Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sad Day

Normally I have a photo, but not today. I was in the middle of a fun post about Florida, but I will have to finish it tomorrow. Today I am super sad, and I can't write about something happy. A beautiful hummingbird got trapped in our garage, not sure when but probably this morning when I left for the chiropractor. But I discovered it when I let the cats out there to play awhile ago. Of course they spotted it right away, and cornered it. I made them go back inside the house and I opened up the garage, hoping the hummingbird would find its way out. I caught it twice, with a towel, but it got away. It kept flying up towards the ceiling, and not out the door, and every time I approached it squeaked in panic and fluttered about. It finally rested on the garage door railing, but I could see it was completely exhausted, it was barely hanging on there. I went back into the house for awhile, leaving the garage open, hoping it would find its way out. When I went back out there, I didn't see the bird, and of course I looked around everywhere thinking that it may have been so tired it fell. I scoured all over the tool benches, all over the floor, I looked everywhere. No bird. Finally, I closed up the garage and let the cats back out. Moments later Spider came back in with the bird, dead, and put it at my feet. I was devastated, I haven't stopped crying since, I even called James and he wanted to know if he needed to come home to me. He gave me the "honey, that's just part of life" speech, but it didn't help. I held it for a long time like a little kid, hoping it was just tired, hoping it would wake up, but no such luck. I put it away in a box, and I will have James bury it in the backyard, I can't imagine just throwing it away. My heart is broken today, I can barely function right now, I have such a soft spot in my heart for all animals, and I can't help but to think it's my fault that this beautiful little bird is dead. I always get overly upset about animals being hurt or dying, I can't even watch half the shows on Animal Planet because of it. I even have to cover my eyes when there is a dead animal on the side of the road, because I will cry if I see it. So, I am overly sensitive, and this little hummingbird has turned me into a quivering mass. Perhaps if I had left it alone to begin with, instead of trying to catch it and take it outside. I feel like I chased it to death. I don't believe the cats killed it, I think it simply died of terror and exhaustion. I hope it wasn't the little hummingbird that comes to my feeder every day, I would be crushed to not see it again. I will return tomorrow to post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My New Best Friend

I hope Kim doesn't min
d me borrowing her photo from her website, but I'm going to give her business Restoration Massage free publicity here. Kim is a therapist who is helping me on my road to recovery. Most of you who read my blog know about my problems with pain. My chiropractor sent me to Kim a few weeks ago, and I have to sing her praises here. Although I do have a herniated disc in my back, my chiropractor was convinced it was NOT the source of my pain- which is in my groin, thigh, and hip on my right side. So he sent me to Kim. I was thinking relaxing spa massage. Oh, heck no! Kim specializes in massages to help folks with injuries or pain. Specifically for me, trigger point massage. I don't know how to explain this procedure but to say it hurts like a cruel form of torture! It is not a "massage" in the traditional sense- instead she takes her thumb, hand, or even elbow and presses down as hard as she can on my thigh or butt, until I say "No more!" and slowly, as she continues to apply the pressure, the muscle relaxes all on its own. It is a freaky feeling, I wish I could put it into words. But, the results are amazing, and she is teaching me how to do it, so I can either show James how or I can even perform it on myself.

After getting my medical history, Kim believes that my pain is caused by contracted muscles, leftover from 2006 when I was suffering greatly with an ovarian cyst. After spending months doubled over in agony, the cyst finally went away, but all the pain stayed. Readers of my blog know the history- the doctors, the epidurals, the pain pills, and nothing ever helped. As much as I love my chiropractor, he hasn't even helped relieve the pain. But at least he was honest enough to say, hey, I don't think it's your back after all, so let's try something else. Kim explained to me that when someone is injured or has a physical trauma (like my cyst), sometimes the muscles contract in that area. You
know, ladies, when you have that fun monthly cramping, your body tends to fold in on itself with the pain. Well, my body did that, continually, for months on end while I had the cyst. Only, once the cyst was gone, the muscles continued to stay in that contracted position, and they never went back to normal. I know I'm not explaining it well, but you can sort of get the drift.

So all of this time, all of these years, my pain was from overly tight muscles that would never relax- and not my back. That's why it never showed up on an MRI or X-ray, why the epidurals never worked, and why the pain medication didn't work. The only thing that worked was the muscle relaxer I took at night, and now I know why. I see Kim once a week, and she performs trigger point therapy on my thigh and glutes for an hour per session. I have to say, I see a drastic improvement, and although I'm certainly not pain free yet I believe it is getting better- James and I even walked a 10K on Sunday morning! But I've stopped taking all pain medication, since I now know it's not going to help me. I will continue to visit Kim once a week so she can torture me, until the day I can officially say I am pain free and back to normal again!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Weekend

As you can tell from the photos above, we had a pretty relaxed weekend. James and I got up early Saturday morning and got going on our household projects- hanging a mirror, a clock, some artwork, towel rings. We were done by lunchtime, and since it was such a gorgeous day, we put the top down on the Mustang and drove through the countryside down to LaGrange, a little over an hour away. We stopped in at the Highland Marina Resort to look around and have lunch on the deck of the restaurant (photos below). We enjoyed the views of West Point Lake, watching the boaters going out and coming in. The resort has cabin rentals, as well as boat rentals, not to mention a huge RV park, picnic areas, playgrounds, swimming, walking trails, the Waterfront Restaurant, and a large store. I would love for us to rent a cabin for the weekend and fish, maybe in the fall. It seemed like a very nice, quiet, pleasant place to spend a few days, right there on the 27,000 acre lake.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Orange And Blue

Look Dad! Found the fight song, it's on my playlist now !!!!!!!!!!

Drop Dead Diva

Just a quick post about the cute new show on Lifetime, called Drop Dead Diva. I've only watched it once or twice, I'm not really the "Lifetime" kind of person. It's about a gorgeous and skinny girl who dies and comes back in the body of a smart but chubby woman (photo of actress Brooke Elliott as plus-size lawyer Jane Binghum). I am only posting about this because it is filmed right near us in Peachtree City (where I go to Weight Watchers, and where James and I go to walk around the lakes), in fact much of the cast has relocated there during filming. Next week they will be right here in downtown Newnan filming. We have a very scenic, very quaint downtown area, and in the few months that I've lived here we've already seen downtown closed twice because of filming for movies. And another movie is getting ready to start filming here as well.

I don't know what episode of Diva will feature the Newnan area, but when I find out I will be sure to let everyone know!

I Love Jim and Gym

Well I took the plunge yesterday and joined a gym, very near our house. It's a local gym, not a chain, and I think they only have one other location, in Cumming (where James' aunt and uncle live). They are actually breaking ground on a newer, bigger facility just up the road, and the new gym will include pools and full-size basketball courts. I really just went in to look it over and see if they have yoga and spinning classes, which they do. I had been to the Y earlier in the week for a visit. The Y here is $53 a month, the gym is $28 a month (my rate will be grandfathered in when they open up the new place), so I had to go with the gym. It's very state of the art, lots of televisions everywhere, some of the treadmills even had them built right in on the machines. They had good rock music pumping overhead, with videos playing. A smoothie bar, aqua massages, a darkened movie theater with treadmills and bikes instead of seats. I decided it was time, considering that my weight loss has pretty much stalled. I continue to walk on my treadmill here at home, and in fact I'm up to about 6-7 miles a session (headed there as soon as I finish this post). But, I need to do more. My membership includes two free sessions with a personal trainer, who I'll be meeting with on Monday afternoon. A cute little gal who barely looks twenty and is skinny as a rail. She'll show me all the machines, etc. It's been a long time since I went to a gym, and back then it was a small women's only gym. I did once belong to the Y back in South Carolina, but I admit that I didn't go nearly enough to do me any good, or justify the monthly fee. James (to me, but Jim to his family) said he doesn't mind paying for the gym, as long as I go, and since I'm not working it's the perfect time to develop some new, healthy habits. I stole a few photos off their website. I am hoping that once I add in the gym, along with the chiropractor and massage therapist, and continue to go to Weight Watchers, I will finally be back on the road to recovery. And, I have to announce here that, although I am still having some pain, I officially stopped taking my pain medication last week and so far have been fine without it. Hope to have even more encouraging reports in the next few weeks about it. And, hope to soon see the little ticker at the bottom of my page start moving in the right direction for my weight loss!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Struck Oil!

I stole this photo off my dad's blog! Thanks Dad! This is an oil painting I did last year, I gave it to my mom and when I was in Florida, she and I went to Michael's to pick out a frame for it. Looks like she got it back. I have to confess, this is the ONLY oil painting I've ever done, I had never ever used oils before and sadly, I haven't used them since. This was a big painting, I seem to remember it was a 16 x 20 canvas? I'm not sure, but it's on my EBSQ page. It was actually a class project, I painted it in one day (it was an eight hour class). I found it was an interesting medium to work with, but it was also difficult because of the slow drying time. I still like acrylics the best, but I will say that I would love to do another big piece like this again. The class was a lot of fun!

Out In The Yard

Yesterday was yard work day, and I'm happy to report that I actually felt well enough to do it! It's been a long time since my body would allow me to do this kind of work all afternoon. I have finally found a cure to all my chronic pain, and in a few weeks I will have a very long post explaining in detail my miracle! (My dad already knows, so don't give it away, Gene!) You can also see that the squirrels continue to enjoy the Squngee, and I think it's time for me to raise it up higher so that they will have to jump for the corn.

The bushes needed trimming very very badly, and this was all I was able to do in one afternoon (I'm not back to my old self completely), and I will have to get back out there again in the next day or s
o to finish up. A lot of my bulbs and perennials needed deadheading. I love to sit on my front porch, but when I'm out there, trying to relax in the rocking chair or read a book, all I ever do is see the weeds and the bushes growing up over the walkway! Hard to relax when you are constantly reminded of the work you should be doing.

The veggies are still coming right along. Nothing to harvest quite yet, I'm hoping that the tomatoes will be ready soon. Lots and lots of peppers. I'm not sure why I planted them, I don't eat peppers. James will have to enjoy them. I've got four varieties out there, so he'll have plenty to choose from. Seems like the deer haven't been bothering them too much lately, although James said last night when he came home from work (after midnight) the deer were right there on our street. If the missing leaves on my bushes out front and the vanishing buds on my lilies are any indication, I can say with confidence that the deer probably visit our yard every evening. We've actually seen them coming out of the woods right behind our house, and walking along our side yard, front yard, and then over to the empty
lots across the street. Love to see them, they are beautiful, but gosh darn it stop eating my plants!

We ended the day with another beautiful sunset on our block of Greenfield Way. (With a name like that, no wonder the deer love our street so much!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Little Sister

I was able to snap a few photos of my sister Darenda while I was back home in Florida. She is two years younger than I am, but in many respects, she is much more mature and I have always looked up to her. Darenda is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and she has been married to her college sweetheart for almost twenty years now. They have two amazing boys (photo below), Tyler (13) and Luke (6). They live in a beautiful older home that they are remodeling, and it looks like something straight out of a magazine, they are doing a lovely job with it. She has an amazing career here. She has a wonderful life, and I am privileged to have her as my little sister. You can see from the photo of us together, that she is my "little" sister in more ways than one, she is about half the size of me!! But, she works very hard at that, and look at that gorgeous Florida tan.

Here are a few older photos of Darenda from my treasury, and of her whole family together. Handsome hubby Doug, and the boys. She is very dedicated to her family, and her career, and I have a lot of admiration for her. She accomplishes more in one week than most people do in a whole month. I've always thought my sister is extremely beautiful, and wow, she is more intelligent than almost anyone I know. I probably have never told her that, because we were typical teenage sisters- i.e. we fought like cats and dogs all the time and could barely share the bathroom! She went off to college, and not too long after she came home, I moved out of state. We never really got the chance to become "friends" as adults, and now I only get to see her once a year.

And here she is helping me out at my wedding. I really appreciated her being there with me, and she was a great help and comfort, all without my even asking her. My sister is the type of person who instinctively "knows" the right thing to do, and she does it. I loved having her and her entire family at the wedding, and I was probably too nervous and anxious to ever tell her a proper thank you. I hope she knows how much it meant to me. Love you, Darenda!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Downtown Hometown

More photos from Florida. This is our gorgeous downtown area. My mom had to return library books for my nephew, so we decided to take a stroll along the sidewalk on Barcarrota Boulevard, along the waterfront. Although my hometown is certainly most famous for our soft, white sandy beaches on the Gulf, we also have several beautiful rivers running through the city. This is the Manatee River. There is a marina here, as well as a restaurant, and of course the amazing views.

Below is the library, and Main Street. The only job I ever held back home was for the county government, in various departments. So in my late teens and all of my 20's, I worked downtown. It was very common for me to walk the few blocks down to the waterfront on my lunch hour, or stroll Main Street's shops. Some days I packed a picnic lunch, and friends and I would spread a blanket right there by the water and take a break. Another friend and I would change into walking gear and head out to spend our lunch hour walking across the bridge and back.

Below is a photo of City Hall, where my dad has his office. His office is, I think, the first or second one over from the right, upstairs. His window overlooks the waterfront. I wouldn't be able to get a lick of work done if I had that view every day. The last time I was in his office, I think he had his desk placed so that his back was to the window, but I wouldn't be able to ignore gazing at the river every day. My dad is a retired fireman, who served for around 30+ years, and for over a decade was the fire chief. His retirement was brief, and he is now in the middle of his fifth term as a city councilman. But guess what? Everywhere he goes, people still say "Hey Chief!" because that's how everyone still thinks of him. (You can click on the link and see his page.)

My mom snapped a few photos of me. I have been lucky enough to see manatees in the wild, right there in my hometown (last year we were fortunate enough to see two of them mating in Palma Sola Bay near my parents' house). But the river is also full of dolphins who come in from the Gulf. It is very common to see them out there in the river downtown, playing, and I guess living in Florida I took all of that for granted. Some people only get to see dolphins and manatees in aquariums, but I grew up seeing them in the rivers and beaches of my hometown. We would be at restaurants on the water, and look out the window to see dolphins going by. Or in the boat and have them come almost right up to us. We would see them by the dozens, sometimes mommas with their babies at their sides. In fact, seeing dolphins was such a common sight I would be like, "eh". Now when I go home, it is such a wonderful pleasure.

Hope you enjoyed the photos of my hometown of Bradenton and our beautiful scenic downtown area!

Mr. Rogers Is Right!

Yes, it IS a beautiful day in the neighborhood. At least here at my house, as evidenced by the scene from my front porch this morning (photo below). 54 this morning, as I went out to get the newspapers. Or I should say, as I ran out there- it was so chilly, and I was so underdressed. We've had the AC off and all the windows open since Saturday, and I can't believe how gorgeous this weather is. I am going to enjoy it, because I know it won't last. It is, after all, still July here in the Deep South. We are setting record lows at night, and our high during the day is just barely 80. Isn't that incredible?? James played golf yesterday and said it was simply spectacular- the weather and his golf, as he and his teammate shot well below 90 on a very challenging course.

The cats are enjoying the open windows (Maarten above last evening), like most cats they are avid bird watchers and now they can hear the songs again, hear the buzz of the hummingbirds at the feeders, hear the purple martins as they whiz by chasing each other. It feels like early spring, and it lifts my mood! Right now there is a rabbit hopping along down the curb of our street, and the cats are mesmerized.

Last night we enjoyed the spoils of our farmers market trip. We decided the steaks were just too enormous, so we cut them in half and tossed them on the grill, along with a big pan of marinated veggies- sweet potatoes, beets, mushrooms, eggplant, squash, onion- all sorts of yummy stuff. We served the steak with soft, perfectly tangy blue cheese from the farmers market and a reduction of my "good" balsamic vinegar (i.e. my hidden away expensive bottle- it was worth the splurge). It was a wonderful meal. Best of all, we now have another steak waiting for us in the freezer. We love grilling out, and our small eat-in kitchen is right off our deck, with one wall of all windows, so we could sit there in the evening with the breeze blowing in, watching the birds stop at the feeders for their dinner while we ate ours. A perfect night. And can't wait to get back to that farmers market!

The garden is starting to fade a little now, but by the looks of it, I should have a new bonanza of lilies soon. I only have two gladiolas blooming right now, the others are awaiting the clippers. The few perennials I planted this year are still blooming, so I have lots of purples and yellows and reds out there. And the veggies continue on their journey towards our dinner plates. The deer are also continuing to be pesky, every night they are decimating the tops of my shrubbery out front. But my parents will be visiting later next month, and my dad is going to build us the ultimate deer feeder out in the backyard, at the edge of our woods, so hopefully they will fill up on cheap corn and leave my garden alone!

Hope everyone else is having this amazing cool front. I am headed to my rocking chair on the front porch, with my coffee and a wonderful paperback. Oh yes, but first I will have to put on long pants and get a jacket! Have a fantastic Monday!