Monday, May 15, 2017

Rough Holiday

Yesterday was Mother's Day, which is always bittersweet. But usually it's not too hard. My mom has been gone for 15 years and I am the mom of a sweet little girl. But yesterday was rough. I think it was partly due to that time of the month compounded with perimenopause.

Todd and Emily were very sweet to me. I got presents and ice cream. We had also gone out for Japanese food on Saturday, to avoid the Mother's Day rush. But as the day waned on, the sadder I got.

But I know I wasn't the only one having a rough time yesterday. Lots of friends have lost their moms due to death or toxic relationships. As people age, holidays morph and change. Mother's Day was fun when I was a kid, but I didn't experience a lot of loss until I was grown up.

If you had a rough day yesterday, be gentle with yourself today!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Concert Memories - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is the 5th post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

This one is really out of order but since it's recent I wanted to post about it! A week and a half ago, Todd and I dropped Emily off at a friend's house for a sleepover and then we headed off to Charlotte.

We got into Charlotte early so we could go eat at Cabo Fish Taco. We've eaten there before and really liked it. We originally heard about it because it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

After tooling around the city for a bit, we got to the Spectrum Center early and were one of the first in line to get into the building. We found our seats, which were pretty decent for what we paid and we just waited for the show to start.

A drummer started things off, and it was good but I'm not a huge fan of just drums. Mostly because it leads to migraines. Of course, I knew going into the show that I was going to be hurting something awful once it was over. The price one pays when one has chronic pain.

The opening act, BabyMetal, came on. BabyMetal is a Japanese group of girls who wear school uniforms and play hard rock. I actually have one of their albums and it's pretty fun music. I usually listen to them when I'm working out.

Their set was ok, but they were singing in Japanese so it made no sense at all. Plus everyone was sitting down in our section except these two guys in the front who were in the handicapped section. They completely blocked a couple of peoples' view and didn't care at all.

Finally it was time for the Chili Peppers to come out and their show was so worth the migraine I had later! They played a ton of favorites and quite a few songs from there new album. Flea is my favorite of all the band members, even more so than the lead singer, Anthony Kiedis. Both of them were jumping around the stage the whole show and took off their shirts at different points as well.

There was a screen behind the stage that showed a variety of things. Sometimes it was video of the band, and other times it was weird images that made me feel like I was on a bad acid trip. Several of those images flashed, and I would have to hide my head in Todd's shoulder because it was making me super dizzy.

They finished up and the crowd cheered and cheered for an encore. Todd wanted to leave, he didn't think they were going to come back on but I wanted to wait. I was right and they came out and played a couple more song, finishing up with Give It Away. We got out of there after that, and managed not to get stuck in traffic which was pretty awesome!

I spent the car ride home feeling pretty miserable, but it was worth it. One of the best concerts I've ever been to. The only one that beats it is the Korn / Evanescence (and a bunch of other bands) show we saw in 2007.

Up Next - 3rd Eye Blind!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Concert Memories - Huey Lewis and The News

This is the 4th post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

I don't remember exactly when we saw this concert, but I think I was in high school or perhaps the first few years of college. It was a summer concert at one of the county fairs, that much I remember.

My parents were big Huey Lewis fans and so am I, so we were all excited to go. Sadly, we were seated waaaaaay in the back so we could hardly see the band. The speaker system wasn't that great either, if I remember correctly, and there were rude people around us.

Sadly, this was probably the worst concert experience I ever had. It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that good either. Which is sad, because I love their music!

Up Next - Red Hot Chili Peppers!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Concert Memories - Barry Manilow

This is the 3rd post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

The next few entries of this series may be out of order. My memory for dates hasn't ever been very good but it's gotten worse since my seizures happened a few years ago. Plus with Barry Manilow being in the news, I wanted to write about him first.

I'm pretty sure I was in college when I got to see Barry Manilow live in concert. If I remember correctly, I went with my mom and my sister. I can't remember if my dad was there or not. The concert took place in Grand Rapids.

Barry Manilow was one of the musicians that I listened to a lot as a child. His songs were fun and sometimes really beautiful, in the case of I Write The Songs. His stuff is very 70's and of course my favorite of all his songs is Mandy

Seeing him in concert was awesome. He played all of his hits and put on a great show. I believe he had a bunch of dancers and lights for Copacabana. I sang, danced in my seat and was highly entertained. If I had the chance to see him again, I would!

Friday, April 7, 2017

My Tubal Ligation Story

It's been a while since I've blogged mostly thanks to ongoing illness. Also I had some surgery that took a bit to recover from.

A few months ago, I had my normal bi-yearly appointment with my regular doctor. While there, I mentioned that I wanted to get a tubal because I'm beyond done with having kids. My doctor thought it was a good idea and got me a referral to get the surgery done.

It wasn't too long before I had my consult, and the surgery was scheduled for the day after my 40th birthday (which was a Monday). At first, I didn't want to do it so quickly, but my dear husband pointed out that having it done sooner than later meant I would be recovered before April 17, which is the day we are going to see Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I, thankfully, didn't read up on personal tales of tubals before my surgery. I knew the risks, and that it's not 100%. But it's pretty close and permanent, which was important to me. While I was laid up after the surgery, I did read some articles and personal accounts, which leads me to want to post my experience. Be warned, there may be some TMI past this point!

A lot of the personal accounts were of the "DON'T DO IT" variety. But I think that is because people regretted it because they ended up wanting more kids. This seemed to be a theme especially with people who had their tubals done after having a c-section. I could have had it done then, and I remember them asking me. But because it was an emergency c-section and I was overwhelmed at the time, I said no.

Anyway, my surgery was scheduled for 4 pm on that Monday. I wasn't allowed to eat after midnight so I literally stayed up until nearly midnight stuffing my face because I knew that I was going to have a very empty tummy all day.

I had started feeling nervous that evening so I slept poorly. I got up with Todd and Emily so I could guzzle down some Sprite and some broth before 8 am, which is when I had to stop drinking anything. Plus I wanted to see Emily because she was going home from school with a friend.

I got hungrier and hungrier and more and more nervous as the afternoon went on. Finally, we were off to the surgery center to get the party started, as it were. I had to be there an hour and a half early because they to do bloodwork and I had to take a pregnancy test (which was a little funny since I had started my period the day before).

They had to hurry up and do all this before the people from the lab went home. Thankfully everything came back fine. Also the anesthesiologist wanted to see me right away too. I had been plagued with a really bad cold / virus and had gone to the doctor earlier in the week.

I had let the nurse who called me with pre-op questions know and she said I was good with the medicine I was given as long as I didn't have a cough. So I spent most of the week leading up to my birthday trying every known cough/phlegm remedy known to mankind. It worked and the anesthesiologist was impressed on how clear I sounded.

Sadly all the hurry up lead to a lot of waiting. I was gowned, and had my stuffed Iron Man bear, but I had given my phone to Todd, so I just mostly sat there. Todd and I talked some, but the anxiety didn't make me a good conversationalist.

The worst part was that my surgery got delayed by like an hour because my doctors were in another surgery. And because it was later in the day, I was the only one in the rooms down that particular hallway so I felt like I had been abandoned a bit. But the nurses did check on me and brought me blankets from the warmer.

Finally, after it felt like ages had past, the main doctor came in and told me it was only going to be a few more minutes. They got everything going, put the lovely hairnet on my head and soon I was whisked to the operating room. I had to be positioned on the table a specific way, which took a few minutes. And then I don't remember anything until I woke up in the recovery room.

I was in quite a bit of pain in the recovery room and of course, very groggy. Todd came in a bit after I woke up. I, being the mom I am even all drugged out, wanted to make sure he let the person that was watching Emily know that we would be along for her shortly.

They had already given me some pain medicine before (or while?) I was waking up but it wasn't cutting it. So the anesthesiologist had them give me Dilaudid, which is my absolute favorite pain medicine. Side note - I suffer from chronic pain, and am not a druggie.

The Dilaudid eased my pain enough that I was able to go home. I was sent home with some prescriptions, though the OB/GYN office had already given me a Vicodin prescription at my pre-op and had already filled that.

Todd got me home and in bed, and went to get Emily. I passed out right away, but  the rest of the night I woke up every hour or so to pee. Thankfully my husband is a night owl because I needed help getting to the bathroom the first few times.

The first day post-op, I took my good drugs and slept most of the day, having peed myself out. I was awake by the time Emily got home from school because Todd had gone back to work. I talked to him over the phone and told him that I could handle the parenting but I was still really tired and very sore. He opted to take a half day off of work and I passed back out.

One of the things I had read about beforehand was the gas causing pain. They pump gas into you to expand the area to be able to see better. Most of the accounts said that the gas pain happened in people's shoulders. This is not what I experienced.

On day two, the gas attacked. My stomach was harder, kind of like when I was pregnant. I kept feeling like I needed to poop. And I kept passing gas, like a ton of gas. I spent most of the day in and out of the bathroom. Finally, finally I was able to poop (and boy, did I poop a ton!) and my stomach felt a bit better.

Now, I was told that it should only take me a couple of days to bounce back from this surgery. That was unrealistic, for me at least. I was still having considerable pain by day three but it was starting to be less. Sadly for me, on day three my cold of doom that I had shooed away with home remedies came back with a vengeance.

So I had a sick migraine, was all stuffed up with a sore throat and coughing while my middle was still really sore. It was unpleasant to say the least. But a few days after that, the pain from the surgery was very low. If it hadn't been for the doom cold, I would have felt pretty good.

All in all, I didn't have a bad experience. I wish my surgery had been scheduled earlier in the day. After my surgery, the rest of my period was pretty non-existent. I bled a little one more day and that was it.

I am one of those people who can feel myself ovulating, so I could feel my tubes aching for probably a week post-surgery. This week, I have been ovulating and my tubes are aching a little more than usual. I haven't had a period since so I'm not sure how that will be.

In the end, it was the right choice for me. No regrets and the recovery wasn't too horrible. This was my experience so it may not be yours. But I wanted to get something out there that isn't all doom and gloom!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Concert Memories - The Beach Boys

This is the 2nd post in my Concert Memories series! To start at the beginning, click here!

My parents were born in the early 1950's so they were teenagers in the 1960's. A lot of the music they listened to as teenagers was the soundtrack of my childhood.

One of my parent's favorites was The Beach Boys. Their music was a staple in my house when I was young. Though my mom, whose name was Barbara Ann, wasn't always fond of the song that had her name. It came out when she was in middle school and she got teased about it.

But one summer in my childhood, we got tickets to see the Beach Boys in concert. I honestly don't remember a ton about this concert. I do remember that one of the original members was missing - probably Brian Wilson.

It was an outdoor, daytime concert. They played all their hits, and it was fun! Though of all the concerts I've been to, it would have probably been near the bottom. Not that it was bad, but I've seen a lot of better concerts since then.

Up next - Barry Manilow!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Concert Memories - The Monkees and Weird Al

My 40th birthday is next month and I had asked my husband to plan something special. He really outdid himself because he got us tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers in April!

I've seen quite a few concerts over the years and I thought I'd blog about them. I may not remember all the places and dates - my memory is still a bit screwy after the seizures I had a few years ago. But hopefully the internet will help some with that.

In the 80's, Nickelodeon started showing The Monkees TV show from the 60's. My sister, cousin and I loved it. We all had our favorite Monkee - mine was Micky! Because we all loved them so much, my parents got us tickets to see them on August 4th, 1987 at the Ionia Free Fair.

It was a big outdoor concert and we were pretty far back. The opening act was Weird Al, who I didn't know at all. Oddly enough, as an adult, I really like Weird Al.

I do remember him playing "Like a Surgeon" and "Fat" - he even was on stage, in August, with the fat suit on! A lot of the crowd was there just for Weird Al. He had started to become hugely popular around then.

But finally it got dark and The Monkees came on stage! They were missing Mike, because he didn't want to be part of The Monkees at that time. But it was still an awesome concert. I'd never done anything like that before - I was 10 years old at the time.

We danced and sang along with all our favorite songs. It was awesome! The glow of the stage, staying out way past my bedtime and knowing that my favorite singers were right there in person!!

Up Next - The Beach Boys

Friday, February 10, 2017

CMU vs. Nazis

The university I went to doesn't get in the national news much. Sometimes in sports news when the football team goes to a bowl game. But yesterday a story from my alma mater started popping up on Facebook - from quite a few people who didn't live anywhere near mid-Michigan. And it wasn't a good story.

Apparently the College Republicans group was handing out Valentine's and one happened to have a picture of Hitler with anti-semantic speech on it. You can google what it said, but I'm not posting a picture of it. I prefer my picture of Captain America punching Hitler instead.

The political climate in this country has gotten really bad. But I would have hoped that even college kids would realized that this is so not okay! The group posted a weak apology on their Facebook page, but CMU is investigating it. I truly hope that whoever thought it was funny gets their butt expelled.

I'm several generations from the one who fought in World War II. But I've always been interested in history and the time period of that war is one of my favorites to read about. But I didn't really get a true sense of the horrors of the Holocaust until Schindler's List.

I was 16 when the movie came out and I remember my mom taking me to see it. The movie is horrific, but because of what really happened to those people in the Holocaust. My mom and I had a long talk about it afterwards. I only watched it once again in college because I was a film major and I'm pretty sure I had to watch it for a class. But honestly those images were seared into my brain.

I'll watch Schindler's List again with Emily when she's old enough. Especially in the times we are living, it's so important to know our history as to attempt to not repeat it. It's sickening that those kids at Central Michigan University didn't have the knowledge to realize what they were doing was absolutely wrong.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tales From Cuppedia - The Beginning

Last year, I got the Dungeons and Dragons starter pack and started to run a campaign with Emily and Todd. I followed the story that came with the starter pack and it was fun. But there are a lot of stats that come with playing D&D that I was just fudging because I was having issues keeping everything all straight.

So I've been thinking for a bit about designing a really scaled down table top game. Just minimal stats, mostly borrowed from D&D and Hero Games. Something so we can still roll dice and have a combat system, but have it be more story driven.

I was talking to Emily yesterday as we were driving about what kind of story she wanted to do. She came up with something elaborate right away. She wanted it to be a Candyland and she wanted her character to be a catgirl.

So I wrote up the start of our campaign:

Trouble in Cuppedia

King Reyhan and Queen Mora has ruled Cuppedia for many years. Mora is a gingerbread woman and Reyhan is a chocolate man. But several months ago, the King has disappeared and a new King, Medwin, has taken his place. He looks like a Tigerman, but there is something off about him

The Queen has taken her leave from Medwin to summer at the castle in Sorley. King Medwin has stayed at the capital of Zo and is actively ruling the country. He is only making little changes right now, mostly trying to keep candy people and animal people separated. But the Queen fears for Reyhan and her people.

Emily is going to be a Wizard catgirl and Todd is going to be a Warrior Gingerbread Man. Sadly Todd has been working a lot of weekends so we probably won't get to play for several weeks.

I'm going to post recaps of our games because I think it will be interesting! I'm going to be writing the first adventure in the next few days and then plotting where I want the whole campaign to go!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cross Stitch Goals For 2017

My main hobby these days is cross stitching. It's fun, it's relaxing and it's kind of like coloring, but with thread. I honestly didn't get a ton of projects done last year and I want to up my cross stitch game in 2017.

I'm currently working on a birth chart sampler for Emily. I'm to the back stitch stage so it's nearly done. I'm not a huge fan of back stitching but it makes the piece look finished. I'm also still working on my Beauty and the Beast Thomas Kinkade kit. It's huge and the stitches are small so that's going to take me years to finish.

My next project, once the birth chart is done, is a Haunted Mansion pattern I bought on esty. I'm really excited to start this one but it's going to be massive and will probably take me a while.

I also treated myself to a subscription to The World of Cross Stitching. It's my favorite cross stitching magazine and it comes with an extra project every month. So I'm sure I'll be doing smaller projects from there.

My main goal, though, is to start making small Christmas pieces to use for Christmas cards. There are a ton out there and they are all really cute. I'd love to be able to send out some homemade cards for Christmas!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I've read most of the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events as well as seen the movie version starring Jim Carrey. The movie had its issues so I was really looking forward to seeing how the Netflix series stacked up.

The first season was available yesterday, and since it was only eight episodes long, I watched the entire thing. What follows are some of my thoughts, including some spoilers so if you haven't seen it yet, don't read any further!

I honestly loved this series. Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant as Count Olaf. He had the perfect air of ridiculous and menacing that is in the books. The children were also perfectly cast and the supporting characters were all great as well.

I've read some reviews that says it's too dark, too morbid and too unfortunate. I read one review that was unhappy that the story is actually a series of unfortunate events the Baudelaire children go through which seems odd to me since it's right in the title.

It's gothic and dark, but so were the books. I didn't watch it with my daughter, but I wouldn't have a problem with her watching it. Yes, there is death and murder, but none of it is gory. Usually the dead person is either not shown, or is taken away rather quickly. 

There is bits of humor, here and there. Patrick Warburton's deadpan portrayal of Lemony Snicket adds a lot and of course, the outrageous behavior of Count Olaf's acting troupe / henchmen lighten the darkness.

The biggest surprise I found was the short bits showing a mother and a father. We aren't told who they are until near the end of the season. They bring hope but it is dashed away, sadly. But as we are told often in each episode, this is not a happy story.

All in all, this show is all I had wanted the movie to be. Each book is presented in two episodes which gives plenty of time to explore the story fully. The movie tried to cram three books in and it felt rushed.

I'd highly recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events to fans of the books and fans of gothic misery!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Snow And The South

I've lived in WNC for nearly 12 years after living in the Land of Snow and Ice (aka Michigan) for my whole life. And it still boggles my mind how people act when there is just snow in the forecast!

I do admit that when it start snowing, I stay off the roads. Last year, we got snowed in for several days because there are simply not enough plows / salt trucks to clear all the roads in a quick fashion. A little bit of snow can shut things down.

But it's not suppose to start snowing until this afternoon at the earliest. Last forecast I saw had it starting at 8 pm tonight. Right now, it's cloudy and grey, but nothing falling from the sky.

Yesterday, I went to Walmart. My main goal was to pick up a prescription, but the line for the pharmacy was super long and I knew that I wouldn't make it to the front in time because I had to be home before Emily got home from school.

So I ended up just buying bread and milk. It was stuff I needed but it was funny because when there is snow a-coming, people in the South stock up on bread and milk.

The parking lot at Walmart was crazy. People seemed to have forgotten normal parking lot behavior. I ended up pulling forward into a spot and I thought a lady was going to shank me because she had wanted that spot.

Trying to get out was just as tricky. People were going way too fast and not paying attention to where they were going. It was just crazy and that was yesterday - at least 24 hours before it was even maybe suppose to snow.

For everyone in the South who might get hit by frozen water coming out of the sky, remember be calm. Snow can't hurt you but slamming your car into someone in a parking lot might!