Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Go Blow Your Horn!

Pipe Major Dennis is brave.

I guess he got tired of my voice because today he gave me a practice chanter (the pipe without the bag). We started by singing our scales....had a little lesson on "fingering"...and then he said the magic words:


The noise that came out of my chanter really surprised us both and hurt our ears. But he smiled and told me to in his little Scottish brogue to blow again.

I did.

Again. And again. And again.

Then he told me to stop blowing and we went back to singing. Within the span of 10 minutes I got promoted...and then demoted.

And so the voice lessons continue...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's A Few Pounds?

My sister called me at work the other day and cracked me up. I was in a meeting so upon getting my cell phone voicemail (twice)...she immediately followed with message on the land-line....and a text which said, "call me".

It had to be an emergency. I was sure. So as soon as I got out of my meeting, I called her back. Upon answering I asked what was wrong. Her reply....

"Are you a good swimmer?"


"How good of a swimmer are you?"

Well....I'm pretty good. I taught swimming lessons and saved kids at the local pool for two years in high school.

"Great - I knew you could swim. Want to do an Iron Man triathlon relay with Craig and I? We need you to do the swimming leg."


Obviously, this is not where I thought our conversation would go. Not even close. Do you think she realizes that I'm...oh say.....60 pounds overweight? She has to notice.

She has to notice!

"So when do you think that you'll be ready to go? One year?"

Yep - she noticed!

But I love that she doesn't think it's a very big deal. That fact alone got me on the treadmill. And it's going to keep me on the treadmill, not for any Iron Man relay, but because my sister believes that I can do it.

She's a bit impatient, eccentric, kooky and unrealistic....but that's what I love about her.

That and the fact that she obviously doesn't remember that I had two near-death drowning experiences in the ocean. Once in Acapulco (during a hurricane). Once in Hawaii (on my wedding day).

For that reason alone - I WILL NOT BE DOING THE IRON MAN!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sing For Me My Angel Of Music

Bagpipe lesson #1: Canntaireachd

I was greeted at the Celtic Center for lesson #1 by Dennis....my elderly Scottish bagpipe instructor who immediately let me know that he taught the Great Highland Bagpipe by way of the ancients. If I was just wanting to learn to read music....he could not be my instructor. Rather, he will teach me to feel the music. To live the music. To put my emotion into tune. The old way.

Despite his age, I quickly learned that Dennis is a passionate bloke about his bagpipes and I had better be too. Within a minute I realized that this wasn't a first lesson at all. Rather, it was an audition for Dennis to decide if he would take me on as his student.

The pressure.

Especially since he proceeded to inform me that the ancients believed in singing the pipes...long before they actually blew into anything. They thought that if you sung the melody, you would put your emotion into the tune.

Yes...you heard me right. Singing. Emotion.

This could be a problem.

But Dennis and I sang scales together for a half hour. Yes...you heard me right. I sang scales with a little old Scottish man. Up and down. For a half hour. Back and forth. Up and down. And I was so flippin' scared he would dismiss me at any moment that I put my whole heart and soul into. Back and forth. Up and down. While he talked about gracing movements...the sounds assigned to each note of the scale (melody notes)...and the words that my "song" produced. And I just nodded my head and did what he told me to do even though I had no idea what he was talking about.

Because somehow...someway... this is going to one day turn me into an Angel of Music on the bagpipes.

Then he told me not to be concerned that I'm somewhat tone deaf. You see, he's taught tone-deaf people before and they still learned to live the music and feel the bagpipes.


But in the end he told me that he would see me next week. And so the voice lessons continue....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Smile That Frown Away

I had my first sad day today.

It had nothing to do with the medicine.

So what did I do? I took the day off work...put on my IPOD... and sang at the top of my lungs for the better part of the afternoon.

It felt GREAT!

"If you chance to meet a frown...do not let it stay. Quickly turn it upside down...and smile that frown away."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Great To Be Eight!

Lil' A turned eight yesterday. Happy Birthday to her. By the time we picked her up last night at 9:30 she was wiped out and sunburned from a fun day with her best friend at Cowabunga Bay (the new water park by our house).

But not too tired for the birthday party to continue...which I bowed out of at midnight so I could get my beauty sleep. We are leaving this morning for a weekend of birthday/Father's Day camping.

It's great to be eight!

What exactly do you give an eight year old?

An art set of course.

She is going to Art Camp this summer to learn how to paint so this should be fun....

(I hope the paints are water soluble)

Mia and Meka gave her a Super Soaker. It was her father's idea. He claims that he gave them $10 and this is what they came back with. I inwardly groaned... because I know I'll be the target.

Battleship ought to temper the competitive nature between father and daughter.

If not, there is always Jenga and the jump ropes....

goodness for Baskin Robbins ice cream cakes and happy memories of Cinderella's castle.

Viva la Disneyland.

Happy Birthday
Lil' A.

We love you....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Multiplied by 3

Pronunciation: \ˈir-ə-tə-bəl\
Definition: capable of being irritated: as a: easily exasperated or excited b: responsive to stimuli.

Considerations: The term "irritable" is often used for one who is ill, fussy, whiny, and fretful, despite attempts at comforting and soothing them.

Common Causes: Irritability can be a very early sign of serious problems. Although irritability is not a symptom of any specific illness, it should arouse suspicion that something might be wrong.

Causes of irritability include:

  • Alcohol or drug withdrawal state

  • Cancer

  • Colic in infants

  • Congenital infections

  • Diabetes or other metabolic disease

  • Drug reaction

  • Ear infection

  • Encephalitis

  • Fracture, sprain, or other bone, joint, or tissue injury

  • Headache (migraine or other)

  • Head trauma

  • Hydrocephalus

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Intestinal obstruction

  • Intracranial bleeding or abscess

  • Iron deficiency anemia

  • Lead poisoning

  • Meningitis or other serious infection

  • Milk intolerance

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Pinworm

  • Sleep disorders

  • Tay=Sachs or other genetic disease

  • Viral infection

It's official, my people. I'm irritated. It has definitely "aroused suspicion" but not for any of the reasons listed, including pinworm or milk intolerance. They forgot a big one on their list.


Or rather, any type of medicine which alters horror-mones. My friend Holly called them "sad days". I call them "angry pissed-off days".

I've been having a lot of them lately. Because I irritated. So Mr. Thompson finally had enough and asked me what was wrong...at the urging of "Red Crossers who wish to remain annonymus".

In an effort to protect the innocent... I did some investigation. Mr. Thompson suggested that I start with the pamphlets that the Pharmacist keeps giving me which I promptly file away (usually in the trash).

So I did... and wallah - problem solved! It was spelled out in black and white right under the "side effects" section on 3 of my medications.


Which would make me ultra irritated. Multiplied by 3.

(I'm so sorry)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Anything Nae Scottish Is CRRRRAP!

Mission accomplished.

The Scottish Festival and Highland Games was a great success. Although it wasn't as good as the real deal in Portree, Scotland....the Scots could hold their head proud at what went down at Thanksgiving Point yesterday.

It all started with an Irish/Scottish showdown at the Thompson/Wilson household. I had on green tennis shoes and naturally wanted to wear something that matched.... which lead me to my husband's green Ireland sweatshirt.

Mr. Thompson started yelling "Great Scots!" the moment he saw me. He said something about refusing to be seen at a Scottish Festival with someone wearing a Irish apparel and claimed I'd get beat up. Said more about my ancestors rolling in their graves and made me march back inside and change into my Scotland sweatshirt. Pretty funny when you consider that my clan is Scottish and his clan is Irish... (how's that for irony?!)

I'm glad I did.

I went with a few objectives and met every one of them:

  1. Fondly recall our trip to Scotland two summers ago. Mr. Thompson made the comment that we need to take one major vacation every year and Scotland is first on our list. Yippee!

  2. Take a nip of my Famous Grouse winnings in remembrance of how my sisters and I took home the Tug-a-War reserve championship at the real Highland Games (we lost to the brutish Highland woMEN!). Well....I didn't take a nip from the coveted bottle but I did see a man wearing a Famous Grouse sweatshirt so I think that counts.

  3. Stay away from shortbread. No shortbread...no problem!

  4. Peak under a few kilts. Unintentionally...it happened and oh how I wish that it didn't! Large women should not wear kilts. Nor should they bend over ice coolers....

  5. Order a "ninety-nine" ice cream just like my brother Grabiyer Gunn did in that rich (and totally foreign) American accent. The Scot asked him to repeat it 4 times...and then said, "oh - you mean a ninety-nine!". They had them! They had 99's! Cheers to Grabiyer.

  6. Try and convince Mr. Thompson into entering the Caber Toss (where they throw telephone poles end-over-end). I said try....

  7. Most importantly.....find me a bagpipe instructor! Not only that...but I found a perfect pipe band to someday beg into. Salt Lake Scots here I come!

Viva La Scotland!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pipe That!

Just in case you're looking for me tomorrow....I'll be at Thanksgiving Point at the Scottish Festival. Come rain or come shine. I will be there.

(Chances are pretty good that it's going to be "come rain" but that just adds to the reality of the moment).

I have the following objectives while I am there:
  1. Fondly recall our trip to Scotland two summers ago.
  2. Take a nip of my Famous Grouse winnings in remembrance of how my sisters and I took home the Tug-a-War reserve championship at the real Highland Games. (we lost to the brutish Highlander woMEN)
  3. Stay away from shortbread
  4. Peak under a few kilts.
  5. Order a "ninety-nine" ice cream just like my brother Grabiyer Gunn did in that rich (and totally foreign) American accent. The Scot asked him to repeat it 4 times...and then said, "oh - you mean a ninety-nine!".
  6. Try and convince Mr. Thompson into entering the Caber Toss (where they throw telephone poles end-over-end).
  7. Most importantly.....FIND ME A BAGPIPE INSTRUCTOR!

Wish me luck. I've been looking for one for two years now...and have a strong feeling that tomorrow I'll find him.

Great Scot - this is going to be fun! Want to come?

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Feel The Need....The Need For Speed!

This weekend we went to the air show at Hill Air Force Base. It was so flippin' fun. My sister Lynda and I thought we were in Top Gun. Seriously.

Great balls of fire!

Here is a bit of JaLae trivia: I love a good air show. The Navy's Blue Angels are my favorite but the Air Force's Thunderbirds are a pretty spectacular second.

Did you know that Maverick was part of the Navy? He was.

That's why I'm a fan.

Reminds me of being a teenager and sitting in the back of my father's truck at the drive-in theater on a cool summer night. I was with my older sisters and a bunch of their high school friends...and I thought I was all that.

And more.

There are only two moments in my life where I vividly remember feeling that way. Watching Top Gun at that drive-in...and sneaking to watch Dirty Dancing (from the hallway) at my friend's house during her cool older sister's slumber party.

The Thunderbirds brought it all back.

So, God Bless the USA... Maverick who hasn't lost that lovin' feeling...and Johnny who doesn't put Baby in the corner. Don't ya just love summer?!

I do.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Yes, I cried.

Yes, I moaned.

Yes, I I almost fainted.

And Mr. Thompson was laughing at me the whole time. I believe "wuss" was the term he used. Repeatedly. Then again, it was my arm getting jabbed....not his.

Thank goodness the nurse let me chose where I wanted the shot administered because if he had it his way, it would have been in my butt. No good.

My only instructions to him where "make it quick!". He didn't... and now I swear that my arm is on fire.


Probably has something to do with the fact that I dropped the needle and syringe on the floor right before I handed it to him. Now my arm is red, swollen, and hot to the touch.

Hummmm.....can we say infection?!

Whatever it is, I sure hope that they don't ask Mr. Thompson to give me a shot to cure it....



After..the "After"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


In exactly 56 minutes Mr. Thompson will be giving me a shot. Of drugs. In the arm.

With a big needle.

What the heck is my doctor thinking? Oh yeah - he's trying an experimental procedure and I'm the guinea pig. At Mr. Thompson's expense.

I'm so flippin' scared I could cry. At minimum I feel faint. As the nurse gave him a 1 minute training yesterday on how to properly jab me with with a needle (not long enough in my opinion), I entered the Twilight Zone and was put squarely back into New Orleans. I had a flashback from my war on Katrina and that blasted soldier who very aggressively grabbed my arm and slammed shots into me....one after another....15 times. It was an MASH episode at best and something about an "ounce of prevention" being worth a "pound of cure".

I still have the scars.

Please pray for me......

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dear Mr. President...Pick Me!

I think that President Obama is a Rock Star.

And I want his autograph.

So I've done a little research and finally figured out a way to get it. It seems that the White House randomly selects 10 letters each day to which President Obama sends a personal response. He believes that this is one way that he can stay tuned into real people with real problems.

That makes me an ideal candidate because (newsflash) I'm REAL...and I have REAL issues. Just ask Mr. Thompson.

So some day...some how...I'm going to be one of those lucky 10.

The way that I see it, if I wrote a letter every day for the next 4 years... I would have 13,330 opportunities to get his autograph.

Alas, I think I've finally found a new hobby!

Topic suggestions anyone?