Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Easystand Blog/Shopping Experience

Hi everyone.

In past posts I have talked about standing in my new Easystand Evolv standing frame. I found out recently that Easystand has a blog. It is very informative and interesting. They also have personal stories of others using their Easystand stander. I was interested in sharing my story with others so I e-mailed someone who could help me get a post on the Easystand blog. Through e-mail, I was able to send my post over to her and I just found out that she put it on their blog earlier today. If you would like to see my personal story titled, "The Air is Better up Here-Jenni's Standing Story" click here.

I went shopping today. I just felt like I needed to get out of the house. Why I chose to go to the mall I don't know. I always get exhausted from being at the mall with all those people who can never make up their minds on what to buy and just stand there looking lost. I'm claustrophobic; it comes with the territory. When I'm in situations where I can't just get up and walk around those people or all of the clothing racks packed tightly together, it makes me feel claustrophobic and a little frustrated. However, today wasn't as bad as when I went four days before Christmas.
On my shopping spree, I bought two pairs of pants, some more of that underwear from Victoria's Secret that I got for Christmas and love so much, and a journal. I know what you're thinking, "why would she buy a journal if she isn't able to write?" I thought the same thing when I was buying it. My idea was to type up all of my quotes and poems and paste them in the journal. That way I will have a keepsake of them all in one place, voice typed by me. Or I guess I could just have someone else write them in there but that's not the same.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Seed

The seed cannot know what is going to happen; the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed.

Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls - and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many.

There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.
-Osho (Chandra Mohan Jain)

I think we should all be a little bit more like a seed.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fun Day

Hi everyone.

We went to the Science Museum of Minnesota today and did the interactive special exhibition CSI: The Experience. It is made up of three separate crime scenes, although you only get to do one per time. When we went through, we first spent five minutes at a crime scene collecting evidence. Then we went into the crime lab and they had all the evidence laid out at different sections. We pieced together the crime until we finally solved it and figured out who was the murderer.

The exhibition is based off of the hit show CSI. With 67 million viewers a week, I guess they thought they ought to build something that people can interact with and solve crimes as well. They actually had the characters from CSI on video throughout the exhibition. It was really fun and I would definitely go again, minus all the people.

I forgot how much fun the Science Museum actually is. Next time I go there I'm going to go to the Omni theater and see either Mysteries of the Great Lakes or Grand Canyon Adventure (which one I will see will depend on when I go). Or maybe I will go twice and see both of them.


Friday, December 26, 2008

New Series!

I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to be starting a new series of posts called: Life As a Quad. I will probably do one post a week about what it is like to be a quadriplegic. It will contain information about quads, my feelings and progress, videos and pictures, and detailed information about what I go through in my day-to-day life. If anyone has any questions during this series of posts, feel free to comment and post your question and I will try to answer it either in the comments area or my next post in the series. I'm not sure how many posts I will do to make up the series, but I promise it will be enough so that people will have a better understanding of what it's like to be me.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in the Home

Merry Christmas everyone!

We had some family over for a Christmas Eve dinner last night. We are also having other family over today in a little bit. We already exchanged gifts this morning. I usually ask for things that I need, not want. This year I received new toothbrush heads for my electric toothbrush and new underwear (sorry if that's too personal for some people, but I don't mind sharing it). I also got a hat and scarf and some gift certificates from various people.

The last couple of Christmases, I've kind of been bah humbug about the whole thing. Not because I don't like Christmas, but because I don't like what it has become. I have learned over the years what Christmas is and is not about. It's not about how many gifts you give or receive. It's not about trying to top last year's gift. It's not about the decorations and the flashy wrapping paper. It's not about Santa Claus and his reindeer landing on the top of the house, him coming down the chimney in the middle of the night, eating the cookies left out, and leaving loads of presents behind. I know it is fun to receive and give and decorate and wrap and believe in magic. But it's about the real meaning of Christmas. It's about family and getting together and celebrating the birth of Jesus. It's about the love and passion and the praise that we give and receive on this one day. It has a special meaning to everyone and I think more people need to find their meaning. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope this year you all can find the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grades Online

My teacher finally finished putting in all of our points online that we got in class which means I now know my final grade. For points, I got 185/122 and my percentage is 83.33% which is a B! I got 45/60 on my final test (75%), which is extremely good compared to what I thought I got and better than the average percentage of the class which was 57%.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Standing Again

Today I stood for the first time since the week before my recent surgery on December 2. Everything has finally healed and I was able to stand for 28 minutes (14 at 70° and 14 at 90°). Normally, when a person stands after not standing for a while, their blood pressure will usually drop and they will not be able to stand for very long. That's exactly what I thought would've happened to me. I went in the stander expecting the worst and got out feeling great.

My normal blood pressure is usually around 100/60. The lowest my blood pressure got today was 68/43. That is extremely good for me considering my lowest so far in the stander was unreadable (yes, I did almost pass out). The lowest readable blood pressure was 44/31. That's when my eyes start to go black. Probably not a good thing. I am very excited to be standing again. I hope my blood pressure stays where it's supposed to.


"The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope."
-Frank Lloyd Wright

Temperature Too Low for Me

Yesterday it was 5° outside and I went Christmas shopping at the mall. Today the high is 6° and I decided not to leave the house because of it. It's a bit cold out for me. I know I have been talking a lot about the weather lately, but if you think your city is cold, you haven't been to Oymyakon. This village is considered the coldest town on earth. Here is a quote taken from this website about Oymyakon:

"The village has a population of around 800 and is located 690 meters above sea level and lies in a valley between two mountain ranges (the reason for the low temperatures). The name Oymyakon means "non-freezing water" because of the natural hot spring close to the village.

The temperature this week is pretty low and the temperature tomorrow is a chilly -63C which based on the stats at Wikipedia equals the record low for December."

I recommend watching the video below. These people are crazy to live in such frigid conditions. Now I don't think Minnesota is all that cold.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowfall in Minnesota

Here is a picture of my backyard at this time. We are experiencing a lot of snow in Minnesota. You can't exactly see the snow with the still photograph, but it's been coming down all morning. I think it's finally starting to slow down. Although, it's probably going to snow more later. This picture makes me question why I live here. I'm not a big fan of the cold, however, I think the snow is a wonderful site. Minnesota is one of the only states where you can get all four seasons in one day. I was going to go out today, but looking at the weather I decided not to.

We live on 1 acre and most of it is wooded area. Our property backs up to a reserve/park, which is nice because then we know that no one will build behind us. We also have a marsh to the left of this picture. Right before this picture was taken, I saw some people snowboarding down the hill in the background. Crazy I know. There is a path at the top of the hill that I go down when it's nice out. Hope you enjoyed seeing the outdoors from my point of view.


Friday, December 19, 2008

What is Life?

Life is an Adventure ... Dare it
Life is a Beauty ... Praise it
Life is a Challenge ... Meet it
Life is a Duty ... Perform it
Life is a Love ... Enjoy it
Life is a Tragedy ... Face it
Life is a Struggle ... Fight it
Life is a Promise ... Fulfill it
Life is a Game ... Play it
Life is a Gift ... Accept it
Life is a Journey ... Complete it
Life is a Mystery ... Unfold it
Life is a Goal ... Achieve it
Life is an Opportunity ... Take it
Life is a Puzzle ... Solve it
Life is a Song ... Sing it
Life is a Sorrow ... Overcome it
Life is a Spirit ... Realize it


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Break Time

Hello everyone.

I am finally done with my psychology class! Everyone in my class took the final on Monday, but I took it yesterday because of missing a week from being in the hospital. I asked my teacher and he said that would be fine; I figured it would give me an extra couple of days to study. The day before I took the test I looked online at the average percentage of how the class did on the final. What did I find? The average percentage that people got on the test was barely 58%. I probably shouldn't have done that because I was freaked out before my final knowing that it was going to be hard. I went in as prepared as I could have been, but it was very hard. I'm no good at true/false questions and 15 out of the 60 questions were in that format. I usually second-guess myself when there's only a choice between two answers. I don't know how I did yet but I will let you know what I got in the class as soon as I find out.

I'm excited to be on winter break. My next class, Public Speaking, doesn't start until January 13. That's a little more than three weeks of break time for me. I will probably just relax and try to get rid of my stress before my next class. Although, that is hard for some people to do around the holidays. I'm not one to get stressed over Christmas. I will spend my free time reading a good fiction novel, watching TV and movies, and hopefully getting my creative side to come out by starting up painting and crafting. I am so glad to have that surgery done with. The original surgery date was set for December 29. Now I don't have to worry about it and am able to just spend time with my family and do the things that I've wanted to do. I'm not trying to say that I can't do any of this while I'm taking my classes, but it is easier to do without the stress of homework and reading.


"The power to question is the basis of all human progress."
-Indira Gandhi

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It's kind of freaky but I'm able to look up who's visiting my site and what country or state they're in. It's quite addicting actually. I can tell how long they were on there, what they looked at, and what they clicked on to get out. I didn't know it was possible to see such private information. If you want to know who's visiting my site, click on the number of visitors on the right side of the screen. It will take you to a site called SiteMeter and you can click on the links on the left of the screen like: by location, by out clicks, by details, by world map, and so on. Once you click on one of those links, you can click on one of the numbers to see in more detail.

I am amazed at how many visitors are coming to my site. I didn't think it would become so popular so fast. I love sharing my life and thoughts with all of you. It makes me feel good to know that people are interested in what I have to say. I will keep the site up as long as I know people are reading what I'm writing. Thanks to SiteMeter, I now know that the average number of visitors is increasing every day. Thanks for all your visits and comments. Also thanks to the many who have shared my site with others.


Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Training Goes a Long Way

I have posted below a video of me and my Dad's dog, Bailey. He is a Black Labrador retriever. Talk about well trained. He responds to me extremely well. Because I am not able to give affection by petting, most animals ignore my commands and calls (including my cats). Even the service dogs (when I was trying to get one) at Helping Paws didn't respond to me as well as he does. Bailey is different. He has learned through treats to respond and listen to me when I ask him to do things. He is also a very smart dog, which helps in the learning process. He knows a lot of tricks and this is just one of the many that he will do for me. Watch in amazement as his discipline and manners shine.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lefse Making

Have any of you ever made lefse before? Man it's a lot of work. Even though I'm just the observer I still get exhausted watching people peel all those potatoes and then rice them into a bowl. I remember when I was younger watching my grandma make lefse. This weekend we made lefse. Its background is Scandinavian. If you have never made lefse before or have never seen it done, here's how it works:

You take 5 pounds of red potatoes and peel them and cut them into quarter pieces. Then you boil them until done. After they are done, you take what is called a potato ricer, and rice the potatoes. After or in between ricing, you add butter, sugar, whipping cream and salt. Sounds healthy doesn't it. You let the dough sit until room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, you take the dough and rice it once more before adding flour. Now comes the frying part. You take about a golf ball size of dough and roll it out into an extremely thin, flat pancake like form. Then you use a special stick to pick up the lefse and set it on to a heritage or lefse grill at 500°. After about 30 seconds or until bubbles appear on the top you use the stick to turn it over. After done, let it sit under a towel until cool, and then freeze in bags until ready to eat. Click here for more detailed lefse making instructions. Something to know: there are many different recipes and instructions for making lefse. You can also double or triple the recipe to make more.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Creative Juices

Lately, I haven't been in the creative mood. I need my creative juices to start flowing. I haven't painted since last summer (of 07). I am fortunate that I have found a way to express myself, however, I just haven't been in the mood. Sometimes I think it's just hauling everything out that makes me feel this way, but I need to stop making excuses. I also have a book that's sort of like a journal of quotes, poems, crafts, and other neat pictures. I haven't worked on that since last year either. What's wrong with me? Am I that busy that I don't have time for myself? Can anyone help me get my creative juices to start flowing? How do I get back in the groove of painting and crafting? I look forward to your comments. (By the way, the picture above is from 2005.)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feeling Better

I am so glad to be feeling better. I went to school on Monday and I made up a test that I missed on Friday. I also went today and got 3/4 on my quiz. Monday the 15th is my final for psychology. It is worth 60 points. I think it will be fairly hard, but I'm going to study a lot.

I have been thinking a lot about next semester. In a recent post I said that I would be taking public speaking and stress management. I decided to only take public speaking on Tuesday and Thursday and not take stress management. I can always take that during the summer, but my schedule is very busy, especially with physical therapy four days a week. I also want to have time to do some volunteer work. Plus, I think it will be a lot to handle two classes.


"I wish to live because life has with it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love."
-Lorraine Hansberry

Monday, December 8, 2008

Paddle With Might

Paddle With Might

The waters of this great river push me further and further from my beginning. I am on a journey, as my life slowly turns into a relaxation. As a bump over rocks and smoothly flow right through the ripples, I am tempted to realize what life is really all about. As I dip my paddle to and fro, I laugh and sing as my sweet innocent face glows. Life is now as it seems, peaceful as a river... happy as can be. Paddle with might.
-Jenni Taylor

One of my favorite things that I used to do before my accident was to go canoeing. I loved being on the river, paddle in hand, sharing a moment with friends, and being at peace with myself. I made up this poem before my accident, when I used to canoe all the time. I went to camp Icaghowan (a YMCA camp in Amery, Wisconsin) every summer and we would go canoeing. One summer I was a Challenger at Camp, and we went canoeing and camping on the St. Croix River forth 10 days. That was the best. I hope to someday canoe once more and experience new journeys all over again.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Inspired by Love

I would only share the best of the best sites and blogs with my readers. This blog that I'm about to share is very close to me. The writer is Karly, and she is the most intelligent, beautiful, sensational, amazing, and wonderful person I have come across. Her intellect is higher than most that I have known, and I believe she could be very famous someday with her writings. She is also a composer of eight songs via piano, which actually take her a whole year to finish. Her story will touch you and her smarts and wits will keep you interested to the end.

Her thoughts are similar to mine, in that we feel the same way on a lot of levels. Karly has Rett syndrome; she is nonverbal and legally blind. Despite her disability, Karly has beat all odds and has become in my opinion the light of many. Her blog, inspired by love, shares her opinions about what it's like for her living with a disability and also stories of moments that she has come across. I encourage you to be a frequent visitor on Karly's blog, and shower her with love and respect for the person that she is. We have become great friends through e-mail and hope to meet some day.


"All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until the no's becomes meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES."
-Nike ad

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sooner Than Expected

Well, I haven't had the best week. My last post was about my Baclofen pump. I talked about how Baclofen flows into my spinal cord via a catheter and helps control my spasms. Sunday morning at about 1:30 AM I woke up spasming. From then on, I was in full-blown spasms nonstop. I knew something wasn't right because I'm not used to spasming that much. I decided to go to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital. They didn't know what was wrong; they thought it may have been some sort of infection where my body was reacting with spasms. I was admitted within an hour.

It took 24 hours to finally figure out that I was in Baclofen withdrawal. They took an x-ray of me and found out that the catheter to the pump was kinked and that no Baclofen was getting into my spinal cord. The only way to fix it was surgery. They decided to also switch my pump out so that I wouldn't have to have another surgery in December. I spent 48 hours in Baclofen withdrawal before my surgery with nonstop, intense, muscle damaging spasms. I have bruises on my knees and feet from my legs hitting the bed rails and more bruises on my arms from blood draws and IVs. On Monday they tried to keep me as comfortable as possible and the spasms down by loading me up with Valium and Ativan. What a loopy mess I was.

After the surgery on Tuesday, I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours. The doctor told me that the catheter had actually broken in half. How that happened no one knows. It was a good thing I got there when I did. I was able to go home yesterday after recovering from surgery and getting up to the right dose of Baclofen. My surgery definitely came sooner than anyone or even I had expected. I missed three classes of lecture, including a test. My teacher told me that I could make up the test next week which I am relieved for. However, I am glad to have it done with, even though it had to happen this way.