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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

You don't owe them an explanation



When I first entered the work force, I worked in retail.  If anyone has or does work in retail, you just groaned or rolled your eyes in empathy.  Working with the public in any capacity can be maddening and some days you just can't face it.  Hell, just the thought of going in and dealing with some co-workers regardless of the workplace has you saying "uh yeah...not today."

A behavior was learned at that time for both the Mr and myself...you can't call off without a good excuse.  Like if you had sick days, you'd better actually be, or at least fake, sick or it wasn't a legit reason to be off work.  You'd try and get your voice nice and gravelly, put that pathetic sound to it that gave off the vibe of sick or tired and pray you'd get lucky enough to leave a message for the boss or HR.

"Hi, this is Jane.  I can't make it in today, I've been up all night with:
  • a migraine and it won't go away
  • the stomach flu
  • a cold
  • female issues (which is all you have to say if it's a dude.)
  • kidney stones that won't pass
  • hemorrhoids hanging out
Then you'd either hang out around the house all day in your PJ's eating cereal or gabbing with your friends at their work to make it sound like they were working but you were just getting caught up.  If you were feeling brazen, you'd go out in public to a restaurant, shopping or a movie.  The rush of getting caught was palpable because even if you were on the other side of town from the office, that doesn't mean you couldn't run into someone else who already had a scheduled day off or the boss running errands.  There is nothing quite as sweat inducing than running into a co-worker when you've taken a hooky day and they call your name.  You both kind of look at each other like deer in headlights, exchange hellos and never speak of it.  (Of course these days you have to worry about absent minded idiots tagging you on Facebook.)  Or you might also see a co-worker in the wild and make eye contact for 1.3 seconds and then spend the rest of the time avoiding each other taking the "I saw nothing and no one approach."

I always felt when I called in, I needed an excuse otherwise I thought I was being judged.  Especially if you came back in the next day and people were like "oh are you feeling better?" with that hint of "you weren't really sick were you?" tone to their voice.  But then I started noticing something from two of my older co-workers at my third job that I had the longest.  If they called in they just said, "I'm not going to be in today" and left it at that.  No made up illness.  No distant relative that bought the farm.  Just the facts...they're not going to be there and I don't need to tell you why.

It was hard for me to break this mentality because it was called sick time so you felt like you needed to be sick for it to be excused.  Well, at least we did.  But at this place of employment they didn't separate vacation from sick time, it was "personal time off" regardless of why.  I followed their lead and if I needed a hooky day, I took it.  I didn't do it often but there were days I would wake up with the weight of all I had to do on my shoulders and knew I was unable to deal with it.   It was actually really liberating.  The pressure of not having to make excuses or contend with the questions of how you were feeling the next day knowing you lied just to have some peace was so freeing.  I have mostly broken the Mr of this habit as well.  I kept reiterating he didn't owe anyone an explanation of why he wouldn't be there.  Now if he has a doctor's appointment, he will say so just so it's not always like "I won't be there, deal with it."  None of his co-workers feel compelled to do so, well except one and now it's to the point it's actually a joke with everyone to see how wild and out there the guy's excuse will be.  As a result, everyone always think he's lying.

I'm sure many of you heard about the girl who recently emailed her team that she was taking two mental health days so she could bring her best self the following week.  Here's a refresher:


I mean wow.  How wonderful would it be if bosses could understand that you're doing no one any favors by not stopping to recharge your batteries once in a while.  If your mental health day includes staying inside, going out for a walk in a park or going shopping to get done what you couldn't finish over the weekend, that's your business.  You don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you're taking a day off.  You owe it to yourself to recognize when you're feeling burnt out and need a day to clear the cobwebs.

Obviously, you can't do this all the time or abuse the days given to you.  You also need to recognize if every day you're feeling like you can't deal that it might be time to talk to your doctor for some blood work to make sure everything is good with your health.  If physically you're okay then you might want to consider talking to a therapist if you're going through a rough patch.  "Sucking it up" will not make it better.

Do you take hooky/mental health days?  How is your favorite way to spend them?

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Monday, October 30, 2017

"You owe me restitution!"

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend.

It was quite low key here at Hackey's House o' Crud.  Yep, come midday Friday I knew I was screwed.  Sleeping apart, keeping our distance, spraying every knob, handle, faucet, toothpaste tube, putting tea tree oil in my diffuser, chewing up a garlic clove 3x a day were not enough to save me.  I was pretty sure I was in the clear and knew if I didn't feel anything by Friday I'd be good because that would've been the three day incubation period from the time he got sick which was three days from the time he was infected.  (We're both fairly certain it was the super germy VR demo.  I told him to wipe down the headpiece with the wipes they had right there but weren't using but did he listen?  Noooooooo!  H'ed look like an old fart if he did that.  *flicks him in the forehead*)

So needless to say, the Halloween candy that we bought for ourselves has to be postponed because why bother if you can only taste it 10% power?  I would like to hunt down whatever d-bag decided it'd be a good idea to infect others and shake him Sally style


Needless to say our ice cream gathering with mom got postponed again but that didn't mean we still couldn't get some so we said screw it and went ourselves.  I got mint so I could feel like I was able to taste a little something.  I felt bad we had to move it back twice in a week.  At this point, it'll probably be waiting until Thanksgiving.

I went down and did my PT and rolling so I wouldn't back track on that and while it was 45 minutes of that stuff, I wasn't going to push cardio or weights.  It was probably my worst day so I was going to go easy.  The Mr took 3 days off last week to rest.  For dinner I made, grilled cheese and soup.



I added a little kick to my tomato soup...


It gave a nice kick to my won ton soup the night before but didn't quite get me as runny in the tomato soup.  Oh well.  I've drank more hot tea than I knew I could handle.  I'm still keeping up with the garlic eating because even if it helps cut my sick time, I'll consider it worth it.  I'm just ready for the sore throat to be over.  The feeling of swallowing a cheese grater is never fun.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, October 27, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #43

Happy Friday all!  

Can you believe it's Halloween weekend?!  How did that happen?  You know what that means, right?  It's okay, be in denial.  Ho ho ho.  

Let's spook up...


10 Desserts Your Nutritionist Actually Approves Of   (I'll take some of that pudding please)

Research Finds This 'Break' Trick Will Help You Reach Your Weight Loss  (Could be worth trying if you're not in a huge hurry to lose weight to see over a few months if it works.)

6 Tips For Trainers Working With Older Clients  (Well let me get out my cane and Geritol)

How Effective Is Dance Cardio? 3 Experts Weigh In  (Boogie down y'all!)

Your Fruit Is Covered With Nasty Pesticides: Scientists Have Discovered the Best Way to Wash Them Off  (Interesting.  I always try to buy organic but this is good to know!)

These 2 Foods You Eat Every Day Contain Hidden Pesticides  (I don't think the above tip is going to help you with these though.)

Dealing with setbacks; How to stay fit while injured or sick  (Excellent tips!)

Amazon Key opens your home for indoor deliveries  (Um, no.  Not ever in this life.  So when a gaggle of pets run out the front door and get lost or killed running into the street or attack the delivery person, then what happens?)

These Photos of a Hedgehog Going Camping Are Here to Make Your Day So Much Better  (OMG, I can't even!  Sooooo adorable!)

10 spooky real-life locations from 10 real spooky movies  (Please remember if you visit places like this that they are residences and respect their property.  I've seen some real boneheaded people just walk on up on porches or trounce around in backyards.)

The Real Fakery Of The Ouija Board  (Courtesy of The Mr.  Anyone have one?)

Vintage Halloween Costumes Through The Years  (Nice walk down memory lane!)

We've got a sick boy on our hands.  He's been sleeping in the guest room in attempts to keep me from getting it, bless his soul.  I've been spraying all handles, knobs and everything we may touch in common.  When he gets it, it's usually bad for 3-6 days.  When I get it, 14-18 days so yeah, I would much appreciate not catching his crud.  That's what happens when you test drive a virtual reality headset and they don't wipe down the controls or headset despite having wipes right there.  Sigh.  So not sure what we're doing this weekend other than the reschedule of ice cream with mom.  If he's not feeling better, then we may be doing the rescheduling.  Poor Mr.

What do you have on tap this weekend?  What are you handing out for trick or treat this year?

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

What I wouldn't give

(source)


If any of you are on Facebook, you know that they show you what you posted the same day in previous years.  These posts can remind you of wonderful times, adventures and even some events you don't want to remember like car accidents or deaths.  Then there are the bittersweet posts like the one that popped up for me yesterday

Had an awesome day with my Grandma. Lunch downtown, ice cream for dessert, a little shopping and a few hours of gabbing at her place. Didn't expect to be gone for 5 1/2 hours but was all worth it to hear her excitedly tell the ice cream man "full scoops please!" when he asked what she wanted. I love my grandma!
That was seven years ago.  A year after that, she had been diagnosed with dementia and we were on the spiral of our new reality with her.  I meant to do a day like that again but time gets away from you and then before you know it, you're filled with regrets.  Regrets of time you didn't spend with people when they were here in their physical or mental capacity.  Regrets of times I took for granted she would always be here.  What I wouldn't give to have another wonderful day like that with her.  I took a few pictures of us together that day and it was one of the rare times she smiled in a picture.  I don't know why but she never liked her smile even though her teeth were perfectly straight.  I cherish those pictures so much and the memories of just being able to sit with her afterward and talk for 2 1/2 hours about anything and everything.  Even at that point, she would occasionally say "whatchamacallit" but it wasn't anything that alarmed us at the time.  We now know it was an early sign of the disease.

When we were on vacation, we walked into a restaurant for the Mr's birthday and I reveled in the smell of the lobby.  It's an old school restaurant and it smelled just like Grandma's house used to.  A lingering smell of coffee, perfume and something being baked.  I wanted to cry.  That smell is long gone and you don't realize until it is just how much you associate it with that person.  The scents of her White Diamonds perfume, morning coffee, White Rain hairspray, and lotion all co-mingling together to make a scent that was uniquely her.  We all have it.  From the soap we use mixed with our hair products and perfume to our coffee and tea that linger on our breath.  The way we hug someone or touch their face.  It all makes up who we are beyond our personalities and when those things are no longer done or used, there is almost a "pre-death" that takes place.  Those things I took for granted that would always be a part of her home regardless of her mental state are gone.  Her house smells like she was never there.  Now it smells like her husband.  It smells unfamiliar and cold.  Seven years ago, you could blindfold me and drop me off in their living room and I'd know exactly where I was based on that familiar smell I knew all my life.  Now?  I wouldn't know it at all.

Obviously, I get emotional sometimes.  It can be just thinking about how I need to talk with her and know I can't.  It can be listening to the first verse of Nana by The 1975 "I wish you'd walk in again, Imagine if you just did.  I'd fill you in on the things you missed..."  But like the quote above says, "how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."  I try to remain grateful for the time we did share together and the memories we made.  I try to remember her joy that day when we spent a long overdue grandma/granddaughter day together.  I laugh when I think of her limits to what she would tolerate like a flour fight on Christmas cookie day that would end up with her laying down the law on her adult children and me and how we would giggle under our breath.  (Usually, one of us would put flour on our hand and go give her a hug and put a flour hand print on her back or butt.  I can only imagine her irritation and then possibly a little smile when she discovered it later.)

As the holiday season approaches and we are less than a month out from Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to her.  My instinct is to think of her noodles and making sure I got a good seat to chat with her at the table...and then I remember.  Now, those thoughts have been replaced with a much more bleak reality.  For those of you who are able to celebrate with your parents and grandparents that are not ravaged by health issues this holiday season...revel in it.  Soak it all in.  You don't know if this holiday season is your last with anyone but particularly the older members of your family.  A year can change everything. 

I have a picture of us from that wonderful day on my laptop.  I see it everyday and I smile.  As bittersweet as it to reminded of that day, I'm glad I am.  I will remember it for the both of us.

What's the best day you spent with your grandparent from childhood or adulthood?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Finding a happy medium


It was a year ago this week that I started physical therapy.  It was after almost 4 months of treatment for compartment syndrome caused by an airline that decided to cram me into coach for 8 hours when I medically require first class because of my leg issues.  A total of seven months of physical therapy (covered in part by insurance, imagine if it wasn't!) and chiropractic care and $2000 later, I was finally healed.

I remember at one point I told the chiro how I was going to have to do PT for the rest of my life.  He said I wouldn't, that it was a matter of getting the hip and butt strong and then maintaining it doing other exercises.  He's also a personal trainer so I assumed his thoughts were correct.  When I do PT on a regular basis, I feel my glutes engage on walks or when I'm coming up from doing a deadlift.  But I admit, it takes a good 20 minutes to go through the entire PT session if I'm not working some of the moves into our workout like lunges or squats so adding it on to an already 45-60 minute session could get daunting when I was in the thick of it.  I was able to find a happy medium at 3x week doing it either before or after our strength sessions.  This kept the gluteus medius (middle arse) and hips strong and kept me out of pain.

After our vacation in May, I'm sure I probably let PT slide a bit from 3x a week to more like once or twice a week.  My legs seemed to be fine and then my focus became lifting heavier.  I was doing a lot more lower body strength workouts than before and since the chiro seemed to think doing the PT regimen wasn't a requirement for the rest of my life, I assumed the lower body strengths were enough.  When we began adding HIIT to the front end of our strength sessions, I felt really good.  I felt like it took my strength training to another level and being able to do the high impact version of the HIIT's made me feel invincible.  At that point, PT was out the window.  I mean hello, I was doing lower body 1-2x week which included squats and lunges so why would I need to continue it?

Well two things happened that added up to my big time mobility issue.  Lunges and squats do not a strong booty make.  They're nice for supporting exercises but clam shells and bridges along with the ankle mobility balance board stuff is what my body requires...period.  You add on a large lady doing jumping lunges and jump rope to a body that is just not equipped to do it, and I ended up with shin splints and foot fascia that failed me.  We're not talking plantar fasciitis, I mean every component of my leg from the hip down came together for the perfect storm...as my body seems to excel at.  The breaking point this time was three days of hard workouts.  I was on week three of HIIT, a Fitness Blender lower body that left me hobbling the next day and a 3 mile walk on asphalt the following day.  (Asphalt absolutely kills my legs but it's everywhere so you know, adapt already legs!)  The next day I couldn't bear weight on my left ankle.  Actually for three days.  The chiro didn't diagnosis me with shin splints but I remember what those felt like, it's just lower than usual and coupled with the bunged fascia.  Foam rolling has become the only thing that brings temporary relief and I think yesterday I finally found the spot responsible for the front of ankle pain that is taking me down.  I'll have to attack it daily to keep it from tightening back up.  What has become glaringly obvious is I do not have a choice to slack on PT...ever.  Three times per week for the rest of my life, no exceptions.  It doesn't matter how heavy I lift or how many lunges and squats I do.  If I'm not taking the time to do clam shells and bridges and balance exercises, I've got mush azz.  I didn't even know it happened until I paid attention to doing lunges last week and couldn't feel my glutes anymore.  It really confirmed it when I tried my star excursion balance exercise and couldn't complete 1/3 of a single set on my left side.  So yeah, proof right there.

I also realize that rolling only when I feel pain defeats the purpose.  My current rolling routine is taking 15-20 minutes every day.  So if I'm adding back in PT, that's a minimum of 30 minutes on top of workouts.  We also have decided that any walking is going to mean when we come home, go down and roll.  We did that after I did a test walk last week on asphalt and the Mr felt amazing in comparison to how he usually feels the next day.  I felt a little better but I hadn't found that spot yet at the time so I'll have to try it next week when I re-test on asphalt hopefully after a week of rolling out the mangled mess that are my muscles and tendons.

I'm on year five of leg issues and it is totally crappy to go from one problem to another.  While I appreciate the medical professionals I have in my corner, you have to find your own happy medium between what they tell you and what you know works for you.  While going through both PT and chiro treatment at the same time, it was interesting (if not a little maddening) to hear each side give differing opinions on the others approach.  My chiro was respectful of the path the PT was taking but he didn't agree with me needing to do PT forever.  (She never told me I did either but never said I didn't so that was never really made clear.)  But given my current circumstance, I know that PT will have to be part of at least half of my week to maintain my balance and hip/glute strength- no exceptions.  Other people may not have to but I do.  *kicks pebble*  Then other things he flat out told me don't do, like the calf raises which I totally agreed with him because we were in this situation because my calves were locked.  I didn't need to build them up any more.  Whereas the PT would listen to what I was doing at the chiro and then start slamming the validity of laser therapy and ultrasound which is what I was having done.  While that didn't help that specific situation wholly, I can tell you that it does help me just maintaining my legs.  Every 3-4 weeks is when my legs give up and when he jacks that ultrasound up and does some of his myofascial release, I leave feeling better.  That's fine if she thinks it's a load of crap but I'm also not having 3" needles jammed in my legs at $100 a pop for the rest of my life.  (I can still feel the holes in my calf muscles!  Kind of like when you let the earring hole in your ear close up.)

We turn to medical professionals to help heal us when our body is being a jerk but sometimes you have to truly evaluate all of the tools you've been given by them and cut your own path.  If you can't find a way between the black and white advice they give, make one that suits your own unique situation.

What is something your body feels if you slack on it?  Have you had doctors with differing opinions of your treatment?

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

La la la...I don't hear you

Good mornin' y'all!

Yesterday was a rainy mess but I think it's the cold front that is *hopefully* going to usher out hot weather.  When it's 80 degrees the weekend before Halloween weekend, I'm not a happy camper.  I was doing some voice work and it was like every single car everywhere drove past our place and it was loud.  I had to cram in all I could before the next one came by.  It will be a crap show for my editor. 

We had a gathering after work so that meant the Mr had to get up at 5:30am to get in his workout.  Which also meant I was going to have to workout at some point during the day.  That was going to be interesting given it was cardio day and my leg was still pretty jacked.  I got by and basically danced a little and did some stuff to get my heart rate up and then rolled the hell out of everything from the lower back down. 

The Mr decided he was going to go test drive a Subaru Outback on his lunch.  He seemed to like it.  We've got a year before we're getting anything but I get to listen to 18 months of research, numbers and the like being spouted out.  I appreciate he puts so much research in it but imagine hearing about the thing you hate most on this Earth for that long.  Just saying the term "buy a new car" or "test drive" makes me ragey.  I have my dad to thank for that.  Lets just say he made my first car buying experience pure hell.  I won't even go into it but then also try shopping with your mom.  When two women come in the sexism is rampant and I'm not talking the current conditions of sexism.  They might as well say in their best hillbilly voice "weh-hell little lady.  That thar vagina means you have no business trying to make a deal on your own.  You got a husband or daddy that we can talk to about those big bad numbers?  Why don't you go back in the kitchen where you belong."  Seriously. 

I've never had a good car buying experience...ever.   Well, maybe when I bought my 97 Intrepid where we caught the manager of a dealership smoking weed with his employee after hours and he gave us his card.  So we went to a dealership across town and said "bottom line, this is the deal we were given at X dealership but we're not a fan of this guy and if you can match it, we'll buy from you."  They spent 20 minutes running the numbers and three guys all came back and said "I really don't know how you have this deal because we'd lose money.  We really want to sell you ours but if he's giving you that, take it.  We would."  We knew the extra $500 we took off the deal pot man offered was the line between profit and not on the outgoing model year.  We asked how close they could get out of curiosity and they said $250.  We took it because they were honest about it and were in pain telling us to go elsewhere and so in awe of the deal.  They asked if we minded telling them what dealer and we gave them the dealer name and the name of the dude.  I know they all know each other in a roundabout way so that made it legit.  Heh heh.  But yeah, that's the only time I've had a good experience...20 years ago.  Last time, we were trapped in a dealership who couldn't find their asses with a GPS for six hours and I had a migraine.  If I wasn't basically getting a free car out of the deal, I would've told them to cram it in an orifice.  It's just not something I remotely want to do.  Like to give you an idea, remember when I told y'all about that laser treatment for toenail fungus that felt like a match under my toenail and rubber band being snapped on raw flesh?  I'd rather do that for 3 hours than be at a dealership.  Bottom line is, if any car doesn't load up the way ours did to Vermont with the seats UP then no go.  You know darn well I'm packing our current car that way, driving it to the dealership and transferring our crap from our trunk to theirs and if it doesn't fit, we reload our car and leave.  So you can imagine with being a year out, I'm not ready to relive the PTSD of all of my horrific car experiences.  Luckily I'm not getting the new car so I won't have to be directly involved except for some financial decisions but still.  When he starts talking about it, I want to plug my ears, close my eyes and say "la la la...I don't hear you!"

Anyhoo, I just traumatized myself with all of those thoughts so let's get back on track.  Oh yeah.  So the gathering was meeting my mom for a belated gathering with the Mr for his birthday.  She gave us a choice between ice cream and pizza and ice cream seemed like the lesser of the evils.  So I skipped breakfast (unintentionally at first but it worked out) so I didn't feel so guilty for indulging.  Well no need because she cancelled because she wasn't feeling well.  So we'll reschedule on that one.  If she's got some stomach creeping crud, I want no part of that!

But I guess yay for workouts being done early so I made dinner.

(Fish, sweet potato gnocchi and mixed veggies)


Then we watched Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge.  I know they're a little hokey but they've become part of our Halloween watching tradition.  We've also been on a big old school horror movie spree so that's been fun to see popular people pop up in roles early in their career.  Like Carl from Ghost (aka President on Scandal I think) was victim #1 on one of the more terrible Friday the 13ths.  So funny!

What was your worst car buying experience?


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Monday, October 23, 2017

Surprises...good and bad

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Happy Monday all!  I hope you had a good one!

Friday night, I was feeling decent enough to see if walking on asphalt was in my future.  I probably should've stopped at mile two but pushed it to mile three and we both felt like the Tin Man sitting in the forest for decades.  We went straight to the dungeon and stretched, rolled and stuff to feel better and it seemed to work.  I thought I'd give my shins a rest since I rolled everywhere else because between rolling every day all week, releasing some spots with a softball and the huge bruise from my hot tub fall, I felt like I just couldn't take it.

Saturday morning laughed at me and said: "should've rolled the shins asshat!"  I felt pretty bad so I decided shopping for three hours on a bum foot was in order.  I shopped til I literally almost dropped.  But it wasn't all for nothing, I got two Christmas gifts so there's that, right?  When we got home, I was greeted with a package from my bestie that contained a new smelly for our abode!


It's a lemon pound cake candle and it made the house smell like I'd been baking all day.  If you like a candle that isn't too overwhelming scent wise, this is a great one!  There's nothing like getting an unexpected package!  Woohoo for surprises!  We settled in and rented Everything, Everything  (affiliate link) and it was really good.  We thought the characters had great chemistry and OMG, the main girl in it is cute as can be.  Totally didn't see the twist coming either.  Somehow I thought it'd be a good idea to just elevate and not roll after all of that shopping despite digging in with my hard spiky ball for some fascia relief so I went to bed hoping for the best.

Surprise!  A middle of the night bathroom break told me I rolled the dice and lost.  I could barely put weight on my leg again.  Sunday morning the Mr was kind enough to massage my gams and get me some relief on the calves which were tight as hell as well.  I went down and rolled for 20 minutes so we could go for a produce refuel which still has us in need of organic strawberries after stopping at FOUR grocery stores!!  If everyone is out of organic strawberries and there are crates of regular strawberries, people are voting with their wallets so you better get to widening those organic sections!  *stepping off soapbox*   Oh, we went to Home Goods too and I picked up some wrapping paper even though I went there for mini pie plates.  Am I the only one that sees some blogger recommend how much they love Home Goods and all of this cool crap they find there only to go to the one closest to them and it looks like an overstock bomb went off in the aisles??  Same thing with TJ Maxx.  I don't get it.  I must be missing something or our neighborhood is just tanking and it all starts in the stores.

We ended last night settled in for our Sunday night hot chocolate and watching Halloweentown.   (affiliate link) It's the first time seeing it since Debbie Reynolds passed so it was bittersweet for sure.  Sigh.  Love that woman.  That was about it for us.

What did you do this weekend?  What was the last surprise package you received?

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Friday, October 20, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #42

Happy Friday all!

Why is it when you come back from vacation you just can't get motivated to jump back into the swing of things?  I started my Christmas shopping a bit and got some Halloweeny type stuff done but not a vast amount of things on the work front.  There's always today, right?

Let's waste some more time with...





The Crazy Thoughts That Go Through Your Head Before a Morning Workout  (For those who hit it in the a.m.)

10 Secrets to Smarter Shopping at Whole Foods Market   (So has anyone actually noticed their totals going down since Amazon bought them?)

Why Are People Freaking Out About Collagen Peptides—and What Do They Even Do?  (Anyone else try this stuff?  I see a few bloggers that I like use it but I can't afford something else cloggin' da pipes!)

Why Stretching Something That Hurts Isn’t Always The Answer  (That moment when you read something that reminds you that slacking on PT could've lead to my current situation.  Pfft!)

'Death Cleaning' Is the Newest Way to Declutter. Here's What to Know  (That's what estate sales are for!  HA!)

Here’s How to Predict Whether Your Memory Loss Will Be Alzheimer’s   (I feel like the title is a little misleading but yes when you're able to recognize the problem you're still good...for now.)

27 Absolutely Gorgeous Home Organizing Before and Afters  (Ahh, I've had those after pics...and now they are before's again.  Check back with those people in 6 months!  HA!)

Jeans too tight after the dryer?  Try this trick  (Video starts on landing.  I've been doing this for years and I have to tell you that you do NOT need to saturate the band like that.  Just spray lightly, suck it in and 1 minute later, done!)

I don't think we have anything official on tap for this weekend.  It's not supposed to feel anything like Fall so that seriously stinky one week before Halloween.  I'm hoping this is Indian Summer and then we're done because I seriously enjoyed wearing my sweaters with scarves, cozying up under blankies watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (affiliate link) and hot beverages.  It was divine.

What are you guys into this weekend?  What's the temp in your neck o' the woods?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you be awesome enough to buy through it, I may get a few cents commission for blog expenses at no cost to you!)

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Whiplash Smile

Ahh, that title.  Not only is it the title of my favorite Billy Idol album  (affiliate link) but it definitely applied to our vacation.  This was our 4th trip to Traverse City and by far our most turbulent.

We paddled our first full day and thought we'd launch from a new to us site...the Old Mission Bay.  We got everything ready to roll and launched from the beach to a glassy bay.  We marveled at the crystal clear waters that morphed to dreamy blue and finally a foreboding black that was still clear as far as your paddle.  While the paddle out seemed to take forever to reach the end of the bay, it felt like I was paddling through molasses.  When we got out to Lake Michigan, you could see the different currents going from slightly wavy to a light chop.  It was nothing we hadn't encountered before.  The Mr set a pretty good pace and I was keeping up.  Thing is, I have no rudder on my kayak and he's got a nice fin to give him some direction.  When you paddle, you tend to set your sights on a landmark and paddle toward it.  We were both eyeing the same outcropping which seemed like it never got closer.  When it finally did, I thought I recognized it as the little "tree island" that was close to the Old Mission Lighthouse.  It had crossed my mind earlier in the paddle "how cool would it be to paddle there" but I thought it was on the other side of the peninsula.  Turns out it was on top and we just found it.



I burst into tears because I was so proud of what we'd just accomplished.  I had no idea how far we just paddled but we'd gotten pretty battered the last bit of the journey so we felt pretty triumphant.  The winds kicked up and we ate our paddling snack on our boards.  I'm sure the people at the lighthouse thought we were nuts and yeah, we were but we had no choice but to paddle back.  As we headed on the side back down, I was already exhausted.  My shoulders hurt so bad from trying to keep up and then having no real break at the lighthouse meant it was going to be a rough paddle back in the best of conditions.  What I was contending with was a rudderless yak that should've had the advantage with the waves behind it but there was a horrific undertow.  This meant for every one stroke I should've been able to take, took 4 strokes and that was to keep me from spinning mercilessly in a circle much less making any forward progress.  I finally broke down crying because I was getting sucked backward away from the Mr and these were the conditions for the entire paddle back.

I had to take the Mr up on his offer to put a tow line on the yak because otherwise, I was going to get sucked out somewhere in the middle of Lake Michigan which people don't realize is like an ocean.  There are waves, currents, undertows, riptides and all of the regular things except big sharks and salt.  As he tried to tie me, I had to paddle furiously to attempt to stay even with him.  I was exhausted.  He mistakenly thought he could hook me up and I could take a rest.  Nope.  My goal was to not have to have him even feel me back there but he could instantly feel what I was dealing with.  We had some seriously close calls that had us both terrified and completely exhausted.  As we got within 200 feet of the bay, the line snapped.  We had no choice but to be on our own and he felt instant relief when he got there.  I didn't.  We still had a good 20-30 minute paddle until we hit the beach.  While it was mild on top, the current was still underneath and it would sometimes flip me completely backward at which point I would paddle backward while making forward progress toward the beach.  The last hour of the paddle, both of my shoulders were popping in and out of the socket.  Not popping like that cute little old age popping sound when you are working out, I'm talking between that and Riggs popping his dislocated shoulder back into place on the door frame.  When we hit the beach, I wanted to throw the paddle in the trash and leave it all there for someone else.  We both declared we were never paddling again this year after that.  I couldn't raise my arms to grab a glass or point for two days.  It sucked.  A check online showed we paddled just over 8 miles, our longest ever in more ways than one.



But then the Mr's birthday came along and paddling on Crystal Lake which was perfectly glassy sounded like a good idea since we were both healed up.



Well, of course halfway through the winds shifted and it was a bumpy ride back.  Thankfully no undertow to suck me back so I was able to use the waves coming against me to leverage some paddle power off their crest.  It still was exhausting and then we really were done with paddling.

That was all bad enough...here's where we get to the whiplash part.

It was our last night and we were home while there was still light.  We got in the hot tub to soothe our muscles and we laughed as I ungracefully slid into the hot tub for the umpteenth time.  Between the dolphin skin-like texture of the hot tub edge and the last minute pair of dude swim trunks, I had to bring because I couldn't find my bathing suit bottoms meant it was always a slippery entry.  When our time was up, the Mr said he could get out first and help me out and I said that was okay.  How I wished I'd listened.  As I swung my foot over the hot tub, I felt like I didn't have a good stance on either side.  I knew I was in between the two sets of steps going in and as I tried to steady myself, the steps kicked out from under me and I fell backward hitting the stairs, wooden deck and finally my head on the ground.  The Mr stood up watching me helplessly and the last thing he saw was my head bouncing hard off the ground and back into it.  It's funny exactly how many thoughts can go through one's head in about 4 seconds.  As I saw the roof and sky as I fell backward, I thought "wow, I haven't seen this perspective in like 20 years.  This is going to suck.  I wonder what part of me is going to hit what.  Wow, I had to look like Rikki Rockett falling out of his drum set like in the Talk Dirty to Me video, I bet that was pretty funny looking."

*crash*

(White arrow shows the stairs that slipped on the leaves they were on and red shows where I ended up.  If I hadn't turned mid-fall, I would've hit on my spine the bottom wooden stair.)


I felt an instant headache, a tingling in the back of my head and a weird sensation I couldn't quite identify.  The Mr ran over to me asking me over and over if I was okay.  I started laughing which hurt intensely but I said that had to look pretty funny and he assured me it wasn't.  I felt like someone had sucker punched me in the back of the head.  Actually the back of the neck.  He helped me up and said he was going to Google concussion symptoms as he helped me inside.  I did the same and when I saw pressure in the head, that was the sensation I couldn't pinpoint.  Pressure.  He grabbed some acetaminophen to help with the pain and swelling which several websites said was suggested but definitely not ibuprofen in case there was internal bleeding.  He had me lay down to rest and told me he would be continually quizzing me on the details of the accident.  After thirty minutes, I felt better as far as the thumping in my head and the pressure but the stiffness was setting in.  We went to the fire pit and made some smores.  We only had that night and I wasn't ruining it due to my accident.  As my head started to feel like a bobblehead where I couldn't hold it up well on my own, I started thinking about actress Natasha Richardson who fell on "soft snow", was joking and talking through a headache and refused medical treatment.  Six hours later she was gone due to internal bleeding on something coined "talk and die."  That freaked me out so we went inside and called our insurance nurse.  She asked the Mr a series of questions about my behavior and symptoms and I seemed to pass that with flying colors though he was told to watch me for a period of 6 hours, wake me in the middle of the night and if symptoms get worse, take me to a doctor.  I felt better and we set another fire in the pit and enjoyed a late dinner.  I got up in the middle of the night for a wee so the Mr knew I was still alive.

The next few days sucked because as the pain/stiffness in my upper back, neck and side of my face got worse and a quick check showed I had every symptom of whiplash.  I'd been a passenger in two car accidents so I knew what that felt like and this was the worst case I've had.  I couldn't even turn in bed without holding the back of my head because I couldn't support the weight of my own head.  Though I'm grateful I didn't have a huge knot on the head, I knew landing on your neck could be equally disastrous.  (Though I did crack my head on the huge lipped headboard earlier in the stay so it was not a good head trip for me!)  Frankly, I'm thankful to be alive after all of that!  I think of how if I hadn't instinctively turned to my left as I fell, letting my knee and butt take the brunt of things initially, it could've been my spine that hit directly on the wooden deck platform and I don't even want to think about that.  This is on top of the leg injury that had me hobbling the whole time which is taking a helluva time healing up.

What I learned from all of this?  I'm lucky AF.  Lucky things didn't take a turn not once, twice but three times between one treacherous paddle that had us both terrified and two head injuries that had me seeing stars.  I'm lucky that I have someone who didn't hesitate to be my rudder both literally and figuratively in times of hardship.  I thank God for him and his quick thinking in all situations.

Ever had a head trauma (or two) or close call on the water?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you buy through it, I may receive a few cents commission at no cost to you to help with blog expenses.)

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Much needed break

Last week, we took a much-needed vacation for the Mr's birthday.  I've been working my brain into mush and he's had a big work project he's been involved in so we both needed the down time.  We returned to the familiar haunts of Traverse City, MI where we enjoyed some of our favorite places.

We decided to stay out of the downtown area this year and we had sunny weather for a majority of the time which meant starting a few of our days doing morning yoga in the backyard.


We brought our paddling gear with us since we saw we'd have a few good days to get it in.


There are a few stories but I'll save that for tomorrow.

It truly pains us to know that this could likely be the last season for Hoxsie's Farm Market since it's for sale.


It was the first thing kind of welcoming you to the general Traverse City area coming in on M72 and when you saw its old truck full of pumpkins, you couldn't help but get the warm fuzzies.  The thought of that going away in the name of progress, killed my spirit a little.  When I saw the listing, I immediately screamed: "we need to buy that!"  The Mr quickly reminded me that we know nothing about farming but I told him we could learn.  Well, we don't exactly have a million bucks lying around but if y'all could get a million people to donate $1 to the cause, I will give you a free pie in exchange for your generosity which usually cost about $10-14 so that's a pretty good return, right?

We had to continue the tradition with our annual viewing of...


For once, we got to see Leland/Fishtown on a sunny day!  It's usually cold, windy and sometimes rainy so we were glad to see it on a rare bright October day!


The birthday boy has two things he wants to do on his birthday in the general area...a paddle on Crystal Lake and lunch at The Cherry Hut.


You can see why they call it Crystal Lake.  I swear I have never seen water so friggin' clear in my life.


We followed it up with a late day drive at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore along Pierce Stocking Drive.  Unfortunately nowhere near peak.  We only lucked out on that front one trip out of four.


Of course, you can't not go to farmers markets...


...or pumpkin patches.


We're not wine drinkers but I always like seeing fruits on the vine.


It's always nice to take a break from shopping downtown to sit on the boardwalk on the Boardman River.


One thing TC does big...Halloween.  It is not uncommon to see massive Halloween displays like this one on some random person's house.  If we had kids, we would literally drive up here and stay Halloween weekend just to take them trick or treating.


Of course, when you have a fire pit, s'mores are always on tap.


The morning we left, the deer came to bid us farewell.


It went by way too fast and we both agree that next time, no paddling.  Tomorrow's post will explain some of that but more that it just sucked so much time away from the day.  Each paddle was 3 hours and that didn't include set up and packing.  Before you knew it, the day got away from you and we said we felt like we needed an extra few days because we didn't get to go see our favorite town of Frankfort because of it.  Lesson learned that we need closer to 8-10 nights when we go if we take the board/yak.

Now we're back to business as usual.

Where was your last vacation?


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Food Review: Trader Joe's Rice Cauliflower Stir Fry

I love me some homemade stir-fry.  It helps us feel like we're not missing out.  (Given we just had our first "real" Chinese take out a few weeks ago in eons, I can confirm, we're not really missing out by doing it our way.  Except for crab rangoon.  God, I love that stuff.  Huh?  What?)  

While perusing with the masses at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, I spied this in the freezer section:


You guys have seen me post some stir fry meals where I rice my own cauliflower but I was feeling lazy and thought we could give it a try to see how it stacked up.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info and ingredients:


Pretty decent though I wish I'd paid more attention to the sodium, that's about 450mg of sodium if you split the bag compared to the 100mg we get if I DIY it and for twice the amount of cauliflower.  But still, not bad in the scheme of things.

Just basically dump it in a skillet frozen...



...and let it come to temperature.


I paired it with a nice mango glazed tuna filet.  So what did we think?


The flavor was really good but I know some of that is from the salt.  It was not nearly as filling as when I do it but if I'm not feeling like going through the whole shebang for healthy stir-fry, this could fit the bill sometimes.  If you're looking for a good, quick stir fry option then you should give it a try if you have a TJ's near you.  As a reminder, this IS  TJ's which means the likelihood of it sticking around long term is a crap shoot at best.  Stock up but don't get attached.

What are your favorite stir-fry ingredients?

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Current Pre-Christmas Crushes

Look, I know it's not even Halloween yet, I get it.  You're not ready to see Christmas stuff yet.  But my God man, they need to stop sneaking it in my magazines or in my social media feed because you know mama's gonna be all over that!  So for you Halloweeners (ha!), you should probably skip this one.  It's not long though.  You know you kind of wanna peek.

I was scrolling my feed one day and this baby popped up from L'OCCITANE en Provence:


It's an advent calendar that is full of beauty products from them to count down to Christmas!  At $70, I'd never splurge on it for myself but how fun and it won't add calories to the waistline like chocolate advent calendars.  ;-)  How cool to have little travel sized stuff you can throw in your bag for vacays!

You all know my go-to store for Christmas is Pottery Barn and they're not disappointing!

I saw these Vintage Holly Berry Salad Plates and about squee'd myself!  MUST get these.  How cute would Christmas breakfast look on these!?


(Why can I already feel the Mr's gaze boring through my head saying "no more Christmas plates everrrrrrrrrrrrr!")

Ooh, ooh...Mr. Kot-tear (affiliate link) look at these Nostalgic Santa Tidbit Plates!  Perfect for portion control so I think I should get them.  HA!


And just in case I want to wrap up in a Christmas blankie, the Fair Isle Fur Pom Pom Throw would remind me of our first Christmas in Vermont!


I know any day now, they're going to drop even more Christmas goodness upon all of us so you'd better brace yourselves.  I'm sure I'll have another Christmas Crushes post but I had to share these few things that were getting me fired up for the season!

Do you do advent calendars?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you be sweet enough to buy through it, I may receive a small commission at no added cost to you.  How cool is that?)
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Friday, October 13, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #41

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've had a wonderful week and are ready to par-tay.  We are firmly anchored into the season of Fall so you can imagine my delight.

That will be pretty evident in...


U.S. national parks with stunning fall foliage  (We're at peak people, just throw your plans for the weekend out the window and road trip!)

This PG-13 Haunted Train Ride Will Scare the Bejeebers Out of You  (Okay, Love Saves the Day where Madonna traded her jacket for the boots in Desperately Seeking Susan is in New Hope so yeah, I now have a reason to road trip here!)

The 10 Best Small Towns to Visit for Halloween  (We can absolutely vouch for Sleepy Hollow.  Do the night lantern tour at the cemetery, it is FANTASTIC!)

10 Simmer Pot Recipes That Will Make Your Home Smell Like Fall  (Can't wait to bubble bubble toil and trouble!)

55 Utterly Adorable Homemade Halloween Costumes for Kids  (I would give extra candy to these cuties!)

42 Country Ideas for Decorating Your Fireplace & Mantel  (That's it, I need multiple fireplaces!)

Kids Ranked Their Favorite Halloween Candy  (Looks like you'd better buy pucker power for them and chocolate for you!  ;-)  )

Trader Joe's FINALLY Released Its Pumpkin Products  (Ignore the piss and vinegar reviews, the Mr LOVES the pumpkin cream cheese and the pumpkin cinnamon rolls are really good.  Just remember if there's anything you don't like, you can take it back for a full refund even if it's an empty box!)

How to Watch Scary Movies With Someone Who's a Total Weenie  (I can relate to most of these because while I liked scary movies in the 80's and the Scream movies in the 90's, once it turned to uber gore and torture stuff, I couldn't watch anymore.)

20 ghost-busting trips to take for Halloween  (Holy crap, I didn't know our favorite Christmas destination was full of dancing ghosts!)

10 of the Best Quotes From It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown  ("I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble."  So funny!)


What are you up to this weekend?  Any plans for a pumpkin patch?

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Get Pumped in the Pumpkin Patch!

You may think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind and you're probably right.  I was thinking about our trip to the pumpkin patch and how it was basically a field of medicine balls/free weights of varying sizes just waiting to be utilized!  

(Working out or offering a sacrifice to the pumpkin king?  Twas an overhead press.)


You know those places almost always have delicious seasonal treats like pumpkin doughnuts and cider to end your pumpkin picking experience.  I think it only fitting that we be prepared to work off what may be waiting for us at the farm stand.



**I am not a health/fitness professional.  This workout should not be construed as medical advice.  Always consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine- especially ones involving pumpkins.**

Pumpkin Squats- Grab a goodly sized pumpkin between 8-12 lbs and holding it in front of your belly button as a stabilizer, squat pushing your booty back when you go down and squeezing the glutes as you come back up.

Overhead Pumpkin Press- Using two smallish pumpkins (think kettlebell sized), do an overhead military press to full extension and lower into 90 degrees and repeat.

Pumpkin Curls- Using the same two smallish pumpkins and holding them underneath, do a bicep curl keeping your elbows pinned to your hips as you curl.  You may be holding pumpkins but you still need good form.  ;-)

Pumpkin Twists- A take on the Russian twist.  Grab a medium sized pumpkin and hold it close to your torso if you have a weak core or slightly in front of you if your core is stronger.  Twist side to side keeping your hips forward as you twist.  Do not hyperextend your twist.

Pumpkin Halos- A classic kettlebell move with a not so classic kettlebell!  Holding a small kettlebell sized pumpkin in front of your chest, bring the pumpkin around the left side of your head, behind it and around the right side of the head back to the starting position in front of your chest like you just drew a halo around your head then reverse the action starting on the right and ending on the left.  Be careful and don't thump your gourd on your melon as you do these!  (Yes, I know it's not truly a gourd)

Pumpkin Lunges- Grab a goodly sized pumpkin and hold it in front of your chest.  You can do walking lunges, forward lunges or reverse lunges.  If you're doing multiple sets, switch it up each time.

Pumpkin Upper Cuts- Grab two smallish pumpkins holding them underneath and do alternating upper cuts punching away from you and to eye level.

Pumpkin Kick Backs- Grab a medium-sized pumpkin and hold it to your chest.  Balance on one leg and kick back with the other making sure you're not standing on super uneven ground or near vines you could trip on.  Switch legs and repeat.  Holding the pumpkin will help work the core as you balance.

Pumpkin Tricep Extensions- Using a smallish pumpkin, hold it with both hands over your head and slowly lower behind your head making sure not to hit your head as you lower or raise it back up.

Single Leg Pumpkin Deadlifts- Grab a small to medium sized pumpkin and hold it to your chest or allow it to hang in front of your hips depending on your preference.  Balance on one leg and slowly hinge forward allowing the other leg to raise as you bend.  Make sure the balancing leg is slightly bent and you're not standing on uneven ground or near vines you could trip on.

Be prepared for double takes and whispering but you never know who you could inspire.  I mean think of the kind of dedication someone must have to pump some pumpkin to get in their strength workout!  Talk about breaking out of a rut...just make sure you don't step in one as you're doing it! Yes, this workout is somewhat tongue in cheek so if you think I'm joking, I am.  If you think I'm fall fitness genius, I am.  ;-)   I demonstrated the squats to the Mr with their pumpkins and I don't know why he kept looking around.  Again, should you choose to do it, you do it at your own risk but you can bet I'm personal going to be doing it.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Food Review: Orton Bros Pumpkin Pie Cookie Buttons

Have you guys heard of the Vermont Country Store?  Well, if you haven't and you're big on nostalgia, let me tell you, this is the website/store for you!!  We got the chance to visit the actual store in Weston, VT last year for Christmas and you guys know what a nostalgia/sentimental nerd I am - I was in HEAVEN!  Do you have A Christmas Story freak in your circle of friends or family?  Buy 'em some Lifebuoy soap.   Do you love Christmas decorations from your childhood?  Peek at their holiday shop.  It's not just a holiday place though.  Missing that fragrance Grandma used to wear?  You might just be able to find it there!  

While perusing the store, the Mr's sample radar went off.  I swear that man can sniff out a sample within a two-mile radius.  Well, HE was in heaven when we hit their food section which you could literally make a meal from between cookies, crackers, cheeses, and fudge!  When he told me I had to try these cookie buttons he tasted, he didn't have to twist my arms. They were the zesty lemon flavor and holy hellcakes!  Remember McDonaldLand cookies from your youth?  Well, they taste exactly like those!   Needless to say, we bought two boxes.  Since we weren't familiar with Vermont and the amount of time between towns with restaurants was getting longer, we split a box for lunch.   No regrets.

We've since ordered more and shared with friends, they are that good.  So when they came out with seasonal flavors like this pumpkin pie, I knew we had to try them.  They only sell them in 3 packs online (darn) so I ordered pumpkin pie, cinnamon, and maple.


Today we'll be trying the pumpkin pie.  Here's the nutritional info.


To me, this is how you can tell they're a little more homemade than your mass produced gigantor cookie company...


See how no two cookies really look the same?  Plus that pic of my giant paw gives you some scale on their size.

But how do they taste?


Okay, remember when Violet Beauregard swiped the 3 Course Dinner Gum and could taste each element as she chewed?  That is exactly what this cookie tasted like to us.  The first chew or two tastes like plain pumpkin puree which honestly turned me off a little.  But as you continue to chew, the spices kick in and then it truly tastes like pumpkin pie.  I think it's because of its more natural, unprocessed as possible way of being baked that lends that taste when it's a more layered cookie. Like the zesty lemon is just like chew and bam...lemony goodness because there aren't other spices competing for your taste buds.  The pumpkin spice was good but not a flavor either of us would have to have again.  We're definitely looking forward to the maple and cinnamon flavors because they are straight up, non-layered flavors.  (Edit:  We just tried the maple and while they're good, neither of us tasted maple...at all.  So I'm beginning to think zesty lemon should just be ordered for all 3 boxes from now on and that is just fine with me!)

If you like light, crispy cookies full of flavor, the Orton Brothers Cookie Buttons are one of our favorites and we don't typically buy cookies on the regular to keep in the house.  Plus they're low enough in calories that even if you went ape poo on a whole box, it'd be the equivalent of a meal, not all of your meals for the day.

What's your favorite seasonal cookie?

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Hey man, what's the rush??



If you're a person of a certain age, you may remember fun PSA's like the one below whilst watching Saturday morning cartoons....




It might've seemed juvenile at the time but those PSA's still ring true 30 years later especially when it comes to importance of slowing down and chewing your food.  I always thought I did just fine in that area, after all, the Mr was the one who always proclaimed himself the fast eater.  Sometimes I would be shocked at how fast he ate on occasion like if we'd done a particularly hard workout.  I'd be just as hungry too but he could be halfway done when I was barely into my veggies.  (We make a point to eat our veggies first just like grandma's for generations have been telling us!)  Well, on occasion I would notice I was swallowing hard or not even remember eating a meal because I had stuff I needed to get done.  I'm actually eating lunch as I type this and last night I had a horrifying reveal the night before.  I don't chew my food properly.  If I'm eating something crunchy I tend to chew everything properly like say celery or apple slices.  But everything else?  At times, I've been one and done.  Yep. I caught myself last night taking a bite of something at dinner, meaning I stuck it in my mouth, chomped and swallowed.  For the love of God, no wonder I only "vacate" 2-3x per week!!! Something I noticed from time to time in the past was when I took a bite of an entree or more specifically meat, my tongue had this tendency to toss the first chew into the back of my throat.  Like to a point where it was basically irretrievable so I had no choice but to swallow it whole unless I wanted to yarf it from back there and I think the Mr wouldn't appreciate that bovine trick.

So a few weeks ago, I made a point to start really paying attention to each bite I took and chewing until there were no lumps left in each bite.  I also focused on intentionally keeping each bite at the front or side of my mouth so I had control over it.  I don't know if that even makes sense that half a bite can just automatically go to the back of your throat but it does for me.  I don't know if I learned that really young and just never paid attention but now I'm going to have to totally relearn how to eat. I know you're not supposed to eat while doing other things like watching TV or surfing the web but I think most of us just do.  No one really wants to sit there in silence while eating and if you work from home together, you pretty much know how each others day was so there probably wouldn't be a whole lot of chatter.  Although who knows, maybe we should turn off the tube when we're eating too. I just finished a typical lunch for me which is a fruit salad, raw veggies and some tuna fish with 5 whole grain crackers.  I'm actually full.  This is a meal that would have me feeling somewhat hungry again by the time we go to workout or at least knowing that I would be famished by the end of it.  I don't know that this meal has ever filled me up under normal circumstances so this is actually very encouraging.

In doing some research about chewing food just to see what the internet has to say about it, here are the things I've found:

1)  Just the act of chewing signals the body to begin digestion.  It ramps up the saliva to lubricate the food and move it efficiently down your esophagus.  (How many of us have scraped said esophagus with a bite of food we didn't chew enough first?)  It signals the stomach and pancreas to get ready to break everything down and even relaxes the lower stomach muscles.

2)  It allows you to actually absorb the nutrition from the food you're eating.  You know how you eat apples for the fiber and carrots for Vitamin A and sweet potatoes for beta-carotene?  Well, those things don't get absorbed when the body has to work too hard to break down what you didn't chew so it gets flushed on down the line and you get up to 50% less absorption!

3)  Not chewing food properly can result in acid reflux, weight gain, gas and even moodiness from the gas because it's painful and yes Virginia....constipation.

No, this isn't rocket science and are probably things we already know in the back of our minds but don't think about it when we're eating.  Life is so rushed and we're trying to cram so much stuff into a day that it's no wonder we're cramming our food in as well.  I know I've talked about this subject before but the whole chew or two that I've been noticing lately is just too scary for me to ignore.  I mean one of the scariest episodes of Six Feet Under to me was Emily Previn who was just a normal lady, doing her crossword puzzle eating her TV dinner and she choked on a piece of food, died and no one found her for a week.  I can relate to the no one finding her because we can go literally months without hearing from people.  We had a situation where we were without power for a week and seriously, no one came despite our house being on the news as ground zero for an event.  So if that episode scares me so bad, why on Earth would I up my chances of dying the same way?!

It's been a few weeks and the Mr has gotten on board with it.  We've said out loud before each meal, "eat slowly!"  It's very hard especially when you're super hungry and just want to inhale.  I will feel a little more full but I have to say I have a side effect I didn't particularly care for...getting hungry sooner.  If I eat at noon, I can start getting painfully hungry by 4-4:30pm and before I could easily go for six hours or so with no problem and I very rarely got hunger pain but I'm getting them now.  I'm trying to drown them with water when I feel them which might stave it off for about 15-20 minutes.  I'm proud of us for attempting to finally slay this dragon because it's been a lifelong problem for him and a more recent problem for me trying to juggle a lot work wise.  It's not like I'm eating more but I need to get on a 'regular' schedule if you get my drift.

So chewing my food, especially my entree or bigger chunks of food that I'm bad about chewing thoroughly has got to be my focus.  Obviously, it helps actually feeling full sooner too and that can help with weight loss.  I need to make sure that the first bite doesn't get rocketed to the back of my throat so I'm not tempted to swallow it like I have been.  I know this will take time to be a habit but I really think so many things could improve if I just buckle down and make it my default.

Do you rush through your meals or chew your food less than you should?

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