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Showing posts from 2020

So, This Is It!

Boy, howdy, this has been quite a year! I am sitting in the darkness and quiet of my home, looking at the glow of the Christmas lights and trying really hard not to think that I see my dear one walking down the hall to see if I've filled her food bowl yet, reflecting on the year that is almost over now. I am not holding out lots of hope that 2021 will be better, but at least 2020 will be over. I remember how many people were stating that 2020 was going to be so much better than 2019. I have several reminders of that prediction on my social media feeds this morning from friends far and near. Everyone was looking forward to the start of the Roaring 20's, 21st Century style, and the year definitely looked like it was going to be lots of fun for me! I made all sorts of daring plans for my future and was stepping out into ways of interacting that I had never even dreamed of before. I was ready and looking forward to challenges! Then came March 13th. One of the bad things about havin

What I Am Reading...The Introduction

If you read this blog regularly (first of all, thank you!), then you know that one of my goals for this year is to deepen my knowledge of music as a therapeutic medium. To that end, I was able to justify the purchase of 13 books from Barcelona recently, and I am trying to make professional reading part of my regular work day. At this moment, I am on Winter Break (for six more days), so I am not working, but I am still trying really hard to start the habit of reading some of my textbooks. So, I have started with a book that I have had on my shelf for a long time, but haven't read it from cover to cover before. Drum roll, please...just kidding, I don't expect this type of fanfare for announcements EVERY time I do something... A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy: Theory, Clinical Practice, Research and Training , by Tony Wigram, Inge Nygaard Pedersen, and Lars Ole Bonde. I am on the second chapter. It is taking me quite a bit of time to digest - not because it is difficult, but

Closing Doors and Walking Into the Uncertain Future

It is the end of this calendar year, and I always become nostalgic when it comes to changing the year from one to the next. This year has been full of challenges and ups and downs, and I feel the need to talk about where I am in this moment right here, right now. I took my cat's leftover consumables to the vet yesterday to give the resources to cats who will be able to use them. I have closed the door to her bathroom and haven't cleaned out her litter box yet. I know that it is silly not to clean up, but I just can't do it yet. I am allowing myself the opportunity to grieve the way I need to grieve. I will know when it is time to say that final goodbye. I also went to my Occupational Therapist for my second appointment. I increased my range of motion in all joints but am not to full mobility or range yet. She told me to start playing the piano and to attempt the guitar again. I also have these wonderful straps to "help" me stretch. Doesn't that look like fun?

The Last Week of the Year

Today is the last Monday of 2020, and I am more than ready to say goodbye to this horrible year. Now, I don't believe that things will miraculously clear up at midnight on Friday, but I hope that something changes in this next journey around the sun. This year, my word for the year was "evolve." It was my goal to make my business ideas happen in ways that I could envision - mostly needing face-to-face interactions - and I was on my way until March. In March, as we all know, life as we knew it and as we planned it came to a screeching halt. All of my plans were shaken about, set on fire, and then left in the world of uncertainty that we now know is COVID-19. I was not able to get much of my plans accomplished, but I found other ways to evolve into the therapist and person that I am today. The word I have chosen for 2021 is "deepen." I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what I wanted from life last year, and I found that I am pretty much bored

One Moment at a Time

I am struggling this morning with the return of grief. I was able to think and miss and mourn my baby for a bit without tears, but they came back as soon as I got up - I am not sure why that is. I am moving from moment to moment at this time, catching sight of one of my curls out of the corner of my eye and thinking that it is Bella coming to see what I am doing, then remembering that she is gone, and taking the time to cry about it. Most of my gifts this year were cat-related, so looking at those things bring tears. I still love cats, but mine is gone, and that hurts right now. Even though this has happened, I still go on, and there are things that need to be done that are not related to my Belle at all. Tomorrow, I return to my Occupational Therapist to do more finger exercises. My fingers are very stiff and it hurts to bend them, but I am doing so. I am trying hard to keep to my regime of stretching them in specific ways four or five times a day, but each time is more painful. I nee

Saying Goodbye to Bella

Yesterday, at 8:10am, I said goodbye to my cat, Bella. She had kidney issues and rapidly got worse to the point where it was obvious that she was not able to take care of herself. So, I had to make the difficult decision to let her go. The vet gave me the option of hospitalization for a couple more months or just giving her a release. I chose release. I am sitting here, not quite 24 hours after giving her one last stroke, in sobbing hysterics as I miss her snoring, her scratches at the covers, and her way of sleeping in between my legs in a way that completely immobilized me. I haven't left my house since I got home yesterday morning, and I know that returning to my home without her greeting me at the door is going to be rough. I know that one of the responsibilities of being a pet owner is making decisions about end of life for those pets. Bella was my first pet of my own. I first took her to the vet on September 2, 2006 - about a week after she became mine. She had been living wi

Starting to Get Back to "Regular"

I went to my first Occupational Therapy appointment yesterday with a certified hand specialist to work on regaining full function on my previously broken fingers. They are almost entirely healed up, so the hand doctor started me off with my OT this week. I am no longer wearing the splints - that is scary enough for me - anxiety is calling - but I am also having to stretch my fingers in ways that my hand has been unable to stretch for four months now. I am attempting to touch type with all ten of my fingers at the moment, and I am out of practice - woefully. I am having to consciously use my brain to tell me to move my fingers in patterns that they have used forever but are not usual right now. This is the start of my journey into "regular" finger function. I am in a bunch of pain and the fingers that have not had to bend for four months are now being used more and that is not comfortable, but I know that this is part of the process to getting back to what I want to be able to

The Beginning of the End of the Year

It is the last work day of the year, and I am more than ready to be on break after today. I am exhausted and am really looking forward to being home without having the pressure to work. I anticipate that I will still be making videos for the YouTube channel, but I will not have an expectation of doing so. That's a nice place to be in. I sat in the sunset yesterday and watched for the planetary conjunction. I never saw anything that I thought was "the brightest object (except the moon)" or "the Christmas Star," but I was able to see both of the planets with my naked eye from just after sunset until full darkness. I talked to my parents - Mom is talking on the phone lots more now that Dad is not doing well - and then sat in relative silence looking at the sky. Kansas skies always disappoint me - clouds happen regularly and ESPECIALLY when there is some sort of special planetary or solar system event that prevents me from seeing the full effect of every little thin

Into the Unknown - The Panic At the Disco Version, Please

This has been quite the year, hasn't it? Of course, I am not currently saying anything that will not be true for any human being on this planet when I utter that particular platitude. This has been quite the year.  One of my guilty pleasures is going to the movies. I call it a guilty pleasure because when you go to the movies, you cannot be multitasking. There is a responsibility to yourself and your fellow movie goers to sit and watch without reaching for your cell phone or to try to finish that chore while the movie is running. It is a bit silly to think of actually going to the movies as a guilty pleasure, but it is for me. It is something that I have not been able to do for a long time, and I miss it. I am longing for the day when my local movie theater opens up again, and I can go without wondering if I will be bringing germs to my clients after those hours in the presence of people outside my home-work cycle. Watching movies at home is not quite the same as going to the theat

And Today Shall Be a Day For Working

Yesterday, I gave myself a day away from content production and allowed myself to work on non-video projects. I also allowed myself to wallow in any emotions that arose without worrying about whether my red, swollen eyes would be distracting on camera. Today, though, I need to get my content production up and going again. I have posted four of my videos this week, and I want to finish up four more by the end of business today. For me, I find that the best way to create content is to just sit down and do some singing into the camera. Some of the things that come out of my mouth are old, familiar songs that I have know forever, and other things are completely new! Since most of the therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) that I do with my clients incorporate lots of client direction, most of our "regular" interactions are not easily transferred to preproduced video segments. I have had to think about what I am doing for all content to avoid situations where my clients cannot respo

Today Shall Be a Day For Crying

I have decreed it to be so, so it shall be so! I started crying this morning when I saw a suicide prevention public announcement encouraging people to engage others in small talk. To be completely honest, this type of crying is not unusual for me at all. My primary emotional outlet is tears and always has been, so having a crying day is not strange. It is normal. Today, however, I think I am going to refrain from some of my "work-from-home" foci to allow myself to be able to burst into tears at any moment without fear of being on video. I think today may be a planning/visual aid/TME development type of day. I can work on music production without having to be filmed, so red, swollen eyes will not be a problem. Why is today declared a "Crying Day?" There is no specific reason, just more of the roller coaster things that are happening in the lives of others at this point. I am physically fine - things are at my normal for this time of year other than the broken fingers

A Roller Coaster Life

This has been a roller coaster type of year, hasn't it? I remember all the people talking about how rotten 2019 was and how much they were looking forward to the start of the new year and the new decade and then, BLAM! Here cam e 2020! I am not making any sort of predictions that 2021 is going to be ANY better than 2020 was. I do not think that the virus will mysteriously go away based on an arbitrary time construct.sxdsxdsxdsxdsxdsxdsxdsxdsxdz (Bella's notes on my thoughts...) I believe that the vaccinations that are currently being approved and distributed will help us come to an end, but it will not be based on the turning of the planet around the sun. It will be based on people being responsible and patient. It will be based on the hard work of many individuals around the world. It fascinates me that this roller coaster life has been both on a macro and a micro scale this year. My 2019 culminated with gallbladder removal surgery and a concurrent car incident that required m

My Week In Review...

This was a very strange week. Someone that I have worked closely with has had a positive COVID-19 test, my Dad is now receiving hospice services, and I am not as organized as I would like to be at this point in the week, month, year. I made some good decisions for myself this week, especially about getting more texts about music therapy (Barcelona has a GREAT sale - I took advantage - it only goes until Monday), about making reading an active part of my professional development next year, and about some personal things that I want to do this next year - things like trying to cook different things and continuing to declutter. I sent gifts to my family members yesterday. This was finished up two days before my self-imposed goal for this task, and I only missed one gift! I think I will wait to send it until a birthday - that gives me until next October, so I've got some time. I am sitting down this morning with my bullet journal at my computer. I need to update my budget pages to refl

Yesterday was a Down Day. I Just Let It Happen and Am Working to Make Up For It Today

I woke up yesterday in a down mood. I am not sure if this is based on my hormonal cycle or the circumstances that are happening around me, but it is not my preferred state of existence. I do not like being someone who is on the periphery of situations - I prefer being in charge and making essential decisions. That is not the case right now. I am an extra in the drama of other people's lives, and that is not the place I prefer to be. I am also lonely with all the working from home stuff. I miss my daily interaction with my clients. It is difficult to find songs to sing that provide them with something to do where they cannot engage in choice making or providing input. I have to change my way of thinking about what I am doing in order to make it make sense for me. This is a complete tangent from the title of this post, but I think it will make sense if I write it down. Bear with me. I have always loved the idea of writing music to supplement educational curricula. My first thesis pro

Yesterday's Review - I Give It Two Music Notes (Out of 7300??)

You know how we therapists are often our own worst critics? Yep. That's me. I am the loudest when it comes to my failings and things that I "NEED TO/SHOULD" do better in all areas of my life. No one is harder on me than I am, and I carry lots of shame when others correct me or criticize how I do things. Yesterday was not a particularly bad day, but it was not my most efficient day. I filmed two videos for my YouTube channel, uploaded them both, took about three hours for a worker's compensation doctor visit, and got very little done for the rest of the day. I did do a bit of goal brainstorming (I bought 13 books from the Barcelona $10 textbook sale) for my professional development for the next year. I cleared off the loveseat (one of my decluttering foci for this week), and then started to get my reading routine off the ground. I intend to spend some of my work days in reading this year. Yesterday's reading was not done during work hours, but I had to keep myself

Today's Plan...Let's See What I Get Done By the End of the Day

It is time to start my fourth "work from home" day. I spent the last two days at work, arranging our new YouTube channel and linking it to the new school YouTube channel. I have set up two-point authentication on my Google account, so I should be able to upload things to the channel from home as I get them. I still need to check that - I'll do that after I am finished with this post - can't seem to get competing Google accounts to work well at this moment. So, if I can't get on the YouTube account from home, I have the solution that worked on Monday - using a shared folder. There is always a solution. I need to write these things down. I think I will do that today. Put it on the list. I had a productive couple of days at work this week. I posted 19 videos on our channel - 14 of those were from my interns. The other five were mine. I recorded another yesterday and found one that I had started, so I now have 10 videos on the site. It is my goal to have more than my

Going Back to the Actual Work Building Today...I think I'm Ready

  I am getting ready to head back to work today after five days at home. I have a list of things to do in my bullet journal - take the laminators so we can laminate stuff; change the authentication for my work drive to my phone so I can share things on that account from home; talk to my senior intern about an upcoming interview; schedule Zoom meetings with day students for a bit of live programming; record new videos; put all the other videos into the Zoom account; finish up some of the choice boards for our residents; and then sending those same boards up to the residences. I am looking forward to being in my classroom for a bit, even if students are not allowed to come to the building. I anticipate that I will be spending most of the time sitting on the floor, either laminating things or cutting out laminate. In fact, I have a whole stack of laminated things that need to be cut out that I can take with me. It's an absurd time, to be sure. I am taking care to notice things about t