Monday, January 30, 2017


I had a feverish girl home from school two days last week and let me tell you,

I was so happy to be out of the house once she was better.

I started working out with a friend/trainer, Beth.

She texted me on a Saturday evening and pretty much told me I was going to start working out with her and a neighbor down the street.

It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

She participates in body building competitions
and wins.

I have a healthy fear of her.

I had done precious little physically since my surgery other than riding a stationery bike and working with some stretchy bands that are WAY too tight or I am just WAY too weak for them.

Beth plopped some weights in my hand and had me working out like I'd not been lying on the couch watching Hallmark movies for almost an entire month.

I could not move the next morning.

Getting up and down onto a toilet made me holler out in pain.

I wondered if there was some sort of mechanical up and down toilet 
that could alleviate the need to squat.

Get on that, Craft-o-matic.

Stairs were murder.

I said, "Ow!" on every step.

I finally got out the rolling pin to try to work through my tight thigh muscles.

It was very, very helpful.

That night, after tucking myself into bed, I realized that I would not be able to fall asleep until I rolled my tight muscles again.

The rolling pin was downstairs.

The very thought of enduring going down and then BACK UP the stairs was too much.

I convinced Monte to help me out.

He begrudgingly did but came up the stairs with the idea that if he just did the rolling for me, he could loosen up my soreness once and for all.

With all his power and might, he roller-pinned my leg.

I yelped enough to wake the dog.

I may have passed out for a second.

After I stopped whimpering, I grabbed the rolling pin out of Monster Monte's hands.

I started rolling my sore pectorals.

Monte may or may not have muttered something like,

"For the love of our marriage, I'm rolling over 
and turning off the light."

I'm not sure newlyweds could respect one another's space enough 
to allow their spouse to roller pin their pecs 
in the privacy of total darkness.

It's the stuff of old marrieds.

By the time I went back to the gym, I was only slightly still in ridiculous pain.

This morning, I walked up and down the stairs without a single, "Ow!"


Over the weekend, Monte and I decided to hit a consignment shop we really like that was having a big sale.

I was taking a bit too long browsing around.

I know this because Monte walked up to me wearing this.

He said something like,

"I wish I had someplace to wear this."

Not sure where such a place would be.


On a completely different note, a week or so ago, Julie, texted me that she thought I looked like a woman on a MiraLAX commercial.

I could not deny the resemblance as much as I did not want to look like a lady that could convincingly sell you a laxative product.

I am pretty sure I have that blouse too.

Without actually digging out the blouse, I tried my best to recreate it.

Not quite, I know. 

But I'll work on it.

Once I can use my arms fully again.

Yep, it was arms day at the gym this morning.

Where's the rolling pin?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Choice

I've seen some really good movies lately.

There was a thread in each of the movies that connected them.

I'll explain more later.

Don't Think Twice

This movie is about an improv group in New York. It's all about "group think" and having each other's back while on the stage but clearly it's about way more than that.

It's about how they act as a group off stage. 

Two of the members of the group get an opportunity to try out for "Weekend Live" which is essentially SNL. The reactions of each of the members is soooooo interesting when one of the characters actually make it onto "Weekend Live."

I won't spoil if for you but it's such an interesting study in human nature and the way we react when jealous, hurt or faced with a challenge.

Great quote: "I feel like your twenties are about hope, and your thirties are about realizing how dumb it was to hope."

I loved this quote because clearly all of the characters in this movie were living with and in the hopes of being discovered one day. They had cruddy jobs, worse living conditions, all in the hopes of something more.

This movie was wrongly rated as R. We don't usually watch R-rated movies and feared the language would be distractingly awful but it wasn't--thankfully.

The improv parts of the movie were very funny.

La La Land

You've probably seen this or heard of it or watched the Golden Globes to see that it won big.

We saw this movie the very next night after seeing Don't Think Twice.

It's so different than what I thought it was going to be. We saw it early after it's release and I'm so glad we did.

We went with friends and didn't really let Monte know it was kinda/sorta a musical until right before we left.

Monte likes musicals when we are in a pretty theater watching it live.

Or an animated movie made by Disney.

But nothing else.

He's complex.

We got to the packed cinema and saw trailer after trailer of the most emotional, heart-wrenching movies ever.

I think I cried 3 times.

Monte loudly whispered to his friend next to him,

"I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a musical!"

La La Land is about an aspiring actress, Mia, who works as a barista in between auditions and a jazz musician, Sebastian, who dreams about buying his own club while he works odd jobs.

They start to date while they encourage one another in their careers.

Again, I don't want to spoil it but the movie becomes an interesting view into how we handle watching someone succeed when the other doesn't.

It's a visually beautiful movie and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.

Great quote:  Mia singing:  "Here's to the ones who dream/ Foolish as they may seem./Here's to the hearts that ache./Here's to the mess we make."

Hidden Figures

This is a movie about the African American women who worked for NASA as engineers and mathematicians in the era of segregation and the race to be the first country to put a man into space.

It's such a phenomenal movie because it's true.

It makes me wonder how many more stories this amazing haven't been told.

And why Hollywood keeps making dumb superhero movies 
when there are true heroes in our history that have MUCH 
better stories to tell than anything with a cape or spider web.

The conflict of this movie is the appalling racism and sexism.

These women were doing important calculations for NASA in a basement in a building far from their colleagues.

There were separate bathrooms, cafeterias and coffee pots.

And salaries.

NASA wanted the works of their minds but didn't want to include the women in important meetings.

As the pressure to get a man into space increased, the need for these women increased too. Old laws and traditions had to be broken so progress could be made.

But it was the beauty of how these women supported one another that I was struck by.

I can't say enough about this movie. Go see it!

Great quote:  "Any upward movement is movement for us all."

The thread in each of these movies was the choice.

Each movie listed above, put the characters in a position to choose selfishness or support.

In Don't Think Twice, the characters had to choose whether they were going to be happy and supportive for their friend who won a spot on "Weekend Live" or jealous and angry.

In La La Land, the characters were offered the chance to choose to focus on themselves or their relationship.

And in a musical montage, you get to see how each decision plays out.

In Hidden Figures, the characters were in the same position, waiting to be noticed for their skills and efforts. It wasn't until Octavia Spencer's character said, "Any upward movement is movement for us all," that the theme for each of the movies really gelled for me.

When we feel left out, ignored and overlooked, what do we do?

When someone close to us is included, highlighted and invited in, what do we do?

Do we give up hope because all of a sudden we feel foolish?

Do we ignore relationships because we are too busy licking our  own wounds?

Do we miss the opportunity to support each other because we are too busy sizing each other up?

Do we miss the blessing of seeing someone blessed?

Do we turn our backs on joy because it didn't choose us first?

It's that choice that has me thinking.

If you've seen any of these movies, what did you think?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Top 5 for 2016

Not to bore you, but I decided to look back at what posts were most visited in the past year.

It's always interesting to me to see what gets the most views.

Here's the top 5 for 2016:

I reported on Monte's nose cancer procedure.


My Christmas hernia story.


Our college journey with McDaniel.

And black squirrels.

On missing Jesus when he's right in front of us.

How NOT to become deadwood.


in conclusion, you all like 

medical issues, 


and a little college thrown in the middle.


Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Happy HIGH HOPES New Year!

Hope everyone had a great holiday.

December is crazy without having surgery but you know what happens when you throw in a hernia to the mix?


Even though Nigel and I spent 3 days laying on the couch staring out the window in between long naps,

he had surgery to remove a benign tumor 5 days before I had surgery,

everything got done.

The girls and Monte did the grocery shopping.

Monte helped me wrap presents.

Everything got done.

I was WAY more tired than normal but oddly not stressed at all.

I think there is something to this "Ho Ho Hernia" idea.

Maybe it isn't just the possible title of a Hallmark movie as Monte suggested,

but a new perspective on the holiday season.

It's like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas but it's actually a hernia and it wasn't Christmas that was stolen but all the excesses like stress, not enough sleep and overdoing.

I didn't hurry.

I got plenty of sleep.

I watched a lot of movies.

I wore slippers instead of real shoes 
because I didn't leave the house.

And I still did my annual jigsaw puzzle as a reward for taking down the tree and other decorations.

It was "fahoo fores dahoo dores" glorious.

Or "ho ho" hallelujah.

I'm pitching this idea to Hallmark.

We didn't even allow a for real Grinch to ruin our season.

 On the last day of finals, McDaniel's car got broken into (in BROAD DAYLIGHT) while she and her friends were celebrating with lunch at Waffle House on the big university campus by our house.

When McDaniel discovered the broken window and the fact that her school-issued laptop had been stolen (along with my FAVORITE leather thrifted bag I found in Florida),

the university police were absolutely NO HELP to her.

You know why?

It happened on the wrong side of the street.

How loud and sarcastically can we 
all say "NO DUH" at once?

She called the city police and, get this, they told her to file the report online.

She explained once again that it was HER WAY TO GET ONLINE that was stolen.


we are glad this happened now, while McDaniel was still home, 
so we could help her realize that the world isn't all like her.

She told us that we AND our town have not properly prepared her for reality.

She's got me there. 

I grew up not only keeping my car unlocked at school, 
but the car keys on the floor mat in case anyone 
needed to borrow it during study hall.

I made it easy for people to take my car.

This was a good lesson for McDaniel to learn before she heads off to college:

keep your guard up 
and your valuables locked in the trunk.

It was a few days before the window could be repaired so we broke down a cardboard box to tape up the gaping hole where a window used to be.

McDaniel decided to decorate it in such a way as an extra-deterrent to anyone thinking of trying to break into her car again.

HBD is teenager for Happy Birthday.

McDaniel was taping up this masterpiece when the guy Monte hired to rake our leaves showed up.

I explained what had happened to McDaniel's car and he said he'd been broken into as well, in the same area of campus.

But since he raked and cleaned out gutters for a living, he decided not to replace his window since it was easier to haul his ladder around without an actual window in the way.

So there you go.

When life gives you lemons, throw your ladder in your car 
and get to work.

I love it.

Right after Christmas I went back to the doctor for a post-op appointment.

The surgeon said RIGHT AWAY that he had read my "Ho Ho Hernia" post.

I immediately apologized.

I know I was no longer on pain meds when I wrote it but I'd taken A LOT of naps since then and could barely remember what I'd written.

He laughed.

He took off the surgical tape which meant I could shower actually FACING the running water and I could also take baths again.

Oh, how I love a hot bath.

He told me no squats or lunges until mid-February.


I explained that my thunder thighs weren't going to fix themselves.

He laughed.

He asked how my pain was and I told him I couldn't sit criss-cross-applesauce without a fair amount of discomfort.

He asked if that was super important to me.

I over explained that it was.

That it 

As I was leaving his office he told me to think of him for any future surgical needs and I reactively said, 

"Of course!"






2017, I have HIGH HOPES for you.

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

If I could, I wouldn't be so surprised when crazy things happen. And they do. All the time. Much to my surprise. We went o...