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?

Day 6 - June 19th SAN DIEGO!

Not that I was elated to get off the Elation, but I admit I was ready to have my feet on solid ground again. A weeks worth of rocking was more than enough for me. However, very appreciative of the experiences & opportunities I was given all the same. Seriously, a HUGE THANK YOU to Mom & Dad for making this possible. We love you!!!

We arrived at the pier and were off the boat much earlier that thought, so we had some time to kill while waiting for our ride. Thankfully the train station was only 2 blocks east of the boat, so we had somewhere to hang, and Nolan had something to entertain him while waiting.

Once we were with Kel, we drove around down town & did some typical touristy things: saw some interesting landscaping, visited some cool areas, ate some nummy food, and of course, went shopping in stores that only San Diego would have (besides Wal-Mart, of course).

The funny thing is that it was HOT! So the whole time on the cruise, the weather was overcast, windy and chilly. Then we get off the boat and it's over 100! Go figure. Yeah, if I had time, I would have definitely hit the beach and jumped in the freezing water just to cool off, something that was not an option on the cruise.

Once back at the airport, we were entertained by the new cleaning crew that was employed by the airport. They hopped around, quietly cleaning up all the crumbs that people left, relatively going unnoticed. I think the best part was that they were energy conscious, didn't have to run a vacuum at all! ;) Really though, the birds were cute, and I believe they have a nest in the terminal. It was a cute little way to end our trip, as we were awaiting the jumbo bird to arrive and take us back home to our family.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 5 - June 18th ENSENADA!

The fog was the thickest I had seen on the cruise. Early in the morning we were woken by the boat blowing it's horn for 5 seconds in 30 second intervals. This lasted for well over an hour, as the boat slowly creeped through the fog. A few of us stood on the bow, fully entertained with wondering where we were going. The fog was icy cold, and contained tiny tiny water droplets, so after not too long, we were all sufficiently misted, and our hair and eyebrows (and facial hair for the men) looked frosted.
At times our visibility was only a few feet, but most of the time we could see a dozen or so yards out. During the better visibility, we were treated to a sweet show by the local dolphins as they were keeping pace with the ship, just a few yards away from the boat's wake, and also by some beautiful birds who skimmed the surface above the dolphins. It was beautiful and serene. I had an emotion that I can't quite describe while I was out there watching the life. Like I said in a previous blog, I felt solitude, yet I felt surrounded. I felt like a little insignificant being in a vast world. I felt peaceful, I felt alone, yet I felt company. I know, It's bizarre. But I guess that's just how I work. I have many different aspects hitting different emotions all at the same time. 
As we were pulling into port, as land was becoming visible, we saw another cruise ship docked, still nearly submerged in the fog. It was neat seeing another boat of such great size from this perspective, since all my other vantage points were from sea level. Still amazed that something the size of a small city (stacked on top of itself, of course) can float on water. I'd think it would be an engineering nightmare, but the design is centuries old. Just improved over the decades. Amazing.

Once off the boat, Nolan & I headed out along with part of our family to an area much further away than we thought it would be, about a 45 minute drive further, called La Bufadora. We were able to drive along the coast and catch glimpses of the water and also the mountains as the sun was starting to burn through the fog, causing it to lift. If you go to google earth and look up Ensenada, Mexico, then look up La Bufadora, you'll be able to see how far we were taken. I didn't realize until I looked it up that it was way out on the tip of a peninsula.
We were dropped off in a parking lot about a mile away from La Bufadora, and were able to walk down to it through an open air market. It reminded me of a state fair. Except at least at the fairs the vendors wait for you to come to them. Here, they were all inviting us to their shop. Of course, they rely on the American tourists to provide their income. It's okay, I had fun looking, and was satisfied that I was able to get some good Mexican vanilla, and some cool hand made sandals for me and the girls.
La Bufadora, translated means "The Blowhole." Although this technically isn't a hole, it is a deep crevice in the cliffs, which compresses the waves as they come in and thrusts the water upwards at an explosive rate. It was neat because we'd see the wave start to roll in, then we'd hear this thunderous grumble, then a few seconds later the water would shoot up like an explosion.
Each time the water would shoot in different directions, different heights and with different force. It made it all that more entertaining to watch a dozen or so shoot back out to sea, then have one completely drench the onlookers. Dad was elated with all the different senses that were being stimulated all at the same time. It was really neat because he was able to tell us when it was going to be more forceful just by the sound of the waves coming in. Then it was even more rewarding when he felt the spray afterwards. It was quite the display, the landscape was stunning, the colors in the water were beautiful, I didn't want to leave.
To get an idea, go to you tube and look up La Bufadora and watch footage of it. It really was quite a neat spectacle. Another example of how nature can awe you. Nothing man made can duplicate this.
The majority of the fog had dissipated by the time we made it back to the boat, (which I was quite relieved that we made it back there safely after experiencing the road habits of Mexican bus drivers). Once again, we joined up on the bow of the ship to watch its exit from Ensenada, and to give us the one glimpse of the city that was earlier obscured by the fog. One thing I found fascinating (besides La Bufadora, of course), was the Mexican Flag that they had raised. It may not look like much in this picture, but to put it into perspective, the cruise ship is in the harbor, the flag pole was at least a quarter mile into town. That flag would have nearly covered the side of the ship if it were hung there! That was one massive flag! On google earth, the flag is casting a rather large shadow. I'm curious as to its dimensions. 
As we were back out to sea, the fog and clouds quickly rolled back in, giving me yet another stunningly beautiful skyscape display. This evening was another of literal solitude on the bow, admiring the beauty that the Lord had painted all around me, and saddened that no one else was up there with me to share it with.
It was breathtaking, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to be able to once again take in the simplistic beauty of our complex ecosystem. Yes, that night I was feeling blessed in many ways. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 4 - June 17th

Another day at sea, which meant more laying around, playing games with the family, and exploring. :) 

We started our day by meeting out on the back of the deck for another group picture, this time wearing our Cowan Clan shirts that were made specifically for this occasion. The image on the shirts was a beautifully detailed Crest that was made up of different images that represented parts of Mom's ancestry, and also Dad's ancestry. Also, as an inside family joke, written on the banner is the Latin translation of "The third number repeated three times." Hahaha! I think Reed did an amazing job, even with him interjecting his sarcasm. It is brilliant.

Nolan & I wandered around the ship for a little bit, and ended up on the front spotting whale pods. I didn't get to see any majestic fins sticking up out of the water, but we were able to see them spouting, and once in a while skimming the surface exposing their dorsal side. It was somewhat comforting to me to know that even out in the middle of nowhere, where we can easily feel so alone, there is all sorts of life abounding all around us.

We couldn't resist the perfect opportunity for a romantic picture... ;) Linda says it looks like the cover of a romance novel. I say nah, I'm not near sexy enough, and I'm dressed too modestly. LOL! Although I will admit that the wind blowing my hair around his shoulder makes a nice effect, as though caressing him. Okay, yeah, maybe romance novel material. (But insert different models, please.)

Can I just tell you that I love my husband?


During dinner this night, the dining staff decided to entertain us by performing the "Macarena" which was quite surprising and hilarious. Reed & Sandy decided to join in on the fun. And thus the laughs begin.

After dinner, we succeeded at completely embarrassing our parents again, this time by playing songs that remind us of them, some sentimental, others reminding of embarrassing moments and some just down right silly. Like Dad's Der Fuhrers's Face. 

I think I could officially call this a bi-polar night. Laughing and crying and laughing again, and crying again, almost instantaneously. Wouldn't have missed it for the world though.