Saturday, May 31, 2008

Explanation and Bird Bordello

Hi All!

Sorry I have been off my posting schedule lately. Normally I post while I IM with my mother who lives in Ohio. Well, Mom and Dad came to visit us from Ohio on Wednesday afternoon and since then - I haven't found the time to post. I have turned the computer on twice with the intention of posting and then . . . didn't.

I hope I haven't lost my three loyal readers due to my inactivity!

Now - on to more interesting matters.

My house seems to be the site of a very popular bird bordello. Yes, a house of ill-repute for our feathered friends. How can this be - you might ask. Well, let me tell you. We got our kitchen windows tinted last week and now the birds eating at the feeder right outside that window can no longer see us sitting at the kitchen table watching them. This has apparently led many of these creatures to believe that they are in a private room.

While talking with my parents at breakfast yesterday I noticed a male grackle strutting around the yard all puffed up and squawking away. Then I noticed a female grackle looking quite taken by this display. The next thing I knew, they were having bird sex - right there in front of our eyes!

What do you say to your parents when you witness something like that? And these birds were very diligent in their task which was repeated many times over the next 5 to 10 minutes. Geesh! Get a room!

Then, as Hubby and I were walking with my parents after dinner we noticed some ducks in our yard. This isn't unusual because we live in close vicinity to a lake and the ducks stop off in yards for a rest or an insect buffet - whatever. These ducks, however, were not taking in the sights of the insects. You may have guessed - they were having duck sex!

To add to the picture - you have to understand that there were not only two ducks in on this action! There were three!!!! Two males and one, poor quaking female who was trying her best to run away from the males. She slipped away several times only to be cornered again. Poor girl!

We figured out after a minute or two (this went on for a good five or 6 minutes) that the third duck - or the second male duck - was an interloper. This was a good, wholesome duck couple and here comes this other male wanting a piece of the action. He was the one cornering the female which explains why she was running away from him. It also explains why the other male duck was attacking him while he was "bothering (shall we say?)" the female. There was even an incident between the two males when a lot of feathers went flying.

It wasn't too long after the feathers went flying that the outsider male was successfully chased away by the rightful mate of the female. The pair then waddled off to hide (I would think - I didn't really see where they ended up).

After going into the house and thinking about it - not only was that duck sex . . . it could very well have been duck rape! Nasty!

What kind of a place and I living in anyway?


Voice Update:
My voice is doing really well. After Speech on Wednesday - and another session of strangling - my voice was excellent. For the past two days I have been talking more than usual to my parents and it seems to help my voice get a bit stronger. We did go to a rather noisy restaurant where it was difficult for my parents (and Hubby) to hear me. Remember I can't really raise my voice at all. Oh well! I have been doing my massage more faithfully and my throat is sore on the right side. Over use? Leftover results of the speech therapy session?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Hot and Humid Here!

Hi All!

I am just back from my morning walk and I am absolutely soaking wet. No - it isn't raining here today like it was yesterday. I am soaked with sweat (I know that isn't a pretty mental picture so just move on quickly!). Yesterday after the rain, it was so nice and cool - it was about 69 degrees for a while before climbing to a balmy 78. Still cool.

Today, when I started my walk, it was already 68 degrees and the sun was out in full force. I don't know the temperature now but I am sure it is zipping right through the 70's! That, however, isn't what made my walk so . . . . damp. It was the humidity! Hubby has a little weather station which measures the outside humidity. I check it each morning before I walk to ensure proper clothing choices. Today - that little thing said the humidity was 84%! That is HUMID!

You can't walk outside to get the newspaper in that kind of humidity without breaking a sweat. When you get out of the shower, you immediately begin to sweat again - making the whole shower thing a bit futile!

Why did we move to Texas again?


Voice Update:
I haven't really tested the voice out today yet. However, I can almost say with certainty that my voice will be worse than it has been for a few days. Why you may ask? Because I am going to speech today, of course! I think my voice worsens deliberately just so I have a reason to go to speech. Naughty voice. Okay - I am testing my voice out - hold on. . .

Amazing! My voice is actually pretty good! Maybe this time it will be "showing off" for my speech therapist - wouldn't that be something!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Travelin' Man

Hi All!

Today I woke up early (for me these days - late for me when I was a working woman!) and took Hubby to the airport. He is off to that ET haven, Roswell, New Mexico. I hear even the Wal Mart there is alien themed. It is only hearsay because Hubby refuses to take a picture for me!

Anyway - Hubby is off and I miss him already! He is only going to be gone until Thursday afternoon and on Wednesday my parents will be coming for a visit. I won't be alone for long (Rats! I mean, uh . . . yeah!) but I just can't help missing Hubby!

Now, for at least one day before he travels, Hubby is quite a piece of work. He is grumpy and cranky and uncommunicative, and looking for a fight. He shoots looks at me worthy of a grumpy two-year-old smack dab in the middle of a "terrible two's" fit. All of this is because Hubby gets himself worked up before any kind of traveling. He is nervous - I guess. Poor guy! He knows he is being "difficult" (his word, not mine) but just can't help it.

I guess it is a testament to my love for him that I have endured this for almost eleven years! And, I must admit, we do tend to travel quite a bit.

I love my cranky Hubby and can't wait for him to be home again!


Voice Update:
It's a good day. As I was singing in the car on the way home from the airport I noticed that my voice is a bit stronger. Yippee! I am on those exercises and that massage. I have speech tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Related to That Murphy Guy

Hi All!

Have I ever told you about my theory that I am related to that Murphy guy? You know - the guy with the rules? I am pretty sure that he is somewhere on my family tree but no one is admitting it!

Anyway - I will fill you in about why I am pretty darn certain that my theory is correct at a later date. Right now, I am beginning to think that the family influence has rubbed off on dear Hubby!

Normally, I am the one who gets all the weird and unfortunate stuff but, for some reason, Hubby got it this weekend. After viewing Ring of Fire (see the last post!) we set off to eat at a Chinese restaurant the Hubby had found online. We love Chinese food buy have just not found a good place in Dallas yet. I know they exist . . . we are just missing them somehow!

The food was okay - what would we expect from a place with an Italian sounding name (Valentino's) but the darn place fought back! Hubby went to the restroom and came back to our table sort of groaning and making a weird face. It took several minutes for him to be able to tell me what was going on. The restroom door handle apparently caught Hubby in the side as he was exiting. Not expecting the Murphy curse to have settled on Hubby's shoulders, I just assumed that he was being dramatic as usual and continued my meal.

Later we were at the Mall shopping for jeans for Hubby (which is a VERY unusual occurrence because he DOES NOT LIKE TO SHOP!) when he casually pulled up the side of his shirt to show my his "war wound" from the door.

Holey Moley! Hubby has a big bruise and scrape on his side! I didn't get the chance to measure (can't you just see him letting me do that!) or to take a picture (ditto) but, it has to be about five inches long and three inches wide! By the time I saw the thing it was all puffy and red and turning purple around the edges. The scraped part in the center had dried blood caked on it (but none was on his shirt, thankfully) and looked nasty!

I was beginning to feel bad about my nonchalant reaction to his groaning in the restaurant! Poor Hubby!

When we got home I made sure that Hubby put ice on that bruise and it seemed to be tamed a bit by that. Of course, it is still looking pretty nasty! In fact, we have rated it as a "Trisha class bruise." Believe me - it has to be nasty to earn that rating!

Does that give you a hint about my Murphy heritage?


Voice Update:

So far - so good. Still blipping out on a few words here and there but mostly when I am trying to raise my voice. I should know better than that! I was happy last night when my neighbor paid my voice a compliment - always a good thing! I haven't been doing my massage like I should because I have been in a bit of a funk. I felt my larynx a second ago and I need to get "back on the horse." I have speech this week so we will see how it goes. Maybe I will be able to go to every three weeks for appointments!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ring Of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show

Hi All!
Yesterday was another musical adventure for Hubby and me! We went to see "Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show." Now, I must admit that while I know who Johnny Cash is (or was - he is dead now), I really never listened to his music. Sure, I had heard it now and then but never deliberately. I also remember seeing him on CMT several years ago singing some song (which turned out to be "Hurt"). Of course Hubby was certain that I was mistaking him for Roy Orbison (or however that is spelled!). For a while even I wasn't sure!

The crowd was rather light for this show. The production started exactly 6 minutes late (thanks for noting that Hubby!) and was pretty much all music with some short narration thrown in for good measure. The musicians were onstage the entire time and there were ten or so singers/cast members who came on and off the stage in various numbers and manners of dress. The set was pretty neat. It was two pieces made to look sort of like two storied shacks from the front and from the back looked industrial with metal bars and stuff. They turned thanks to the elbow grease of the cast members.

The music was good. I was totally unfamiliar with most of it (I think I figured out I had heard of four of the songs and one was "I've Been Everywhere" which is highlighted in the Comfort Inn commercials.). I could appreciate the talent of the singers and the musicians but I didn't get "into" the show as much as I may have if I was more familiar with the repertoire.

I do need to take a minute to talk about the fiddle player. Yes, I said fiddle. I know that the instrument is properly called a violin but in this kind of music - it is truly a fiddle! Anyhow - this guy was talented! He was sawin' away on that fiddle and he also really got into the music doing his own little dance moves. He even did a back bend at one point in the show. I found myself watching him more than everyone else on stage. He was good! His name was Jens Kramer. Kudos to you Jens!

Over all, this was an entertaining show. I don't know that I would clamor to see it again but, once was enjoyable. If you are a really big Johnny Cash show, maybe you would like to make a point to see it. I did buy the CD - which turned out to be a double CD with a total of 39 songs. Of course they are not sung by Johnny but by listening to them I will become more familiar with his music.

Well, that is about it! I will have to tell you about our visit to a Chinese restaurant and our exciting "shopping spree" tomorrow!

Have a fabulous Sunday!


Voice Update: Pretty good. I haven't really talked too much today but when I do talk - it is fine. Still not as strong as I would like it and cutting out on a few words here and there. I just charged my Spokeman back up so it is ready for service again. It is almost like a security blanket for me to use the microphone. I know that I can be heard and can relax about trying to make my voice better than it is. If you don't have a personal amplification system - I would recommend looking for one. The Spokeman is reasonably priced and pretty portable! Oh - I can't forget my massage today!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Phone Books - Revisited

Hi All!

Well - yesterday afternoon, Hubby opened the front door and there it was. In a white plastic bag it looked rather innocent but - it was ANOTHER phone book! This was a HUGE sucker too! Just look at it!

Three and a half inches (or so) of yellow pages to replace the three and a half inches (or so) of yellow pages we got from the SAME COMPANY in January! Has the information changed so much in five months that we need another phone book?

How many trees are cut down to produce this behemoth anyway? Are there groves of special "phone book trees" planted especially for this purpose? Why are the environmentalists not jumping on these phone book companies for overuse of paper? I am sure that global warming isn't being helped by all these phone books!

Just look at our phone book cabinet. That is a double stack of phone books - one behind the other. Just what on earth are we supposed to do with all of this information? If I started reading right now I doubt if I would finish up before yet another of the horrid things showed up on my doorstep! And do you think we actually dig through this cabinet to find the "right" phone book when we need to look something up? No - we turn on the computer and "Google it!"

Hubby did get rid of the phone book from January - which I am sure was sooooo terribly outdated by this time of the year! His "one in - one out" rule seems to be keeping the books under control - for now!

Hubby also had a good idea which might save the trees and space. Why don't the phone book companies offer a choice of the actual book or a CD-ROM? CDs would take up way less space, are more in step with today's technological world, and wouldn't kill quite so many trees.

Of course, I don't know what kind of pollution is produced when manufacturing a CD-ROM.


Voice Update:

Despite my funk of yesterday, Hubby said that my voice was stronger last night than it has been for the past couple of days. That was good! I personally felt that I was "breaking up" on a couple words. *sigh* more practice. I will admit that over all, my voice is still EXCELLENT compared to where it was when I started speech therapy! YEAH!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Hi All!

Okay - I will admit it. I am in a funk! Nothing seems interesting to me right now. I feel restless but can't decide what to do. Roaming around the house trying to think of something interesting to do is just plain annoying - to me and to Hubby!

I have to find a project to do - or something before I go nuts!

I will blog more (hopefully more interesting) later.


Voice Update:
Since I am in a funk this will be short.
My voice is still about the same as it has been for the past two days. Vocal exercises don't seem to interesting to me right now either but I will do them . . .

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bright Flows the River

Hi All!
I actually finished this book about two days ago but needed a breather before looking at it again. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't bad . . . it just took a while to get into. . . a while to understand. . . and while to finish . . . You get the picture!

This is Bright Flows the River by Taylor Caldwell (yes, I KNOW it says all of that on the cover and yes, I KNOW you can read it for yourself!). When I first picked this book up and began to read I was annoyed. It seemed to me that the author (Is Taylor a man or a woman? They never really say!) used WAY too many ands for my taste. Instead of using the nice, little commas in a list, it seemed like and was always in the way. Of course now that I am looking for an example . . . um . . . . I can't really find one! Maybe I was imagining it?!?

This book is about a man who attempts to kill himself by driving his car into a tree. However, he survives but retreats into his own thoughts and is put into a very posh mental institution by his family. He doesn't speak to anyone and doesn't seem to be aware that other people are trying to interact with him.

Along comes James - an old war buddy (I am thinking World War II but I don't really know). He is a psychiatrist (how convenient) who lives in London. He comes to spend time with his old buddy - who is given the unfortunate name of Guy and who is called Jerry by most of his friends. James spends time in Guy/Jerry's room talking - basically - to himself and his words set off various memories in Guy/Jerry's mind where he retreats to relive them.

Anyway - it took me a while to work up an interest in this book. I am not sure if it is because of the content or some other reason (I have been feeling a bit "funky" lately . . . ). About halfway through the book I realized that I had just finished another Taylor Caldwell book a few weeks ago. For some reason - the writing didn't seem to remind me of the other book.

Oh well - I am done. Currently I am reading Fancy by someone (oops - I forget and don't want to go look right now! I will post it when I finish the book!). I am thinking it might be the same basic story as the song by Reba McIntyre (or however you spell her last name) called Fancy. I will let you know!


My "Friend"

Hi All!
Doesn't this look like a little man with a really, really long tongue? I like to think so. It is really the seat belt holder for the front passenger in my car. There is one just like it on the driver's side but it isn't that easy for me to see it so - I ignore it! I hope I don't hurt his feelings!

I also like to think that he is who I am talking to all the times I am talking in the car without another human present - which I do constantly for speech therapy purposes.

My speech therapist has turned me into a loon!


Voice update:
Going fairly well. I need to get in more "nasal" talking time. I think my throat is pretty loose from massage - and the new technique my speech therapist did last Wednesday which was akin to strangling me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Want to Be a Cat

Hi All!
I came upon this scene in my bedroom the other day. There were both of my feline friends taking a little snooze on my bed. They were strategically placed in what I "lovingly" call the holes of my mattress - but, I will talk about that another time.

Anyway - here the little buggers were taking a nap at about 11:00 in the morning. It didn't matter that they hadn't been awake for that long or that they don't do anything very strenuous during their waking hours. Wait - I guess chasing each other all over the house might get their heart rates up a bit! I shouldn't have been surprised - Q-Tip and Miss Cleo are often caught napping on the bed. In fact, that is normally where Miss Cleo spends the morning hours - if she isn't sunning herself ON the kitchen table, UNDER the kitchen table, or in the bathroom window. Q-Tip likes to diversify. Sometimes ON the bed and sometimes UNDER the bed. I like it best when he is under the bed and the only way you know where he is is by listening for his snoring. Yes, he snores - allergies!

I decided as I stood there looking at the cats and then taking pictures of them that I want to be a cat. They sleep for something like 23 out of 24 hours a day and when they are awake, play or eat. What a life!

Yes, I want to be a cat. That is the life.

Except for the vet visits and the thermometers . . .


Voice Update:
Pretty darn good. I have been going to town with the nasal voice - usually when Hubby isn't home so I don't freak him out too much. I have also been a good girl about the massage. Yeah!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dealing With SD and Ignorant People

Hi All!

This post is dedicated to Coffee Bean. She shares my diagnosis of SD and commented that people make her feel worse about her voice by saying things like "Wow, your voice is Awwwwful!"

First of all, if you don't have SD you need to realize how it can impact a person's self esteem. I mean, think about it - our society revolves around spoken communication and not being able to speak really takes you out of the loop. Yes, email is wonderful but, you do have to actually face people in person and talk to them. You can't order a coffee at Starbucks without talking (well - you can but handing people notes in fast food restaurants usually makes them think you want to rob them!). How many times do you talk on the phone? Talking on the phone is something a person with SD can't do very well. Usually, SD voices are not very loud and don't transmit over phone lines well. Cell phones are even worse! Even passing people on the sidewalks usually requires a "hi!" at the very least. Spoken communication is required.

If you can't talk - you are isolated from this "trivial" communication. You are basically outcast from the society of spoken communication. Since most people are able to communicate verbally, society doesn't really tolerate people who can't.

Sure, if you are Deaf, you don't communicate normally but you have a reason that most people understand and accept. Having SD - first of all, most people have never heard of it and therefore don't understand it. Next, SD affects the voice and nothing else. You look perfectly normal and then can't talk - people don't understand how that can happen. Finally, even though our society hinges on spoken communication, a surprising number of people don't actually listen. They are so busy thinking of what they are going to say next that they don't take the time to really hear what people are saying. And to really hear a person with SD -literally and figuratively - you need to pay attention.

Not being able to participate in spoken communication leaves a SDer feeling like less of a person. Like someone who is not valued by society. It is difficult to deal with the fact that the main human method of communicating has been basically taken away from you. Then people make comments without hearing or thinking!

No one in society would go up to a disabled person in a wheelchair and say something like "Gee, your legs look really weak!" That would be considered rude. So why do people think it is okay to comment on someone's voice? It is a disability also.

Usually the commenters are just ignorant (I don't mean stupid - two totally different concepts!). They don't know about SD and they don't take the time to think about what it must be like to have SD.

We need to let people know about SD so that they can stop hurting us with stupid comments (here I mean the comments themselves are stupid - not necessarily the people). Even our relatives and friends make stupid comments without thinking about how it impacts the SD person.

I personally deal with these comments in a couple of ways. First of all I hand out SD literature to people who don't know about it. I got the little tri-fold cards from the NSDA and keep them in my purse. I have handed out something like one hundred of them.

Next, if the comment is from a stranger (like the worker at the Home Depot garden center who told me I sounded horrible and wanted to know what was wrong with my voice), I look them straight in the face and tell them "Nothing is wrong with my voice. Why do you ask?" Remember, I am accepting my SD voice as my normal voice (or at least trying to). Besides - it really isn't any of their business. This comment always shuts them up.

If the person making the comment is a relative or a good friend, I tell them that comments like that hurt my feelings when I have been doing everything I can to improve my voice. I tell them that I am working hard on my voice and that actually, the voice they hear is much better from where I started. This normally starts a conversation about SD and how difficult it is for me to be basically silent in a noisy world. This helps my relatives and friends understand more about SD and its impact on my self image.

Acceptance for both the person with SD and the people around him or her is a long journey which is made solely in baby steps. It is frustrating for all involved and many times it is a "one step forward - two steps back" kind of thing.

I hope that my fellow SDers never forget that they are not alone. I hope that they don't forget that there is always hope. I hope they don't forget that there are people rooting for them who love them just the way they are - voice or no voice.

Coffee Bean - I love you just the way you are!


Voice Update:
Okay - I did talk yesterday despite feeling like being mute. I talked in my nasal voice to the kitties as I wrote my grocery list and then talked to myself like that in the store. No one heard me this time because I was a little self-conscious about it. I also massaged my throat as I pondered over which products to purchase. I thought that was a good use of pondering time.
After all of this - my voice was pretty strong in the evening. I am planning on doing the same thing today (without the grocery store) to keep working on my voice.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Be Normal?

Hi All!

I have finally gotten another episode of my podcast online! Check it out at the top of this page or go to Learning to Live With SD.

This episode is about coming to terms with my SD voice as being my "normal" voice. I never wanted to be normal - that would be boring. I spent the majority of my life trying to be totally different from everyone else. Why, I am thinking, should my voice issues be any different? I like my SD voice - it is unique. If I talked "normally" I wouldn't stand out in the crowd.

True, I hate my voice at times (like this morning when I didn't want to talk at all!) but, over all, I am getting used to it. It is becoming "normal."

Then again - why be "normal?"


Camera Carrying Concerns

Hi All!

Okay - I am not too great with the camera but I saw this outside one night and just had to snap a few pictures. Between the clouds and the setting sun - it was pretty nice! Not as nice as Pioneer Woman, of course but . . . I guess it is okay.

Seeing so many bloggers with their fabulous pictures, I have been getting the photography "itch." I dug out the manual for my camera to start finding out some of those darn "extra" features. I was pretty excited when I figured out that I could shoot in black and white. Once upon a time, I think I did know that I could do that but . . . I forgot!

As you may know, I walk every morning and I see some really neat things. This morning I actually considered carrying my camera with me on my walk so I could take pictures of the things I see. Then I started thinking about what that would entail.

I walk for the exercise and if I stopped to snap pictures of the things I see - I wouldn't be walking as fast as I need too. Also - all the stopping would add time onto my walk which would interfere with my IMing with my mother - which we do every morning after my walk.

AND - wouldn't I look sort of weird with a camera around my neck while walking down the road? Would people think I was a tourist?

Besides all those issues - if I started taking more pictures and they turned out horrible - what would that do to my self esteem? Can I handle being one of the only bloggers out there who CAN'T take pictures???

The Camera Carrying Concerns continue . . .


Voice Update:
Okay - I am feeling fractious today. I don't feel like talking and doing exercises. I am feeling anti-social. maybe my voice will benefit from the rest. I do have to go grocery shopping though and that is perfect voice exercise time. It freaks out the other shoppers and gives me something to do while trolling for food.

My voice is okay. Not as good as it has been but okay. I used my microphone yesterday while walking and it felt a lot better to not be struggling to talk loud enough for Hubby to hear me. I need to do that more.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

Hi All!

Nothing too much going on around here today. Went to church - Hubby mowed the lawn - I put the chains on the new hanging bird bath we bought at Wal Mart last night. How exciting!

Right now Hubby is taking a nap - being out in the warm weather (it is about 90 here right now) and working really makes you drowsy! I, of course, am here posting a blog for you to read.

Right after I complete this titillating entry, I am going to head to the living room to try out my new Wii game - Mario and Sonic's Olympics (or something like that - I don't really know the whole name!). I am sure it will be fun. However, I did find out last night on the trip to the store that Hubby likes watching me play video games because I look "all spazzy!" Nice.

I guess that is his way to say "I love you!"


Voice Update:

Still struggling a bit. Working on exercises - breathing, inhale-exhale, and my new favorite - nasal talking. Putting off oral reading for a little bit (on my speech therapist's advice) to let me voice get back into the right habits. Wish me luck. Oh - Hubby says I still sound pretty good to him. Trying to redeem himself???

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ice Cream Cake

Hi All!

Yesterday was my birthday. I already told you how Hubby started off my day. Well, believe it or not - it only got better! True - we didn't go out to eat as I had hoped we would do but . . . something even better happened!

Hubby brought me an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen! Yeah!

To fully understand my excitement, you must know that I LOVE ice cream cakes. I think it has something to do with the frozen frosting on them. Anyway - I have wanted an ice cream cake for my birthday every year since I first found out about the concept of ice cream cake. When we lived in Ohio it wasn't a problem - the Dairy Queen was just up the street (well, and across and down a bit). When we moved to Texas though - trouble.

Interestingly, for such a warm state, there is a scarcity of Dairy Queen stores in our area. In fact, the whole ice cream store niche seems to be woefully neglected. Don't people in the Dallas Metroplex eat ice cream???

The nearest Dairy Queen is located relatively near to Hubby's workplace. However, as we found out last Saturday when Hubby was going to buy me a blizzard after seeing Rain, that particular store is closed for remodeling (hopefully it will be an actual remodeling instead of the mysterious remodeling/disappearance of our local Pappa Murphy's pizza shop)!

Unbeknownst to me the remodeling of this particular (and only close by) Dairy Queen put quite a kink in Hubby's plans for my birthday. He had been planning for almost a month to buy me an ice cream cake for my birthday after years of ice cream cake drought. He had planned how to get the thing home in Texas temperatures (it involved a cooler and ice, of course) and everything. Then, the darn place closed for remodeling. True, they don't make cakes at that location but - that was found out later!

Bless Hubby's heart, he came up with an alternate, more intricate plan. He went online and found another Dairy Queen which he proceeded to call to ensure that they make cakes. Feigning work, he stopped by the store to make sure - in person - that they actually made cakes. He then ordered a cake for my birthday (we will not mention the fact that he thought my birthday was today instead of yesterday and had to revamp his pick up date and plan).

All of this was done while I was blissfully unaware. I thought I was getting a Kroger cake - as usual. Imagine my surprise when in walked Hubby after work yesterday with a beautiful ice cream cake decorated with purple icing (purple??? My favorite color is pink - yea, I know it is a cliche!). At first I thought it was a Kroger cake and couldn't figure out why he wanted to put it in the freezer. Thank goodness we need to shop for frozen food!

To make a long story semi-short (if that is possible at this point!). I was THRILLED with my ice cream cake! It made my whole day - which is quite a feat since the day had started so well! It made me love Hubby even more than I already did. I know how hard he worked to get that cake home in a frozen state and how hard he worked to actually find a Dairy Queen in our neck of the woods which made cakes.

Isn't Hubby wonderful?


Voice Update:
Not too good - not too bad. Okay - my voice is still pretty good but it is getting stage fright. Yesterday I was talking to a guy while Hubby and I were on our walk (it is okay - Hubby was right there!) and my darn voice began giving out on me. I just couldn't relax and help my voice out either. I got more stressed which made my voice more "shy!" Of course Hubby didn't come to my rescue even though he was standing right there!

I guess it is back to exercises! Oh - the speech therapist did give me a "new" one. I am now supposed to talk in a "nasal" voice. This supposedly brings the vocal chords closer together (who would have thought?). It is fun to do but Hubby isn't too into it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Hi All!

It's my birthday! Only 365 more years until the "big 4-0!" I am still trying to convince Hubby that he should take me on a cruise to Scandinavia for that milestone! Baby steps, baby steps!

Anyway - Hubby was sweet this morning. He was very anxious last night that I was going to get up to make him a lunch today. I didn't make him a lunch yesterday due to being extremely sleeping - still in the throes of a sleeping pill from the night before. So - I got out of bed, trudged to the kitchen wiping the crusties out of my eyes, and blearily hunted for Hubby's bright yellow lunch bag.

It was sitting prominently on the kitchen counter like it does when Hubby is helpful and starts packing his lunch to help me out. However, he normally starts with two cans of pop (oh - wait, that is too Midwestern - I meant two cans of carbonated beverages!) and his yogurt which makes the bag rather weighty. Today, I picked up the bag to move it and it was oddly light. Peeking inside I saw an envelope rather than the expected foodstuffs.

The envelope had my name on it! I glanced at Hubby and he was sitting at the table nonchalantly eating his Mini Wheats. He peered at me out of the corner of his eye to see what my reaction was. (You have to understand that over the years I have come to expect my birthday cards/presents to be presented after Hubby comes home from work - a bit late. He usually stops on his way home from work and picks something up. Not that he doesn't think about my gift ahead of time - he does - he just isn't always a good time manager about that kind of stuff!).

Not wanting to let Hubby know how impressed I was . . . I acted all cool. "WOW! A card with my name on it! Yeah!" I may have even done a little dance - but I'll never tell!

I opened the card and it was one of those cool cards which play music when opened. I opened the card and "I Feel Good" by James Brown burst forth. Another little dance might have ensued - again - I won't tell! (By the way - my cat, Q-Tip, really doesn't like the card. Every time I open it - which I do a lot because it is neat - he sort of howls!) Included in the card was a handmade gift certificate for one Wii game of my choice (now I have to decide between Guitar Hero and Mario Olympics!!) and a scratch off lottery card on which I might win money for life.

Still being bleary for the sleeping aid - I didn't scratch off the lottery card. I decided to do that when Hubby comes home tonight. I might actually understand what I am doing then. I did jump up and hug Hubby for his thoughtfulness.

Then I made his lunch. *sigh*


Voice Update:
I am taking my volume down several notches to let me voice "relax." It sounds a LOT better when I do that! I am also still on my exercises and massage schedule. I am missing some of those darn unvoiced sounds but - not too many when I talk quietly. Will I ever learn?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Idea

Hi All!

Yesterday I had speech. As I was driving along, I noticed all of the different magnets people have on their cars for different causes. Of course there is the yellow ribbon for the troops and the pink ribbon for breast cancer. Then there is the puzzle piece for autism and various other colored ribbons for different causes. Why, I wondered, isn't there a magnet for SD?
I asked Hubby about it when he came home. He told me that you wouldn't see too many SD magnets around because there aren't that many people with SD. I don't think that is a reason, do you?
I started brainstorming. I didn't think SD should have a ribbon like everyone else so I thought and thought about a shape. Then it came to me. A speech bubble! Perfect! SD has to do with speech so a speech bubble would be perfect. I sat down at my trusty computer and brought up my card program (which I LOVE) and began to play around. The picture above is what I came up with.
What do you think?
Voice Update:
I haven't been sleeping well and when that happens, my voice pays the price! The muscles in my neck/throat tighten up and make things more difficult. I am working on the sleep issue and my speech therapist worked on the muscles. They feel MUCH better now. I have a new exercise to do - talking "nasally." I like to do it with a strong southern accent. I don't know exactly why but talking this way is supposed to work those darn vocal chords. I am also supposed to lay off the oral reading for a few days until things get back in balance with my voice and I stop "skipping" sounds so much. My therapist did a new kind of manipulation on my larynx. It felt like she was choking me but when she was done - it was much better. No pain, no gain, right?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ant Bites and Rain

Hi All!

I don't know how many of you are familiar with fire ants. I didn't know a thing about them until me moved to Dallas. They just don't have mean ants like this in Ohio!

If you have never experienced a fire ant bite - thank your lucky stars! They HURT! During the actual bite, it feels a bit like a needle prick and then it only gets better. Apparently there are some people out there who don't react to ant bites like most of us but most of us react in this way. The bite gets red and turns into a nice red welt. The welt itches like crazy but, if you itch it, it will turn into a pustule which is just plain gross. The darn bite takes several days to go away - depending on how much you have scratched it.

I got an ant bite while I was out watering my new flowerbed the other day. Our yard has been treated to supposedly get rid of the fire ants but one found its way onto my foot. Yes, I WAS wearing shoes but I was wearing Croc's (well - imitation Croc's!) which left much of my foot area vulnerable to fire ant attack. Lucky for me - the little bugger didn't come with a million of his tiny friends -which is what normally happens to me in the fire ant realm!

My foot now itches so badly that I apparently scratched at it in my sleep! Not good! I will put some Benadryl on it and see if that helps.

I HATE fire ants!

It is raining here today - YEAH! I love rain. I don't think it is supposed to rain all day but I would like it if it did! Driving in the rain (as long as it isn't a monsoon) is fun. You can hear the rain hit the roof of the car and it is almost like being in a house with a metal roof! Okay - I know many of you think I am crazy for loving rain - Hubby does - but, I can't help it!

Have a super day!

Voice update:
Still hanging in there. A little rocky on T words for some odd reason. The right side of my throat is still very tender. I didn't read out loud yesterday - Hubby was home all day and I just didn't find the time. Today is speech so we will see how it goes!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bag Boy Blues

Hi All!

I would like to think that, in general, I am a kind person. I try hard to not think ill of other people and to always give them the benefit of the doubt. However, there is one person who I have a hard time thinking kindly about.

It is that darn bag boy!

Now, at my grocery store there are several bag boys but this particular one is HORRIBLE. I can't help it. I try to think positive thoughts but . . . he is just plain bad. And, of course, when I shop there is only one regular (non express line) open. And, of course, it is the one where HE is working!

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. I had to - we were down to eating crackers instead of bread and no fruit was residing in our house at all except for the canned variety. So - off I went. I practiced my inhalation voicing up and down the aisles (only three people looked at me strangely) and was having a grand ole' time. Well- as much of a grand ole' time as is possible in the grocery store.

Then, I went to check out. I saw only one non- 15 item or less lane open so I headed over. First I saw the checker - a woman who I am trying hard to connect with so she says more than two words to me. That is a whole other story! Anyway - I looked down the lane and there HE was. The worst packer in the whole store (and I am sure I have had every checker in the place over the years)!

I try to be a helpful shopper. I put my foodstuff on the conveyor belt in an organized manner. I put all of the frozen food together. All the meat together, the dairy, the canned goods, the vegetables. I do this in the hope that they might end up in the same bag at the other end of the belt. This would make unpacking at home so much simpler! The checker actually helps me out. She has told me - in a rare fit of chattiness - that she understands why I put things on the belt that way. She doesn't randomly grab things to check through - she keeps my system together.

It isn't until the items reach the bag boy that everything goes haywire.

Okay - this one is close - I guess. There is cheese and sour cream - both dairy. The head of lettuce is a wild card as is the package of meat. The only package of meat that wasn't put in the same bag as the other packages of meat. I wonder what it did to be exiled?

Speaking of the meat package - here it is . . . Now you may note that tortellini ISN'T meat. You might also note that the package of pre-cooked ribs is between the rather rectangular package of tortellini and the rather rectangular package of ground beef. Interesting choice - don't you think? It might explain why after my four mile drive home, the contents of this bag were strewn all around my trunk!

What I am not showing you is the berry bag. The bag where my four containers of berries were packed (two strawberry, one blackberry, and one blueberry). That would just turn your stomach. I still haven't figured out exactly how he does it but . . . every time I get home, the berries have escaped there normally difficult to open containers to mingle at the bottom of the bag. Luckily, most of them escape being smooshed by the small can of green beans that was sharing their bag (why???).

Have I said the bag boy is HORRIBLE?


Voice update: Pretty good. I am a little frustrated with the continuing missing of those darn h's. Last night I did my oral reading and had some issues with the word Tom which was all over the darn place. Grrrrr! I massaged today as I walked and listened to my podcasts. It is a good combination. However, the right side of my throat is SO tender. I wonder what is going on with that? I did inhalation for about 30 minutes in the grocery store. It is fun to watch people's reactions!

Monday, May 12, 2008

In My Dreams I Can Talk?

Hi All!

The title of my blog reflects what has been normal in my dreams ever since my voice began acting strangely about three years ago. No matter what my voice did during my waking hours I always talked normally in my dreams. It was weird and made me feel a little disoriented when I woke up to find my voice wasn't exactly - or even close - to what it was in my dream.

Well, the other night I had a dream and . . . I didn't talk "normally" in it. Instead, I sounded pretty much like I really do. My voice was ALMOST normal but with the slight hesitations and missing sounds that randomly pepper my speech. I even remember trying to say a word beginning with the letter h in my dream and needing a second to actually get the darn word started!

This dream left me confused when I woke up. After all - this wasn't a "normal" dream for me. Normally, I can talk, yell, scream, etc. in my dreams like I could before Spasmodic Dysphonia moved into the neighborhood. m Why in the world would this dream reality change?

I have been pondering the meaning of this dream transformation for a couple of days. After a lot of mulling, I think I have reached a conclusion.

Ever since my voice began to exhibit symptoms of SD, I have been in various stages of the grieving process. After all - I lost a part of me which was very important to me when I "got" SD. I LOVE public speaking and teaching - both of which pretty much necessitate a good speaking voice - something I no longer have. Having that taken away from me was like a part of me actually died - I had to accept that these things were not going to have the same role in my life.

Lately, with my voice being relatively strong and stable, I have been able to start believing that this is how I will be for the rest of my life. I have have tossed that idea around in my head for the past five or six months and, you know what - I am okay with that! I am happy with my voice right now. Yes, I do get frustrated when I can't call Hubby from the other room and have to walk to where he is so he can hear me. I also worry about not being able to scream or yell - what would I do if I was in an emergency? (Just so you know - I have a whistle I tote around with my purse just in case. I do wonder if I would remember to use it though!)

I think the change of my voice in my dreams is a sign that I am coming closer and closer to accepting the fact that SD is in my life for good. I will eternally be locked in the "dance" between my voice and SD.

I just hope I learn all the steps!


Voice update:
I am a bit hoarse today - I think it is from allergies and drainage. The words are coming out okay - well as okay as ever which means still a bit of a problem with the unvoiced consonants- but just a bit "foggy." I massaged my larynx as I was walking today and since I was listening to my podcasts I didn't hear the crunchy sound as much. I am determined to get more oral reading going today. I will work my way through the current book I am reading. Maybe it will be better read out loud!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Hi All!
Yesterday was session two of my musical season ticket adventure. Dear Hubby is along for the ride but this time, so was a friend of his from work and his wife. Because one of the musicals in the line up had cancelled, "Rain - The Beatles Experience" was filling in. Now, I am not really old enough to remember The Beatles. Hubby LOVES them and has pretty much every album they ever made - even though mostly on CD. I don't think he is really old enough either but - I don't know too much about The Beatles so - maybe he is!

His co-worker and his wife are also Beatles fans and so, when they heard about the show, they signed up for tickets. So - the four of us set off to see what this thing was all about.

Being in the line up of musicals, we all were thinking it would be a musical about The Beatles. Wrong! This was a concert! Rain is a Beatles tribute band (I think I have that right) who has gotten a lot of attention lately. They even did the soundtrack for Dick Clark's documentary on the Beatles. It was a fabulous concert. According to Hubby and friends, one thing that made this special is that they covered all aspects of the Beatles - not just the early years. And - I guess - the drummer was "on" that night. Both hubby and his co-worker said multiple times that they really liked the drummer. Personally . . . who knows!

Anyway - long story a bit shorter - if you get the chance to see Rain in concert - GO! Even for a person who isn't that familiar with the Beatles, it was GREAT!

I even bought a CD!


Voice Update:
Still hanging in there and doing well. I did notice a bit of trouble with those darn unvoiced beginnings of words. I am pulling back on my volume - again - to try to counteract. I have been a very good girl and have done my massage and my inhalation voicing. In fact, I was only talking on the inhale last night to Hubby. He looked at me weird but didn't say anything. I didn't read out loud enough yesterday but will get to it tonight. Go voice go!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Plethora of Pictures

Hi All!

Today I have some pictures to show what I was up to lately.

First - Hubby and I are looking at getting some window tinting done. We had our kitchen windows tinted before but then had the windows replaced so - there went the tinting. Since I am a minimalist and don't' believe in window treatments (okay - I just can't find any that I think work!) our kitchen window is bare letting in all the sunshine it can. This is a problem on most mornings when the sun comes in like a laser beam to heat up everything in its path and to blind people trying to read the newspaper.

We got samples and the whole family is trying to decide which is best . . .

Now - out to the flowerbed which has become a very lovely weed patch. I keep waiting to mulch until I know just where I planted things. This is a problem when NOTHING is growing! However, I did spy what looks like a real hosta leaf sprouting. I will keep my eye on it!

Being originally from Ohio, whose state bird is the Cardinal, I have a soft spot for the red little things. Luckily, we have several who visit our bird feeder regularly. Since our kitchen window has no tinting, the birds can see us as well as we can see them - which makes it hard to take a good picture. I managed to get this with the super zoom!

I did tell you all that Hubby is getting more of the GearWall panels to add even more organization to the garage, didn't I? Well, they are in at the store so all he has to do now is pick them up. For the first trip, he asked our friend to help him out with his pick-em-up truck. This time,, Hubby thinks he can pick them up in our SUV. Here he is using the extra panel from the last time to conduct a "test run." I think it will work! I am so proud that Hubby is so into organization! He actually is putting things away these days! Well - the things which have a spot in the garage!

This next picture . . . oops! I guess I am done with the pictures for the moment! Today Hubby and I are going to see the musical "Rain." It is a Beatles retrospective kind of thing - from what I can tell. It will be interesting but, since Hubby really likes the Beatles, maybe he will actually enjoy this one! I just hope the lady with the perfume isn't there or that she forgets to drench herself before coming to the show!

Have a super day!

Voice Update: Still really good! I was yelling at Q-Tip for waking me up way too early this morning and everything sounded good. Of course, I wasn't actually yelling because I still can't do that but - I was talking very sternly to him! I am doing my massage like a good girl and the whole inhale thing too. I must admit that I fell a bit behind on my oral reading while finishing up the last two books - I just couldn't slow down enough to read out loud! I promise to get back to that soon!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Blood Brothers and The Hollow

Hi All!
I just finished reading the second book of this trilogy by Nora Roberts! I read the first book "Blood Brothers" yesterday and dug into the second "The Hollow." I can't wait until the third part comes out! It is like reading two thirds of a book only to find that the ending is missing!

I know some of you will be thinking that Nora Roberts is "fluff." However, I have found that there is always a place for entertaining "fluff" in my life - especially when life gets to be a little much to handle. Yes, she is predictable but it sure is a fun read getting to the ending you expected!


Voice update:
Super! I am back to where my voice has been at its best. Not perfect but then again - who wants perfect! I am massaging but can tell that everything is pretty tight in there. The right side is still very tender. I wonder why. I freaked the cats out this morning by only talking to them on the inhale - they never seem to know who I am when I do that!

Washing Machine Horrors!

Hi All!

Washing machines. I don't normally think about them much other than when I am doing yet another load of laundry. A washing machine cleans clothes so it automatically cleans itself, right? WRONG!

The other day I was putting fabric softener into the automatic dispenser thingy when I caught a glimpse of what was under the removable dispenser cup thingy. (Okay - I had seen it before but had decided to ignore it. I couldn't ignore it anymore yesterday!) To my horror, under the little cup lurked horrible, black gook. I am not talking just a trace of black nastiness - I am talking a bunch of it! It looked like it was planning to take over the entire machine so I HAD to do something about it.

Acting much braver than I really am - I started in. Now, I have NEVER read the washing machine instruction manual - I mean, how hard is it to wash clothes? Why would I need to read the darn book? So - not having read the manual or ever cleaning out the fabric softener dispensing apparatus before (which I would have known to do had I read the manual I am sure!), I just set out like an ignorant oaf. I knew the little cup thing that actually holds the softener came out so I removed that and went to work. I filled the next part with hot water and bleach and got out an old toothbrush to attack the gook.

This worked pretty well until I realized the the paper towel I had used to temporarily stop up the little hole through which the softener was dispensed had somehow disappeared. Oh no! Now what do I do? All I could imagine was the whole system getting jammed up and Hubby finding out. Wouldn't he be happy?

Frantic, I started fiddling with everything and, surprise, surprise, the part which holds the little cup thingy came off! Yeah! Of course that let me see the part into which that part screwed which - as you might well guess - was coated with black gook! Would the gookiness ever end?

Once I determined that I had now removed all of the removable parts (or all I wanted to find out were removable) I formed a new plan of attack. I filled up the sink with hot water and soap. The parts which I had removed went to soak for a while as I set to work on the gook in the part that held the part which I removed. Wouldn't it be nice if I actually knew the names of the parts?

After a few minutes of intense scrubbing with the toothbrush and some swiping with paper towels, that part was clean and all I had to do was finish cleaning the removable parts. This involved the toothbrush, q-tips, and a toothpick but, I did it. When I was finished it looked like new. After running the machine with the hottest water and some bleach, I was comfortable that the gook was gone and the machine could now wash clothes again.

Hubby came in, looked at the clean machine and said "Neat." That was it. How is that for appreciation of my hours of work?


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Shopping Carts

Hi All!

Hubby and I made a Wal Mart run yesterday. This is one of Hubby's favorite things - NOT! Anyway - we needed toilet paper and some foodstuff that is cheaper at Wal Mart than at the grocery store so - off we went!

After dodging all of the people who were coming out as we were going in, Hubby grabbed a cart that had thoughtfully been set out by the greeter. We headed deeper into the store and then we heard it. A horrible, metallic clicking-clunking noise. We looked at each other in confusion. What in the world was that?

Then we looked down at the cart. The right back wheel was wobbling precariously on its plastic hub. As we pushed, it would make this horrible sound about every 30 to 60 seconds. Great! We had gotten a bum shopping cart! It seems like it always happens. We never go back and switch it out (okay - I did once when one wheel refused to turn at all which made navigating corners impossible but I was alone at the time) we just grin and bear it. Why do we do that? It is uncomfortable walking through the store with your cart making hideous noises and attracting attention.

I know why we kept the cart yesterday. We wanted to see how far through the store we could actually get before the wheel dropped off entirely. Sadly, after going up and down every good aisle and the cat food aisle and traversing the vast space between the two sections, the wheel held up. True, it continued it embarrassingly loud screeches and wobbled promisingly but - it never fell off. Surprisingly it even quit making the sound for a bit when we hit the outside concrete.

I wanted to put the cart out of its misery but dear Hubby couldn't deprive some other couple of the enjoyment and suspense of wondering just how long the wheel would last so he put it back with its friends in the cart return.

I wish it luck!


P.S. Did I tell you that we got ANOTHER phone book two days ago?

Voice Update: Better than yesterday. Pretty strong but I am not pushing it to see how loud I can talk. I am trying to be a good girl and back off to let my voice work without too much stress. I did my massage yesterday but haven't yet today. I don't like the "crunchy" noises my throat makes as I massage. I know it is good for me so I normally just work my way past the noise but, honestly! I don't think a part of my body should make that noise. Okay, okay - I will massage right now!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Hi All!

I don't know about where you live but here in the Dallas area, it can be really, really, really windy. Those winds just seem to whip along the flat land with a vengeance!

Anyway - from my picture you may know that my hair WAS in a nice little chin length bob. It looked good. I have nice, thick hair which is a pretty decent color so- I was happy. Then, the temperatures started to rise and those darns winds began to whip. Every time I went outside my hair was blown right into my face - never away from my face. I was always pulling my hair back so it would be out of my face. When I walk in the morning I pulled my hair back so it wouldn't be so hot. In the car I pulled my hair back so it wouldn't blow in my face when I had the windows open.

Are you getting the picture? I was eternally pulling the darn hair back off of my face. Then it hit me - why do I spend so much time pulling my hair back? If I really liked it long, I would let it blow around. So- I went to the hair salon. This is the result.

I will admit that I messed with the color a bit so that my dark circles and the zit in the middle of my nose didn't show up so much (I am NOT wearing makeup today - it is my own little form of rebellion!). You still see the haircut though. Oh - and I am not really skilled with the self timer on the camera so . . . I think you get the picture (no pun intended!).

So - what do you think? I feel so free! I walked out into the wind and didn't have to spend time raking my hair out of my eyes so I could see where I was going.

I love my hair stylist!


So Sleepy!

Hi All!

As I write this I am having trouble keeping my leaden eyelids open enough to see the computer screen! I am sooooo sleepy! This is a bit ironic because while I have a lot of trouble sleeping, I actually slept pretty well last night. Of course I did wake up when my kitty, Q-Tip came in to visit and when my other kittie, Miss Cleo came in to say "hi!" And I woke up when Hubby's alarm went off, and when it went off again after he snoozed it. So, why in the world would I be sleepy?

Hubby very gallantly takes all the blame by saying that it is his fault for keeping me awake until 11:00 or later every night. He doesn't mention the fact that he is the reason for my wake up time in the morning but . . . he can't be perfect all of the time!

I am one of those people who honestly need at least eight hours of sleep to be functional for very long. Yes, I can- and do - push through when I don't get that much sleep but . . . I am not at my very best! When I was teaching, Hubby and I would argue pretty regularly about bedtime. Eventually, we came to a grudging (on his part) agreement. During the week we would try to be in bed by 9:30 (I know - we were like old people) with the tv off no later than 10:00. Of course those were the days I got up at 5:30 to get ready for work.

Anyway - as I yawn and struggle to stay awake, I realize that today I can take a nap! I don't have speech today and my hair appointment isn't until 2:30! YEAH!

I am off to my comfy bed for a little snooze!


Voice update (I almost forgot): A little weak today but not too bad. I did some additional inhalation voicing last night and also did my favorite exercise - cyclical reading (where I read on the inhale and exhale in alternate turns. It is neat because you don't have to stop for breath because you are talking on the inhale too! Reminds me of the Australian diggery-do.). I massaged my larynx today while I walked and there are some really sore spots on it. Proof that I have been pushing too hard lately. Bad Trisha! At least today I will be able to rest my voice a bit.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rainy Tuesday Musings

Hi All!

Well, I survived the drive into downtown Dallas yesterday with no problems other than a little rain on the way there (which made my neighbor a bit more anxious than normal).

Today is a wonderful rainy day in Dallas. I am one of those weird people who love rain. I blame my mother! Apparently, she didn't want me to be afraid of storms so she would take me out to our porch to watch storms. I grew to love it - the whipping winds, the smell of the rain, the thunder, the flashes of lightning. There is nothing I like better than watching a storm roll through. Of course I do draw the line at the tornado bearing storms. During those I am watching the news or listening to the radio to see if I need to duck into our closet with the kitties to stay safe!

Anyway - it rained for a nice long time this morning and I got to watch. Now it is over so I am on the computer getting everything updated.

This afternoon is the last part of my ASL final and it will be interesting. Our teacher won't be there - she will be out of town - and the head of the department will be giving us our test. That makes me a little nervous because part of the test is writing down what the teacher signs. As each person signs a bit differently having a new person sign to us might be confusing. We are all used to our teacher! Of well - I guess it will just be a new part of the ASL adventure!

Recently, the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association published a new book - Easier Done Than Said: Living with a Broken Voice by Karen Adler Feeley. I have just started reading the book and the first part explains the mechanics of speaking and how SD affects this. Very interesting. If anyone out there is interested, you can order the book through the NSDA's website -

Voice Update: Okay - I will admit that yesterday I should have used my microphone when I was out to lunch with my neighbor. The restaurant was pretty loud and I KNOW I was pushing to be heard. Not too smart! Today I am paying the price. My voice is not very strong today and a lot more whispery than normal lately. I will definitely take my microphone to lunch today with my friend! I did actually start the massage again and did it yesterday and this morning (yeah!). I am also still doing the reading out loud - much to the dismay of Hubby when I read while he is watching tv! The inhalation is still something I tend to do in the shower. The kitties like to sit just outside the glass shower and watch as I do my inhalation exercises. I wonder if it is something to do with the weird sound!

Have a fabulous day! And Flea - I like visiting your site! I hope your bovine buddies are home soon!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Driving in Dallas

Hi All!

Today I am taking my neighbor to the eye doctor in downtown Dallas. My neighbor is a middle-aged woman who is physically and mentally unimpaired. In fact, she teaches Kindergarten, plays Bunco, and all kinds of things. She does drive - she drives to work and back and to the store, etc. However, she does NOT drive on the highways. Interesting.

Anyway - I can sort of understand her point - and fear - about the highways around here. Dallas is an ever expanding city (Metroplex) and the highway system just never seems to catch up. There are way too many cars and way too few highways so the highways that do exist are always crowded. Even at two in the morning (when Hubby and I sometimes get home from the airport) there is a good deal of traffic on the highways. And the traffic doesn't sedately flow - it races along at what seems like superhuman speeds and then clogs up abruptly to clear out and speed off again.

People don't drive in one lane and then plan ahead about when to edge to the right to make their exit. They dodge in and out of traffic - mostly without turn signals - and usually don't know they are near their exit until they have to swerve through all four lanes of traffic to get off. There are huge rock haulers taking their loads of rock to who knows where while losing about half of their load behind signs which clearly state that they are NOT responsible for windshield damage. Add into that mix the senior citizens who actually do drive the speed limit (or less) and like to think of themselves as speed demons. They drive in the far left lane and generally cause chaos.

It is a bit nerve wracking to make some of the exits - where oncoming and exiting traffic share the same lane which is only about 500 feet long. And did I mention that people in Dallas have a big problem with merging? I won't go into it but - they do.

Add this all together and I understand why my neighbor doesn't do highways. My only question now is . . . why do I??


Voice update:
Still holding on. A little more trouble than normal with those darn "h" words (no - not THOSE "h" words!). I am charging up the microphone to use it while Hubby and I walk to conquer the mowing noise and the noise of the hemis in the area. Darn - forgot to massage yesterday!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mail Order Meds and Marriage

Hi All!

Hubby and I, like many people in the U.S., use a mail order prescription service. This not only is convenient (usually) but also saves us money. Hubby is in charge of getting everything sent in and refilled and paid for and all of that good stuff. All I do is let Hubby know when I need a refill and in about a week it magically shows up in our mailbox. Isn't Hubby great?

Well - we had a little scare this past week with the whole process. One of my meds was running out and for some reason, Hubby hadn't sent in my new prescription when I had asked him to. Normally, this isn't a real big problem, I just skip a few days while waiting for the new meds to show up. However, this particular med is one which you don't want to stop taking cold turkey - even for a few days - the withdrawal process is NOT pleasant! Needless to say, I was a little nervous about the possibility of going without for a few days while waiting for the mail. Especially because my finals for ASL are this week. I was imagining all kinds of "fun" relating to taking a test while dealing with the great withdrawal symptoms.

With no other course of action open to me I began taking my remaining three pills on an every-other- day basis. I made sure I took one the night before the first part of my final. I experienced some of the withdrawal symptoms on the days I didn't have the meds but not too badly. Thank goodness. Then, I basically began to pray that the meds would show up in the mailbox on Saturday so I wouldn't have to head into the last part of my final without meds.

Wonder of wonders - those pills were there in the mailbox on Saturday! Feeeeew! Now I don't have to worry anymore. I can take my meds and be absolutely fine on Tuesday for my final! Yeah!

Now - about the whole marriage part of things. While being very, very, very worried about my med situation and dealing with the minor withdrawal issues, I must admit that I was less than my usual pleasant self. This manifested by me basically being a little snitty with dear Hubby who did nothing more than start a conversation with me. Poor man! I was able to explain that my med situation was making me weird and, luckily, he understood.

I just hope to get back to normal quickly (I am feeling MUCH better today) so that we can continue on the wedded bliss trail.

I love you, Hubby!


Voice update:
The voice is still really good. I had dinner last night with a friend who was amazed at how good it was. Of course, as the restaurant got louder, it became more difficult for me to speak and I was really tempted to "push" my voice to be heard. I did catch myself most of the time to reduce my volume and not push. My friend was still able to hear me - not as well as when the place was quieter but okay. I have not been doing a very good job with the massage. I am going to get on that right now. I am reading out loud and doing a LOT of inhale (partly because it is fun and partly because my speech therapist says it helps the most).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My Dad

Hi All!

I was thinking about my previous posts and realized that while I had mentioned my mother several times - I never mentioned my dad! I don't want my dad to feel short changed so here is a little blurb about Dad.

My dad is one of four boys born in rural Ohio. He, and his brothers, gave my grandma a run for her money, I am sure, as they are all pretty mischievous. Dad went to college, became a teacher and then moved to the "big city." He taught and then became an assistant principal and then a principal in a city high school. When I was ten Dad took a different job as a principal of a suburban high school (which I eventually graduated from).

Dad has a bit of wanderlust - he worked in Japan for a year before he married my mother and always wanted to travel more. When he retired he started looking for a way to work in education overseas. The opportunity came to work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and off my parents went (Mom is a teacher too!). They worked there for 8 years with Dad being the Superintendent.

Now they are back in the states and Dad supervises student teachers, works around the house, take care of the family farm, and basically takes care of things.

I went into education because of my dad. I wanted to be just like him (well - without the funky looking sideburns he had in the 70's!).


Friday, May 2, 2008

Swallows and "Gulp!"

Hi All!

Yesterday I was talking with my mother on the phone (to be fair, I also talked to my father in the that conversation! He was helping me understand mortgages and interest and stuff. No - we are not refinancing - it just came up and - inquiring minds want to know!) and I wandered over to our back door. Our back door has a huge window in it - basically the entire door is window - and there are two large windows which flank it - so the wall is basically glass.

Anyway - when I looked out, there were two birds on my gutter. Just sitting there. I was pretty sure they were swallows. On Mom's excellent advice, I grabbed my camera and clicked a few pictures. After consulting the bird book (which I hate! Maybe I can steal Mom's when I visit the next time!!!), I determined that this is a Cave Swallow. I think. The picture in the book shows a much more vivid breast so - who knows!

I took the first part of my American Sign Language final exam last night. This involved me signing 15 sentences in front of a video camera which my teacher will review and grade later. Doesn't that sound like fun? Combine a test with being videotaped - the only thing missing is perching me on a high, thin ledge which I do this!

I think I did well - then again - I always think that! I had to laugh during our test prep time (the class gets about an hour to prepare together for the test. During that time we can help each other with signs, grammar, etc.) when the entire class (there are only 7 of us) asked me for the same word. I could have told them anything and they wouldn't know any different! I didn't but the idea was tantalizing!

Voice update - still rocking! My voice is very good right now. I am making an extra effort to do my exercises and inhalation voicing. Yesterday I sang several songs all on the inhale for old time's sake! It was fun in a very weird way! I must admit that I am falling a bit behind on my massage . . . I had better work on that!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Forgot Dean!

Hi All!

In my newest podcast I mention four other SD bloggers. I forgot to include Dean. He also has SD and has a different kind of site - a tribe. I am not really familiar with the format but it looks like a neat way to get in contact with other people. I added his link to my blogroll so - check it out.

Sorry Dean! I didn't mean to forget you - I just hadn't gotten you added to my blog list and was reading from that!



Hi All!

My mother raised an interesting question the other day and I thought I would see what you had to say on the subject.

When I invited her to blog on my blog while she visits me (later this month) she said that she wasn't a good writer so couldn't blog. . . Do you HAVE to be a good writer to blog successfully? I never really thought about it. Writing is something I do - well, is what I do here really writing? It is more like just pouring out what I am thinking. I don't think too much about the words I use or how it sounds. I just say what I think and there it is.

Of course, I have always enjoyed writing - it is a good outlet for my slightly bizarre imagination. How else can I explain that I have very vivid dreams which are sometimes better than the television shows that are being aired? Not that that is saying too much about some of the shows on tv, especially during the now resolved writers' strike!

I have never thought I was a good writer - I have never actually stopped to consider if I am good or bad. I just write and it is comprehensible so . . . that is good enough for me!

So - do you HAVE to be a good writer to blog? Let me know what you think!