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Sheet MusicI finally did it! I tried a voice (singing) lesson last Monday afternoon and had a blast. Now, Laura is officially my voice teacher. Since I can match pitch and can actually carry a tune, I have decided to take regular lessons. This basically entails going to a lesson once per week and practicing the other days of the week. Interestingly, Laura says I’m an alto. This seems to mean that I can hit some high notes, as well as some low notes; however, not too high and not too low. I like the label, so I’m going to keep it.

ViolinEven though I love music and love to sing, I never took any real time to seriously learn to play a musical instrument or to sing. My grandmother tried teaching me to play the violin when I was younger, but stubbornly I preferred going outside to play instead of practicing. Regretfully, I abandoned the violin in 3rd grade after struggling with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and never looked back. Thankfully, I still have the little violin that my grandmother bought me so many years ago. It is one of my treasured possessions. As for my singing career as a youngster, I was in choir for a year in grammar school. I remember performing at the annual school nativity program at Christmas. I really enjoyed it, and I’m not quite sure why I did not continue singing in choir. It probably had something to do with going outside to play instead of practicing.

First, Laura and I warmed-up. She taught me four notes and their beats. I practiced inhaling and exhaling to a certain number of beats. Next, we hummed octaves. After working on other warm ups, we sang part of a song that I had really wanted to learn to sing properly, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. It was difficult; however, I did pretty well. I have a long way to go before I will be able to sing it all the way through perfectly. Laura had also selected “The Sound of Music” for me to try singing. Surprisingly, I sang this song much better. I must admit that I am over the moon proud of myself and can officially cross #10 off of my 18 for 2018 list.

In Other News:

This past week was pretty busy both at work and on the home front. I started keeping my food journal and meditating on Monday. Early Thursday morning brought extremely bad weather through our area which caused many people, including my family, to lose power and create chaos for the remainder of the day. At that point, my food journal and daily meditation was pushed to the side. Coupled with loads to do at school, working the LSU concession stand yesterday, and completing necessary tasks today, I haven’t been able to do either one. In spite of all that, I did continue eating properly, and I walked six days this week. I took today off because I am beat.

This upcoming week promises to be busy; however, it won’t all be about work. I have some play scheduled almost every day. I have another voice lesson on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday evening, my BFF Shelly and I are driving to New Orleans to attend the Simple Minds concert. I took Wednesday off to recuperate, but it really is to take care of some necessary tasks (like filling out FASFA forms). My hubby and I are walking a 5K on Saturday morning. And, on Sunday, I am hoping that Andrew and I can go to the movies to see Bohemian Rhapsody, which I have heard from quite a few people is fabulous.

What will your upcoming week look like, dear reader? I hope it will not be all work and no play; hopefully, you can sprinkle in a bit of fun throughout the week. Happiness!

“Talking is the voice of human, singing is the voice of soul.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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Happy Valentine’s Day! My hubby and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with an early movie and lunch. What movie did we pick? Not a romantic comedy in the truest sense. No Nicholas Sparks for us! We chose Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It had romance, comedy, and oodles of zombies. I happen to adore zombies. It was the perfect way to spend the early part of my day. Afterwards, we meandered over to a Japanese restaurant for some sushi.

Zombie[1]Now, I have the rest of the day to chip away at my to-do list while my hubby works on his latest outdoor project. I want to get as much done as possible because tonight I am spending the evening with ZOMBIES. The Walking Dead is back on tonight followed by Talking Dead. Oh, how I have missed Chris Hardwick and my fearless group surviving the zombie apocalypse. I guarantee you there will be no romance or comedy this evening, but there will be plenty of zombies. The group is in peril, and I am anxious that someone I care about in the group is going to die tonight.

Love and hugs to you, dear readers. I hope you were able to spend time with someone you love, or you spent time doing something you love. Happiness!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” ~ Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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This past Saturday, my hubby and youngest son, Andrew, went to spend the night on the USS Alabama with the Boy Scouts. It is an annual sleepover to plan their activities for the upcoming year. This left me with the house all to myself. I told my mother earlier in the week I’d be home alone, and she invited herself to my house for a sleepover. Fun! We don’t get to see each other very often, so this was an unexpected happiness boost.

Saturday arrived. I kissed my two guys good-bye and set out to retrieve my mother from her home. She lives an hour away from me. We only had one stop before heading back to my house. I had to buy two pairs of running shoes, one for everyday wear and the other for actual running.  Our drive home consisted of conversation, laughter, more conversation, and a giggling fit so severe I almost had to pull over and regain composure. A giggling fit and operating a vehicle at 70 mph are not a good combination.

We eventually made it back to my house. After my mother unloaded all of her stuff out of the car, we sat around the kitchen table talking and cutting up some more. She drinking a cup of coffee. Me drinking a Whey Protein drink with unsweetened Almond Milk. The topic of conversation soon came around to where we would be dining for the evening. This was going to be my first treat meal since I started eating clean. I was a little apprehensive because I wanted to enjoy my treat meal, but not undo all of my hard work leading to this weekend. I let my mother decide since she had eaten a fried shrimp po-boy earlier for lunch. I figured she’d pick something to balance her obvious treat meal for the day. We got out the phone book and perused the various restaurants. The only food I did not want to indulge in tonight was pizza. I absolutely LOVE pepperoni pizza. And, I’m an absolute piggie when pepperoni pizza is involved. After some discussion, we mutually agreed to eat at Great Wall (a Chinese and Japanese SUPER Buffet). HA! It literally advertises 10 buffet tables (largest buffet in Tangipahoa Parish) and ALL you can eat. Dangerous, you say! Oh, YES, indeed. However, I was going to prove to myself I could indulge without going overboard.

Jackie Warner has in her book a “good, bad, and ugly” list for eating out at restaurants. My mother and I looked over the list for Asian restaurants to get an idea of what to avoid. I had already made up my mind to avoid two of the uglies: fried rice and lo mein of any kind. There was only one item on the bad list I knew I would eat….the infamous egg roll. I figured at about 190 calories, I’d be okay if I only ate one. 

Once at the buffet, I walked around and looked everything over while my mother was loading up her plate. I had a total of 4 plates of food. I know you gasped, but chill. My plates were divided into food groups. I approached the buffet as a chance to sample instead of gorge. My first plate consisted of 8-10 pieces of different sushi rolls. My second plate contained 4 large boiled shrimp, 3 pieces of pepper steak, two pieces of sesame chicken, two pieces of another style of chicken, and a spoonful (serving spoon size) of crab meat. My third plate involved fruit and veggies: spinach, sautéed green beans, marinated artichoke and tomatoes, broccoli, 3 slices of watermelon, as well as my egg roll. My fourth and final plate should be NO surprise. It was the dessert plate. It held 3 cubes of red jello, 1 spoonful (serving spoon size) of banana pudding with 1 vanilla wafer on top, and 1/2 cup of strawberry ice cream. Oh, and I drank water throughout the meal. Overall, I felt I did pretty well considering what I’ve eaten at Chinese/Japanese buffets in the past.  I even bypassed the wontons filled with cream cheese. If I could redo the experience, I would not have gotten so many pieces of sushi. I felt bloated from eating too much rice.

Afterwards, my mother and I went home. We both felt roly-poly, so we decided to play some Wii games. At first we considered Just Dance; however, we both quickly agreed the food we just ate would not taste as good coming up as it did going down. Instead, we played Wii Sports and Wii Play. I discovered I’m a decent bowler, but a terrible baseball player. Actually, neither one of us was very good at baseball; however, my mother managed to beat me 1-0. Luck had everything to do with it. Now, the Wii Play had us laughing often. After some trial and error, we figured out how to actually play the games advertised as “quick and easy.” Quick maybe, but not all easy. We still don’t know what the “Pose Mii” is all about. We stopped playing about 10:30pm. I went to bed. No telling what my mother was up to the rest of the night; however, I spotted her sleeping on the sofa the next morning when I snuck out for my morning walk. Maybe the next time my guys are away, I’ll have a slumber party.

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

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