Living in the Pacific Northwest

Some kids were smart, enjoying a run through the sprinkler.Today was so much cooler, which is great because yesterday was an oven.  If you don’t have air conditioning, which not even a lot of restaurants here have, anything above 80 starts to wear.

We took the dogs to the park early but could not stay. The overbearing heat and sun with no cloud-breaks was not good for any of the four of us.  If you’re not familiar with what heat does to someone with MS…it turns us into slugs. Slow moving, weak, fuzzy thinking and really hard to get motivated.

So, we went home until the Carnation Centennial Potluck and photo-shoot at Tolt-McDonald Park started. That, I must say, was a riot.  We enjoyed hanging out with the neighbors, ate some good food, watched some silly and enormously fun games and got to walk under a fire truck hose misting. It reminded me of going to my family reunions back in the southeast where good food, conversation and fond memories were generated.

My dogs were not there, though I did see one or two others with their pooches.  Carnation is one of the friendliest dog places I know.  Mine are still not quite socialized enough though.  Our dog park has helped enormously in that area and I’ve had comments on what a remarkable change it has made on Molly, particularly.  She is much more comfortable around strangers…not comfortable enough where I would stroll her on her leash to a city picnic. I’ve often admired those owners who have helped rescue dogs become that trusting and comfortable around people.

Looks like some have a method in this 3-leg raceThe town did a really nice job on this celebration, with the Slider’s crowd providing music, and the town even running team games like the 3-leg race, egg relays. There was also a drop the clothespin in the bottle game I had never seen in my life.  Speaking of things I have never seen,  I enjoyed watching a kid toss this huge flying disk. This was the funniest egg-carry relay I've seen in a while.Now this may be as common as dirt for others but I had not seen it before!

Some showed a method to the madness of a 3-leg race, getting a considerable lead on the others, while watching the egg-relay was hysterical.  I wish there had been a sportscaster who knew everyone’s names calling out a moment by moment.  The clothespin into the milk bottle drop.  On its way!If they ever do this race again, I’m going to have to suggest that. One of our city council members showed an apt for dropping clothes pins into milk bottles. It was impressive! I watched him do this twice.  I hope you can see the clothes pin in mid-air in front of his left pants leg. I was rather proud of that shot!Super least the biggest I've seen.

And the music was great! Carnation is lucky enough to have Marty and his wife Phyllis running Sliders Café and We had some awesome musicit really looked like Marty and the other musicians had fun jamming in the shade. We sure enjoyed listening to them.

It can be these very simple Carnation celebrations that allow me to enjoy our town instead of moving out to some of the larger suburban areas on the east-side.  2012-08-05 carnation centennial potluckDon’t get me wrong, I spent all my childhood in the suburbs and loved our neighborhoods. Cul-de-sac block parties and our little Muscular Dystrophy carnivals for Jerry’s kids we neighborhood children put on are some of my fondest memories.  The suburbs can be a wonderful places to raise a child.  But a small town like Carnation has its own charm and perks and quite frankly, is a dying breed. Mike and Jane

What makes a small town perfect has so many visions for people and they can come from completely different perspectives.

Isabel Jones, long-time Carnation resident.Some just think it is a population number, others want a rural feel, without the muck, many want to see the stars at night, some want the rural feel, muck and all.  Others want convenience or simplicity. Many just want cheaper housing,  or want to get away from larger city traffic. 2012-08-05 carnation centennial potluckUnfortunately, that attitude can often bring in a dreaded suburban sprawl that not only ruined much of the southeast but is now creeping into so many of the small towns on the eastside.

I really don’t want to see Carnation turned into just another bedroom suburb with a small town façade and suburban core. 2012-08-05 carnation centennial potluckWatching small towns in the Southeast lose their identities as they grew into just another suburb was incredibly depressing.  A small town like Carnation is very precious and increasingly rare. Once they are gone, it it too late to turn it back. Cookie-cutter houses, townhouses and vertical apartment growth, fast food and box stores, more and more sports complexes, all creep in as the charm creeps out.

 Eastside Fire and Rescue cools down the crowd.A sad thing happens when economics make it easy to try and trump quality of life.  There is a fine line between the two perspectives but the results are very different. For those of us in the mist, we got to see the rainbow And it all goes back to what you think a small town should be like. I think our centennial showed a perfect small town and it’s one I really love living in.

For more pictures of our Carnation Centennial celebration, I put them in a set on FlickR. Enjoy!

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FO: Summer Wind (again!)

There is something about vivid colors in blues, greens and violets that grab me everytime.

Ten Thousand Dancing Stars

A while ago, I was admiring a pair of socks knitted by someone on Ravelry. The colours were just amazing and I wondered how easy it would be to duplicate. I planned to dye a couple of my Squishy base and mixed up a few colours of dyes. As is often the case with my dyeing adventures, I ended up with something different (and still pretty I think!) from what I had set out to do. Thus, the colourway called Riot was born.

A third skein was dyed shortly after to see if I can duplicate the earlier results. I’m happy to say that yes, it is repeatable. Yay! I coveted that third skein and decided I will knit with it to see how the colours stacked up.  Depending on the lengths of each colour section, I think this will pretty much avoid pooling or flashing.

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Travel on my Wheels a while

Diane, a friend I’ve mentioned before, posted a few pictures of her sojourns around Seattle.  I was shocked at some of the situations she and her wheels found themselves in.  Just the simple task of taking a walk around the block was a nightmare. Understanding the difficulties (though not impossibilities) that may be present in updating older buildings, there is no excuse 22 years since the passing of the ADA (American Disabilities Act) in 1990 by President Bush. It is even worse that there are modern structures lacking these amenities and shows a distinct lack of awareness for what it is like to travel in a wheelchair.

Here’s a few pictures of Diane (thank you, Diane for sharing these) and some obstacles she comes across on her morning walks. And though my MS has not yet put me here, we are seeing so many more of us or our loved ones facing this situation.

599866_3871951672241_158016234_nStarting on her morning walk








throughthejunglePeople, please…let’s trim the lawns. This grass is as high as her head!








stairstofountainGetting as close to the fountain as she can. (The rails behind here are where the stairs start.  There is no ADA access)








blockedOkay, here’s something I never thought of. Sad to say, I’ve done this myself.  But this car only leaves two choices for Diane.  Turn around to try to find some other way to her destination, or take the leap.







making the leapDiane, taking the leap, is attempting to maneuver her wheelchair around the car. She has to go into the street to do this.








morningcoffeeSafe and enjoying her morning Starbucks.








My point with these pictures is simply to let you see what Diane showed me in her posts.  Let’s try to stop and think for a minute.  No one expects us to break the bank instantly tearing down all our old buildings, uprooting neighborhoods, and so forth. But, we’re talking 22 years since the ADA was passed into law.  And yet, we still see things like this without someone even thinking about a wheelchair.

There are effective and often inexpensive ways we can help Diane and others like her with access to the everyday places most Americans take for granted:  Keep our sidewalks maintained, clear of both weeds and vehicles.  Make sure there ARE sidewalks.  If there aren’t sidewalks in our neighborhood, start asking the city what they are doing about making our town ADA compliant.

Other links of interest:
Bad Design Style
YTA – Yours Truly Accessibility
Special Needs Resource Project

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The Mystery of Multiple Sclerosis

A friend of mine writes a wonderful blog called A Stellar Life. A recent post on her blog (titled The Perfect Crime) was humorous and it really shines a light on the frustration and craziness that is MS.

I’ve recently been concerned that my own MS is taking a slow nose dive. The Rebif may be slowing the process but it does not seem to be stopped. My balance lately looks makes me appear drunk (drinking is such a rarity, getting drunk appears  obnoxious, so I know that isn’t it) and I’m back to the cane, even in my house. My vision is blurred and double in my right eye and a little fuzzy in my left. My left hand has started having sporadic tremors again. My legs feel like they’re walking in Wellies through deep mud and also appears stilted. There are sharp spasms in my lower back and neck.  A few other issues I hesitate to bring up in this post.  I so sound like a hypochondriac. Even I have difficulty knowing whether it is MS or something else. A frustrating disease.

I have a complete physical coming up with my GP, a full blood workup, and a vision evaluation by a Neuro-Ophthalmologist .  Those doctors are a rare breed. I’ve also put in a call to my MS doctor to see if he thinks this is a relapse or a progression or something else entirely. I do anticipate a round or two of a steroid infusion though.

Now after all my morose complaints, check out Diane’s article. You will smile and be more informed about MS.


Addendum. I thought this was published but it was sent to drafts…ooops.

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It’s something I’ve pondered lately

Please feel free to participate and share this poll. It’s the first poll I’ve done on my blog and I’d really like as many answers as possible. Thanks!

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