Archive | March 2012

Eudaímōn which meant “a good or benevolent spirit.”

Today’s Dictionary.com word is one I could really use today! But then, I tend toward a “funk” on cloudy days.

eudemonia \yoo-di-MOH-nee-uh\ , noun:
1. Happiness; well-being.
2. Aristotelianism. Happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.

From Aristotle, eudemonia comes from the Greek word eudaímōn which meant “a good or benevolent spirit.”

Happiness; well-being, yes it is a state of mind we all strive for. However, occasionally the “dark side” sneaks up on you and you have to work just a tad harder to get past it. So, here’s to the Greek meaning – that a good or benevolent spirit watches over all of us.

OK, I’ve told you folks that I have epilepsy and why I started my business. But I don’t believe that I told you what the cause was.

My Mom was killed by a drunk driver on March 31, 1990. She and a roommate (Mom and Dad were divorced) were celebrating Mom’s birthday – which was on the 28th. Since Mom was an only child, and my Grandparents were living in Florida (she had just gotten back from visiting them) it fell to me to handle many things. Over time when Grandpa’s health got worse, Grandma would call me. Then when her health got bad and caused her death…

Well, stress and my blood sugar drops to an alarming low rate triggered my first seizure. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

But, the true reason for today’s funk. This year the events from 1990 fall on the same days of the week.

  • Mom’s birthday 3/28 was on Wednesday
  • Thursday we picked her up at the airport from her visit with G&G (nick name for Grandma & Grandpa). She was excited that she got to spend her birthday with them. Mom and I made plans to get together on Saturday to go over everything from her trip.
  • Friday night Mom and her roommate Sandy went out to celebrate Mom’s birthday. Neither lady had a blood alcohol level.
  • Around 2:30am Saturday they hit – head on the drunk driver that killed them. Mom and Sandy died instantly.
  • As you can imagine all day Saturday was a mass of planning to be done. The kind of stuff no one wants to do. Including having to call G&G.
  • Mom’s funeral was Tuesday April 3, 1990.

Normally these days don’t bother me. I’ve gotten past “it” and really no longer wish ill of the drunk driver. Yes, I know his name, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that, I just won’t mention it here. What I do now, and have for a couple of years, is hope that he’s turned his life around for the better.

So, yes I will get past this mood (it helps when I write) and here’s to the Greek word eudaímōn which meant “a good or benevolent spirit.” Here’s to my good spirits watching over me: Mom, G&G. I love you and miss you all.

YELD* and YELGD*

*Means Your Ever Loving Daughter/Your Ever Loving Granddaughter

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Yep, That’s a Keeper!

This unseasonably warm March weather here in Michigan is the inspiration for this article. Now, obviously great photo taking tips are good year-round, but we are getting close to those warm weather vacation days!

I’ve had the “photo bug” since I was a little girl and it’s all because of the man in the picture; my Grandpa. He loved taking pictures – of everything! He and Grandma gave me my first camera – a Kodak 110. I learned to develop B&W film – I was his dark room buddy. So, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about photography to help you take great pictures.

You need smarts, know-how and (lots of) patience to shoot fabulous vacation pictures – even with that fancy new digital camera you have. The digital cameras allow you to add photo effects and make them more interesting.

One of the main things you have to do – have freshly charged (or new) batteries! When you go on vacation take an extra set of batteries and that charger. There is the option of investing in a long-lasting, clip-on rechargeable Lithium Ion power pack. (it can be used with most digital cameras – make sure yours is one of them first) To help the battery charge last longer – shoot the “old-fashioned” way – use that view finder! That LCD screen eats up a LOT of power. However there are times when it’s best to use that LCD screen – those close-ups need the fine view an LCD provides. Going to a foreign country? Just like any other electrical device, you need to know what kind of power adapter you’ll need – what will work best for your battery charger.

Another biggie I can’t emphasize enough: protect your gear!! Digital cameras and water don’t mix! All that electronic circuitry has never liked water/moisture. Carry your camera/gear in a water-proof bag. Add a silica gel pack to further reduce moisture (from the air). When going through airport security, (just like film) put the memory cards in the provided plastic tray. Let the staff know what they are, you want the card to avoid x-rays, metal detectors, or anything with a magnetic field.

While I’m on the subject of memory cards – you can’t have too much memory (just like there’s no such thing as too much film). You can always get a larger capacity card, conserve space by using lower resolution for those shots you’ll only want either small prints of or email. Another thing many people forget; clear the card of previous pictures. Also remember, you can delete shots as you go. You know, did Aunt Carol blink at the wrong time? Did something blow across the scene as you were taking the picture? Delete them and re-take.

Above all, know your camera! Sound silly? Most digital cameras don’t take the picture the split second you click the shutter. (those of us who learned to take pictures on a SLR/film camera really had to learn this one) You have to be better at anticipating those action/once in a life-time shots. If you have doubts about exposure setting – err toward underexposure (too dark). Remember, with digital pictures it’s very easy to change the resolution/brightness. Take advantage of those manual settings. The faster the speed the better the stop action. However, a slow shutter speed allows for a nice blur that implies movement – like taking waterfall pictures. Then there’s always the panorama settings – these help you line up for the optimal photo.

Composition is another biggie. You want the main subject to take up the frame. There’s nothing worse than taking a picture of your honey with background and you can’t find your honey because there’s too much background. (You know, you can’t see the forest for the trees.) Also, your subject doesn’t have to be centered in the frame. Keep in mind the composition of the picture tells a story all by itself. (Yes, I took this picture.)

Timing is everything when taking your photos. Do you want awesome sunrise/sunset pictures? These work best within the half to one hour before sunrise or after sunset. The lighting is more dramatic. REMEMBER when you’re doing these types (or any) low-light shots, use a tripod. You need to keep the camera steady as you’re using slower shutter speeds. Also, are you on a foreign vacation? Do you want to take pictures of the local people? Ask them first! Most will agree, but be polite. Find out in advance about any special events in the area you’re visiting, more photo-ops!

Oh, and for the record, I love my 35mm SLR! It’s just increasingly harder to find places to develop film. My “monster” of a camera bag? It has shoulder and waist straps – yes it’s that big (I try to pare down for trips) and looks something like this one. So now the mission will be to find a digital camera that will handle all those lenses I have. Have fun on your travels, and take some wonderful pictures to save your moments.

Epilepsy and Depression

This blog will be a little different. You see I’ll be discussing depression. Much of this blog comes from an informational article found on the Epilepsy Foundation website. This will describe a few people (me included) rolled into one person who I will call Abby.

Abby has had epilepsy for many years and is on 2 medications to control her seizures. Like all medications there are side effects, one that ALL anti-seizure medications seem to share is depression. And if that’s not enough, just having epilepsy alone can be a cause for depression. You see, the seizures Abby has may come from an emotion center of the brain. According to the article found on the Epilepsy Foundation website, people with epilepsy may be more likely than other people to experience emotional changes.

How often seizures happen also plays a role in depression. People who have seizures frequently may be more likely to feel depressed than people who have well-controlled seizures. Even though Abby’s seizures are (currently) controlled, she still suffers from bouts of depression. As anyone with epilepsy can attest, after your first seizure (even if you try to deny it’s now a real part of your life) you worry to varying degrees “will I have another seizure?” “when will it happen?” These thoughts alone can be a cause of depression.

Lifestyle risk factors are also important in the development of depression in people with epilepsy. In one study, four factors were linked to depression: poor adjustment to seizures, increases in stressful life events, financial stress and being a woman.

In addition, people who feel “controlled” by their epilepsy and feel that it dominates their lives may be more susceptible to mood disorders.

People with Epilepsy and Depression

The results of studies to find out how many people with epilepsy have a mood disorder such as depression vary widely, ranging anywhere from 11 percent to 60 percent. A lot depends on how depression is defined and the groups of people being studied—for example, hospitalized patients or those in outpatient clinics.

Research also shows that people with epilepsy who are depressed often are not diagnosed. About 50 percent of the time they are never treated for the problem. In Abby’s case, it’s because she feels that the feelings will go away, and she’s embarrassed to feel this way in the first place. Abby never had issues before. She was great at handling stress, doing her job, juggling everything thrown her way, why should she admit to yet another fault/flaw in her make up (you see, that’s how she views her epilepsy – a flaw in her biological make up).

Depression: A Checklist

So now Abby has to ask herself, am I suffering from depression? Here are the questions she should be asking.

  • Do I have long bouts of sadness? Do I cry for no reason?
  • Have I lost my interest or joy in life?
  • Have I had changes in eating habits resulting in major loss or gain in weight?
  • Have I had a change in my sleeping habits resulting in difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much?
  • Am I irritable, anxious?
  • Do I have difficulty getting things started?
  • Do I have a lack of energy? Am I always tired?
  • Do I have low self-worth, or a loss of hope? Do I feel inappropriately guilty?
  • Do I have poor concentration? Is it difficult for me to make decisions?
  • Do I have thoughts of death or suicide that won’t go away?

YIKES! Yes, folks, I will be honest with you, I have felt yes is the answer to 9 out of 10 of the above list. Most only last 1-4 days.

Abby answered yes to five or more of these questions and feels this way continuously for 2 or more weeks. According to the article, she may be suffering from a major depressive disorder. Abby had felt for a long time that her family and friends were right – she should just “snap out of it, no reason to be depressed.” There are times when Abby is afraid to say anything because she’s afraid she won’t get the understanding/support she really needs. You see, because of having epilepsy for so long, her support system may be numb to her depression – they’ve seen it for so long. So, many times Abby “fakes” feeling good so that no one will really know what’s going on.

Abby needs to contact her doctor because treatment may be needed.

People who have infrequent or less intense symptoms of depression may also require treatment. Watch your own reactions to the world around you. If you feel that some of the listed symptoms are getting in the way of your enjoyment of life, especially the quality of your relationships with others, then you may be suffering from depression.

Fortunately, there are effective ways of treating depression. It is important to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and ask about treatments that might help. Just because a side-effect of your medication may be one of the items on the above list, do not discount it. Yes, I know that you may have gone through a lot of medications to get to the point that your seizures are controlled. You may be willing to put up with the feeling that the person you were before the seizures is gone forever. But, is it worth it? It could get tiring putting up a false front because you think you need to recreate the person you once were. Seek help from your doctor, it might be an easy thing to correct.