the straight and narrow when I walk a crooked road…

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frustration is my middle name.

We struggled through the rain to get downtown this afternoon for what was a pointless follow-up appointment.  I found out that my doctor and the doctor doing the EMG were going back and forth over the need for a repeat.  Apparently my last Dr. left very vague reports, and while the new Dr. could tell something was wrong, he couldn't tell what.  I don't go in for that test until the 3rd, and it'll be at least a week for his report.  My follow-up is on the 14th of January. 

The medicine helps some.  I'm on Ativan and Flexeril, and Benadryl if needed.  It doesn't make my life anywhere near normal, though.  Something as simple as going to the grocery store leaves me hanging onto the cart with white knuckles so that I am sure I won't trip.  Potholes and speed bumps make my neck lock up enough that my lungs feel tight.  

The compression in my neck is somehow making my resting heart rate go up, and that isn't understood either.  The Dr. told me to see my primary care Dr. for an echocardiogram, but I don't have a PCP.  In this crazy mess of a year, I haven't managed to get a primary care doctor.  Trying to find a doctor, then get an appointment, then somehow get the ECG scheduled would take forever.  What do you do?

I broke down crying again in the car after the appointment.  I'd much rather be put in the hospital for a couple days and get the testing done all at once.  But somehow, I've managed to stump several of the best neurologists in this half of the country.  They don't even know what tests to run.  They're positive something is wrong, but what?  I don't know what else to do but cry.  This has left me feeling powerless and weak.  Most of the people around me really don't understand, and they either stay silent or stay away.  It is a shame, because I would welcome the love and support.

I want nothing more than some normalcy...some security.  I have the will and the drive to accomplish so much, but my body tells me no.  No job, no gardening, no shopping, no exercising.  No taking your daughter to Disneyland or the snow.  No living a normal life.  Sigh. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It is hard to say that there still are no answers.  I have been playing phone tag with Mercy San Juan for two weeks now, just trying to get an appointment scheduled.  The EMG needs to be redone differently.  I'd rather tell them to shove the electrodes and needles you know where...but it needs to be done.  Hopefully they are easier on my than others have been.  

The cold weather is here, and while I love it, my constantly rigid muscles do not.  My muscles despise the beautiful pitter-patter of rain.  My muscles hate the brisk morning air.  Mostly, my muscles want me in bed, swaddled in blankets, and pumped up on muscle relaxers.  I'm not exactly the life of the party right now.  After a long day of the ups and downs, I'm tried and cranky.  It figures, right?

Somehow in this craziness, Adam and I are aching to bring another child into our lives.  My doctors don't seem to think it will be a problem, but my body isn't cooperating.  All that time we spent trying to adopt, trying to NOT get pregnant because of these muscle issues...and now we try and can't.  Go figure. I went in for blood-work this past weekend, so maybe we'll at least have answers in that arena.  Until now we haven't really talked about it.  It rips your heart out in a way that many just don't understand.

Emma keeps asking when she'll get a brother or sister, and all I can tell her is that it will happen when God is ready.  Sometimes she tells me that God spoke to her, and that a baby would come soon.  It makes my heart hurt and my eyes tear up, because of her candid conversations with God.  I can't tell her the whole truth, just that it will happen when it happens.  If I had the choice, we'd have a few kiddies by now. I'm not sure if it is in God's plans...he's pretty mysterious that way.  

Partly to keep myself busy while school is out, and partly to get us eating well, I have taken up lacto-fermentation.  Most of us are so far removed from food sources that thinking about bacteria in our food is disgusting.  Lacto-fermented foods are chock full of probiotics.  So many, in fact, that food does not spoil because there is such a high number of good bacteria.  

From left to right in this picture we have garlic kraut, garlic pickled green beans, regular pickles, sweet & spicy mustard, and cranberry sauce.  Last week we made some cortido (latino version of kraut with carrots, cilantro, and peppers) and it is SO good.  I have been eating it with just steamed rice for a quick lunch.  I made ketchup last month, and it was such a hit that I started another batch last night.  If you're interested, I highly recommend Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Heart Faces - Self Portrait

This week's challenge over at I Heart Faces is self portraits.  This photo was taken at one of the Sno Parks off of I-80 on the way to Tahoe.  We had a great time, and we'll have to go back again this year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Down comes the rain...

This week has been something of toss-up.  My classes are completed for the semester.  To be honest, I'm afraid to look at my scores.  My goal this semester was to pass the classes, and to not give up and drop any.  That may not seem like a lofty goal.  When you deal with the day in and day out of a disability, that is a pretty reasonable goal.  Next semester I'm signed up for twelve units, so we will see how it goes.  I stare blankly at a people when they ask what my goal is with going to college.  Frankly, at this point I don't know.

I often get asked why I do not go into photography professionally.  There are many reasons, but it all comes back to my lack of drive for sales.  Honestly, I hate having to sell myself.  I dislike interviews, I hate self-reviews, and I struggle with even a self biography.  Then there is the rigidity...some days I just can't lift my camera to see through the viewfinder.  I really would love to give it a go, and hopefully some day I can.

On another note, we finally got around to visiting the Aerospace Museum of California.  We live right down the road, and I managed to win tickets a few weeks back.  It was drizzling on and off, so we didn't get to go in as many planes as we would have liked.  I managed to get some decent pictures, though.  You can see the rest here.



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