Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D

Hooray!

Monday, March 30

MS Monday - Who, What, When, Where, and How

WHO is affected by MS? Men, women, adults, children...though it is more prevalent in white women and individuals directly related to someone with MS have a somewhat higher chance of developing it themselves. Of course it's not just the individual diagnosed who can be affected. Spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends, and so on are affected when their loved one has MS.

WHAT is MS? It is believed to be an immune disorder in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, specifically the cells which maintain the myelin sheaths. Myelin sheaths protect part of our neurons. As the myelin sheaths thin and vanish the neurons lose the ability to send signals. Which means that nearly any motor or sensory function can be affected. Currently it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunilogical factors.

WHEN do people discover they have MS? Most people receive a diagnosis as young adults.

WHERE is MS a problem? People all over the world have MS. But it is most prevalent in the UK (especially Scotland), Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and Canada.

HOW can it be cured? Nobody knows...yet. This is one of the problems the MS Society is working to solve. You can help.

Thus concludes my series of MS Monday posts. I hope you now better understand multiple sclerosis and the effect it has on people's lives. It is my hope that a definitive cause and a cure will be found in our lifetime.


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Monday, March 16

MS Monday - Helping A Great Cause and Winning Cool Stuff!

CANCELED due to lack of interest.

Ta-da! The raffle begins today! It will run through the end of March and is open to US and Canadian residents. First, the nitty gritty details on how to enter:
  1. Visit the donation site here.
  2. Click the "pledge me online" button.
  3. Make a donation of at least $5. For every $5 you pledge you will get one entry into the raffle.
  4. Wait for me to e-mail you to confirm your entry.
  5. See if you win stuff!!!
For an extra entry blog about (and link to) the raffle (leave a comment on this post with your blog address).

Now for the exciting part! The prizes:

This very cute tote bag is perfect for shopping! It comes in a variety of cute bug designs. And it's from the Etsy shop Bugged Out, which is run by a fellow crusader in the fight to beat MS.

This colorful wristlet is perfect for sunglasses, cellphones, coupons, and quick errands that don't require a big bag. It's from the Etsy shop Baffin Bags.

But guess what. This is just the beginning! I plan to have several more prizes posted by the end of the week! So be sure to check in again. And good luck! Remember that this is for a really great cause! And hey...why not win some neat stuff while you're at it?

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Saturday, March 14

Holy Cow!

I love Wikipedia. LOVE. IT. Have been a big fan and a regular patron for quite some time now. But imagine my astonishment when I discovered that Wikipedia can tell the future!

No joke people.

Behold..."WikiFuture!"

  • 2010 Canada is hosting the Olympics, and pulling out of Afghanistan. Also, Microsoft will release their very futuristic computers.
  • 2012 This is when the world is going to either reach new levels of awesomeness or end in some horrible catastrophe. I vote for transcendental event since Wikipedia contains entries for years after 2012.
  • 2050 "Earth will not have sufficient resources to sustain human life by this year." Bummer. Guess we'll have to steal resources from some other planet. But trust me...it get's weirder. The people opposed to gay marriage now are going to have a fit when they find out that people will be marrying robots by 2050.
  • 23rd Century Google (almighty Google which garners far more of my admiration and affection than Wikipedia) will have finished indexing ALL the data in the world.
But, you know...this is all user generated content so, who knows? *shrug*

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Seen & Overheard

Daddy: Hey cutie!

Lucy: *coo*

Daddy: Today you're not just "cutie," you're "Cutie PI!" It's all about you today!

Lucy: *more cooing*

Happy Pi Day everybody! We celebrated with apple. What did you celebrate with?

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Wednesday, March 11

Turn That Baby Down!

It's no secret that Lu has been fussy lately. The cause and extent of that fussiness is not the focus of this post, rather the solution.

Confusion.

That's right. Sometimes I confuse my baby quiet. Make a strange enough noise and she's too puzzled to fuss.* Today I used an interesting be-BEEE sound which stopped the crying in it's tracks.

It was very much like the sound the remote makes when one turns off a car alarm (as my dear husband pointed out).

Yup. Add that to my list of motherly duties. I am the "off switch" to Lucy's "baby alarm."

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*Or, lean her backwards (ever so carefully) until she's upside down. She loves when Daddy does that.

Monday, March 9

MS Monday - The Exhausted By A Fussy Baby Edition

All right guys, here's the deal. My brain is fried. Whether it's just her 3 month growth spurt, early teething, or something else, Lucy has been pretty high-needs the last week or so. I'm too tired to be all thoughtful and articulate. So I'm giving you this Time article from 2007 for this week's MS Monday.

I'm hoping to reveal the raffle prizes and rules next Monday, so be sure to check in again.

And of course here is the MS Walk donation page.

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Sunday, March 8

Fussy

Lucy has been testing the limits of my sanity this week. Suddenly stopped sleeping the usual amount. Prefers crying about being hungry to actually eating. Fusses and whines a lot, even in her sleep (which, truth be told is heart-breakingly adorable).

In other news: Kung Fu Panda is a really, really cute movie (I heart Jack Black). Bear is doing well in school. One of my sisters-in-law is pregnant with a little girl and her due date is today (fingers crossed)! Winter needs to GO AWAY (I'm trying to exercise, really I am...but running on ice = disaster waiting to happen). Oh, and having a bucket seat for Lucy is everything I dreamed it would be.

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Thursday, March 5

Well, That Was...Interesting?

I tried blood oranges for the first time tonight.

Maybe I didn't get particularly good ones? They weren't all that great.

And, it has to be said, that eating a fruit that is practically black in color goes against ever instinct I have.

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Wednesday, March 4

101 Things to do in 1001 Days Project


The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
My end date is: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My List: (started, completed)

Health/Fitness

  • run a marathon
  • drink 3 glasses of water every day for 1 month
  • go to the dentist just for a check up
  • get in shape enough to feel comfortable in "skinny jeans," a miniskirt or something similar
  • do monthly breast self exams after Lucy weans
  • do 500 push-ups (the real deal, no sissy half push-ups) 0/500

Good Deeds

  • donate $1 for every failed goal
  • walk the MS Walk every year 2/(possibly) 3
  • donate blood again
  • provide a hot meal for someone in need
  • write motivational notes and leave them inside library books 1/50
  • do Holiday Helper every year (quit the Mothering website, but have donated some baby items to moms in need elsewhere)
  • do RAK 0/20
  • write 5 "praise letters" to businesses/people's bosses to thank them for a job well done 4/5
  • give a Heifer International gift
  • buy Bear (Adam) an awesome gift with my money "just because"
  • volunteer with Girl Guides
  • make calendars as Christmas gifts

Travel/Fun Activities

  • go rock wall climbing 0/3
  • attend Oktoberfest (a local one, not the real deal...though were I filthy rich, that would be awesome)
  • watch a sunrise
  • watch a sunset and stargaze with Bear
  • watch the top 100 movies of all time 0/100
  • go camping with Bear and Lucy
  • go to the West Edmonton Mall (recap)
  • go to the zoo
  • go bird watching
  • throw a party (recap)
  • watch a hockey game from start to finish {GO CANADA! Watched the men's final in the 2010 Olympics}
  • tour Big Rock Brewery

Reading/Writing

  • read 5 books I wouldn't normally read 0/5
  • submit anything for publication
  • write 3 (decent) sonnets 0/3
  • reread the Weetzie Bat series
  • read my saved sources on improving my writing
  • spend an hour a day writing or doing writing exercises for 1 month
  • do NaBloPoMo
  • do NaNoWriMo again {attempted in 2009, did not hit 50,000 words}

Growth

  • go a full 24 hours without thinking about the church
  • make a 5 year plan
  • make a 10 year plan
  • make a list of 101 positive things about myself 10/101
  • purge 101 things from my life 0/101 {oops, haven't been keeping count!}
  • learn a new word every day for 1 month
  • do 5 things outside my comfort zone 0/5
  • write "vent letters" and burn them 0/25
  • *secret* 3/5

Woulda/Shoulda/Coulda

  • get re-certified for CPR
  • write a will
  • actually follow a 2 week meal plan at least once
  • do a top-to-bottom super clean of our home
  • "finish" my "control journals"
  • purge and transfer the files from my old computer (sorta)

Financial

  • save $5 for every task completed $0/$505
  • open my own savings account
  • get a part time job perhaps involving coffee or at a health food store (assuming my permanent resident paperwork is ever done)

Pampering

  • save for and buy a pair of Earth Shoes
  • get a French manicure
  • give myself flowers  http://yfrog.com/cavhuj and http://yfrog.com/mruz2pj
  • get new glasses
  • finally choose and buy a watch
  • buy a piece of art
  • try getting my ears pierced one more time
  • buy a fabulous pair of toe socks (and wear in public with flip flops)

Arts and Crafts

  • refurbish a piece of second-hand furniture
  • fill a roll of film and get it developed I bought a digital SLR instead
  • make a piece of art and display it in our home
  • make a (real NY-style) Key lime cheesecake {made one for Christmas}

Why Not?


This Project

  • blog this list and track progress online for accountability (ongoing)
  • write myself a letter to read when I finish the project
  • make a new 101 list for when I finish 0/101
  • finish writing this list before I reach the halfway point (July 17th, 2010) 23/23

To Be Determined

  • Try one new food a month (or equivalent, i.e. two foods in one month is OK). 3/32 (blood oranges, kumquats, lychees, tamarinds)
  • Become flexible enough to comfortably put my palms on the floor from a standing position.
  • (re)Learn a dozen constellations. 0/12
  • Write and illustrate a book for Lucy.
  • Wear make-up every day for one week. 0/7
  • Draw something every day for 90 days. 0/90
  • Make the bed every day for one week. 0/7
  • Take Angmar through an automated car wash. {freaked Lucy out!}
  • But a shirt from Threadless or TypeTees.
  • Go a full 24 hours without screen time five times. 1/5
  • Learn the Thriller dance.
  • Go an entire week without asking Bear to get something for me--stop being lazy!) 0/7 {did it by default by going to Ohio...does that count?}
  • Get up by 8am every morning for two weeks. 0/14
  • Make avocado ice cream or create a recipe for (and make) avocado cake or some such dessert.
  • Get my *own* library card and get Lucy a library card.
  • Test drive a car.
  • Make a comic and post it online.
  • See The Rocky Horror Picture Show to figure out what all the fuss is about.
  • Read the entire Oz series.
  • Subscribe to Free Inquiry or another high caliber periodical (i.e. not something you can get in the checkout line at Safeway).
  • Try curling.
  • Learn the Canadian national anthem by heart.
  • Find a copy of K3G to borrow or buy and finally watch it with Bear.
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O, Canada!

Well, Monday we drove about three hours for the privilege of paying doctors and technicians to poke and prod me and evaluate various fluids. The results? I'm healthy and will not pose a threat to the health of Canadians if the government lets me stay here.

I could have told them that. But I guess they don't trust me.

All in all it wasn't a bad trip. It was inconvenient, sure (Adam missed class, I got blood drawn, it was a long drive). But it went pretty smoothly and it gave us an opportunity to stop at Ikea. We now have bookshelves, a desk chair for me, a cheap, simple high chair for Lucy, and an even cheaper potty (which she won't be needing for quite some time, but who knows when we'll get another chance to go to Ikea), and a few other odds and ends that had been on our shopping list for quite some time.

If I wasn't already in love with Ikea (and I certainly am) I would have fallen in love after using their nursing room. I don't mind nursing wherever I happen to be (though I prefer to sit in a chair of some sort). Usually it's easiest to just feed Lucy right on the spot so she doesn't get too upset to eat while I'm looking for someplace nice to sit. Sometimes I can anticipate a pending feeding session and will find someplace cozy. Ikea has someplace cozy. The nursing room is furnished with Ikea products (just like the cafeteria) including a real changing table (not one of those plastic things that folds down from the wall) and a super comfy leather chair. There are even toys in case baby has an older sibling who needs something to do while mum's nursing. And you can even control the volume of the store radio. And the room was clean. I was very pleased. If I could have I would have just chilled there for a while after Lucy was done because it was so nice. But I had to go sacrifice blood to the Immigration Gods.

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WFMW - Coffee Lover's Edition

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I have loved Starbucks frappuccino since I was a teen. It's just really, really yummy. It's also really, really bad for you (lots and lots of sugar).

Well, I've found an alternative that works for me! It's got NO added sugar (NONE!) but it still tastes sweet. It's got protein, vitamins and minerals, calcium, almost 50% less caffeine than regular coffee, and no preservatives (click the picture for nutritional details). It's the "Perfectly Protein Mocha Cappuccino" drink made by Bolthouse Farms. We sold Bolthouse products at the health food store I used to work at in Utah (their "Green Goodness" juice is pretty awesome). But now you can even find their products at Wal-Mart (which is where I picked up my bottle of cappuccino drink). The flavor isn't quite as good as a Starbucks frappuccino (almost, but not quite). However, like I said, it's less expensive and it's WAY better for you.

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Monday, March 2

MS Monday - MS Symptoms & Diagnosis

Well, dear readers, it's MS Monday! Bet you thought I had forgotten seeing as this post is coming pretty late in the day. I didn't forget. I was in Calgary for some immigration stuff. I'll write more about that later. But I will say this...I'm beat!

Today for MS Monday I want to give you a preview of things to come:

There will be a very cool raffle to raise funds for the MS Walk.*

Anyone who donates can have their name (or a screen name) added to the "Dust Bunny Honor Roll" with a link to their blog or another website of their choice.*

There is a Facebook Group already up and running.

I also want to spend a moment discussing signs/symptoms and diagnosis of MS.

The symptoms of MS are varied and numerous. They can include pain, spasticity, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, partial paralysis, vision problems, and even dementia (though rarely). For a more thorough look at the very, very long list of possible symptoms visit here or here.

MS is not an easy disease to diagnose. Unfortunately it isn't as simple as doing a blood test and getting a positive. Getting a diagnosis requires answering a lot of questions about one's medical history, and undergoing lots of tests (such as neurological and vision tests). Then, after all that, an MRI is usually used to confirm the diagnosis. For a look at the current criteria used to make a diagnosis see this Wikipedia entry on the McDonald Criteria.

MS diagnoses are almost as mysterious as the disease itself which researchers are still trying to find the cause and cure for. To help fund the ongoing research and to help those affected by an MS diagnosis click here.

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*These perks will be retroactive for those who have already made donations.

Blog content (including digital illustrations, photos, and writing) may not be used without the permission of the blog author.

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