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Friday, May 24, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #21

We made it to Friday!  This was a long one.  The Mr came back to a shizzshow at work which will quickly suck the zen out of any vacation mode you were in.  I came back to a note from my new(ish) gynie recommended by my old gynie that she was shutting her doors because old gynie swooped in and talked her into the same teaching position that took old gynie away from me.  Yeah, I only need birth control and my appointment was in 3 weeks.  *cue frantic researching/calling and finally nailing someone down only 2 1/2 weeks later than my previous appointment that left me drained*  On the upside, it'll give me 2 1/2 extra weeks to hopefully get more vacation weight off of the permanent keg I'm sporting.

But enough about our vacation mellow sucking lives, let's get to...

A Common Preservative in Cheese and Bread Could Negatively Affect Our Metabolism, Study Finds  (Courtesy of the Mr and he was happy to hear none of our bread or cheese had it.)

Healthy Smoothies Require WAY Less Fruit Than You're Probably Using  (Make sure you're not going nutso on raw flaxseed)

When, Exactly, to Schedule Your Workouts  (Beh.  As long as you do them, it doesn't matter when but yes, this does make sense and I've found it to be true for me personally.)

50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms  (Tell everyone else to blow it out their @ss?)

It Doesn't Matter When You Eat  (It's different for everyone.)

A Cluttered House Is a Cluttered Mind  (So true.  Everywhere I look I get overwhelmed and feel like the only answer is a dumpster and shaking your house out like an old rug.)

It Can’t Rain All the Time: How The Crow Captured the Angst of a Generation  (I was obsessed with this movie when it came out.  RIP Brandon and no, it should never be rebooted.  A man lost his life making it and it's his legacy.)

I Thought I Understood Facebook. Then My Dad Died   (Don't assume you know how people use it.)

How to Document Your Child’s Life Without Plastering It All over Social Media  (The internet is forever, no matter how much you think you've locked it down.  I've seen SO many inappropriate shares from people that I had to hide them for good.)

12 Vacations That Get Cheaper in Summer   (My guess is because they are humid, stink boxes by then except Colorado.)

Dog Won't Let Postman Deliver Mail — Unless He Plays Soccer With Him  (He's pretty good!)

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and I know the Mr needs it for sure.  I got some flowers planted yesterday and will plant the rest of them out front today since perennials have made it abundantly clear they refuse to come back in that bed.  Now, I just have to remember to water them.

Anyone got any plans?

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Our Longest Road Trip Yet

This year was the year we decided to conquer a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  We weren't going to wuss out either, we were going to drive it.  I turned the park planning over to the Mr (a first for him on our big vacays), and I focused on side trips and getting us out there without ending up with DVT.  Because we're big fans of National Lampoon's Vacation (and that the Mr's first cross country road trip with a sibling resulted in ZERO stops), I wanted to fit in some Griswold style stops for us to stretch our legs.

Pinkie the elephant in Wisconsin as we hit the last snowstorm of the season.  The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and yes, that mural in the middle is made of ears of corn.  The Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, MN, and the Dignity Statue at a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD.

Our first major stop that didn't involve a stop off for gas or bathrooms was Badlands National Park.  It was cool to see all of the layers in the formations.

According to the NPS website, the layers are composed of tiny grains of sediments such as sand, silt, and clay that have been cemented together into sedimentary rocks. The sedimentary rock layers of Badlands National Park were deposited during the late Cretaceous Period (67 to 75 million years ago) throughout the Late Eocene (34 to 37 million years ago) and Oligocene Epochs (26 to 34 million years ago).   So yeah, they old.

You may have heard of the famous Wall Drug Store if you're a fan of travel shows.  The Mr was itching to get here, and I was looking forward to the "backyard" which is where pic props and such are for good photo ops.

I have to say, the store(s) itself is nothing special.  Lots of souvenirs but nothing I would say are unique souvenirs so if you drive by it and are totally bummed it was closed for store purposes only.  Don't be.  But the stuff out back is fun to pose with and be hokey.

We stayed 2 nights in Rapid City, SD and spent our full day going to see Mount Rushmore and a glance at Crazy Horse.

We also went to Custer State Park, which was gorgeous.  The Needles Highway is amazing to drive, and you can see some awesome scenery, including Sylvan Lake.

You can also see some majestic wildlife like bison...

...blacktail deer and pronghorn.

On our way west, we hit Sundance Wyoming and Devil's Tower, which was one of the Mr's favorite stops on the trip.  We almost didn't think we were going to go because we hit our second snowstorm and it was quite apparent Wyoming doesn't get around to plowing roads until noon.

It was a great stop with a trading post out front where you can actually get some great pics without having to pay to go in the park if you don't have the time.  But if you do, there are some prairies with some adorable, fluffy prairie dogs in their natural habitat.

We stayed in Montana as our home base for the first week.  I am SUPER picky when it comes to home rentals and found what was as close to perfect, aesthetically, as I could get.  That's the cabin in the middle of the top left pic.

We had marmots that visited on the regular along with deer, turkeys, magpies, some elk in the mountains and had trout to feed in the pond.  We enjoyed a few fires inside with the woodburning fireplace and spent our anniversary roasting weenies and eating smores.

Then it was on to Yellowstone National Park.  We broke it up over several days and enjoyed being immediately greeted with wildlife just past the Roosevelt Arch.

The Mammoth Springs area was cool to see the stair step formations, but we both agree the Norris Geyser Basin was our favorite.  I think that had a lot to do with us getting there very early and had it almost to ourselves, but the brilliance of the pools and colors around them from the bacteria were awesome.

Obviously, we saw Old Faithful and some of the other major sites like the famous falls, Grand Prismatic Spring and spring is baby season, and we were more than happy to see them.

There are a ton of wildlife viewing opportunities almost everywhere in the park (even outside of it) like bison taking a rest in the middle of town, bighorn sheep, elk, cranes, and frolicking babies.

The second half of our vacation was the Grand Tetons and the south portion of Yellowstone since it didn't open until later in the trip.  But first, we made a point to road trip to Idaho, which was close to the border of where we were staying.  We drove 2 hours into Idaho Falls, and it was actually a beautiful state!

I'm sure most Idahoans don't want me spilling the beans on how beautiful it is there, but even after doing the Griswold-ish potato museum (with a great cafe attached), there was plenty to see.  We drove around potato farms, visited Hell's Half Acre, which are lava fields that look like the Big Island of Hawaii and of course, we had to visit the manmade Idaho Falls.

Our new digs were in Jackson, Wyoming, and chosen specifically because it had the most opportunities for moose sightings.  We've been dying to see a moose for years ever since we saw our first moose crossing sign in Maine.  Our place didn't disappoint on that front.

As we were getting ready to do our workout, the Mr spotted a large animal out of the cheesecloth like closed blinds.  Thinking it was a horse, he opened the window and noticed Marty.  We spent the next 15-20 minutes watching him from a respectable distance as he ate twigs, leaves and pine cones.  I just sat there and cried.  It was a pleasure watching him, and we were treated to another moose on the property a few days later just chillin'.  Both came back in the evening on the days we saw them and then several moose in the park as well.

Speaking of the park, Grand Teton National Park could not be more beautiful.  The star of the show is really the mountain range and all of the different angles to view them from.  Obviously, you can go to more famous spots like Mormon Row for pics of the barn which everyone's seen a zillion times (so I didn't show it), but there are other spots like Menor's Ferry and the chapel that are worth a stop as well.

We made our way back to Yellowstone via the south entrance and saw West Thumb, Yellowstone Lake, and the mud volcano area.  Some of the roads were still closed so there are things we didn't get to see but glad for the things we could.

We stayed a 10-minute drive from Jackson which is not to be confused with Jackson Hole.  Jackson is the town while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley.  It's famous for its antler arches made with elk antlers that they shed every year.

While there wasn't as much wildlife as Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the surrounding Elk Refuge had some amazing viewing opportunities.

It still makes us shake our head that some tourists have asked employees what they do with the animals at night.  Seriously?

And for those of you noticing an absence and wondering...

While it would've been nice to see some...from a distance...I was terrified to run into one, especially on a trail since they're just waking up and searching for good food sources of which I would make an excellent one.  I'm sure we'll see one sometime but not this go round.

We put close to 6000 miles on the new car so it's a good thing it'll be coming to me when he's done with it.  We broke up driving to and fro with stops on the way there at attractions, and since there wasn't much by way of attractions on the drive back through Nebraska and the plains, we made that drive go fast with two audiobooks.  Richard Blade: World in My Eyes which is a must read if you grew up in the '80s and even better if you do the audiobook and Olivia Newton John's Don't Stop Believin' which is also a must for any Livvy fan.  I would also recommend the audiobook version for hers because she is so animated reading it and gets very emotional and you couldn't get that from just a read on your own.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and we had more downtime on this trip than ever before, but it was planned that way.  We do wish it had been less windy some days because the winds made it impossible to soak in any warmer temps, but it was still good.  It was the wildlife that made it so special and of course, the person I shared the road with.  We had no idea what to expect, and you just hope a trip that long doesn't end in disappointment, and I'll be honest, we had some.  We started with wipers that needed replaced 7 hours into the trip and 3 hours into the trek back, our wiper fluid pump had a leak, and we had no fluid going through the heart of bug country.  It was hard not to barf until the next pull off to squeegee off the death at a gas station.  That has been fixed, but something is also wrong with the A/C that we're 90% sure the dealer won't be able to replicate so yeah.  Thankfully, it didn't give out or anything, but it's making weird noises and given we returned to 90-degree temps, my fear is until it craps out on the random is when they'll take it seriously.

Have you been to Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton National Parks?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Is It Summer Yet?

I know that's the question on a lot of kid's minds as they anxiously bounce their knee, clockwatch, and dream of summer break.  We think of our childhoods, thankfully, before the internet was a thing and how they were full of riding bikes, catching lightning bugs in jars with holes in the lid, blanket forts with friends and what kids today would call "boring."  I'm good with that.

How did you spend your summers as a kid?  How do your kids or grandkids spend their summers these days?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Food Review: CauliPower Veggie Pizza

When we bought the Daiya Supreme Pizza a month ago, we also bought this one at the same time.  They were both on sale, and that's about my criteria to try something new these days.  I've heard about cauliflower crust for years but never considered it because I'd also heard of some serious fails on the cauli-crust front.  I threw caution to the wind and picked this up.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info.  You could actually eat the whole thing if you wanted to.

Since they didn't list the ingredients right under the nutritional info, it's as follows:  Cauliflower, Tomato Sauce (Tomatoes, Garlic, Oregano, Sea Salt), Mozzarella White Cheddar Cheese Blend (Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Brown Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Bell Peppers, Water, Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sugar, Egg, Xanthan Gum, Yeast, Salt, Vinegar, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Basil. CONTAINS: Milk, Eggs

Apparently, they have five other offerings as well.

I baked it for 15 minutes, and it was all bubbly and ready for my (pizza) piehole.

The crust looked like a typical cracker crust pizza, and it cut easily.

But how did it taste?

I have to say, the Mr and I were impressed.  He does not like cauliflower on its own and this didn't taste like it at all.  You could totally fool someone into thinking it was just a healthier pizza, not necessarily a veggie crust pizza.  (I'm pretty hard to fool on that too, so that's saying something.)  I do wish there was more sauce on there, but it was adequate.  It was well seasoned, and we both agreed we'd get it again.  Matter of fact, the Mr said we could get this and the other supreme Daiya pizza and mix and match.  I would be up for that especially if we get a hankerin' for pizza and want to keep the sodium more manageable.  The sodium is usually what makes me put a frozen pizza back in the case if I ever consider one.  While these are a little higher than I think it should be based on flavor, they're the smarter choice and one I think you guys would like too!

Have you had or made cauliflower crust pizza before?

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?

I know we are used to people upselling us on everything and travel insurance easily gets lumped in as something we'll never need.  Kind of like how they tell you never to get the insurance through the rental car company because your regular insurance covers you.  Well, that's not actually the case because it doesn't cover damage due to loss of use.  What the heck does that mean?  It means for as long as that car isn't able to be rented, you will pay the equivalent of the daily rate until they are able to rent it again.  In 2002, our car got hit in our condo parking lot, and we did not get the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and it was not something we could've hidden from the company.  We lost a whole day's vacation (half of one day, half of the other) dealing with calls to the insurance company where they explained what could happen and urged us to get the dent out ourselves.  We got an old school plunger in the parking lot of Star Market on Maui, and the Mr was plunging that thing for all it was worth, and it only got it half out.  We had to drive to the other side of the island to Walmart in Kahului and got something else to help with it, and we finally were able to pop it out.  You've never seen three people hold their breath like we did during a rental car drop off and high five on the shuttle to the airport when we got the sign-off.  Never again.  We've always gotten the LDW when we rent, and we got hit again a few years later and called the company, and they were like "eh, you've got the LDW, you could literally roll it ovah one cliff, and we'd give you a new cah."

I love the locals.

Car insurance may be one thing, but you might be asking yourself...

So what about it?  Well, for us it's a matter of how far are we traveling and how much are we spending or more to the point, willing to lose?  For us, $1000 is that number.  Anything over $1000 and we're insuring it, and we've had to use it a few times too.  The first time we got it was the year my FIL's health was failing, and though we tried many times to cancel it, he didn't hear of it.  (I really kind of wish we had but we didn't want him to think we thought he was going to die which is how he read it every time we said we could cancel.)  When it was clear he wasn't going to make it when we were halfway through we called the insurance company.  Because it was due to death, they did everything to reroute us the fastest possible way home and said that by the time we came back from traveling for the funeral, we would have a check for the unused portion of the trip that is covered under "trip interruption."  This didn't include what the travel company refunded us for the accommodations we didn't use on Kauai.

We also had to file a claim a few years ago when our flight got canceled very last minute leaving Kauai.  We were put into a crappy hotel with no way to leave the property but rent a car that they had on site.  We had to stay two extra days which sounds fun, but it was not given the Mr had to be on the phone for almost 7 hours total trying to line up all of our flights back.  Just when we thought they were settled, they weren't, or something was wrong, and we ended up even going to the airport the next night to speak to an actual human because no one else gave a crap.  It took forever to get reimbursed from the airlines for the difference we paid for first class that we didn't get on the way back.  But our travel insurance gave us $1750 which covered the leg of the flight we didn't get what we paid for as well as trip interruption insurance as well as a missed flight fee because that airline is stupid and didn't have their crap together when booking us.   Thank God we got it because I spent that exact amount to fix the compartment syndrome I got for almost a full year afterward with physical therapy, dry needling, and chiropractic care.

We insured our vacation this year, and it basically ends up being the cost of an extra night at a hotel to make sure that you are covered for all kinds of occurrences.  Here's an example of what is covered under our current policy.  (Please note this is an example and may not be the coverage you get should you purchase it.)

Insurance Coverages Provided

Trip Cancellation  $4,000.00
($2,000.00 per person (pp) )

Trip Interruption  $7,000.00
$3500 per person (pp) )

Travel Delay ($300 per person daily limit applies)
$1,000.00 pp

Missed Connection $1,000.00 pp

Baggage Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Baggage Delay $500.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Delay Coverage $500.00 pp

Medical and Dental Coverage $250,000.00 pp

Emergency Assistance and Transportation ($10,000 limit applies for Companion Hospitality Expenses) $1,000,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Travel Accident $50,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Air Flight Accident $100,000.00 pp

Obviously, some of those things don't apply since we drove, but it has saved us enough times that it gives us tremendous peace of mind.  The first thing I do after purchasing it is put the claims number in our phone, so we have it if God forbid we need it.  I also print a copy to keep in the carry on so we can reference what is covered and what isn't and what claims we may qualify for in case we are in a power outage situation or our phone is occupied making calls to people.  This kind of insurance is especially needed if you are traveling while someone is ill and you may need to cut your trip short. 

For us, anything over $1000 is worth protecting especially for things that your credit card company and/or airlines do not cover.  It's never been an ongoing feud to get what we were insured for and for that, we're eternally grateful.  Anyone knows if you're in a situation to file a claim, it's already stressful enough.

Do you buy travel insurance?  Have you ever had to file a claim?

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Friday, May 17, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #20

Happy Friday everybody!  I hope the week treated you well, and you can chill on into the weekend.  We just got home this week from the longest road trip of our lives which I'll update y'all on next week.

Until then let's trip on into...

The Stretches You Should Do Based on Your Favorite Workout  (Some good ones in there!)

Why Sleep Is the Key to a Better Body and How to Get More of It  (I know, I know, but I can never get past 6 hours no matter how early I go to bed!)

16 Foods You Should Never Keep in the Freezer  (But just a note, you can mix potatoes, milk, and cream cheese for the BEST mashed potatoes ever and they freeze beautifully!)

Hilarious Tweets That Sum Up Shopping At Whole Foods  (Truth)

A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Myofascial Massage  (Trust me, if you exercise, you need to do it!)

Dementia study links your risk with your fitness level  (In case you need another reason to exercise.)

How to tell when your body needs a break  (What if this is all you feel all the time?)

7 Dream Races to Put on Your Bucket List  (Jeff- in case you want to do some domestic ones!)

Destinations Where Your Dollar Will Go Really Far in 2019  (Hmm)

How to Use Sleep Aids to Avoid Jet Lag  (Because jet lag is the WORST)

Travel buddies for life  (Soo adorable!)

How Generation X Ruined Movies  (Hint:  They Didn't)

We are probably going to collapse, foam roll and eat and repeat all weekend.  I'm going to pretend we don't need to go to the grocery stores this weekend.  *twitch*

How are you spending this wonderful weekend?

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Lazy Girl's Skincare Routine

It should come as no shock to you that I half-ass my skincare just as much as I half-ass everything else. You can know you need to do something but doing it and sticking with it are two different things, as with anything in life.

So here's a nice tongue in cheek infographic for you.

Seriously though, there are a few brands that I really like, and I'll share those with you.  I have gone all natural with my skincare for about 5 years now, and these are the brands I've stuck with because they work.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Cleansing Foam

I bought this because it's for sensitive skin but also because the light rose scent reminds me of my great grandma.  I use this mostly for the showers after workouts.  It's a gentle cleanser that gets all of the sweat and hate from my pores after my butt has been thoroughly handed to me.  If you like a beachy scent, their Quench line is also really gentle but kind of coconutty smelling without smelling fake.  I've only found that at Andalou Naturals online.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Toner

While I joked about toner, it is nice to use when I remember to do so.  I have to say the best use I've found for this is to stick it in the fridge.   When you come in from outside, and it's a sweatbox of humidity and flop sweat, a spritz of this will make you feel instantly cooled down and fresh.

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

I LOVE this stuff.  It's not too harsh, and you shouldn't dig it in there when you're exfoliating but the smell is really nice (to me), and my skin always feels super soft after using it.  When I'm done rubbing it around on my face, I use the excess on my arms and elbows.  If you use self-tanners, this is perfect to use to exfoliate before applying.

Aztec Clay Facial and Body Mask

When I do use a facial mask, it's this powder.  You mix it with either water or 100% Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother (like Bragg's or Trader Joe's) according to the directions.  Slather it on your face, and you wait for it to dry completely.  It will pulsate toward the end and get really tight.  Don't freak out, it's normal.  When you wash it off, your face will actually be red for about 10-15 minutes, but it goes away.  I wouldn't do it right before you need to go anywhere.  This is like all natural ProActive.  Amazon's customer images are pretty impressive.

Organic Rosehip Oil

If you are over 30, get in the habit of using this stuff ASAP!  It helps with sun damage (it faded a sunspot I got on vacation by about 70%!), is nature's version of retinol (but not actual retinol.)  Rosehip oil is less aggravating to most people's skin than prescribed retinol but know that you may go through a "transition period" around the hairline with a few zits.  It scares the younger ones away but if you hang in there for a week or so, it balances out should you have one.  It helps with the healing of your skin and is especially good to use for wound healing. It's the first thing I reach for after a burn.  It's helped reduce years of 80's/90's baby oil benders at the beach.

Andalou Naturals CC Cream Nude

This serves as a sheer foundation as well as an SPF 30 to protect your skin.  I always put too much on so just go in knowing you won't need a ton of it.  They have nude and tan and don't forget to get your neck too.  No one wants to look like a harlequin clown.

Andalou Natural Daily Defense SPF 18

If you aren't feeling the color portion of the CC cream, the Daily Defense is a nice, light SPF 18 lotion with no color.  Just a good moisturizer that protects insanely well.  I wore it to an event in New York, forgot to reapply and was in the sun for 8 hours and got sunburned everywhere except my face.  While I don't suggest you do that, it's what sold me on staying Andalou loyal.

(And happy birthday Grandma.  😇)

What are your skincare routine and favorite products?

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Quitting with Flair

I was reading an article a few months ago about how Office Space is 20 years old this year.  If you do or have ever worked in a cubicle, you know how dead on it is about the types of people you will need to coexist with.  Some people make the day a pleasure and others make you start a bail money fund under your desk drawer organizer.   Some of us dream of murdering a printer or quitting with flair like Joanna did.  (Beware: finger gestures in case you've got people looking over your shoulder.)

For 6 months, I was so done with my job that I typed up my resignation letter, and at the end of every day, I changed the date I wrote it and my final day of employment by one day.  I'd already talked to the Mr about it, and he was about done with them too.  I got word from two employees that had moved on within the company that our branch was being shut down, but they were delaying telling people.  I tricked them both by pretending I knew and they confirmed it.  Amateurs.  So I knew my days there were numbered anyway but not sure by how long.  I began to slowly empty my desk for over 2 months.

One day, I brought in a grocery bag and just got all of the personal crap out of my desk.  Post it notes, cards from co-workers, toys, and gadgets like Penelope from Criminal Minds.  Then I started going through manuals and binders another week.  I took the day by day flip calendar because I always wrote personal stuff on it, people signed it or wrote silly messages.  I purged old stuff the new girl to take my place wouldn't need.  Finally, as I could feel my fuse getting shorter, I took down all of my pictures except for two.  On the day I had enough, I checked with the Mr via chat no less than 5x if it was okay to quit my job of 12 years.  He said yes, we had some side businesses at the time I could look after, and the abuse was too over the top for me to put up with.  After I regained some form of composure, I printed the note.  It was updated to reflect my supervisor had just yelled at me for having my work done and offering to help a co-worker with her backlog.  This was after named supervisor just spent 45 minutes laughing it up about personal stuff with her co-conspirator which was a daily occurrence and of zero consequence to her.  I called her supervisor and asked if we could chat for a moment in private.  We stepped into an office, the color drained from his face as he read it then turned bright red as it often did when he was flustered and he said he understood.  I never felt such relief.  I came back to the desk with a smile on my face as the supervisor walked past me and to my supervisor to tell her what just happened.

My friend who knew my plan said: "you didn't."
I smiled..."I did."
"I hate you."

I didn't even get to spend my full 2 courtesy weeks I planned to work.  (Do people still do that?)  Apparently, my newfound gleeful attitude was too much for people to take so they let me go three days early with pay.  That manager had to stand over me as I got my stuff.  I looked back at him and said "really?  Do you think I want ANY part of this place to take with me?  I cleaned out my desk months ago if anyone had bothered to notice."  He hung his head and said it was protocol, but he'd give me a minute.  I had dinner with my closest employee friends there on what was supposed to be my last day, and they said I never looked happier.  They were all fired except for five of them within 18 months and let me tell you, loyalty counts for nothing.  They fired a family member who recommended me for the job after 30+ years of service, so you don't owe a company shite.  If you're miserable and it's affecting your physical or mental health...leave.

But that's not even the example of quitting with flair.  The Mr wins that one hands down.  We've worked together most of our lives.  It's how we met and when we weren't working at the same place, we were working beside each other.  The second place we worked was a less than bragworthy job that I just was not cut out for.  I wasn't meeting the quota moneywise because I wasn't a heartless shrew, so they fired me.  Afraid, the Mr was going to leave too after seeing his attitude change from nice guy to depressed, they offered him a job in computers there since he seemed to be so good with them.  He eventually took over, but they never paid him squat.  He was actually making less because he had no commission like he did on the other job.  He was frequently barked at and berated by a petulant manchild we called a boss.   When a person who doesn't understand computers thinks they work by magic and never make mistakes, there are a lot of unrealistic expectations, and he was almost fired because the man failed to comprehend how a system could "time out."  Thankfully, an unlikely source stepped up and told him it happens, and it wasn't the Mr's fault.  Our marriage was coming up, and he knew he needed to get out.  He basically did the same thing as far as needing to just grab what he came in with that day to leave.  The computer experience he gained there allowed him to apply for similar jobs elsewhere.  He hit the jackpot with a place that would train him, and now he just needed to get the courage to tell them.  Well, he got it when he came in after accepting the offer at the other place.  The boss barked a system was down, fix it now.  He got up, went into his supervisor's office and said he accepted another job.  He was speechless because he knew how much they depended on and needed him.  He placed his head in his hands, and when the Mr tried to talk, he said: "just go."  So the Mr. got his crap, got on the elevator and left without fixing the system that was down, thankyouverymuch!!  He was feeling  awesome and treated himself to a solo movie..."Mission Impossible!"  Fitting, ain't it?  What he didn't realize is when the supervisor said "just go," he meant to leave his office so he could think of how he was going to break it to the manchild, not your time is served here!  That just makes it so much better because the Mr was just doing what he thought he was being told but to everyone else, it looked like "badass just left, yo!"

When he got home, his mom said there were frantic calls from the office asking where he was, blah blah.  He got in touch with them and said he couldn't give notice, he had to start the following week, and it's been real.  I don't know whether or not that douche nozzle of a man learned that you can't treat people like human pieces of toilet paper or not but I am damn proud of the Mr...the ultimate Mr nice guy to most...for doing something no one ever thought he'd do...even if he did it inadvertently!

Have you ever quit a job with flair?

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Keeping Limber on the Road

When embarking on a road trip, you tend to think of the usual I have enough snacks, first aid kit, activities for the kids, the right playlist, an audiobook or two (these are CRITICAL for us!), and all of that jazz, there's one thing we tend to take for granted:

We are notorious for getting tunnel vision and just pushing through as long as possible because we don't want to lose time pulling over at rest stops.  But rest stops are there for a reason because even if you don't rest, you need to pee when you have the chance and more importantly stretch!  We are so guilty of having the best intentions to stop, say we're going to and then we just don't.  We always pay for it.  ALWAYS.  We always need an arsenal of tools at our disposal to help with tight hips, shins, and calves from being in the same position for 5, 8, or 13 hour stretches on the road.  These are the things that help us the most:

The Stick rolls out tight shins, especially for the driver. The spiky ball is great for rolling your arches especially if you have plantar fasciitis but also to keep that driving foot (or resting foot) from getting all crampy.  The massage tool gets into those weird knots you didn't know you had until its too late.  That manual massage ball is perfect for lower back pain and believe me when you're sitting there for hours on end, your back starts to tweak, yo!

But this time we were smart about it and tried to be more proactive by scheduling stops every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to purposely stretch.   I highly recommend the following exercises to keep you limber on the road.

Touch Your Toes-  With your feet shoulder width apart, bend forward and reach toward your toes until you feel a slight stretch, not pain, in your hamstrings and lower back.  Hold for no longer than 30 seconds.

Leaning Hamstring Stretch:  With the car door open facing the inside, put one foot on the edge of the car door opening and lean in until you feel a good stretch on the back of your thigh.  Hold for about 30 seconds then switch legs.

Inner Thigh/Groin Stretch:  With the car door open facing forward toward the hood, put your left foot on the edge of the car door opening with your other leg about 1' from the car.  Squat down slowly until you feel a good stretch on your inner thigh and slightly into your groin.  Hold for about 30 seconds then switch legs.  Sitting in the same position without stretching these muscles leaves you open to cramping and I can attest cramping in that area sucks rocks.

IT Band Stretch:  Stand with your feet together.  Cross your left ankle over your right ankle.  Bend your knees slightly as you hinge forward toward your feet.  Reach toward the ground going only as far as is comfortable for you.  Hold for 20-30 seconds then repeat with the opposite leg.

Soleus Stretch-  Stand facing the hood of the car with your feet 6-12 inches away. Place your hands on the hood (or side of the roof of the car) at shoulder height. Take a big step back with one leg. Bend the front knee. Then slowly bend your back knee, and reach your heel toward the ground. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other leg.  You can gently lower your head toward your chest as you do this for a bonus neck and upper back stretch.

Repeat every two hours.

This entire routine takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds and you have the potential to be back on the road again, kink-free!  The time one of you runs in to wee while the other does this and vice versa, you can be on the road again in 7 minutes at the longest.  (Unless you're dropping wolf bait then I can't help you there but as they say, better out than in.)

Be smarter than we usually are...stay limber y'all!  Your muscles will thank you for it!

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Our 10 Must Have Road Trip Essentials

Playlist as long as your trip-  When we did our Fall in New England trip in 2014, I made one called "My Maine List" because I'm original like that.  Because it was our first major road trip, I got super cheesy and like the first 20 songs were things like Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham to kick it off (duh!), Rockin' Down the Highway by the Doobie Brothers, Blue Highway by Billy Idol, Cars by Gary Neuman, Gypsy Road by Cinderella, Vehicle by Ides of get the idea.   That playlist is listed as a day long.  An entire day.  387 songs.  So we made it all over New England and on the way back before that baby replayed.  It was awesome.  Just go through your music library and pick out the best of the best, the silliest of the silly (we've even got Ode to My Car by Adam Sandler on there which cracks us up) and the ones you totally forgot about.

Audiobooks-  We cannot take a trip without these.  We rarely start a trip off with one because we need some music to get things going but usually around hour three we're ready to jump in.  We have had Audible trials in the past but don't keep a membership because we only use them for trips.  These are the ones we've enjoyed most recently:  Dancing with Myself,  The Princess Diarist, So That Happened, Celebrity Run In's A-Z Index, A Little Thing Called Life (will appeal to Pollyanna's and may grate for cynics), and Stories I Only Tell My Friends.  Obviously, I like celebrity memoirs.  I've always liked to get to know the real story behind the person and not what the rag mags and clickbait sites want you to think.  I have zero interest in Rob Lowe, but his book was fantastic and made me a fan.

Hand Sanitizer-  You're gonna encounter a lot of grossness especially if a porta potty is your only option in the boonies...or a bush on the side of the road.  Actually, worse than that are rest stop door handles.  We avoided being sick all vacation in 2016 with tons of people sick around until on our way home we stopped using hand sanitizer at NY Thruway stops and bam...creepin' crud for us both.  I like to use something with moisturizers to keep my hands from turning to paper cut magnets.

Backpack- Put ALL of your valuables, meds, money in a backpack or bag that you will maim others for.  Take it in for every rest stop break, at every on the go eatery you stop at, etc.  If your car gets broken into, at least they don't have stuff that would be devastating to lose.  We love the DaKine backpacks.  Lots of great colors and styles to choose from, a padded spot for laptops and tablets and an insulated cooler pocket.

First Aid Kit-  You can get a standard one for medical emergencies only, but they also have ones that are specifically meant for cars.

A paper copy of directions.  Even though we still use a GPS, you should still have a paper copy of your route in case you lose cell reception.

Snacks (aka-"smokes and road beers")-  We don't really get smokes and road beers, it's our homage to The Crow when T Bird tells Skank to get "smokes and road beers" and for some stupid reason, it stuck for us so forgive our inside joke.

Sunscreen/sunglasses-  You've gotta protect yourself on the road from the sun.  That means a good SPF 50 on your face, neck, arms, and hands and reapply every 2-3 hours.  (Set an alarm on your phone, so you don't forget.)  Sunglasses don't just protect you from harsh rays but help with eye fatigue.  Trader Joe's has really great sunscreen and of course the more natural sunscreens, the better.

Pool Noodle for lumbar support-  I know this sounds insane but don't spend a lot of money on lumbar support pillows for long road trips.  Run over to Target, get a fat pool noodle for like $4, cut it in half and the two of you in the front seat have lumbar support for $2 each.  You're welcome.  (There are kinds of sizes too.  If you need less support, grab a smaller, flimsy one from the Dollar Store.

Hot Logic Mini- This is the granddaddy of all essentials for a long road trip especially if you're looking to stay on track health-wise.  Everyone knows road food in the middle of nowhere is not going to give you healthy choices unless you get their soggy lettuce with a lemon wedge.  I love to make chili, freeze it in the Pyrex that goes in it (sold separately), the Food Save it and bring it in our cooler.  After breakfast, I pop it in the Hot Logic, and by lunchtime, it is piping hot, we pull over and dish it out with our collapsible bowls and my travel utensils.  Obviously, you can also pick up food on the road, have it plugged in and keep it hot until you're ready for it.   We stopped by our favorite sandwich shop in New Hampshire and asked them to wrap it in foil, stuck it in the Hot Logic and pulled over halfway through New York and had the best meal of anyone in the service center.  It was still piping hot, crispy bread and gooey cheese.  It was AWESOME.  I'm not gonna lie, we used it to heat cinnamon rolls too.  Don't judge me.  We also had one of those bean bag neck wraps with us, and while it didn't get as hot as it would in the microwave, it kept it hot enough to work out some neck kinks.  This thing is awesome if you're a road tripper!

To do list before the trip:

Check your spare tire/jack and know how to use 'em.  If this means you have to go to a friends driveway, so your neighbors aren't in your business, do it.  Better to have a feel for it, especially if you've never done it with your current car, than trying to do it under pressure on the side of the road.  Or worse, finding out that new car DIDN'T come with a spare tire and you're 50 miles from the nearest podunk town.  On that note, make sure the tires are properly inflated.

Get an oil change and a tune-up if you haven't recently.

Have your registration and insurance card in the glove compartment together and some donuts.  (Hey, couldn't hurt should you get pulled over.)  Seriously though, put in your insurance company and roadside assistance numbers in your phone.

Make sure at least one person knows your itinerary/route you're going to take.

Pack your patience.  There will be construction, there will be people in every state that you swear are now the #1 spot for top a-hole drivers, you will be in a confined space for hours on end and if your meals/snacks aren't properly and hangry sets in...well, yeah...don't go there.  Just remember you're going to someplace awesome and you'll have stories to journal about.

What are three of your must-have road trip essentials?

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Friday, May 10, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #19

Hello hello, you lovely people!  It's finally Friday and I bet you're just itching to hop on into the weekend!  Happy early Mothers Day to all of you mama's of humans, furbabies, or are like a mother to someone out there.

Let's get right to...

Are You Doing Too Much Emotional Labor?  (Aren't we all to some degree?)

6 Things You Didn’t Know a Physical Therapist Could Help With  (Definitely worth noting.  Post partum and later life incontinence don't have to be a thing, ya know!)

18 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat to Reduce Pain  (Eating most of them but a few to add to the list.)

5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask   (I've got two words for you:  Survivorship Deed.  Even if you don't do a will for whatever reason, this is a MUST if you are married.)

10 Things You’re Not Buying at Home Depot—but Should  (Um, I've yet to see comforters in Home Depot, anyone else?)

The Best Upper-Body Workout for People With Shoulder Pain  (For the Mr)

Healthy Road Trip Snacks to Get You Through Even the Longest of Drives  (A few good suggestions but some I'll pass on.)

30 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget   (For those who like their toes in the sand.)

11 Things Disney Park Guests Aren’t Allowed to Do  (Take heed if you're going to see da mouse.)

Inside 'Sesame Street' And Its Mission To Raise Resilient Kids  (Sigh, remember when Sesame Street was your main form of entertainment?   Grover til I die.)

Jameela Jamil Gets Real About Why She’s So ‘Aggressive’ About Body Positivity  (While I gave up on The Good Place, I dig how passionate she is about being so vocal and calling out people and companies!)

We're road tripping this weekend and don't worry, we've already celebrated our mamas.  ;-)

Whatchu up to this weekend?

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Life Lessons from a Dying Man

Today is my father in law's birthday.  We always wake this morning every year since he passed in 2004 and wish him a happy birthday.

When we visited him at his home for the last time, this jovial, upbeat man knew his cancer had him beat.  He knew he was on borrowed time.  It was March and it had snowed.  We were all enjoying watching the birds at the feeder which popped more brilliantly with the bleached background.  The tree branches were covered in snow and it was a serene scene to enjoy that morning.  I had sent him a letter before our arrival telling him how I felt about him and how much I appreciated the Mr lending me a good dad that was around longer than my own.  He always treated me with dignity and respect from the beginning.  When everyone else was trying to convince the Mr to stay broken up with me during an early rough spot, his dad told him to work it out with me.  He could see the long term potential because he got to actually know me.  I had to let him know how much that meant to me.

When the Mr and his mom went downstairs to go through some boxes, I was sitting with Dad.  He smiled at me and thanked me for the letter.  I said I meant every word.  He told me he wished he'd listened to me when I urged him to get a blood test done early in his relapse.  It was easily treatable but the doctor had a God complex and didn't like his patients consulting "Dr. Google."  His parents didn't want to rock the boat and Dad paid for that silence with his life.  But at least the doctor still has his house in the Hamptons which is where he was most of the time Dad needed him during medical emergencies.  By the time he ran the blood test, it was too late and his platelets never returned to a level where he could tolerate treatment.  The doctor's response?  "Oh, I guess your daughter in law was right" which is the equivalent to saying "my bad."  I told you that to tell you to be your own health advocate.  If your doctor has a problem with you asking reasonable questions from "Dr. Google" and won't check a box for bloodwork he has to run, do not walk, out of that office.

As Dad sat there, his smile he was so known for turned solemn as I told him I never wanted to be more wrong about something.  He said he knew I tried to tell him a few times to do it until they pushed back and he was sorry.  I told him they did what they thought was right.  He looked out the window at the snow against the now night sky.  "People always complain about snow...driving in it, shoveling it, groaning about it in general.  I used to, that's for sure.  But now when I hear someone complain about the snow or how cold it is, I want to shake them.  My snowfalls are limited.  Do you know what I would give to see snow fall?  To drive in it?  To shovel it?  Never take the things you find irritating for granted because you don't know how many more you have in front of you and some of us would give anything for just one more."

This is why you hear me talk about building snowmen, sledding, snowshoeing, looking at each snowflake on my black jacket or gloves, getting out to enjoy a walk in the snow even when it's colder than crap and I need 4 layers on with only my eyes showing.  I loved the snow before him but I love it even more after him.  I feel like for every time I see snow, I'm enjoying it twice as much for him.  I feel like through every stupid thing we have to fight for, no matter how stressful it is or how much it makes me crazy, there's someone we've lost, no, many we've lost who would give just one more day to deal with something so trivial.  I will try to remember that during our next home improvement project.

So if one person looks at life's frustrations differently, stands up to medical ignorance or appreciates a snowy day they would've usually complained about, I will have felt I've helped honor his legacy.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Inspiration and happiness

Inspiration is all around us.  From articles we read to shows we watch to people fighting the good fight, inspiration to make our lives better in some way seems endless.  In others, it seems like we're also inundated with the idea of it or at least things that hope to inspire us that it can seem like an overload.

How many articles do you see about "living your best life" or "how to finally find happiness?"  They're everywhere.  Even concepts like being "thankful, grateful and blessed" have been packaged, sold and hashtagged so much that they barely have their original meaning anymore without sounding like a sellout when you mention them now.

But are the things they're trying to sell us on to be inspired, really inspiring or is it just one person's idea of inspiration and happiness that has been regurgitated so many times that it's become the baseline for clickbait these days?

So, I'm going to you guys, yes, even you lurkers who never or rarely comment.

What really inspires you and/or makes you happy?

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How Someone Who Loathes Summer Prepares for It

You all know I love the winter.  You can find me playing in the snow whenever the opportunity presents itself.  I'm also a theoretical Spring and Fall girl.  This means I like the two weeks in the Spring when the trees are all blooming before a giant windstorm busts in and blows all of the blooms off when it isn't mud season.  I also like the five days of true Fall where all of the leaves have finally turned, the temps have dropped, and that same bastard windstorm blows all of the leaves off of the trees.

The one season I loathe?  Summer.  Because summer isn't like it used to be where you'd have a few hotter than average days.  It's an assault of heat, humidity and me staying inside in the A/C because paddling or any other activities are too friggin' hot to do.  I would move somewhere cooler but there is no such thing anymore because everywhere is hot.  But I know it's coming, so I'm going to try to mentally prepare for it.

Grillin' and Chillin'- I bought a monster grill last year, and I barely used it because by the time everything got situated, it was consistently too hot to be outside.  I know we got summer heat way earlier than normal last year so I have to go under the assumption it will be the same this year.  I need to grill out at least one day a week, not just so I can justify having spent so much on it but to actually use the patio we fought for last year.  I would like to spend at least a morning or two out there before the heat comes in so I can just enjoy a little peace, unlike last year.  Did I ever mention three days after the patio was finished they started construction on a building literally in our backyard that had Earthquakes, banging/digging/sawing and mounds of dirt and debris flying all over our patio and my car until the snow flew?  Yeah.  God laughs.

Sunscreen-  I need to chuck out the old and buy the new.  My favorite is Trader Joe's SPF 50 and I would put it on before every walk last summer.  I got a very light base going, but I wouldn't call it a "tan" and I'd say after 4 solid months of walking in the sun and a few paddles, it works pretty well.  If I want to keep wrinkles and skin cancer at bay, I can't start the season without it and neither should you!  (Well, we should wear it all year round.)

Plan- I did this last year but need to keep watch on the weather and the winds so that we can get out on our board/kayak.  We had a very windy and stormy summer, so I think we only got out three times last year.  I'll have to keep in mind we can road trip and check conditions within a few hours around us too.

Tunes- Because we're in close quarters with neighbors and I sure as heck don't want to hear their music, I make sure to keep ours low.  So instead of blasting it from inside, we use this Bluetooth speaker.  It has a nice, rich sound and keeps a good connection.  If the one neighbor purposely opens the door to listen to our conversations like he did at the end of the summer, I'm going to download something with a lot of sitars or foreign language yodeling and point it at his door.

Invite others- We have enough space to entertain another couple maybe two if we added our outdoor folding chairs.  We used to get together with family for every holiday when I was younger including Memorial Day but haven't done that for probably 17 years.  I can't fit all of our family, but I can fit most of the ones I like.  😁  I'm thinking of doing that this Memorial Day and see who bites.

These things won't turn me into a summer lover, but hopefully, it'll help me enjoy the 4-5 months of hellish heat that will unleash sooner than I like.

How do you prepare for your least favorite season?  

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Product Review: Pure Wave Deep Tissue Massager

I have a small group of friends that have known each other for over 15 years from a weight loss board back in the day.  We've sporadically kept in touch, and one of them mentioned she couldn't live without her Pure Wave.  I had no clue what she was talking about and looked it up and saw this:

(via Amazon)

I wrote her back and said, "you have no idea how hard I'm trying not to say something sexual right now."  Don't act like you weren't thinking it too but this thing is no joke and would blast your genitals back to 1995.

I added it to my wishlist before my grandpa's wife did her Christmas shopping because it's $125 and I would likely not treat myself to something like that.  Plus I didn't view it as a necessity, and if I was going to try it, I wanted it to be on someone else's dime.  I even put a note on the Amazon wishlist "this is for my screwed up legs, not to diddle myself" which she got a huge kick out of and probably was one of the reasons she bought it.  (See, lines like that scare away potential sponsors which is why I have to stick to $.03 from Amazon for purchased items through affiliate links.  But hey, I'd rather be me!)

I digress.

After she left, I plugged it in to charge it up.  It has a stand that holds all of the attachments, but I knew I'd be partial to the more thumb looking one so it could get knots in my calves.  When I fired it up, I was floored.  That baby has some POWER.  I now understood why my friend said she couldn't live without it.  When you hit a knot, it will practically shoot you to the ceiling because it's in a spot you didn't even know you had one!  It doesn't hurt but it's almost jarring, and if you hold it over the spot, you can feel it eventually release or at least break up a good bit.  It's perfect for getting the sides of your knees both above and below to help release your IT band if you do a lot of squats and leg work.  You know how you get those fascia knots on your quads after leg day?  BLASTED!  It might not get rid of them completely, but it breaks them up to the point that it releases a good bit of the connective tissue it's holding on to so you don't have pain or get cramps.  It's perfect for getting knots on the sensitive inner thighs.  I do sumo squats, and a lot of my PT uses the inner thighs, and they get overloaded, and I will feel them twitch and tense.  I can put it anywhere on my thighs and get almost instant relief.

The handle is long and slightly curved so you can reach over your shoulder to get that area between your shoulder blades where we all tend to carry stress.  My mom used it there and was almost instantly hooked.  I think she may ask for one for Christmas from her this year!  She said it got rid of knots even her massage therapist couldn't get.  You can reach around to get your lower back, booty, hamstrings, basically anywhere.  The dial makes the power adjustable from very light taps to jackhammer pounding.  (We affectionately call it the jackhammer.)  There is also a vibration setting, and you can use some of the other attachments and use it on your face.  It's great for tension in the forehead, by the jawline if you're a clencher (though I use the jackhammer setting for that) and if you have sinus problems People pay copays for a chiropractor to do the same thing.  For the cost of this one thing, that I didn't even pay for, I haven't been back to the chiropractor in 4 months!  (I think the consistent rolling of my shins has something to do with it too.)  That means, for me, three chiro visits for leg problems would've paid for this.  The awesome part is there's a 90-day return policy so you can find out pretty quickly if it's for you or not and it's basically risk-free.

It was so much needed that we packed it up and took it to Vermont with us over the holidays.  I will never travel without it again.  If you have back pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, sore, tight muscles after workouts, get cramps or Charlie horses, and yes, even scar tissue, this can help.  I need to use it a little more religiously for my scar tissue in my arm, but when I do use it, the pain relief is almost immediate.  Just 5 minutes in my trouble spots and I have range of motion and grip strength back.

I seriously think everyone should own one of these.  We all have stuff from the little aches and pains to the big, quality of life pains that can be made so much better with this tool.  This may be the last physical therapy/pain management tool I'll ever need!

Do you have a Pure Wave?  How would you use this if you had one?

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Friday, May 3, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #18

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you're ready to usher in the first weekend of May, I know we are!

Let's get to the a-May-zing topics also known as...

21 High-Protein Breakfasts That Barely Take Any Time to Prepare  (Convenience FTW!)

Human memory: How we make, remember and forget memories  (Interesting stuff)

Which Exercises Are Actually Cardio? A Trainer Clears It Up  (Uh, they're missing super set strength training.  I am often just as winded doing that as HIIT!)

The Best Places to Travel in May  (We can vouch for Savannah in May for sure)

Physics explains why time passes faster as you age  (Because youth is wasted on the young?)

Southwest flights to Hawaii: 12 things travelers need to know  (Like you probably can't get one unless you're on the west coast?)

6 Zodiac Signs Who Secretly Hate People   (I don't make much secret about it and don't usually believe in this crap, but dang was this spot on!)

The Best Bed Bug Sprays to Pack — and How to Do a Thorough Room Check  (The Mr does one before our luggage ever comes into a hotel room space.)

Everything You Need to Know About Fascia  (Fascia-nating!  Womp womp)

100 trips in the US everyone should take in their lifetime   (Dang, only done 26 of these.  Looks like I need to lengthen my bucket list)

We're celebrating our wedding anniversary this weekend.  How the heck did 23 years fly by so quickly?  I thought only old people were married that long.  Oh...wait.

What are you up to this weekend and if you're married give a shout out how long you and your S.O. have been together!

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

WTH is that zig zag in my vision?!

Some of you said, "I know, I know" because you have had an ocular migraine before.  I'm having one as I type which means I will need to double proofread this afterward since 50% of my field of vision is unavailable to me right now.  (I have an ocular migraine with an aura, but I'll get to that.)

You may have heard of regular migraines which are usually blinding pain, sensitivity to light and/or sound and/or nausea and vomiting.   I typically get hormone related ones every 3-6 months.  That started happening after 40...yay.  Here's some of what I have been able to find on the internet about ocular migraines.   Just a reminder, I'm not a doctor, and nothing in this should be construed as medical advice.  Consult your physician.  According to the American Migraine Foundation, it is a visual disturbance that can present with vision loss, blind spots, zigzags, seeing stars and/or flashing lights.  It can accompany a traditional migraine but often times doesn't.  There are different types of ocular migraines including migraine with aura which are the ones with the flashing lights, zigzags and blind spots.  It can be a warning sign for some that a traditional migraine is looming.  It is usually over in 30 minutes but in 20% of the population can last over an hour.  Retinal migraine is only in one eye during the headache phase of a migraine.  That one is a little more serious and has decreased vision, twinkling lights, and temporary blindness.  You need to call a doctor if you're having those symptoms because irreversible vision loss can occur with that type.

They don't specifically know what causes them, but it's thought to be an electrical short circuit of sorts.  This abnormal activity spreads and is responsible for the movement or growing appearance of the visual disturbances.  Harsh lighting and your computer/phone screens can be triggers or any eye strain including driving.  If you get ocular migraines, talk to your eye doctor about potential options.

Here's my experience with them.  I got my first one in 1999 when I was under pretty intense stress and doing data entry under a deadline.  I was squinting at numbers and columns, fingers flying, mind racing and suddenly in the middle of my vision was a flashing, jagged blob like this:

I rubbed my eyes and closed them for a few seconds, and when I opened them, it was getting larger and taking away more field of vision with it.  It turned from a blob into a zig-zag, flashing line as shown below and the two lines on either side represent the amount of field of vision taken with it.

You can imagine when I was going through this for the first time, I started freaking out.  I didn't know if I was having a stroke or what the hell was going on.  I sat there panicking for a few minutes as this monster was "eating my vision" for lack of a better term.  I called my supervisor who was more like a mother figure to me and told her what was happening.  She came over to my desk and asked if I usually got migraines.  I told her from time to time, but I'd never had this before.  She said her daughter in law would get those and they were usually a precursor to a migraine and I should probably go home.  If she'd stop to think about this for a minute, putting me behind a 3000 lb machine to drive 5 miles with 40% of my vision gone was probably not the best suggestion.  Me, being freaked out, thought it sounded like a good idea.  *facepalm*

By the time I left, the field of vision was worse, much like this:

Not only was that zig zaggy and flashing but also moving in waves which made me very nauseous.  It was one of the scariest rides home ever.  I went home and laid down for a few hours and relieved that it passed within 45 minutes from when it started.  Basically, I should've just gone to the conference room and laid down because in the time it took me to get home, the visual part was gone.  I did have a headache afterward but not a migraine.  I looked it up later and read about ocular migraines and didn't think much about it again.

I do tend to get them every 3-5 years.  It's much more comforting to know what they are and that they'll pass.  The first thing I do when I see one coming on is close one eye and the other and if I see the same disturbance, I know it's the aura and nothing to freak out about.  (If it's in one eye, call the eye doctor immediately.)  I'm past the worst of my current one.  The visual disturbance and nausea are gone but a headache has moved in, but it honestly feels more like I need a good neck and shoulder massage than related to this.  Actually, now that I think about it, it's been 3 months since my last hormonal migraine, so I'm actually right on schedule.  Sh*t.  I think that might've been the first one that's ever been a precursor to a regular migraine for me.  Plot twist!

Anyone else ever had an ocular migraine?

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