Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tic Tac Hack...Hack

As another holiday is behind us, it's time to turn my attention to THE holiday.  The one I've been looking forward to since last Christmas.  One of the things I pinned was how to reuse Tic Tac containers as travel spice containers.  (Google it...50,000 posts will come up.)  That was genius but I needed a little something extra for mine when we travel for yuletide merriment.  I use garlic powder in pretty much anything.  While I could gently shake and hope for no "half the box dumped out onto the chicken" situation or dump it in my hand and pinch it into the dish...smelling like Dracula's worst nightmare wasn't topping my to do list.  I remembered I kept the old plastic colander I had forever when I got a good stainless steel one for a gift.  Eureka!

Here's what you'll need:

Garlic powder (or other powdery spice like ground ginger, cloves, etc)
Plastic strainer (Dollar store if you don't have one)
NON-MINTY Tic Tac container  (Get orange, strawberry, fruit mix, etc.  No spearmint and the like unless you like minty freshness infused into your spices!)
Glue (optional)

Empty your Tic Tac box any way you deem appropriate.  I won't judge.

Remove the wrapper, which peels off very easily.

Pop off the lid.

Put the lid on the strainer and cut a little wider than the lid size.

Like so.

Depending on the stiffness of your strainer, you may be able to pop it inside the lid and be done!

Funnel in your spice.

I was able to get 20g in or I think about 20 servings according to the bag.  (10 servings according to me!)

If you aren't having luck with the mesh staying on it's own, you can cut some way wider than the opening and try to place the lid back in place.  Mine was too thick so it was a no go for me.

You could also put a dab of glue on the inside front and back of the lid.  It will never touch the spices.

Clamp one side down whilst it dries and be more patient with the other side because there will be nothing to clamp to so it's you bonding with your lid...hopefully not literally.

If the thought of glue skeeves you out, just run some clear tape around the edges.  Because you'll be popping it back in the container, it'll hold just fine.

Worked like a charm!

See?  But if you're a little irritated at the look of the tape and want to cover that up, no worries.

Nothing a little washi tape can't cover.  ;-)

If you're an uber nerd like me, you can head over to and make a fun little label to tape to the top so you can easily see at a glance what you're looking at.

Just trim the tape along the side of the pop up lid so it doesn't keep lifting off with every use.

Oh yeah babe...many a good meals will be made with this and a few other spices I'm bringing along!

Make sure you keep the lid free of caked on spices as you use them (especially over steam as it can cake easily).  These lids aren't necessarily air tight and you want them to close properly.  For the car ride, I'm rubber banding the lids and sticking them all in a sandwich bag as a precaution.

I don't want a spice blowout!  Then I suppose I could call it a "rub" and all would be good anyway.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Saying Goodbye

As I mentioned a little while ago, it looked like this holiday season was going to be our last with Grandma.  Since we're giving ourselves some peace for Christmas, I knew Thanksgiving was going to be the last time I saw her this holiday season.  I knew it could likely be the last time I saw her for good.

As I went into the day, baking my pies and getting things ready.  I thought back to how many times she lovingly prepared meals for her family on big holidays like this.  I am my grandma's granddaughter and I stress out as much as she did.  She was known to break out the tude while trying to get it all done in time.  As a kid, you don't understand it much but as an adult you totally empathize and appreciate what all those that came before you did to make the holiday special.

This was the first time we were seeing the set up with the bed in the living room.  It wasn't quite as intrusive as I'd pictured.  Some of the furniture was rearranged and she was in the bed and awake for once.  (Every holiday the past 2 years that I've seen her, she's been comatose from drugs)  I went over and kissed her head and said hello and rubbed her arm.  She didn't really look at me but I couldn't help but notice the extreme tremors she was having.  Her hands shook pretty violently the whole time and sometimes her legs would shake.  It was like watching a Parkinson's patient and I immediately wondered if it was Lewy Body like Robin Williams had.  I sure as heck wasn't going to bring it up.  I know my place on that front now.  Say nothing because no one wants to hear it.  I was a little alarmed to hear that she'd been basically taken off of all meds except one pill and occasionally an anxiety med.  I gave it to God.

When I went back a few minutes later, sat beside her and said hi again.  She looked my way and tried to show me this stuffed animal her sister made for her.  I touched it and told her how pretty it was and how nice it was that she made that for her.  As I sat beside her, very low under her breath I could hear her say "mmm hmm."  This is something she has said her whole life and I say it too.  It's more the way it's said, kind of like the period on the end of a sentence.  (Not like Sling Blade or something, more like the mom in Edward Scissorhands.)  Like when she was teaching me how to make noodles, she would say "just use the drippings for the gravy...mmm hmm."  To hear her saying it even low enough for only me to hear was very comforting.  There were times she would lean forward or would shake very violently like she wanted to move and I would rub her back or her arm and she would calm down and lean back in her chair.  A few times I was rubbing her back, she would scratch her ear or in that direction and I would stop in case she was trying to tell me to stop but couldn't.

Mom took a few pics of us and when she was holding up her animal a little, my mom laughed and said it's like she wants her animals picture taken and she slowly lifted it in front of her face, like "take the picture."  It was so cute.  Then it was picture time.  Since her diagnosis, none of us have taken pictures at the holidays anymore.  No one wants to remember what she was like at that time of decline.  But this year, everyone brought their camera and we all knew why.  Each family posed with her in her wheelchair and all of the girls both daughters and granddaughters posed with her.  We all knew it could be the last pictures we took with her.  It was bittersweet and honestly, I won't likely look at them often because the real story is being told in glaring detail.  All of the women putting on brave smiles as Grandma looks elsewhere, unaware of what we are doing and why the flashes keep going off.

As we were all leaving, we each took turns saying goodbye.  One of my aunts broke down when she walked away from her bed and I held her while she cried.  We said we loved each other as she told me how it killed her to see her that way and she doesn't want her to see her cry.  I said goodbye to her twice.  The second time I went over, she looked up at me and I said "me again!  I just wanted to say I love you and Merry Christmas."  She looked over at the tree and I said "see your pretty tree!  It was decorated with love just for you so you can enjoy it this year.  I love you grandma, you will never know how much I love you" and kissed her goodbye.

I thought about it being the last time I may see her and because I have mourned her loss for years (2 1/2 years since she last knew who I was), I am relatively drained emotionally due to the circumstances involving not just her disease but the other issues that have come with it.  I have come to terms with the fact that the way they chose to care for her is not how I would have done it but it has allowed the Mr and I some good talks when it comes to our own futures should we ever be faced with that.  I love my grandma with all of my heart but I want her to have peace.  Each moment is a struggle for her now with that violent shaking and when God decides to take her, I am spiritually at peace with that.  As much as I will miss the arms that held me, the smile she so rarely showed (she never liked showing her teeth for some reason- I thought they were fine!) and the voice that comforted me, there will be some relief in knowing that every minute of her life is not faced with not just what we can see outside but the things she can't tell us that are going on inside.  I saved her some of the Christmas cookies I made in a tin along with the snowball cookies she loved, I made them straight from her recipe.  I brought the platter because I wanted to make sure that she got some Christmas cookies this year even if she didn't make it to Christmas.  If it's one small way to bring her some pleasure, I'm glad I did it.

When I look at the pictures from that night, my heart breaks.  It very much reminds me of the final picture we have of our dog the day we had to put her to sleep.  She looked like a shell of herself and in pain with a blanket covering her.  Grandma looked the same...frail, sad and a shell of her former shelf.  They are pictures I'm glad to have but will not likely look at them again.  I have several very good pictures of us together of the woman she wanted me to remember and out of love and respect, that is how I will remember her forever.

I pray our family can find a way to recover because it's not just the person that suffers, it's the whole family.  I am scared of what's to come when she is gone because I see the impending self destruction of our family in many ways.  I hope I'm wrong but signs are pointing to a very trying battle that will have only begun once she's gone.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

I want YOU... share your Christmas tree/holiday decorations!

I had so much fun seeing your trees and decorations last year and several people mentioned they hoped I'd do it again this year.  Well I am!

Since I didn't have time to read much this week, I want you to take a picture of your holiday tree or decorations and send it to me either on Facebook or my contact info is in the FAQ's.  I will post them Christmas week so we can all bask in the holiday cheer together!

So take a picture of your tree all decked out or that menorah that's been passed down generations or maybe you want to show off your home all lit up at night.

Send one picture and the first name you want used with it.  Deadline is Friday, December 9th

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and if you're out doing Black Friday shopping, God speed.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eat lotsa turkey, load up on your faves you truly only get once or twice a year and leave the stuff you can get any time.  If someone says something stupid, smile and say "bless your heart"  (the South's equivalent to saying "eff you" with class).

When you look around the table, be thankful for the people there because it's not guaranteed you'll have another holiday with them.  Soak them in, love them, forgive them in your heart if need be and give them a warm hug before you're on your way.

Remember Thanksgiving is every day...count your blessings every day you're alive to do so.

I count you among mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

They go deeper???

I had a late appointment at the physical therapists office yesterday and it was like the seventh circle of hell on many levels.  I do not deal well with traffic on the freeway.  That abrupt stopping just freaks me the heck out but more to the point, I don't trust the people behind me to stop in time.  Freeways were getting shut down and when I was sitting in traffic not moving, I texted the Mr to call the PT and tell them I was in traffic but on my way.  I got there 20 minutes late.  But I guess all of her patients had called to say they would be late so luckily I didn't screw anyone else up.

I told her about my legs locking up after the addition of the new exercise but I knew this would be an adjustment period so I had to skip those the night before but did all the other ones.  She said she was fine with that and to lay down so she could take a look.  Thankfully they did feel better than the day before but I attributed that to skipping that exercise the night before.  I did do that particular exercise before I left so if I did lock up, she could unlock me.  She's feeling around and says how it feels better and I said "mmm hmm."  She laughed and said she was able to feel more and put in the first 4 needles or so.  Then she's like "so, I think I'm able to go deeper now so we can really clean out some junk in there."

*record scratch*

Uh, what I was getting was not "deeper?"  There's another level of "deep??"  She politely informed me they were not only longer but wider so I would feel them go in and they would likely be "uncomfortable" because they would be going very deep into the muscle.  She got a few good ones in there and I just breathed out my mouth before she'd stick them in.  Two of them I gasped on and she asked if I was okay and I just whimpered a bit.

I asked how long they were, in a casual manner.  She said the ones she usually uses are 2" but these are 3" and I tried not to pass out.  They are thankfully the longest I'll ever have to deal with.  About 3 minutes in, I could already feel that familiar ache...the ache I usually get about 3-4 HOURS after a treatment.  She came over to check on me and asked if they were loosening up and I told her no that they were actually feeling achy already.  She asked if I would like to hold her puppy to which I eeked out a pathetic "yes, please."

Puppies make everything better.  Fact.  Actually playing with him made the 15 minutes fly by.  I flipped over so she could needle the front as well.  Thankfully no three inch stabs there so I continued to play with the pup and tell him stories about how mommy was turning me into a shish-kebab until he had to go wee.  When she took those out, she instructed me to stretch and when I stood up, I was kind of frozen for a second.  It was not fun.  It was instant hobble for me over to the stretch board where it did at least take the edge off.

Then she put me on the anti gravity treadmill and took off 25% of my body weight.  Man that felt amazing!  She had me walk and there was a camera on my feet to show me how I was walking.  About 5 minutes in, she pointed out how I was shuffling and I needed to learn how to walk properly with a heel to toe motion and to walk so that I saw more of the bottom of my shoes.  She said it was likely a protection mechanism from the injury but I might not need it anymore.  The day before with the lock up, it wouldn't have been possible.  But I took advantage of it while I was able to and did 15 minutes on it.  It got some good blood pumping through the muscles so it didn't hurt quite as bad at the time.  Then I got my calves grastoned and there were a few adhesions I could feel.  I told her that and the DPT said that was actually a good sign because instead of the entire area being one big adhesion, it was breaking down.  I also attribute that to the ultrasound I had done so I will pass that along to the chiro next week so he keeps that up.

Then it was back into traffic in the dark...without my glasses.  Derp.  I got home and made dinner since I was so late and made it in my CLEAN kitchen which the Mr took care of without asking while I was gone.  (Poor man is still up editing.  Now he's freaking out about how close Christmas is!)  After we ate dinner, we caught up on a few work things and then went down to exercise at 9:10pm even though I'd already done about 25 minutes between the bike and treadmill.  I wasn't going to skip strength.  Then I did PT while he came up and worked some more.  He wants a Lamborghini for his efforts.  :-)  I was proud of us for not skipping.  I'm also so thankful for that vibration board.  Sometimes it's the only thing that shakes enough crap off for me to walk a bit.  We're down to crunch time now with 3 1/2 weeks left before we leave.  It will be interesting to see how this goes!

Have you ever had an unpleasant medical treatment?

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Taking a time out to make merry

(via Pinterest)
Y' has been a weekend.

Last Thursday I went to the chiro and he was happy with the progress I've made.  I told him that I would trade him baked goodies for an ultrasound since they were going to graston me the next day.  He smiled and said he'd feel around to determine if that was a good idea but I didn't need to bring goodies for treatment.  He did ultrasound me and gasped in delight when he saw I brought the goodies with me.  He declared "I'm not sharing!"  HA!

Friday I went to my PT appointment and it was pretty good.  I had her feel the legs and determine what she thought.  She said it's feeling much looser up top.  I don't know that the chiro would agree with that and I know he wants full release before he'll consider me over this and I agree.  But obviously she feels something I don't.  She did say the bottom was tight as heck though so she got to needling..,including one right where Gage cut Jud in that horrible scene from Pet Sematary .   (affiliate link) That felt delightful.  Then I flipped over and she needled the front and then it was time to get grastoned and just as I'd told the chiro the day before that she doesn't go that deep, she really went for it.  My shins looked like I'd been whacked by that skater.  Then I got a new PT exercise to add to the mix.  A hip exercise!  (Been waiting for that)  So I squat a little then pretend I have a bowl of water on my head and move without tilting to the side.  I did that Saturday morning and by mid-day I was locked so bad nothing would really help.  It's going to suck getting through the soreness of this one.  I had to use my massagey thingy  (affiliate link) on my legs for 45 minutes before I could walk Sunday.  That was a treat.  It might have to be the norm until my legs can take it on a regular basis.  What I looked up said to expect it for 1-2 weeks.  Yay.

So in the midst of both of us on the mental edge, I declared that we would splurge by having a serving of what I made with our usual Sunday hot chocolate and watch our first Christmas movie of the season.  (We are WAY late on that, we've usually got 2-3 under our belts by this time.)  I told him due to all of his hard work, it was his choice and he chose Home Alone.   (affiliate link) I didn't know he chose it because he had a little gift for me up his sleeve...

You bet your sweet bippy I'm going to color in it too.  I may just color in it on Christmas Day too!

We needed that time to relax and reconnect instead of continue to drive ourselves crazy.  Today I will be Mach 5 with my hair on fire (points if you got the reference) but last night we needed to breathe and not be so militant.

We got our grocery shopping done and now it's time to move on with the hectic week feeling a little more refreshed and ready to roll.

What did you guys do this weekend?

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #46

Happy Friday all!

T minus 6 days until turkey day!  Are y'all ready?

Let's get right to...

Aldi to Go Full Organic, Bans Pesticides and Rivals Whole Foods as Healthiest Grocery Store  (Might have to check it out in the new year.  FYI- Aldi's is sister store to Trader Joe's)

9 Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets    (Hey Mr, you'll recognize one in there!)

Company Recreates Doors Of Dementia Patients’ Houses To Help Them Find Rooms And Feel At Home  (OMG, my heart.  This is a BRILLIANT idea!)

How to Clean the Grossest Spots in Your Kitchen  (I'm currently considering hiring someone to do it since it looks like a Christmas cookie bomb went off in there!)

Genius Meal Planning Ideas for a Healthy Week  (Gotta love prep day!)

The 19 Funniest Fitness Fads of All Time  (Sorry but the ThighMaster was kind of awesome)

How to Ditch Your Negative Attitude Once and for All  (Oh piss off.  Oops!  I mean...starting now.)

DIY Renovation Uses 13,000 Pennies to Create Stunning Patterned Floor  (WANT!!!- (Someone else to do it for me but still...WANT!))

20 Things To Do Instead of Wasting the Day at the Mall on Black Friday  (Mall?  Black Friday?  Does not compute.  #BeenDoneFor3Weeks)

Best Money Tips: How to Host a Thanksgiving Dinner on the Cheap  (Where is the "hide in your home with the blinds closed, eating a McRib while watching the Macy's parade" option?)

40 awesomely bad Thanksgiving food FAILS you can't help but laugh at  (Thanks SB!  I was oddly impressed by the sweet potato casserole "brulee!")

Like many of you, I'll be heading to the grocery store to grab Turkey Day schtuff.  I have a very full work weekend ahead of me with a few breaks to watch a little ball when I can.

What are you up to this weekend?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

He said, she said

Another Tuesday, another chance to feel like a voodoo doll from Spencer's Gifts.  (Remember that place?)

Don't you love how your fat balloons your legs when lying against something flat?  Jerk.

Last Friday's session left me feeling crippled for 3 days with very little relief.  My legs locked back up on me and then it was time to get poked all over again.  I did tell her I got no release and how badly my ankle was yanking upward.  I told her about how the legs do NOT like the eversion exercise.  She explained that this will be growing pain time because right now, the outside of my leg takes ALL of the brunt of my weight and strengthening the inner muscles will help me eventually balance the load.  I asked if this was wise to do when I thought the goal was to try to get them to relax.  She assured me this was part of the plan.  So I guess I'll continue with the half rotation ones but I'm straight up not going to do the seated calf raises she gave me Friday.  I can do those when the other muscles are balanced and I feel comfortable adding them in but right now those are the muscles that get overloaded and I just want some damn relief first before overwhelming that area of concern.

I haven't even told the chiro she gave me those yet.  He was a little on the horrified side to hear she gave me the eversion  and toe scrunchy exercises.  He was delicately trying to say he understands she has goals but he doesn't quite understand what they'd be since she's wanting me to work the muscles that are already overloaded.  He was quite protective over me and I am appreciative of that.  He was very adamant that I tell her if I really don't want her using the deep needles.  When I questioned that she said that was what warrants the fastest results even if it hurts like a mother.  Okay, fine.  But my insurance company is being a carton of flaming @ssholes and I've already blown through the approved number and now she has to try to get me more sessions.  I can't wait for those bills to come rolling in.  *face palm*

But poking isn't my only fun, I also get graston done and while I think it feels slightly heavenly on the back of my calves, the shins do not agree.

I thought it would break up a little more but holy God the shins are hanging on like they're paid to.  I know that process takes time and it will likely be my responsibility to continue it into the future to further break down adhesions.  Yay?

I thought it was interesting at the last chiro session when he was questioning her choice in exercises that he started rambling off exercises he thought would help.  I kind of wanted to smack him a bit and say "HOW MANY times did I ask you what I could do in between visits and got wishy washy Charlie Brown answers from you!?!"  Maybe because I'm working with a PT now that he feels like he can do that but crap man if he'd given me exercises to do in the beginning I have to wonder if I could be cured by now instead of 5 months in with more ahead of me.  I love the guy and am glad he has my best interest at heart but yeah, sometimes the vagueness (from both of them) makes me want to ram my head through a wall.

Have you ever been caught between two doctors?  Have you ever been given vague instructions by a doctor?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thanksgiving This or That

Can you believe we are officially halfway through the month??  I'm panicking y'all!  It is almost midnight and I have been buried in work so I don't have anything super exciting to report.

So how about we do a Thanksgiving fun "this or that" poll instead?

White or dark meat?

Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes?

Stuffing or dressing in your neck of the woods?

Pumpkin or apple pie?

Make your dish from scratch or buy from the store?

Football or Christmas movies on the tube?

Family- Love spending time with them, tolerate them or I purposely ask to work so I can skip it altogether.

Blow off Thanksgiving evening to shop, shop on Black Friday or Pssht, I'm done!

Looking forward to your answers and if your choice isn't listed, be sure to list it in your comment!

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Monday, November 14, 2016 rat bastard

How on Earth is it Monday again?  Oy.

Poor Monday

I had a long working weekend with no end in sight so I'm afraid that time off is going to be a luxury.  I just have to keep telling myself next month I will be in a different state ringing in my Christmas in peace.  I actually got so overwhelmed Saturday night I had a panic attack of spinning room variety.  There is no relief whether the eyes are shut or open but open is worse.  So I sat there trying to calm down and it wasn't helping.  Then I remembered something I saw on the tv show Bull about how if you count out of sequence, it confuses the brain.  You can see the star of the show Michael Weatherly talk about it here to explain it a little better.  But yeah, it totally saved me and I'm keeping that in my back pocket for the future!

I have to also give the Mr props because he is totally editing like a champ at every video I throw at him.  Right now I have a backlog of videos I have to write copy for, do voiceovers and then go through editing with him for the final cut.  I wish I could pay him a salary commiserate to the work he's been doing to make the baking channel a success for me.  Each video logs in a combined amount of 7-8 hours from me prepping, filming and then him editing, me doing copy and voice work and then editing and rendering and prepping for print and blog posts to go with it.  So basically a whole work day involved in each video.  He only complained early on when I kind of threw it at him but now he says it's almost like a relaxation video for him as he edits.  I hope he means that.  I hope to have him show me how to edit sometime but he does it so well and I feel like it puts both things we went to school for into play so it truly is a team effort.  So, thank you Mr.  You're the best!

I will say though that we had a really great moment Friday.  I needed to skip my at home PT because that woman totally killed my muscles and I was a hobbling mess.  I started up the heating pad and laid in bed and the Mr came in and I flipped on the TV real quick so the last time I turned it on wasn't the juju stuck on it.  I flipped channels and we found some blooper show on TruTV and before we knew it, two hours had passed and we were laughing and getting sucked into the next half hour show of bloopers.  It was much needed.  You know how just being in bed with your honey watching mindless tv at a time that isn't bedtime is just sometimes exactly what you need?

We had Sunday brunch and then I made another recipe and we had to take back something at Walmart.  I bought dishes for Christmas and of course they were defective.  So I had to re-order them and hope for the best.  So I get to find out Wednesday if they're going to work for us or not.  I will keep re-ordering until they get it right because I'm not giving up on them!  They carried them in store for the past 3 years and of course don't this year.  >:-(

We got in our upper body strength and PT exercises/stretches.  I got a little work done and now I'm checking in with y'all.  Can you believe next Thursday is Thanksgiving???  WTH man!?  It's going too fast!  I thought it was just Halloween?  Seems like just yesterday I was standing in the freezing rain waiting to meet George Daniel and locking up my legs!  At this rate, I'll be worm food soon.

What did you do this weekend?  I hope SOMEONE got to relax and enjoy it!

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Friday, November 11, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #45

Good Friday mornin' to y'all!

Let's get right to...

Exercises for a Tight, Toned, and Lifted Butt  (Can't wait to be able to do these!)

7 Overnight Oats That'll Make You Love Breakfast  (For you, Mr)

Scientists Found the Number of Extra Calories You Eat When You Don't Get Enough Sleep  (Hmm, interesting)

6 Cheap Winter Superfoods To Buy Now  (Yum!)

4 Smart Retirement Moves Couples in Their 40s Should Make Now  (Good to know)

5 Smart Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter  (It's about that time!)

Oprah Just Released Her Biggest Gift Guide Ever (There’s a $395 Dog Blanket)  (Um yeah because I'm going to let a dog lay on a $400 blanket...nope.)

Watch: The 1975 perform 'Somebody Else’ and 'A Change Of Heart' live for Seth Meyers  (My favorite performance yet because Somebody Else is VERY George (drummer) laden so I can drool properly)

23 Super Helpful Charts To Make Thanksgiving Dinner Less Stressful  (Because we could all use a little less stress come holiday time!)

No real plans for the weekend.  If my legs unlock, I will bake/film.  If not, I might have to wave the white flag on my 12 Days of Treats plan.  Sigh.  Apparently they did not care for my filming taters yesterday even though it felt okay at the time.  At least I had two good days without excessive rolling involved.

What are you guys into this weekend?

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Christmas music and southern comfort

Well, I couldn't hold out...I've got Christmas music on.  I like to ease into it with HO: A Dan Band Xmas  (affiliate link) album because it's just so ridiculous and raunchy.  (Any Christmas song that uses the word punani is going to become a Christmas classic in our home.)  Actually I put that on as our PT music last night and we giggled and laughed through the whole thing so it made it go quicker.

I will try to go in small doses though because I don't want to burn out by the time the holiday actually rolls around.  I had plans to film a recipe yesterday but I had no natural light due to the black clouds that hung low all day despite calling for sun.  So now I get to try today but with a chiro appointment at the time of optimum light.  *grumble*  I will be interested to see if the muscles stay looser today because they did a pretty good job of it yesterday.  There were times I got tight but then I would sit with my legs on the vibration board and it seemed to be enough to shake things loose a bit.  I think I found the trick to making the booty work more efficiently for me on the clam shell.  After I lift the knee, I make sure to relax it on the hold and tense the butt cheek and that seems to help.  I guess it's all trial and error.

I also did my first full day of PT with all 4 exercises.  Luckily I can do the two new stabilization exercises while sitting and working so it won't have to be added onto what already feels like that tipping point on the other two exercises.  I pray she doesn't give me more exercises tomorrow.  I don't want to overload things.  But when we walked around the neighborhood last night, I did feel like the right muscles were firing after figuring out that when I pronated outward is when my outer muscle wanted to lock out.  So I corrected and made sure I walked in the middle of my feet until I can work up to it on my new insoles  (affiliate link) that arrived yesterday.  Before I would just put them in and walk in them like normal and if things hurt, they hurt.  She told me to wear them for 20 minutes the first day to see how I do, which I did last night while making dinner.  Then today I can increase to 40 minutes to see how I do and so on.  She said don't get to the point where things hurt and to always keep the old insoles with me to be able to trade out if need be until I'm used to them.  She said "I can tell I'm going to have to watch you because you're one of those people that will be tempted to do extra sets/reps thinking it'll speed up the process."  I laughed because that's totally how I think, especially after all this time.

Then I finally got to satisfy my craving for some southern comfort...

Some shrimp and pepper jack cheese grits make everything better.  The rare times we do have it, I always feel like I'm back at Vic's on the River in Savannah.  That was the first time I ever had Shrimp and Grits and the Mr says mine taste just like theirs.  I'd say I'm pretty close!  Man I miss that place.

When do you usually start listening to Christmas music?

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My at home PT schedule

Well I'm about 4 days into my at home therapy exercises.  To recap, I have no ass muscles.  Oh don't get me wrong, I do Sir Mix A Lot proud but as far as anything resembling strength there...zilch.  Oh and my inner leg muscles and the front of my legs...basically dead inside as well.  *kicks pebble*

Last Friday I got my first two at home PT exercises to do.


This is the only pic I could find that shows the way my PT told me to do it.  She emphasized that my elbow needs to remain flat on the ground and if I roll back or lift it off the ground, the positioning takes away from the effectiveness of it.  I am supposed to try to isolate the butt cheek I'm lifting at the time without using my leg muscles to try to cheat me.  Believe me when I tell you that is WAY harder than it sounds.  So I lift the knee, hold it for 3 seconds then lower and that's one rep.  I have to do 15 reps per side, three rounds, twice a day.  For those keeping count, that's 90 clamshells on each leg per day.

Gastrocnemius Stretch (aka Calf Stretch)

I used to do these every morning and evening as I brushed my teeth and I haven't been able to do them for 4 months.  I cannot tell you how bad I miss them because I know the relief I would get being able to do that.  When she assigned this stretch to me, I was terrified.  I can stretch the right foot this way but the left foot has like half dorsi-flexion meaning when I try to pull my toes upward, whatever the heck is going on in my ankle yanks like this scene (seriously, don't watch this if you are squeamish) from Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors.  The thought of doing this 6x a day at a minute each made me so nervous.  So I have to gently put my left foot on the board and lightly put the heel down until I feel the "yank" and back off slightly.  3x per side at a one minute hold twice per day.  If When I'm able to do this the way I can do my right side, I will absolutely break down and cry.

Yesterday, she gave me two new ones to add to the mix.

Arch Raises

This is a stability exercise.  I am to sit in a chair and slightly scrunch my toes to raise the arch but making sure to keep the ball of my feet on the ground.  I have to hold it for 10 seconds.  So I do 15 of these per leg in each set, hold for 10 seconds and do 3 rounds.  So yeah, that's 90 of those as well per day.  I have to watch it though because my arch has been cramping on me and I've had to graston my arch to try to dig out the adhesion and it does feel better after I do that.  She mentioned she could dry needle it for me but it's like "woman, I need to be able to walk, yo!"  So I might go that route if digging at it warrants me nothing.  But in the meantime this should strengthen my arch to help provide stability as I walk.

Ankle Eversion

I have to do this sitting with either a towel, a sock on or I used a paper plate so the surface would slide easier.  The ankle is turning outward as far as possible while keeping the foot on the floor.  I think I do this one 15x for 3 sets twice a day.  She said it will engage my inner leg muscles which are seriously lacking and these too will help build stability as I walk.  I can already feel both of these in the front of my ankle and that is an area that has always needed strengthening despite the fact my left ankle can lock out mobility wise.

I won't lie, this process is tedious and the Mr (who is doing PT with me voluntarily) and I already groan when it's time to do it.  We do it in the morning and then again after our workouts when the muscles are warmed up.  I also make sure I use the vibration board before I do it to loosen stuff up and again when I'm done to help aid lactic acid removal, heal the injury and recover quicker from workouts.  I do feel like that helps to a degree so I'm glad we got it.  I'm hoping that like regular muscles that we will eventually be able to drop back to maybe 3-4x per week once the butt and legs are strong.  I mean if I have to do this for life, I guess I will but like anything, you know how it is when you feel better, you feel "normal" and stop doing those exercises that got you to "better" in the first place.  I know that isn't an option if I want to get and stay well.

It's the beginning of a new path in my healing and despite feeling like a voodoo doll after every session and the hard work I'm going to have to put in, I have to believe this is going to be better in the long run.  I just have to be patient despite not having much left after the long journey I've already been on.

What physical therapy exercise have you ever done?  Do you continue to do them?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Thanks past self!"

We hear that so often in weight loss circles, don't we?  It typically refers to drinking more water (crap, I need to grab my bottle) or changing your portion size or the type of food you're eating.  Maybe it refers to just getting off the couch and getting a walk in today and maybe you'll be motivated to do it again tomorrow.  All of these are great points and one that we should remember going forward in our own journeys to whatever our goals are.

But this saying also applies in pretty much every aspect of life.  It's a motto I've been trying to apply more in the past few weeks.

For example, Sunday mornings, the Mr loves this banana coconut smoothie I make with brunch.  I like it too but it's a pain in the butt to throw together when you just want to get cooking.  I have to pre-measure the PB2, the protein powder, the unsweetened cocoa, weigh the banana and chop it up, measure the coconut water...blah blah blah.  It's just tedious to do when all I want to do is just blend and go.  So last Sunday when I was making it for us that morning, I went ahead and pre-measured the powder ingredients and cut and bagged the frozen bananas so all I really have to do is dump, weigh the coconut water, slap in the yogurt and blend.  I smiled and said "next Sunday's self is gonna love today's self!"  Maybe next Saturday, I'll get ambitious and make it Saturday night and have it waiting for us Sunday morning.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves!  ;-)

Sunday night I also went ahead and ironed my outfits for physical therapy.  There's nothing worse than having to iron on the spot when you're already feeling rushed so I wanted to give myself that one up for those 3 days this week so I don't have to worry about it.

Even this post is being typed up at 9:45am Monday morning instead of being rushed after dinner when I'm frantic and wondering what the heck to talk about.  Now I can go forward into my Monday knowing I have one more thing crossed off the list for the day!  This week is going to be incredibly busy and anything I can do to make it easier on my future self is going to make things run that much smoother.  Given I'm the ultimate procrastinator, this is a big step.  I hope to keep it up and reap the benefits going forward!

What things do you do (or want to start doing) that your future self thanks you for?

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekend recap

Happy Monday all!

The weekend was pretty low key for us.  After the adventure of the previous weekend, I was in need of some down time where long term standing was concerned.  We went out to lunch Saturday and I said it was probably time to just hunker down and get ALL of the grocery shopping done in one day so we could have Sunday to do what we wanted to do and not what we needed to do.  We hit up Trader Joe's midday which is always a treat.  {dripping with sarcasm}  Because I don't like to do a yogurt refuel from them every weekend, we just bought what looks like an obscene amount of yogurt that only a yogurt commercial compares in quantity.  I hate that they redid the flow of the place again.  Now all the veggies are as soon as you walk in and because that's what a lot of people are there for, people just stand there and looky loo like they're never seen cauliflower before.  Outta the way doofs!

We ran a few errands and then headed back home and watched some DVR'd football the rest of the night before I conked out on the couch.

The next morning we woke up and I did some food prep while the Mr got the laundry going.  He was anxiously awaiting brunch.

French Toast (made with 35 cal bread), 2 eggs and 40% less fat/nitrate free bacon

We headed to Kohl's because they had a good $10 off coupon and you can earn Kohl's cash too so we picked up a mattress topper  (affiliate link) for the Christmas rental because without fail, rentals always kill my back.  I want a little cush and my blow up one just doesn't seem to be doing the job lately since it's noisy when I roll over.  Even if we only use it for the week because we can't cram it back in the bag, I think it'll be worth it.  We got a good price on it with the $10 off so I'll take it.

We, of course, ended up needing to run back to the grocery for a few items we forgot but nothing major.  Then it was time to head home and get in our strength workout.  When it was over, we were good and hungry and needed some protein.

Bacon wrapped BBQ pork chop and butternut squash risotto

Then we just got a few things done around the house before chillin' the rest of the night.  We did watch Scream Friday and I might want to watch another Halloween type flick soon since I feel somehow we missed out on doing that this year.  I'm not quite ready for Christmas specials yet.  I know...take my temperature!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, November 4, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #44

We made it to Friday!!

It's been a long week so let's get straight to...

20 Health & Fitness Gadgets That Actually Work  (Totally intrigued by FitnessGenes)

Chemicals in Household Products Cost $340 Billion a Year in Health Costs  (Wow!  We're trying to go natural wherever we can including household cleaners)

11 Easy Diet Tweaks 1 Woman Made to Look Less Bloated and Feel Better  (Good tips)

In Defense Of Steady-State Cardio  (Interesting perspective on this and HIIT)

An Important Reminder to Not Judge People by Their Appearances — Especially at the Gym  (THIS!  A million times this!!)

9 Things You Should Know About Working Out If You’re Trying To Lose Weight  (We actually haven't used our HRM's since coming back from Hawaii.  Partly because I'm gimpy and haven't been able to do high intensity workouts but it's actually been nice to not have to focus on that)

Americans Are Dying Faster. Millennials, Too  (Well this sucks)

The Best Ways to Deal With a Noisy Coworker  (I do NOT miss this and if my current co-worker gets too loud I can boot him out of the room.)

Is the Food You're Eating Aging You?  (Make sure the palm oil is sustainable because regular palm oil is VERY bad for the environment)

4-Year-Old Visits Her 82-Year-Old Best Friend for Halloween  (Oh my God, my heart.  I have something in my eyes.)

Want to sleep at Graceland? Here's an inside look at new Elvis-inspired hotel  (I can't wait to stay here once the newness of the place has worn off with diehards.  A January Elvis Week is on my bucket list!)

Man Drove 600 Miles To Listen To Cubs Win With His Father At His Grave, Keeping His Promise  (Aww, what a nugget)

Did Bill Murray magic help Cubs win?  (That face.  This is why I was rooting for them.  I wanted him to be able to see that in his lifetime as well as all of my Cubbie fan friends!)

Must-watch: The 1975 x 'Star Wars' themed Halloween show  (Figures.  This was the day after our show but still, you need to see the awesomeness they pulled together!)

I have another PT session today.  I have to say, I wasn't happy with the last needling session.  She used the deeper needles and I felt absolutely NO release or increased range of motion like the first session with the low dose needles.  So I emailed her that info and she said she'd adjust the dose.  My body is already weird so it wouldn't surprise me if I needed to go with something different than everyone else does.  She was also supposed to start giving me exercises to do this time as well but maybe that'll change since I told her I got no relief last time, who knows.   I have been throwing the clamshells in there anyway because I overheard another therapist tell a patient it will take 4-6 weeks to see results from those.  Well, that's about the time I have so I'm doing them in the morning and at night every other day so as not to overload my legs.  Three sets of 15 per leg.  I wish I was as optimistic as I was after the first session but I just hope I can get rid of that damn tightness.  She did light graston on my legs, something tells me now that the cat's out of the bag the massage therapist is going to dig the hell out of my legs.  Pray for me!  :-)

What are you guys into this week?

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

A day outside the comfort zone

When you get to my age, life is pretty predictable.  The chance to do something outside of your comfort zone is still scary.  I know they say there is some layer of yourself that is supposed to shed where you give zero f**ks about other people's opinions of you in any given situation but I'm not there yet.  The thought of doing something I did 25 years ago with regularity was exciting until I got into my own head.  Not only was I twenty five years older but despite losing over 200 lbs, I'm still fat.  Two strikes right off the bat.  Despite that, I had to ask myself a question.  If I had some disease that possibly had me facing the end of my life, would I look back at this opportunity and regret not doing it regardless of the outcome and always wonder?  It was a resounding yes.  So I went to World Market and tried to find a few UK candy bars that hadn't been ruined by US buyouts and put in a few fun sized candy bars in a bag since it was the day before Halloween.  I also did a little something for them having to do with one of their favorite directors and I'm not going to say what it was so someone doesn't steal the idea.  HA!  I knew my shot was 50/50 after having done streetview research because it looked pretty open and I wanted to give them a token of my appreciation if given the opportunity.

The sunny day quickly turned cloudy then cold and rainy the closer we got to the destination.  I was expecting this since I checked the weather and we had our huge umbrella with us, comfy shoes on because we'd be in for the long haul and some butterflies.  The campus is of course under construction so just finding visitor parking was a feat in itself.  When we found where the tour buses were, we attempted to find a place that wasn't 2 counties away since everything was permit parking.  I was completely disoriented from where that area was so the Mr said to save my legs, he was going to do some recon for me and see how far it was from the lot we were in.  About 5-10 minutes later he called me..."another tour bus just pulled up!  Holy shit!  I'm going to meet these guys!"  My heart sunk.  I said "of course you would meet them and I get to sit here like an ass."  He said someone got out and he sent me a pic of a "rock star looking guy" and I couldn't make out who it was and it didn't look like anyone in the band.  He said he knew what Matty and George looked like but wasn't sure about the other two and no one was there.  I told him to come back and we'd start our stakeout.

By the time we got over there, there were 3 college girls standing there.  I walked up with my little bag of goodies, big umbrella and stayed just to their left behind them.  When they turned around, there was a quick pause and then they'd turn around.  A couple of times they'd turn around to see if we were still there and we were.  Not going anywhere sweethearts...the old lady is here to stay.  After 25 minutes, the Mr went back to the car to get a sign I had that said "these are not my kids!  Road tripped to (hopefully) meet you!"  I thought it might be my only shot in a gaggle of girls situation if it popped up over their heads.  I opened my trenchcoat to air out a bit and revealed my The 1975 t-shirt and two of the girls left.  I thought maybe they went off to buy shirts but they never came back.  Five minutes later, the other girl left and the Mr came back.  We moved up to their spot and I just smiled.  I was going to stay there as long as it took.  Over the next 3 hours, a group of 2-3 people would come back and stand in front of or beside us and the longest any of them waited was literally 5 minutes.  None of them spoke to us, which was fine but they'd get bored and leave. patience these days.  ;-)  We moved a little closer for a better view of the spot between their massive trucks that carried their light show and the tour buses.  It also allowed me to sit on the base of a light post because my legs were not happy that I chose to spend my day this way.  Suck it legs, I'm not leaving until I see my gentle giant.

We saw some activity and some girls came over, maybe 20 or 21 years old.  The one cute red head excitedly asked "are you guys fans?"  I smiled, said yes and opened my jacket to show her my shirt and she screamed and was like "awesome!  That's so cool!"  We chatted for a few minutes with her and her friend and exchanged stories over the many times they'd already seen them and who their favorites were.  Matty is 90% always the girls choice and when she asked who I liked I smiled and said "George" and she said "awwww, George, I love him too!"  It was so funny and though 25 years separated me from this activity, not too much has changed except for attention span on girls parts that wait now.  The Mr just smiled and I said I was lucky to have a hubby who didn't mind driving his wife to drool over another man.  I told her I did it all the time at her age and she said "that's awesome!  I hope to be doing this too when I'm your age!"  When she asked who I met, I laughed and told her she likely wouldn't know any of them and after running through KISS, Poison and David Lee Roth getting nothing more than a blank stare, the Mr said "Van Halen??"  She was like "oh oh, okay!"  Sweet of you to ask nugget, you'll get the same look in 25 years when you squeal about the good old days with The 1975!

A few minutes later, a girl with a walkie talkie came out and said "come up and you can back straight in."  They were coming.  We saw a bus pull up and our small gaggle of 6 squeed in anticipation.  (Well, 5 of us did...I have no idea what the Mr was thinking at this point...I just know he was thinking "finally some pay off for freezing my nuts off in the freezing rain for 3 1/2 hours!"  The bus backed in and we all held our breath.  Adam and Ross immediately got off first and didn't look over.  I expected as much but I'll admit, a wave would've been nice given the weather conditions.

The head of security came down the stairs and I knew who was coming next.  A tall figure in black came down the stairs and George immediately looked over and gave a nod and smile to us.

George mid-nod as I tried not to buckle in his presence.  His laptop is likely in that music.  I die!

He was wearing slip on flip flops with black socks, black sweatpants and I couldn't get a look at his shirt very well but a pretty stylin' track suit coat with a black and white pattern on the back.  He went to the storage area and about yanked his shoulder out of socket trying to lift his obviously heavy suitcase out of there.  We saw a masseuse taking a table inside earlier in the day so I hope George is keeping healthy on the road with physical therapy for his healed shoulder and I know he's had tendinitis issues in his arm and his back is said to be in rough shape at times.  So I hope that massage therapist is for him.  He began rolling his bag toward the building and some guy walked up and hugged him (lucky bastard).  He looked back once more and smiled a sheepish grin before turning his back and as he continued to head inside, Matty darted out of the bus not looking over.  The girls beside me were about bursting but were thankfully cool about it not screaming his name and we all just kind of stood there watching him walk away from us.

The girls texted some of their friends in line and the Mr looked at me like "welp, that's about it then?"  I said "just so you know, we're not done here!"  I knew enough to know they would likely come out here and there to grab stuff off the bus and given Matty and George are smokers, they'd at least be out for a smoke break or ten.  The girls friends came bounding over and then it went from 6 to 10 of us.  This was making me antsy because if 6 people are standing there and they don't come over, they're not likely coming out for a larger crowd.  I just had to pray it didn't get larger than that.  One of the girls went to a security guard (not the ones that travel with the band) and asked some questions and came back and he said they would be coming out from time to time and just make sure we stay where we're at.  I knew that to be true from the old days.  Ten minutes later, a guy who does travel with them was going into a bus and said "I hate to see people waste their time in the cold" and he said they weren't coming out again and then proceeded to give a huge long schedule that would end with them getting straight onto the bus, not coming by to say anything and going to Pittsburgh at 1am.  I gave him a smile/smirk.  This is what we called "rope a dope."  The naive ones buy it and leave but the hardcores like myself and my friends stayed and 85% of the time, you saw them again.  All of the ones with vaginas weren't buying it...yep, the Mr was all appreciative and why would he lie...blah blah.  I cracked up and pat him on the shoulder..."aww, you're so cute."

Well, by this time the girl texted MORE girls and now we were a group of 16.  I knew the chance of them coming over for pics would now be like 10%.  I was now slightly pissed.  Look, I know y'all are about shared experiences but when you spook them and NO experience can be had by any of us then it defeats the purpose!  Matty came out for a smoke break and the girls yelled "MATTY!" and he ignored them at first and someone yelled again and he glanced up slightly and the Mr waved at him and he waved back.  I thought that was the funniest thing ever and Matty had to be thinking "what the hell is this dude waving at me for?"  But sadly the girls shrieks scared him back inside.  *Grrr*    They were mulling their options and whether or not to leave.  The Mr stood there, hands in his pockets with his teeth chattering and still putting on a brave smile for my sake.  I told him we would leave at 5pm which was 30 minutes from then and he was good with that.  At 4:55pm, George came out and I almost passed a brick.  Was he coming over?  Was he going into the bus?  Was he going to invite me inside to listen to new music for a more mature viewpoint?  (Okay I know the third one wasn't going to happen but an old lady can dream just like these girls!)  Then he pulled the move...he flipped up the hood on his hoodie and went around the back of the bus in between two of them.  I immediately knew that from my experience to be code for "don't approach me, I need something out here and you don't see me."  Then he came around the corner and his hood flipped down and he flipped it back up without making eye contact with any of us.  The Mr looked at me puzzled and I said "it's code and he thinks its an invisibility cloak but yeah...totally still see him."  The Mr shook his head and laughed.

As George was opening the tour bus door, Matty was quickly walking toward the bus and the Mr waved at him again and he waved back.  I seriously crack up laughing every time I think about it and then telling George "this guy with the beard keeps waving at me, I think he likes me."

Matty praying no one bum rushes him on the way to the bus
At this time it was just after 5pm and I looked at the Mr in horror and said "you're not going to make me leave now are you?"  He laughed and said of course not and the weather seemed to let up slightly.  I could see a light on in the bus and kept my eye on it.  The girls were all chatting with each other and were slightly to our left so it was apparent we weren't together if they happened to be looking outside at us.  About 15 minutes later, I saw the light go off and I whispered to the Mr that they were going to come out.  The door opened and George darted out heading to the building and Matty followed behind him as the girl screamed his name.  Just when it looked like he wasn't going to turn around, he did and waved...ushering these girls into womanhood.  (The Mr did not wave this time.)

The girls were all talking of leaving to get ready for the show and I told the Mr to go ahead and get the car and I'd wait for him.  About 5 minutes later the girls left and it was just me.  I knew I couldn't get lucky enough for George to come out in the moment but in the end...just like Highlander...there can only be one and it was the middle aged lady.  So put a victory flag on that moment.  The Mr was willing to wait a little longer and I said I didn't foresee them coming over if they didn't for a mere 6 people and I was grateful for what I got.  I won't lie, a picture with George would've sent me over the moon but I understand they had a lot to do.  (They did an EPIC Halloween show the next day so we obviously picked the wrong show to road trip to.)  But I stepped outside of my own insecurities and out of my head to do something that was starting to really screw with me.  The fact is, we are ALL vulnerable and we ALL want to be accepted whether it by family, friends or a group of girls/guys that you don't know even if you don't want to admit it.  Getting older does not make you immune to wanting those feelings of acceptance especially since the older you get, the more you are ignored by society as a whole.  It doesn't feel good not to belong but you'll never know if those thoughts are real or in your head if you never put yourself out there.  It's an area I'm still trying to work on and this experience will only help me do it more often.

And if you're a The 1975 fan that happened to stumble upon this and think it's weird or creepy that a 42 year old woman would try to meet a band of late 20 somethings, let me pass along some advice that will serve you well in life.  If you think being inspired by music has an age limit, you are going to live a very sad life.  At this time in your life, you assume you will always think the way you do now and that as music progresses forward, you will progress with it.  The truth is, the music of your youth from the time you're able to remember music at 5 years old until your early 20's will be the music you will likely spend the rest of your life listening to.  In your 20's, the amount of new bands you like will dwindle and finally some musical trend will come along (lookin' at you auto tune) that every band will do and you will declare all current music pure shit.  But once in a while, you find yourself in the most unlikely place to hear new music and when you do and when it stops you in your tracks like Love Me did, you jump on that and hold onto it for dear life.  Because just when the mundane rigors of life are set in and you feel uninspired, a band like The 1975 (or whatever that band will be for you when you're my age) comes along and shakes your world.  And thankfully, you will never be the same.  So if you see someone older than you at a show or waiting to meet them, smile at them, talk to them...they're older than you, not dead.  You never know how much you can learn from each other and isn't that what The 1975 tries to impart?  "We're all human, we're just like you man."

How have you gotten out of your comfort zone lately?

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Building up the courage

I can't remember if I've told you guys about my obsession with the band, The 1975 or not.  They are the only band I've heard in 20 years that have inspired me the way I was as a teen.  I spent my entire high school career being known as 'the groupie' because by Senior year, I'd met about 30 bands of varying levels of success from KISS, Poison and David Lee Roth to lesser knowns like Pretty Boy Floyd, The London Quireboys and Kik Tracee.  Basically if they used hairspray, I chased them.  It was a term I was constantly having to clarify because the groupie culture of the 60's was basically these girls who provided for bands and sleeping with them being the ultimate goal.  Even though I got myself into some situations that could've gone south on me pretty quick if I weren't as strong in my convictions, I never slept with any of them.  More importantly, I definitely never did anything to security guards who always made lofty promises but rarely delivered to other girls who were desperate to meet bands.  I got to see rock's underbelly far more times from a distance to know I never wanted to be a part of it in that way.

When the Mr met me, I was in the thick of this lifestyle, he knew it and was always fascinated with my stories and pictures.  Before I met him, I was positive my chosen path was to be a music promoter or manager.  But you know, things change.  He went with me to two or three meetings...I think Slaughter, David Lee Roth and Faster Pussycat post they were all coming out of their heydays.  Since that time, we'd gone to a few concerts before they jacked up ticket prices to match car payments but security got pretty tight.  Since meeting artists was more priority for me and tighter security was making it near impossible and he wasn't a big concert goer, I thought that part of my life was over.

I saw The 1975 added a date to Kent State University and I thought if I would ever have an opportunity to meet them that this would be it because with it being on a campus, they can't really block access off.  I asked the Mr, who also likes the band's music, if he'd want to road trip.  He agreed because he said this was the first band that brought back the "old me" he fell in love with and he wanted to support me.  The problem was, I was having a serious internal struggle about doing this.  The last time I did this with any regularity was 25 years ago.  I knew I would be the "mom" looking woman now and given how much of a midlife crisis I am already going through adjusting to this stage in my life, would this be like a nail in my psyche coffin?  I confided in a friend of all of the things running through my head.  This is a competitive atmosphere to be in in the first place.  Every girl thinks "her" guy in the band will lock eyes and fall in love or she will say something that will compel them to keep in touch.  Don't laugh, this has happened in rare instances and I have kept in touch with a few rock stars with letters and phone calls.  But now I'm married, these college girls are old enough to be our kids and if I heard "what's that creepy cougar lady doing here?" I probably would've gone into fetal position and wept until the Mr could scoop me into the car piece by shattered piece.  My friend told me I spent enough of my time back in the day being vulnerable to girls like that and the fact that at my age I do like their music (and on my own too because it's not like we have kids to show us what's current) shows how "cool" I am.  I tried to take heart and truly struggled with what to do.

You may wonder how I did hear about them since I don't really listen to radio much.  The Mr and I were in Target on a grocery run.  It was about this time last year and I was walking down an aisle close to the electronic section and Love Me came on at about this point and I stopped in my tracks and gasped.  I ran to the screen to see this shirtless silhoutte of a man in leather pants that reminded me so much of Michael Hutchence from INXS and the Lord, the drummer in that cobalt velvet suit and that guitar riff.  I was taken back to all of my favorite bands of the new wave era which was the musical era I loved the most.  (Even though I chased hair bands in the last part of the 80's and early 90's, that was purely lust driven.  While I still love the memories of that time, I can only listen to a few Poison songs.  I think Bret Michaels ruined Poison for me with his Rock of Love tv show.  Gross.  But I digress.)  New wave has always been a timeless genre for me and I can listen to all of it without cringing in the least.  So to see this larger than life, new to me, band that made my heart race and my eyes well was like some musical miracle I'd been praying for.  We stayed until they named the band and then proceeded to look them up on the spot and I began my research upon arriving home.

See kids, back in the prehistoric days of patience, we didn't have every detail or thought from a rock/pop star available for consumption on YouTube.  We had magazines, MTV videos or the occasional MTV interview because they sure weren't on mainstream tv.  That was the only way we knew the personalities of the bands we loved.  Bands had mystery then and then if you did what I did and would go to meet them, that was when you learned if your adoration was warranted or misplaced.  My friends and I would often go see bands we weren't even over the top interested in just to add another virtual notch to the "I Met" belt.  But a lot of those bands turned out to be some of the nicest guys and I was almost always glad I went.  Then there were times that went sour.  Like it turned out one of the guys in a band who had a major adult contemporary crossover hit in 1991 with one of their guitar ballads was a massive douchebag.  If you looked up narcissist in the dictionary, this dude's picture would be front and center.  (Even now from what I've read)  The rest of the band was so nice but this guy refused to come out of the bus for pictures and made people sit between his legs on the bus stairs for a picture while he sat there with an annoyed look on his face.  My friend desperately wanted one so I took it and after I did and started walking away, he said "hey, it's your turn."  I looked him up and down, curled my nose in disgust and said " thanks" and walked away.  The bassist thought that was so hilarious, he said "that was great!  We need to hang out.  Is there a place to get ice cream around here?" (odd reaction) and he and my friends went up the street for froyo.  I was never able to get excited about their music again after that encounter.  But you know what they say...never meet your heroes.

I have also had some perfectly lovely encounters.  I went with that same friend to meet Winger, one of her favorite bands.  I wasn't a big fan but you know, I'm always up for a time.  Well, after a less than delightful encounter we witnessed with the lead singer in front of 30 people, the crowd was almost rioting.  I won't go into the specific incident but he could've had a horriblu off night and might normally be a nice person but this night...he was not his best self.  Sensing the crowd might flip the bus if something wasn't done soon, the rest of the band came out and you never met nicer guys.  I don't know if they were atoning for what went down but it truly turned an angry mob situation into a celebration and the person who was dissed the most was showered with attention, swag and left a smiling girl.  Reb Beach in particular was an amazing sweetheart and stayed outside with all of us for an hour joking, posing for pictures, signing everything in sight and just generally being a gracious host for a party he didn't plan on throwing.  It made me really respect him as a person and I was glad to have gotten to see that side of him.

Nowadays, you have YouTube and the internet so it's no mistake to say you can consume every bit of information about your favorite bands.  From reading or watching interviews so you can get a truer picture of their personalities to following their Instagrams and Snapchat accounts.  If you're smart, you follow some fan pages and let them do all of the work for you because they love to add new pics, videos and anything else they can find to be the top fan page.  Obviously things like band and even each musician's social media accounts can be carefully crafted because lets face it, we ALL shade our social media interactions to put our best foot forward.  When there's a business on the line, musicians are no different.  I was able to garner enough from the seemingly thousands of things I read and viewed over the past year to know what an experience trying to meet The 1975 may consist of.  Adam and Ross are the quiet ones.  Fan pics with them outside of a formal meet and greet setting are a little more rare.  They don't talk much in interviews...particularly Adam.  Someone once commented on a picture where he was distantly staring off into space during an interview that he looked like someone who joined the band by accident and is now captive and can't get out.  It was hilariously accurate.

Every fan knows Matty and George are besties...Frick to his Frack, if you will.  Matty (don't ever call him Matt) is beautifully unfiltered, complex, a self professed narcissist but with good intentions where fans are concerned... so he can be a bit of a walking contradiction that keeps you on your toes to figure him out.  He's expressed his issues with depression, addiction and anxiety.  After reading about several encounters that left him overwhelmed and feeling like the bad guy when he has to leave meeting fans, he feels emotionally drained.  Since I too deal with anxiety and being overwhelmed, I knew that it would be important to read him first before attempting to approach or even yelling his name.  The last thing I would want to do is burden him for attention with an already exhausting schedule.  Then there's George.  They call him the gentle giant for a reason.  At 6'4", he can't hide easily but with Matty being the mouthpiece for the band, George is usually content to sit next to him adding anecdotes as needed, laughing at some absurd thing Matty has said, being goofy and just kind of being an adorable enigma you want to know a little more about.  He produces much of their music and his ability to make ambient music and instrumentals that take me out of crappy life situations is what draws me to him...that and the way he laughs when he hears something ridiculous.  (Also, I think it's really sweet that in their earlier days, he wore his girlfriends necklace when they were apart.  I'm a romantic sucker, what can I say?)  I basically knew that in person, he'd likely take his cues from Matty and just be grateful for what I may get.  But at this point in my mounting self doubt and wondering if I even had any business to be doing such things anymore, getting through the encounter with girls half my age surrounding me was at the forefront of my mind.  I don't mind admitting that I actually shed a few tears at the thought of even how the band may react to me.  If one of them were to say something well-intentioned about someone my age being there and given I was heading into 'emotional week' as it was...this could all be a huge, embarrassing mistake waiting to happen.  I didn't know if I had it in me.

Since this got way longer than I anticipated, I'll give your eyes a break.  Come back tomorrow to see if I ended up chickening out and if I did go, did my self confidence take a hit.

Ever met any bands during their heyday?

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