Thursday, May 29, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

5:45am ~ I roll out of bed ~ stumble into the bathroom to get dressed. The circles under my eyes remind me that I tossed and turned all night ~ note to self ~ need more sleep. I can pretty much guarantee that sleep will evade me tonight, too ~ you see, the LOST finale is on tonight. My brain tail will be sorting out all the possible theories all night long. I blame J.J. Abrams for coming up with all of these twisted sci-fi shows that make you waaaaay over analyze the show. And ~ as if not enough brain cells are already dedicated to sorting out the plots of HEROs and LOST, now I have FRINGE to look forward to in the fall ~ I can already feel the pull of the vortex sucking me into another sci-fi drama!

By 6:15am I was in my hover craft ~ which BTW averaged at 50 MILES to the GALLON over the weekend ~ backing out of the garage. I am navigating down the driveway ~ using my side mirrors to prevent me from hitting the Jeep parked on the other side of the driveway. Then ~ I see something totally unexpected reflected in the mirror ~ a cute lil bunny crossing the driveway to the safety of the front yard foliage. Later ~ as I am driving on the feeder road to the freeway I see a beautiful hawk perched high on a utility pole, the perfect vantage point to spot road kill. So how do these two unexpected sightings tie into one another. What message were they sending to me today ~ a day where I already feel completely spent and it's not even 7:30am yet!

Referencing my Native American animal totem document ~ these are what the animals represent:

Hawk: All-seeing, observation, truth, awareness, perceptiveness, representative of primal life force

Rabbit: Fertility, fear, timidity, humility, hidden skills, borrower

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Great Outdoors

This past weekend we all went on a hike in Woodstock, NY ~ in the Catskills Mountains. When I picked our hike location I knew it would be a bit of a challenge for the girls (5 miles round trip), but there's no time like the present to get them accustomed to longer, more challenging hikes. We chose to hike Overlook Mountain ~ one of the big perks of the hike is that about halfway up the mountain you will encounter the Mountain House ruins.

The Mountain House opened in 1871 and could accommodate about 300 guests back in the day. The hotel ruins are located at 2,920' ~ here's a link of photos someone has snapped on a foggy day up on the mountain. Apparently the hotel burned down twice ~ rebuilt ~ then fell prey to the stock market crash. in the 1920's.

We couldn't have picked a more perfect day for a walk in the woods. The temps were in the mid 60's with sun peaking out from behind the clouds now and again. We all made it to the summit and enjoyed some amazing views ~ and a yummy lunch. After we were refueled, Skyler proceeded to skip down the mountain with her walking stick ~ leading us the whole way down to the trail head.

I know ~ some of you are probably rolling your eyes and yelling at me for going on a 5 mile hike not even four months after my detethering ~ but truthfully ~ the adrenaline is the best drug out there. I have been plagued with headaches and neck pain for a couple of weeks straight now ~ it's really breaking me down again. But ~ that said~ my focus in on getting stronger ~ living stronger. The sermon in church yesterday was speaking directly to me ~ again ~ wait on God and his direction for your life ~ oi! Why is that so hard to do?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mulder and Scully ~ Stand Alone Thriller

The first trailer for I Want To Believe has been released. Click HERE to watch it ~ more x-files dribble ~interviews with Chris Carter. BTW ~ a little trivia ~ Chris Carter, the creator of the X-Files, and I have the same birthdate ~ October 13th ~ no wonder I love the X-Files so much!

As posted on Duchovney News.Net …in a third movie featuring Mulder and Scully ~The truth is out there…as a trilogy? X-Files creator Chris Carter has revealed that he has ambitions to make at least one more movie detailing the adventures of Mulder and Scully. “We would like to make another film,” Carter told on Friday, prior to his appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con. “We’re not under the illusion that it’s a given; we’ve got to perform with [this summer's X-Files: I Want to Believe] in order to give it another day.”

Another installment would make three films in the franchise, following 1998’s The X-Files and the forthcoming, Carter-directed, I Want to Believe, which debuts in theaters July 25 and is a stand alone monster-of-the-week-type venture. But Carter suggested that a future movie might re-engage with the original TV show’s overarching alien-invasion plot. Doing so could be timely given that, according to X-Files mythology, the final stage of said invasion is due to start in December 2012. “Well, we didn’t think that one up,” Carter said. “That is actually part of the literature. It is a Mayan date. But I think we’d like to revisit that whole storyline.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wonderful World News ~ Pilot's prayers answered by Jesus sign

In a world where we are bombarded with tragic news stories on a daily basis, I like to check out the Wonderful World News. This story is great ~ an immediate answer to prayer ~ don't you just love God's sense of humor!

Pilot's prayers answered by Jesus sign
By staff writers ~May 21, 2008 10:05am

TWO men prayed for divine intervention when their microlight ran out of fuel mid-flight and received it when they landed safely next to a "Jesus is Lord" sign. New Zealand Pilot Owen Wilson told his passenger Grant Stubbs, a petrol station owner, to pray as they desperately tried to find a place to land, the Marlborough Express reported. Attempting to land in the hilly Pelorus Sound, at the top of the South Island, Mr Wilson guided the microlight down for a landing."When you're in a microlight if you crash, you usually die. I turned to O.B (Mr Wilson) and he said we had no fuel," Mr Stubbs said." I asked what we should do. He said: 'You just pray Grant."'
As the plane descended they saw they were about to land next to a sign reading: Jesus is Lord – The Bible. "When we saw that we started laughing," Mr Stubbs told the Marlborough Express. The men had landed at Tira Ora Lodge, which is run by a Christian couple, and were greeted by the property's animals including emus, goats, deer, wild horses and donkeys. Mr Stubbs said he saw the irony having 200,000 litres of petrol at his work but none with him in the sky.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Human Barometer ~ Another Fun Chiari Talent

Ok ~ 'UNCLE' ~ I have had quite enough of the low pressure fronts that keep shrouding the Capital District Region~ enough already!!! Having a Chiari brain tail has turned me into a human barometer ~ TRUE STORY ~ seriously ~ Galileo would be proud.

Galileo - Indigo Girls

If there was some way that us Chiarians could make a living out of telling weather forcasters that there's a low pressure front headed our way ~ maybe it would make the pain not so painful ~ right?! My head has been pounding for over a week now ~ hoping the weekend will bring some relief. I am far from even being able to grasp how this whooseedo over at the left works ~ but I do know that low atmospheric pressure = pressure build up in my noggin = headaches! *sigh*

"How the barometer works:

While not as accurate as modern day aneroid barometers, the principle of the early Water Barometer is sound. When atmospheric pressure decreases, the fluid is pulled upward toward the top of the barometer tube (low pressure). As atmospheric pressure increases, the fluid is "pushed down" (high pressure). Standard atmospheric pressure at sea level is 29.92".

I am soooo looking foward to some escapism tomorrow night with a TWO hour Grey's Anatomy finale ~ it's the little things that matter like good TV!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Operation Dandelion

I woke up this morning with the all too familiar pounding of the brain tail. Clouds have filled the sky on this dreary Friday ~ low barometric pressure ~ headaches. Then I remember my all too enthusiastic assault on the dandelions in our front yard yesterday afternoon.

It was the girls idea ~ seriously ~ I taught them last week how to dig down to the roots and then pull the weed from the ground so that they don't grow back. It's now a game to see who can find the dandelion with the biggest 'Medusa' roots! After an hour of slaving away at evicting the all too plentiful weeds we had filled an entire lawn bag!

Pulling weeds from the ground was therapeutic ~ getting rid of the things in my life that may look pretty on the outside ~ they have a vice-like grip in the soil of my life. Removing them is a lot harder than it looks ~ but then the lawn looks more beautiful than before. Seriously ~ I was amazed how strong the roots were on these tiny plants ~ simply amazing!

Note to self ~ as fun as pulling weeds may be ~ leaning my head over and straining to pull weeds out of the ground is not a Chiari friendly activity ~ must restrain myself from a full out assault any time soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Storm Over Everest ~

Last night, PBS aired Storm Over Everest which is a documentary put together by renowned climber/filmmaker Dave Breashears. Dave interviewed several survivors of the 1996 Everest tragedy (Guy Cotter, Lene Gammelgaard, Lou Kasischke, Sandy Hill, Michael Groom, Beck Weathers, Neil Beidleman). Ever since I read the book Into Thin Air I have been passionately obsessed with reading every book written about Everest ~ especially the stories of what happened that fateful night on the mountain where several climbers perished.

I admire and respect Breashears ~ he's a well seasoned climber and an excellent story teller. My heart has ached a long time for the stigma that has been placed on the climbers that were on the South side of Mount Everest in May of 1996. Assumptions were made ~ people were judged ~ based on a few accounts of what people thought happened on the mountain. Dave brings a fuller story to the surface ~ sheds light in some dark places. I was especially moved when the story gave the account of how Anatoli Boukreev went back by himself and rescued several people off the mountain.

As I watched the program I felt like I was sitting in my living room listening to stories being told with all of the familiar climbers. You see, after reading so many stories about these peoples lives, I feel in some way that they are kindred souls. They all possess within themselves a ferocious will to live ~ a love of life that kept them alive on Everest when they could have gone to sleep and died out there. If you click on this link you can watch the full 2-hour show on line.

Somehow, in hearing first hand accounts ~ hearing their voices ~ seeing the emotions on their faces ~ I feel a sense of relief. Through people sharing their life stories it gives new meaning to what it means to be alive after being stranded in the 'death zone'.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Little Green Men

Since the X-Files new movie is coming out this summer my thoughts have wandered to government conspiracies & little green men as of late. To give credit where credit is due, I heard a conversation on the radio yesterday on the way to work ~ so this isn't completely original ~ but it made me pause and think.

You know how horse jockey's have a weight requirement ~ they have to be light on the horses backs so that the horses can run a fast race. Well ~ think about this ~ maybe all the accounts of aliens as 'tiny green men' is because they have a height requirement for the small UFOs. What a rude reality check it would be if we decided we could invade alien colonies ~ we thought they were tiny ~ thus we could have a great advantage. Then we find out that only the pilots of the UFOs are tiny and the rest of them are giants! LOL!

See what fills up my mind when I am not obsessing about my brain tail!!!

I'm Giving In To Something Heavenly

The lyrics to this song seem to sum up everything I am going through right now ~ giving in to something heavenly ~ something bigger than myself ~ something bigger than me.

Sanctus Real - Whatever You’re Doing

It’s time for healing, time to move on,

it’s time to fix what’s been broken too long

Time to make right what has been wrong;

it’s time to find my way to where I belong


There’s a wave that’s crashing over me, and all I can do is surrender

Whatever You’re doing inside of me

It feels like chaos, but somehow there’s peace

And it’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see,

but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone, time to begin again, re-evaluate who I really am

Am I doing everything to follow Your will or just climbing aimlessly over these hills?

So show me what it is You want from me I give everything – I surrender


Time to face up, clean this old house

Time to breathe in and let everything out that I’ve wanted to say for so many years

Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You’re doing inside of me

It feels like chaos, but I believe …

You’re up to something bigger than me

Larger than life, something heavenly

Whatever You’re doing inside of me

It feels like chaos, but now I can see

This is something bigger than me

Larger than life Something heavenly, something heavenly

Time to face up, clean this old house

Time to breathe in and let everything out

Friday, May 9, 2008

Brain Tail Comparison

I am hoping that I will wake up one day and forget about my Chiari and just get on with the rest of my life. But then I look at these MRI pictures of my brain tail and can't help but see that I still have a significant herniation. The MRI pic on the left was taken on May 5, 2008 and the one on the right was taken in April of 2007. When I examined the pictures side by side I can see that my herniation has shrunk maybe a millimeter. You can click on the picture and see the zoomed version. The bottom of my cerebellum seems to be at the top of my C2 instead of at the bottom of C2.

So ~ here's to praying that my brain tail will leave me alone and just learn how to co-exhist with me. Random note ~ I have got to have the weirdest shaped head ~ I'll be I would be good at carrying things on my head!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Ball Is In My Court

The past several days have been a whirlwind and I apologize for not blogging sooner. Last Saturday we drove down to Brooklyn to celebrate my nephew's first birthday. After a long day of fun we drove back home and then packed bags and headed back to Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon.

Monday morning began with an hour spent in a MRI machine to get a look at my brain tail. We had seven hours to kill until my neurologist appointment at TCI, so we looked on the map and found a state park nearby. The sun was shining and it was a good day to spend some time outside. We picked up some sandwiches for lunch and headed over to the park. After a little hike in the woods and a brief encounter with a ribbon snake we ate lunch and enjoyed the day for a while.

Then we headed over to TCI and waited and waited for our appointment. So the verdict on my health ~ I am healing up nicely from the tethered cord surgery. I can expect about a year until my back feels 100% again. As far as my MRI films go, my herniation now is about at 12mm ~ which according to my calculation is 2 mm more than it was last April. I am still shocked when I look at the MRI scans of my chiari ~ there is brain matter stuffed into my spinal column like a tightly fitting cork ~ it's just not right ~ it shouldn't be there! My brain stem measurements had decreased a bit which is great news and probably the reason why a lot of my symptoms, especially vertigo, have vanished.

So what's the prognosis for a decompression surgery? Well, basically the ball is in my court. I am definitely a candidate for surgery, but it's my decision when to have it done. (Is there ever a 'good' time to have brain surgery???) I should feel tremendous relief, but I don't. Why? I am still experiencing crushing Chiari headaches, blurred vision, my neck is still popping and cracking when I look from side to side. So I guess I have resolved myself to waiting ~ wait and see what happens. I don't understand why I have come this far with my struggle to have it fizzle out at the end. I am completely prepared for brain surgery but for reasons beyond my comprehension it's not in God's plans for my life right now. ~sigh~

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Steve and Me

I just read Steve and Me by Terri Irwin. You can click on this link and read an excerpt. Reading about their love story and their life together was neat. Steve received all kinds of negative media and I believe that he was greatly misunderstood.

While I was reading about all the stories I could visually see them as I remembered episodes of the Crocodile Hunter. What an amazing, passionate man who did amazing things to educate people about wildlife preservation. When I got to the point in the book where Terri received news of his death I felt sad all over again like he had just passed away.

Now that Steve has passed along his family continues to be wildlife warriors. There is still so much going on at the Australia Zoo ~ Steve's exuberance lives on in those who loved him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kaitlin's Instrument

I just love Amy Poehler ~ she makes me laugh! here's one of her SNL Kaitlin skits ~ try clicking on the picture below that for her skit about babysitting an iguana.

***Warning ~ if you aren't fully awake yet ~ watch this after you have had your morning coffee!

Kaitlin: And watching this iguana would look really good on my baby-sitting resume. Because right now all I have is for my special skills microwave popcorn, scary stories, bedtime enforcement and now I can add advanced iguana ca-a-a-are!!

Kaitlin: Hey, Eli. As her primary caretaker, can I ask you a few questions?

Eli: Shoot.

Kaitlin: Does she likes to wear hats?

Eli: No.

Kaitlin: Does she goes on a trampoline?

Eli: No.

Kaitlin: But she would let a mouse ride on her back?

Eli: No,wait. Maybe.

Kaitlin: Does she like microwave popcorn?

Eli: Yes.

Kaitlin: Well, awesome cause tonight we're gonna make microwave popcorn and then we're gonna read each other horoscopes cause I'm an Aquarius and [sings and dances around]this is the dawn of the new Aquarius, age of Aquarius!! AQUARIUS!!! AQUARIUUUUUUUS!![right on Rick's ear]

Kaitlin: I know, cause one time I was wearing Christmas lights as a belt and my jeans were still wet and when I plugged my belt i got sh-o-o-o-cked and I had total amnesia for like one minute and I said to Jesus:"If this is my time to wipe my slate clean, please give me a new identity where I work at Diary Queen and I can get on a mic and call people's names when their burgers are ready. Cheryl!, your burger is ready! Thomas!, come get your peanut butter parfait. Rick!,your cheeseburger's ready",[in his ear] Rick!, Rick!, Rick!

Kaitlin: Rick can Miss Reba stay in her cage? Rick: Yes. Kaitlin: If she needs to be fed, can you do it? Rick: Yes. Kaitlin: Can she climb stairs? Rick: No.

Half Empty

Driving into work this morning I glanced down at my gas gauge and made a mental note to put gas in the car later today ~ I am past the half full mark. Gas prices in NY have risen to $3.73 per gallon and that's for unleaded. Seriously, I shouldn't complain, my Prius has been getting about 48 miles to the gallon lately ~ true story!

Further on down the road the song, Empty Me, by American Idol alum Chris Sligh came on the radio. Hmmm ~ seems like the word 'empty' is the word of the day! Ordinarily I would view that word as negative, but after listening to the lyrics of Chris' song I have a change of heart. Maybe I have had it wrong all this time. I think of myself as a 'half full' kind of girl ~ but maybe 'half empty' is better? Read some of the lyrics I posted below ~ listen to his song ~ and let me know what do you think.

I know how I can stray and how fast my heart can change. Empty me of this selfishness inside and every vain ambition and the poison of my pride ~ Lord empty me ~ so I can be filled with you ~ every thing is a lesser thing compared to you ~ so I surrender all.