Sunday, October 30, 2005


Happy Sunday everyone!  Wow, I love having an extra hour of sleep!  Love it, love it, love it!!  I feel so robbed in the Spring when they take away an hour, but boy do I love it and am so grateful to have that hour given back in the Fall.  Sleep has always been a problem in my life - I never seem to have enough - so when I can have more, I am happy.  I have had problems with insomnia for over 20 years.  I am beginning to lick it with the right medications, relaxation techniques, pain control and a memory foam mattress.  It has been a long, long haul.  Does anyone else have a memory foam mattress?  If you have fibromyalgia or general pain in your muscles from any condition this is for you!!!!  It changed my life!!  I also have a memory foam pillow.  I went from having miserable sleep, to sleeping quite well most nights!  Wow!

So, I got an incredible present on my birthday.  Two friend's of Chelsea's called around 9PM and said they were coming over to bring me a present.  In they walked and lo and behold, the present was CHELSEA!!!!  Chelsea has been here since Thursday and will be here until Friday!  She is the best birthday present I have ever gotten  :-)!!  They kept this secret from me for a month...sneaky, sneaky!

This week's
Scavenger Hunt's subject is "cute".  I must admit that when I saw the subject my nose wrinkled in dislike.  I don't like the word.  I like the words beautiful, pretty, handsome, stunning, eclectic, joyful.  I own nothing cute.  When I hear the word cute I think of children and babies (which I love).  That is all.  I looked up the word online.  It is defined as "attractive or pretty especially in a dainty or delicate way".    Hmmm....  I don't think that is exactly how we use the word cute nowadays.  I wanted to take a picture of kids in their Halloween costumes, but trick-or treaters don't come out until tomorrow in my town.  I searched my home.  No bows, no frills, no dolls, nothing "cute".  Actually, I think I would safely call myself anti-cute.  This is the best I can do for "cute".  Here is my kitty cat (oh no, NOT another cat picture!) Honey getting away from Baby.  This is her favorite spot now.   She comes here when she doesn't want to be bopped, chased, stalked or generally bothered.  Baby just won't leave Honey alone.


I wanted to congratulate Matt, my son, for getting a superior rating at District's on his solo!!  Good luck at State's!!

Toodles, all!  Chels and I are off to eat Chinese and visit family!  Mmmmmm....xox

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Trick-or-Treat Thru J-Land

This idea comes from Teresa.   Play along if you would like!  If you decorated for Halloween or did an entry leave your link so I can leave you a "treat"!  Thanks!!

Hey, everyone is looking for journal exposure or maybe would just like some fun. Let's do both!

Starting Friday night through Monday night visit as many J-land journals as you can, and leave a comment and a link to your journal as a treat. The more "houses" you visit the more trick or treaters you'll get.

Please call your entry "
".  If you come to a journal that does not have this entry title, consider it a door you knocked on and no one answered! Decorate your journal for Halloween, perhaps a picture of your front door or whatever grabs your holiday spirit. Leave links to your journals where ever you can.  Stop at the same journal only once!
Start 7pm Friday and end 9pm Monday...whatever your time zone. Report back here next week to let us know how many trick or treaters you had.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Who's 40??...

    "Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age."
        -Victor Hugo

Did you know that turning 40 means that you are older than 58% of America and have a 51% of being happy?  I found that out doing a search on the internet!  I turned 40 today!!  Do I feel different?  No.  Not yet.  I am wondering if I will.  I haven't felt "youthful" for quite some time.  I do feel young in my spirit, though.  Age-wise, numerically, well, I feel like I am getting older.  My children remind me of this often with their comments.  I do feel like I AM part of that 51% that are happy, though.  I have been happy for some time now.  That is the good thing about getting older.  I am finding much more peace and contentment and joy.  If that comes with age then bring it on :-)!!

I wanted to congratulate Linda from
Footprints in the Sand
for being the first correct guesser for "Up Close With Val" a few days ago!  The picture was a ONE WAY sign!  Good job, Linda!!  Here is your blue ribbon:


The Travelling
also guessed the picture correctly!  Way to go, Jeannette!

I have been hurting terribly because of the weather change.  My muscles have been spasming and throbbing.  It is my fibromyalgia.  It is driving me nuts.   If anyone has any hints or tips on what they do for sore, achey muscles I would appreciate it!  Anything other than the usual hot baths or heating pads.


Baby has now gained a pound and is 16 pounds!  I hope you all don't mind me talking about my kitty again?!!  I really think he thinks he is a dog!!  He plays fetch alot now and he likes to drink out of the toilet bowl.  He jumps all over you, eats absolutely anothing and he comes when you whistle.  He even lies on the floor like a dog!


Well, I am off to enjoy my birthday :-)!!  Toodles! xox

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"White" and "Up Close With Val"!...

I chose to pick the color white for this week's Scavenger Hunt brought to you by Krissy.  Hey, Krissy, congratulations on the Vivi nomination!!  I am very proud of you, by the way!!

We were allowed to pick a color of our choice.  I chose white.  I wanted to pick a color that was kind of hard.  The first two pictures are geraniums in my front yard.  They are still very beautiful which is interesting because we have had night's in the 30's and 40's already.  I don't think they will be this pretty for very long.  I love geraniums, especially red ones.  I had a red one, but it is no longer blooming.  My mom grew geraniums in my youth so I think that is why I have such an affection for them.

The second shot I took was the sky.  Today was quite beautiful.  The clouds were white/grey.  The sun was out most of the time and the temperature is in the 50's.  Quite a lovely day!!
I have one last shot for you.  I am going to use it for an "Up Close With Val" game!  It has white in it as well.  What do you think it is?  Leave your guess in the comment's section or send me an email at  I will let you know if you are correct.  Answer coming soon!!


Have a lovely week! xox

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Shunt is Working!...

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."
--Margaret Bonnano

I have good news to share today.  My shunt started operating properly late last week!!  I have had alot fewer headaches and much less body pain, so life is back to normal.  Whatever normal is.   Makes me think of the quote above.  We make life what it is on a day to day basis.  I like to decide how happy I am going to be for the moment and hopefully that will carry on for the hour and on for the day.  I am someone who likes to live in the present and get as much as I can out of it.  That is why I take life slowly.  I try not to miss anything.  I think I learned this from lying in hospital beds and lying in bed hurting, but I am not sure.  I think one can decide whether they can enjoy mundane tasks or not.  One can be happy in their mind.  This didn't always work for me when I was chemically depressed and my medicine wasn't working for my bipolar so I know it isn't always possible, but I strive to be as joyful as I can be.  It doesn't work now when I am very, very worried about something either or there is alot of chaos going on around me.  I do try to have my environment as stress-free as I can make it now.  My life is so much different than it was in my 20's.  So, so much different.  I have also learned that stressful situations don't last.  I used to panic and make them worse.  Now I can ride them out so much better.  I am not sure why I am writing about this this morning.  Maybe I needed to hear it. 

There is a wonderful new disablities journal,
As I Am, that is filled with courageous entries and information.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is intrested in the subject!  Thanks for starting it, Tammy and Andi!

I am taking a break from volunteering for a few weeks to take some personal time.  I want to have as little stress as possible.  I was wondering if stress could have caused my shunt to clog.  I was having some high-stress situations around the time it began to malfunction.  I am also trying to do some more fun things in my life.  I bought a book of sudokus and can't stop doing them!!!  Does anyone else do these?!?  I am so addicted!!  I am going to pick up painting again!  I am feeling the creative streak and I think I will start to make some Christmas presents for some friends and family as well.

This is a week of birthdays in my family.  I wanted to wish
to my Uncle Gene, Therese, and Carl!!!!  And, well, one other person has a birthday and she is turning 40, but that is a secret.  LOL

The Literacy Site
has double-click week and The Breast Cancer Site has triple-click month!!  They only take two seconds to click!

I am off to enjoy my day...take care! xox

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Baby!...

So, the picture I posted was a railroad track.  Ack, I guess it was just too hard.  Sorry about that!  I will post another, ummm, easier one very soon.  Thanks for trying, though!

Baby turns one this week!!  I don't know his actual birthdate because he was an outside, abandoned kitty, so I gave him the birthdate of October 12. 
Happy Birthday, Baby
!!  He is quite the handsome kitty now.  He is getting his winter coat in and is 13 pounds now!  He is still as feisty as ever and doesn't like to be held or petted.  He is quite cuddly when he is tired, though.  He sits next to me all the time and is my constant shadow.  He likes to talk to others all the time and is a chatterbox, too!  There is never a dull moment with him!  Hopefully I will have many happy years with him...

I haven't been writing too much about what is going on with me personally lately.  I am hanging in there.  I am still volunteering at a coffee shop at my local faith center twice a week and really enjoy it.  I am also trying to keep busy even though my brain pressure is giving me alot of pain and making me feel really stupid.  I have made so many blunders this week it is incredible.  I just have to laugh at my mistakes.  What else can I do?  I forget whole conversations I have with people and am just feeling so ditsy.  Perhaps I don't appear as daft as I am, but it seems apparent to me.

I can't wait for the leaves to change!  This is my very favorite time of year!  I wonder if the colors will be very brilliant?  I heard that it had to do with how much rainfaill there was the previous season.  Does anyone know if this is correct?  We had a pretty dry Spring and Fall and our water tables are low so I am thinking that perhaps we will not have very pretty trees.  I live in the mountains and the trees are usually just outstanding.  I am looking forward to long drives in the mountains to see the foliage.

Well, I am off to shower and get ready to go volunteer.  Have a good day! xox

Sunday, October 9, 2005

My Appointment and Some Clues...

It seems that this week's installment of "Up Close with Val" was a bit difficult.  I thought it might be.  No one was correct.  I am going to give you all a couple of clues and put in a picture that might be just a tiny bit easier.  This "thing" is found outside and you may or may not have one of these in your hometown.  There also have been songs written about these!  Good luck!
My appointment went pretty much as expected on Friday.  My neuro-surgeon believes my shunt is clogged and malfunctioning and has set me up for a test for next Thursday.  Yikes, I have to go back to Baltimore again.  He is running dye through the shunt to make sure it is really clogged and not working and is putting an anti-clogging agent in it as well.  He said this agent only works 15 percent of the time.  Not a good average in my opinion.  If he can't get it working I will have to have another shunt inserted.  That means another surgery and another bald head!  If I can get the shunt to work by Thursday I won't have to have any of this done, though, so I would LOVE prayers and good thoughts and vibes sent my way!!  Thanks!!  I am so very grateful for all of your prayers through this journal and through emails and IM's!!  They mean more than you all will ever know.

Hey, don't forget triple click October over at the
Breast Cancer Site!!

Have a great Sunday! xox

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

"Up Close With Val", Etc...

"A gossip is someone who talks to you about others; a bore is someone who talks to you about herself.  A brilliant conversationalist is someone who talks to you - about yourself."

I received the above quote in an email from a lovely girlfriend (who told me I was a brilliant conversationist :-) are too kind, Cathy) and thought it was so, so true!  Don't we want to be around others that affirm us and make us feel good and mirror us?!!  I don't know who the author of this quote is, but I really like it so I am posting it.

I realized that I did not mention when my appointment with Johns Hopkins is in my last post!  It is two days!!  Oh my...I thought I had said when it was, but my high-pressure, too much cerebral spinal fluid-brain is making me very ditsy!  I have done all kinds of silly, crazy, stupid things this week.  Oh well.

I have another installment of "Up Close With Val" for you!!  If you have a guess put it in the comment's section or send me an email at

They are having a triple-click October over at The Breast Cancer Site!  Go visit them daily and give some free mammograms to the needy!  Each click is worth three clicks through the month.  A click is so easy, takes a second of your time!  Visit
!  Bookmark it and visit their other sites, too!

Is everyone else having a problem getting all of their alerts?  I hope it is just me.  I am off to have a full day now.  Have fun with the "Up Close" picture! xox

Monday, October 3, 2005

My Brain Hurts and Jewelry!...

Happy Monday, all!  So, it's been a frustrating week or so.  My shunt has been malfunctioning.  It has causeed alot of headaches, migraines, vision problems and backaches.  For those of you who don't know, I had a ventricular-atrial shunt inserted a little over a year ago for chiari malformation and pseudotumor cerebri.  I had two brain surgeries.  It was a long haul.  If you want to read about the two conditions they are in my "Favorite Sites" in my side bar under intracranial hypertension and chiari malformation.  Anyway, the shunt diverts excess cerebral spinal fluid from my brain and spinal column into my atrial (heart) area.  It has worked beautifully until this past week.  I had forgotten how bad the migraines could get and how my face swells.  I am in good spirits, though.  I will let everyone know how my appointment goes.  I am just hoping it can be fixed without having further surgery!

I am late for this week's installment of
Krissy's Scavenger Hunt!  This week's subject is "your favorite bracelet".  I chose my silver, garnet and marcasite bracelet.  I don't wear bracelets too often, but this one I wear more than the others and I LOVE the red/orange color of the stones.  I love gems of the earth!
While I am speaking of gems of the earth, I wanted to show you a ring I had designed.  I had it designed because I had been searching for years and years for the perfect ring.  I have a large size finger - size 9.  It has been hard to find a ring that fit me that I liked.  There is a local jeweler here that makes jewelry so I decided to pick out my favorite stone and a simple setting (I love simple settings!).  I wanted a ring that I could wear every day that went with everything.
So, that is it for the day.  I must get off as I have a headache and I have lots to do today.  Have a super week all!! xox