I had a massage Thursday.

Picture it. A dimly lit room. The sound of water. Soft instrumental music. Candles flickering. The soft smell of eucalyptus floating in the air. The massage therapist discovers the steel cord in my shoulder and begins to transform it back to human muscle.

Then, she says: “Did you hear about that guy over in Deltona?”

Me: “oh, no, don’t tell me any bad news, especially if it involves children.”

Her: “No, it’s nothing about kids. This guy murdered this other guy and then shot a police officer in the face.”

Good feelings gone. (From a Disney movie. Who said it? )

I spent the next hour changing the subject to more positive things. Over and over and over. Seriously. She’s had some fairly negative things to say in previous sessions, but this time, she complained every time she opened her mouth. Nothing good to say about anyone or anything. Everyone is stupid and a pain in the butt, from her ex-husband, to her son, to her boyfriend, to the vitamin sales rep . . . she even had vulgar things to say about Muscadine grapes after I changed the subject to fruit in a final and desperate attempt to keep things positive. I thought talking about fruit was safe, noting all the great fruit in season right now. She picked one to complain about and called it a shXXbag. And that isn’t the only curse word she tossed around. Seriously? How can a massage therapist not make the connection that continuous negative conversation doesn’t compliment a massage?

What is the deal? She has worked miracles on my shoulder over the last few months. Was she just having a bad day? Has she just become too familiar with me? And if so, has she not paid attention to the fact that I don’t use foul language? Or say mean things about people? I don’t want to know what she had to say about me after I left.

I’m taking a break from massage. I don’t know if I’ll go back to her. She does good work, but the experience is not positive. I spend the time and quite a bit of focused energy pointing out good things in life. Not restorative. Emotionally draining.

I went to an open house for this spa two weeks ago and got a free twenty minute acupuncture session. Interesting. I’ve got a number of health issues which could supposedly be treated with acupuncture, from reflux to eczema, not to mention the arthritis in my neck. I’ve had craniosacral massage before and it was actually very effective in relieving pain, so although I don’t understand it, I know it worked. I figure it’s time to find out whether acupuncture will work for me. Tomorrow I go for my first full session and I’m thinking I’ll try it out through my surgery date.

As usual, looking for information. Anyone have acupuncture treatments? Thoughts? Advice?

It’s a backwards edition over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. Click on over and see if you can help someone out!

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

i’m ten years YOUNGER!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I do strength training with a personal trainer. It continues to be one of my “ACTION” items this year. I started a little over a year ago. The day after my 43rd birthday (I’m 44 now), I called a nearby gym to arrange personal training sessions.

Why at 43? My mother had a stroke a few months prior. She’s only 22 years older than me. I don’t want to get weaker as I get older. I want to keep up with my kids. I don’t want a handicap sticker on my car. I want to be healthy. Strong. Active.

The hard fact is that I am overweight. I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight after my son was born. Even though I’ve been overweight all these years, I’ve always been under my own personal invisible panic number on the scale. My whole life (with the exception of pregnancy), I’ve stayed under this number. I knew if I got to this number I would freak out. In 2006, I passed that number by 10 pounds. The number is . . . 200 pounds.

I freaked out.

I’ll break this up into two parts. First, the changes I made (and continue to make) with regard to food. Then, what I’m doing about exercise.


First, I called Jenny Craig. I’m a Jenny Craig “lifer” and I needed help. I went on what I called “Jenny Watchers” which is a combination of Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. Basically, it is Weight Watchers, but I used the prepackaged Jenny Craig Food. I used Jenny Craig to get back down below the panic number again. I relearned what a portion size looks like. I was reminded to eat something about every 3 hours to keep my metabolism from dropping (it also helps the reflux too). I have a real good understanding of the nutritional info and good eating habits. Now, I am FINISHED with diets. I am just CHANGING the way I eat. Everyday. I can’t sustain a diet for the rest of my life. I need something reasonable I can live with – forever. I’m still learning, trying different techniques and recipes, incorporating new habits.

But I did “Jenny Watchers” for a few months – until summer vacation. It was the first week of August, 2007. I went on vacation at Walt Disney World, ate dinner at the best restaurants on property for 8 days and then didn’t get back to Jenny Craig for 6 weeks. Guess how much I gained after eating Disney food for a week and “normal” food for 5 weeks after that?

I lost 1 pound!

In five weeks. No dieting. Just living normally. After a week of eating DISNEY food!

So no more diets. Just changing the way I eat. The way our whole family eats.

Exercise was next.

I called about personal training sessions. Because I’ve met me. I need accountability. Let’s just say, the trainer at the nearby gym didn’t “get me” and leave it at that. So I called Bally. I joined Bally back in 1989 for something like $2000 (with unlimited tanning, of course) and after paying that off, they’ve been taking $5.33 a month out of my checking account for nearly 2 decades now. The only problem is that I moved a full 30 minutes away from the nearest Bally. But seriously. $5.33 a month. I just couldn’t cancel it. I just couldn’t do it.

So I called Bally. After briefly explaining the reason for my call, the manager asked:

“Do you prefer a male or a female trainer?”

“I don’t have a preference. I just want to maximize my time at the gym. I want to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. I’m not focused on losing weight. I want to be stronger and healthier and I feel like, if I accomplish that, the weight will take care of itself. And I need someone who can help me recognize the line between pushing myself and hurting myself.”

“I have just the person for you. I’ll have her call you when she gets in later today.”

So, later that day, TinyPowerHouse calls me and we arrange my first session.

That was over a year ago and I’ve been driving the 30 minutes to Bally twice a week to let her push me to my limits.

She is SO worth the drive! She’s really VERY good at what she does and a great fit for me. (The right trainer makes ALL the difference!) We rarely use weight machines. We use an adjustable step, dumbbells, weight bars, weight balls, a Bosu balance trainer, a balance ball and my own body weight. I have NEVER worked a lone muscle with her. I ALWAYS work multiple muscle groups when she is bossing me around. And EVERY session, we take it up a notch. EVERY session is challenging. Some might not like that, but I LOVE it. My thought is that if I’m going to pay for it – and make time for it – I’m going to make it COUNT – every time. I even bought a Bosu balance trainer for my house. I already had the dumbbells.

So, you may be wondering. After working with TinyPowerHouse for over a year, how much weight have I lost? Only 5 pounds.


I’m down 10% body fat. 10%! Woooo Hoooo!

I read that we lose 10% muscle mass every decade as we age. If that ‘s true, I’m 10 years younger than I was when I started!

The real benefit for me is that I am stronger. I have more energy. More endurance. I am healthier. My body shape is different. I have visible muscle tone! And when I arm wrestle FavoriteSon, I still win. Although I have arthritis in my neck (an old laptop case/bookbag injury in MBA school), I rarely get into traction anymore. At the advice of my accountant, I asked my doctor if he thought strength training would help my neck. He did and wrote a letter indicating that for tax purposes. I found out I can even write it off as a medical expense through my business!

The speed bump in this endeavor is that on January 9th, Bally closed in my area and now the nearest one is 45 minutes away. So TinyPowerHouse and I have decided to continue working together and I’ll pay her directly. She makes more per hour, I pay less. She comes to my house, and tomorrow I’ll go to the community work out room in her complex. I even bumped up my sessions to three times/hours per week instead of two.

Now to add the cardio for some additional weight loss and to modify my evening eating habits, which currently are sabotaging my efforts. Since reading Simple Steps: 10 Weeks to Getting Control of Your Life: Health, Weight, Home, Spirit, my goal is to walk 20 minutes a day on the days I don’t do strength training – and I hope to sneak in some walking on the strength training days too. Some days, I’ll walk longer. Last quarter, I was up to an 18 minute mile and trying to get in 2 or 3 miles at a time but the block of time it required just wasn’t sustainable long term. I know I need some accountability, so I’m probably going to put a widget somewhere on the right indicating whether I’ve been physically active that day.

I’m not giving this up. nope. not giving this up. It’s working for me.

I do most of my strength training workouts while the kids are in school and my kids are old enough to leave home while I walk around the block (with my cell phone, of course).

But moms of babies? Moms of toddlers? You can do it too!

You can find a gym that has a childcare center – don’t settle for substandard care – and take your kiddos to the gym with you! Or take them for a walk in the stroller – just 20 minutes! Check for a “stroller workout” class in your area by going to or! Can’t find a class? Try it on your own or with some friends using this workout! Or try a video like Mom-O-Rama Workout With Baby, Mom-o-Rama: Workout with Toddler, Mommy Baby Body Builders or Fitmom Postnatal Workout.

You can DO it!

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

I feel like a bat.

I spent some time hanging upside down tonight and let me just say . . . ahhhh. My friend Heidi let me borrow her Teeter Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table and after a few minutes of watching FavoriteSon finagle it into the back of my van, we got it home, adjusted it for my height and weight and I spent some time hanging. Twice. So let me say again. ahhhh.

I went to see my doctor on Thursday, and he believes I have a ruptured disc in my neck. I’ve been on some serious cortosteroids and a nightly muscle relaxant. Before Thursday, there was numbness and tingling from my neck to my fingertips on my right arm and hand. My doctor, an osteopath (they also do chiropractic care) performed some serious neck cracking. And some more. And some more. ahhhh.

His words? “I don’t think there was one bone in your neck that was where it was supposed to be.”


“No more jogging. You can walk. But no more jogging.”

I’m not sure what happened, but I would bet it started with sorting hundreds of books at the Whale of a Sale. Then I upped my cardio workout by including some jogging. I had been walking 3 to 5 miles a few times a week, but for the last four weeks, I’ve been doing interval training. I would jog for about 30 to 45 seconds to increase my heart rate and then walk for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat a few times in my 30 to 60 minute walk and I thought I was doing pretty well. I was jogging longer without wimping out. Unfortunately, my neck and arm pain, the numbness and the tingling were getting progressively worse. And for some stupid reason, I didn’t make the connection.

The neck, shoulder and arm pain aren’t new. I have arthritis in my neck, stemming from an old MBA injury. It was 1994. There was a full book bag hanging on one shoulder and a prehistoric laptop (which weighed as much as a dinosaur) hanging from the other shoulder. There was wrenching and pain. A doctor visit and muscle relaxants. Over the years, there have been stupid choices, resulting in a few days of rest (on muscle relaxants). And for the last few years, there’s been arthritis.

But the numbness and tingling made me nervous. Doc says that if I’m not feeling better in 10 days, I have to have an MRI. I HATE those. Listening to a jack hammer while I’m trapped in a torpedo tube is NOT my idea of a good time. If I have to have one, I’m finding one of those open MRI places.

But I digress and the muscle relaxant is kicking in. What was I saying again?

I remember. I’m going to do EVERYTHING I’m supposed to do to heal. I’m taking the cortosteroids and the muscle relaxant. I’m not jogging or jumping on a pogo stick or doing anything “jarring” to the neck. I’m using my Pronex Cervical Traction Device

And just a few notes. First, no, that is not me in the Pronex device. That is not how I look when I’m in traction. That is not the facial expression of anyone in traction. Secondly, I did NOT pay $339 for mine. They were even more expensive before the Pronex II came out. Back then, they were $450 and you know I am WAY to cheap to pay that much. I got mine on eBay for $80. Somebody was in a car accident, completed treatment and then sold it. Back then, you were supposed to get a doctor’s prescription for it. (I don’t know about now.) I figured his order to go to a physical therapist for traction twice a week was close enough.

So in addition to all that, now, thanks to Heidi, I’m also hanging upside down like a bat.

Does anyone know how to blog upside down?

Want to learn “what works” for lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

sunrise. midnight.

You’re looking at our view from the 5th floor of the Ocean Walk Resort at Daytona Beach this past week.

FirstHusband called me from the road (actually, from the airport) on Monday to tell me he had unexpectedly gotten some time off this week – could I book a hotel somewhere for Wednesday night through Saturday night. Not so easy. We wanted to go to the east coast (of Florida) just in case our boat repair was completed this week. (Didn’t happen.) We wanted a one bedroom suite overlooking the ocean in a hotel with a better than good pool – and we wanted it for less than $200 a night. We could have used FirstHusband’s hotel points, but all the pools were . . . boring.

My first choice was Ron Jon’s Cape Caribe because it overlooks Cape Canaveral and if the boat was ready, we would be minutes away. Booked. We could only get Wednesday and Thursday night. I started looking at the choices for our hotel points. Again. Boring. And booked. (After all, I was trying to get a room for four nights – in peak season – with less than 36 hours notice.) Then I remembered Ocean Walk at Daytona Beach. I had taken the kids there with a bunch of moms and kids two years ago. We went the day school got out and stayed 3 nights. It was great! Two pools, one with a water slide, a separate lazy river, two hot tubs and a kiddie pool, right on the ocean. The resort is attached to the Ocean Walk Shoppes which is 3 stories of restaurants, a movie theater and shopping. Across the street is Daytona Lagoon – which has a water park, go carts, arcade and mini-golf and laser tag. Perfect.

I called to make the reservation and this time, I got Wednesday, Thursday ($167 each) and Friday ($172) night. But not Saturday night. Probably better, this way we have Sunday as a “down day” before regular life begins again on Monday. (and THAT is why I do NOT understand the benefit of a timeshare. We can book a weeks vacation for nearly the same as the annual maintenance fee for a time share.)

We ended up on the 7th floor, in a one bedroom with a balcony overlooking the ocean. (I loaded more photos on KeepandShare. Click HERE to take a look!).

Unfortunately, the air conditioning wasn’t working and the room hadn’t been cleaned yet. ewww.

Justin, at the front desk moved us in a matter of minutes and we ended up on the 5th floor. Again, the air wasn’t working properly. The thermostat said it was 72 degrees, but FirstHusband’s travel alarm clock thermostat read 80 degrees. We called guest services and asked if they would send someone to check it out. We got unpacked and changed into bathing suits, but before we could even get out the door to the pool, maintenance knocked on it. In minutes, he had “flushed the system” and it was blowing cold air. Sweet. You know, I don’t care about problems like this if they are fixed. Quickly. Great service so far.

Now, down to the pool and looking for the pool towels. And looking. FirstHusband went to the front desk to find them and Justin immediately asked him how the room worked out. Very nice. We were told the place to get the towels was closed for the day but that we could use our room towels. FirstHuband and FavoriteSon went up to our room to get our own beach towels (just take them, you won’t be sorry). It was already 76 degrees. They came back down and we spent some time in the lazy river and hot tub. When we went up to get dressed for dinner there was a bag of towels at our door and the phone was ringing as we came inside. It was Janet at the front desk, asking if we got our extra towels. Very nice.

We went to dinner at Johnny Rockets and, again – GREAT service. Our server was friendly, attentive and didn’t treat the kids like they were “just kids” if you know what I mean. He already had a good tip before he explained that he had only been working there two weeks, just moved from Kentucky with his wife and daughter to be near his wife’s elderly father. He was a landscaper by trade, but had a little bit of a learning curve because the plants were so different here than in Kentucky. hmmm. The story was good, delivered in a friendly way, but he told it while cleaning an already clean table next to us. It felt a little contrived. Plus, he skipped the standard question resort servers always open with when they want to chat. “So, where you from?” Still, he already had a good tip because he was so attentive and, just GOOD at his job. His ketchup smiley face for PinkGirl’s fries was just a bonus.

We went back to the room and I thought I’d check my blog, even though Ocean Walk advertised that wireless internet was available in the lobby, I thought I’d try. yep. Room 506 gets wireless internet. Low signal at the kitchen counter, fair signal on the balcony and great signal from the bedroom.

Let me take a break and mention the room. Clean. Pleasantly decorated. Full size fridge with an ice maker. We forgot to turn it on when got into the room, but we brought an ice chest, so we had a bag of ice. The curtains in the bedroom were strange. The window looked out into the hallway. It was a full pane of glass, so it didn’t open, but the curtains didn’t cover the entire window. Check out the photo of the bedroom, above. The curtains didn’t close. Luckily, we had a chip clip.

Some “positives” about the room?
Overall, it was not the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed in, but it was clean.
The pools were great.
It was close to everything we wanted to do (we didn’t use the van once).
Equipped with a washer/dryer, a blowdryer, two televisions, a dvd player, a vacuum, an iron, a (no fee) combination safe and well equipped kitchen with a full size fridge with an ice maker, coffee maker, toaster, microwave, oven, stove and a dishwasher.

Some things you might want to consider before staying at Ocean Walk Daytona Beach?
Unfortunately, the mattresses were NOT comfortable.
And the pillows ranged from rock hard to lumpy soft.
Keep in mind, this is timeshare resort, so no daily maid service.
That means no daily shampoo/soap/conditioner replenishment.
Water pressure ranged from fair to almost non-existent. (We tried to shower at “off peak” shower times.)

Some things about the room that didn’t bother us, but might annoy someone else?
There was NO shelf in the bathroom to hold ANYTHING.
The bathroom was missing one drawer.
The floor lamp in the living room was missing a light bulb.
Some hooks on the balcony curtains had come off the rod.
The safe was too small to fit the laptop computer.
The alarm clock was broken.

As for the uncomfortable mattress? I had a $50 Spa Finder gift certificate burning a hole in my purse and was very happy to discover that the resort’s spa, Vacation Therapy Spa, accepted it! I supplemented the gift certificate a little and opted for a 50 minute full body Swedish massage. I supplemented it $10 more for a “firm” Swedish massage. Wonderful experience!

On Thursday around 11:30 am, I called to make an appointment for a massage and got an appointment for 12:30 – just one hour later! I arrived 15 minutes early, as requested. The brochure said to arrive 30 minutes prior to an appointment, but the person I spoke with on the phone ended the conversation by saying, “I’ll see you around 12:15.” I walked in and was immediately taken back to the locker room, given a big white robe to wear and a key for a locker. I changed, locked up my stuff and went into this little waiting area. Soft music, dim lighting, a beaded metal curtain surrounding the little room. I picked up a magazine (dated 2 days before) and someone asked me if I wanted water (I did) and then even asked me if I wanted lemon (I didn’t). (As someone who doesn’t like lemon in their water, I always appreciate it when I’m asked.) The massage therapist, Kathleen came to get me and took me back to the therapy room. Again, soft music, dim lighting, candles, and a fountain just outside the door – which you could hear from inside the room. One full body massage later, I’m feeling very relaxed. She did a GREAT job. After the massage, she took me back to the little room with the beaded metal curtain and gave me more water (came with the lemon this time, but I didn’t even care). She even came back after a few minutes to explain some stretching exercises I could do to help the arthritis in my neck. I knew most of them, but learned two more. (Chin to shoulder and the “backstroke.”) Overall WONDERFUL experience!

We spent the rest of the day Thursday just hanging around the pool and ocean. I even read a FICTION book! (Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg) FirstHusband was reading Cold Sassy Tree (recommended by Lisa Writes) and he really liked it. Thanks AGAIN, Lisa! We ended the day with dinner at R.J. Gators (for some reason, it was called Backwater Fresh Grill, but the ticket and Ocean Walk signs referred to it as R.J. Gators). Whatever the name, it was GOOD. Great service and great food!

Friday, we went to Daytona Lagoon (Florida residents, don’t forget your drivers licenses for an $8 discount per ticket). The food wasn’t all that good and, at around $8 per person, we blew the money we saved on the discount. Better to eat before you go, because outside food and drinks are not allowed. At the very least, there’s a Burger King next to the parking garage. Great little water park! PinkGirl’s favorite part was this giant structure with 3 water slides, water spurting out everywhere and at the very top, a GIANT bucket that tipped when it filled up – sending water everywhere. Plenty of seating surrounding this area and what I liked best was the fact that the chairs were low and right at the edge of the water, so I could dangle my feet and legs in the water and see the entire structure. PinkGirl lasted about an hour and a half and then had a complete breakdown – a combination of over excitement, low blood sugar, lack of sleep and (we think) sunscreen and sweat in her eyes. FirstHusband took her back to the room and I stayed with FavoriteSon to ride the slides and hang out in the lazy river. The lazy river was nice, but there were very Very VERY few tubes. It was after 3:00 p.m. and not that crowded – but I would say that for every three people in the lazy river, only one person had a tube. That said, I probably only went around 2 or 3 times before I got one. The music was classic rock, but you could only hear it in certain parts of the river. I love me a lazy river and FavoriteSon and I must have floated for over an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.

We went back to Daytona Lagoon that night so FirstHusband and FavoriteSon rode the go carts and they had a GREAT time! Dinner at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company and then back to Daytona Lagoon for laser tag. FavoriteSon scored only 25 points below the winner! After we bought the tickets, PinkGirl refused to wear the big, heavy jacket. She finally relented after I promised to stay right with her. After about a minute inside, she was off on her own and didn’t want my help. I was just another target.

Saturday, we went deep sea fishing on a party boat, but this post is already L O N G, so I’ll post about that later.

(By the way, I didn’t post while on vacation because I just don’t think it’s a good idea to announce on the internet: “My house is empty!” I know none of you are going to trek on down to Florida and break in, but I just think it’s more prudent to mention travel AFTER it is complete and we’re back home. Many of my fellow bloggers talk about trips and preparation and blogging while on vacation and I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I wish everyone would post after they get home. Especially if they post their real name and what city they live in. So. I’m paranoid. In this case, what can it hurt?)

Back to life. Back to reality.

okay. I’m back. I think.

wow. this will be stream of consciousness, so . . . good luck following it. and you know how, when I post, I usually have a point? Yeh. Not today. I also have decided to play a little game with this post. How many bloggers can I link to in one post? Let’s see, shall we?

The last two weeks have been . . . distracting. FirstHusband was on travel Monday through Thursday of this past week and Sunday through Thursday of the week before. (I’m so thankful he was home on the weekends.) This week, there are only two full days (Monday and Tuesday) and two half days (Wednesday and Thursday) of school and then. Summer vacation. (I’m so thankful that I only work part-time, mostly at home and can spend most of the summer doing fun things with my kids.)

I don’t expect to complete a thought until 7:35am on August 13th. (yep. that would be the first day of school.)

I read a blogger recently express how May was NOT her favorite month. (Was it Lisa Writes?) I agree. My body agrees. I put myself in traction this morning and right now, I’m on a muscle relaxant (hence the stream of consciousness). I have arthritis in my neck and I haven’t put myself in traction since I started working out with a personal trainer back in September. I was so cocky. I move up to 12 pound dumbbells for my workout and think I’m all that. So. I carried a couch. Not by myself, mind you. I only carried one side of a couch. A guy carried the other. I know. I’m paying for the stupidity today. (I’m so thankful that FirstHusband is home and I don’t have to work today. It’s a good day to do nothing.)

I carried the couch at a charity garage sale I worked on Thursday and Friday. It took 16 hours on Thursday (I didn’t work all that time) to set it up and there were a LOT of volunteers. Friday morning, I listed the sale on Craigslist and spent the entire day working the sale, stopped a few minutes before 4pm to go watch the “cheer” performance PinkGirl participated in after a week of after school cheer camp. Then PinkGirl was off to her first sleepover and I went back to help pack up the leftover garage sale stuff for the charity truck that was coming Saturday morning. The whole thing was exhausting, but I’m so thankful that we made $3,500 at the sale to benefit PinkGirl’s 1st Grade teacher. In December, this mother of two was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, and I’m so thankful that, in April, she was told her cancer was “RESOLVED!” If you have questions about cancer, go on over to simply a musing blog and learn more about it. Thanks to Chilihead/Melanie over at Don’t Try this at Home for the link!

Going back in time to last Saturday, May 10th, I provided program and music at the Mother’s Day Brunch at my church. I’m so thankful that I didn’t forget any of the lyrics to either song, that people laughed in all the right places during my presentation and that I remembered all the sign language to my second song (Word of God Speak). I hadn’t delivered a full program in over two years and I was so stressed about it. I rehearsed in my solitary time (in the car) for over a month (yes, the sign language too), and was very worried that I would lose my focus, but I’m so thankful that in the end, it was like recess! Saturday afternoon, the family went to help my mother pack for her move to Arkansas. We left to come home at 9:45pm and the packing was still not finished. But I’m so thankful that we didn’t go back over there on Mother’s Day, but rather, spent the day together as a family.

Sunday (Mother’s Day), I sang at church and then came home to spend the afternoon saving hundreds of tiny little lives. See this is what you get when you don’t stock up on pool filters for the winter:

Redneck Pool Full of TadpolesFrog and Tadpole

I spent Mother’s Day afternoon scooping HUNDREDS of tadpoles out of the pool. It was a mindless task, just what I needed that day and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to show my kids the various stages of frog life. Who am I kidding? I thought was cool! I had never seen a tadpole/frog in mid development before. Two legs in front, tail in the back? Weirdly cool. We put some in various stages of development a fish bowl and took them to PinkGirl’s 1st grade classroom for a few days. Then, when it was time for PinkGirl to say goodbye to all her (named) friends, I’m so thankful that BestDaddy was home to go with her down to the edge of the pond behind our backyard. They let the little guys go and had some wonderful Daddy/Little Girl time. Jump to today and BestDaddy and PinkGirl spent the afternoon saving more lives before finally draining the pool all the way. Then another trip to water’s edge and some fun alone time together. So sweet. In a span of one week, we transferred hundreds, if not more than a thousand little frogs to be from our redneck (above ground) swimming pool into a pond behind our house.

It’s going to be a very LOUD summer.

I’m WAY behind on the book study of The Excellent Wife, lead by Leslie over at Lux Venit, but I did ask FirstHusband to read Chapter 6 and the post I wrote after reading it. His words?

“Well, I read it because you asked me to. But . . . I’ve already been through all that and I just don’t want to do it again. I don’t believe that way and I don’t want you to do those things. I like us the way we are.”

I’m so thankful for this man. And for his momma. When we first began dating, he often told me that he was drawn to me because I was “different” than the other girls in Baptist Campus Ministry. Over the last 18 years, he’s convinced me that “different” was a compliment. When I studied communication in college, I learned about a phenomenon called Groupthink. In a (tiny, little) nutshell, Groupthink refers to the idea that absolute consensus is a bad thing. It produces poor decisions. Well, in our marriage, Groupthink isn’t part of our relationship. We challenge each other. We tell each other the truth, but always in love. If one of us is wrong, we want to know about it BEFORE we make a fool of ourselves or lose the respect of other people. We both want to see ourselves from the other’s perspective as well as from our own. It’s a truer, more honest and well-rounded reflection. As far as The Excellent Wife book study goes? I’m still reading the book, but as I continue to ask FirstHusband what he thinks of what I’m reading, I can tell you, the content of the book isn’t motivating life/marriage changes for us.

I LOVE the “momku” written by Jesus and Dark Chocolate! I think I need a grown-up slumber party like Domestic Accident. I definitely need to find out what Alyson is talking about. What is this “PedEgg” thing she’s talking about? And Rebekah? I’m right there with you when you say, “I’ve ‘met’ many people through blogging who I really wish I could live next door to and sit on the front porch with a cup of tea and chat.” And a big thanks to Mir for giving me a heads up on the next book I want: “Sleep is for the Weak.” And now Jane at What about Mom? has given yet another nudge to read “Atlas Shrugged” boost since I read that Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer had “Atlas Shrugged” on her reading list this year – but now it’s not on her list anymore. hmmm. I LOVE the photographs Chris posts over at Notes from the Trenches. Really, make the time to look. Wonderful! Also, check out the “Dadsense” song from Anita Renfroe over at Mommy Needs Coffee. It’s her follow-up to the Mom Overture I posted a while back.

And now for a walk down Memarie Lane, where the recipes are cheap, easy and delicious, the google search strings are weirder than mine and where Atreyu is still alive and well (btw, it’s Bastian who has to call out your new name). She’s brave enough to post a full-length photo of herself 20 weeks pregnant, helpful enough to share tips for talking to pregnant women and has posted – by far the BEST Lunch idea in the blogosphere.

So. My mother left. As I mentioned, we started packing her on Saturday, May 10th. On Tuesday, around 4:30pm, MiddleSister (mine) called from the Walmart parking lot while she was waiting for my mom to pick up prescriptions. MiddleSister drove the truck to Arkansas, following my mom, who drove her car. It took from Saturday till Tuesday to pack the truck. Monday I went over to my Dad’s house (sounds weird – “Dad’s House”) to help. I’m not even going to go there, but suffice it to say, at the end of the day, FavoriteSon asked:

“Mom? Can I ask you a question? Did I do anything right today?”


I immediately apologized to him and told him it wasn’t his fault. I was taking out my stress on him and I was SO sorry. I HATE that I did that.

Anyway. My mom is gone. She left Tuesday and my sister flew home yesterday. She and my dad came to see me at the local bowling alley where I was at a birthday party with PinkGirl. I appreciate my sister for driving the truck to Arkansas. So much. If she didn’t do it, I’m afraid my dad would have. He is such a gracious man. I bought him a computer at the garage sale and spent Saturday morning cleaning it up, installing software and getting it set up for him.

Hey! I just realized something! I lifted the couch on Friday. My neck only hurt a little on Saturday and I had full range of motion. I bowled on Saturday. Today, I have limited motion and much more pain. So. I decree it was the bowling and NOT the lifting of the couch. Until I want to bowl again. Then, it was the lifting of the couch. Yep. That works for me.

I thought I was doing okay with the stress of all this stuff with my mom, but it turns out that my body is giving me away. I had a dental cleaning and the dentist says:

“You’ve been clenching. Does your jaw hurt?”


“You’ve cracked a filling. Do you have any pain?”


“Your temporalis muscle is about 4 times larger than normal.”

Then realization. “Could this be why I can’t open my mouth all the way? I’m a vocalist and I can’t seem to get a full voice sound because I can’t get my mouth open all the way.”

“Yes. Definitely.”

Well. crud.

Long story short? I need to relax my jaw. I cannot count how many times I caught myself clenching on Tuesday and consciously stopped. I’ve also been tapping out rhythms with my jaw. The dentist has instructed me to transfer the tapping to my fingers, so I’m going to intentionally give myself a new tic. While suggesting a mouth guard, the dentist also suggested I massage my jaw, use warm compresses, take ibuprofen and try to consciously STOP doing this. We both feel like I may be able to stop it, since it is a fairly recent development. It’s been 6 days and I can honestly say my jaw doesn’t hurt so much. I still can’t get my mouth open all the way. But it’s only been six days. I’m so thankful that I have a GREAT dentist! I didn’t always.

I got an Award this month! Mocha with Linda gave me a “You Make My Day” Award along with some wonderful, edifying comments in her post! Thanks, fellow freak!

Debbie over at Midnight Musings nominated me for another award! The Arte Y Pico award for blog creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogging community, no matter what the language. Wow. little me? cool! Thanks Debbie!

Okay, I’ll admit, I took a nap in the middle of all that. FirstHusband said I was “loopy” from the muscle relaxant and sent me off to bed.

Just before bed, PinkGirl climbed up next to me on the couch and said,

“Mom, who’s your favorite character in ‘Annie’?”

hmmm. “I would have to say, Miss. Hannagin”

“ME TOO! I like that song, ‘Little Girls’ that she sings.”


Carol Burnette is so GREAT in this movie. (PinkGirl doesn’t really get why she’s drinking so much water. She thinks all the little girls just make Miss Hannagin crazy.)

We need a vacation. We’re going to spend a few days on the boat. DAYS, mind you. You know, drive over to the coast from our house (45 minutes away), spend the day on the boat and have it back to the marina before our storage facility closes up at 4:30pm. We may drive a little north and rent a day slip at another marina, but we would get a hotel room. LOVE LOVE LOVE the ocean. And the poem The Queen B wrote about vacation in Florida!

Still thinking about the question over at Mel’s World: If you had all the TIME in the world, and all the MONEY in the world, what would you do? Go on over and answer!

Like Lysa over at Proverbs 31 Ministries, I’ve been motivated to transition my bedroom from the “catch all” space to a relaxing haven. I’ll post photos soon.

Finally. Thanks Amy for so eloquently explaining one of the guiding philosophies in my life. Check out my post over at Pragmatic Communion entitled “builder unknown.”