Crawling Back (Editing As I Go)

December 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm (Multiple Sclerosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I have often talked about getting things done with a chronic illiness…  editing is an important vocabulary word.  Nothing can be written in stone — I usually have to adjust my wonderful plan 🙂

Today is Tuesday.  I’ve lost three days and am in danger of losing a fourth.  Beginning on Friday night, I noticed that my nose felt like an ice cube (never a good sign).  Then about 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, I awoke to pain, severe enough to, well, wake me up.  I worked to relax and eventually fell back asleep.  Remember, last week I spent the days opening boxes and wrapping presents.  I didn’t think I had overdone it but I must have.

Saturday morning I woke up in pain, stood to go and get some pain medicine and promptly threw up.  Not good.  My MS has effected my central nerve, which, in turn, causes vertigo.  Throwing up means I cannot keep pain meds down.  I spent Saturday, sitting on the recliner with a heated rice bag wrapped around my face.  If I was very careful, I could avoid throwing up.  It seems I was never careful enough!!

On Sunday, I couldn’t even get out of bed.  I could have called my neurologist, but they would have told me to go to the emergency room.  The ER closest to my house uses a neurologist I reported to the hospital, so that place was out of contention.  Darling DannyO spent the day asking me if I needed anything.  Every six hours I took vertigo AND pain medicine and within ½ hour, threw up.

Moving to Monday…  I had a feeling this would be the last really bad day.  The pain didn’t get any worse (although I’m not sure it could have gotten worse).  I made myself get up and make tea and ate cereal and applesauce.  DannyO had to forage for food.  By 8:00 p.m., the pain was just a whisper.  I did a whole lot of “self-talk.”  “Come on Mel, you can do this!!”

On Monday, I pushed through and made three batches of sweet dough for my nut roll and apricot roll.  I screwed up two of the batches (I blame it on the meds!!).  One batch I added twice the sugar, and another batch I didn’t add sugar… don’t ask!!!  I am converting the dough without sugar into a loaf of bread.  Of course, I love sweets so I decided that the dough with double the sugar couldn’t be all bad.  All I need to do is to make one more batch of sweet dough and I will have enough for 12 rolls!!!  I planned to make the filling Tuesday and bake the rolls on Wednesday.

Today (Tuesday), I woke up and got out of bed… and promptly threw up!!  It seems the vertigo is still with me.  So… editing as I go… I will make the filling Wednesday and bake the rolls on Thursday.  I am not sure when I am going to decorate the tree (which isn’t even up yet)…

Oh well…

Here’s our 2013 Christmas Card.

From Our House to Your House

From Our House to Your House

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It’s A Wrapping Party!! (And music party)

December 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm (Musings..., Time Management, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I am sitting in my sunny living room, eating a snack (don’t judge… peanut butter-filled pretzels and three Hershey kisses) and enjoying some iPod music, which is set to “shuffle.” Someday, I promise you Amanda, I will write a blog about my variety of music 🙂  Right now the song playing is “Be Ye Glad” by Glad.  I had to take pain meds for my TN.  As careful as I am, going out into the extreme cold that is western PA right now often triggers the pesky trigeminal neuralgia.

BEFORE

BEFORE – boxes and boxes piled on and around Amanda’s bed

As I wrote in my Surviving The Holidays post, I gave myself three days this week to wrap presents.  I ordered 95% of the gifts on line so they have been coming in bunches since December 2.  I was unable to work on the project on Tuesday, but I started Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. and by 3:00 p.m. all of the boxes were opened, cataloged, and the presents were wrapped. (“My Funny Valentine” by Rachelle Ferrell) 🙂

DURING

DURING (pay no attention to the unmade bed or the cluttered art room — the art room clutter must wait until after Christmas)

What a Mess I Made!!

What a Mess I Made!! (You can see my unfinished landscape on the easel in the background)

After everything was wrapped, I had to deconstruct the boxes, filler, etc.  (“Another Day(Gotta Get Up)” by Jill Scott)

My very large pile of presents.

My very large pile of presents.

A close-up (without spoiling anyone's surprise)

A close-up (without spoiling anyone’s surprise)

I had 20 boxes to recycle.  And because I have OCD and when I am finished, I want to be completely finished, I took all of the boxes, sans my identifying information, to the recycling bins three miles from my house, wearing my pajamas and forgetting my driver’s license and hoping I wasn’t pulled over or in an accident.  (“Love Is You” by Chrisette Michele)

Now, because I have always been honest with my blog readers, I will tell you that two of the boxes contained presents for me, myself and I.  I have been getting Amanda a Snowbaby for the past few years and, while I won’t spoil the surprise for Amanda, I found this sweet baby angel while I was searching for Amanda’s gift.  (“Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” by The Beatles) She is called “Angel of Joy” and I thought she was perfect for… me!!

"Angel of Joy" (really, that's what she is called)

“Angel of Joy” (really, that’s what she is called) all for me.

Of course, I got myself a great pair of shoes because… oh maybe… because it was Tuesday!!  They are a beautiful pair of Jessica Simpson flats, black with a gunmetal-colored bow.

The bow is beautiful!

The bow is beautiful!

I love the toe of this shoe!!

I love the toe of this shoe!!

I am waiting for a few more boxes in the mail and will wrap them as I receive them, but for all intents and purposes, wrapping is complete and the packages I needed to send to England for our nieces, Catie and Nikki are in the mail!!!   (“Wonderful” by India.Arie)

Yay me!!

As I did the final edit of this post, the song playing on my iPod was “Hosanna” by my own darling daughter, Amanda.  Since there isn’t a YouTube version of this song, I am linking you to a video I posted (not great quality) of Amanda singing and my son, Brent, playing the guiter… (“Paris(ooh la la)”)

That’s a wrap!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Anxiety and Me

December 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm (Social Anxiety)

I have wanted to write about this for a while but didn’t know how to put it into words.  It’s taken me over a year to even begin to work through it.   

Me and Sue -- about the age when we started singing with our Daddy

Me and Sue — about the age when we started singing with our Daddy

 

I have spent my life on a stage, in front of people.  I sang with my sister, Sue and my Daddy when I was three years old.  We had a little trio.  I competed vocally and won through the Grace Brethren Church “Nurturing Abilities for Christ” more than once.   

Dad, Sue, Me, Mom and Deb.  We were in 7th and 8th grade

Dad, Sue, Me, Mom and Deb. We were in 7th and 8th grade

I was in two musicals in high school, sang in choirs in college, and played Lucy in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.”

Playing the piano at Central Cambria High School in 1977

Playing the piano at Central Cambria High School in 1977

:-)

🙂

Me Kathy McCarthy, Mike Yocum and Mike Boze in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Me Kathy McCarthy, Mike Yocum and Mike Boze in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

A Mid'Summer's Night's Dream (I played Puck)

A Mid’Summer’s Night’s Dream (I played Puck)

I sang in church, sang with my family, and we sang with big name gospel groups.  I also played the piano.  In 1997, I began to accompany the Central Cambria School District choirs.  We started to attend Emmanuel Baptist Church and I began to use my gift of music there.  It is a huge church and standing in front of the congregation was second nature to me.  

Singing at Youth Conference - 1976

Singing at Youth Conference – 1976

Singing at my niece's wedding

Singing at my niece’s wedding

Teaching yoga to MS Society members

Teaching yoga to MS Society members

I think this began about five years ago, when I developed Blepharospasm, a big word for eye twitches.  They got so bad that I wore sunglasses so people wouldn’t stare.  I continued to minister with the music team at EBC.  I mostly rehearsed the choir and played keyboards.  I noticed that I would feel anxious as I left the house, but I soldiered through and completed my obligations.    I began to see a new neurologist, Dr. Clark (whom I love) and my insurance company approved Botox injections every three months for the blepharospasm.  I wish he’d hit my wrinkles 🙂 but he gives me five injections around my eyes.  This treatment is effective for me.  I have been receiving this treatment for two years. 

I played the piano for my daughter in her Jazz concert

I played the piano for my daughter in her Jazz concert

 

I had an MS setback and my TN flared up in April 2012.  May 2012 was the last time I stood on a stage. 

For six months before my last ministry weekend, getting there was another issue.  I developed full-blown panic attacks.  They would begin the day before I knew I had to go to church to rehearse or perform.  I would talk myself through one attack, think it had subsided and then another one would occur.  Another complication was that if I had a TN attack, I couldn’t medicate if I was driving.  Often I’d go to choir in tremendous pain because I was waiting to take my pain meds until I got home.  Because the choir doesn’t sing in the summer, I was able to take the break without really inconveniencing Kristin, the choir director.  My replacement was also named Melody (without the “e”)!! 

Summertime passed.  I went to church if Danny would go but when he was on call or busy and couldn’t go, I’d stay home.  I tried to go, I really did!! I would be fully dressed for Saturday evening service, but I’d have a panic attack.  The last time I attempted to go alone, I turned my vehicle around on 219 (illegally because I used an emergency turn around and you know how I am a rule follower!!).  I haven’t been to church since October 2012. 

Going to Walmart caused me to panic.  I began to go late at night or early in the morning so there wouldn’t be many people.  If I had to go in the middle of the day, I’d take my iPod and listen to music, praying I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew.  If you have seen me in Walmart and feel that I have ignored you, I am sorry.  I probably did ignore you and prayed you wouldn’t see me. 

I began to realize this summer that I really had a problem.  If I could stay at home for seven days in a row, I considered it to be a good week.  I began to research “social anxiety” and “panic attacks.”  There is a lot of information and as I read, I’d find myself nodding in agreement… “this is me.”  “Yeah, this is me too.”  I began to talk to my best friend, Juel, who is a great listener and trained in these areas.  I finally opened up to my family doctor, Dr. Mike.  Because of all of the medicines I am on, I cannot take an anti-depressant.  Quite honestly, in order for me to get a prescription for this, I need to see a psychiatrist.  I don’t want to do that.  I see so many doctors already.  Dr. Mike and I have come up with a plan.  I am going to take one Elavil in the morning and see if that helps.  I am going to begin to see a counselor just to talk about it.

I have been happily married for 33 ½ years to darling DannyO.  He is a very social person.  We have two couples, Dave and Shelly and Mark and Debbie, who we love doing things with.  If Dan gives me enough notice, I can gather myself together and go.  If it is a last-minute plan, I begin to pray in desperation, because I know I NEED to go for Danny AND for me.  Sometimes I will tell Danny that I am not putting any make-up on and will wear my glasses, but I will go.  He doesn’t care.  He loves me!!

I am so blessed that my EBC family hasn’t forsaken me.  My friend Jenn keeps in close touch with me and prays with me and for me on a regular basis.  Debbie, EBC’s visitation coordinator has corresponded with me.  I get regular cards from Melanie and Laurie.  Keith is my FB EBC encourager.  I keep telling them that I will be back.  I will be back.

I am working to “behave” my way through this.  For instance, I knew on Sunday that today, Tuesday would be my errand day.  I began to prepare for it on Sunday.  When I begin to panic, I talk myself through it… “You have a car that goes good in the snow.” “You will be out of the house for three hours, tops.” “You will shower Monday night so you don’t use all your energy before you go.” Showering and washing my hair saps my energy.  “You will wear your black leggings, your Susan Graver sweatshirt tunic, black boots, watch, ‘Joy’ bracelet, and black hat and pink scarf.”  I make a specific list of the order of my day.

  • Recycle plastic and papers
  • Donnie’s
  • Bank
  • Walmart (with another specific list)
  • Check on Mom and Dad
  • Put groceries away

I took a big step towards healing in October.  I hadn’t seen my son, Brent since January and I missed him so much.  I booked a plane ticket to Ft. Lauderdale and actually flew down and had a magnificent time in the sunshine. 

I don’t know if I will ever be able to stand on stage again.  My voice continues to deteriorate because of MS. I don’t even know if I CAN sing well enough for people to hear. I dream of singing.  I don’t know if I could take any criticism, which I would open myself up to if I performed again.  As I work through this complicated issue, I had my piano tuned and pulled out my vocal warm-up CD’s.  I sing in the privacy of my home and know the Lord hears and loves my praise. 

I am now working through another holiday season.  As I shared in my last blog post, this time of year has its own challenges simply because I have MS and TN.  Add social anxiety and the situation can become pretty hopeless.  I am working through it day by day, prayer by prayer, breath by breath.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am!!  I really am!!

 I am aware that some will consider me weak and silly for having social anxiety.  Some would say, “Just do it, don’t think about it.”  If it were that easy… if it were that easy…

I was feeling brave today so, here it is… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surviving the Holidays

December 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm (Multiple Sclerosis, Time Management, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

Anyone who has a chronic illness understands me when I say even thinking about the holiday season puts me into a state of panic.  How am I supposed to manage myself and family, which I barely do on a good day, during the hustle and bustle of November and December.  After all of these years, I’ve finally figured it out and I thought I’d share my ideas with you.

I start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas in October.  I get out my date book and write all of the hard deadlines and functions into the calendar.  Those are days that I schedule nothing else because I need to be able to hold conversations with people, usually in the evening.  With MS, if I am tired, I have cognitive issues, i.e., I cannot carry on a good conversation because I lose words and my speaking becomes muddled.

In October, I also begin a Christmas list and set my budget.  My children are adults now so I don’t have any idea of what they really want or need.  DannyO gets paid every other week so I begin to purchase gift cards, usually one a paycheck, and by Christmas I have all the gift cards I need and haven’t had to whip out my credit card to pay for them.

The one thing I usually give my kids is a bag of essentials, toothpaste, contact solution, teeth whitener, deodorant, chapstick, things like that.  Again, I purchase them bit by bit, with each paycheck, so by Christmas, I am able to have spent $200 on essentials (yes, they are THAT expensive!!) without using my credit card.  I am usually also reminding my kiddos that I need their Christmas list.

I have Thanksgiving dinner at my house for my parents and children.  We usually have between 7-10 people and I make my grocery list two weeks before that date.  I pull my recipes out (yes, I have a “Thanksgiving” file) and check my pantry supplies and note anything I will need, down to the sage and the white wine I use for the gravy.  At this point, I also purchase the walnuts (usually three pounds) and dried apricots (usually three pounds) for my Christmas nut and apricot rolls.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I cook a fresh turkey and do not purchase that until the Sunday before turkey day.  This year I got three different frozen vegetables in their “microwave in the bag” and it made things so easy!!  If I had thought about this post before Thanksgiving, I would have shared all of my recipes with you.  Perhaps next year… 🙂

Pies -- they were scrumptious!!

Pies — they were scrumptious!!

The week of Thanksgiving:

  • Sunday:  purchase turkey and pull out all of the dry/pantry ingredients, setting them on the dining room table in groups of recipes.
  • Monday:  Decide what serving dishes I will use for each specific dish and add to the dining room table pile.
  • Tuesday: Make brine for the turkey (I boil 1 gallon of the 2 gallons used and dissolve the salt, brown sugar, etc. I let the mixture cool to room temperature and then add another gallon of cold water to it.  I use three kitchen garbage bags into a 5 gallon bucket and pour the 2 gallons of brine into the garbage bags.  After that cools completely, I add the turkey to the brine.)  This year (and most years) I was able to just put the bucket in the garage, with a lid on it, of course, until Thursday morning.
  • Wednesday:  Bake the pies (this year I made three pumpkin pies and 1 pecan pie). Make the fresh cranberry sauce (I just use the recipe on the cranberry bag). I chop the celery and onions and French bread used in the stuffing mix and store them in a Ziploc bag.
  • Thursday:  Put turkey into the oven between 8 and 9.  This year I bought a probe-type thermometer, recommended by Alton Brown of Good Eats.  The temperature device sits on the counter for easy reading.  I loosely packed about two cups of stuffing into the bird cavity and put the rest into a doubled non-stick aluminum foil packet and added the package to the turkey pan.  At about 11:00 I (Amanda, really) peeled the potatoes and boiled them.  I use a ricer to make the potatoes perfectly smooth.  I also add sour cream, butter, salt and pepper.  After mixing everything together, I tented it loosely with aluminum foil and put it over a pan of simmering water until it was time to eat.  The small pan of sweet potatoes, I started in my Ninja crock pot/oven/stove.  I finished them in the oven while the turkey was resting.

Then I poured the wine. We ate at 1:30. Dinner was delicious!!!

Okay… on to Christmas.  Remember, I have the hard deadlines/functions put in the calendar.  I give myself a three-day window for each specific task culminating on December 25.

  • November 29-December 2:  Beginning on Black Friday through Cyber Monday, I purchased Christmas presents on line.  I paid exactly ZERO for shipping and was able to compare prices and got some wonderful deals.  I would recommend becoming an Amazon Prime member because shipping is free and I have paid for my membership many times over this last year in free shipping.
  • November 30-December 2:  I also addressed Christmas cards.  I had a picture card made with our greeting pre-printed so I only had to address the envelopes.
Our Christmas card 2013

Our Christmas card 2013

  • December 2-5: (Monday through Wednesday) I decorated my kitchen.  I worked as I felt well enough to work.
  • December 6-8: I decorated the living room, which included washing windows.  I finished that room on the 7th, because I had some good hours to dedicate to the task.

Surviving the Holidays-8Surviving the Holidays-11

Surviving the Holidays-9

Next week I have two doctor’s appointments and a hair appointment so that eliminates Monday and Thursday.  On Monday, after my neurologist appointment, I will pick up the five or so remaining gifts that I didn’t get on line.  I also have made a list of my Christmas brunch dishes (yes, I have a “Christmas recipe file”) and will purchase those ingredients sometime this week.

  • December 10, 11 and 13: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, I will wrap presents.  I may begin today if I feel like it.
  • December 16-20: I will give myself the whole week to bake the apricot and nut rolls.  DannyO puts up the tree (it is real and usually very big) and puts the lights and beads on it.  I will then decorate the tree.  I will decorate as I bake – because there is so much down time with baking.

Surviving the Holidays-12Surviving the Holidays-10

Surviving the Holidays-6

So, if all goes according to plan, by Saturday, December 21, after I have cleaned the house well,  all will be done and I can enjoy the week of Christmas.

Surviving the Holidays-4Surviving the Holidays-3

By making a plan and giving myself (usually) a three-day window to accomplish specific tasks, I am able to enjoy the season and can place the focus where it should be… on Jesus.

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The Long Goodbye

December 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm (Alzheimer's, Musings...)

The Long Goodbye-3

Mom at 16

I promised two months ago that I would begin to blog regularly again and I didn’t.  For that I apologize.  Life got in the away (again!).  In May my Daddy broke both bones in his leg.  I live beside my Mom and Dad and took over the reins, helping my parents as Daddy healed.  My Momma has been declining for years.  I am speaking honestly here, but with so much love for her.  She suffers with trigeminal neuralgia too and for years she tried to find a doctor to take the pain away.  She had all of her teeth pulled – I understand!!  I often go to the dentist just for him to tell me that there is no abscess, that my teeth are fine and it is my TN.  She found a doctor willing to put her on copious amounts of opiates.  She stopped fighting and lived from dose to dose, her world shrinking.  She developed paranoia, obsessions and anger – something our precious Momma never had.  We desperately tried to get help for her but because she is an adult, we had no control.

File0137

Mom had four children by the time she was 25 🙂

Things came to a head in September, just after my Dad was released by his doctors for his leg.  Momma accidently took too much medicine.  Dad found her unresponsive and called 911 and me.  Mom was barely breathing.  In the emergency room, her vital signs were dropping and bells started going off.  Daddy made the decision to have her vented – a risk because we didn’t know how long she was lying before Dad found her.  At first they thought she had a stroke but we found the evidence and they immediately began to counter-act Tylenol poisoning to her liver.  She had taken enough barbiturates to kill five people her size.  It took her two days to regain consciousness.  The doctor was amazed that she was alive and responsive!! The Lord told me that we were given the “gift of time.”

family

We’re not sure where Mom’s hair went on her left side. She was probably furiously getting us ready for our picture and took care of herself last.

The sticky wicket was the (what we believed) overuse of pain medicines.  She was cleared to go home but we requested Crisis intervention.  Mom agreed to stay in the hospital to detox.  She didn’t know that was what was going to happen, but it did.  The first few days were so rough because she had all of the classic opiate withdrawal signs.  Once she stabilized they ran more tests on her and diagnosed her with dementia – Alzheimer’s.  The pain meds were masking her Alzheimer’s!!  What we thought were side-effects from the meds were the dreaded disease marching through her brain.

Who will she be??  How will we cope??  The first thing we did was to fire her pain management doctor.  The second thing we did was to ask her Geri psychiatrist to manage her care – he is in charge and her PCP answers to him, etc.  We came up with plans on how to handle her pain – which she has and needs relief from.  She cannot be alone.  She cannot drive or cook.

The Long Goodbye-2

Mom and Dad married 35 years.

We have indeed been given the gift of time.  The paranoia and anger and some of the obsessions were a result of too many drugs in a tiny person.  She is a delight!!  She came to my house for Thanksgiving for the first time in three years.  On Monday, my sister came to visit with five of her youngest children and Momma held the baby and sang to him!!  Before this crisis, she would have not even come down to visit and didn’t want the disruption that children bring.

The Long Goodbye-4

Momma’s new haircut!!

I am hanging here while Daddy hunts. (I don’t say I am “watching” Momma – we are just hanging out). Before she went up to take a nap, she did what she always did before her slide.  She held both of my cheeks with her hands and gently kissed me on the lips and told me that she loved me so much.  THAT is the Momma I remember.  She gets confused and frustrated, but we are able to redirect her to make the stress less and allow her to enjoy her life.  We don’t give her any memory tests that will make her sad because she knows she can’t remember.  We are making sure she has her dignity throughout this journey.

The Long Goodbye-5

Thanksgiving 2013 — Momma enjoyed herself so much!

Momma’s doctor calls Alzheimer’s a “fatal” disease.  I know that what I see now will look different in six months, ten months, and two years. Each time I fold her tiny body into my arms, and tell her I love her, I am saying goodbye. She was the best Mom — and she still is.  But now I am the caregiver and she is the giver of hugs and kisses.   The end of her life will be as God wills but until He takes her home we will make sure she gets all of the love she needs and deserves.  I love you my precious Momma!

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Sunshine Award Questionnaire

December 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm (Uncategorized)

My sweet friend, Tab, nominated me to answer some specific questions on my blog.  I met the Tab the day after her wedding some years ago (although she doesn’t remember). We became Internet friends even though we are in completely different stages in our lives; she is a young wife and momma and I am a post-menopausal wife and mother who has seriously neglected her blog.  Last month, as I was getting my hair colored, a woman sat down in the booth beside mine with green hair.  I must say it was the hair that I noticed first but then I saw that beautiful face and said to my hairdresser, “I think that is Tab!” She checked the appointment book and… It was TAB!!!  We had lots of laughs and completely held up our stylists’ work as we gabbed!!  The green hair is a long story but it involves TMNT and Halloween.

I am hanging with my Momma for a few hours so Daddy can hunt and I am making time to answer these questions.  My precious Momma has Alzheimer’s and, while she is doing really terrific, she needs constant company.  This fact of life has changed my life – and I am still adjusting to it.  I will blog about it in future posts.

sunshine-award

So… I am listening to my iTunes for inspiration as I answer Tab’s questions.

1.   What is the first thing you drink in the morning?

Coffee, cOffee, coFfee, cofFee, coffEe, coffeE, COFFEE!!  After I drink my 20 ounce mug of coffee, I switch to water.  Coffee is sweet nectar that God has graciously provided so that I can function.

2.   What is your favorite day of the week and why?

Sundays.  Because of my social anxiety, I cannot attend church right now.  Ten years ago, the answer would still have been Sunday but it would have been because I love to worship my Lord and Savior at EBC.

My darling DannyO and I usually sleep in (although I sleep in longer than he does).  He makes us French toast and eggs and we read the paper and watch the Gaither Gospel Hour on PBS and usually an old movie on AMC or TCM.  Of course, during NASCAR season, I watch the race.

3. What is your least favorite chore?

Unloading the dishwasher, which is sad, because I should be thankful to HAVE a dishwasher!!  I grew up with four sisters and there were lots and lots of dishes, which we always had to do… scrape, wash, dry, put away.

4. What are the biggest changes from your life today compared to five years ago?

Five years ago I was the accompanist for the Central Cambria School District.  I had to quit because I developed Trigeminal Neuralgia and was unable to work through the pain.  Also, my son, Brent moved away in 2009 and we became empty-nesters.  I always say that not only do I LOVE DannyO, but I really LIKE him!!  We have great fun, just the two of us. I am also officially through menopause (according to a blood test).  Now I am waiting for these darn hot flashes to stop!!

5. What category of pins do you like best? (food, nail art, crafts, etc)

Vintage Fashion, Art (any kind), Shoes, and Creative Inspirations

6. If you had 60 minutes all to yourself in the middle of the day today, what would you do?

Since I am an empty-nester and a hermit I DO HAVE 60 minutes to myself every day.  However, with my crazy brain, it is hard for me to stop and breathe.  I’d have to say I love to go into my art room, put on some music, and paint.  Right now I have a landscape on my easel that needs finished and another Millie piece to finalize.

7. What was the last movie/video/commercial (damn you, Carters) that made you cry?

The last thing that made me cry was a video of a little boy with downs syndrome.  A sweet dog was working hard to make friends with him.  Yep… I wept.  When I watched it a second time, I wept.

8. If you had the time and money to study something in depth for 6 months, what would you want to learn?

I would go to the Parson’s School of design and study fashion.  I’d love to know how to drape fabric and make my own sewing patterns.

9. What are three things you took for granted today?

Hmmmm… this is a hard one.  I went to the garage and started my vehicle with no thought that it wouldn’t start.  We are blessed to have a working car (I couldn’t always say that).

I ran some errands and used my debit card with no thought that we had money in our account to pay for my purchases.  When Dan and I were first married we were dirt poor and floated checks left and right.  We are blessed in that Danny has a job and works hard and we can have “things.” 

As I am typing this, a Richard Smallwood song is playing, “Center of My Joy.”  I take for granted that I have a God who loves me unconditionally and who cares about me, my pain, my sorrows, my joys. 

10. What is your favorite personality trait about yourself?

I should ask my daughter this question.  This is a hard question.  I don’t self-evaluate very much so I will answer this way:  I am an oldest child.  I am a rule-follower, an organizer.  I am loyal.  I follow through on commitments. My sisters would say I am serious but focused. I always give my best effort.  I am never the life of the party but I can laugh at myself.

Well, Tab, I hope I did good 🙂 .  My Momma is napping and her dog, Daisy-doodle, is sprawled out at my feet.  The sun is shining and I am feeling blessed.

I am going to ask my sister, Esther to answer these questions too.  Tab is a blogger extraordinaire and knows 10 people who can do this.  I, however, am a true hermit so I don’t have as many blogger friends 🙂 .

Esther…  Brownswissmomma if you have time!!

Here’s how it works:
1. Include the logo in your post (at the top)
2. Link up to the blogger who nominated you
3. Answer the 10 questions below about yourself that Tab created 🙂 (I thought they were great questions so I didn’t change them!)
4. You nominate 10 other bloggers
5. And tell those bloggers about their nomination

My 10 Questions for my nominees:
1. What is the first thing you drink in the morning?
2. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
3. What is your least favorite chore?
4. What are the biggest changes from your life today compared to five years ago?
5. What category of pins do you like best? (food, nail art, crafts, etc)
6. If you had 60 minutes all to yourself in the middle of the day today, what would you do?
7. What was the last movie/video/commercial that made you cry?
8. If you had the time and money to study something in depth for 6 months, what would you want to learn?
9. What are three things you took for granted today?
10. What is your favorite personality trait about yourself?

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