29 January 2006

French phrase

I was just chatting with a friend.  We were talking about languages.  I told her that I remember next to nothing of my high-school French.  In fact, for the longest time, I only remembered one sentence.

"I have a big yellow pencil."

You can imagine how many times THAT came in handy!


Well, here it is winter, January, but you'd never know by the weather.

Take for instance, today...

Balmy breezes, warm sun, blue skies, birds a-twittering, 70 degrees...

That just ain't right.  I do like this sort of weather, but ya know, like, in the SPRING, maybe April.  Ya know, when it's supposed to be like that.  All this unseasonable weather is screwing with my head.

'Course, it doesn't take much to screw with  my head...she mutters.

28 January 2006

Oi vey!

Ooohps, that's not Spanish!!

My mother is taking a Spanish course this semester and I thought it would be fun for us to learn it together.  So, I found a free online tutorial and started.  It does have an audio feature, which is great, but I learn the most from talking with my mom on the phone.

She goes over her notes, I type.  It seems to work well.  But eeek!!

I didn't realize how rough it would be to get back into this learning groove.  I never took Spanish.  But I do have a rudimentary understanding of how to go about learning most western languages.

When I was a freshman in high-school, oh a couple decades ago (eeek!), I took French and Latin.  Lucky for me, I had the same teacher for both.  So if I answered in French during my Latin class, she gave me another chance to get on the same page.

German is one of my majors for my Bachelor's.  I don't speak fluently, because it's difficult to retain a language that you don't use daily, weekly, monthly, oh hell, even yearly.  However, I do have all my books including a kick-ass dictionary!

And as some of you know, there is another language with which I have a more than nodding acquaintance.  Sign is coming back to me as I review the grammar, syntax, semantics, and vocab.  I need to get into contact with the Deaf community here.

Oh, well, and sometimes Americanized English seems to be natural enough for me.  Then there are those times that I can't spell, I start saying one thing and end with another, and when I totally mispronounce what I am saying.  And there are those joyous times in which I simply forget my vocabulary altogether.  That happens more often now than it did say, 5 years ago.  But it happens less than say, 2 years ago.

Getting better and better

In the summer of 03, I was having lots of problems.  I was very frustrated over my inability to think, process information, and retain it.  I was aware that just a few short months before that, I was teaching, a full-time grad student working on my PhD, and doing all that went with it.

But that summer, I could barely comprehend a sentence, let alone a paragraph, let alone read a sociological journal article.  I would open my own texts and try to decipher my own marginal notes and give up, at a loss for what I wrote and what it meant.  I would attempt to write friends email, and I would have to labor over a simple note for hours.  Sometimes, even then, the notes were full of tangents and barely made sense.

Today, I picked up a book of logic puzzles that I've had sitting around for over a year (actually, closer to two, as I think I got it right around Christmas 2003).  I remember that I was so frustrated because I stumbled over them and could not solve any of the puzzles, even the more simplified ones.  So, I held my breath and opened the book.

Well, the first two I solved with minimal efforts.  The next two I did in pen.  No mistakes.  What was even better was that I began to feel that sense of enjoyment I had always associated with challenging my mind and then meeting that challenge.

For those of you who don't know, these logic puzzles are the sort that are word problems related to elimination and multi-tasking.  For instance, matching the five people up with their professions, which yoga class they took, and for how long, based on several clues that are given.

So, one such statement that is helps might say:  "The attorney's karma workshop lasts longer than Will's course (which isn't the shortest)."  Which one of the five people is the attorney?  Well, not Will.  Which also means that Will did not take the karma course.  Also Will did not have the shortest course (which was 6 weeks), meaning that the attorney could not have taken the shortest course nor the next to shortest course (cuz it has to be longer than Will's and he did not take the shortest course).  Will cannot take the longest course either, as the attorney's course is longer than Will's.

That sort of thing is called a logic puzzle.  There are other logic puzzles as well.  It is this type of which I have always been fond (well, except for that timeperiod when I had a hard time functioning at all).

Glad to be back in the running, of some sort, anyway.


I didn't realize it was so long since my last entry.

Quick update on some happenings:

I've resumed going to the gym.  I haven't done any of the machines, but do get in the pool.  The lap pool's heater is kaput, so I've been submersing my body in ch-ch-chilly waters.  The benefits are dual.  I get to cool my entire blood flow and that helps the pulled muscles and such.  I also have the pool to myself, basically.  Cuz no one other than a few hardy souls wants to climb into cold water and swim around, spending time in there.  I usually stay in there for a 2 hour block.  Then I visit the hydrotherapy pool and allow the heat to work its wonders.  They did tell me to alternate hot and cold!

I'm teaching some folks some sign.  We started with the food like I stated previously.  I'm throwing in other stuff as it comes up.  We've also been reviewing the alphabet.  The girl wants to invent her own signs, but if we don't use signs that others already use, then they won't know what we are signing!  So, we have to go over that concept alot cuz she is young and doesn't quite grasp it.

My guy is here this weekend (hooray!!).  He has been terribly busy and I understand when he is tied up and bogged down (that sounds like a mafia move) and can't make it here, but I am always glad to see him when he does make it down.  He is sleeping the good sleep (another reference to the mob, gee, I didn't think I had it in me!) and getting some quality rest.  That's one of the things he seems to do here that he doesn't get a chance to do at home.  Cuz my place is restful and peaceful and calm and soooooooooooothing.

Well, my shoulder is lots and lots better.  Sometimes it tweaks and I swear it flashes a pain so bright I gasp.  But it is getting tons better.  I don't think I will do any chest presses, rowing, lateral pull downs, etc. any time real soon, though.

Have a great weekend!

20 January 2006

the herky jerky and other spastic movements

I weaned off one drug and am now taking another.  I've moved into the second phase and have one more increase and then we'll set at this level for a month or two.  While I am happy about this, I am encountering a slight oddity.

My left hand tremors, quivers, shakes, and shimmies.  It doesn't do it all the time.  But it looks like I'm having selective withdrawals or something.  It will most likely fade, as I get used to the medication.

That's what They say, anyway.

My gracelessness

As irony would have it, I've been working at the gym and have suffered no injuries.  Then last night, as I was opening the door, my dogs lunged against it, and took my arm with it.  OMG!  I was standing on the steps so unable to move forward, and since I was already twisting the knob, my grip was tight, and so I didn't immediately let go.

So I stumbled into the house and cradled my arm and whimpered like a little girl.  I tentatively waved my fingers.  I tried to grasp the edge of the table and found that wasn't such a great idea.  Little by little, I flexed and rotated my arm.  Eventually, I was able to use the full range of motion although it was a tad bit odd in a place or two.

This morning, along about 4:30, I woke.  My arm from elbow to finger-tips was cold and tingling.  So I thought that hot shower would help.


I thought to myself, Self, just what sorta damage did you do?  Then I thought, how do I take care of this?  Is it heat or ice, or both?  Do I keep trying to move it or should I immobilize it?

Somehow I stopped just short of convincing myself that I had a mysterious blood clot that was stopping the flow to my lower arm (hence the cool tingling) and that any minute it could dislodge, flow freely, and kill me.  No one has ever accused me of having no imagination.

So, I drove myself to the ER.  They poked.  They prodded.  Then, They pulled.

I saw stars, bright pretty colors, dancing swirling spots, and broke out into a sweat that rivaled that of any muggy mid-summer Mississippi night.

My arm twinged, my shoulder twanged, my collar bone shifted (well, ok, it didn't) and viola!  Proof that all the King's Men can indeed put Humpty together again (but only when a few nurses lend their expertise).

Then They bound me up into a sling and sent me on my way with an Rx and advice to go see the orthopedic surgeon if it doesn't get to feeling fine.

Later in the day, I went to the gym.  The heater is broke for the lap pool.  This was just PERFECT cuz I was told to soak in cold water or ice the shoulder and elbow.  Then use heat.  And alternate.

20 minutes of submersion to the neck and moving my arms about in frigid water (I'd like to note here that I was the only person braving the lap pool) later, I climbed from the polar waters and headed over to the warm hydro therapy pool.  That was sooooo nice.

Then, for good measure, I dipped into the whirlpool.  Ahhh, pure bliss.

Oh, and the arm does feel better, sore, but better.

18 January 2006


So I go to the gym, decide to do my swimming first and then the machines (cuz I gotta do the machines, it's Wed and I do them Mon, Wed, and Fri).  When I say "swimming", I mean moving in the water.  Because, as odd as this might sound, I don't know how to really swim.

I can do a sort of modified doggie-paddle (I learned it from watching Shaddow, my black lab) and a bizarre form of a side-stroke.  Mostly though I flounder and end up snorting water and hacking to breathe.  That's what happens when you never take lessons, or at least that's MY story, and of course, I'm sticking to it.

I might be able to take swim classes, but they fill up fast and no one seems to be sure if they are going to continue offering them after the next 8 weeks (which are already filled).  So anyway, I can float on my back.  And if I absolutely, positively had to, I could probably get from point A to point B using some weird combination of moves.

On Tuesday and Thursday there is a water workout that is pretty good.  So, I thought I'd do some of that on my own today.  No one else was in the lap pool and I got so caught up in what I was doing that I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings.  I didn't realize that I'd been doing my own workout for an hour til a few folks started to join me in the pool.

I decided to join in with the water workout class that was being offered (instead of climbing into the whirlpool).  SO, that meant that I did water workout for two straight hours.  I did tire toward the end and start to flag a bit.

After a brief dip in the whirlpool (aaaaaaaahhhhhhh), I dressed in my shorts and t-shirt, grabbed my towel, water, and workout sheet (cuz I can't remember all the settings for the machines) and headed out to the gym area.  Even though I had been swimming, I opted for warming up on the recumbent bike.

Again, I went a tad bit overboard.  See, I wanted to finish the book I was reading and so I wasn't paying attention to time.  30 minutes later, I realized I was sweating profusely and was sufficiently warmed up.

Then I worked my way around the 8 machines I do.  There was only one I had some problems with, the lateral pull-down.  I think it might have been because of having worked those muscles in the pool so much.  I was able to add some reps to some machines, but I didn't increase any weights.

Oh!  By the way, I weighed myself yesterday...since the holidays, I've lost 10 pounds.  I know that it is due to the exercise and improved diet.  I just hope that I don't lose motivation.

17 January 2006

Fruits and Veggies

My friend home-schools her daughter, who is six.  She asked if I would work with her daughter on sign language.  I have tons of material and access to even more.

I figured if we could start with fingerspelling then move onto vocabulary groups, that might be the best way to approach it.  So, fruits and vegetables are going to be some of the first signs that we work on.  Their family eats no flesh, although they do eat ice-cream, use butter, and sparingly eat cheese.  The bulk of their diet consists of beans, rice, greens, cornbread, and other good stuff of that nature.

So I thought, fruit, apples, peaches, grapes, potatoes, tomatoes, and such would be applicable and a good place to start.  She can use the signs effectively and that makes it more fun for her.  I think that the little one (who is a little over a year and a half) will learn some too.

16 January 2006

Time is flyin'!!

Time is flyin' by...at an alarming rate.  Here it is, half the month of January, shhhhum, gone.

I had a hard time motivating myself to go to the gym today, but I went.  Man, I should have gone way earlier than that!  It was not very crowded, but more than usual for me.  Last week, I had it timed pretty good and went during mid-day, when most folks are working or otherwise occupied.  Today I had to wait for a few of the machines.  It wasn't nearly as bad as the few times I tried to use the university's gym.  But it was still more of an interruption in the flow of my workout than I really wanted.

I am getting it all down pat and increasing some of the reps on the machines.  I've also lengthened the amount of time on the recumbent or new step, warming up.  I was doing it for 10 min, at a moderate level.  But a few times I have gone with 15 minutes.  Maybe next week I will bump it up to 20 min.

Tomorrow is a water work-out class.  I went last Thursday to it and met some nice folks.  They drive in from places that are about half an hour away.  They say that this gym is the nicest.  I believe them.

My guy and I went yesterday.  He said that the gym was not intimidating and the staff seem to be friendly, as do the other members.  It's true too.  I don't feel like I have to work out before I go, like I did at the university.  There are all different body types.  The folks that seem to be used to working out, don't get all huffy with us who are just started.  There is no primping and preening.

I like that.

12 January 2006

off to see the wizard

Well, this afternoon, my dear friend came to visit.  Her youngest is about a year and a half.  She climbed inside Ace's cage and shut the door.  She is so adorable, she seemed very content.  But, I went and fished her out.  Ace is not the most hygienically clean critter, especially with a toddling child.

I feel ever so much better!!  So, I'm off to the gym.  Where I get to click my heels and make wishes...

golly gee willikers, ma'am

Several entries posted in a timely fashion, what will I do next?

This morning I woke with a hammering headache and just barely got to the bathroom in time.  I called my friends, who cofacilitate the various groups, to let them know that I didn't think I'd make it out of the house today.  I put the doggies out and climbed back into bed.  Ah sweet slumber, odd dreams, but I did get some serious rest.

I let my pups in to eat then shushed them back out.  It's a nice day, temperature wise, so I am not worried about the lil guys shaking and shivering.  I peeked out at them, they were all romping around with each other, so I know they are happy.

Yesterday, when I went to the doctor's, we changed out one of my meds.  I was rather vociferous about it.  Now this morning, I am really hoping the headache is in no way related.  I don't think it is.

I am really rooting for this new med.  I had been gaining weight at an alarming rate on the other and this one is not supposed to have the same side-effects.  So, I'm hoping that combined with the exercise, the improved eating habits, that the new med will be just the ticket for me.

11 January 2006

I wanna....sniffle

I miss my guy.

When I am not feeling well, I get childish and I pout some.  I miss him even more.  It's not that I want him to take care of me, although he does...It's that I just want to know he is around, it comforts me and helps me sleep better.

And this headache is making me feel vulnerable.  sniff.  miss my guy.

Lay me lil head down

Last night, as I was closing up house and getting ready for bed, I stopped to love on all the babies.  Shaddow was sprawled out on her couch, but she was considerate and left room for Ace.  Ziggee was commandering his chair.  All three were chuffing along contentedly.

Ace even went inside his cage and got out his pad (it's just a sheet that's been folded over so it's nice and thick and cushy).  He carried it up to the couch and snuggled down in its folds.  He looked so cute that I didn't want to move him.

Today, I stopped at the gym after I saw the dr.  I did the recumbent bike for 15 minutes.  Then I did all 8 machines that are on my sheet.  Most of them are core strengtheners, all of them are ones I did for PT.  I do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.  The weight depends on the machine.  After I did all that, I marked my sheets and then read for awhile til I cooled down enough to go outside.

It's been unseasonably warm, but I still try to be careful, cuz I don't want to get sick.  When I got home, I made kaluski (pronounced hal-loo-skee)--a dish with onions, cabbage, and noodles.  Then, I laid down for a few.  I didn't sleep, but I did rest.

I am very tired now, think I will make it an early evening.  My head is hurting some.  My left eye and down the back of the left side of my neck are sending shooting pains into my skull.  Not pretty.

So, I think I will go tuck the doggies in....have sweet dreams.

10 January 2006

Three dog night

My boston terrier, Ace, is askairt of storms.  He cuddles up close, trying to climb into my armpit and burrow his head into my ribs.  His entire body trembles and those obnoxious flatulent fumes?  Well, they seem to become exponentially worse during these times of terror.

Poor guy.

On the other hand, Shaddow (black lab) and Ziggee (rat-cha) seem to love the outdoors with a passion that does not exclude storms.  Shaddow gets drenched, her coat holding massive amounts of water.  Ziggee just loves Shaddow so much so that he emulates her every habit as much as he possibly can.  But he is just a lil guy and when he gets all excited, he too trembles like my other lil guy (Ace; getcher mind outta the gutter!).

Tonight, all three of them have crowded around my feet.  The office smells like ripe farts, wet doggie fur, and slobberree bones.  Whatta combo, eh?


Yesterday's bloodwork shows that my triglycerides are high.  My mother's is very high too.  So, it's good that I am taking the steps now to work with reducing my excess weight, improve my diet, etc.

Today, I went to the Health Plex.  We covered my orientation, including the results of my assessments.  We visited all the machines that I will be using.  After covering all the information, I felt as though I were ready to get started.

I haven't been in a pool since October 03, and I love the water.  So, I got in my suitie, and slipped into the pool.  Then I checked out the hydrotherapy pool too.  The whirlpool was not ignored either.  Then I treated myself to a bit of sauna time.

When I came home, I ate a salad of spinach, red leaf lettuce, carrots, radishes, green onion, walnut halves, and 3-cheese dressing.  This morning, I ate a breakfast of raison bran cereal.  I feel healthier already.

No, really.  I do.

07 January 2006


I got home Wendesday afternoon, scrubbed the top layer of grime off the kitchen floor, swept the rest of the floors free of doggie-tracked mud and leaf-debris, spent oodles of time with the pups, did laundry, unpacked my car, and sorted through over 3 weeks of mail...

Thursday was Group Day.  Support Groups for NAMI, that is.  I also did a ton of errands between the group sessions.  Paid all the bills for this month, found a pet-crate for Ace (we discovered that he loves having his own little space that is not available to the others, and I've found that he messes less, thereby meaning that I can perhaps in the near future put my rugs back in place), and took care of some things for the gym.

Friday, I had my assessment at the gym.  My blood-pressure was elevated, so they didn't want me to do the bike test.  But I did all the others.  Lesson learned:  there is a reason that I should not have caffiene (d'uhm debbie, d'uhm).  Monday I will do a blood-draw and then Tuesday I am scheduled to finish my assessment and be oriented and then I'll be ready to USE the gym.

I also did a few other things, including stopping at the Social Security office for yet another attempt at explaining that what was supposed to happen, didn't, and that my checks are being cut in amount when they are not supposed to...FINALLY, I managed to get some sort of response which included action, forms, and a number and name to call to check progress.  Yea!!!

My fat butt needs the gym, and how!  I weigh in at 232.3 pounds and at 5'6" (and according to my skin-caliber measurements), my BMI is at 36.something.  That's not good, no matter what sort of health conditions I have or don't have.  I figure for my weight, I should be at least 7'2"...

I do feel good about what progress in my "to-do" list has been made.  But there is still so much more.  At least it feels managable, for the most part.


03 January 2006

Almost home

Happy New Year to all of you!

After spending over 3 weeks away from home, either with my guy or at my folks', I am ready to go home.  I love them, but I am so accustomed to having my own space, my own place, my own routine, my own bed, that I am so ready to be there.  My guy and I drove in from my folks' to his place today.  I'll spend the night here and head back to HOME tomorrow.

I have so much to do...

But mostly, I want to visit with my pupsicles and I want to start going to the Wellness Connection Center.  I really am looking forward to that.  My father took some pix of me, from the front, each side, and the back.  These will serve as my before pix.

I missed my psych appt today (cuz I thought the appt was for the beginning of Feb).  So I called and rescheduled for next Wendesday.  We talked in November about changing me off one drug and using another.  The one drug contributes to my weight gain and retention.  Also, in November we boosted up my level of levoxyl (which is like Synthroid, because I had most of my thyroid removed).

Ten years ago, when I first moved to the South from PA, I gained weight.  About 30 pounds in about 2 years.  Mostly I gained because my eating habits changed (there are more types of foods and most things are deep fried, or with fat added, or both) and my activity level changed.  I walked everywhere in PA and when I moved South, no mo walking for me...too damn hot and humid!!

Then, a few years later, in 2000, my hyperthyroid was not responding to the treatment so surgery was performed.  Most of my thyroid came out.  I went from having a very very high metabolism to dragging butt overnight.  However, my eating habits did not change.  So I gained another 30 pounds.  Prednisone contributed to the problem as well.

But I certainly did not take steps to counter act all that.  I did eventually modify my eating habits, but they could still use help.  But my activity level pretty much remained rather minimal.  After all, as a grad student, I did lots of work on the computer and time would slip by, and I would not remember to get to the track, or use the university's gym.  It also became painful for me to even walk, my lower back would bind tighter and tighter.

Then in the summer of 2003, I began to take several medications.  One is known to cause weight gain and retention.  I gained 40 pounds over the next two years.  I think that I am now over 230 pounds!!

So, hopefully, the combination of activity level being increased (the wellness connection center membership) and changing medication, as well as improving my eating habits, will all work toward helping to tone me up, slim me down, and all that good stuff.  So I plan to post updates here.  And in a few months, if I can get some pix taken at that time, then I'll post before and current (after having been focused on improving my health and image).

So, come join me on the trip!!