Friday, February 24, 2012

60 in 60

So with spring and summer quickly approaching, I decided to get my lazy butt back in shape, and I've signed up for an insane challenge (doctor approved) to make it happen.  Have you ever tried Bikram YogaBikram Choudhury is the founder of this particular style of yoga which is taught in a room heated from 100 — 105 degrees.  It is comprised of a series of 26 yoga stretching postures and breathing exercises taught in a 90 minute class. Each pose is a challenge based on one's personal abilities. The postures are done in the safe environment of a heated room so that deep penetration can relieve one's body resistance without risking injury, and you sweat out impurities and toxins that can cause pain and sickness.
I've taken 3 classes as of last night, and I'm heading to my 4th one this afternoon.  I have to admit, that although the class is difficult, I'm really enjoying the results.  I'm sleeping better.  I'm more aware of the water I drink, and I'm being careful to hydrate more often.  My stomach isn't as bloated and I haven't had as many Ulcerative Colitis related cramps.  My skin, on both my face and my body, looks amazing.  I'm more flexible, sitting and standing straighter, and I can feel my back and arms getting stronger and more toned. And best of all, I'm fitting into some clothes I haven't fit in for a while.  That's it-- I'm officially addicted... 
My personal goal was originally to take 30 classes in 30 days, but when I got to class, I realized the studio's formal challenge was 60 classes in 60 days.  If I get to my personal goal of 30 in 30, I will feel really accomplished.  However, if I get there and can keep going for the full 60 in 60 challenge, I'm definitely going to try!  The studio even gives you a little track sheet to follow and put stickers on... I love that kind of stuff... it's kind of similar to my addiction to list making.  Something about it makes me feel more accomplished.  I already know that I'm going to have to do some two-a-days classes to accomplish either goal because I've got prior commitments on a few days, so we'll see how that goes... but I'm bound and determined to do this... so it will be done.  
David and two friends, Bob Rice and Andrea Evans have decided to run The Race to Robie Creek on April 21st.  It's touted as the toughest, steepest half-marathon in the in the Pacific Northwest.  
I did it once myself, and ended up getting a blister around mile 3 that was so bad it took off about 10+ layers of skin and I could hardly walk.  I ended up making it to the first-aid stand where they bandaged me up and I kept going... mostly walking, but I ran the down hill because it didn't put pressure on the blister.  When I got close to the end, some friends were waiting with shots of Tequila which I didn't refuse, but also certainly didn't get a great time... in fact it was lousy, but at least I didn't finish last!  

Unlike me, David is going to do really well in the race... he's got a racer's heart and focus, and even with his bunk knee (he had to have his ACL re-placed and micro-fracture surgery on one of his knees last March), I just know he's going to be an animal training for the race, and he'll finish at the top of the pack.  It's just his way.  And he also says he is going to come with me to a few yoga classes to assist in his training, which I think will give him an edge.  I think the best part of all of this crazy training going on in our house right is not just about our fitness levels, but we'll both be accomplishing our individual challenges on the same day (if I can do the 60 in 60 that is)... Alone but together.  I love it!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

You down with FMT... yeah you know me!

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I am finding it difficult to get as much done working on my husband's computer while mine is still out of commission.  ANYWAY...

Yesterday my dad called me to tell me that a friend of his, Dr. Stewart Taylor mailed my dad his Alma Mater newsletter with an article on FMT.  What is FMT?  Fecal Microbial Transplant.  Sounds gross, right?!  Well, the its also known as the Human Probiotic Transplant (which sounds a little better, at least in my mind!)  It's a procedure where the doctor takes the feces of a healthy person, mixes it with saline, strains it, and then sprays the "poop juice" (for lack of a better phrase) on the walls of the small and large intestine of a person with Ulcerative Colitis or C. Diff.  Dr. Thomas Borody has led the research on the procedure in Sydney, Australia, and Dr. David Rubin is about to get underway with the study of the procedure specifically for treating Ulcerative Colitis, at the University of Chicago.

I have been in touch with Dr. Rubin and his colleague Dr. Lawrence Brandt, at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY.  Dr. Brandt has just finished a successful study of FMT for treating C. Diff.  He has also used the treatment on a few UC patients, and he was kind enough to answer some of my questions.  He was informative, helpful, and honest about the procedure for Ulcerative Colitis.  Apparently it takes more than one treatment... much more.  But he says the results are worth it.  It was Dr. Brandt who put me in touch with Dr. Rubin.  At the time, Dr. Rubin was not taking patients for his study... maybe as this thing ramps up I can get into the study?  I definitely think its worth a try!

If I can't get into Dr. Rubin's study, Dr. Brandt has also been kind enough to extend his services if I promise to follow his very specific guidelines and find the feces donor.  Doesn't sound too tough, huh?  Well it is.  The protocol for finding a donor isn't easy.  The donor can't have had antibiotics for at least 3 months, preferably more, plus they can't have any problems with constipation or diarrhea, and they can't have any other autoimmune disease or even things like eczema.  And we thought we'd found a winner in my neighbor's baby, but he said she doesn't qualify because she is too young.  I'll get this thing figured out eventually.  I have a gut feeling its going to help me kick this thing into remission for good!

For more information on FMT check out The Probiotic Therapy Research Center and University of Chicago.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Project Love

Have you ever seen the documentary What the #$*! Do We (K)now?  If you haven't, do yourself a favor and rent it or Netflix it.  

The film is about Quantum Physics.  Heavy, right?!  Well, what the movie gets into is the idea of each action of each person having a ripple effect onto each other's lives.  

One particular subject it features is the effect of words.  The story follows a Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, as he studies the effect words have on water crystals.  Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.  He's actually written a book about it, The Hidden Messages in Water.

The movie and Dr. Emoto's research inspired an artist in Seattle to create a wall of art that featured hundreds of canvases with the word LOVE paint on them.  It was displayed as one whole piece, and then each of the separate canvases were then sold after the show and the LOVE was dispersed to the masses.  One of these pieces was purchased by my friend BJ and given to my friend Mary as a Christmas gift.  

This idea inspired Mary, and in turn she now asks everyone who stays at her home to create a canvas featuring the word love.  This is what she has so far:   

Mary's project also inspired me.  What better way to wish a friend happiness than to give them a piece of LOVE.  I've created these as gifts over the years since I first painted one for Mary's LOVE wall in 2004 and I've given them out for birthdays, weddings, and just because gifts.

With the love holiday fast approaching, I wish you all a piece of my LOVE and I hope you pass the love on as you go about your day... Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston

I am devastated by the news of Whitney Houston's passing.  When I think back on my childhood, most of my musical memories involve Whitney Houston's beautiful voice.  I can't tell you how many times I've listened to "I Will Always Love You"... the number might be in the millions.  I vividly remember singing along to her music so much I was driving my parents and my brothers nuts... selfishly her death makes me feel like a piece of my childhood has died with her.

Yes, as I write this, I am currently listening to her music and crying like a baby... Her song Count on Me from the movie Waiting to Exhale has gotten me especially worked up... makes me miss all my girlfriends.

From her fashion influence to the ballads that got me through my youthful crushes and heartbreaks... Ms. Whitney Houston's beautiful voice was always there.  She will be missed.  It's such a shame that she wasn't able to see her own value for what it was.  Her real life was so similar to the role she played in the movie The Bodygaurd, only no one was there to save her.  Where was Kevin Costner when you need him?!  Instead she had that thug Bobby Brown dragging her down.

She graced us all with her talents, may she finally find grace in her heart.  Rest in peace...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stella Margartia Hayworth Manchester

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 we celebrated my dog Stella's 10th birthday.  Well, my mom and my niece Kitty celebrated it... complete with a ice cream birthday cake and candles... I just celebrated it over the phone.  I'm without Skype these days and its killing me!  Forgive the delayed blog post, its not as easy to get them put together in a timely manner these day

Stella lives with my mom because a few years ago I was working on a political campaign and traveling a lot.  I thought it would be easier if Stella stayed with my parents for a while during all the travel, rather than being shuffled from one friend's house or kennel to the next.  Unfortunately, I also knew that it meant that my mom would undoubtedly fall in love with my sweet girl, and I'd never get her back.

The day I said goodbye to her I cried like a baby.  I will never forget driving away from my friend's house and leaving her whimpering in that kennel that would take her from Idaho to Wisconsin.  Until that day she had gone everywhere with me... including two cross country drives.  She slept at the foot of my bed and literally went everywhere I went, even if she had to wait in the car... she was my darling doggie angel.  I'm crying just thinking about how much I miss her. 

In the spring when the campaign was over, I went back to Wisconsin to collect my Stella, but as expected, my mom said, "Too bad."  And the thing was, Stella was really happy at my parents place, and my mom adored her, so the idea of taking her back to Boise with me seemed almost cruel.  My mom really needed her and loved her, and as she had come into my life at a time when I needed her, she was in my mom's life at a time when my mom needed her... she was truly our angel.  Although, I still tell everyone my mom dog-napped my dog when asked. 

 My niece Kitty thinks Stella is her dog now, and she drags poor Stella all around the house on her leash.  She really hangs on her, but Stella isn't phased... she just licks her with love.  I think Stella secretly loves all the attention.  And though I miss her every day, it warms my heart to see her so loved and cherished... Happy Birthday sweet Stella girl!  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RIP Macbook Pro 2007-2012

I have sad news... last week Monday evening my dear lap top computer became terminally ill and was pronounced DOA last Friday morning at the Mac Life Store in downtown Boise.

I know that's a bit on the dramatic side, but it's only been a few days and I am like an addict in search of drugs... I miss my little computer so much! I knew it was on its last legs, but I was hoping to make it to at least May 1st without losing her... but alas, it was not meant to be.

I met my husband on that computer (eHarmony, baby!)... the projects and stories that thing has turned out (including all of my previous blog posts)... and all the movies and TV shows we've watch together over the years.  I am so sad to see her go, especially because until we figure something else out, I am relegated to the freezing cold basement office to use David's desktop computer...

I'm hoping to get one of these for my writing, graphic design and video work:
And one of these for travel, transportation and fun:

 But... they both cost a lot of money... so I'm saving my pennies and hoping for the best!  But, this also means, my blog posts have not been as easy to write... but I'm trying to squeeze them in when I can!  I hope you'll stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rabbit Rabbit!

In honor on of the other animal famous for popping out of his hole on February 2nd... Have a lucky month!  And Happy Ground Hog Day...

Did you wish for 6 more weeks of winter, or are you hoping for an early spring?  I'm hoping for snow in the mountains and spring in Boise... Wouldn't it be grand?!