Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Music in My Soul

I remember listening to a variety of music as I grew up.  My mom and cousin were the biggest influences that I can recall early on.  The first musical mediums for me were 8 track tapes.  I had an 8 track player in my room and I'm pretty sure our car had an 8 track player in it as well.  I'm sure if I'm wrong about that my mom will tell me.  And while I know I had many 8 track tapes, I don't remember which albums we had.

But I do remember singing and dancing in the living room with my mom to Nancy Sinatra.

I also remember our Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band album.  Here's my favourite song from that album:

But as I mentioned, my cousin Tricia also influenced the music I listened to as a kid.  She liked country music and when I was young she came to live with us for a few years.  We listened to nothing but country music for a while.  Who can forget "Islands in the Stream?"

I loved George Strait.  Actually, still do.  I don't seek out new music on a regular basis or anything, but country music still holds a special place in my heart.  Here's a good one:

I also love Randy Travis.  I still have this song on my iPod:

But then I hit puberty and got into this kind of music:

And then I met Stacey and we got into this music:

Then one day my little brother, Stephen, came home with some music that I fell in love with (sorry only video I could find that was ACTUALLY him):

There's not a single song I've heard Garth sing that I don't absolutely love.  Not a single one.  And if anyone wants to give me his box set of "Blame It All on My Roots," I wouldn't turn it down.  :)

So I could go on and on through every few years of my life, but I won't.  Let's just say that I happily let others influence me on a regular basis when it comes to music.  This one is from my good friend, Declan:

And he also got me into this:

And this song has caught my attention of late:

And for those who know me well... you're probably wondering where my Madonna music is in all this?  Well, Madge will always be awesome to me.  I've loved all her albums.  Every incarnation.  But if I could only pick one song, I would choose this one for the beat and danceability:

Truth is... music will always be a huge part of my life.  I listen to my iPod walking to and from work every day.  I lip sync most of the way and I'm sure people think I'm nuts.  I don't care.  I love music.  It makes the world go round.  Pretty much anything that has a beat and makes you want to move your feet... I like.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Calf Injury

I recently injured my left calf.  Just thought I'd put down some notes for posterity.  So on Thursday night I went out for dinner with Bee, Feebs and Declan.  We went to have Korean BBQ at Arisun in Chinatown.  We selected one of the set menus based on the food we wanted to eat.  The funny part is that two bottles of vodka came with it.  We asked if we could exchange the two bottles of vodka for one bottle of raspberry wine (they would have come out ahead), but they wouldn't let us do it.  We had to take the set menu as it comes.  So we got the set menu and added a bottle of raspberry wine on top of it.  The menu also came with fried chicken, sausage and a sausage hot pot.  Oh my goodness!  All the food was really good.

So here's the funny part.  I poured everyone a glass of vodka.  I figured if it was there, then we should all try it.  It tasted to me like rubbing alcohol and I felt as though I could have breathed fire.  But we each only had one glass and right now it was filled with vodka.  There was no getting raspberry wine in it if it was full of vodka.  So I made everyone pick up there glass so that we could all "down" the vodka in one go.

1... 2... 3...

Holy crap!

But now we could drink the lovely raspberry wine.  :)

So after dinner was over, we talked for a while before leaving to go home.  Feebs and I were on the same train.  We talked until I had to get off.  We had been sitting on the top level.  I ran off the train... down the stairs and a turn to the right.  As I turned, I heard a very loud POP! and at the same time it felt as though someone had thrown a baseball into my left calf.  At first, I really thought someone had thrown something at me, but there was only one person on the train that I could see and why would anyone throw a baseball at me anyway?

I just know that the pain was instantaneous and I'm amazed I made it off the train before the doors closed on me.  My first thought was that I could just sit down and massage my leg and maybe everything would be okay.  It was immediately evident that it was NOT going to be okay.  I did massage my leg for a minute, but I knew it wasn't going to matter.  So I hobbled home.  A walk that usually took me about 5 minutes turned into about 15 minutes or so.  It was agony.

As soon as I got home, I rubbed heat gel on the area and massaged it more.  I kept my leg up on the ottoman and ended up falling asleep in my chair.  I woke up at midnight and went to bed.  So I wake up the next morning to go to work and it's not better.  Worse still ... it was my day to shave.  So I had to figure out how to manuever in the shower.  Walking to the train and then to work from Town Hall was not exactly a bowl of laughs either.

Now, I know that I should have gone to the physio on Friday, but honestly the only place I could find was at least a 15 minute walk on a good day and it was all uphill.  Like, a steep uphill.  And with the injury being so new, I wasn't looking forward to that walk.  And I suppose I could have taken a taxi, but I still had not been paid at my new job and it had been a couple of months since I'd had a job so I didn't want to spend the money.  I know... cry me a river.

So I've been nursing it over the weekend and I've found a different physio that is between work and Town Hall, so I'll see if they'll see me on Monday arvo.  It's Sunday and it does feel a little better.  I'm certainly not going to be running any marathons anytime soon and I still don't have a full stride, but I'm managing.

Tim Tams

Usually when I go for a snack, I grab something salty and crunchy.  But I like sweet snacks every now and again.

Anyhoo ...

This is just leading up to what I found at Cole's today.  NEW Tim Tam flavours!

I don't know who Adriano Zumbo is, but I love him.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Opinions are Like . . .

. . .  assholes.  Everybody's got one.

I ask for advice a lot.  I don't trust myself to make life decisions without advice from those whose opinion I care about.  I haven't always felt this way.  But lately I don't feel like I make good choices on my own.  Honestly, I'm not sure why.  Even when so-called "bad" decisions are made, nothing is all black or white.  I find that everything has shades of grey.

For instance, in hindsight, I think I made a rash decision when accepting my first job in Sydney.  It turned out to be the worst job I've ever had in my life.  However, I've made some really great friends there.  So I can't say that I completely regret that choice.  And at that time, I had no doubt about it.  I was not afraid to make a move on my own.

Fast forward two years later and I'm again searching for work.  This time I wasn't so sure of myself.  I tried to ask Mr. Smith for his opinion, but he had a lot on his mind at the time.  So I asked Bee for some advice.  Bee is good at giving advice.  She doesn't just tell you what you want to hear.  She always considers everything and articulates each point clearly.  I can't express how helpful this was to me.  And the good news is that the decision I made about my job this time around seems right on the money.

But I would never take someone's advice straight away.  Ultimately, it is my decision.

I've, on occasion, been asked for my advice.  If I think I actually have something valuable to contribute, then I'll give my opinion.  But honestly, no one should ever let someone else make life decisions for him/her.  Never give yourself that kind of "out."

It's not a good idea to let someone suggest that you should marry someone.  If you get divorced a few years later, you may want to blame that person for your mistake.  Perhaps that's an extreme example, but you catch my drift.

So that would be my advice.  Ask others for their opinions, but it's your decision.  If you are going to ask for advice, try to speak with a few different people so that you can put together a good pros/cons list to help you along.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Story of a Girl

One beautiful December day God saw fit to send us a gift.  A sweet little girl.  With an upset tummy.  Boy, she'll never live that one down!

Tee had colic.  She cried a lot.  Of course she did.  Her tummy hurt.  Why???  Who knows?  But she persevered and now she has an iron stomach.  Well, except in the backseat of a car.  She gets carsick.

And so here are a few of my favorite memories.

~ Halloween was always an exciting time for kids.  When I was in my senior year of high school, I looked forward to that night.  I had been planning on taking my little brother and sister out trick-or-treating so that we could have tons of candy!  Jorge wanted to be a rock star.  I don't think Tee wanted to be a hobo, but we didn't have a whole lot of choice.  LOL!  As soon as we walked in the door, I started pulling out all my makeup.  Jorge was first since he knew exactly what he wanted to be.  Next was Tee.  Not sure she really ended up looking like a hobo though.  The Cleopatra costume I wore was actually my mom's.

I was Cleopatra and Tee was a Hobo

~ When she was still a little girl, I left home.  I was the oldest and the first to leave, you see.  I still remember the first time I went home for a visit.  I went with mom to pick her up from school.  She was so shy.  It was like she didn't remember who I was at first.  But then she came around.

~ She was my flower girl when Mr. Smith and I got married.  The most beautiful flower girl in the world (at least until her daughter was flower girl at Jorge's wedding).

Wedding Rehearsal
Handing out flowers

~ Her first ever time in an airplane she was alone.  What a trooper!  She came to spend a few weeks with me and Mr. Smith when we lived in Long Beach, California.  Many days she had to come with me to work.  She drew pictures and hung them in the conference room.  We took her to Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm.  She was very good about completing chores and helping around the house.  We had so much fun together.  Later mom and Jorge came out and we spent days swimming the pool and walking down to the beach.

We got hair wraps at Knott's Berry Farm
A little beauty in the park
With Minnie Mouse
At Griffith Observatory
Tee's Artwork
Jorge & Tee at Minnie's House

~ A couple of years later she came back to spend a few weeks with us when we lived in Oceanside.  By this time she was a full-blown teenager.  We wanted to take her to the beach.  "I don't like the beach."  I took her to Sea World and wanted her to put on some sunscreen.  "I never burn."  I'll never forget the dirty looks from all the mothers as I paraded her out of the park with a sunburn that was so bad it had blisters.  She couldn't wait to go home and spend the summer with her friends.  Yep.  She was officially a teenager.  Although, she did enjoy herself when I took her to Britney Spears' concert.

~ Tee came to spend New Year's with me and ring in 2007!  We went to the Empire State Building and looked at the Statue of Liberty.  I took her to see Wicked and my wallet got jacked on the way out.  So we spent an hour or so at the police station filing a report.  LOL!  Then we got in an enormous crowd of revellers in a line that snaked around and through Times Square.  In the meantime, Mr. Smith was making his way to NYC to pick us up since our train tickets and all my money and credit cards were in my wallet.  I'm glad to say I've done it, but I have no desire to ever do it again.

~ Not long after graduating from high school, my little sister got married.  Married!  I made the sash for her wedding dress.  I was so proud of her.  So happy that she found happiness.

Our mom at Tee's wedding

Todd 'n' Tee gettin' hitched

Tee with her two flower girls
... our nieces, Victoria and Lauren

Isn't she a beauty?  Inside and out ... 

I applied mom's makeup  :)

Tee and Jorge

Todd and Tee dancing!
~ I remember when she told me that she was pregnant for the first time.  I'll admit it.  I thought she was too young.  I thought wrong.  She's such a good mommy.  Loving and firm.  Caring and sensitive to others' needs.

I was lucky enough to be there when Riley was born.  I've never felt closer to Tee.  She has always been special to me.  My little sister.  My best friend.  It's interesting how our relationship has evolved into something I could never articulate.

I love you, Tee.

Enjoy these photos I have found of you (since you think there aren't enough ... although you are probably right ... there could never be enough)

Tee, Jorge and Me

Not Tee, but her first two babies
Riley and Abigail

Tee with Riley
Riley had just gotten sand in her eyes.
Needed mommy's special love.

Abigail and Riley on their new swing set

Jorge and Kristen's wedding
Tee is the bridesmaid in the middle with Riley in front of her.
Another flower girl  :)



The newest addition - Charlie

Charlie's sleeping ... shhhh!

Abby, Todd, Charlie and Riley

Jorge holding Charlie with Kristen on the right

Charlie going home

Abby's helping out with Charlie

Back to Tee - teenager

Making fun of Jorge's jeans -- 90s style

Jorge and Theresa being silly

A lil jumpin' bean

She's a geek and proud of it!  LOL


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Summer Rain

The weather lately has reminded me of the massive amounts of rain we always had in Louisiana growing up.  No, we haven't been getting as much rain as in LA, but it has been raining a lot for Sydney.  At least compared to last year.

When I was a kid, my dad lost his job.  He had to take another job pretty far away and he moved back to Eunice.  My parents were divorced and so we had to divide our time up between my mom's house and my dad's house.  So at this time, my dad was living in a trailer.  Like a house on wheels.  But the really cool thing about trailers is that they have a tin roof.

Have you ever heard the rain pouring down on a tin roof?

There is nothing more soothing than that heavenly sound.

Of course, our apartment does not have a tin roof.  And I'm glad that it doesn't rain like that here in Sydney very much...  thank goodness!  I would not want to have to walk to work in that kind of rain.  But occasionally it is very nice to have that kind of weather.

Today we had a rain storm in Sydney that lasted a little over half an hour.  During this period, there was absolute pouring rain and lightning and thunder.  It was awesome.  The rain that we get in Sydney during the summer is perfect.  It rains more in the winter here.  I hate that kind of storm.  Why?  Because it's also cold.  There is nothing worse than being cold and wet.