Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Wednesday is History!

Hi All!

Well, I did it! I made it through another Wednesday! Another L- O-N-G Wednesday!

I started the day the "normal" way - with a walk. The walk was very nice - if a little chilly. My hands tend to get so cold on chilly mornings so I pulled on my fingerless gloves (perfect for working on the computer in the winter and for working with your hands. They aren't quite as practical as they could be but . . .) and hit the sidewalks. A pleasant breeze ruffled my bed-styled hair and the birds were just chirping their little hearts out. Nice.

Next I got on the computer to do some work, to blog, and to "chat" with Mom. Of course I had to have iTunes on and had to check email as well. It was a busy time on the computer.

Then it was off to Speech. Thankfully, all of the work I have been doing is really paying off. My voice is pretty consistent now with some very specific sounds which are giving me problems. Susan and I went through some exercises designed to work on those sounds (apparently, my tongue tends to get into my airway while I make those sounds and it messes everything up!) and now I have new "homework." Fun, fun! The new stuff doesn't replace any of what I am already doing - it is added on.

With a good report (and new work to do) from Speech it was back in the car to zoom off to Collin County Community College - Spring Creek Campus. I went up to the interpreting lab (different from the ASL lab in that it is smaller and not staffed with a lab assistant and that it allows voicing!) to meet members of my group to work on the group project. We worked on other stuff too - the journals which were due last night, various lab assignments that needed peer evaluations, etc.

Our group project seems to be on track. I am waiting for an update from the group which stayed after class last night to finish up some videoing. . . I have some organizational work to do and then everything needs to be edited and "prettified!"

My trip home was delayed greatly due to the fact that one of my classmates got some really bad news during class and I spent about an hour talking to her and cheering her up some so that she was in a good enough mood to drive home safely. Also, it was just plain fun talking to her! This delay got me home about twenty minutes before the start of today.

Needless to say, Skor and Miss Cleo were waiting for me at the door. Apparently, they can't settle down until I am home and in bed. After a little "loving time" where the cats got petted and ran around like lunatics, I managed to make it into the bedroom to change and then into the bathroom to get ready for bed. Skor played an energetic round of "tub ball" where he chases a ball around the bottom (and sides) of our bathtub.

Next it was falling into bed to eventually drift off to a nice, deep sleep.

Only to be awakened at 5:00 A.M. by "Buzzer." Who is Buzzer? That is what Hubby calls Skor when he acts like an alarm clock.

Yes, Skor woke me up at five and I managed to almost ignore him until about six forty five or so when I rolled out of bed, pulled on my walking clothes and stumbled out to make lunch for Hubby.

Doesn't that sound so glamorous to you?

I am going to take a nap now!


Voice Update: See the info above. Doing well and have new exercised to do to work on the few remaining issues I have.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden Butt

Hi All!

Remember all those plants I bought yesterday? Well, I am pleased to tell you that they are all planted. Every single one of them. Also, the mulch is laid. Things are looking good around my place at the moment. I have pictures to prove that I actually did a lot of work yesterday.

But first - take a look at this birdhouse.

My Mother-in-law gave us this birdhouse to honor the fact that Hubby works in the dairy industry (in a round about way). It has been inside for a long time but this year, when I cleaned the laundry room, I decided it should go outside. So - here it is.

Does anyone else think it is odd the way the eyes on the birdhouse seem to "glow?" I know it is only a trick of the lighting but . . .

Okay - now on to my hard work. First - a view of my "Patio garden."

The long planter holds our radish and lettuce crop. Both are doing well so far. It is elevated to discourage our local bunnies from nibbling.

In front of that is my tomato plant and in front of that is the strawberry crop.

Beside the berries are my recently potted New Guinea Impatiens.

Here is my front flowerbed. This is still very much a work in progress. We hope to rip the old shrubs out and replant. But - that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon so - I planted my new plants behind the shrubs.

Two of the plants are my formerly ONE pin cushion plant. I dug the thing up and it fell apart into two sections in my hands!

Now to the back flowerbed. Here is a view of the Clematis and the Cone Flowers I am hoping Bunny won't like this year. Currently, they have chili powder on them to make them less palatable.

This is my Hydrangea plant. I am so happy it is getting bigger. Maybe it will flower with vigor this year! I am keeping my fingers crossed!

My newly planted Laguna (lobelia hybrid) and Catalina (torenia) plants which I hope enjoy the shade. To the front right edge of this picture is the Lemon Drop (Oenothera). The pink plant is the Butterfly Flower (Gaura lindheimeri hybrid) which I hope lives up to its name and brings in lots of "flying flowers!"

I like the look of these rocks in my garden and the sleepy kitten.

Another new arrival is the Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens). I think the pink looks good next to the purple of the plant on the left and the yellow and orange flowers of the Blanket Flower on the right.

Here is a view of the entire bed. I am pretty satisfied. Of course, I am still wanting to make it bigger but . . . that I will save for another day!

That was a LOT of work but, I had my iPod in and I really enjoyed the coolish day and being outside. Now - about the title of this post.
When I was working in the beds I started out kneeling. That soon became very uncomfortable and so I just sat down. In dirt, in mud, in mulch, whatever. Of course, I had on less than wonderful pants so . . . I didn't mind. I just sort of scooted around to wherever I needed to be and made sure that no mulch was sticking me. When I got inside and took a look at the seat of my pants . . . I found I had garden butt!

Such sacrifices we make for our gardens!


Voice Update: I have speech today with Susan so I will get the official verdict from her but I have continued to work hard. Okay - last night I skipped reading out loud because I was tired but . . . that is the first night in at least a week!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Final Lab Assignment

Hi All!

Well, it is Tuesday and, hopefully, I won't be stressing too much about class tomorrow. Yes, I still have some work I need to do for class but . . . I finished my FINAL lab assignment yesterday! YEAH!

Now all that needs to be finished is the group project, my journal entries (which are due tomorrow!) and the final test! I am in the real "home-stretch!"

In addition to finishing my assignment at lab yesterday, I also had a very enjoyable time talking to the lab assistants (there were no other students there at the time). Sometimes it still amazes me that I can hold an intelligent conversation in a totally different language! Sure, I can hold my own in Spanish but this is different - I am not using my voice at all! What a feeling!

After lab I headed to the Depot (Home Depot) to pick up some stuff for my gardening adventures. I had intended to pick up some mulch and some potting soil and maybe a plant. One plant!

I walked away with the mulch (check), the dirt (check), some fencing to hopefully save my Cone flowers from being eaten by rabbits (not on the list but . . . check), some "bumpers" to put on our kitchen cabinet (also not on the list AND the wrong size so they need to go back!), some seeds for a perennial flower (not on the list . . .), AND EIGHT plants! That is right - EIGHT!

I started with a Blanket flower. Last week I got one at the other nursery I visited and I had originally wanted to put it out front but then decided that I liked it out back so . . . I got another to put out front.

Then I moved on to some plants to go in the shady part of my back flowerbed where nothing seems to grow. I thought we might give them a try . . . that was two - or was it three - plants. Then I found some additional perennials which I just had to have! Some lavender to replace the plant which Hubby innocently killed with some help from too much shade. A butterfly plant - who can't want one of those to attract our winged friends? Then another plant which I don't know the name of but which looked neat. Somehow . . . the total came to EIGHT plants.

Now I really have some work to do!

I blame my mom - it is all her fault for making me feel like I can actually garden! My eyes are too big for my poor, blistered hands!

That back flowerbed is certainly going to have to expand a bit more this year!

Oh - in addition to that - I am going to have to move my Pin Cushion plant which is crowding my Balloon Flower.

Such is the life of a gardener!
Voice Update: Doing well and really "truckin'" through the Bible with the oral reading. I am averaging about ten chapters a day - depending on the length of the chapters - and I am now into Deuteronomy. I am continuing to notice some difficulties on my "favorite" difficult sounds - the word "two" and the hard "c" sound - but, using the exercises Susan gave me to over come them is helping. When I remember to do them!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Evolution of a Cactus

Hi All!

This weekend was one of much needed sleep and a very, very odd Hubby. He was in a "mood" and was "interesting" to say the least!

Anyway! I did some work in the flowerbeds - trimmed another of the infernal shrubs and did some weeding (fun, fun!). There was also some net-working. What I mean by that is that I actually worked with netting to cover up the strawberries to protect against birds. I had thought that since the berries were just BARELY red that the birds would leave them alone - WRONG! Two of my barely blushed berries were beaked!

That is why the net came out. Now the berries are covered so that, hopefully, Hubby and I will be able to enjoy some nice berries instead of providing them as a buffet for the birds. There are a lot of little green berries which I hope will all ripen and be delicious.

On Saturday, Hubby and I headed to the Music Hall at Fair Park to see a presentation of "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber." This wasn't exactly a musical but Hubby counts it as one since it was all songs FROM musicals!

The presentation was pretty nice. There was one song from the movie of The Phantom of the Opera which Hubby and I had never heard and there were several musicals included which we haven't see (yet?!?) but there were also some very familiar songs from Phantom, Joseph, Evita, Cats, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Overall, I enjoyed the show. My favorite part were the songs sung by Charlie Pollock - he brought such energy and talent to the songs.

Yesterday was church in the morning, cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven in the afternoon and then handbells before coming home to dinner and reading as well as some piano playing.

A good weekend!

This morning I was out for my walk enjoying the lovely, cool air even though I know I will suffer for it in a bit with my eye allergies. They seem to be getting a bit better but they do still cause headaches pretty much daily. That is NOT too fun! After my walk I did my usual watering of my plants and I noticed that my cactus has grown quite a bit.

For those of you who don't remember - this is what my cactus (shipped to me via the USPS from Ohio) looked like when I first planted it.

Just a few little pieces. They looked pretty sparse in the pot.

This was the cactus last summer (with a duck egg placed there by Hubby to mess with me!). It has grown quite a bit since I first got it, hasn't it?

This is the same cactus this year. It seems to have gone WILD with the new growth! There is no evidence of any blooms yet but, hopefully, there will be a nice display sometime this summer.
Have I mentioned that Hubby HATES my cactus?
Such is life!
Voice Update: As normal, my voice has its ups and downs. This weekend it seems like I am either really aware of the ups and downs or they are really pronounced! While reading the Bible (I am near the end of Numbers now!), I have noticed that not only is that pesky word "two" giving me trouble but also words which start with a hard "c" such a cut. In Numbers that word is repeated a lot as the Lord tells Moses that people who commit certain kinds of sins will be cut off from their people. Apparently, you can get cut off from you people for doing a lot of different things! In addition to the difficulties with certain words, I have been having trouble raising my voice to talk to Hubby over the washer, dishwasher, running water, etc. However, there have also been times when my voice has really rocked! I guess that is just the way things are with SD!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Some Creatures from a "Different World"

Hi All!

It is very lovely in my neck of the woods today - cool and rainy. Hopefully, it will rain a bit more (it rained some during the night but not too much) so that we don't have to water our outside plants for a couple days.

Today I thought I would start off by showing you some pictures my mother took at their farm.

First up is the Guinea Hen. Well, to be more accurate, I should admit that I am not certain if this is a hen or a rooster (or whatever they call a male Guinea) but I think it is a hen.

This thing is NOISY and MESSY! In times past there were more than one of these critters on the farm but, for some reason, this is the only one left at the moment. She runs around the farm and squawks whenever she feels threatened. She also roots in the covered front porch and makes quite a mess.

Next up is a new addition to the farm family, Blue Boy. Blue Boy, known as Blue, was my Uncle Ken's birthday present. So far, I am told that Blue is adjusting to the farm really well. He is part (or all) Blue Heeler and is apparently quite intelligent.
All I know for sure is that he rides on the Gator with Uncle Ken and doesn't chase the goats. That is all good! I am sure that my dad will be teaching Blue some tricks soon. I can't wait to meet this cutie pie in person!
That is it for creatures from the farm. I just thought you might enjoy seeing them today.
As for my life . . . pretty boring lately. I am a bit under the weather for some reason (and looking back at my past posts, it seems I am sick quite a bit - what is up with that??) and am spending a lot of time napping in an attempt to provide my body time and opportunity to kick whatever bad germs out of the area!
I do have a question. This morning while getting Hubby's lunch box ready for today's lunch, I found his tire pressure gauge in the box. Do you think that is a bit odd? I know I do! I asked Hubby and he said that he took it to work in case someone wanted to check their tires for Earth Day. Huh. That sounds like a totally made up story to me! It was just strange to find that particular item in his lunch box!
Okay - I think that is about it for today. Looking at what I have written I can tell that I am sort of rambling so it might be best to just cut things off at this point.
Oh! I can't forget to tell you that I recently discovered Ronnie Milsap's podcast and his "new" album of gospel classics. Both are so enjoyable even though I have never really been a Ronnie Milsap fan - in fact, I wasn't exactly sure who he was until I checked out his picture on his album on iTunes!
However, if you like gospel music and/or Ronnie Milsap - I would highly recommend his album "Then Sings My Soup - 24 Favorite Hymns and Gospel Songs." Check it out!
Voice Update: Still hanging in there. My neck is a bit more crunchy than I would like it to be but . . .I am also having some kind of sneezing fit in the evenings (the past three anyway) which isn't doing any favors to my throat. Yesterday I didn't read out loud but I did talk to Mom on the phone so I "sort of" did my talking time. Sort of! I know! I need to get myself back to reading out loud and doing my exercises properly. Besides, I am in the middle of Leviticus and I can't just stop reading there . . . it wouldn't be right!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday, Again?

Hi All!

Okay, how in the world did the time fly so quickly that it is Wednesday again??? Wasn't yesterday only Friday? Isn't it still last week?



Oh well! I guess I will have to go through Wednesday today.

In a totally unrelated comment, should I be offended that Hubby consistently removes my things from his desk and places them neatly on the floor? Just asking!

Just to let you know, I am so very, very blessed to be surrounded by good people in my life. Yesterday I spent a bunch of time (three hours) at the Interpreting lab with Chelle and Danyelle. They are two wonderful, strong women who are just plain fun to be around. We worked, discussed our group project, and talked about all kinds of things.

There are many other strong, wonderful women that I interact with regularly but, these two are the most recent (until I head off to lab again today and meet more plus a wonderful young man whom I don't want to leave off the list of great people). Instead of coming home tired and just wanting to hibernate, I came home energized and oddly refreshed.

Danyelle and I had a very interesting discussion about the Bible. It seems to be on my mind a lot these days because of the time I am spending reading it out loud (which, by the way is going well even though I have had ENOUGH of reading about blood sacrifices for a while!). Anyway, we talked about some of the questions I had while I was reading and it was just nice to chat casually about these things.

Like I said, I am surrounded by wonderful people. I am really blessed!

Okay, I am blessed by these little "buggers" too. Don't they look so "chummy" in this picture?

I am not certain but, I think that Skor came in to "check on me" during the middle of the night. I vaguely recall a wet nose on my forehead.

Garden Update: I am thrilled because I have SEVEN Hostas sprouting. Three are "old-timers" returning for their third or fourth year while four are "babies" showing up for the first time this year (I did plant more Hostas last Fall so I was hoping to get some new ones!). These things make me feel like I am doing something right out there in the dirt!


Voice Update: Doing well. I am reading along in the Bible and getting a pretty good workout that way. My throat seems to be a bit "crunchier" than it has been for a bit so that might be a bad thing. I guess that means more massage!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's New?

Hi All!

So - what's new? Here is what is new and exciting in my household!

Yes, we got a new shower caddy! I know! Too exciting, right?

Now we are just holding our breath to make sure that THIS shower caddy doesn't decide to become homicidal and hit me in the back of the head while I am showering like the last one did!

Didn't I tell you about that? I was showering and suddenly, something hit me in the back of the head. I turned around and saw that the shower caddy had slipped down the shower head pipe and this let the conditioner bottle fly out and hit my head.

I promptly "fixed" the caddy by pushing it back to where it belonged and continued showering. For about two minutes. Then, an entire barrage of items hit me in the back of the head!

Yes, the caddy had slipped again and this time EVERYTHING on the thing flew into my head. Not a happy camper experience. I took the caddy down and all of the miscellaneous bottles and tubes have been sitting on our bathroom counter for about two weeks while we looked for a new, more friendly, caddy.

Yesterday we found this one at Wally World and decided to give it a try. So far, so good. I didn't get "conked" while showering this morning!

Such excitement!

You can tell Skor is excited by the way he is trying to chew on his bag.

That's all for today. Hope you have an exciting one!


Voice Update: Still doing well. I am reading my way through the old testament - I am going to start Leviticus today - and getting that voice nice and exercises! I am also making sure to do my massage at least three times a day. So far it seems like this is keeping everything in pretty good working order. The word "two" and some hard C sounds trip me up once in a while but, I am working on those too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Xandau, The Musical

Hi All!

According to Dictionary.Com, Xanadu is: "a place of great beauty, luxury, and contentment" or "utopia."

Well, let me just say that the musical which is named Xanadu falls "just a bit" short of that ideal!

Hubby and I went to see Xanadu as part of our season ticket package of musicals. We have both seen the movie - back in the day - and were not too impressed with it so we were hoping that the musical would be much better.

According to the reviews in our newspaper, the musical was something to look forward to, something "fresh and entertaining."

According to Hubby, "The only thing that saved it is that the lead girl could actually sing."

What does that tell you?

Personally, it tells me a couple things . . . first, Hubby is actually getting used to musicals and is reaching the point where he can critique them honestly. Second, it tells me that there wasn't a whole lot about the musical that Hubby thought was worthwhile!

Actually, there were many little funny moments during the musical. The dialogue was witty in many places. There was actually roller skating on the stage. A couple of the characters were hysterical. But . . .overall, it was just "okay."

It was interesting that some audience members sat on the stage and became unwitting participants at times. At the end of the show these people had glow sticks of different colors and got to wave them around.

The music was fun.

It was an "okay" show. I don't think I would pay to see it again but . . . it wasn't too bad.

Hubby was pleased that there was no intermission and that we got out before dinner time.


Voice Update: My voice is doing pretty well. I am still doing the oral reading from the Bible and am finding it a pleasant way to spend an hour each day. I figure I am combining my desire to read more of the Bible and my need to exercise my voice! So far the reading and the additional effort on my part to speak more during the day seems to be doing the trick. I do have to work on saying "two" since I have some kind of mental block against that. *sigh* MORE work!

To answer Linda's comment - yes, my vocal disorder is the same one which Diane Rhem and Robert Kennedy Jr. have but, I have a different type of the disorder. Both Diane and Robert have the more common, Adductor type of Spasmodic Dysphonia where I have the rarer Abductor type.

What does that mean? Diane and Robert have the type where the muscles spasming cause the vocal cords to be slammed closed and to not open. They sound like they are being strangled from the inside because they have to struggle to get air out past the closed cords. Of course, when/if they get Botox injections, that strangling sound lessens and they sound more "normal." In my type the vocal cords are being held open which results in a breathy sounding voice.

If you would like to know more about Spasmodic Dysphonia you can check out the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association's website where they have an explanation of what SD is as well as audio examples of people who have both types of SD.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A "Love" Story

Hi All!

Well, it FINALLY rained a bit here last night/early this morning! Hopefully that will keep some of the pollen in check for a while. That would be SUCH a relief for my poor, itchy eyes!

BUT - that isn't the main story for today's post.

THAT story is an odd kind of love story.

Do you see these ducks? Every year two ducks - which I choose to believe are the same two ducks each year - show up between my house and the neighbors' house. It is here that these two "lovers" play out their whole courtship routine.

The routine is hard to describe but does involve a LOT of quacking and chasing around with periodic breaks during with both birds preen their feathers to look sharp for the next round of quacking and chasing.

Sometime in the middle of this entire routine, another element is introduced.

This duck.

As you can probably tell, this is another male duck bringing the duck count up to TWO males and one female.

This leads to quite an "interesting" change in the routine.

Yes, there is still a LOT of quacking and chasing but now the chasing includes both males chasing the female AND the first male chasing the second male. Also, the female gets "cornered" so to speak by BOTH males at different times all while quacking loudly to show her indignation about the entire situation.

Even thought it is a bit against the prudish inclination of the neighborhood, these ducks have a three-way relationship going on!



Voice Update: Doing okay - I noticed a bit of trouble with words starting with the hard C sound yesterday. I don't know if that is only because I didn't do a lot of work on Thursday or what. I did my reading and am having a good time reading my way through the Bible - I am only in the beginning of Exodus though!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cause and Effect

Hi All!

Let's have a little cause and effect lesson today, okay?

Cause - yellow dust covering everything and swirling, unseen, in the air!

Effect - my new "Best Friend," eye drops to rinse the stuff out of my eyes to keep them from swelling shut and causing killer headaches!

This lesson on cause and effect was the reason I wasn't blogging yesterday. I was in bed trying to get rid of the headache that the drops didn't quite prevent. Well, I was between the bed and the bathroom where I was flushing my eyes with my "new best friend!"

Doesn't that sound like fun?


Voice Update: Still hanging in there. Yesterday wasn't as good as past days because I wasn't up and talking to myself like I normally am. I did do my hour of reading out loud and tried to pick up the speaking slack in the evening with Hubby (much to his dismay - he was trying to watch TV!). For my reading I have decided to start reading from the Bible. I have always wanted to read it all the way through and maybe this way I will actually get it done!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Wednesday!

Hi All!

It is Wednesday. Did you know that? Personally, I am VERY aware of the fact that it is Wednesday. The day that I "look forward to" all week. Yeah, right!

Actually, I suppose I should be feeling better about Wednesdays since class has been getting better but, old habits die hard!

Prior to class today, I do have a speech appointment. I am hoping that it goes really well since I have been working hard. Again, my whole "dance" with SD is certainly nothing when viewed through the glasses of my friend Marcia's struggle with cancer but, to me, it is my own personal struggle.

Wait a minute! Maybe that is it! For the past couple of years I have found that when I think of SD as a struggle - it IS a struggle. When I think of SD as my "dance partner" in the adventure I like to call life - it isn't such a struggle! Lately, I have been thinking of SD as a struggle when I need to remember that it is merely a dance partner who sometimes gets off beat and steps on my toes. Instead of working "against" SD, I need to work WITH it so that we are on the same page in terms of tempo. Then, SD won't mis-step and trod on my toes.

How in the world do I forget such a lesson which I learned through such hard times and hard work?

*doink!* (That was me hitting my forehead with my open palm!)

All I need to do is to remember to dance! DANCE!

Okay - now that my personal revelation and "doinking" is done, let's move on.

Today I have been given the very important task of dropping our taxes off at the post office. Who gave me this "honor?" Hubby, of course!

So, it would have been better for me to drop this important document off at the post office YESTERDAY when I had all the time in the world. Such things don't really occur to Hubby sometimes!

*sigh* Oh, well!

After my visit to the post office and to speech, I will head to the college to meet members of the class to begin working on our group project. Doesn't that sound like fun? Then it will be time for class.

Sounds like a pretty smooth day, right? Sure, it has some running around involved but, it seems smooth.

Unfortunately, I need to add one more factor into the mix.

Eye allergies.

The pollen is horrific here (as it is in many areas right now) and my eyes are really having problems. They are watery and itchy and . . . wait for it . . . . cause killer headaches! Yeah!

The only way I can help the situation - besides expensive allergy drops which I would need to take daily whether I had problems on not - is to flush my eyes with drops about every half hour. I dug my eye drops out from last year - and they had expired - of course! Not having anything else last night, I used them but, I will be stopping at Wally World briefly between the post office and speech to pick up some new solution.

Needless to say, any eye makeup (or under-eye makeup) I might leave the house with today will be long gone by tonight thanks to the flushing. My eyes are rimmed in a nice, bright reddish pink color and look like I have been crying my eyes out. Hmmmmm. Maybe I will get some sympathy in class. What do you think?

No - I didn't really think I would either!

Have a super Wednesday! Oh - think of Hubby - he will be taking Miss Cleo to the vet for her annual check-up this afternoon. Also think of the fact that he isn't very adept at actually getting this cat into a carrier!


Voice Update: I am doing well. Yesterday I decided to talk to Mom and Dad on the phone instead of reading out loud. It is all the same as long as I am talking. This was AFTER I talked my way through the grocery store. It was slightly amusing that the workers at the store didn't even blink at me talking to myself as I went through the aisles. The shoppers were a completely different story, though!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Roller Coaster Philosophy of Life

Hi All!

My dear friend, Marcia, who was my roommate my sophomore year of college, is struggling with cancer. She had a massive tumor removed last Spring and just found out that there are new tumors on her liver and in her lungs. Today marks the start of her experience with chemotherapy. Please keep her and her family (a husband and two pre-teen sons) in your prayers.

Marcia has always been an amazing person. She is a strong Christian whose beliefs really have helped her in her fight with cancer so far. Marcia is also a very positive person. In college, when times were stressful or difficult, she always managed to cheer me up with her cheery optimism.

That hasn't changed even though she has hit a VERY hard spot in her life.

Marcia has a website on CarePages which she uses to keep her friends and family updated about how her fight is going. Even as I read about the horrible things she is going through, I am amazed by her up-beat personality. Her latest post compared life to a roller coaster ride with its ups, downs, twists, and turns.

Thinking about this, I believe that a roller coaster is a great analogy for life. The highs are amazing and often breathtaking while the lows can be frightening. However, even though the entire ride is full of the highest highs and the lowest lows, at the end you are on an "even keel" and satisfied. All of this action is completely out of our control. The only thing we can do is hold on tight and go with it. Of course, we can also control our reaction to the ups and downs. We can decide to be afraid or we can choose to be thrilled by it all.

Marcia has decided to be thrilled with it all. May God bless her.


Voice Update: How small my struggle with SD seems in comparison to Marcia's struggle. I will not see my health decline due to this disorder. I won't die. I won't have to have toxins pumped into my body in order to try to "cure" it. I am blessed.

My voice is doing well. I loafed again yesterday - actually, I forgot to do my reading! Can you believe that? Not good, Trisha, not good!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Warrior?

Hi All!

This weekend Hubby and I headed to Home Depot to pick up a few things. He finally got his birthday present (from March!) which is an electric, rechargeable string trimmer (known in our house as a Weed Whacker!). We also picked up some stuff for the garden. We got a tomato plant, some radish and lettuce seeds, two impatien plants which are hybrids designed to handle full sun (we will see!), two Peace Lillies to replace the two we had inside and which were struggling. Let's see. . . . we also got more anti-bird netting to put over our strawberries and tomatoes when they are close to being ripe. I think that is it.

Then it was time to get busy! I spent about two hours digging in my little flower garden. The edging I had put in needed to be pulled out and reset so I increased the width of the bed by about 8-10 inches all along. I also yanked up two paver blocks and repositioned them so that the end of the bed was a more regular shape.

Here is our tomato plant. I hope we get some nice tomatoes from it. We decided to go with only one plant this year to make sure it had lots of space to grow!

The strawberries are blooming away and forming nice, green berries. Keep your fingers crossed!

I forget what this plant is called. It has dark purple leaves and such lovely purple blooms. This is the first year it has really bloomed this nicely. Last year it only had one bloom!

My Hydranga is coming along very nicely. Many others in the neighborhood are bigger - does that depend on if I cut it back in the fall? Each Fall I cut back the dead parts.

My Hostas - okay, two of my Hostas - are making their presence known. I am hoping to have a bunch more soon!

There are "Sun Patiens" which are supposed to be able to deal with full sun. I am going to plant them in planters as soon as I get some more soil. The variegated one has pink blooms but I have no idea what color the other is going to be.

This is the "big" Peace Lilly we bought. It is already potted and ready to go.

Here is the "little" Peace Lilly. It is already re-potted too. Such nice, glossy leaves!

Let's just hope that these little buggers don't decide they like to chew on the Peace Lilly leaves!

That was my weekend! How was yours?
Voice Update: Doing well. I must admit that I didn't read out loud for very long yesterday. I just needed a break. This probably isn't good for my voice but . . . I just needed a break! I did read on Saturday and a bit (probably 20 minutes) on Sunday but . . .I know it should have been longer. One problem is that I finished the book I was reading and now am trying to get into another book. Not a good excuse - is it?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Plans

Hi All!

The "at a loss for words" thing is still hanging around but I am "powering" through!

Yesterday was a nice, relaxing day. I got to watch some of the shows I had on my DVR (It was getting to be a long list of shows!) and eat my taco salad from Taco Bell. Then I read some of my book - which has gotten more interesting since I managed to make it past the first hundred pages! AND - I know this will shock you! - I took a nap!

When Hubby came home we had a nice, relaxing time to talk and then we went to Amore's Italian restaurant for dinner (Dinner out!!!!) and to Wal Mart. Because we didn't do our nightly walk outside, we made sure to walk up and down pretty much every single aisle in the food and beauty sections of Wally World!

Today we have some plans. We are hoping to head to the Depot to pick up a cordless weed whacker for Hubby (it is his birthday present from last month which we haven't gotten yet!), some tomato plants and some netting to keep the birds from eating our strawberries. I also would like to pick up some other "odds and ends" for the garden. Maybe some mulch and who knows what else! I am excited!

Of course, that means I will need to be planting and working on the flowerbeds soon!

What will you be doing this weekend?


Voice Update: Doing pretty well. Still a bit shaky on some of the unvoiced buggers but . . .working on it! I am still reading out loud each day for at least an hour in addition to making a very conscious decision to talk more. The poor cats are getting a LOT of talking these days! We will see what Susan thinks this Wednesday when I have therapy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

At a Loss For Words

Hi All!

I like the phrase "at a loss for words." It can cover so many different situations. For example, when I see a huge mess that Skor has created I am often at a loss for words because I am so angry. When I see some tragedy on the news, I am also often at a loss for words because of the sadness I feel. When I got a surprise I am at a loss for words because my brain takes a moment to recover from the shock.

Today, I am at a loss for words because my brain simply can't string words together into any sort of interesting blog! Who knows why! It is just the way of things this morning.

I am quite simply at a loss for words.


Voice Update: I am still plugging away. At my doctor's visit yesterday, Doc Feely asked if my dysphonia was gone. Imagine! I had to remind him that it would never be gone and that I work very hard to have a relatively "normal" voice! My voice is doing pretty well. I think I am about back to 97% of normal or so at the moment thanks to my efforts to talk more and to step up my exercises!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Bad Ending to an Otherwise Good Day

Hi All!

Another class session has been successfully navigated and there is no damage that I can see! Yeah! Amazingly, the class was really pretty productive. I am not sure if this is the result of the class being smaller now (10 instead of the original 17) or if it is due to the fact that the teacher got some email from her "higher ups" about her teaching methods.

Either way, it was actually almost enjoyable! Amazing!

Yesterday as an "almost" whole went well for me. I had a doctor's appointment with my "general" doctor. This is a yearly appointment and so off I went. Everything checked out okay - even the fact that I see "stars" often. This turns out to be due to the fact that my blood pressure is on the borderline of being low and that I am taking diuretics. I learned some interesting anatomy information during the appointment.

** Just a note for some long term readers. I may have told you about this very same doctor prescribing blood pressure meds to me about three years ago! Of course, that was when I was just starting to deal with my SD and was also having anxiety attacks due to some work situations. Stress really does affect your blood pressure!

After seeing "Doc Feely," as Hubby and I like to call him, I came back home, ate a nice lunch and watched a television show I had recorded. After getting the mail, I found that I had gotten my latest free CD from RBC Ministries - that was VERY exciting for me since I love music AND free things! Then I took a short, 45 minute nap and got ready to head to class. Yes, it was early for class but the group was planning to meet before class to do some work on our group project so . . . off I went.

As I stated previously, class was actually almost enjoyable! Why couldn't the semester have STARTED like this?

Then it was home again (listening to my free CD all the way home!) at the crack of eleven. Can you say, tired?

That, my dear friends, is when the twist came.

Both of my cats were excited I was home. Apparently, Hubby is not a satisfactory replacement for me while I am away. This probably has to do with the fact that he basically pets the cats for ten seconds and then ignores them. Anyway, when I got home both cats were clamoring for attention. I spent several minutes (about 30 or so) petting them and playing with them and just talking to them.

Skor, being quite the Momma's Boy, wanted even more attention so, while I was changing for bed, I picked him up to cuddle him a bit.

This was a BAD idea because Miss Cleo made a noise from the doorway and Skor shot out of my arms and across the bed. Doesn't sound too bad? Okay, picture this. I had just taken off my shirt because I was changing for bed. I was holding Skor and when he shot out of my arms he gathered momentum by pushing off with his back feet. Which have claws on them. Sharp claws.

There are two rather deep "racing stripes" across the right side of my stomach and another two across the inside of my right forearm. There was blood. Not a lot but enough. There was pain. A whole boatload of pain!

Did I mention the pain?

This was slightly compounded by the fact that I am a stomach sleeper. I just can't get to sleep on my back or side. This caused even more problems.

It was just a BAD ending to a pretty good day!


Voice Update: I did talk yesterday but I didn't manage to squeeze in my hour of reading. To answer a question, I don't record myself reading right now. I did record myself when I was first getting my "normal" voice back so that my speech therapist could hear how I was doing. Now, I just read. It might be a good idea for me to record a session now and again for my "records" though. I will think about it. Okay - I did exercises but no reading. Today it will be "back on the horse!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Got To Be Better . . . .

Hi All!

Was I in a good mood when I posted yesterday? It seems so very long ago that I can't remember! True, I could look back and find out but . . . that just seems to require more energy than I care to expend at the moment!

Yesterday was . . . well . . . it WAS. That is about the best I can say about it. Why? I am glad you asked!

It started with an assignment for class. Of course, I waited until the "last" minute to get everything together so I HAD to do it yesterday. Good planning skills, right? Anyway, I had picked out the video on YouTube that I was going to need and just had to get it onto a DVD to take with me to lab. Since I don't have a video camera I decided to use the next best method - my "regular" camera.

I got my purse camera all ready to go and . . . half way through recording the video (which is five minutes long!), the battery died. I put the battery on to charge and thought, "No problem! I'll just get out my other camera and use it." The other camera needed batteries so I dug those out of the pantry and loaded up the camera. Only to find that something is REALLY wrong and no image can be seen on the screen of the camera OR in the viewfinder. All you see if black with some possible light in different bands across the screen.

What? How did this happen? I haven't used this camera since our cruise to Alaska last summer and it was perfectly fine then! *sigh* Now what do I do?

Checking the charging light on the battery for my purse camera I saw that it wasn't "done" yet. What to do? What to do?

I decided to take my shower first and then see what I could figure out. After the shower I decided to try the purse camera battery even though it wasn't "done." Luckily, it worked and I got the video recorded! Yeah! My day must be getting better!

Loading the video onto the computer, I transferred it to a disc and then loaded up everything I needed to record my interpreting and headed to the lab. Once there I got the video camera and tripod set up. Got the television where you could see it while also seeing me as I interpreted. Then I stuck the disc into the television to play the video.

Nothing! I had accidentally used the wrong disc and the television/dvd player couldn't read the disc! Now what do I do????

The camera and tripod were packed up and returned to the lab and I headed home (quite a drive for NOTHING!). On the way I got gas for my poor SUV which has been running on near fumes for way too long! (Speaking of gas . . . the price jumped 20 cents in two days! What is going on with THAT??) Then I stopped at Wal Mart to do some shopping - as planned. I managed to pick up two camisoles which I think will work well to replace the sleeveless shirts I just put into the "donate" bag over the weekend.

Then it was home. I ate lunch and watched some TV as my mind feverishly worked on how to solve my problem of this darn assignment. After all, I don't have a video camera and, after briefly thinking about getting one while at Wal Mart, I decided that I probably would never use it once I was done with these classes. So - I didn't buy one. I did, however, come up with a plan which I hoped would work.

Now that my purse camera battery was charged (it was on while I was at lab and Wal Mart), I would use that. For a tripod I decided that our ladder would work well. To solve the slight problem of a messy desk, I would drape the desk and the mess with a plain colored sheet. The video would play on my computer and, hopefully, everything would work out!

After totally freaking both kitties out by moving things around - including a ladder - I had everything in place. I set the camera up on the ladder (and on top of a book for the perfect height) and, using the timer, took a picture to make sure that the set up had me in the right place. Then, it was show time!

I started the camera, ran to the computer to start the video, and sat down to interpret. The entire time I was hoping and praying that my camera wouldn't run out of batteries right in the middle of everything!

Again, I was lucky. I managed to record everything twice (the first time wasn't quite right in the set up) and the video was loaded on a DVD (I double checked this time) to be turned in as well as on Facebook to be evaluated by someone from class. Whew!

Let me tell you, after all of that I was ready for a nap! I didn't nap though - you would be proud of me! When Hubby came home we got ready and hit the sidewalks for our nightly walk.

And I got sunburned!

Things just weren't going my way, were they? Today has got to be better. Right?

To cheer myself up, I took some shots of Skor playing with "his" bag last night. They just make me smile.

He always starts just by looking at the toy in the bag. After all, you don't want to let the toy know you are hunting it!

Then he gets a little closer and perks those fuzzy ears up. Again - not too excited. You don't want to spook the toy!

Finally, just when the toy thinks it is safe . . . you POUNCE!

How can you not smile at the sight of the cat in the bag?

Have a great Wednesday!


Voice Update: Still doing my exercises and reading. Things are going well, I think. Hubby says my voice is sounding good. I do have some problems while reading though. My voice feels like it is
raspy. Probably because my throat gets so dry. I am really working on keeping my voice exercised!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shhhh! The Boss is Here!

Hi All!

I need to be careful what I say today because "the boss" is sitting here closely observing my work.

Luckily, he nods off for a short nap now and again!

My walk this morning was lovely. The sky was overcast so I didn't get too heated by the sun and there was a brisk breeze.
Of course, here it seems like there is ALWAYS a brisk breeze. Sometimes it is so "brisk" that it makes it tough to walk! I guess that is Texas for you!

Anyway - my neighbors' tulips are in full bloom. They are quite lovely all in white. I tried to get a close up of one of the tulips but it was impossible this morning due to the wind! All of my pictures were blurry because the flower was being blown around!

Most of the daffodils along my route are now in decline. *sigh* It is sad but . . . I guess that is the way it goes!

The Bluebonnet patch is still doing really well. It seems like each day there are more and more blooms.

They are so pretty. I always have to stop for a minute and take the sight in.

You can tell from these pictures that the light was changing during the walk. The sun would peek out from behind a cloud (like in this picture) and then hide again (like in the last picture). It certainly makes taking pictures "interesting!"

This morning while walking I listened to my daily devotion podcast as usual and it really struck home. It was all about perseverance and how God uses obstacles in your life to bring you closer to him. It flashed in my mind that my SD is being used for just such a reason.
As I struggle to maintain my hard-won voice and to understand why I have to deal with this, I find myself turning to God and to scripture more and more.
I also believe that God is using my SD to teach me. Having SD has forced me out of my comfort zone many, many times. It has made me more helpful to others and more understanding of the various problems people have. I have also started my American Sign Language path and have met a wide variety of people while doing that. So much good from something which, at first, seemed to be nothing but bad.
God certainly does work in mysterious ways!
Today I will be heading to the ASL lab to record myself interpreting a cartoon called "Crawford the Cat Brushes His Teeth." It seemed like something fun and different to interpret. It isn't too hard either - which is always a good thing!
After that I will probably hit Wal Mart to do some grocery shopping. Doesn't that sound like fun? I think I will also look to see what their supply of shorts looks like. I might need some new ones this year. It never hurts to look, right?
Hope you have a fabulous day yourself!
P.S. I seem to be over the worst of my crankiness. This is probably because I am working on my voice and it is showing improvement. I do continue to have some anxiety about my voice but I am working on getting rid of that!
Voice Update: My voice is doing pretty well. It is getting stronger in some ways thanks to my reading out loud but those darned unvoiced consonants are continuing to be a hassle and a half! I am finding myself planning what I say so that I don't start sentences with words that give me problems. It isn't all bad though - it does force me to think before I talk!

Monday, April 5, 2010

How Can I Not Be Happy?

Hi All!

Okay - I was cranky on Saturday and after going back to bed for a long nap and getting up again - I was still cranky. I think it is just going to take some time for me to adjust to having Mr. Timer around all the time and to the fact that the job that I didn't particularly want was actually helping me!

Now I am in a much better mood. This is due in part to the fact that I got to see this during two worship services on Easter Sunday.

How can you possibly be cranky looking at such a pretty thing? Of course, remembering that Jesus died on a cross to save the world from sin helps a lot too!
The weekend was pretty slow - thanks to my nap to try to chase away to "grumpies." It was nice and relaxing.
I did make sure to do my oral reading on Sunday even though I only got about ten minutes in on Saturday (it is tough to read when you are sleeping!). Hubby has been so very good at helping to remind me to read and to do my exercises. He is hoping that doing these things will improve my voice enough that I don't get grumpy again!
Good luck with that, Hubby!
Have a super week and - happy belated Easter!
Voice Update: Actually, my voice seems to be improving slowly with the oral reading. I am still struggling with the unvoiced consonants (gee - doesn't that sound familiar??) but, even those are getting better. Now, I can say most of them with no problems when they are in the middle of a sentence. The beginning of a sentence - not so much. Mr. Timer and I are getting settled into a nice little reading routine even though he has had to fight off Skor who wants to chew on him!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Hi All!

This morning I am cranky.

I feel mean.

I feel like growling at someone/something.

Leaving my bed wasn't something I wanted to do -at 7:00 A.M. when the cats wanted me to watch them eat or at 8:00 A.M. when I agreed to meet Mom on IM.

Walking? What a joke! I decided to sleep in (hoping that a little extra sleep would make me less cranky - it didn't work).

Hubby, who is trying hard to stay out of the path of my crankiness, has helpfully told me that he thinks I am so cranky because of my voice.

After growling at him (in the most loving way that I could manage) I decided that he was absolutely correct. The worst thing about that is that I didn't figure that out for myself. Honestly! You would think that at this point in my "dance" with SD I would be able to tell when it was stepping all over my toes and making me cranky. Apparently, I can't. That makes me even MORE cranky!

The cats have figured out that I am in a less than good "place" at the moment and they have both decided to leave me alone. For once I am alone while I sit in the office. It is a minor miracle!

Of course, I wish that I wasn't cranky. I don't like feeling cranky.

I think I will go back to bed for a while and try to wake up with a completely new attitude.

Do you think it will work?


Voice Update: Actually, my voice is doing better. Hubby has told me that it seems like my regime is helping to strengthen my voice again. Mr. Timer and I are still working on my reading and I am striving to do my inhalation exercises and massage at least four times a day. The massage is a bit of a problem because my neck is still a little sore from Susan's work over! I AM doing the massage though.