Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do not attempt: Profession driver on closed course. NOT!

Logan and I had a bad morning. I don't recommend this on a closed or open course. Don't recommend it on snow storm mornings in AK with temps neare 20 degrees either. Don't recommend it on unplowed roads either.

I'm physically fine. My driver's side wheels got caught in a snow path this morning and it pulled the entire vehicle at 45-50 mph into a four wheel skid. I steered with the skid without a foot on the brake or the gas (I remember a few things from driver's safety) but it was out of control. I ended up upside down dangling from my seat belt listening to the windshield cracking. I turned the car off, unlocked the doors and saw feet coming my way. I tried to unbuckle the seatbelt but it wouldn't unlock. I tried crawling out through the "top" which was now the bottom of the belt but I couldn't get through the lap belt with my big North Face coat and hips. Nice, uh?

Two young college students from the Univ of Alaska--Fairbanks and a woman were at my window. They opened the door and I asked them to cut my seat belt. Had to convince them that I hadn't bonked my head and that my neck didn't hurt and I didn't have any tingling anywhere. I was getting a head rush from hanging upside down. Not a very comfortable position but my seat belt saved my life this morning.

Anyway, I got out, troop got there in 12 minutes. Called a tow company, called my insurance company. My boss and his wife picked me up. Brought me coffee. Missed my church retreat. Moose that were about a half mile before my accident were gone on our drive back into town. I'm waiting to hear back from the insurance company to call the rental company to get me new wheels. The body shop opens on Monday, they know my car is there. Please, please pray it isn't total. Please don't leave your "it might be" comments. I really like "Logan". I got a great steal when I bought "Logan". I can't afford anything more expensive than "Logan". Just say a little prayer.

The red stuff is transmission leaks out your dipstick cap when a vehicle is upside down. The dent on the driver's door is only on the outside. The door shuts completely and latches appropriately. No visible bulge on the inside. Roof is dented from the snowbank it landed in, but the door frames are not involved. Windshield is cracked but not indented at all. Driver's side mirror is gone. Passenger side, front, and back are without damage. Car starts too. All four wheels are squarely on the ground now too.

As I said...don't recommend this!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HNT...God help me

Every non-Catholic asks their Catholic friends, "What are you giving up for Lent?" The second question is usually, "Why?"

Lent is a time of reflection and intraspection. We are asked to look into our hearts and reflect on the darkness in our hearts as we prepare for the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, God in flesh. The "giving up" is a way to remember the disciples and their promise to give up their homes and possessions to serve the Lord. It should be something of value or importance to the individual. Think of it as a challenge to set your mind too.

The readings for today, Ash Wednesday, remind Christians to go about their mission not letting the "right hand know that of what the left is doing". We are reminded to pray within our hearts, no on mountains in front of crowds to "show" how faithful we are. When fasting, groom oneself and take care of your appearance as to not appear as though you are fasting. It is not the reaction of those around you to your actions that count, it is your inner sincerity and that God knows what you are doing.

With that in mind, I debated posting this picture. I typically volunteer of my time during Lent. I have a busy schedule. It's hard for me to find time for those who need more. This year is different. I have lots of time. I'm still finding my way in the community up here. I am meeting people and trying new things but I'm not nearly as involved as I was in MN. As a kid you always gave up candy or treats, etc. That was never really an issue for me. I'm not a big candy snacker. This year, giving of my time to help with something won't be that difficulty . However, with the long dark days (let alone nights) and the many hours home alone, I have found a new comfort...

Ice cream! Lots of ice cream! And not just once in a while....nearly nightly! I have two Cold Stone gift cards in my purse begging to be used. So tonight, I moved the ice cream to the back of the fridge and I'll wait until Easter for the next big scoop! Let's hope Cold Stone is still in business in Fairbanks in 40 days! I'm not asking for your pity in my challenge; just a little support and probably a lot of teasing :) Happy HNT!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sleepover...ala AK style!

I have had a wonderful day! I had a good day at work (minus the blue screen of death on my office computer...that's a work in progress per IT). I played volleyball for 3 hours tonight and didn't pull anything. I came home and I had critters in my front yard. The above picture is the back deck steps and the tracks showing how close baby moose got on her way to her sleeping spot. She's RIGHT THERE! in my yard. I could walk over to her, she's THAT close! I stood outside and talked to her for about 15 minutes. Her little ears were twitching and she was chewing her cud. Momma is another 40 feet away but curled up for the night as well. I want to go snuggle with them....

The pictures aren't great, it's an old camera, it's dark, lots of white, but if you click on them and make them big you won't mistake that that is a MOOSE snuggled into the snow about 20 feet from my front deck! She's a good listener too...have I mentioned I love it here?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back to the life of the not so rich and famous...

Life is hard when a long weekend ends and you have to go back to work in the real world. Five cases in the OR and my hamstrings are killing me, my neck aches a bit, and there is no hotty First Man to come rub my feet. At least I managed to cook for myself tonight. Now it's barely 10 pm and I think I'll have to call it a night and watch Law & Order SVU tomorrow. Thank goodness for DVR!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yup..that's really him!

This is my Alaska celebrity photo from the weekend. Todd Palin after 2000 miles on a snow machine (that's a snow mobile for all of us in the Outside) without a shower is still one hot dude! Don't you agree?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What a day!

I'm tired and the pictures aren't loaded yet but I have to say today was pretty cool! I got to snuggle up with Todd Palin, snicker a bit about Sarah while she wandered around in her skinny jeans and snow mobile jacket, meet Bristol and baby Tripp, as well as grandma. Pretty cool day! I smell like diesel fuel a bit and I'm tired. I'll have the rest tomorrow! Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Doesn't this look like fun?

Tomorrow I am working for three hours to help with the 2009 Tesoro Iron Dog snow machine race (for all you on the Outside, Alaskans call snow mobiles, snow machines...I don't get it, haven't figured it out yet, but if you call it a snow mobile up here they look at you funny). Any whoo...I met a gal a couple weeks ago and she knew I was volunteering in Nome for the Iditarod. She had gotten some information about the Iron Dog race and asked if I would want to help. She was going to sign up too so I figured why not.

Participants race in two person teams from Big Lake in southern Alaska, up to Nome (same path as the Iditarod) and then over to Fairbanks. It's nearly 2000 miles on a snow mobile. Most of these guys are young, single, and pretty cute. See any motivation there?

Oh yeah...there is this guy to. Do you recognize him? Take a look at who is on the back of his sled. That would be the lady who thought she could be a "help" to the Republican party as VP candidate. Her husband is "the" man of this race having won it several times. I just checked the standings for tonight. He is number 6 to leave the Tanana check point tomorrow morning. Last year he had to drop out because he crashed and broke his arm. I'll let you know how he does and who knows, Mrs. Todd Palin may be at the finish line to greet her hubby!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just around the corner...

My friends like Heather, Jami, and Laura know I hate Valentine's Day. I prefer to call it Happy Crappy Day. 5 years ago when I had only been in Rochester for a few months following my divorce due to my husband cheating on me on Valentine's Day while away at a conference, I treated myself to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Rochester alone, wandered the empty halls of Mayo Clinic and was able to take beautiful pictures of the art work throughout the main campus, and ended the afternoon/evening with several hours going through Barnes and Noble reading kids books.

This year, I most likely will be helping with the riders as they come through Fairbanks on the Snowmachine Iron Dog race. Longest snow mobile ride in the world but they call them snow machines up here. You know that governor lady from up here? Her husband is a BIG name snow machine racer. We'll see how he does. They were looking for volunteers and if time allows I said I could help.

In the meantime, since I had several Valentine's Day workshops for my Stampin' Up endeavors I decided to be a bit creative and will actually send out a few cards. Amazing uh?

Here's a few samples:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Moosin' around...

There are benefits to getting up early on a Sunday morning! Anyone who knows me knows that I will be the LAST one to point these out. I hate mornings. However, with the saga of the headache my sleeping schedule is messed up and I did not get to accomplish all I wanted yesterday. So, I was out of bed by 7:30 this Sunday morning. It paid off. I have found my health savings debit card (remember the post about the piles and piles of mail and paperwork...yeah, it was in there!). I have had a cup (okay, two cups) of coffee. AND...I took the video you see here!

I check the snow every morning for new tracks. There were plenty this morning and when I followed the direction of the tracks I discovered a source this time!! YEAH!!! A big cow moose standing and nibbling in the way front yard. The pictures I tried to take turned out like crap because at 8 am in the morning the sun hasn't come up yet and it's sort of pre-dawnish out. She didn't seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere though so I was able to stand out on my deck and get the video. These are the only two pictures which sort of turned out. Wish I could have zoomed in better but not enough light.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sweet relief...

36 hours later, pretty consistent Advil dosing, two doses of the "good stuff" (at around $35 dollars a pill), spending 18 hours in bed, and having successfully packed my head in ice I feel better! No more vice grip tension on my head and neck. No more feeling like I'm going to puke if I roll over too fast. No more hungry but I don't dare eat. No more little floating dots in my vision. Relief!

I have had migraines since I was little. Mom and Dad finally hauled me off to a doctor before I was even in grade school because I would cry and scream until I puked and they didn't know why. I still vividly remember the EMG they did. I had hair past my waist and they goobered it with sticky paste to make the electrodes stick. Pulling these out of my hair gave me a headache. I use to get two to three headaches a week. Everyone thought it was weird that I had headaches and I got made fun of if I complained of a headache. So instead, I played sports, went to school, etc with headaches to avoid people thinking I was a wimp. I also remember missing my own birthday party because I had a migraine. I didn't have a lot of birthday parties and then I finally had one planned for me and it had to be canceled b/c I had a headache. I also remember my senior year not going to the national science fair and I still blame the nasty headache I had the day of the regional contest. I was so sick I'm pretty sure I had no clue what I was saying to the judges when they were asking me about my project. I was puking in between judges, I do remember that.

When I was in 8th grade I finally went to a Neurologist. She was the first doctor who actually paid attention and diagnosed me as having true "migraines". She tried placing me on a beta blocker. I got teased for that because when I first started the medication I had to record my heart rate and such b/c a beta blocker can decrease yoru heart rate. Not cool when you are trying to play high school basketball and more fodder for fun for the other kids. The beta blocker didn't work but she finally gave me medications other than Advil or Motrin to treat the headaches when I did get them. The first medication I used gave me fabulous relief but required an injection. Dad use to always give them to me...they made me a bit sweaty, made my heart race a bit, and made my face tingle for a little bit but the headache would go away.

Imitrex was pretty much the only thing that worked but it also had a high rebound headache rate (often get another headache within 24 hours of the first one going away). It was what was available so I used it. It was what I was still using when I went off to college. But I had never given myself the injection. Freaked my roommate out when I told her about my headaches and asked her if she could do them for me. Yeah, freaked her out enough she asked to move at the semester (I was happy though, we had way opposite day night schedules and we were friends when we graduated). A very grumpy nurse made me feel really guilty about needing her to give me my injections so one day when I had one I finally said the hell with it and gave myself my own shot. Yeah, even a nurse made me feel bad about having headaches.

The good news is there are now better meds on the market. I currently use one called Maxalt. I first used it as an oral mediation. I tried it as a nasal spray but that didn't work so wel with the nausea the headache itself already caused. It now comes in a tablet which dissolves under my tongue. The other good news is that as I have gotten older the frequency of my headaches has become less. Throughout college and grad school I would get headaches once or twice a week. The problem in grad school as the associated tension headaches with the migraine that I would get from working through the headaches due to the sheer need to not lag behind in studies. Now, I get a really bad headache maybe once every 3 to 4 months. I have smaller headaches here and there but they responde to rest, advil, etc. The big ones like what I just had don't happen very often. Thank GOD!

Migraines are a unique headache. A few of my readers have the ill pleasure of knowing what they are like. You can have painful migraines or painfree migraines. Funky uh? I get the painful ones but there are individuals who get ocular only migraines resulting in visual disturbances but no pain. I get mild auras (that's the scientific term) with my headaches...I see little lights that I swear I could reach out and grab. Like little fireflies flying just inches in front of my face. I also get nauseous. I don't puke anymore. I learned to hate puking early in life and have mentally steeled myself against puking with the exception of extreme cases (Christmas stomach flu of '06 and a long night at Ocktoberfest come to mind). The nausea makes doing anything quickly hard though. The pain is unilateral, only one side of my head. Mine is typically my right side but occasionally will affect my left. The pain goes from directly behind my eyeball, around my ear, the the base of my skull. Pressure on these points feels good, if I could attach a milking device or squeeze me head for hours on end it would always help. Ice, even better! Light is painful to the site. Being hot is not comfortable with a migraine.

So, what did I do the last several days with this headache. I felt it a bit on Thursday and even mentioned to the physical therapist that maybe I should have him work on my neck to loosen it up a bit and such. I got busy and didn't get to that. By the time I went to bed on Thursday night I had a pretty good headache. It took my four advil and crawled into bed with my ice pack. I woke up on Friday morning and it wasn't gone but I had to go to work. I went to work and was happy to find out we only had the one surgical case which I needed to assist in. I had presumably blocked my clinic calendar all day because I was to help with a clavicle fracture and an ACL reconstruction. I was excited to think i could come home early and huddle in the dark with an ice pack around my head. You can imagine my frustration when I came downstairs to find out no block was there for my clinic and someone had scheduled two patients, one at 1 pm and one at 3 pm. I stayed at work, i saw my patients. The Physical Therapist worked on my neck pain and tension since I was there.

I got home and took my Maxalt, returned a phone call to my aunt, and went to bed at 6 pm. I woke up around 9:30 and the headache had subsided a bit. I decided it best to just stay in bed instead of getting and then going back to bed a few hours later. Figured since it wasn't gone all the way it was best. I woke up at 1:30 and it was still there. I got up and took another Maxalt. At 6:30 am I woke up and STILL had a headache. At 7:30 I crawled out of bed and took four advil before coming downstairs. I got several ice packs out of the freezer and propped them around my head and neck. I also drank a cup of coffee to speed up the advil (did you know that excedrin migraine is the same as ibuprofen except it has concentrated caffeine in it?). At 9:30 I was finally feeling a bit better but was hungry and tired. I ate a cup of apple sauce and a banana and curled up in bed around 10:30. I finally was able to sleep.

I'm up, showered, and headache free now. Migraines and the meds for them leave behind a little hang over effect but I can handle that. I am really hungry so I'm going to cook myself something. Then I'm going to go to work doing all the things I wanted to do last night and today. I have new Stampin' Up toys to play with. I have Valentine Day cards I want to make. I have three new DVD's from Netflix to keep me company. So now that my head is better I'm going to do something to spoil the rest of me...crafty stuff! Yeah!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

HNT...snuggled in, indeed!

I got some much needed and unexpected rest over the last couple days. I really needed it. Tonight I'm home from a movie with my feet up for a bit before heading to bed. A snowflake pedi, comfy jammie pants, and a hand crocheted blanket. All I'm missing is a warm buddy to snuggle WITH :( Hope you all are having a great week! Happy HNT!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snuggling in...

The temps have returned to "normal". Tonight's low is to dip near the negative 40 point again. Today was a perfect day for it to start. I had a hectic end to last week's work week. I also got some sort of stomach bug this weekend. The combination took a bit of a toll on me. I was feeling the need to retreat a bit.

Today, I got the chance. I was able to finish up at work quite early today and come home. I made myself lunch, I watched a little day time TV, and I curled up in bed to read a book. Of course, reading curled up in flannel sheets on a cold, lazy afternoon only can lead to one thing...a great nap! I haven't gotten to take a nap in a long time.

Tonight I stopped at the boss' house to pick up my chairs and tables as well as the left over chili. I have the chili all bagged up into various portions to freeze and distribute to a few people at work. The chairs need to be hauled in but they can wait. I have laundry going, I have the chili put away, and I am happy to just have the time at home tonight. I'll snuggle back into the bed in a bit to read for a while and I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow as well! Yeah! I needed the break!