Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanksgiving and Christmas 2007

I'm happy to report that I typed this entire blog using ERICA . I'm typing this with my eyes and I get pretty lazy with punctuation and grammar so don't tell my 6th grade English teacher. I just tell my kids that i was absent the day that they taught grammar. Ha, Ha.

I hope your Thanksgiving and Christmas was grand. Our was!

We had a massive family reunion for Thanksgiving. We joked about it being a Taylor family invasion. There's the gang from Colorado : My mom. Ellie. Bonnie. Kate. James and Ken. And from Connecticut: Matthew. His wife Kim. Her two sons from her previous marriage, Maynard and Carter. And last but not least my 8 month old grandson Peyton! ! !

It took a while for me to get used to the noise level. On the Monday before Thanksgiving was Ken's birthday. The next day was my and Hing's 19 year of marital bliss and it was Maynard's birthday. I gave Hing a GPS for our 19th and she said it was the best gift ever. No one can understand me unless they're standing directly in front of me and reading my lips. So not being able to give directions is extremely frustrating. I take pride in being able to give people directions by memorizing the major routes to many of the places that we visit of Memphis. So now that I have trouble speaking I thought a GPS would be best. So now i have ERICA, for talking and hing decided to call her GPS ERIC, for giving her directions. ERICA is set to a females voice and Hing's is set to an Australian males voice. It was funny that the first time we went out with ERIC, i was attempting to tell everybody that I knew a shorter route. To bad I didn't have ERICA with me to tell ERIC what to do! !

My family really gives me such great support. They are so positive and of course it's wonderful to have one's mom here , I've always had a good relationship with my mom, sisters and their hubbies. One thing I really love about Hing's and my family is there is no drama or feuds. We can be ourselves and everyone accepts us for what we are. I can imagine that is not the case for other families. It was hard to see everyone leave.

I'm entering a very scary part of ALS, as i loose all of my independence. it was bad in September. So I went to the doctor and he gave new drug that is for people who have Malaria, so I had to get special permission. My problem was I was coughing out of control due to my diaphragm muscle were triggering a spasm. So now I'm stable. the drug has a benefit in that it causes dry mouth , which is wonderful for me since I have a tendency to drool now that I'm having trouble swallowing. i love this time of the year because of the temperature. It makes it easier for me to breath and now that I'm stable with my medicine, I'm sleeping much better. I'm not coughing and drooling as much anymore. There is a downside with the cooler weather, my muscles are stiff and my legs are cold all the time. I usually wear a blanket over my legs all day.
I came to realized that there is a reason why I am able to stand and breath (my legs and diaphragm are strong). It's because when I was in high school and college, I lived in Colorado and every chance I got, I would go backpacking or biking and over the years I gained strength in my legs and lungs. And now I'm convinced that had a lot to do with my muscle strength. So I'm very thankful that my family moved to Colorado.

ERICA and I are getting along fine. It took about two months to get to this point where can finish this BLOG. I am glad I have patience and the experts at Eye Response Technologies were extremely helpful. I think that I'm typing faster now than I did with my joystick. We're still working a few issues but i think within a few weeks I'll be beyond any major obstacles. A really cool thing about ERICA is it allows me to change the layout of the keyboard. Some of you may have received an email from me that was not complete. My sister's husband called it premature emailulation. Chris and I solved that problem by changing the position of the TAB key in the online keyboard. I think we solved that problem and i owe Chris a big thank you for helping me. I'm pretty sure it won't happen again. People kid with me and tell me that ERICA is a red head! because she demands a lot of attention.

Chris is taking drum lessons and he really gets into it. He practices everyday on his electric drum set. I was a drummer in 5th and 6th grade . Not to many people know that I played drums in a rock and roll band. We played at the 5th and 6th grade dances. Well, he's already passed me with his drumming skills a long time ago. I'm very proud of him. I hope to put a song on this site as soon as possible. With the money Chris received from Christmas, he went to the store and bought a game called Rock Band. It's a game that comes with a drum, guitar, and a microphone. The object to the game is to follow the prompts for each instrument. The singer follows along like karaoke. The game keeps up with how well you are doing and scores appropriately. Before the day was done, Chris was playing in the expert level on drums and guitar. Even Hing tried playing the guitar. What I like about the game is the music, almost all the songs are classic rock and roll.

I usually don't say much about Matthew because he was away under the sea for a long long time. Well he is back on land and should be for at least a year. That's a good thing, it will give him time to be a good father. He has an instant family with two in diapers. Oh boy. Kim and I stay in touch through email. She has four boys to deal with. It's a good thing that she had older brothers when she was growing up. Peyton is in good hands, Kim's parents live in the area. They all live in Groton, a Navy town. Remember the movie staring Julia Roberts, called Mystic Pizza where she worked at a pizza joint called Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT. Well that town is right next to Groton.

Nicole won first place in her school for art. The title of the contest is Reflections. Nicole made a colored pencil drawing of cleaning the world of pollution. The unique part of the drawing was the people surrounding the earth, it took Nicole many days to draw. I recognized Abe Lincoln. Well, we just found out that Nicole placed in the county! We will find out where she placed at the Shelby county award ceremony next month. Yeah for Nicole!!

Here are some pictures from Christmas. The kids said this was the best Christmas ever. I have to admit, it was a wonderful for Hing and me. When Chris and Nicole are happy that makes us happy. Thanks to our Christmas Angels we were able to make Christmas even more special for Chris and Nicole.

Here's one of my favorites , Nicole is helping me open my presents.

Hing is my hero.