Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 19, 2013

Music for The Spooky Season


Jay and I our first Halloween together in Albany, OR. (2011)

Being a musically minded person, I never feel quite “in the mood” for a holiday until I have jammed to some seasonal favorites.  This includes Halloween.  Work does not allow access to Pandora (where I have established a fairly nice Halloween channel), but it DOES allow access to YouTube.  So I have really gotten into making playlists for listening to at work.  I’ve got everything from Broadway to Country, and there are also two holiday channels so far: Halloween and Christmas.  I must say that I think I’ve compiled a FANTASTIC soundtrack to the haunting season.  Do any of these make your list as well?  What did I miss?

1) Highlights from the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack

“This is Halloween”

“What’s This?”

“Town Hall Song”

“Jack’s Obsession”

“Kidnap the Sandy Claws”

“Poor Jack”

2)  “Friends on the Other Side” — Dr. Facilier’s song from the Princess and the Frog

3)   “In the Dark of the Night” — Rasputen’s song from Anastasia

4)  “Witch Doctor” — made famous by Alvin and Chipmunks

5)  “Monster Mash” — Bobby Picket

6)  “Purple People Eater” — Sheb Wooley

7)  Music from Beetlejuice:

“Day O” (Banana Boat Song)

“Jump In”

8)  Ghostbusters Theme Song

9)  “Men in Black” by Will Smith

10)  “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

11)  “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

12)  Adams Family Theme Song

13)  “I Want Candy” by Aaron Carter

14)  “Love Potion No. 9” by The Searchers

15)  “Little Shop of Horrors Intro”

16)  “Cruella DeVille” from 101 Dalmations

17)  Songs of Disney Villains:

“Mad Madam Mim” from The Sword and the Stone

“The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” from The Great Mouse Detective

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid

“You’re Only Second Rate” from The Return of Jafar

“Are You In or Out” from Aladdin and the King of Thieves (sung by the late, legendary Jerry Orbach)

“Be Prepared” from The Lion King

“Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

“Night on Bald Mountain” (cause Chernobog is a super-villain)

18)  The Pirates of the Caribbean Theme

Wanna listen?

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 15, 2012

My Friend is a Great Writer

Short story time.


This is a short story written by one of my friends, a sister in science.  She like many of us, has a creative streak in her.  I hope you all enjoy it pass on her name.

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | May 20, 2012

My Ongoing Battle With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Some of you know, but for those of you who do not, I am one of the estimated 1 million Americans who battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Here is a link to the disease’s article on the CDC website:

In summary, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by sever fatigue that does not get better with rest, lasts for several months, and can not be explained by any other illness.  There are a number of secondary symptoms which are almost worse than the fatigue. They include concentration and short-term memory impairments, severe pain, swollen lymph notes, and a sore throat.

Unfortunately, there is not a clear-cut cause for CFS.  Consequently, there is also no reliable cure or guaranteed treatment.  The best that most doctors can do for patients is to manage their symptoms until the cycle passes.  For me, it seems that I developed this disease after suffering from a mystery bug, probably an unusual strain of Epstein-Barr, while in high school.

Clinical definitions aside, I HATE THIS DISEASE!  I am so tired of being tired.  It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get.  There are days when no pain medication can make a dent in the wrenching, breath-catching, pain.  No matter how earnestly I study, I can’t seem to retain new information anymore.  Then there are the times when I can remember, but can’t hope to communicate it back to the instructor.

It seems to some of my professors that I am not smart enough to major in math, that I should rethink my career choice, or that I am a bad student with no dedication to their classes.  How can I make them understand that I am smart enough for math?  How can I make them understand that I am doing the best that I can every single day?  I do I explain that I fall asleep in class, because I’m ill, and not because I was up partying the night before.  How can I even conceive of another career when so many of my thoughts revolve around mathematical instruction?  I have finally found my niche in the world, a talent at which I am more than average, and it is in danger or destruction, because of this stupid disease!

I hate that this disease makes being active almost impossible.  I want to exercise, but now it’s so exhausting just going up and down the stairs!  Taking a shower, loading the dishwasher, walking from my car to my classroom — all of these simple tasks now cause extreme fatigue and even pain.  So being a good partner, contributing to the household chores, and caring for my dogs are now monumental tasks with absurdly high risks.  It is demoralizing and humiliating.

I apologize for this rant.  There are others who suffer from far greater illnesses that CFS.  I know that it is a blessing my diagnosis is not Lupus, MS, or some sort of degenerative disease.  Theoretically, if I am patient, this cycle will pass, and I’ll get back to normal.  I might even be able to go years without experiencing a fatigue cycle.  In fact, before this one, it had been 3 1/2 years since my last period of extreme fatigue.   On the other hand, what is the point of a blog if you can’t rant once in a while?

This cycle has come on fairly quickly, over the course of only a couple of months.  It seems that the decline of my health is beginning to level out, though.  So I fervently hope that this is the bottom of the valley.  With only three weeks left in the school year and a whole summer before me, I will do everything in my power to foster my body back into health.  With vitamins, rest, daily yoga, and maybe even a little acupuncture I may yet greet the Fall term in full fighting form and ready to prove that not only am I smart enough to major in math, I am an asset to math education that any school would be lucky to have.


Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | May 17, 2012

Continuing the Reflection — Stanza 2

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may  become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

I’m not sure I agree with the directive to avoid loud and aggressive people.  I think it would be more useful to society if we consider why some individuals are loud and aggressive.  Maybe they feel threatened.  Perhaps they do not feel heard.  If we seek them out with attentive hearts and ears, we may find them to be much less vexatious than we first perceived.

The rest of the stanza is so important, leaving my mind racing with thoughts.  I know that I will not be able to express all that I want to about it.  So please feel free to start a dialogue with me!  I welcome comments!

First of all, I find it so very hard not to compare myself to others.  Society is almost set up so that it cannot be avoided.  Grade point averages and class rankings are by definition comparisons.  The process to apply for a job requires knowing that someone else will be comparing you to others so you try to think ahead and tailor your resume and interview accordingly.  Searching for a mate invariably leads to wondering how those who have romantic love in their lives are different from you.  It is true, though, that making these comparisons for yourself will easily lead to feelings of vanity, bitterness, and I would also add depression.  If the act of comparison leads you to believe that you are superior to everyone, the step from confidence to arrogance will shrink to a hair’s breadth.  If you see yourself as inferior due to some injustice (real or imagined), bitterness is a logical result.  If you are disheartened by your perceived inferiority, then a cloud of depression may easily settle on your whole perspective.

The obvious argument against the directive is in the situations above.  How can you possibly achieve your professional and personal goals without examining yourself and comparing yourself to others?  The answer, I feel, is in the question.  The acts of self-examination and comparison with others are not necessarily the same things.  Of course it is vital to engage in self-examination.  Are you the kind of person you want to be friends with, respect, and admire?  Are you doing your best to achieve your goals?  What can you do differently to enhance both your life and the lives of others?  I think that those are the questions you ask yourself in a self-examination.  Notice that those questions do not even mention the merits or faults of others.

I caught myself doing this recently while looking at pictures of me with my sorority sisters.  All I could see were my flaws and how great everyone else looked.  On further consideration, however, I acknowledged that I was clean and groomed and my clothes were clean and fit appropriately.  Did I have my contacts in?  No.  Was my hair styled?  No, just brushed.  Considering my renewed battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, however, I looked pretty good!  I was there, participating, and socializing with some of my favorite people.  I gave myself a day or so to think about myself objectively before looking at the pictures again.  Now, I can see them and smile, grateful that a fun evening is caught on film to be enjoyed and remembered later.

The very last bit of the stanza is something I think is SUPER important.  I have been the kind of person who felt like I needed to be the best.  I’ve been in a position where I felt like I was the biggest loser.  The truth is almost always a case of somewhere in the middle.  Can I just say that there is a lot of piece of mind to be had when you realize it is almost impossible to be the absolute best at something?  That doesn’t mean that you should settle for less than YOUR best, though.  It’s just important to realize that your best, might be a B.  It might be 1 pound of weight loss a week instead of 2 or 3.  If it turns out that your best puts you in a position over others, be modest, share your talents, and remember to respect THEIR best and do not ask them for more.

In the end, and this is often a lesson in writings, the key is to be the best version of you that you can, and to be happy with that version of you.  After all, if you don’t like yourself, how will anyone else be able to?

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | February 24, 2012


Desiderata — A poem by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Originally, I was only going to post the second sentence of the second to last stanza of this poem.  However, in my desire to like that quotation within its context, I looked up the source online.  I realized that I absolutely love this piece and there is so much I want to say about it, I don’t know if I can do it in one post.  So maybe I’ll just deal with one stanza at a time.

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

When I first read the beginning stanza, I found myself closing my eyes and taking a deep breath as I ended the first sentence.  It isn’t unusual for an author to command the reader to do something.  That isn’t particularly notable at all.  In this instance, however, compliance seems almost compulsory.  Maybe it’s just me , because I always feel like the world around me is too loud and it’s a relief to know someone else understands that.  So the feeling I almost constantly have of walking down a crowded city sidewalk fades away and truly there is an increased sense of peace.  I’m not nearly deft enough at meditation yet to achieve actual mental silence, but it’s a goal.

The next instruction is to be on good terms with people.  Most notably, with EVERYONE.  This is no doubt a challenge for most of us.  There is always someone who rubs us the wrong way and it is so hard to resist the urge to rub them the wrong way.  But I find this directive valuable if for no other reason than it can dampen all that noise and move closer towards peaceful silence.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m at odds with someone, just being around them is stressful, because my mind is spinning with what-if scenarios and analyzing every little thing they say for hidden meanings.  All of that could quiet down and disappear if I could refrain from engaging in the conflict of that relationship.  Of course, I can’t be best friends with everyone.  There is no way to control whether an  individual will release their feelings of conflict just because I do, but I don’t have to live in their head.  So my goal is to approach everyone with clean slates.  Even if our last encounter wasn’t the greatest, the next one might be, but I have to release any feelings of ire I may be harboring for that to happen.  We’ll see what kind of peace can be gleaned from being on good terms with people, though I expect that in some cases it will require a good deal of practice.

The next directive is to speak your truth quietly and clearly.  This is probably more controversial for some people, as it could be interpreted as an instruction to “tone it down”.  For me, it’s a reminder that people know who I am.  I don’t have to shout it at them, figuratively or literally.  It’s okay to have one t-shirt hailing the wonders of mathematics.  I do not need an entire closet of them.  Yes, I’m overweight.  That doesn’t mean I need to try to justify it to every person I meet so that they don’t see me as a lazy slob.  If my actions show that I am neither, that is plenty.  Equally, I can see the vitality of being clear about my identity.  Ambiguity about myself, even if I’m just trying to protect myself, will probably sew nothing but mistrust, however.  So unless I’m willing to be clear about who I am on a certain matter, it would be best to save it for later or another person entirely.

Finally, I must listen to others, even those that I don’t think I want to.  The author is completely right.  To ignore a person’s story, to not listen to it, is essentially denying their existence and their relationship to me.  I doubt very much we will ever live in a world where everyone’s net worth is equal.  That does not diminish the intrinsic value of everyone whose worth is less than mine, however.  I feel like I am fairly good at this particular directive.  The stories of individual people have always held more interest for me than the bright, shining stars of celebrities.  I have also learned in recent years to listen to the ignorant far more than I used to.  Ignorance has many sources and all of them say something about the world we live in and the truth of the people who are ignorant.  I, myself, am ignorant of many, many things.  If ignorance devalues a person’s truth, then that makes my truth less valuable than any of my professors’.  For that matter, how does one judge equal amounts of knowledge on different subjects?  Is a math professor worth more than an English professor or vice versa?  So just as society should not be a hierarchy based on money, basing it on acquired knowledge is just as ridiculous and arbitrarily divisive.

It is, in fact, everyone’s stories that make up the story of our world.  Without each and every one, our world is incomplete.  This conclusion is drawn at the end of the poem, but that is for another post. . . .

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | January 21, 2012

Meet the Writer

It’s been the better part of 3 weeks since I started this blog and this is only the second entry.  Wow.  I’m really on a roll, huh?

I’ve been working on a quote reflection so look for that in the next couple of days.  Right now, though, I thought I would tell you all a little bit about myself.

I was born and raised in a small city in central Illinois, called Bloomington/Normal.  No, that’s not a weird name, they are twin cities.  The metro area currently has a population of about 164,000 people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

My parents instilled in me how valuable an education can be and in general, I liked school.  Whether I was actually good at the subjects or not, I liked to learn.  I probably could have done without PE.

I tried numerous activities including soccer, softball, volleyball, bowling, piano, cello, and tap dance.  My greatest love in high school was the speech and debate team.  We were just a small team from downstate Illinois, but we were competitive individually.

Attending First Presbyterian Church in Normal, was also a big part of my formative years.  It was in this community of faith that I learned how important it is for kids to know there is a support system behind them, especially when things get a little rough.

After high school, I eventually made my way to Southern California.  I had friends out there and thought I’d like to finish my college education out there.  For various reasons, I have not finished my degree in the standard 4 years.  In fact, It has been almost twelve years since high school graduation, and I’m still plodding through coursework.

I was half-way through a degree in accounting when It became necessary to move to the Salem area of Oregon.  We moved as the recession set in hard and work was very hard to find.  Luckily, I found a job in a grocery store’s meat department.  I’d never done work like that before and it was interesting, but there was clearly a ceiling.  Finishing my education became a priority.  I realized at the same time, though, that my heart just wasn’t in to accounting.  I’d had a taste of math tutoring and I wanted more.

So after establishing residency and working for a bit, I enrolled at Oregon State University as a mathematics major.  GO BEAVS!

I am currently working on the third year’s curriculum.  After this term, I expect to have three, maybe four terms left.  I’d like to get a Spanish minor as well.

I have also moved from the painfully small town of Willamina, OR to the quaint small city of Albany, OR.  It’s the first time I’ve truly been in my own place, with my two doggies, and my other half, and I am loving it!

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’ll catch you all next time, and thanks for visiting “A Little Sip of Lemmon-ade”.

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | January 3, 2012

The First Blog — An Introduction


My name is Becky Lemmon and this is the first submission of my first blog.  For years I didn’t see any need to write a blog.  Then I succumbed to social networking and felt there was nothing else I could possibly want to say in a blog format.  So what was the point?  In the last several months, however, I find that a simple Facebook status message is often too short for me to accurately articulate myself.  So here I am, joining the ranks of millions who hope they might have something interesting to say.

For awhile I tried to think of a theme or concrete topic like Julie in Julie and Julia.  I couldn’t think of a topic I could expound on regularly, though.  So here’s what I have in mind for this blog:

  • commentary on news stories
  • reflections on quotations
  • reviews of particularly notable books and movies
  • other stuff as I feel “inspired”

Thanks in advance for reading this blog.  My hope is that you’ll find A Little Sip of Lemmon-ade fun and refreshing.

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