Saturday, November 15, 2014

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Okay, so here is my question:
Considering the fact that I am a musician....and that is how I make a living,
if I go blind and deaf....will I be eligible for disability?
So, most of us are aware of the fact that I am well on my way to "deaf."
I wish I was kidding about that.  I guess I approach that in the same way that I approach my mother's Alzheimer's.....I try to find the humor in it, and remember that things could be worse.
If I didn't, it would probably crush me.
I mean, come on...who wants a partially deaf musician?
I realize that Beethoven pulled it off....but he also pulled "crazy" off, and I'm guessing people were not sure what to make of the guy. Oh, and he was a musical he had that going for him.
I really had no intention of writing about my hearing (quite honestly, I sat down with no plan as to what I would write about.) but perhaps I will just roll with it for a bit.  It's kind of interesting?
When I was in 3rd grade, I had my tonsils and adenoids out, had tubes put in my ears, and got glasses.  (Just reading that makes ME feel sorry for the pathetic little dork I must have been.  Two years later, add braces to the mix.)

I was the queen of ear infections.  I still remember the day I got the tubes, coming home, and for the first time, hearing the wood floors squeak.
I had never heard that before.  There were so many little sounds I had no idea even existed.
I'm sure I never had perfect hearing, and my ear drums had some damage due to the number of infections I had.  I did seem to outgrow those, however....
until my senior year in college.  While student teaching I got a horrible ear infection that blew out my ear drum. (Funny what all of those little kiddie germs will do to you!  I thought I was going to die.)  That was the first of 3-4 bad ear drum perforations that would cause me to lose hearing in my right ear for about a week.  I am sure the fact that I had played in rock bands all through college didn't help my hearing at all either.
About 15 years ago, I had a stapendectomy.  I was diagnosed with otosclorosis, which is where the stapes bone no longer vibrates like it should.  They remove it from your inner ear, and replace it with a pin.  The bone is about the size of the tip of your pinkie fingernail.  However, because it is in the inner ear, it messes with your equilibrium so badly, that for about a week after the surgery, I couldn't move without feeling like I was being knocked to the floor.
It was lots of fun!
It made some improvement in my left ear, but during the surgery on my right, the Dr. found that my facial nerve was lying on top of my stapes bone.  Rather than risk facial paralysis, he sewed me up, and stopped the procedure.
My hearing in that ear progressively got worse, to the point where I 
would have what felt like panic attacks when put in a situation where I would have to answer questions, or lead a rehearsal, or really, anything that 
involved interacting with a group of people, because I was so worried about looking stupid if I couldn't hear them.
I tried a hearing aid, but it didn't help a ton, it was annoying, and I felt like I was 90, because you could see it.
Finally, about 3 years ago, I learned of a newer surgery that involved implanting an abutment in the bone behind your ear, and attaching a box, similar to a cochlear implant, called a baha.  It sounded tropical and fun, so I figured "why not?"  It turned out that my hearing through my ear was terrible, but my hearing through the bone (you know how they put the headphones behind your ear to test whatever that is called when you have a hearing test?) was normal.
Weird huh?
So, I was a perfect candidate.
To have a screw drilled into my scull.
And a magic hearing box snapped onto it.
I figured this was going to be a breeze.  The Dr. would take a drill, bore a hole in my head, stick the little thingy in my skull, and we would be done.
He forgot to mention the fact that he was also going to make sure the area behind my ear was as flat as it could be, so the baha would lay flat against the bone.  I noticed this when I felt the row of stitches that started at the screw, and ended at the bottom of my hairline.  He had removed whatever had been there before. (bone? muscle? tissue? brain?)
Oh, and the best part.....the entire area had been shaved.  And yes, my hair was nice and long at that time.  I looked GORGEOUS!
I stocked up on cool bandanas and scarves and cute flower thingys to cover up the box once I was healed enough to get it.
Once they snapped it on my head (3 months later) I realized that anything that even touched the damn thing made it feed back, and it would make this high pitched "I am a little piggy, and I know you plan to make bacon out of me" squeal.
So much for beautifying my box.
This was the contraption they sent me home in.  It worked great, as I could sleep and not have to worry about bumping any of my owies.
And then my dog ate it.

This is a few months after the surgery.  All healed up....but still pretty bald there.  See the little screw thingy?

And the box.  I will never wear my hair in an up-do again. :(((

My hearing is WAY better with my magic box....but it still isn't great.  I have to pop both ears if I really want to hear well. And I have tinnitus, so they both ring very loudly, and constantly.  I think that may be a lot of what covers up sounds when I'm trying to hear.  It sounds like I have a head full of grasshoppers and cicadas....all the time.  You know how loud they can be right?  Image that in your head.
It really explains my need for prozac, doesn't it?  (Is there anyone out there who will prescribe the stuff for me?!!) ;)
I am pretty sure that my ear issues will probably keep me from trying or pursuing some things in life that I otherwise would have.  
I know that I always feel bad when I have to ask someone to repeat themselves.  And I hate talking on the phone. (I think I would hate that anyway.) For me, texting was the greatest invention ever, because it's quick, to the point, and I can READ it, rather than listen to it.  
I also keep the subtitles on the TV all the time, just because it seems like so many movies are SO loud when there is music in the background, and then SO soft when it's just dialogue.  I hate constantly adjusting the volume.  Reading it is easier, and you never miss a word. ;)
I find that the worst place for me to hear someone is in a large space.  Like a theater or a church.....if someone is speaking to me from across the room, I can never make out what they are saying.
Guess where I work 98% of the time?!
Theaters and churches, of course. Ugh.
So, if you see me popping my ears...that means I actually want to hear you.
If I don't...well, we won't talk about that. ;)
Fortunately, my ear woes haven't taken a toll on my music. (yet.)
Vocally...I can still hear everything in my head just fine, so that's great.  The piano is no problem.  Hearing Mark's trombone, which I have the pleasure of hearing right now...this very second, is, sadly, completely audible as well.  In fact, at times like these, I might actually consider deafness a gift.
I tell ya, being able to take off my box, and reduce the volume of loud, annoying, headache inducing, "oh dear God, why the hell are you playing that damn trombone so loud right at the bottom of the stairs so I have to listen to every note" sounds is pretty darn convenient.  
If only I had a box for the other ear right now.
By the end of this painful warm-up session (because that's all he does....warm-up.  He never actually plays music...because that might be enjoyable to listen to!) I may need a screw drilled in the other side of my head.
Briefly: blindness.
My eye doctor says I'm not blind.
But I am one step away from bifocals.
Let's just say I no longer wear my glasses (which I have worn since 3rd grade, if you recall) when I read at night.  My arms are't long enough to hold the book away from my face so I can see it.  And it's horribly uncomfortable.
Getting old sucks.
I promised I would tell you about Mark's breathing tube. (He may need a real one if he doesn't stop playing soon.) 

Two days ago, he had this long hose-like thing he was carrying around.  It sort of looked like the tube you hook up in the back of your fridge to your water supply....but it was bigger in circumference.  I didn't ask what it was for. (I figured it was best to not even start that conversation.)
Yesterday, he sent a text that says "My breathing tube works great!"
Huh? it is.  He breathes through his fancy tube so he doesn't fog up his hockey helmet as he rides his BICYCLE to and from work.
And hey, if he gets thirsty, he can stop at kwik trip and get himself a slushy, and he doesn't even need a straw!  He has a tube!! 
It's a multi-purpose tube!!

Here is his back-pack that has it's own vest.  (He forgot his vest there are usually two yellow vests going on with this get-up.)
I am currently taking suggestions for back-pack buddy names.  I mean, come on....he has a obviously he needs a name!

I wish he had his vest on, so you could get the whole picture...but at any rate, he looks like a character that you would find in Star Wars, Episode the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine.  (and yes, I looked that up.  I asked my son what planet that "bar from Star Wars was on" and then sang the song from that scene.  He looked at me (down at me) and said "Mom. It's a cantina.  And it's on Tatooine.)  Duh mom.
Just so you know, it is all spelled correctly, because I felt the need to be sure.
Please excuse me now, as I go shove a spaghetti squash in the bell of that damn trombone.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

In The Moment

I just returned from my choir rehearsal.  We have been working on Advent and  Christmas music for the past month, and since the weather has now decided it is officially winter, I will write in a lovely, holiday red.
This has been an interesting week.
Nothing exceptional or unusual....yet, things feel a little different somehow.
To begin with, I haven't had one headache.  This is unheard of.  I don't typically get full blown migraines every week (when I'm lucky) but it is very normal for me to have a consistent, somewhat mild, yet unrelenting headache every single day.  I can usually ease it by popping a couple over the counter migraine pills....but I can only imagine the damage pumping that much ibuprofen or acetaminophen into my system everyday has done to my stomach.
It can't be good.
Anyway, this new "diet" I am trying out seems to be really helping with the headaches.  It could totally be a fluke, but it will be interesting to see as time goes on.
It sure is a lot of work being healthy though.  
As if I didn't have enough trouble planning meals when I wasn't trying to eliminate any ingredients.  Processed, pre-packaged food is EASY!
I'm attempting to keep anything that comes in a package/can/bag/whatever under 2 grams of sugar per serving.
That pretty much eliminates everything. ;)
Actually, it's not so bad.  I am finding it to be a fun little challenge I am throwing at myself.  Typically, I would say screw it in about 3-5 days....but considering I have been feeling so much better, I think this one might stick.
I had to play for a funeral today.  It was for a man who was killed when his 4-wheeler flipped on him.  I didn't know him, or any of the family members.  (It was not at the church I work at.)
I am usually pretty darn steady at funerals. Since I typically have to play and sing at them, I have become pretty good at putting up my "wall" so I don't get over emotional.  It's hard to sing when you are sobbing.
 Playing for funerals is actually my favorite part of my job.  I suppose that sounds morbid, but it is true.
I think one of the greatest comforts I can give a grieving family is beautiful music for their final farewell and tribute to their loved one.  
It's hard to come up with the right words to say, or know how to act when a friend has lost someone they love.
I do love how it is just human instinct to bring food....since that has always been one thing that brings people together.  I wonder if that is where the term "comfort food" originated?  It would make sense to me.  
I think music has that same power.  It has the ability to convey thoughts and feelings through it's soothing melodies....and it wraps around us like gentle arms, embracing us, and giving us comfort.
I found myself wiping tear after tear as this man's family spoke of their love for him.  All I could think about was how much I hurt for them...knowing that loss, wishing they didn't have to endure it....not yet.  He obviously had so much living left to do.
His son spoke of how he had been his dad's little buddy from day one, and as he got older, he noticed that whenever they were in the truck driving, his dad never turned the radio on.  He asked his dad why he did that, to which he replied that he never wanted to miss an opportunity for a conversation with his kids.  The radio makes it easy to ignore each other.  He wanted to spend that time together talking to each other.
My heart broke, knowing that this man, now a father himself, had lost his very best friend.  
I wonder if that hour I spent watching this family grieve from my spot in the choir loft perhaps was part of the reason I am feeling a shift....a change taking place in me.
I spent the afternoon being ridiculously productive, and turned my disaster of an office at church into a completely organized space. 
(This should last at least until....Dec. 26th)
While I was driving back to La Crosse for a rehearsal, it started to snow.
Snow globe, Charlie Brown, great big, perfect snow.
Giant snowflakes were falling from the sky, and it was magical.  It had just started to get a little darker out, I had this lulling piano music playing in the car, and I had a few moments of pure, undiluted joy.

I wish those moments could be bottled....or stretched out, so you can just bask in the beauty of them.
I suppose that is the beauty of them.  The fact that they are just moments.

Thursday night is when my church choir rehearses.
Even though I am typically the youngest person in attendance, you would swear I was the only adult, teaching a bunch of middle school kids.  
Especially the men.
The Basses, to be exact.
They sit in the back row.....and they cause lots of trouble.
I should mention that my husband is one of them.
He is probably the worst of them all....and definitely the ringleader.
And when he isn't there, they act like little lost sheep.
He is the one who always raises his hand (I love that he raises his hand!) and asks questions.  He is also the one who is too busy gabbing to even know what song we are on half the time.
But my very favorite part of the night (and you can bet that at some point in every rehearsal, this will, indeed, occur.) is when I look up, and see the entire back row's shoulders bopping up and down, and their heads bowed, because they are laughing (usually at something Mark does) and he is always in the middle of the bunch, wiping his eyes, because he is laughing so hard, he is crying.
Usually it's over something stupid, like they can't find their starting pitch, so they are all fishing around, and it crashes and burns, and they think that is hilarious.  Often times, it is because they can't read notes and words (and rhythms) at the same time.
A couple weeks ago we were singing "Just As I Am."  
The refrain ends "and I'm welcomed with open arms, praise God, just as I am."
Well, Mark slipped up and sang "and I'm welcomed with broken arms, praise God, just as I am."
It took about 10 minutes to get the choir re-focused after that one.
I am so glad he is in my choir. :)
So....back to this big paradigm shift I seem to be having.
It's weird, because it's something I always try to do...but am terrible at.
I have been feeling it little by little, but today it definitely took me by surprise.
I was finally living in the moment.  TRULY living in the moment...and enjoying it.  Not thinking about what I was going to do next....or rushing through anything.
Just simply being where I was, and being completely present and content.
I realize that sounds kind of cliche.  Kind of the "good for you....those self help books have infiltrated your brain, and you have connected with your chi and should probably go light some incense and meditate while you are feeling so in tune with yourself."
But it wasn't like that.  I didn't even feel like doing yoga. Or playing the sitar.
I felt....clear.  In the head.  Yep.
Whatever is going on with me (aka: I eat a lot of squash now?) has cleared my head.  It seriously feels like someone gave my forehead a colonoscopy prep. (but in my got that, right?)
And I didn't have to stay anywhere near a bathroom, or drink any gross whatever that stuff is that they give you.  (I have heard stories...thank God I have not experienced the real deal yet.)  I think I will stick with my happy little forehead cleanse.
So there you have it.  I have no idea what is going on.
But I like it. :) the way.  IT'S FRIDAY!!! 

Tomorrow I will tell you about Mark's fancy air tube he added to his hockey/bike/alien helmet.
There are no words.......

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Getting Over the Hump

It will have passed by the time you read this, so I feel it is okay to say it:
I hate Wednesdays.
I always have.
I think there are several things that factor into my general disdain for this particular day.
First of all, let's just discuss the name of the day itself.
Wednesday.  Wed-nes-day.
Good Lord.  No wonder the English language is so hard to master.
Why isn't is just spelled Wensday?
I am pretty sure no one actually pronounces it Wed-nes-day....right?

Then there is the fact that is simply marks "mid-week."
Not the start of a fresh new week....nor the wonderful feeling of the END of the week.  Nope.  Just the middle of the week. I don't think of it as "hump day" so much. For me, it's more of a "bottomless pit you have to crawl out of to drag yourself toward survival" day.  Isn't that a happy visual?

It will also forever be etched into my brain as "church night."
Now, I realize as an "employee of the church" that I should be a person who looks forward to Wednesday with a zeal and passion, because it is the day upon which most churches hold their religious education classes.
Yes, that is lovely.
My childhood memories of Wednesday nights are of pure chaos.  It is that night of the "rush home from whatever practice/rehearsal we had after school, choke down dinner in under 5 minutes, and race out into the cold (because let's face it...95% of the "CCD school year" was during winter) to drive to church."
I grew up in the Metropolis of Westby, population approx 5600.
Considering it was heavily populated by Norweigians.... (including us...I mean, come on!  Look at me!  Don't I scream "Scandinavian girl?)

It's the blonde hair and blue eyes that give it away, isn't it?

.......meant that the majority of the town was of the Lutheran faith. (My father had been raised Lutheran (his side of the family is where the Norwegian heritage comes from) but converted to Catholicism when he married my mom.)
Anyway, the Catholic community was small that you had to drive to the next town to find a Catholic church.  (There were two large Lutheran churches 2 blocks apart right in the center of town though.)
I think that all of us Catholic kids (the small little group of us) were secretly a little jealous of the Lutheran kids, because we felt a little bit like the town outcasts.  One nice thing was that we got to know the kids who lived in Viroqua, the town where our church was located.  I really liked that aspect of it a lot.
Anyway.  The fact that we had to drive out of town added to the chaos of the night.
CCD classes were held in the church basement, or in a newer addition off the side of the church.  Either was cold.  After our hour of riveting religious education, was choir practice.  My parents were both in the that meant me and my sisters were members by default.  Add an extra hour to the already long night.  And yes, the choir loft was COLD.
Now that I think about it...I believe children's choir (which we, of course, were forced to be in...and my mother eventually directed...that was entertaining) met BEFORE CCD classes.  Add another 45 minutes before CCD classes.
In other words....Wednesday nights were freezing cold, and endless.
And we NEVER missed them.  EVER.
I wish I could say that it all went away when I grew up.  But it didn't.  In one way or another, I was always involved in some church activity on Wednesday night.  Once my kids were in school, we started schlepping them to their classes.  The cycle continues.  It's still cold.  
Why don't they just teach them in the summer??
Fast forward to now.
My Wednesday nights are now the night I teach piano at the studio.
It's nice and warm this is an improvement.
I do have to listen to beginner piano music for 4 hours, which isn't so bad, if I don't have a raging headache.
Luckily, all of my students are adorable, and they all have completely different personalities, so each lesson is completely unique. is also difficult.
Since I work at a church, I have obligations that come up there on Wednesday nights as well.  This involves me being in two places at once.
It is especially prevalent during the seasons of Advent and Lent.
These, of course, are my "high stress seasons" as well.  So, being pulled in several directions at once while in high stress mode kind of makes me prone toward losing my mind.
This is why God invented wine.
And Thursdays.
But mostly Fridays.
He must be Norwegian too.

And so....I will muddle through this day, and do a little dance of Thanksgiving when it is over.  Actually....tomorrow is jam packed with stuff too, and it might be even worse than today.
At least I maintain a positive, sunny outlook!
Let us all plod through to Friday....when surely the light at the end of the tunnel will be shining brightly!
(Until Saturday, when my day is packed with a bunch of crap again.)
Carry on my friends! Carry on!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Was anyone else completely thrown when you woke up to a winter wonderland on Tuesday?

I must have known it was coming, as I spent the night dreaming of all things weather related.  
Ever since my husband has started biking to work, there are two topics of conversation at our house.  Band (since he is a band director) and bikes.
I have very little interest in either, but I am very good at the "nod and smile," so it works out pretty well.
He has been chomping at the bit to put his "snow tires" on that damn bike since he got it in August.  Last weekend, I walked out into the garage, and he had rigged up the snowblower to use as his "bike lift" as he switched out the tires.
It wasn't horribly effective, but, I got a good laugh out of it.
(And don't worry, he has big plans to build a "bike lift" out of pvc pipe in the near future.)
I should mention that I am married to one of those guys who comes up with these crazy ideas of things he just has to have...and then he makes them. 
(My dad was much like this.  Why buy it if you can figure out how to make it?)

If you recall....we have that beautiful lake home? (Aka: ice shack)
That all began as a shoe box prototype on the kitchen table.
He literally sat at the table with his box, scissors and tape, and for the next 3 hours or so, created his plan for "the most glorious ice shack known to man."
(It looked a lot like a 5th grade social studies project.)
However, he built it.  His very own "fold up ice shack", complete with warming lantern.  The first time around, he built it to the exact measurements of our when he tried to slide it in the trailer, it didn't fit. (because it was the same size.) This is what I love about the guy.  He is very innovative, and creative, but can be a total ding bat.
So....he had to reduce the size so it would fit IN the trailer....and then, ta-da! Success!
Of course, but the time it was finished, it was spring, and too late to go ice fishing.  
He did stain all of the wood on the shack this fall to make it look pretty. 
Now that Walker is back in office, it's probably a good idea that he did, because more than likely, that will be our home one day soon. 
And we all know that I am all about a beautiful home! 
Anyway....this winter weather has me all confused.
I literally woke up and looked out the window, and just stood there.
I didn't know what to do.
Should I bake Christmas cookies?

Wrap presents?  Wait....I haven't bought any yet.  I don't do that until Dec. 23rd or so.
Maybe the dogs and I could belt out some carols? I really want some cookies.

I could go back to bed....but I already made the "no going back to bed until 7pm" rule.  Dammit.
I should probably shovel the sidewalk....I do have piano students coming later...but why would I want to go outside already?
Seriously....those cookies....

I would also like to figure out how to work out a plan where, once it snows, I never have to leave my house.
Don't get me wrong.  I love winter.  I think it's beautiful and magical.  I absolutely love watching it while I sit in front of my fireplace with a book and a mug of coffee.  I just have zero desire to go out slopping through the mess of it.
I guess I could make a couple exceptions.  Like hunting for the Christmas tree.  That is pretty fun.  Or perhaps a romantic walk on a snowy evening. (Like that ever happens.)  I only like driving in snow when it's crazy snow, I am just in my no dangerous driving, and I feel like I am so surrounded by fluffy whiteness, and am going so slow, that it's like a cotton ball version of bumper cars.  (Only you aren't bumping are just sliding around in the fluff.) 
I hate anything past the "fresh fluffy" snow stage, because that means my house is filled with nasty, sloppy, wet boots and mittens and coats.  My kids just throw their crap everywhere, and it is a gross mess.
Nope.  NOT having it.
When winter hits, I would happily put this household on lock down.  (I would be fine with the kids being on lock down in school) ;)
And I could just sit around and eat cookies.

I am pretty sure I could get through the winter without a reenactment of "The Shining" also.  No "red-rum" going on here.  Nope.  As long as my groceries were delivered, and HBO was readily available....I would be fine.
But, as is the case with most wishes just go unanswered.
Look at my plea with the whole leggings debacle.  I beg and plead and nothing changes.  The travesty just continues day after day.
If I start living on cookies, God knows I will become the headache queen overnight, and my spare tire will continue to all of the fun will be sucked out of that adventure as well.
Woe is me.

So, I will stick to my boring fruits and vegetables....and I will stay far away from Pinterest and every other form of media that floods my brain with images of delicious looking baked goods that immediately turn me into Eve in the Garden of Eden.  How ridiculous that she was so tempted by an apple of all things!
Silly woman.  Just think of all of the trouble she could have saved us from if she had only known about cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

In the past few weeks, I have been trying out this new concept.
It is called "practicing the piano."
Quite honestly...this is something I am terrible at.
I'm not sure I ever really learned how to actually practice.
Learning a piece has always meant "running through it a few times"....or, for a really tough piece, "running through it lots of times."
If there is a particularly difficult section....I will run that part a few more times.
Well, I am finally forcing myself to actually practice.  And I am discovering something interesting.  It works!
To tell you the truth, the reason I never take the time to do this is because I am too impatient.  It is a long process....and I am a girl who likes instant results.
Today's project was George Winston's "Carol of the Bells."
(Christmas is coming...right?)
I LOVE his music, and this arrangement is fantastic, but horrible to play.  You have to literally get your left hand to go on automatic pilot while your right hand plays these ever changing 16th note runs.
This should not be that hard.  But it is. :(

This mess is way easier! Crazy, right? point is....for once, I slowed down, figured it out, worked on it, and now I can play the stupid thing.
Perhaps I should apply this technique to other aspects of my opposed to the "all or nothing" approach I typically take?


Day 3 of healthy eating is still on track.
In fact, I decided to talk to the little woodland creatures about eating healthy.
You know....not digging through garbage cans and such.
Apparently, they are very good listeners.

However, there is a thief among them.
After painstakingly sawing off a stem (and somehow managing to not lose any limbs) and pound in a nail for my cute "stacked pumpkin" of the furry bastards decided to do more than dine on my pumpkins.
He just pulled the thing right off the top, and took it with him!

See the nail?  And it was a cute white pumpkin on top too. :(
There is one rebel in every bunch.


Mark and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday (no, I wasn't wearing leggings as pants....even though I would have fit in nicely if I had.) to buy some supplies for my disaster of an office.  This may come as a surprise, but I am slightly disorganized in my church office.  There may (or may not) be several (hundred) piles of music strewn (everywhere) that could really benefit from being labeled and filed.  (I bought labels and file folders) 
While perusing the office supply aisle, it occurred to me that we have never owned a pencil sharpener.  How is that even possible?  I teach piano lessons, every person who lives in this house is a musician of some sort...and everyone knows you never write on your music with, obviously, our need for sharpened pencils is high.  If we don't actually have a pencil sharpener....where do these sharpened pencils actually come from?
I guess it will always be a mystery.
I bought an electric sharpener.

I thought I might be welcoming my first grandchild by the time I got the damn thing out of it's package.
WHY do companies feel the need to make it impossible to open pretty much any product you purchase anymore?
Here is about the half-way close...yet so far.

Is this ^^^^really necessary?
Are they worried that some sneaky pencil sharpener crook is going to walk by, inconspicuously slip that top of the line $9.99 sharpener out of it's packaging and into their purse in the blink of an eye?  So, by making the packaging completely impenetrable....absolutely human proof....they will never have to worry about pencil sharpeners being stolen again?
I guess that must be it.  I can see where this item would be a hot commodity on the black market.  


One more thought before I go.
If you are super pro-active, and you pay your 2nd car payment just a couple weeks after you made your first, and get yourself a month ahead of your payments, you will, indeed, consider yourself pretty money savvy.
If you choose to bask in your glow, and enjoy the fact that you are sooooo far ahead on your payment, and don't pay any attention to the date, when you DO choose to peek at your payment booklet, you WILL realize that you are no longer ahead, and if you don't write that check out immediately, and mail the bill TODAY, you will actually have to pay the late payment fee.

Moral of the story:  You will never be money savvy.  Deal with it.
And while you are at it....order some more checks.  You just ran out.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Squashing It

I think I am starting to get this hang of this thing!
(Yea, I know it has only been two days....but's a start!)
I was watching a show....or maybe I saw an old picture taken during the 5 minutes I was skinny a couple of years ago?  I don't know....I mean, whatever it was, it happened YESTERDAY, so I certainly am not going to be able to remember it NOW!
At any rate, there was something that made me stop and think.  It made me really feel the "okay chicka....quit putting this off.  It is time to start doing something about the ever-expanding-spare-tire-around-my-waist, as well as just feeling better over all.
OH!!! I remember now!
I was trying to figure out what to wear to the concert I had to play at on Saturday.
I grabbed the one pair of black dress pants I have....and they were too tight.
Is there a worse feeling than that?
These pants were loose on me a year ago. 
Let me tell you a little about a year ago. (Or was it two years ago now?) 
I was down 2-3 pant sizes, so I did what any rational woman would do.  I got rid of all my fat clothes.
I surely would NEVER need them again.  I was never going to be that size again......ever.
Never say never.
I refuse to go out and buy new fat unless I lose some weight and fit back into my skinny-wear.....I will have to continue wearing whatever I can find with elastic waists (aka: pajama pants, sweat pants, leggings) And we all know how I feel about leggings!  As long as they are accompanied by a mumu....they are fine.

Notice how I have listed leggings as my go-to fat-wear?
Is that right there not enough of a reason to NOT WEAR THEM AS PANTS?! 

(if these pic don't stop you...nothing will) ;)

(and by that I mean, wearing them with out the proper butt and thigh coverage.)
Ugh.  I'm not even going to get started on this topic again.

Back to my day.
Since I had spent the better part of my Saturday in lethargic land...I decided that I wasn't going to make matters worse by eating like crap too.
So, we decided to give the spaghetti squash I had brought home a try.
We watched what was probably the most annoying "how-to" video on you-tube that one could ever imagine.  It was very thorough and helpful, but this woman was WAY too enthusiastic about her squash.  She talked 100 miles a minute (even faster than I talk...and I am well aware of how annoying I must be to listen too, because I even annoy myself with my racing ramblings), and she had one of those voices that you could tolerate for about 30 seconds.  Unfortunately, the video lasted 5 minutes.
After the video, we both had a drink....and then gave it a try.
It wasn't quite as wonderful as pasta, but it was palatable.....and the best part....I didn't wake up with a headache this morning.
Typically, after having pasta for dinner, I wake up with a nasty headache.
Not today.  I woke up with no pain at all. ;)
Score one for the squash.
Another amazing feat for the day....I stayed out of my bed...ALL DAY.
I even planned to go nap free.  On a Sunday!
I was on the couch with my snuggly chihuahua watching re-runs of Criminal Minds around 3:30, however, and the next thing I knew it was 6pm.  Whoops.  So much for "nap-free."
Since my squash experiment went so well last night, I decided to embark on yet another tonight.
Mark grilled a lovely pork loin..... (we won't even talk about the poor piggy that died for our meal tonight.) 

......while I attempted to make a fabulous squash, parsnip and pear soup.
I didn't realize it would talk me an hour just to chop up all of the vegetables and stuff to put in it....not to mention the time needed to sauté the vegetables, caramelize the pears, and cook everything...then puree it.
About an hour after dinner, the soup was ready! 
We will have it tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure the kids will hate I will have it tomorrow!
I did have a little sampling tonight, along with my frozen cherries.  (My dessert substitute.)

Here is the deal.  If I am already noticing a difference in how I feel after only two days of eliminating junk from my diet (I am really watching my sugar intake, wheat products, limiting dairy, and staying away from processed crap.) what will I feel like after a week?  Or a month?
So, for now, I'm going to focus on that...rather than fitting back into my skinny jeans.  I'm hoping that will be an added bonus.  This is the first day I haven't popped a pill for a headache since.....well, since I can remember.  
Maybe all I needed was some squash. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Once Upon A Mattress

Yesterday was a bust.
If you recall, that cinnamon roll was calling my name.
I tried changing my name to La Tasha.
It didn't work.
So....I ate the damn thing for lunch.
Then we had a frozen pizza for dinner.
And, after marathon concert #2 (which was pretty fabulous, I have to admit)
I rewarded myself with a Culver's cone (the flavor of the day was Peanut butter cup.  I mean, COME ON!  Who in their right mind would pass THAT up?!!)
I also brought home chili cheese fries for Mark.  Not so sure that was a good decision. He thought it was.  I don't wanna talk about it. (I can't tell you how badly I wish I had emoticons on my computer.  I probably do, but am to old and technically inept to know this.)
So, I am starting over, yet again, today.
I am not really sure if I can even determine how I am doing so far.
I did get up at 8.  I mixed up some Spark, and toasted half of an oatmeal english muffin. (I never knew there was such a thing until my last venture to the grocery store.)
But, my big mistake was, I brought them back to bed with me, and turned on the TV.
Two "Law and Order SVU" episodes, and a couple "Young and the Restless- 'wow, I really can just start in the middle of the month I have missed, and figure out exactly what is going on" sagas later...and I was exhausted again.  As I was drifting off to sleep, my sister called and my husband brought me an unexpected plate of eggs, toast and hash browns.  My nap would have to wait.
45 minutes later, my furry boys and I were fast asleep.

So here is the deal.  It is 3:30pm, and I am finally bathed and ready for the day. (Which is good, considering I have to be at church in one hour.)
The bad part....I am falling into my "rut".  And this rut has nothing to do with mammalian reproduction, thank you very much. ;)
I am pretty sure that when I was formed in the womb, the little elves that put me together forgot to include that "get up and go" gene. 
Instead, I got a double dose of the "tired and lethargic" gene.
Or so it would seem anyway.
I am pretty sure a lot of it is self-induced.  If I would just make myself "get up and go" I would probably feel less lethargic, and therefore continue to want to keep going.  However, that whole "getting going" when you feel like all you can muster is the energy to drag your tired butt from the bed to the couch is a tough thing to convince yourself to do.

I find that on the days when I am super lazy (today) and lounge around in bed until 1:30 (today)....this is especially true.
Once you have crossed the point of no return...that magic hour of the day when, if you haven't gotten out of bed and started functioning like a human, rather than a feline, it is all over.  You might as well kiss your whole day good-bye, because there is really nothing that is going to save your from your self-induced coma.
(Unless you are in college..and then, of course, you will magically come back to life around 10 pm, and be ready for another night of mischief and mayhem.)
That is a discussion for another time.
Whatever this condition is that I have...I find it most annoying.  It has plagued me since birth, but it has definitely gotten worse with age.  

I am sure the fact that my days are no longer jam-packed has a lot to do with this. Now that I no longer have to be at work by 7:30 am, I have the option of sleeping in.  I have the ability to set my own schedule, and decide how I spend my day.  While I love this freedom, it is also a curse for a person with my personality.  If I were a "type A" would be ideal.  I could create a nice little spreadsheet of what each day would entail.  It would be neatly planned and organized.  Unfortunately, I am "type- artsy-fartsy scatter brained," which means I go out and buy lots of pretty paper and planners to create my ideal schedule....but I can never make a decision as to what I should do on what day. Then, I lose my schedule, and can't remember what I was supposed to do on that day, much less even remember what the heck day it is.  Or, I will wake up with a headache, and that just throws the whole damn schedule off all together, because I can't do anything until I get rid of that darn thing.
Or, I will get distracted by something.  A book, a recipe, something I want to write about..."oh crap!  I forgot to pay the bills!" Stuff like that.

But in all honesty, the true culprit is my bed.

This has been the case for a long time.
In college, I had a heavenly feather bed that I laid on top of my mattress.  It was like sleeping on 4-5 giant down comforters.
THEN, my bff Adam gave me his waterbed.  It was one of those beds with tubes of water...I had never seen one before..but it was fabulous.
I didn't have a bed frame, so we put it right on the floor, and covered it with that feather bed.  O.M.G.

I literally rolled myself out of bed every morning.  I think my friends came to my apartment just to lay on my bed.
Fast forward to now.
Whoever invented memory foam is my hero.
My cousin had a memory foam mattress, and I slept in her bed when I was visiting.  That was all it took.  I was hooked.
We have a king size memory foam mattress, topped off with a three inch memory foam pad, topped with super soft sheets, one of those blankets you could swear was made from poor, defenseless bunny fur, (they are SO soft), topped with a down comforter, covered by a nice, heavy linen duvet.  
So, in other words, if you are laying in my bed, you are on top of clouds, while weighted down by angora heaven.

I swear, it is like an invisible force.  I can get out of it just fine...the first time.
But it lures me back in.  If I succumb to it's evil whisperings, forget it.  It has me in it's wicked web, and there is no getting out.

Oh, it looks innocent, all right.  But don't let it fool you.
~ out!
No more of this lazy, lethargic, lounge lizard, loafing around!!
(Alyssa Harlan, that alliteration was just for you!)

No more succumbing to the bed.
Oh no.
I will go where few have gone before me.
I will explore new terrain.
It may be may be dangerous.  It surely will be taxing.
But no one can stop me now.
Monday, I will MAKE THE BED.
And no one will be allowed back in until after 7pm.

Or whenever I am back in my pj's. ;)

But, it's Sunday.  And I nap on Sundays.  So disregard everything I have written until tomorrow. :)