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Saturday, July 2, 2011

POWER-LESS IN MESA!

The transformer that feeds us (and the whole East Valley) electricity blew up Thursday. Exploded. Caught fire. Billowed black smoke. Even the cell towers were out. The power was off here for about seven hours. I think it was around 110 F. Our house stayed okay inside. And the fridge was fine, but it made us realize how dependent we are on electricity for everything. I want solar panels and batteries! So I'm way behind on posting.

Please forgive me! I'll catch up after the 4th of July. Have a happy holiday everyone.

Here's something cool, though, I wanted to share with you. I'm one of the featured authors on LDSTORYMAKERS' website this week. Scroll down the bottom of the page, and there I am smiling beside CAYMAN SUMMER!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Visit to Margaret's Blog and Underwater Thailand

Today, I'm delighted to visit author Margaret Larsen's blog. She's running a three-part interview starting today. Margaret's novel, SAVE THE CHILD, is about a family's legal battle to get the treatment they want for their child with cancer. Margaret is a medical professional and knows what she's talking about. Margaret also started the group, Writer's Unite To Fight Cancer, which organizes fundraising efforts and author events around the Valley of the Sun. I'm honored to be associated with them. I'll teach at their July 19th Publishing Workshop at the Shea Barnes & Noble in Scottsdale, AZ.  I wish I could see all of you there!! Please, stop by Margaret's blog. It's the next best thing.

Here's some AMAZING underwater Thailand photos that were taken with a big strobe to reveal the amazing diversity and life in those waters. You don't see soft corals like this in the Caribbean.

Oh, and I promised to recount my misadventures. When you dive in Thailand, the boats are big (see yesterday's photos and the sunset shot below), and you go out all day on them. Dive in the morning. Relax and have lunch. Dive in the afternoon. Motor back to port. After a second dive full of fun swim-throughs, we spotted some small blue whales close by. Cool. The boat pulled up and all the buff, young dive guides strapped on their fins and masks and swam to see them. I am not one to be left behind, so I swam out, too. No whales. Swim back. Pick up the rest of the divers who were bopping on the surface waiting for the boat.

About an hour after the dive, I started feeling awful. I had a pounding headache and my hand tingled. I get migraines, so I didn't think anything of it. But the hand tingling didn't stop. My nose started to tingle. When my left thigh went numb, I made my husband go find the head dive guide. Instant concern. He put me on pure oxygen right away. They called the hospital and an ambulance met the boat. They took me to a hospital with a state-of-the-art dive medicine clinic. The doctor confirmed our fears. I had decompression sickness--better known as the bends.

I had to go in the decompression chamber twice. There chamber was a big, clear plastic tube. I could see out and watch movies. I was fine for a couple hours--but I got claustrophobic and made them let me out to go to the bathroom. They couldn't get me to go back in. I remember telling the doctor I was done, and he said, "That's okay, we'll give you an injection." They shot something into my hand, and the next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital bed. For the next session in the chamber, they gave me a sedative to begin with.

Kind of a vacation wrecker, huh. Mom rushed to the hospital. The specialist there said the swim post-dive could have caused the attack, but it was most likely because I'm a female over forty. That's the highest risk category. Great. I only dive nitrox now. That makes a difference. I didn't use it that day.

The whole disaster did give me a great, great scene for UNBROKEN CONNECTION and the perfect reason to get Michael to visit Leesie in Utah. The hospital stuff is authentic--right down to the funny Thai nurses. I'm NOT posting pictures of how hideous I looked in the hospital. Sorry, I have my pride.

The doctors said I'd feel like a truck hit me for at least a month--yup. I was whacked. I still have slight residual nerve damage in my leg. I have to be super careful when I dive and always, always use nitrox.

The next trip we took to Thailand, my wonderful husband drove north with me up to the port the boats that go out to the Similans leave from. Watch for that next post.

Here's wonderful, amazing photos of undersea creatures and corals. I guess corals are technically creatures, too. Enjoy!



































This is me signaling I'm okay at the end of a dive.


Can't beat those sunsets. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Come Dive with me in Thailand!


It's summer time and I wish I was diving. Here's the dive photographer's pictures of the first day of diving we spent in Phuket.  Notice how green and murky the water seems. That's what Michael calls, "vis" or visibility. Contrast the murk with the clear, blue underwater pictures my husband took in Grand Cayman that I posted earlier. 

The cool thing about diving in Thailand is the stunning soft corals. The photographer gave us photos he took with a strobe, too. I'll share some of those tomorrow. But for today . . . hop on the boat. It's leaving. Let's get wet.


 


 









Okay, enough sight-seeing. Time for the dive briefing. Get ready, get set, DIVE!!



My hubby and I as the dive begins. Notice the vis isn't too bad yet because the sunlight can still penetrate.





But as we got down to the wreck, this is what it looked like:







Yep. That's me.

I'm on the right. Notice my awesome streamlining!

That's me on the left this time. More awesome streamlining! If you flail your arms and let your equipment float around you, it wastes energy and creates drag. You've got to get that tank of air to last. Conserve!





Darn. The dive is over. They always end too soon. 



Tune in tomorrow for fantastic shots of soft corals and what happened on our second day diving on that trip.