Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A Peaceful Night
I slept like a baby last night - getting up once! Okay - twice!
Skor has found a nice sleeping place on my night stand (I had to clear it off so he didn't get into trouble with any books or stuff) and also found a good spot at the head of the bed between Hubby and me. He didn't bother us much at all - a little in the beginning of the night and a bit in the morning.
My other kitty - Miss Cleo - also found her place on the bed during the night. She slept at our feet. Well - she slept there until she had a hairball there at about 3:00 A.M. That was one of the times I got up. Today I will be washing the duvet cover!
In the morning, Miss Cleo came to snuggle at my side before I got up just like she used to before Skor came on the scene. Skor even left her alone for the most part. He did try to get my attention by lying on my chest and purring loudly but, he didn't attack Miss Cleo like he has been doing. I have to admit that I really like my moments with Miss Cleo before getting up to face "the world." They are calming and I love to hear her purr.
Yeah! It was a very peaceful night!
On the sign language scene, I went to lab yesterday morning. If you remember, I was planning on changing my normal times so that I could avoid having to work with HER. Well, so far, so good!
Lab yesterday morning was rather peaceful itself (I seem to have a peaceful theme going on today, don't I?). There were only about four students in the lab and one of them was another ASL 2 student (different class though). I worked with her and completed two different lessons. We had fun chatting in sign language and learning the new lessons. It was actually fun!
I plan on continuing my plan of avoiding HER and going in the mornings. It seems to be a good plan. Of course, I will still see her in class but my interaction with her is pretty limited there. I do wonder what I can do to make her understand that I am NOT joking around with her and that I don't really appreciate the way she jokes. Such difficult questions!
Let's see . . . there was something else I have been meaning to tell you . . . OH! I remember now! My iPod saga is finally completed (I hope!). I got a new (or reconditioned) iPod last week. I must admit that by this time I was in a horrible mood about the entire situation. I had NO desire to get the darn thing and probably wouldn't have if Hubby hadn't gone with me and basically gotten it for me. I didn't even want to take the thing out of the box.
Part of the reason for my horrible attitude was the fact that the last guy I talked to at Apple once again told me the problem HAD to be my computer despite the fact that I had done all kinds of things to ensure it WASN'T my computer! Another part was that I was afraid that it WAS my computer and that this iPod would be all messed up as well and then I would have to deal with the COMPUTER people!
Anyway - Hubby basically forced me to get the new iPod (it might be reconditioned - even the Apple people couldn't tell me which). Then, he laid on a nice, thick guilt trip that any mother would be proud of until I actually got the thing out and connected to my computer.
Luckily, it works! Perfectly! And it has been working for several days in a row - something that my old iPod couldn't do! I want to go back to the Apple store and say "Look at this! It ISN'T my computer you dorks! It was YOUR iPod that you said COULDN'T POSSIBLY be causing the problems! Nanny, nanny, boo-boo!"
Would that be immature?
Voice Update: Okay - Hubby is worried. He isn't worried that my voice is getting bad (it isn't) but he is worried about my therapy. You see - therapy this week is cancelled because Susan is expecting her first grandchild and is there waiting for the induction and birth. I don't remember if it is her daughter or daughter-in-law and I don't remember exactly where the future grandchild is located. All I know is . . .no speech until October 15th. For those of you with calendars handy, that is a month from my last appointment. Hubby is worried that I will slack on my exercises - and I must admit that he may be on to something. I promise to get Mr. Timer out and get working today! I promise. Really!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Johnny Cash and Skor
A while back Hubby and I went to see "Ring of Fire," the musical about Johnny Cash. Ever since then I have been intrigued by his life story. I picked up a copy of his biography, The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love, and Faith of an American Legend by Steve Turner.
I just finished this book last night. While it gave me a lot of interesting information about Johnny Cash, it was not written is a way that made a lot of sense to me. The author seemed to jump around in time, often within one paragraph. For example, in an early chapter the death of June Cash is described as well as the effect it had on Johnny. Then, in the next chapter, Johnny is just meeting June. It wasn't particularly difficult to follow but it didn't sit well with me.
Am I a literary snob?
The book is a good source of information and contains many quotes from Johnny Cash songs as well as scriptures which guided his work and life. There were many interesting facets to Johnny Cash including his interest in prisoners despite never being in prison himself. Also, the fact that he and his band played practical jokes in the hotels they stayed in (like painting the entire room a different color!) was amazing considering the reputation Cash had as an upstanding, Christian man (of course, I didn't know too much about him prior to reading the book).
If you are a country music fan or a Johnny Cash fan, you may consider reading this book. If you are just a fan of good biographies . . . there are probably better ones out there to engage your interest.
On to the Skor update: Skor is getting adjusted . . . slowly. Last night he really didn't bother us at all until about 5:00A.M. when I made the "mistake" of getting up to go to the bathroom. Apparently, to Skor, that meant it was time to play.
I did learn that he likes to burrow down under the covers to sleep. He slept for about twenty minutes curled up behind my knees. Talk about an interesting feeling - fur behind your knees!
Skor still likes to annoy Miss Cleo who is being a wonderful little girl - considering the annoying little kitten who runs around her all the time! She growls at him and hisses when he gets "up in her face."
I don't blame her. Poor Miss Cleo!
Voice Update: My voice is doing well. I did some massage yesterday (not too much though) and hope to get motivated to do more this week. Of course, I have speech therapy this week so . . . I had better get going or face the "wrath" of Susan!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
What Day is it Anyway?
Have you ever just totally forgotten what day it was? It happened to me yesterday. I got in from walking and sat down to play with the cats. For some reason, I decided it was Sunday so I didn't have a standing IM "date" with my mother.
Now, I don't walk on Sundays so why I decided it was Sunday . . . who knows! I am going to blame it on Skor. He is a wonderful kitten but . . . he is really energetic and likes to play in the middle of the night. Usually with my face. I have to wake up enough to push him off and tell him "No, Skor!" Even though I am pretty sure he doesn't know his name yet.
Multiply that times about ten and you get an amazing lack of quality sleep. Which leads to forgetting what day it is. Which leads to not talking to Mom - who then wonders where in the world I am. Which leads to not posting to my blog like normal. What fun!
My only consolation is that Skor is an equal opportunity "botherer." He bothers Jay during the night too!
Voice Update: I have been bad for the past two days and haven't done too much on the exercise front. Shame on me! There is just something about a lack of sleep that makes me less than enthusiastic.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Cat's Out of the Guest Room!
Here he is sniffing Miss Cleo under the door. Right in the corner the crack is a bit larger so he likes sniffing there. Check out the fluffy tail!Skor knows how to charm the ladies even at his young age - look at that wink!See Mom - his back is much whiter than Q-Tip's was. After a while, Skor decided to start posing for me. How adorable is he?I know that this picture is fuzzy but check out the ear hair on this little guy! Wow! It is really cute!
Okay - enough about my adorable, fuzzy eared little boy!
ASL class last night was fine and - I had a revelation! SHE actually thinks that she is kidding around with me! I figured that out last night after she pushed me - it was sort of like a pat on the back with a hefty shove thrown in. She didn't do that to anyone else and I really think that she thinks she is joking with me.
She obviously doesn't pick up on social cues too well. If she did - she would know that I REALLY don't like to be pushed!
It will be interesting to see where this leads.
Voice update: My voice is doing well. I massaged like a woman crazed at each stop light on the way to lab and on the way to class. I only got a few odd looks. Most people were too busy talking on their cell phones to care!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Let me clear something up. Skor is already litter box trained but he was just a bit confused about everything in a new environment. He is getting better - no messes at all for the past day and he piddled in the box! YEAH! He is almost ready to go out into the house and encounter Miss Cleo for longer periods of time.
Won't that be fun!
This is going to be a really short post because I have some work for my ASL class which I need to get done. I plan on going to lab this morning (partly to avoid HER and partly because I know it won't be super busy then) and then coming back home to spend some time with Skor before leaving again for class. Yes, I know I am driving back and forth but . . . hey - what can I say?
Have a fabulous day and I will write more tomorrow!
Voice Update: Doing good - doing good. I have slacked a bit on the massage since Skor showed up but will get to it at the stop lights today!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sleepless in The Colony
Well, Skor is now in our house. Causing chaos. Whining incessantly. Poor little guy.
We zoomed off to the airport last night as soon as I could get home from class (it turns out Hubby was hoping I would leave class early but . . . he never told me that!). We met the courier, Roxie, who was in a near panic about missing her next flight, ten minutes late. The kitty, Skor, was transferred from her carrier to our carrier and we were off. To take Roxie to a different terminal to catch her flight.
Once we were fairly certain that Roxie made her flight, we were headed home. I sat in the back with the cat carrier and Skor while Hubby played chauffeur - very well, might I add. Skor let me pet him once he figured out that I was only opening the door of the carrier enough to get my hand in - not enough for him to get out.
Skor is an energetic little thing. And that is an understatement. We brought him into the house and right to our guest bedroom where he zoomed around checking everything out and purring - loudly. He was constantly coming up to me and Hubby for pets and rubs but never settled in one place for very long. We did make the mistake of opening the door (silly us - we just wanted out to get him some water) and - zip! - there he went out into the house.
Miss Cleo was a bit shocked by this little intruder. She followed him cautiously and hissed and growled. Skor didn't seem to mind at all. He just zipped all over the house. Finally he ended up back in the guest room and we got the door shut.
Hubby and I spent about a half hour or so sitting in the room basically petting Skor when he zoomed into range. He is a soft little bugger!
Hubby ended up sleeping in the guest room last night since Skor wouldn't stop crying when we both left the room. We didn't get to be until after 1:00 A.M. and then were up at our normal times. Hubby left the guest room to shower and shave for work and . . . Skor began crying - loudly. Oh my! What is going on?
Skor got out one more time and zipped around the house before voluntarily returning to the guest room. Miss Cleo did her hissing and growling thing. Fun, fun. We think Skor was a bit confused about just where to "do his business" even though there is a litter box in the room with him. He eventually "did his business" on the floor next to his food bowl - eeeeewwwww! Maybe he will figure it out soon!
In the meantime, I am wondering if this is going to work. Skor seems to cry and try to escape from the room all the time and we are not quite ready to have him wandering the house - especially if he isn't figuring out the litter box thing! It is going to be a long, long, day!
Voice Update: It is hanging in there. Right now I am so tired that even thinking about talking wears me out. We'll talk about it tomorrow. If I am awake!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Good News and Bad News
Yesterday was one of those days with both good and bad news. I completely understand why those good news/bad news jokes are so funny - it is because those kinds of things really happen!
I am going to start with the bad new - you know - to get it over with!
Well, I had told you that I was getting a new iPod, right? I thought I would just boogie down to the Apple Store - AGAIN! and turn in my old iPod and be handed a nice, shiny, new iPod. Sounds simple, right? Wrong!
I got there, checked in and sat on the little stools until my name was called (everyone was very subdued this time - no ranting and raving!). Then I trotted up to the counter and started talking to the "genius." Once more I had to explain everything that has been going on with my iPod and I ended with the fact that the woman at 1-800-aplcare told me that I should just get a new iPod. Clearly the Genius, Adrian, was not impressed. The first words out of his mouth were . . . "And what kind of a computer do you have?"
Geesh! Here we go again! Apparently not owning an Apple computer makes me the devil and my poor little HP is the root of all evil. I have heard this from every. single. person. I. have. talked. to. at. Apple. Enough! If your product doesn't "play nice" with PCs then why in the world do you market them as if they can? I swear, if there is a problem with my iPod and these people can't figure it out (some Genius, huh?) they just blame it on my computer. "We don't really have training on PCs so we can't tell you what is wrong with your computer."
MY COMPUTER - not THEIR precious product! The nerve!
Okay - taking a calming breath. In . . . . and out . . . . now. After going through all of this hassle and calmly explaining that I talked to the PC "genius" on the phone for over three hours and she didn't know what to do to fix the problem, Adrian grudgingly said he would read what it said in my file. Because I was lying to get a new iPod! Really!
After taking about ten minutes to read my "file," Adrian said that he would give me a new iPod even though he was almost positive that the problem was my computer - nice passive aggressive move, Adrian! he spent another five minutes entering some mysterious info into the computer so he could print out the appropriate paperwork. He had me sign the papers and then told me that he had some bad news. They didn't have an iPod to give me.
An Apple Store that doesn't have an iPod to give me? What???
Apparently, they only have a certain number of iPods that they can give to customers in exchange for faulty ones and the store was out of their allotted number. And did I mention that it might not be a new iPod at all? That is right! It may be a reconditioned iPod which, Adrian told me, I should consider to be brand new. If that is the case, then why does it only come with a 90 day warranty instead of a year like the new ones do?
So now I am waiting for the Apple Store to call me to let me know that they have an iPod for me. Fun, fun. At least they "let" me keep my old, dead iPod. For what reason, I am not sure. Maybe so I can look at it longingly? Whatever.
Deep cleansing breath . . . . .
Now for the good news. Roxie called us last night. Who is Roxie, you may ask? Well, she is the cat courier. She is the woman who is picking Skor , our new Ragamuffin kitty, up and flying him down here to us. That is right - we should be getting Skor very, very soon! Her flight is supposed to get into our airport at about 9:45 tonight - late, I know but, we would have picked him up at midnight just to get him!
We are excited. Keep your fingers crossed for us that it all works out!
Voice Update: My voice is doing well. I was massaging my throat yesterday while waiting for the "genius" to tell me I couldn't get an iPod. A few people looked at me askance but . . . who cares!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Okay - I am not quite old enough to be going through Menopause but . . . I am able to laugh about it.
Yesterday I went to see "Menopause, The Musical" at a local theater. C, the woman I walk with every morning, had purchased a large block of tickets (I think around 40) and then invited all of her friends to come to the musical - we had to repay her of course but we all got to sit together). It was a blast!
First of all, you should know that I was among the youngest in the crowd by several years. C's daughters - who are both around my age - were there and then it was women of a slightly older generation. They were a hoot! I had such fun talking to them and, even though most of them live in my neighborhood, I had never met them before. Hubby and I are not really the social butterfly types!
About 14 of us went out to eat at On The Border before the show and it was great. Good conversation and good food. Then it was off to the theater.
The cast of this show consists of four women. That is it. Four women singing and dancing on a stage with minimal set and props representing Bloomingdale's in New York. It was very effective.
The four women represented different stereotypical women - a businesswoman, a homemaker, an actress, and a flower-childish woman. They told the "story" of menopause and its symptoms from the four different points of view and together worked through body issues, mental lapses, night sweats, hot flashes, etc.
All of the songs are from the 60's and 70's and maybe the 80's (I am bad at knowing that kind of thing) with different words. "Puff The Magic Dragon" became "Puff, My God, I'm Draggin'," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" became "My Husband Sleeps Tonight (on the couch)," "Staying Alive" became "Stayin' Awake," etc. Each song had new words directly referring to something common women experience in menopause.
The audience for the musical was primarily female - as you might expect - and spent most of the time laughing until they cried. The cast was fabulous and the songs were funny. The highlight of the entire musical was watching the "Iowa Housewife" struggle to get into a tiny, black teddy (over her HUGE I love NY shirt). Tear were coming to my eyes because it was such wonderful physical comedy.
At the end of the show, for the finale, the cast invited women from the audience up to the stage for the Menopause kick line. It was fun and lots of women joined them. Each woman who joined them onstage got a pin saying "I've been changed. Menopause, the Musical."
After the show, I heard many comments from the crowd and they were all, without a doubt, positive and even raving. It was a fun experience and a good laugh. If Menopause, the Musical comes to your city, I would say - gather a bunch of your women friends and go!
Voice Update: After the show I noticed that my voice was a bit rocky - I think all the laughing did me in! I didn't do too well on the exercises yesterday but I will be better - I promise!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
What In The World?
I didn't have a post for Friday of this week.
WHAT? I know for a fact that I sat here on Friday morning and posted. Was I only imagining it?
Then I realized that I had TWO posts for Thursday. And one of them was really written Friday. Isn't it amazing how I went back in time to post them both on Thursday?
Blogger - what is going on here?
May It Rest In Peace
It is dead, totally, stone-cold DEAD! What am I talking about? My poor, beloved iPod.
A couple of days ago I posted about going to the Apple Store and waiting (and waiting and waiting) to talk to a Genius at the Genius Bar so that my poor iPod could be fixed. And, what the Genius told me worked - for a grand total of about 12 hours!
I was sooooo happy that I almost cried! My iPod was working properly! Amazing! A miracle! And THEN. It happened. Suddenly the iPod began freezing up. It started automatically resetting itself (something which normally involved pressing two of the buttons at the same time for about five seconds). It randomly skipped around to different podcasts while I was listening (or trying to listen) to one of my favorite podcasts. It told me that Klondike (the solitaire card game) that I have become addicted to was not able to load. WHAT?????
This was WAYYYYY more than just a problem syncing music which could be fixed by disabling the virus scan. This was edging into the "slightly freaky" part of weird.
While I was at the Apple Store the wonderful Genius, Terry, told me that if I continued to have trouble (I am sure that he never imagined anything like THIS!) I should call the 1-800-aplcare line to talk to a PC expert. They could surely help me.
So - yesterday morning I dialed. After facing the wonderful automated male voice (whom I have decided to call Earl) who sounded almost hurt when I told him (repeatedly because my voice apparently didn't register too well in their voice recognition program) I wanted to speak to a representative, I was put on hold. Normally being on hold intrigues me because there is some weird music to listen to. While I listen I wonder just who at that business is in charge of the hold music and how in the world did they pick THIS? This time, however, the hold music was so quiet that I really had to concentrate to even hear that it was music. Oh well!
Eventually (quicker than I was anticipating if truth be told) I reached a real, live person. She asked me what was the problem and . . . I told her. She listened silently and, when I was finished, said ,"Wow! That is amazing. I have never heard of that happening before." Great - I am making history. Not exactly how I wanted to make my mark on the world!
We quickly became best friends as she guided me through several "sure fixes" which, of course, didn't work. As each new effort failed, her amazement grew. After the third "sure fix" didn't work, she said she was just going to give me a new iPod and made an appointment for me at the Apple Store to pick it up. Wasn't that nice? I was feeling satisfied until her closing words . . ."If you continue to have problems with the new iPod you know the problem is with your computer. Then you will have to deal with your computer's help people." Great.
At least I have a 50/50 chance that the new iPod will work!
Voice Update: I found out yesterday that I can yell a bit. It wasn't a real "yelling to save my life" kind of yell but I definitely raised my voice. I haven't been able to yell for almost two years so this is a HUGE milestone! I am still working on my massage and exercises and know that , while I am able to yell, it doesn't leave my throat feeling too good so I probably won't be doing it again for a long, long, long, time!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Waiting . . .
Waiting. This is one of those things in life which can seem almost painful. Remember waiting for Christmas when you were a child? How hard was it to fall asleep on Christmas Even knowing that in the morning Santa would have presents under the tree for you? How about waiting for your birthday? Torture!
Over the years, I have developed an almost zen like appreciation of waiting (see yesterday's post about waiting at the Apple Store!). A while back I decided that instead of getting impatient and frustrated, I was going to view waiting as an opportunity. It can be an opportunity to people watch - one of my all time favorite sports. It can be an opportunity to get organized - sometimes you just have to get that purse in order! It can be an opportunity to figure out a problem - hello deep thought time. It can even be an opportunity to catch up on reading - this is either the tabloids (those forbidden treats) or a real book.
No matter what I am waiting for, I always try to have something to do. I must admit that People Watching is my all time favorite. Like at the Apple Store. The man who was freaking out because he had to wait was fun to watch. He kept working himself up to the verge of a rabid outbreak and would then talk to me and calm down a bit. He paced and muttered under his breath. It made me wonder what he was like in the rest of his life.
Of to the side was a mad who had a Mac Mini with him. He was sitting on one of the stools and had earphones on. There was a slight smile on his face as he watched the Genius Bar in action. He occasionally surveyed the other waitees and, when he got tired of sitting, he would take a lap or two around the store. I wonder if he is in on my zen idea?
There were a couple women there with children. These women immediately zeroed in on the computer area set up specifically for children. There were child sized bean bagish chairs in front of a child sized table sporting the newest Mac computers showing child friendly videos and games. The women got their children interested in the computers and then spent the rest of the time hovering around that area - which was conveniently located very close to the Genius Bar.
Yes, people watching is an art form in itself. In fact, people watching is why I have worked to develop my waiting attitude. There is nothing funnier or more amusing than watching an impatient waiter. It is almost like watching a car crash - you can't make yourself look away. It isn't always a pretty sight either if the impatient one turns into the rude one. I know that I don't want to the that person.
Zen waiting. You should give it a try!
Voice Update: I was a very good girl yesterday. I did exercises and massage and my voice is thanking me for it. Today I am planning on taking a nap right after this and haven't gotten my timer with me. I know - not good! I did find out that you can hear the timer all the way across my house yesterday and that it automatically stops beeping after about a minute.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
A Day's Events
First of all, thank you so much for all of the kind comments about my last post. It can be so frustrating having SD and just knowing that people out there care (and some even understand exactly what I am going through!) really makes a difference.
Oops - Excuse me for a minute while I go get my friend "Timer!"
Yes, dear blog readers, I am doing my voice exercises like good girl! I think the funk is over - in terms of my voice anyway.
I am still having "issues" with HER in sign language class. I just don't like her. She is rather abrupt and is always arguing about things - like how to sign a sentence, etc. She told me yesterday in lab that she is heartless . . . she may have been joking but . . . it seems like she might be right!
I did have the pleasure of finding out that the way I signed a sentence was correct - the teacher told us. YEAH!
Let's see . . . I just got back from my walk. C didn't show up and I even went to her house and knocked. Her dog (a huge labradoodle - I know I spelled that wrong and the only suggestion spell check has is liberated!) wasn't there barking so I wasn't sure what was up. I guess my knocking woke her up and she came out right after I decided to keep walking. We missed each other! She did stop by my house to let me know what happened. Have I told you that I am enjoying walking with C even though I was a bit apprehensive at first? It is true!
Yesterday I spent some time in the Apple Store. That is not where I bought my iPod and I don't have an Apple computer or phone so I don't normally frequent this place. However, I was at the so-called "Genius Bar." That is what they call their tech support people. I would think that would be a lot of pressure - being called a genius! What happens if they can't fix something? Do they get their genius status taken away?
So I was at the Genius Bar to get some help with my iPod. Remember how much I love, love, love my iPod? Well, lately, it hasn't been so much because something has been wrong with the whole iTunes (the software on the computer which stores the music, etc.) and the iPod syncing (talking to each other). So I made an appointment and trotted myself to the mall to talk to a Genius.
Much to my surprise and pleasure, the Genius didn't talk to me like I was a moron who didn't know that computers need to be plugged into electricity to work (I have had experiences like that). The Genius I worked with, Terry, was very nice and spoke to me in terms I understood (and he told me that he was impressed with how much I knew!). He walked me through several different plans of actions (which I wrote down) which should stop the problem. He also explained why he though things were getting bunged up. It was a nice experience! AND - his advice worked! YEAH, Terry!
There is a bit of background info I will share with you. The Genius Bar takes appointments and then you wait until they call your name to see you. Yesterday they had apparently had a problem opening the store (???) and were about a half an hour behind. I had no where to be until ASL class at 6:30 P.M. so I was having no issue waiting but . . . there were several people who were just a "bit" ticked off! I was trying to keep them from charging the Genius Bar by just being calm. One lady even told me that she admired my calm during the increasingly tense atmosphere. Wasn't that nice of her?
I am happy I can be helpful - if even just a bit - by "talking down" those who don't understand that waiting is an indelible part of American life these days!
Voice Update: I have been a very good girl and have done my exercises and massage. My voice is responding to my TLC by behaving pretty darn well. I do know that last night, when I got called my Hubby on the cell phone, I had a bit of trouble but, then again, I always do on cell phones. Drat those things!
Speech Therapy Session
Well, speech therapy went well. My throat was a bit tights (gee - I wonder why) but everything was pretty much on track. I was honest about being in a funk and not doing my exercises and, while she didn't pull out the whips and chains, she wasn't too happy! She did understand though and helped me figure out what my funk was about.
There are times that I feel like people don't really "hear" me. That is so frustrating after taking so much time and so much effort to get my voice back! When people basically ignore what I am saying it makes me feel like it isn't worth the effort to talk if people aren't going to listen. Hence the funk. Why do exercises to be better if no one will "listen" to me anyway?
This SD stuff can really get to you. You wouldn't think it would make too much of a "dent" in my (and others') self-confidence but, let me tell you - it does. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails quicker than not being able to be heard and not feeling like you can express your opinions. It is almost like you become a non-person. You are acknowledged but then quickly disregarded. Even knowing that people are stupid and that the whole reason you can't talk is physiological not psychological, it makes you start to wonder if the thoughts you have are really worth being heard.
Even though I have my voice back, I still have to work hard to maintain my voice. Something that "normal" people don't have to do. I still have problems talking when it is loud. I still need the people around me to be understanding and to listen carefully because I sometimes have problems with certain words. I am still different.
It takes a lot to rebuild confidence even when I sound pretty much "normal." Other people might not know I have SD but I do and I constantly worry about if my voice will "betray" me by missing words or giving out. It is tiring.
The good news is that, most of the time, I feel the constant effort is worth it and I work on my voice to maintain and improve it. The "funk" only knocks me on my *** once in a while and then I shake it off. Sometimes I need a bit of help but . . . I always get back on track!
After all, I am the person who walked around in the "Why be normal?" shirt during my high school years!
Voice Update: This whole post is an update. I did talk to Susan about my fears about cervical dystonia (of the neck people, the neck) and she told me that while I am probably more prone to get stiff necks, tension in my muscles, etc. due to the SD, I should be fine. She also told me that she doesn't think I will ever relapse and lose my voice. That was nice to hear!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Well, I had sign language class yesterday. It went well. I spent some time in the lab reviewing the last lesson and learning the newest lesson. For this class we are going through two units a week - which is a rather quick pace! In ASL I we only did one unit a week and that was fine! There is a lot of new vocabulary to learn for each unit!
In lab I was working by myself for a while when reviewing and then, as it got closer to class time, more members of my class came and joined me . . . including HER. Yes, that is right, my "arch nemesis" - that may be a LITTLE strong - joined our little group. I must be totally honest here, SHE doesn't seem too bad in class. In fact, she really seems to be opening up and being friendlier, which is really nice. However, in lab . . . SHE still seems a bit, well, aloof.
In class SHE is very open about not knowing a lot of ASL and about having issues with her receptive language skills. In lab she seems annoyed and bored most of the time. When the lab assistant is ready to start, SHE is always busy doing something other than paying attention. I do think this is a BIT understandable - she is repeating the material for the second time. However, don't you think it is just a bit rude?
Yesterday SHE left the group and the lab suddenly without saying anything to the assistant we were working with or to us. She just walked out. The lab assistant thought SHE was mad. SHE wasn't but . . . I would think you should say something like, "Excuse me, I am going to go now. Thank you for helping me."
At least that I what I normally say.
During class our teacher went to the lab to ask them a question. When she returned she had a puzzled look on her face. Apparently the lab assistants had told her that a member of her class was being rude in lab. We all looked at each other in confusion. The teacher wasn't too expansive about what the assistant said but . . . she was a bit worried.
After class I stopped to ask her about homework which I may have missed during the week I was in Ohio. In the conversation I said something about an assignment SHE did which I knew was wrong. This apparently triggered the teacher's memory because she said . . ."Oh - so it is HER." The lab assistant had told the teacher that the person who was rude in lab had argued with her about what a conjunction was (in ASL they are WAY different than they are in English). The teacher asked me how I thought SHE behaved in class and I told her my personal experiences with HER.
Horrible, isn't it? I will say that I did try to explain that her seemingly rude and aloof behavior might be due to her insecurities about her signing abilities and the boredom of repetition.
Does that mean I am not totally horrible?
Voice Update: Speech Today! I am a bit nervous because, as you know, I haven't been very good about my exercises lately. I am hoping that my larynx is not so tight that Susan really has to work on it like she did the last time I went in. That was painful. We will find out!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Reading Room
Well, it is time once more to introduce you to the books I have read recently. These books are a little outside of my "normal" reading preferences but, I have to say that I have enjoyed them all.
First, a journey into the world of Jurassic Park. This book, Thunder of Time by James F. David, was one of my book sale finds for a whole fifty cents. I always try to find some "different" books at the sale and . . . this time I did!
When I began reading this book, I was a bit unsure. I don't like violent or gory books and mixing dinosaurs with people. . . I was nervous. The premise of this story is that due to the nuclear testing done in the days during and after World War II, small tears developed in the space-time continuum and after several decades, these small tears joined together to make gaps. These gaps allowed the crossing of the timeline of the Earth. Suddenly, large areas of the modern world disappear and are replaced by areas from the Cretaceous period - dinosaurs and all.
You can imagine the chaos which ensues. New Government offices are developed to deal with the "time quilts" as they are called and the dinosaurs. It is believed that the holes in the space-time continuum are closed. Dinosaur rangers are trained to keep the dinosaurs in the time quilts and away from the population. Some time quilts are even turned into tourist parks (of course!).
Things seem under control until . . . new time quilts start to appear with dinosaurs outside of the Cretaceous period. Now it is vital to find out why and to find out how to stop it before the world it taken over. By dinosaurs.
I recommend this book for people who like suspense. There are some people who get chomped by dinos but the writing isn't too graphic. There is a nice good vs. evil sub-theme in the book which kept me wondering and reading. Overall, a good read and I might seek out more of James F. David's books.
Next up is Blow Out by Catherine Coulter.
This one is an FBI Thriller (see - it even says it right on the cover!) and was given to me by my favorite Aunt Donna.
An FBI agent meets a ghost while he is changing a flat tire in the middle of no-where. He and his FBI agent wife are called into duty to solve the murder of a Supreme Court Justice which continues to get more and more complicated.
What else can I say? It is a good read and entertaining. I really enjoyed guessing at who did it and must admit that there is a bit of an unexpected twist at the end which I never saw coming. If you like FBI stories - pick this one up!
Finally, Hide by Lisa Gardner (ok - my underlining is doing weird things . . . the title was supposed to be underlined). This book was another gift from Aunt Donna.
I just finished this book last night and I must admit that I needed some "snuggle" time with Hubby to ease some of my creepy feelings. Not that this book is overly creepy. It is just that I have an active imagination and last night . . . I could imagine being in the book and in the situation!
Start with a family that is constantly on the run. They move and completely change their identities every year or so throughout the life of Annabelle/Tanya their young daughter. Add an underground hideout containing the mummified remains of six young girls. Stir in a handsome detective and an ambitious and driven female detective. Throw in a pinch of a supposedly haunted and abandoned mental institute as well as a dash of paranoia.
It is a good mix which had me reading and not wanting to put the book down. I will admit that the ending took me by surprise even though I thought I had everything figured out about three quarters of the way into the book.
All three books this time were good reads which I could recommend. None of them were books which lead to deep thoughts and life changes but, they were fun, fast, and very, very enjoyable!
Voice Update: I am finally being a good girl and doing my exercises! The timer is ticking away as we speak! YEAH! I am really not out of my funk yet but, this might be the first step!
Monday, September 15, 2008
I know that there are people who doubt the existence of God but, when you look out your kitchen window and see this, how can you doubt?
This, of course, is one of my moonflowers in full bloom. They are such lovely things and so unexpected at twilight and gleaming in the light of a full moon. This flower is at least six to eight inches across. *Sigh* so beautiful.
I guess that since I am showing pictures of flowers, I should give you an update on the "new" flowerbed.
Here is a wider shot of the moonflowers. The vine isn't too pretty but darn, those flowers!
Here are the cone flowers I started from seed. No blooms or flowers this year but I am optimistic about next year. They are perennials here and should put on a show next year. I am planning on thinning out the bunch and planting some elsewhere in my year. I don't know where yet but . . . that is the plan!
Here is a slightly fuzzy shot of my biggest Hosta. These I planted from root things (I have no clue what they are called!) and they are taking their own sweet time growing. My mothers says that next year they will probably be a lot bigger. I hope!
Again, sorry about the slightly fuzzy picture but it was starting to rain and I wasn't in the mood to be patient about the focus. This, friends, is what I hope will be a date tree, bush, plant, leaf, some day. I planted five dates in this little pot and this came up. It looks like a date frond but that is all it does. I don't know if it needs more soil or what. I will investigate when I take it inside for the winter - I don't think it will handle even the mild winters here in Texas.
And Hubby said it would never grow! Ha!
Moving on. Here is the cactus my mother sent me in the mail. Notice that it has several new lobes on it. I need to get in there and straighten it up a bit so it doesn't lean over the pot and "get" us when we trim shrubs.
Next is a picture of my balloon plant which had lovely blooms on it this Spring. Last year (yes, it survived the winter and came up all on its own this year!) it only bloomed once but, I noticed that it has a bud on it! True, it only has ONE bud but still, it is progress!Then, there are the shrubs. I call them the Ugly Shrubs. You may have seen them before if you have read my past blogs. There is a good reason I don't like them too much. I will explain.
Here is a picture of the Ugly Shrubs when they are pretty much under control.
See - all nice and neat. One could even say that their silver green color is nice against the brick of our house. They might even be said to be a nice contrast with the other shrubs in the bed (grudgingly I admit that is true). However, there is one trait that they have which inevitably makes smoke come out of my ears.
What could that be? You might ask? Well . . . you see every time it rains (or Hubby waters the flowerbeds) these ugly beasts do this.
They send up shoots. Shoots which grow by leaps and bounds. Shoots which grow about three inches a day! I said DAY! They are fast growing little buggers! In this picture, the shoots are at least ten inches long. And this was only a few days after it rained a half inch!
These shoots, of course, mean that I have to get out there and trim shrubs. Again.
I just "love" trimming shrubs over and over and over and over . . .
Voice Update: Still in my funk. I did some massage but . . . that is about it. I think I have speech this Wednesday so I am sure that Susan will shake me out of my funk.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I know that I promised to show you some pictures of my parents' yard. You need to know that while I was visiting it was very, very dry there and so all of the color was pretty much drained from the flowerbeds, etc. However, it was still beautiful to me!
First of all, you need to know that someone is always watching you when you are on my parents' deck out back . . .
Isn't that cute? This little man is a bird house! The wood under him is supporting flower bags full of white and red impatiens. They were blooming while I was there thanks to Mom's faithful watering each morning.
This is a view from the deck. The yard stretching out is all my parents' until you get pretty close to the house back there. That house, by the way, is a pretty recent addition. There used to be just empty fields back there.
The deer like to run across the back yard (near the back of the yard) and then come up on the left side of the picture where there are pear trees and an apple tree. They also like to check out my Mom's flowerbeds (you see the round one here and then there is another round one to the left behind the tree) for any munchies.
My Dad spends a lot of time spraying foul tasting stuff on tender foliage to discourage the deer. Isn't he lucky to have that job???
The rope you see in the upper left corner of the picture is supporting the big birdfeeder (which you can't see) and a hummingbird feeder (which you can see). There is an additional finch feeder and hummingbird feeder hanging from the railing of the deck. Yes, the birds like Mom and Dad's yard!
I will show you more pictures tomorrow.
P.S. As we speak, the skies are filled with clouds from Ike. We haven't gotten rain yet but are due for a downpour anytime here. I hope that everyone who lives in areas hit by Ike are safe and if you have friends or relatives in that area that they are safe as well.
Voice Update: Lazy,lazy. lazy. Yesterday I didn't do ANYTHING! I know, I know . . . get my butt in gear!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thank you for the kind comments about HER! And, yes, Coffee Bean, I tend to be a little competitive!
Well, there is justice is the world! Yesterday I went to lab really early hoping to finish everything I was behind in. As soon as I walked into the lab, both lab assistants began telling me to ignore HER because SHE didn't know what she was doing in ASL and that I know more than SHE does. That made me feel better.
I did tell them that SHE had made me feel stupid because she kept correcting me. They were not happy about that. The lab assistant I worked with this time, Sherry, told me to point HER out when she came in because she didn't know the name with the face. However, once SHE came into the lab, Sherry looked at me smiled.
A couple of other women from my class joined me to work with Sherry in practicing Unit 16. I was happy because these women are very nice and are fun to work with. Then. In. SHE. Walked! SHE joined our group (not next to me, thank goodness!). I did have a little chuckle when Sherry had to "yell" at HER because SHE wasn't paying attention! Tee hee!
As I was leaving the lab Sherry asked me if that was HER and I said "Yep." Sherry just told me again not to worry about her! Apparently, the Lab assistants don't like her because she is arrogant and argues with them when they correct her. Way to make friends!
So - it might not be nice but . . . I am still gloating!
Voice Update: I have really been working on my massage. I did it at every single stop light I hit (every RED light) on my way to and from class last night. I also massaged as I was watching TV before going. The exercises - not so much! I know, I know. I NEED to do them but . . . I am still in my funk and DON'T WANT TO TALK - even to do exercises!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Homework Hurricane
Whew! I finally dug myself out of a virtual homework hurricane so that I could pause to blog a bit!
On Tuesday I went back to my ASL class and found myself in the midst of a homework hurricane - there was a BUNCH of homework which needed to be done by Thursday and little time to do it! Needless to say, that freaked me out a bit and I spent my blogging time yesterday feverishly working.
I got almost all of my homework done Wednesday morning but I had to go to an activity or place to interact with Deaf people in order to write a paper about it. So . . . I jumped in my car and headed to the Deaf Action Center. This is sort of like a senior citizen's center for the Deaf. The center does other things as well but the part I was concerned with provided low cost meals and activities for Deaf seniors.
These dear people are nice enough to allow ASL students to come to the center to interact with them and to practice their sign language. They are patient and kind and just a bit mischievous at times. I had visited the center several times during the last semester and so many of the seniors recognized me (this despite my shorn locks!). It was fun talking to them and teasing them as they teased me.
I have been in a real funk lately but, while I was at the DAC, I found myself really having a good time. I guess I have found the secret to getting out of my funk!
Now, if I can keep my positive thoughts through lab and class today. On Tuesday, I went to the lab (the ASL language lab where you practice signing with the aides who are all Deaf) and, of course, had a lot to make up because I was behind by a week due to going to visit my folks. I got right to work and was making my way through one of the two lessons I needed to make up. I was doing pretty well despite many brain blips caused by not practicing for a week. Then . . . SHE came and sat next to me.
SHE is a woman in my ASL II class. She is older and always looks sad and bored. I could never figure out why but she was just not the friendliest person in the bunch. I found out her story on Tuesday in the lab.
SHE sat next to me and proceeded to tell me that the signs I was doing were wrong! SHE always had something to say about whatever I was doing. This unnerved me and I was soon making more and more mistakes. Great! The ASL department head, Henry, came in and began talking to HER in a flurry of ASL. I didn't understand but, during this break, when SHE was paying attention to someone else, the lab aide I was working with told me that SHE was repeating ASL II so I shouldn't mind her. Apparently, SHE is a church interpreter and knows a LOT of signs. However, SHE knows ENGLISH signs and not ASL signs (there really is a big difference!) and was repeating ASL II because HER receptive sign language wasn't good enough for ASL III. That means that while SHE can sign up a storm, SHE doesn't do too well understanding what people say to HER. That made me feel a little better.
It also made me feel better when I realized during my homework mania that one assignment SHE did (and I saw) had been done incorrectly! Conjunctions in ASL are totally different from conjunctions in English and we were to write sentences using conjunctions. SHE used English conjunctions instead of ASL conjunctions.
Is it wrong for me to gloat a bit . . . just to myself?
Voice Update: A large part of my funk is that I just don't want to talk. Period. I haven't done my exercises this week (bring on the wet noodles!) but I have done some massage. My whole neck seems to still be really tight from my bout of stiff neck last week. I actually had my "thumper" massager out last night working on my shoulders and neck and plan to do it again today before heading to class.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Potato Chips and Bananas
Believe it or not, we had some rain yesterday evening and last night. Of course, it wasn't enough to register in our rain gauge but . . . it was rain! It means that I didn't have to water my new flowerbed (how long can I call it new?) this morning which is a bonus!
Getting back into the regular routine of home after being gone is always interesting. Yesterday I got up and walked with C and then spent time catching up on my blog reading. I also printed out all of the info I had gotten from my ASL teacher about the classes I missed last week. Then, joy of joys, I got to go grocery shopping!
Grocery shopping in the very literal sense of the word isn't a real problem for me. In fact, I sort of enjoy wandering through the aisles looking for new things to cook for dinner. I also enjoy the looks of people as I talk my way through the aisles - on strict orders from my speech therapist! Talking to myself seems to make other shoppers a bit nervous around me. I wonder why???
Bringing the groceries into the house and putting them away, however, is another story. I really don't enjoy this part of the whole shopping trip. Especially in the summer. Lugging the bags from the car to the kitchen, which is on the opposite end of the house, is such fun in the Texas heat. Going in and out of the air conditioned house makes the heat even more noticeable and, well, hot. I work up a good sweat by the time the last bag is sitting in the kitchen and the garage door is closed.
And then I have to unpack. Since the sweat is already running it just keeps going while I go between the fridge, freezer, and pantry. By the time everything is stowed away I feel as if I took a shower in my clothes! Yes, grocery shopping (or the putting away of the groceries) is sure fun.
This week was a little cooler - thank goodness! I didn't work up the full shower strength sweat while unloading and unpacking. AND . . . I got a bonus.
I had bought potato chips - something that I rarely buy because I only eat them up by myself - and bananas. One of my shopping bags near the beginning of unpacking contained these two items (I thought it interesting that they would pack bananas with chips). I put the items away and continued unpacking. Reaching the last bag with a HUGE sigh of relief, I dug in and unpacked . . . potato chips and bananas.
This brought me to a very unusual pause in operations. I literally stopped and stood with a bag of potato chips in one hand and a bunch of bananas in the other as I pondered the fact that I must be going crazy. I mean, I had already unpacked this bag, hadn't I? I even looked at the counter where I put my bananas. Yep - there was a bunch of bananas. I looked at the chips in my hand and noticed that while they were rippled (crunchier and less greasy that way), they were a totally different brand than what I picked up in the chip aisle at the store. I opened the pantry and saw my chosen bag of chips. Hmmmm.
The very nice woman in front of my in line must have gotten home and not had her chips or bananas.
Voice Update: My voice is doing well but, honestly, I don't want to talk. I guess all of the talk in Ohio just wore me out. That isn't a good thing since I am going out to lunch with a friend today! I did massage yesterday but didn't do a whole lot of exercises. Bad, bad girl!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Bobby Knight and Skor!
Well, Hubby and I are home safe and sound! I was rather anxious about the trip this time for some reason and, luckily, both ways, the trip was actually pretty easy! We didn't have long layovers to wait through and the actual flights went by quickly. Yeah!
We both enjoyed out time up north visiting with family and friends. I will admit that there are some friends that I didn't get to visit this trip - there just wasn't time! I hate it when that happens because then they always are disappointed that they didn't get to see us! Oh well!
Hubby did have a celebrity (of sorts) sighting on the first leg of our return flight. Sitting in the front row of our SouthWest flight was . . . Bobby Knight! The pilot was chatting with him as we walked by and, frankly, I wouldn't have recognized him if he was throwing chairs around! Hubby was impressed though. We didn't talk to Bobby (Hubby said "Hi!" but Bobby didn't respond.) but it was sort of neat to have him on the same plane. Hubby did wonder why he was going SouthWest though and not some other airline with first class seats.
Our little girl, Miss Cleo was glad to see us. She was VERY vocal yesterday wanting us to pet her and play with her (even though she doesn't really play!) and to pay attention to her! She slept with me last night. How sweet. She is a great little girl!
Speaking of sweet little kitties . . . Jay and I got the word yesterday that we are going to be the proud parents of a sweet little Ragamuffin boy, Skor! Isn't he a cutie?
When we first saw pictures of him his coloring was much lighter and, with age, it has gotten darker. We think he is really cute and noticed that he looks a bit like our angel, Q-Tip.
We are not really sure when we will actually be getting Skor as he is currently in Kentucky and will be couriered to us (can you believe it???). So - stayed tuned for Skor updates.
Oh - about the name. He was named Heath by the breeder but I am not able to say words starting with H very reliably so we had to change the name. Skor is the same thing as a Heath bar but by Hershey so . . . Skor. I think it is cute but my friend, Joan, doesn't think it is cute enough.
What do you think?
Voice Update: My voice is pretty good today. I was a good girl and did my exercises prior to meeting C to walk and I have been doing some massage for the past two days. I haven't been doing exercises while writing this (rats! I forgot!) but I assure you that I will get on them ASAP! I still don't really feel like talking too much but . . . what are you going to do?
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Soggy Saturday and Memories of a Chinese Feast
It is a soggy Saturday here in Ohio. I woke up (late of course, I AM on vacation and didn't get to bed until past midnight last night) and saw that the deck was wet and the world had that nice grey look it has when it rains. Have I mentioned before that I like rain?
Mom tells me it was just a heavy mist but, I think that still counts as rain! All of Mom's flowerbeds need rain. The grass needs rain. The trees need rain. Ohio needs rain (well, THIS part needs rain - I am not sure about the entire state!). We all went out to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurants, Hunan Coventry, last night and it rained the entire time - a nice light rain.
Our meal last night was wonderful. Hubby and I haven't found a good Chinese restaurant in our area and so we don't eat Chinese too often - usually only when we come up to Ohio and can visit Hunan Coventry. I have been seriously craving Chinese food. It has been horrible. I have even resorted to eating mall Chinese. I know, not a really good example of the cuisine but when you are craving Chinese and there is nowhere else . . .
I had the crispy and delectable sesame chicken. Whole chicken breasts breaded and fried crisp and then sliced and bathed in a semi sweet sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Scrumptious! Hubby had his perpetual favorite, Triple Delight. This entails beef, shrimp, and scallops with peanuts and some insanely hot purple peppers the size of my pinkie all cooked together with a brown sauce. I always snatch one piece of the amazingly tender beef from his platter and can deal with the very spicy aftermath of that one morsel. Mom enjoys the sesame chicken and Dad loves pretty much anything so we always order one or two other dishes - last night it was beef and green peppers and combination fried noodles which had chicken, beef, and shrimp. All of these dishes served with steamed white rice makes for a veritable feast. Yum.
We have leftovers for lunch today. Is it noon yet?
Voice Update: I really, really, really, don't feel like talking today. I am in a bit of a fractious mood. This always seems to happen towards the end of a visit home when I have been talking a lot. I snuck some massage into the routine yesterday as we drove to the Chinese restaurant- not nearly enough but I did remember how sore my neck was after my last speech session and so I am dedicated to more massage to prevent that "lovely" feeling again.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Rain, Beautiful Rain
Hubby and I are still in Ohio enjoying our visit. Yesterday we made our round to the local stores which we don't have in Texas. We hit Marc's, a discount store that usually has all kinds of fun things on closeout, K-Mart, to buy Hubby some Ohio State lounge pants and some Cleveland Indian lounge pants (for some reason you just don't find those in Texas!), and then to Drug Mart, another discount kind of store which usually has some interesting things to look at. Hubby bought a few things we need at home (and the lounge pants) but me . . . I couldn't find ANYTHING!
Wait! I did buy an $.89 bottle of water at the gas station to take my pills with while Hubby filled up the rental car. Isn't that exciting????
Anyway - it was fun to drive around the area and check out all of our old shopping "haunts" and Hubby is thrilled with those lounge pants.
When Hubby and I visited Mom and Dad and Uncle Ken at the farm on Wednesday after going to the dentist (no cavities for either of us!) I did get a book from the Amish restaurant. Mom and I have been reading a series by Wanda someone and it is pretty good. I am already more than half done with the book.
As I am sitting here blogging, it is trying really hard to rain. It sprinkled for about five minutes and then stopped and started and stopped and started. I hope it decides to really rain because that is something I haven't really seen too much of for a long, long time at home. From what Mom tells me (and from the slightly brown grass I can see for myself), they need the rain here as well. I love rain!
Did you know that Robert Schumann(the composer) had a wife who was also a talented composer? Or that Mendelssohn (also a composer) had a talented sister who composed? Somehow, the women musicians of that era got completely ignored despite their talent. Right now I am listening to a CD that I bought at another favorite discount store (for a quarter!) with music from these talented ladies as well as two other women composers who I have never heard of.
You go girls!
P.S. I should tell you that my neck is much better. It hurts from where I was massaging it but the muscles are all loosened up again. I told Hubby that I was worried about dystonia and he told me that was silly and reminded me that during dinner with my friend the previous night I had turned to look at her all during dinner and that was probably the reason my neck was hurting. Smart man!
Voice Update: My voice is good and is shocking people who haven't heard me for about 6 months (since our last trip north). I am talking a lot more than I normally do at home pretty much every day because there are all kinds of people to talk to. I think it makes me a bit cranky because my voice gets tired and I still push myself to keep talking. I haven't done exercises because I am doing all the talking. I haven't done much massage because of the stiff neck - I know, I know - not a good excuse!