Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas already? Can I get an extension?

This may come as no surprise to some of you but it doesn't look like we'll be doing Christmas cards this year. I know, I know, you're crying into your pillow and cursing the universe. But really, why would you need a holiday newsletter summing up our year on one 8 x 11 page when you can just read the blog? Not the same?

Sorry friends and family. Nothing personal.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Apple Cup #100, Yah Cougs!

I'm rather sorry that we weren't in Seattle to celebrate this most excellent triumph of Washington State. Dad watched it on TV down in Vancouver and said it was a nailbiter to the end. Despite the losing record, it's always a good year when the Apple Cup swings our way. I noticed the Seattle press is hammering the Huskies specifically for this loss but I can't help but feel that they are extra hard on them because to them losing to the Cougars is worse than death. Maybe that's just my biased impression.
Anyway, Congratulations to the WSU Team and Alex Brink. I think I read somewhere that he is the best quarterback they've ever had who never went to a bowl. It isn't looking too good for Coach Doba. Evidently because there has been a bowl-shortage under his watch, the fans have been asking for his dismissal. Too bad he has a few more years to go on his contract that would cost a few million to buy out. How complicated these things get.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More Thanksgiving Pictures

My pictures from Thanksgiving in Onancock, VA.

Thanksgiving -- East Coast Style

I have to tell you, this Thanksgiving was like no other I've ever experienced. First of all, it was 70 degrees here in Virginia which is at or near record breaking temps for this time of year. "Delightful" is all I can say because we all ate outside at one long table.

Second, Ken's folks hosted 31 people here at their Onancock home. Joyce, Ken's mom, deserves a great deal of credit for organizing and cooking a beautiful bird & ham for that many. Smartly, she made the event a potluck so everyone chipped in. The granddaughers did a stellar job at clean-up and Duke shucked pre-meal oysters/clams like a pro. I tried to help where I could, wiping out wine glasses and washing a second wave of dishes (sorry Mom, no pics of that). But when the gibblets were done & needed dicing for the gravy, I had to bolt. Dude, that's turkey organs. I'm not touching that.

A lot of the grandkids had boyfriends/girlfriends and one of the daughter-in-laws brought her mother so it was quite a group--festive and chaotic (the good kind).

(Click Picture for enlarged view.)

Third, Ken was designated to say grace. We decided to do a version that was completely audible and has a little more production value. All I can say is, he knocked it out of the park surprising all of us with this little diddy. And great support by cousin Thomas aka "THX Practical".

Click here for lyrics.

Here's a very short but audio fluctuating clip of Ken's actual T-Giving performance:

Happy Thanksgiving from the Eastern Shore of Virginia!

All photos by Kelly Shannahan.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Traveling -- as you might expect

Ken and I traveled across the country to Virginia this Thanksgiving to spend it with the fine people of the Moore-Richardson-Shannahan clans. But I dreaded traveling for Thanksgiving because air travel is already so much fun during the rest of the year. The terminal in which we landed at Dulles was exactly how I imagined traveling at this time of year: loud, hectic and lots of bodies but our flights were all on time. Typically we fly on Alaska Airlines but this time we took United, an airline that evidently doesn't settle for 2 hour delays. We even boarded early on our connection out of DC to Norfolk. (I guess this is how the grown-up airlines do it.)

But on our initial leg from Seattle to DC, we sat in steerage (economy) and wedged ourselves into spaces that even a petite person would find small and just our luck, we ended up next to a plump mother with a 2-year-old child sitting on her lap. You should also know, she didn't bring one toy or book to occupy him with so he did was came naturally and threw the safety card around, grabbed for Ken's laptop, slammed the tray table closed repeatedly and when unhappy screamed at the top of his lungs. Thankfully, he slept for an hour or so and good that he did because I was in the middle seat next to them and having a really hard time keeping my cool. Of course she was saving herself at least $600 by having him on her lap. Those airlines--they get you. Ken and I talked about it and decided that coming out for Christmas allows more leeway and not everyone is flying the very same days to and from. I think that is what we will do going forward. Not that this Thanksgiving wasn't awesome. But more on that later.

Another thing about our flight I had a hard time with was the in-flight entertainment they showed. The first movie was called "Hot Rod" with the SNL Dick in a Box guy. Without sound, it looked stupid so I can only imagine. But it was appropriate for a Thankgiving crowd which included lots of kids. But the next movie was called "Shooter" with Mark Walberg. As you can imagine from the title, it contained lots and lots of gun violence. It was about a sniper in the military who gets strong-armed by government agents to assassinate a high powered official. I derived this without sound as well. I don't understand how United would have made such choice during flights with lots of children on them. Why couldn't have played "Ratatouille" or "Princess Bride" or anything remotely family oriented? I know, I sound old and cranky. But really, as a captive and uncomfortably seated audience, couldn't you at least play something for us that was uplifting?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Looking at Heathcare Options

Well it appears that the warming socks helped soothe, but not yet cure, my ear ache. I am anxious for this to subside and worried that flying could make it worse. According to some quick research on the Internets, if you have an ear ache for longer than 24 hours, you need to be seen as it could be a bad infection. So I have a short list of providers if I need to make a call tomorrow. While I was researching this, I stumbled across the revelation of not putting anything in your ears: like fingers, cotton swabs or paperclips. Paperclips? Now who does that?

Lately I've been doing my part at keeping our health care system alive and well. My new thing is a more natural approach to treatment and along with the naturopath, I have been doing acupuncture, abdominal massage and getting chiropractic sessions.

Contrary to the popular opinion that chiropractic treatment is all cracking and quackery, I have found a fantastic provider who has an amazing and gentle approach. From what she explained, chiropractic was based on facilitating body systems to heal themselves by removing "obstacles" which manifest as tension in the body. While it's generally thought that chiropractors focus on the back & spine, my gal says it's the nervous system with which she works on, freeing up tension with acupressure-like treatment. Serendipitously, both my naturopath and my friend, Tracy, recommended this same doctor.

Abdominal massage is a trip and if you have any issues with digestion, I recommend it. While not usually very common to get your abdomen massaged, when you do focus on it--wow. Obviously we have a sheath of muscles along our abdomen (but some of us no longer have a 6-pack) and under it are a bunch of organs. Like the East Coast states, I have a general idea of where my abdominal organs are but I wouldn't really be able to pinpoint their exact locations. My understanding is that abdominal is a massage specialty involving more training and expertise because of all the anatomy and organ work involved.
At one point last week, the masseuse was pressing down and it was tender.
So I asked her, "What is that?"
She said, "Your next bowel movement."
Fantastic! See how much you would learn about yourself? And it goes from there. A lot of tension and emotion is stored in our abdomens and of course our reproductive systems are down there too so there is a lot of benefit to give some attention to that area of the body, especially if you're a tense little monkey like me.

I have high hopes for these treatments and am starting to feel some benefits already. I would encourage anyone who is wanting a level of medical care that takes into account the body's own healing ability and connectedness with the cause/effects of stress to look into these types of treatments. If for nothing else, it's good to know you have options.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November never liked me

Please excuse the long hiatus.

Ever since we got back from California, there have been lots of things to do and attend to here. The sprint from Halloween to Thanksgiving is usually uneventful aside from the horrifying reminder in any store or public place that Christmas is coming. Aye, Christmas and it's commercialism. I've been doing shopping online and that makes me happy to know that I've avoided the throngs of insane shoppers and the aimless hunt for a parking space that can zap your will to live.

But November is always 'blah' for me. I associate bad things with November probably because the weather really switches over to rainy & windy (gives the song November Rain a little more meaning) and back in high school I got cheated on twice by my boyfriend in 2 successive Novembers. So November is not my favorite.

But two special ladies celebrate their birthdays this month, Sue & Karen--so I guess it's not all bad.

In other news, I've been seeing a naturopath these last few months and under the homeopathy regimen she has me on, I seriously could feel my immune system and digestive system working better. Normally, I'm a sickly little creature, always prone to catching things but up until a few days ago, I've felt great. But all good things do come to an end because I fell prey to some bug that has manifested itself as an earache with a slight sore throat. No mucus though (knock on wood).

This has me a tad panicked because we leave for Virginia (via plane) Wednesday and anyone who has flown with with compromised immunity knows that things can get very, very bad when you are pressurized and breathing recycled air of others who are in varied states of sickness and health. So aside from all the normal things one does to stave off an illness, I am doing something my ND calls "Warming Socks Treatment." (I guess it might be called different things by different NDs.) Anyway the gist of it is: soak your feet in hot water then put on wet cold cotton socks then put on dry wool socks then wrap yourself (& feet) in a blanket or get into bed. I am sitting at the computer wrapped like a mummy in some blankets. I probably should have waited until I was ready to go to bed and do this but I was excited to try it. What it's supposed to do is draw the body's energy in warming the feet and thus increasing circulation to the body and away from the head/sinus which is what inspires congestion/mucus. I'm not eager to load myself up with crazy drugs and stuff so I'm giving this naturopathic thing a try. Yes, my feet feel weird.

Hey, just in the time I've been writing this entry my ear ache has lessened. Amazing. No joke.

I'll pick this up tomorrow and tell you more exciting stories about my foray into alternative medicine.