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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Epilogue From The Islands


I have been painfully amiss from my blogging world. I miss all of you! Our Hawaiian adventure with eight friends was, as expected, wonderful. Five days at sea in each direction gave plenty of time for reflection. You'll read more of my reflections in coming days. A brief summary is nearly impossible -- my head spins with all of the people, places, and things that we encountered. The link to my myriad of photos is here....I had a love affair with my camera, as you'll clearly be able to tell. And I'll never be able to complain about the silver coffee service every single morning served in our stateroom and enjoyed on our veranda with an accompanying Pacific breeze from the world's largest body of water. It doesn't get much better than that. Dessert frenzies, fancy clothes, a cocktail or six, a photography workshop, afternoon trivia sessions, quiet time snuggled in a worn leather chair in the ship's library while the miles of ocean passed by, watching an endangered sleeping monk seal on Waikiki, taking a cooking class with the executive chef of Holland America Line's ms Zaandam, meeting new friends from around the world, taking my very first horseback ride, enjoying a luau at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki, walking humbly across the top of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, taking half-nekkid photos of men on the beach (we'll save a furtherance of that topic for it's own special future blog entry), being asked to judge a cocktail-making competition around the pool on deck, walking across the volcano fields of one of the world's most active lands, and relishing some of the most perfect sunrises and sunsets. One of the most cool things we did was our last day on the cruise.....On Deck for the Cure. It is a 5K walk around the ship's promenade deck to support breast cancer. About 100 of us took part in that. And lots of excellent musical entertainment including Peter Fernandez, the Sean Bell Trio, and Karen Saunders. I'll be putting together some videos from the trip in the future. I really haven't done 15 days at sea in luxury accommodations any real justice here. Suffice it to say that it was something that we'll be repeating again and again. And if you haven't done it, I'd consider it...for sure. In quietness and happiness, I say Aloha to you all.




MRI Update: The results are in from my MRI. "The cervical spine reveals degenerative disc disease (arthritis) overall. At c5-6 ther is moderated disc herniation. Moderate spinal stenosis (narrowing of the cavity where your nerve passes through), hence resulting in bilateral C6 nerve root compression. This is why you have numbness in your fingers. Your lumbar spine reveals mild disc degenerative changes at L4-5 and L5-S1. You have a mild disc bulge at L4-5, but it doesn't press on the nerve root." I'm going to see a neurologist on Thursday.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hawaii Photos


We've returned home from an amazing 15-day cruise to Hawaii and back. 5,000+ miles floating around the Pacific Ocean. I'll post more in the coming days but you'll see the photos here for now. There are 640+ photos....so be sure you grab a cup of tea and take your time to go through all of the pages.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tonight

Tonight we begin our 5-day trip back

Maui

Lahina, Maui-From our beach spot

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunset in Kona

Kailua Kona, Hawaih

Anchored off shore-Horseback ride today. Happy birthday Cooper!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

!!! Hawaii !!!

The "Open" MRI went off yesterday.....even though they didn't have me on the schedule when I got there....they had to fit me in between other patients so I was there four hours. The loudest banging and noises I've ever heard that close to my head....for 25 minutes....and no moving during the whole scan. It's over with now, just waiting for the results from my doctor today or tomorrow. I'll update when I can....and you'll never know how much I appreciate all of your good thoughts, prayers, greetings, emails, and comments.

Tomorrow begins a long stretch of no blogging, no reading your blogs, and no emailing......I hope you're all able to make it through without me until after October 27. I will be posting a pic or two along with an audio greeting from the ship....so keep checking back.

Tomorrow we board this:
To go to the beautiful city of San Diego where we'll rendezvous with our friends:

The next day, we'll board our cruise vessel...the MS Zaandam:



And then we'll spend the next 15 days cruising across the Pacific Ocean to and from Hawaii.
See you all when we return.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Civil Unions in Oregon !!

BREAKING NEWS --

A group has failed to garner enough signatures to put Oregon's upcoming Civil Union legislation on the ballot for public vote. What that means is that beginning January 1, Oregon will join the ranks of states offering Domestic Partnerships for its citizens. A bit of hope in our dreary world.

And from my friends at Gay Rights Watch....

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Still Speaking for Justice

Sometimes, going to church isn't very glamorous. Especially in this day and age. When there is so much to point fingers and poke fun at. And there is. This is one reason that I still believe in justice and fighting for it. However you do it, or who you're doing it with, doesn't matter. Check out the rest of the ads here.

I have an OPEN MRI scheduled for tomorrow morning. After my last fiasco, I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen. But this new "open" machine is actually very beautiful and inviting.....and I'm actually looking forward to getting it done.

And on Wednesday we leave on our 15-day cruise to Hawaii with a great group of ten people from London, Philadelphia, and Portland.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Where Do You Sleep ???


So, what is it that you climb into each night? The bedroom, the sheets, lights, alarm clock, pillows, and whatever else is around your bed (oh, I'm sure there are some unmentionables). It's odd how we get to know each other on a certain level ... via blogs, emails, some photos, possibly even going further into live telephone conversations or even meeting in person. But for most, we don't really have a good grasp of how each other lives -- the basics, the routine and mundane. So, show us! Show us where you sleep. Post a link to your photo in the comments section. I'll start:


Our bedroom is 450 square feet and occupies the entire (former attic) upstairs in our 1928 English style home. The bed and frame are one year old, queen sized (no unsolicited comments, please.....), and a Simmons Beautyrest pillowtop mattress. We've had the yummy down duvet for a number of years and serves us very well on the cool winter Northwest nights. The duvet cover is new, along with the rest of the bedding. It is a 400 count Fieldcrest set in some shade of ecru or eggshell. They are delicious to climb under each night. The decorative pillows are some of my favorites....I love the shades of blues and greens. I sleep on the right side of this photo, hubby sleeps on the left. (And although one of our favorite times of the day is climbing into bed and snuggling a little at the beginning of the night, we are on our own sides during much of the rest of the night....I have to be able to stretch out a little.) There are two windows to the left of this photo (north side of house) that we leave open as much as we can. We're in love with the fresh air of the Pacific Northwest. Plus, the view is northward -- across the Columbia River to Vancouver, Washington. Beautiful. I try to spend a minute or two staring out the window each day. I love to stare. Our night stands are stocked with two alarm clocks (one battery, one electric...because we are never permitted to be late to work...nope, not even one minute); a remote control for television (have to watch Family Guy and/or South Park before bed); an albuterol inhaler; Vick's vapo rub for the nose; and a little ceramic bowl that my horribly artistic honey made many years ago. You'll also see a bottle of English Cotton linen spray underneath the night stand....Use liberally. We are usually under the duvet between 9-10pm. On work days, we're up at 4am. Other days, honey gets up before me....around 5am.....while I typically sleep until between 6-7:30. So, how about you?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Spirit Cast #2

I'll update you on my most recent health situations, tell you about a great website for weather/astronomy observer buffs, and make you all jealous when I tell you where we're headed next week.

Links From Spirit Cast #2:

Weather Underground

Hawaii Cruise!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm Not Into Bondage

I guess I'm not into bondage after all like some of you perverts are. I mean, what guy hasn't joked or poked fun at BDSM at one point or another. Or actually dove in and participated...Horrors! You know that I've been plagued as of late with numbness and tingling in my arms, along with a myriad of other symptoms, that have precluded me from blogging, typing, and working. The doc and I are on a crash course toward getting this mess sorted out. We have discussed: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease, carpal tunnel, pinched nerve, blood pressure, low thyroid levels, among other peripheral topics. Started with blood work last week and headed off to an MRI of my entire spine on Saturday. Along with Valium. It is well known that in the last few years, claustrophobia has reared its ugly head from time to time in my life. Occasionally severe as in high levels of panic. Not fun. Nor pleasant. I was actually doing pretty well. I'd stopped by the clinic the day before to take a look at their MRI machine and familiarize myself with the place. All good. I mean, I have a huge interest in the medical field and actually used to work as a volunteer EMT in an ER back in Boise. So, the horribly patient clinician puts me in "just a bit to see how it goes for you." Not well. "Take me out." So, I sit up, dangling my feet toward the floor, and breathe deeply. He is patient. "I see this all of the time," He says. So, "Let's put you all of the way through the machine ("bore") so that your head is sticking out the other side"? Okay. I'll try. He and I are talking back and forth on the built-in chatting system (much like IM'ing!). He says that we're ready to start the first scan. All I could think of was being in this thing for the next hour or more. I'm breathing deeply. Trying to slow my head and heart rate down. I can feel my face and ears turning red and heating up. And I say it loudly and clearly: "I don't think I can do this...please get me out of here." And he did. Quickly. I felt like a baby. I mean, I can do anything....right? Apparently not.



So, I'm on the search for a completely open MRI that my insurance will cover. There are "normal/standard" MRI machines (40cm/1.3 feet/15.75 inches.....Yikes!!). There are also "open bore" machines (which is the one I tried on Saturday) (50cm/1.62 feet/19.69 inches). And then there are "open" MRI machines that have openings on all four sides. And, my little blossoms, don't forget that one's body has to fit in there too....so that can quickly reduce the amount of space available depending on how many pieces of pizza you've eaten recently.



Following the MRI results, I will probably be referred to a neurologist and possibly an orthopedic dude as well. I can see this being a long haul. But at least I know now that I'm not into bondage. Nope. Not this guy.