Monday, June 30, 2008

Glacier Bay

Hi All!

Are you tired of Alaskan pictures yet? No? Well then, here are some more! Yes? Well, check in tomorrow to see if I have moved on yet!

On this cruise we "cruised" Glacier Bay National Park. It was beautiful! The day was a bit overcast and the crowds on the ship were a bit pushy but . . . enjoy the scenery! Oh - I did decide to make the pictures bigger for your ease of viewing! I had forgotten I had the pictures set to "small!" Sorry about that!

This glacier "calved" while we were watching. Of course I didn't have my camera ready to take a shot of it - that is the whole story of this trip - me being late with the pictures!

It was cold out here! We were wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts while everyone else was bundled in parkas and gloves. I got the strangest looks when I sat and enjoyed what sun there was!
I am fascinated with glacial ice. It looks so rough and it is so dirty from ground up rock it has picked up along its journey.

Look at the layers in this ice! It is like rock layers in the side of a mountain but all made of dirt and ice!
Such amazing views!

I loved the way that the clouds were on the top of the mountains.

Icebergs are so cool - this one looks like a hippo with his mouth open wide! Yes, I know I have a very active imagination. I asked Hubby what he thought this looked like. His answer? "An iceberg."

I tried to go a little "arty" with this shot out of our porthole in our stateroom. I think it turned out pretty well!

Until tomorrow!


P.S. Is there anyone out there reading this who can tell me how to cross out words on blogger?

Voice Update: Good, good, good! I keep pinching myself because I can't believe my voice has been this good this long. I am really determined to get to my exercises today and get back into the routine. Inhale/exhale matching pitches, oral reading, and massage. I am still working on getting a good description of the massage to post and to put on my podcast for everyone who asks.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alaskan Pictures Part II

Hi All!

It is Sunday and I am being very lazy. It feels so good to be home. I have been catching up on my blogs and email. Who knew I was so popular?

Okay - enough small talk. Here are some more pictures!

Our first stop this cruise was Ketchikan. We have been to this lovely place before so we just hiked around the town a bit and enjoyed the scenery. I can't remember if we did any souvenir shopping or not.Ketchikan has a lot of totem poles. There is a totem pole park which we didn't go to on this trip but you can also see totem poles around town. I took this picture to show the totem pole and the beautiful mountains in the background. The lamp post was just in the way!

Probably the most recognizable part of Ketchican is Creek Street. This is an entire street built on wooden walkways which rise above the creek on wooden stilts. This area is mostly tourist shops now but in its heyday it was the red light district of the city.

Here is Hubby gesturing wildly that I should take this picture with the camera turned the other way. I did take another picture that way but thought this was too funny! The rain gauge in the background keeps track of the rain for the year. Can you see the little fish sticking out of the side of the gauge? It is about even with the top of the first floor. That is how much rain they have gotten this year. Impressive!This picture is for my mother who told me that there are no flowers in Alaska. Wrong, wrong, wrong. While our trip was rather early in the year (an Alaska native told me that no one sets out annuals until June 1) there were some shrubs and things blooming. Not as impressive as they will be in another month or so but . . . .Look Mom! Flowers!


Voice Update: I haven't talked too much yet this morning but, from what I can tell, I am still in good voice. Darn it - I really need to get on my exercises. Vacations make me lazy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Alaskan Pictures Part I

Hi All!

I just downloaded my Alaskan pictures - all seven billion of them. Okay - not ACTUALLY seven billion . . . it just seems like it! Anyway, I don't have them all organized yet. In fact, I looked through them and had a total blank out on just where I took all of them. I will need Hubby's help to sort them all out.

However, I thought I could start off with a few pictures of the ship and our lovely room.

This is our floating home-away-from-home, the Tahitian Princess. It is rather small - as cruise ships go - it only holds about 684 passengers and 370 or so crew.

Here is our room - 3007. It was on the lowest deck that passengers could stay on. We lovingly called our floor "the basement." Most of the deck was for crew only so we did see a lot of crew members coming and going. It was sort of neat.

Here is an inside view. The door right under the tv holds the safe and another large shelf. on the wall to the right of the door and behind the tv is the closet. The bathroom is to the left of the door.

We had a nice little love seat (Hubby didn't think it was too comfy but I thought it was okay) and the bedside table you see is the one I claimed for the trip.

Here is our bed and the porthole. On the wall to the left is a HUGE mirror. It does make the room seem bigger but it was a bit weird - after all, who wants to see themselves sleeping? It did come in handy when we were getting ready to go somewhere. You could always fix your hair without getting in the bathroom.

A nice, cozy, little place, huh? I have discovered over the years of cruising that the room seems a lot bigger if you get everything organized and then keep it that way. Of course Hubby doesn't really ascribe to that theory so he makes my organization a bit more difficult. Then again, it does give me something to do when I am waiting to eat . . . again!

You do know about the eating on cruise ships, right?


Voice update: Still good. I got a little frustrated with Hubby last night - he wasn't listening to me and would turn away from me when HE talked so I couldn't hear HIM! Oh well. What are you going to do? I still haven't gotten into the exercise groove again. I am going to work on that today. For sure. I hope.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seven Strange Facts About Me

Hi All!

Well, I haven't done as much laundry as I had hoped or had as nice of a nap as I had hoped but, I am back blogging.

I had hoped (do you see a recurring theme here?) to have downloaded my pictures by now so I could share them with you but, again, things didn't go as I had planned. I promise to have some pictures for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, I was tagged by Lauren so I thought I would give that a shot.

Seven Strange Facts About Me

7. I am a woman (no - THAT isn't the strange part!) and I HATE to shop. You read that right. I don't like shopping. I shop about twice a year for clothes - if I HAVE to - and don't really like it too much when I do. I would much rather do just about anything instead of shopping.

6. I don't match my earrings. What I mean by that is that I wear four different earrings at all times or - if I am in a particularly "normal" mood, I might wear two matching earrings in one ear and two totally different earrings in the other. This all started when I was 16 and got my ears doubled pierced. I suddenly realized that keeping track of pairs of earrings was way too much of a bother so . . . I just tried to find earrings that sort of went together. It has now rubbed off onto my Aunt Donna who has started the mismatched look as well.

5. I am a shy extrovert. Thanks to some moderate pushing by my mother, I have the wonderful ability to speak to pretty much anyone. Talking to people is now so second nature to me that I do it all the time - in fact talking to strangers is how I met Hubby. But, that is a story for a different time. Despite all of this talking to people, I am actually very shy. I might be smiling and extroverted on the outside but on the inside I am trying to hide under the covers!

4. When I am not feeling well, the first thing that I HAVE to do is cool off my tummy. Most people put cool cloths on foreheads or maybe the back of the neck. Me, it is the tummy. If my tummy is too hot it isn't a good thing. Recently, I talked to my parents and they told me that even as an infant I hated being hot. They would bundle me up (as was proper infant attire in those days) and I would cry until they unwrapped me and I was down to my diaper.

3. Vacuum Cleaners are my sworn enemies and I will do almost anything to avoid using them. This one I blame on the old Electrolux canister sweeper that my parents had when I was growing up. Wonderful sweepers but, this particular one was wearing out the and the connecting where the heavy power head clicked into the hose wasn't working well. I would hook the thing up and start sweeping back and forth. The only problem is that at some random time I would push the sweeper out and, when I brought it back, the hose would disconnect from the power head. That in itself isn't a big deal. The big deal is that it always seemed to fall and hit my toes. It really hurt! Now, that memory keeps me from sweeping as much as possible with a vacuum cleaner. Brooms on the other hand are fine.

2. I won't walk on grates. You know, the kind that are just in the middle of sidewalks without any apparent reason? Some are heavy iron looking things while others look like more flimsy wire contraptions. Sometimes man hole covers are okay but, to be perfectly honest, I would prefer to avoid those as well. Grates over drains in parking lots - no way. Hubby has a lot of fun walking with me (especially when we are on vacation in a play like - say - Victoria, British Columbia, where there seems to be an extraordinary number of grates in the sidewalk) and pretending to push me so that I HAVE to walk on a grate. It freaks me out! I am sure that - being such a petite little flower - I will fall right through the three inch wide holes. Yuck! I get the goosebumps just thinking about walking on those things.

1. I have Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia. I am sure that most of you who read my blog once in a while know this but, I felt the need to repeat this as something that is strange about me. After all, only 50,000 people (estimated) in North America have been diagnosed with SD and I am one of them. SD isn't something that most people have ever heard of making it a "strange disorder." Also, having ABductor instead of ADductor SD is not very common among SDers so that is "strange" as well. Then, getting a voice back when you have SD happens to only an estimated 2% of people (an estimate by my speech therapist) so it is strange that I have such a good voice at the moment.

There - my seven strange things about myself. In no way are these seven the ONLY strange things about me. They are the only ones that I could think of off the top of my head. If my dad reads this, I am sure that he could think up another seven with little effort! Of course, it is important to note that I do take after HIM (I really take after Mom too but for the purposes of this post - I am blaming most of it on him).


Voice Update: My voice is still rocking! Most of the people on the cruise didn't even notice anything wrong with my voice. I did manage to tell a few people about SD - remember that is one of my goals in life these days! I didn't do much massage today (only once for about five minutes) and no exercises. I guess I feel like I am still on vacation. I guess it is back to work tomorrow! I did a little inhale work while imitating the woman at the next table for dinner with the odd laugh. Does that count?

I am back

Hi All!

Just a quick blog for now and hopefully a longer one later! Hubby and I are back!!! We got in after midnight last night so we are both wiped out today. After a nap I plan on tacking laundry and catching up on blogs I have missed while I have been gone.

Maybe I will even download a few pictures!

Have I really not blogged since Sunday? I could have sworn that I did!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Alaska, Robert Service and the Earthquake of 1964

Hi All!

We just pushed away from the dock in Juneau and are now heading toward Sitka. Hubby and I had a good day in Juneau despite the rain that started falling in the afternoon.

In the morning we went on a tour to a gold mine and got to pan for gold and garnets. The tour in the mine was run by a real miner (who mined in Arizona for about 29 years and retired and now works during the summer up here doing tours) and he was very knowledgeable. We spent about 40 minutes or so in a mine shaft where the temps were around 36 degrees or so. My nose was really, really cold by the time we got out.

There was a cute little squirrel that came into the mine shaft looking for nuts. Apparently the miner and the other staff at the gold mine feed the squirrels nuts. This one came right up to us and looked at each of us to see if we were potential nuts suppliers. Well, I think that is what he did. Either that or he was sizing us up to see which of us he could tote back to his nest to eat later!

In the afternoon we walked about the historic downtown of Juneau. This is our third time to visit Juneau so we knew the lay-out. I hit a couple of book stores looking for a small book of poetry by Robert Service and a book about the 1964 earthquake.

Okay - let me ask YOU - have you heard of the poet Robert Service? I am a pretty well read person and had never heard of him - which totally blew the mind of the woman in the bookstore in Skagway. I felt so uneducated. Well, I now have five of his poems and will bone up on him.

Also - I am very disappointed in my American History teachers because I don't recall every hearing about the big Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 or the tsunami which followed. I wasn't born in 1964 so I sort of have an excuse but from everything I have heard up here it was a MAJOR thing. I also got a book about this (so it is a kids book with lots of pictures . . . who cares? Besides Hubby, I mean!). It looks like I have some reading to do!

With that I am off to dinner.


Voice Update: Still pretty good. I did some reading out loud today (A Robert Service poem to which Hubby pretended to listen) but still haven;t gotten back to my massage. Bad, bad me! I did talk on the phone today and the phone was located in a pretty noisy area. Small triumphs!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alakan Adventure

Hi All!

Congratulations to Arwyn who correctly placed our cruise in Alaska. Yes, we were in Ketchican but we have also been to Skagway, Valdez, Seward, and Kokiak. Right now we are cruising on our way to Juneau and Sitka.

So far it has been a pretty nice cruise. Our tour in Valdez was a bust - I don't know how they can charge as much as they do for what we got! However, we did get to spend time in the Sealife Center in Seward which was fascinating! Did you know that Puffins actually "fly" through the water when they swim? They flap their wings to propel themselves through the water. Very neat to watch- very difficult to catch on film. I do have some pictures of the sea lion (an IMMENSE beast) and the seals to show you when I get home.

We had had two King Crab leg lunches - one in Seward and one in Kodiak - which were fabulous. Of course I did come away from the lunch in Kodiak with some battle scars from the crab. Those things are spiky!

We saw bald eagles while eating in Kodiak and the babies are big things! It was very neat to see them so close. I got within ten feet or so of a baby before he flew away.

Hubby won a Sudoku contest on the ship. We have done another load of laundry in the ship Laundromat while hanging out with the "dirty clothes crowd." We have eaten a LOT of great food - and some okay food but, on a cruise - you HAVE to eat!

Tomorrow we will be in Juneau and then it is off to Skagway. We will also visit Victoria, British Columbia before returning to Vancouver to end our adventure.

Thank you for staying with me despite my irregular posting schedule while on vacation. I hope you are all doing well.

P.S. Arwyn- I will get in touch with you about where to send your prize when I get home.

Voice Update: My voice is doing really well in general. Today it is a bit weaker due to some stress in my life but it still isn't' too bad - just cutting out on me now and then. I have been trying to do my massage but have been horrible about the vocal exercises. I have done some reading out loud but not enough. Then again - I AM on vacation, right?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sailing, Sailing . . .

Hi All!

Hubby and I are asea again! We are in the middle of the ocean somewhere! I am still not sure that I want to let you in on our location yet! In fact, I think I will make it a bit of a contest!

I will have a special treat to send to the first person who correctly identifies where we are traveling based on the very veiled hints I have been giving. Remember, after I return I will show you pictures and give you more details - I can't do the whole picture thing from the ship.

Let's see - yesterday were in another port of call. It is somewhere that Hubby and I have been before so we didn't rush right off the ship. We actually did some laundry and saw a movie on the ship before heading down the gangplank.

Onshore we saw a very quaint little town in which smokers are cautioned to "Save our hundred year old wooden buildings and dispose of butts here." There were wooden sidewalks and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.

I stopped at a local shop - in my effort to purchase souvenirs that are actually made in this area - and hit pay dirt! I bought a book thong (please tell me that someone reading this knows what that is!) and a cd of music by a local musician. I hope the cd is good - I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet!

After purchasing a postcard and getting it in the mail - Hubby and I returned to the ship for dinner. We sure get a lot of food here! Of course, that is part of what a cruise is all about, isn't it?

Good luck figuring out where we are and remember, I do have a prize for the first correct guess!


Voice update: My voice is very good. So good that people don't even know that I have SD. Interesting! I am falling behind on most of my exercises but am making an effort to read out loud. Seeing this in print has made me determined to get back on the wagon with my massage and exercises. Fun, fun, fun! Talking to myself on this ship won't be too weird. There are a lot of older people who do the exact same thing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bordellos, Boardwalks, and Beer

Hi All!

Well, yesterday was so full of fun that we didn't get to the Internet and today we were not able to get online for most of the day so . . . I am here now. It is about 10:00 PM where I am (still not telling!) and it is "dark." Of course dark is actually more twilight but . . . I guess it is dark for the time being. It will be bright and sunny by about 4 in the morning which is when I will awaken to never go back to sleep until the afternoon when I fall asleep from exhaustion.

We were at a place with a famous boardwalk over a creek which was the site of the bordellos when this place was in its heyday. There is still a famous house there - Dolly's - from the time when the whole boardwalk was a red light district. Now, of course, it is set up for the tourist trade and is the home of many cute little shops. Hubby and I didn't partake of the shops since we have been there and seen that already.

We did, however, walk to the local IGA to purchase some beer, Diet Coke, and water to take back to our room on the ship. That way we don't have to pay the going price for these items on board. It is always fun to shop at different places with Hubby - we have to check out the price of milk since that is his profession.

Imagine Hubby's excitement when we looked at the local newspaper while eating Halibut fish and chips at a local eatery and there was an article about milk in the paper! We had to buy our own copy of the local rag so he could have that article. Of course it was fun to read the news for such a small place for me as well.

Today we stayed on the ship as there was no stop. We did have a chance to look at AMAZING scenery and to see massive landforms (well - they are technically not LAND but I don't know what else to call them!) which are supposedly in danger from global warming. Actually, the park rangers who came on board to do a running commentary on the scenery said that these wonders have been receding for years and the park scientists can not say for certain if global warming is making them recede faster or not. They do point out that there are certain of these things which are actually growing instead of shrinking.

Take that global warming!

So - has anyone guessed where Hubby and I are vacationing? A warm and fuzzy for the first person who guesses correctly! It is hard to describe what we are doing without naming the places or the easily identifiable things we are seeing. For example, we saw a whole slew (about 30+) of large aquatic creatures tonight while we were walking but I can't really tell you about it without giving away the secret!

I will be more descriptive after the vacation when I can show you pictures!

I hope you are having a super week and to all of the fathers out there - Happy Father's Day!

Voice Update: Today I did massage and some exercises (after Hubby pointedly asked if I had been doing any). I also read out loud for about 20 minutes (during which time Hubby was trying to watch TV in the same small room but hey - he was the one who said I needed to do more exercises!). My voice is good. The best it has been for a while. I am still talking a bunch so that is probably helping!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ahoy Maties!

Hi All!

I am just checking in from my vacation. Hi! Are you all still there? Do you have enough food and water? I hope my cats do!

Well, if you didn't figure it out from the title of this blog, I am on a ship. While it looks like a very big ship - it is really rather small in relation to some of the other behemoths out there! Currently the big but not really big ship that I am on is cruising through the Pacific Ocean. I believe that I will leave you in suspense at to just where we are heading for right now. It is more fun that way - isn't it?

Traveling yesterday went . . . okay. I guess. It was a LONG day. Hubby and I got up at about 4 in the morning (!!!!) and then spent a lot of time doing our favorite activity - "riding" the line ride! For the uninitiated, this is the name of the "ride" where you stand in a long line which snakes back and forth between nylon "ropes" until you get to another line which is usually oriented in a different direction. We rode the line ride to check our baggage (and paying for the third bag - I can't believe it!), to go through the metal detector barefoot, to get onto the place (you knew that is where we were heading, right), to change planes at a different airport (or course - you can't get anywhere from where we started!),to clear passport control (that is a hint for you!), to pick up our luggage, to hand our customs form to a woman, to get a taxi, to go through another metal detector (this time while wearing our shoes), to sign paperwork, and - finally, to get onto this big but not huge ship.

It was exhausting.

But, we are here and enjoying it so far. I just ate some hot french fries (Mom -they were right out of the oil hot!) and am blogging with you while Hubby relaxes.

Talk to you soon!

Voice Update: Surprisingly good despite a lack of sleep (getting up early yesterday and last night dealing with nightmares - where did THEY come from????) and the stress of dealing with a LOT of people. I did some massage while on the plane but haven't been too good about my exercises. Well, I did walk this morning but didn't do the vocal exercises. Does talking to a lot of strangers make up for that?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Havest and a Trip

Hi All!

First of all - let me show you the tomato harvest from my little container garden of tomato plants - which is now under severe attack from spider mites and dying. Poor plants!

At least they are giving it their all! These were all from one day! I have two cherry tomato plants and one regular tomato plant. I currently have two "regular" tomatoes growing so it is a race between the mites and the ripening process. I still have TONS of cherry tomatoes ripening. It makes me feel like quite a farmer!

Now for my news. Hubby and I are going on a vacation! We will be gone for a while so, while I am going to try to blog during the trip, I may not be blogging everyday for a while.

PLEASE don't stop reading! I PROMISE I will be back before you know it and I will share pictures of my trip!

Okay - that sounded desperate. I don't mean to sound desperate. I just enjoy knowing you are out there and I love reading your comments. You are my blog friends. I will miss you!

I will also miss my cats but for them I have a cat sitter so I know they will be taken care of while we are gone. I couldn't find a blog sitter for you. I will worry about you. I hope you get enough food and water while I am gone . . .

Good news about the trip is I will have pictures and I will also have some new books to review since I will be reading on the plane to and from and at odd down times during the trip. Also- Hubby will be all relaxed and so will I!

So - until I write again - which will hopefully be soon if I can find computers to work on during our trip!


Voice Update: Still holding steady. I did my massage while walking again this morning. I wish I could figure out why the right side of my throat is tender most of the time. Maybe the muscles are tighter on that side? I have also been reading outloud. Sometimes I feel like a little kid reading my way through a tough book. I have to slow myself down or I will forget and start reading silently (which is way faster but not what I need to do) and end up not talking! The cats are also enjoying my nasal and inhale voice as I wander around the house. The good thing is that they feel loved with all the attention!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quite a Day! (Part Two)

Hi All!

Do you see this little "angel kittie?" This is Miss Cleo - and no, she isn't too clairvoyant! This is the most gentle, loving kittie you could ask for. She loves to be petted and rubs against your legs wanting your attention. While she doesn't really enjoy being picked up, she loves attention.

Until . . . . she has to go to the vet.

Then, this little angel becomes a monster!

That is right - she grows about a million extra legs and horns and her eyes go all crazy! It is frightening! Not to mention annoying! Try getting a cat with about a million legs into a pet carrier for the trip! Not a pretty sight!

Well, yesterday Miss Cleo had to visit the vet for her shots and an allergy shot (so she doesn't lick and scratch herself bloody!). I thought I had this all figured out. I picked up the little "angel kitty" and walked to where the carrier was. The moment - and I mean the split second - she saw the carrier, she began to transform!

Knowing it is difficult to get her into the carrier, I tipped the carrier on end so the opening is on top planning to just drop her in. It almost worked.

I just hadn't anticipated the million extra legs. Getting the back legs into the carrier took a while - I had to get all 5,000 on them into the carrier opening. After the back, the front should be easy, right? NOT!

The front hundred legs kept clawing out the opening making it impossible to shut the little door. I kept scooping them into the carrier and by the time I attempted to close the door the quarter of an inch it was still open - another 50 paw were on the outside! Add to this mental image the sound of frantic crazy cat meowing and another cat sitting nearby watching this all happening and echoing the meows. Cat stereo!

Not being one to give up, I finally got all trillion legs and paws into the carrier and the door shut! Whew! I wiped my sweaty brow on my shirt sleeve, hefted the carrier - which was horribly unbalanced and awkward to carry because Miss Cleo, knowing she had been defeated, resorted to curling up in the back corner of the carrier. Those of you with cats know how much their weight can increase when they don't want to be carried!

After a brief trip - the vet's office is maybe five minutes from my house - I began an entirely different struggle - trying to get Miss Cleo OUT of the carrier! It is enough to make even the strongest person break down and sob!

Luckily I managed to dislodge the kittie from the carrier and everything went well at the vet. I am very happy to say that she is a very healthy, neurotic cat.

At the end of the visit I took her home and she bolted from the carrier like a cat from well - a carrier! Me - I just settled down with my lint roller to try to take the entire cat's worth of hair from the front of my shirt. Did I mention she sheds like crazy when she is nervous.

Lucky for me we own stock in lint rollers!


Voice Update: Super. Okay - good. I am proud to say that I did my massage this morning while walking. AND - contrary to my mother's beliefs, you can still hear the crunching even with ear buds in and the volume turned up! I will be "warbling" out my exercises as I do laundry today. What fun!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Quite A Day! (part one)

Hi All!

Sorry this is being posted so late in the day - I normally get my blogging out of my system early but today was . . . well, today was quite a day!

First, I woke up to make Hubby's lunch (with the help of my feline alarm clock!) and found out that my face was rebelling against me. I had put some acne cream on a few select spots on my face which were in danger of a bad breakout. Apparently my face wanted nothing to do with that cream! It is red, dry, flaky and just ugly looking. If I am not mistaken, it looks like a multitude of little zits sprang up in those areas just to spite me! Of course they might be dry skin blisters - which I do get from products that are too strong. I have very sensitive skin.

After dealing carefully with my face and trying to figure out just what to put on it in terms of moisturizer, sunscreen, etc. I set out for my walk. I tied up my walking shoes and played with the cats - who seem really affectionate just before I walk. Could it be they want me out of the house? Maybe they DON'T want me out of the house. Who can figure with cats??

I popped my ipod into my pocket and locked the door behind me. I paused at the front steps to do a few calf stretches and to choose my music/podcast selection for the day's walk. I decided to listen to some music today and chose the soundtrack from the musical Bombay Dreams. Finishing my stretches, I hopped down the stair and began to walk off down the sidewalk but, something wasn't right.

The music I was listening to sounded like it had helicopters in it. What? I don't have the soundtrack from Miss Saigon and I don't think helicopters played a role in Bombay Dreams. Playing with the volume did nothing to change the helicopter sounds which began to increase dramatically in volume. Huh. After a few more seconds (remember it was morning!) I began to think that maybe a helicopter was flying overhead. I started looking up and then - it came roaring over the houses across the street practically low enough for me to touch it! AND - it was HUGE! This was no little news helicopter. Could it be a life flight? I caught a glimpse of the writing on the tail - it said something about 5 states. Hmmmmm.

Because the copter was making a turn towards the elementary school down the block, I followed it. Where else would one of these things have room to land. As I walked closer it sounded like that is just what the thing did - land. I walked up a nearby alley and to the fence surrounding the playground. There the helicopter sat in all its glory with the rotors still whirring. Men were scurrying back and forth unloading equipment from the bird and the workers who have been working at the school for the past week were standing around watching. Hmmmmmmm.

Nothing exciting seemed imminent so off I trotted for my walk. It was going to be a short one anyway because I had things to do. Towards the end of my walk I heard the roar of the helicopter again and saw people leaving their houses and flocking towards the sound. The sound echoed off of roof tops and at times seemed to be coming at me from all directions. Have I mentioned that this thing was loud? Have I mentioned that it was now about 8 in the morning?

Glimpses of the helicopter could be seen over trees and roofs and the nearer I got to the school - and the end of my walk - the more apparent it became that the helicopter was working as an air crane trollying the heavy air conditioning and heating units to the top of the school. Knowing that it would be working for a while, I headed home to get my camera.

Walking back to the school I took a couple shots of the thing.

This is the best one - and that isn't saying too much. The sky was heavily overcast and the sun was right behind the helicopter. You can't really see too much definition in this picture. This is a double decker machine. The pilot is in the top front of the "bubble" and the bottom section is all cargo space. The line trailing down is connected to a massive AC unit.

Hoping to get better shots at the school, I continued and, I had the PERFECT shot all framed up. Just as my camera decided to shut down because my rechargeable batteries were out of juice.!

No matter how I tried I couldn't squeeze even one more shot out of the camera. Oh well. I watched the air crane work for a few minutes and then moved on. Remember, I had things to do this morning!

I will have to tell you about the rest later because it is now supper time and Hubby would like to eat before midnight!


Voice Update: Good! A little breaky when talking in a crowded restaurant but still pretty good. My throat hurt a bit last night - almost like a sore throat- but it seems fine today. I haven't done any massage yet today - I guess I had better get to it! I am talking quieter when I am able and that really helps the quality of my voice. I am also reading out loud a bit more. It is fun and sounding good!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Alarm Clock

Hi All!

I would like to introduce you to my alarm clock.

What's that? It looks like a kittie, you say? Well, that is what Hubby and I thought at first also. In fact, we thought he was a kittie for almost 8 years. Then, we found out the truth. He is an alarm clock.

I had inklings that something like this might be the truth a few years earlier when I would be home for the summer. Q-Tip - that is his name - would wander into the bedroom where I would be napping and he would start meowing. I would open my eyes, look at him and tell him that I wanted to sleep for another 30 minutes. He would blink at me and then walk out the room. Almost precisely 30 minutes later, in he would walk, jump up and the bed, and begin meowing right into my ear. Hmmmm. I wondered if he could tell time.

Time passed and I was no longer working. This confused the living daylights out of both of our cats. For about three weeks they didn't quite know what to do when Hubby got up first in the morning and I was still in bed. Oh my goodness! This had never - and I do mean never - happened before to their knowledge!

After the three week adjustment period, Q-Tip began to see that Hubby would walk into the bedroom and gently (well- sometimes it was gentle!) roust me to come to the kitchen to make his lunch. I don't mind getting up to make his lunch by the way - it is just the whole getting up thing that isn't my favorite!

Observing this for about a week or so - soon, Q-tip began to accompany Hubby into the bedroom to wake me up. This was done at pretty much the same time every day. The next thing Hubby and I know, Q-tip is wandering in to wake me up before Hubby. From that time on, he revealed his true nature - alarm clock.

Now, Hubby rarely has to come to wake me up. Q-Tip does that. He is never more than five minutes off of the "normal" time for waking me up. He saunters into the bedroom giving a few testing meows and then jumps up on the bed mere inches from my dozing face. He headbutts me and gives another meow. If I don't reach up and pet him at this point - proving that I am, in fact, awake, he gets much more aggressive. He will spread his glorious hair across my face so I can no longer breathe. He will start massaging my belly or rear with his claws - one of my personal favorites! He will park himself centimeters from my ear and begin a concert of meows like humans have never witnessed.

You may understand why he is such an effective alarm clock. It is actually quite convenient. The only problem - there is NO snooze button. I have tried bopping him on the head (gently, of course) but he doesn't go away and come back seven minutes later. He simply continues his wake up routine.

Everything is wonderful until the weekend comes and my "alarm" goes off. Try convincing a cat that you don't have to get up pre-dawn to make a lunch on Saturday or Sunday. It doesn't work.

Which is odd because he does get the whole - come back in half an hour thing.


Voice Update: Good. Still working on those exercises and not really liking the massage. But - I AM doing it! I am reading more now - probably up to 45 minutes at a shot and then some more odds and ends during the day. I am also continuing to talk to myself - much to my Hubby's delight!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Drowsy Chaperone

Hi All!
Hubby and I just got back from seeing The Drowsy Chaperone and I couldn't wait to share it with you! Let's just say that I really enjoyed this show.

The show was approximately 90 minutes long with no intermission (Hubby liked that part). I had never heard of this show before seeing it so I had absolutely no expectations. The lights went down and stayed down for a while. At first it was a bit confusing. Then a voice - belonging to the Man in Chair started talking to the audience. A rather unique way to start a musical - in the dark with a character talking directly to the audience.

Man in Chair is apparently feeling down and wants to share some music with the audience as his way to cheer himself up. In this case the music is from the totally fictitious 1920's musical "The Drowsy Chaperone." Then, the hilarity ensues.

The basic set is Man in Chair's apartment and the cast of the musical strolls through and puts on a show - which "Man" sometimes wanders through. This musical within a musical is really, really, really, corny and - in Hubby's words "Just too silly." The "Man's" comments make the entire show.

Despite Hubby's lack of enthusiasm for this show (he doesn't like musicals and said this one was just too silly for him to enjoy. This from a man who likes Monty Python and the Three Stooges!), I highly recommend that if you get a chance you get tickets!

You won't be sorry! I wasn't!


P.S. If you purchase the soundtrack it tells the whole synopsis of the musical and then includes reviews of the "original" 1920's musical and the lyrics (which I always appreciate!).

Do You Know What These Are?

Hi All!

Do you know what these critters are?

If you guessed Llamas - you are close but - no cigar! These, my friends, are Alpacas. Originally native to mountainous countries in South America (like Peru?), these ruminous (meaning they can chew their cud like cows and can spit at you stuff from their stomach - sounds nice, doesn't it?) beasts are now spreading across our fine nation. Yes, that is true. There are even commercials on television promoting Alpaca farming.

You haven't seen the commercial yet? Maybe you don't watch enough television!

Anyway - these particular animals are owned by my sister-in-law. The younger sister-in-law. Not younger than me but younger than the OTHER sister-in-law who also owns Alpacas. Not to be confused with my brother-in-law, also older than me, who owns Alpacas. Are you getting the sense that the entire family owns Alpacas? I am not sure if my mother-in-law owns any but I wouldn't doubt it!

My husband and I have gotten some subtle pressure to purchase some of these animals but, we don't really have room for them and, while either sister-in-law would surely house them for us - what exactly do we need and Alpaca for?

That, my dear friends, is the entire question. What does anyone need an Alpaca for? Their fur can, and is in some places, used for knitted goods and is quite expensive to purchase in a finished product. However, the products are not really taking off in the US. Also, you can sell the offspring of these things to other people who farm Alpacas. And then they have more Alpacas and you have less but what do they do with more Alpacas? What do you do with fewer?

I am still not too clear about just how you earn money by farming these critters. Doesn't it all sound a bit weird to you? You don't get food stuff from them like milk and, from what I hear, they are not good to eat. So, what is the deal? Do you just make money selling Alpacas? Don't you ever have to buy Alpacas? Wouldn't that cancel out the selling of Alpacas you just did? Why Alpacas?

Do I even want to know?

Voice Update: Still good. I was a bit ill yesterday so I ended up sleeping pretty much all day. Didn't use my voice too much but, it was sounding okay in the evening when Hubby came home. I did have a period of time where I was straining to be heard over ambient noise and then my voice was "breaking" a bit. When I backed off the volume it was much better.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fancy and The Third Heiress

Hi All!

Time for another book report! I recently finished two books. The first is Fancy by Robert Krepps. This is another "golden oldie" from my grandmother's collection.

At first, I thought perhaps this book was the inspiration for Reba MacIntire's song "Fancy." While it still might be - I don't really think so . . .

This book was rather "interesting." The main character, a young girl named Fancy who is basically a "kept woman." Most of the action in the book takes place over the course of one night at a party given by a widow who - it turns out - has a "thing" for young girls and wanted to meet Fancy. Yes - the book goes THERE. Not that there is anything wrong with that. (Do you know what tv show that line is from?)

Anyway - I read the whole book. I don't know that I would recommend this book. It was "interesting" but a little confusing at the same time.

But, I am done with it!

My next book - which I finished reading last night at about 2:30 when I couldn't sleep because of nightmares - is The Third Heiress by Brenda Joyce.

I enjoyed this book. It was a mystery, suspense novel involving a woman who was "almost" engaged to an English man. The man is killed in a car crash - in which the woman, Jill, was driving - and when Jill takes his body back to England she meets his aristocratic family who lets her know in no uncertain terms that her "fiance" would have NEVER married her. She was "beneath" him, of course.

Don't you love these kinds of stories?? This is set in the late 1990's and the attitude is still there!

Anyway - Jill comes upon a mystery which might involve distant relatives of hers. She sticks around England to unravel the mystery and faces some "warnings" that would have had me running the other way really quickly!

This book I would recommend. It was a good, quick, exciting read!


P.S. I guess I am destined to be a blog of few comments. I guess I can live with that! I do appreciate my loyal readers though! You make me feel loved!

Voice Update:
My voice is still good. Yesterday I started back into my exercises. I did a lot of inhale/exhale matching pitches while I was at the grocery store. I didn't get any strange looks but I tried to be really quiet around people. Those empty aisles though were my personal exercise studio! I also did some massage yesterday - not enough but I did some. I read out loud for about30 minutes. Doesn't that all sound like fun?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Are You Really Out There?

Hi All!

Are you really out there? I ask because I keep seeing people show up on my site's web tracker thing which tells me where the people who visit my blog come from. However, only two or three people ever comment. Coffee Bean - who I adore - and Ecolo - ditto - are my two regulars but, I just know that there are a lot of you just hanging out and reading.

Could you throw me a bone once in a while and comment? Nothing spectacular - just maybe say "Hi!" If you are feeling brave, you can tell me what you think about my posts. OR - you can even tell me why you don't normally comment and what you would like to hear about!

I would love to have some kind of contest like Coffee Bean but . . . I don't have a good prize in mind yet. I will work on it but, in the meantime, I will tell you what I will do - leave me a comment and I promise to read your comment and - if you ask me a question - I will even answer it!

I know I am feeling needy here but . . . I know you are out there - somewhere!

I hope!


Voice Update:
Okay - yesterday I was being lazy! I didn't do much of my exercises but I did massage once. Not too good but . . . hey - I am human! My voice is still holding steady and I even talked on the phone yesterday! And not my beloved amplified phone either! I do have to say that I have noticed that if people ask me to repeat something I said - I suddenly can't say whatever I just said as plain as day! Frustrating! I have started reading out loud again - yeah!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flowerbed Update

Hi All!

Well - the folks are on their way back to Ohio *sigh* I will miss them. It was a nice visit!

My flowerbed is coming along so I thought I would show you some pictures - you have to PROMISE to ignore the weeds!
Here are the Caladiums which came up from what I thought were Hosta plants. What a surprise! Oh well! I will take them!
Speaking of Hostas . . . this one actually has three leaves . . . almost!
Okay - all of your more experienced gardeners out there - is this only one Hosta with leaves coming up in different places or did two Hostas get planted close together. Even though I would have NO IDEA how THAT would happen!
Here are my moon flowers. They are busy climbing away! My mother was fascinated with how quickly they grow. Of course it is fun to watch the darn things grow about six inches in one day!

The little plants along the front are my cone flower seeds sprouting. I hope! Today a bunny was looking at them with thoughts about a quick nibble but, luckily, Hubby was looking out the window and chased the little bugger away! I sprinkled chili powder on them after I watered today so hopefully the bunny isn't a spicy food lover!

Here is a Hydranga bloom. It is one of four on my plant and they are all on the same side of the plant. Anyone have a clue why? I turned the plant around thinking it might have had something to do with the amount of sun the plant got on that side. We will see if that makes a difference.

The weeds are not too long for this world. My parents helped me buy a nice little forky rakey thing to weed with. It is awesome and I weeded most of the flowerbed with it. However, not being entirely sure just where I planted the rest of the Hostas, I didn't weed in and around the Hosta area so that I didn't dig up a Hosta by mistake. I am giving them another week or so and then I am going in! Hopefully, I will then get some mulch on this bed to cut down on the future weeding!
No - this is not growing in my garden but I had to share. Miss Cleo was being so cute and normally she quits being cute by the time I get my camera ready to take the shot! This time she just rolled around and let me take a few shots. Good Girl!

If you need cheered up just take a look at that little pink belly!


Voice Update:
My voice is still doing really well. Last night I got out my percussion massager and went to town on my neck and shoulders. Not really in the front of my neck where my larynx is but along the sides where my muscles tend to tense up! I didn't do all of my exercises while my parents were here because I was doing so much talking just having two other people in the house. I think the cats were relieved that I wasn't talking to them or myself for a few days! Today it is back to exercises!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coffee Bean's Little Screen Debute

Hi All!

I am so happy about the action that Dystonia Awareness Week is getting in the blogosphere! First Arwyn trotted out a video and now . . . Coffee Bean has taken the plunge!


I am so impressed with the bravery of these women. Sure, I do a podcast but, you don't actually SEE me while I do it!

Also - Coffee Bean is holding a Dystonia Awareness Week contest. Head over there to enter and tell her I sent you!

Have a good evening!


Dystonia Awareness Video

Hi All!

Just a quick post to tell you - check out Arwyn's video for Dystonia Awareness Week! She rocks!


Warning Birds and Trimming Shrubs

Hi All!

After my very scarring experience last week with the bird sex I have been warning birds that I see who MIGHT be interested in some bird sex that I DO NOT WANT TO WITNESS IT! They need to get a hotel room or a nest or a bird house or something. I mean, it is just not right that they do that kind of stuff in front of innocent bystanders - like me!

This morning my mother (who is still visiting from Ohio) and I went walking and there was one bird who kept puffing himself up and chasing a female bird. Uh-oh! It looks like he is wanting some action! I kept telling him - NO WAY!

Luckily for all involved, nothing happened while Mom and I were in viewing range. Thank goodness - I don't think I could handle more explicit behavior from birds! That is just disturbing!

I will admit that Mom found the whole situation amusing! She kept laughing at me while I warned the birds to "knock it off!" I am glad that I made her day just a bit brighter!

After walking - later than normal because my mom decided to sleep in! - I had to trim those darn, ugly shrubs out front again. To be honest, it was only one side of the flowerbed that needed trimming because it grew from the time I trimmed it to the time I got the other side trimmed. It is a never ending cycle around here.

Anyway - Mom and I tackled the shrub (it is soooo nice to have help!) and then moved on to water the "new" flowerbed out back. With the water running and the sweat dripping it was a very damp experience. There are several more hostas growing - I will have to take a picture and post it for you tomorrow. I am so insanely proud of those darn hostas!

Do I need to have my head examined?

Voice Update: Good but a bit tired. Mom and I are heading out to have lunch with a friend of mine and I am hoping my voice holds up. I did really well with the massage yesterday but never did fire up the massager. I HAVE to do that today!

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Podcast

Hi All!

In honor of Dystonia Awareness Week, I have published a new podcast about the topic. Give it a listen by clicking on the link at the top of my blog page or go to Learning To Live With SD.

Let me know if you do anything to help spread the word!


Voice Update:
A friend from Ohio called and I talked to her on my regular phone - not my amplified phone - for over an hour. My voice was pretty good and she was amazed! YEAH!

Dystonia Awareness Week

Hi All!

June 1 - 7 is Dystonia Awareness week. What a perfect time to learn a little more about Spasmodic Dysphonia - a focal dystonia!

Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD) is a vocal disorder which affects approximately 50, 000 people in North America but MANY more people are likely to have undiagnosed SD due to the lack of awareness about the disorder both by the general population and among the medical community.

SD is a neurological disorder in which the muscles controlling the vocal chords spasm uncontrollably making the production of a "normal" voice nearly impossible. There are two main types of SD - adductor SD in which the muscles which bring the vocal chords together are spasming and abductor SD in which the muscles which separate the vocal chords are spasming.

Personally, I have abductor SD (ABSD) which results in a very whispery voice with "breaks" where letters are not sounded. For example, when I try to say my father's name - Paul - it comes out sort of like this - p . . . . .aul - with the p sound being extremely quiet and a lot of air being released between the initial p and the rest of the word.

If you would like to hear more samples of what ABSD sounds like or what adductor SD (ADSD) sounds like, please head over to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia website. The website also has a lot of information about SD which you can peruse at your leisure!

I challenge everyone to learn a little more about SD this week. If you already know a lot about SD I challenge you to go out and tell one person about SD. If we all do that, think of how quickly SD awareness will spread!

Go out and spread the word about SD!

Voice Update: Pretty good - seems to be holding steady. My throat was a bit sore (not like a sore throat - but rather in the muscles) after talking to my parents. I did my massage as soon as I logged on to my blog because I saw me pledge to be better about it!

Wait - I am going to massage right now!

I am back. I am going to fire up my massages and massage my neck to try to get some of that darn soreness out of it. I think my speech therapist suggested that a while back but did I pay attention? No! I am going to give it a shot. I will let you know how it goes!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A "Trisha Moment"

Hi All!

Remember I told you that I was related to that Murphy's Law dude? Well, I thought I would tell you one story which makes me a believer!

This story happened to me in the presence of my dear Hubby and his brother. We had gone to Bermuda for a week's vacation and, since no cars are rented on the island, rented nice little scooters. This wasn't my first time on the island with Hubby. We went to Bermuda for out honeymoon. That was the time Hubby worried about me being able to drive a scooter. He must not have heard my stories of riding the motorcycle or the three wheelers at the farm.

Or maybe he DID hear them!

Anyway - we had our little scooters. We needed to fill up with gas so we stopped at the gas station. All stations in Bermuda are full service - that means a little man comes and pumps the gas for you. I think he might clean your windshield too - if you had one.

The little man came out to pump gas. He had to have been about 70 years old and seemed very slow and deliberate. Hubby and his brother had their tanks filled first (what happened to LADIES first???) and then it was my turn.

If you have never seen a scooter in real life, you need to know that under the seat, which flips up, is the gas tank access and a little compartment to store things - like your helmet - or, in this case, my purse. I love that purse - it is a brown leather Coach purse and is the perfect size for traveling. It was the first Coach purse I ever got and I bought it myself with one of my first paychecks when I started teaching. I love that purse!

Soooooo . . .. the little, old man filled up the first two scooters with no problem. Then he started pumping gas into mine. So far, so good. Then, someone called to him from the building. As this man turned his head to see who was calling him, his hand holding the gas pump - which was still pumping gas - turned also. The gas pumping hand stopped right over the little storage area under the seat - and where my purse was. Still. Pumping. Gas.

Gas began to slop over my beloved purse and into the storage area. It started accumulating rapidly. Seeing this, Hubby and I both yelled "HEY!" to the little, old man. He did turn back to the scooter - SLOWLY - and put the nozzle back into the gas tank. He wasn't phased at all that he had pumped an inch or two of gas into my purse!

That is right - into my purse! I scooped the purse out of the scooter and it literally dripped gas all over the place. Luckily most of the contents were safe but the poor purse was drenched!

After they quit laughing, Hubby and his brother managed to get the little, old man to get us some rags to mop up the gas sloshing in the storage area and to blot some off of my still dripping purse. During this mopping-up time, Hubby and his brother continued to break out into laughter each time they looked at me attempting to blot my purse.

I was a little angry! It was my favorite purse and that darn guy didn't even act the least bit sorry for saturating it with gasoline! I don't think he even gave us a discount for the gas that went into the storage area rather than the tank! That isn't fair! You would think he would have at least apologized. Nope! Nothing!

I held my purse at an arm's distance all the way back to the hotel (it stunk like gas - naturally) which was several miles. Once in the hotel Hubby sealed my purse in a plastic bag for the remainder of our trip and the journey home.

Why me? The gas COULD have soaked the beer Hubby had under HIS seat!


P.S. I did eventually get the gas smell out of my purse (Thanks, Heloise!) but it was never the same!

Voice Update: Good but, after a couple of days of talking way more than usual to my parents, I am taking it easy today. I am making sure to do my massage (which I still don't like to do!) and my exercises. Fun, Fun!