Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miki's Flowers

I am so proud of my friend Miki! She is a local Seattle florist and she has had her business ( since 1994. Miki has become a huge name in the wedding arena and just got her flowers pictured on the FRONT PAGE of Seattle Metropolitan Bride and Groom magazine! They also featured another one of her bouquets inside the magazine as well. Now this isn't the first time her floral arrangements have been in Seattle Metropolitan Bride, but I believe this is her first cover. Way to go! Look for the July issue in stores.
You can see more of her "toasts" here:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fremont Fair 2010

Saturday was the Annual Solstice Parade in Fremont. It's been a long standing tradition amongst my group of friends to pre-party, watch the parade, and hit the beer gardens. This year was no different! We started the action at our friend KG's pad at 10AM. Normally the weather gods tend to shine on us favorably every year but this year was a little misty. This little derailment meant a change of scenery from the roof top deck to inside the condo... but no worries, everyone fit and we had a blast! At noon, we loaded up some "roadies" and headed down the block to the parade route. We usually congregate on the corner of 34th and Albion which is typically the end of the parade. This means the naked bikers take the time to circle around and let the photographers get a couple more shots before they call it a day. Enjoy the pictures!

PS. I took the time to post the link to the website in case you want to get it on the calendar for next year! I am also posting some FAQ's from their website that I thought were interesting to note.
What is the etiquette with body paint?
We won’t deny it. The Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade are partially famous for body-painted bicyclists and revelers who magically appear every year and make this event truly one of a kind.
If you are one of the body painted participants, PLEASE NOTE:
•The Fremont restaurants and bars greatly appreciate if you can carry a towel with you to place on the chair/booth while you dine and drink. They love to have you in their establishments, but please be respectful of their furnishings if you have paint that may rub off.

•Remember that many families do attend the Fair, with small children in tow. While Fair-goers typically wholly embrace the free spirit of the event, when planning your costume/paint scheme, please be considerate of a child’s eye level in conjunction with potential painted body parts that may be exposed. Rude and obscene behavior at the Fremont Fair will not be tolerated and individuals will be asked to leave.
•If you are not on a bike you need to cover it up.

And there you go!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I love Groupons. I love getting a deal. So when a Groupon popped up in my email for Trapeze lessons at Emerald City Trapeze, I was intrigued. I mean... I have a fear of heights, I have a fear of falling, and I can't do a pull up to save my life. So of course I bought a Groupon for Trapeze lessons!?! DOH!

I talked a couple friends into doing it with me and after weeks of synching our calendars, a couple player changes and a time change, we made an appointment for Sunday June 13. (I'm not even going to mention the last minute cancel by SOMEONE who apparently had TOO MUCH FUN the night before and couldn't join us because they came down with the brown bottle flu... yeah you know who you are!)

Cindy and I got to Emerald City Aerialdome in the Sodo area (6th and Lander) and we got signed up. Please note that the paperwork does include proof of health insurance, next of kin emergency contact and a death waiver. We were introduced to our instructors and 5 other "students" all there to "go flying". We started with a couple minutes of upper body stretches to get loose. Then the instructors fitted us with a belt which would later be attached to the safety cables. The instructors gave us a quick rundown of the program on the floor, to show us what they expected we would be doing on the trapeze. This expectation included a drop off a 30 foot high platform, fly thru the air, then kick your legs up to hook your knees on the bar, let go of bar to hang upside down, reach back (as if reaching for a partner "catch"), grab the bar again, drop your legs, pump your legs for more momentum, back flip off the bar and land in the net. "And everyone will do that three times. Now who wants to go first?" Huh, what...? Wait... I am going to need some more time to process this. Can't we do this in small steps?

The first volunteer was a tiny little gal who did the whole sequence with perfection. Another petite thing followed her and again, nailed it. Hmmm, seems easy enough. (Found out later that they were gymnasts/dancers/cheerleaders.... yeah...ok) Finally some other people went and I actually saw the same fear I was feeling. I saw the shaking legs, I saw the hesitation when being told to jump off the platform, I saw the angry concentration in their faces. OK, this is getting "real". I am nervous. My friend Cindy was next. She was a trooper. I could tell she was nervous getting up the ladder and I could see her silently contemplating how to make the transition from the ladder to the platform. But she did it with grace. The cables were attached to her belt and she went into position to grab the bar and make her first jump. I saw a little hesitation on the jump... one foot left the platform, then went right back. There was a little encouraging from the strong instructor and she went flying. She did great! I will admit that I was secretly glad she didn't get her knees on the bar for the upside down maneuver. Honestly I was getting tired of everyone nailing it and knowing I would probably NOT. So it made me feel a little better. (Shh, don't tell her I was thinking that...)

Then it was my turn. I started my ascent up the ladder and immediately realized how shaky it was. Disturbing. The ladder rungs were tiny and I was in bare feet so it was imperative to make sure the ball of my foot was placed perfectly on each rung for maximum support. This probably took more time than expected because the instructor on the platform actually had to look down to see if I was still there. It was about this time that I looked around and realized how high I was, and how it was going to be really scary on that platform. I basically froze up and went into retreat mode. I looked up at the instructor and said "no.... can't....". Then I cautiously made my way back down the ladder. I heard the other instructors telling me "come on, you were almost there", "don't look down", and "you can do it". But my mind was already made up, it wasn't happening. I got onto the ground and immediately started weeping. I was nervous, scared, embarrassed, and disappointed. I couldn't stop crying even when the instructors reassured me that it was ok, it happens, and I could try again whenever I felt ready.

I sat down and let everyone go on their second swing on the trapeze. I watched everyone very carefully this time. I wanted to make sure I saw exactly how they went up the ladder and precisely how they got onto the platform. To me these were the biggest obstacles. I didn't even care about the jump/swing part. I knew that this girl would not be going upside down.... or doing any type of back summer sault dismount. But getting up the ladder, now that was the challenge. After that, I could simply hurl my self straight off the platform and be done with it all.

So, I tried again. I started climbing up the ladder. I got a little higher than the first time. I had a ton of encouragement from the instructors and students. But... I couldn't do it. I had to go back down. This time the frustration tears came more quickly. I went to the bathroom and sobbed a little harder. Why did I think I could do this? What is my problem - why do I have a paralyzing fear of heights? Maybe it's the fact that the last two months have been so emotional? Damn.
Enjoy the pictures of Cindy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rest In Peace Richard Adams

May was a bad month. I already spoke of this in my last post. It gets worse. I mentioned before that some of my friends were going thru personal tragedies that put my issues into perspective. Yes, my issues can be dealt with and I will live on. My friend Richard was not so lucky. Richard passed away early this morning after a five week battle with stomach cancer. His new bride (and one of my best friends) will be forever changed after this.

Here is a recap:
Richard went into the hospital on Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) with swollen and sore legs. An ultrasound revealed blood clots in his legs as the cause of the pain. The Doctors immediately put him on blood thinners and inserted a screen like thingy into his leg to catch any clots that might travel to the brain. (Blood clots to the brain can cause strokes or immediate death.) The following day, they did more tests and found blood clots in his lungs as well. More investigating revealed that the blood clots are coming from a tumor in his stomach. His diagnosis on 5/7/2010 was this: stomach cancer, with a gastric bleed, already spreading to his esophagus, non-operable, 7 months to live.

Richard has spent the last 5 weeks in the battle for his life. His only real course for treatment was to begin aggressive chemotherapy right away and potentially stop more spreading while hopefully shrinking the tumor. Unfortunately he never actually got to receive any treatment for the cancer because the blood clots became the enemy. Complications with blood clots led to several stays in the hospital and several minor strokes. The result of the strokes made for a body that wasn’t strong enough to survive chemotherapy. His new choices were:
a.) Go on blood thinners to prevent more blood clots. The risk being a fatal hemorrhage in his stomach or brain.
b.) Stay off blood thinners. The risk being that eventually a blood clot will hit his brain or some other organ and be the cause of his death.
Either way, his life expectancy was now 2 weeks to 2 months.

Richard chose option A in order to give him more time with his girlfriend and family. They had planned to get married "someday" and the new diagnosis meant things had changed, time was of the essence. They planned a wedding for 5 days later. During this time, Richards blood levels would need to be maintained. With a gastric bleed AND blood thinners, he was going to lose blood and would need to have transfusions to keep his blood levels up.

On Saturday May 29th, Richard and Staci were married at their home in Woodinville. It was as beautiful of a ceremony as it could be given the circumstances. A ton of Richards friends showed up and it was a full house. It was a bittersweet mix of emotion: happy, sad, happy, sad.

On Sunday after the wedding, Richard was back in the hospital for more blood transfusions. This seemed to stable him for the week. Richard even made it to the Sounders game that Saturday! Richard and Staci are season ticket holders for the Sounders in a suite. Luckily, Staci was able to take Richard to the match and he sat in his wheelchair for the whole game. He was so excited to be there! Soccer was just one of Richards passions. So it’s very fitting that he died today, the day of World Cup.

By Monday of this week, Richard was vomiting blood and taken back to the ER in an ambulance. The doctors had determined that he was losing too much blood internally being on the blood thinners. They took him off the blood thinners and it was only a matter of days before his body was full of clots. The clots were causing strokes and because of those, he basically lost all body function and was mostly unconscience. On Thursday, Staci had to make the heart wrenching decision to take him off all life support and IV’s (food/water). This was in accordance to his living will directives and she wanted to honor those wishes. It’s what needed to happen, but it’s a terrible thing to watch a loved one slowly die. Staci had to be strong and unselfish at this point and I commend her bravery.

On Friday, I got to spend most of the day with Richard, Staci, Richards mom and sister in the hospital. I was able to see him, say good bye and let him know that we would all take care of Staci and not to worry. I stayed with them thru the transfer from Overlake Hospital to the Evergreen Hospital’s Hospice Care Center. The new facility was beautiful, serene and lovely. The anticipation was that he would be there only a few days. Honestly, I am relieved it didn’t take even that long. For all their sakes. Richard was able to let go on June 12, 2010 at 5:30AM.

Please keep Staci in your hearts and minds in the coming weeks/months. This is going to be a difficult time for her. Peace and Love!

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." -- Gilda Radner

Friday, June 11, 2010

May Funk

The month of May was kind of crappy. I was in a funk and couldn't seem to get out of it. I think I cried every day in May over one thing or another. It started off with an annual exam. I had decided to try a new Dr because the one I had been going to didn’t seem to have much interest in me and never really had any answers for my medical questions. After some research on the web, I found a new Dr at the Polyclinic at Northgate who met my criteria. It is literally right next door to my condo so very convenient. She was cool and seemed to listen to me and she had answers for all my questions. She took particular interest when I told her about really heavy periods, break thru bleeding, and the fact that I get up 3 times a night to pee. When she did my pelvic exam, she told me she felt like my uterus was “heavy”. A heavy uterus could signify fibroid tumors - and recommended I have them checked out. She said they are almost never cancerous, but they do create havoc with periods and can cause other female issues.

Photo of a normal uterus to the left. Uterus with fibroids below.

She set me up with an ultrasound the following week and the lab tech confirmed that I do have fibroids. I have 5 that can be seen and measured. They range in size from 2-7 centimeters (7 cm = about 3 inches = the length of my index finger). Basically fibroids are masses of bloody tissue. They feed off blood so as long as my body is producing estrogen and I have periods, they will continue to grow. They cause excessive bleeding and menstrual pain, they cause break thru bleeding during the month, and they basically make me sterile. The end result is that I am going to need a hysterectomy to take out the uterus. So the crux of it is, I am never going to be able to have children of my own. Hearing this news made me really sad. Yes, I am 40 now and I already knew the ability to have my own children was already questionable, but I guess I was still living in a fantasy world that I might meet someone, fall in love, get married and have children. This was a cold bucket of icy water.

Since finding out, I have met with a gynecologist who specializes in female reproductive issues and who also does her own surgeries. She confirmed that the size and number of my fibroids meant that I wasn’t going to get pregnant even if I had good eggs and tried right now. The fibroids block the cervix so nothing is getting thru it. If a sperm should happen to make it thru, the chance of a miscarriage is high because the fibroids are taking up room in my uterus that a baby would need to grow. Plus the fibroids feed off the nutrients in the blood, thereby depriving a growing fetus of the nutrients it needs. On top of that, I need to stay on birth control to keep my periods under control! Yeah, getting pregnant is NOT happening here. My uterus is 7 times bigger than a normal one. The largest fibroid sits on my bladder like a rock and this is the reason I have to pee all the time. The ironic thing is that the fibroids are so big that it’s equivalent to being 4 months pregnant. So not only am I sad about never having children, but I feel completely fat, gross, defective and old.

OK, I know you are thinking I am feeling sorry for myself. I am. I admit it. Deep down I know there are other ways to have a family and I know that I have options. Realistically, it's not the end of the world. Still, I have been sad and I can’t shake it. I think a lot of it has to do with the reality that I am not where I thought I would be at 40. I never imagined I would be single at this age. I never imagined that I would not have kids by now. I feel like I missed out on a lot of years, perhaps wasted time, or made bad decisions? I don't know. I do know this... I am NOT trying to be a single mom right now. I have never wanted that life. I know how hard it can be, and I don't think I would be the best mom I could be in that situation. I only want a family when it's right for me and my future partner. So I need to move on with my decision to have a surgery and get a hysterectomy.

There are some other sad things that are happening too so it adds to my overall funk. Some of my friends are dealing with tragedies beyond comprehension right now. Their troubles overshadow my personal stuff so I have that perspective in line. But it also makes it harder to be positive right now.

In the end, I think I will get over it soon enough. At least I am not dying right? I simply have to have a surgery and I’ll feel better internally.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Took a break?!

Oh man, I just looked at the last post and realized it was last November?! Oops. I have been re-miss with blogging. Let's just blame Facebook, shall we. It's a spare time suckage.

Instead of trying to "catch up" and backtrack, I am going to do my best to just post recent stuff and stay consistent.

This week I had the opportunity to see some Bengal kittens being born. The breeder where I got my kitty called me to let me know her cat was going into labor. Since my Bengal is supposed to be pregnant, I wanted to watch this process. Her male stud cat (Epitimee) is pictured to the left. Epitimee and Lilith are my Keeta's parents.

I got the call at 5AM! So I threw on some clothes and raced over to Teresa's house. Within minutes her cat, Lilith, delivered one healthy 3 ounce baby boy! Seemed pretty easy. Lilith immediately began cleaning her new baby and being a good mama. Within minutes the baby boy was rooting around for a nipple. Success! Next came the placenta. Now this is kind of gross, but the mama cat actually eats the placenta for it's nutrients plus it helps her bring her milk in.

About half an hour later, a 2nd placenta came out. Uh... this was worrisome! The placenta was not attached to an umbilical cord which indicated that the kitty was possibly stuck in the birth canal and was now being deprived of it's oxygen and nutrients. Teresa made a few calls to her other cat breeder friends and searched the Internet frantically while I kept a watchful eye on Lilith. She had more contractions but nothing was coming out. Research showed that a kitty stuck in the birth canal could only survive for 20 minutes or so. When 30 minutes went by we were really worried. Teresa had the emergency vet on the line when we started to see something coming. What we saw was a foot! Which means the kitty was coming out breach. Luckily Teresa knew what to do in this situation and she tried her hardest to help the kitty out without causing any damage. At this point we were still thinking it was the kitty without a placenta attached so we were very worried that the kitty would not be breathing? Teresa was able to pull the kitty out - and she was breathing! Whew! And she had an umbilical cord which was attached! Her placenta came out shortly after that. Hmmm, interesting.

At this point it was close to 8AM and I had to race back home to get ready for work. So I missed the rest of the births. But wow - what a stressful morning! Teresa called me later and updated me that Lilith had 3 healthy kittens and 4 placentas. So it seems that she must have miscarried one of her kitties. Poor thing! But mama and babies were all doing well. Enjoy the photos!