Monday, January 31, 2011

What I Have Been Up To . . .

Hi All!

Happy Monday! Are you all excited about the possibilities that week has in store for you? There just has to be some wonderful things coming my way (okay - there might be some not so wonderful things too but they are worth it when you look at the good stuff!).

In case you are feeling a bit more pessimistic, I just read an article that said researchers found that optimistic people lived longer! So - turn that frown upside down and live optimistically!

Last week I was blessed to have many opportunities to work on my interpreting skills. I was also blessed to work with some wonderful mentors who help helpful feedback for me to use while continuing to grow. Hopefully I will have some great opportunities this week as well!

During the past couple of weeks I have found myself shopping - yes, shopping! For those of you who don't know, I am not a big shopper. In fact, I have often thought that the shopping gene was missing in my makeup. Most of the time I HATE shopping. And I do mean HATE! I would just rather not do it.

However, in the past several weeks I have found myself shopping and . . . .enjoying it! Incredible, huh?

I want to show you some of my finds . . . .

This cute bunny is now our spoon rest next to the stove. Don't you think it is cheery? Who can resist a cute little bunny???

At the same place I bought the bunny I bought this cool winter hat! I had been looking for a winter hat since I have decided to continue my "hat lady" persona year-round!


The hat is wool and the "ribbon" is velvet with these adorable flowers.

A close up of the flowers with their cute "gems." The flash on the camera sort of washed out the color but the hat is a rich, chocolate brown color. I will have to work on getting a picture of me in the hat to show you.

This picture isn't something I bought but . . .
Remember I told you that I was growing my hair? Here is proof. It is getting long (just ignore the zits and the dark circles . . . )! I know that my hair isn't long compared to most people's hair but remember - I used to be able to brush my hair with my towel when I got out of the shower!




Voice Update: Still doing really well. I am on track with exercises and massage. The oral reading is mostly replaced with actual talking to people but I still intend to get back on that - if I can figure out my schedule to allow me the time!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sale Suits and Such

Hi All!

Well - yesterday I was up and out of the house before 8:30 and back later. I didn't even think about getting on the computer to blog! Imagine that!

Today will be another full day - I have to get out of here by 9:00 but I am a little better organized so I actually have a chance to sit and blog a bit.

There was one really good thing about yesterday (well, there were more than one but . . . ). I went to Lane Bryant and they were having a good clearance on all kinds of stuff. I actually found a suit jacket and a skirt that matched for less than $50! Score!

Actually, I had seen this particular suit before when it was full price (more than $140) but thought that I didn't want to spend that much money so . . . when I saw it marked down and then with ANOTHER 50% off . . . I had to get it! I am so excited!

Isn't it a bit weird that I am so excited about a suit?

Oh - I should tell you that suits - and suit jackets are required for many of the interpreting jobs I am likely to have in the future so . . . I am building my wardrobe!

It has been a good, but busy, week so far and it looks like it will continue that way. Maybe I will have time for a nap on Sunday!

Keep your fingers crossed!


P.S. Still waiting for the results! Has it been 4-6 weeks yet???

Voice Update: Doing pretty well. I am making sure to do my massage and exercise and I have been talking enough to not miss the oral reading each night (even though I really do NEED to get back to that both for my voice and for my Bible reading time!).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Waiting Game

Hi All!

Yesterday I took a test. Today starts the official "waiting period" while I wait to find out if I passed the test or not. The waiting period can be anywhere from four to six weeks - or more. To grade a scantron test.

** For those of you that don't know - scantron is the answer sheet where you fill in the little bubbles so the test can be graded by computer.

While I am not particularly happy about having to wait so long for the results of the test, I can deal with it. In fact, I have become very good with waiting. Waiting in lines everywhere (grocery store, post office, airport), waiting for people to call (doctors responding to calls, friends calling back), waiting for things to happen (class registration to be fixed, test results to be returned, information to be posted online).

As I have grown older I have come to realize that waiting isn't that bad. When you wait in line you have time to people watch. Time to read the headlines of the tabloids you would never buy. Time to eavesdrop on ridiculous conversations people are having on cell phones. Time to ponder the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Time to analyze why people get so mad about having to wait.

Personally, I have come to understand that getting upset about waiting is pretty much a waste of energy. I have other things that are much more important to spend that energy on!

Of course, this zen-like attitude about waiting is probably in direct relationship to my "learning patience" lessons. I have told you about never asking God for patience, right?


Voice Update: Okay - my voice is getting better but the right side of my throat and neck (inside and outside both) sort of hurt. My throat has a slight soreness in it when I swallow but nothing severe. My neck has some really sore spots in it when I do my massage. Sore enough to momentarily make me stop massaging when I hit them. I hope that I am not getting sick again! I think I will break out the orange juice!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday's Post and Monday's Post Combined

Hi All!

Well, I didn't get to the computer on Friday to blog but I did come up with what I wanted to say so I will post it today. I think that you will know just what happened to me when you read it.

Headache, oh, headache.
Caused by change in eating time?
Headache, go away!

So - that is it - Friday's post!

Friday night I headed off on a road trip to attend a workshop in Austin. Four hours of fun in the car with some wonderful friends, a seven hour workshop, and then four hours home! The workshop was good and the drive was fun.

Oh - did I mention that the workshop was on Saturday? We drove down on Friday night, spent the night and then came home Saturday evening. So - there was the weekend in a nutshell.

Sunday I was sleeping and Hubby couldn't wake me up for church! That is a first - me sleeping so heavily that Hubby couldn't get me up!

I ended up sleeping a good amount of Sunday and then got up to do laundry and to do some reading.

Today it is back to business with studying and heading to the college to take an English proficiency test. I haven't studied but now I am thinking that I should have. Can you say nerves, anyone?

This morning I woke up and saw the temperature hovering at 31 degrees so I headed once more up to the bonus room to keep an appointment with my elliptical machine. Twice in less than a week! Wow! A new record!

Currently, I am still trying to figure out my new schedule for the new semester. I have a LOT to do and I am not sure that I will be able to manage the time to do it in! Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Voice Update: Well, during the trip I talked WAY too much in the car and so I am now paying for it with a less than optimum voice. I did do my massage while away from home but will now really have to step things up to get my voice back on track. I didn't talk too much on Sunday to try to rest my voice a bit but it still isn't feeling too great this morning! Nuts!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What In The World?

Hi All!

Do you see this adorable kitty?

He is so calm.

He is so cute when he does "Halloween kitty."

He is so inquisitive.

Who else can look so darn adorable sleeping like this? (Okay - who else can really sleep like this anyway?)

Look how demure - he hides his face when he sleeps.
So - what in the world happens during the night to transform this adorable little fluff ball of a kitty into such an annoying little pest???????


This morning it started at 4:30 A.M.


I tried and tried to ignore it. I did pretty well until about 6:00A.M. when the pest decided that since I wasn't getting up he should work on waking up Hubby. Let me tell you - this is quite a task. Hubby sleeps like a rock!


Well, Skor managed to wake Hubby up! Now both of us were awake and wondering what in the world was wrong that Skor had to be so darn annoying! Hubby even got up (earlier than usual!) to go and check that the kitties had food (they did). Since that is the normal reason for morning annoyance, we were stumped.


True, Skor likes me to be up to watch him eat (weird cat!) but this morning he didn't even head to the food bowl when I finally managed to make it to the kitchen. He just kept whining! The litter box was cleaned. There was fresh water. He didn't seem to be in physical distress.


What in the world????


Then, once Hubby was out the door to work (limping just slightly due to the toe - and yes, he does know that I blog about his toenail less state!), Skor headed into the guest room for a nap. Totally ignoring me! I even went upstairs this morning (an unusual event) and he didn't follow at all. Just curled up for a nap.


Such nerve he has!


Well, I guess I am up so . . . whatever.

This morning the weather took a nasty turn. It had rained over night and the temps started plummeting (from around 50 to just above freezing in an hour). Then the winds picked up. It sounded like the entire house was going to pull a Wizard of Oz! Then it started spitting sleet. The perfect walking weather, don't you think?


Neither did I! Instead of heading outside, I went upstairs to use the neglected elliptical machine. I decided it would be a good alternative this morning AND I got to watch the premiere of Hot In Cleveland while I worked up a sweat! Of course I have no idea how far I went or how many calories I burned - the batteries were dead in the "computer" and I didn't have replacements this morning (can you say Walmart trip??). So - I just worked out for the length of my recorded show and then called it a done deal. Then I looked at the clock and it worked out pretty well time-wise as well!


And I stayed warm! Yeah!


Voice Update: Went a bit more "in depth" with my massage yesterday and now my neck is a little sore but my voice feels better. Yes, my voice can actually feel good or feel bad. I think that when it feels bad there is more difficulty in getting those cords to close and make sounds then when it feels good. I never thought of talking as taking a lot of effort but this whole SD thing has certainly changed that. There are days (and times of days) when talking just takes too much effort to be worth it. This is normally at the end of the day when I am talking to Hubby in bed before we both fall asleep. That is when I don't feel like making any kind of sound at all! Today I will be able to do more work on my exercises during my drive to and from school. I have found that is the easiest way to remember them when I am out and about during the day - doing exercises each time I get into the car. The only problem with that is that sometimes I don't go anywhere and then I don't remember my exercises as easily!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Down - The Rest of The Semester To Go!

Hi All!

This morning I started out a little later than I did yesterday.

The sun was actually working on getting into the sky this morning!

This yard has quite a worm problem!

I wonder what happened here?

Now I know why we have had snow already this year . . . .


Last night I had my first class of the semester. I think it will be a good one. The teacher seems very personable and reasonable - two good traits for a teacher. The other students are great - there are only two I have never been in class with before. The work load doesn't seem too heavy. I just might make it through this semester!


Hubby, the toenail-less wonder, is getting better everyday. In fact, the toe doesn't look as bad today as it did yesterday. That is progress! Hubby did well at work yesterday for a half day and is back to full days starting today. We will see how he feels when he gets home.


Have I mentioned that I am trying to let my hair grow to a chin length bob again? Well, it is getting longer and that means that I actually have some "issues" to deal with now and again. One issue that recently came to my attention is that when I walk, my hairline gets sweaty. If I don't pull back my hair it gets sweaty too and then starts to flop into my face which is annoying! So - this morning I have four clips holding everything back. I am sure I look lovely! Grow hair! Grow!




Voice Update: Still holding its own. I did some extra talking last night after class to make up for not doing oral reading but I have to get on the ball with that soon! I did exercises in the car on the way to class but forgot on the way home (doink!). I am sure I will get better with remembering once I start driving everyday again. The massage and I are doing well. Doing well! I will say that needing to do so much work to keep my voice at its best (instead of just waking up and doing nothing like most people in the world) is a real pain in the neck!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Starting Again . . . Again!

Hi All!

Now that my cold is pretty much gone (still a bit of an issue when sleeping but . . . with time this too shall pass!) and Hubby's toenail isn't keeping him from work (well, to be specific, he is taking this morning off but will go in this afternoon!), I can finally get back to my exercise schedule!

I figure this is the perfect time since my classes are starting today too. Start everything fresh!

Speaking of classes - I reread the Dean's email and it wasn't quite as bad as I remembered it to be (typical - I read it when I was upset and now I am calm). I responded to her email and asked a couple questions to clarify the situation - we will see how it goes. She DID still say that the interpreter prep program was "small beans" in the college though - I decided to let that one go!

I still can't say that I am overly excited about classes but I did do some work for my Practicum class last night and I am getting more "in the mood" for classes to start. We will see how it goes tonight!

Here are some views from my morning . . .

The sun wasn't even up when I stepped out the door and it was drizzling. I had to go back for my umbrella - if I hadn't it would have POURED!

As I walked I didn't really feel the rain at first but I noticed this on the sidewalk . . . My umbrella did come in handy during this walk but, luckily, nothing too heavy came down!

Sometimes the remnants of holidays just look so forlorn . . .

This fungus was knocked from the side of a tree where it has been growing for a couple of months. I think it is neat how it is brown with the green "stuff" on it. Nature is so amazing!




Voice Update: Doing okay. Still working on the exercises and the massage but need to work the oral reading in. Of course, I may get enough vocal exercise in class tonight - we will see how that goes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cleaning Out . . . .Again!

Hi All!

The entire time I was in bed with my cold I was ruminating upon the need to clean out my armoire - and my closet. For some reason I just couldn't get this out of my mind. I even thought about how I would rearrange things and which particular items of clothing needed to be donated.

Unfortunately, due to the whole "sick" thing, I didn't have the energy to actually follow through on my plans. I could only lay in bed and . . . plan.

Then I was feeling better.

Just in time for Hubby to have his toenail removed! That meant that once more I was busy. This time I was busy making sure that he was okay and changing dressings and lovely things like that. Again the armoire - and closet - had to wait.

Well, this weekend I finally had the time and the energy so . . . I dug into the armoire. Literally!

After a while I had a pile of clothing on the floor to donate. Sometimes it surprises me when I can find so many clothes to donate when I went through the armoire to do the same thing not that long ago!

The kitties had to inspect my work - of course. This led me to transfer my "good" clothes from this shelf (which the kitties seem to like for some reason) to the top shelf.


Now my "workout" clothes are in the kitty zone since I don't really care too much about hair on those.


The closet hasn't gotten the cleaning treatment yet but it is still in the back of my mind. I am sure that it will get done soon!


Cleaning things out really makes me feel good. Like I have done something important. Which is sort of crazy since all I did was go through my clothing. Weird!


Hubby's toe is improving. Yesterday he let it "breathe" for a while during my shopping trip (he was at home) because I was looking for bigger band-aids to cover the entire area. Hopefully this will be more "non-stick" than the gauze pads we have been using. I am thinking that he will be ready to put the toe into his shoes for work tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.


On the topic of the email from the college dean . . . I haven't read it again yet. I am going to today. To tell the truth, I am still rather upset about the whole situation. In fact, I don't feel like going to classes at all this semester.


I almost feel cheated since I was excited about classes just before I got the email. Now all I can think about is that most of the people who complete the program fail in the "real world." Or at least that is what the dean says.


If I am only going to fail, why complete the program at all?




More positive thoughts needed. I WILL think positive thoughts. I WILL. I WILL!




Voice Update: Still doing well. I am back on track with everything except the oral reading. I am working on getting that into my schedule.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Regestration Rigamarole

Hi all!

Okay - I am currently three classes away from completing the Interpreter Prep program. Three classes. Two semesters! Yes, it was only supposed to be two more classes at this point in time but . . things happen and a class was cancelled so . . . three more classes.

I can't wait!

The cancelled class has caused a little bit of a problem with the group of students I am in and who are all moving along at the same pace/time in the program. You see, we were supposed to take Practicum 1 and Interpreting 2 this past semester so that we could take Practicum 2 and Interpreting 3 this semester. Obviously, that didn't happen because Interpreting 2 was cancelled. Not that I blame the college for cancelling the class. There were only three students enrolled and that just isn't good business - to run a class that small.

So - anyway.

No one thought anything of the cancellation other than it would add a semester to our schooling. We didn't think it would make too much a difference in the grand scheme of things.

We were wrong.

Apparently, you are not allowed to take Practicum 2 and Interpreting 2 at the same time. This is despite these courses being listed together in several places as part of the Interpreter Prep course plan that the college set up.

Well, we, the members of the class, found out that this would be a problem for us in December - before the last semester was even over. At that time - in December - we all began to appeal to the department chair to get special permission to register for both classes at the same time. None of us got any answer from the department chair and we were told to wait - to give everyone time to get things worked out.

So - we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Along the way we were told by our teacher several times that both the department chair and the dean were working on the problem and that everything would be worked out by January. In plenty of time for us to register for the classes. We were told that both people had the list of students who needed to register for both classes and had been made aware of the special situation which would require us to get permission to register. We were told to just wait again.

So - we waited some more.

In fact, I decided that I wouldn't worry about it at all until after the holidays and further into January. I didn't even keep up with the running conversations about the progress. I just zoned out and enjoyed the holidays with my family.

When I got home from Ohio I decided to try registering for the classes since it had surely been worked out by then. Wrong! I could register for one of the classes but not the other. Hmmmm. At this point I rejoined conversations about what was going on. I learned that no one was able to register for both classes and that once more were informed that the department chair and the dean were working on the problem. This time we were told that the situation would be fixed by the end of the first week in January.

So, once more we waited.

As the time for registration drew to a close, we were still waiting. Until Friday.

On Friday we were informed through the grapevine that we had to contact the department chair to get an email with her permission to register and then we had to take the email to the college in person to register. This all had to be done on Friday before five.

We found this out Friday morning.

Personally, I hadn't planned on driving the 45 minutes to the college that day and I still had my toenail-less Hubby to take care of at home. I wasn't going to do it. So - I emailed the department chair and then waited some more.

At around three in the afternoon my stalker called to say how frustrated she was about the entire deal and about how she was calling the school to see if she could register by phone. Around four, Hubby got on the computer and found that I had email from the department chair in response to my email. Based on her email I called and registered for the class and then payed for the class online - since you are required to pay the same day this late in the registration process.

After registering, I decided to get some clarification from the department chair and the dean about just why we had to wait so long and why authorization had been given so late - on the last day you could register without a late fee.

I wrote emails to both parties and took great care to give the background of the situation and to clearly ask the two questions I wanted answered:
1. Why did it take so long to find a solution to the problem.
2. Why didn't anyone get some kind of "official" notice regarding the problem since both people had all of our information?

Well - let me tell you. I didn't get any answers.

I did find out just how little the dean thinks about the interpreting program though when she told me that the program was lucky to still exists since it had low enrollment and bad end results (meaning that people who finished the program didn't do well once they left the college - news to me!). I was also informed that I should be grateful that I was allowed to register at all!

Can I say that this response rubbed me the wrong way?

I am supposed to feel grateful to be able to register because I am in a program with low enrollment and poor end results? I guess being a student in such a program means that I am much less important than a student in a more popular and successful program. That is the vibe I got!

Right now I want to go to the college and knock some heads!

However, I am restraining myself for a while. In another day or so I will re-read the dean's email to see if I read it correctly. Then I may - MAY- respond again.

Frustration isn't good for the soul!


Voice Update: Still doing well despite my frustration!

Friday, January 14, 2011

And Then There Was One

Hi All!

Well, it is still chilly in this part of the world. Unusually chilly for this part, that is! This morning when I woke up and looked at the thermometer it registered a chilly 37 degrees and that was about 17 degrees warmer than a few other mornings this week. I am thankful for the warm up since I had to schlep the garbage toter to the end of the drive this morning at 6:30!

Schlepping the toter is normally Hubby's job but . . . he is a bit . . . impaired right now. He is actually minus one big toenail. Yes, that is right - he is down a toenail!

He had been battling a minor case of toenail fungus for a while and finally reached a point where the nail had to go. He saw Doc Feely yesterday and came home limping and minus one nail. In another three weeks he will return to the scene of the "crime" to get the other big toenail removed.

What sort of amazed me is that during the procedure they applied some kind of acid that destroys the nail bed so that he will never have another nail grow again! I had no idea that they even did that and, if they did, that anyone would want to have that done!

Doc said that there was a 70% chance that the fungus would return when/if the toenail regrew so Hubby said . . ."I can live without big toenails!"

Imagine that!

It still sort of grosses me out but I am sure I will get used to it!

On the personal front, I am feeling much better. In fact I even went out of the house yesterday! Yes! I went to Half-Price Books and scored twelve clearance books (one buck a piece!) and used my gift card from Christmas (which still has money on it!) and a five dollar coupon! Score!

After the book store I stopped at Genghis Grill - a Mongolian BBQ kind of place - for lunch. I took along a book to read but ended up also being entertained by the people at the place. I was seated at the bar and chatted with a gentleman who was also at the bar before watching the employees come and go from behind the bar doing various things. It was really entertaining and good food!

From lunch I headed home to wait. I knew that Hubby was at the doc's office and I wanted to be home in case he needed me to come get him or anything! Luckily, I didn't need to pick him up but he did ask that I take in his prescription. I did that while I grocery shopped - no problem at all!

Despite the toenail removal - yesterday was a good day!


Voice Update: Doing well. Still handling the massage but some lingering drainage is still playing havoc with the sound of my voice in the mornings. Hopefully, that will clear up soon!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

Hi All!

As I was trying to get to sleep last night my mind was racing away - as it always does - and for a few fleeting seconds it settled on a statement that my brother made about being able to think about - nothing. Nothing! That is the part that made my mind stop. I think it just couldn't figure out the concept. Nothing. Thinking of nothing.

Each time my mind alights on this topic, I have to just stop it in its tracks for a moment while I contemplate what it would be like to actually think of . . . nothing.

You see, my mind never (and I mean NEVER) thinks of nothing. It is always racing along thinking of about a million things a minute. Odd things. Like why sheets never stay on our mattress. Or why the cats don't get rid of their own eye boogers. Or when humans first thought of plucking down from ducks and making it into comforters. Or why some people have such a good time commenting on Facebook. Or if I should get a smart phone and what in the world I would do with a smart phone. Or why I can't register for a class even though the dean supposedly knows about the problem and is "taking care of it." Or why the furnace filters make so much noise when the furnace shuts off and the air isn't pushing on them any more.

I think you get the picture.

When I was in high school English class I remember learning about a writing style called Stream of Consciousness. It is when the author lets the readers follow along in his/her thought process. Things don't always make a lot of sense at first but they do eventually - because you are following how the author thinks instead of a rigid plot line.

Imagine what it would be like if I took you along on my thought process. I don't think anyone would have the energy to read that book! Never mind the fact that the plot would be so buried in other thoughts that the book would have to be a trillion pages long to have the plot make any sense at all! Eeks!

It might be nice to think of nothing once in a while!


Voice Update: Still doing well despite sounding a bit raspy. Hubby is STILL worried that I have done something to my voice. Poor Hubby! I am on the massage and starting up the exercises again as the drainage permits.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not Wanting to Push My Luck

Hi All!

Yesterday I woke up feeling wonderful and then hit a wall about five hours later and felt bad for the rest of the day. Today I woke up feeling . . . . okay. I am hoping this means that I won't be hitting the wall today!

Have I told you about the temperatures here lately? It is COLD! Okay - a quick disclaimer. I know that it is colder in many places than it is here but, come on, it is Texas! It isn't supposed to be cold here! Now - on with my news. This morning, when I woke up and looked at Hubby's weather station, it showed the temp to be a very, very frosty 22 degrees! Yikes!

We had snow here this weekend and it hasn't melted yet! True, it isn't very much of a ground cover since the grass is showing all over the place but . . . it hasn't melted yet! Brrrrrrrr! I guess this is a good time to be sick and huddled under masses of covers in bed!

Since I haven't been feeling well (at all!) I haven't been walking (boo!). I would really like to get out there and knock out my normal route but . . . I just think I should stay inside for a while - at least until the temps get back to "normal" for this part of the country!


Voice Update: My voice is still very gravelly. Hubby insists that it is that way because I am "Wearing [my] voice out" by talking to my mother on the phone for too long (for the record, it was just over an hour yesterday!). However, I am pretty certain it is the cold and lovely stuff like drainage. Last night I woke up to a coughing fit - which, I am sure, didn't help things along. I am still doing my massage though so . . . hopefully things will be good once this cold gets out of Dodge!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's . . . It's . . . It's Alive!

The researchers approached cautiously. While they had seen such phenomena before, they knew that each and every instance was individual and could be dangerous. Slowly they edged into the room and then to form a large semi-circle around the mass.

A young woman with a camera started taking photos. The flash from the camera lit the room regularly like a slow motion strobe light. An older man gingerly reached out and put a long thermometer under the edge of the mass. Another man, using long stainless steel tongs gently tugged on an exposed edge until a piece of the mass came away in his grasp. Quickly he stuffed the piece into a clear plastic bag and sealed it.

Near the door, a woman pulled out a measuring tape and a ruler to start taking measurements. A man next to her stood ready with clipboard and pen to take down her findings.

"Do you think we should be masked up?"

The voice penetrated the previously silent room and seemed to break some kind of collective trance the group had fallen into. The men and women rustled restlessly for a moment while pondering the question before falling into an anxious silence.

"I don't think we are at risk, Helen. Don't worry. Besides, we have all had the necessary shots. We will be fine."

The speaker, an elderly man with rather thick glasses pushed up onto his forehead and supporting himself with a metal, four-pronged cane, held a video camera in one hand. Even while he spoke he didn't cease to videotape the mass in front of him.

At his words, the rest of the group seemed to relax and started once more to do what they had trained for. They began compiling data which would allow them to determine the nature of the mass they had discovered.

Suddenly, the mass moved.

It wasn't much of a movement but enough to cause the scientists to recoil from the edge of the mass. Never before had they encountered a mass that moved. Never.

Under the groups intense scrutiny, the mass remained still for a long moment. Then, it moved again. A gentle kind of shake.

"Are you getting this, Doctor Ryant?" It was Helen again sounding just a bit frightened.

"Yes, Helen. The video is getting everything. Now stay quiet and see what happens."

"But, don't you think we should move back?" Helen looked behind her at the wall mere inches away and wondered just where they could possibly move to.

"It is fine, Helen. Stay calm."

Now the mass moved again in a slow kind of shrug. The movement was accompanied by a low, hoarse sound.

The group surrounding the room held its breath.

Again, the mass moved and the sound came again. This time it was a recognizable groan.


Now the mass seemed to come alive with movement. The edge of the mass nearest the wall began to rise up. And up. And up. Until it teetered for a moment and then fell back upon the rest of the mass leaving a dark recess yawning open. The mass was still for a moment before, slowly, an object started to appear from the opening.

Slowly, slowly, the object appeared. First some hair and then a recognizable head complete with a face and neck . . .

"I can't believe it! It's . . . it's . . . it's . . . "

"Yes, Helen. It's alive!" Taking a step forward, Dr. Ryant offered the newly emerged creature a smile and a clean tissue. "Welcome back to the living, Trisha!"


Well, as you can probably guess, I am starting to emerge from my cocoon of covers and tissues to see if the real world is still out there. My cold, while still hounding me, has decided that I could feel nearly alive today. Yeah!

As I type this I can look out the office window and see SNOW on the ground! Amazing, but true! It actually snowed yesterday in Texas! First we got about four inches of rain and then it turned into beautiful, HUGE snowflakes. There is probably about two inches of snow on the ground.

Of course, it will probably not last too long once the sun comes up but . . . it is SNOWY in Texas!

True, the cold, damp weather did nothing to make my cold feel better but . . . I guess that is life! I have been living on orange juice, water, and homemade soup (made by me) for the past few days supplemented by dinners made by a wonderful Hubby.

However, I have hope that I am on the upswing of this thing. After all, I can move around today without needing to be chained to my tissue box!

I hope everyone is doing well - I haven't felt too much like reading blogs lately but I will get caught up!


Voice Update: As you may guess, my voice is a bit bad due to this cold. All of the drainage makes me sound very raspy and low-voiced. Hubby is worried that I have "hurt my voice" but I am confident that it is only the drainage making it sound horrific. I have been able to do my massage though. That is a plus!

Friday, January 7, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another . . .

Hi All!

It might be a bit late - just a few hours! - but I am actually posting for today. And that, my friends, is a bit of an accomplishment for me today.

If you will remember I woke up yesterday feeling a bit under the weather. Well, today, that weather turned into a storm! Once more I woke up with a sore throat (the neck is getting better - slowly) and despite drinking several glasses of orange juice, it just didn't seem to get any better.

The morning walk did happen - I thought that maybe getting up and moving would work things out and help me feel better. I thought wrong! Anyway - I finished the walk and then realized that there was no way that I was going to stay upright long enough to blog and chat with Mom on IM. A short phone call to Mom later (explaining why I wouldn't be chatting) and I was asleep again.

Sleeping has been my major activity for today and . . . I will probably engage in it again in just a bit. I did get up to make some soup (broccoli and cauliflower puree - very good!) and watch a few DVRed shows (The Big Bang, and The Human Target which I didn't quite finish before heading back to bad).

When Hubby got home (bearing more OJ!!), I rolled out of bed and have now been up for about two and a half hours so far. A major deal for today!

I believe that I am the proud receiver of my father's cold - which he had all during the time I was visiting. Aren't I lucky?

It doesn't help things that there is a lot of Mountain Cedar spores in the air as well.

What a wonderful day I have had . . .


Voice Update: Despite my short vertical time today, I did manage to do a little massage this morning. Hopefully, I will get in some more this evening before heading to bed for the final time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh! My Aching Neck!

Hi All!

This morning I woke up with a sore throat. Actually it was a doubly sore throat - inside and out!

Yesterday I went to see Susan, my speech therapist. While I really enjoy seeing Susan I must admit that when I am not as diligent as I should be with my exercises I find myself in a bit of pain! This is because my neck gets "crunchy" or tight and Susan has to work hard to get things loosened up again. The hard work leaves impressions (literally and figuratively) on my neck. For the next two to three days my neck will hurt where Susan was doing her work.

Yes, my voice feels better but . . . my neck hurts! It makes doing my massage difficult because . . . well, my neck hurts just where I need to massage! However, I do work through the pain to do my massage.

This morning, I woke up expecting my neck to hurt but I wasn't really expecting my throat to hurt as well. It felt as if the left side of my throat was on fire. After thinking a bit I decided that this was likely due to drainage. My nose was a little blocked when I went to bed.

For breakfast I had two glasses of orange juice and two oranges. This seemed to cut through the drainage and solved one of my two pains. The pain in my neck . . . it will be hanging around for another day or so to remind me what happens when I don't do my exercises and massage faithfully!

Today was day four of my walking routine and I even added on an extra ten minute loop to the end of my walk for good measure!

While I am writing this morning I am listening to an episode of Gunsmoke (radio version) from May 9, 1953. This is thanks to my podcast obsession. I found a great source for these Radio Westerns called Old Time Radio Westerns. This podcast provides episodes of Gunsmoke, The Cisco Kid, Tales of the Texas Rangers, The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Have Gun Will Travel, and Challenge of the Yukon. These are fun to listen to and always have an interesting story.

I never thought that I was a fan of westerns but this podcast changed my mind and these episodes are some of my favorite things to listen to while walking each morning.

There is another podcast called Old Time Radio Thrillers which has shows like Dick Tracy, The Whistler, The Avenger, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and The Shadow. Again - super listening while I walk.

If you like listening to stories I suggest you try out these two podcasts. They are well worth it!


Voice Update: I pretty much said it all above but - my voice is doing really well now that my throat is loosened up and I plan on keeping it that way!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Through the Fog

Hi All!

This picture isn't really from today since I forgot to tote my camera along with me on my "shiver walk" this morning.

However, the rainbow just barely peeking through the storm clouds (can you see it?) reminded me of this morning.
Fog was settled over the lake and was so thick in places that you couldn't see the other side of the little "bay" (that isn't the right word - what is the water between two peninsulas called??). Normally you can see the other shore and houses, trees, and a golf course. Today . . . only fog with the very tips of a few trees piercing its surface.
Birds appeared to be enjoying the fog as they darted in and out of the fog multiple times before finally getting down to business - feeding on bugs and fish from the surface of the lake.
It was mesmerizing.
There is just something about fog, isn't there? It can be mystical or it can be menacing. Today it was mystical. It felt like a tall ship with its sails unfurled to catch the Texas wind would burst forth from the fog at any moment. Or maybe a Pegasus would swoop out of the fog and bring a handsome prince to our world.
There are just so many possibilities for fog.
I can see why they use it so much in stage productions!
This morning I walked again (in case you missed that fact from the first sentence!). That makes three whole days in a row! Wow! Unfortunately, I did end up eating a bit more than normal yesterday - basically because we stayed up late watching the Sugarbowl - Ohio State was playing so we HAD to watch! I am trying to keep my eating under control (to hopefully lose some weight!) but . . .it is slow going. Currently, I am trying to write everything I eat down in the hopes that that will encourage me to moderate. It has worked (except for yesterday) so far!
While I write this blog (and IM with Mom) I am trying to work out my new schedule for this semester. I will (hopefully) be taking two classes - both of which meet on Tuesday and Thursday - and will also be responsible for more practicum hours - this time doing some actual interpreting! I still want to visit with some friends one day a week (last semester it was Friday) but might need to change the day in order to optimize everything.
There are also some workshops that I would like to attend but they are on three consecutive Saturdays and I don't know that Hubby would enjoy me being gone that much!
Life can be so complicated!
Voice Update: Today I have a speech appointment at which I fully expect to be chastised for my lax exercise routine over the holidays. No doubt Susan will have to really work on my crunchy throat and she won't be too happy. Then again - she may be slightly happy that I still have a pretty good voice considering . . .

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other . . .

Hi All!

Despite some heavy resistance from the home front, I actually completed my second day of walking in the morning!

Now for another shocker - last night Hubby and I actually walked! I know - pretty amazing,huh?

So - that means that I am doing pretty darn well with my decisions to improve my health/fitness in 2011. I refuse to call them resolutions because . . . that just makes me think I will ignore them like all of the other New Year's Resolutions I have made in the past. They are decisions which will improve my life!

Yesterday's doctor's visit went pretty well. Nothing bad to report - which is good! I did have the doctor laughing when she was listening to my heart and heard my stomach growl. My next appointment is in the morning!!!

After the doctor I headed to the grocery store for some fruit and vegetables. I decided that adding more of these things to my diet would be a good idea and since I didn't have any at home, I needed to purchase them before breaking my fast! Another good step - right?

Anyway - who knew that getting just fruit and veggies could be so darn expensive?!?

I suppose that there are a lot of servings in the stuff I got so it works out to not be too expensive per serving but I was a little shocked at the check-out yesterday!

After shopping and getting home, I put everything away and then prepared a large salad to go with my pork and potato and sauerkraut burrito - which was very, very good by the way! I am thinking of doing a repeat for lunch today.

Hopefully you are on your way to a healthy and happy 2011 too!


Voice Update: Still not up to full speed but hanging in there with the little stuff. I did massage yesterday morning and then read out loud since I didn't have a lot of talking going on during the day. Unfortunately, I forgot the massage at night. Ugh! Just when I was getting back into the groove of things. I guess that just means I need to be more aware of the need for today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Does It Know?

Hi All!

Wow! Three days in a row! I am certainly on a roll with the blogging thing so far this year. We will see what happens when classes and my Practicum appointments start up!

This morning I am feeling really good - well, sort of! I got up (after trying to ignore two cats for about two and a half hours) and got dressed to walk. Yes, I said I got dressed to walk! It has been a while but I am determined to start the new year off right!

Even though I hesitated just a moment when I looked at the thermometer and saw that it was only 37 degrees, I have finished walking for the first day of this year. Actually, I feel wonderful for completing the walk. That stuff about endorphins must be true!

The rest of my exercise plan includes weights and Wii but I am starting slow since it has been a while. Once I get my walking under control (everyday!) I will start with the weights and then the Wii.

Another accomplishment - which may seem minor but is really good for me - is that I am even showered and dressed and ready for the day. Normally I don't shower and dress until after I IM with Mom. Today I got all that done early! Yeah me!

The "sort of" for feeling really good is due to the fact that I am fasting for a doctor's appointment this morning. My stomach is rumbling away and I am trying (in vain) to pacify it with water. Normally I make my doctor's appointments early in the morning to try to avoid fasting for a long time - which causes my blood sugar to drop - but since I have to reschedule this one I took what I could get.

Now on to today's question. I have a Christmas Cactus that I have been nursing along for many years now. It has gotten repotted and trimmed and I have tried and tried and tried to get new plants rooted. Not that I have succeeded! Due to my failures to get new plants started, and due to the fact that parts of the old plant seem to drop off daily, the cactus doesn't look too good.

It looks so sad that recently Hubby and I have been talking about getting a new Christmas Cactus and getting rid of this one.

Then, while I was in Ohio and Hubby was still at home, he told me that the plant was getting ready to bloom.

This is what I found when I got home.

Do you think the plant knows that we were planning on getting rid of it?

How can you get rid of a plant that blooms so nicely for you?
Voice Update: Still not totally on the ball but I did do my massage again this morning. Small steps. Small steps!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's a Start . . . . Right?

Hi All!

I hope everyone is settling into 2011 and getting ready for the wonderful year ahead. No doubt it will be full of adventures and new, exciting experiences for everyone. There will probably be a few "less palatable" moments thrown into the mix to make things interesting but . . . hopefully they will be few and far between.

Yesterday I listed a bunch of stuff that I hoped to do in 2011. Well. . . I think I am off to a slow but steady start.

My vocal exercises - I haven't really done the exercises but I did give myself a four minute laryngeal massage last night. The throat is pretty darn "crunchy" but I guess that is what happens when you try to ignore your dance partner (SD) for too long. No doubt we will be back "in step" soon!

Walking/exercising - umm. . . yeah. Not happening yet. I had good intentions but when there is a choice between that and staying inside the warm house . . . There was some walking done when Hubby and I went to Sam's club. Does that count? We went down almost all the aisles!

Blogging - Doing great so far! This is my second post of the new year and it is only January 2nd! Now if anyone would actually read my blog . . .

Getting Hubby on board for walking/exercising - hasn't even appeared on the horizon yet. My fingers are still crossed!

So - how are YOU doing so far in the new year?


Voice Update: See above to realize that while my voice is doing "okay," it could be much better if I had kept up with my exercises and massage during the holidays. It was interesting to talk to old friends from high school and to explain what SD was and what I had to deal with as I learned to "dance" with this new, unexpected life partner (that sounds wrong but I don't know what else to call SD - the incurable little disorder that it is!).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, 2011!

Hi All!

Sorry about the lengthy silence but . . . life sometimes gets in the way of blogging, you know! I was visiting my wonderful parents in Ohio (with all of the snow and the cold - what in the world was I thinking?????). I had a fabulous time and Hubby and I enjoyed the holidays among family and friends.

Now I am back and ready for a new year and a "fresh" start. A fresh start at what . . . I am not sure yet. I do plan to do a couple (at least) of the following.

1. Get back to a regular exercise schedule including walking and weights and Wii!

2. Get back to a regular vocal exercise schedule. The holidays really set me back a bit!

3. Get back into a regular blogging schedule. For some reason I think that if I am not able to blog in the morning that means that I can't blog for the entire day!

4. Somehow survive TWO classes this semester - one of which is the second part of Practicum where I go and actually do some interpreting under the watchful eyes of certified interpreters (scary!).

5. Convince Hubby that he needs to join me in my regular exercise schedule in some way.

6. Actually write down an exercise plan so that I might (might) stick with it.

7. Wish all of my bloggy (and blog reading) friends a wonderful, happy, and healthy 2011!

Talk to you soon (see number 3!).


Voice Update: Well, if you remember number 2 above, you will know that the holidays haven't been good for me and exercises - of any kind! I did do a lot of talking (sometimes over doing it a bit) so that I got THAT exercise but I didn't do much massage and I am certain that Susan will yell at me when I see her Wednesday (I think it is this Wednesday - I am not out of vacation mode yet!).