Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to Work

Can my week of vacation really be drawing to a close? It went by way too fast! I didn't get everything done. But it was nice nonetheless.

We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving with the neighbors. We were supposed to have spent the week at the ranch, but plans changed with the boys' workloads & then Derek's back issues. So we opted to spend the time at home instead. It was a good thing too b/c Derek ended up working most of the week (despite the back - and much to my shagrin in that regard). (But he had a terrific month & is a little over $50k away from making quota. So yahoo for that!)

This is the first year in a long time that I haven't made the annual red-eye shopping trip with mom. We decided there wasn't anything for us to buy. And did you look at the ads? There wasn't a deal to be had anyway. Still, it felt a little strange. I did eventually get out, but I came home absolutely empty-handed. Derek had already spent all the money on his early-morning jaunt. *wink* Merry Christmas to Derek! (And I apologize to all of my neighbors in advance b/c once he gets that "big bad mamma jamma" surround system installed...well, you know what that means.)

The next week will be kind-of exciting at our house. Our new patio is due for installation Monday & Tuesday assuming the nice weather sticks around. Best Buy is coming to fix the big screen on Thursday. The darn bulb went out yesterday - but thank goodness for that extended warranty b/c the bulb is exPENsive (probably the only time I'm glad for the salesperson's upsale)! And the week closes with Kellum installing the new surround sound system on Saturday. (Like I said, Merry Christmas to Derek!)

Derek is doing better, for anyone who may be wondering. Still stiff but overall upright, which is a dramatic improvement over last weekend. He has his first physical therapy appointment this week. We're hopeful that things will continue to improve and further testing (i.e. MRI) will prove unnecessary.

The Christmas season is in full swing. So I will be busy, busy in the weeks to come - with singing engagements every weekend from now until Christmas. Sometime in there I have to get my decorations up...though I have no idea when that's going to happen. Guess I shouldn't have flaked off while I was home this last week. But I'm just not quite ready to be festive. Anyone else feel the same way? Maybe by the end of the week....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble

From all of us to all of you, happy turkey day! May we all be mindful of our multitude of blessings and thank the One from whom they came!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vacation Week

I worked half a day yesterday since I was out all day Friday & didn't get things done & in order for my vacation this week. My bosses were all surprised to see me but were glad to get things out, cleaning out the end of the month status reports. Now I can enjoy my vacation knowing I didn't leave a big stack of work for the other girls to take care of in my absence.

Derek's better every day. He's still not up to standing for long periods of time, but he IS on his feet which is a huge improvement over the weekend. He has a doctor's appointment today. He's definitely getting x-rays & we're hoping to schedule an MRI, as well. We're hopeful neither set of films shows anything unusual, which would mean the issue is indeed muscular & thus 100% treatable. But, regardless of outcome, it's better to know what we're dealing with - whether a lifelong issue or something short-term (as long as he prescribes to the treatment plan this time).

Other than that, about the only newsworthy thing is a small family squabble about our holiday plans. But I won't bore you with the details of the saga that is family dynamics around the holidays. It's the same song & dance every family faces this time of year as Thanksgiving & Christmas approach. In the end, we all survive. And this year will be no different.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So That's What Happened to the Dinosaurs

Slow and Steady Wins

So when I got home from the movie - at 2:30am - the patient was still awake, though dozing. I left a message at my office telling them about the situation at home and that I would not come in until late morning & would only be in for a few hours. I got Derek what he needed before I hit the hay myself. 

I was up & down throughout the early morning as he needed things so beauty sleep I did not get. Work called about 7:45am to tell me *why on earth are you going to try to come in at all* and to stay home. I tried to explain that I wanted to get stuff done b/c I'm scheduled to be out all next week. In the end, work convinced me that nothing was important enough to warrant me leaving Derek alone for any part of the day. I ultimately decided that I'll work half a day Monday instead.

The morning brought a small improvement. Derek was able to crawl. And he was able to crawl enough to get in the tub. So he took a hot bath, which always makes you feel better anyway, and crawled to the den to watch tv for the day. Turns out he was allergic to the pain meds, so we got something different. I also got a device from his dad to help relax the muscles in his back. I could describe this critter clinically, but it will make more sense if I say that it uses electronic pulses to stimulate the muscles and nerves to loosen them up. Physical therapists & chiropractors are the most common clients to purchase these units. Derek's dad sells them (and uses one himself).

As the day wore on, Derek began to show improvement. Though not off the floor even at day's end, he was able to get up and sleep on the bed as opposed to the floor - much kinder to toosh when you're toosh isn't all that padded. And he must have been alright b/c he didn't wake me up in the night.

When he got up this morning, he was still able to crawl and seemed even a little better than when I put him to bed. He's still in the floor, though we're both hopeful that he might be able to sit up by the evening. The combination of muscle relaxers, nifty machine, and hot baths seems to be doing the trick.

I'm still encouraging him to see the doctor on Monday. I think it would be wise to get x-rays & an MRI, even if they show nothing other than the problem is muscular. This back problem has been ongoing since January, and clearly it's around to stay. Better to rule out disc or nerve issues in the early stages. So rather than throwing drugs at the problem each time, we might actually be able to get an effective long-term treatment plan to prevent these episodes altogether.

Twilight ... Not For the Non-Reader

So...Daon arrived on time, of course, and I was running late, of course. I had left the porch light on but forgot to turn the lamp on in the formal living room, which faces the street, so the house looked dark when she pulled up. Whoops. And then I didn't hear my phone ring when she called to say *yo, you still going or what.* So she was a little panicked. But I got out the door about 5 min. after our appointed time and we headed to The Harbor.

The roads are pretty empty at 10:30pm on Thursdays. Did you know that? And even emptier at 2:30am. Anywho, when we exited the freeway, the parking lot at the theatre looked pretty empty. Surprise. And there didn't appear to be hordes of people queued up outside the theatre either. Surprise number two. So. Yay, we weren't going to have to stand in the cold.

When we got inside the theatre, there was a Rockwall policewoman directing ticket-holders to the lines for the various screens showing Twilight. "Theatre six? They've already seated so go ahead to the podium." Already seated? What? It's not even 11!!!! Daon & I looked at each other and said, "so much for terrific seats." When we got to the guy at the podium, he said, "yeah, I know your e-ticket says go straight to the podium, but our management is requiring that you trade that in for one of our tickets." Okay. So back out in the cold we went to get a "real ticket" from the counter. Did I mention it was *outside* in. the. cold.? Brrr. But lickety split we had our tickets and were back inside in the warm theatre. And back to the podium. "First door on your right. Enjoy the show."

Do a little happy dance. And on we go. 

D: Looks like it's full up top. 
S: Yeah.
D: Do you want to sit together or split?
S: Together. What about over there close to the top? Looks like two together.
{Up the steps to the top. Only to realize someone's in them. *Doh* Keep walking up to get better views.}
D: Looks like all that's left is down below.
{Walk down to middle aisle between levels}
What about these handicap seats?
S: Sure. If someone needs them, we can always move. And surely they would be here by now anyway.

Clearly those crazy kids - oh yeah, that theatre was FULL, I tell you, FULL of tweens & teens all sporting Twilight attire - had lined up super early just as the news stations were reporting. Which is why they got the good seats.

The seats we ended up with weren't too bad. Not at the best angle to see the whole
 screen. But certainly not a neck-strainer like the floor seats. Score one for us! So we took a few photos of ourselves as we waited. We had quite a bit of time, after all. And we had to get one of our Twilight gear. *grin*

So what did we think of the movie? Well, we had mixed reactions. They did a fair job of adapting the book to the screenplay. I say fair b/c it was basically the book on MAJOR fast-forward. Lots of holes. Lots of bouncing around. Overall, I thought the movie was well-acted as a whole. But I like the books 1000 times better. And I won't own the movie b/c the one in my head far surpasses the one on the screen every day of the week. If you haven't read the book, Daon & I both agree that you won't appreciate the movie & you'll generally have the *I don't understand what all the fuss is about* feeling and you sure won't be enthused enough to read the series for yourself, which, of course, you should do forthwith. So do yourself a HUGE favor. Read the book BEFORE you see the movie - you'll be glad you did. 

That Was Interesting

Where do I even start? Thursday was quite an eventful day. I woke up anticipating the midnight showing of Twilight. My friend and co-worker Daon & I bought our tickets the day they went on sale & were lucky enough to snag them at a theatre very close to both of us. So we made our plans - she'd pick me up at 10:30 p.m. so we could cue up in plenty of time ... or so we thought. 

But my daydreaming of Edward ended abruptly at 9 a.m. when I got a frantic phone call from Derek who had, get this, "fallen and couldn't get up." Actually, he'd thrown his back out ... again ... while trying to pick up a t-shirt off the floor to cover the bath mat "since I know you don't like for me to step out with wet feet." {insert stab here (cause, yeah, I felt bad but who likes moldy rubber-backed bath mats??)} He heard a *pop* and hit the floor, where he still lies, as a matter of fact - well, not in the bathroom floor but in the floor nonetheless. It took him about thirty minutes to turn the water off in the shower, pull on some clothes, and drag himself to a phone to call me - all the while in excruciating pain. 

Naturally, the last bus from downtown to home had already run for the morning so I couldn't leave downtown until 3:45. Then began the calls to 1) find someone to cover the cases Derek had on the schedule for the day, 2) talk to the doctors whose cases he would be missing, 3) talk to a doctor to call in some drugs STAT, and 4) find someone to pick up his drugs & sit with him until I could get home. Derek's co-worker Michael stepped up to the task of covering his surgery schedule; his doctor was very understanding and was the one who called in the drugs he needed; and we were able to get his mom to be nurse for the afternoon so I was able to work all day.

Do you know how helpless you are to help someone with back pain? Let me just tell you. Pretty. Damn. Helpless. That's not a great feeling. Even with muscle relaxers and pain killers on board, Derek was miserable & couldn't move at all without setting off major back spasms. I won't even tell you the lengths we went to to get him to the bathroom. Let's just say, I will NEVER be a nurse. Gross! On. So. Many. Levels. Anyway. 

So basically he was cranky and loopy. Who wouldn't be, right?! My mother-in-law was kind enough to buy dinner. So she & I ate and visited a little before she headed for home, leaving me with the patient. Who really didn't want to listen to anything I had to say, whether helpful or not. He had dragged himself to the bathroom from the den while Mickey & I ate and I was trying to convince him not to drag himself back to the den & put all that stress on the spasming muscles but instead stay in the bedroom b/c he would be close to the bathroom & I could get him set up with the (tiny) tv just like he had been in the den. He got a phone call from a co-worker and a doctor during this discussion, and they finally convinced him that *hey, your wife has a good idea going there.* So I finally got him set up in the bedroom floor with phones and remote and pillows and his dinner.

Our neighbor Frank, who has major back problems himself, came over about 9 to help me get Derek into a neutral position to sleep. I won't even go into the screams and yells it took to get him there. B/c it obviously meant he had to move around which meant his back went in to full-on spasm mode with every move. Have I mentioned the helpless feeling? Yeah. Helpless. I felt helpless. We did finally get him as comfortable as possible and got some more drugs on board and he relaxed some, which of course helped with the spasms.

Enough so that I was still able to go see Twilight as planned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This, That, and The Other

So what else happened this weekend, you may wonder? Well, aside from all the fun we girls had on Friday night, I spent the remainder of the weekend working in the craft room on Christmas stuff.

Saturday started early b/c I had to get Ezmerelda to the shop for 9 a.m. for her 10,000-mile-service. Can you believe it? 10k already! On my way home, I did some gluten-free shopping for mom at Central Market. Then I met mom in Rockwall for scrapbook shopping before we headed home to spend the remainder of the day in the craft room. We had a great time and, of course, bought goodies that we didn't necessarily need but needed. *wink* And we got lots done, too. I'm proud to say that the outsides of my Christmas cards are done. Now I have to get the inside sentiments stamped/assembled, write notes in the cards, address them, and mail them. Looks like I'll be done by Thanksgiving!

Sunday I enjoyed a day at home. It's the first Sunday in I'm not sure how long that I didn't have morning obligations. And since we're about to enter into Advent, I know it's the only Sunday I'll have until the first of the year. So I took advantage of it. I spent all day in my pjs in the craft room working on the project I'd started the afternoon before. I was able to finish the prototype for another Christmas project & am tickled pink with the result. It took a little longer to finish than I anticipated, but now that the first one is done, I think the rest will come together much faster.

This week is a busy one. I have something to do every night. But I'm most excited about Thursday night b/c I'm going to the midnight showing of Twilight with my friend Daon. (Don't worry, Daon, I won't tell everyone about your celebrity stalking. *wink*) We read the entire series of books over the summer and absolutely fell in love with Edward and Bella's story. I'm not really sure how the movie will do the first book justice, but I can't wait to find out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today's Quote

"You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt.
And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time?"
- Bob Moawad

I saw this on another blog today, and it made me giggle ... and also stop & think. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Girls Night

So I invited some of my good girlfriends over for wine & munchies on Friday. I hatched the plan b/c Derek was supposed to be out of town on business. It turned out that he didn't go on his trip, but he was kind enough to vacate to the sanctuary of Bob's house for the evening. The plan was to listen to the recording of my October recital b/c they weren't able to be there in person.

Well, let's just say, "the best laid plans" snuck up & bit me. And by that, I mean that my loverly recording wouldn't play on a single CD player in my house - not a single one. I even got my techno-geek on the job & he couldn't make the discs work either. That meant the only place we could listen to the discs was in Ezmerelda. Talk about a "cutie head moment," to borrow a phrase from SarahK.

So....we munched & drank & gabbed for several hours. I hadn't seen a few of the girls in a while so there was a lot to catch up on (like honeymoon & engagement stories). Despite our various backgrounds (though all but Daon are theatre geeks (hope we didn't bore you, Daon!)), we all "got on famously," as my Irish friends would say.

The girls finally decided that they wanted to hear at least one or two songs from the recital. So we piled into good ol' Ez & started the tunes. As you can see, a good time was had by all. 

Let's have another concert in the car again soon, girls!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008


All in all, it was a very productive weekend. Friday, Derek flew in early from a conference in New Orleans. So we enjoyed a nice, quiet evening at home. Can't really say that we accomplished much other than veg time. Saturday, we got an early start. I made breakfast, and then we loaded the truck & headed to the dump...finally! What shouldn't go to the dump went to the local recycle center (anyone know where you can take your styrofoam?). And the boxes of old clothes finally went to Goodwill. We put things in cabinets and drawers and hung stuff on walls. We spread mulch & fertilizer and put bundled water hoses away. While the garage is still not neat, tidy, & organized, it's well on the way and looks soooo much better now that all that trash is gone & things have found more permanent homes. *ahhh* Time to tackle the inside mess now, I'd say. ;p

Aside from that, we enjoyed the lovely weather while out & about running our errands. And Dori very much enjoyed the fact that we took her on several of our adventures. She loves to ride! And she loves that we took her to check out the brand new Rowlett PetsMart. It's sooo nice - and so much closer.

Yesterday I talked Derek into piano shopping. We've (I've) been talking about a piano for several years. I ultimately talked myself out of an acoustic piano. They're beautiful, but the upkeep and special care are just not worth it for my purposes. While I do play, I really need the piano for rehearsal purposes rather than entertainment or even teaching, for that matter. I've shopped around for quite a while without coming to any real definite decision. Mostly, I haven't had to b/c I've been able to borrow my mom's digital keyboard. But it's come to the point where I had to get one of my own. So we went to Guitar Center and looked around. And came home with a Yamaha Arius 140. It was super easy to set up, but most importantly for me, it plays much like an acoustic (hammer action, that is). I 0pted for the mid-range model b/c I don't need the bells & whistles or true-to-life hammer action that the more expensive models offered. My model does everything I need.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween, Earthquakes, and Elections - Oh My!

Did it seem like you had fewer trick-or-treaters this year? It seemed that way to us. We had quite a few but nothing like last year ... or so I'm told. (I was just excited to be around for Halloween this year - the last several years it's fallen on rehearsal nights.) We all dressed up & passed out candy. We started at the front of the neighborhood but weren't getting any kids, so we moved to our street instead, which turned out to be a smart idea. A great time was had by kids & adults alike.

The remainder of the weekend was quiet. Oh ... except that N. Texas had another earthquake (mag 2.7). I guess our fault line is no longer aslumber. It was about the same size as the one on Friday and in the same general area.

So ... we have a new president. In other news, the good people of N. Texas elected some fantastic judges to the court. Basically, that's all I'm gonna say about that.