Friday, April 29, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #17

The last Friday of April, y'all!

So much to do and not enough time to do it, so let's just get right to...



The 8 Activities That Have the Most Benefits for Your Brain  (Count me in!)

Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them  (For my runner friends)

A Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere  (Love this!)

Turns Out These Bathroom Hand Dryers Detonate a Blast of Germs  (OMG, so gross!  Never using one of those again)

How to Turn Off Your Weight Gain Hormones  (Yes please)

What It's Like To Become Your Mother's Caregiver  (Sigh)

Common over-the-counter drugs can hurt your brain  (Seriously...read this)

Keurig’s New K-Cup Coffee Is Recyclable, but Hardly Green  (Really, 10 years and this is the best you could do?)

12 Unexpected Ways to Fit Cardio Into Your Routine  (Good stuff to incorporate)

How Insulin and Cortisol Affect Your Body Composition  (Interesting information)

LIVESTRONG Success Story: David Mugovero  (Giving the guys some props)

Why I'm Happy I Grew Up Poor  (We weren't quite as bad off but not far.  I agree)

I Posed Nude for Money & Saw How Beautiful My Body Really Is  (Takes some guts!  I envy her)

How to Behave at the Airport   (So the tuna kimchee sandwich is a no go?)

This Hilarious "Aunt Flo" Video About Periods Should Be Required Viewing For Women and Girls Alike  (Such a crack up!)

9 Period Delivery Services to Help 'Aunt Flo' Chill TF Out  (Did not know these existed)

32 Photos That Show The Difference Between Normal Food And Hipster Food  (If you serve my food on a dustpan or shovel head, prepare to get hit by both)

19 Slightly Odd Things All Dog Owners Have Done At Some Point  (2, 4, 5 and 10.  #2 was called the Princess Leia and I did it with both dogs)

We've got a poop load of stuff to get done this weekend and in the upcoming weeks so checking in may be sporadic.  I can't believe April is almost over!  Where the heck did the month go!?

What are you guys doing this weekend?

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pass the grass

We were never huge hamburger people during the week regardless of where we were in our weight loss adventure.  I was never picky about what kind of beef I got I just picked up 80/20 (or 90/10 if we were watching it) and went on with my life.  About 10 years ago, I remember hearing about this amazing grass fed beef on the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was back when grass fed was not common and we paid to have four steaks mailed to us.  You can imagine what we paid for the privilege.

We were both raised to believe that corn fed beef was the way to go.  We both agree that, to us, it does taste the best.  However, there is just too much evidence that much of the corn feed is GMO, chock full of hormones and antibiotics and Lord knows what else.  After reading about the benefits of grass fed beef, it got me wondering if we should give it another shot.

Here are some of the benefits of grass fed beef:


  • The way the animal is raised for grass fed is good for them and supports great farmers with ethical ranching practice.
  • It is leaner than grain fed and had a higher amount of omega fatty acids, which is good for everyone.
  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid that's believed reduce to cancer and heart disease risks as well as more antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • It's more environmentally friendly.  The U.S. produces 1.5 billion (with a B, y'all) bushels of yellow corn per year just to feed cows.  That corn takes chemical fertilizer added to the soil and the gases emitted by the machines used to harvest them which leaves a massive carbon footprint.  It takes half the fossil fuels to produce two pounds of grass fed beef vs. corn fed.  


When I saw it kept showing up in Trader Joe's both in the regular and frozen section, I figured that would be the time to try it again.  If you don't like anything at TJ's, you can return it no questions asked so what did I have to lose?  I've since used their organic grass fed beef but this was my first dabble to see if I was going to be able to make the switch for the rare times we had red meat in the house.


Here's a peek at the nutritional info


I thawed the beef in the fridge and slapped it in the skillet.


I gave it a goodly amount of seasoning while it cooked like ground chipotle powder, garlic powder, cumin and some ground black pepper.


One thing I noticed was despite being 85% lean, it cooked as though it was 80% and had a lot of extra grease that I'm not used to.


When it was done, I drained the beef so what I was going to add to it wasn't swimming in fat.


I grabbed my TJ's enchilada sauce...


...and my poblano salsa.


I added two servings of each to the meat.


I gave it a stir to combine.


Time for the taco shells!


I also cut up some red cabbage I had on hand as well as some black beans.


Here's how I stack my tacos so that we get more healthy filler over meat.  Layer the cabbage first.


Then the black beans.  (These are crock pot beans, not from the can)


Then add about 2 oz of meat to the shell and a little cabbage on top for color.  It fools you into thinking the entire taco is filled with meat.


I paired it with some roasted carrots and it was taco time!



The Verdict?

The Mr could barely tell the difference, he said it was very slight but nothing he didn't like.  I did notice that the meat was slightly more chewy due to the leanness of the meat and it was more greasy than I normally like.  For the rare times we have red meat in the house, I will likely go grass fed even though it's more expensive.  The reasons listed above are enough to change my mind and now, I just rinse it off slightly (not until it's bone dry though) so it gets that coating of grease off the top.  (It's still plenty juicy inside)

Do you eat grass fed beef?  How often do you have red meat?

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Sources for info:
The Scoop on Grass Fed Beef
Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't?
Grass is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

There's been a diagnosis...now what?



*The following are a list of resources that you can use should you find your family dealing with a dementia diagnosis.  These are resources that have helped me, personally.  I am not a medical doctor and none of this should be construed as medical advice or direction.  Consult the appropriate physicians when possibly dealing with dementia and related issues.*

Since sharing our family's story with the horrible disease that is dementia, I've received many lovely comments, emails and messages with empathy and compassion for the toll it has taken.  I've relayed many times how this disease sucks and how truly an actual death is easier to deal with than having someone you love no longer know you.  But what happens if you or someone you know is suddenly being struck with this reality in their own family?  Where do you turn?  What can you recommend?

Below is a list of things that have helped our family and us as individuals cope with this seriously underfunded but rapidly growing disease.  I hope you find these resources helpful and they give you a direction to go in as you or someone you know navigates this new reality.

The SAGE test:
Is it normal aging or possible dementia?  If you want to test yourself or someone you suspect could have it, there is something called the SAGE test.  (Self Administered Gerocognitive Exam)  It takes less than 15 minutes to fully complete and don't worry if you miss a few.  Our neurologist was most concerned with the clock test which can be the first sign of a true cognitive decline.  If in this digital age, you don't know how to read an analog clock...LEARN.  Like now.  Please realize that the person affected will be scared, think of how you would feel if someone accused you of what many ignorant people callously refer to as "losing your marbles."  You would be defensive, resistant and scared of possible diagnosis.  You must approach this from a place of love.  Be kind, be patient and be empathetic to all of the emotions and resistance that may come with a person who feels cornered.

To learn more about the SAGE test, click here.

Make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible!
If you suspect you or someone you love may be going through more than just a normal bout of age or hormone related forgetfulness and truly feel something is wrong, make an appointment with your family doctor right away.  It is helpful if you have the person complete the SAGE test first and bring it to the appointment.  If they brush off your concerns, you must insist on being referred to a neurologist for proper testing.  A family doctor is not trained to ask the right questions, they are not a specialist.  Your family doc doesn't care if you want a second opinion and if they do, then they do not have your best interest at heart and consider switching.  When it comes to health of any kind, be your own advocate!  No one else will!

Has there been an official diagnosis?  
You will be overwhelmed, scared and wondering where to go next.  I would recommend going to Alz.org which can give you an overview of what this diagnosis means.  They also have a great thing call Alzheimer's Navigator which can help you formulate a plan and answer the millions of questions you may have swirling in your head.  From working up a plan with your doctor to safety issues you will now have to consider to legal and financial planning to caregiver support, care options and what to expect of new daily routines, the Alzheimer's Navigator is an invaluable resource.  It can direct you  to local resources like caregiver support groups (which are imperative but often ignored) and home health care for mid to late stages.

The importance of help and empathy
As a caregiver, you will want to take on everything.  You will convince yourself you can handle it all but the fact is, you can't.  The sooner you accept that, the better.  Just because someone you love has dementia does not mean your life stops.  Living your own life is tough enough sometimes but helping someone else live theirs means there is not enough time in the day and something will suffer.  Too many caregivers exhaust themselves, their health suffers, they can resent the person they are caring for and yes, often times caregivers die long before the patient because they refused the amount of help they needed.

If you have family and friends who offer help, take it.  For as long as they offer it, accept it.  Also accept that some family and friends will not be able to emotionally handle the changes you and your loved one are going through and being around them will not be an option.  This does not mean they love the person any less!  They may have their own health issues like depression or anxiety that just make it difficult to be around them.  They may want to honor the person by remembering them as they were as the stages get more severe.  If they still offer to help in some way, give them some money and a grocery list to go shopping.  Allow them to bring over a home cooked meal from time to time giving them a list of the patients favorites.  Let them do yard work like pull weeds, mow the lawn, plant flowers, etc. If they want to contribute toward a cleaning service to come in every few weeks for a deep cleaning, let them.  Allow them to address Christmas and/or birthday cards.  If those traditions were important to the patient, they would likely be thrilled to know those things are still being done.  There are a myriad of ways people can help make your life a little easier and express their love and appreciation for the person who was diagnosed.

There will come a time that you will need more help than family and friends are able to provide.  There are expenses that come with home health care but there are also many programs available to help aid the financial burden.  If the person diagnosed is under retirement age and they are a spouse, you may want to check with your employer about options for enrolling in long term care insurance.  In most cases you do not have to wait for open enrollment to get that ball rolling.  A wonderful resource many families use for home health care is Home Instead Senior Care.  They will answer any questions you have and for those uncomfortable with leaving people with strangers, our local chapter was completely comfortable with us setting up a camera so family could check in.  A good health care place won't have an issue with any precautions you want to take to ensure the comfort and safety of your loved one.

Diet and exercise
You can do a search for Alzheimer's diet and exercise and find tons of articles about suggested foods that may help prevent the disease and many studies show moderate to intense exercise helps ward it off as well.  What many don't realize until there's been a diagnosis that diet and exercise is very important to possibly maintaining what cognitive function there is at that point.  The neurologist specifically told us to make sure Grandma was not eating fast/junk food and that she needed to exercise every day.  That was not followed.  The result was a dramatic decline so fast that even the doctor was surprised.  I firmly believe we could've gotten another 1-2 years with minimal decline had that been followed.  Obviously I can't know that for sure but when it is basically written down on a prescription pad as medicine for a diagnosis, to me, that needs to be followed as closely as you would medicine on a bottle.  Don't allow what happened on that front in our family, happen in yours.

"I don't want to go into a home."
This is the number one fear as soon as a patient hears the word dementia.  They think the family will throw them in a home and never see them again.  It is all very scary for them and paranoia is an early stage symptom you may need to address.  It is best to tour assisted living with dementia care programs while the patient is still able to give their opinion on what they did and didn't like about the place.  Assure them you are not looking to "dump them off" and run but as a responsible caregiver you must be prepared for the worst case scenario.  Tell them even if it's years down the road, discussing these things early in the diagnosis is imperative and you aren't making any kind of statement by wanting to tour these places.  If anything, it is a statement of your love for them and wanting them as empowered as possible to make decisions regarding their health.  It's very important that all of the family is on the same page with this because there is so much emotion involved it needs to be talked about in a practical way.  It will make an already difficult decision more tolerable if you all know you are coming out of a place of love not only for the patients best interest and the best care they can receive but also the health of the caregiver.

Good resources of comfort:

When grandma was first diagnosed, this book was recommended to our family and it has been invaluable. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease  It gives you a good idea of what to expect in each stage and how you can handle it.  Some things were handled in a similar manner with our situation and unfortunately some things weren't.  It is definitely one of the first resources I would turn to post diagnosis.

Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again  This is a book I'm still in the middle of but I can tell you as a big fan of Kimberley Williams Paisley that sharing her story of her mom's dementia and her concern for her dad as caregiver has helped me feel less alone.  A book like this will pull at your heartstrings but help you realize your feelings and situations are common and make you feel less alone.

Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer's  I haven't read this yet but it's on my list.  You may recognize B. Smith from her appearances on The Dr. Oz Show and she is truly a sweetheart and your heart breaks for her.  She and her husband stress the importance of part of her treatment being a healthy diet (no sugar) and exercise and meditation.


I hope that this has given you a good place to start whether you are going through this with your own family or want to share with others who are going through it with their family.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A different play book



Life.

It shapes you in many ways.  We are a product of what happens to us and how we choose to react from the biggest to the smallest of decisions.  We all have certain personality traits that are inherently ours.  They can be influenced by events, people, arts and all kinds of things.

I think our parents (or the people that raised us) obviously have the biggest influences on how we react to things.  Kids are always watching, aren't they?  My dad was always very stubborn, strong willed and kind of commanded respect but he was also a schmoozer from what my mom said (a side of him I rarely saw) and was an engineer so he was a planner.  My mom was always kind hearted, emotional, thought of others and later developed her own stubborn streak.  With two sets of stubborn streaks on either side of the family, you can imagine how charming I am!  HA!  I'd like to think I'm a good mix of both.  I am the first to admit I'm stubborn and I fly off the handle like my dad used to when he was in my life.  My family always knew I didn't take crap.  I stood up for myself and I wore my emotions on my sleeve.  On the opposite side, I also was (and still am, I think) a thoughtful, kind hearted person who thinks of what she can do for others.

I have always been a type A personality and much of this was not just inherited but also by the circumstances I found myself in.  As a child of divorce with a lot of instability throughout my childhood, I was always anxious about would we get child support on time and knew as I grew up I wanted to always have a plan.  I needed to have a financial plan and a social plan.   (I was and am still very against smoking, drinking and drugs.)  It just brought me comfort to have a plan for the best and worst situations because I knew one of them would be right.

The same continued into early adulthood.  I was a planner (we had a 2 year engagement) and I had to make some pretty hard life decisions after we were married about people who were emotional vampires.  It sucked because I was not getting a reciprocal relationship with a few important people in my life and I had to take a stand for myself and what I needed.  (I don't think a few emails or outings every couple months is too much to ask, is it?)  But when they made it clear they had no interest, I cut my losses.  I remember my family being very upset about this because it's not the way they would handle it.  At the time, they were people who were I guess what you'd call pushovers to keep the peace.  They had no problem complaining about people and situations behind the scenes but wouldn't do anything to actively rectify those situations.  They became mired in regurgitating the same complaints with no resolution.  I'm not built that way but I can respect it if that's how they choose to deal with things.

However, I always found myself on the end of having a different playbook handed to me.  I felt like "how is it that I can respect your handling of a situation even if it's not how I would handle it but you can't do the same for me?"  As I've gotten older, I have really tried to work on my initial reaction to situations.  I have no interest in rehashing the same family turmoil with some members that just can't seem to get their crap together.  It's not that I don't love them, wish them well and to find some peace but I've literally heard the same complaints for 30 years.  I do not wish to bond over gossip.  I have better ways to spend 3 hours even if it means I'm not as close to some people as a result.

One example of something small that really irritated me as a highly sensitive person, is an interaction I had with my mom at a holiday gathering last year.  I had posted on my personal social media page a hearty congratulations to the opposing football team who creamed our team.  It was nothing snarky, it just congratulated the team who showed up to play.  A few people commented their disappointment we sucked but that I was right - the other team showed up, some liked it just like with any post.  Well that had been at least 3 weeks by the time I saw my mom and somehow the game came up and she's like "yeah I saw your post and said "congratulations my ass...HIDE."  I kind of laughed and was like whatever...until she reminded me two more times that she hid it.  Okay...I get it!!!  You didn't like what I had to say because you're a zombie fan with no desire to look at a stupid game objectively, I'm taking offense.  Do you know how much of her crap I've had to hide because I didn't agree with her viewpoint or wasn't interested in that particular thing clogging my feed?  But do I have to say "yeah, that opinion you had about that thing?  I didn't like that so I hid it.  Yeah...totally hid it.  To remind you, if you post something like that, I will hide it."  NO.  I hit hide and she didn't know any better.  But it's just a case where I consider others feelings and I don't get the same in return.

I remember one time someone asked me when we were leaving for a trip and I couldn't recall the exact date.  I got an eye roll and a "PLEASE, you always know and have everything planned to the tee six months in advance.  Don't act like you don't know."  Uh...scuzi?  Yes, when I was 23 that was true.  Now, I have to practically be tasered to force me to plan a trip.  I cut it way too close for my own good and cause myself unnecessary stress.  (For those who may say "just wing it!"...nope.  Tried that a few times, it was a disaster.)  It just knocked me over how utterly irritated this person was at my lack of an answer to their satisfaction and more so that they thought they knew me...they just assumed I was the same person I was 15 years ago.  How many of us are?

It amuses me when people get irritated that you answer a question or handle a situation differently than you did when you were in your teens or twenties.  They have an expectation of your reactions and when you don't fit into the mold they cast you in anymore, they feel threatened by it.  It's like they want to keep you in this box and not allow you to grow and change as you acquire more wisdom and ways of coping with life.  If I'm somehow "different" to you then you've never taken the time to get to know the real me.  What does that say about you?

I have this weird need to want to connect with people on a deeper level that doesn't seem to be shared by most people in my life.  There are a few exceptions to the rule.  I have a few people in my life who aren't afraid to go deeper than the surface and I'm so thankful for that.  But I find myself only knowing many people in my life I used to be closer to by what they present on social media or how they act at the few times we get together and it's always pretty vague answers.  Is that all we are is asking about each others jobs, what immediate plans are within the next few days or what we brought to a get together?  That's crap you save for the family reunion people that you see once a year.  (We won't even go there.)  I'll admit that when I see some family members who are in their mid twenties and early thirties, I see their little faces as they were when they were kids so I can understand why I am still seen that way by some people but I don't treat them like the fools they were in their teens.  (Despite they're actin' a fool but in a different way now...HA!)

The Mr talked about how he left his childhood and old traditions back in his old hometown.  His whole life changed when he moved as a teenager so he mourned that then.  Now he sees me dealing with losing the glue of our family (grandma) and how much she really represented all that made up the important times in my life and how it has gutted me.  He said when you see something change and there's nothing you can do, you have to make new things that will become the norm or do what makes you the happiest.  I felt immense guilt about telling my mom we wouldn't be here this Christmas and ran through every horrible comeback she could have and put myself through a month of physical agony and panic attacks just thinking about it.  In the end, as long as we still had a Christmas together even if not on the day, she was okay with it.   I need to learn to not put her in the same box I don't want people to put me in.  (Though I have more experience getting what I expect, ya know?)

I had to take Christmas back this year and I look at it as a way to finally break the mold people put me in.  "Anele the Christmas freak..." or the second a flurry falls I get flooded with snarky messages about how I must love it while they proclaim their hatred of it.  Well if you'd been paying attention the past few years, you'd see that Anele has rarely had a smile on her face Christmas Day.  The first clue last year should've been when someone said at Thanksgiving "I bet you're excited for Christmas", I couldn't even mask the dread and just blurted out "actually no.  I just want it over with."  They looked shocked I said that but do you think they asked why?  Nope.

Me?  If I knew someone was a Christmas freak and that was their response, I'd pull them into a private room and ask what was wrong and what I could do to help.  Why is it I think of these things for others but no one other than the Mr (or a few select online friends) will think to do that?  I know they love me but I also know some of them would do it for each other.  I don't need to be all up in everyone's business but man how I would like to know that we're all equally there for each other.  It's something I used to feel and now feels like a thing of the past.  I try to take responsibility for my part in it but there seems to be this old expectation of who I am to them that I can't seem to shake.  I also feel like they think they can't relate to the "new" me.  I actually have people kind of recoil when I bring food because they're afraid I'm going to feed them healthy food.  Perish the thought!  I will throw out something I am interested in as a talking point sometimes and when the eyes glaze, it's like "okay, guess not."  I don't care about some of their interests but I listen to them...sometimes for 10-20 minutes but don't get the same courtesy.  I've literally been in the middle of sentences and had people turn away or start other conversations.  Wow...thanks?  I don't want to make it sound like I'm Dark Helmet and surrounded by assholes but I guess I don't know where I fit in anymore and it doesn't feel so hot.

I will try to navigate through it all and hope for the best outcome.  I'd say it can't get worse but I know we'll be dealing with grandma and her husband's death in the next few years and when death comes...I've experienced how it rips families apart.  It blows so yeah, not looking forward to that time for a myriad of reasons.

How has your personality or coping mechanisms changed as you've gotten older?  Do people in your life accept the "new" you or assume you're still the same person you were 10-20 years ago?

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Happy Monday

Is that an oxymoron?

We had a lot of cleaning that needed to get done.  Well, not as much as we would've had if we hadn't skipped our traditional workout Friday to do some deep cleaning.  We both felt quite whooped from the week's workouts and felt like another ballbuster would've put us over the edge.

The scale spat in my face and I just tapped out on life.  The Mr and I went into the weekend without a plan...again...and it wasn't pretty.  Lots of hissing and just being frustrated in general.  When we finally calmed down, we went back out and I got some stuff I needed and found some brioche for Sunday's brunch with mom.  We went home and cleaned the rest of the way.  While it was great to have a clean house in every single room (sans the basement), we kicked up a lot of dust.  So that meant we woke up with nice gritty noses and throats Sunday morning.  But we had no time for that because we had brunch to get ready for.



I made Croque Madames (ham and brioche with homemade cheese sauce and egg) with a side salad and individual tea pots.  Mom seemed to really like it and we enjoyed our time together.  I need to remind myself to just tune out when the subject of anything to the handling of grandma's situation comes up.  I almost went off once and caught myself.  The Mr later said he was proud of me for catching myself on it even though I still got my point across.  But I didn't want this visit to be about that so I just tried to concentrate on making the food and let the Mr deal with the brunt of that stuff.  Thanks for taking one for the team, Mr.  I let her try out a back massage thingy I got and she loved it so I bought her one for Christmas.  (Paid $10 less than I paid too...hmmph!)  So I guess you could say I started my Christmas shopping already!

She was here quite a while and when she left, we went to the historic district and did a 3 mile walk which I'm sure we'll pay for today.  Those uneven cobblestone sidewalks are always a joy on the hips and legs the following days.  Last time it sent me straight to the chiro but I think he's still on paternity leave this week so I'll need to take care of it myself if there are any issues.  When we were done, I wasn't in the mood to cook, we had a steakhouse gift certificate on us so decided to use it.  That is super rare for a non high cal day but we did well.  Sometimes we just want to feel like "normal" people and not be so friggin' strict.  When all was said and done, I was only 200 calories over what I had planned so I didn't feel bad at all.  Sodium was another story but oh well, that's what water is for.

We swung by the grocery store and grabbed some fruit and back home to get ready for the week.  I got a nice thank you email from mom saying she enjoyed her time and gifts so that was nice.  Now it's time to get ready for a new week!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, April 22, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #16

TGIF yo!  Who else is ready for the weekend!?

I know, I know, we're always ready for the weekend, am I right or am I right?  Ri-ri-right?  (Points if you read that like Ned Ryerson)

Let's get right to...


The 5 Foods You Should (Almost) Never Eat  (Good outlook on food in general)

How to Know If a Diet Is Legit or Just a Fad  (Interesting video and good for anyone considering one)

8 Guilt-Free Cleaning Products to Make at Home  (I make a few of these myself and will add some new ones to the arsenal)

Secrets Of The Very Old And Healthy — Start When You're Young  (Great reminders to keep active now to be active all of your life)

Those Drug Commercials You're Bombarded With Are WAY Sketchier Than You Realize    (I know this is long but the first few paragraphs tell you about all you need to know about how "trusted" these meds should be considered)

Signs of Diabetes: 5 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore  (Make sure you know them, just in case!)

These 10 Foods Can Help Balance Your Hormones and Reduce Inflammation  (Will add the few I'm not already using)

This Company is Selling Luxury Dorm-Style Living to Adults  (Interesting concept.  Not sure I could do the whole communal areas though especially if I shared with a few people I didn't care for!  HA!)

Scientists Discover Simple Technique That Cuts Calories In Rice By 60%   (For those who eat white rice)

12 Things No One Tells You About Owning a House  (I would give anything for "absence of noise."  It would not freak me out in the slightest.)

Why Food Labels With Exercise Equivalents Are a Horrible Idea  (I think it could be okay for impulse buys like candy bars.)

9 Things Wedding Guests Should Never Do  (I am still livid about the witch we didn't know that MIL forced us to invite and her 3 year old brat can be heard in our wedding video screeching over the whole first half of our ceremony!  We don't watch our wedding video any more because it just pisses us off.)

Wedding Photographer's Warning to Wedding Guests Goes Viral  (The picture this photographer is talking about shot my blood pressure sky high.  Standing in the aisle!?  That is a moment those people will NEVER get back.  Your crappy iPhone pic rarely gets sent to the couple anyway!  These people hired a photographer to capture the magic...stay the hell outta the way!!!  As you can see, I have no opinion on this.)

I went without my smartphone for 7 days — here's the most disturbing thing I noticed  (It's kind of sad that was all he noticed and then went right back to it.  Get your noses out of the phones people...life is happening all around you.)


Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo List Their Spacious Soho Loft For $5.5M  (Wow...you can tell Adam decorated this place.)

We've got some house stuff to get done this weekend since we're having my mom over for brunch Sunday morning.  I'm making Croque Madams and a little side salad.

What are you guys getting into this weekend?

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

What goes ON the body, not just IN it


As a child of the 80's, I remember whenever someone talked about recycling, growing their own veggies and making homemade potions to lessen the impact on themselves and the Earth, hearing people call them "tree huggers", "crunchies" or "granolas."  It was always said with a roll of the eyes, a slight scoff and basically being flippant about those people from that point on.  

While I didn't grow up in the South, I did adopt their motto of 'the higher the hair, the closer to God' in the late 80's and a few years into the 90's.  So I've done my part with the purple can of hairspray to eat through the Ozone since licking a light socket was burning my tongue.  (< -- That's called sarcasm, please don't do that.)  I also used that spray-in hair dye that you could be out in the sun or use a hair dryer to make you "blonde."  Well, I don't know what was in that crap but the Mr and I both had at it back in the day and our hair DNA has never been the same.  Seriously.  The texture and color have always been horrible since then.  I am reminded even now as I look in the mirror and see that brass strawberry blonde color that my hair projected instead of the California bleach blonde they promised us on the box.  I looked like a copper nightmare.  Because we were on a budget when I was a kid, we grabbed whatever was the cheapest where cosmetics, lotions, shampoos and all of that stuff was concerned.  That mentality spilled over into my adulthood and I never really questioned it.

As DIY blogs and health food stores started to become more prevalent instead of the punchline to a joke, I started to take notice.  Could people be on to something?  I would occasionally dabble in homemade masks with honey and purees and stuff like that.  My skin care routine was the occasional bottle of Olay this or that that I would use with no regular consistency.  Then when I discovered their micro dermabrasion kit, I did really like that and would use it every other month or so.  So basically I didn't have a consistent skin care routine.  Well, before you know it, you're staring into the middle age abyss knowing if you don't do something consistent now, you're plain screwed later.  Fillers and the like are not going to be part of my future...ever.  I don't care how bassett hound like I look, that shit just scares me.  If you do it, God bless ya...it's just never going to be a door I ever want to open.

So as I began to take my skin and sun care seriously, I decided to do some research.  I knew high end stuff was out of the question for me because I just don't have it in me to pay an outrageous price .  I also know people who spend their money on it and honestly, I haven't seen any major improvement in their skin or appearance.  Plus I can't justify bankrupting us on skincare products.  There was this vlogger I ran across who I thought had really nice skin and saw she did a current skin care vlog after people kept mentioning how much her skin changed and improved.  I think she mentioned she did some vegan challenge and when she went vegan, she wanted to make all of her beauty products cruelty free.  One brand that kept coming up was Andalou Naturals so I looked on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually affordable.  Like if you spend $75 on one cream, you could actually get a whole skin care routine for the same price with Andalou and it was cruelty free, vegan and no parabens and all of that crap.  I bought a few items and some I liked, some were just okay and I probably wouldn't buy again.  I also saw she liked Acure and it was the same thing, very affordable and void of chemicals that can potentially do some damage in the long run.

I know, I'm sounding like a crunchy granola.  But if you think about it, there is enough research that parabens are being found in cancer cells and that we may or may not need to freak out about them.  Okay so if you think about all of the things you may use in the course of a day from shampoos and conditioners, lotions, makeup removers, skin care products, make up, hair care and the like, that "little bit" of exposure can add up to a lot.  I would much rather stop soaking myself in ingredients that have been shown to do some scary things.  According to this article, "scientists continue to study the effects of these endocrine disruptors and have investigated possible links to miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, deficient sperm, obesity, metabolic disease, bone density and breast cancer. But how much exposure might lead to these health risks simply isn’t known, and scientists cannot ethically conduct tests to directly show such effects."  That is enough for me to say I'm going to clean up my medicine cabinet and linen closet.  I admit it's been much harder to find cruelty free make up that won't put a serious dent in the wallet.  I just can't justify $25 for ONE shade of eye shadow so I'm still doing a lot of searching for the right company and hopefully a palette I like.

In the coming months as I test out products (that I buy myself...I'm no big time blogger so I don't get free stuff like that), I will do posts on what items I like and why and what ones were misses for me.  I'm not saying everyone needs to jump on the bandwagon but it is something to consider.  I mean if we are told that whole foods are the best for our bodies, then why wouldn't it apply to what we put ON our bodies as well?  I'm now considering whole ingredients of things you can pronounce a prerequisite to my skin routine and not scary stuff that make you wonder if you're going to grow a third arm.

You can browse some of the Andalou Naturals stuff below:





You can browse Acure here:


Do you use organic/cruelty free beauty and/or skin care or just what you've used for years? Would you consider switching to more natural ingredients?  If you already use vegan or organic products, give 'em a shout out and what you love about them!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Back to Nature Stoneground Wheat Crackers

I grew up on your typical crackers.  When it was time for a cheeseball or cheese and cracker platter for gatherings, Ritz were the only crackers that were acceptable in my circles.  Crackers were never something I kept in the house and still don't.   But one night a few months ago, The Mr and I decided that a charcuterie plate might be in order.  I wanted to get some classier crackers, or at least ones that were a little more on the natural scale.  I found these in our organic section of the grocery store.

That charcuterie plate never materialized but one day when I was having tuna fish, I knew I could put these crackers to the test.


Here's a peep at the nutritional info.


Just look at all of that hearty goodness in these babies.


They certainly don't disintegrate as you eat them.  They have a little heft to them and they're not light as air and unsatisfying in the long run like our old standbys.  They're perfect if you want a little hard cheese like parmesan or asiago on top or maybe a little natural peanut butter as a snack.

If you're looking for a portable lunch or an after strength training snack, they are sturdy enough to be able to scoop your tuna fish without fear of breakage!


While I can count on one hand how many times I indulge in crackers per year, I will definitely reach for these from now on when the mood strikes.  I will even do the holiday cheeseball with half of these for those of us wanting a little more substance to our crackers and half the other kind to keep familial peace!

What are your favorite crackers?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Creaks and groans, good eats and of course, Shirley

Howdy do, all!

The Mr and I both felt a little beaten up by the workouts of the previous night.  The funny thing is it was supposed to be the upper body that should've done us in but we were both feeling it from the hips down from the tabata portion.  I used my back massager contraption to dig into my neck and lower back before I got out of bed.  Good Lord man, I need to roll my foot arches over a tennis ball until my tendons snap, dig into my neck with the contraption to combat whatever weird position I've slept in and depending on how my shoulder feels, roll it on the hard spiky ball...all to get out of bed in the morning.  Always how I envisioned middle age...not.

I had some "day old" challah I needed to use up from last Sunday's brunch.  I know, that makes it more than day old.  Stale, I believe is the word.  However, what does one use past it's prime challah for, other than croutons?


Let's just say the Mr was quite happy with his pre-class breakfast.  That never happens during the week but it fit nicely in the calorie range so I was glad to give him fuel for his day.

I got some work stuff done I needed to...still a lot more to do but knocked out what I could.

We went down for last night's workout - Powerstrike.  (I typed Powerstroke like 4x and that just sounded like a dirty movie set in a gym or something.)  It was quite comical at first because we were just still so tight from Sunday's workout so we were grunting and groaning until we got loosened up.  Then it was time for dinner:


Ginger garlic shrimp over brown rice and veggies with a bao on the side.  That is an ALL Trader Joe's dinner right there!

If you have one close to you, here's what you'd need to buy to make it.  (Almost all of it is from the freezer section except for the sugar snap peas and chili jam.  Quantities listed are for 2 people)

1/2 bag Red Argentinian Shrimp
1 bag Rice Medley (brown rice, barley and red rice I think
2 servings Organic Foursome (mixed veggies)
2 Char Sui Bao (pork stuffed bun...also called manapua in Hawaii)
2 servings Sugar Snap Peas (in the refrigerated produce section)
2 tbsp Hot & Sweet Chili Jam (with the sauces in the middle aisle)
Toss the shrimp in garlic powder and ground ginger, fry in 1 tsp coconut oil

So yummy and about 600 calories less than takeout.  Woot!

When the Mr got back, it was time for our annual viewing of Airplane!


via GIPHY

Thank God I grew up in an era where I can laugh at EVERY SINGLE LINE!  I feel sorry for people who might watch it now and point out the 2,498 "offensive" things in it.  Sadly, I still can't speak jive but it's a life goal.  If you haven't seen the TruInside story behind Airplane, it is friggin' awesome.  There was actually a lot of research by the actor who spoke jive and I learned a lot from it.  Give it a peep, if you need something to watch tonight, it's a great behind the scenes look at the movie!

What hurts on you in the morning?  What "un-PC" movie do you love?

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Damn vampires and giving a finger to 'the man'

Well, we saw our new doc on Thursday.  We both liked her.  She was down to Earth and actually reminded me a lot of my friend SB so I felt really comfortable with her.  I do wish that it hadn't taken as long as it did.  Our insurance is the worst and along with them just being knobs in general, they are particular about where blood is drawn and collected, what address the claim is sent to and to make sure it's printed on 24 lb organic cotton ultra white letterhead.  Okay so I made up the last part about the letterhead...they don't care if it's organic or not.  So the nurses were on the phone with them for a while getting confirmation of how they were going to arrange the pickup and get their reimbursement.  Look, can you hang up with Jason Bourne and draw my damn blood already?  Fat girl fasted for going on 13 hours and while I know I can live off the fat of the land for now, I'm getting hangry...


via GIPHY

They actually took the Mr's blood before they took mine!  Luckily the woman was pretty fast and it was relatively painless at the time of extraction.  When she was done, I told her I came from a family of nurses so I know using the term "deep veins" is code for fat so I'm glad she didn't say that.  She cracked up laughing and said she was going to remember that.  All in all, we really liked everyone we encountered and hope to get our results back of our blood work soon.  That will already be light years ahead of the doc who refused to give us our results and said that if there was a problem she would've told us.  Mmm hmm.

I kept my band aid in the crook of my arm for most of the day because it was hidden and I forgot about it if I'm being honest.  But I also felt a little sore from it too.  When I finally took off the band aid later that night, I was greeted with this...

"Use the whole syringe, lady?"
Damn vampires!  It morphed as the weekend went on.  I felt like I got some side eye at various places.  I could've been paranoid.  I suppose I should've worn a band aid until it wasn't barf inducing...mainly for myself.  In all the times I've had my blood drawn, it's never looked like that...the Mr?  Yes.  Me...no way.

By Saturday night, it looked like this...


A wee less gruesome thanks to some Vitamin K Cream and trying to ignore it for 2 days.

Sunday was just a total time warp.  I even got up at 8:30am and the Mr shortly after.  We got to talking about some stuff as he was proofing some posts for me and then before we knew it, it was 10:30am and time for me to start on brunch.  We tried a new pancake mix (review coming soon) and I made Ramsay eggs so the Mr was happy.  We started getting some techie and paper organizing stuff done but when you're still sitting in a messy house, it makes you feel like you haven't accomplished much.  But the Mr took it upon himself to get together some bags and boxes we've had ready to donate and take them to Goodwill.  He must've read my mind because it was one of the things swirling in my mind keeping me from going back to sleep.  Props to the Mr for doing it without being asked yo!  Hubby brownie points.  Then it was suddenly 5pm and we still had a grocery store to hit.  We decided to workout first or it would be that much harder later so we did our upper body and tabata workout.  We grabbed our showers, ate dinner then off to the store at 8pm...when we were supposed to be starting the movie we had planned for the night.  *face palm*  We got home around 9pm and he cut my veggies for the week and then the night was kind of over.  Womp womp.  He's taking an online class this week so he'll be home but up in the office.

Oh yeah...Facebook's algorithm has done it again.  My reach on there is about as low as I've ever seen it and given I'm not a big time blogger, I've got no money to "boost posts."  (I'd rather save any commission money I do get to do occasional giveaways and stuff to give back to you guys.  Speaking of which, I'm due soon.)

So if you want to get notifications on FB as to when I post, go to my page, where it says LIKED, click the little drop down beside it.   Where it says IN YOUR NEWSFEED, check SEE FIRST.  Then under that it'll say default and just click ALL ON.  What does that do?  It gives "the man" a big ol' finger to them trying to take away your access to me.  Access that you fine FB followers chose when you so graciously hit "like."  That is something I don't take lightly.

I only post twice a day (a RARE 3x at most) so I won't flood your feed with irritation because I don't like that myself.  Treat others as you'd like to be treated is my motto where social media is concerned.  So if you FB'ers want to make sure you're still getting notifications, do that and you'll always see when I post in the morning and when I update my dinner and exercise at night.  There is a set of directions in the cover photo right now too so you don't have to go back to this and FB to see how to do it.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, April 15, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #15

It's Friiiiiiiiiiii-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

(There was a local DJ woman in my youth that used to scream that at 5pm every Friday.  My brain does not allow me to hear anything other than that when I type it that way.)

A new pet peeve has popped up on my radar...companies trying to guilt you into signing up for their newsletters.  A lot of these sites I get these links from have something pop up to sign up for a newsletter from time to time.  In order to close it instead of clicking an X at the corner, you have to click some snarky sentence like "No thanks, I don't want fat burning tips", "No thanks, I'm not interested in being awesome" or "No thanks, I don't need to get bikini ready."  I get enough passive aggressive BS in my day, I don't need it from a website trying to guilt me into signing up for spam, thanks toolbags.

But enough of my passive aggressive hate...let's get to...


Top 5 Lessons I've Learned After Reading 500+ Self-Help Books  (Now you won't have to read 500+ self help books...you're welcome)

10 Vegan Ingredients You Should Have in Your Pantry at All Times  (I've got all but chickpeas)

What Staring at a Computer Screen All Day Does to Your Eyes  (Yeah, that about sums it up)

12 Things Healthy Morning People Do Every Day  (I keep meaning to wake up to a booty shakin' song.  Might as well since I have to spend 5 minutes rolling my feet over a tennis ball and digging into my back with a contraption so I don't feel 80.)

Check Out This CIA Operative's 9-Step Hotel Safety Checklist  (I'd say that #4 is a little out there but given how many instances people who rent through AirBnB have said they've found cameras during their stay, I guess not)

Sites to Check Before You Freak Yourself Out on WebMD  (Admit it, you've done it)

Foolproof Ways to Win Friends and Influence People  (You mean saying "stop being an idiot" doesn't work?)

Super Healthy Foods High in Magnesium  (It's more important than you think)

Protein-Packed Snacks That'll Help You Shed Pounds  (Mmm, protein!)

The Beginner's Guide to Strength Training  (It's here to pump...clap...you up!)

Should You Exercise When You Are Sore?  (Ugh, there's nothing I hate more but still need to do it)

High or Low? The Sugar in Your Favorite Fruits  (Good to know)

Parenting: Are We Getting a Raw Deal?  (Bravo!)

New Study Reveals Traveling Boosts Your Sex Life and Can Help You Lose Weight  (Let's get the heck outta here!)

Your Netflix Bill Is About to Get More Expensive, and Most People Have No Idea  (Thankfully a family member shared his PW with us so we could check it out.  Wow does their streaming service suck rocks.  The only good thing on there is Grace and Frankie)

10 Great Things That Happen When You Set Boundaries  (YES!)

15 Ichabbie Moments  (For those in the mood to reminisce)

Cookie Monster can't contain himself in Apple ad outtakes  (So cute.  One of my new favorite commercials)

It's supposed to be in the low 70's this weekend and they claim the snow is done for the season.  I have to imagine we'll get out and about at some point.  We do have some house stuff that needs taken care of but maybe we'll save that for the evenings so we can enjoy that big ball of light in the sky that has come out after hiding for 2 weeks.

What are y'all into this weekend?

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Choosing a new doctor

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net


Today the Mr and I are meeting our new doctor.  We had the same doctor for about 15 years.  She wasn't necessarily the best doctor but she would work the system by making sure things were worded properly to make sure insurance covered what they were supposed to.  See kids, back in the day when you had insurance it actually covered things.  Then they started becoming all about profit and draining the working man into bankruptcy and now you have to fight with them to get them to cover the little things they actually say they will.

But I digress...

We have a dear friend who was in school to become a doctor and halfway through her training decided it wasn't for her.  Then she went on to recently complete nurses training.  We are very similar to her in that we do not like conventional medicine and would prefer to treat the whole person, not throw a pill at it and hope a 3rd leg doesn't sprout as a side effect.  She was telling us about the difference between an MD and a DO.  An MD is that kind of assembly line mentality whereas a DO will take more time to get your background, find out your eating habits, stresses and wants to know the person as a whole.  We said when we decided to switch that we would definitely look into a DO.  When I was in San Francisco and got sick, I called our doc because I suspected strep.  She refused to call in any kind up prescription because I hadn't been to her in 14 months and was now considered a 'new patient.'  WTF!?!  For me, I was kind of done with her at that point.  Two years later when the Mr needed a punch biopsy which he'd done before, we were shocked to get a hefty bill.  She neglected to tell us that she dropped our insurance prior and then wouldn't even negotiate down.  We were truly done with her then.  Any kind of quick diagnosis needed would be handled through Doctor on Demand.

We dragged our feet getting around to switching docs and then the decision was made for us.  Our skinny, granola doctor who used to blame anything from a hangnail to a stubbed toe on us being fat...had a stroke.  She was unable to speak and had to close her practice.  We got a letter in December saying that we had until the end of March to get our medical records transferred.  We tried desperately to get them to release our records to us so we could take them with us.  After all, they were ours.  Nope.  She refused.  I don't know if it is law or what but I know plenty of people who have had their records released to them.

Now we were being forced into finding someone new or risking having our medical records being sucked into some black hole.  The Mr and I both agreed that this time, we wanted to go the DO route.  Of course the first three choices weren't accepting new patients despite their websites saying they were.  By the time I got to the 6th one, she was accepting new patients.     Our thought was we could just get our physicals done, get a feel for how we like her and the whole DO experience.  It's important for us to have someone that isn't just going to try to throw meds at something that diet or more natural methods could also treat.  She's 56 years old so I may keep checking back with my first choices each year for openings.  Nothing at all against her before I even meet her but she's within 5 years of possible retirement and I'd prefer someone that we can go the long haul with.  Of course no one would've thought that a 48 year old seemingly healthy woman would have a stroke but you know what I mean.

So for those of you wondering what the difference between an MD and DO truly is, here is what I've found in my own research.
  • An MD is a doctor of medicine (allopathic aka Western medicine) and a DO is a doctor of osteopathic medicine.  Both do the same residencies, training, licensed in every state and have the same responsibilities.
  • Traditionally, an MD is more likely to look at your symptoms only.  A DO is likely to be literally more hands on by doing an exam where they actually feel the area of distress.  Studies suggest that more MD's are embracing a DO philosophy so the difference may soon be indistinguishable.
  • A DO is given osteopathic manipulative medicine courses (300-500 hours) in their 3rd or 4th year to learn the skeletal system and the interactions of your body with diseases.  This is typically a two month training period where they learn spinal manipulation like a chiropractor as means to diagnose, treat or prevent injury or illness.  This does not mean that you will likely get adjusted as part of treatment as it's becoming rare for them to use that but the knowledge of it is comforting as an extra tool in the diagnosing arsenal.
So I'm hoping after today we will have a doctor we feel comfortable with and fingers crossed all blood tests and such come back normal.

Do you have an MD or a DO?  How often do you go to the doctor?

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Sources for info:
Comparison of MD and DO in the US

The difference between an M.D. and D.O.
Difference Between MD and DO

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

From bad to worse



*This post covers some very raw emotions regarding our family's battle with dementia.  Please try to understand that this disease takes so much more than just what the person suffering loses.  It can destroy families, it alienates friends, it changes caregivers and their personalities.  I share these glimpses into our reality so that if, God forbid, you should find dementia touching your life, you can know one scenario of what could happen.  Also to help develop empathy so if you know someone who is going through it with a family member that you can better understand their journey.*

The other day, I was arranging a get together with my mom.  After our plans were solidified, she informed me that Grandma fell twice.  Once in the shower with both her husband and a home health care worker and again at the store with the home health care person.  My mom, her sister and her nephew all went over to their house to tell her husband it was time to seriously increase her home health care.  He agreed to have someone over Monday through Friday.  I don't know for how long but they are meeting with them this week.

Because I'm not "in the trenches" with this disease at Grandma's request and my lack of ability to control my emotions, I rarely state my opinion where her care is concerned.  I tried to earlier on or as it progressed but it became evident we were not on the same page.  Sometimes when you're not on the same page, you have to step back and just pray on it for the sake of not dividing the family and your own sanity.  But because it was brought up, I typed up a response, ran it by the Mr and asked if I should let the floodgates open.  He gave me the go ahead and said there was nothing nasty in there that anyone should be upset with.

I first told her that I was very relieved to hear they were increasing the care.  (It's needed to happen for well over a year.)  I also told her that at Easter when he was at the table with just us, Grandma's husband said he thought it was about time for a rest home for her.  We told him it was likely time and that we were okay with that.  (We weren't sure if he was trying to feel us out for a reaction or not and we wanted him to know we supported that.)  I told my mom that I felt like at this rate, HE was going to die before her because of what he is choosing to take on then where would Grandma be?  I can't tell you how many visions I've had of him passing away on an in between day where he would be alone with her for a full day before family or health care people came and there she'd be, sitting next to him in a pool of God knows what between them.  I mean seriously, I think about if I got the call right now that he died, she needs immediate care...this second.  I told my mom that needs to be considered because you want to put her in a place everyone is comfortable with, not what place just happens to have room for her because you're forced to put her there due to his passing.  Mom was worried about putting her someplace because what if she sits in wet Depends.  Well, I have news, the Mr and I are about 80% sure she already does.  A few times we've smelled it and there is no urgency to change it.  If that happens when people are around, imagine what happens when there's not.  You couple that with caregiver burnout and it doesn't make for a good situation.  I'm *not* accusing him of anything but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't keep me up at night sometimes.

Mom said she was very surprised to hear about him talking about a nursing home to us because to them he is adamantly against it.  So I don't know what game he's playing there but everyone needs to get on the same page.  Mom is making appointments at local nursing homes to tour over the next two weeks.  I am glad to know that and hope they find something that makes them feel comfortable .  She said they don't want to put her somewhere until she is bedridden but given her legs barely work any more, I think now is the time.  When I replied, I told her if she was surprised he was talking about rest homes to us, she'd be real surprised to hear that he also told us he was going to put her in a home and then go away for a few days, weeks or longer.  I told her I didn't know if he was trying to get a reaction out of us but all we said was he needed to take care of his health too and needed a vacation.  She didn't really address that part but I can tell you that when people start talking like that...they are done.  He has complete burnout from trying to take on everything, refusing professional help up to this point and such.

What makes it hard though is that he is constantly complaining about caring for her and is on a loop about it.  They hear it every time they see him and then when the holidays roll around he will go on a loop to each person to let the rest of us know what a burden caring for her is.  At Thanksgiving, I had to leave because I heard him raising his voice in frustration at her for an accident she had.  I am furious that he would allow it to get this out of control when he has all of the resources to make sure she is well cared for.  We are very grateful for the care he gives but he's been falling short from day one by not listening to the doctors or taking her diagnosis seriously until it was too late.

I told mom he is part of the reason that it was so easy to book a place out of town for the holidays this year because listening to him complain non-stop for 3 hours was not going to ruin a fourth Christmas in a row for us.  She said it would likely be the last Christmas with Grandma before she's in a nursing home.  At first I thought she was going to try to guilt me into cancelling our holiday plans but thankfully she didn't.  Because for the Mr and I, we had our last Christmas with her about 3 years ago.  Every Christmas since has just been a steady, painful to watch decline into pain, disorientation, infant like behavior and more.  Honestly, I think she will be in a home way before the holidays.  My mom feels the same about Grandma's husband and his incessant need to have recognition for all he has chosen to do on his own.  Obviously we are all thankful for what he does do but the few times we are all together as a family do we need to hear it 15x (to each person) and be constantly reminded of the hell we're all feeling?  Mom tolerates it slightly better but she resents his attitude as well.

Think about how would it feel if all you heard about your mother is her husband blathering on and on about how every day is a bad day, listing every single thing he does and waiting to be showered with recognition every single time you see him?  What really stinks is that the person I have known him to be since I was a young girl is no longer there.  What's worse?  We've seen his true colors and some other instances where people have had issues with him in the past now ring more true about him and where his priorities lie.  What good is saving money for your old age if you're not going to use it to get your wife quality care?  Care that she expressly told us she expected to have should either of them need the money if they got sick.  I remember that conversation so vividly in my head that every time I think about how she expected to have good health care and hasn't been getting it, I feel guilty for not just going off on him and asking him what the hell his problem is.

I know that if I went off on him, I would never stop.  The list of ways I feel he's mishandled her care are just too long for one small outburst.  I know the rest of my family feels my distance (though I think they just attribute it to me not being able to handle her situation) because I make it a point never to talk to him for more than a vague sentence or two.  I know he feels it too but won't ask.  I don't trust my emotions not to totally override my rational side and end up banned from being able to pay my respects when Grandma dies.  It goes that deep.  So letting mom know how I felt as far as the nursing home (as well as providing her a few links to some I liked) as well as my feelings where he is concerned made me feel better.  It's still not everything I would love to say but it's enough.

For my own sanity, I am going to write a letter to her husband letting out every ugly thing I have thought.  I will seal it, keep it for the right time...and then burn it.  I have tried to justify that he's doing the best he can but he's not and when I think about it, I get in a such a shaking, ranting fit that it's now affecting my health.  The Mr has expressed concern over how upset I get and I don't like ranting over and over about something I have no say in.  I just have to pray that the right thing is done by her and it sounds like wheels are in motion to finally get her the care she has needed for a long time.

How do you handle not being on the same page as family regarding a loved one's health care?

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