Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Splash

Earlier this summer my friend Hillarie (who is an occupational therapist) told me about Summer Splash, which is an event for disabled people where people with different disabilities  (like paralysis and blindness) can waterski. She asked me if I wanted to come. I knew that I wouldn't be able to participate (ironically I am too disabled to participate in this event for disabled people, LOL!), but I thought it would be fun to go on and watch. 

I didn't think the weather would be a problem since it's been sunny and hot just about every day this past month with almost every day in the upper 90s or even into the 100s. However, today it started raining cats and dogs on the way up to the lake where this event was being held. The rain got so bad at one point that my mom had to pull off the road since we could barely see where we were going. We just sat in the parking lot of Holiday Inn for about 15 minutes until the rain subsided a bit. 

When we got to the lake it wasn't long before it started pouring again. Fortunately there was a pavilion to sit under, but I kept having to scoot back from the edge because the rain kept blowing on me. (Needless to say, this wasn't good for my hair, as the humidity/moisture was starting to make it get curly.) I really wish it would've been sunny, but at least the rain/clouds helped to cool things off a bit. "Cool" doesn't quite seem the right word, because it was still stifling with the high humidity, but I know it would have been even more steamy if the sun had been out. 

I'm really glad that I could go and watch, although I felt nervous for the people the disabled people that were being pulled by the jet ski because I know I would've personally been terrified if it were me out there in the water! The fact that I've never known how to swim and have always been scared of water, coupled with the fact that I am now I'm unable to move my arms and legs would have surely sent me into a panic attack!

The weather also made it hard to get any decent pictures, so these pictures aren't the best. The first picture is of my friend Hillarie and me. It was bright, so I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, plus my hair was messed up from the rain, so I don't look my best.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photo shoot

Since my sister Laura and her family were staying at the house this past weekend while my mom was gone, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to have a little photo shoot with my sister's family. Laura's daughter Amy is turning one in a few weeks, so I wanted to get some pictures to document this milestone. Unfortunately Amy wasn't very cooperative, so we didn't really get very many pictures of her actually looking at the camera.

We also made some time this past weekend to play beauty shop with Amy. Her hair is pretty long for a little girl who isn't even one years old yet, although, it's not very thick. We had fun taming the beast!

When the cat's away…

For the past  years my mom has been my main caregiver and is the one who is in charge of doing the majority of my care. When we are doing something physical for me that I can't do for myself, like dressing and bathing, it's a two-person job and my mom is always one of those two people. Things aren't always "hands-on," but I do have to have someone around me 24/7 in case I need some assistance. 80% of the time, my mom is that person who is around to help me if/when I need it. 

The reason I'm giving you this background on my mom is to show you how vital she is to my care, and also to let you know how hard she works. She's never been away from me for more than 24 hours in the years since my accident…. until now, that is. My mom took her first vacation (without me) in more than seven years this past weekend. She left last Friday morning to drive to see her parents who live in Rochester, Minnesota. I'm glad she was able to have a little time off so that she could see her parents, brother Steve and his family, old friends and enjoy some weather that was a little cooler and less humid than what we're having in St. Louis right now!

You might be wondering who took care of me while my mom was away. My two younger sisters, Laura and Chandra picked up the slack. Chandra took time off work this past weekend, and Laura and her husband Brett (plus their little girl, Amy) stayed here at the house with Chandra and me. It's been a little strange to not have my mom around since I see her every single day, but I'm glad that she was able to get some much needed time off!

I thought it would be fun to have a Harry Potter movie marathon while my mom was gone because I've been wanting to watch all of the movies from the beginning for a while. It's been a long time since I've seen most of them. We managed to watch the first five, so I just need to squeeze in the next two, and then I will be ready to see the final the movie. 

I also used this weekend as an excuse to eat some yummy food. On Friday evening we had Imo's pizza for dinner. Imo's is a pizza place that is exclusive to St. Louis. It's kind of an acquired taste, and I remember not being too crazy about it the first time I had it, but now I actually like it. Imo's pizza is thin crust pizza – extremely thin crust pizza. It's almost like pizza toppings on a saltine cracker. To get your fill you basically have to eat half a pizza.
On Saturday we got Chinese food for dinner – sesame chicken, chicken with garlic sauce and vegetables, Mongolian beef, crab rangoon and eggrolls. I had a little of everything and it all tasted so good!
On Sunday my sister Laura made chicken curry for dinner. I always hear people talk about curry, and I've always wondered what it tastes like. SO, Laura said she would make it for me and I was able to experience curry for the first time yesterday. I was worried I wouldn't like it, but it was actually pretty good. Not my favorite, but not bad, either. I'm glad I was able to try it.

It was a really fun weekend, but I'm glad to have my mom back!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat wave

Boy is hot outside! Chances are you're also feeling the heat, as the majority of the United States has been experiencing record high temperatures the past several days. Yesterday the high temperature in St. Louis, Missouri, was 103°F (39.5°C), but it felt much hotter when you factored in the high humidity. 

Here's a short excerpt from an article about the St. Louis heat that I found online:

A lot has been made of St. Louis' high temperatures of late, with the thermometer topping out at 103° yesterday and 100° the day before that.

But it's the daily low temperature from yesterday that's truly record-setting. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in St. Louis yesterday -- July 21 -- dropped to just 83°. That's the warmest low temperature recorded on that date since 1885, when the low temperature reached 82°.

For the record, the hottest minimum temperature ever in St. Louis was 86°, set back on July 24, 1901. Imagine sleeping through that without air-conditioning!

MEANWHILE in southern Chile… they received 9 feet of snow! Imagine having to get out and shovel your roof so that the heavy snow wouldn't compact and cause your roof to cave in.

Bye-bye bookstores

Borders Bookstore has been in business for 40 years and they recently announced that they're going out of business, and all of their bookstores will be closed in the next two months. Borders said that the two main reasons they're closing is #1) the economy and #2) they're finding it hard to compete with e-Readers, like Kindles and Nooks. 

This is sad, sad news! Although I think it would be nice to have a small, portable electronic device that stores thousands of books, magazines and newspapers, I think there's something to be said for having an actual book that you can hold. Call me old-fashioned, but that's the way I feel! I love bookstores and I think there's something to be said for being in such a calm and quiet environment. Before you know it libraries are going to be the next thing to go, or at the very least, undergo a transformation to having more electronic devices and less books. 

This commercial for Amazon's Kindle says it all:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An insignificant thing to miss

There are so many things that I can no longer physically do now that I'm paralyzed that I miss so much. Today I thought I would write about one of the many things I miss. Rollerskating. Of all the things I can no longer do, I know rollerskating might seem like a really insignificant thing to miss. I can't remember the last time I've been rollerskating – probably middle school, so it's been a long time.  I don't know what in was about rollerskating, but I found it so fun and always loved doing it. (I also enjoyed ice skating and did that a few times in high school.) Perhaps someday I'll skate again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Addiction is a huge problem in today's society and people are addicted to all sorts of things like gambling, alcohol, cigarettes, sex/pornography, food, shopping, the computer… you name it. There's a show on TLC that I find fascinating called My Strange Addiction and boy are there are some really bizarre things that people get addicted to doing. If you've never seen the show, let me fill you in on some of the things people are actually addicted to.
  • Pulling out their hair and eating it
  • Sleeping with a blow dryer blowing on them all night
  • Eating weird things like toilet paper, dryer sheets, glass
  • Compulsive tanning
  • Hoarding lots of animals
I also watch another show on TLC called Freaky Eaters where people are addicted to eating the weirdest things. Here are a few examples:
  • Cornstarch – a lady loved eating cornstarch because of it's soft texture and the way it felt in her mouth and would go through about three boxes of cornstarch in a single day.
  • Powdered laundry detergents and toilet cleanser – this particular person was abused as a child and she said it made her feel clean inside to eat things like this.
  • Chalk – there've been several people addicted to eating chalk.
  • Drywall – the woman loved the chalky substance that makes up drywall.
  • Ice cream bars – the person addicted to these ate around 40 bars a day and little else.
  • Tarter sauce – the woman addicted to this would have an entire bottle of tartar sauce every day and would put it on everything she ate from cold cereal to ice cream.
  • Maple syrup – the guy addicted to Maple syrup would have several cups of it a day and would put it on everything he ate, even spaghetti.
  • Cheesy potatoes – the woman with this addiction would eat some form of fried potato whether it was french fries or just potatos fried in a pan with cheese over it for every meal, and had been doing it her entire life.
I find shows like these really fascinating, but in a weird, sad way. These addictions always keep people from having close relationships with others because they're terrified of people finding out. I always wonder how/where the addiction originated and what are the emotional/mental benefits they get from doing something so odd. I'm always happy for the people that accept help and are able to change their ways, but not all of them do.

I feel blessed to not be addicted to anything because it always seems like it's so hard to quit whatever has a hold over you. 

Friday, July 15, 2011


I have a funny story to share about my niece Sarah. Last year she got a piggy bank for Christmas, but sadly it broke a few months after she received it. I felt sad for her when I found out that her little piggy had broken, so I made it my personal mission to find her a new one. I was so happy when I found this replacement at Target because I knew that Sarah would love it.
Sarah was in town again on Tuesday and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to surprise her because she had lost her special fuzzy blanket that morning when she left it at the hotel they'd stayed at the previous night. When I told her I had a surprise for her she was sure it was going to be a new fuzzy blanket, even though I told her that it was most definitely NOT a new blanket. Sarah seemed excited with her new bank…
…until she remembered her fuzzy blanket.
But Sarah was all smiles again when her mom called the hotel and they said they'd found the blanket in the bed sheets and they would mail it back to her.
Sarah told me that she didn't really care about her new bank, so I jokingly asked if I could have it back. Sarah said that she still wanted it even though she didn't really care about it. Gotta love the honesty of kids! 

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