Chasing Inspiration

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm Feeling Sassafrassy!


  1. Used book stores for they are filled with treasures just waiting to be sifted through and purchased. Picked up 5 books for under $12 today! All new to me authors. YAY!
  2. Blamtastic lip balm in Oh My Grape! and Sassafrassy Root Beer. Best, lip balm ever!
  3. Words with Friends for it allows me to keep in touch with family while playing games on the internet. 
Short post today. It's hot. I'm tired of the heat. We're heading north for some rest and relaxation and cooler temperatures. I can't wait to sit in a comfy chair outside on a deck overlooking the lake and read for fun. Not for work. Not for personal development or to educate myself on any topic in general. Just for fun. 

Yes, I'm looking forward to a little time away. I hope you all enjoy your long weekend and get in some well deserved R&R before the craziness of fall is upon us. Be well!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Adventures of Velcro Dog, or He Has Infected What?!?!

  1. Velcro Dog, who even though he is under the weather due to an infection, still offers love and adoration to us 24/7.
  2. Forecasts for cooler weather next week. I'm glad it's still summer but I'm ready for a break in the heat.
  3. Sunflowers.
Velcro Dog came home from his morning walk/run with a limp so Hubs determined it was time to see the vet. You see, we also thought there was an issue with his anal glands and no way was I okay with trying to express them ourselves at home. Gross. Turns out, it was a good thing I put the kibosh on home treatment.

Hubs called the vet and got him in tout de suite. The limp is likely due to a strained muscle in a front leg. We have tried to get him to stretch before running, but when those rabbits or dump trucks come along, he can't seem to help himself. We were assured that he will take things easy until he heals but if we don't see the limp improved to take him back in a week.

As for the anal glands...I am not too proud to say this but I am so glad I wasn't there today. First, I can't stand to see my baby in pain and while the expressing of anal glands is not uninvasive, it usually doesn't hurt. Velcro Dog apparetnly whimpered and yipped during the procedure, causing the vet to call for an analysis of the...excretion? I have no idea what you call the stuff that is normally excreted from a dog's anal glands, but I do know this. Accoridng to Hubs, it stunk to high heaven. We have watched the YouTube videos on how to express anal glands so Hubs was prepared for a foul odor but he was not prepared for the stench that eminated from the excretion. Yeah, he's very glad we didn't do this ourselves.

Turns out, Velcro Dog has infected anal glands and is now on medication and goes back in two weeks. Hubs said that when he got Velcro Dog home, he limped over to his pillow, laid down and told Hubs to go away and leave him alone. I think he was a little embarrased from the procedure. We'll have some snuggle time when I get home. I hope my poor baby feels better soon.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Nineteen Years? Seriously?

  1. Hubs' mad cabinetry skills. He's buidling our kitchen cabinets from scratch and I now have the use of the majority of our new base cabinets. They are amazing.
  2. The great staff at my local Barnes & Noble who are knowledgeable, patient and more friendly than any other B&N staff I have ever met. Thank you for helping me out with my replacement nook and getting me the upgrade the other store's staff didn't tell me I needed.
  3. Even though it's hotter and more humid  than Satan's arm pit this week, I'm thankful that for the most part summer has been mild, sunny, and quite enjoyable.
Tomorrow will be my 19th wedding anniversary. I will have been married to Hubs for 19 years. I feel like that number should make me feel old. I mean, I remember when my parents celebrated 20 years and I thought they had been together forever at that time. In only 6  years they will celebrate their 50th. When did all that time pass?

I don't have panic attacks around birthdays. I enjoy getting older and I've learned to enjoy celebrating my life. It seems that it is the anniversary that has me gulping back the sensation that I must be getting old. I'm over forty. I see my age and I smile. My 40s are amazing so far. The best years of my life in terms of growth and opportunity. then I see how many years I've been married and I run and check my head for grey hairs and my face for pesky wrinkles.

What is it about a number that can make us feel or act crazy? In stead of feeling pulled down, I can focus on the knowledge that we have survived and thrived together for 19 years. According to some statistic I heard on the radio (and we all know what what you hear on the radio is true!), the average marriage in the USA lasts 8 years. We've more than beat the odds on that. We have much to be proud of.

Honestly, I don't think about how long we've been married. I think that's why the number surprises me. We're married and marriage is a day-by-day thing where you get out of it what you put in and if you're not willing to contribute to the relationship, that's on you. We have our ups and we have our downs, but over all we are happy. So I guess 19 years isn't such a panic inducing number after all. We'll see how I feel about 20.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rocket Club


  1. It may be shallow, but I adore my new Macbook Pro. Having a laptop again is a joy and having a Macbook is a pleasure. I'm so thankful for this amazing piece of technology.
  2. Air conditioning. The weather is going to be in the 90s and creeping up toward the 100s and I am so very thankful we have air conditioning. Extreme heat and I do not get along.
  3. That my husband loves one of my favorite local bands almost as much as I do, and because of his love for this band, we were able to go see Rocket Club perform last night! I consider it an early anniversary gift. :-)
I have been listening to Rocket Club since I first learned that a former co-worker from a company I used to work for had not only started a country band but was getting some airtime on local radio stations. In December of 2008, after the dreaded layoff from said company, I downloaded Rocket Club's first album and have been a fan ever since.

Now, you need to know that I'm not generally a fan of country music. I tend to skip the country stations when shuffling through the radio presets and the only country music we owned prior to this was Johnny Cash or The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - both because the husband enjoys them. Rocket Club was my little secret. I listened to them on my computer on iPod and rocked out to their music pumping through my earbuds while I was cleaning or making dinner or walking the dog. 

It wasn't until we dove a little deeper into the 21st century and purchased an iPod dock with speakers that Hubs was introduced to Rocket Club. He recognized one of the vocalists right away as being a morning personality on a radio station he enjoys streaming. And he forgave my taste in all other music once his toe started tapping and he started doing the white man's overbite to a few of the tunes. Okay, maybe not all my musical choices. 

We have every album from iTunes and on CD and we have every single they've released in MP3 format. When they started playing local summer festivals we availed ourselves and become those fans - the ones who will follow their band of choice to as many local venues as humanly possible. Within the budget, of course. 

Rocket Club has had a few singles on the Billboard charts and have caught the attention of some producers down in Nashville. They are the hot new thing...sort of. They aren't your traditional country band. They've dubbed the music they play North Country because they are from the northern midwest. Unlike most bands, they don't have a single front man but have two regular vocalists and a third who has a few special songs of his own. With so many talented vocalists there is this amazing blend of three-part harmonies in their music. Their songs are stories, just like most country, but they are stories pertinent to their lives and the lives of their fans - most of whom live north of the Mason-Dixon line. And as such, they refuse to relocate to the mecca of all that is country, instead blazing their trail as indie artists while continuing to shake up the status quo in the country world. 

This year, Rocket Club decided to try something different, a project they dubbed Lucky 13. Writing, recording and producing one song a month, Rocket Club is in the middle of releasing an album one track at a time, debuting each offering on a local country station on the last Thursday of the month the track was written. By December 26th they will have thirteen singles for their newest album. Thirteen because they will release a bonus track in December. It's a unique way to make music and so far we are nothing but impressed. 

For every new single there is a release party and we were lucky enough to be able to head out and see our boys perform at a sweet little venue Friday night. Hubs was so impressed he is going to make a special effort to be available to attend all future Lucky 13 release parties. Fist pump, y'all! 
Don, Chris, Joe, Brian, Billy and Luke, you may think you've met your biggest fans but trust me when I tell you, getting the husband to go out on a Friday night is a huge deal! Congrats, you've done in one night what I've been trying to do in almost 19. I owe you one!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tape Me Up, Tape Me Down

And first, the gratitudes:

  1. I have actually managed to blog three days in a row. This calls for a fist pump!
  2. Hubby is roasting corn on the barbecue. Mmm, roasted corn on the cob!
  3. My nook tablet still has the extended warranty so even though the battery is failing, I get a replacement nook for free! 
I had physical therapy this morning and my PT decided that the upper trapezius muscles were overworked and over compensating for weakness in my neck and my lower traps. So, after ultrasound and muscle manipulation, she put four strips of Kinisio tape on my back. It's...strange. I didn't get the neon colors that so many Olympic athletes were sporting in London last summer. It's beige, which makes me wonder if it's a knock off brand.

Anyway, the tape is supposed to help my upper traps relax and remind my lower traps to engage. So far all I have is a lot of pain, likely because I'm more conscious of this muscle group and my posture and am using these muscles in ways I likely haven't in a long time. 

I did some research and there's not a lot of scientific data that this tape actually does anything beyond a placebo effect. I say if it eventually helps my upper traps relax so my upper shoulders don't feel like concrete anymore than who cares if it's from a placebo or some sort of revolutionary treatment. 

The things we do in the name of self care. Hey, I could look like this! The tape, people. There's no way I want to look that ripped. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Enchanted, Inc. Goes to Scotland

  1. A somewhat flexible work schedule that allows me to adjust my start and end times to accommodate Pilates classes and lunch dates with friends
  2. My good friend J who is the source of much wisdom and challenges me to be a better me
  3. Nathan Fillion for being a source of endless entertainment for me. I know we haven't met and likely will never meet, but you have brought great joy to my life, so thank you

I've been reading a lot this summer, which is always fun. The beginning of the year was filled with a lot of self help and personal development reading but this summer has been all about the fun. Not that personal development isn't fun, cuz it definitely can be.

I've been trying to be better about cataloging what I read. I find it easier to do with my ereader because I have the Goodreads app, but I also like to keep my spreadsheet up-to-date so I know which books I own and where they are located. I have been known to buy a book more than once because I couldn't remember I owned it.

This summer was the summer of the re-read. First, I reread Diana Gabaldaon's Outlander with my friend as her daughter was tackling the tome for the first time. Diana's writing has tighted up since that first book, but I found the Outlander to be quite enjoyable regardless. It's not like Ms. Gabaldon was a poor writer or anything. She's been a master at spinning tales and creating amazing characters from the beginning. My desire to visit Scotland has been renewed!

On the other end of the literary spectrum was the Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson which is a comical fantasy light series about a twentysomething character named Katie Chandler and her adventures with magic and magical creatures. What makes this series different and compelling is that Katie is a magical immune. Magic and illusions don't generally work on her. This makes her a huge asset to the magical community because she can tell when someone is trying to get away with something. The series consists of seven books and there is adventure and quests and dragons and romance and Merlin and New York City and Texas and....well, it's a great series that doesn't take itself too seriously and is filled with excellent storylines and characters you want to root for.

I read the first two books after the second book came out and then read the third and fourth books as they were released - all in trade paperback. Last summer I discovered that Shanna was releasing more books in the series so have been purchasing them and holding on to them to read some day in the future. I was in desperate need of something fun so rounded out my ebook collection and started reading from the first book. So much fun! I'm a little sad that after book seven there won't be any more Enchanted, Inc. stories. Still, I'm so ver glad Shanna dreamed up this fun world and wrote these books!

I don't know what I'll read next. I may go back to one of my personal development books or finish reading about the dark side of change management. Sounds fun, right?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Give A Little Thanks

It's been an interesting year without my father-in-law. Family dynamics definitely shift when a parent dies. And mourning is unique to each family member. This has caused some tension and has allowed for some opportunities for growth. The anniversary of his death came and went without fanfare, everyone remembering their father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle in a way that was honoring to both is memory and the mourner. I think this is right. There's no right way to mourn and the only wrong way is to not mourn at all.

As for me, it's been a year of introspection and an evaluation of various relationships in my life. A common theme has been gratitude. I know I have posted before about gratitude and even started posting some things I'm grateful for on this blog. And then I took a hiatus from blogging here in any regular fashion. I won't say I'm back but I'm ready to start blogging more than I have been. And I want to start with regular gratitude posts. My goal is daily but given my schedule I'll be happy if I have four posts a week. :)

When I was a therapist, one of the cognitive techniques we used with clients who were depressive or anxious was to keep a gratitude journal. The purpose was to start to shift thinking away from constant negativity loops so the client could begin to see the world through a different perspective. In other words, this was a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercise. I think everyone can benefit from CBT at different times in their lives. You don't need to be depressed to need a little help in shifting thinking away from something that isn't a positive benefit.

So, I'm considering the next little while my mini-journey into CBT and am using gratitude as a way to help my focus my thoughts on the positive. As Nathan Fillion once said somewhere, I think it was MySpace, take time to spread some positivity into the world. Well, that starts with gratitude. And yes, I just sort of quoted Nathan Fillion. Live with it. *grin*

Three things I'm thankful for today:
  1. A local medical group had a mini health fair today and I scored fresh veggies! Roasted corn on the cob is now on the menu for tomorrow.
  2. My new copper farmer's sink is in and even though I mistakenly rubbed off the protective wax, it looks so pretty.
  3. Someone dreamed up colored highlighters. Whoever you are, thank you for making my work day more fun through color.