Fingernails on a chalkboard

“Like fingernails on a chalkboard”… this phrase dates me, I suppose. They don’t use chalkboards anymore, do they? But if you know the phrase, you’ll understand when I say that listening to most music now, with my cochlear implants, is an experience much like listening to someone scraping their fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s just that unpleasant. But I still, after five years, desperately miss music. So I’ve been trying to visit different genres than what I was used to, in hopes that something might bring me the same joy. What I’ve found so far that sounds good to me is plain piano music, drums, some hip-hop, and techno. Anything with a lot of different instruments or voices or a combination of both is just too much for my processors to handle. However, if it’s a familiar song and I can pick out the melody, it’s tolerable and somewhat enjoyable. So a lot of R.E.M. songs are still enjoyable to me and invoke good memories. They have been a favorite of mine since high school when I first heard the “Out of Time” album, and though many songs on the album are too grinding to listen to, just as many are pleasant and bring back happy memories. Actually, I could say that about several of their albums.

And then ironically, one band I used to hate actually sounds better to me now, and that’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Weird phenomenon, I know. I still stubbornly refuse to like them.

I’m loving the Pandora app for helping me branch out and find new music. If I hear a song that I really like, I’ll start up a station using that as a base, and it introduces me to all kinds of new, yet similar, songs. Current example (now playing): I find many of The White Stripes songs work well for my processors. They use clean beats that don’t get muddled around with the vocals, from what I can tell. Also Daft Punk, Stanton Warriors, DJ Krush. These are artists I have never heard of, and that probably most of my friends have never heard of, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s music and it sounds good to me and brings me joy. That’s why God gave us music, right? I like to believe that’s why, anyway.

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Reading in my sleep

I read most of my books on the Kindle app because i can change the coloring so that its easier to see. Sometimes I’ll check out a large print book at the library, just because I miss holding a real book, turning the pages as I go. Swiping left on a screen just isn’t the same, you know?

Last night, as I do most nights, I read from my Kindle in bed. This morning I slept so hard I slept through two alarms and missed my chance to run before the heat of the sun showed up. So I slept pretty hard. I must have been pretty tired. Want to know how I know? I opened up my book just now and the bookmark was in a totally different chapter, far past where I remember reading. So I guess I did quite a bit of reading in my sleep last night.

I’ll be swiping right for awhile, until I find a familiar page…

Piper gets a bath

The kids kept telling me that Piper needs a bath, so we made that happen! Since it was super hot out, and Mike already had the hose out, we thought it would be a good idea to just hose her down in the backyard. She wasn’t sure at first what was happening but she settled into it fairly quickly. I don’t know if you can tell in this photo, but she’s smiling big. With a ball in her mouth.

A new woman

I am sure I never mentioned that my phone had been dying for quite some time. I have loads of patience so I let it go longer than probably most people would have. However, my husband noticed my frustration, logged my complaints, and surprised me by ordering a new one!! I am now the elated owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which is two generations up from what I was using. Yes, it’s still an older version but I don’t care, folks. Its new to me and it works and that’s all that matters. A bonus is that it has more visual accessibility features so everything is easier to read. High contrast, large print, color management. And it’s in all the programs, not just a select few. I am one happy lady right here. My daily productivity is going to go through the roof, and I won’t know what to do with myself! I might have to reinstall Farmville just to keep myself busy 😉

Another random, lame update

It’s Wednesday. I had a great visit with my neurologist this morning. It was nice to be able to tell her about all of the positive changes I’ve been making and my lack of MS symptoms. However, I did bring up my concerns with brain fog. A friend shared a really great article the other day about this, and it very eloquently listed what people with chronic illness experience. Sadly, it’s not just limited to people with MS. I am walking great, I have no fatigue, no pain (unless you count the occasional headache), and I’m overall feeling really fantastic. However, every day, throughout the days, I have issues with short term memory loss and cognitive function. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up the stairs and forgotten why I was there. I will often use a wrong word or name when talking with people, and not realize it. Sometimes even, I’ll forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. And friends and family will encourage me that this is just a normal part of aging and that they experience it too. Which is nice, and appreciated for sure, but I really don’t believe that they experience this phenomenon with the frequency I do. So I told my neurologist about this and she said it may or not be MS, but there are ways to check, starting with testing my blood to see if some of my levels are out of whack. If that’s the case, I suppose it’s a simple fix with supplements. If not, there is always the option of memory testing and exercises. I had no idea that sort of thing existed, so it gave me some hope that this is a problem that has been addressed by the medical community, and I’m not coming in with some sort of weird cognitive mystery.

In other news, I slacked on laundry for one measly day and it magically piled up and threatened to take over my bedroom. I folded (and put away!) five loads of laundry today and now I would love to nap but I need to stay awake so I can answer questions for my grocery shopper, and then be up when she delivers my groceries. I LOVE grocery delivery, people. Love it.

So I think I’m going to make a glass of sweet tea and read a book or do some crocheting while I wait.

What’s Going On?!?!

So, sooo much you guys. It feels like it’s all going a little too fast for me and I can’t believe I’m keeping up. Am I keeping up? I guess I am. I mean, I’m still here, aren’t I? Let’s break this down for my right brain, okay?

  1. The son is in baseball. The hubby is coaching the baseball. Sometimes the girls go and watch. I love the game of baseball. I used to really love watching. I’m learning to enjoy it differently now. I can’t see the plays, but I can share in the cheering and I get to converse with the other parents when I ask what happened, or who did what on the field.
  2. The girl was in a dance. Ballet, to be more specific. She performed in a recital and she nailed it. She was stunning and graceful and she brought some people to tears. And when I picked her up afterwards she ran to me, beaming with pride. I had not seen that level of joy coming from her in quite awhile. It was truly magical.
  3. And then she got sick. She woke up the next day with a super high temperature, that just wouldn’t go away. We took her to the doctor, received a semi-firm diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics, and now it’s just the waiting game. She has little energy which is fine because her body needs the rest in order to heal and fight, and I’m happy to be waiting on her hand and foot. Because after all, she will always be my baby girl.
  4. I’ve been running. A lot. And apparently I’m becoming one who loves to run. Seriously. I woke up this morning at 5:30, couldn’t fall back asleep. All I could think about was getting outside and running while the sun rose. So guess what? I did! And it was wonderful. A bit of a chill still left in the air, birds chirping to greet the day, and the sunrise. Oh how I love a good sunrise. It was a really great way to start the day.
  5. I’m still seeing a therapist. I tried to get out of going by pretending all was fine already, but she reminded me of a few comments I had made that made it pretty clear I could still use the help. The depression is gone, and I am grateful for that. The anxiety, however, is a bit more challenging. Challenging, but not impossible to overcome. The therapist is giving me tools and I’m using them, and it’s helping. I still think everyone should see a therapist at least once in their life. It’s just been extremely USEFUL.
  6. I’ve been working at developing daily habits. Intentionally. As in, deciding what I want to be sure to do every day, and then keeping track to be sure I’m doing it. There are so many awesome apps for my phone for stuff like this, it took a few days to decide on just one. My list of daily habits is currently: taking medicine, devotional, prayer, meditation, exercise, and laundry. Because laundry always needs to be done, but in taking a different approach to it, I find I dread it less. It’s just become something I do every day, so it doesn’t build up, and if I miss a day, I just pick up the next day where I left off. This seems so trivial to be blogging about laundry but it feels like a huge victory in my little world, so there. I’m trying to work this mindshift magic with vacuuming but it hasn’t quite worked yet.
  7. I’m doing a lot of crocheting. I finished an afghan for my oldest nephew and started one for my oldest niece. I’m going to make one for each of the nieces and nephews, oldest to youngest. There are twelve total, assuming my youngest sister is done having babies. So, one down, eleven to go. The blanket I make is a very relaxing pattern and works up really nice. I just hope the cousins appreciate having something warm and cozy and handmade with love by their Aunt Mindy.
  8. Food. I still eat it, I just don’t think about it constantly. I think this is a positive development for me. I’m finding so many other things to focus my time and energy on, and in between I eat yummy food. So there. Life is good.

Results

I just have to say, when you hit 10,000 steps before noon? Feels pretty darn good. But also, I am still going strong with Crossfit and have proof it’s working. Now, I must keep in mind I had started running regularly a little over a month ago, so that could have helped jumpstart this process and possibly why I’ve noticed results so quickly. I don’t expect most people to see results after only 3 weeks of strength training. I’ve been running a couple miles a few times a week on days I don’t have Crossfit, so that all helps too. But here’s the good news: I’ve shaved almost two minutes off my mile pace. I don’t know how you’re supposed to phrase that, but it means I was running 14 minutes miles, and now I can run 12 minute miles. Of course the longer I run, that goes down some as my body fatigues, but it’s definitely an improvement.

The other great result is that I’ve lost 5 pounds! I wasn’t even expecting that. I’m not heavy by any means, but I had gained enough over the past year that my favorite jeans were not fitting anymore. So I’m happy to be heading in the direction of fitting into those jeans again.

Those are my quantifiable results. Two minutes, 5 pounds. What I can’t quantify – and probably the most exciting of all – is how good I feel. How NOT fatigued I am. How I am moving around without struggle. Daily chores have been reduced to more of a mental challenge than a physical one. And yes, I’m tired by the end of the day. But tired is different from fatigue. Tired has a good reason. This daily exercise is no joke, and when I sleep, I sleep hard. But it’s all so worth it.