Friday, January 25, 2008

It's a Winter Friday Five


Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals says:I am so sorry for the lateness of the Friday Five. I've had two emergencies this a.m. and now my computer keeps crashing. I hope I can get this posted!

The picture is out a window at my place, complete with screen. ;-)

Brrrr! Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least that is the case where I am this morning. We are in a January deep freeze. Have a cup of hot tea and tackle five easy seasonal questions.


1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?

It was very cold, in the 20's or teens. It is 28 now at 3:45pm. Far tooooo cold!

2. Snow—love it or hate it?

I hate it. It looks pretty for a few hours, but then it is dirty looking. It is miserable to drive in. It has to be shoveled, Yuck!

3. What is winter like where you are?

Cold and miserable right now. We have leftover snow and ice everywhere. Where is Spring?

4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?

I am not a winter person! I am also am not much of a Sports person. I do kind of like to watch an occasional Hockey game. I have never ice scatted or played Hockey. I don't ski. I stay inside and try to keep warm! I grew up in Claifornia and never really adjusted to New England Winters.

5. What is your favorite season, and why?

I really like Spring. It is not too hot and not too cold. There is new growth and the flowers and leaves are beautiful. My second favorite is Fall. New England Fall weather and foliage is wonderful.

Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever.

I kind of like the January thaw, when it happens. I also like a good wood fire in a fireplace along with a glass of wine.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

City of Infamy

Maybe I am making too much of this, but the choice of the former Governor, John Rowland, for an economic development job in the city of Waterbury, CT just isn't sitting well with me. The former Governor is reportedly going to accept the job with a salary of $90,000 to $120,000. There are many people with great qualifications and no prison record who would be great at this job. The sad fact is that the former Governor is reported to have been the only candidate considered for the job.

I do believe that corruption in our city must go very deep. I don't think it was just the Mayors or the former Governor. It think it is a way of life for City politicians. I have no suggestions for fixing the situation. A significant number of the people in the City don't seem to care or think things are OK. Sigh!

I have no wisdom here.

Love,
Shel

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

?????????

WTF! A recent news article quotes the fact that the former Governor of this State who was convicted of crimes in office and sent to Federal Prison may be given an economic development job in our city. The City is Waterbury Connecticut which has an real history of having corrupt politicians, a couple of Mayors and the former Governor (who came from Waterbury) top the list. The former Governor claims to be "rehabilitated" and that may be so, but his record will travel with him. It seems to me that economic development for our city might include stressing that the criminals are now out of politics. Having one of the criminals (even rehabilitated)doing development doesn't seem even slightly reasonable.

I am not for persecuting the former Governor perpetually, but I am also not for giving him another position of Governmental trust. I don't usually do much political posting, but this seems just too much to skip. I am sure though that my opinion on this probably wouldn't matter to the people involved. I tried to find an email address for the current Mayor and so far have been unsuccessful. I'll keep looking. Maybe he reads Blogs :>

Peace!
Love,
Shel

Monday, January 21, 2008

The New Friend


In the line of "The Old Friend" from the previous blog post I got my new CPAP equipment today. It is quite something and small compared to my 15 year old machine.It did come with a humidifier which makes it a bit larger. I also now have a mask that covers the mouth as well as the nose. I tried one of those during the sleep study and it seemed to work well. It will take a little getting used to though. What I find a little surprising is that Medicare is renting the machine itself for 13 months, before buying it. They are doing that in spite of the fact that I have used a CPAP for so long. It really doesn't bother me at all what they do as long as I get to sleep at night.

Hopefully this will end my blogging on my sleep problems for a while. I do hope though that as I loose weight my need for aid at night will lessen. I know that I may continue to need the CPAP because weight is not the only factor in Apnea. The technician for the sleep study has apnea and he was as trim as can be. I do know though that the settings might be able to be lowered with less weight and I might be able to spend a night without the machine while traveling. I know this because I was able to travel without the machine when my weight was lower several years ago.

I am off now to set up the new machine. You have a nice evening.

Love,
Shel

Sleeping with an Old Friend

Tonight I will be spending my last night sleeping with an old friend. Tomorrow I should be getting a new CPAP machine. The current one I have had and used nightly for 15 years or so. Sorry if you thought something more exciting was happening. It has been a while since I have had a romantic evening, but tonight isn't going to be one of them!

I don't know for sure, but I believe that the new system will have a humidifier to help relieve some of the nasal dryness I have had. It also may have a full face mask. These are things that have been discussed.

Here's to a good night's sleep!

Love,
Shel

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Various stuff

Things moved quickly this week with Doctors. Sunday I had my sleep test, yesterday I met with the Gastric surgeon on the Lap-band surgery and today I met with the Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor. I am moving forward with the Lap-band surgery, which may happen in about five weeks. That seems really soon to me, but it is probably better to get it done quickly. The ENT Doctor had some good news. The nodule on my vocal cords has healed and is gone and there is minimal swelling of the cords. That's not bad since I spent two weeks with laryngitis. He was very pleased. It was too soon to evaluate the sleep test.

On the sleep test topic I have been meaning to say a bit about sleep apnea. My sleep apnea was diagnosed about 15 years ago in a time when Apnea was largely unknown. It is more recognized now but I am still amazed at the people I meet who are not aware of it. The form of Apnea I have is obstructive sleep apnea. In this form of apnea as I fall asleep and go into the deep and refreshing form of sleep my body totally relaxes. This is generally a good thing. However in my, and many other people's, case the tissues in the throat become relaxed and actually close the throat. I therefore cannot breath for a while until my body makes an effort to breath and pulls me out of the deep sleep. I may or may not wake when this happens, but I have lost the deep refreshing sleep. Over time this loss of sleep becomes cumulative and I fall asleep at inappropriate times (like while I am driving.) There are other bad effects due to lack of oxygen and there is the possibility that I won't be able to breath in an episode and die.

Anyone who snores heavily and finds that they are not refreshed by a night's sleep or perpetually falls asleep inappropriately should suspect apnea and at least discuss being evaluated by a Doctor. It could mean your life!

So much for the update and soap box.

Be well!
Love,
Shel

Monday, January 14, 2008

Test Done!

I spent last night having a sleep evaluation. It is the second one I have had in my life. The first was 14 or 15 years ago. At that time I was found to have obstructive sleep apnea. It is a condition that lowers the quality of sleep one has because you actually stop breathing for a while (an apnea)while you sleep. Your body is forced to gasp for air pulling you out of the refreshing deep sleep. The remedy all those years ago was to use a device when I sleep called a CPAP machine. The CPAP blows air into your nose and throat through a mask, keeping the airway open. It is simple, efficient, at time awkward and definitely unromantic (that hasn't been a problem recently, sigh.)

I have been using the original CPAP machine all these years with the same settings. My ENT Doctor wanted me to be reevaluated so I could get new equipment (insurance companies require this) and possibly new settings.

The test required me to sleep 4 hours without the CPAP. I was covered head to toe with wires measuring various things. I had a hard time sleeping without the CPAP, I was in a strange bed, I was covered with wires and they were plowing the parking lot all night. I still have the apnea, how severe I won't know for two weeks. It is likely that I will be getting new CPAP equipment at long last. I am hoping for a real nice night's sleep tonight in my own bed!

You sleep well tonight!
Love,
Shel

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Speaking of ....

Speaking of sleep, tonight I have an all night medical test. I will therefore be sleeping away from home. My only concern is the fact that tonight we are likely to be having a big snow storm. It will be no problem getting to the test, but getting home at 6 am tomorrow might be a little tricky. This is yet another medical adventure along with a weather adventure. Oh my!

Stay safe and warm during the snow.

Love,
Shel

Saturday, January 12, 2008

To sleep perchance not to dream

My apologies to Shakespeare, but last night I slept well. There were no disturbing dreams and no remembered emotional issues. What a relief!

Have a nice day!

Love,
Shel

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Five: Las Mañanitas

Friday Five: Las Mañanitas
Mother Laura at RevRalBlogPals asks the following:

Éstas son las mañanitas These are the morning verses
Que cantaba el Rey David, That King David used to sing,
A las muchachas bonitas To the beautiful young ladies,
Se las cantaba así. He would sing them like this.

(The Mexican birthday song, sometimes sung as a dawn serenade).

Youtube Mariachi version here. Piano music and eleventy-zillion more verses here.

My forty-third birthday next Wednesday will inaugurate the "Birthday Madness" season in the Grimes-Honkanen household. The next day Katie will turn five and just over two weeks later, on Feb. 3, Nicholas will be eleven. In the middle, on January 30, we celebrate the gift of Grandma Di; Nicholas and I were both due on my Mom's birthday but I was uncharacteristically early and he was little late. We will be doing a trip to Disneyland to celebrate them all in a couple weeks; in the meantime I offer this birthday-inspired Friday Five.

1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?

My birthday is February 7th. Thomas More and Charles Dickens were born on February 7th. I have family born in February, my son on the 15th and my granddaughter on the 22nd.

2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?

I kind of like intimate over the big deal parties. If my birthday were in the Summer I would like a large outdoor picnic type party.

3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both.

For some reason, my thirtieth birthday was hard. Most of my birthdays are low-key events. It is nice to have them remembered though by friends and family.

4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?

Cake is good. Put butter cream frosting on it and it almost doesn't matter what kind of cake it is. Recently, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is a favorite.

5. Surprise parties: love 'em or hate 'em?

I'm game. I neither love nor hate them. They can be fun.


Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday--the sky's the limit.

Since the sky's the limit, how about a birthday that reverses age! I guess that's a little to far fetched.

Love,
Shel

Time, time, time

Time, time, time, see whats become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities

The above quote from a Simon and Garfunkel song strikes a real cord in me today. Last night I didn't sleep very well. I wrote about a dream I had a few days ago. When I went to bed later I had a real bad experience. I remembered an incident from 1992. More correctly, I FELT that experience. One of the good things about our existence is that we cannot recall pain. We can remember that we had pain, but we don't feel that pain when we remember. I can remember when I broke my left arm and I can remember that it was painful but I do not feel the pain when I remember. There is one exception to this and it is emotional pain. It seems to never leave us and can be recalled in it's full intensity. That's what happened to me last night. I recalled and felt emotional pain from 16 years ago. Not surprisingly that pain had to do with my ex. We almost ended our relationship back then. I suspect that if we hadn't had young kids together the relationship would have ended then.

The dream is beginning to take on some new dimensions for me now. It also strike me that the problems between my ex and I that caused the emotional distress started in early January of that year. I seem to be having a kind of anniversary reaction sixteen years later! It took me a while to get to sleep last night. I really don't want to visit that emotional place again. It would serve no purpose. Other than the dream and the anniversary thing I see no other reason to go there again. Maybe suppressed emotional material percolates up after a while. I really hope I am done with this. I have enough on my plate already. I don't need sixteen year old emotional turmoil added.

I hope your night was much better than mine and that you have a great day.

Love,
Shel

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dreamy


Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned my dream. Some friends are now interested in what it was and I am really torn about saying more about it. I do dream, but often do not remember much about the dream. Though I am sure I dream each night I really have no remembrance of most of them. This dream is striking in that I do remember it. It is also striking because of the content. It just caught me off guard. I will describe some of it though some will have to remain private.

There are two people in the dream, though more people are referenced. All the people are current in my life in some way. I am having a conversation with my ex. I cannot remember all of the conversation, but I do remember that she was expressing a desire to get back together with me. I responded that I was not interested. Now there is as far as I want to go with the dream itself. It doesn't seem so special, but my ex is not currently expressing the desire to get back together and I certainly do not wish to get back together with her. In the immediate past she has expressed some ambivalence about me. I on the other hand have no ambivalence. We are friends and we shared many years together, but anything more than friendly is out of the question. There are many reasons for my feelings.

So why does the dream strike me so? It surprises me in it's vividness for one thing. I am clearly the present me and she is the present her. It was in color. It all came from my mind. The only reality to my dream is my reality. I am kind of disturbed with the fact that I may have hanging issues with her (kind of like hanging chads, I guess.) I guess that living with someone for 31 years might tend to leave some residual feelings. We have been separated for only four years so I guess it might be expected that I might still have some related feelings. I also have seen her more than usual because of the holidays. All of these things may be formative in the dream. Part of the dream has to do with another person who will remain anonymous and is only mentioned in the dream. The feelings associated with the dream are as vivid as the colors.

I know that I have been going through some emotional changes in the last half year or so. I guess it is natural that some of those changes would percolate up in the form of dream material. It has been years since I did any work at my own dream analysis, probably because of the infrequent nature of my dreams. I am sorry to make the dream seem so dramatic, but it was for me in a way.

I hope all your dreams are good ones.

Love,
Shel

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

OOF!

I had a strange dream last night, wow! I usually don't remember my dreams, but this one was a doozy. I can't elaborate, but strange things must be cursing through my subconscious. This will be brief since I am headed to visit my father who lives about two hours away. I'll do more later. I need to digest this dream a bit before I write more on it, if I ever do.

The weather has gotten warm all of a sudden and today promises to be warm, but wet. Keep dry!

Love,
Shel

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Emotions

I have become such an emotional person! The other night I watched the movie "Bridge to Terabithia." Now, let me begin with the fact that I had never read the book or seen the movie before. I had seen some trailers and from those trailers I assumed that the movie was a child's fantasy story. Well I guess I got sucked in because I found myself crying near the end. I won't spoil things by explaining exactly why, but I really cried! The movie kind of set me off and I have been feeling kind of sad since. I guess I am wallowing in my own sadness.

You might wonder what sadness I have to wallow in and you would be right in a way. Things have been going pretty well. I do however feel a kind of deep aloneness or disconnectedness that I sometimes dwell on. I guess the movie gave me the opportunity to revisit that sad place. I know that this sad place is something relatively new in my life. It came with the territory as I transitioned. Transsexual lives are not easy. It is all too easy to feel sorry for one's self.

Back to the movie. I enjoyed the movie and recommend it, just be aware it isn't a simple kids show. It contains some real sadness.

I am feeling more up now and hope you are too.

Love,
Shel

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New year resolutions Friday 5


New year resolutions Friday 5
Sally at RevGalBlogpals posted these questions:

Well it had to be didn't it, love them or hate them I bet you've been asked about New Year resolutions. So with no more fuss here is this weeks Friday Five;

1. Do you make New Year resolutions?

I really do not make traditional "New Year's Resolutions." I do pause and reflect on the previous year and try to project some new things forward. I don't make a list and whatever I project I try to make realistic. I think that this process is continual with me and I just think about it more at the New Year

2. Is this something you take seriously, or is it a bit of fun?

I really think I take these projections seriously. I don't project stupid or impossible things. They are more like goals or objectives.

3. Share one goal for 2008.

I really hope to achieve a beginning to solving my weight issues during this year. I know that the solution may take several years and is ultimately a life style change. I have though learned that determination is a key to my achieving goals.

4. Money is no barrier, share one wild/ impossible dream for 2008

Money IS a barrier! I could dream for all kind of wild and impossible things, but I would really prefer to have one or two solid goals. I know that this isn't as much fun. I do have a semi wild dream, but I think I would like to keep it private for now. If I were to get a fantastic amount of money, there are certainly things I would like to do with it. A lot of it would be given to others to help make their lives better.

5. Someone wants to publish a story of your year in 2008, what will the title of that book be?

"Encounter with Tomorrow"

I know these answers are rather serious and bland and in a way I think I would have preferred to be able to provide some funny or witty answers. There are some things I would like in the near future. I am working on the weight thing, which I hope will help with the Diabetes, cholesterol, Apnea, and pain in the joints. It might just help in the romance side of things. Romance is something that has been sorely lacking for a while. Of course it is just possible that a thinner me might not be a prettier me, who knows? Life is a risk! One thing I do want to always do is live as full a life as possible, now and in the future.

Love,
Shel

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Opportunities


As I look back on my life a bit I find opportunities that were lost and paths not taken. It is a bit fun to imagine what if. What if's are fun, but they are not really helpful. Yesterday I went to a seminar on weight loss surgery. It was very informative and made some things clear to me. I am at one of those decision points in my life. One where in the future I might say "what if." I am at this point inclined to move forward with Lap-Band surgery. It is the least invasive of the surgeries and it is reversible. I am not planning on a reversal, but in consultation with my Oncologist it seems the safest. If I should need future chemotherapy (God forbid) a reversal might be necessary to prevent malnutrition. The last time I had Chemo it was touch and go at the end as it was.

I am not really looking forward to another surgery, but this one seems to make sense. I have lost a lot of weight in the past and probably could again, but I have never been able to keep the weight off. I fit the profile of a person who needs this surgery. My BMI is just on the edge of needing the surgery, but there are other weight related issues that I have developed that say, "do it,lady." I will keep you all updated in any case.

Today I saw my Oncologist and everything seems OK. I will probably have my last cancer-related CAT scan this spring (or just before the Lap-Band surgery.) I have survived the cancer for three years and I hope for more. Tomorrow I see yet another Doctor, a new one. This Doctor is for my Sleep Apnea. I haven't seen anyone for this since I was first evaluated almost 15 years ago. I am also scheduled for a new sleep study a week from Sunday. My medical visits seem to come in bursts.

I had a nice dinner with a friend after the Doctor's appointment. I had some gift cards for Chili's. We really didn't spend much though. It was good company, good conversation and good food.

Next week I hope to get to visit with my father. I have been so busy with various appointments and he lives just far enough away to make a casual visit kind of difficult. It is wicked cold here. You keep warm and I'll try to also.

Love,
Shel

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Special Moments


Sometimes there are moments in life that are just too precious to miss. New Years eve some friends and I shared a toast to the New Year. We had some Champagne and then we gave each other a group hug. As we hugged the dog, named RJ, inserted himself in the exact middle of the group hug. He was just too cute! I wish I had a picture of the event to show you. I only have a picture of RJ at rest. It will have to do.

Love,
Shel

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Tribute to the god Janus


Janus (pronounced Yanus by the Romans) was a two-headed god. One face looked to the past and the other looked to the future. Janus was the god of portals (doors and gates) and is remembered in our lives in the name of the month January. January is our first month but the ancient Romans placed it as the 11th month until 153 B.C. when it became the first month.

As I look back on this past year it has been an OK year, not the best but certainly not the worst. I have looked for lessons in the past year and have found very few. I do look for better things in the coming year though. I am guessing that it will not be an easy year, but one that might bring some hope. The interesting thing is that I really have never been able to make resolutions and stick to them. I won't even try, but I am hoping for a solution to my weight issues and that might make life a little more pleasant. One thing I am aware of as I grow older is that the future no longer looks as wide open. It doesn't look closed but not as wide open as it once did.

With some friends I sipped some champagne to the god Janus. We wished each other a great new year. I wish you the same.

Love,
Shel