Tuesday, March 29, 2016


3) Because I know a couple of you were concerned, I was going to let you know that my dingy gray funk is now just sort of really pale gray.  It's not so much of a funk anymore as it is a film over everything.  A much thinner film than it was, though, thankfully. 

This has been a tough one, but I'm definitely feeling better than I was.

My inner music is almost back, though, which is good.  I now that sounds weird, so let me explain.  I usually always have music in my head.  It's a good thing, because when it isn't overpowering stuff (like Fat Bottomed Girls was literally stuck in there for days) it's just a good thing to have inside.  It gives me a beat to walk to and something to hum. It's a happy thing. Sometimes, though, when things get funky (in a bad way) the music stops and it gets too quiet in my head and everything feels too heavy.  That isn't a thing that happens a lot, so when it does, it's just a little scary.  It's like being in a house when the power goes off, so instead of that background noise of the little machines doing their thing that we get used to, you hear the weird sounds of your house settling.  I don't like it when my house settles. 

Buuuut, recently it's been like someone inside of me has been rolling a radio dial really fast.  So I can hear it, but I can't really catch it yet. I did have a moment when I was getting ready this morning when "Me and Mrs. Jones" came up on my play list and I almost had it back!  So, I'm getting there.  I'm hoping it sticks.

Thank you for caring, though! I'm glad you do.

Oh, and while I'm here...

4) Do you know why I was late to work today? 

Just as I was getting into the shower, the guy who does our quarterly bug spraying thing showed up.  When I say I was just getting in the shower, I mean I was completely ready to get into the shower, only the water wasn't warm enough.  I had to turn off the lights, stand for a minute or two wrapped in the decorative outer shower curtain in case he passed by the bathroom window until I could actually stand to get under the water, and I just stayed in the shower until Steve told me he was gone.  Steve was kind enough to make himself late for work so that he could let me know when it was safe to come out. I was in there a LONG time.

I'm glad the hot water held out.


1) I went to see Batman vs. Superman on Saturday night and I liked it.  I don't care what anyone else says, it wasn't terrible.  It was dark and kind of humorless, but it wasn't a bad movie.  If you want a funny superhero movie, go see one from Marvel!  I even liked Ben Affleck as Batman!  So there, world!  Someone out there liked it.

I didn't have the best time while I was in the theater, though, because a teenage couple decided that they were going to sit right next to me and carnally explore one another during the movie.  I was so grossed out.  It was a weird situation, because even though there was an almost entirely empty row just ahead of us (we were in the back row of lower seats) and, in fact, many other places they could have sat, these two goobers decided that sitting right next to me was the best course of action.  When they first came in and sat down, I thought they were preteen kids coming in with their parents and they just didn't want to sit right next to them.  The boy sat down next to me and then the girl sat next to him.  I was uncomfortable, because I don't like strangers sitting that close to me when they don't have to, but what could I do?  Then they got up, moved down a seat to leave one in between us, but then got right back up and moved back.  Then the guy raised the armrest in between them and the girl pretty much lay down in his lap with her feet up on the seats ahead of us. I glanced over and saw how old they were, realized they were on a date, and prayed that they'd just watch the movie and leave each other alone. 

That prayer was not answered.

Look, I was a teenager once and did my fair share of movie theater kissing. However, when I knew I wasn't going to be watching the movie, I didn't sit right up in front of the theater, pressed up against a perfect stranger while I was doing it!  They were practically in my lap!  It was like they saw me and thought "Oh, she looks nice and squishy, let's go lie on her while we are publicly inappropriate!" They were literally so close to me that I could smell what she'd washed her hair with, and the grease from whatever restaurant they'd had dinner at. I could feel their body heat, and that is closer than I allow a lot of people I know and like to be to me.  Really, if I want to feel your temperature through your clothes, I'm really going to want to have to be that near to you at my own discretion.  I'm also going to expect you to take me to dinner and I at least know you're first name! Oh, and they were kissing SO DAMN LOUD.  It was gross. So gross.  I was so uncomfortable, but I didn't know what to do!  I wanted so badly to be mean and say something rude to get them away from me, but I couldn't do it! Times like this are when I really wish I hadn't had politeness instilled into my brain. I simply didn't know what to do.  Had I known that there were empty seats on the other side of my friend, I'd have just moved, but I thought the seats were full.  I didn't want to have to drag Steve and Anthony off somewhere else in the middle of the movie. I was stuck.  Y'all, by the time the movie was over (2.5 long ass hours later) I was afraid I was going to need to go to a clinic for an STD panel and pregnancy test.   Oh, and to top it off, when that dumb chick wasn't attached to her boyfriend's face, she was texting, and the light from the screen was in my eyes. So...yeah.  Good times.

But Wonder Woman was in the movie, and she's been my favorite since I was young enough for Underoos, so I was glad for that! 

Bleh.  I still feel unclean.

2) So, I've been going to physical therapy for my back/neck and it is actually noticeably helping!  The woman is from my church, and the pastor's daughter, and she is the DPT at the clinic I'm going to.  I'm glad for that, because I feel more comfortable knowing the person who is helping me.  She was glad that I wanted to come to her clinic, because where she's located is in a pain management center and she told me that a lot of the people who come in to be assessed are people with chronic pain and on really hardcore pain meds, and that there isn't really anything she can do to help them. 

I am someone she can help!  Yay!  What she is helping me with is to stretch the muscles in my neck and upper back, which is helping me regain the natural curve to my spine. I have to do a lot of weird neck stretches and posture exercises. She also applies this heated thingie (that is it's scientific name, I swear) to my neck and back, and she digs around in my muscles with her exceptionally bony fingers to undo knots and realign some kind of thing I have in my neck.  If it wasn't for the more painful things, it would almost be like going to a really unusual spa for an angry massage. My favorite thing, though, is the E-Stim machine!  She applies these big pads to my neck and back and sends electric pulses into my muscles. It was the thing I was worried about before, thinking it would be like electro-shock treatment, but it is very nice and relaxing.

In fact, when I told the pastor that I liked it, he brought his own at-home e-stim machine to let me try out.  His daughters bought him a small one to use after he plays golf.  I was willing to give it a shot, but unfortunately, it wasn't a nice as the big, professional machine and I couldn't quite get the setting right and it was actually kind of painful.  I reached over to turn it off, and I accidentally turned the knob the wrong way! That was incredibly unpleasant!  I did manage to turn it off before I did myself any more damage, but I think I'm going to leave the e-stim treatments to the professionals. :)

3) There was more, but I can't remember what it was!  I'm sure it was entertaining, though. :) I'll probably remember it later.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you walk into school, and someone grabs you by the arm and tells you that you're late for your presentation, and you're all "What presentation?" and you get pulled into an auditorium full of very serious people who are interested in your presentation, and you still have no idea what you're supposed to be presenting, and then you look down and you aren't wearing pants, and it's not in any of the good ways that not wearing pants can be, and everyone is looking at you and you still have no idea what you're supposed to be presenting, but it is obviously very important?

(Wow, holy run-on sentence, Batman.)

Well, that happened to me on Sunday.  Ok, not exactly that same thing, but very similar.  I didn't have to make a presentation exactly and I at least had an idea of what I was supposed to be doing, but I was pulled into a situation that I was not altogether prepared for and it wrecked me for a while.

I actually wasn't wearing pants, though,  but since I had on a dress that didn't seem to matter.

When our minister of music picked out the Easter music earlier this year, instead of picking out a proper, ready made Easter cantata, he picked out three songs that were specifically arranged for a choir.  One of those songs was called "This Blood" and it is a beautiful, very powerful, very long and kind of complicated song that was a soloist backed with a choir.  Originally, the music minister wanted me to sing it and I had agreed to do it, but I was very intimidated.  It wasn't exactly in my range, and it had a lot of ad lib sections that I didn't know if I could pull off.  After I thought about it, I asked Jim (the music minister) if he thought me doing it was actually a good idea. Number one, I'm not exactly in the choir.  I am the sound tech and I really enjoy doing that job.  I've sung with the choir as a featured singer, but I never know if people get offended that he'd pull me in to do a solo since there are so many other people already in the choir that are available. Number two, it's such an awesome song, I didn't want to screw it up. I suppose he must've had second thoughts about me doing it as well, because a week later he told me that he'd asked another choir member to sing it instead of me.  To be honest, I was relieved.  I really liked the song, and wanted to sing it at some point, but it was supposed to be the climax of the Easter music service and that is a lot of pressure, even at a relatively small church such as ours.

Jim is such a sweetheart and he was convinced that by asking someone else to sing, that he had hurt my feelings. That wasn't the case, but he was genuinely worried about it. He fretted so much that I finally told him that I'd learn the song on my own as the understudy of the woman he'd asked to do it.  We do not generally have understudies for our choir, so I mainly offered to do it to make him feel better about the whole thing. I didn't really bother to learn the song, because what are the odds that the woman wouldn't be able to sing on Easter Sunday, right?  I mean, I knew the song well enough from sitting in the sound booth and listening to her during practice, but that was pretty much it. I knew enough of it, but not enough to perform the song.

The soloist Jim had picked had been working her ass off for weeks learning this song.  She had the range, but she mainly sings country/gospel songs, and this was not in her comfort zone.  She was very worried that she couldn't do it, but she could do it and she was coming along very well during practices. She practiced during Wednesday choir practice and sometimes on Sundays in between services. She was very dedicated.  She was also terrified of singing this song, but she had a lot of encouragement, and I think she was feeling better about the whole thing.

Saturday afternoon, I got a call at about 2:00 PM from Jim telling me that the soloist was sick and she didn't know if she'd be able to sing, and he wanted me to be ready to sing just in case she wouldn't be there.  I believe my initial reaction was a silent, but very intense "F*ck!!!!!"  I didn't say that to the music minister, of course, but I felt it in every cell of my body.  I'd been telling him this whole time I'd learned the song, but of course, I had not.  As I said, I knew it enough, but not enough to perform it, but I told him I'd be ready, just in case. After we got off of the phone, I went to my computer and played the song on repeat for two hours.  I didn't know all of the words, so I had to pull them up on the iPad to look at while I was making strawberry pretzel salad (the word salad doesn't make sense here, but just go with me. At least it didn't catch on fire.)  to take to my mom's house for Easter lunch.  So in between making a horrendous mess and getting covered in jello and whipped cream (also not in any of the good ways that can usually happen) I learned the words to the song, tried to figure out the ad-lib parts, and tried not to have a complete nervous come-apart.  I also didn't know if I'd actually have to do it at all, because for all we knew, the lady would be much better by the next day, but that didn't help me feel better about it!

I barely slept the night before because all I could think of was how badly I could screw up the song if I had to sing it.  My whole thing was this: church music can be incredibly important in setting the tone for the service, and I know from experience that if you really, really screw up a song, that will be the only thing people will remember when everything is over. I didn't want that to happen since there would be people visiting because of Easter and I didn't want to take away from the service.  I was also supposed to sing "Via Dolorosa" before the choir songs, because that song is kind of a tradition for our church and I know how to pronounce the Spanish parts. Y'all, I was so scared.  I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, and it shouldn't have been one, but I'd gotten so psyched out about everything that I was convinced I was going to ruin church forever!

When I got to church the next morning, sure enough, the soloist couldn't come because not only was she sick, but she had completely lost her voice. My nightmare solo was a go.  Oy.  I only got to practice twice before services and then everything happened.  I got through "Via Dolorosa" just fine, and went to stand with the choir after that and pretended (I mean, literally, I mouthed the words to the song like a freaking muppet) to sing the next song with them. By the time it was time for me to do the other song, I'd worried so much that I broke through to the other side and managed to sing the song without any major incidences.  I know that sounds anticlimactic and everything, but I was so relieved that I didn't ruin the song. I'm sure it wasn't as good as it could have been, and that if I'd practiced the way the original soloist had done, it would have been much, much better, but I didn't mess it up at least.  I was so riled up by the whole thing that by the time I got back to the sound booth to finish the services, I had no idea what the pastor talked about. I honestly don't remember big chunks of Easter Sunday services.  That's just how nervous I had gotten.

Anyway, as it turned out, for a last minute, barely practiced solo, it wasn't terrible and I didn't ruin Easter.

And not ruining Easter is a good thing!

BTW, this is the song I sang yesterday, only we used a recording, there wasn't any hand waving that I know of, and our choir is much smaller.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


1) For those of your wondering, I have another update about my back!  Aren't you excited!

I believe I mentioned that I was going to have to have an MRI done.  I've had numerous scans done because of my lungs, so I wasn't worried about that bit of it at all.  At least I wasn't worried until they called me back and handed me a booklet that just so happened to mention that people who are claustrophobic might have a problem.  Sigh.  Nice.

I had thought it would be an open MRI, but I was mistaken.  However, I put on my brave pants and decided that since it was only my neck that would be scanned, I'd mostly be outside of the machine and would be able to stand it.  The radiologist gave me a set of big, 1970s DJ earphones and said we would listen to the new Loretta Lynn album and everything would be over in 10 minutes. So I lay down on the cot and the lady got me settled, handed me a panic button, and then she inserted me into the depths of Hell's belly button.

Y'all, it is well established that I am violently claustrophobic. I've gotten claustrophobic is small places and I've gotten claustrophobic in huge places that just happened to be full of people.  The only, and I swear the only, way I'm usually able to handle it is if I can convince myself that I can get out if I have to.  Sometimes I have to literally get up and leave, but mostly as long as I know I CAN leave, I can deal.  When she slid that cot into the MRI machine, I was in there up to my knees. I think I was in there for 14 years, and every second of that time I was in a state of high adrenaline fight or flight mode. I immediately started to panic, but I stayed still because I knew if I freaked out and pressed the panic button, they'd just stuff me back into the machine. I clamped my eyes shut and counted forwards and backwards, tried self hypnosis, and did everything I could to stay calm.  At least 10 times I came within an inch of screaming and clawing my way out of the thing, but I barely managed to stay inside. She finally slid the cot out, and it was only when I tried to stand up that I realized those giant earphones were attached to clamps that basically had my head in a vice.  If I had known that, I really don't think I could have stayed in there.  At least before, I thought I could get out, but if I'd known I was clamped in, I would have probably Hulk-smashed my way out of the thing and gone running off into the night.  After it was over, I shook for a solid hour.  It was terrible.

But the scans turned out to be super awesome.  I saw my spinal cord and medula oblongata, and also saw that my disks are slightly bulging into the spinal cord, which is less awesome, but still, the fact that I can see it is pretty neato. I even got to keep the scans, so when we finally get another chair and can have a friend over, I'mma pull those things out and show them off like vacation slides!

2) So, my blue funk has faded a bit and now it's just sort of a dingy gray, but the funk it still around.  At least now I can make complete sentences and just look at otters on my own.  I don't need to post them here.  I hate feeling like this, but I still can't seem to shake it off.  (Cue Taylor Swift.)  I don't know.  I'm ok sometimes, when I'm distracted or talking to someone, and other times I just sit staring at the wall and feeling sad.  Haha, it sounds weird to type it out like that.  Very emo of me, no? The weirdest part of it is that my music is gone. That has happened twice before, and it came back, but it's really quiet in here when it's gone.

I've mentioned that I don't like to feel feelings anymore. One day, when I don't feel so weird and protective about it, I'll explain why so that you folks will get that it isn't just something I say and you will understand me a bit better. All I know is that I usually have my armor on and it protects me and I can just let it all bounce off. I get dented, of course, but not too badly.  Sometimes, though, something just whacks against me hard enough, my armor falls apart and I open up like a busted can of biscuits and feelings go everywhere. With a bit of perseverance (and duct tape) you can eventually get the biscuits back in the can, but it takes a while and stuff gets messy.  I'm in the process.

Thanks to those of you who were concerned, though. I appreciate it. I'll be fine. I always am!

EDIT: Heh...I'm a busted up can of emotional biscuits.  Emotional Biscuits is going to be the name of my new band. 

3) So, yuck, enough of that.  Look! Puppies!

4) I went to see a movie by myself the other day!  I've done that once, years ago, because I got stood up for a date and figured maybe the whole evening shouldn't be a complete loss.  Steve was working last weekend, so I decided I'd go see 10 Cloverfield Lane because I wanted a excuse to get out of the house.  It wasn't bad.  It was more like an episode of the Twilight Zone, or X-Files than a movie, but it was entertaining.  I've realized I don't mind going to movies alone, but it is better when you have someone to talk to afterwards so that you can pull yourself out of it a bit. That is true, especially when the movie is creepy, and this one was.

At any rate, to date, I have finished an entire tube of Chapstick on my own without losing it, and I went to see a movie alone!  At this point, I might as well run for President because I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

I've been in sort of in a blue funk and I can't seem to shake it off.  So today we get otters. One cute "hug me" otter and one "grumpy otter." The grumpy one looks like I just told him I failed Algebra even after he spent a lot of evenings tutoring me.

(Steve's grandma used to make the same face that the grumpy otter is making.)

Friday, March 04, 2016


A couple of entries ago, I mentioned that I'd hurt myself somehow, probably last year, and had probably pinched a nerve in my back.  It only made sense, seeing at how my arm was going numb and everything was tingling.  Even the DPT I know said it was probably just a twisted disc or something similar, so when I went to my GP and he told me to go see an orthopedic (I think I said an osteopath, but I didn't know the difference) doctor, I figured that I'd be directed to the nearest chiropractor and be popped back into place!  Easy peasy.
Not so much, actually!

Yesterday I had my appointment. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen (I made sure to wear decent underwear just in case) but all they did was take some X-rays of my spine.  It was actually a bit anticlimactic, to be honest, but they took the things and sent me back into the exam room to wait on the doctor.  By this point, I was feeling as though I'd been repeatedly stabbed in my neck with a butter knife, but I had faith that they'd come in and twist me around a bit and fix it all.

The doc came in showed me my x-rays (I have lovely bones, just so you know) and as it turns out, I had not hurt myself and my problem is just a tiny bit more complicated than a pinched nerve.  It took her less than a minute to figure out what was wrong. She pointed out that my cervical vertebrae (which were way, WAY higher up in my body than I had thought) had a problem. Apparently, I have degenerative disc disease, arthritis and bone spurs! All in my neck!  That's kind of an embarrassment of riches.  You'd think stuff like that would get spread around in my body more.  She also pointed out how straight my spine was.  I was a tiny bit flattered until she said that was because my muscles were pretty much in a state of pissed off contractedness, which is a bad thing.  She did tell me, happily, that she didn't think I'd need surgery, but that they'd treat me with anti inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, and epidurals.

Haha, no. I know what an epidural is and I don't think I want that unless there is just no other way.

The muscle relaxers were a bit of a letdown, but the anti inflammatory thing works well for a while.  I also get to have another MRI done tonight, but at least this time they don't have to inject me with anything, so SCORE!

So what does all this mean?  Well, it could mean nothing.  The pain can just go away on its own. That would be number one on my wish list!

It can also mean I might have to be on medication forever, which would be OK as long as it helps.

It might also mean I will eventually lose the ability to do fine work with my hands if the nerves that are currently being irritated get damaged, which would be sad, but it would keep all of you from having to pretend to like the stuff I make for you!  Honestly, how much more jewelry and crochet can you really be polite about?

I might also eventually end up in a wheelchair, which would suck, but I'd save so much money on buying new shoes!

In a nutshell, I have a whole spectrum of possibilities!  I'll actually find out more next week when I got back to see the doctor.  Let's hope it's a lot more of the pain going away on its own and a lot less of the wheelchair thing. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

So, you know, finding out all of this was just a cherry on top of one of the best weeks ever for me!  If it gets any better, I'm going to be tempted to fling myself in front of a train out of sheer delight!

I did find a silver lining, though!  If I wind up not being able to use my hands for things, I'm one step closer to that helper monkey I'm always talking about!

I'm going to name him Henry.