Friday, September 29, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #39

We made it to Friday, y'all!  I hope you had a great week and are ready to get some stuff done, relax and whatnot.  You know what time it is so I'm not going to is it the end of September??  This month seemed to throttle by at 85 mph.  We got another successful week under our belts on the walking/exercise front.  Adding strength back in made for some painful days and I'd like to think I'll adjust but I rarely do as my hips/legs are in a constant state of bunge.  

Now let's add up:

The 10 Best Hip Flexor Stretches to Get Loosened Up  (My hips are the tightest they've ever been.  Hopefully these help!)

14 Proven and Healthy Ways to Burn Body Fat Fast   (I always forget about #8.  I'll have to get drinking!)

Why Bedtime Yoga Does Double Duty as a Way To Prepare You for Sleep  (I need to start doing this  (A lot of these can be done in bed so you can do them before bed and when you wake up too to decrunch the stiffness in the morning)

The One Ingredient Gastroenterologists Add to Their Coffee for Better Gut Health. (Ha... this is the only way we can stomach coffee!  If it wasn't prescribed by a doctor, we wouldn't drink that swill at all!)

8 Surprising Uses for Hemorrhoid Cream. (It's not just for wrinkles anymore!  Will have to give some cream a test to see if it works for the suitcases I've been carrying under my eyes the past few years)

7 Kitchen Hacks That Make Eating Healthy So Much Easier  (Oy, stop using the word "hack" when it's merely a tip. πŸ™„)

Why It's So Difficult to Forgive a Parent (It gets pretty hard when someone is given repeated times to show up for you your entire life and doesn't.  Even if you think you're okay with how things are, something like, oh I don't know, not checking in with your only child to see how she's doing after her mother died just triggers all of the old BS and what the hell is wrong with you that you are so easy to leave behind?  So thanks for that.)

Why Has a Useless Cold Medication Been Allowed on Shelves for Years?  (I could've told you that.  That crap NEVER worked for me!)

60 Best Fall Quotes to Celebrate the Beauty of Autumn (Now bring on the TEMPS to go with the season please!)

We're rolling into schpooky movie season.  We've already watched a few and I'm ready to pop da corn and move into Michael Myers and Jason territory.  (We tend to watch the ones we like a little less at the beginning so when October nears the middle and end we've got all of the good stuff like Freddy, Scream and obviously, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Got any weekend shenanigans on tap?  An apple orchard?  Pumpkin patch?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Let's Get Crafty: Fall Raffia Wreath

How would you like to make a time consuming wreath that will rub your cuticles almost raw and render your fingers useless for about 4 hours after you stop?  If that sounds like the stuff of dreams, then you have stumbled on the right post!  I was going to call this my "grief wreath" because the whole reason it even got made was to occupy my mind after an all day swirl session about Mom the day before and I knew I couldn't survive another day like that.  

So if all of that peppy shizz screams "YES!  I too would like to make this craft whilst consuming two full seasons of a show on Netflix or Prime" then here's what you'll need:

5 bags Supermoss natural color raffia if going to Hobby Lobby.  (My link looks like a similar amount)
2 bags Supermoss terra cotta colored raffia from Hobby Lobby (My link shows color you're looking for)

(I got this stuff at Hobby Lobby and the total was $31 with 40% off of their raffia.  It should've been off the wire form too but I was doing good enough to not throat punch the woman when we had to go back in to get the sale price they screwed us out of.  Similar styles of finished wreathes on Etsy go from $48-120.)

I will be honest, I took the long bunch of tied raffia out, cut it in half, then cut that half in half and lengths.  I grabbed bundles usually 4-5 pieces of raffia at a time but if they were thin, up to 7-8 so they'd fill in.  Some other tutorials say 2-3 pieces per bundle on all rings and I would light it on fire before frisbeeing that thing across the field.  Mama does NOT have that kind of patience.  

Tip:  You WILL want something on to binge watch.  You WILL get through more than one season.  Wine may help by hour 2 when you either decide "eff this" or you're going to trudge through.

So here was my day:

Grab 4-5 strands of pre-hacked raffia and fold them in half so the ends are even.  

Place the loop it makes under the top outside ring of the form then pull the ends through the loop and gently pull taut.  

Then skip down to the third ring in the middle because the second one is going to get covered and we're not into torturing ourselves unnecessarily.  You'll still be using natural color for this ring.  This is where you will realize that as you are looping, your cuticles are hitting against the loops of the previous wrapped ring.  

Welcome to hell.

Using my thumb to push the loop up through did alleviate some of it so there's that.  This is also where wine may come in if you have any.  Repeat the loops as you finish one season and go into the next of the show of your choice.

Then switch to the terra cotta color raffia for the inner most ring.  (Your choice.  You could certainly do all one color)  

Repeat the knotting, watching, cursing and drinking until you are finished...10 hours later.  (If only I were joking.)

But at least you have this beauty when you're done!

I like the straggly, imperfect look of it and really like the two-toned look which was not my original intent.  I think the Mr couldn't believe I did it all in one day but I knew if I didn't, it would sit in the basement for three years until I happened upon it again and donated all of the items.

It was a good thing to keep my mind from swirling so I do appreciate that aspect of it.  I don't know how makers on Etsy do it because I would never willingly do this given the prices I see them go for compared to the effort.  But if you need a mindless distraction project to do that'll take a day and give you an excuse to binge watch several seasons of a show then this is your craft!  

The raffia folds forward so it should be easy to store if I just fold it toward the middle like a teepee and chuck it in a bag for the following season.

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Monday, September 25, 2023

First Weekend of Fall Recap

Well Monday, we meet again, you saucy beeotch!    I hope you all had a bitchin' weekend yourselves and were able to be equal parts productive and relaxed.  Before I get to our update, I'll do a quick update on our loose plan to find our way back to da track.  I will say that I am happy to report that we did walk everyday we planned to the past 2 weeks even though there were days I was stinky after since morning walks were no longer an option for us.  I fought a cupcake demon much to the Mr's dismay because I may have miscommunicated that the special flavor I had him pick up that were only available on Thursday would not be eaten until Saturday.  I almost caved but I instead threw on his favorite Halloween movie Trick or Treat from back in the day and all seemed well.  So thank goodness for small favors.  We did weigh in and were not as bad off as we thought.  Still about 15 lbs to lose though from last Christmas and given the holidays are coming up again, that's going to be a tall order.  


Last week wasn't a great week on the grief front.  I was able to do a craft but that was to allow me to not have as bad of a day as I had the day before.  My craft endorphins only lasted a day and a half before a click on an Instagram post I would not normally have sound on revealed the song I always used for Mom's baby pictures for slideshows.  Welp, that unleashed a screaming, sobbing, breakdown while the Mr was thankfully at the office that was hard to recover from.  I also had to deposit some money that just makes everything more final.  I basically cried on and off ever since then.  Sigh...Mr, I'm so sorry.  I need to give a big shout out to my bestie and my dear friend Buffy along with the Mr who have really just held me up the past three days.

We decided to head out for a road trip.  We did a little geocaching and stopped by an antique warehouse.

Man the signs were ABUNDANT there.  There was the Whoopsie doll Mom got me in 3rd grade, the cover of the Kenny Rogers album we would listen to on repeat, a doll of the 'red hat society' that my mom reluctantly joined up since her sib was all about that for her 50th birthday...

...the white hobnail lamp she used to have at her bedside and a frisbee from a restaurant we used to frequent quite a bit when I was a kid just her and I together.  

Her parents made an appearance too.  My grandpa LOVED the song My Ding a Ling and would get bright red and giggle when he played it.  I saw a pansy picture that my grandma used to have too.

Everywhere I looked, there she was and not that I minded but nostalgia used to be such a comfort for me.  I used to love looking at this one Pinterest board I have of all of these pins of my childhood.  Now when I look at it, I just see her and what I've lost.  I never had nostalgia attached to a person and right now it just hurts.  I don't want to not look at those things, I know it won't always feel this way.  I feel lucky how wonderful she made my childhood for a single mother who had to struggle in almost every way but it's mourning those memories we'll never get to make especially as the holidays approach.  It just sucks.

Yesterday we got down for our first strength workout in several weeks.  Good Lord I felt that one right away.  We went through a few things in the basement and got some stuff where it needed to go but that whole wanting to get the house together thing didn't happen.  Still a rug that needs vacuumed, dusty floor that needs swept and mopped, little piles that I look at and have no idea where it's all supposed to go.  I need that done soon not just for my sanity but I'll be going through stuff at my mom's sib's place next week and then I'll have even MORE stuff to try to figure out where it goes now.  I had to put a date on it because I think they could be content getting to it whenever but I cannot start settling back into a normal looking house only to be surrounded by more of Mom's stuff around the holidays or something and set me back to a crappy place.  (That assumes I won't be there anyway.)  So maybe one year I can actually look around and clean.  My friend even had a good suggestion to tackle it and I just didn't do it.  Sigh.  It'd be one thing if this was all grief centered but I've always been overwhelmed by it and now that no one will basically ever be coming over here again, there is just zero incentive on either of our parts.  I know WE should be incentive enough but...yeah.

It didn't help that Walgreens crapped the bed and JAMMED a 5x7 print of us one of our last Christmases' together with Mom with 83 other 4x6 prints and bent the picture so then it had to be reprinted.  I am hangin' on by a thread, y'all!  I've got the fall dΓ©cor bin up here so I'm hoping that motivates me.  HA! 

This afternoon I'm sure we'll be a hobbling mess for our walk with it being after our first strength session so that'll be interesting.  I need to get my water consumption up for the week.  I did really well the first week but backslid last week so I need to bump it back up.

How was your weekend?  Any goals you're working toward this week?

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Friday, September 22, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #38

It's here!  It's here!!!  The last day of summer.  Not that the change of seasons will mean much tomorrow but as long as it isn't summer anymore, especially this one, is all I care about.  I'd like the lower temps to stay in tact because it will be crucial to us staying on track with walking.  My second opinion appointment was worth it because I was told that she 100% does not believe it's anything nefarious and certainly nothing that needed a 'just in case' biopsy in a spot that would be incredibly painful.  (They even had the biopsy stuff available right there so they were ready to do it that day if need be.)  The Mr was with me and I asked him if he was okay with that because he was very concerned given what doctors have missed.  I didn't see any of the telltale signs of melanoma at the toenail and even the original place who was going to biopsy said that isn't what she suspected and it wasn't listed in the notes.  This woman's goal is to give it 3-6 months to grow out and now that I've gone back to Brooks instead of those toe wrecking New Balance Rocker shoes, we'll see how it goes.  She said she noted if I see any changes at all that are worrisome they will get me right back in.  I'm good with that and so is the Mr.  I honestly don't have it in me right now.  I'm already just waiting to exhale after my gynie appointment in 3 weeks and don't need two things to worry about.  Just leave me alone to grieve please.  Speaking of which, after the German girl who I had to keep saying "what" to after every other question left the room to get the physician's assistant for my exam, I thought of Mom and burst into tears.  When I went to grab a tissue, they were of course the brand at the hospital when we were there with Mom.  I couldn't get myself under control before she came in the room with a cheery "hi!"  I'm like "Hi!"


I explained I just lost my mom and sorry, I can't seem to control when the tears come.  She was thankfully very understanding and I told her it was because the tissues were the same as in the hospital.  But nope...just me...losin' my shit on the daily especially if I'm in public!  Yay.

Now let's get lost in:


Why Your Balance Gets Worse With Age and What to Do About It  (Time to start some single leg deadlifts or get the balance board I found the other day back out.  My balance is pure shite.)

The Best Ways to Take Notes so You Actually Remember Information  (Good info for anyone looking to have something soak into the noggin.)

How to prepare your house for autumn  (Or my version.  Peanuts Fall mugs by Pottery Barn, pumpkin burlap pic of my Mom's, Great Pumpkin flannel sheets done!)

Vintage Fall Decor Ideas (Crap!  That reminds me I have some amber bottles floating around here somewhere I bought last year.  If I start looking now I should be able to find them by next Fall!)

Who Was the Actual Voice of the ’80s? (Excellent trip down memory lane!)

I would like to get the house in some semblance of order.  I don't even know what that means but I guess I'll know it when I see it.   Boxes have been delivered and it looks like an Amazon warehouse in here.  I'd really love some appropriate Fall weather please.  These 80's can kiss my butt!  Since we haven't been able to walk in the mornings anymore, I feel like a stink bomb when we get home because even "75" with blazing sun feels 10 degrees warmer and my fuzzy socks and hoodies are on standby.

Any weekend plans in your future?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

When You Consider Starting to Lie

The following is a post on what has become a series.  If you have been through a death of a parent, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which may include cursing and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  If you are new here and want to see the posts leading up to this one, you can start with posts on July 7th and go forward.


There comes a point way sooner than it should that people appear to have moved on without you.  It all starts trickling off a week after the death.  You might have those straggler cards from a few people you didn't expect to hear from that may have been getting your address from a family member.  It's good to hear from them and makes you feel better especially if they've shared stories that are new to you.  You will have those very few people who are just super star friends or who have been through something similar as far as losing their parent that will check on you two weeks out and maybe into the third, if you're lucky.

People don't seem to realize that while the death may have occurred X date, that is not when your true grief begins.  Yes, you cry, you're upset but your body is also protecting you.  The thought of that person being gone will absolutely kick your knees out from under you... but there is work to be done.  You have funeral arrangements to make, pictures to hastily gather hoping you can find the right ones to represent their life, ones that they would choose, not just what is available.  (That's if you are only having one service because they are being buried.  You'll need to plan an interment ceremony if you are having a viewing and then cremation.)  Then come the myriad of phone calls.  The three credit unions to put a freeze on their credit, social security, their work if they aren't retired, their life insurance company, retirement benefits if they are retired, hope like hell you have access to their passwords to check email for recurring bills, death certificates to order which aren't free and you're going to need at least five of. There are accounts to close, mortgage companies or landlords to work with, utility companies to notify, probate and someone's ENTIRE life's possessions that you likely now have a deadline to go through.  So you know, when the month mark hits, you should be starting to move on right?  Because doesn't it sound totally reasonable that you should have to deal with all of the above AND have sorted through your grief after a month?  I mean, that's when people stop checking on you almost completely.

I'll admit, I was guilty of it before too but not because I wasn't thinking of them.  It was not wanting to ask someone how they were doing and then have them mentally say "well, I WAS having my first day where that wasn't the first thing to cross my mind but thanks for throwing it back in my face."  So I said nothing.  I gave my condolences, checked in a few times and said I was there if they needed me anytime.  I didn't want to bombard them or remind them of what they lost.  Um, trust me... that ain't happening ever much less in a time period with the word "months" attached to it after the passing.  

If you are a child, parent or spouse going through the loss which means you are directly involved in wrapping up their lives and are now thrust into this unasked for, horrifying "to do " list, you do not even get the luxury of what people consider grief for 3-4 weeks.  Yes, you get your moments of breaking down, crying until your eyes swell shut and get knocked down by waves of grief so powerful you are drowning on dry land, but there's shit to do.  Shit you have to slap a pulled together demeanor for so that affairs can be taken care of properly and hope the brain fog that has rendered you unable to remember to brush your teeth is going to allow you to somehow get done what needs to be done.  You are numb.  What you're feeling is nowhere near what it is assumed you are going through because people forget or don't know about all of the tasks you are forced to deal with.  I mean think about how absurd it is that within four days, in our case, you are expected to plan an entire funeral, write an obituary to sum up someone's life to be out there forever, write a eulogy to do the same, find pictures and music for slide shows (which we were lucky enough to have put together for her 50th so we just had to add on to), pictures for memory boards from your own pictures and others, any favors if you wanted them and then YOU end up being the one to have to comfort others at this service you're supposed to hold it together for.


Then all of the stuff I listed above which takes weeks to sort through but you know, don't mind me... I'm just over here getting the wind knocked out of me every 20 minutes going through her stuff, getting screenshots of posts going back over a decade and pulling old emails into PDFs so they are not potentially lost, remembering the good times, the hard times, the divorce and what she had to sacrifice to make sure I was okay because we were getting a laughable amount of child support.   That one time I called her a bitch when I was 14 and ran, the way the videographer at our wedding caught her with a sweet smile on her face looking around at the reception with love in her eyes as Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" played in the background, the moaning sounds she made her last two days on Earth.   The talks we had, and mourning the talks and life that will never happen.  All while making sure everything that needs to get done to wrap up this beautiful woman's life and get all t's crossed and i's dotted like some sick transaction gets signed off on while you're sitting in the rubble of your old life.  

Believe me, that is your old life.  There is NO getting back to that...ever.  No amount of support, therapy, converting to some religion, food, drugs or booze to help you cope will get you back to the shadow of the person you used to be especially if you were remotely close to your parent at any point in your life.  If there were things left unsaid, distance whether on purpose, because you moved or because of covid, filling in the blanks over the years on either side (and likely getting it wrong), then your grieving is a layered experience of not just loss and all that goes with it but guilt, regret, shame, anger at the human condition, and gutted at not appreciating someone more while they were here.  It's not something you share with most people, maybe just the people you trust most not to judge you because they know your heart.  It chisels at your very core as you swirl in a tornado of self flogging as my dearest friend called it and you don't know how you can ever forgive yourself for taking a second for granted.  You see all of the froofy quotes on social media about "we're only promised today" or "appreciate your parents while they're here because one day all you'll have are memories" and you know all of that is true but some of us are masters of "later."  We don't know the true cost until it's too late.

But when you're about six weeks out, there's this feeling of abandonment that happens.  You're into month two to the rest of the world but for you?  You may have only just gotten possessions where they need to go due to the sale of their home or moving out of the apartment.  Maybe you've gone through them and put them away if you needed tasks to complete for your sanity or maybe you're surrounded by them; unable to comprehend the task of how you are supposed to look at each item the person you love so dearly chose and decide what is "worthy" of keeping.  What a horrible feeling of guilt and pain that process is!  It feels like judging them or their taste when all you want is to smother them with love and keep every ball of lint in a purse or scrap of paper you find.  You go through the big stuff, the small stuff, the collections, and endless paperwork from decades old bank statements to budgets written randomly cherishing their familiar handwriting to legal papers from a divorce.  If this is your parent, you see things they went through that you never knew about and hid from you to protect you both as a kid and an adult.   You die a little inside wishing they would've come to you for support and hope they didn't have to go through it alone.  This is a whole other level of grief doing this process that no one prepares you for.  You hear people say with a sigh that they need to decide what to do with all of X's stuff but you don't actually grasp what that task means both physically but more importantly, emotionally until you've had to dig through every single piece of someone's existence.  

But you know... it's 6 weeks out.  (Or seven now)  You should be learning to adjust, right?  Because all of the hard stuff has been over for awhile.  πŸ™„


If you do have anyone still checking in on you at this point, this is the time when you start to consider if it's time to lie and you do.  You don't want to be a downer, I mean who wants to hear about this??  Who wants to be reminded that it isn't wrapped up in a neat little self help bow after what society deems an appropriate amount of time.  (Which if you're wondering seems to be three weeks before you start getting comments about "moving on.")  You don't want to be the emotional vampire and drive those people away or burden them.  So you start saying things like "hanging in", putting a cheerful tone in your voice to mask the panic attacks while someone is talking or keeping anything you do say brief.  You have lumpy sides of your cheek and back of your lip from trying to stop from randomly crying.  You want to give the people what they want which is you all better.  Everyone else in your life has firmly moved on.  Birthdays have been celebrated, vacations have been taken, school and work are consuming people, doctors appointments happen, binging of TV takes precedence to unwind from all of those stresses and rightfully so.  But you're stuck over here unexpectedly crying on your first road trip when you listen to Sugar Ray's "When It's Over" because it hits different.   Or trying not to break down at the doctors office lobby when you have to update information and now have to add this death into the family history.  You're in this world of doing the least to take care of yourself because you need easy, not normal and you feel like you're failing at life.  If you're on social media/the internet, you notice less likes after posting something mentioning them (or much less traffic to blog posts) because now you're making people uncomfortable.  No one wants to be reminded of that from someone who grieves openly.  People want you to get through your first month, then get back to posting funny dog videos or don't emerge from your social imposed exile until you've "moved on" because no one wants to read about your grief.   You should be taking care of yourself!  Oh, you sweet, clueless bastards.  (Not you, the one next to you.)

Try to remember this post the next time someone in your life is grieving and maybe even refer them to it so they feel less alone.  So they know that someone understands and that they know the grief process is truly just beginning for them and they get what it feels like to feel left behind.  They are not alone even though it feels like they are.  Someone understands and they know there is a long road ahead to pick up the shards of their old life and are holding them in their hearts.  They understand that just because you're not sobbing every 10 minutes like the day it happened does not mean you are fine/healed/moved on/your old self.  It means you're smiling on the outside while on fire, screaming and crying on the inside...and it sucks.  It sucks because we as a society are sadder, angrier and more medicated than we've ever been and then have the nerve to turn around and give people who have had their hearts ripped out and lives pulled out from under them cheery quotes they saw on social media.

If you've managed to get here and honestly, I doubt many will, I don't need you to leave comforting words.  (Though I do love your responses so feel free!!)  

Just consider responding here or on FB with the following word: bingo.

That'll speak volumes.


If you or someone you know is going through a grief process, you may find these resources given to me by a friend helpful:

Crisis Text Line or text 741741

Books I'm currently reading:

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info. All posts copyright Success Along the Weigh. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 18, 2023

This n That Weekend Recap


Monday already, eh?  It was an interesting weekend.  Thursday, I took advantage of a small burst of energy.  Ever since March we have been without handrails going upstairs and downstairs.  We're used to it, we've altered our center of gravity, especially when going upstairs with tea in hand or something.  The plan was to immediately strip them which I started April 4th and obviously got off track before our vacation at the end of the month because the one for upstairs basically became a piece of furniture lying across the living room and half the dining room with the Mr and I both stepping over it without thinking.  Then the summer spent with Mom and that horror show and it was the last thing I wanted to think about.  So when I looked at it and was tired of it, I scraped off the rest of the paint where I could then stained it and put three coats of dead flat poly on it.  Of course the bottom of it looked like a shit show so I got the discontinued Retique It I had leftover and painted the bottom and called it done.  We brought it inside Saturday morning on our way out the door.

We went to an outdoor vintage fest with zero expectations and they were met with gusto.  I am happy to report it was not as anxiety inducing as last week.  (Please do not interpret that as 'she's getting better/healing!' or whatever because just the night before the Mr and I were holding each other sobbing about how we can't believe we're never going to see her again and Sunday I had no less than five sobbing breakdowns.  It just means I was able to hold it together for an outing for a few hours.)  

It was full of a lot of meh but a few things of interest.  The signs from our loved ones were everywhere.  It was the 19th anniversary of the passing of my FIL and as we walked in 'his' song played and the Mr and I looked at each other in amazement.  There was a boutique with my mom's nickname in it, and a pansy box that my grandma absolutely would've jumped all over and I would've been more than happy to buy for her.

The Mr also saw some toys from his youth for some fuzzies.

When we got home. it was time to jump on getting that rail back up.  I have been dreading this for MONTHS.  We do not have those brackets that stick out from the wall, we have blocks of wood.  The Mr had written down the height of the blocks when we removed them in March but you know, would it all line up?  Even putting up pictures has been challenging with our new ultra thick walls but after some snappiness on both of our parts, it got hung.

I'm not going to lie, I freaked when it first went up.  I wasn't sure I liked the stain. A lot is going to change and it looks like a crap fest with the still white opposing rail but I need to strip, stain and poly the other one going downstairs first before doing the same to the one opposing the one going upstairs.  Not something I'll be doing until after the holidays more than likely because otherwise it'll tear up the living area again and I don't want to hear it or live with it right now.  Then sometime in the distant future we'll replace the carpet after we get someone in here to try to help us deep clean the hell out of the carpet on the stairs.  I'm really tempted though to just paint the rail white again and say screw it but either option is going to be a lot of work.  Which would you do?  Paint it white which entails taking the rail back off, shellacking, priming, painting, sealing and re-hanging or stick with the dark.  (I'm curious- I'm not saying majority rules.  Just to clarify! πŸ˜‚)

I put something like this and another picture above on personal social media asking the same question.  Responses really weren't much help and seemed to be geared more toward not liking the iron balusters we're using to replace the wood ones I've hated for almost 30 years. (Which wasn't the question so thanks for making me feel like crap about what we like.)  In the end, there's only one opinion I wanted.  One I'll never get again.  One I could almost hear.  "Whatever you decide to do sweetie, it will look great!"

I want my Mom back.

I was in a bit of a foul mood and the looming project of finally getting around the shellacking the walls made me just slop some on the bedroom wood that was exposed.  I wasn't going to rip the room apart that night and it would be interesting to see if the next morning was a little less choky.  My Lord, applying it was horrid and the fumes were worse than anything  I've ever worked with.  I put the fan on 30 minutes later praying I hadn't just made things worse for myself.  It had thankfully dissipated when it was time for bed.  Because my sinuses are a steel trap for three hours, I told the Mr after he got his sniffer prepared for the morning, he'd need to come in and sniff around to see if the smell was any better.  He did say that it smelled improved and when he smelled where I shellacked compared to where I hadn't, it was a world of difference.  

Then it was time to see if the townhome builder was going to make the decision about the railing.  As we talked Saturday night about the baluster project, he wondered if the builders used just screws or screws and construction adhesive to put the wooden slats on the stairs.  If they used adhesive, that would totally screw up our chances of having minimal sanding, gouges and holes to fix which do not stain the same as the rest of the wood and it would be pointless to try.  The Mr scored the paint on either side, popped off the screw covers, unscrewed and wiggled whilst we held our breath.

Score!  It did not appear to have adhesive!  This part is the stringer, it'll be repainted white but the handrail will be the dark walnut.  It is going to be a pain in my butt to get that stupid thing scraped because I'm NOT kicking up dust using a sander and coating everything again for months to come.  While all of that was happening, I got my uber head of cauliflower in the crock pot.

Vegetarian taco meat for both of us for two lunches in the upcoming week is ready to roll.  

Then we headed up and got a bunch of crap out from under the bed and I got to shellacking the wall length shelf and the wood panels left that I couldn't get the night before.  While that dried, I moved loose pictures in a shoebox to a photo storage case of Mom's.  A good amount of pictures of Mom and pictures of people long gone that make me feel even more alone.  Where is my family now?  I never expected to not even be 50 and be going through this.  I thought maybe we'd be just dealing with losing Grandma as she would be 84 this year but nope...she's been physically gone 5 years, mentally not knowing me for 9 years and now my mom is gone at barely 66.  That picture case at worst will end up in the trash, likely at an antique shop and at best maybe my cousins would pilfer through them before throwing them away and keep a few.  Sigh.  I feel too young to be having these thoughts but if nothing else has been learned its that we're not promised getting old.

Oops, did my lapse into grief lose a few? 😜

Then I covered the shellac with dead flat poly to get rid of that God awful sheen which made the bedroom look like a 1973 Sizzler and hoped it wouldn't create an all new problem.  I suppose we'll know for sure in 10 years if I haven't expired from vapor induced disease.  Then we settled in for the evening.  No workout Sunday because we burned over 760 calories the day before and my hips weren't having it with all of the activity.

Today I have a second opinion going on so if you could think some good thoughts, I'd appreciate it.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, September 15, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #37

Good Friday morning to you all!  We're halfway through September.  I should be fully decorated for Fall but am nowhere close.  The days are slipping away from me so I'll need to get on that soon since it's my favorite cozy looking time of year even if we still have the A/C on full blast.  The Mr has had class all week so that has given us the ability to walk when it's cooler out in the morning which has been nice.  I'm happy to report we've walked every day this week (M-F) and this is my reminder to myself that even if it's 55 degrees when you start, don't wear a sweatshirt if the sun is out.  Fool.  It also feels weird to have our stuff done for the day when he gets off class.  That's a one week special though.  Sigh.  I really liked how life felt starting our day with a walk but I'm not getting up at the ass crack of dawn to do it.

Now let's crack into:

5 Myths About Calories That Could Prevent You From Losing Weight (I am so far off track I feel like a newbie.)

The Best Ways to Stay Awake Without Caffeine  (Come 3pm- I'm useless.  We don't get any kind of jolt from coffee but we'll have to try these.)

How a Narcissist Conducts Psychological Warfare (No offense Mr but you know who this is!!)

How People Can Gaslight Themselves (I am on fire every second of every day.  Just ask my Mr and bestie.  Mom's passing has amplified it, if that was even possible.)

10 secrets to a nice-smelling bedroom, according to experts  (Also, shellacking the stank ass boards that have been leeching into my lungs for the past year might have something to do with it.  Mr- REAAALLY need to do this!)

You Can Procrastinate Later—Here’s How to Get Things Done Now  (Procrastination has cost me so much more than just not getting things done.  This is a pretty serious list of articles for any of my fellow procrastinators)

Will a Revocable Trust Protect My Assets From a Nursing Home?  (I can't begin to tell you how bad the gov't tries to f**k you with Medicaid.  God forbid you survive whatever your medical issue is because you will literally be broke if you had to use Medicaid.  This article is also eye opening.)

Keep Your Expensive Items Safe While Traveling With This Clever Duct Tape Hack (This is actually a pretty good idea if you travel with these things!)

I don't know that we have any plans for the weekend other than playing "what are you in the mood for?" "I don't know, what do you want?"  
"How about X?"  
"No...not that."

I know REALLY soon, I need to finish the end of that hand railing so we can stain it and if I'm not going to do that, we need to just paint it white and call ourselves defeated.  I fear the banister project we have everything for is probably never going to get done.  Sure as hell don't want to start it now and have the house in further shambles.  Do we?

Anything poppin' your way this weekend?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

What We've Gained From This Experience


We've gained weight.


How much?  

Couldn't even tell you but I can tell you it's a bit more than end of vacation weight which is usually about 20 lbs for me if when we go off the deep end.  I'm going to assume 25-30 if I'm being honest.  

Going to the hospital almost every day for three weeks and eating whatever was open or available when you got home whether that was oatmeal, a big bowl of cereal or whatever wasn't a great habit to get into but dinner was our "grounding" time each night.  We would come home from the horrors of the hospital hoping that mom's pain meds were going to give her a decent night's sleep and we would just stare into space, go up to watch TV but fall asleep 10 minutes later and wake up at 1-2am.  I'd usually do email updates in there too.  There was a point in the beginning we thought we could throw a walk in there but that 90 minutes was going to be better spent with her and exercise was not a priority.

When she was gone, it was the overwhelming gut kick of WTF just happened?  She started the last month here and this one, she's gone...with zero warning.  You go over all of the mistakes that were made that cost her the opportunity to even fight and losing her ability to communicate with us and now there are funerals to plan, calls to make, papers to sign, "adult" crap rolling downhill onto you and you can't breathe.  The last effin' thing we cared about is making sure to eat properly and exercise.  Some days I wanted to not cook dinner.  Some days I wanted comfort food.  We might throw two walks in there at some point thinking we're getting back into a routine but we weren't because it was more for mental health.  There were a few times I pushed myself to make healthier meals just so I didn't feel like I was failing the Mr as a wife.  Flashbacks to gaining 60 lbs after losing his dad and the toll being the researcher to try to save him (and we would have) are prevalent.  We didn't have the tools then to handle things properly and now that we do, it's still hard.  The days of wanting to phone it in because you can't handle more than that are right there saying "next week" or "tomorrow."  I want to say we're getting back on track this week but as I'm writing this we're only two days back into that and resisting the urge after a morning walk to walk straight to our fancy bakery and order a morning bun. 


I have felt like a failure here for about a decade because that's the last time I lost any weight consistently.  We used to be able to count on being a size smaller the following year and would buy clothes at the end of the season to have new clothes.  When we started doing more than one vacation per year, that all stopped.  Now as we're in that gray area that is past middle age if you're going off of life expectancy, our hormones are fighting us.  What vacation weight used to be pretty easy to lose has been horrible the past two years.  Before this stuff with Mom, I still had 10 lbs of Vermont Christmas weight to lose.  I don't know how I'm going to do this when every fiber of my being wants to curl up into a ball and say f**k it.  I have one month before my annual with my gynie and I really don't want her to look at my weight and say "uh, you've gained a lot of weight since I saw you six months ago" so I can break down for the 83rd time and explain what I'm going through.  

If I thought it was hard before, now it feels insurmountable with the anvil of grief we carry.  I am still very firmly planted in survival mode as the BS of life waits for no one.  (Yay me for needing a biopsy on yet another part of my body in a month.  Is life just waiting to find out when you have cancer?  Sure feels like it.)  I feel like adding all of the things that need to happen to lose weight are just like "are you friggin' kidding me?" but I know I need to at least try.  I have these little smiley face stickers from Mom's that I'm going to use to hopefully motivate us.  We used to do that back in the day and it was always nice to see a month full of stickers looking back at us.

So here's the loose outline of a plan.

This week: 
Get back into walking since the weather is letting up and the Mr's schedule is flexible.  
Increase water intake even if it's only by a few ounces.
Don't succumb to eating out and calling it a victory if you 'only' do it once.  You already blew Sunday.

Next week: 
Continue walking
Keep up water consumption.
Start tracking food again.

Weigh in.

I know if I weighed in right now, it would completely make me whip up a batch of brownies and cry in the corner and say "I can't do this."  We need to work back into exercise and my hope for the weeks following is to add strength in there starting slow at twice a week.  If we add in bands or something before that, so be it but I'm not putting it on my to do list for two weeks.  

I feel like we're starting from square one.  I know Mom was so proud of her weight loss which kills me because we now know it's because of what some of us feared.  But I won't negate that with the joy she felt when we gave her a $200 gift card to one of her favorite online shops so she could buy new summer clothes that would fit her.  She was thrilled with them...even if she never got to wear them.  I want to feel that joy again not just for her but for myself, for us.  Right now I just want to know what it's like to throw on a shirt and not have to stretch out the gut.  I'd like clothes to fit me and anything past getting back to what we were before our Christmas trip last year, will be that much better though I know that isn't happening this year.  

Anyone else struggling right now?  If you want to re-commit, lend support or just say woot, have at it!

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Different is Good, Right? Weekend Recap

At least that's what I kept repeating to myself this weekend like some kind of mantra so that I could fake it til I made it.  My birthday used to kick off my favorite time of year.  Mom always said she loved Fall but the second the calendar flipped, she started posting summer memes, much to my chagrin, as winter is basically Fall 2.0 for me and my happy time of year when there's at least a spittle of flakes.  So I tell myself to go out and enjoy the things she would love about our one shared favorite time of year.  Easier said than done.  I'm lucky... no one has given me the "she'd want you to _______" pep talk to get me out of the house probably because they know I'd dig in my heels out of spite and not come out for 7 months.  So I forced myself to get out of the house this weekend for the Mr.  I know it isn't easy for him not only to see me like this but for him to go through this too.  She was truly his Mom from age 19 on and I encourage him to bring up when he gets a gut kick remembering she's not here anymore, regardless if I'm having what appears to be a good day on the outside.  So I wanted us to do something relatively low pressure and I found a new to me vintage store not too far from our destination so I used that as motivation to nudge myself out of the house.

Since sadly the location of the Mr's favorite childhood bakery closest to him closed, we thought we'd try a further location for his favorite donuts and hope for the best, which doesn't always pan out.  They were okay but definitely not like the other location and they don't wrap them up like the old place did when he'd call in an order and they tasted day old by the time we got them at 11am.  We then went on to the vintage place.

It was fine.  I saw the pair of candlesticks I was pretty sure I was going to buy after seeing them online but I just wasn't as impressed in person and nothing really called to me even though they had good prices since they're in East Podunk.

We went to our favorite deep dish place and they usually put a smile on our faces and more weight to work off of our asses.  (That's a whole other post πŸ™„)  Sadly, they missed the mark somewhat this time.  When you take what used to be your best asset, pillowy breadsticks, and serve knots that taste like they're two days old and make a fat chick spit it out- you've tanked.  It was okay but we both agreed we'll get a different pizza place next time from his youth and see how they fare.

After that, we went to visit the Mr's dad and we had the portable hedge trimmers with us that I got for grave maintenance since NO cemetery seems interested in upkeeping the "perpetual care" they have you pay for.  I cut around my FIL's stone and the Mr dug around the edge with a gloved hand while I moved on to his grandparents.  It looked MUCH better and it's ridiculous we should have to do that.  As we were leaving, we passed a couple about 20 years older than us who looked like they too were pulling long grass.  I rolled down the window and said "are you guys having to pull grass too?"  
"Yes, we couldn't even see it, it's horrible!"  
"I have hedge trimmers in here, can I help you with that?"  
After a moment, "well, sure!"
The Mr got out the trimmers and gave them to me and I went to town while they chatted.  They lost their 51 year old daughter last year and he has to usually take a weed whacker with them to the one in the town she's buried in.  They had no idea this cemetery was also so crappy with their landscaping too.  As I continued, she said "you have no idea how happy this is making me."  That's all I needed to hear and was glad to do it.  It took all of a minute or two.

A few days before, I pulled some geocaching links for some that appeared to be close to the area and I thought it would be good for us to maybe do a few.  I forgot our premium membership lapsed and I don't know that I want to invest the $30 for the year not knowing how I'm going to feel in the coming months.  So I made do with what I could find and we ended up doing 13 total.  A lot of them had grody, soggy logs.

The Mr wanted to head to one of his old favorite parks and walk under the bridge.  We encountered two 10-12 year old boys on bikes on the other side who waited for us to go under.  Of course with pre-teens,  you never know what you're going to get so we were pleasantly surprised when after we thanked them both for waiting for us and they both said you're welcome, one of them said "be safe and have a nice day!"  πŸ˜†

That's great!  Sounds like a wonderful day out, right?  

I had no less than 3 silent anxiety attacks, one outright cry session when the song When It's Over by Sugar Ray was on and honestly for 75% of the time, I felt like I wanted to peel off my skin and run away.  Every horrible memory of Mom's ordeal flooded me for some reason.  I kept trying to tell myself to enjoy these sights because she couldn't and then thinking of WHY she couldn't sent me in multiple spirals.  I tried my best to hold it together and not ruin the Mr's day.  I hope I was able to pull it off but it makes me fear every time we go out because will I always default to that way of thinking?  Will every trip I would want to tell her about and share now feel pointless as so much of life does now?  (I have had multiple people tell me this is absolutely common.)  I know that isn't fair to our life and the memories left for us to make.  I know it will eventually even out but yeah, for me, twas not a success unless actually getting out of the house counts as success right now.

Sunday, I got several small signs from Mom and was grateful because I cried that I felt like they were getting less and less.  I wasn't interested in plants or flowers of any kind this year and you can imagine what an entire summer of zero landscape attention has done to the front and back of the house.  


Well, my car was getting attacked by a rose bush who didn't bloom this year because I guess you have to water them or something.  πŸ˜’  So we got out there with the big guns of the new small hedge trimmers, the old rusty clippers for the thicker parts, weed popper and such and got started.  We hacked up the Japanese maple which really did look like it was committing suicide the past year at certain parts and got off all of the dead stuff on it and hope that what's left will fill out better next year.  (Yes, I know this isn't pruning season but ask me if I care.  I'm actually kind of hoping it dies to be honest.  It's a pain in my fat ass.)  The rose bush came out because we planted it at the beginning of the pandemic and I eventually want to plant a memory garden of perennials for Mom on the side.  It was a lot of work but the Mr was wielding a hand saw and cramming two garbage bags full of yard waste into the garage.  It feels good to have that done.  Not that anyone is ever coming to visit, especially now,  but take what you can get.  Of course once we were done out there, it looked like the sun went behind clouds.  Just enough time to give me the only pseudo burn of the year at my elbow bends since I was out there longer than I thought.  We planned on starting our foray back to the track but we were both so famished, it was gourmet burger and fries with little regret.  I felt awful for suggesting it but I was not up for cooking after almost 2 hours baking in the sun doing manual labor.

I came in and started going through a box of Mom's and getting some things to their new homes and throwing away other things.  Then the fatigue hit both of us and after trip #2 to Walgreens who can't seem to ever find their butts with GPS's in the pharmacy drive through, we crashed on the couch for a midday nap with Bob Ross on in the background.  The Mr got a roll of film we found at Mom's developed a few weeks ago.  (Apparently they were never going to tell us it was in so thank God he asked when he had to go back for trip #2 to their nincompoopery.)  

Sadly, whomever they sent it to also cannot find their asses with both hands because they clearly just fed it into a machine and didn't bother to see if the pictures lined up when printed (they didn't) and between that and the fog that was over the film, it was pretty bad.  But we did get this gem to us.

"Play wis me!"

That's our pup up top poking my Mom's dog much to her apparent delight as Mom likely called her name.  Mom would watch our girl and vice versa when we went on vacation so this was likely our return trip to Hawaii in 1999 based off of a couch in the pics.  Sigh...I miss those girls.  We got her pup for her after we got married so she wouldn't be alone because I cried for two weeks straight after our honeymoon that I missed Mom.  She always wanted a "fru fru dog" and we got her on a whim which was pretty friggin' bold but we knew she was perfect for Mom.  They were our pride and joys but I know they're on each side of Mom's hips snuggled in until we get there one day to roll around on the floor with them.

We puttered around the house for a bit and settled in for the night and that was that.  

I'm waiting to hear back if I have an appointment with a derm assistant this morning to take a look at something for me and then I'll see what the day has in store.

How was your weekend?

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