Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Random things about me !!

I was tagged in Facebook but thought I would put these random facts about me here in my blog in case anyone is interested.....

1. My first boyfriend was in kindergarten at the age of four. His name was Michael. We used to 'touch tongues' as thats what we thought grownups did. I have no idea where he is now, but we didn't get meningitis!

2. I was born in Lower Hutt, Wellington. When I got married, my Marriage certificate said I was born in Lover Hutt. It caused a lot of laughter at my wedding.

3. My very first job was a fruit stacker at a very popular Green-Grocery. I used to pack the fruit up to make the shelves look inviting. The owner started dropping our pay and cheating us out of our wages. I fought for my rights by ringing the Labour Department after I had left, and managed to get $800 in back pay. The owner then fired all hte existing staff, so I made another phone call on their behalf and he had to rehire them. My first experience of fighting for rights when I was only 17. Funnily enough I now live over the road from this same shop which is still going strong. Different owners though.

4). I lived in Barbados for one year at 17. It was a steep learning curve about the English class system alive and well on the island. It went Expatriots, Coloured, Blacks, Reds. I fell in love with the most wonderful person there, but it was not to be. Arrived home heartbroken, but first love is always the hardest!

5). I ended up marrying a selfish, bad tempered, violent Scotsman when I was 23. The marriage lasted 3 years.

6). I'm enormously proud of my daughter and her acheivements. I love her to bits and consider her my best friend.

7). I have two Burmese cats, one seal, one blue. They rule my life. You are most likely to find me on my sofa, laptop on my lap, one cat perched on my lower legs, and the other perched on my shoulder. I am unable to move.

8). My goal is to one day write a travel book. I would love to go back to Barbados and do a then and now comparison. I believe the island has changed enormously to when I lived there. I can use photos I took back in 1979 and take try and take the same images 30 years later. I also have a goal to one day write the novel I've been writing in my head for the last 3 or 4 years. I just can't seem to get it onto the computer.

9). I'm competitive by nature. I love playing games. Losing is not an option. Scrabble, Oxford Dictionary word game, cards. I will NOT play trivial pursuit. It's dumb, because I never win!! A friend of mine will not play srabble with me again. if I do lose, I do not get upset. I get even. I just make us play another game. Until I win. Then I crow! I think I may have a problem!

10). I worked in the Market Research Industry or nearly 20 years as an analyst. I particularly liked Social Research. I medically retired from this 5 years ago and still miss it. One of the biggest jobs I worked on was the Sexual Lives of Gay men. They had an 0800 number to ring and then take part in an hour long telephone survey. The 0800 was 0800 69 69 69. I learnt more about the sexual lives of Gay Men in New Zealand that I didn't really need to know. I learnt lots of new words. Apparently the job came to me because of my open mind. It's now so open that my brains have fallen out!

11). I'd like to learn to be an artist. I painted my first piece of art last year and it is hanging in my dining room. No one believes me when I tell them I did it. I did another one a few weeks later which was terrible. I haven't done any since. This probably tells you that unless I find it easy, I bow out!! I need to be more disciplined.

12). I do lots of reading but only really like non-fiction books. Auto-biographies, War Memoirs, Animal Observations or Vetinary books (Africa Wildlife in particular), and Armchair Travel. I do read fiction occasionally but get very bored with it.

13). I read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in one weekend when I was 12. I did nothing else all weekend.

14). I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was 8 years old. It shaped my whole view on human rights issues which haven't wavered since. I hate any type of intolerance to others with a vengeance, and it started from when I read this book.

15). I taught myself how to play the recorder when I was 7. Started learning the piano when I was about 8 or 9. I was the School orcestra's pianist for a number of years. I wanted to be a concert pianist, but ended up losing my hearing so that finished that dream. I did play the piano in nightcubs and pubs while living in Barbados, as in 'in-between' or a jazz band. Met lots of people this way and it was a lot of fun.

16). I love fishing, but hardly ever get to go. My dream is to own a small boat where I can launch off and just go out and fish. Some friends took me fishing a number of years ago. I was the only one that caught anything, and I've never been invited again because of it!!!

17). I cry in sad movies/tv programs or books easily. My family laugh at me for this. I even cried during the children's movie 'The Secret Garden'.I haven't been able to live that one down.

18). I can't sing. Well - I can sing it just has a rough passage out. I still do it though. Even my cats hate me singing and they'll put their heads over my mouth to stop me. That always makes me laugh so it's a very effective way to make me stop!

19). I have climbed Mt Ruapehu up to the Crater Lake. It took 6 hours from the Top of The Bruce. No chairlifts were working at the time so we had a very long climb. It was really hard and at one point I wanted to give up. The group I was with didn't let me and am so glad they didn't.

20). I do a lot of walking - will often walk rather than take the car to an appointment if I can. Sometimes will walk 4 to 5 hours. Recently have started walking with a friend at 6am before she starts work for an hour. I miss the walking that we were doing in Woodhill Forest last year when we were training for the Oxfam 100km walk. I'd like to do it again.

21). The only thing I can kill without guilt is mosquitoes. If a plant is no longer needed in the garden, I try to give it away rather than just pull it out. I have a number of plants in my garden that are self sown - like the Golden Totara that are totally unsuitable for my garden, but can't bring myself to 'kill' them. I'm a big softie!

22). I go round everywhere looking at things as if I'm taking a photo,so I look at things with the mind of a viewfinder, in the same ratio. I love insects and bugs and like getting up close to them for photos. Even spiders. Non photographers hate travelling with me as I take too long when I'm in action. I get frustrated when travelling with non photographers as they can't see all he missed photo opportunities that they won't stop for!

23). I want to go to Europe. My dream is to rent an apartment in Italy somewhere for 3 months, use that as a base then take day trips aroud exploring. I also want to live on a Greek Island for 12 months or so. So far my sum total of time spent in Europe is 4 days in London on the way home from Barbados. I would also like to see the Galapagos Islands, South America, Russia, Croatia, Spain, Outback China, The Maldives, Africa, and Rural America!

24). I am very blessed to have a lot of very close friends, many that are from school days. I really appreciate them being there, and when we get together there is much fun and laughter. That means there a lot of good times that I can look back and reflect upon when times get rough. I'm also blessed to have a supportive family that care about what I do, and help me through the bad times.

25). My sense of humour often gets me into trouble. Once while I was in hospital and the doctor asked me how I was that morning, I joking said if I were a horse, I'd have been shot by now. I got put on suicide watch because of it! I don't seem to tolerate people that don't have a sense of humour. My humour includes, sarcasm, black humour, filthy jokes, and silliness.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Brain Keeps Playing Tricks on Me!

Yep - tricks It's constantly testing my sanity!

I can't hear a thing. Nothing. Nada. Not one iota of sound gets through my ears. The degree of deafness was brought home earlier this week when I sat in my lounge completely unaware that my house alarm of 140db was blaring.. And I heard nothing.

But wait! I can hear the waste disposal when I turn it on. Yep - definitely.

Impossible. I'm totally deaf. What gives?

When the waste disposal goes, and I have my hand on the bench, I feel the vibrations. My brain puts in the sound. As I remember it. Take my hand off the bench, and I know longer can feel the vibrations - but Im facing the bench and I can 'see' that the waste disposal is on - I can still hear it. Only when I turn my back totally and the brain can not see or feel, then the brain shuts of the sound.


This is the same for toilets flushing, the microwave, the washing machine going, the car. You know that whoosh you feel/hear when you are driving on the open road, and a car goes by travelling in the opposite direction. My brain even puts that sound in as well.

When I'm out walking, I still 'hear' traffic sounds, bikes, footsteps of other people, and anything that I'm used to hearing.

I wonder how long I have to be totally deaf, for the brain to stop putting in these phantom sounds?. It can be quite disconcerting as I have to constantly check to see if my hearing has miraculously returned, or whether it's just the brain playing tricks.

It's like my brain has a mind of its own! I have no control over it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is My House Alarm Useless?

My house is not only protected with an alarm, but it is also monitored. I sometimes wonder if it's worth having the place monitored, because the alarm has only ever been activated so far, by my cats being locked in a room. Over the years, the cats have cost me a pretty penny in callouts to check the place for burglars. At $60 a pop, this isn't cheap.

When I go out, I have to lock the cats out of the bedroom upstairs, the bedroom downstairs, and the lounge. The problem is that they know when I'm about to go out, and if they don't want to be put outside, they'll hide from me. Or they'll get up someplace really high where I can't reach, above the kitchen cupboards, and nothing will coax them down. Occasionally I've had to go out without setting the alarm because of this.

However, this morning it wasn't the cats, but myself who set the alarm off. I got up at 6.00am this morning, then headed out to meet my friend for an hours brisk walk and set the alarm as I went out the door.

Came home and totally forgot that I had set it. Walked into my lounge and logged in to my emails. Totally unaware that my alarm was now blaring at 140db telling everyone that my house had been broken into. Just shows you how deaf I am at the moment. Totally, utterly!

Half an hour later, the security guy comes round to find me sitting in the lounge totally unaware of anything and wondering why he was visiting!

This little episode just cost me $60. Gah!

When the cochlear implant works, I can hear the beep beep warning that the alarm is about to go off which galvanises me into action. Now I have no clues at all.

So - is it worth having my house monitored? So far no one has bothered to break into my place, maybe an alarm that is unmonitored is all I need. The security guy turns up half an hour after the alarm goes off - any burglars would still have had plenty of time to grab and take off with everything before he turns up.

Makes me wonder if monitoring is worth it at all.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Total Deafness Brings out my Evil Streak

I'm now totally deaf. I hear nothing. Nada. My cochlear implant processor has been relegated to a drawer until I can be reimplanted. This is not America where I can dial up private health insurance to get it done quickly - no private health insurance will touch anything to do with ears with a 10 foot barge pole. It makes me wonder if they think helping deafness is like cosmetic surgery. Ear job, boob job?

Instead I'm reliant on a Government Department to fund my reimplantation. I'm sure that Government Departments are the same world over, and work at one pace. Slow. Stifled with red tape and bureaucracy. New Zealand is no different.

Anyway. Being thrown into total deafness has its moments. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I laugh. I saw pity in the mans eyes at the supermarket. He stopped to help me pick out the best tomatoes - nice dear old man. He had a beard and tried to talk to me. I couldn't lipread him, so I pointed to my ears and told him I'm completely deaf. I didn't apologise for it. HIs eyes changed and I could see pity. But it's not pity I want. It's understanding. Go and shave off your moustache and beard, then try talking to me again.

Being totally deaf brings out my evil streak. I would like nothing better than to play a practical joke. You know those places that advertise free hearing tests? Oh how I would love to turn up there.

'I think my hearing has gone down a bit - could I sign up for a free hearing test'

And when they start testing...

'Have you started the test yet?'

'I think your equipment is malfunctioning'

'I can't hear I can't hear'!!

However, I can't bring myself to be this mean - I can only think about it. However if one of my friends knew an audiologist and wanted me to play a practical joke on them, I'd sign up straight away! But I couldn't be mean to stranger. Not today anyway.

Besides knowing my luck, I'd get one that didn't have a sense of humour!! So far I've only met a couple of audiologists that have my sense of humour. But I guess that's not so surprising as my humour is a bit out there!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pond Reflections

From The Ambling Photographer

Things are not as they seem
More complex, complicated
Life is more a distorted image
Like reflections in a pond

Tread carefully, with skilful precision
One false move could change your path
Are you ready to make the decision,
Or face the brunt of the aftermath?

Fear not what you do not know
Challenge it, confront it
Life has a deeper meaning
Not face-value, but beyond

Learn to swim the waters deep
Hold your head up – don’t forget
Then in the shallows you shall reap
Rewards that shall surpass regret

Things will with time become clearer
Less complex, complicated
Life more a reflection returned from a mirror
Than reflections in a pond

Photograph by Myself
Poem by Lia Bell

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is getting quite a lot of attention these days, mainly because of climate change, which is making them very vulnerable if their habitat melts.

They are native to the Arctic Ocean and it's surrounding seas. It is the world's largest predator found on land. A adult males weighs between 400 and 680kg, while a female is much smaller and weighs about half that size. Although it's closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrow ecological niche, with many characteristics for cold temperatures, moving across snow, ice and open water, and hunting seals which make up most of its diet. Most Polar Bears are born on land, yet spends much of the year on the frozen sea.

My first real live experience of a Polar Bear was as a child in the Auckland Zoo here in New Zealand. Whilst I loved the creature and it was always a must to view it, it used to sadden me. Our bear had formed the habit of pacing back and forth, back and forth along the concrete path of it's pool (prison), occasionally diving in to cool down. Worse, with the warm Auckland temperatures, it's coat was full of algae, and gone was it's wonderful white colour, and in it's place was a lovely shade of green. Yep - a green Polar Bear.

It died a long time ago, and I was pleased, as no matter how well it was looked after, it must have been miserable.

So it was with trepidation that I visited the Polar Bear enclosure at the San Diego Zoo in July 2008. I have to say that the San Diego Zoo really have outdone themselves making this enclosure an enrichment one for it's Polar Bear, and even though I would rather see the bear on the Arctic Sea Ice, I didn't go away saddened.

When I got there the bear was in the water...

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

I was really amazed with the viewing window - and pleased there was hardly anyone around so I could take photos...

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

I was really willing it to come closer to the window to get a nice close up, but it wasn't to be. But I loved the way it played with his ball..

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

While Polar Bears probably don't have big red balls on the ice in the Arctic, at least it had something different to do in the Zoo. Anything that can enrich an animal's life in the zoo is well worth the effort in my opinion.

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

After this shot the Bear got out of the water, and I waited and waited and waited for it to come back. It didn't so I went around searching for another view, and I was not disappointed.

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

Just look at this magnificent creature. Such a shame it's a wild animal as I wouldn't mind cuddling up to it at all!

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

It climbed up onto the rock where there was some grass, then proceeded to play...

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

The sun was quite hot - it was July so was probably trying to get a bit of shade. Although there was plenty of shady areas, it seemed to love this grass..

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

Look at that nose!

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

Isn't he adorable?

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

He still couldn't get the grass exactly how he wanted it, so he tried again...

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

This is better isn't it?

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

Like my new hat?

From Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo

Looks better from this side I think!!

I could have stayed with him for ages but time was marching on and the zoo was simply huge. It really needs two days to view it all. This Polar Bear seemed happy, didn't have any repetitive behaviour traits and his coat was in fantastic condition. I couldn't ask for anything better.

The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with 5 of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. Unrestricted hunting raised international concern for the future of the species however, populations have rebounded after controls and quotas took effect. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of Arctic indigenous peoples, and the hunting of polar bears remains important in their cultures.

Global warming as the most significant threat to the polar bear, primarily because the melting of its sea ice habitat reduces its ability to find sufficient food. On May 14, 2008, the United States Department of the Interior listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Maybe in the future the only place we'll see the Polar Bear is in the zoo. I hope not.

These photos were taken with my Canon EOS 20D which has now been superseded by the Canon 50D. One of these days I'm going to upgrade!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Official!

It’s now official. I’m have just been diagnosed with depression for the first time in my life. Simply because of the frustration I’m having with lack of hearing, and lack of action in terms of ACC funding my new implant.

The hearing loss I’m dealing with is huge compared to when my original implant was up and working properly, and I haven’t really heard properly except for a very brief window in 2008, for 18 months…. Going on 19 months but who’s counting?

ACC sent me a email yesterday apologizing for the delay, explaining that it was a very ‘complex’ case, and they’ve now been advised to get an outside ‘independent’ opinion, so they have sent my case notes to Christchurch in the South Island to an ‘independent Cochlear Implant surgeon’. This is quite laughable as we’re not exactly a BIG country, and the implant surgeons in NZ is a very small club (boys network!!)

As for complex – I think they’re making it more complex than it needs to be. The electrodes have come out of the cochlea. They need to be put back in, maybe with new electrodes. What is complex about that?

They’ve given the surgeon 4 weeks to complete his report, and then it goes to their legal team which could be another 4 weeks. So I’m going to be profoundly/totally deaf for at least another 2 months.

Yes I’ve written to ACC and explained my case and displeasure of waiting so long – they’ve apologized but said there’s nothing they can do. I *can* go ahead with the surgery, pay for it myself, and they’ll reimburse me IF they accept the claim. That’s fine and dandy if I had some spare change in my pocket to the tune for $30k – but I don’t, and I resent the fact they think I might have!

I guess it’s because I’m the first person in NZ where electrodes have migrated out of the cochlear, so there’s some research for them to do, and some I dotting and t crossing! But in the process, they’ve forgotten that there’s a real person out there, struggling to cope with day to day hearing and living because of it.

My doc has put me on a low dose anti depressant. She’s been my doc since I was 17, and said it was admirable how I’ve overcome many struggles throughout my life, and that my mood has always been stable and happy. But it looks like this is one thing too much. She’s also concerned how I might feel if the operation doesn’t work, so hopefully by then the pills will be working and will help me through that process should the worse happen. Naturally, once things start moving and I get a date, I’ll probably be much happier, and if the switch on goes well and I hear again, then I can be weaned off the pills.

I took my first one this morning. I hate taking pills, but I have been warned that depression can spiral down further if not treated. I know I feel this way because I have no control over what is happening to me, and the doctor says that’s one of the main causes of depression – lack of control over things that are happening in your life.

A friend asked me to make sure I remember all the things I’m grateful for – so I’ll list some of them here.

I’m grateful for friends and family and their support

I’m grateful for the support I can get from SWC

I’m grateful for my bra because they stop me from tripping up over my boobs when knock against my knees, and stop me from getting black eyes when I’m out running!\

I’m grateful for my fantastic implant team even though they can't do a lot for me right now!

I’m grateful I still have a sense of humour even when I feel so sad.

I’m grateful for my cats who give my unconditional kisses, particularly when I’m whistling or singing!!! (Yep they’re actually trying to shut me up)

There – Now I’ll go and eat some more icecream and chocolate.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm So Over Being Deaf

I'm seriously no longer coping with this whole deafness issue. I managed to get through Christmas, but New Year totally sucked. I was meant to go up to my brothers place for afternoon tea on New Years Eve, but I couldn't get off the couch and face yet another afternoon sitting around with a plastic smile on my face, understanding nothing, and wishing to go home. Yet staying at home did me no good either. I ended up crying all day.

We're now 5 days into 2009 and I'm still not happy. Although I'm making an effort. I organised a picnic with friends and family yesterday and we sat in the sun in the park at the beach and had a great time. I've invited friends around tonight for a champagne, so I'm not just sitting around doing nothing, although I AM avoiding people as much as I can.

Over christmas the implant became very uncomfortable again, so today, when the implant centre opened after christmas, I went over to see if they could tweak the last remaining electrodes so I can hear comfortably as an aid to lipreading. The result was dismal. One electrode had to be switched off so I'm now down to five, and the others had to be turned right down as they were uncomfortable. The impedance test showed major changes, but Ellen thinks that could be because I'm not wearing the implant as much as I should.

To give you a recap...

In march 2008, not even one year ago, I was reimplanted as my old first implant I had failed. On doing the autopsy, they found a tear in the silicon, so there was fluid ingression, which meant the electrodes couldn't work.

The new implant showed great promise... Take a look at the map just one week post switch on...

From The Ambling Rambler

And you can read about it in the blog I did back in April 2008

I got to that stage, then slowly slowly electrodes had to be switched off and I heard less and less. An x-ray showed that the electrodes had been pulled out of the cochlea. Today? This is what my mapped looked like...

As you can see, the two maps are vastly different, with the first one giving me a very broad specrum of sound with a great dynamic range, to virtually no dynamic range and only a small proportion of sound. With this latest map, I only hear a fraction of what I heard with my first implant, and a fraction of what I first heard with my implant at switch on in 2008. I recognise no sound. Voice is totally muffled. It's now been 18 months since I heard properly.

I am going to be reimplanted. My fate is at the hands of ACC or Accident Compensation Corporation. I have just heard today they are required to get 2 more pieces of information: the advice of an independent CI / ORL surgeon and the legal advisor. They've already had my application for 2 months. I had hoped that they would give me an answer before Christmas. I should have realised that Government Departments only work at one speed - S L O W.

It's enough to drive a girl to chocolate, champagne and icecream. All three I bought on the way home from my mapping session today. If that doesn't cheer me up, then there is no hope!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008, Welcome 2009

2009 is here. I didn't bother heralding the new year in, I watched a movie on TV then headed to bed early. My fault entirely - I ate some dark chocolate truffles. They gave me a headache. I needn't have gone to bed early - the headache kept me awake, and also next door was having a party and was playing the music loud. Obviously very loud. I couldn't hear anything, but my bed was shaking with it, even though all the windows were shut. I guess in a few years those neighbours will be on the waiting list for a cochlear implant!

In the last few days, the sound from my Implant has got worse. This must mean that the last 6 electrodes in my ear must be moving out. As I lay in bed last night, I couldn't help but think that this time last year, I was hoping for a new implant, and now exactly one year later, I'm hoping for the same thing. In the past 18 months, I've only heard 'semi-well' for about two months. I'm now avoiding people completely as I hate sitting in a room full of people, and not being able to talk to them. I smile my plasticy smile while inside all I want to do is go home. At least at home, I have my computer where I can catch up with people online, and that helps me not feel deaf. But out in the real world, that feeling of deafness is in my face all the time.

Even online though, I still get bombarded with ignorance. A friend messaged me on MSN the other day and asked me to help with sound through speakers as they weren't getting any. I had to point out several times that I was not the one to ask as I couldn't hear anything! Sigh!

I've decided my life is bi-polar. Not me, my life. It goes something like this..

January 2008 - sad - can't hear anything
February 2008 - I won a trip to the USA (whoo hoo)
March 2008 - New implant (whoo hoo)
April 2008 - in hospital with vertigo after the op :(
Aril 2008 - Switch on can hear 94% without lipreading (whoohoo)
July - Off to America (whoohoo)
August - Losing hearing :(
September - Implant failing
November - Blenheim trip for a week (whoohoo)
December - New Car given to me for Christmas (whoohoo)
December - still awaiting ACC funding - no news still deaf :(

See - Up down, up down, from one extreme to another, nothing is ever smooth.

The best thing I did in 2008 was I dyed my hair brunette. This meant I only had two blonde moments in 2008, compared to hundreds in 2007 as you can read here in the Bottled Blonde Moments of 2007

My two blonde moments were...

I met my friend Linda for a coffee in the new cafe on Takapuna Beach. I parked my car on the ramp. Had coffee. Chatted. It was lovely. Went back to the car and realised my keys weren't anywhere but still in the ignition of the locked car. Linda called Mike, who called Roadside Rescue and we went back to the cafe. On leaving the cafe as we met the Roadside Rescue guy I left my sunglasses on the table. Fortunately the waiter came after me, and I told him I was just testing him!!!

My second blonde moment was tripping over the dog in Blenheim and ending up in hospital with a groin strain injury getting crutches because I couldn't walk. Personally, I don't think that is a blonde moment, because the dog had 'got in behind' and I didn't know. Really when I think about it, it was the dog having a blonde moment. Apparently the dog is still in therapy!!

That's it - just two blonde moments, one from me, one from the dog. Dyeing my hair was obviously the best thing I ever did. Anne tells me I've done lots more but am just too old to remember them all. She'll keep!

My cat had a blonde moment the other day. I was walking past the piano, and at the time i was walking past, she decided to jump onto the piano stool. She jumped, and went straight into my knee, knocking my knees together and making me walk funny, then she fell and collapsed on the floor in a heap. It was hilarious, and I laughed so hard that she got all upset and miffed with me. I had to give her lots of cuddles after that, but it looked like something out of a comic or cartoon.

So goodbye 2008. there were lots of highs, and lots of mind numbing lows. Fortunately the highs were so good, I'll try and remeember those when the lows try and take over.

For 2009, I'm hoping to get my hearing back, win lotto, go to the SWC convention in Portland Oregon and visit Vancouver and Seattle, manage to get to Vietnam and visit my friend Jeffrey while he is still there, get fit, sell my house, build a new one somewhere etc.. A time of change.

Without the Lotto win though, it'll just be the hearingf and the getting fit!!!

My new year's resolution is to NEVER TO EAT DARK CHOCOLATE AGAIN. I still have the headache from the dark chocolate truffles.