A Little Spaced Out
Updated: Jun 21
A lot has happened since my last check-in (before we released our third podcast episode). I began pushing on that flywheel and am making progress. I had some balancing acts between vacation and major work on our house. Although I'm feeling great, there's no mistaking the fact that my current regimen is becoming less effective. My guess is that my score may go down a bit for my August visit and I end up on a higher dose of Ropinerole. I'm at 12mg per day and I believe the upper limit is 24mg. We'll see!
My left side is getting worse. My tremor is now fairly constant throughout the day. I'm experiencing more episodes of waking up with numb fingers on both hands. I am still able to type fairly well (the fact that I've switched from my laptop keyboard to an external one has helped tremendously). It's very touch-and-go for me to type on my phone. My fingers just don't work the way I want them to. I'm starting to get more comfortable with voice dictation instead.
My left foot has been cramping more frequently and severely, and I developed an intermittent tremor in my left leg. They say, "When it rains, it pours" and it certainly seems like a lot has been going on. However, I'm optimistic as I continue with more consistent intense exercise and tweak my medication levels that I'll be able to counter these symptoms for now. I look forward to hiking more, training more, and enjoying the abilities that I do have. I'm doing everything that I can to slow the progression of the disease while science struggles to find a cure or just a way to stop it. I'm brainstorming creative ways to raise funds for my campaign because every dollar goes directly to finding the cure.
I share these updates for a record of my progress, but don't be fooled: I am very blessed and am not dwelling on my symptoms but instead celebrate what I am able to do. For example, nothing was able to hold me back from visiting the Oregon coast with my two ladies, Doreen and Pepper.
The Oregon Coast
The Pacific Northwest is amazing and beautiful. As much as I love Washington's coast, driving a few hours south is still a favorite destination because the Oregon coastline is simply stunning. We started our journey by exploring the area between Otter Rock and Lincoln City. We stayed at a beautiful golf resort (and I don't watch or play golf, but golfers seem to like their comforts so we took advantage of them) and Pepper enjoyed the fire pit.
Driving down the coast was amazing. Here's a mini-gallery of a few of the shots I captured.
We took Pepper to the Devil's Churn, an area that features a spout that sprays as the waves crash in.
In the same area is the famous Thor's Well. Some photos on the web make it look like a huge hole that is swallowing the ocean. Here's my humble take.
After a few days there, we drove north to Oceanside. The puppy needs her bathroom breaks, so we stopped at a beautiful rest area.
It was in Oceanside that we celebrated our 23rd anniversary together. Our marriage is truly a blessing from God and grows stronger every year. Our celebration was low key. We watched a beautiful sunset while the International Space Station zoomed though the sky. Yes, it just looks like a bright dot in real life too.
The video doesn't give the sunset full credit. So, here is a better memory.
The next morning we sipped wine on the deck. The arches were carpeted in mist.
We decided to return home early, and went on our first (short, one mile) hike of the season at a local park. We came across a very interesting tree. This is just one side, the others are captured in my Instagram account.
That evening was exceptionally clear, so I brought out my telescope (Stellina) and plugged it in for a night of stargazing. She was perfectly level on the beer barrels we converted to table tops with a custom cedar surface (this one had its cover on).
I imaged several different targets, including M13, a globular star cluster that I observed two other occasions. Using software, I combined the new exposures with the old ones and processed this image.
I also discovered a site called iTelescope.net that provides remote access to several observatories around the world. For a fee, you can rent the telescopes and program a sequence of images. They ran a special with triple points on sign-up so I jumped into a trial with enough credits to run a telescope for one hour. I decided to image NGC6960, the Veil Nebula (also known as the Witch's Broom). I took multiple 140 second exposures using a luminance (just captures light intensity), red, green, and blue filter. I combined the channels and processed in PixInsight. The result took my breath away...
Wait, let me back up. One of my first imaging sessions with Stellina included NGC6960. I don't have the raw files and I knew nothing about processing, so this was the best I could do:
Now let's take a look at what just under one hour of exposure on a high-end filtered telescope can do.
I was blown away by the intricate details of the nebula and how busy the starfield is. The capture was also low resolution because I used a 2x2 binning (a technique that reduces noise by averaging nearby pixel sensors at the tradeoff of halving the resolution). With my remaining credits, I chose another nebula for it's brightness and detail, M27 (the "Dumbbell" nebula). I also went with the higher resolution 1x1 binning. Again, I was stunned with the result.
I might be using those remote observatories a bit more! I don't just look to the skies for beautiful objects to photograph. Some of them are in our own backyard! Here's a local nebula that just bloomed during a window of sunshine. Meet the poppy!
And that's all, folks.