Monday, December 22, 2008

I am behind. Waaaay behind.

Once Christmas is over, and my headless chicken impersonation ebbs, I'll actually have time to update this blog! There's so much to tell you about: Fan clubs, hiking, snow, star lip gloss, gingerbread houses, Death by Latte, white elephants, MRI & bone scan, and even a birthday party. Yes, I have a lot to catch up on. 

In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas! 

Monday, December 8, 2008

A very touching and eye opening funeral.

Where do I start? Okay, a week ago (refer to previous post) a UPS driver was killed when someone made a left hand turn in front of him. As I said in that post also, I hear about fatalities unfortunately all the time, but this particular one really affected me. Not only did I feel a loss from the UPS family, but I also felt a strange connection to this man, almost as though I somehow knew him. Whatever the connection was, I definitely felt the loss. It's a strange feeling grieving for someone I don't know, yet somehow I do. I was talking to someone about this accident, and was commenting that all the tragic, untimely deaths lately are people that are kind, compassionate, service oriented people with huge hearts who put themselves before others. Have you noticed that in the news? My first impression of Alan (after hearing of his death), was "I'll bet that he had a heart of gold, and is one of those people who will leave an impression on those he knew, and will leave a legacy for those he loved." Until I went to his funeral, I had no idea how accurate that was, but even that thought didn't even come close to the type of man that was presented to us that day. I got a small glimpse at how Christlike he was when I read his obituary, but it was at the services when I learned truly how remarkable of a man he was.

As we pulled up to the Stake Center, we saw UPS's first symbol of gratitude towards this man's service. Out on the street was one of their big brown trucks, with a large banner that covered the windshield and wrapped around the side mirrors. On the banner was a picture of Alan that was taken at the UPS center, on a plaque that commemorated a 25 years of service milestone. On the grill was a wreath with brown ribbons, with his name on one, and then a license plate frame that said "In loving memory of Alan Christoffersen." A large majority of UPSers showed up in uniform to show respect to him. There were hundreds there. Nolan & I were lucky to make it there just in time to find a seat in the chapel, arriving a half hour early. The chapel quickly filled up, as did the cultural hall. By the time the services started, the cultural hall was packed, standing room only. I can only imagine the view from the pulpit: family, friends, I'm sure many of his customers on his route, and then a sea of brown. Nolan, and Rob (another UPSer sitting on the other side of me) were both in tears during the opening hymn. The spirit was so strong in there, even listening to the prelude, that I knew that a man of God was lying in the casket before us. I was brought to tears as well, as I could feel that the world was feeling the loss of a good man, yet the heavens were rejoicing the return of a faithful servant.

His children all gave beautiful and touching tributes, as did his daughter in law & his wife. From those talks (without too much detail), I learned that he put God first in his life, and centered himself and God with his family. He was diligent with his scripture study, family home evening, & even held four callings, in which he was thankful for the opportunities to be of service. One of the callings being the nursery leader, and he LOVED that calling. (He MUST have a heart of gold to love nursery.) His sweet wife was saying that he would read during his lunch break, then for FHE, he'd start the family discussions by talking about the things that had impressed him during his reading throughout the week. She said that UPS brought her all his items from the truck, and among those was a stack of magazines about 8" tall, consisting of Ensigns, New Era's, Church News & even Friend magazines. All marked up, highlighted, & notes made where impressions were made. Also a set of scriptures. One daughter told us that she was complaining about a class she was taking, and was wanting to drop out because the teacher was next to impossible to deal with. His comment to her was along the lines of "You will not benefit from something that doesn't take work and sacrifice to accomplish it." His Bishop read a few comments from the KSL message boards, both from people on his route. One person was telling about a time that she was out trying to shovel her sidewalk & driveway, but was having an extremely difficult time because of some injury or illness. Alan saw her struggling, pulled over, and took 20 minutes of his time to shovel for her. (Which considering was during the Holiday peak time, was a big sacrifice on his part.) Another customer on his route mentioned that the way that Alan composed himself, and the spirit he emulated, said to him that Alan was truly wanting to live a quality life. Another thing his wife said that moved me was "Women, cook for your husbands. Cherish them." And also "I want you all to know that we hold absolutely no malice or anger towards the driver of the dump truck. Please keep him in your prayers. He has a long road of recovery ahead of him, and he and his family are dealing with a lot of pain. I couldn't imagine having to live with that." I am sure she was referring to not only a physical recovery, but also the pain and heartache of knowing he was the cause of the death. How does a heart ever heal from something like that? I don't think it ever does. He will forevermore hold that pain and regret in his heart, and yet, she has forgiven him and is showing love and mercy towards him. Those comments touched me deeply.

There was so so so much more said, I couldn't possibly repeat it all. But it really did get me thinking. What kind of life am I leading right now? Am I living what I want to be remembered by right now? It brings a significant meaning to the phrase "Live each day as if it were your last." That does not suggest being careless and avoiding responsibility. No. Instead, leave the house each morning with a huge hug and an I love you. Whenever you speak to somebody, pay them a compliment, or an expression of gratitude for something they've done for you. Go out of your way to be of service to somebody, even if it's simply opening the door if their hands are full. Don't speak negatively about other people. Smile. Make sure there are no loose ends, no unsaid apologies. I know that I struggle in that, but I am striving to be a better person, one that will be remembered as kind and thoughtful, selfless and compassionate, caring and nurturing. I hope to be able to bless people's lives in one way or another. I was truly blessed by Alan's. I never met him, but he did bless me by being the type of man he was, by setting an example. By showing me how many lives were touched because of his disposition, and his kind spirit.

I have a lot to work towards.

The UPS truck, minus the banner.

The sea of brown out on the lawn by the church.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just need a quick vent...

I am highly irritated at the moment for two reasons. First, people who don't watch what they're doing while driving, and second, those who make very inappropriate and insensitive comments.

Okay. Nolan's job obviously has him out on the roads all day every day, which also puts him out with idiot drivers. I have to admit that there are many many days that I have "day terrors" where my mind starts to go down the "what if" road, and I start to imagine up horrific scenarios where Nolan ends up on life support, or even worse, dead, due to involvement in a nasty accident while on the job. I end up having a near anxiety attack, wondering if I'm being mentally prepared for that day that I'll get the phone call. It sounds stupid, but I honestly do worry. And then when he comes home and tells me about all the idiot drivers that he had to deal with, and a few near misses, it only intensifies my concerns. 

I am well aware that fatalities happen more often than they should, and unfortunately they don't usually upset me because they're so common, and just a part of life. People making errors in their driving, which causes collisions, which causes the loss of innocent life. Tragically common. However, sometimes the circumstances stir up emotions because they hit close to home. Like today. 

A UPS driver was killed this morning when the driver of a dump truck made an error of judgement, and made a left hand turn in front of the UPSer. He was killed upon impact. Now, because of the error of one man, a family has lost their father, a wife has lost her husband. Even though I don't know this man, since UPS for some reason feels like a big family, I do feel some sort of a loss. Perhaps it's because I can imagine what his poor wife is going through right now, as news of this has rekindled my fears about Nolan being killed in his truck because of someone being impatient, or just not paying attention. What really hits me is the thought of never being able to say good bye. Just watching him walk out the door to leave for work, not really taking time for a hug & kiss goodbye, or even an I love you, because of the crazy chaos of getting the kids ready for school and out the door on time, assuming he'll return that evening. But then things like this happen within a split second, and your course of life is forever changed, or gone.

I can't even begin to tell you how much this frightens me. Please people, PAY ATTENTION ON THE ROAD!!! I don't care if you're in a hurry, just slow down and wait for 10 seconds. It's not worth risking it. Don't take people's family away from them.

The other thing that is irritating me, is that some people are making light of this saying things like "Less competition for FedEx" or "The FedEx guy jumped him" Oh yeah, I'm sure the families of the men involved are just getting a kick out of your wit, and laughing at your dry jokes, just as I would be if it were my husband killed in his UPS truck. (Rolls eyes). Seriously, it is not funny, and is very offensive. Some UPS/FedEx jokes are tolerable (and old), but in this case is very inappropriate. We're not laughing.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

What is sad is that I am used to being tired and worn out, all the time. I guess if I really think about it, I pretty much chronically have mild flu like symptoms. Always tired, always achey, always with a headache of some degree. It's miserable when people ask me "How are you?" Well, if I say that I'm fine, or I'm good, they'll look at me and say "Yeah, right." Or "Liar." However, if I am honest when they ask me how I'm doing, and my answer is that I don't feel very well, they'll just roll their eyes and think "There she goes again. Does she ever feel well? Does she ever NOT complain?" It's a bit of a catch 22, and a stupid one at that. But really! I am sick of feeling yucky all the time! Like this weekend, for example, especially yesterday. Not only have I been feeling like I'm recovering from being hit by a train, but I apparently caught some sort of a bug or something. Yesterday, my stomach was literally grinding all day. I felt like something nasty was brewing and waiting for an opportunity to escape. I left church feeling like I was about to explode out either end, I wasn't sure. Then, we went to my parent's house for dinner, and I laid on the couch the whole time clutching my stomach. In the middle of the night last night, I broke out in a raging fever, my clothes were sticking to me (and completely damp), and I was still feeling like my stomach was tied up like a pretzel. I'm hoping that whatever it was, the fever was the grand finale, and that I'll start feeling better, which will take me back to my usual tired, achey and yucky self, which I'm looking forward to after yesterday. How sad is that?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What am I thankful for?

Today is a bit of a lonely day for me, and I am trying as hard as I can to keep my chin up, but despite my efforts, I feel a flood of tears just waiting to spill over. Part of the loneliness is because we have no family or friends to share dinner with today. It's an odd feeling doing all the baking that you would normally divide up between people, yet have no one to share it with. I wonder why I'm even bothering? Today I have literally been in the kitchen for the past 6 hours doing nothing but cooking & doing dishes. Why? We can't possibly eat all of this ourselves, and on every other normal day cooking for my family, I would never even consider devoting my whole day into cooking for one meal. But it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh bread and pumpkin pie, so I guess I'm calling on tradition as my excuse. But Thanksgiving tradition also calls for family and friends to enjoy the feast. And of those, I have none with us. It saddens me. I'm not sure what hurts the most though, the loneliness, or the invitations we have given out that have been either ignored or forgotten, and alternate plans were made despite our open invitation. It really makes me feel like we're not important. And that hurts.
The other part of the loneliness is the feeling that is haunting me that I have somehow alienated myself from those that I care about. Either that or I have pushed them away. I know that I've done something wrong when phone calls aren't returned, messages aren't replied to, and invitations to do something are immediately denied with some excuse. But what I'm trying to figure out is what I could have possibly done wrong to push so many people away. I've had times of loneliness in my life, but I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever felt more alone than I do right now. What could I possibly have done that has repelled everyone away from me? Or is this the Lord's way of telling me that I need to take a step back, and have some time for myself? I just don't know what to think right now.

So I've been thinking of what I am thankful for, despite today's emotions. They may not seem like much, but to me they're all a huge blessing to me in their own ways.
I am thankful that I have a warm house to live in, with a way to cook our food, and even food to cook!
I am thankful that I have 3 beautiful and wonderful children. They may drive me crazy with worry, but I'd be nobody without them.
I am thankful for my angel baby, and the blessings he brought to our lives in his short time here.
I am thankful that I have a knowledge of the Gospel, that gives me hope that I'll be with my angel baby again.
I am thankful that I have a place to work. Even though the conditions at the moment are less than ideal, and have caused me a great deal of heartache, I am thankful that I am still there.
I am thankful that I have a good car that allows me to get us to where we need, but also allows me a bit of freedom.
I am thankful that I can afford gas for my car.
I am thankful for my 2 cats, that love me unconditionally (when they're in the mood, of course) but give me a sense of appreciation when they love on me and purr and purr and purr. Makes me feel important.
I am thankful for my wonderful husband, who still loves me despite all my many faults, and does his best to show me that.
I am thankful also that my wonderful husband has a good stable & secure job that he's loyal to. I don't have to worry about unemployment, and that is a major blessing right there.
I am thankful for paint, for adding color to my home.
I am thankful for my friends, who each have all blessed me in their own individual ways. I know that the Lord crossed our paths with a purpose.
I am thankful for electricity and natural gas. It'd be cold and dark without them.
I am thankful for my Bosch, that grinds my wheat & kneads my dough, and makes making fresh bread quite simple.
I am thankful for itunes and my ipod. Music soothes me. Music inspires me. Music fills many voids.
I am thankful for books, and especially thankful that I am able to read them and have enough of an imagination to escape into them.
I am thankful for my cordless phone, and the distance it transmits.
I am thankful for crutches, which made moving around possible after my knee surgery.
I am thankful for spaghetti. ;)
I am thankful that I have a working washing machine and a working dryer.
I am thankful for yummy smelling laundry detergent and fabric softener.
I am thankful for candles, and their many purposes to me.
I am thankful for my education that I had, and that I was able to apply myself and get a 4.0
I am also very thankful that I am a smart person, and was able to (and still do) understand anatomy.
I am thankful for apples and carrots, and other yummy tasting fruits and veggies.
I am thankful for my amazing Mac laptop!
I am thankful that I have a camera, one that I can use for an emotional outlet.
I am thankful for my long hair.
I am thankful that I have all my limbs, and that I am able to walk.
I am thankful that I am not in the hospital.
I am thankful that I have an electric blanket.
I am thankful for water. I'd be dehydrated without it.
I am thankful for flowers for many many reasons.
I am thankful for my bra, which in sense is my greatest support.

I could go on and on, but I'll end with this:
I am thankful that I am alive, and that I am able to tell you the things I am thankful for.
Hopefully in some way or another, I'll be a blessing to you, and in turn, you'll be thankful for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who am I really?

While wasting time responding to all sorts of surveys and questionnaires through emails and on myspace, here are some things that I've learned about myself:

If I were a slogan, I would be "Donna, it's what's for dinner"

My inner muse is Melpomene. I am most like this muse of tragedy. While I'm not necessarily depressed, I don't shy away from sadness. Although I do tend to be gloomy, I have a sensitive side, and this sensitive side helps inspire and help others.

I am disturbingly profound. (As opposed to profoundly disturbing.) I'm contemplative, thoughtful, and very intense. I take time to figure out the meaning of life. Because I'm introspective, I often react in ways that surprise people. No one really understands how I am on the inside... and that disturbs them.

If I were a holiday, I'd be Christmas. I'm able to find magic in life's small moments. Traditions mean a lot to me, and I tend to be quite nostalgic. I am a giving, kind person who really understands the true meaning of holidays. I try to inspire others to be as altruistic and caring as I am. Tradition and a generous spirit gives me reason to celebrate. At Christmas, I'm the one most likely to give a gift to everyone I know.

My season is autumn. I'm Thoughtful, expressive, creative, poetic & smart.

I'd be a carnation if I were a flower. I am down to earth and grounded. I tend to be more traditional than trendy. My confidence gets me through anything. People trust me and are very loyal to me.

If I were a gemstone, I'd be topaz. I'm comforting, considerate, and stable. I'm down to earth and grounded.

I'd be basil if I were a spice. I am loved by post people who take the time to get to know me.
I have a mild temperament, but my style is definitely distinctive. I am sweet, attractive, and often smell good.

My Goth name is Black Stratus.

My witness protection name is Sandra Olsen.

If I were a carnival ride, I would be a roller coaster. (Are there any other rides?) ;)

My handwriting says that I know how do pace myself, and I deal well with stress. I can be extroverted and outgoing. I am loving, friendly, and supportive. I am very detail oriented and meticulous. I am a careful thinker and a true intellectual. I need a bit of space in my life, but I'm not a recluse. I appreciate when people give me a small amount of privacy, and I respect their privacy as well. I am somewhat traditional, but am also open to change. I listen to my head and my heart.

My mind is blue. Of all the mind types, mine is the most mellow. I see things as how they really are. I spend a lot of time thinking about my friends, surroundings, and life.

My 'funky' Japanese name is "Temonoya"

If I were a crayon, I'd be blue. My world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors. I am a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find. On the inside, I tend to be emotional and even a bit moody. However, I know that people depend on me, so I put on a strong front. My color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but I feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.

My main sense is sight. I am a very observant, detail oriented person. I see things that other people never notice. I have a good eye for design and aesthetics. I love to be surrounded by beauty - natural or not.

If I were a condiment, I would be mustard. I guess I have a strong personality?

If I were a utensil, I'd be a fork. I'm truthful, direct, straight forward, and can be a bit piercing at times.

My fridge says that I like to be surrounded by things I love. I'm not greedy, but can be materialistic at times. I'm a fairly thrifty person. I splurge occasionally, but I'm mostly a saver. I'm adventurous person. I love to try new things, but get bored very easily. I try to be responsible, but don't always succeed. My heart is in the right place though.

My body element is water. I am relaxed & flexible, and tend to go with the flow. I am accommodating, and adaptable. I willingly go whichever direction life is taking me, which changes from day to day. I live for helping others, and I have a generous spirit. My energy tends to be conserved.

My feet say that I am more expressive than most people. I tend to let everyone know how I'm honestly feeling - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm a very passionate person, and am easily inspired. I fall in love easily and develop strong bonds, and am attached to many people. I'm also easily frightened. I'm very practical and down to earth. I'm not spoiled and I love getting my hands dirty. I hold my ground and am true to my beliefs.

If I were a fruit, I'd be an apple. I'm strong, and even a bit stubborn at times. I have enough strength to help those around me in trouble. I'm adventurous and love life, and would enjoy traveling the world. I enjoy fine food, art, and culture. I've been accused of being a snob, but that's not accurate. I do enjoy good things in life, but unlike snobs, I truly appreciate quality... not just pretend to.

My pizza choice says that I like food that's traditional and well crafted. I am dependable, loyal, and conservative with my choices. I am cultured and intellectual. People say that I hardly eat, but I'm not under eating. I'm just not a pig.

If I had a superpower, it would be invisibility. I am stealth, complex, and creative. I never face problems head on. Instead, I rely on my craftiness to get my way. I thrive on being a little misunderstood. I happily work behind the scenes.

My famous last words will be "Yeah, I think I'll end there."
(Which is where I AM going to end...)

I just saw Twilight.

But I have been forbidden to say anything about it until after Lori-ann sees the movie. So until then, I have taken a vow of silence.

That sucks, I can't even mention how amazing the soundtrack is... Oh, oops!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've been tagged!

And I never thought such a thing would ever happen to me. Awww, now I feel all important and such. ;)

Okay, here are 6 strange/quirky things about me... 

1- I have cat toes.

2- I apparently have an obsession with taking pictures of my feet. Case in point, see picture above. Then see pictures below...

3- I am anal about expiration dates, especially on bread and dairy items. I will hunt through milk (and will usually be satisfied when I find one in the very back) that has the furthest out expiration date, even though I know that I'll have the milk consumed waaay before the expiration date. Something about the numbers makes it taste better.

4- Automatic doors vs. regular doors at stores. If the automatic door is the only option, fine. If there's normal doors as well, I'll walk to the normal door and open it. I'm not afraid of automatic doors, not at all. It's just that I feel that if my arms are able to open it, then I'll open it. Automatic doors are for people in wheel chairs & women pushing big bulky strollers.

5- I hate it when people should me. I seriously hate it. Almost as bad as when I am lied to. A good example is when I switched car insurance a few years back. I insured my car with a nation wide company with an office within a mile of our house, that has a very high reputation and decent rates. I chose that company because I felt good about that company. Then I had a friend ask me who I got my insurance through, casual conversation, and when I told him, the first thing he said was "Urgh. You SHOULD have gotten your insurance with this (very unknown, unlocal and obscure) company." And he seriously got angry and started debating it with me about why I SHOULD have done this, and why I SHOULDN'T have done that! Okay, first, what do YOU have to gain by what I SHOULD have done? No, you don't own that insurance company, you don't work for that insurance company, and no, you won't even get a referral bonus. So why do you care what decisions I make for me? And second, I already did it, it's done and over with, the decision is in the past. Already decided. So regardless of how opinionated you are, it will never change the fact that I already did it. And yes, without consulting you first. 

I know it's an extreme example, but seriously I deal with this every day with little things too. "You should have gotten your milk at Allens because it's 15 cents cheaper there then at Wal-Mart." (Well, it will cost me more than 15 cents to drive there just for milk, so I'll just get it at Wal-Mart where I buy everything else anyway.) "You should have waited to put gas in your car, because Maverik just lowered the price 5 cents a gallon." (Well, how was I supposed to know that they were going to lower their prices? It's not like they put a sign out that says "Lower gas prices in a half hour. Come back then.") 

Seriously. Don't should me on stupid trivial things that really don't matter to you in the first place, and things that neither of us can do anything about anyway.

6- I am willingly & happily married to Nolan. What more can I say?

Okay, now to tag: Tyffanie, Jessica, Elisa, Heather, Linda & Britty. You're it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I can not handle debate.

I hate it. I hate confrontation. I especially hate talk shows where people are yelling and screaming their opinions as loud as they can in an attempt to be louder and more outspoken than the other. It really gets under my skin too when people are so blind and so bull headed and stuck in their ways that they are refusing to admit or even acknowledge that perhaps their opinion just may not the only one. I can not stand arrogant, self centered, opinionated people whose thoughts and ideas are far superior to everyone else. The "I told you so" people. Get over yourselves, and mind your own business. The world does not revolve around you.

I unfortunately was in a situation the other day that caused a great deal of anxiety to me. Literally. My heart felt like it was grinding in my chest like gears grinding in a stick shift driven by an impatient teenager. I was nauseated. I was shaking. I felt like I was being tortured from the inside out. And what was happening? Debate. One opinion that was so egotistical that it could run its own country. Another opinion so angry that it could boil metal. End result? Tension so thick that you could cut it with a knife, if it didn't suffocate you first.

I could not handle it. So I left.

I had an epiphany that day. There were two very important questions that I needed to ask myself. First, is this a situation that I need to be involved in? Do I HAVE to be involved? Is this necessary? The answer is no. No I don't. No it isn't. Second, is there anything I can do about this situation? Yes. I can remove myself from it. Plain and simple. 

Upon reflection today, those are two questions that I've been asking myself a lot lately, in a round about way. Is this necessary in my life? No, so get it out of your life. Do I need to be confronted by something trivial? No, so dismiss yourself from the conversation. But then does that make me a coward? Weak? Walking away from any contention? Turning my back and fleeing when faced with opposition? Running away from the opportunity to prove myself? Or does that make me brave? Strong? Knowing where I stand and refusing to be dragged down? Knowing my own truth, and believing in myself that it is unnecessary and a complete waste of time to defend myself to a person who could care less anyway?

But then I guess that only depends on the opinion of the person judging you, yeah?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lori Cunningham - Unseen

I want you all to know how amazing Lori-ann is, and how thrilled I am to see her achieve such a difficult goal. Let me give you a little background. (Sorry, Diva. This gets personal...)

Just over 3 years ago, I, by chance, sat next to Lori-ann at a church activity, just a few days after she moved into our neighborhood. All I knew was that she was another completely unfamiliar face, which, I admit, slightly intimidated me. My first thought when I saw her was "Don't bother, Donna. You'll never be good enough to be her friend, I'll bet she'll fit right into so-and-so's clique." So I really didn't make an effort towards conversation. Well, she introduced herself to the group and mentioned that she has a degree in vocal performance, and taught voice at BYU, and happened to teach voice lessons to somebody who was in our ward. That piqued my interest immediately, because my daughter (at the time) really wanted to be involved in school plays & choir, and needed much vocal improvement. So I swallowed my skepticism and turned to her to talk about voice for Britty. It was a incredibly noisy, so she pulled out her wallet to hand me a business card so that I could call her and talk about it in more detail. Well, her card was a Mary Kay business card and I immediately said "Great! Could you come over and teach my teenager how to take care of her skin too?" (Sorry Britty, but you understand.) So then, the ice was broken. Still didn't anticipate a friendship though.

Well, for anyone who knows me well, knows that I listen to some pretty obscure music, and that I am very passionate about deep, stirring, contemplative & emotional music that speaks to my soul and seems to understand my emotions. I thrive on it. Sadly, I can pretty much guarantee that if you ask me what I like, you'll not recognize one artist. Especially Bel Canto, which has been one of my staples for the past 15 years. It's actually been very frustrating for me to not have a friend with the same music interests. I figured I would forever enjoy my music solitary. But that doesn't stop me from playing my music when others are at my home, and trying my best to expose them to it. On this particular day, we had just gotten a new album from CD Baby, and I was enveloping myself with this new artist. I had Hungry Lucy playing when Lori-ann came over to give Britty her skin care class. She hadn't even made it into my kitchen before she asked what we were listening to, because she really liked it. Oh my gosh! Somebody actually LIKES the same music I do? Wow! She told me that was the kind of music she listens to. So, out of curiosity, and fully expecting a "who?" I asked her if she has heard of Bel Canto. Her response was "Oh my gosh, I LOVE Bel Canto!" I was shocked, then elated, and instantly started probing her about all the artists she's heard of. I think she was also taken by surprise that she found somebody that had similar interests, and more importantly, someone who loves and appreciates the same feel of music for the same reasons. I'm pretty sure up until that day, she too was enjoying her music style all by herself. We went through my mp3's & cd's, (and some of hers that were in her car), and spent the rest of the time talking music. Delerium, Amethystium, Blue Stone, Balligomingo, Conjure One... (Yes, I know. Anything to add more music links...) Anyway, I don't think we ever got out the Mary Kay stuff. It was far less important at that point.

And an instant friendship was formed.

As time went by, and I got to know her better, I started noticing how unhappy & unfulfilled she was with her Mary Kay business, and was picking up on the wishes and regrets. I remember having a conversation with her one day about all she used to do involving voice, and how she missed it. I asked her why she chose to concentrate all her efforts towards Mary Kay instead of working with the degree she had earned. Her answer was a simple dismissal. "It's a thing of the past. I have kids now, it's impossible." I was sad to hear that. Not only because I could see how Mary Kay was conforming her into some false sense of "happiness," but also because I was really curious about (and anxious to see) what talents she had that were hiding in the dark recesses of her mind.

Not too long after that conversation, I had discovered the artist Sleepthief, and was instantly mesmerized by one song in particular, Sublunar. Every time I heard it, I would get teary eyed and have chills, and kept thinking "She's gotta hear this." It was very convenient that on Auralgasms, (online radio), they'll tell you the upcoming tracks that they'll be playing. I had it playing on my computer, and saw that Sublunar was next in queue. So I called Lori-ann up and told her to get on her computer asap, crank the volume up, listen to the song, and call me back. So that she did.

This next conversation was a turning point for her. She called me back in tears. "That is what I want to do. That is the kind of music I want to create." It was no longer a wish, but now a desire, a goal. And almost immediately she dove into getting as much information as she could get about what equipment she needed to get started with. It was a very slow process, but the equipment came piece by piece. Then came the self teaching, the exploring, and the experiments. The trial and error. Many new discoveries, many new ideas, many new inspirations. The music started coming together. Her talents grew and strengthened. Every piece of music she wrote blew me away. I was amazed that she was able to create something so deep and beautiful. Many times as I was invited down to her "studio" to listen to her latest (and "unfinished, unmastered, and imperfect, so don't judge it") creations, I was blown away, and was amazed over and over again. So many melodies spoke to my emotions, some brought memories, some validated how I was feeling at that time. I never ceased to be impressed. The beautiful thing is that I thought they were all amazing and perfect, but I also could hear and feel the growth and improvement with each new track.

During this time of experimenting, learning and growth, were also some very trying times for Lori-ann. Equipment issues (over and over and over and over), family trials, very ill children, personal crisis, legal education... All of which would have had me throwing in the towel and calling it quits. (Especially the Alesis... I don't know how she managed the patience for that one!!!) But she didn't quit. She drudged through the mud and kept going. Nothing was going to stop her from completing her goal. I admire that determination. She has always been an inspiration to me, to want to make something better of myself. To not be afraid to follow a dream and do what you know will make you happy deep in your heart, no matter how many people balk at you, or tell you that you're not good enough, you'll never make it, don't waste your time, etc. No matter how many obstacles are thrown in to divert you off your path, or how many boulders are thrown right in front of you to stop you completely.

Well, after 2 years of blood, sweat and tears, I am so very happy to say that she did it! She withstood all the torrents. She reached her destination. It was not easy, in fact, it was living hell at times. But she did it, and I admire her, respect her, and deeply love her for that. And look at what she has now! A true work of her heart.

So Lori-ann, you're welcome. Thank you for letting me be such a big part of this dream. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talent with me, in all of its ever progressing stages. Thank you for adopting me into your family as well, and giving me a home away from home. Thank you for your unbiased friendship, and being able to see beyond the plain appearance and believing that I had something beautiful and of worth inside. And, thank you for allowing me to support you. That means the most to me. You know I'm your number 1 1/2 fan... heh heh

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An interesting conversation I had.

I am amazed at the knowledge & habits that I have, that I apparently was subconsciously practicing, but waiting for an experience for it to manifest itself so I could realize it had been applied to my life. Have you ever given advice or suggestions and had a light bulb turn on in your head, and realize that you are needing to tell this out loud to someone so that you yourself can hear the advice? Or felt that you were prompted to tell somebody something because you needed to tell it to yourself as well? I often wonder how many conversations are crafted in such a way that we are inspired to think into deeper meanings & learn things about ourselves. 

With that said, this is an im conversation that I had with a friend of mine. 
"The names have been changed to protect the innocent." ;)

Isaac: How are you doing?
Me: Good. How about you?
Isaac: I'm not sure. It's a long story. We have almost a years worth of history to catch up on.
Me: Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good. Cliff's Notes version in the meantime?
Isaac: My Mom, who I haven't seen in 20 years by my choice, was relocated to Utah after her husband died, and let's just say it has been an adventure.
Me: Is she in Manti, or is she here in the valley?
Isaac: She lived with James in Ogden until about a month ago, then lived with us until she got her own place in Moab on Monday.
Me: Is Erin's mom still living with you too?
Isaac: She only stays for a couple of days every other week or so, so that's not a source of stress. Actually, she has become much easier to be around.
Me: It's good to hear that!
Isaac: She still talks all the time, but she is becoming a better listener and will let you go if you need to leave. A definite improvement.
Me: Good. She's learning your boundaries.
Isaac: True. We have come a long way. I used to be the devil incarnate and now I am a saint in her eyes.
Me: Wow. So things are good. It's all in which perception you look at it, yeah?
Isaac: Our perception is our reality, no denying that.
Me: Now the trick is remembering that when you're faced with challenges. They can either build you up or tear you down.
Isaac: Isn't that the truth. But why does it seem challenges come when you're the weakest or already going down for the count?
Me: Because Satan is an asshole, and kicking you when you're down is the only way he knows how to play his game. Come to think about it, he really isn't that brilliant.
Isaac: No, you're right. He isn't that brilliant. He just knows us too well.
Me: That's what he wants us to believe.
Isaac: Is that what lead our downfall? So you think we might be helping him destroy us by deceiving ourselves into believing that he knows us when in fact it is ourselves that give him the tools?
Me: Could be. Once we allow ourselves to admit defeat, we let our guards down, and that is when he gets us. At least that's my opinion, not doctrine, obviously. But that is what's keeping me strong. He doesn't know the whole of me. Just my weaknesses. Only the Lord knows the whole of me.
Isaac: That is very true. You would think that with almost forty years experience I would be doing better than I am right now. Aaaaaagggghhh!!!
Me: He (satan) has no idea what potential my strengths have.
Me: You know, it took me looking him in the eye to realize that. He had me so low that I felt like all was lost. Then I realized that I allowed myself to fall with his coaching.
Isaac: Which he exploits at any sign of weakness.
Me: I know, I know. He doesn't play fair. We just need a smarter strategy than he.
Isaac: Very astute. I've never seen it in that light before. What's worked for you?
Me: I try to look at all things from different perspectives to be able to see clearly. It's as simple as that, but is very difficult all the same.
Isaac: Can you give me an example?
Me: Okay, say someone deeply offends you. Our first reaction is defense and anger. But if we try to put ourselves in their shoes, we may see that they meant well, but we misunderstood what they said or meant. Or perhaps they were acting on misinformation, if that makes any sense. Or even perhaps we ourselves didn't understand the whole situation and allowed ourselves to be offended without finding out what the whole situation was. There is always an explanation.
Isaac: That makes perfect sense. Too bad the emotional reaction gets in the way.
Me: I've actually had a situation in my office recently that almost tore me apart, until I realized why they acted the way they did, and I realized I'd have done the same if it were me. And it was all because of misinformation, or a lack of communication. I am so thankful I allowed a moment in their shoes.
Isaac: I seem to find myself misunderstanding people more and more lately.
Me: I understand misunderstanding. Wow, that was an oxymoron!
Isaac: Or something brilliant. So what has allowed you to take that step in someone else's shoes?
Me: I got sick of depression and anger. It was eating a hole in me, and was oozing negativity on everyone I loved. I had a breakdown.
Isaac: I could see that. I'm very happy for you that you have been able to see it for yourself.
Me: Then I saw how my depression was not affecting only me. It was killing my whole family, and hurting my good friends. 
Me: Then I started thinking about what the kids must be feeling, having to pick up the pieces I left all over the place, and how unfair that is to them. It's not their responsibility, it's mine. 
Me: And I was wondering how I would react if Nolan hated himself as much as I hated me, and wondered if I could bear seeing that pain in his eyes, the same loathing pain he saw in mine. I know it killed him.
Isaac: Ouch... as in gut wrenching. Our children can make us look at ourselves when we would just rather die.
Me: So that's what got me thinking about perceptions.
Isaac: So a paradigm shift in your thinking? Looking through others eyes or walking in their shoes instead of focusing on your own loathing. Wow!
Me: Like I said, it's as simple as that, but incredibly difficult at the same time. But all I can say is that the clarity is invigorating!
Isaac: Maybe some of this new found enlightenment can rub off on me? I am very serious. No sarcasm intended.
Me: I sure hope so. I am eternally thankful that the fog has lifted. I can't even begin to tell you how invigorating it is. Like hiking one hellatious mountain just to be rewarded with a breathtaking view of where you just were, and all the places you could possibly go.
Isaac: So you feel that your new view is heaven sent?
Me: Absolutely. Because the Lord knows me better than Satan.
Isaac: That makes sense. We have got to talk some more about this.
Me: I'd love to. But now it's late, and we both need cuddles from our spouses. :)
Isaac: Thanks for chatting with me, and giving me some things to think about. I'll talk to you soon.
Me: Sounds good. Have a good night.
Isaac: I will. You too.

Yes, I will have a good night. And a good day tomorrow too.
As Anne (of Green Gables) so often says "Isn't it nice to know that tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it?"
And also from Anne of Green Gables comes this profound thought (which has actually been brought up on occasion in Relief Society):
Anne: "Can't you even imagine being in the depths of despair?"
Marilla: "No, I can not. To despair is to turn your back on God."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I had a wonderful day!

Our little man was baptized on Saturday. He seemed so sure of his decision, and his elation at making a good choice was emanating from him all day. He was beaming. My only regret is that he changed out of his little suit before I was able to catch him on camera. I'll get one though. It was precious. My little man.

Look at how happy he is. Yes, the spirit was definitely rejoicing with him! What's funny, is that Forrest got to be baptized twice because his knee came up out of the water the first time. What's even funnier is that Emma had to be baptized twice as well, because her toe popped up out of the water. Not many people can say they got baptized twice in one day!

Nolan is a recent convert to the church. He was baptized in 2002. Nolan was saying that when he baptized Forrest, feelings and memories from his own baptism flooded over him, and the spirit touched him. It was obvious that he was overwhelmed with the spirit because he was choking up while performing the ordinance. I wish I knew what that felt like. I don't remember my baptism at all. Only that I waited a few months for my sister to return home from her mission in Finland so that she could be there.

After our get together at our house, I had the opportunity to attend another baptism. Now I'm not saying that Forrest's baptism wasn't special, not at all. But THIS particular baptism was really special, and was a huge huge blessing. I experienced a re-baptism of somebody who had been ex-communicated almost 2 decades ago, (unfortunately because of inappropriate and uncalled for doings of some of her church leaders at that time) and was very bitter, as anyone would be after experiencing what she did. Yes, this baptism was a big deal. Not only for her paradigm shift, and allowing the gospel to enrich her life again, but also because for this kind of baptism, the First Presidency has to approve it. How amazing is that, that President Monson, President Eyring & President Uchtdorf know about her, what she went through, what she's going through now, and gave her their blessings. Wow. Not many people have that privilege. The spirit was so strong in there. Her son who performed the ordinance was in tears, her son-in-law, who confirmed her, also chocked up during the blessing. There were very few dry eyes in that room. There were many many prayers that were answered that day. 

That experience reminded me that the gospel is true, but sometimes the members are not. They can either make or break the religion. When in doubt, get on your knees and pray. The Lord will comfort your heart.

Monday, September 29, 2008

By request, some nummy recipes. :)

Britty was given an assignment in her health class to come up with a healthy pizza, using wheat, lots of veggies and minimal cheese. Well, we've already got that down to a science. But for her assignment's sake, we made pizza again, and this time I took pictures to document it. (So for fun, I'll post those too.) But then, I was thinking I've had enough people ask for some specific recipes, including the pizza dough, so I thought it would make sense to post them here.

Pizza Dough:
(Thanks to Diane for giving me this recipe!)

2 cups flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package yeast (about 1 tbsp)
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 cup VERY warm water (120-130 degrees)

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add oil and warm water. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. (I mix by hand)

Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl. Knead 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Heat oven at 425 degrees.

Grease two pizza stones (or cookie sheets or 12 inch pans) with oil. Pat 1/2 of dough on each pan, and allow dough to rise again. (Here is the key) Partially bake 7-8 minutes or until crust begins to brown.

Add toppings and bake for another 10 minutes.

Now you'll never order out again. ;)

Not your average run of the mill zucchini bread. Trust me. :)

2 cups flour
1 cup wheat flour (sometimes I do half and half.)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
3 cups grated zucchini
peel of one orange, washed & minced.

This recipe is delicious even without the orange peel, but is even better with. :)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans and dust with flour or wheat germ. Mix all the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs, then blend in the oil. Use a spatula to mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients in several additions, then fold in the zucchini and the orange peel. (It will be thick, you may need to use your hands). Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. The bread may cool in the pans for 5 to 15 minutes before being turned out onto a rack or plate. Makes two 9-inch loaves.

*Wanna make this into muffins? Go for it! It'll make 24, bake for 30 minutes.

"Patriotic Cookies"
(Cranberry-blueberry-white chocolate-macadamia...)

2 3/4 cups flour
(While we're on a wheat kick, why not mix it up?)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 package white chocolate chips
2 jars (abt. 6 oz.) chopped macadamia nuts
5 cups oats
1 1/2-2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter & sugars until creamy. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix in baking powder, baking soda & salt, then add flour. Mix well. Add oats, fruit & chocolate. Using a medium sized scoop, place dough about 2" apart (they will spread). Bake 14-16 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

Any other recipes you'd like?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Relief Society Women's Meeting.

I actually had forgotten that it was tonight, and obviously wasn't planning on going. However, I am grateful for the events that led to me being able to go, and am especially grateful to Lori-ann for putting up with my kids while I went. I was touched by some of the things that President Uchtdorf had to say, and I know that he was talking to me (and unfortunately many many women around the world as well.) I feel refreshed, and blessed, knowing that the Lord is aware of my inner struggles, and inspired one of his servants to talk on the subject. Along the same lines, it is encouraging to know that because he talked about it, I am not alone. Although it did sadden me as well to know that there are other women struggling with the same battle as I am. If any of you are interested in watching the broadcast, it's already available on All the talks were touching on very important and inspiring subjects, but for me personally, President Uchtdorf really hit the nail in the coffin.

Here are some of the things that he said that touched me:

"I am grateful for you and who you are, treasured daughters of our Heavenly Father with infinite worth."

"No matter how perfect everything is, looks, or tastes, Harriet will apologize for something that she thinks is imperfect." (Don't we all?)

"To me it appears that our splendid Sisters sometimes under value their abilities. They focus on what is lacking or imperfect, rather than that which has been accomplished, and who they really are."

"We know that sometimes it can be difficult to keep our heads above water, in fact, in our world of change, challenges & check lists, sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to avoid feelings over run by emotions of suffering or sorrow. I am not suggesting that we can simply flip a switch and stop the negative feelings that distress us. This isn't a pep talk, or an attempt to encourage people who are sinking in quick sand to imagine instead that they are relaxing on a beach. I recognize that in all of our lives, there are real concerns. I know that there are hearts here today that harbor deep sorrows. Others wrestle with fears that trouble the soul. For some, loneliness is their secret trial. These things are not insignificant."

"Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we, as his spirit children, can and should emulate."

"Isn't it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it. Your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with the beauty, function and capacity beyond imagination."

"You may think that you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption. For we ALL have talents and gifts, every one of us."

"So what if what you create is not perfect. Don't let fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you, whether that voice comes from the outside, or the inside."

"Sisters, trust and rely on the spirit as you take the normal opportunities of your daily life, and create something of beauty and helpfulness. You improve not only the world around you, but also the world within you."

"When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our own lives are blessed as well."

"As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves."

"True words of encouragement require only a loving and caring heart, but may have an eternal impact on the lives of those around you."

"Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts. Let us notice the loneliness and despair. Let us feel the silent prayers of others around us and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers."

"As spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father, happiness is your heritage. You are choice daughters of our heavenly father, and through the things that you create, and by your compassionate service, you are a great powerful good."

"God loves you, we love you and admire you."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Autumn. Aaaah, beauty.

I escaped into the mountains the other day. Let me show you what I found on my hike...

Isn't it just beautiful?

Monday, September 1, 2008

The whole Midnight Sun ordeal.

Long story short:
Somebody leaked the first 12 chapters of Midnight Sun, and they got posted online. On Stephenie Meyer's website, she hints that she has an idea as to who the culprit is. Not sure if she was violated directly by the person she trusted the manuscript with, or if an outsider got ahold of the unprotected project. Regardless, the damage has been done. She has been violated, and now has no ambition to finish the project. I don't blame her. She opted to go ahead and post those chapters (in raw un-edited form) on her website to prevent any further illegal downloads of her work. Pretty much "Here's all that you get, thanks to that person that ruined it for all."

Well, after debating back and forth for a few days, I finally gave in and read it (legally on Stephenie's website), and am so glad that I did. Now I have a completely different perspective on Edward's mood swings, and also Bella doesn't seem like a selfish whiner now that I have seen her through his eyes. Now I feel horrible for thinking she was a brat. Now I look forward to re-reading Twilight (for the 4th time) with a whole new perspective.

Needless to say, Stephenie is absolutely brilliant, and it infuriates me that someone would betray her like this. I hope that over time she will find the desire and ambition again to finish this beautiful project. I can imagine Midnight Sun being even more anticipated and successful than Twilight. Especially now.

In a group that I belong to, I came across this post:
"She explains what happened and how she doesn't feel she can continue to write Midnight Sun. It's so sad. I belong to a group on Flickr that has a link to a petition to get Stephanie to continue writing for her fans. If you are interested here is the link:"

I understand that this petition has good intentions, but the fact is that Stephenie is distraught and broken right now, and no amount of petitions can force her to be inspired and write again this soon. She needs time to sort out this mess, and it is completely acceptable (albeit sad) for her to feel depressed & hopeless, and afraid to be betrayed again. She will write again when SHE is ready to, not when people tell her to. It is like forcing somebody who has been cheated on to love again the next day. It just doesn't work that way.

And in the words of Chris Crocker: "Leave Stephenie alone! Leave her a-lo-ooo-ooone!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Small price to pay for the life of my kids.

I have had a lot to think about since last week. Isn't it frightening how thin the line between life and death is? Have you ever been in a situation where you realize one or two seconds later would have been too late? Have you ever had some life experiences replay themselves for you and you realize how dangerous the situation was (and could have been), or marvel at the fact that everyone is safe and wonder how & why they made it out safely? Or even in my case, a few times, I wonder why I was spared, and need to thank the Lord for that blessing. I laid in bed the other night realizing how many times I was within a snap of the fingers from fatality, whether it was me or my kids. Many many near misses. So many that I realize I must have a purpose here. Same with my kids. They were spared because they still have some purpose to fulfill here.

So what brought this on? Well, last week the kids & I (and a good friend of mine) went up into the mountains to find solitude. We ended up at a beautiful lake. Of course, we have to swim. How can you not? Anyway, we were there for a while, and Forrest was doing really really good to stay right by us, where the water was shallow enough that he could stand and keep his head well above the water, and of course stay within our sight. He started heading towards the shore and all of a sudden dropped down and couldn't get his head above water. I was in the water and to him within seconds. But had my head been turned the other way, even to flick a fly off my arm, I wouldn't have seen him go down. Even though he was right there in front of me. It would have been too late and I would have lost him. So while I was in the water with him, I felt around with my feet and found that there was a hole in the ground that was a few feet deeper, then it went back to the other depth. As if there once was a large rock that had been removed and left a hole. That's what he stepped into. He went down with the hole. Had he been 1 foot either to the left or the right, he'd have been fine. How fitting to life that is, when we think we're safe and have good footing, that's when the ground falls out from beneath us and catches us off guard.

Then about an hour later, Emma was playing on a floating log that she found earlier. She could sit on and use it as a floatie. So she sat on the log and lounged, and the current slowly took her further and further out. I started getting nervous, so I was calling to her to paddle herself back to shore. Britt swam out to be with her and to help her come back. The log was protesting swimming against the current, so they abandoned the log and swam on their own. It's Emma that has the calcium buildup in her muscles and arthritis, so I was getting nervous about her muscles fatiguing before she got to shore. I was watching them work and work and not get much closer. At that time I was telling Jess that I was worried about her wearing herself out and not being able to swim the rest of the way. Then I called to her and asked if she wanted me to come in and help her. Of course when she yelled back yes, she slipped under the water too. Britt was doing her best to keep Nem above water, but was struggling because it was deep enough that even she couldn't stand to hold herself up. So for the second time, I jumped in, fully clothed, to pull my struggling child out of the water. It's amazing that I was able to make it out to her so quickly. It seems that I was out there within a few seconds, where she was a good 50 feet or so from shore.

So twice that day, I watched two different children come painstaking close to drowning. Not because I was a bad parent and wasn't watching them, and not because my neglect put them in danger. No. Not that at all. In fact, they're both excited to go to the lake again next week. It's just that life is such a fragile thing and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. We may not be aware of how many times we almost cross that line. But I wonder what it is that I am supposed to learn from this experience.

The only fatality reported that day in the lake was that of my beloved cell phone, which was in the pocket of my shorts when I jumped into the water the first time. Small price to pay for the life of my son.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strange visions, raging headaches.

I've been getting these strange headaches during the past couple of weeks. Now I am no stranger to migraines, not in the least. I'm used to seeing little floating sparkles and black specks, but I've had completely different visions. What I've seen looks somewhat like a halo or an aura that is crescent shaped. It is very geometric, like the crescent has dozens of prisms that are reflecting the northern lights at different angles and brightnesses. Like I'm looking into a portal to another dimension.

Whatever I am attempting to focus on, the sparkling seems to wrap itself around it. The first time it happened, I thought maybe my eye was wigging out. So I closed it. Still saw the sparkles. So I closed the other eye. Still sparkles. So I closed both eyes. Still sparkles. Okay, not my eyes. So it's something in my head. Great. That episode lasted an hour, then followed with a headache that felt like a vice grip around my crown, but also felt like extreme pressure from the inside, like the brain is swelling with every heart beat. I've experienced one or the other, but never both at the same time. I literally thought I was dying.

A few days past, then I had another sparkle vision, this time it lasted about 2 hours, then came the headache that had me vomiting.

Well, yesterday, I WOKE UP with the sparkling crescent already on display. Not a good sign. I went into work, did the best I could despite my vision being obstructed with this bright light refracting object. After 4 hours, it wasn't showing any signs of letting up, so I told the Chiropractor that I work with what has been happening, and asked if that sounds like it could possibly be an optical nerve impingement.

He sent me to the imaging center for an MRI immediately. He called them with instructions while I was on my way. Within a half hour of leaving my office, I was in the MRI tube. Then things got fun.

So in the MRI, the machine puts out all sorts of different vibrating (screeching) sounds at different frequencies that cause different responses in your body. Well, every 5 minutes or so, the machine does 3 long sounds that sound like the emergency broadcasting warning. Well, my body reacted to those. Every time (on the 3rd buzz, which is odd), my right arm all the way from my shoulder joint down to my fingers felt like it was being zapped & electrocuted. It was very painful! I told the tech afterwards, and he said he'd never heard about that before. I really wonder if it's connected.

So here's my questions:
First, has anybody had any headache/vision issues like that? If so, did you ever find out what it was? Is there something that triggers it? Is it treatable? Am I doomed for the rest of my life to have it conjure itself up at the most inopportune times?
Second, has anybody had an MRI that their body reacted to like that? Am I abnormal?

Friday, July 18, 2008

I need your opinions!!!

I am planning on entering some photographs into the county fair, but I just found out last night that I can only submit THREE! How am I possibly supposed to pick THREE!? Sigh. Okay, I've narrowed it down to 20 something, and now I would like your opinions, especially since they're my photos, I'm pretty biased. Out of these, what are your favorites and why? What do you think would be good to submit, and what wouldn't? What would you pick if you were judging?

 what do you think?