Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Just Can't Stop Myself!

Hi All!

Yesterday I introduced you to my photographic obsession - taking picture of lights! Well . . . I have more pictures for you. I just can't stop myself. I think they are so interesting and neat.

You can imagine all kinds of things. For example. Doesn't the green light at the left almost look like a dinosaur walking on its hind legs?

A sports commentator going wild with the write on screen.

A roller coaster.

Pearly gates.

Neon Spirograph.

Modern art with red and kitty whiskers.

People crawling on their hands and knees.

Okay - this one . . . . even I have no clue. What do YOU see?
Voice Update: Doing well but haven't really spoken much this morning so . . . hard to get a real feel for what is going on. My throat is still pretty darn tight but hopefully a relaxing weekend will help with that!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It all Started With The Moon!

Hi All!

It all started with the moon. You see, Hubby and I were in the car driving home from the family farm while we were in Ohio a while back. I was trying to take a picture of the moon - it was nice and full. Pretty. It turned out like this.

The moon is a LONG way away! Did you know that? My poor little purse camera's zoom was no match for the distance. I decided to try again to take a picture but accidentally moved trying to get the tree out of the picture. Remember . . . I was in a moving car at the time.

The movement led to this picture. I liked the way it looked kind of like abstract art. So . . . I proceeded to "play." I set my camera to the twilight setting so the shutter stayed open a bit longer and . . . .

The alien ship is doing all kinds of neat things in the sky!

Look at that thing go! I was hooked by now on playing with the lights! I moved on from the moon to . . .

On the highway there are lots of cars to play with!
Hubby just shook his head and called me a child. Honestly!

Look at the neat shapes I came up with. Just moving the camera differently before the shutter clicked.

These almost look like hearts!
I am obsessed with light pictures now. I really, really, really enjoy them! Just be warned - you may see more of my "artwork" in the future!
Voice Update: Doing surprisingly well for how stressful this week has been.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hi All!

Remember yesterday's post when I talked about how the week is going? Well . . . all I can say about yesterday is . . . really?!?!

Okay - first of all, I was feeling foggy because of the headache the night before. I got up, got dressed, and was getting things ready for work and class.

That is where things continued to head in a downward motion.

I heated up a pre-cooked entree from Hormel (the pot roast which is actually pretty darn yummy) and cooked up some hash browns to make my sandwich wrap for between work and class. So far, so good. Then I got the roast beef out of the microwave and carefully transferred it to the storage container making sure not to get any "gook" on my shirt (this has happened in the past and frustrates me!). I then started cutting the roast. Wrong!

As I was cutting the fifth or sixth slice, the knife slipped causing the gravy - of which there seems to be a disproportionate amount - to slop over the edge of the storage container and onto the counter . . . and floor. I checked my shirt. Clean. Whew! Disaster averted. I cleaned the counter and floor and continued to construct my wrap.

Lettuce with just a bit of salad dressing - being cautious because the dressing has been known to "jump out" and stain my shirt also. Done without incident. Place the potatoes on the lettuce. Check. Slices of roast. Yep. A little shredded cheese. Uh-huh. Okay - wrap the thing and put in plastic wrap. Yeah! Mission accomplished!

Now I carefully put the extra food into the fridge - again making sure not to mess up my shirt. Good!

Now I take the plate of potatoes and roast I am eating for lunch and add some carrots. Sit at the table and realize I need some water. Get up for the water and . . . . see gravy splashed all down the leg of my pants. Yep. Knee to hem. Nice brown, greasy gravy!


Okay - not panicking . . . I grab a clean dishcloth and begin damage control. I even throw in some Tide-to-Go. After about ten minutes of work . . . everything looks pretty darn good. Disaster averted!

I got to work and through the day - and the speech appointment - with little trouble. My neck was really tight due to the headache the previous day and Susan really worked on it but she said my voice was still doing really well. Yeah!

Then to class.

Actually, not too bad of a class but . . . there were only three of the seven people there! Because so many people were out, Henry decided not to give the tests back! I still don't know how I did!

At least we got out of class early so I could get home and eat at a decent hour and then get to bed before midnight. Of course I didn't sleep too well but, that is the start of a whole different story which is still unfolding. So far it isn't too bad - keep your fingers crossed!


Voice Update: I pretty much said it all already but . . . I am happy that I am doing well. I need to work on that darn tight neck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And Things Just Keep Declining!

Hi All!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday but, I didn't get much sleep during the night and decided to sleep in before heading to work. It helped a bit but . . . I still had a headache by the time I got home! So - I came home, ate dinner (toasted cheese sandwiches and soup prepared by Hubby) and fell into bed. I was asleep instantly and didn't wake until this morning.

Not bad if you don't consider that I didn't take my make-up off or brush my teeth. I also didn't take my night time meds. Ughhhh.

So - I woke up this morning (thanks to Hubby since I totally forgot to set my alarm) with a nasty taste in my mouth and looking BEEEEUUUTIFUL!

At least the headache is pretty much gone (a tiny bit is resurfacing as I type this!).

I also found out that I will be working today. I had originally thought on Monday that Linda might be in for Wednesday and Thursday but she isn't feeling well enough for today - we will see about tomorrow later today!

AND I have class - where I will probably find out my mid-term grade. Did I tell you about that?

Everything went pretty well - I thought. Of course, there was a bit of concern when I saw another student's scantron sheet (you know - the bubbles!) and saw that our pattern of answers was TOTALLY different. I wasn't about to change my answers but . . . it got me a bit worried! Then I woke up yesterday to realize that I totally answered one of the questions incorrectly!


I guess we will find out. It would be absolutely horrible if Frick and/or Frack did better than me!!!!

I hope your week is going well!


Voice Update: I have an appointment with Susan today which is good since my throat feels REALLY, REALLY crunchy this morning! Rats! It looks like it will be a tough session today!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mid-term Monday Mania

Hi All!

It is Monday again. Isn't it funny how they keep rolling around?

Today is my mid-term in ASL 4. To be honest, I haven't spent much time at all studying this weekend. I have been studying all along so I hope I am ready. If not . . . oops!

It seems like whenever I have mid-terms or finals, things get a bit crazy around here!

Today, walking was a bit less than enjoyable. First, the temperature was a bit low. When I woke up, it was 55 degrees. Chilly but fine for walking in shorts and a sweatshirt. I got ready and headed out the door. Only to realize that it was also raining a fine drizzle.

No problem! I grabbed my trusty umbrella and headed out . . . into a monsoon strength winds along our main street!

I should explain that because we live by a lake we get a lot of weird wind currents. One of the worst is along the main street in our sub-division. For some reason that street acts like a wind tunnel and amplifies the wind into hurricanes! If you head down a side street it isn't that bad.

Normally, my walk takes me quite a distance down the main street. Today - I took a detour!

I walked a totally different route today. This should have been interesting - filled with new things to look at. However, because of those weird lake wind currents, I had to keep my umbrella down so low that I didn't really see much besides the sidewalk! Each time there was a break between houses or a cross-road, the winds would pick up and I had to fight to keep the umbrella from turning inside out.


Add to this wind the fact that the fine drizzle was pelting my legs . . .

When I got home my legs were freezing! To the point that when I hopped in a nice hot shower, they felt like they were on fire as the water hit them! Not good!

Oh well! I am now warm and wrapped in my robe. Life is good again!

I do work today - we will see what kind of mayhem will happen there!


Voice Update: Doing well. I am not really in a talking mood but things seem to be good so far. I have been working on my exercises. Not doing quite as well on my massage but not too bad either! I do have an appointment with Susan this week!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Hair Debate

Hi All!

Yesterday was a busy but fun day for me. I went to the DAC (the Deaf Action Center for those of you who are new here) and spent time chatting with the seniors there. They are such interesting people and it is a good way for me to practice my ASL skills.

I also spent some time talking to the DAC's interpreter coordinator about finding some interpreters that I can watch for a class assignment. It was interesting talking to her about what she does. While I was talking with her, one of her interpreters came in and I got a chance to chat with her as well.

When I was done there, I was leaving the complex when the DAC bus came in with the seniors who had gone to Kroger's shopping. I got to see them all again! One of my friends, a lovely lady, invited me to see her apartment. We went and chatted for a while before I had to go home. It was a good day at the DAC!

After the DAC it was haircut time.

Now, ya'll haven't known me that long but, my hair has always been a point of lots of discussion in my family. My mother and I have different kinds of hair - mine is THICK and hers is fine. Because of this difference, Mom likes "playing" with my hair - seeing it cut in different styles. My hair grows rather quickly so . . . it isn't too tough to get my hair into different styles in a pretty short time frame.

However, due to the thickness of my hair and my total lack of desire to "mess" with my hair (that means curling irons, hair product, etc.), my hairstyles need to be simple to take care of. Also, the thickness can lead to problems.

For example, it takes FOREVER for my hair to dry when it is longer. My arms can't stand holding a blow-dryer long enough (we are talking close to half an hour or more) to get everything dry. Also, my hair acts like an insulator on my neck when it is long and traps heat in - lots of heat. Imaging walking around in the 100 degree Texas weather with a rug on your neck and that is pretty much what it feels like!

Anyway - despite all my "issues" with my hair . . . I like to "shake things up" and change hairstyles frequently. Currently, I am in the "let it grow" mode. Since my hair was VERY short - this will take me through a variety of styles in the next several months.

I can't decide how I like my hair best. So - I thought I would show you some pictures and maybe you could help me out. What hairstyle do you like best?

Voice Update: Still doing really well. I even threw in a few massages yesterday while at stop lights. Not having to talk for most of the day didn't hurt either!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday is for the Birds!

Hi All!

One of the things that has always fascinated me about living where I live is that there are HUGE flocks of birds in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. I guess we are where some northern birds migrate to in order to stay warmer!

This rather poor picture was taken one evening around dusk . It shows a flock of grackles. I was pretty far away and had my camera zoomed out but I could only capture about half of the flock at a time.

It still amazes me. There was another flock of at least this many birds occupying the trees in the shopping center parking lot and another across the road in the Wal Mart packing lot. AND when we drove by CiCi's pizza, there were birds lining the roof of the building - which is a big shopping strip building!

Anyway - today I am off to the DAC and then am going to get my hair cut. I think I might start letting my hair grow a bit into a different style. It is so hard to think of a different style . . . we will see what happens!

Have a super Friday!


Voice Update: Doing well even after working yesterday. Of course, it was slow at work yesterday so I didn't have a lot of telephone calls to do. Not hard on the voice!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drip . . .Drip . . . Drip . . .

Hi All!

Well, it is another rainy day! I woke to the sound of HEAVY showers on the roof and decided that it would be the perfect day to sleep in so . . . I did! So much for my walk today!

Oh well!

Yesterday turned out much different than I thought it would. While I was IMing Mom, my friend, Tricia, called and asked if I would like to study with her today. Of course, I can never resist the chance to spend some time with one of my ASL friends so . . . I said "sure!"

Then, before she came, I hustled to throw a load of laundry in, took a shower, and washed the stack of pots and pans which were threatening to take over my kitchen. Then I started the wrack my brain for ideas of what to make for lunch for the two of us. I like to make lunch whenever Tricia comes to study - it is fun for me to cook and she always enjoys the meal since she doesn't have to cook it!

Well, I decided to make home-made chicken pot-pie. This meant getting chicken thawed from the freezer and making the pie crust. Then I had to figure out what do do about my lack of chicken stock - which should be the base of the gravy in the pot-pie.

I got everything worked out and got the pot-pie in the oven just a bit after Tricia showed up and it worked out very good. In fact, I have a piece in the fridge for lunch today. No - we are not pigs - I made a SMALL pot-pie, not a traditional "pie" sized one!

Anyway - Tricia ended up staying until dinner time so my idea of a nap didn't come to fruition! Rats! I enjoy my naps!

I guess it was worth it though!

Did I mention that it rained ALL day yesterday? We got just over three inches of rain between yesterday and last night. It is still drizzling right now and it is supposed to get COLD here today - in the 50s!!!!

This morning, when I woke up I discovered that it was not only dripping outside but inside as well! I got up to feed the annoying cats who were climbing all over me while I was trying to sleep and got a surprise when I splashed into a pretty sizable puddle of water right outside the laundry room door!

At first I thought that Skor had put his string in the water fountain again. When he does that the string manages to wick the water out of the fountain and onto the floor. However - the string was no where in sight. Hmmm....

Then I realized what had happened.

Hubby had told me last night that he thought one of our water bottles for our water cooler was leaking. He put it in front of the water cooler on a towel so that we would use it next and hopefully take care of the leaking problem.

Well . . . during the night that bottle leaked enough to get the towel (a full bath-sized towel) soaked AND to spread water across the tile floor in a nice puddle an inch or so deep! Luckily, it didn't spread so far that it ruined anything but . . . stepping in it in bare feet in the morning isn't my idea of a joy-ride!

Anyway, I cleaned up the water, put the bottle in the sink to leak its little heart out, and put the drenched towels in the washer until we can get them taken care of.

What a fun morning! I can't wait to see how work goes today!


Voice Update: Doing well. I didn't' do as much massage yesterday as I would have liked because I was busy talking and working with Tricia. I guess it is back to the grind today then!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

" . . . I'm Just Walkin' in the Rain . . ."

Hi All!

Happy Wednesday! Halfway through another week!

As you may have surmised due to the title of this post . . . it is raining in my neck of the woods this morning! Nothing too heavy - just a nice heavy drizzle. According to predictions, it is supposed to rain about three inches today. Which makes sense since it ALWAYS rains the day after we have Terminex out to treat the outside of our house!

What makes the rain even more fun is that I don't HAVE to do anything today! That is right! It is a FREE day! No work - no class - no hassle!

Well, okay. To be honest, there IS some stuff that I HAVE to do - like laundry (Hubby is down to his last pair of skivvies!) and dishes (the pans have ALL been used and are waiting to be cleaned up) and studying for midterms (which shouldn't be too bad since I have been studying all along!). But - other than those things . . . nothing! Maybe I will manage to snatch a nap during a nice, heavy rain shower! That sounds like heaven to me!

Speaking of midterms, listen to this. Frick and Frack were in rare form in class on Monday. Frack started things off by telling me before class started (we were the only two in the room at the time) that he thought we should all just cover our mouths so Henry, the teacher, can't see us talk and "share answers" during the test!

Say what?????

I told him that I wouldn't cheat and didn't think most of the other students would either (mentally I am not sure about Frick but . . .)! He then proceeded to tell me that it wouldn't be cheating - just "using all of his resources."

He is delusional! I talked to him for a while (okay, it might have been a lecture) and basically told him that he needed to wake up and do the work. I don't think he was too happy with me!

Then class started and Henry was telling us what was up with the midterm. This is when Frick started in. Now, you should know that she has been sick for the past couple of weeks so we can give her a little (and I do mean a LITTLE!) slack. However, Frick managed to rocket right past any slack I am willing to give when she blatantly stated that she hasn't done ANY of the required reading for the midterm. We have known about this since day one of class and . . . it is ten chapters!!!

After a bit of discussion with Henry and Frack, Frick turns to me and asks me - in all seriousness - if I thought she should stop working on the ASL bible (the list of linguistic terms we have to define and understand) to start reading. Hmmm. Let me think about that . . . YES YOU NEED TO READ THE BOOK!

Henry has told us several times this semester that most of the midterm will be from the book. READ THE BOOK!

Good luck with getting all ten chapters read in a week - they are not "fluff" chapters - they are filled with information you need to know!

I feel so darn old!


Voice Update: Still going pretty strong after working yesterday. I did make sure that I took my break to massage and do exercises. I am TRYING to be good!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reading Room

Hi All!

It has been a while since I last showed you what I have been reading so . . . I thought I would show you!

I went through a bit of a funk for a while and during that time I didn't read any books at all. Just magazines. Weird, but true!

My first book - post-funk - is a light mystery by Diane Mott Davidson, Catering to Nobody.

If you haven't sampled Davidson's work, you might like to dig into one of her books. The books center on the main character, Goldy Bear, who works as a caterer in a small Colorado town. She somehow finds herself involved in murdered and then proceeds to do her own "investigations" while preparing scrumptious foods.

The books are quick reads and include recipes for dishes that Goldy makes throughout the story so you can make them yourself. Warning - few of the recipes are low-fat or low-calorie!

In this book, the first of Davidson's books, Goldy finds herself catering a wake for a loved teacher at which - you guessed it - someone is poisoned! Goldy's horrid ex-husband instantly proclaims that SHE is the culprit and she struggles for the rest of the book to prove her innocence.

I adore these books - they are fun and not too serious to be read right before bed.

Next up is Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley.

This book is a sequel to Gone With the Wind written many years later and by a totally different author. It is a lengthy volume which does a good job capturing the feel of the original while moving the plot along in a very interesting direction.
Scarlett, the main character, finds herself at odds with pretty much everyone and everything. Her marriage to Rhett is breaking down and her relationships with people in Atlanta are breaking down as well. Scarlett travels to Charleston and then to Ireland in a wild pursuit of money, Rhett's love, and, lastly, happiness.
This book was a LONG read but, in the end, was worth it. Unfortunately for the book, this was the book that I stopped reading when the funk hit. That means it took me MUCH longer than usual to read it. Don't blame the book though. It is good - it just had the misfortune of being read at the wrong time!
Next is a book I picked up in Ketchikan, Alaska. If You Lived Here, I Would Know Your Name by Heather Lende.

This book was recommended many times by many people during my trip to Alaska in June. I was finally intrigued so I picked it up. I am glad that I did!
Heather Lende is a writer for the Haines newspaper. She writes a "society" column as well as the obituaries. It is Heather's work on the obituaries that actually shape this book which is part memoir and part town and Alaskan history. While talking about the people who she writes about, Heather reveals what life in small town Alaska is really like. Artfully weaving together personal experiences with experiences of the people she writes about, a full and colorful picture of Haines, Alaska.
If you would like to know what really goes on in a small town in Alaska, pick up this book. If you are looking for an interesting memoir, pick up this book. If you just want a nice, interesting read, pick up this book!
Diane Mott Davidson shows up again for The Cereal Murders.

This time Goldy is catering meetings for the local prep school. The meetings are to help the seniors prepare for college applications and all of that fun stuff. However, the outcome of the first meeting isn't that "fun." The Valedictorian is found murdered in the snow by . . . Goldy!

Goldy's young son, Arch, a rather socially awkward but endearing character, becomes the target of pranks (not the funny kind!) at the same prep school. Also, Julian Teller, a student at the prep school who is living with Goldy and Arch, becomes a prime suspect!

Once more, recipes abound as Goldy works to untangle the mystery of the murder. Delicious!

To continue the theme - Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson!

How can you resist this book once you read the title? In the chronology of Davidson's books, this one actual comes before The Cereal Murders as it explains just how Julian ends up with Goldy.

In this mystery, Goldy and her son (and Julian) are living in the house (mansion) of a wealthy couple. Goldy is the live-in cook, which is perfect since her own house in undergoing some repairs and having an alarm system installed after her ex-husband threatens her. While living with the couple, Goldy once more faces death and her "sort-of- boyfriend," the town's psychiatrist, ends up dead after a very erratic and dangerous drive.

Of course, Goldy investigates her amour's death and finds herself - and her son - in danger once more. While working out this mystery Goldy provides many recipes for us to drool over. Another great book from Davidson!

Up last is The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

Having seen the musical a while back, I was told by other audience members that I should read the book. So - when I saw the book at the school book sale, I snatched it up (did you really think I paid that much for it?)!

I am glad that I picked up this book. Written in the form of letters to God, the main character, Celie, reveals her journey of self discovery as a black woman in the south. Trapped in a bad marriage and a bad life, Celie's letters take us along as she slowly realizes her own self-worth through her interaction with a cast of unlikely characters which includes her violent and mean husband, his ornery children, and his mistress.

Celie transforms herself into her true self through the experiences she lives - experiences which at times seem to be more than she can handle.

This is a powerful book which is also enjoyable and interesting to read. The letter format makes this a good book to read in bits and spurts as you have time even though, in my case, I didn't want to put it down!

To show you what I read during my "funk," I took a picture of SOME of the magazines I have read lately. Remember, this is only some of them. Some have already been recycled or given away.

Oh - I HAVE been reading some other books lately. Would you like to see them?

This rather blurry shot is showing you my books for class. Doesn't that look like fun?


Voice Update: Doing well. Doing well!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Hi All!

If you live in a small town or a medium sized city - or even a large city - you know that there is always a festival or fair. When I was young, the fair was called Home Days. The neighboring town had Fair on The Square. These festivals had all the trappings - food, games, maybe a ride or two, a beauty contest and lots of wandering around.

Well, my current town has a fair/festival every year as well. Last year was the first year that the fair took place in its current persona - Pirate Days!

While the planners of the event will tell you that the theme was chosen because possibly, just maybe, some of Blackbeard's pirates could have, possibly made their way into our area to avoid being caught by the law, I personally think they just decided that pirates were fun and went with it. After all, the lake I live by is man-made. No pirates were sailing on that puppy!

Anyway - Pirate Days was this weekend so I decided to walk down yesterday after church to have a "junk food" lunch. Hubby, who really doesn't enjoy small town fairs, stayed home to clean the fish tank. Who got the better end of that deal??

The walk from my house is a bit over a mile along nice, shady sidewalks. The weather was beautiful - blue skies, a slight breeze and sun.

I knew I was going the right direction!

Before getting there I had to actually enter the park. Walking is better and cheaper than driving!

At last! I can see the fair! The flags from the tops of the tents are new this year!

The sun created some shadow problems for my poor camera - which, unbeknownst to me, was still in twilight mode! Oops!

There was a bluegrass band playing while I was there. They were from a neighboring town and were very good. The couple sitting on the hay bale are neighbors of mine. You can't see it but they have two dogs with them both dressed as pirates! There is a dog costume contest each year at the fair!
I am not certain that pirates really listened to bluegrass music but couldn't think of what other kind of music they would listen to!

There was a fun area for kids to play in. The bounce house looked like a pirate ship! The yellow and black things are for laser tag - to hide behind while you shoot other people. There is a slide with a treasure chest on the top too - fun!
I didn't get any pictures of the many pirates roaming around. Some were residents dressed in their make-shift pirate best while others were re-enactors who had some really, really nice costumes. There are no pictures because last year some of the pirates wanted money for you to take their pictures. I wasn't doing that!
While at Pirate Days I had a BBQ brisket sandwich (which wasn't that good) and an AWESOME funnel cake! The funnel cake was so large that I couldn't finish it all! Part of the reason I didn't finish this scrumptious thing is probably because the sandwich wasn't playing nice with my tummy. Oh well! I did enjoy the funnel cake even though I couldn't manage to stay upwind from the powdered sugar!
Small town festivals - you just gotta love 'em!
Voice Update: Doing really well. I have done my massage and some exercises this weekend. I should do more exercises but . . .I am being bad! I think the studying thing makes me forget the exercises. Not a good excuse!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Hi All!

Along with my odd reluctance to shop, I also have another trait which seems to separate me from many other women. I don't particularly like chocolate.

Now, don't get me wrong. If I am offered a scrumptious piece of chocolate, I will accept more often than not - it is candy after all! However, if I had my choice of sweets I might reach for a vanilla creme-filled cookie instead of a chocolate one. White cake with butter creme frosting is just as good (or maybe even a bit better) than chocolate cake with butter creme frosting.

As I get older, I find myself leaning further away from chocolate. Plus, my taste in chocolate when I DO eat it has changed drastically. No longer does milk chocolate please my palate. Instead, I like the dark stuff. The darker, the better! In fact (be careful - this might shock you!), I recently found out that the "original" Hershey kisses just are yicky! Now, I enjoy the peppermint ones when chilled but the originals just taste "off" to me now.

I know, odd, right?

Well, let me add one more oddity to the mix. Right now I am craving chocolate!

That is right. Me, who doesn't particularly like chocolate is craving the stuff!

What a conundrum!


Voice Update: My voice is doing well. I need to step up the exercises (doesn't that sound like a broken record?) but, all things considered, my voice is sounding good. I still have problems with unvoiced consonants and especially the "pr" and "tw" sounds. Susan did give me exercises to work on that should make those sounds easier. Apparently, when I produce those particular sounds, my tongue is in the wrong place and blocks the air stream which makes it difficult to get the sounds out. Now all I need to do is retrain my darn tongue!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Chilly Day

Hi All!

It is chilly this morning in my neck of the woods! Of course, chilly for us is in the low 50s! I know that there are places which are WAY more than chilly at this point in the year.

While walking (yes, I did walk in the chilly weather!), I noticed that many of the trees which normally bloom in the Spring were blooming again. Magnolias had creamy white blooms and some flowering shrubs were sprouting cool, purple blooms. What is up with that? Has our roller coaster weather tricked these things into thinking it is Spring again?

Anyway - it was quite a contrast to see beautiful blossoms next to kiddos biking to school in heavy coats with their hoods up!

This chilly weather just makes me want to follow the lead of my kitties . . .

They know that chilly weather is good for snuggling up someplace warm! Or - snuggle up with a buddy!
Have a good day!

Voice Update: Doing well. That is all I feel like saying today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Been Happening Lately?

Hi All!

What's been happening in Texas, weather-wise, lately? Funny you should ask . . .

Let me show you.

That, my blogging friends, is what has been happening around my neck of the woods lately.
** Editor's note: These pictures were actually taken last week on Thursday while I was "driving" home from work. And when I say "driving" I really mean sitting on the Tollway while not moving!
Voice Update: Doing pretty well even though I am starting to slack off on the exercises again. I just can't get myself motivated! I have speech today so we will see what Susan says!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How Much Do You Know?

Hi All!

As you probably know, I have been taking American Sign Language classes for a couple years now. This initially began because of my inability to speak due to Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia. I wanted to have some method for communicating if my voice should never return.

Thankfully, my voice DID return but, I have continued to take ASL courses. Why? Frankly, it is because I like learning new things and ASL and Deaf culture fascinate me. The fact that I learn languages pretty easily doesn't hurt either!

Now, you should know that prior to taking ASL classes I had never met a Deaf person. I knew absolutely nothing about Deaf culture. In fact, I wasn't even aware that there WAS a Deaf culture!

In class last night we were "talking" about Deaf culture and the conflict between hearing culture and Deaf culture. Our teacher, Henry, is Deaf. He is the head of the ASL/Interpreting department. He has been around for a while and has faced a lot of interesting situations. Our discussion had me wondering . . . . how much do people really know about Deaf people?

Did you know that there is a difference between deaf with a lowercase d and Deaf with an uppercase D?

Did you know that there is a very strong Deaf culture with its own customs, rules, and traditions?

Did you know that 90% of all Deaf children have two hearing parents?

Did you know that American Sign Language (ASL) is a real language?

Did you know that children who grow up with ASL can learn to read and write in English through ASL?

Did you know that Deaf people can do pretty much anything hearing people can?

Did you know that Deaf people were considered to be intellectually inferior simply because their ears didn't work?

Did you know that many Deaf people were forced to go through HOURS of speech therapy each day as children in the effort to teach them to talk and to lip-read?

Did you know that the hours of speech therapy replaced instruction in things like reading, writing, math, and history?

Did you know that most Deaf people who are "expert" lip-readers can still only understand between 30 - 40% of a conversation?

Did you know that most hearing parents of Deaf children refuse to learn ASL to communicate with their children or only learn the very basics of ASL?

Did you know that cochlear implants - which are touted as being able to make deaf people hear like normal - don't work like "normal" hearing?

Did you know that children who get cochlear implants need to go to therapy to learn to be able to identify what they are "hearing?"

Did you know that "normal" hearing has hundreds of different "channels" of sounds while an implant only has something like 20?

Did you know that many children who get implants get the implant before they are two years old?

Did you know that when the exterior part of the implant is removed (for baths, showers, swimming, etc,.) the person with the implant can't hear anything?

Did you know that Deaf people have wonderful stories to share if you only take the time to interact with them?

Did you know that Child Protective Services has been known to remove hearing children from their homes simply because their parents are Deaf?

Did you know that there are probably Deaf people in your neighborhood or city who you have never seen? They look just like you and me!


Voice Update: Doing okay. I work today so we will see how it handles the phones!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spoonfuls and Showers

Hi All!

It was a busy weekend!

On Saturday the musical "Mary Poppins" was the order of the day along with a trip to the State Fair. The two - a musical and the State Fair - always go together since the venue for the musicals is actually in Fair Park. One nice perk is that with a ticket to the musical you get into the fair for free! So - you go early and walk around the fair and get junk food to eat and then you see the musical. A nice day!

The musical organizers always try to save a popular musical to run during the State Fair and this year was no exception! The house was sold out for the entire run of the musical. Many young children came with their parents to see the show but there were also a number of childless people there as well. Generally speaking, it was a good mix.

While different from the popular movie of the same name in several ways, this musical stayed close enough to the familiar story line to make it feel comfortable. A family who is having relationship troubles due to the father's work-a-holic ways and his overly stern attitude towards children meets with a magical nanny - Mary Poppins - who helps them discover the importance of family.

Mary Poppins introduces the children - and the household - to many magical things during her tenure in the household and takes the audience along with her. The normally drab park becomes a virtual wonderland of bright colors and magical statues who come to life and dance with Mary Poppins. A rooftop becomes a dance floor to a bevy of be-smudged chimney sweeps. Mary's friend, Bert, joins in on many of the adventures and also acts as a sort of narrator for the tale of the family.

Filled with fun, up-beat songs and lively choreography this production was fun to watch. The scenery was well done and, judging from the reactions from the children sitting around me, enchanting. Various rooms of the family's house opened up like a dollhouse under Bert's gentle touch and other rooms magically float down from the sky. Bright costumes and special effects sprinkled amongst the action just rounds out the entire experience.

If you get the chance, I would recommend that you check out this fun musical - even if you don't have any young ones to take with you!

After the musical on Saturday, Sunday was the wedding shower.

On Saturday night I sewed my black towel into a nice little bag and wrapped the gifts in the black and white striped towels to tuck inside. It took me a bit longer to figure out how to close the entire thing. I attempted to make handles like on a "normal" gift bag but, the towel bag was too floppy for that to work. So - I did some more yarn work and ended up using the grosgrain ribbon to lace up the top. It ended up looking neat. Certainly different from any other packages!

Then, there was the question of the card! Not one to do the "usual" thing, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a fun solution. Chelle, the bride, designed a logo for the wedding which is a fedora hat with a strand of pearls draped over it. I took that idea and ran with it.

Using my card program, I made a card which was a big fedora. I cut the card out to the shape of the hat and left only a bit on the top joined to make the fold of the card. Inside, I used font that looked similar to what Chelle had used on her invitations. Then - the coup de grace - I made a strand of fake pearl beads and attached it to the card so it looked like it was draping over the fedora.

It did turn out quite cute - if I must say so myself!

The card ended up being the hit of the shower and Chelle was really thrilled with it. In fact, she made sure that her mother took a picture of her with the card!

The shower itself was very nice. Chelle's sister was the hostess and had everything decorated quite nicely! She had a scrumptious spread of food and an adorable cupcake cake which looked like a wedding cake! There weren't a whole lot of people at the shower but, we did have fun! It was a good afternoon!


Voice Update: Doing pretty well. I am working on the exercises that Susan gave me to work on those hard words and hopefully, they will work!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shower Shopping

Hi All!

It has always been apparent to me that I somehow didn't get the "traditional" woman shopping gene. I have never really enjoyed shopping very much and only do it because I must. After all - I must have clothes to wear and food to eat etc., etc.

Then there are presents.

Shopping for others only intensifies my dislike of shopping. There is so much pressure involved! What if the person I am shopping for doesn't like what I pick out? I would rather not do it but . . . in our world, you just HAVE to sometimes.

Like for a wedding shower.

I am going to a wedding shower tomorrow (Chelle - if you are reading this - stop because I am going to ruin the surprise of what I got you . . .). That means that I HAD to go shopping for a shower gift. Super. I decided that after my weekly trip to the DAC I would stop at Target (one of two places the couple are registered) to pick up a gift. No sweat - in-out - done. Right? WRONG!

I got the gift registry and then spent about fifteen minutes studying it to determine what a) I wanted to purchase b) what I could afford to purchase c)where in the world it was going to be located in the store. Then I hit the aisles.

After looking at various stuff on the list which I liked and could afford . . .I wasn't too impressed. I mean - I can buy ONE oven mitt or ONE pan. That doesn't sound too exciting to open, does it? I like to open gifts with more than one thing in them. So . . . I started the hunt.

During my hunt I covered pretty much the entire store except for the food section (this is a Super Target with groceries also). I picked up a few things along the way for myself (a neat long sleeved v-neck shirt in a nice purple color, some fingerless gloves to use when on the computer in the winter, a new shower squeegee)and thought and thought about what to buy.

I finally decided to buy a small cutting board (technically a bar board) because I have a small board that I use ALL the time and love it. Then . . .I had to decide between a "good" paring knife or something else. Up and down the aisles I went. Up and down. Up and down. Have I mentioned that I really don't like shopping?

Finally, I decided to purchase the cheese cutter that Chelle had registered for. Cutting board and cheese cutter. That goes together pretty darn well.

Next - it was to the gift wrap! UGH!

Do I get a gift bag with tissue or do I get a box or just wrapping paper? What color(s)? Do I get traditional wedding stuff or more "funky (in a good way)" stuff? Finally, in desperation - I asked a fellow shopper her opinion (women are great about being supportive!). This woman even took me to an area where they had clearance stuff that was neat. Such a wonderful woman to take time from her own shopping to help me!

I picked up a bag and some tissue and then went on a hunt for something to embellish the bag with. And that led me down an entirely different set of aisles ending up in the kitchen towel area. There, inspiration struck. I picked up a set of kitchen towels in black and white (the cutting board and cheese cutter are black and white as well) and decided to use the mainly black towel as the gift bag (I will baste the sides with bright yarn) and the mainly white towels as tissue paper. The towels are wrapped in a nice, white, grosgrain ribbon which I will utilize as the handles of the bag.

Now all I have to do is to actually get that all done.

This "simple" process - picking up a shower gift - took me an hour and a half! Yuck! AND I don't have anything for the wedding yet!


Voice Update: Still having issues with "two" and "prayer." This is not helping me maintain my positive attitude about life!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday With a Side of Rain

Hi All!

Well, we all made it to Friday! Yeah! I must admit that my positive attitude is slipping just a bit. I think the final straw(s) were the canker sores (2 big ones in the front of my mouth which make smiling actually hurt) and a sore heel (a weird pain on the bottom of my left heel which makes walking nearly excruciating!).

Of course the fact that my voice is currently REFUSING to say the word prayer (at the beginning of a sentence only) and the word two (anywhere in a sentence) is adding a bit to my frustration. AND the fact that Hubby finds this voice situation funny. He actually chuckled (correction - he told me it wasn't chuckling . . . it was chortling) when I got stuck on the word prayer while reading our devotional last night. What a guy!

On a positive note . . . it is raining here at the moment! Over night it rained almost three inches! I woke throughout the night to that wonderful sound of rain on the roof! I absolutely adore rain!

Walking in the rain with heel pain . . . not "diggin' it" too much.

But rain in general . . . LOVE it! Somehow it makes everything seem okay - no matter what is going on in my life. Does it actually fix anything . . . well, no, but, it makes everything SEEM okay for a while!

Soon I will be heading off to the Deaf Action Center to visit my friends there. Then I will be trying to find an appropriate wedding shower gift for my friend Chelle from school. Her shower is Sunday and I haven't even started looking for her gift yet! Yikes!

I just hope it keeps raining all day!


Voice Update: Well, I told you about the two words which I can't say. I sort of feel like a voice failure at the moment. I am working on stuff but it just isn't "clicking." *sigh*

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sleepless Midnight Symphony

The midnight silence heard only on sleepless nights
Twines sinuously with the constant whirr of the ceiling fan
Stirring the night air into unrest.
Gently and softly, the slow inhale and exhale introduces a percussive cadence.
Faintly, in the distance,
The metallic clink of cats' tags meeting food dish.
A whimsical touch.
Now the inhalation takes on a hint of a snoring trill.
Overhead, a plane flies beneath the clouds
Creating a rumble of false thunder.
Inhale - trill.
Inhale - trill.
Sleeping kitty breathe adds
The barest hint of syncopation
To the rhythm of the night.
Inhale . . . inhale.
Inhale. . . . Exhale.
A car engine roars unexpectedly to life.
Sports car power.
Then zooms into action!
Seemingly endless zooming.
Fading into the distance
Only to appear again with surprising strength
Momentarily before finally disappearing
Exhale. . . inhale.
The sleepless midnight symphony continues.
The listener wondering when the deep rumble
Of allergy induced snoring will enter the mix.
Inhale. . . inhale.
Exhale . . .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Funk Fighting

Hi All!

Happy Wednesday! We have all made it to the middle of another week! YEAH!

Is my positive (and slightly wacky) attitude bothering you yet? No? Good!

I am happy to say that the positive mental attitude (PMA) is really doing a number on that nasty old funk that has been hanging around for so long. Currently the funk is hanging on by the tips of its teeny fingernails. I have confidence that soon it will loose its tenuous grip and will be banished!

Of course, there is always the danger that it will reappear.

While it is fighting for its life, the funk is throwing everything it has at me. My back is hurting despite all of the stretches I have done this morning. The temperature this morning was back to a chilly 58 (not nearly as chilly as the temps that Nobel Pig has to walk in though!). I had to duel with a headache yesterday at work along with some very "interesting" phone calls to the insurance companies. No one else in class has emailed their sections of the list we divided up. And . . . the lowest blow of all - I am getting a nice crop of zits on my face.

That is right - a CROP. Not one or two but several. *sigh* Oh well - that nasty funk can keep trying but . . . it WILL NOT win! I am too positive for that!

I am reading a new book - well, new to me anyway! It is called Dying for Chocolate and is a mystery/thriller/cookbook from Dianne Mott Davidson. I will review the book on my blog in a while but in the meantime, I am savoring each page! What makes this (the reading of a new book) so special that I put it in my blog is the fact that while in the deepest depths of the funk I was unable to read at all. Now I am started on my fourth book in a week! Yeah!

Today I don't have to work and have absolutely NOTHING planned until my class later tonight. Well, I take that back. I do plan on going up to the college a bit early to work on an assignment with some friends from class (NOT Frick and Frack even though I am doing MUCH better about loving them). However, the idea of a day stretching out in front of me with so much unstructured time is thrilling. My mind is racing with ideas of things to do.

There is some sewing I could do. There is always reading. The piano has been calling my name lately. The kitties can always handle some extra play time. Some tidying around the house wouldn't hurt. Some extra time spent on classwork could be a good idea. A nap always (I mean ALWAYS) sounds good.

Now my only problem is . . . how to choose what to do?


Voice Update: Well . . . the jury is out for a bit until I get talking today. While at work my voice seemed to be doing really well. Then I noticed last night while reading our devotional that I was really struggling with those darn unvoiced consonants as well as the hard ts. In fact, there was one word - darn . . . can't remember it now - which I had a tough time getting out at all! I guess I need to add intense vocal exercises to my list of thing to do today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Therapy Chickens????

Hi All!

Today is day two of my positive attitude to oust the "funk." So far I have the funk on the ropes but haven't quite given it the TKO yet. Maybe today will be the day that it will turn tail and run for the hills!

This morning, in contrast to yesterday's chilly 58 degrees, it is a very humid 74 degrees. Is it any wonder that lots of people in Texas have colds on top of their seasonal allergies?

Despite the steamy morning, I actually made it out to walk this morning and - after I got started - it wasn't TOO bad. At least I managed to sweat those nasty toxins (or that negative attitude) out! I listened to my devotional podcast and the Bible in a year podcast (back to the Psalms today with a really, really young reader who did a fine job) and then switched to the NPR show "Wait, Wait - Don't Tell Me!"

For those of you who have never heard this show, Wait, Wait is a game show which uses items (real and imagined) from the news as questions. There is a panel of people on the show - normally comedians or humorists - who "help" callers find out the correct answers and who also add their own humorous touches to the game. Throughout the game, the panelists are asked bizarre questions from the news.

The question which stood out for me this morning was the one asking about what kind of animal a woman is trying to make into therapy animals. CHICKENS!


The woman's reasoning is that many older Americans grew up with chicken and so holding chickens takes them back to happier days of their youth.


What will they think of next?

Okay - class update. Did you make a prediction as to if Frick and Frack had their part of the list completed? If you guessed that the answer would be NO - you would be correct. Frick knew about it and assured us that she would be spending all day Friday working on it - she has taken the day off of work to focus on the task. Then she added "If not on Friday, definitely on Sunday!"

Frack claimed to not know about the division of labor at all. To his credit - he might be correct. At the beginning of the class he was late, left early, was busy talking, a lot of the time and he certainly could have missed our conversation. He did make notes about which section he is in charge of and pledged that he would work on it and get it completed as soon as possible.

Should I believe him?

I did give both Frick and Frack my portion of the work. Another student, K, was upset that I did that. She said that she wasn't going to give them anything until they gave her their section. I told her that even with my section of the work, they wouldn't benefit from it unless they take the time to study so . . . I didn't mind giving it to them.

Trying to spread the love.


Voice Update: Doing well. I got a short massage yesterday from Susan while I was working, which was very nice. I work again today since L is feeling a bit worn out from a weekend of illness. Fun, fun!