Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Recap

So it's the end of the month.  I think maybe I will do an end of month assessment on things to see what I need to focus on for the following month.  We'll see if I remember to do this come the end of February!  LOL


Obviously, January was better for us food wise since we weren't stuffing ourselves with cookies, lavish hot chocolate made with half and half and multiple gatherings featuring bloating ham, buttered everything and appetizer a-plenty.  However, improvements still need to be made.  I have noticed a bad habit forming of two evening snacks on occasion.  We're both having trouble adjusting back to a more structured plan and it's not even that we're hungry, it's that I want that crunch or to just eat something for the hell of it. Luckily it's usually just a 110 calorie bag of lite kettle corn or 180 calories of Halo Top which I'm officially banning unless it's a seasonal flavor that is too intriguing to pass up.  It's only happened twice, but I don't want to start justifying.  (Look for reviews on them soon!  LOL)

Plan for February:  If we're going to have popcorn, it must be for movie night only not because we're using it as a way to satisfy boredom.  Since movies have been total crappers that means we'll likely only have it once a month or so if we're lucky.  Drink hot tea instead if you need to do something with yer face.  Unfortunately, we're starting the month in our favorite foodie city, so this plan will have to go into effect upon our return where we'll probably end up breaking even by the end of the month to what we weigh now.  *face palm*


Our one consistent spot even though finding something to fit into my limitations has been tricky, to say the least.  I've been rocking the PT five days a week and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it because I know what slacking on it brings.  No bueno. While we have been exercising, I've found that my limits have kind of given the Mr an excuse to not give his all during workouts and his weight loss goals have suffered because of it.  I told him that is changing and I've been nudging him to do more when I see him going easy.  There is no reason for both of us to be roadblocked by my body.  I'm hoping February will be the month I can get a goodly amount of healing in and back to challenging myself in a way that will garner results because I can feel my strength waning having to cut back the past two weeks getting treated for the tennis elbow.  I might have to use the TENS on that as well, and if that's the case, I'm going to end up hooked up to electricity for like 90 minutes a day.  Just call me Sparky.

Plan for February:  I'm going to have to find what I can to keep my strength up.  Even 10 lb weights are sending a searing, fiery pain in my right elbow.  From what I've read, I can see this is going to be months to possibly two years.  The one consistent thing I've read is breaking up the scar tissue and I started this with Graston techniques two days before I knew I was getting the laser at the chiro so I will keep that up as well as using this microcirculation pad I have which I've also read is key.  I'll have to ice right after workouts too to keep inflammation down.  When you have problems lifting a water bottle, it's maddening, to say the least.  I'm also hoping the leg issues continue to improve and I want to walk more to adjust to the new shoes and just getting used to being up more even if that means a lap around the hood that does not count toward our workout.


I suck.  Period.  I get so engrossed in what I'm doing, and despite the water bottle being at my side for 6 hours, I rarely grab it.   I honestly don't know what to do to remember to drink.  I always feel better on all fronts when I do, but I'm like a camel too and seem to be able to hold my fluid, so I don't feel dehydrated and then see it's 4 pm and I haven't taken a single sip all day.  Sigh.

Plan for February:  I want to say I'll improve but I always say that.  I'm at a loss.  I just set up a reminder on my business email starting at 9 am on weekdays, and I'm hoping I can figure out how to push it back every hour or something to pop the reminder up again.  I'm so bad at this, and it's been my Achilles heel for my whole life.


I'm not great in this area either.  I've been a night owl my whole life, and the Mr is a head bobber come 10 pm and I'm nowhere near ready for bed.  (It's 12:33 am as I type this.)  My birth control alarm goes off every morning at 7:30 am regardless, and if I went to bed at 2 am then that's usually about 5 hours of sleep given my normal time it takes me to get to sleep.  I do a little work when the alarm goes off, and I either sleep for another hour for my mandatory 6 hours or if I'm playing catch up, I sleep two more hours. It's not a good habit, but if I go to bed too early, then I will lay there with a racing mind for 2-3 hours and get so frustrated so it doesn't serve me well to force an early bedtime.

Plan for February:  Get to bed by 1 am.  I know that sounds insane but night owls will feel me.  I'd prefer to say 12:30am but I need something to work toward for other months, right?  I think 12:30 am is a good goal but I don't want to declare it yet.

Mental Health

I've been doing pretty well in this department.  I've made it my goal this year to reconnect with important people in my life and I feel like I'm doing well with that particularly in the friends department.  While my friend and I tanked on our promise to Skype last month, I was much more active messaging her for no reason, checking in with her and such so I don't consider it a total loss.  I had a good lunch with one of my favorite friends and February is shaping up to be a good friend month also as I'm starting off on a road trip to see my bestie, seeing another good friend who lives out of town and while plans look to have fallen through with another friend due to the flu, I will make sure to connect with her sometime this year.  (She's also out of state.)

Plan for February:  Make a date night with a couple that we haven't seen since Fall.  Put a bug in the ear of some old co-workers that we used to lunch with once a year to see if they want to plan something for March.

There is much room for improvement on many things but this water issue has got to be tackled because it effects everything else.  That one will take the longest to make any progress on and we need to kick that double dipping on the snack front a few times a week to the curb.  Those two are the ones I hope to make the most progress with in February.

How would you grade your January?  Any goals you'd like to hit for February?

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Who are you and why are you following me?

There was a time in my life where no store could clothe all of this.  *points up and down to my bod*  Catalogs like Woman Within and One Stop Plus were my only form of shopping and frankly, it was depressing.  There is nothing quite as defeating and that puts the final nail in your self-esteem coffin as having no options at any store ever...even plus size shops.  30/32 was the magic size number before you could shop at stores like Avenue or an occasional Lane Bryant and you paid for it.  I remember when I finally hit that magic number and went on my first trip to Avenue.  I saw a shirt I LOVED and not just because it was all that was available in my size but it was actually pretty stylin' at the time and the jeans were a perfect fit...something that seemed foreign especially when you're both tall and fat.  I'm like some kind of winged leprechaun according to the fashion industry.  I walked out with my new outfit with the Mr and proceeded to bawl in the car.  It was quite a victory and I was ecstatic.

As getting used to being able to have a few brick and mortar options sank in, I was a little more excited to shop than before.  But I noticed when I would shop, it was harder and harder to find stuff in my size.  I knew they probably offered less in the highest size but still, it just seemed like they had plenty 30/32's in other styles of things I didn't like but never in what I wanted but there were plenty of the other sizes so I couldn't wait to drop down to 26/28's so I could have more options.  When I did drop to that size, I did find an outfit so I snagged it up and then waited to change season before buying more in that size.  When I went back for a full-on spree, finding the abundant 26/28's I saw when I was a 30/32 were now suddenly scarce and I saw way more 30/32's than I ever saw when I was that size.  We even went to multiple locations and sometimes we still couldn't find things.  If I'd only been a 24, I could have my pick of the litter because that seemed to be THE size that was truly in abundance.  Size 26 jeans were ridiculously hard to find and at that time were not widely carried at department stores so I was just at that teetering point of really having a whole new world open up to me.  When the glorious day hit that I could fit into 24's I was so excited because now even more stores were open to me.  Shopping spree here we come!!

I'll be damned if 24's were again in short supply in the style *I* liked.  I was able to find more but damn it took a lot of work to find stuff and it was usually never all at the same store so the Mr would seek out his "dude chair" in the store and look up from his phone when I'd come out of the fitting room.  We both commented on how irritating it was every time I went down a size, the size that was abundant before would always become some hot the cosmos playing a game of "this is gonna be funny."  Even the other night when I found a cute top in a place that carries size 0 to 4x in the same styles, they had every size but mine.  We just looked at each other and rolled our eyes because almost 8 years later we're dealing with the same crap regardless of my size.

So all I want to know is who are you and why are you following me?  Save me just ONE top and one pair of bottoms, please.  It's like some brigade of dopplegangers heckling me via clothing.

Anyone else ever have this problem or are the clothing gods just effing with me?

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Low key weekend round up

Happy Monday all.

It was a low key weekend here.  I woke up in the middle of the night (into Friday morning) with my foot aching and I decided that this once a month crap with the chiro is not going to cut it.  So I made a last minute appointment to see him that day.  I walked in and said he was going to be seeing a lot more of me because once a month isn't working.  I told him despite me thinking that Brooks was the problem, the Saucony's are hitting me in the same spot and I can't go from being fine all week to then getting crippled when I wear shoes.

I showed him where the pain is coming from and where it affects me (like I did in the beginning) but he was pretty sure that would rectify itself once my butt muscles started firing.  Now that the muscles are firing and the pain is still there, he said we can focus on a smaller surface area other than treating the whole leg.  So he's using an ultrasound/laser combo now and he did foot adjustments that included a few pretty high slams down on the board to get my ankle mortise joint to release.  (The mechanism that allows me to move my ankle side to side.)  He lasered my elbow again too.  He told me he wants me to start using the TENS unit the Mr got and where to put the electrodes.  So I've been using it on two spots.  He said the electrical current should help confuse the pain response so we can retrain it.  He said he has a few other methods we can try if this doesn't work but that bottom part is always the last and slowest part to heal.  Yay.

Saturday it was a rainy mess so we did our grocery refuels for the week and did a little shopping.  My foot was feeling it by the end of the day so I used the TENS twice (once on the spot and the other on the throbbing on the front of my ankle).  Other than the grocery stuff, it was a pretty uneventful day.

Sunday we slept in and my body was playing catch up so I didn't wake up until 10am.  We gabbed until almost 11am and I got up to make brunch but somehow we didn't end up eating until like 12:45pm so we were both famished.  The Mr fiddled with some faucet crap to attempt to fix a slow drip.  Then it became more involved so I had him put it all back together and it ended up being worse than before he started.  By that time, it was already heading toward 3pm.  How is that?  Every. SINGLE. Sunday.  All of a sudden its 3pm and all the crap you need to get done is right in front of your face.  *Hiss*  But it didn't end there because the Mr wouldn't let it go because there was very little water pressure so an hour later, I had enough now it was heading toward 4PM with nothing done.  So we did a 3 miler around the hood for our workout, got some errands done and come 8:45pm he's back under the sink.  Thankfully by 9:05pm, we were back to full power.  Yeesh.  Thanks Mr. Plumber...just say no to crack.   Why do I always have the urge to keep quarters on hand when there is a plumber or some performing plumbing functions here?  I didn't see if he was showing crack but I think it's a requirement in the union handbook.  If you show coin slot in my house, be prepared to get a quarter dropped in it.  So while his Sunday followed suit to every Sunday ever, it won't be that way next Sunday because we're going out of town for a fun little trip so at least that'll be something to look forward to.

I do know that I need this elbow to heal ASAP because I had to be off weights basically all last week and having to pull back on that and then not doing as hard of cardio "rewarded" me with 1/2 lb gain.  So irritating.  There is nothing more frustrating than having the want to do more and your body is like "yeah, I'm not doing that right now."

How was your weekend?  It has to be more exciting than ours!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

What I'm Reading This Week #4

Happy Friday, you awesome people!  I'm ready for the weekend as usual and I bet you are too.

Let's get right to...

Can Lack Of Sleep Cancel Out Your Workout If You're Trying To Lose Weight?  (Something to think about for early bird workout peeps)

It Wouldn't Be Leg Day Without These 20 Epically Effective Exercises  (Because we all need to torture shape our legs more)

4 popular cold 'remedies' that don't live up to the hype  (Well, bust my buttons)

13 Benefits of Weightlifting That No One Tells You About  (Good reasons to pump some iron)

The 5 Best Exercises to Do If You're Trying to Lose Weight   (Excellent ways to work multiple groups at once.)

Small Diet Changes that Yield Big Results  (A few things to consider)

75 'Healthy' Foods That Aren't  (Some you know for sure, others can easily be eaten as long as you read labels)

These Are the Best YouTube Workout Videos, According to Our Editors   (Um, the fact isn't on this list makes me feel like they should consider sweeping their editors and starting over.)

Why This Year's Flu Is Killing So Many Young, Healthy People  (Watch out for these symptoms)

I don't think we have specific plans this weekend.  I do want to try walking more to get my ankles and legs used to my new shoes.  The Saucony LE2's definitely are not good workout shoes.  They slid around and I feel like I overpronate in them pretty bad.  We walked the other night for an hour for 3 miles and I felt bunged up but I know I have a short window to get used to them and walking around the house on occasion ain't gonna cut it.  Exciting, eh?

What do you have on tap this weekend?

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

The evolution of my cooking

I had some movie on in the background yesterday and I heard a commercial for Birds Eye Viola Skillet meals.  (I used to know them as Chicken Voila back in the day.)  When you grow up in the late 70's and early 80's to a single working mom that doesn't really cook, packaged foods are what you exist on.  Magic Fries, Pizza Rolls, canned La Choy Chicken Chow Mein, Totino's mini pizzas, Lunchables...yeah, healthy.  I've been experimenting with cooking since I was about eight years old.  I was never afraid to try anything in the kitchen.  The first time I made dinner for the Mr, I remembered he said his favorite dish was Green Pepper Steak without the green peppers.  LOL  I had a wok and I figured how hard could it be.  We didn't have the internet back then and I didn't have any Chinese cookbooks so I had to wing it as to what I thought was in there.  I cooked the steak with green pepper in a homemade soy sauce gravy I thickened with cornstarch that stayed lumpy.  I removed the green peppers so it still had the taste and not the skeeve factor for him.  I was kind of horrified because it tasted nothing like Chinese food to me and he thought it was the best thing ever at 19 that a chick wanted to go to the trouble of making his favorite dish for their first dinner date.

When we got married, I don't remember a whole lot of what I cooked then but I remember it was basically throw together meals.  I don't think it was frozen pizza all the time but there were a lot of things from bags and boxes involved.  When we started losing weight the first time, I cringe when I think of how we did it.  Lean Pockets, no salt tortilla chips and maybe an apple for lunch.  Yes, Chicken Voila was involved and they were dang good, to be honest.  Whatever made it easy for me to have a dinner we could feel okay about after working a long day was all I cared about.  My motto was to do as little as possible because who has the strength to do a lot after stressing out at work all day?  When we had company over is when I'd break out the homemade stuff.  I always brought out my best dishes and the Mr would say in front of everyone "I love it when we have company, she never cooks like this any other time."  He wasn't wrong but it still hurt my feelings a little.  When we got out of control with our weight and needed to reel it in, I know we couldn't go back to packaged meals for every meal of the day.  Even if it was better than we originally did, the saying of "she never cooks like this unless we have company" stuck with me and I wanted to do better than that. 

My challenge was to create dishes that he would think were better than any restaurant but still healthy and wouldn't derail our efforts.  He hasn't made the crack about me never cooking the good stuff except for company in almost 10 years. I won't say that I don't use the occasional helping hand in the frozen department but I make sure they are not chemical laden or have a bunch of crap in them.  It's usually either TJ's gnocchi, quinoa or polenta they're all good ingredient wise and then their frozen veggies.  The other stuff is almost all homemade and you know what, it takes the same amount of time for me to make the homemade stuff as it did to dump something from a bag.  If you batch cook and use a Food Saver, (affiliate link) you save even more time.  Heck, last night my dinner only took 5 minutes and we had tacos!  I took a frozen thing of ground turkey breast and stuck it in my Hot Logic Mini (affiliate link) and let it go all morning.  When I went to make my lunch, I checked and the turkey was cooked, I added the spices and then put it in the pyrex that goes with it and back into the Hot Logic so it could stay heated until dinner time.  So my main dish was done and I just needed to heat up my veggies.  It's so much more satisfying for me to know where my ingredients are coming from or that we eat as minimally processed as possible.  It's nowhere near the amount of trouble I used to think it was and it's so much more enjoyable for us.  If you think you don't have time to cook at least half homemade, I can tell you it just takes a little pre-planning or pulling your meat from the freezer the night before you go to bed so everything is all ready to roll come dinner time the next day.  You might be tempted to say "well you can prep all you want, you work from home."  That's true, I could but I don't.  I get just as caught up and distracted and work just as hard so it's VERY rare for me to have a meal all prepped.  But I can tell you, it's worth it!

How has your cooking evolved as you've gotten older?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Life examining TV still exists.

Okay, this is totally nerdy but does anyone need to talk about last night's This Is Us?  (No spoilers included)  We knew it was coming.  We knew we were gonna ugly cry just thinking about what's to come.  Still doesn't make it hurt any less.  I know it's just a show but many people feel a deep connection to it.  I think so many people wish they had parents like Jack and Rebecca...caring, understanding and trying as best they can to figure it all out like any parent.  It's easy as someone who basically grew up without a dad after age 8 to wish I had a dad who adored me the way Jack adored Kate even if it might've been to her detriment given how he soothed her with food as a kid.  I know I wish I had the ability to look back with the clarity of each facet of life the way it is in the show.  I think that comes with age though because as they say, perception is reality.

Like my friend yesterday.  She is in the beginning of her unfortunate journey of estrangement from her father at no real fault of her own.  She is pressured by family members to be the bigger person and reach out and she has done that several times only to be rejected.  She didn't know until yesterday my dad and I were, I guess people would call it estranged but honestly, it was more just neither of us made the effort.  So her hearing of me going 15 years without talking to him except getting a line in a Christmas card.  I shared my concerns about signs I saw after reaching out and that sent my rejection flag up the pole and knowing that the terms of any relationship going forward would need to be mutual.  I told her not to be pressured by others expectations and that while I don't condone hacking up the family tree, it is often necessary to either prune or limit exposure to family that makes you feel less than or constantly questioning yourself.  I know she doesn't want this but I also know that he has hurt her deeply and has his own issues to work out.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to just leave the door open and if one day they want to knock with an olive branch wreath to hang on it then that's the best you can hope for.

Seeing the relationship between Jack and Kate feels so foreign because I never had that so I have nothing to compare it to.  As I told the Mr probably 20 years ago when he was acting as a therapist for me one night, as many husbands tend to do, I told him I missed having a father, not necessarily that one.  It's not that he's a bad guy, matter of fact, so many people at his work always knew this other side of him that was funny, charming and could sell water to a drowning man.  It's kind of the same with my mom.  I hear the way her friends talk about her or see pictures of her at outings cracking up laughing and it's like "why aren't you that way when we're together?"  It used to be that way but it's like parents have a block where their kids are concerned about letting them see too much of the other side of their personality.  I suppose we all do it to a degree depending on who we're with but when it's your parents, it can leave you feeling like there's a whole other person you didn't get to know.  At a wake, many people will tell stories about the person and how hilarious they were or something they did or said that was totally out of character to how you knew them.  When it's a parent, it can make it feel like the person was a mystery.  The best (but most extreme) example of this is the episode of Six Feet Under where Nate found out about a room his dad rented to get away from his life every now and then.  This scene shows it and it's NSFW so watch it at home.  He finds things leaving him with more questions than answers about who his father really was as people continue to tell him how hilarious he was and what a wicked sense of humor he had...far from the man he knew.

That show was the only other show that ever made me examine things in my own life and truly changed it after watching it.  It is still as relevant today so if you have Amazon Prime, get to binge watching!

What shows current or gone hit deep. emotional chords in you?

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New toys and friendship joys

Yesterday was a great day.  I got in my workout early.  Since I'm dealing with tennis elbow right now per the chiro, I was told to lay off of weights for now.  Well, I can't lay off lay off so I did this bodyweight workout and used 10 lbs weights.  I was able to tell the position that my elbow didn't appreciate so I was able to modify it but that didn't stop it from feeling a little throbby later.  The chiro lasered it Thursday and said it was due to overpronating while lifting so once this heals up, I will have to go slightly lighter and work back up to what I was lifting.  Stupid body.  So that was all done and I could enjoy the time with my friend without worrying about having to workout later.

There is nothing better than getting together with a favorite girlfriend and just having some time to talk about life...good and not so great.  She's newly married (but has been with her hubby for years) and it was fun hearing about how life has and hasn't changed for her.  I told her to bring her wedding pics with her and they were so beautiful.  We were there but it was neat to see how the pics turned out that she was taking during golden hour.  The last time she was here she said she wanted to see our wedding pics...from 21 years ago.  She's a photographer so I thought it would give her a good chuckle to see ours.  She said the only thing that kind of drove her nuts is she wanted all of the dudes to put their hands into their pockets instead of them just hanging at their sides.  It's so funny to see the differences in how styles and prices have changed.

It gave me a chance to test out my new juicer the Mr got me for Christmas.   (affiliate link)   OMG, it ROCKS!!!  I used to use the hand squeeze version and that did fine but I always still had to dig into the flesh that was left.  Not with this baby!  It gets it all and the cool thing is you can adjust the level of pulp you get in your juice.  I don't like pulp but the Mr loves it so I made our homemade lemonade for dinner.  For lunch, she lit up when I offered fresh squeezed lemonade and mixed it with iced tea.  So I would say that is my favorite new tool fo' sho!

I made our lunch which was a snap to throw together...

Thank God for organic salad mix and then I added dried cranberries, clementine wedges and some cashews with bacon onion vinaigrette.    The main dish was a quinoa veggie bake that I made last week then froze the last two pieces and at 10am, I threw them into the mini Hot Logic and by the time we ate it was pipin' hot.   (affiliate link)   She couldn't believe how hot it kept it as the steam rolled off and I think she might get one since she's a nurse and this would allow her to make whatever she wanted at home or even a frozen meal placed right in there and ready when she is.  I love that thing!  So I got to spend more time with her and less time cooking.

The Mr came home and we all chatted for about an hour.  She had to go to take care of a car issue but we loved seeing her brand new car.  The Mr helped her come up with a plan to get a good deal on her first car and she and her hubby did pretty well.

When she left, I heated up some turkey chili from the freezer while the Mr conked out from being up early to do his workout.  Then I watched some boob tube while the Mr read his book, Sleeping Beauties.   (affiliate link) 

Do you make a point to connect with your friends for a gab session in person?

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Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Howdy Doody Time!

Well, not really but better than reminding you it's Monday.

Whoops, too late.  Let's make it a positive...

It was a nice weekend.  I got a goodly amount of work done Friday thanks to the Mr.  I spied a Kauai condo for sale that is in a rental pool.  It's enticing and we're going to see if we can get the financials and more importantly if the HOA allows A/C to be installed.  Mama can't stay with no A/C because every single time we go there the trade winds seem to go on vacation and we're not investing in a place that we can't even stay at ourselves.  LOL  It'll be interesting to see what we get back from the realtor.

Saturday we finally weighed in from the holiday carnage.  I'm 3 lbs up and he's 6 lbs up from our last mid-December weigh in.  I'm about a pound higher than I expected but it always takes twice as long to lose what you put on if you're lucky.  Oy.  We went to lunch and then went to an antique warehouse and I got a wonderful surprise.  I saw my "work dad" there!  Do you guys have work parents or are you a work parent to others?  I started there when I was 20 so pretty much everyone was older than me at the time but he was my work dad and the woman who hired me was my work mom.  We were so happy to see each other and talked for about 15 minutes.  We talked about our travels since his retirement.  He didn't get to travel when he worked because he had kids continually in college, then grad school then one went for her Ph.D. and I always hoped he'd get the chance to travel.  He's been overseas to Normandy, Florence, Rome, Paris and a few other spots.  You could see his face light up as he relived the places he drove.  He said, "where's your coat?!"  I laughed and said "in the car!" and we cracked up because he told his wife "she would come in from the freezing cold with no coat and I'd ask where her coat was and she'd say "in the car!"  Nothing's changed!"  It was truly my happy moment of the weekend.  I was able to connect with my work mom in Savannah, GA almost 3 years ago so I'm a happy girl since you never know if you'll see people again once you leave a job. 

Yesterday was spent cleaning pretty much all day.  I am so grateful the Mr got straight to it as I was making brunch because it's always nicer if they do stuff without you having to ask.  Am I right, ladies?  :-D  So the house is in tip-top shape (well the bedroom doors will be closed but we can't have it all) for a visit with one of my favorite gal pals.  Her hubby gifted her a girls weekend this weekend so I can't wait to hear all about it.  I'm making us lunch and hopefully, she'll still be here when the Mr gets home from work so he can see her new ride.   (He was pretty helpful in guiding her to getting a good deal.)   I'm working out this morning so that when she leaves we won't have to do a whole ordeal as I fill him in on the day.  I know he'll groan having to get up early to workout but he'll be glad when he doesn't have to do it tonight.

What did y'all do this weekend?  Do you remember your "work parents?"

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Friday, January 19, 2018

What I'm Reading This Week #3

Happy Friday you sassy beasts!

The snow is set to disappear this weekend which makes us sad campers but maybe since it's going to warm up slightly, we can still build that snowman today.  

Let's roll on into...

4 Keys to Fat Loss Beyond “Eat Less and Move More”  (Excellent points.   "Eat less and move more is usually uttered by people who have not struggled with weight for a long time.)

How To Tell If You Have A Fast Or Slow Metabolism  (There's a picture of a slough on mine, is that bad?)

This Lymphatic Cleanse Will Detox Your Whole Body  (All very good info.)

These Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Activities Double As a Workout  (We can attest that snowshoeing and sledding are very good workouts!)

This Facial Fascia Manipulation Technique Is Basically Natural Botox  (I don't know about natural botox but I do this on occasion and it feels wonderful and loosens everything up.)

How to Stick to Commitments to Yourself When You're Tired and Stressed Out  (Putting some of these to work for me for sure.)

17 Science “Facts” That Are Actually Not True  (Hmm, well how 'bout that!)

7 Things Doctors Want You To Know About Alzheimer’s  (Keep these in mind)

Instagram Now Shows When You Were Last Active, Here’s How To Turn It Off  (Do it now.  Don't fall victim to "the man!")

The Best Places to Have High Tea  (I can't wait try a few of these places!)

It's supposed to be a sloppy, rainy mess this weekend so I'm sure whatever we find to do will likely be indoors.  I've got a lunch date Monday so we've got cleaning to do.  Pffft.

What do you have going on this weekend?

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Perfect Date Night

It's Thursday peeps...or what I like to call "Friday lite."  

I was super productive yesterday which always feels really good.  I'm only about half done with those projects but hopefully I can work on the second half soon and give myself some breathing room.    When the Mr got home, I asked him the question every snow lovin' woman wants to know...


He was game so we got all suited up in our snow pants and toque/sock monkey hat respectively and unfortunately the snow answered the question for us.  No.  You will not build a snowman...I am not packing snow.

So what do two people do when sunset is looming and they're ready for snowy fun?

Well you sled, of course.

We don't have a major snow hill behind the house but it's enough to get a little speed going.  A leftover plastic drop cloth and trash bag gave the perfect speed we needed.  What can I say, use what you've got!  It served as our cardio for 30 minutes trudging up and down the hill, rolling out awkwardly then lifting my big arse up to do it all over again.  

We basically stopped when I could no longer feel my toes.  Then I went down while he cleaned off the rest of my car (I got most of it with a little shoveling earlier in the day) and then he joined me for some PT.  Date night.

Then it was dinner time and I saw The 1975 put their London show at the O2 back up so we watched a good bit of that.  Cannot WAIT for new music from them this year!  *confetti building inside until release date*

Today I see the chiro.  I feel weird not bringing him treats.  Maybe next time since it'll be close to Valentines Day.  A chocolate covered shortbread foam roller or something.

What did you do on your last date night?

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Unsettling peripherals and sad nekkidness

Happy Hump Day all!

You ever sit there and see something out of the corner of your eye out the window?  I went to investigate and saw twice the amount of robins than I was able to take a picture of.

This was unsettling as the Mr and I just watched The Birds a few days ago.  (Awful!  Confirmed, I am not a Hitchcock fan.  This was supposed to be his masterpiece and we both hated it.) 

Yesterday was a sad day for us because the tree finally came down.  There's just nothing sadder than a nekkid tree stripped of its ornaments.

Given how utterly crappy my foot/leg felt upon getting up and hobbling to the bathroom, I didn't think I was going to be able to do much stand up work yesterday.  But the lighting was too good and after some massage and rolling, it felt like I could at least stand for a bit.  I did a vegetarian dish and was happy with what I ended up with but I wish I wasn't eating lunch at 3:30pm because of it.  Pfft.

We did a strength workout and it was all I could do to get through it.  My elbow is seriously screwed up to the point I can't lift weight very well.  I don't know if this is what tennis elbow feels like even though I haven't played tennis.  I made an appointment with the chiro for tomorrow so I might see if he can zap it.  It started up when we started doing ChaLean Extreme and lifting slow and heavy.  Step in line bod...mama ain't got no time for this!

After that, it was dinner taco night.

How's your week going so far?

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Snow day!

Well, we FINALLY got to strap on the snowshoes and get out and play!

We really lucked out because it snowed all day and it's such a treat to be able to snowshoe while it's still snowing.

My ankle was still sore but honestly, it felt better snowshoeing than it did shopping in those damn devil shoes so I was going to push it as far as I could.  We were able to do four laps which is 3 1/2 miles so it would basically equal one way to the cabin at Trapp Lodge that I'm shooting for in December.

Knowing that tells me that I need to keep up the booty work (no choice in that matter but still) and maybe doing some knee strengthening exercises could be beneficial too.

The Mr decided it best to stay off his skis since he got injured pretty bad the last two times he did it.  Never the less, being a dude,  he wanted an action shot.

We were the only two shoers to be on the trail but we went around so many times, it looks like a busload from snowshoe club escaped from school early.

When we got home, I immediately began work on our chili rice bowls (thank you, Hawaii) and he cut up my veggies for the week then promptly conked out on the couch.  We'd spent a lazy morning in bed so we ended up skipping breakfast (well, had breakfast for lunch) and I think we were both ready to dive headfirst into our dinner.

It was a wonderful day and we stayed toasty warm especially with our hand warmers in our gloves.  I think it should be cold enough for the snow to stick around until Friday so if it does, I'd like to try to go back out Thursday.  The Mr. started pondering jobs in his field in Vermont as we talked about how nice it would be to get season passes and do this almost every day in the winter.  Gotta admit, that made me smile.  He said he is so glad he's not one of those people who b*tches about the snow anymore.  Yes, it sucks to drive in but when you find something fun to do in it like ski, snowshoe, build a snowman, sled, build snow lanterns, make snow angels, go tubing or just sit inside with a mug of hot tea watching the snow lightly fall to the makes you truly appreciate the beauty of the season.

What is your favorite way to play in the snow?

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy Monday!

It was a nice weekend for us.  Friday, I told the Mr that I know it wasn't our usual hot chocolate night but I wanted a special mug of the fancy stuff to send out our tree.  I knew that would be the last snowfall before we took it down and I wanted to give it a proper chocolatey send off.  We turned off all of the lights except for the tree and little ceramic tree.  I made hot cocoa (truffle for me and his special Lake Champlain Guatemalan Chocolate I got him for Christmas) and we sipped watching the snow fall.  He said it tasted and felt just like Vermont.  Score.  We reminisced about our pup and the silly things she used to do.  Then he surprised me and brought up some 8mm tape transfer DVD's of our first Christmas and so many wonderful memories with our girl.  He also brought up my grandpa's last Christmas which was bittersweet as he and his mom and dad were in it.  At that point, he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we all knew it would be his last but he was thankfully early in the diagnosis so he still looked healthy.  We would lose his parents two years later within a week of each other after 70 years together.  After the present opening, the Mr filmed me and my two cousins having a snowball fight.  It was so funny to watch and listen to and brought smiles to our faces.  That was my favorite night of the year so far.

Saturday we woke up to a goodly amount of snow but it was quite cold which I can take but it was gusts up to 40mph which would've been not so fun to navigate.  We went out to lunch and went shopping afterward.  I found a place that had a holiday sale that carried this North Pole Post mailbox I've been eyeing for two years.  I was able to get it for $19 so I couldn't pass it up. 

I also found this little box that I can't wait to fill with greens!

We swung by a few other stores and after having felt better than I've felt in months for the previous three days, I could feel my foot starting to flare big time.  I finally figured out the root of my worst pain...those effing Brooks shoes that I've dropped over $300 on in the past year.  When I had my Saucony's, I was fine and the only time I used Brooks were to workout so I had a wider toe box to work with.  When a stick stabbed through my shoe in Martha's Vineyard and I knew I had to replace them, I did so with a Spenco insole which I used for years.  The problem is, the arch support was now rubbing the bottom of my arch in the plantar fascia making it sore and so I thought the Saucony's were the problem.  When I got the Brooks, I got Spenco insoles for those in lieu of their insoles since the chiro said those are the only shoes I should have (even the podiatrist said so 5 years ago).  But that's when the problem just built on itself.  So by the end of the day, all of the forward progress I made was out the window.

That meant Sunday was spent going to the shoe store and trying on other shoes with wider toe boxes.  We wondered if maybe the Brooks would be okay if I got the women's model (which only comes in barf colors) over the men's (which had more colors and less Rainbow Brite looking).  Well, one walk around in those and it hit in the same spot.  So Brooks are out...period.  Really sucks because I love the ones I just bought 3 months ago that are one week out of their return period.  *bangs head against wall*  I walked in the New Balance and I've never cared for those but they hit on the same spot.  What were the last ones he brought out?  Saucony's.  Of course, they fit the best and the arch support hit right where *I* need it to and I felt so much more comfortable wearing those.  Not like their color selection is much better but I picked some  (affiliate link) that didn't make me recoil in horror in wides.  I don't know what it is but it's like all running shoe companies treat people with wide feet like the bastard child that should be lucky we even get a shoe.  We'll see how I like them once they come in and I'll have 90 days to test drive them.  But it's a good thing my butt muscles are built up so hopefully, the ankle pain will go away quicker.

We got snow overnight so we're going to try shoeing today.  I know the ankle isn't in the best shape to be doing that but I get so few chances to do it that you've gotta do what you've gotta do, yo.

Happy MLK Day.  If you have 30 minutes, please make sure you watch this amazing movie that they show at the National Civil Rights Museum.  It is truly heartbreaking, inspirational and gives the full story of what happened that day.  It's on YouTube so it's free for now.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, January 12, 2018

What I'm Reading This Week #2

It's finally Friday!  Woo hoo!

I think we're supposed to get some snow this weekend after having had crappy rain to wash away any Christmas base that formed.  I'm really hoping to get enough to snowshoe but that never seems to happen anymore.  Might have to head north.  (Nervous laughter from the Mr as he proofreads that.)

Let's blaze a trail with...

How to Find Your Motivation   (Yike!  So much for the "21 days to make a habit" adage!)

6 Best Everyday Foods That Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally  (Sorry beets, it ain't happenin')

Here's What a Doctor Has to Say About All That Protein You're Eating  (If you're over 160 lbs, use this link under where it says 'how to calculate your protein needs.')

10-Minute Vegan Dinners to Sneak In More Plants This Year  (Meatless Mondays...or Thursday.  Whatever.)

7 Clever Tricks to Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick  (Word.)

7 Weight-Loss Secrets Doctors Tell Their Friends  (Good reminders)

40 Weight Loss 'Secrets' That Don’t Work  (In case you need more info to make coming up with a plan that works for you a little more maddening.)

6 Mood-Boosting Foods to Help Soothe SAD This Winter  (For those who suffer)

40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40  (Well, this is depressing.  Hello wrinkles and baggy cooter)

Is It OK to Use the Pill to Skip a Period?  (Sure is and I wish I'd known that before planning my wedding two years out around my period.  Boy, the gynie got a laugh out of that one when I told her!)

I Smiled at Total Strangers For a Month, and It Drastically Improved My Mood  (Definitely worth a try.  Imagine how nice the world could be to each other!)

Not a whole lot planned until we wake up and see if the weatherman was right or not.  It seems with all of the technology we have these days, they can't seem to predict weather within 2-3 hours.  So I'm hoping to return Monday with pics of us dashing through the snow.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Is it the weekend yet?

Happy Thursday all! 

I've been hitting my goal of getting in more water though I need to make sure I get it in earlier.  I find myself chugging late afternoon so I'm basically dehydrated all morning and early afternoon.  (Unless I have a mug o' tea which is probably once or twice a week.) 

It's been a little warmer the past few days but unfortunately, the Mr got held up at work so we couldn't walk like I planned.  I need to start testing out the gams for my walking goal for the end of the month.  While Walk Away the Pounds is nice, it's not the same as actually walking in terms of how it works your muscles.  I gave my booty its mid-week PT break but rolled, stretched and did some vibration board.  I'm finding getting off the couch and side kicks are much easier which tell me the glute medius is starting to fire regularly.  The amount of times I need to stretch my extensor muscles to my toes is reducing slightly so I know I'm on the right track.  I have GOT to remind myself that physical therapy must be a part of my life five days a week no exceptions...especially on vacation.  It obviously works even if it isn't in my time frame.  Four months to see the beginning of results isn't a fun thing to go through. 

Dinner was fish over polenta.

It's funny, seeing that picture I immediately heard my grandma's voice say the word "feesh" in my head.  I'm so glad those little things are still prominent in my mind. 

We got caught up on the DVR.  Kevin Probably Saves the World, Bull and The Goldbergs.  I love being able to fast-forward through commercials.  I'm still enjoying the Christmas tree.  Yes, it's still up.  It calms me so much to just sit and watch it with the lights off.  I'll get one more snowfall with it tomorrow and Sunday will probably be its swan song for this year.  It won't hit our record though for the latest we've taken it down...January 22nd a couple of years ago.

I've got some work to get done today and start making a grocery list since it's refuel weekend.  Depending on the weather I'm hoping maybe I can strap on the snowshoes.  One can dream.

What's on your DVR these days?  How are you doing with your goals for the week?

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It seems trivial but it's not

Did anyone see the premiere of Ryan Murphy's new first responder drama, 9-1-1?  I had to watch it because I'm a diehard Six Feet Under (affiliate link) fan and love Peter Krause.) If you've never seen Six Feet Under and have Amazon Prime, it's free as part of the membership.  Watch it.)  As I watched the internet slam it up and down because it wasn't a "typical" Ryan Murphy show with insane situations that make you cringe and/or watch through your fingers, I had to shake my head.  I went straight into old lady's called character building.  Where you don't just glaze over something that has two lines and then jumps into the faceless demon literally drilling you with a strap-on.  (Yes, that happened...American Horror Story fans know the deal.  Last season was the first season I didn't watch because I'm done with the whole "how much can I shock you?" crap.  Boring.)

I actually admire that it gave you just enough of the taste of personal lives of the first responders to get across that those who run into danger deal with their own problems and demons.  I come from a family of first responders and health care workers on both sides.  Just like all of us, they are not perfect, and the way they deal with their problems or even egos that are a weird side effect of saving lives can be less than admirable.  This show, if given the opportunity, will shed light on that based on the previews for the season.

But here's why this show has me shaking my head, and it seems trivial, but it's not.  Connie Britton's character is a dispatch operator, but at home, she cares for her mother with Alzheimer's... "late stage."  Now if they'd just said Alzheimer's and left it at that, we'd have been fine, but they make a point of emphasizing late stage.  The problem is, her actions, abilities and cognitive function are moderate stage according to the Alzheimer's Association.  Why am I making a big deal of this?  Who cares what stage this is and what the exact symptoms are?  Because until you have watched someone you love more than anything deteriorate, the only thing you have to go on is what you see on TV or read on a website.  There is nothing that accurately depicts what actual "late stage" Alzheimers looks like because frankly, it's too ugly.  You want a true American horror story?  Real life late stage is it.  They have no problem showing us dead bodies on the news during breakfast or dinner (hence the reason I haven't watched it in almost 2 years).  They have no problem showing all kinds of violence and abuse that desensitizes us as a society, but God forbid they show the accurate depiction of this or any disease.  It angers me because some poor person who sees this show and is dealing with their parent, spouse or grandparents going through the condition assumes some myths portrayed in the scenes with her mother.  They may expect that they can carry on a coherent but sometimes confused conversation with them or read a book (that still has the Mr screaming).  That they'll still be able to eat somewhat normally and of course any caregiver that may come in when they're not there won't take care of them and will ignore them.

Can we please stop perpetuating stereotypes on all levels where this is concerned?  Can we get "real" about diseases of any kind if you're going to bother portraying them on your show at all?  It's admirable that they will eventually represent the hardships on the caregiver family member(s).  But showing the hired caregiver not doing their job the second they walk in the door is a slap in the face to all of the good home health care workers that give family caregivers a break.  By perpetuating this image, you are scaring and guilting people into feeling like they honestly have no other options than to take on a superhero mentality to do it all because no one else can be trusted.  That is unsustainable.  Caregivers need breaks...period.  They need to know that not everyone sent from whatever program they finally broke down and asked for help from isn't going to send them a worker that ignores the patients needs when you're not there.  I firmly believe this is the exception rather than the rule, but because it gets more clicks, you only hear about the bad cases.  Our hired caregiver is very trusted and takes excellent care of my grandma a few days a week.  She doesn't ignore her, her needs or even Grandma's husband who can be aggravating on a good day lately.

If someone you know is going through a disease, please initially go to forums and support groups online.  These people will give you a true picture of what to expect.  Don't get your idea of expectations from a TV show.  I firmly believe going in armed with a true representation of the facts will help you be better prepared for the harsh realities that may face you.  Obviously, every person is different, and one person's late stage may not look like someone else's but knowing what you could face will arm you emotionally and mentally for the road ahead.  I don't mean look up every horror story out there, there are plenty of those.  Do it once for a whole day, take notes and then stay off the internet unless you're looking for clinical trials, music, and holistic therapies or nutritional support- all of which can make a huge difference in the patient maintaining as much cognitive function for as long as possible.

9-1-1 airs tonight (Wednesdays) 9pm Eastern/8pm Central

Did you watch 9-1-1?  What did you think?  

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's good to have goals

Happy Tuesday all!  We've got the first full week of the new year under our belts.  How'd you fair?

We dropped the ball the night the ball dropped and didn't workout last Sunday.  Not quite how I wanted to send out the old year.  :-\  We didn't plan to skip, we just kind of realized it around 10:30pm and at that point I wasn't feeling like it.  We did start out the new year right and exercised Monday through Friday.  I won't lie, the cravings were REAL yo...for both of us.  We had to adjust back to not stuffing anything in our pieholes we desired.  I think that was really my main goal was trying to slay that demon.  Most people have a tendency to want to jump back in full blast and that's fine if it doesn't overwhelm you.  I wanted to do that first and this week I will work on getting in more water.

You know how you have that one pair of jeans or whatever that tells you where you're at?  Well, I have a pair of underwear that tells me when I sit down if I'm back to pre-holiday/vacation weight.  Nope, my band runneth over.  Sigh.  But it is better than it was a week ago so that's something I guess.  Actually, Aunt Flo is in town later this week and she usually brings me at least a two-pound loss...from what, I'll have no idea.  My mental state would crumble depending on that number and I have no desire to let a number rule me right now.  We're also working on not letting our high cal day stay so out of control.  We got away from what it was intended to be when we started which was one meal and one dessert out to a free for all to see how much we could cram in without splitting open just because it was the weekend thereby allowing us to mostly maintain.  But both of our weights have crept up a little and I'm tired of losing the same weight.  I really have about 60 pounds to lose to a weight that will finally allow me to not have to worry about weight limits on activities and I'd really just love to get there.  We know what works for us and where we have to improve, now it's up to us to make the commitment to just friggin' do it.

I think that's the hard part.  When you go from basically being a social recluse because you don't want to subject yourself to the harshness potentially waiting for you at almost 500 lbs to someone 225 lbs lighter, a whole other world opens back up to you.  You're not worried about if you will fit at restaurants or huffing and puffing just walking up a flight of stairs.  You get comfortable because life is now much more comfortable.  But we're not getting any younger and we still qualify as almost morbidly obese and you don't see a whole lot of morbidly obese people making it into old age.  I'm not ready to think that I've only got 20 or 25 years left in me.

I am still dealing with the ankle/leg issue which prohibits me from going gonzo on exercise.  On a happy note, last week I was able to do my first star excursion exercise.  (My PT requires it 3 reps to the side, 3 to the back and 3 to the other side behind the standing leg.)  This is a balance test and one that even 4 weeks ago, I was completely unable to do.  My chiro has said until my butt/hip muscles kick in to take the load balance as they're engineered to do, my pain will not go away.  The medial glute is starting to fire and the pain is slightly reduced so I can only pray that as I go forward, my pain will go down.  My first goal is to be able to walk 5-8 miles on an upcoming road trip we have planned at the end of the month without being totally crippled the next day.  That will only happen as long as we take breaks.  The chiro recommended a 20 minutes rest every two hours.  My ultimate goal is being able to snowshoe to the cabin at Trapp Lodge in Vermont in December which is a 6-mile round trip.  Because you've got snowshoes on, it will feel like 10 miles.  There will be incentive to stop in the forest here and there to keep my legs on track and truly take it all in.  It's good to have goals, right?

What health or fitness component are you working on this week?

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Friday, January 5, 2018

What I'm Reading This Week 2018 #1

And so it starts all over again!

It's the first Friday links of the new year so let's shiver me timbers into...

The 21 Laziest Ways to Lose Weight  (I'm down with the lazy way for now)

What to Do When You've Lost Your Weight-Loss Mojo  (Good tips)

The 1 Thing You Can Do For Better Sleep Will Only Take You 5 Minutes Each Night   (Sleep is just as important to weight loss...must remind myself of this!)

10 Genius Mind Games to Keep You Motivated to Lose Weight   (I don't know about "genius" but good stuff)

Keto, Whole30 diets rank last on one best diets of 2018 list  (For those considering either)

If You're Going to Fall on Ice, Here's How to Do It Safely  (Tis the season)

11 Things in Your Home That Are Making You Unhappy  (These all apply...must get to donating)

Gene Wilder's Widow Pens Heartfelt Essay on Actor's Battle With Alzheimer's  (So incredibly brave and sad)

17 Ways to Age-Proof Your Brain  (Exercise your noggin)

Vintage Video Games:  From Pong to PacMan and Beyond  (For the Mr...and you too if ya want)

I'm pretty sure we'll be taking down the Christmas stuff this weekend since tomorrow is Ephipany.  I'm ready to have my living room back.  No other plans that I'm aware of and I'm totally fine with that!

What are you guys doing this weekend?

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Word of the Year

This is the time of year when many of us choose a word to guide our intentions for the new year.  My word for the year is reconnect.

When my friend was here for the holidays, it was so nice to see her and talk with her more than what we can fit in over chat.  We mentioned last year we wanted to Skype more and I think we did it once.  It was neither of our faults, it's just one of those "life gets away from you" kind of things. 

We have some friends that we used to get together with once a month and now we're lucky if we get together once a year.  The dynamics of the couple changed a little and I feel like our groove is a little off.  I would like to get more alone time with her because they road trip a lot on the weekend and I know she hates the winter so I think if we could take a girls day or I could get her out snowshoeing when it isn't "20 minutes outside and you'll die of exposure" weather.  He doesn't like her to talk about work when we're all together and I feel like she needs an outlet or just someone to vent to from time to time so I'd like to be that for her if she needs it.  Obviously, if they want to get together, we'd like to do that more than once a year too.

There is an important reconnection that is being made.  I hadn't seen my dad in 15 years.  I was never a daddy's girl and our personalities clashed because frankly, we were similar in our stubborn attitudes.  He was always very "my way or the highway" and when the time for contributions for major life events came around, I would be sick for weeks before and after knowing I had to talk to him.  I was terrified of talking to him because he wasn't a very good empathizer.  Then you have me who cried on Christmas day in 2016 because I felt bad the Christmas tree was "alone" for the first Christmas ever.  His whole side of the family is very much a "suck it up" kind of family and that doesn't jibe with someone like me who has anxiety issues and needs to pick and choose what I allow to stress me so that my hearing doesn't cut out or that I get so dizzy I can't stand.  I tried on two separate occasions to reach out to him with the terms of a relationship being that it's a two-way street.  Both attempts ended up fizzling out (not on my end) but I refused to put myself out there again to be rejected a third time.  I made peace that he may not be cut out to be a father (he was a teen dad) and forgave him for that for my own well being and moved on.  Others would be upset for me but I truly moved on despite some refusing to believe I could just because they couldn't in the same situation.  (Oy, people just LOVE to project, don't they??)  For whatever reason, I decided to call him last Father's Day.  I left a message for him and he was traveling but within 30 minutes, he was calling me back.  The look on the Mr's face when I said "hi Dad" was priceless.  I didn't tell him I did it because honestly, I didn't want to go through the humiliation or that pitiful look when he didn't call back.  It was an emotional phone call and I'd never heard him like that.  My guard was still up though.  I decided to see how it'd go and knew not to get my hopes up.  My birthday came and went and nothing and I'll admit that stung a little. 

I got a Christmas card from him asking for my phone number because he tried to call on my birthday but he had the wrong number.   This was another red flag for me because his side of the family are notorious for saying they didn't have the number or that they called and it was the wrong number.  I can't count how many times I heard it growing up.  Plus he knows at least 3 people who have my number so to me, I felt like if he really wanted to get a hold of me, he easily could have.  My old instincts kicked in and I shut down and told myself I couldn't choose to go through this again.  I couldn't get my hopes up when I was getting 20-year-old excuses.  On Christmas Day, he called.  (He never told me how he got my number but it showed he put forth the effort.)  Before he got off the phone, he said he'd be in town in the next few days and he wanted to see me.  This is when I was already looking forward to going into my post-holiday social coma that I need to breathe again.  He said we could go to dinner, grab a coffee or whatever or they were staying with my grandparents if we wanted to go there.  (Grandpa makes his disdain for me pretty evident and grandma can be a little dismissive).  I called him last week and asked if we could swing by their house.  I know he was surprised but I wanted to make the ballsy choice.  The one that said I wasn't afraid to go there. 

When we arrived, I didn't realize half the family would be there to visit with him while he was in town.  I saw people I hadn't seen in 30 years and it was nice to catch up with most of them.  My dad and his wife were a few minutes behind us and he cried when he hugged me.  It was really weird to be asked about our travels, my job and have people take a genuine interest in us because we don't get that with my mom's side with Grandma in her current state.  It was nice but also very overwhelming.  It was nice to see him and it was the first time I really ever talked to his wife who seems nice.  There were also some people who remind me why I don't mesh well with that side and some I prefer not to see again.  I was gracious and sweet but yeah, no need to see some of them again.  He called to wish me a happy new year as well which was nice but that call was a little awkward because we'd pretty much exhausted all talking points by then.

As I told the Mr, I am glad that we have bridged that gap and feel like if anything happened to either he or my grandma that I would have no regrets where they are concerned.  (Honestly, I wouldn't have before but I think it just would've felt like "why wasn't I ever good enough?"  He did show me some things that showed he did think of me even if he didn't call or write.  It's nice to have that closure of feeling like I was never on his mind.)  I am not looking to have George and Annie Banks relationship with him because that's just not us and that ship has sailed.  I am perfectly happy getting a couple of emails or calls every now and then.  I know we both approach life completely different and as an adult, I can recognize that.  I also have to recognize the part of myself that can no longer be that scared little girl that was afraid to be herself around him.  I will meet people where they are as long as they are willing to do the same and we'll just have to hope for the best.

Do you have a word for this year?

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Assessing the Holiday Ups and Downs

This holiday season was a doozy.

You ever start out totally gung ho in November and then when November sucks down the drain quicker than you can blink, it's December and you start freaking out because there is so much you need/want to fit in? 

What was weird about this year is the ups were accompanied with downs or at least downer elements.

I entertained family so they could get out of the usual chaotic setting and really busted my butt to make a nice dinner/dessert but I could tell they weren't digging what I made which made all of the exhaustion that I put on my Virgo self feel like it wasn't appreciated.  It wasn't until 3 weeks later that I was told they both enjoyed being out of the usual setting and had a good time.  So it felt nice to be acknowledged but I will think twice about going to the kind of trouble and expense I did.  I think they'd be just as happy out to dinner and I wouldn't have to kill myself getting ready and putting all of the touches I like.  But the Mr and I did have a nice time afterward looking at Christmas lights.

I love baking and this year put that love to the test because I did it six times.   I know the few I truly enjoy doing it for appreciated it.  (Woodsy!)  Because I'm a dork, I didn't think to batch bake cookies with like baking times until the last two times I did it.  (Like all 350 degree cookies in the bottom oven on three sheets and the two 375 degree recipes in the top oven on the commercial size sheet.)  I would've been done in like 90 minutes over 4 hours.  Planning has got to be key and I've got notes down for the future which probably won't be this year since we're out of town over the holidays.

Holiday gatherings started on a good note with Thanksgiving being the best and most having people pretty jolly, the second gathering being a little less enthusiastic but still good and Christmas being so so but reminding us why we won't be here for it this year which already brings down my stress levels.  I was appreciative of the good times we had and disappointed people couldn't keep their issues to themselves on the day it counts most.  I have to accept that they have their way to deal with certain things and I will deal with it in a way that brings me peace to enjoy the season.

Another thing I have to accept is that Grandma is coming to the end of her time on this Earth and it was never more apparent than Christmas Day.  Anyone who has ever been touched by dementia (or any terminal disease) knows that there comes a point where you pray for them to go peacefully in the night so that their suffering is over.  I said my goodbyes about 2 years ago and at this point, all I want is two or three sentimental things and I'm done.  If there is anything good that can come from her situation it's that the Mr and I had a lot of talks about what we do and don't want should we ever find ourselves in the same God awful position.

We had my best friend visit and it was the first time I've seen her in about 18 months.  We had a lot of time to gripe about each others crap, talk about the things that are going good, commiserate over Star Wars stuff, open gifts and eat a good meal together.  It was a perfect visit and the only downer was the time warp that meant it was time for her to go too soon.

I had a reunion with family I hadn't seen in years, some in over 30 years.  I will do a separate post on this but I was also reminded why I don't see some of them...ever.  You ever see family members and think "if I didn't look like them, I would swear I'm adopted." 

I really hated feeling by the time Christmas rolled around that I was just too exhausted to feel a whole lot of holiday spirit.  On the upside, I was very happy to see the Mr was surprised to get his R2D2 that Santa got him.  That little bastard cost what our entire budget usually is for each other but he's done so much to help me on the work end of things, I try to make sure he knows his work is appreciated.  I also told him not to get used to the extravagance.  LOL  But watching him roll him around the house and call him "buddy" and smile and say he truly felt like a kid at Christmas again was worth it.

A weather "up" was getting some snow.  We got a spit on Christmas Eve and I don't think we qualified as a true white Christmas but I'll take what I can get.  We've gotten a few inches since the holiday but just enough that there isn't a snowshoe base and if there is,  it's like 5 out there and too dangerous to do it.

I saved up a gift certificate I had to try this vibroacoustic therapy I'd been hearing about for the 29th.  It was with the same lady I had this other therapy with for one session and she's a talker.  I made it pretty clear as we were heading down that I had a stressful holiday season and was looking forward to laying back and totally relaxing.  She saw fit to start her yammering about keto, going to the gym, her boob rash that has been improved with dry brushing and her insurance...for 30 effing minutes.  Finally I said "I'm just warning you, I can feel myself slipping so don't be surprised if I don't answer you" and she's like "I can be quiet now."  Okay, why do you need to be in there with me at all??  It was very relaxing once she shut her keto hole but since she insists on being present for that stuff, I doubt I'll do it again.  Just go listen to Liquid Mind or Yellow Brick Cinema on YouTube and you'll get the same effect mentally.

My other work stuff got a major boost just before the holiday and now all of the work-aheads I did are coming to an end.  I have no choice but to get back to full steam ahead and I suppose that has always lingered in my head all holiday season,  Anyone who is self employed knows that you really never have time off and a "normal" workday is a thing of the past.  It can be the hardest job with the longest hours you've ever had for the least amount of money.  (I'm typing this on NYE which is on a Sunday and many have the day off and yes, I worked Christmas Day too here and there.)  Your mind is always thinking on ways to get ahead and though I've bought some blogging and YouTubey kind of classes, finding ways to fit it in and not lose my mind has proven challenging.  It's also funny how when you're self employed because you're not in a cubical, it's not a "real" job.  I had to empathize when I watched some movie about a writer and he was with his family on Christmas and they were wowed over his recipe and he said "hello, it was in my book."  They all looked at each other and they're like "yeah, none of us reads your books."  

For me the biggest down was failing miserably on the food front.  We haven't weighed in for 2 weeks because our distended bellies are enough to tell us that it's bad.  I have been emotionally eating my way through the downs so starting the 22nd, I just said screw it.  The ONLY thing to stop it from going totally off the rails is we did make sure we exercised every day.  It didn't make a huge dent because as they say, you can't out exercise a bad diet.  Now, we're like everyone else in the diet boat.  I'm tired of feeling full and disgusting all the time.  Sigh.

What were some of your holiday season highs and lows?

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