Family Song Circles

I just found this video of my dad singing the original version of "Hound Dog" with my aunt. This is definitely a treasure, and I wanted to share.

Soundtrack of my Soul #8

The Band Perry

Oh Pioneer
I sing your song
It's the hymn of those who've gone before and those who carry on
Your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Oh Pioneer
So young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way
You orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled

I won't run when bullets chase me
I won't rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled


There, I Fixed It

My client gave me a terrible powerpoint format to work in the other day, but I did the best I could. In slideshow format, the various pieces show up with each click so you can walk through it in a presentation:

Apparently, they were really attached to the idea of bright shapes and curvy overlaps, because this is what they came back with:

I sometimes wonder why I even bother.


Guest Starring in a Rando's Video

I had a super flattering experience this afternoon that has left me feeling pretty dern good about myself.

Having spent the last week in a corticosteroid-induced hormonal haze, I've been feeling pretty fat, old, and lazy. Everything hurts, all the time. Last night I stayed out a little later than normal and couldn't get into a solid sleep until almost 7 this morning. I woke up at 2 feeling pretty crappy about myself for wasting away the day. Easiest cure for that is to get out of the house, so I laced up my tennis shoes and headed up to Huntington Park. It's a pretty shady park, so it doesn't get the sun in the afternoons, but the walk up is a couple of blocks straight up an incredibly steep hill and the reward is a pretty decent view in three directions.

I noticed one totally flat bench without a back and decided it would be perfect for my physical therapy exercises. Luckily, it was in a back corner of the park out of the way of most of the people. This is an important factor when your exercises include pelvic bridges and something called the dead bug. There was a group of 4 guys in their mid twenties nearby, but they were occupied with some videos they were taking of each other.

I had my headphones in and was rocking out to the genius list based on Fun.'s "One Foot" (my current anthem). Out and about in the city, though, I always leave one ear open just so I can hear what's going on around me. Safety first, ladies. The guys couldn't tell this, though, and at some point in the middle of their video they started talking about me. It seemed like they were doing some sort of demo for a vlog or something in which they talk about stuff and maybe do some skateboard stunts...very Wayne's World. They were definitely in the middle of recording their "show" when all of a sudden I heard:

"Hey, check out that girl doing exercises over there." 
"Dude, you should go talk to her."
"She's a beautiful girl."
"And she's healthy, man."
"Go talk to her."
"She's busy, I don't want to interrupt her."
"Don't be a pussy. Just talk to her."
"No, man, she's like a fine painting in a museum. I want to appreciate the beauty from here. If you actually touch the paintings, the security guards come chase you down."

I couldn't hear everything at this point, but he extrapolated on the painting idea for awhile and they moved on to some other subjects. A few minutes later, I heard:

"Dude, really, just go talk to her. It'll be fun."
"I don't know man."
"Ask her to be in our video, worst she can say is no."

I finished my exercises and could have hung out for a bit, but it started to sound like they might actually make their way over to me. I got up and walked away, standing a little bit taller. Sure, it would have been fun to talk to them and maybe even be in their video -- but I really enjoy the idea of being a fine painting.


Runny Peanut Butter

Lesson learned:

When making no-bake cookies in a corticosteroid-induced emotional frenzy, refrain from using Trader Joe's peanut butter. It's too runny and the cookies won't properly dry. Which means every time you go to eat one the next day you have to wash the peanuty residue off your hand afterward. This is especially troublesome if said steroids are causing constant nausea, leaving you unable to eat except in tiny increments of chocolate-coated peanut buttery oats.


Side Effects

A lot of you are asking me how I'm feeling. I know that you want to know if the back pain is gone. I know that what you want to know is whether the injection worked.

I can't tell you that yet. I'm just not sure. The pain seems to have subsided some, but the overall pain from the injection is still there.

What I can tell you is that I feel miserable. The side effects of the steroids make it really difficult to even consider writing, but I wanted to give whatever update I could. This is how I feel right now (all of these are totally normal side effects of the steroids):

unable to sleep
unable to concentrate
teeth-chattering cold

I just feel generally extremely uncomfortable. This is not a pleasant experience. I'm not sure how all of those things can be true at the same time, but they are. This is not my favorite feeling.

The Other Woman

Having been the other woman unknowingly, and then knowingly, and then having it turned around so I was threatened by the other woman, I feel like I have a little bit to say on the subject. One of the things that is most difficult is that even after the relationship is long over, even after you don't even want to be with the partner anymore, there is still this feeling of primal hatred for a woman you don't even know. Even when I felt sorry for her, even when I felt like she could be someone I liked, I still had this undercurrent of hate. If I'm truly honest with myself, I probably still do.

Caroline Bromley posted a list of lessons regarding the other woman on Thought Catalog, and I found myself wishing I had had this list taped to my mirror while I was in the thick of these emotions. So I'm sharing it here in hopes that if there is anyone out there dealing with this currently or recovering from the effects of having been there, that this helps, even if just a little bit.

The one that was most important for me?
Nobody is out to get you specifically. Everybody just wants to be loved and is fighting as hard as they can for themselves. 

Read all of them here


It's back

oh hello pain

Injection Update

Steroid injection today. Terrible awful experience, but seems like already helping pain a bit. Feel weird and loopy and nauseous and achy, but hopeful.


Electromyograph Update

This was by far the weirdest thing I've ever had done to my body. My muscles are twitching and I ache in places that aren't anywhere near where needles were places. I am now a total believer in reflexology. This is crazy.


This is what I'm doing with my afternoon.


Normal muscles at rest make certain, normal electrical signals when the needle is inserted into them. Then the electrical activity when the muscle is at rest is studied. Abnormal spontaneous activity might indicate some nerve and/or muscle damage. Then the patient is asked to contract the muscle smoothly. The shape, size, and frequency of the resulting electrical signals are judged. Then the electrode is retracted a few millimetres, and again the activity is analyzed until at least 10–20 motor units have been collected. Each electrode track gives only a very local picture of the activity of the whole muscle. Because skeletal muscles differ in the inner structure, the electrode has to be placed at various locations to obtain an accurate study.


Back Problems Update

I saw the spine specialist today. He showed me the exact damage on the MRI. 3 discs are affected, but one is very clearly showing disc material pushing against the nerves. They are doing an electrodiagnostic test next week to determine how much muscle function is being affected by each disc issue, and they are doing a steroid injection to try to shrink the material. We'll know in a few weeks if that works, and then will have to start making some decisions about potential surgery. I feel very confident that I am working with the right doctors and am thankful for such an amazing support network in all of you.



She leaned a little into the ledge of the roof deck as he took an almost imperceptible step toward her. The conversation had been lively and constant all evening, but before this she hadn't been sure whether he even found her attractive. Waiting for him to interrupt her with that first kiss, she continued talking, not sure of how to stop.

"...so now I'm here, living in this beautiful city," she gestured with her head to the tops of the buildings they were overlooking, "and I feel pretty lucky..."

"Yes we are," he said as he moved toward her. He wrapped his arms around her in a hug and pulled her close to him.

A hug? This was not what she had been expecting. As soon as she felt herself relax into it, he pulled his face back without letting any space come between them.

She watched him watch her. "You're studying me."

He caught the hint of a question in her voice. "Not critically," as he leaned into her and put his lips to hers.

She waited for him to open the kiss. For an agonizingly long time, he remained still - pushing his lips gently into hers while holding her body against him. She felt something go off in her head.

Are these fireworks?

She felt an urge to move - to pull his lips into hers, but somehow knew better. She gave herself permission to trust him. In an almost meditative state, she started to feel all the nuances of the kiss. She felt movement in the stillness. She felt his hands on her back. She felt him meeting her in this moment.

Seconds that seemed like hours later, he pulled her into the open kisses she had been expecting. They were sweet without lacking sensuality. Soft without lacking power.

They paused for a moment and he gestured toward the nearby table. She sat atop it so that he could stand above her. They continued kissing without escalating. It felt like hours. Years. It felt like something she wanted to do forever.

And then, in one slow movement, he raised up and placed her head against his chest.

Really? We're making out on a first date and he wants to cuddle?

He wrapped his hands in her hair and gently held her there, pulling her into him. He held here there for three long breaths, then four.

At first she simply indulged him. But somehow both suddenly and as if it had been building up for eternity, something inside her came loose. She stopped counting breaths and she found herself pushing her forehead into him. As he held her, one arm around her back, one hand cradling her head, she relaxed into him. She felt herself completely surrender to this moment. Trusting this man to hold her, trusting him to know that she needed to be held, trusting him to kiss her just as she needed to be kissed.

Something inside me is breaking.

Tears were starting to fill in her eyes when the security guard abruptly opened the door and told them the roof deck was closing. She buried her face into him and then quickly wiped her eyes as they laughed at the interruption.

He handed her a tissue once they got into the harshly lit elevator.

Does he know I was about to cry?

"I know I always need one after being out in the cold like that."

Maybe not.

They moved outside to the sidewalk and she started to suggest another location, but something in his eyes made her ask how he was feeling.

He told her it had been a long day, that he'd like to end it on a high note. He held her hand as they walked the few blocks until they needed to go in different directions. They kissed again and said goodnight.

She walked home feeling...feeling what? euphoric. excited. violated. and completely abandoned.

Anxious and not understanding why, she let herself text him to thank him for the evening and let him know she'd like to see him again. He responded that he'd like to see her, too, but her nerves never settled.

She awoke the next morning knowing something had shifted. The more she thought about it, the more emotional and anxious she became.

It isn't this guy. I don't even know if I really like this guy. 

She checked her phone for the tenth time in as many minutes.

What the fuck is going on? What is wrong with me?

She closed her eyes and let herself remember how it felt when he first kissed her. She let herself feel him hold her against his chest. She gave herself permission to relax into the feeling. And she started to cry.

In almost four years her ex had never once held her this way. And the man before him? Never. Maybe she hadn't let them. Never had she been so gently forced to let down her guard. Never had she realized how much she needed to feel safe in someone's arms. She sobbed. And laughed. She cried in thankfulness for this beautiful gift, and in sorrow for not knowing if she would ever have it again. She cried because she was finally admitting that she had never in her life, her entire life, really felt completely safe. She cried because she understood this was just a moment in time, and that she may never have it again. And she cried because she knew this was the beginning of something much bigger and truer than she could fully grasp.

Something inside me is breaking free.