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Showing posts from December, 2016

Year Two, Day 234: Sin Jin Smythe, aka James Bond!

New Year`s Eve.  5: 50 p.m. and already our neighborhood sounds like a war zone. Many fireworks exploding. Honey Dawg is quite freaked out.

I just made a big steamy pot of Hopping John.  It turned out very flavorful. And better yet, we should have a prosperous 2017, or so the saying goes.

I am proud of myself. I made it to the gym. So did many others.  I am spending this New Year`s Eve alone. And I am quite alright with that. It is really just another evening. Tomorrow is another day.

I am done with partying until dawn and then waking up with a raging hangover.

It will be Hopping John, tea, a movie, Honey Dawg and I. See! I am really not alone.

I feel quite peaceful about this.

I will be saying a few rosaries for all the people out tonight. Including my son.  Especially him.

I may also play some piano. I only had one piano student today, my mother.  And it was short. She wanted to get home with her new cat. My daughter and son in law picked up the most lovely gray male cat from the Hu…

Year Two, Day 233: Faith = Freedom

It seems my tradition is becoming to have a tooth filled for the New Year!

I just had a tiny cavity in my back molar. But it is a relief to have it taken care of.  You can tell by my goofy, lopsided grin I am relieved, but my face is still numb from the novacaine.

I have a good feeling about 2017. I am ending 2016 taking care of all my health issues: Physical therapy for my low back injury, my bronchitis has nearly run it's course and my tooth is filled. Bring on the New Year!

I stopped by the library near my dentist to blog a bit, return the "Rein" DVD's I was watching...I almost finished Season 1, but another library patron is waiting. So I will take a break from Rein.  I do tend to get too obsessed.  Need to get back to the real world.  Winter term begins next week!

I am taking an online course in Medical Terminology. I am actually really enjoying it. I am an odd duck. I have always loved taking tests!  My goal is to sharpen my medical terminology skills and find…

Year Two, Day 232: New Year's Additions - Getting Older and Better!

Back in my library office. It feels so good to be back! Most of my happiest days in my life have been in the library. :)

I have had a stellar day so far. It began with a PT appointment. It has been a month since I have been in! I cancelled the last appointment due to my flu. The time before that was a snow day.

I love my physical therapist!  We talked more about my health and fitness goals. She had me fill out a questionairre about my pain level. Good news is that the last visit, I showed 30% pain disbility. Today only 13%!  There is hope for me yet!

We had a very interesting discussion about the physiology of pain.  She has studying this lately. Fascinating! I was so enthused, that she recommended I sign up for a class. Well, I jumped on that, classaholic that I am!

It is called "Understanding Pain"  through Providence Health and Services.  It is free to Providence rehab patients!

Here is a little blurb about the class:

"Did you know that when people understand how pain…

Year Two, Day 231: Mother, Interrupted

Today was a much better day than recent days. My cough is almost gone and I have more energy.

It helped for me to have a reason to get up and leave the house early.  I think too much staying at home has been very depressing for me. I understand now how my father must feel. Being stuck in the same environment does not stimulate the senses. And spending too much time alone gives one very few perspectives.

I had two students this morning at 9:30 a.m. They are brothers. I had to cancel their lesson last week when I was in the deep pit of my flu.

I am not accustomed to morning lessons. And 9:30 lately has been the time I am just starting to consider getting vertical.

But getting out of the house, walking in the brisk winter air, invigorated me!

After the lesson, I felt more alive.  I took myself out for breakfast to Tom`s, a family favorite. Then I headed up to Portland Music and bought some music for some of my students. Including my niece and my mother.  I feel motivated again. And I kno…

Year Two, Day 230: Soul Tending

At 3:30 a.m. I woke with a start. Heart pounding. Mouth dry.

I had the most vivid disturbing nightmare. I dreamt I was playing in a concert. Accompanying various singers. But I couldn't find the right shoes backstage. Sp I put on six inch stilettos. Came tottering out on stage, and discovered I had the wrong music folder. Tottered backstage and got the right one.

There was dead silence in the audience. I was trying to act cool, lole I had it all under control

I was to play a solo first. But when I opened my folder, nothing looked familiar. Just black, blurry dots on a white page.

I decided to fake it. I just started playing, improvising a bit, and I started veing able to make out some of the chords, but then a breeze came up and kept turning my page. I heard snickering in the background. My heart sank

My hands started to shake.

Just then I realized I had forgotten to practice!

That's when I woke up.

My pulse has slowed down to almost normal. I took a big gulp of water. I assur…

Year Two, Day 229 Who I Am

I woke up this morning feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted from my chest.

And actually, my wheezing and coughing is almost completely gone.

I think I am relieved that Christmas is over.  For another year.

But in all honestly, yesterday was wonderful. After I broke through my wall of negativity.

My daughter and her husband met me at church. I was not expecting them to come. It was a nice surprise.  I felt proud sitting there with my family.  They have a church they belong to, but they went to service on Christmas Eve.

I was happy they came because the pastor gave a very interesting, inspiring sermon.

I felt revived. I coughed quite a bit, but my soul was happy.

After church we went home and prepared food to take to my brothers house. Then we grabbed my son and headed out.  We all were in good spirits.  All the stress from the last few weeks seemed to evaporate.  And we all knew what awaiting us at my brothers house. His famous prime rib and horseradish sauce!

We had a lovely ti…

Year Two, Day 228: For Unto Us a Child is Born - A Joy Overdose!

Merry Christmas!

I am slightly blushing about my depressing post yesterday. But I broke through last night amidst the making of pimento cheese, being serenaded by "Comfort Ye My People" from the Messiah on All Classical 89.9.

Suddenly between beating of sharp cheddar, cream cheese, minced jalapeno, pimento and mayo, my heart expanded. I smiled. I took a deep breath. And my soul was flooded with pure joy and love.

I wish I could freeze that moment. But, I have at least recorded it in this blog.

I can't help but wonder what it was like for the people living in dark times, waiting for a Savior. I can imagine the star shining on the manger where the infant Jesus lay.

Truly He is the light of the world. Forever.

I must remember to search for His light when the darkness descends.

As I type this, the "Hallelujah Chorus" is playing. My Lord, my heart feels like it will burst from an overdose of joy!

God bless everyone of you my friends. May you be surrounded with peace…

Year Two, Day 227: Holiday Stress- "There Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"

Christmas Eve!

I am home watching over the family member in crisis. And trying to heal my lungs. I opted out of Christmas Eve church service. I plan on waking up early and attending my little church.I am in dire need of spiritual food.

Ok. Truth time. I am feeling very stressed out right now.

You would not believe me if I told you half of what our little family has been through in the past few weeks. Or perhaps you would. I have been hearing stories from friends and even strangers...

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Don't get me wrong. I love my family. Even though we are on a limited budget, we managed to find thoughtful gifts for everyone. I felt a glimmer of holiday spirit as I wrapped them. But I have switched the radio station. No more inane "Falalalafrikkinla' s". It is NOT "Most Wonderful Time of the Year".

It is the most stressful time of the year. I am listening to "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant. It suits my curren…

Year Two, Day 226: Wheezy

No, not one of the Seven Dwarves. Me.

I have bronchitis. I saw my doctor today. She prescribed antibiotics and an Albuterol inhaler.

Most tired am I.

But hopeful. That I will feel well enough to celebrate Christmas with the fam. On that note, off to bed am I.

Happy Friday!

Year Two, Day 225: Sick and Tired...

...of being sick and tired!

I am going to the doctor tomorrow. Most tired am I. And still coughing.

I did manage to wrap many Christmas gifts today.

But this woman so needs to get back on the treadmill!

On the brighter side, I am catching up on my sleep and spending quality time with family.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a healthier day.

Happy Thursday!

Year Two, Day 224: "M"

I went for another walk today. 22 blocks to Fred Meyers.  My head is still stuffed up, but slightly less so than yesterday. My cough is still there, but not as painful.

I had planned on going to the gym, but I am still very tired.  I think I would be wise to use this time off to get some rest.

I did spend a lot of time in prayer this morning. For the family member in crisis I mentioned yesterday.

I received a text from "M" yesterday.  Do you recall M? I had a lovely meeting with him a few weeks ago. Just a pleasant, polite man. About my age.  He is Catholic. And he has beautiful blue eyes.

I told him I would be busy with musical gigs until after December 20th.  So he texted me on the 20th!  It touched me that he remembered.

I was eating pho when I received his text. I told him about my cough and cold. Sent him a picture of my bowl of steamy pho. He was quite intrigued. He had never eaten pho before.  He said he would like to eat pho with me sometime when I felt better.


Year Two, Day 223: "C"!

Still battling this head cold and cough.  But it was such a beautiful, balmy day in Portland today at 50 degrees, that I bundled myself up and ventured out for a walk.  I was going to make a chicken dinner for the adult children. And try to cure myself with one more bowl of pho.

I walked 22 blocks up to the Fred Meyer near my home.There is a new pho restuarant conveniently located there: Nam Vang.  They do not have as wide a selection as my other regular pho haunts and they are a bit spendier, but their broth is most aromatic!

I splurged and got the combination noodle soup. It had meat and lovely, plump succulent shrimp floating in a rich, flavorful broth with rice noodles, and fresh bean sprouts, lime and cilantro on the side.

I can feel my sinuses open as I type this.

I spent a long time there.  Just relaxing with my pho. Did some prayer too. We have a family member in crisis that I am quite concerned about. Lifted him up in prayer.  Played a wee bit of "Words with Friends&quo…

Year Two, Day 222: Touching Souls at Portland Rescue Mission

Oh, still sick am I!

I did manage to make it to our last homeless concert tonight. I drank much tea with honey, sat in front of the old Vicks vaporizer (I remember these from when I was a kid!), and sucked on honey lemon cough drops.

Then I took a nice steamy hot shower and my friends picked me up and whisked me away to the Portland Rescue Mission downtown.

I was a little unnerved as we pulled up. We had not played there before. And there were many homeless men lined up on the sidewalks.  Most had ragged clothes and backpacks.  Many were older, bearded, missing teeth.  Here are where you find the people in most need of help in Portland.  No sugar coating it.

I was a little fearful of this rugged bunch. Would they really appreciate our gift of music when their basic needs were barely being met. Would they resent us?

We walked in and I told them we were their musicians for the evening. Many friendly faces pointed us in the direction of the chapel.  We walked in to hundreds of people si…

Year Two, Day 221: The Proof is in the Pudding!

Ok. There is no pudding. I do not like pudding.  But that was the expression that came to mind. And I did wish to grab your attention!

I am so happy!

Even though my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton. And my throat feels like I swallowed a hot coal.

Look at the chart above!  I have been frustrated with my lack of progress in losing weight and getting in shape.

But today, since I have extra time on my hands (I have been practically homebound for the last 4 days, except for playing the homeless lunch yesterday), I am reading through my old posts.

I was a little disconcerted to find that I was the same weight and measurements about one year ago.

Then I went to my page.  I found that I could download the image of six years of Sunday stats! Granted, I did not always input my weight.

But, approximately six years ago today I was hovering at about 224 pounds.  Today I am 189.  I have managed to lose and keep off 35 pounds!

Now of course, the problem is I am wantin…

Year Two, Day 220: Breezy. A Text Message to "I"

"Friends": The Breezy Episode
One of my favorite episodes of the television series "Friends" was when Monica left a "breezy" telephone message for the man she was dating.  However, on her message she said she was being breezy.  She had the code for his answering machine (no voicemail back then!). When she played the message for her friends, they said, "You cannot say you are being breezy. It negates the breeziness!"

Well, I left a breezy text for "I" on Tuesday. I was feeling light and breezy.  I had a nice day of teaching and was on my way to the choir concert I was accompanying. I felt good!

I had not heard from him since I last suggested my hidden bar for our next meeting. And I had said drink would be on me. That was on December 1st.

About two weeks ago.

I had put him on the back burner. But he did not KNOW he was on the back burner. Which is ok.

Really, I am getting better at this.  At this stage of the dating game, I think it i…

Year Two, Day 219: Another Snow Day, Cauliflower Tortillas, Tim Tebow and Ephesian 2:10

The snow is not going anywhere, but the sun is shining in a brilliant blue sky here in Portland, Oregon today.

We found out Honey Dawg is a snow dog! I would have never guessed it. She hates the rain. We have to coax her to go outside if the least bit is coming down.

But she is in heaven playing in the snow!

And she is nicely camoflauged, since she is white with light grey spots.

To be honest, I am really enjoying these snow days.  Even though I am fighting a sore throat.  I spent a lot of time cleaning today.  And cooking.  I finally got a chance to try making cauliflower tortillas!  They were a bit of work. You have to really squeeze all the water out to get the right consistency.  And I have not eaten one yet. But they are cute!  And even better, gluten free! I found the recipe here:

I saw Tim Tebow on the Dr. Oz show today. It was a rare treat to watch Dr. Oz. I am usually out teaching during the day. I folded laundry while I watched.


Year Two, Day 218: I Do Not Often Get a Day Off for Snow, But When I Do...

...I learn the Ukelele!

Well, I dusted it off and practiced for at least an hour today.  It is so fun to learn something new.

I am thinking about the upcoming New Year.

No, not New Years Resolutions.

New Years Additions.

I decided a few years ago, to not play along with the guilt. I am not setting myself up for failure by focusing on giving up anything.

Instead, I am adding many good things to my life!

One good thing, is regular ukelele practice.  Why? Because I like it!

I love my little uke. Cute, is he not?

I also tried a new morning ritual. Instead of laying in bed worrying and paying Words with Friends on my phone in the wee hours of my insomnia, I popped up early, drank a glass of water, stretched, cleaned the kitchen, put one of my daughters crockpot freezer meals in the crock (Posole!), let the dog out and then went back to bed for a lovely nap.

I woke up a few hours later, at a more reasonable hour. The house smelled divinely of pork posole and the dishes were done.

I may be o…

Year Two, Day 217: Its the Most Wonderful Time for a Senior Discount!

Snow changes our reality in Portland. Pretty much shuts everything down.  Last week we had two snow days. Understandably because of the ice.

But this time, it seemed the schools were reluctant to close. 

The weather forecast warned of a snow storm coming in today.  It was certainly cold enough this morning.  The weather forecasters estimated we would see snow by about 1 p.m.

Some school districts responded by ordering early release.  But Portland Public Schools were business as usual. Which meant I needed to be at the grade school by 1:00 for their "Habitat" musical rehearsal.

I figured it would be a light dusting. And I really wanted to get to the gym. So I put on yoga pants, and a tee shirt, covered by some water proof pants (ḿy daughter calls them my "MC Hammer" pants), a sweater, two pairs of socks, my winter coat, gloves, my rainboots and a scarf.  I packed up my sneakers.

Then, before I left, I felt a stirring inside my soul.  I felt like bringing my bible,…

Year Two, Day 216: Hello Anxiety! Goodbye Anxiety!

I tossed and turned all night. Filled with fears. Finally fell into a deep sleep after midnight, filled with dark, troubling dreams.

This morning, instead of popping up to spend the day practicing for a concert tonight, as I had planned, I pulled the covers in and lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Breathing. Trying to calm my racing heart.

I know I've spoken of my battle with depression. But have I mentioned my old friend anxiety? He's back. In full force.

I guess I don't consider anxiety a "condition". I've always thought of it as situational.

Fear. Stage fright. Dread. Shyness. Worry.

But I made myself get up. Go through my usual routine. I was a little nervous about the choir concert I was accompanying this evening. The piano part on "Serenade to Music" by Ralph Vaughn Williams was actually an orchestral reduction. I didn't feel as prepared as I could have been.

But that, dear reader is the story of my life.

I also had an improvisational i…

Year Two, Day 215: Cleansing Pho, Healing Music and saying NO to Sugar!

I am really going to have to resist the pull of recital food. I came home after a rehearsal, a cello recital (which I accompanied on piano) and my student piano recital and literally passed out!

I am noticed a negative reaction to sugar.  Amazingly I have only gained a pound over the last week of recital food binging.

I think in my mind, I replace meals with appetizers.

Other than my food hangover this morning, I feel good.

Last night was magical.  I spent two hours in rehearsal with some adorable cello students.  I am friends with the instructor. We have worked together as teachers and performers for many years.  I hadn't accompanied one of his cello student recital for a year or two, so it was such a treat to come back and see how some of them have grown, in size and musicality!  After rehearsal, they gave their recital. 

Then I had a little break. I needed comfort food, so I ran to the store and bought my favorite comfort in a bag: a small bag of Classic Lay's Potato Chips…

Year Two, Day 214: Music is Magical!

It has begun. My season of musical gigs. I did a guest spot for my friends of Portland Chamber Music this evening. It was their holiday fundraiser.  It was a nice way for me to get into the groove.  I got to munch on yummy cheese, coldcuts, pastries and sparkling cider, listen to beautiful music and sing along to Christmas carols.  My piece was not until the very end, when the director and our friend sang a lovely duet, "Vivere io non potro" by Rossini.

This was a volunteer gig for me and I was beginning to feel the pressure of too many things to do, people to see, gigs to play.  Until the moment I was on stage. And the magic of being present in the moment returned.

So thankful to be involved in the music world.

Happy Saturday!

Year Two, Day 213: I Weathered the Storm (And escaped an icycle!)

Most tired am I!

I was excited by the prospect of another snow day this morning. Our street looked like a skating rink. 

Portland Public Schools announced that they were closed.  I got an email from the woman who I work with at one of the grade schools. She confirmed that we would not have rehearsal today.

But I found out that the music center would still be holding afternoon classes. So I layered up and made my way to the bus stop. 

 Oh, so cranky was I!  I had visions of a nice, cozy day in my pjs and slippers. Sipping hot cocoa whilst playing my piano and catching up on laundry! I fully expected most of my students not to make their lessons. After all it was a snow day!

Grumbling, I layered up and slipped on my rainboots.

The most difficult part was descending the ice coated stairs. Followed by sliding down our street.

Once I got onto the main roads, I could find patches of clear pavement. But still, my usual ten minute walk to the bus stop was about 30. It had started to rain whe…