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Meadow is taking her first vacation without us this weekend. She’ll be going to the International Kite Festival with my parents, out at the coast. Originally, Dustin and I were to come along. Instead, I am going to a good friend’s baby shower and getting a pedicure with her, which will be fun in its own right. As a result, Dustin and I have the weekend together child-free!

I’m excited at the prospect, but I already miss the little punkin terribly.

I hope to have a lot of fun this weekend, and I know she will!

I hope to have fun, but I also hope to spendĀ  a lot of time cleaning and resting. Our house is cluttery and needs a good swabbing down. I never have time or energy. Which brings me to my second issue – energy. I feel like my fatigue has worsened over the last 6 months, especially in the evenings. I can’t even keep my eyes open and my body feels like dead flesh. (Nice, huh?) I feel really frustrated lately because it’s all I can do to manage dinner and parent duties (play, bedtime, etc) when I get home from work. Then, I am so wiped all I can manage is to flop on the couch. Ironically, I can’t go to bed right away. It’s like this need for “me time” which, due to lack of energy reserves, typically involves a glass of wine and tv. Then when I do go to bed, I want to read at least a chapter of whatever book I’m plodding through (right now it’s Freakonomics – love it!). So despite all my exhaustion, I make it worse by not following my bed time.

I wish I could do more. If I was to stay up late, I wish I could do something more productive and more altruistic then couch potato-ing. I really am missing my music lately. I really want to start playing again after this summer hiatus. I want to work on my piano again because I have gotten so rusty. I would love to play in Eastside Symphony this fall season (they’re playing An American in Paris, among others), but I don’t think I can manage. Not while I’m working full time. I did it last year, and it was hard. If I continue how I feel of late, it will be impossible.

This is the first time other than during an episode of optic neuritis that I actually feel disabled.

Hopefully it is a passing worsening of symptoms. Hopefully I can improve my schedule and discipline a bit to help with that. But i have experimented, and even if I go to bed “early,” I still hit a wall at around 3pm. Maybe I should get my provigil prescription filled. It’s anti-narcolepsy medicine; they’ve found it helps in MS related fatigue.

This doesn’t even address my cognitive issues, mostly short term memory and speech, that I have noticed worsen of late.

At any rate, this is frustrating, and feeds into many of my negative thoughts. My therapist said to cut myself some slack since I AM doing so much with a debilitating disease. But I have always fought against using MS as an excuse to not be good enough. So now I need to convince myself that this *IS* good enough, and that’s going to take some effort.

No wonder I’m fighting depression. Meh.

This turned into a rant, but I had to get it out.

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As you may or may not know, I am a HUGE Joni Mitchell fan. I ‘discovered’ her in my parent’s vinyl collection when I was 13 or 14. My mom had her “Miles of Aisles” album, and I listened to it all the time. I tired of the album after a time, and turned to different music genres to get me through my high school years (ska!ska!ska!). It wasn’t until the end of my college years I remembered my Joni-love and began searching for her music on audiogalaxy and IRC.

Since then, I’ve been listening mostly to her defining (in my opinion) album, “Blue.” I find that sometimes I literally CRAVE some of those songs, like a junkie who needs a hit of a soprano and her guitar. To me, that album is near perfection. It has songs for any mood. It is definitely one of my “desert island discs.”

This fall, I saw that Starbucks had released a new album from Joni Mitchell, “Shine.” I immediately purchased it for my mom as a Christmas gift. I knew she would be a fan. She and my late Aunt Debbie loved Joni more than and before me. I gave it to her with the caveat that she make me a copy!

I got the copied CD just this weekend. I popped it into my car’s cd player this morning. And I wanted to cry.

Joni Mitchell is a smoker. And it has ruined her voice.

Why did she do that to herself!? I could barely listen to the CD because it is so tragic. She sounds like she couldn’t sing a soprano note if her life depended on it. Her register has definitely changed into an alto. One could certainly try to attribute this to age, but that doesn’t explain the sound of vocal chords literally straining to hold a solid note, or the breathiness in every phrase. No, it is certainly due to smoking for many years. Her once clear as crystal, strong, and soaring voice has been diminished to that of a woman who sits in the back bar at the Rickshaw bar, attempting to sing karaoke after three gin and tonics and a pack of Marlboros.

…Is that too harsh?

If it is, it’s only because I am so disappointed, and angry that she did it to herself.

I wonder if she realizes what she has done to her voice by smoking? If, while they were in the studio, she realized what her voice now sounds like? And that it is her fault?

I guess it’s back to Miles of Aisles and Blue, for me. I hope Joni quits smoking. As for now, I think she should just stick with the painting.

I feel guilty for being so harsh on a musician I love so much. I still love her. I just wish she hadn’t self-destructed one of the world’s most beautiful voices.