Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adieu 2014

This has been such an odd year. It started quite horrible, still recovering emotionally from my October 2013 car wreck and dealing with frozen water lines in my mobile home. It got worse when I came home from a national tournament in April to find my house half flooded.

Then, it got better . . . I sold my mobile home, had the money to buy some new furniture and moved into the apartment of my dreams. It should have been the start of things looking up. But I have been stuck in a middling-funk for the last several months, and it's taken a toll.

Part of it is health related. I started experiencing neck and shoulder spasms some time in the summer. They became progressively worse until my neck was in constant spasm. This meant I couldn't move my head side to side. Strong pain killers didn't touch it. Muscle relaxants had no effect. I went to doctor after doctor and no-one could tell me why this was happening. I got put on several medications for nerve pain, started traction therapy with a physical therapist (which was such a disaster I ended up in urgent care with such pain they almost sent me to the ER.) Finally - FINALLY - I was referred to the pain clinic. And I finally have started to get some answers. My doc at the pain clinic is pretty sure my muscle spasms are directly related to my car accident. The car accident that happened 15 months ago. I got a LOT of chiropractic care after the accident, and the doc theorizes this kept the muscles (that were traumatized by whiplash in the accident) from seizing up, but once I stopped the chiropractic visits, the muscles (which were scarred with tears from whiplash) froze up, refusing to move the way they are supposed to. A combination of trigger point injections and myofascial release therapy is just starting to give me relief. I am hoping that this will lead to a decrease in pain, which I really think will help my funk.

I'm not in the mood to make resolutions for the new year. But I do have some plans for how to make 2015 a more joyful year. Because I'm really, really missing the joy. So, here are my plans . . .
1. Be purposefully more positive. The plan to start this? Blogging every day of January, focusing on things I'm grateful for.
2. Get in more purposeful exercise. I feel better when I'm exercising regularly. The plan to start this? Actually having a plan/schedule that I set up to work with my semester schedule.
3. Decrease my fast food consumption. This will force me to cook and eat from home more often, which ends up being more nutritious and makes me feel better. The plan to start this? Planning menus in advance and making regular trips to the grocery.
4. Connect with friends more regularly. The plan to do this? Make sure I'm making the call to connect rather than waiting on the call.

That's it. That's all I've got for now. I really want 2015 to be the year I re-discovered effortless joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Sloth Wedding

Last weekend I went to the most lovely wedding. Former forensics students got married at the Como Conservatory in the Twin Cities. The venue was simply stunning.
See? Just stunning! There were many forensics alumni there, and it was so great seeing everyone!

I love this woman, a former student who is now a friend for life!
I know I was there for the wedding, but the coolest part of the day was cocktail hour, because there was a sloth. A sloth! A SLOTH!!!

I'm not even embarrassed to admit that I burst into tears when the sloth arrived at the event. You guys - the sloth is my spirit animal!! And I never, ever thought I would be just several feet from one!
(I have no clue what weird thing my hair is doing here.)
He was so adorable, and spent the hour slowly munching on carrots & celery. He eats upside down. UPSIDE DOWN!! He was just the most adorable thing I've ever seen!

The wedding & reception were magical, right down to the beautifully decorated tables.
Yes, that's a gin & tonic. I drink them year round!
And I was so happy to ride to the event with the amazing Morris family. K & R are one of the few couples I know who are more in love with each other now than when they married.
It was a truly magical day! Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Miller, for letting me be a part of your special day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


For the last several months, I've been working with several doctors, trying to get some relief from my almost constant neck stiffness and pain. X-rays show I have some cervical spine degeneration, but not much that explains my symptoms. I was sent to a Physical Medicine specialist (BTW - I thought all medicine was "physical" - call me surprised) who prescribed physical therapy traction and put me on a seizure medicine that helps with nerve pain. The goal with PT is to work up to being able to stand 20 pounds of pressure in traction so I can qualify for a home traction unit.

Fast forward to yesterday. In PT, I had started with 10 pounds of pressure and was gradually working my way up in terms of tolerance. Until yesterday, the most I had had was 15 pounds. The physical therapist decided to bump me up to 20 to see how I tolerated it.  When I sat up after treatment, my whole scalp felt like it had been injected with Novocain. My mid-back muscles were a little crampy because there was so much pull on my spine. I was so stiff and sore all of yesterday, but was told to expect that. This morning, I was OK, but my pain and soreness increased through the day, with most of the pain concentrated in my shoulder. It got so bad at one point I shut my office door so I could be teary without causing a scene. Then, tonight in night class, my arms started going numb.

Several hours later, after tests to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack or stroke, the doctor determined my muscle spasms were so severe they were impinging nerves in my shoulders. I'm now at home with REALLY strong muscle relaxants and pain killers. And I'm so incredibly frustrated.

Why can't this body just work the way I need it to?

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I spent yesterday and today at a tournament with this amazing group of students.

I sometimes can't believe how lucky I am.

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's Peter's fault

Dang it! I was so engrossed in watching Peter Pan (which I kind of loved) while wrapping Christmas presents last night, I completely forgot to blog. Gah.

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Starbucks for assisting with my Christmas shopping this year. Partners had a week of getting a 40 percent discount and I finished my Christmas shopping in one day. Christmas this year is sponsored by Starbucks :-)

Today I'm off to UW-Stout for a forensics tournament. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year because I get to spend time with my dear friend who hosts the tournament, and we commute - which means I get to sleep in my own bed and not a horrid hotel bed. Also, we listen to Christmas music in the van on the way home each day. Yea!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. As I have watched the events of Ferguson, and now NYC evolve over the last few months, I have tried to imagine a time when I felt threatened by another person (cop, neighbor, pedestrian) just because of the color of my skin. I cannot think of a single, solitary example. I do not know the anxiety that someone with a different skin tone, a different accent, a different hair texture feels when they are observed, questioned, harassed based only on those things. My white privilege reaches out and chokes the words I want to say, because I am terrified I won't "say" the right thing. But my white privilege also means I am more likely to be listened to. More likely to have credibility. More likely to be believed. And so I must use my privilege to shout loud and long  . . .

would someone just give me the words?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Long day

When I left for my 8 hour teaching day this morning, I wasn't sure if I'd survive. I'm happy to report that at some point in the day I "turned a corner" and am starting to feel better. Even my grody sausage fingers from my psoriatic arthritis flare are a bit better.

The best part of today was getting the mail. After some tutoring from a friend on how to get a red lip to stay on longer than 5 minutes, I ordered some lip pencils and viola! The perfect red lip! Now, I just need to wear it with something besides the ratty Packer's jersey I use as a swimsuit cover up when I'm heading to the hot tub.
Speaking of the hot tub . . . it has become my winter addiction. After spending the day in a freezing cold office (which I try to heat up with not one but TWO space heaters) getting in the hot tub for 15 minutes each evening has been soothing for both my body and soul. And having discovered the secret underground passage through the parking garage to the other building means I don't have to go out in the cold! Now, if only I could manage to have a hot tub actually IN my apartment.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I'm Baaaaaaack

I've been planning for a while that I would start blogging again in December, and not only that, I would blog every day of December. This was a great idea until I came down with the flu 2 days ago. (And yes, I got my flu shot in October - so WTF???) I feel like a train hit me. In fact, I've been sick with something for the past month. First it was bronchitis, then a cold that turned into a possible sinus infection and now the flu. I'm so sick of being sick.

Not only do I feel rotten, but I didn't even get to use my Thanksgiving break to put up my Christmas tree. I was bribing myself with getting to put up my tree once I got all my grading done. Guess what? I still have a set of papers and a set of speeches to grade before that happens. But even then, I feel like death so I don't even want to put up the tree at the present time.

This is a crappy way to re-committing myself to blogging . . . but I guess I'm just keeping it real . . .