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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof." ~John F. Kennedy

"Civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.
~John F. Kennedy

* * * * * * *

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is Macular Dystrophy?

A closer look at macular dystrophy

By Katie Leslie,The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fox News pundit Glenn Beck's announcement that he is losing his vision shed light on an eye condition rarely discussed. Macular dystrophy, not to be confused with its more common cousin macular degeneration, is a genetic disorder that can cause legal blindness.

We spoke with Dr. Blaine Cribbs, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist with Emory Eye Center, and optometrist Dr. Tom Spetalnick, clinical director of the Woolfson Eye Institute in Atlanta, about the condition and what it means for eye health.

What is macular dystrophy?

Dr. Spetalnick: Macular dystrophy is a general term that includes a lot of different conditions that have different levels of aggressiveness. Essentially the short answer is it's any of a group of disorders that are inherited and progressive.

Dr. Cribbs: Without knowing exactly what his diagnosis is, it is impossible to guess what is going on with Mr. Beck, but the most common form of macular dystrophy is vitelliform, which can present early onset in children or as adults.

How does it differ from macular degeneration?

TS: Macular degeneration is something not necessarily inherited. Macular dystrophy is more likely to be traceable to a gene or an inherited pattern. When young patients [have] macular problems, it’s more likely to be a dystrophy, as opposed to macular degeneration, which is an age–related loss of function and change of anatomy.

How does macular dystrophy affect one’s vision?

TS: It can vary. Some people will have minor loss of vision that is minimally progressive and others will have complete loss of the central vision. The retina is the seeing part of the eye and the macula is the central part of that, which is responsible for the greatest detail vision. When you need to see detail, you point your macula at that, so people with a type of dystrophy will have some loss of whatever they are looking at directly. Macular dystrophy could certainly cause legal blindness, which means you can’t see any better than 20/200 out of both eyes.

BC: Macular dystrophy won't take away night vision or peripheral vision, but it can cause severe impairment or blind spots.

What are early warning signs?

BC: The first things people notice are small blind spots or maybe a distortion of the vision when they are trying to read; the lines or letters would be crooked or missing.

TS: It could present harmlessly with a routine eye examination. [Or] symptoms would most likely be their vision would be blurred and they would think they need new glasses, but then you discover [more] vision loss.

Do you see this problem often?

TS: Macular dystrophies are not very common. We see a lot of macular degeneration and age-related changes in the macula.

So we don't know exactly what Glenn Beck might have?

TS: No. He might also have macular corneal dystrophy, which is treatable. Assuming he has macular corneal dystrophy, that is a clouding of the cornea that can be treated and the most extreme treatment would be a corneal transplant.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

15 Delicious Superfoods

I'm not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I'm living on.~David Bowie

15 Delicious Superfoods

Foods with Super Powers
15 ways you can fill up and feel better
read the article, Men's Health, '15 Delicious Superfoods'

We all want to eat well. Not only healthy food, but The Best food--stuff we actually enjoy eating. To be The Best, a food has to have superhero qualities. It's gotta be able to save the girl, disarm the warhead, and look good in tights, if you know what we mean. You want examples?

How about an Italian dinner that improves your fertility, pancakes that slow the signs of aging, and a filet mignon that could help lower your risk of heart disease? On our great banquet table, we're offering everything that's the best on both paper and plate. So eat until your cholesterol numbers plummet. Until your sex gland glistens. Until your heart valves hum. And most important, until you're full.

read the article, Men's Health, '15 Delicious Superfoods'

Saturday, May 29, 2010

12 Little Instant Health Boosts

12 Little Instant Health Boosts
Minor moves that offer major benefits for your mind and body
By Alyssa Shaffer
published in Prevention Magazine

1. Giggle
Health boost: Improve blood flow by 21%

2. Brush and floss
Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400%

3. Brew a pot of tea
Health boost: Cut stroke risk by 21%

4. Pen a thank-you note
Health boost: Feel 20% happier

5. Hide your TV remote
Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly

6. Doodle during work meetings
Health boost: Improve memory by 29%

7. Keep your doctor on speed dial
Health boost: Slash medical mistakes up to 25%

8. Squeeze your husband’s hand
Health boost: Slash stress by 200%

9. Strike a warrior pose
Health boost: Ease back pain by 56%

10. Grill some fish for dinner
Health boost: Lower risk of dementia by 19%

11. Drink milk at breakfast
Health boost: Shed 5 pounds

12. Pour a glass of Pinot
Health boost: Live 5 years longer

Read the entire article here

Friday, May 21, 2010

Learning to Unplug

World Class Performers Unplug Differently
by Michael Gervais, PhD

All of us "perform" in some aspect of our lives. For some, performance comes in the way of business, sport, or military applications; for others it might be school, relationships, care-taking, or artistic expression.

While it may be true that all the world's a stage, an audience is not actually required in order to "perform." In fact, Dictionary.com describes performance as simply, "the process of carrying out a task." Think of all the tasks you've carried out today. Believe it or not, even the most mundane of these things count; almost every activity involves in its process some form of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual performance.

In their pursuit of being the best in the world, how do world-class performers -- from Olympic athletes to Forbes-list business moguls -- manage the effort behind their particular tasks? How do they get so much out of themselves when they're plugged-in to their activity? And how do they unplug afterwards?

After spending over a decade with world-class performers, a very clear pattern has become evident: They seem to know and accept that stress is an inevitable part of life -- that it's necessary for growth and optimal performance. They also seem to understand that the recovery from stress ("unplugging") is equally important.

In the search for balance, every unit of stress needs an equal unit of recovery....

Read the entire article here

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finding Tranquility

'Tranquility' Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum

'Equilibrium, Enlightenment, and Facing Your Day,' by Arthur Rosenfeld

In psychologist Daniel Goleman's 2004 book Destructive Emotions, the writer asks the Dalai Lama whether he thinks that the Buddha's brain was organically different from that of a normal person. In a question that might well have been asked of any spiritual master from Jesus to Mohammed..., the writer is seeking to know whether The Enlightened One was made of such different stuff that he never experienced negative thoughts such as jealousy, frustration, hatred or sadness. The Lama answers, somewhat unexpectedly, (I paraphrase) that whether the Buddha's brain was the kind of saucepan that never formed a negative bubble, or whether he was able to dissolve the rising bubble of destructive thought before it reached the surface, the effect is the same.

Simply put, this means that enlightened masters are qualitatively just like the rest of us; the difference is one of quantity. Unlike those of us just struggling to get through our day … enlightened folks nip negative emotions in the bud and take life's challenges in stride. …

It's a simple takeaway, really. Honor the feelings -- just don't become a slave to them. Listen to the inner voice of calm and reason and regain control of the way we feel in the shortest possible time. Strive not to say or do anything until we're calm again. See enlightenment as a process, not some lofty, unobtainable goal.

Instead of trying to change who or what we are, let's work to liberate ourselves from the bondage unfettered, destructive emotions bring us. We want to be free, don't we? Isn't freedom the greatest promise that any self-help class, book, podcast, lecture, DVD or program can offer? Isn't it wonderful that we already have all the tools we need to escape from a prison of our own creation?

Make it a game to notice your own dance with emotion. If you do, you will have taken the first draught of the antidote to the venom destructive emotions deliver. Pay attention to how long your anger burns. Recognize for how many days your resentment smolders, your jealousy lingers, your indignation persists. Breathe. Concentrate on letting go. Tell yourself you want to be free and happy again. It's a skill, see? All it takes is practice.

Read entire article here

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fascinating! Artist's Skills Restored for $50 in Parts

“Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others.” ~Tony Quan, aka Tempt One

From Quest Magazine Online -

A Los Angeles graffiti artist with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), was the inspiration behind a low-cost, eye-controlled drawing device called the Eyewriter. For about $50 in simple components, Tony Quan (aka “Tempt 1”) has been able to resume creating his artwork for the first time in more than six years.

'Hackers and artists' join forces

Quan learned he had ALS in 2003. A well-known graffiti-style artist and social activist, in the 1980s Quan had created a distinctive form of graffiti-type art.

Quan’s disease progressed rapidly, until all he could move were his eyes. His career came to an abrupt stop and would have stayed stopped had his case not come to the attention of several people from across the country, loosely described as “a bunch of hackers and artists.”

Plans and software are free

The device consists of cheap eyeglass frames, some wire ties and copper wire, several LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and a micro video camera. Free, do-it-yourself instructions for building one can be found on the Eyewriter Web site. The hardware is used in conjunction with original computer software, also written by the Eyewriter team. The software is open source (free), too.

The Eyewriter tracks Quan’s eye movements and permits him to plot points on a computer monitor. From the points he can create letters and words that he can fill in with colors, render in 3-D if he wants, and add other features.

Like air for a drowning man

The tech team built the Eyewriter at no cost to Quan. When they first fitted it on him, in the hospital bed where he spends all of his time, he was overwhelmed. After tentatively trying the equipment out, spelling his father’s name, Ron, and seeing it projected on the wall of his room, he’s quoted as saying (by communicating slowly through an eye gaze alphabet selection device) that he felt like a person who has been held underwater for 5 minutes, then mercifully brought up to breathe.

“I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to be able to rock styles again,” Quan told a friend. Since putting the Eyewriter to work, he has participated in art shows in venues as diverse as Norway, Vienna and Tokyo.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness) Meditation

As those of you following my blog know, I've been challenged with debilitating headaches after having eye-surgery to repair damage caused by a faulty champagne-cork accident.

One of the things that has really made a good difference in my life is Meditation. While I've taken meditation classes over the years (I do live in Marin County, after all), recently I've discovered a form of meditation that really works well for me: Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness).

Here's a couple of links you might enjoy of the Venerable Bhante U Vimalaramsi guiding you in how to practice Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness) meditation:


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine: new research proves it!

Breaking news suggests that laughter truly is the best medicine!

A new study by Lee S. Berk, DrPH, MPH, director of the molecular research laboratory at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., shows that laughter effects the body similarly to physical exercise by boosting the immune system. Berk's research found that laughter (or "Laughercise" as Dr Berk's team refers to it) can significantly elevate mood, reduce stress, boost immunity and blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol. It also stimulates appetite for the malnourished.

"We are finally starting to realize that our everyday behaviors and emotions are modulating our bodies in many ways," Berk said.

The study was presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology meeting, April 24 to 28, in Anaheim, Calif. Dr. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psycho-neuro-immunology researcher, has been working on studies related to laughter for close to three decades.

Read 'WebMD' article here

Read 'The Medical News' article here

Read 'US News & World Report' article here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BBC News: 'Hot' substance in chilli peppers key to killing pain?

BBC News: 'Hot' substance in chilli peppers key to killing pain

Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.

A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.

And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.

They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.

It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.

Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances - fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs - and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.


read entire article here

Sunday, April 25, 2010

'Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature' by Kathleen Dean Moore

Something I've long reveled in is the connection between the natural world and healing. Kathleen Dean Moore's, 'Wild Comfort,' http://tinyurl.com/25e7ykf puts the theory to study.

OSU professor Kathleen Dean Moore started out writing a book about happiness, however, as she says, “events overtook me.” In Wild Comfort, Moore tries to grapple with “the power of water, air, earth, and time to bring gladness gradually from grief and to restore meaning to lives that seem empty or unmoored.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love this!

No matter what, and for whatever the reason, this song (& video associated with it) always comforts me. It helped me relax during for my eye surgery (which was less than pleasant), and is a nice touch-stone when I'm in a lot of pain, like right now. Hopefully it will help me relax enough to sleep & end this miserable headache...

"Please Don't Go", by Barcelona
Kuroshio Sea -- 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ARTICLE: Shape Magazine, "Basic Pain Management Techniques"

ARTICLE: Shape Magazine, "Basic Pain Management Techniques" http://tinyurl.com/y2sc3ju

"One in four Americans - 75 million people - live in chronic, debilitating pain. In fact, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Here are some steps you can take to get relief.

What is pain?

The early Greeks and Romans advanced the idea that the brain played a role in producing the perception of pain. In the 19th century, physician-scientists discovered that opiates such as morphine could relieve pain and chemist Felix Hoffmann developed aspirin from a substance in willow bark. Aspirin remains the most commonly used pain reliever today.

In 1994, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defined pain as an "unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage."

According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (2006), 26% of adults experienced pain lasting more than 24 hours in the month prior, and 10% experienced the same pain for a year or more. Pain requires particular attention in infants and children since they are not always able to describe the type, degree, or location of pain they are experiencing.

The truth about women and pain

Pain is a regular, if unwelcome, reality for many women, perhaps even more than it is for men, and yet, according to the American Pain Foundation, they are often undertreated. Most women have pain with menstruation at some point in their lives, and childbirth can be painful. Some common disorders of the female reproductive tract are painful. Also, painful autoimmune diseases are much more common in women. To cope with their pain, women tend to use more approaches than men, such as learning about their condition, turning to others for support, and finding ways to relax more and manage stress.

Still, it can be hard for a woman to get help for her pain. Some doctors are less likely to give women painkillers because they think that women overstate the amount of pain they feel. Studies have shown that given the same amount of pain, men are less likely to report it than women. Men might feel they need to "tough it out." But this doesn't mean that the pain women are reporting isn't real. ..."

READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/y2sc3ju

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Celebrate National Parks Week

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Celebrate National Parks Week 2010 (April 17-25) http://tinyurl.com/y57c3le

Focus: Winning is a Habit

"Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." ~Vince Lombardi

It's amazing how easily one can get distracted and get off track, isn't it? For me, the headaches following my lens replacement eye surgery have certainly been distracting. Everyday I am grateful they are not as horrendous as they were immediately following my operation. And I suppose I don't mind them too much (which is easier to write when I'm not in severe pain!) as long as I re-frame them as an additional cost to the $20K price-tag to see again. I will eternally be grateful to my eye surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UCSF School of Medicine. Thank you.

For those of you following my blog, finding inspiration has been a focal point. Life has so many options, and so many distractions, too. Add to that the fact that I am a project oriented person, and finding worthy projects that can accommodate my frequent headaches has been curious to say the least.

Fortunately I have a great new project I'm working on that I feel strongly about. As my professional background is in event production, I'm delighted to be applying some of my skills to helping a world-renowned conservationist photographer and author create a social media presence. Being type-a, my little soul is tickled beyond belief to have something to 'focus' on; especially something that I can get behind so enthusiastically.

And since winning is a habit, I'm going to recognize that today I cannot see out of my new eye. What that means is that I already have a headache, and it will be a difficult day pain-wise. However my 'focus' is to win, so I'm going to release the pain & relax, which will allow me to stay focused on winning.

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be? Tell me...

Fun! Sierra Club Earth Day Sweepstakes!

Fun! Sierra Club Earth Day Sweepstakes! http://tinyurl.com/y6yxwpu

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be?

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be? http://tinyurl.com/y522948

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Congratulations to Robert Glenn Ketchum! One of his AMAZING photos is PopPhoto Magazine's 'photo of the day': http://tinyurl.com/yhd2bra

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

What are you grateful for? For me, today it's Butterflies, Chinese Astrology & Proust in a hot mineral tub! http://tinyurl.com/yg8dg8l

Counting Blessings (& Butterflies)

"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." ~Trina Paulus

Ever had a 'Brain-Freeze' from eating ice cream!?! That sudden burst of pain that hits when eating anything cold too fast?! My so-called 'breakthrough' headaches feel like that, except instead of lasting a few seconds the way a 'brain-freeze' does, my headaches hit at that intensity for 2-3 hours.

I bring this up because although I went 2-days without a 'breakthrough' headache last week (which is huge!), I've been slammed with real nasty ones since Wednesday. The good news -- when I'm feeling gracious enough -- is that I’m thrilled that I went 2 days without 'breakthrough' pain! And on top of that, the bad headaches only seem to last 2-3 hours, which is manageable (in comparison to what they were after my eye surgery). However as I'm writing this my Vicodin hasn't hit yet, so I'm not exactly stoked at the moment. This too shall pass... right!?!

Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ book,Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier draws on the first major empirical study of gratitude to scientifically show how the cultivation of appreciation can measurably change peoples lives.

Counting my blessings has always been something I've relied on over the years when life hands me lemons. And yes, some times are more difficult than others to reach for that proverbial silver lining. When I'm trying to stay positive, a trick that always works for me is to make a list of five (5) things I'm grateful for:

1) My WONDERFUL best friends. No matter what, you always make me smile!

2) Friends and acquaintances who, even if they stumble or fall, pick themselves up & keep going.

3) The AMAZING beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area, and of this beautiful planet in general.

4) The ability to heal, learn, push, strive, achieve, and be human.

5) Butterflies, Chinese Astrology, and Marcel Proust in a hot mineral soaking tub.

So tell me, what are you grateful for!?!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Spirit of Adventure

"Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people's lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure." ~Stephen R. Covey


As those of you following my blog know, I've been focused on finding inspiration in my life as I'm recouping after my eye surgery. My surgery (& ensuing headaches) have certainly put me in a 'No Bull&^%$' state-of-mind, to say the least! I suppose that is because it has been such a struggle with all these %$#@ headaches. Fortunately, I'm 'seeing' progress as I figure out my limitations & how to work around them.

When I was younger I was a rules-follower. That's how I was raised, and that's what one did to fit in. By now I've figured out that being true to myself works better because I'm playing to my strengths, not to someone else's ideals. And by experiencing the personal security that goes along with trusting my instincts, my natural sense of adventure and openness feel stronger than ever. And it feels good!

While I still struggle with headaches, eye-strain, dizziness & some (understandable) fatigue, I'm making it a personal challenge to test my limits & see just how much living I can get away with. I'm still doing all the right things (eating healthy, exercising regularly, expanding my mind with learning & projects, socializing, meditating, etc.), and yet my 'No Bull &^%$' Fly-Zone is allowing me to seek out (and find) daily inspirations. This world is SO vast, and holds so many amazing things... and I want to experience as many of them as I possibly can.

So tell me, what speaks to your sense of adventure? What makes your heart & mind take flight & soar? Tell me...

Monday, March 15, 2010

What do you love passionately? What can make you adapt and push through any obstacle in your path?
Tell me... http://tinyurl.com/yg8dg8l


"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." ~Charles Darwin

Well, it certainly is good news that brother Darwin asserts that it is the most adaptable that survives, not merely the strongest nor the most intelligent! My best friends will describe me as many things (I am human, after all), and strong and intelligent are always part of that equation. Fortunately. And while the past several months since my eye surgery have been an interesting challenge due to the &^%$ headaches, I'm proud to state that I am definitely adapting!

What has helped me the most has been finding inspiration anywhere I can be it in nature, literature, movies, music, and people. Love is also a large factor. What I love, I love passionately. Always have. And I'm proud to have wonderful people in my life whom I love and love me, too.

And while these *&^% headaches used to scare me, I'm not frightened anymore. I know I am loved, and through my friends' eyes I have learned to see my own strength, intelligence, and adaptability. When the pain gets really bad, it's okay to feel it (even if it makes me cry), because it reminds me that I can see again. And that's the most amazing thing. Ever! There's so much beauty in this world, I'm eternally grateful to see it. A million thanks Dr. Stephen D. McLeod of UCSF...

So tell me, what do you love passionately? What can make you adapt and push through any obstacle in your path?

Tell me...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Inspires You?

"It's so hard to find someone to admire... now I'm gonna try to improve my life." ~Madonna

Now that the 2010 Vancouver Olympics have come and gone, and I no longer have my friends to cheer for in that arena, I realize that I'm a little bored and in need of more inspiration.

While I still have daily headaches, I'm definitely managing them much better. I now understand most of the triggers that cause my headaches, which means I can avoid them, or minimize my exposure to them, thus avoiding the really crippling ones. Bright lights, for example, trigger pain, so by wearing clear sunglasses the effect is diminished. Granted I feel self-conscious about wearing sunglasses indoors or at night, however I can't be bothered by what the world thinks. I'm tickled-pink to be that much more active again! And while I'd much rather report that I don't have daily headaches any longer, I'm stoked that they are much less intense than before. Yeah!

And since I'm much more active, life is looking up -- pun intended! I'm able to exercise much more regularly (yeah, endorphins!), and my social life is picking up again, too.

And I'm still amazed each day when I meet someone else who has gone through some physical trauma, particularly those who have also suffered a traumatic eye accident. It's fascinating to hear their stories, and to commiserate with them about their recovery process. Talk about finding inspiration!

So tell me, what inspires you?

Where are you getting your inspiration from that makes each day better than the last?

What is it that makes you smile, even when it's difficult?

What inspires you to become a better version of yourself?

Tell me...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

bib numbers for men's ski cross

here's bib numbers for our friends:

Xavier Kuhn (FRA) bib #13
Tomas Kraus (CZE) bib #7
Enak Gavaggio (FRA) bib #20
Casey Puckett (USA) bib # 12
Daron Rahlves (USA) bib # 15
Davey Barr (CAN) bib # 10
Martin Fiala (GER) bib #24
Eric Iljans (SWE) bib # 30

Today Ski Cross (aka "Skier X," or "Skier Cross") makes its Olympic Debut in the Free Skiing category

"I think the way to become the best is just to have fun"
~Shaun White, Olympic snowboarding champion

Today Ski Cross (aka "Skier X," or "Skier Cross") makes its Olympic Debut in the Free Skiing category as a full-medal sport!

Be sure to tune into the Olympic coverage of SKIER X today from 12 noon - 1:30pm!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, Skier X combines the thrill of freestyle skiing with the competitive rush of downhill racing. Four to six skiers are pitted against each other on a technically challenging course of rollers, jumps, tables, and banked turns. It's an exciting, fast-paced test of skiers' skills over varied terrain with one goal: the first across the finish line wins.

As I'm writing this, I am sitting in LAX international airport awaiting my flight back to San Francisco. I was fortunate to spend a fun-filled weekend of business, site-previewing, wine tasting and dining with my dear friend Ken Fasola and his business associates and friends in Malibu and Santa Monica. (Thanks for a fabulous time!) And now I'm SO excited to watch the airing of ‘The Derby’ (as Olympian Martin Fiala of Germany calls it). My friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco are also ecstatic to cheer for all the athletes, in particular my friends who are racing:

Ophelie David (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yf4qg4n)
Martin Fiala (GER) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/y8nhtrg)
Enak Gavaggio (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yd4whpt)
Karin Huttary (AUT) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yk6zp9a)
Magdalena Iljans (SWE) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yhcrn9x)
Tomas Kraus (CZE) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yfljdqq)
Xavier Kuhn (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yhjlxdz)
Jenny Owens (AUS) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yzxm745)
Casey Puckett (USA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yarup2q)

GO YOU & go world!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just How Are You Gonna Get Up?

It's not how you start. It's how you finish.
And it's not where you're from. It's where you're at.

Everybody gets knocked down.
How quick are you gonna get up?

Just how are you gonna get up?

~Nike (song 'Ali in the Jungle' performed by The Hours)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." ~Pierre de Coubertin, Founder of the International Olympic Committee

Tonight showcases the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Over 80 nations are expected to compete, which would be the most ever for a Winter Olympics.

The first move toward winter Olympics began when figure skating appeared in the 1908 summer games in London. The 1914 outbreak of World War I curtailed plans for a "Skiing Olympia" that was intended to be announced at the 1916 Summer Olympics in Berlin. While figure skating and ice hockey were featured in the 1920 summer games in Antwerp, Belgium, the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioned Winter Games weren't until 1924 in Chamonix, France.

This year Ski Cross (aka "Skier X," or "Skier Cross") makes its Olympic Debut in the Free Skiing category as a full-medal sport! Skier X combines the thrill of freestyle skiing with the competitive rush of downhill racing. Four skiers are pitted against each other on a technically challenging course of rollers, jumps, and banked turns. It's an exciting, fast-paced test of skiers' skills over varied terrain with one goal: the first across the finish line wins.

Not only is it an immense honor to qualify and compete as an Olympic athlete, it's also notable to be chosen as the first ever participants in a newly sanctioned sport. And while I'm proud of any athlete and humbled by their prowess, I'm even more proud to know fourteen Olympic athletes in this year's games:

Ophelie David (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yf4qg4n)
Martin Fiala (GER) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/y8nhtrg)
Enak Gavaggio (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yd4whpt)
Karin Huttary (AUT) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yk6zp9a)
Magdalena Iljans (SWE) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yhcrn9x)
Tomas Kraus (CZE) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yfljdqq)
Xavier Kuhn (FRA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yhjlxdz)
Jenny Owens (AUS) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yzxm745)
Casey Puckett (USA) - SKIER X (http://tinyurl.com/yarup2q)
Jasey-Jay Anderson (CAN) - SNOWBOARD (http://tinyurl.com/yanjjvz)
Lukas Greuner (AUT) - SNOWBOARD (http://tinyurl.com/yjd9kn4)
Claudia Riegler (AUT) - SNOWBOARD (http://tinyurl.com/yhyc9uj)
Manuela Riegler (AUT) - SNOWBOARD (http://tinyurl.com/yes2wgs)
Graham Watanabe (USA) - SNOWBOARD (http://tinyurl.com/yevxlyl)

Go you! May these games bring you every happiness & success!

Walk on the Wild Side
performed by Lou Reed
Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed

Onward & upward! ;-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

...let's celebrate...

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." ~Calvin Coolidge

Today I met a lovely woman named Janet who is recovering from surgery to her foot. We chatted briefly about surviving physical ailments, and how much more challenging it is than it appears on the surface. It was really nice to speak with her and realize that my own recovery progress, while not complete yet, may be a tiny source of inspiration to others.

It's easy to be tough on yourself, especially when you are used to performing at a certain level and something sets you back. Whether it's physical, mental, psychological, or emotional, a set back is still a set back. And giving yourself credit for hard work and accomplishments (no matter how minor they seem) is so important.

I remember the first time I drove my car after my eye surgery. Not a pretty sight -- pun intended. In fact, the first weekend I ventured out behind the wheel I had to have my beloved friend, Bob Birdsall, drive me home! Bobby was visiting Marin County from Chicago and even my walking was unsteady at that time. Too much visual disturbance made me stagger horribly! There was NO CHANCE I was able to drive myself home at night. It was scary enough to drive in daylight. I remember how bizarre it was to have vision in my new eye, and trying to 'read' all the overwhelming visuals from driving on the freeway. Yikes! Talk about un-nerving. And today I can zip up-and-down the 101 as much as I like (as long as there is daylight; my night vision is still suspect), which is progress indeed!

And to further keep things in perspective, one of the two American Medal Contenders in Skier X, Daron Rahlves (USA), dislocated his right hip after a nasty wreck over the weekend, and my friend Casey Puckett (USA), the other American Medal Contender in Skier X, reinjured his shoulder earlier in the week. And yet both are recovering at home and should be ready for the Vancouver Olympic Games. Go Team USA!

So, while I may occasionally get frustrated by constant headaches, crippling breakthru pain, changes in vision, etc., it's so important to give myself credit for the progress I have made. To that end, I'm going to give myself a mental hug & smile big knowing that my perseverance is paying off.

Let It Rain
performed by Living Things
Let It Rain by Living Things

Onward & upward! ;-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Why the hell don'tcha, instead of keep saying it?" ~J.D. Salinger

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finding Inspiration...

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." ~Lance Armstrong

Everyone has experienced failure on some level or another. Why does failure destroy some people, and yet others come back from it stronger than ever?

I've been fortunate to know some rather interesting people over the course of my life and career. Not one of them has escaped having to overcome some difficulty or another. And while some may appear more lucky than others, it's really hard work, persistence, and optimism that brings them their well deserved success.

Right now several friends and acquaintances of mine are competing to qualify for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. It's exciting to watch, and inspiring, too. One thing I've always taken away from watching them compete is that when they fall down, they just get back up & keep going.

Casey Puckett (USA), the 4-time Olympic skier with hopes to qualify for this year's Olympics in Ski Cross, recently underwent surgery to repair a separated shoulder after crashing in France. And while the press headlines are saying that his Olympic hopes might be in jeopardy, he's fighting a valiant fight & gaining about 10-15% rotation each day! GO CASEY!!!

And Martin Fiala (GER), has come out of retirement with hopes to qualify for this year's Olympics, too! While the press is pointing out that his competitors are young enough to be his children, The Moose is such a consummate veteran that he's definitely in the running! Oh, and he'll be 42 on Monday! GO MARTIN!!! And happy birthday, too!

Perhaps "failing better" boils down to having resiliency, and knowing that if you've fallen down before, you can get up again.

So how do we, mere mortals, find inspiration? I suppose we just need to open our eyes, see the world around us & find inspiration where ever we can!

Just Say Yes
performed by Snow Patrol
Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol

Onward & upward!


Monday, January 4, 2010

the world's alright with me...

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." ~Herm Albright

I couldn't agree more! So, this year I'm not doing any specific New Year's Resolutions -- I'm doing life changes instead. I'm busy focusing on getting my life back-on-track after receiving my new $20K bionic eye, so everything I'm doing has a positive bent to it.

Have you set any specific resolutions for yourself? What do they include?

As many of your know, I've been struggling since my eye surgery in September. And now that I'm getting back on my feet, I'm determined to heal & come out of this better than before. Which, for me includes:
  • Daily meditation & positive affirmations (and remembering to JUST BREATHE)
  • Exercising regularly (thank god I can do this again! Let me know if you're up for a hike...)
  • Eating very healthy, including vitamin & mineral supplements & fish oil for eye health
  • Taking medications (I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem last year -- boo!)
  • Avoiding alcohol (a depressant -- boo!)
  • Maintaining solid friendships, and making new acquaintances & friends (:-0)
  • Getting out of my comfort zone daily (you can find me working from various coffee shops each afternoon during the work week)
  • Learning new things (business plans, angel investors, merchandising, distribution, sales & marketing, patents, design patents, trademarks, wordmarks, website design)
  • Discovering new music (don't forget to send me what music you're into these days!)
  • Enjoying being able to see again, despite daily headaches (yeah, vicodin!)
  • Reveling in anything beautiful that takes my breath away...
  • And getting a life! ;-)
I would LOVE to hear what your resolutions / life changes are for this new decade. And I'd love to get together for a coffee or whatever interests you, too. I'm open & my dance card needs filling!

Lovely Day
performed by Bill Withers

Lovely Day by Bill Withers

Onward & upward!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Would you take my hand tonight?

I'm writing this blogpost from a local coffee shop, where I'm glad to be surrounded by people and activity while I'm struggling thru a killer headache. While my headaches aren't any better yet (in fact, their intensity & frequency has picked-up again), I am better at learning how to manage around them & still be productive. The more active I am, particularly the more visual stimuli I have, the more headaches I incur. I think my new eye gets tired, as I notice a decline in vision as the headache rages. However one bright spot is the fact that I know when one starts, I can work thru the pain knowing they only last 1-3 hours on average. And my vision returns in my new eye after the headache subsides. Funny what you can get excited about when intense pain is a daily part of your life...

I've found that eating something seems to help when a headache starts. It's an old trick I learned in college when I was dealing with the aftermath of the migranes I suffered as I was regaining my vision after the champagne accident. For whatever reason, if I put something in my stomach, it's as if some of the blood leaves my head as I'm digesting whatever, plus it provides a base for a couple of vicodin. Once the vicodin hit, I can still feel the pain, however I don't care as much. It's as if I know the pain is there, but as long as I don't make it worse by driving, or reading, or focusing visually too much, I can get by until it subsides. Fortunately my typing skills are pretty good, so I can actually write this blog without too much visual stimuli. Guess that's one reason why so many of my blog posts are me lamenting headaches! Granted, my computer screen is visible from outerspace because I have the font so large, but hey, what can you do, right!?!

The pain gets up to a 9-10 daily when these headaches hit, so don't get me wrong, they hurt like hell. I'm just glad that they don't last all day, and now that I know them, I also know I can endure them. Plus, after about an hour or two of intense pain, the headache starts to subside & I have a lovely vicodin-high that makes me smile! If only the unassuming people around me knew I was stoned on vicodin right now! LOL! Unfortunately this phase only lasts about 30 minutes, however it's a welcome relief as it means my misery will be over in about an hour. Thank god. Even though I'm putting on a brave face daily as I deal with these &^%$#@ headaches, I really hate them. So I keep reminding myself that I am making improvement, which I am. And having my mp3 player on helps, too, as silly as that sounds. Anything to keep seeing that silver lining...

It can be difficult to stay positive, I'm not going to lie. But knowing that these daily headaches only last 1-3 hours makes it much better! I remember (all too well) how awful it was to have them this bad 24/7, just a few weeks ago. Another good thing is that I'm learning to control my day & the daily headache is now typically hitting later in the afternoon/early evening, which actually is also a welcome relief! Being type-A, I always feel better having a sense of accomplishment about my day. And by conserving my energy and visual stimuli, I can put off the headaches until later in the day, which is wonderful! If I have to have them daily (and, by the way, if anyone can tell me how to not have headaches at all, I'd greatly appreciate it!), I'm much happier that they are hitting later in the day. It's amazing how the littlest things can make you happy! ;-)

I'm noticing that I am much more vulnerable (& in need of a hug) when the headaches hit. One thing that is helping is that I am in closer contact with some of my friends. Speaking frequently with my best friend, Cher, is the most amazing tonic. Even though I'm going thru a tough time, it's good to know I am loved and appreciated. My confidence has obviously taken a hit. Having friends to laugh with & take my focus off the pain helps. Thanks for 20+ years of the best friendship ever, Cher! And thanks to Gordon for understanding.

It's like the legs of a bar stool. While a barstool can stand with only one leg, it has better support with more legs. Having friends to chat with daily is definitely helping -- a lot. My friends, and neighbors, Susan and Jim Whipple, have been fantastic. We get together frequently for coffee, walks, movies, groceries, etc. And since Susan has endured migranes most of her life, they both get it. Being single, I'm always aware of not wanting to impose myself on my couple-d friends. Susie & Jim have been fantastic. Thanks you two! Your friendship means a lot.

So I'm pleased to announce that while I'm still struggling with these &^%$#@ daily headaches, I'm making steady progress with my life. Good things are coming my way, and I'm excited to see all my hardwork (and that of my friends, doctors, and business associates) pay off. Thanks so much to everyone in my life who is checking-in to say 'hi'. You have no idea how very much that means to me as I'm getting back on my feet. I'm eternally grateful, and becoming my optimistic self again.

performed by Cary Brothers
Ride by Cary Brothers (Album Version)

Onward & upward! ;-)