Saturday, July 21, 2007

Curious Carly Goes To The Doctor, And The Doctor Says...

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."


On Thursday of last week, I went to see my medical doctor, for my 6 month Fibromyalgia once over. Everything is the same, meaning I still have Fibromyalgia, but with the warm weather of summer, I am doing a little better as far as the pain associated with it goes. There is only so much that can realistically be done with it, and I am learning to accept those bad days. I am not sure I will ever fully understand why I "airhead" so badly sometimes, but if nothing else, it can certainly be colorful. :) The blood pressure has been brought under control. I finally found the right medication for that. It is a little peach colored pill called Lisinopril. My doctor was thrilled with my latest B/P reading of 129/82. :) Success!

Now for the unpleasant part. I have to have surgery. FRET! I think I have mentioned her before that I have an allergy to aluminum chlorhydrate, an ingredient found in most antiperspirants. It was first diagnosed back in the early 1990's, when I felt a lump under my arm, and felt some pain. I had the pain for about 3 months or so, before I finally called the doctor. By the time I got an appointment, I had developed a hole under each arm. Bother! There wasn't much that could be done by then, so the doctor advised me to stop using antiperspirants/deodorants immediately, and use only a mild soap and water instead. I did, but the damage was done. I have been living with these sores since then. It's not always bad, it can be controlled with antibiotics pretty well, but sometimes it can be so uncomfortable.

My doctor examined my arms again Thursday, and we had a long talk about what would probably be best for my over all health. Because of the infections that tend to come up, my white blood count is almost always elevated. That's not too healthy, as it only exacerbates those times when my Fibromyalgia zaps my energy. There were some days this last winter, when I literally slept 17 hours a day, and woke up with very little energy. We think the one is playing off the other. So, surgery to remove my sweat glands, and a couple lymph nodes, is what the doctor is ordering. Sigh.

YIKES! JUST YIKES! It will mean a 5-7 day stay in the hospital, and a 6-8 week recovery time. Because they will be removing the glands from under both arms, my picture taking time will be cut dramatically. Again YIKES! I think I have mentioned once or twice, that I would rather take pictures then breathe. LOL. Sigh. I don't know, there are so many pros and cons to having the surgery. Frankly, some of the information I have been reading about aluminum chlorhydrate, is down right frightening. I have no idea how it can even be allowed in products considered safe. I have read numerous articles linking it to Alzheimer's Disease and breast cancer. The beauty/health market is getting better about providing alternatives to products containing it, but not enough awareness about it's dangers is made available. Sigh. Although, when you think about it, how good could a product be, that blocks the release of toxins from the body?

Oh well. It's always something. And as scared as I am of having surgery, I guess it makes sense to do so. I go in on Monday for a blood test, where everything possible will be checked. I should be little more then dust when they are done with me. Fun. And I have an appointment with a surgeon scheduled in a couple weeks. I am hoping that I can maybe have it done after the first of the year. I have the garden in full swing, and autumn is the one time of the year I live for. I don't want to have to miss it. Besides, I am usually hibernating in the winter anyway, so it seems like it would be the perfect time for recovering from surgery, but I don't know if the doctor will go for that or not.

Alan has been wonderful about it. He just wants me healthy and to feel better. He even promised to send me flowers in the hospital, and we are negotiating a new teddy bear to keep me company. Yes, I am a grown woman who still depends on the kindness of teddy bears. After all, I won't have Elvis there to hold my hand. LOL. I don't care how much pain I am in, I am planning to take my camera with me! They will have to pry it out of my hand as I go into surgery. LOL. My camera goes everywhere I go, because you just never know when art might just turn up. :) Life is an adventure to be sure, but surgery is such a scary word, I wonder, can I do this?. :(

Antiperspirant: Link To Breast Cancer?

Deodorants May Pose A Major Health Risk

"Weird Hospital Tools"
July 19, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #175: TV or Bacon?

"Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home."

-David Frost

Weekend Assignment #175: TV or Bacon? By which I mean, you have to choose one of these two things. Whichever you choose, you get to continue to enjoy. The one you don't, you lose forever. So, which will you choose? The pixellated, phosphorescent pleasures of television's hundreds of channels? Or the smoky, meaty pleasures of bacon? You must choose!

Why TV and bacon? Well, because they are two things most people seem to like, and they are (usually) entirely unrelated, which makes choosing between more interesting.

Caveats: Assume "TV" also to mean any form of entertainment originally broadcast or intended for TV; no 'well I'll just watch Heroes on my computer" weaseling out allowed (you can still watch movie DVDs on your computer). If you're a vegetarian and/or Jewish and/or Muslim (and therefore don't eat bacon), you may substitute some other beloved food product, but it has it has close to bacony experience as your dietary restrictions allow. For non-Americans, assume that all bacon sub-types are involved here, not merely the narrow American definition of it. Got it? Excellent.

Also: Aside from dietary restriction scenarios, no "bacon' substitutions, like Kevin Bacon or Roger Bacon. Honestly. That's just silly.

Extra Credit: Current favorite TV show and/or variety of bacon.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Decisions, decisions. Well, actually, this great question of the ages, isn't all that difficult for me. While I really love bacon, I can, and have, gone great lengths of time without eating it. I actually don't eat a lot of meat in general. I am not really a vegetarian, but I do find myself eating a lot more vegetables for my main course choices, such as a nice dinner salad, or a veggie pizza. So, if I ever really did have to choose between TV or bacon, I would definitely give up bacon! Especially considering the hundreds of enjoyable hours of TV I have watched in my 45 years. Bacon can make you smile with it's yummy goodness, but can it make you laugh till your sides hurt?

The above YouTube clip is one of my all time favorite moments from TV. It is an episode of Taxi, from September 25th, 1979, titled, "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey." The first time I saw it I laughed so hard, that I was actually sore the next day, and over the years, it hasn't ceased to be just as funny to me. I was thrilled today, to find the 5 minute clip on YouTube, and enjoy it once again. says about the episode that, "the yellow light scene, is widely acknowledged as one of the funniest moments in American network television." It is certainly one of my favorite episodes of any network television show. :) It's just that funny!

To have a sense of humor is so important to we mortals. It has been proven that laughing is not only good for the soul, but it is vital to our physical well being. Someone once said that, "laughter is the best medicine," and I know from personal experience, it's absolutely true! Bacon... not so much. Let's face it, bacon is at it's best, when it is on a big, juicy hamburger, surrounded by half a jar of mayonnaise. Yep, that is a treat to be sure, but it won't prolong my life. Sigh. But television, on the other hand, informs, entertains, sometimes it inspires, and lets face it, we need it at this point. We need the cartoons when we need to shut out the real world. We need our TV's because of days like 9/11. We need the dramas, so that sometimes we can just cry. We especially need the comedy for all those times when we really do need to take life less seriously. Yeah... I choose TV! :)

Extra Credit: I look forward to many different shows, it's hard to choose just one. So, how about I list my top 5...

1. Desperate Housewives
2. 2 1/2 Men
3. Ghost Hunters
4. Lost
5. King of the Hill

My favorite type of bacon would have to be, Oscar Meyer Center Cut. It's wonderfully delicious and fries up nice and crispy. :)

Be sure to click on the YouTube video, to enjoy a very funny 5 minutes of television history. :)


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Paradise On Earth

"We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams."

-Jeremy Irons

Yesterday, was a very long day, but a very good one. It rained very early in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, it was bright, warm and sunny. It was the kind of day that made it impossible to be in a bad mood, and finding this pretty little skipper butterfly, only made it better. I know my blog has been a bit floral heavy lately, but my goodness, isn't that what the summer is for? Flowers and sunshine, and beautiful little butterflies, just floating by. Golden Gate Park in summer... now that is paradise on earth! :)

"Little Skipper"
Golden Gate Park
Dahlia Garden
San Francisco, California
July 18, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Green Ice

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty and their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."

-Lydia M. Child

OK, so I lied. LOL. I said I wasn't going to post any more photos of my garden until the autumn, when every thing should be in full glory bloom, but I have added a few things to the garden that I am thrilled with, so I thought I might do just one more entry to share my progress. :) I have added several more containers of flowers, the star of which is the Green Ice rose I purchased the other day at Home Depot. It is one of the most beautiful mini roses I have ever seen. Of the mini class, it is the largest, with nice full blooms, which are green on the outer petals, and a soft pink toward the middle. I was going to just grow the 6 types of minis I had purchased this year, and add a few more next year, but when I saw it other other day I was stunned. It is gorgeous. I literally smile every time I set out to the garden. :)

Watching these flowers grow has been so good for me. I am stressed about stuff that I have no real control over, like the war, and the fact that nearly 6 years after 9/11, we are not any safer then we were on 9/10. I think about what the next strike will be like, will it come on a day like the last one? A day when there isn't a cloud in the sky? Will it happen when I am in Golden Gate Park, relaxing in the fresh air? Will it happen like the last time, while I am asleep in my bed, sleeping peacefully? When all those overwhelming thoughts creep into my thoughts, I usually grab my CD player, and the gardening bucket I made, and go to my garden to sit among it's beauty. Sigh. It's good for my soul.

I also daydream about what I want to do for the garden next spring. I think I have picked out the roses I want for next season. I think I might buy some roses online next year, I found a couple nice sites, Nor'East Miniature Roses, and John's Miniature Roses. I know for sure I want to add some lavender roses, and maybe a couple white ones, but I am also considering the following colors...

1. Behold - yellow
2. Vista - deep lavender
3. White Chocolate - white
4. Sweet Revenge - orange
5. Snow Ruby - red/white

Right now, assuming all of my plants make it to autumn, my garden will consist of...

Columbine, mini roses, dark sunflowers, cosmos, poppies, dahlias, stock, a wildflower mix, four 'o clocks, butterfly flower, and campanula. It's going to be colorful, and by the time I get the scarecrow up, it should be an autumn extravaganza. Fingers crossed. I have had a few bumps along the way. Like when I found a rather round little robin feasting on my cosmos, just as it was coming in nice and full. Wacky bird. :) I have replanted, so we'll see. I have some guarded optimism for the cosmos. The latest touch was to put my Mylar dragonfly balloon on the fence, just to look over things when I can't make it out to the garden. As always with Fibromyalgia... some days are better then others, but that silly garden sure helps to lift my spirits. :)

I have had this song in my head all day, it's so pretty, enjoy!

Lose Your Way
By Sophie B. Hawkins

I have no confidence
And I can't see why I should
But I could do most anything for you
And you know I would

I try too hard, and then I give up way too easily
I'm the runner up inside of you, and your the winner inside of me

Lose your way
And I will follow
Here today
And here tomorrow
Like my freedom I know
I'll never let you go

I still wish on an even star
And I suppose I always will
Every child loses something a while can't fulfill
And when you cry I feel the sky burst open in my veins
If loving you makes a slave of me, then I'll spend my whole life in chains

Lose your way
And I will follow
Here today
And here tomorrow
Like my freedom I know
I'll never let you go
Walk the line
I'll walk beside you
Change your mind
Let your love decide you
It's the reason I know
You'll never let me go

Isn't that a beautiful song? :)

"Green Ice"
Berkeley, California
July 16, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Working In Shadow

"Beware that you do not lost the substance by grasping at the shadow."


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture in which shadow plays a significant role in the composition. You may ask, how does this differ from the recent Photo Shoot involving silhouettes? Silhouettes are a very specific sort of shadow play, and for this assignment you can take a wider approach - shadows of all sorts (you can use silhouettes, of course. Just don't recycle the shot you use!). Shadows give a photo drama it might not otherwise have.

-John Scalzi ( By The Way)

In May of 2006, I took a tour of the inside of Fort Point, at the Golden Gate Bridge, and took about a million photos. There are a lot of shadows to be found in the old fort, but one of the most striking shadows, I saw that day, was the shadow cast by the bridge. I was on the very top of the fort, facing toward Marin County, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. I was thrilled to be able to get a picture of not only the beautiful Golden Gate, but also of it's shadow beneath, which made it see, like one could almost walk across the water into Marin. Sigh. I love that bridge.

In this second photo, if you look very closely, do you see the shadow of a tulip in a pot? :)

"Shadow Walk To Marin"
Fort Point
Golden Gate Bridge
May 13, 2006

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good Photo? Bad Photo?

"I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don't find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges."

-William Albert Allard, "The Photographic Essay."

I have learned something about myself when it comes to my own photography, sometimes it is a good idea for me to take a step back, before deciding whether or not I like a photo I have just taken. Take the above photo as an example. Last Wednesday, I was in Half Moon Bay, very late in the afternoon. I stopped at Pastorino's farm, to photograph the magnificent wealth of flowers they have in bloom right now. It is really spectacular, everything is in full bloom, and the variety is endless. As gorgeous as all the colorful flowers were, for some reason I found myself attracted to the white daisies. They were amazing, and with the low flowing fog, just making it onshore, and across the farm, it gave everything a ghostly appearance. Fog is a strange thing, it can flow on one side of a building, completely shrouding it, while the other side can be completely clear and sunny. Last Wednesday, it seemed to be flowing across the field as if to cover the more colorful flowers, while it made the daisies glisten. :) Magic!

There was exactly one butterfly to be found, this gorgeous, American Painted Lady, (Vanessa virginiensis). This is my favorite butterfly to photograph. It is a happy little girl, and the colors on her wings are stunning. I am fascinated by the pattern of her wings as well. It is small, only about 2 in, across. I don't know, maybe I kind of know what it's like to be the little one on the block. LOL.

Anyway, as I said, there was only one of her fluttering among the daisies, and the mist was beginning to roll in a lot heavier, so I knew I only had a few minutes to make my time with her count. I followed her from a proper distance, as to not spook her, and tried really hard to get a shot that would show her full beauty. Well, I ended up with a lot of misty photos, and some shots where she wasn't quite in focus, and then I have this one. As you can see, I got her in focus, but the mist and the flowers surrounding her distract from her a good bit. When I first began to edit my photos that day, I thought about cropping out the surroundings, but somehow it just didn't look right. I decided to put it away for a few days, and take another look this weekend.

Yesterday, I took the file out again, and for whatever reason, when I looked at it a second time, I kinda liked what I saw. I don't think it's the best I have ever done, but there is something about the photo that draws me in. I see all the mistakes, and unfortunate elements to it, and at the same time, it gives me a good feeling. I am not exactly sure why I didn't like it at first, maybe I shouldn't try to edit photos when I am that tired. Maybe I needed a few days to work through how difficult it was to get the photo, and be proud of myself for how hard I worked at it. It's difficult to pat myself on the back when I have done good. Silly. No one knows better then I do what level of effort I put into something. Right? So, for whatever reason I like this photo. I like the memory of taking it as well. It was a productive day with the camera, and a good day to let the camera process my thoughts. :)

"Misty Vanessa"
Half Moon Bay, California
July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Presidents Say The Darndest Things

"You know, I guess I'm like any other political figure: Everybody wants to be loved."

-George w. Bush, Washington D.C., July 13, 2007

So is the war over? Yesterday, (Saturday) the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki said that the Iraqi army and police are now capable of keeping security in Iraq, and that "American troops can leave any time they want." Isn't that what President Bush has been saying was our main objective? To train Iraqi military, and police so that they could sustain their own country in the face of the sectarian violence that has run rampant in the last few years? With al-Maliki's declaration of self sufficiency, I see no reason why America should lose one more life to this war. Of course, we haven't heard the spin from the White House yet. That will either come later this weekend or early next week. And it will also come with some vague reason about how and why al-maliki misspoke, or was somehow, otherwise in error. But wouldn't it be nice to think that maybe, just maybe this nightmare could finally come to an end. That we, as a nation, wouldn't have to lose one more of our military to this administration's violent whim? It's a nice thought. Al-Maliki has handed Bush a reason to begin pulling troops from Iraq. "American troops can leave any time they want."

It's so odd, early last week, Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, warned that Iraq would fall into total civil war, should American troops leave. Actually, just a couple weeks ago, al-Maliki was saying just about the same thing. On the other hand, the Iraqi parliament couldn't be dissuaded from taking a break from government for August, due to the fact that temperatures in that country can reach as much as 130 degrees. Temperatures our own service members would be working in. Yet, Iraq must feel that they have things under control, to take time off in the middle of escalating sectarian violence throughout their country. Al-maliki made it very clear, America is not wanted or needed in Iraq. It's time to leave. Now. Not September. No more waiting for reports. Now.

I have always balked at Bush's arrogant assertion that "we are fighting them over there, so we won't have to fight them here." I have always said, that it is a matter of time before we are hit again. Not if we are hit again. But I have also always said that I hope to one day say... "I was wrong." I don't know what Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff, was thinking when he said he had a "gut feeling" about a heightened terrorist threat against the U.S. this summer, but I can't help but wonder if it wasn't code for, "something got by us, we don't know where it is, but we know for sure it is just a matter of time." Well, that is supposition on my part, but you know what? I really do feel that a day like 9/11 will happen again. It wouldn't at all surprise me that it could happen sometime before the end of the year. All we did in Iraq, was make the country ripe for becoming what it is, a breeding ground for future terrorists. And when we had Osama Bin Laden, we let the chance to bring him to justice go, in favor of keeping up relations with Pakistan, a country that has always catered to the Taliban.

Bush also once said, that America would track Bin Laden down, and bring him to justice, no matter how long it took. Well, that hasn't happened. He said that we would leave Iraq when they said they could stand up and hold the country. They have said that now... so what will Bush say and do? Will he keep his word on that? I am hoping, just hoping, we will begin a withdraw of our troops before we lose anymore, because I think we are going to need all our military personnel right here on American soil. Call it a "gut feeling." Bush never keeps his word, so deep down I suppose I already know what will happen. It's all just so sad. :(

"We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want."

-Nouri al-Maliki, July 14, 2007

NOTE: The above YouTube video, is from a White House press conference in 2006. It is a clip of Helen Thomas, asking President Bush what the real reason was for going to war with Iraq. A question he never really answered. Thank you Helen, for having the courage to ask.

Current U.S. Military Casualties - 3613

"Al-Maliki: Iraqis Can Keep Country Secure (CBS News)