Musical Musings: Natalie Grant "The Real Me"

Natalie Grant, The Real Me

Foolish heart looks like we're here again
Same old game of plastic smile
Don't let anybody in
Hiding my heartache, will this glass house break
How much will they take before I'm empty
Do I let it show, does anybody know?

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

Painted on, life is behind a mask
Self-inflicted circus clown
I'm tired of the song and dance
Living a Charade, always on parade
What a mess I've made of my existence
But you love me even now
And still I see somehow

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see
When you look at me
You're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
A perfect tapestry
I just wanna be me

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

And you love me just as I am
Wonderful, Beautiful is what you see
When you look at me

I know, I know…it’s been a while since I did a Musing…but I assure you, this song is totally worth the wait.

I suspect I’m not the only person on earth who often feels like we have to conceal the deepest, truest parts of who we are. I’m not the only one who’s ever been so completely broken that we sometimes forget who we really are, and wonder if there’s any value in our true selves. I know I’m not alone in wondering if anyone will ever love me, really love me, for who I am and not for what I can do for them.

I also know that I have been blessed beyond imagining. I found a family who took me in and patiently loved me even when my behavior and actions were unlovable. I married a man who patiently loved me even when I was convinced I was damaged beyond redemption. I knew that I loved him so fiercely that I couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine how I would get through life without him by my side. I never doubted that he loved me, nor did I ever really fear that he’d leave me; he’s always been too honorable to do something that low. My fear for so many years was that he would eventually learn the “truth” I knew in the deepest parts of me; I didn’t deserve to be loved the way I loved him. I was too damaged to earn that sort of adoration and devotion. He’d never leave me, but he’d grow to resent me for saddling him into a marriage with a hopelessly damaged woman when he could have been happy with a woman who could complete him. It was easy to be suicidal; I never could have earned the kind of love that would leave him destroyed by my death. Sure, he’d grieve me; he’s that kind of man. But he’d get over me, he’d get on with his life, and in the end, he’d be better without me than he could have ever been with me. He’d tell me he loved me, and it was never that I doubted he loved me…it was that I doubted that I was capable of earning the kind of love he always professed. I was too damaged.

I fear I hurt him terribly in those first years of our marriage. Like I said, my lack of trust was never in him, it was in me. But still, I would swing into suicidal depressions every 6 months or so…and he saw it as me not trusting him. It broke his heart to think that I would leave him…never knowing, never understanding that, in my mind, I would have been doing him a favor. I was releasing us both…me from this damaged existence of constant failure, and him from the damaged woman he was burdened with. How it breaks my heart that I allowed my hurt to hurt him so.

And yet, through it all, as I thought I had to earn the right to be loved, to even breathe, he was there, and he was a mirror of the real source of our love for each other. Even went I felt completely unworthy of the air I breathed, or the love he had for me, God was there, He was there, and He loved me. John was a portrait of God’s love for me. He waited, arms open, heart open, crying for me to please, oh please, let him love me…just the way I know God was. They saw my hurt, they saw my heartbreak, and all they wanted from me was to let them love me. They saw past the damage I couldn’t. I saw the scars; they saw the beautiful woman I was created to be.

2 years ago, I went on a trip back east. I stayed with my grandparents, I visited my mother and sisters, I saw my niece. My aunts and an uncle and cousins came and had dinner with me. I went on a vacation with my adoptive family, spent a week with my parents, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, my husband. I visited my aunt and cousins. I traveled to see my aunt and saw a cousin I hadn’t seen in years, and he was delighted to see me. I came home and did some Beth Moore studies. The entire summer was a portrait of the lessons I learned in the studies. It wasn’t an overnight change; each day, each week, was another piece of the puzzle falling into place.

I realized that the “truth” I’d believed for so long was actually a vile lie. I’d allowed myself to be deceived for years, my entire life. All my life, I believed I had to earn the right to be loved, even as I never expected that from others. I never demanded from others that they earn my love; rather, even when my mother had given me every reason, time and again not to love her, I found myself unable to stop loving her. Even those who had never done anything to earn my love, I couldn’t help but love. I couldn’t explain how I lived out a truth I couldn’t grasp for myself, except to say that I didn’t do it in my own strength. My aunts and uncles, my cousins, my nieces and nephews never loved me for what I did. That I live and breathe is reason enough for them to love me. They’ve rejoiced with me as I’ve overcome my past, but they loved me long before I got that far.

Alas, living 26.5 years expecting to earn love instills habits. I find myself even now acting out of those expectations. I find that I’m a people pleaser, wanting to give people reasons to like me, to love me. Granted, as personal problems go, trying to please others isn’t nearly as obvious or as dangerous to others as some problems can be. Nor am I saying that living life so that we can bless as many people as possible is a bad thing; we should all seek to leave the lives we touch better because they’ve known us. But living that way, trying to earn the right to be loved, it does tend to wear a person out. I think that’s why I was always suicidal…I kept getting tired of trying to make everyone happy. I got tired of the constant drain on my emotions and strength. Even now, I find I have to limit my interactions with some people; I find that I too easily fall into the same patterns of behavior, of trying to earn their love...when I shouldn't have to. It drains me, and I can't live that way. I don't have the strength to earn anyone's love...and until I learn how not to react that way, I can't put myself into situations where I feel I have to do that. It would be too easy to wear myself out again...and become suicidal again...and I won't do that to John.

I think that’s why I like this song so much…why it resonates with me. It talks about letting go. Letting go of the appearances we try so hard to maintain, and then discovering that we were loved despite them, not because of them. There’s an indescribable freedom in being loved just because you are. There’s a freedom in having someone see who you are, who you really are, scars and warts and all, and find that they’ve loved you all along…that they see the beautiful person you’ve been underneath it all.

I’m not perfect. I have more scars than I care to count, some of which I’m still finding. I still make mistakes, and I still have burdens and struggles I have to carry. But the difference is this: I have been damaged, but that’s not who I am. I am beautiful, I am worth the air I breathe, and I am loved. That’s the Real Me. And if you look deep enough, you’ll find that’s the Real You, too.

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see when you see the Real me.


Not above 107? Ha!

Last night, at 6:45, as I was getting gas, I saw the temperature at the bank across the street. 109. 42.7 degrees C for those who are metric.

The Heat SUCKS!


Hey, less than a month!

OK, lets see.
Still way too hot out there. Not as hot as I was afraid it would be though; I don't think we've gotten above 107 yet (or for my metric readers, 42). Yes, that's too hot, but no, not the 120s I was afraid of. Thank GOD.

Physical therapy is going very well. I've got another 6 weeks, or rather, until I leave for my cruise. I'm doing well. I'm doing stairs at church, and I only limp occasionally...usually right after I did the stairs! Which means no need for exploratory surgery! YAY!!

I've lost 13 pounds since I moved here, and continue to work on it. I haven't gotten out to the exercise like I should; there's a place here in town that has one on one trainers, and I'm thinking of going there. Drinking lots of water, adding fiber to my diet (the nifty stuff you add to your food, but adds no flavor) and the physical therapy are all helping. That and, since we moved, it's easier to keep the kitchen cleaned up, which makes me more willing to cook and such, so I'm eating better, too. YAY!

37 days till we cruise. We'll drive to OKC Friday, fly out WAAAAAAY too early in the morning, and get on the ship. The message boards I've been visiting over at Cruise Critic has nearly 100 more people cruising on our same cruise. I'm so excited! YAY!! (are you catching a theme here?)

Emma had her first birthday and is doing well. Jennifer gave birth to her son last month, Zachary James. My sister Sarah is expecting a baby in November. That means I have 9 neices, 2 nephews, and a nephew on the way. YAY!!

I think that's all the news I have at the moment.

The Heat


The Word On The Knee

The second set of MRI’s came back negative. The little pops I’m feeling are normal and nothing to worry about. We’re trying Celebrex instead of Naproxen, and I got a steroid shot in my knee. That was quite the adventure…OUCHIES. But then it felt numb, and now it just feels weird. No more brace, go back to therapy, and see if it gets better. Oh, and lose weight. If, in 4 weeks, I’m not doing better, and I’ve still had no relief, and I’ve lost some weight, then they may schedule me for an exploratory arthroscopy…to see why I’m still hurting all the time. I really don’t want it to get that far. I just want my happy, dull little life back.

I think I need to spend LOTS of quality time at the YMCA. They’ve got a pool. I can swim, and it should help in many ways. I’ll look into it for Friday. For now? I’m tired, and I’m going to doze until my therapy appt this afternoon.



And August isn't here yet.

There are insufficient words to explain how much it sucks to walk out the door and feel like your face just melted OFF. And no, I don't mean make up melting off...I don't wear make up, don't bother with it. No, this is walking outside and feeling like you just got kicked in the goodie bits and your face is melting OFF.

I have NO idea how our guys in the desert are doing this...it's hotter there.

Stupid Heat.



I know it’s been a while. I’ve been settling in to my nice little house. I LOVE Owasso. It’s green, there are trees, we let the dogs in most days, where they run around like idiots for 5 minutes, licking everything and everyone before settling down to sleep like the dead. It’s easy to keep my house under control…all that purging I did that was SO painful before we left means that my house is MINE…not clutter’s. This is a good thing.

Oh, and yes, I’m still a klutz. About 2 months ago, as I was getting off the floor after putting groceries away, I rolled on my knee wrong…partial tear of the ACL and strain of the LCL. I’m in physical therapy, and going back to the doctor tomorrow since it made a nearly identical sound in therapy yesterday and I’ve been this huge pile of breathtaking OUCH since then… (folks from Church…that’s where I was last night…here, at home, a huge pile of OUCH that didn’t want to interrupt things when whimpers accompanied a new wave…)

Going to church. We found one, Rejoice Church. It’s actually a Free Will Baptist church, but listening to the Pastor explain it, listening to his sermons…It’s sound teaching. That’s what matters to me more than the denominational affiliation. Is the teaching biblically based and sound? It is here. We haven’t joined yet…but I think we might soon.

Other health problems have forced me to accept that I will probably never have children. John and I are discussing adoption for some point…but not right now. If nothing else, it wouldn’t be fair to our beloved child to bring them into our home when their Mama is still mourning the siblings he’ll never have. Of course, John and I have always known we wanted to adopt…the opportunity to change a child’s life forever, to take a life that would have been rejected. Adoption is such a portrait of God’s love for us…I can’t express how much I long to love a child who might have been forgotten by society.

You know, it’s PAINFUL to let go of a dream. It’s hard, and it’s tempting to just stay there, lost in the pain. To die with your dream. But life is so much more than just our dreams. There are so many things left for me to do, so many opportunities left for me to live the love I’ve been shown. So…just like I grunt through my therapy to repair this stupid knee (Grampa Jourden, I think I got your knees…) so too will I rise in determination that there are far greater things ahead of me than the ones I leave behind. I buried a dream, I buried one hope…but I believe, I stand in, I rest in the biblical promise that there are far greater things ahead…Greater is He who is in me than ANYTHING I face in the world.


The Latest News

John and I are settling in nicely to our nice little home here in Owasso. OK, so 3 beds, 1.5 baths isn’t exactly little, but it’s not sprawling or enormous, either. I have no room I don’t know what to do with, and if we were to find we were expecting, I’d have to make room for the baby, but room enough to make it.

The dogs come in 3-4 times a week, more than the cats like, and less than the dogs like. We’ve not decided yet which dog would make the better good will ambassador to the cats; Bear’s so friendly, loving, and playful that it doesn’t occur to him to do anything but play. Alas, he’s at least 3 times larger than the cats, and I don’t think they understand he just wants to play. Then there’s Grizzly. Grizzly is curious, interested, and just that. The cats might well do better with his dispassionate approach, but at 8 times larger than the cats, just one wrong move could be all it takes to say good night to the kitty in question. Still, they sniff at each other, they’re gradually getting closer to each other, and I think we’re making headway.

I decided to leave my job. I still love the idea of writing professionally, and I’m not willing to completely abandon that idea. Unfortunately, living here and working for a company there was more stress than I wanted to deal with. Of course, that means I have the opportunity to spend time and energy taking care of the house.

That’s a joy to me, actually. There is a simple delight in my heart when I see a bedroom picked up, bed made, curtains opened to let the sunlight in. There is a simple delight for me to see the dishes done, put up, the counters wiped up, and know that dinner is all but taken care of. I want home to be a haven for my husband and I. I’ve always wanted to be a hostess, and never had the time, energy, or organization I needed to get on top of the chaos that was my house. Moving in here has been amazing. We threw away more stuff than I can even begin to count for you, and gave away a truckload more. Now that I have less stuff to keep up with, I can keep up with what I have. Do I still have more than I need? I’m sure I do. As I’ve said before; I’m a packrat. I’m also incurably sentimental. Still, I’ve learned that I can save things I have a sentimental attachment to, without keeping everything or piling it up so high that I can’t get around the house for the mess. I can’t explain why it makes me feel so good to keep the house neat, I just know that it does.

I bought a cheap little digital camera. So far the pictures are all crap, so I’m seriously thinking about sending it back. Once I get a functional camera, I’ll try to get pictures of my sweet little house up somewhere. I want to include the silk flower arrangements I did for the kitchen and the bedroom (far cheaper, and more allergy friendly than the real thing, and less of a concern with animals that eat EVERYTHING they lay eyes on.

Well, I’m off to finish getting the Office dealt with, and then the little daily polishing that has to happen. Oh, and I tried posting this once before and it didn’t post. We’ll see if it works this time! Next time I'll have to tell folks about Pass Your Plate, too!


Latest News (Volume whichever) ;)

Well, I'm sitting here in my living room in Owasso. We've gotten mostly moved in, though there are still plenty of boxes to deal with. I'm hoping to use most of this weekend, though, to actually do that.
The dogs come in about every other day, but only when John and/or I can be here to be certain they don't torture the cats. And yes, that is the concern; my kitties torture them through the glass door (though when Lady tries to torture them by showing them how she's in here, getting affection, and they're stuck out there, I refuse to play along...so she gets no affection when they're around to see but not to enjoy). Once the dogs come in, though, the kitties pretty much go to the back of the house and we keep the dogs in the living room, with us.
We've also put a sprinkler outside so the dogs can play in the water. Correction: So Grizzly can play in the water. Poor Bear still thinks water is evil. It comes on and sprays for about 15-30 minutes, and Grizzly has a grand old romp in the water. It's funny to watch. I'll have to take a picture so you guys can see sometime.
I left my job. I was getting really stressed out, and that wasn't worth it to me. I might free lance a little still, but nothing seriously steady at all. Which means that I'm back to being a mundane little housewife. That works for me; I'd much rather housework was mundane and add the spice to my life in other places, ways, and amounts. I like my life this way. Oh, and the fact that we chucked close to 150 bags worth of stuff and therefore moved much less junk here makes it so much easier to keep the house clean. I LIKE it this way.
I got home this afternoon from a morning at Pass Your Plate. I went in, assembled a split 10 (+1) into 22 entrees for John and I. I loved it...fresh, healthy ingredients, pre-chopped, grated, etc, then I assemble into a meal that I bring home, freeze, thaw later when I'm ready for it, and bake in the oven (OK, so there are 6 or so that will take some more work, but still!) I love to cook, but I hate to clean up; this let me cook without cleaning up! YAY!! I already have June's menu; I'll be ready at the end of the month for another month's worth of meals prepped in one morning!
Other than that, there's not much to tell. We don't have a new church yet, but we've got a couple of leads to try out in the next few weeks. I'll post out here when I have new pictures to share; I bought a cheapo digital camera that should let me put some semi-decent pics of the new house, the animals, and the two of us out for folks to peruse.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled insanity. :D


Home Again

With John and I moving to a new city, I wanted to be sure if one of my animals managed to wander off, I could get them back home again. We took them to the vet today, where the vet, a former classmate of John's, advised we tranquilize the cats first. It seems the needle to inject the little microchip is bigger than what the cats can handle comfortably otherwise because of the thinner skin on the cat. So we agreed, he drugged the kitties, and then left to let the medicine take effect. Apparently, whatever veterinary equivalent to morphine he gave them upsets their stomachs; Kit thew up 3 times while there, and Lady threw up when she came home. The rest of the appointment was relatively uneventful; Grizzly tried to antagonize the stoned Lady, Bear wanted to sniff everything, and Kit refused to come out of his carrier. Still we brought them home, enrolled them online, and have pills now to give the kitties on Saturday to make the trip up to the new place less stressful for them; they'll sleep right through the most traumatic parts of the whole thing.

Bringing them home, though, was funny and endearing. As I mentioned before, Lady waited until she got home to throw up. We just opened their carriers so they could come out when they were ready. Lady immediately stumbled out like the stoned kitty she was...she couldn't walk straight, stumbled around, and proceeded to throw up. She was actually more active, stumbling around drunk, than she normally is. Kit, on the other hand, stumbled out a few minutes later, took about 5 steps, and fell over. He laid there, his little tongue hanging out and half passed out for a few minutes. Then he got up and stumbled a little further along. I scooped him up and carried him in to lay on our bed to look out the window. He almost immediately stumbled back into the living room, came straight for me, and then stopped, too tired to move closer. I stepped over, scooped him up, and spent the better part of the last 45 minutes I cuddled him in my lap. He's always seemed to be happiest, to feel more secure and safe in my arms than anywhere. He always has to be where I am, always has to lay where I am, and naps with me when I do. It's so adorable!

They've now woken enough that they're in the kitchen eating...or at least they were when I walked back into the living room to finish this.

And as far as packing goes. John has now disassembled the kitchen table, and it really looks like we're moving out. Wow.

Now to call Uhaul and make sure we have a truck; they were supposed to have called by now!



I NEVER could have done this on my own. John's been right there, packing, throwing away, dealing with the kitchen and laundry...

Sorry if I offend, Dad, Papa, Grampa, every other man on earth...
But I married the BEST man on the face of the earth. He's THAT Awesome.

Yes, I am baised. Shamelessly so. But that doesn't change the fact that John ROCKS!




I'm a pack rat.
I am a pack rat.
I'm an AWFUL pack rat.

Today, as we worked on packing to move, John and I decided to purge. We tossed 4 boxes full of papers. I also tossed some binders I had put all sorts of stuff in that I didn't need after all.

John feels much better to have gotten rid of clutter. I don't feel AS good about it, but I am certain that I did the right thing, and it feels good to take this step in the right direction. It's small steps like this that might actually make the house easier to keep clean. Lets see where this takes me.




John got the job. We found a nice little house to rent, 3 bed, 1.5 bath, garage, in Owasso, a much CLOSER commute than before. We'll be packing and moving for the next week, as well as getting John's paperwork for the job taken care of.

Still, it's exiting to have found a place so quickly, and Owasso ROCKS! I'm really excited!



Musical Musings: Arise, My Love, Newsong

Arise, My Love
By Newsong

Not a word was heard at the tomb that day.
Just shuffling of soldiers feet as they guarded the grave.
One day, two days, three days had past.
Could it be that Jesus breathed his last?

Could it be that his Father had forsaken him?
Turned his back on his son, dispising our sin.
Oh hell seemed to whisper, "Just forget it, He's dead."
Then the Father looked down to his son and he said..

Arise, My love.
Arise, My love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you
No more death sting
No more suffering
Arise...Arise...my love.

The Earth trembled and the tomb began to shake, and like lightening from Heaven
The stone was rolled away.
And this dead man the guards they all stood there in fright
As the power of love displayed its might
And suddenly a melody filled the air
Riding wings of wind, it was everywhere
The words of creation had been longing to hear.
The sweet sound of victory, so loud and clear.

Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you.
No more death sting no more suffering

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell; has been defeated. The grave will not hold, the king.

Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these…keeping busy with life (darn it, having a life really interferes with my not having a life!!) tends to interfere with my free time to just sit and think about things, and I had to find a new song that spoke to me…fitting that a song by Newsong should be the new song that “set me off”.

The artists of Newsong paint the vivid picture of that first Easter morning, the early dawn that saw the resurrection of the living Christ. And just for the records: Christ died and was buried Friday, before the sundown and commencement of Shabbat. That’s day one. Shabbat is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. That’s day two. Early Sunday morning, the women hurried to the tomb once the sun was up to illuminate the way (no streetlights to light the way back then), and found that Christ had been resurrected. That’s day three.

Through their lyrics, we see the supposition in Hell that they’ve finally won, that the Son of God is dead. But then, in a moment that changed everything, they tell us that God looked down on His beloved Son and called out “Arise, my Love!”

I cry when I listen to this, and particularly when I try to sing along (and no, it’s not because I sound so bad!). But part of what makes me cry so is the other message I can hear in this song. You see, I can hear more than just the call of God to His Son…I can hear the call of God, of Christ, to his slumbering bride.

We, as a body, have grown comfortable, content, even complacent in our place. We take comfort in the promise of eternal life, not as much because we yearn to be with our creator as our desire to escape Hell and the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Our ideas of eternity often include ideas of our own pleasure, so that Heaven becomes a hedonistic pleasure palace focused on our own wants than it is basking every day, every moment, in the omnipotent will and love of the God who longs for us to delight in Him alone. We worship a god, alright…the god of our own comfort and pleasure.

Yes, I know, I just stepped on toes…I stepped on my own in the process (impressive, ain’t it? :P ). But then I can do as the early disciples did, and obey the Lord despite the cost, stepping on toes in the process, or I can consider the comfort of those around me and shut up the message that I feel God is crying to His church. Ah, but then I face a new problem, one Jeremiah faced. “But if I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak anymore in His name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

So here I go, stepping on toes again, including my own. If you don’t want to hear more, you don’t want to read more. But if you long to please your King, you’ll keep reading, pray, and ask Him to reveal Himself and His truth to you. And there are those in the world that aren’t living a comfortable Christianity, people who have to hide their identities to survive every day, and yet who remain because the Word burns within them to share the Love of God with an otherwise unreachable people. Yes, they are oridinary people, humans who make mistakes like the rest of us, who are fallible and reachable…but they’re living on the razor’s edge. They aren’t the ones I’m accusing of being content in their Hell Insurance. Its you, and me, that I’m talking to. Those of us who are able to sit back and let the world pass us by. Soccer Moms. Nascar Dads. Going through the day to day with little or no thought to the God that gives us every breath we take. Yup…there are those toes again. (Maybe I should invest in steel-toed boots?)

Paul said that we count all that was to our profit as loss for the sake of Christ. He counts everything rubbish (I understand the original word here could be better translated sewage), that he may gain Christ and be found in Him. “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…” (Phillipian 3:10)

So how are we sharing in His sufferings? If we are comfortable and content, where is there room to share in His suffering, and thus know the power that resurrected Him? Why don’t we see the kinds of miracles that are recorded in the Bible today? Because we’re too content to let Him pour Himself through us. Yes, I said it. We are the reason that we don’t see God working. Why should be bother to shake us up when we don’t want Him to? We refused to be worked in the Potter’s hands, while too many die without Him every minute that passes us in our coupes and sedans.

And yes, I’m confessing to being just as guilty as everyone else. I don’t do what I know I should, and that is sin. What am I going to do about it? This is part of what I’m doing about it. But what are you going to do?

The resurrected Christ is looking at a dead church. He has the power to resurrect us, to make us like Him. But before we can get there, we have to make the sacrifice and die to ourselves. We have to share in His sufferings. Christ has set us free, and we’re sitting here with open shackles on our ankles, believing we’re still prisoners. We suffer the pain of imprisonment that isn’t ours because we refuse to share in the sufferings of Christ, sufferings He bore in our stead. He longs to set you free! Can’t you hear His call?

Arise, My Love! Arise, My Love! The grave no longer has a hold on you! No more Death’s sting, no more suffering! Arise! Arise, My Love!


I couldn't make this up if I TRIED...

You may have noticed that I've been FAR less active and around of late. I am finally able to explain.

John (that's my hubby, for those who didn't know) and I had been noticing some electrical problems at home. When the washer was running, the image on the TV would "dance" in time with the agitator. If we started the dryer, it would dim everything. And it was already 90 degrees in APRIL and this house has no central heat or air...so it was HOT.

We were, understandably, concerned. The landlords, who happen to be John's parents, had just had TWO surgeries...Mom's broken arm in Feb, and Dad's back stimulator thing in March. They'd also had to replace a hot water heater in November, and the water line from the street to the house in March. We were really concerned about new electrical problems and the effect this might have on their budget. As a result, we'd been opting to just live with it so far.

Last Wednesday (4.12.06) we were on our way to work when John discovered he had a flat tire. Crap. We went to get it replaced, only to find out 2 HOURS later that they couldn't replace it; there was something bent that needed repaired first. OK. Drove across town to another place that could repair the bent bit and replace the tires. By now, most of the morning was shot. John and I spent the day working from home and then went to pick up the now repaired car. This was about $500 of work. :(

Thursday (4.13.06) John had a pre-interview screening test over the phone in the afternoon, so he had to leave work early that day. Since I'd gone in with him, I too, had to leave early. That worked; I'd set an appointment for the dog to see the vet since he was making a nasty coughing noise (before I knew I'd have to go in to work with him...and for those who don't know, work is an hour from home). I planned to take the dog, and his little doggy buddy, to the vet, then take them to go play somewhere and have fun. Alas, while AT the vet, Doggies caught sight/smell of another dog (surprise surprise) and nearly tore my foot off trying to get the other doggy. Actually, they just managed to cut a cute little 3 inch long gash across the top of my foot that promptly started to bleed. No park for puppies; I can't have dust blowing into the fresh wound, and I'm having trouble standing on that foot anyway. So I bring them home, John has his interview thing, and then we install a new window ac unit in the bedroom (because I haven't been sleeping AT ALL for the past 3 days while the temps so freaking HOT (and in APRIL, dammit!!), whereupon I slice the tip of one of my fingers open, too. Actually, it's 6 small slices, and none of them are as deep, but they bleed nicely.

Friday (4.14.06) I spend the WHOLE day in the office by myself, thoroughly confused, feeling utterly worthless, and wondering what the crap I'm supposed to be DOCUMENTING when I'm ALL THE FREAK ALONE. It was just a crappy day. I get home. No internet. Well, it's spotty. Everytime we turn on the AC, the TV goes off. Everytime the washer starts agitating, the connection goes down. We know that SOMETHING has to be done, but we don't have the energy to deal with jack. Oh, and I make snacks for the youth at my church who are having a special event this weekend.

Saturday (4.15.06) John and I go to church and help cook a meal for the youth for their event thingy. Still wonky power at home.

Sunday (4.16.06) John and I go to church. We come home. We rest. He naps. We go to church. John plays with the network and decides it the cable company, not us. I call the cable company. They schedule someone to come out between 8 am and NOON on Tuesday.

Monday (4.17.06) John goes to work. John calls me and tells me I have to get up, get dressed, so we can make it to a morning meeting an HOUR away in 30 minutes. I scramble. We go to the dumb meeting. During meeting, cable guy calls...I tell him I'm not in town today, but I'll be there tomorrow, when the appt is. John gets a call from the folks he had the screening thing with. They want to fly him down for an interview. We go to the new work offices (5 mins closer than the old ones). John tells the boss "I need Wed off...just to give you a heads up, I'm looking at going to Cisco. We spend the day assembling furniture. We go to lunch, I order yumness, get my pre-yumness salad (not bad, thank you) and promptly become ill. I spend the rest of the lunch debating the relative merits of toilet worship. I never actually worship the toilet (thank GOD). I assemble more furniture, cut boxes up, take trash out in 95+ degree weather, and then shut down because I'm SO miserable I can't stand myself. We go to IHOP and have icecream, soda, and internet access. I send my note and chat a WEEE little bit. I buy a Tulsa paper (if this interview goes as well as everyone expects it to, we'll be moving to Tulsa).

Tuesday (4.18.06) John goes to work. Cable guy comes. Turns out that the electrical systems at the house had co-opted the cable to complete the circuit and FRIED the cable. The guy won't touch the line to re-run it until the electrical issues are dealt with (smart man). I call electrician, and then insist that John come home...Cable guy has left me with the very STRONG impression that it's nothing short of a miracle that the house hasn't torched itself already. John comes home, he and I are frantically cleaning house. Electrician comes. Electrician ROCKS...he doesn't charge us one red cent to find out that the problem is with the electric company. I call the electric company. They come out. The wires run across the neighbor's yard, through their trees, and are TOUCHING our garage. More miracles are recognised. The electric company guy (8 feet tall at least, and no more than 80 pounds, I SWEAR, and approximately 60 years old) says he can't touch the trees, the neighbors aren't home and don't own it even if they were, and I don't know their landlord. Electric company guy climbs ladder to look at where it's LAYING on the garage, goes into the neighbor's yard, and discovers the trees aren't the issue at all. Well, not much. No, our wire has a SERIOUS problem. It seems squirrels have been having our electrical line for lunch. SQUIRRELS WERE EATING MY ELECTRICAL LINES. Apparently, he's seen this before, just not so thoroughly done...they've eaten it about half gone like some kind of mettalic squirrly corn on the cob thing. He splices in a new bit of line, and poof! ALL of our previously troublesome electrical problems are GONE. No more dancing TV screen, can have the AC, TV, washer, dryer, and microwave all on, all working, all at the same time. Great, but I still have a melted cable. Call the cable company and take John to buy new shoes for his interview tomorrow. Cable company calls. I LEAVE John at the mall, race home, and get here just as the cable guy (diff one) pulls up. He runs new wires, Dogs sit with me cheerfully, both the one who's found the great love of water in the 90+ degree weather, and the other who thinks he'll melt if he gets wet. I go pick John up, we go buy a new AC for the rest of the house, and arrange for installation. This is another $500 dollars. We pick up his suit that we had dry cleaned today to be ready for tomorrow, come home, and rest. I'm now sitting here, printing out stuff for his interview, making sure that everything is ready so he can get up, get dressed, and be out of the house by 6am tomorrow morning, to get to the airport by 7am, to be in Dallas by 9 am for a meeting at 9:45 am. He'll be home tomorrow evening, and we're hoping with a serious offer with the serious raide we've heard rumored (double his current salary!!)

Lets review.
I've been unable to get online because SQUIRRELS ATE MY ELECTRICAL LINE.

I'm hoping the reason I haven't found charred squirrel bodies is that the dogs mistook them for fresh h'ors d'oeuvres. That would be justice. Otherwise, I want to see some fried squirrel, dammit!

But All of that is behind me. I'm online again, I have power, and if all goes well, I could be moving to Tulsa before summer...that, judging from this April, will be roughly 10 degrees HOTTER than the inside of an erupting volcano.

Like I said, I couldn't make it up if I TRIED.


Good afternoon...

OK, it's April 12th and it's already over 80 in central OK.
This summer is going to be ROUGH.

In other news.
Had to replace tires on the monte carlo.

Jennifer is having a baby boy.

Sarah is also pregnant.

The dogs are doing so-so in obedience school. We taught them to sit in front of us; now we have to get them to stay on our left and sit.

My job has expanded. I'm now also the engineering diagrammer. I'll be producing the Idiot's Guide to implementing this complex design. Or something. Watch me stay busy, folks! WOW this is going to be a LOT of work.

Kit has learned the dogs can't get him, so he torments them with relative impugnity. Dumb cat. He also keeps dumping the water dish...which means NEITHER kitty has anything to drink. Dumb cat. Still; he HAS to be where I am, and there's something endearing about that. Boy, did he ever figure out how to stay put; dumb cat or not, it's going to break my heart when it comes time to say my last good byes to him.

OK, the heat is killing my brain, and what neurons survive the heat are dying in the face of the new challenges at work. WOW. Later, folks!


Rained in & St. Patrick's Day

In the past few months, Oklahoma has had just an inch or so more rain than Phoenix in the desert, or so said someone from my church. I think, then, you can imagine my delight at the fact we're supposed to get lots of rain this weekend. In fact, I don't even mind that I'm going on vacation and getting rained in ON vacation. I'm going with John's family to the Broken Bow area and staying in this HUGE cabin that I'm pretty sure is bigger than my house.

Oh, and no, I didn't forget. It's St. Patrick's Day. Yes, I am of Irish descent.
Google and Wikipedia both have links to more information; St. Patrick's Day is more than just another reason to get drunk on beverages green or otherwise. St. Patrick is credited with at the very least, helping to spread the influence of Christianity in ancient Ireland. St. Patrick's Day is meant to honor his memory and celebrate all the wonnder that is Irish-ness. I may not love all of his methods (instead of introducing a new religion, he adapted his new religion to include pagan rites so it would be more palatable, possibly compromising the gospel he taught, just as hundreds of thousands of priests had before and would do after he did, so it's not just him), but I can still honor the memory of a man whose influence still did more good than harm, I think. I can also get behind celebrating Irish history and culture, and even the consumption of green and/or Irish food.

Of course, I am going to request that you be responsible in your observation. If you're going to drink, get a designated driver. Getting so drunk that you make bad decisions and hurt people in the process brings no honor to anyone. Don't let Irish heritage be your excuse to get sloshed and get stupid.

Now kiss me! I'm Irish!!


Fun things I learned today:

1) Hawaii has only one incorporated city: Honolulu.
2) The proper name of Honolulu: "The City & County of Honolulu"
3) The aforementioned "City & County of Honolulu" actually covers the entire island of Oahu, as well as all of the territory that belongs to Oahu.
4) What mainlanders think of Honolulu is actually "Urban Honolulu"
5) All of the rest of the "towns" in Hawaii are "CDP"s, or Census Designated Places. In fact, as far as the Census Department is concerned, only "Urban Honolulu" is "Honolulu".
6) If you have Vonage, calling Hawaii is free. Hawaii is over 3000 miles from where I am. Mexico City, by contrast, is just over 1100 miles from me, and it would cost me 6 cents a minute to call. It's cheaper for me to call an island I can only get to by FLIGHT 3000 miles away than it is to call a city I could concievably walk to (well, not that I would...walking that far would take me something like 10 years, and I don't really find that an attractive or enjoyable prospect, but I think you get the idea) that's 2000 miles CLOSER. I LOVE Vonage.

Yes, I called Honolulu. No, I didn't call Mexico City. I just picked a foreign country closer than HI that isn't Canada (because I can call Canada for free, too, and Puerto Rico.)

Also: The Leeward sides of the Hawaiian islands are drier than the Windward sides; the volcanic mountains that form the islands cause the currents to dump their rain on the windward side. Thus, most of the touristy stuff is on the leeward sides of the islands.

Everytime I spell Hawaii, I do so incorrectly. Well, in standard English (be that Commonwealth English or American English), it's OK. But Hawaiians spell it Hawai'i, where the ' is a glottal stop between the two i's. So why am not using Hawaiian English? I'm too lazy at the moment. Hawaiians: I apologize for being a lazy snot. Please don't flame me.

I learned more today, but at the moment, I think my head might pop from information overload if I try to explain it all. So I won't tell you about the forbidden island that is privately owned and not allowed to have visitors, or the hike up Wiliwilinui Ridge, or how the other side of the Koolau volcano fell into the ocean, and so the Koolau Range on Oahu is really just half of a volcano, or where the term "Shield Volcano" came from (but I will tell you that every volcano in Hawaii is one), or why it's nearly impossible to hike the entire length of the Koolau range, or the correct Hawaiian English ways to spell all of the above terms.

Go spend some time with Wikipedia. Between it and Google, you should be able to find everything I did, and even stuff I've forgotten how to express already.




John and I are looking forward to a cruise later this year, early fall. This will be the first time, since our honeymoon, that the two of us will have taken an extended vacation, just the two of us. I've gone on trips without him, we've gone on long vacations with our families, and we've taken long weekends away...but to actually GO AWAY together? That's been a while. We're so excited!!!

Grizzly Bear

Those are pictures from earlier this afternoon when John and I took the dogs on a walk. The boys LOVE to go out and walk, and are starting to learn "come" and "sit", particularly when treats are involved. That means obedience school should be easier for them.

Grizzly is the larger of the two dogs, on the right,IIRC, and Bear is the little one, on the left. You can also tell them apart by looking at their coats; Bear's got more black mixed into his coat, while Grizzly is pretty red.

Oh, and they've discovered Kit, who discovered them, and formed a mutual dislike society. Kit hisses at them through the window, and they bark back. Good thing I keep the cat inside and the dogs out. :D

I have more pictures of them online in my yahoo group: if this link works, you can use it to join!

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Enjoy, all!


Just a brief little note...

before I go to bed in a minute here.

Sleep is good. Sleep, I think, gets highly under-rated. It's magnificent. And now, in celebration of the wonderfulness that is sleep, I'm going to go get some. Sleep that is.

Yes, I know... I'm a dork. But if you've known me for more than 5 minutes, that really shouldn't be news...


Good News

Well, this morning was my appointment with the pulmonologist (lung specialist), Dr. Haddad. It seemed a wise step to take, considering how sickly I've been this winter. I got nothing but GOOD news.

1) Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter and just plain weird year, I'm not the first person he's seen with almost the same complaint...so I'm not alone, and it's not all in my head.

He ordered some tests: a sinus and chest x-ray, and spirometry

2) Sinus X-ray was clear. If it hadn't been, I would have been off to another specialist to address the sinus issues in an attempt to help control the asthmatic ones.

3) Chest X-ray was clear. No active, current infection, and no damage to my lungs that we can see that way.

4) Spirometry came back 90% of normal...but normal is 80% or better...so I'm fine there. My lungs function just fine, so I've not had any permament damage.

Dr. Haddad (HAD-id) added Singulair, which is not a steroid, and emphasized the importance of staying on the Advair that I've been taking. These are both maintenance meds, meant to keep my lungs working their best. He also said I need to be certain to use my albuterol inhaler 15-20 minutes before I have any exertion, and as needed beyond that. If these aren't enough to get things under control for me, he'll add a home nebulizer...a liquid medication is added to air in a mist and I breathe that in to treat the airway constriction.

I'll go back and see him in 3 months unless something changes between now and then, and if things go as well as he anticipates, he'll see me again 6 months after that, and then, just as I need to.

But there's no permanent damage, this is asthma, and he deals with that all the time, and I should be just fine. YAY!

I needed the good news.


I didn't write this...but it's still amusing!


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good !

Q: Aren' t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO ..... Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to Skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride!" So friends, why worry? Eat, drink and be merry.


Johari & Nohari Windows

A friend sent me a link to her Johari window, and I was intrigued, so I got my own, and then after just a wee bit of research, I got a Nohari window, as well.

Go for it...let me know what you think. :D



OK, OK, I know, it's been a while since I posted. Months even. Yah, yah, deal wit' it.


OK, last time I posted, I had 2 kitties, 1 fish, a new puppy, and hopes that the heat had broken. I think Moe was still hanging on then anyway...

Moe didn't make it. Guess he knew his time was limited, and he floated finally. Poor Moe. I'd be more heartbroken if I hadn't bought him to amuse the cats anyway.

The break in the heat didn't really make it, either. We've not had a winter yet. In fact, if you're paying attention, and the news stops obsessing with the Left Coast long enough, you might notice that much of OK has burned in the past few months while a drought leaves us too parched to water willynilly, but fire dangers leave the risk of what happens if we don't water willynilly way too stinkin' high... I miss winter.

Bear's still here, and actually, so are Kit and Lady. Bear's been joined though, as of New Years Eve, by Grizzly, who looks like a bigger, redder version of the same dog. Grizzly taught Bear the fine art of running away multiple times a day, so we spent most of January trying to find new ways to keep the dogs in while they spent the time trying to find new ways of getting out. An electric fence has the problem almost solved, but they can still get out when we open the garage door...so we're still looking for a solution that will work there. Still, they're GORGEOUS dogs, very friendly, and so cheerfully, blissfully ignorant that running away is a bad thing when they get back (they LOVE car rides, the little stink pots)...we can't help ourselves; we love the little idiots. Actually...not so much little. Grizzly was 73 pounds when last we weighed him, and Bear was close to 30 pounds. They're very good at knocking me off my feet and dogpiling me...literally. Obedience school is coming in March....1 hour a week, for 8 weeks. Maybe we can get them to come when they're called, more than just when they're in the mood to...

John took a new job, leaving OneNet at the end of January. He'd been with them since Jan 01, so this is a BIG adjustment for him. It's with a new start up, and he's doing Wireless Internet Consulting. Actaully, at the moment, that means he's in Pittsburgh PA, planning to spend the morning driving all over Pittsburgh looking at trees and buildings and lights and towers to see what it will take to BUILD a wireless network for the entire city. When he gets home tomorrow, though, he gets a few weeks off from travelling, something we're both eager for.

I also took a new job, same company, different tune. See, the network guys go out and decide how to build their networks, then they come back, tell me what they saw, what that means, and I help write their reports and stuff. Anything that goes out anymore that required any writing prolly had a minimum of one of my fingers in it, at least to proof-read and grammar nit pick...stop laughing, really, I do well at my job!!

Jennifer moved to Beaver OK for about a month and then moved back to VA...but that meant I got to see my sweet Zoey bug again. My GOD, she's gorgeous. Yes, I am shamelessly in love with my neice. I adore all 9 of my neices, my nephew, and even the one on the way due this fall (Jen brought back something of her trip out here...but I met the daddy, and he seemed like a nice enough fellow, even if things didn't work out between them, sorry man!)

The current youngest neice, Emma, had heart surgery in January and is now home, recovering well. If you haven't been keeping up with Meredith's blog, you can do that here. Internet is amazing; I don't know that I could have stayed even remotely sane trying to keep up with the news from there without Meredy's updates to the web for us. My sister ROCKS. (Yes, all my sisters rock, thank you, I'm just citing one specific example at the moment :P ).

I'm now on my 4th (yes, FOURTH) bout of bronchitis for the 05-06 season. After the 3rd bout, I got the flu and pneumonia vaccines, and went in for allergy testing. 121 pin pricks later...I don't have to have allergy shots. That's something, at least. Alas, it didn't fix anything, or maybe, I wouldn't be on bout number 4. I'm off to a lung specialist next, because, seriously, this has to stop. Oh, and the doc yestererday mentioned that this might be mono, too. Yeah. No, I don't kiss any one but John, so no, I don't know how I got it. I went to San Francisco on a business trip with the guys...maybe I got it there. I don't know; I was healthy when I left OK, and I was sick before I got home. Who knows.

I hope to do more musical musings soon, but I don't know yet when...at the moment, being sick, I'm just taking each day as it comes, and going from there. Fortunately, the new job came with a laptop and the ability to work from home, so there's been little serious impact on my productivity that I haven't been able to work around. This is a very good thing. But alas, at the moment, my lungs are opting to leap out of my chest in yet another extended coughing fit (oh, wait, it passed, still...) so I'm going to cut this current stream-of-conciousness (or not) short, tell you all I'm still here, I still love all the same folks I loved before, and until you hear otherwise, that's pretty much not going to change.

See? That wasn't TOO painful, now was it?