Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To better sleep...

Sleep group today was great.  Last week I was very very tired and very very bored; but that was just because it was a repeat of my psychology class that I took earlier this year... blah blah this is why sleep is important blah blah.  Yeah, I know it's important or I wouldn't be here, duh.  Today was much better though.  Out of the 5 that were there last we it was just me and one other girl that were there today.  Turns out she's from Reno too!

The group leader gave us some good tips that are supposed to be my goals for the next week. 1) When you wake up and can't get back to sleep, get up until you think you can fall asleep... but don't start doing anything physically active.  Just go sit somewhere until your body tells you it's ready to go back to bed.  2) Spend 1 hour before bed time winding down.  That time can include writing a list of everything that was accomplished that day and making a schedule for what you have to accomplish the following day.  3) No naps.

I think that's do-able.  Easy, but it's supposed to be more effective.  So I'm going to try that for the next week and then I have to email the group leader next Wednesday (since I won't be here) and send him a copy of my sleep journal to see how I'm progressing.  Already I've identified a lot of reasons for my lack of sleep.

So, I thought I'd share a list of my accomplishments today. :)

  • Finished putting silicone caulking on all the seams on the trailer we rebuilt to weather proof for our trip
  • Packed the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen
  • Finished all the laundry and packed all the towels
  • Got "underjams" (pull-ups) for Little Monster & helped an old lady at Target to find some specific baby clothing
  • Finished all my homework that is due until next Wednesday so I don't have to worry about it while we're moving
  • Emailed my teachers to let them know I would be offline but can still receive email on my phone and asked them to notify me if there were any important class updates
  • Scheduled pick-up of the Washer & Dryer that we rented
  • Scheduled our utilities to be shut-off
  • Booked our hotel for Friday

So I'm off to make my schedule for tomorrow.... not as much to do. Just cleaning, packing and returning our modem/canceling our internet service, waiting for our Washer & Dryer to be picked up... and then turning in our keys and doing a walk-through with the apartment management... then dinner with our friends before we leave.  Yay!

I like coffee.  I really like coffee.  It is even possible that I love coffee.

After breakfast, as I am enjoying a full belly, my first thought is about how great it would be to have a nice cup of coffee.  After lunch, I again think of coffee as I enjoy the satisfaction of my meal. Coffee really would make it that much better.  But I've been holding off.  I haven't had a coffee maker for a very long time... perhaps the entire time I've been married (over 8 years). Yes, I could go to Starbucks, but their coffee isn't the best, and to get something with enough milk and sugar to mask the taste of their too dark brew I have to spend about $4 per cup.  That is unrealistic.  McDonald's is completely out of the question.  Ever since they switched from to their own brand, their coffee is like drinking oil (it's always brewed too long with beans that were cooked too much to begin with).  My favorite coffee is Seattle's Best; particularly Henry's Blend.  Maybe it's because I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and want to support a "local" coffee chain (and yes, I know Starbucks started in Seattle)... or maybe it's because my parents taught me how to choose my coffee a particular way... or maybe it's all that time drinking coffee and learning about coffee in college that made me so particular.

Here's what I know about coffee:
dark roast = less caffeine + more acidic
light roast = more caffeine + less acidic

Seattle's Best Coffee... I'm sad to say that it was bought by Starbucks in 2003.  They just recently "re-branded" SBC, and I am hoping that this is not the signal of more drastic changes.  We don't need another "Starbucks" I want SBC. I just hope we don't end up with crappy, over-roasted beans like they have at Starbucks.  I shouldn't be surprised that Starbucks bought SBC, SBC has the superior flavor.  Maybe Starbucks' goals for SBC will help SBC out without changing too much?  I can hope.

I think it's time to get a coffee maker... I can't afford $1 a cup every day.  But then again... not having a coffee maker does result in less overall coffee consumption.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see what I decide.

For now, I am going to my Sleep Group... this will not take away my desire for coffee.

What is your favorite coffee?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yesterday Mr. B & I rebuilt our Utility trailer for our trek across the US, my sister picked up all the furniture today (literally, we get to sleep on the floor this week),  and--just now--I finished my essay for my Humanities class!  There is still so much to do this week.  I need to get moving... packing tonight, homework tomorrow morning, packing tomorrow night... I can do this.

It is pouring so much outside right now... we never get these kinds of storms in the desert.  I will miss this the most when I go back home, but I will not miss the bugs (except for our friendly spider Willa who lives out back, I'll miss watching her).

I still can't believe that by the end of the week I'll be headed back "home."  I am happy.


This makes me want to get a really good video camera and do my own project out in the desert. :)

Lake Tahoe Milky Way Night Time Lapse from Justin Majeczky on Vimeo.
This has has not been processed, this is straight from the camera. I still have to color correct it.

Milky Way Time lapse over Lake Tahoe on 9/4/2010. Shot with a Canon 5d Mkii, Sigma 24mm f1.8, Opteka Battery grip to hold two battery's so I can get 9 hours of run time, Canon intervelometer, and a tripod. Shot 30 sec exposures at f1.8 every 35 seconds.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life is Crazy

Neuro-psych exam, check.
Meeting with my son's teacher, check.
Reading my Humanities Chapter & subsequent quiz, check.

But what do I have left to do?  I have to read another 20 pages of text, one 4 page lecture and write a two part "essay" due tonight.  I have an additional 60 pages of reading for an essay due Oct 4, but that I need to have completed by Sept 30 (8 days!) plus all my weekly reading and getting ready to move...which means registering our new utility trailer, packing, change of address forms, canceling the internet, returning the washer & dryer, cleaning, buying lumber to enclose the trailer, and something else I'm forgetting.  I also am attending a sleep group on Friday, Monday, and Wednesday that will take about 3 hours each session.

No wonder my head hurts.

So... I'm off and busy.  I really need to read that book "Crazy Busy" that I got earlier this year... but when will I have time to read it?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


My humanities reading has been very informative this week, for instance, the Greek work for Orchestra means “Dancing Space”.  But it’s also been tedious.  I still have to read another 15 pages, and then more information to start my first essay… plus the 30 pages + additional resources I need to read for Anthropology.  School has kept me very busy this week.


So today I decided to revert one of my favorite methods of relaxing, reading bits from Henry David Thoreau’s journal, which are chronicled (by date) in this blog.  Today’s entry (1857) he wrote about two different plants/flowers and so I decided to look them up online to see if I could find pictures.  Here’s what I found:

Trifolium arvense

Aster laevis

So there you have it.


In another attempt to relax and get out of the house I went with my friend to get my hair cut.  I had a good time.  While she was getting her hair cut I was able to spend some time with her beautiful baby girl.  She is just the sweetest, she played with me and then fell asleep and cuddled.  She made me feel special.  I also love my new cut.  I went with a picture and the gal did a great job matching the cut I wanted, but it’s a lot shorter than it was.

Time to go… my son has some friends over and my sister & her kids will be here shortly to go swimming.  Then more homework… and next week I get to start packing.  Less than two weeks until we head home.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Help me decide...

Family & Friends, I need your help making a very important decision.

But first... Discover Magazine just posted an article about Schizophrenia and the possibility of actually curing and preventing the disease.  A related article is "The Insanity Virus."  If you're interested in psychology or mental illnesses, both articles are good reading material.

Back to the scheduled programing.

This year has been so up and down that I am hesitant to make any decision.  In April I thought that I had made the correct decision, only to have my choice blow up in my face... but then I did get to spend a few more months with my Love, and that was definitely worth the explosion.  Do I move again in January/February, or do I stay put after our migration at the end of the month?  There are pros and cons to both choices, but which one will be the best in the long run?  I wish I had a fortune teller.

My p/c list for going:
Rent free living for the better part of a year = more savings
Not needing to work outside the house
Help from family to watch my son while I'm in school
Familiar settings for me & my son (where I grew up)
More time with the grandparents & great grandmother

My son would have another move this school year (2) and one the following school year

My p/c list for staying:
Friends close by for moral support
Familiar setting for me & my son
My son would be able to stay put for a full school year

Paying rent = less savings
Needing to work while going to school
Harder to finish school or work without the additional support of family
No family close by, not able to travel much to visit family

My question is... which factors are most important?  Is my son staying put for a whole school year going to be more important than being near family (grandparents, etc)?  Everything is leading me to go... so... any of you that know me, have I forgotten any pros/cons for staying or going?

Monday, September 13, 2010

18 pages in one book, 17 in another. Definitely do-able. This morning I've had a lot of reading time without interruptions. So what do I do? Compose a blog via email from my phone. :)

I did just finish a chapter, so it's ok to spend a minute relaxing, right? Back to work. 1 hour until lunch. I should be able to be finished reading by then, right? I hope I can stay focused.

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Thoreau

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Always learning.

photo courtesy of stock exchange

I've been feeling the need to be creative lately... but I've felt restricted since all of my supplies are in storage on the other side of the country.

But... I have been enjoying reading blogs from some very creative people.  I just found two great blogs from some creative women and I decided I needed to share.

#1 - Something Old to Something New
#2 - The Daily Nail

And now... homework.  I'm trying to get ahead after this last week's server malfunction. I passed my two map quizzes for my Anthropology class. I need to get busy reading the next chapters/course material for next week... and decide what topic to cover for my term paper.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This is a controversial subject, but it's an interesting article.  What are your thoughts?

*I did copy and paste the print version of the article, the link back to the original site is at the bottom of the page.

The end of the autism/vaccine debate?

By Kate Rope, Parenting
  • Parents should know that avoiding vaccination will in no way lessen the risk of autism
  • A recent study showed that one in four parents is concerned that vaccines can cause autism
  • The study that started the autism vaccine scare was recently retracted
  • Delaying vaccines or choosing not to get one can be risky
On August 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the 2009 ruling of a special vaccine court denying a link between vaccines and autism.
( -- On playgrounds and at playdates, it's hard to have a conversation about childhood immunizations without the word autism popping up. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that one in four parents is concerned that vaccines can cause autism.
It's no wonder when the Internet and television airwaves are full of personal stories that raise a question about the link. But the study that started the autism vaccine scare was recently retracted by the prestigious journal that published it 12 years ago, and the lead researcher had his medical license pulled.
Given these developments, some experts hope we have finally reached the end of the debate.

The Backstory
In 1998, a British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield, M.D. and his colleagues published a paper in the British medical journal The Lancet suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine might cause symptoms associated with autism.
"Wakefield had a case study of eight children who had received the MMR and then developed symptoms of autism," says Paul Offit, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "He also believed they had abnormal intestinal tracts and proposed a syndrome -- linking intestinal inflammation from receiving the MMR with the development of autism."
Though Wakefield acknowledged in the paper that "he could not say whether the MMR caused autism," says Offit, "it opened the door for the notion that a vaccine could cause autism. It was the Royal Free Hospital, an excellent hospital in London, it was published in the oldest medical journal, and it was off to the races."
In England, thousands of parents refused to vaccinate their children, resulting in hundreds of hospitalizations and three deaths in Ireland from measles. Can Your Child Have Autistic Traits Without Being Autistic?

What the Research Shows
Since that time, 18 controlled epidemiological studies have investigated the possible connection between autism and vaccines, and "they have all come back showing the same thing," says Alison Singer, founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, and a mother of a 13-year-old with autism. "There is no link between vaccines and autism."
Those studies took up two primary theories: Wakefield's hypothesis that the MMR vaccine was linked to autism, and another that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative found in some vaccines, was the culprit.
In a 2004 report analyzing the research into the possible connections, the Institute of Medicine (the organization charged with advising the nation on public health concerns) concluded: "the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship" between both the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, and autism.
That same year, 10 of the 13 authors of the Wakefield study retracted it. How the iPad Can Help Kids with Autism

What's New
In February The Lancet, in an historic moment, retracted Wakefield's entire study after an independent government review concluded that he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in conducting his research.
This included doing unnecessary and painful procedures on the children and not disclosing the fact that he had been paid as a consultant to two attorneys representing parents who believed their children had been harmed by the MMR vaccine.
In May 2010, Wakefield was banned from practicing medicine in his native UK.
"This retraction represents the death of a hypothesis," says Offit. "Parents should be reassured that a choice not to get a vaccine will in no sense lessen the risk of autism, and will only increase the risk of disease." ADHD Often Misdiagnosed in Kids Young for Their Grade

The Dilemma Parents Face
"The [Wakefield] study did a lot of harm when it was originally published," says Singer. "As a result of it, I split the vaccine for my second daughter, but a lot of people went farther, not vaccinating at all, and that's unfortunate, because what we know about vaccines is that they save lives."
Still, it's more common today for parents to know a child with autism and than to know anyone who suffered or even died from one of the diseases vaccines prevent.
For them, avoiding anything that they feel might lead to autism can seem safer than choosing to get a vaccine for diseases that seem unlikely.
Notable figures like actress Jenny McCarthy, who believes her son's autism may have been caused by vaccines, also help lend credibility to the idea that there is a link between the two.
"The reason these diseases are so rare is because of immunizations," says Gary L. Freed, director of General Pediatrics at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. "I took care of a child who died of measles encephalitis because he was not vaccinated. It was a horrible death that was needless and preventable, and those parents never forgave themselves for not vaccinating their child." Celebs Stances on Vaccines

"Choosing not to get a vaccine or to delay vaccines is not a risk-free choice," agrees Offit .
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes that 2008's measles outbreak in San Diego -- the largest in almost a decade, triggered by an unvaccinated child who'd traveled to Europe -- struck people who had purposely not been vaccinated against the disease.
"You don't have to live in the developing world to get measles," says Offit. "It's all boiling just under the surface. Drop your guard and these diseases come back with a vengeance."

Making a Good Choice
Amy Pisani, the executive director of Every Child By Two, an organization that advocates for childhood immunization, understands the hesitancy some parents feel when they enter their pediatrician's office.
"I was pregnant at the time Wakefield came out, and I was nervous myself. I would listen to these presentations and worry, because it really sounded legitimate, and it was confusing. But I was really fortunate, because I worked at Every Child By Two, and I had access to all these experts at the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help me make a good choice." Vaccines Family Health Guide

Pisani's organization, originally founded to train nurses and help low-income parents learn about the free vaccination program run by the government, now spends 70 percent of its time addressing parental safety concerns about vaccines and the importance of timely vaccinations.
The organization has launched a website ( dedicated to getting the research in the hands of parents, so, like Pisani, they can get the most medically sound information available before making a decision.
"It's a parent's responsibility to be concerned for their child," says Freed, "and we as a society have a responsibility to make sure there is factual information available to parents."
Nora Fitzpatrick, mother to two in Gaithersburg, Maryland, whose younger daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, says the retraction of the Wakefield study has helped her to better answer her friends' questions about whether to vaccinate.
"I feel a responsibility to be informed because we get asked so often," says Fitzpatrick. "When the retraction came out, I was super excited. Now I explain that the Wakefield study is how it all got started, and how it's been retracted. It's a huge relief that it's sort of definitive now."
Singer agrees.
"We were right to do the studies, we were right to look at the link. But now those studies have been done, and the data is very clear. We looked, and the answer wasn't there."
Still, Singer and Offit agree that until there is an answer, people will still ask questions about vaccines.
"We're never going to be rid of the vaccine hypothesis completely," says Singer, "until we know what does cause autism, that's why it's so important for more research to be done." Stay tuned. Your Most Common Vaccine Questions, Answered

Good Sources of Information Online:


The American Academy of Pediatrics's website provides tons of info vaccines, up-to-date schedules, safety concerns and the latest vaccine news.

Every Child By Two

This advocacy organization works to educate parents about vaccines and their safety. There's also a quick history of vaccinations that illustrates how far we've come.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's comprehensive site, with all the latest news updates, information on each vaccine and recommended schedule.

Autism Science Foundation

The Autism Science Foundation provides funding to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating and promoting autism research.
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Work, homework, cleaning (getting ready to pack)… so busy!


So for today, just a small tip…

When you cook waffles in the oven… don’t spread the butter on the waffles until you put them on your plate.  Otherwise, the chance of burning yourself significantly increases.


Lately I have discovered a lot of things that I’ve done, or conversations I’ve had, and I have absolutely no memory of doing or even being a part of.  I’m not sure how to fix that, because I thought I’ve been okay.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A little of the every day…

Outside someone is using a leaf-blower, this happens at least once a week.  I guess the complex is more concerned with keeping their sidewalks clean than doing interior maintenance.

I spilled my tea on myself.  Around here we don’t cry about spilt (insert liquid of your choice).  We just clean it up and move on.  I spilled on myself because I didn’t look at my cup before I started drinking and failed to realize that the hole was not by my mouth.  Oops.

My online class system has been down since early yesterday and I am SO anxious for it to get back online.  I check it every few minutes.  Instead I should just forget about the internet and read my darn textbooks.  Maybe even get ahead?  Last week I downloaded all of my assignments onto my flash drive.  I am definitely doing that from here on out.  Of course I’ll do that after I finish my assignments that are due today.  It’s so funny how something that you can’t control can have such a large impact on your production.

I have just a short time before I need to leave for my 2nd dress fitting.  I sure hope it fits and that it doesn’t need any more alterations!

Thought for the day: Life is… knowing what you need to do and procrastinating anyway.



Outside my window... there is a small tree with very fragrant pink flowers.

I am wearing... my favorite jeans.

I am thinking... that life is more full than I can even imagine... and that my neighbors (who are only home from midnight to 6 am) must be crazy.

I am thankful for... my family.

From the kitchen... egg burrito and chai tea.

I am creating... breakfast.

I am reading... my Humanities and Anthropology Textbooks.

From the learning rooms... I am but a small piece of the giant puzzle of human earthly existence.

I am hoping...  that I will face the challenges that lay ahead with poise and imagination.

I am hearing... nothing but the gentle hum of the computer and the tapping of my fingers on the keys.

I am going... to finish reading my homework so that I can have fun.

Around the house... is a mixture of chaos and organization, a compromise.

I am remembering... my grandfather, my god-father-in-law, my uncle... and others who have passed.

Quote to commit to memory...  "Listen. Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn't hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor."  Hugh Elliott

A few plans for the week... 2nd dress fitting today (hopefully no more alterations!), homework, I hope to start some packing.

One of my favorite things... a good cup of coffee from Dutch Bros.

Photo for Thought... This is art from my brother, Ben, who has been mentally retarded since birth... he is completely dependent on others for personal care (hygiene, food, etc).  He is unable to communicate well, cannot read, and the right side of his body seizes whenever he is cold... and yet he creates beautiful artwork (this is done with colored pencils).

For more entries visit the Simple Woman's Daybook!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Moving Forward & Weekend Adventures

Sometimes you hear things, things that make sense, but do not understand the full concept behind the words.  This week I've discovered that...

Only when you stop dwelling on the past are you able to freely move forward and meet the future.

This was all on my mind Thursday night, but I hadn't formulated the thought well enough to put it to words.  It feels good to move forward and, I feel so free having left the past behind!

This weekend we went on another adventure.  This time, to the coast...

Saturday morning we got up at 5:30 am and drove out to Tybee Island to watch the sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean.  It was breathtaking.  Here are some photos:

My son playing in the ocean while the sun rose...

We found several dead jelly fish that had washed up with the tide.

This Crab also washed ashore with the tide.

After watching the sunrise* we returned to our hotel to shower (wash off the sand!) and then set out to adventure in Savannah.

This is what Savannah is most famous for, the Oak Trees covered in Spanish Moss.

Looking at the coins in the fountain, my son was asking if it was a wishing well...

Our son was so impressed that this container ship could pass beneath the bridge without knocking it over.

After wandering around all day (we joked that it was the LONGEST DAY ever) we took a nap and then came back out for dinner.  We ate at the Mirage, which served some tasty Mediterranean food (I forgot the camera in the hotel room, else I would have taken pictures).

It was a nice, relaxing, family trip.  We're trying to make the most of every chance we get to see something new and exciting.  While I have always wanted to visit Savannah (as the most haunted city, and the setting for "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"), I think watching the sunrise was most memorable to me as a Pacific Coast girl.

 ...and now I am off to catch up on my Homework.  I'm already a day behind.

*I originally submitted this with the word 'sunset'.  I attribute this to my west coast upbringing and blogging too early in the morning.

Friday, September 3, 2010


...what are memories? Why are memories so important to us? Today more than ever I want to finish up my long term goal of going into psychology to work on memory research. I just need to keep reminding myself why I'm doing what I'm doing.

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Thoreau

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, September 2, 2010


My son has had "ghost friends" for the last three years. He's never blamed them for any wrongdoing, but apparently they are a comical group.

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Thoreau

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome Back!

I discovered my least favorite thing about taking classes; when you take online classes everything is homework...

Let the learning begin!