Friday, October 31, 2008
Is it just me or has this week been especially rocky for everyone?
Today I take Skor in for his re-eval. at the vet. I hope he gets the darn collar off. I am really tired of having to clean litter and other "lovely" stuff off and out of it (the stuff gets stuck between the two layers of the collar where the cone overlaps - fun, huh?). His back foot is still not looking too pretty but it is a bit better. I am sure that Skor will enjoy going to the vet's again - he liked it so much the first time!
Lately I have been waking up feeling like the proverbial truck had run me over during the night. I am not exactly sure what is going on but when I look in the mirror - I look like that truck has left some tire tracks on my face! Seriously, it is scary! I know my sleep was interrupted last night by my kitty . . . Miss Cleo (thought it would be Skor again, didn't you??) pulling the food dishes off of the counter in the laundry room and trying to get into them. The food dishes are sealed in a zip lock because, for some odd reason, Miss Cleo will NOT eat food that is not fresh. Picky little thing!
Anyway - she had pulled the zip lock off the counter onto the floor (thank goodness both bowls are Pyrex and pretty sturdy) and was contemplating how to get into the bag. Hearing the sound of Pyrex hitting the floor woke me up and so I had to go investigate. You would think that we are starving the poor kitty!
Am I rambling yet?
After I take Skor to the vet I will jet over to the college and go to the ASL lab for a couple hours of practice. I am not really sure why in the world I am doing this because I have pretty much decided that sign language isn't for me thanks to the "helpful" criticism I get in class from my teacher. The only reason I am not bailing on the class now instead of finishing out the semester is that I have a project with a woman in class. There used to be three of us in the class but now there are only two (her and me). If I left she would be in a real lurch so . . . I am going to stick it out. But - I am thinking that since I don't foresee a future in ASL, why bother trying to get a good grade in the class (like that is even a distant possibility with the way things have been going in class for me!)? I can pretty much coast on everything except the project with this woman (who is FABULOUS by the way!) and let that be that.
Wait- does that sound too negative? I have really been working on my negativity since getting kicked out of the support group!
Okay - I am done wasting your time for the day! I will try to be a bit more "up" tomorrow. I am off to clean up and get dressed for the day ahead.
Voice Update: It is doing pretty well. Skor helped me out this morning by standing on my neck and massaging it this morning at about 6:00A.M. Do you think that is the kind of massage Susan wants me to do?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
After having a private discussion with both Bearsy and Funny, neither will be gracing my blog for a while. Well, until they have decided to be a bit more "mature" about their additions to the blog anyway. As to some of the questions asked in the comments . . . Bearsy says "Yes, where did you think they did it? The rest stops along the highway?" and Funny says "That is a myth - it is just that we look alike and don't take our "business" to hotel rooms. Humans see us . . . . um . . . enjoying the great outdoors with our mates and they think that is all we ever do. It isn't our fault that we can have a zillion babies at once!"
Okay - that is done.
I am looking for places which host websites for free or for very little money. Why, you may ask? I am starting a website for the SD support group Lori and began. No - NOT the one which Lori and I got banned from (I still can't believe that I got banned from a support group . . . . grumble, mumble, grumble . . . )! We would like to have a website for the group but, as the group is totally non-profit and basically has no money, we need a place to host the thing which is cheap. I have been searching online and have found many hosts which claim to be free but the fine print usually says something like this:
30 day free trial. At the end of thirty days you will be charged no less than approximately $6.00 a month but you could be charged up to $25 a month is your website is too popular, takes up too much space, or if we just feel like charging you that much money. In addition to charging you for the honor of hosting your site, we may also decide to plaster advertising on your site which may or may not have anything to do with your site's content. You really have no say in what we do with the advertising if you want keep your website with us. Oh - and just try to take your website somewhere else. Go on! We dare you!
Yikes! I guess I keep looking. Do any of you have any ideas? Also, I need to find a new place to park my podcasts - which I do plan on continuing once I find a place? Of course, I am looking for a free place. I am just too darn cheap to pay for this stuff! Especially when I am not working!
That is pretty much all I have for today. I have a killer headache building and am getting off the computer now to hopefully prevent it from becoming a migraine!
Voice Update: Speech was yesterday and, surprisingly, Susan said that my throat was pretty loose! I had just finished telling her about the stresses of Skor (a.k.a. conehead for at least another 24 hours), ASL class and all of that. It was amazing that my throat wasn't locked up tight like a vice. Good news, huh? I get to continue my massage and exercises but Susan said things were going well! YEAH!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I know that I have told you all about Skor and his recent exploits (the collar is still on for a couple more days and he is being as ornery as usual!) but I realized that you have never met the other two members of our little family.
Both of these family members were given to me by Hubby before we were married. Hubby traveled a lot when we lived in Ohio and so he gave me both of these fellas at different times to keep me company while he was out of town. Anyway - please meet "the boys!"
This is Bearsy - he is the oldest of "the boys" and is the only one of the pair who joined us at our wedding - decked out in a nice bow tie!
Me: Hi Bearsy! Welcome to the blog.
B: Thanks, Mommy!
Me: How are you today?
B: Not too good! Skor kept poking me with his cone all night so I didn't get too much sleep last night! How much longer will he have that thing on?
Me: Only another two days or so, I hope. I take him to the vet on Friday.
B: Good - he is getting annoying with that thing!
Let me also introduce Funny.
F: Hi everyone!
Me: Welcome to the blog, Funny!
F: Mommy, can I write a blog sometime?
Me: Ummmmm . . . .
F: I have some great ideas!
Me: Really? Like what?
F: I could talk about the carrot harvest and show some wonderful carrot recipes. I could also tell where to find the best vegetable gardens to nibble and which weeds are best at what time of the year. Maybe I could even explain how to dig a burrow and how to avoid getting caught by hawks and foxes. I could also . . .
Me: Um, Funny, I don't know if that is really what the people who read this blog want to know about.
F: Really? How do you know?
Me: Well, I really don't know for sure but I don't think it is what they want to read.
F: You could ask them!
B: Hey! Ask about if I could blog too! I know all kinds of stuff about what happens in the woods!
Me: Boys, that isn't really why I brought you on the blog today. I want to know your opinion of how Skor is settling in.
B: Oh . . .
F: Skor? Why does he get all the attention?
B: Yeah! He is such a suck up - always whining and wanting to be petted.
F: And he keeps trying to drag me off the bed! I am afraid of him! Can you get rid of him?
B: Yeah! He kept messing with my Ohio State hat and you had to hide it from him. Now my head is cold all night long!
Me: Isn't there anything good about having Skor around?
B: Um - we are sleepy. We are going to take a nap. Bye!
Hmmmm - and I thought Skor was making friends! I don't know that I will ask Miss Cleo what she thinks. It might be too dangerous!
Voice Update: Speech today! Uh-oh!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sorry this post is late today but I actually got the chance to sleep in so I took full advantage of it! Yes, I didn't walk with C today because she is getting over a cold. No, I didn't IM with my mother today because she and my father left for their farm early in order to take my Uncle Ken to a dentist appointment. So . . . I could sleep in!
Sleeping in means that I was not at the computer at my normal time and I didn't get my blog up at its usual time. In some ways, that is good because at the moment I am going through a "down" time in which it seems like everything in my life is falling apart. Getting extra rest helps and also, I don't really have much of an idea for what to blog about today.
Not that that will keep me from blogging and just rambling on and on and on . . .
I just finished up a paper for my ASL class and, I hope, it is good. I think it is but it seems like nothing I think is good is considered good by the teacher. *sigh* Oh well! It is done and so I won't lose points for it being late. THAT is always good.
It is freezing here! Okay, for all of you who live in areas of the country where the temperature actually does go down to freezing and below, forgive me! It is not actually freezing - it is just much colder than normal. It is about 60 degrees out right now (I know, I know, NOT freezing!) and I actually have on jeans and a long sleeved shirt instead of my normal shorts and t-shirt. I guess I should have been careful what I wished for a while ago when I complained about it still being hot in Texas! Oops!
The company I am working with to get my SD logo made into a car magnet sent me a proof of the artwork. It is nice. They also offer t-shirt with the same logo on them for only $4 each. I am tempted but, I just don't know if I will get my money back on the magnets, let alone shirts! Besides, my brother has a shirt making thing and I could probably get them for less with him - or at least it would be good to give him my business! We will see how everything goes. I still don't have the prices from the magnet company to look at. I will hopefully get them in the mail soon.
Speaking of my brother, I talked to him this morning and he looked at my podcast site and told me that podcastspot is closing down. I haven't done a podcast for several months (I know, bring out the wet noodles) and haven't been on the site for a while. I guess I now need to find another free host for my podcast! Not the kind of fun I am looking for! Anyone have any suggestions?
Did I tell you that I decided to have Thanksgiving at my house? It will be Hubby and me along with my parents and possibly Uncle Ken. My brother, his wife and their two kiddos will also be coming down from Oklahoma. Yikes! What have I gotten myself into?
I hope you are having a good day and that your minds are not as scattered as mine is!
Voice Update: Speech tomorrow and I have been so preoccupied with little "conehead" a.k.a. Skor that I haven't been doing my exercises or massage like I should have been. Darn it! My voice is good - just missing a few of those pesky consonants but - who needs them anyway?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Okay - it is one of those days. I don't know what to blog about! There are a few things I could tell you - like about how Skor is doing with his injured feet (He is doing okay but has found a way to chew on his back foot which is making the progress with that foot a lot slower than with the front foot. Also - this morning he managed to bite his tongues while I was giving him meds. Blood came pouring out of his mouth and scared the bejeebus out of me! Silly kitty!).
Another topic could be that it is finally cold in Texas (well, cold for Texas anyway!) and I walked with my scarf wrapped around my ears this morning because I couldn't find my nifty little earmuffs anywhere! Using them only a few times a year makes them easy to "lose" when I need them! The wind is the real killer down here - it makes it nasty even when the temps are not that low. I LOVE Texas!
Nothing major is happening in sign language except for the fact that I have to write a book report by class tomorrow. I have read the book (which I got from the library on Friday and that was a whole different ordeal!) and am now pondering what I will be writing in my paper. Did you know that the use of sign language by Deaf people was greatly discouraged in the US and around the world for about 100 years? That is right! People believed that Deaf children should be taught to read lips and talk. They even punished children who used signs! Yikes!
In about 1965, people in the US began to realize that the system of only teaching lipreading and speech, called Oralism, was just not doing much good for the Deaf children. The very best students were found to only understand, at best, about 20% of lipreading which made conversations very difficult for them. Oralism also didn't help the children make connections between the sounds they were being taught to say and any kind of meaning so their vocabulary was very limited making people believe that all Deaf people were mentally retarded.
The book I read was published in 1971 and was about a study done from 1966 until 1970 which was designed to look at the social and emotional growth of Deaf children. The book actually ended up reading more like an advertisement for Total Communication - teaching children signs as well as lip reading and speech. Just so you know - Total Communication didn't work too well either. Currently, educators generally agree that teaching Deaf children sign language from an early age is the best for the children emotionally, academically, and socially. Of course, not all parents of Deaf children learn sign language which can be a HUGE problem in the bonding between parent and child.
Hey - I think I know what to write in my paper for class . . .
Voice Update: A bit "froggy" this morning. I think it is due to allergies????
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Hubby and I just got home from our Saturday errands. Today that included voting, finding an open Dairy Queen, hitting Wal*Mart, dropping books at the library, and checking out a shop in town I had been wondering about.
Voting - in Texas you can vote early. No - you CAN'T vote more than once but the early voting takes the pressure off of the polling places on election day. We have about 10 days in which we can vote early and avoid the crowds on election day. Hubby and I always do the early voting so that we can get in and out quickly. Well, that is the idea, anyway.
When we voted today it certainly wasn't too quick. It took about an hour, all told. There was an amazing crowd of people! The venue had been changed to a local church's recreation hall (which is a LOT bigger than the government building the elections are normally held in!). The entrance hall to the recreation room was large and was the site of a great "line ride." The line into the voting area snaked back and forth along the hall making three large loops. The place was packed! Both Hubby and I were surprised. I guess the "Get Out The Vote" campaign really worked in our town!
As Hubby said - now we have the right to complain if the election doesn't turn out the way we wished it would. We voted!
The Dairy Queen was a treat to me from Hubby for voting. I don't really need to be bribed but it helps my mood. I LOVE the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at Dairy Queen and it is only around for a month or two during this time of the year. Now, we don't have a Dairy Queen in easy proximity to our house so it is a very special occasions when we drive all the way to the nearest one. Today we drove to the nearest one and . . . it was closed for remodeling! Rats!
We then drove to the next nearest one (about 25 minutes from our house) and got the blizzards (Hubby didn't get pumpkin - he isn't such a fan!). Let me tell you - if you haven't tried a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard - you don't know what you are missing - they are scrumptious!
Next came a jaunt into Wal*Mart. What week would be complete without at least one trip to the Super Store? We needed kitten food (for Conehead, A.K.A. Skor), kitty litter, and toothpaste for me (I forgot to get any on the last trip!). Another MUST purchase at Wal*Mart is their Cheddar Cheese bread. Oh my! It is good stuff! I even got my mother hooked on the stuff! Hubby laughs when I get the bread - he isn't a bread nut like me - but . . . it is worth it!
Having read the three books I got from the library, I had to return them. I looked for more Jasper Fforde books and there weren't any on the shelves. Must be time to read something different, huh?
Let me explain something about the city I live in. It is small. There are many fast food restaurants but not too many fine dining restaurants (if there are any at all!). There is a Big Lots, a Wal*Mart, and some little places but not a lot of really interesting stores. We are what is called a "doughnut city." That doesn't mean that we have a lot of doughnut stores (which, coincidentally, we do) it means that most of the retail is surrounding our city with very little within city limits. About 25-20 minutes to any side of us there are areas of bigger stores with everything you could ever want. Most people who live in my city don't do the majority of their shopping here because . . . there really aren't the kinds of places most people like to shop at.
Anyway - a new store of any kind in my city gets my attention. Recently a new store opened in a shopping center close to my house. It is called Remixd Music. Now, I love all kinds of music so the name intrigued me. I asked all of my friends if they knew about the shop (even C who knows EVERYTHING) but no one seemed to know what it was all about. Every time I passed the shopping center, I would think that I should stop. But, I never did. Until today. Hubby agreed to drop by with me to check it out.
The place is a TINY (think the size of a small SUV) store which only sells latin music (I am not sure what the politically correct term is - Mexican, Hispanic, Latin,????). Not really my kind of place. Or, as Hubby put it "Not really your genre of music."
Way to keep pushing the "genre isn't a word most people use in normal conversation" button from last week!
Voice Update: Doing fine. I need to get on the massage - Skor tried to help me out by "massaging" my neck during the night but, I don't think that is quite right for the type of massage I need!
Friday, October 24, 2008
The Streak Continues
No - this post is NOT going to be about the guy who ran naked through the newscast about a local hay fire and made people aware of where our little city was located. I think that clip even made it onto the internet as one of the top ten best streaking videos. Who would have thought?
But, I digress.
This post is about bears. . . .no, not BARES! Get your mind out of the gutter people! Stick with me here!
I am continuing my streak of reading Jasper Fforde books and I finished the last of the books I got from the library.
The book is called The Fourth Bear and is by Jasper Fforde (as if you couldn't read that for yourself!). This is the second book in the Nursery Rhyme series which began with The Big Over Easy about Humpty Dumpty.
In this book, Jack Spratt, the Head of the Nursery Rhyme Division of the Reading Police Department is hit with several very difficult situations. First, the Gingerbread Man, a psychopathic killer, escapes from the local mental hospital and begins another string of horrific murders. Then Jack finds out that he is NOT the lead investigator on the Gingerbread case even though it is obviously Nursery Rhyme related. In fact, Jack is given a leave of absence until he is seen by a psychologist and proclaimed sane enough to continue working.
Which leads to the constantly stated fact that investigators in the Nursery Rhyme Division need to be a bit off center in order to do their work competently. They are dealing with Nursery Rhyme people and logic after all! Jack worries about being found too sane to continue his job. Oh - did I mention the reason for the psychological evaluation? No? It is because Jack was swallowed whole by the wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood case (along with Red Riding Hood and her grandma!).
Finally, Jack becomes involved in another Nursery Rhyme crime - the disappearance of Goldilocks and subsequent assault on Poppa and Mama Bear.
Intrigued? This book is the most complex of the Fforde books I have read so far and is very enjoyable. As Jack unravels the mystery behind the crimes, more and more confusing facts are found which lead in a wide variety of directions. Stir in some domestic problems and Jack really faces difficulties in this book.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was fast paced and engaging and the multiple references to various other literary works continued to make me chuckle as I made my way through the events of the book. My attention was held up until the very last page when the crimes were all wrapped up and onto the addendum in which each of the exploits of the characters are updated for the reader.
If you haven't read a Jasper Fforde book, I would say pick this one up. It isn't vital that you read the first book in the series first as you will no doubt follow the story line easily and figure out the references to the previous book quickly. This is a fast and fun read worth your time.
Voice Update: Good as gold - well, I still have issues with those darn unspoken consonants but . . .
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Support? From THIS Support Group?
As most of you are aware, I have Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD), a neurological vocal disorder which is incurable and difficult to treat. The particular type of SD that I have is called ABductor SD and the "normal" type, which most people with SD have, is ADductor SD.
I am very lucky in the fact that, with extensive speech therapy with a speech therapist who specializes in vocal disorders such as SD, I have recovered about 95% of my normal voice. This is something that very, very, very few SD sufferers ever do. It is a real life miracle.
Anyway, I told you all that so that I could tell you this.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex there is a support group for people with dysphonia (SD) and dystonia (a neurological disorder related to SD which affects different muscles in the body - usually the neck and shoulder muscles). This support group has been running for many years and is led by two very dedicated women, P and L. The meetings are held at a very nice venue but in a room which is really designed for lecture type activities. The tables are attached to the floor and the chairs are attached to the tables. The only way that you can comfortably sit is facing front.
The meetings, while very informative about issues relating to dystonia and dysphonia, don't promote a lot of interaction between the attendees as the format is normally a speaker presenting information to the entire group. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the meetings are good for what they do but, I also feel the need for more interaction with people who are experiencing the same things I am with SD.
Well, at a meeting of the support group several months ago (I think it was sometime in the Spring), I voiced my desire to have more interaction with the people at the group as well as my observation that both of the meetings I had attended had focused on issues centering on Dystonia and really having no relevance to SD. P and L told me that they had focused on SD in prior meetings and I was just at the ones focusing on Dystonia. They would have future topics relating to SD. I was satisfied with that and planned to keep attending the meetings. They also seemed to understand my desire to talk more to the people at the meeting.
Okay, so my friend Lori, who also has ABSD like me and I were talking and decided that it might be a good idea to have a supplementary support group meeting for just people with SD so that we could talk and really deal with topics of interest to only SD people. These meetings would only supplement the "big" meeting. The "big" meeting would provide all of the information - recent research, etc. - and ours would center on just talking about problems, etc.
Sounds good, right? That is what we thought. We had our first meeting and 16 people with SD showed up (only about 3 or 4 ever show up at the "big" meeting). We were thrilled! The next "big" meeting was announced and both Lori and I planned to attend. Then it was cancelled due to weather (I think it was hurricane Ike or someone who ripped apart Galveston, Texas). Fine. We waiting to find out when the meeting was rescheduled.
Oh - side note, a woman with dystonia and her husband attempted to have a "supplementary" meeting a while back which is what gave us the idea for our meetings. Their meeting never really happened due to late notice but they still tried to arrange one. The husband is the S you will read about in a little bit.
We got emails telling us the meeting was rescheduled for Nov. 8. Then we got the same exact email with the word "cancelled" in the topic line. A bit confusing. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association sent an email telling us the the South Central Region Symposium was scheduled for Nov. 8th. This is something that both Lori and I were waiting to attend as it is a time to meet other people from the area with SD and to learn more about what is happening in research, etc. (by the way, there is a national symposium each year as well).
Did you happen to notice a conflict with the dates? Hmmmm - we did too! Lori emailed L and asked about when the "big" meeting was again and asked if she knew that it conflicted with the symposium.
Oh Boy! Was that ever the wrong thing to ask! That innocent email (I read it - it wasn't snotty or anything) set off a flurry of really (and I mean REALLY) nasty emails from P and L and even from S - the husband of a dystonia patient who attends the meetings (I have no clue why he got involved!)! Let me tell you, these emails - all sent to Lori - were horrible! They kept going on about how Lori was negative about the "big" meetings and was harassing L and how she was selfish, etc.
I was flabbergasted! I mean . . . really! All of this from the leaders of a support group!
I didn't respond to any emails even though I really wanted to. I thought it was better to just stay out of it. Then I got this email
Lori and Trish, I just want you to know that I've told L to remove your names from our Roster. You won't be receiving any other fliers to confuse you. Since you have your own Support Group I feel you need to stay away from ours. You both bring a negative aura with you and that's the last thing Dystonia Patients need. Trish said she didn't feel supported by our group so I don't want to waste your time or ours. P
How supportive is that? Lori and I have basically been banned from the support group meetings!
How supportive is that?
Voice Update: Still going strong. I haven't been doing my massage lately. I need to get back on the ball with that. Having a cat in a cone has sort of taken all my attention. Hopefully when Hubby gets back from his trip he will take up some of those duties and leave me a little more time and energy for massage and exercises!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Well, Skor went to the vet's yesterday morning. Luckily, nothing serious was wrong. No stitches were involved. There was no massive infection. However, Skor didn't enjoy the trip too much. There was scrubbing of sore feet involved and . . . he came home with THIS!
Doesn't he look absolutely miserable? I can tell you that he isn't too happy with me at the moment. He keeps running into the edges of furniture and the walls because now his head is larger than usual!
Skor apparently doesn't want pictures taken of him in this state - here he came right up to me and started pawing the camera. Poor kitty. I know it is a little embarrassing!
The "cone of silence" as Hubby calls it, doesn't keep Skor from wanting to play though. It just means it takes a bit more work to get the toy in his mouth. But as you can see . . . persistence pays off!
He does have to really work at it though!
Eating is another challenge. I have learned that keeping the food level high in the bowl makes it easier. I can't tell you if he has figured out the water fountain yet or not. I think he drank last night - he came into the room and there was water all over the collar - and his face! Poor baby!
Miss Cleo apparently thinks he has turned into a monster with a misshapen head. She won't have anything to do with him!
Voice Update: Still holding in there!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Skor in Motion
Can you tell he gets a lot of height on his jumps? I am sitting on our couch and his rear is about even with my head. If there were a kitty Olympics he could win gold!
The next series of pictures shows Skor triumphantly carrying off his "prey" after catching the toy. He likes to drag the thing all over the house - especially INTO his water dish. Hubby and I haven't figured that one out yet. Does he think the toy is dirty?
See - he is settling down to "cuddle" with his toy. He will stay there for about three minutes and then drag the toy over to me to play again.
Hubby got new shoes - about a month ago - and has yet to put the shoe box into the recycle bin. Last week he used it to capture a gecko which had errantly gotten into the house. We decided it should go back outside before the cats made it a meal. Anyway - the shoe box is sitting in our living room and Skor enjoys sitting in it.
Hubby was playing with him and I took the pictures . . .
Okay - this one I love - doesn't Skor look so cute and innocent?
Don't mind the "yellow eyes" in this photo. Skor really isn't possessed. Really!
****Flash! Skor has two swollen pads on his feet (two different pads on two different feet). They look like he cut them somehow so we are off to the vet this morning. Fun for everyone involved! I'll let you know the outcome. Hopefully it will be just keeping them clean!
Voice Update: Still good . . .
Monday, October 20, 2008
Armadillos, Pirates, and Turkeys - Oh My!
I was so impressed that I bought one of their albums on iTunes (only my third purchase on iTunes ever!). I listened to it straight through last night while Hubby was watching some political talk show - I LOVE the sound!
So - in my opinion, Pirate Days was a success! I got to hear some good music and had a funnel cake too! My idea of perfection!
In other news, I just had to tell you that while walking this morning C and I saw a real, live armadillo meandering around the park. He was coming from our development (probably rooting around in someone's yard) and was heading to a wooded area which is probably where he/she lives. I had never seen an armadillo that close or for that long before. They are weird little animals!
C and I also saw a wild turkey during our walk today. We joked that we were on a nature hike! Once you see a wild turkey in person you have no problem understanding why the roasted turkey legs they sell at fairs are so darn large!
It is amazing to me that we see these animals!
Voice Update: My voice is still rockin' and rollin' I need to get on my podcast since I haven't done one for a LONG time. *sigh* there is always something - isn't there?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
About a week ago (well, a week ago last Wednesday), I went to the public library in my small little town/city. Now, I haven't been to the library for a LONG, LONG time. Primarily because 1) I was working and was too busy 2) I wasn't working but was too concentrated on my SD therapy 3) the library is a separate entity without any links to other libraries so if it doesn't have a book . . . you aren't getting it, and 4) I was just too darn lazy.
So - I was at the City Hall to pay our water bill and decided to just stop into the library to see if they had any Jasper Fforde books. I really wanted to read more of his work and didn't want to go buy them (again with the lazy part).
I found three of Jasper's books and, so far, have finished two. Here they are.
Lost in a Good Book is the second in the Thursday Next series. Thursday, as you may or may not recall, was (and probably still is) the main character in Jasper Fforde's book The Eyre Affair.
I had fun reading this book as it continues with the same characters as the first book. There are also a few new additions including a Mr. Schitt-Hawse. How hilarious is that?
This time, Thursday Next finds herself the target of time altering when the Goliath Corporation has her husband, Landen, eradicated by returning to a time in his history when he was in danger of dying (when he was about 2 and was in a car accident) and then ensuring that he ISN'T rescued. Thursday is then basically blackmailed by Schitt-Hawse. If she pulls his brother (Jack Schitt) out of the book he is trapped in then Landen will be returned to life.
Sounds easy right? Oh, yeah! Lots of fun and hilarity and danger ensues as Thursday struggles to right her life with Landen.
This book is a good read. I didn't find it quite as fun as the first book but still interesting enough to recommend to you!
The library didn't have the third book in the series and I refused to check out the forth until I could also read the third so . . . .
I moved on to another series by Fforde which deals with nursery rhymes. The first book is Jack Spratt Investigates the Big Over Easy.
In this novel, Jack Spratt, an investigator in the Nursery Crimes Division faces his biggest and most complex case yet - the death of Humpty Dumpty. What at first glance seems like a clear-cut case of suicide or accidental death quickly turns into a quagmire of deceit and unexpected twists and turns.
Jack, who is a known giant killer and who gets involved in some magic beans, struggles to keep his case as his nemesis fights to steal it from him. In the course of the investigation several interesting characters are introduced and a zany house which turns on a turntable is visited.
This book is a fun and quick read. There are so many references to nursery rhymes that I found myself chuckling quite regularly. If you want a nice, light read full of fun and some suspense, check out The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. It is a good book.
Voice Update: My voice is rocking and rolling. I am doing my exercises like a good girl and have gotten my cramped neck muscles worked out. Yeah, me!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Fish Funeral Friday
Hubby has a fish tank. He originally got it because of me. As part of the fifth grade curriculum, the students worked with various "live materials" provided by the district live materials lab. The material included plants, snails, pill bugs, and . . . gold fish. The live materials lab delivered the appropriate number of gold fish to your school and the students did the experiments (nothing inhumane - more along the lines of observation). After the experiments were complete, the lab would NOT take the fish back, the idea was to give the fish away to students.
This worked for most of the years that I had to run the fish experiments. In fact, it worked for all except one year. The year of the inexplicable dying goldfish who wouldn't die.
Confused? So was I!
Here is the deal. This particular year, I got the goldfish and had them in a little tank in my room. Everything was great. Except that the next morning over half of them were floaters. Not a pretty site to see when you first enter your classroom. I took care of the floaters and made an emergency call to the live materials guy to get some more fish so I would have enough for the experiment.
The new fish came, and about two-thirds of them died by the next day. Now, you should know that before the arrival of the darn fish I very carefully prepared the water according to directions from the live materials guy. I put in drops to rid the water of excess chlorine. I allowed the water to sit for about 48 hours to ensure the drops had enough time to work. I ran PH tests on the water to ensure that it was suitable for fish life. The live materials guy even checked the water before handing over the fish (the second time - he assumed I screwed up the first time so this time he was WAY more cautious before handing over the fish!). Everything was PERFECT!
And the fish still died. In droves. The second time, they managed to hold on until about noon so they could die in the presence of about 26 fifth graders. Nice. The students were NOT too happy about so many floating fish. I mean, it looked like a fish massacre in that darn tank!
The students began calling me "the fish killer" even though I did nothing to the little things! Then the class began to theorize about just why the fish would die after I had taken all the proper precautions - which they had seen me do with their own little, fifth grade eyes. The things these kids came up with!
By the end of the day, they had basically come to the conclusion that the fish had to have some kind of a virus and that the ones who had managed to hold on for the day were also doomed to be floating soon.
We did the experiment on the few live fish we had left and then . . . I tried to get rid of them. No one from my class would take any! They were convinced there was something wrong with the fish and didn't want to take them just to watch them die. So - the fish remained in the tank on a table by my desk.
There were about 18 fish who survived and those things just kept surviving. For about three weeks! I would clean the water and feed them and prepare chlorine-free water for them. It was a pain! All this time I was trying to find ANYONE to take the fish!
The end of the school year drew nearer and I still had 18 goldfish swimming in the tank and NO takers. I was begging! I even began asking slight acquaintances and strangers in the Wal Mart fish aisle if they would like some free gold fish. Nothing!
At this time, Hubby and I didn't own a fish tank. As the prospect for the dispersal of the fish grew dimmer and dimmer I began talking to Hubby about what I was going to do. I could NOT just flush perfectly healthy (maybe) fish because no one wanted them so the only other option . . . to buy a fish tank and bring the things home!
On the last day of school one of my students did agree to take about 6 of the fish so only 12 made the journey to my house and to the new fish tank Hubby and purchased and put together for them. It was lovely - it had nice blue rocks, air filters, and fake plants. A big upgrade from the plain tank they were living in at school. Over the weekend, a friend from church agreed to take another 6 from me for his fish tanks. Yeah! I was down to six.
Six goldfish who WOULD NOT DIE. That is right. These darn fish just kept living and pooping (an incredible amount if you ask me!) and living and living and pooping and living. Oh - they also grew. One of the darn things grew to about five inches long! He was a beast!
These goldfish - who the students wouldn't take because they would surely die quickly - lived for a good two or three years in our fish tank. Hubby began grumbling about having to clean the tank so often (did you know that goldfish are dirty fish compared to other fish? Me either! I learned quickly.). We continued to ask people if they would like goldfish. No takers.
Finally, Hubby had had enough. He said that the gold fish HAD to go. But, just where would we take them? I refused to flush them (and I didn't think the 5 inch one would flush anyway!). I got in touch with the live materials guy from school (who, by the way, continued to refuse to take the fish back!) and asked about options. After many days of back and forth, we decided that releasing them in a pond at the district's "land lab" would be a good option. The pond was deep enough that the fish might survive the winter (which, in Texas isn't really too cold) and they could spend the rest of their lives in fishy freedom.
Well, Hubby and I took the little buggers to the pond and set them free. It was a little unnerving to see the Heron waiting on the distant shore for a nice snack but . . . I knew we had to get rid of the fish.
That was a couple of years ago and since then Hubby has had different tropical fish. I am not allowed to get attached to the fish (I named the goldfish and was really sad when we had to "free" them!). However, I still don't like to see them die.
This morning - right before I wrote this - I had to perform a fish funeral. Yes, one of Hubby's fish 320.... (the 320 is a note from Skor who just tried to jump on the desk!) was dead when I walked in the room and I had to scoop him out and send him to the great toilet in the sky.
Voice Update: Still doing good. I have been doing my new exercises pretty faithfully. I have one set down and can now do them in the car - which must look interesting to people driving by! I need to do a massage session here in a bit and I want to get out my "thumper" massager to try to loosed up some of my neck muscles which are telling me I slept funny.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Speech and Stuff
Speech yesterday went well. My neck wasn't nearly as tight as I thought it would be despite my patchy massage efforts. My voice was deemed good and I was given some tongue placement exercises to try to make voicing those darn unvoiced consonants a bit easier since they still trip me up at times. I guess I will be spending some time in front of the mirror (to make sure my tongue is doing what it is supposed to do) over the next few weeks. Lovely.
I guess the big problem is that my tongue pulls back and partially blocks my airway when I am trying to say unvoiced consonants. The therapist says it is due to the fact that I try so hard to say the sounds. Sort of like when I was straining my neck muscles trying to talk when I first was losing my voice. Isn't it interesting how the body compensates even when it "hurts itself" in doing so?
Okay - moving on. Thank you for all of the great comments about Story Time yesterday. I told that story for the expressive part of my sign language midterm on Tuesday and the class was laughing out loud as they watched. And yes, Mental P Mamma, I am glad he didn't steal any personal hygiene items so my name would be something like Tampax woman!
The temperature in Texas has finally decided to cool off. We had a half an inch of rain yesterday (yeah!!!) and now it is a nice, cool day. When I walked with C this morning, I actually had to wear a sweatshirt to stay warm. The wind was whipping around pretty heartily and it was very cool. I am thrilled!
We had a guy from our house builder come out yesterday to take a look at our foundation. We have a nice crack right along the middle of our house that has manifested itself in a nice crack along the tile in the kitchen which is widening every day (okay - maybe not every day but sometimes it seem like that!).
The guy said that we needed to contact the foundation warranty people and gave us a phone number. From what he said, all we had to do was call and make an appointment. Wrong!
We have to send a request for warranty service by certified mail including pictures and all kinds of information. Hubby and I are working on that and will probably get it all together to send on Saturday.
Nothing is ever as easy as you think it should be, is it?
oh - iPod update. Remember my new iPod which works perfectly? Well, I almost had an aneurysm on Monday when I walked. I had set the thing to shuffle songs - which I always do - and . . . it did. Sort of! The iPod was shuffling through the songs and displaying the titles on the screen - it just wasn't actually PLAYING the songs. Weird, huh? AND none of the games could be played. I felt my frustration level rising a bit.
I synced the iPod with the computer and . . . still issues. Then I decided to begin the steps which Apple recommends to fix problems. Luckily, the very first step (a soft reset of the iPod) worked and once more all is wonderful in iPod land! Yeah! Hubby is really relieved because the moment I told him my iPod was not working right he went and hid. Now he can come out!
For those of you following Skor's adjustment to our household, last night he slept on the bed with us (and Miss Cleo) and didn't bother me at all until about 6:00. He is getting better!
Of course, I try to make sure I totally exhaust him by playing with him before bedtime!
Voice Update: See beginning of blog! That says it all!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Welcome to "In My Dreams . . ." Story time! Come on in and make yourself comfortable. There is plenty of room. There are some spots down front. Don't be shy! Okay! Is that everyone? All comfortable? Good! Let's start today's story.
Today's story is called "The Toilet Paper Caper."
When I first graduated from college and began my teaching career, I could only find jobs substituting in different districts so I was really, really hurting for money. Luckily, my parents allowed me to move back in with them while I went through this stage of my career. It worked out pretty well.
However, after about a year, my parents moved . . . to Saudi Arabia! That is right, they left the country! My dad told everyone he could prior to the move that they were going because I wouldn't leave their house. In actuality, they went to Saudi to teach at the Saudia Airlines School in Jeddah. Mom taught music to elementary kiddos and Dad was the Principal of the upper school. They had been wanting to teach overseas for several years and finally got the opportunity so they took it.
They left me in their house, rent free! Great, huh? All I had to do was take care of the house and yard and pay the bills (with their money if they were their bills). Simple. Well, factor in the acre of land and the large amount of trees which have MILLIONS of leave. Also consider that Mom is a avid gardener and had several flowerbeds. That makes things a bit more complicated.
Still, it was a good deal for me - and for them.
During this time I enjoyed shopping at odd hours, usually later in the evening, when there were few customers and I could finish quickly and get out of there.
Well, one evening, probably between 10:00 and 11:00 P.M. I went to the grocery store. There was only one other customer in the store, a man who looked well dressed and seemed nice. We were on the opposite side of the store most of the time so we never interacted too much. I think I said "hi" when we passed once. That was about it.
Anyway, I had pretty much finished my shopping when I remembered that I needed toilet paper. I headed to the toilet paper aisle and debated over which size to get - the four pack or the huge, honkin' twelve pack. Knowing that I hated running out of toilet paper, I chose the huge pack of twelve. Into my cart the enormous pack went and I headed off to check out.
The cashier, bag boy, and I chatted while I was checked out. They were bored almost stiff because there wasn't much to do at that time of night. Little did we all know but, the evening was about to get much more interesting!
As I walked away from the cashier, I noticed that the other customer, the man, was also finished paying for his items and was headed to the door too. This was a slight problem because two people, one with a cart full of goodies (me) and one carrying two bags (him) couldn't fit through the door at the same time. I decided to wait until he went out so I stopped my cart and motioned him on. He smiled his thanks and headed out the door. His path took him right past my cart with my big pack of toilet paper stuck right on top of everything.
Imagine my shock when this man suddenly grabbed my toilet paper and took off out the door!
The bag boy, after a moment's hesitation (probably due to disbelief) ran out after the man but couldn't catch up with him. The manager, who had witnessed the entire event, came up and asked if the man had really stolen my toilet paper. Soon, all of the workers in the place were gathered around me talking about my stolen toilet paper. How embarrassing!
After a little bit, the store manager sent the bag boy to get me a new pack of toilet paper and I went home, still a bit dazed. I couldn't figure out why the man had stolen my toilet paper when he could have just gotten his own! Weird!
From that time on, for several months, each time I went grocery shopping, cashiers asked me if I was the "toilet paper woman." Charming name, isn't it? Even people who hadn't been there that night had heard the bizarre tale of the stolen toilet paper. I could literally hear the buzz of whispers whenever I entered the store. So good for the self esteem, don't you think?
Many people, upon hearing this story doubt its authenticity but, I ask you - how could someone make this stuff up?
Yes, this is a totally true story. It is only one example of why I honestly believe that Murphy from Murphy's Law has to be in my family tree!
Okay! That is it for story time today! I hope you enjoyed it and will come back for our next story time. Feel free to browse around the blog before leaving.
Voice Update: Speech today! I will let you know how it went tomorrow!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Fall? In Texas??
I just got in from walking with C. Like you know, I do this every morning and we generally walk about three miles. Doesn't that sound like fun?
When we first started walking together, it was summer and so it was HOT. When it is summer down here you expect to be drenched in sweat when you finish a three mile walk. It is just a given. You don't question the sweat dripping down your nose, it is natural. Texas in summer is Hot!
However, it is now officially Fall (or Autumn if you prefer!). I know this because the calendar informed me of the first day of Fall. The weatherman on tv told me when the first day of Fall was. IT. IS. FALL.
Anyone ready to dispute this fact? Anyone? No? Good! Point proven!
So - why hasn't Texas figured out this Fall thing? The weather here apparently still believes it is SUMMER! That is right, SUMMER! I came in from my walk and literally had to peel my clothes off because they were stuck to me with sweat! My hair is wet - not damp, mind you - wet with all the sweat! What is going on?
It is Fall! I want some Fall temperatures. I want lower humidity (even though rain would be heartily welcomed!). I want a REAL Fall!
Texas - are you listening???
Voice Update: I have speech tomorrow and I am sure that my throat will be tight and not as good as it should be due to my less-than-enthusiastic exercising lately. Get out those wet noodles!
Monday, October 13, 2008
The Color Purple and the State Fair
That is right - we went to the State Fair. It is always a fun (and totally exhausting) day. While Hubby and I don't go in for the rides (too expensive) or the games (no real chance of winning for us!) we do like to walk around, look at all the booths, test drive a few Chevy cars, and people watch.
The other thing we (well, mainly me) like to do is to sample some of the "fair food." This is a place and a time where eating fried food is not only acceptable, it is encouraged! I had Tornado Fries, a hamburger, and a funnel cake. Hubby had a fried Twinkie, part of my hamburger, and some of my funnel cake. We also had free ice cream from the food and fiber pavilion which is always giving out something free!
Doesn't that sound good to you?
The REAL reason we were at the fair was to see the musical "the Color Purple."
One musical each season is always during the State Fair and if you have a ticket to the musical, you can get into the fair for free. That, of course, is a good thing because the theater is inside the fairgrounds!
Somehow I missed reading the book The Color Purple and also missed seeing the movie. I didn't know what I was missing. This musical, based on the book with some elements from the movie thrown in, was wonderful. The music ran the gamut from soul to blues to gospel to African inspired tunes. The singers were very powerful and the storyline compelling.
From what other members of the audience told me during intermission (much to Hubby's dismay - he hates it when I start talking to total strangers), the musical was VERY condensed compared to the book and the musical but it stayed true to the whole story.
In case you are like me an never read the book - the story centers around a woman named Celie. She first appears as a pregnant 14 year old and throughout the story ages into a middle aged to elderly woman. Her life is full of hardships ranging from being raped by her "Pa" (who, it turns out is her STEP father) to being married to "Mister" who beats her and treats her more like a slave than a woman.
*****Spoiler alert! If you don't want to know how things turn out . . . quit reading now!
Celie gradually learns her self-worth through meeting several strong women (Sophia and Shug Avery) and eventually made decisions which change her life for the better and which allow her to understand her self-worth and her internal beauty.
The musical was very uplifting and moving. The scenery was spare but evoked the appropriate setting for the story and the costumes were delightful as they showed the passage of time through fashion.
I highly recommend this musical to anyone who is a musical fan, a fan of the book or movie, or just anyone who wants to see some good theater.
On a side note - the group of ladies who generally sit beside us at the musicals was not there this weekend because they though the musical would be too sad. True, there were sad parts but overall, the musical exuded hope and love and joy.
They don't know what they missed.
Voice Update: Still doing well. Still not doing all the exercises I should but hanging in and doing some. I have speech this week. That should be interesting!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Skor's A Lucky Kitty!
First, let me tell you that Skor is one lucky kitty. He must have figured out that I wasn't too happy with the early morning play call. Last night he slept on his night stand (it is no longer mine!) and didn't move until about 6:00 A.M. this morning. Okay - he might have moved all night long but - he didn't bother me so, that is good!
Since he didn't bother me last night and left me sleep, he gets to survive another day! Lucky kitty!
Mental Mamma wanted to know why we got Skor. Here is the scoop. When Hubby and I first discussed getting a cat I had no prior experience with cats except for the ones that scratch and bite. Hubby convinced me to try cats by agreeing to find a cat that was very docile. To ensure that trait, he did some searching online and found the Ragamuffin breed. Ragamuffins are bred to be big fluffy wimps. They are docile and have great personalities. So - we decided to get one.
After some more searching online, Hubby came across a Ragamuffin breeder who had an ADORABLE little kitty for sale named Q-Tip. This little guy was so darn cute that we just had to get him. From Florida. He flew cargo to Texas and Hubby picked him up at the airport.
We later found out that Q-Tip wasn't pure Ragamuffin. He was part Maine Coon also. Q-Tip was a great cat. He had a wonderful personality and was very fluffy and generally docile. However, Q-Tip was lacking some of the Ragamuffin traits like loving to cuddle and to be held. Hubby and I loved Q-Tip but always wondered what a "real" Ragamuffin would be like.
After Q-Tip's very untimely death and our period of grieving, we decided to start looking at Ragamuffins again. After several weeks of searching (pretty much by Hubby) we found Skor. The rest - as they say - is history (well, history in the making!).
Now if only he gets past this phase of waking me up at all hours Skor will survive and be a great part of our family!
Voice Update: My voice is pretty good. I still need to work on the massage and exercises a bit more. I did massage a lot during class last night. It kept my mind off of my headache (which blessedly didn't become a migraine!).
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Why Did We Want a New Kitten?
I am tired. No - exhausted. Wait . . . is there anything more tired than exhausted? If so - I am that. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell you.
Now, don't get me wrong, Skor is a wonderful little guy. He is soft and likes to cuddle and only tried to bite my toes in a loving, gentle manner if I mistakenly leave them out of my shoes (which I do ALL the time!). Skor is a kitten - the cat equivalent to a toddler - so he acts appropriately. I guess.
Most nights Skor settles down to sleep about 15 minutes after we do. He likes to explore us as we lie in bed and then likes to be petted for a bit before toddling off to his night stand. Yes, he has adopted my night stand as his night time sleeping place. I have never seen him on it any other time of the day but that is where he sleeps at night. Probably not ALL night but . . . for a while anyway. The fact that I have now had to remove pretty much everything from said stand so he doesn't knock it onto the ground in the middle of the night is a whole different story.
Skor has gotten used to our routine - sort of. He sleeps pretty well and doesn't normally jump on us during the night. However, if one of us has to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (hey - we are getting older!) it is all over. That nocturnal trip means play time to Skor. He immediately jumps on the bed and bothers me (notice I didn't say he bothered Hubby!). Sometimes he simply nestles up next to my head and purrs himself (and me) back to sleep. Other times . . . .
Last night was one of those "other times." Skor decided that 2:00 A.M. was a great time to wake me up. He started with the nestle and purr. When that didn't' result in play time he moved on to the "stick my cold, wet nose in Momma's face several times." Still no play time. Skor moved on to the "stick my butt in Momma's nose" and the "drape my body directly over Momma's nose and mouth cutting off her supply of oxygen" maneuvers. Neither worked. It was 2:00 in the morning and I was resisting.
Unfortunately, Skor brought out the big guns next. He burrowed under the covers and licked the back of my knees (quite a sensation, let me tell you!), he wedged himself beside me with his favorite string and then rabbit kicked the string and my side, and finally, he chased poor, long suffering Miss Cleo up and down the length of the bed.
That got me. I couldn't play possum any longer. Unfortunately, I found myself having to go to the bathroom. Rats!!!
Skor was delighted! He immediately took up his position under my feet for the short walk to the bathroom. He even circled the toilet purring loudly while I took care of business (talk about a weird feeling!). Then, he hopped up on the bathroom counter as I washed my hands. After winding through my sleep clumsy feet on the return trip to the bed, Skor popped up on the bed and began licking my nose. Again - a very strange sensation to have sandpaper rasping on your nose so early in the morning.
I think I managed to doze a few times for the rest of the "night" until Hubby's alarm went off and distracted Skor. When Hubby gets up, Skor trots into the bathroom to supervise Hubby's morning routine. I got about 15 minutes of sleep during that whole time period and then it was time to get up and feed the cats.
This, while it sounds simple, is an interesting problem in logic. Both cats would rather eat the other's food them their own food which means that Hubby and/or I need to play interference to keep them at the appropriate bowls. If we weren't worried that Miss Cleo would gain too much weight from eating kitten food and that Skor would set new records with "adult cat food farts" we wouldn't mind too much but . . .
Today, surprisingly, Skor and Miss Cleo ate pretty calmly as I stood guard between the two bowls and Hubby ate his breakfast. After they were done eating I plopped down at the kitchen table and read the police blotter in our free copy of the local newspaper. This totally blew my normal routine and I forgot to make Hubby's lunch (which I normally do each and every morning). Poor man! He had to go lunchless today. I am sure he will go to Wendy's or Whataburger but still . . . I feel horrible that I forgot. I was tired.
C didn't walk today and I contemplated going back to bed until it was time to IM with Mom. However, I didn't. I walked and then came home to IM only to find that Mom won't be on IM this fine morning! I could have slept for another hour or two at least!
Darn Skor and his nocturnal urges to play! Darn my inability to ignore kitty claws rabbit kicking my side. Darn my tendency to sleep lightly which allows Skor to keep me up all night! Darn Hubby's tendency to sleep like a rock which Skor has figured out means "Don't bother trying to wake up Daddy - concentrate on Momma!" Darn, darn, darn!
Who wanted a new kitten anyway?
Voice Update: I am doing a bang up job on the inhale part of my exercises. Unfortunately, the whole massage section is getting slighted. I will concentrate on getting that worked out - after I get in a nap!