Saturday, June 27, 2009
Just when I think I'm a crazy woman for having tested the water at my local park (see June 16 Blog), I come home and read this:
Kirklandís Juanita Beach Swimming Area Closed Until Further Notice Due to High Bacteria Levels
Tagged with: Juanita Beach Park
Posted by Rob Butcher on Friday, June 26, 2009, 17:19
I was just a little ahead of myself on timing, but my nose was good.
You know what I love about my Spark friends? They never once threw it in my face. I may have doubted myself, but you were the best of support and encouragement to "be me".
Saturday, June 20, 2009
* As anticipated a busy week. I almost stepped forward to write the con statement for annexation. I still have not completely decided my stand, yet I see the pro side being completely organized and that people will not get a complete view of the problems (assuming prior debt of the city - amount still not disclosed in meetings), slower fire response times, split neighborhoods, a switched position on allowing a casino, and a huge on going city budget debt (5 - 8 Million).
* For the last two weeks, I've started to feel the edge of joint ache and pains and increased headache, rapid heart rate. I did a blood donation this morning. My old level five weeks ago was 33 and today 38 (hematocrit levels). I'd been hoping to wait until next week when I could coordinate with my new doctor that I see Wednesday, but last night I was feeling so bad I didn't think it wise. Of course, today because of the draw I feel tired. For my own record, symptoms that I felt: dull headache, sharp pains in my shoulders, elbows, hips and hands, feeling like something is in my eye - ?dry eye, drop in libido, drop in energy, drop in appetite, irritability, feeling of dread, increased dreaming and sense of smell.
* Father's day will take Dad out for sushi. He is doing so much better. I always love when he answers the phone because I know he is feeling well enough to get up.
* Dan and I had a date Friday night and saw the StarTrek movie. Finally. I thought it was very important in the middle of me rushing around on annexation and him on job search that we spend some time together. We were both so tired that we hardly talked, yet it did feel good to "be" with him.
* School just down the street is being taken down, probably on Monday. I so wanted to save plants, but they've now put up a fence so I can't -- I'm sorry green buddies. (I called to attempted to arrange this, but the big whigs wanted to charge dollars for them and the little guys just saw that I'd be blocking their progress). I'll hide this in here, I've also been playing detective on a local crime that occurred. I got up the guts to call the police on the number listed in the paper, as now I'm 75% sure, and they wanted name and location. I had more vague information (I now have the name and will follow up Monday), and they didn't want to hear what I had to say....what's with that? Ah, Katherine let go....
* Daughter Crystal is home for a month after finishing summer school. Most of her friends are graduating, so she is saying goodbye to many. She initially started a year later so she could work and earn money first. Now she has a new roommate moving in. It will be a very different year - I'm so use to her "gang" of friends.
* Dan is going to California for a job interview. Crystal and I will fly along to check out the area for a home, cost of living, but due to my daughter's resourcefulness we also get a bonus.
We both were born on the same day in July and she pointed out that Disneyland is having a promotion in 2009 for a free day at the park on your birthday. So while Dan is interviewing, Crystal and I will get to party like the kids we are with Goofy, Mickey, Cinderella and all the rest of Disney wonder -- I'm WAY EXCITED!!!
I think I'll end there........With a Tinkerbell touch of Sparkle!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
On Sunday night I went for a walk to my fav park, O.O. Denny.
There are so many things I love about this park. First, the local citizens put together an alliance to tax themselves for maintenance of the park, so that there was local control of the park. Second, it has a wonderful mixture of landscape - quiet woods, a bridge over a stream, old-American covered BBQ shelter, a fenced off bird nesting area and a long shoreline with Lake Washington. The people that come are mixed too - to the South end are the people that routinely bring their dogs for swimming, towards the middle of the park mom's with kids swimming, in the back of the park families coming for picnic, just a small distance north the teens hang out (with an occasional beer), and to the far north a separate section of lawn for quiet drifting couples and local homeowners. The park lacks the over regulated feel of other parks in the area. There are just enough structures to make it usable, but not some many that nature loses her voice.
So it was with curiosity when I first looked down and saw some small dead fish at the shoreline. Was it bait left by someone attempting to catch some local trout? I walked along and they continued - the count being over 1,000. I noticed birds had been taking advantage of this well served feast, and there were a few dropping side by side to the dead fish.
I'd intended to let Louis wade along the shore, but now drew him back and asked Dan if he'd noticed these fish. He also dismissed it as being just some left over bait, or possible a sound shock. As we walked further North the line up of dead sardines continued. The smell also increased - slightly dead fish, slightly ammonia. Something was very wrong. The water was full of more algae than normal, could an over bloom of this combined with the hot weather caused a lack of oxygen in the shallow waters? Was it some kind of red tide? There were some scummy bubbles in the water...was it some detergent run off? But there were so many fish and the lake is vast - the second largest in the State of Washington.
For a moment it took me back to my childhood. The lake was a great source of summer fun, yet pollution in the 1960's lead to beach closures and milfoil over growths. If there was some type of pollution problem it was surprising that I'd not hear about it. And there was only one type of fish...
As I started up the beach, I asked people if they knew what was causing the dead fish. Because they were so small, the few people that were there hadn't noticed them and had no clue. How could they not smell the difference in the area? It was the first thing that made me look down.
At the very far end of the park, we saw more and more fish floating out in the water, until we came to a small cove behind a concrete wall with every inch covered in floating, decomposing fish - the stench was horrible. There were a few large fish floating there as well. At that point it hardly mattered why the fish were there, rather I could smell possibility that the bacteria levels might be a risk. I returned and posted a quick sign warning that the water quality might be a problem (signed and dated it from a private citizen). My husband problem thought I was crazy, but I was concerned that I was seeing dogs drinking from the water and children playing in it.
The Internet is such a great boom. The dead fish were sticklebacks that spawn at this time of year normally. It is typical for them to die this time of year, however, with our warmer weather the decomposing bodies floated to the top of the water rather than being consumed by the trout. The wind and wave action carried them by the thousands to the shore. The one local paper from the previous Thursday reported it as just being normal spawning.
It still didn't take away my concern over bacteria levels. Monday I got ten little plastic cups from a terriyaki shop and went to the park and took water samples. As I collected them, I was amazed that the kids had more concern than the parents watching their children sitting right among the decaying fish. One little girl asked me (she was probably around five), "Are you a scientist? Should I get out of the water?" Her mother responded, "It's probably ok, they would have told us if there was something wrong."
It told me a lot about myself. I've never trusted the "they". I always want to know for myself and when it comes to safety, I want absolute answers. Besides the "they" was not out taking samples. Dead fish on Thursday look very different from fish that have had four days to rot in the hot sun.
I took the water samples to our local Pet/Aquarium store - ironically in name Denny's Pet World. Hats off to these guys for helping me out and said no to taking the money when I offered. As the one guy said, "I swim there". I had them test each sample for NH3, NH4, NO2 and NO3. At the store, it was a relief to find none of the samples were in a unsafe zone. One sample had a higher NO3 level, it was the one taken near a stream that dumps into the lake and this would be consistent with fertilizer run off.
I went back and posted a sign reporting the testing findings, the cause for the fish and how and where I'd done the testing. So now at least I can sleep at night not worrying about kids and dogs.
But the thing that lingers with me, is why am I always the one to notice, why am I the one that acts, what makes me different? What allows others to drift in calm, while I race around attempting to solve global problems. You would think I'd be happy to be a behind the scenes "super hero", but in so many ways - the woman on the shore was right, it probably would have been posted if it was a bigger problem. Why can't I just leave it alone? By taking action I leave myself as a target. I cause myself extra work and grief. So often I feel I've come from another planet, as I find myself in a crowd of people that are not reacting to things that I feel impossible not to react to. Was it all the 1950-60's scare pollution, world unrest that I grew up around? The world has not changed so much. Post my aneurysm clip, I've tried so hard to learn a new inner peace. Yet I find it hard to sit back and trust the "they". Harder still to walk past dead fish.
I could try to blame it on having too much time on my hands, but just the opposite. The need to react gets me involved in political issues (three annexation related meetings this week), community involvement (VP for our homeowners board meeting last night), family (helping with housework/yard Friday night), and running around testing water samples!!! I wish I could put on blinders and not see so much. Ok, so I'm off to clean graffiti off the park fence and ask the school what is happening to the plants when they clear off the old building this Friday.....I might be able to save some for the park.... It's no use, it's just who I am.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
What a week! Extremely physical and emotionally demanding. I'm making adjustments as my body is starting to rise to the task of being well. The joy of having energy again is hard to regulate and the months of tasks that have piled up during the extended time of feeling rolling exhaustion are overwhelming.
I'm proud of myself for doing so much and I'm disappointed in myself for doing so much! Lessons learned this week: 1) we are only human and all of life is not a balance sheet - do what you can and leave the rest 2) negative breed negative, when face with a bad situation you don't have to have the last word 3) Not taking time out to rest and eat, leads to binges 4) Your mind will get back at you when you abuse it!
Because of my huge new burst of energy I attempted to do it all this week. Last weekend, I pressure washed (second time after it broke on me the previous week) around the park, came home, weeded in some cul-de-sacs, and cut down a dead tree in our front yard. (P.S. orange cleaner is great for getting sap off of hair)
The next day I got up at 4:30 am, took bus downtown and volunteered at the Komen run handing out Swedish hospital goodies. Then, I went and clean up and detailed a condo for a friend of mine that has moved away from the area and still not been able to sell her place here. That night I attempted a quick house clean up here and doing laundry.
Monday I was exhausted at work, but pushed through. The morning was a professional CPR class and required my brain to be on! I went without lunch, because my Gemcard had money stolen off of it - boy good reason to eat breakfast. I got some Oh Chocolates for my aunt on the way home and resisted the free sample (I love the hemochromatosis thing in situations like this, people don't keep pushing), but then just as I was expecting I could relax and eat...my husband called that there was a meeting with the City on the zoning boundaries of our area being annexed. The meeting went to 10pm. I ate three high calorie energy bars that I had in my emergency backpack and got in bed too late. Oh and I forgot, being called into my bosses office - stress - but found it was just my annual job review and it went well.
Tuesday I wanted to take my aunt the backlog of presents from her birthday and mother's day (we'd missed getting together do to low energy). I also had a plan to make a "tea" for her and had already called her boss and gotten permission to do so at 11:30am. However, my husband had questions on his job search stuff which then put me in a time bind for getting all the presents wrapped (which I'd planned to do the night before) and make the sandwiches/cookies. So I rushed and put together a different type of lunch, and stuffed with tissue all the presents in a big gift bag (love those things) and got there right on time with the help of my husband (who had just endured my screaming about time binds). Got to surprise my aunt at work with lunch and presents. Then to smooth over the morning, my husband and I stopped for fish and chips and talked job search. Came home dealt with mail paperwork......
Ok lets shorten this week. Wednesday -bank, gas, dog walk, cleaning kitchen, friend dropping by to help husband with interview clothing Thursday - Work arrived one minute late (huge no no in health care), health inspection where I was selected to answer all the questions, being send to the file room to try to organize the mess of piled up files, and headache, headache, headache. Stopped by mom's home on way home to help edge lawn, rake leaves and take down tree (pride here - hand sawed it down and put it down in the right spot as it was near a busy street, even cut it all up - yea wood cutter Katherine). Helped her with some computer issues and got home again really late - ate breakfast cereal on the ride home. Friday - hard to pull out of bed but got to work on time, first woman was a diagnostic with many views. These are always hard to keep a positive dialog and work fast. I got to go to the file room and continue my organization project. Many of the shelves as too crowded, so moved to add space three sections - oh help my back! I was so hot the whole time.
Met a friend of mine that had been my starting mentor at Swedish (did more mammograms that anyone else there during my first year there - she out produced others 3x!!!) She was having back issues and had put on more weigh. She can barely walk a half block. I so related to her being put down by doctors and the feeling of being trapped in a body that hardly allows you to help it get health. She reminded me of several things over the last years that I had done: working out until my feet bleed, keeping on coming to work even when I was being taken to the ER frequently.....getting well is a great deal of work. However, harder still to try to convince someone else to take the same path. I'm so worried about her - wish I knew the right words. I had a feeling that nothing would have broken through.
On Friday drive home, stopped by friend's condo to make sure sales brochures were out, stopped by vets to get more meds for the Louis dog (he has been trying to over do it), talked with hubby on job search and I'm so proud of him he got two more CVs out Friday. One it an unexpected promising situation - right to his strengths and in Washington. Rest of the evening catching up on email (now I have gmail = friends, hotmail = family and business, spark = fitness and interests and friends!).
The lesson on not getting in the last word. By the time I opened one of my last Sparkmail's it was near midnight. I was exhausted and the wording hit me rather negatively. I left a post and withdrew from one of my teams. Withdrawing from the team was a good move. Moving away from negative is a great way to support yourself. The post was a bad move. First, I've been a team leader and I know first hand how hard it is to keep a positive face even went your own world is negative. It is easy to see the few people that post as being the whole team. The truth is many of the team have other things going on, but they are listening! I'm sure this team leader was attempting to pull together the team, but the negative she'd been experiencing pulled over into her group email. I should have taken the high road and just deleted it and removed myself from the team. But no, I stepped right in it and had to post my upset feeling of coming home to a negative email. The price I will pay is all the sparkmails I'm now receiving -- when really the issue was I was exhausted from the week.
You know however, your body has a way to make up for when you abuse it. All week long I've been running on lack of sleep (I've learned not to do this), I skipped taking my medicine at the right time twice, I didn't eat regular meals and ate non-fresh, stuff my face because I'm starved pace, and I served ever one else and then it blew up in my face.
I awoke up today feeling all of my joints hurting again, kind of sick to my stomach and I awoke from a nightmare dream.
The dream - the world is under nuclear attack. The government in order to reduce the expense of cleaning up of all the bodies afterwards is running ads on TV for a prize give away at the local stadiums. They herd the people in, lock the doors and dispose of the people. The people leading the people in and cleaning up are willing helpers because they are being promised that they will be allowed to go into the shelters that the world leaders are going into - of course I know this is not true. I accidental find out what is going on by re-entering an area that I'm not suppose to. I wander in and see all the dead people laying around, and I have to hide in a cement alcove as a group of helpers/finders past me. I then I start trekking East and find my daughter. Somehow I know the nuclear blast is going to happen soon, and I'm attempting to find my friends to prevent them from going into the stadiums. With my spark people friends this is easy as they have not been watching TV, rather they have been out walking! I end up walking across the whole U.S. to reach my friend on the East coast (yea spirit sister) as I can't use email or phone as all the lines are down. I'm constantly looking for unpolluted water as I've very thirsty. The whole way I'm dodging the DNA sniffer (a futuristic machine that flies over and scans for DNA), I must throw meat at it to distract it while I'm making my progress East. (It was so much more complex, the world leaders are clearing the field so to speak, so that fewer people can share the resources and thereby restoring world peace.)
The nightmare quality of the dream - pressing forward, lacking water, avoiding meat (by throwing it away), the possibility of pushing east (my husband's future job), all mirrored my last week. I have to wonder if my mind was giving me a warning about pressing forward blindly doing the wishes of everyone else, but myself. I got that I need the support of my spark friends to survive. Interesting right now my husband has job offers pulling him either East or South - wonder which he'll select? Glad to have woken up and the chance to improve this next week. I'm getting a salad for lunch, and going to donate blood - bet that will help my joint aches.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
When I left my six figure job back in 2000, it was for several goals. First, my husband and I wanted to attempt to have a baby together. Second, I wanted to finally have more time with my daughter and help put her on the right track by supporting her interests in soccer, gymnastics and acting/voice lessons. Finally, I wanted more on my grave stone than "She made a lot of money".
Now that we are in economic hard times, it would be easy to regret setting aside the bigger pay checks. Especially now that my husband is transitioning jobs, it would be amazing to have the security of the extra dollars. Yet I have no regrets.
Even if, my husband and I were never successful at having a child together, I belief he has become a father to our daughter in every sense of the word. He has given her financial support - her natural father is still paying off back support at $5 a month. He has given her advice and encouragement. He has been a link to her having another grandmother and other relatives. I'm so content with the family we have.
I know my daughter stayed out of trouble that found her peers, due to having positive role models in her life and activities that helped to form a positive image of herself. She has developed excellent self discipline and a great work ethic. She is attending summer school and working a side job - I couldn't be more proud. I had someone say to me today that I did a great job of raising her - I look at my role as being one of "taking out the garbage", all the really good parts she did on her own.
I am doing more than gathering money. I'm changed to health care and I feel a solid satisfaction in helping woman feel amazing about their bodies, learning how to take care of themselves and allowing them to feel support when cancer looms over their lives. I don't miss the money, as the last years have already conditioned us to live like we had less. I look around and see so many others that have adjusted to lifestyles rich with things and as the economy sags are enslaved by them.
When I was going through my retraining for radiology/mammography, I used an image to help me get through all my tests and training. It is from Final Fantasy X - Tidus. Ok, so it is a young man, but I love envisioning myself as this figure to gather self strength. For me, the sword is truth. In my mind the other hand has a shield to protect against thing that will come to attack. The vision is forward, future focused. Hopeful. There is no looking back.
As my health has started to be restored and my energy has returned, this image has returned to my mind. Leaving the past days of illness and weakness behind and forging ahead to a new dawn.
There are no regrets...now on to new paths, new things to learn - to run, to dance, to fight the battles that come my way with peace, calm and inner strength.
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