Sunday, August 20, 2017

Life's Crazy Twists and Turns...

It has been quite awhile since my last post, disregarding my Apple Airpods review.  Life always seems to throw curve balls.  Sometimes, I may think about posting something, but think better for it.  I feel that with freedom of speech also comes great responsibility, especially in recent days.  Being misunderstood or misinterpreted can very well lead one into a hell that was never intended.

Health-wise - My left knee has had several issues.  During the whole master bathroom tub replacement debacle, I started experiencing a great deal of pain.  Come to find out I had bursitis.  I got a cortisone shot in that knee, but I still deal with pain.  Some days are better than others, but it is just another monkey on my back.

I tried to go to 24 Hour Fitness to get some help, but that turned into another headache.  I made the mistake of paying for personal trainer sessions.  The problem - I was trying to go in early in the morning, say 8 AM.  Well, that turned into a huge mistake because I was constantly having to be on calls about that time in the morning.  If I tried to go for after 5 PM, this trainer was not available.  Maybe, I need to work on looking for another trainer.

Trying to decide if I should change primary care physicians, again.  My last one moved away and I decided to go with another doctor in the group.  Unfortunately, the last time I tried to see this doctor, I waited over an hour to be seen and dealt with a grumpy nurse's aide.  I was frustrated and angry.  I did not have time for this during the middle of the day and what made the situation worse was that no one made an effort to say that the doctor was running behind schedule.  I left completely pissed off.  The next day, the counselor told me that I was justified in being upset.  Not sure why I feel this way, but I feel like I am supposed to be ashamed of walking out like that.  However, why?  I was not being treated properly and it is my time being wasted; not their time.

My work area is undergoing constant upheaval and sometimes, I am not sure if we are coming or going.  I try to make sense of it all, but how can you?  Being on the low end, you just have to watch what changes take place and see what falls out.  It is pretty nerve wrecking.

Grieving over lost friendships - sometimes, I have to realize that maybe those relationships really were not meant to be.  I will leave it to the other side to decide if they want to continue and in what capacity.  What I would like may not be what someone else wants and I have to understand.  I have a few close friends that I can lean/rely on and I will continue to appreciate those relationships and let those people know I do.

Caring for myself - I have not been doing well in this area.  I feel that I succumb quite a bit to just crawling back into bed as my mother used to do.  Most of that is related to the constant back and knee pain I experience.  Could be depression, but I do try to fight it as much as I can.  Trying harder to walk more with Bo - as much as I can withstand.  I will walk a good 10 minutes or more, then look for a place to sit to relieve some of the pain.  Once I feel better, I get back up and walk more.  This way, I spend more time with Bo and talk with him in a positive tone so that we both are smiling and having a good time.

At this point, I feel that the shots in my back are useless.  Maybe the only cure is just dependent upon weight loss.  I simply have to get out of the rut I find myself and work harder on turning my life around from where I am.  While it is a scary proposition, maybe I need to look at possibly vlogging for me to get some accountability as well as seeing a change.  Even when I lost 120 lbs in 1996-1997, I still saw a very overweight person in the mirror.  I never felt that I got anywhere, even though the numbers showed differently.  

Also, I have to build a tougher exterior to prevent the pain of abuse from others.  I get angry at people who say mean, nasty things, yet they hide behind their computer screens.  No videos - nothing.  It is so easy to sit behind the computer screen and say nasty things.  It is hard to invoke change within one's self and when I see someone trying hard, I would rather hear encouragement, rather than breaking down the spirit.

That brings me to the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situations.  If you are overweight, people discriminate against you and say awful things because they feel that they can.  If you lose weight, same people make the similar nasty comments.  You simply cannot win.  I finally had to come to the conclusion - if people make nasty comments, just delete them.  If those people complain, they need to look within themselves.  I need help; I need support.  I do not need someone bringing my day down with their useless abuse.  Making a change within one's self is never an easy task - it takes time and work.  That is what I am trying to do.

So, with that, I will continue to blog from time to time, but look out for my channel.  I am not gorgeous or even beautiful, but I am a person.  I have a heart and feelings.

Techno Joy - Apple's Airpods!

While I am one of those crazy technology freaks, I do have my limitations.  I do not purchase a new computer every year.  I do not get the latest iPhone, unless mine breaks down - and it is not because I physically broke it.  However, I have always had the "Dennis the Menance" addiction to "playing with technology".  My latest find has been the Apple Airpods.

The Airpods came out about the same time as the iPhone 7 and 7 plus.  With the advertisements, I thought that the new phone came with the new wireless ear buds.  Alas, that was not to be the case.  A new wired headset was made available, but not the Airpods.

In May, I purchased the Apple Airpods.  Currently, I own the following Apple products:

iPhone 7
iPod Touch - 2
iPod Nano - Several
iPad - 3rd Generation (Probably about to be made obsolete at some point)
iPod Mini
iPod - 3 - ranging from 1st generation (It still works but has to remain connected) to a 160 GB that I need to setup
MacBook Pro

For the most part, the Apple AirPods connected immediately to both my iPhone 7, iPad 3, and both iPod Touches.  The AirPods will not connect to any of my iPod Nano devices, which is a bummer, but I am good with that.

The Apple AirPods allow the following:

Two hours of talk time
Three hours of listening time
Case allows up to 3 to 4 AirPod recharges
Can charge both case and AirPods when connected with the Lightening connect
Can double tap the AirPod to connect/disconnect from a phone call

In the past, I tried using the popular LG headset that I had seen people wearing for the past 3-4 years.  When I used it, I felt like I was being choked.  To make matters worse, the model I had did not work well with my iPhone.  I ended up returning the device to Best Buy.

With the airpods, I am really thrilled to use them.  I have no "wires" restricting or getting getting in the way.  I feel comfortable wearing them and have not incurred any serious connection issues.  I am rather bummed with the short life span, but I tell myself - every great product has to have a starting point.  As more people discover the airpods, I am sure Apple will do more with enhancing the listening and talk time.  One of the main reasons I still have a Plantronics earbud - the talk time on my current Plantronics is about 6 to 7 hours.

I have learned how to use Siri to make phone calls and such using the airpods.  I also love how I can easily connect the airpods to my MacBook Pro computer.

Those of you who love exercise would enjoy the airpods for your running/jogging/walking routines.  The only time I have had any issues with the airpods falling out was when I was pulling a shirt over my head to either remove or wear.  The airpods fit snugly in my ears and are comfortable for me.  If you are not used to how the current Apple wired ear phones fit, you may not enjoy the airpods.

Curious about how much battery life you have left with both the airpods and the case?  Very easy - make sure your phone is close to the airpods case, then lift the lid.  A screen for the airpods will appear and show you how much battery life is left in the case and each airpod.  You can also go to the "main" first screen where you have a "Search" entry, scroll down to look for the "Batteries" widget - you will see the battery level there as well.

Overall, I am really enjoying my experience with the airpods.  Friends that have called me while I was wearing the airpods say that the sound quality is better than the wired earphones and the Plantronics ear piece.  I always get good clarity with the airpods.  Heck, I loved the airpods so much that I bought my father a set for Father's Day.  I really love wearing/using the airpods - it has brought my listening and iPhone experience to a new level.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Time Out to Reset...

For the past few months, I have been "knocked" about for quite awhile.  If I blogged, I never published my thoughts because of my approach and ruthless "just getting it out of my system."  You know - the things you would love to say, but rather than press "Send" on that scathing email, you press the "Delete" key.  I was hurt, upset, stressed, and angry.  I have calmed down, but that is due to taking a different attitude. 

During the chaos, I found myself just going into the same vicious circle:  Getting up, working, and going to bed.  I was emotionally paralyzed.  So, one of the things I did was work on cutting myself off from people.  Now, that sounds harsh, but the reason for doing that was to simply make myself really view some of the situations that had occurred and make decisions about how to deal.  

Life is not all positive with sun shining and flowers blooming.  Life is real and stuff happens.  Plans are changed, people change, and the world changes.  It is what it is.

With that in place, I started looking at what I can do to define my own happiness.  Examining my "real" needs.  I designed a 3 year plan to work on obtaining something I want for Bo and myself.  Right now, I am struggling a bit with some decisions I have made, but I know that it is all for the best.  It is what I have to do for me.  Not what people have some perception of what they think it should be for me.

Health wise, I have some obstacles preventing me from doing things I like to do.  It is always something, so I simply put on the "smile" on my face and crack on with life.  I have my meltdowns and you know what, I am allowed.  My feelings and thoughts matter - maybe not to you, but they do for me.  I am just not reaching out to anyone anymore.  No one wants to hear it and I get that.  

So, I am taking some time off for myself.  Making an effort to try to "reset" myself and move into some better behaviors.  I think everyone needs that opportunity to scrutinize what is going on and see what they can do to better their situation.  This is my time to do that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Life and the Daily Drama...

My life, for the past several months, has had more drama than I really ever cared to have.  Sure, we all want excitement in our lives - it is what makes us feel alive - a part of the world.  But for heaven's sake, can someone lay off of me for awhile?!

At work, there is the yearly upheaval.  Not sure if other companies do it, but I am sure they do.  Reorganization of groups and resources to better achieve goals created by upper management.  While it should not cause a lot of stress, it actually does because people become unsure of who they are reporting and expectations.  We all try to carry on, there is that time you must adjust with the change and learn how to work with someone else.  You have to take time to really understand their methodology and expectations.  

My group is also working on doing a product upgrade.  Our application is an "out of box" product and we create custom code to enhance the application for our needs.  For one aspect of the application, it has been several years since the last upgrade.  Therefore, that makes the upgrade a bit difficult.  So many changes in the base application and trying to determine what works and what would have to be readjusted.

What I have not been happy with has been the rather unclear path to do this upgrade.  I have not been part of all discussions, so that left me at a disadvantage to understand what steps were taken.  That has caused me a lot of heartburn because others have an expectation that I know what, how, and why things are done for the upgrade.  Yet, I do not.  I even express "I do not know".  It is that point where when you have heard for your lifetime that it is okay to say you do not know, but realize that no one believes that or accepts it. You can tell that by how they continue to badger you.

I asked for help from one side and was stone-walled and the other group continued to dog pile on me.  I would work 14-16 hours to try to resolve issues, but when you are "walking in the dark", you tend to fall and hurt yourself.  This was me.

I finally stopped that.  I had to.  I did not quit work.  I just stopped beating on myself.  These people have to get over themselves because bottom line:  They know just as much as I do - nothing.

There is a battle that I do not wish to be a part of - I simply wish to do my job and crack on with it.  I do not care about how many employees report to me.  I do not care what my peers think.  I care for getting the work done and doing a good job.  If the business is happy, then I am happy.  

The political posturing disturbs me to no end.  Recently, I got dragged into another similar mess.  I heard both sides of the story and was not leaning on any particular side.  I simply looked at the facts and said that it does not matter if this other company made us look bad - our company pays them to do whatever we ask and they ask no questions.  They do not care about the customer experience, but we should.  

Apartment drama is about to cause me ulcers.  Decluttering is not the issue - I am doing what I can as I can.  Making progress.  My recent derailment is my master bathroom.  A month or so ago, I noticed cracking in the tub.  I tried to do what I could about it, but I figured it was time to move into the second bathroom and contact the apartment maintenance to repair the tub.  The tub is a fiberglass/plastic garden tub.  I have always felt a certain amount of "give" every time I stepped into the tub, but I had never really been in such a tub.  Therefore, I was not sure if that was normal or not.  The second bathroom tub is a nice porcelain tub - basically, I would have to exert some massive force to break it.

Before I could open a ticket with the maintenance, someone from the complex was knocking on my door two weeks ago.  The gentleman asked me if I had experienced any leaking with my washer.  I said no, but allowed him inside to check.  He validated all was dry, so I mentioned that the tub was cracked.  I showed him that as well.

Apparently, the neighbor's garage is experiencing leakage from the ceiling.  So, the maintenance guy got his boss.  His boss acted like a jerk.  He went on about having to epoxy the tub and paint it, but I had to basically gut the bathroom.  He left and came back with someone else to look at the tub regarding the epoxy and painting.  I ended up having to spend two nights at Aloft due to the fumes of the epoxy and paint.  These guys left my apartment wide open while I was out and never made a point to call me to let me know when I could come back into the apartment.  I am already annoyed.

Last week, I am still nervous about taking a shower in that bathroom, but I go ahead.  I had one before taking my father out for dinner last Wednesday and another that Friday.  On Friday, the tub bottom felt weird, but I thought maybe it was due to the epoxy.  I looked down and saw the cracks and even more cracks.  I hopped out of the tub, dried off, pulled back the rubber mat to examine closely and sure enough, cracking was still there and was now going up the sides of the tub.

Well, no point in cleaning the bathroom.  I decided it was time to clear the space back out and I would contact them regarding the tub and ask to get the smoke alarms in the living room repaired.  Before I could do anything, the maintenance head was back at my door.

"It's leaking again!"  I said - Yes, I noticed that the tub was cracking and was about to contact you about that.  He marched right into the apartment and headed straight for the bathroom.  He looks at the tub and says "What cracks?"  I said, let me get into the tub and I will show you.  I get in the tub, pull back the tub mat and you could see the cracks and those leading up the side of the tub.  

The maintenance head had shown up on Wednesday and I had my last bath on Friday - gross I know, but I was trying to work, get stuff out of the way, and get the second bathroom ready for my use.  So, I asked the maintenance guy when was the last time the neighbor noticed a leak.  It was Friday.  I said - Okay - I have not showered in the bathroom since that time and probably won't ever after this.  I will shower in the second bathroom because the tub is sturdier and there are no cracks.

Thursday morning, I take a shower in my second bathroom's tub at 9:30 AM, so I can see my counselor.  The only thing I do in the master bath is use the toilet and brush my teeth.  I have not washed any laundry or done any dishes because I am scared to do it.  (That is just damn sad, too.)

Yesterday morning, knock on my door.  Maintenance man - in a pissed off tone to me - "You took a shower in that bathtub after I told you not to do it!  Neighbor says that there is a leak again and she is really mad."

He went past me, up the stairs yelling at me and I am telling him that I did not take a shower in the master bathroom tub.  I am upset, pissed, and humiliated.  Why is this happening to me when I did nothing?  He marched right into the master bathroom and looked at the tub.  I was livid at that point.

"Would you like for me to not use any bathroom in my apartment?  Does the neighbor wish for me to move? When did she even notice the leak again?!"

Apparently, she noticed the leak again on Thursday night.  I said - Well, as you can see, the damn tub is bone dry - I DID NOT TAKE A SHOWER IN A CRACKED TUB!  I am tired of this barging into my apartment and accusing me of something so outrageous! I have only used the toilet and the sink.

Maintenance guy starts looking at everything else, then he decides the seal on the toilet is bad.  At this point, I realize the guy has no freaking clue, but it is okay to lean on me.  He tells me not to use the master bathroom at all; only use the second bathroom.

He walks out and I feel humiliated.  I start crying because I was accused of something I did not do.  I started getting angry when I thought about the whole ordeal and his saying it was the toilet.  He has no freaking clue!  If it was the toilet, then shouldn't the neighbor be complaining about leaking ALL OF THE TIME?!  I mean, I used the master bathroom toilet all the time when I need to go!  It is absurd!  He would rather bust up my apartment rather than do the sensible thing and open up where the leak is in the neighbor's garage and validate that the leak is truly coming from my area.  It could very well be the pipes and nothing to do with the bathroom at all.  I am not saying not to replace the tub, but freaking think smart - he is going to have to repair the garage ceiling anyway.

I went to the leasing office and talked with the manager about the situation.  I told her what had transpired.  I do not care that my apartment looks like hell right now.  I have physical limitations, but I am working on that.  However, the apartment stuff is not what is causing this issue.  I do not appreciate the maintenance head coming into my apartment and accusing me of something I did not do.  I am a 50 year old single woman.  I do not hold wild parties, I pay my rent on time, I work with people around me, I keep to myself, and I make sure I do not disturb others.  I would hope to be considered an ideal tenant.  The fact remains, the maintenance lead should have handled the situation better - I could care less if the neighbor is pissed.  I did not make this happen and I am trying what I can, but I live in this apartment.  If you keep restricting what I can do, the complex needs to help relocate me elsewhere and quit this mess.

Last night, I was simply paralyzed from the incident.  I tried to move past it, but it kept upsetting me.  Everything I wanted to do, I worried - would I piss off the neighbor and get into trouble?  Can I even do a load of laundry?  Can I even really use my second bathroom?

This morning, I said "Fuck him, the neighbor, and the complex.  I have things I need to get done in this apartment and if involves using water, then by God, I am doing it!"  This is flat out ridiculous.  

Yeah, I know - buy a house, but again, you have to deal with similar issues.  Might not be maintenance people, but you have to pay someone out of pocket to fix those issues.  Then, deal with half-ass work done.  Same here.

My counselor reminds me that I have dealt with a lot of stress - more than anyone should have to manage in such a short time.  Losing Chloe, dealing with the health issues, the D&C, the mess with people wanting me to get a gastric sleeve, and the lingering grief with my mom's death among all of it.  It all piles on and as my ob-gyn put to me, "Girl, no one is giving you a single break, are they?"  She is right.  They are not.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Life Mistakes...

Over the past few months, I have been mulling over my life and how to handle some of the more depressive situations.  One of the things I have come to realize is that I expect/ask too much of my friends.  Meaning, needing emotional support when they are not in for that.  

I do not have very many friends and many of them are busy with their own lives.  It is not fair for me to expect them to drop everything to hear my problems and so forth.  I try to compensate that by letting them know how much I appreciate their being in my life by getting things that I think they may like.  I feel I have not much to offer, but I try to repay kindness as I can.

Not everything is positive and light.  I remember a friend from college hearing about my new Beetle and thinking I bought the yellow one.  I had gotten a blue one and she was telling me how happy she was that I did not get that "perky yellow car!"  I try not to be negative, but sometimes, my pain and lack of being able to do the things I used to do really gets the best of me.  

I have tried to put all of that in the past and start fresh.  However, past pains do have a tendency to raise their ugly heads.  I know I wear my heart on my sleeve and take a lot of stuff personally.  I am exactly the description of my astrological sign - the crab.  When hurt, I want to crawl back in my shell.  Sometimes, when threatened, I will pinch and hurt others, but I never want to be like that.

For my friends, I apologize for leaning so hard.  It was not what you signed up for when we became friends. The past several months have been difficult - hell, the past several years have been difficult.  Life is like that and sometimes, it is just hard to roll with the punches.  

I just hope that you understand - I know.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nail Polish Frustrations...

Back in January, I gave myself a manicure.  I was quite proud of myself, even though I had polish all over my cuticles and on the sides of my nail bed.  I knew that the polish would flake off after my first shower.  I loved the color and was hoping to see if what I had done would enable the polish to stay on longer than a few days.

About a year ago, I spent quite a bit of money to get a mani/pedi from Hollywood Nail Spa.  I had not even been out of the spa for a hour and my polish was already flaking/peeling off.  I was mortified!  What was the point?!

I thought maybe it was the old products that the nail tech was using.  I really examine what the nail techs are doing and their kits when giving me a mani/pedi.  I check out what the products look like and quite honestly, the nail base coat and top coat bottles were looking pretty nasty.  Crusty at the top and looked thick when being applied.  I figured small wonder that my polish started chipping and peeling.

So, I got the Zoya nail polish, in Sarah, and my Essie base and top coat polishes and started on my nails.  I put two coats of base coat on my nails.  Next, I applied two coats of the Zoya polish, let dry, then applied the top coat.  The polish performed so well!  My polish wore down, rather than chipped/peeled.  Basically, my manicure lasted for about 17 days which was amazing.

So, I figured I would try again.  This time, the polish would be Zoya's Olivera - a really pretty dark forest green.  I thought it would be perfect for St. Patrick's day.

I followed the same pattern as last time:  two coats of base, two coats of color, then one coat of top.

After about 3 hours, I found that my right pinkie nail already had a chip!  I figured - do not freak out about it.  I applied a small amount to cover the spot and used top coat to help even the polish.  Perfect!

Next morning, I noticed some texture to my nails from having slept.  That dulled the shine on the nails somewhat.  Also, there were some areas where the polish had been "moved" and caused a rough edge.  At this point, I am getting annoyed.  By the evening, I noticed chipping and peeling was taking place.  Now, I was full blown over the whole thing.  I could not believe it and not really sure why it is happening.  

Now, I am going to remove the polish because quite honestly, you could not even tell I applied it on Friday - it looks like it has been on for at least a week and is already chipping.  Ugh!  My hope is to get my errands run for grocery shopping day, get a pot roast in the oven, work on some decluttering, then work on my nails.

This time, I have some fast nail drying spray.  The spray I bought I used to use back in the 80's when I was regularly giving myself manicures and it worked really well.  I am just really disappointed that this manicure is performing so poorly.  I have lined up a bunch of polishes for me to use that I think are really gorgeous - light, pastel colors to reflect Spring. 

I like getting a mani/pedi, but I am trying to work out a routine/schedule that I can stay on track.  Once I get that worked out, I want to work in putting in a bi-weekly mani/pedi.  The main reason is that I want to make sure that my feet are being well cared.  I do a horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) job giving myself a pedicure.  I butcher my toenails and they look all scraggly and nasty.  I do okay with putting lotion on my feet, but pretty much hit and miss with sloughing off the dead skin on my heels.  I need to get better about that.

Have to wrap this up for now, but will let you know how the manicure goes!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Skin Care...

Like I won't get bariatric surgery, I will not consider any botox or fillers to ease my age lines.  Now, I am not going to shame anyone that gets that sort of work done on their face.  However, for someone who is under 35, I do not feel you should even consider that.  Your face is young - get some good skin care information and take care of your skin that way.  Nutshell, God made you differently from others.  So what if  you do not have fuller lips than the girl in the YouTube video.  I would hate for these young people to get caught in a botched plastic surgery incident or worse, death.  It is so not worth all of that.

I have been following Stephanie Nicole for make-up reviews.  Through her Instagram account, as well as YouTube Channel, she has introduced me to Caroline Hirons.  O-M-G!  What an amazing lady!  She truly is the skin care expert and I love her sense of humor.  She reminds me of Dawn French and I say as a compliment because I love Dawn.

I am currently absorbing her blog,  Her blog is chock full of various product reviews, spa visits, her various vlogs (which are inspiring as well as so down to earth), and absolutely fabulous information regarding how to care for your skin.

Caroline collaborated with Pixi for the "Double Cleanse" product.  I just ordered it from Target yesterday along with the Pixi Glow Tonic, which she highly recommends.  I have been doing a little bit of a double cleanse each day, even if I was not wearing makeup.  I would use Neutrogena's daily scrub to exfoliate, then Philosophy's Purity to do my second cleanse.  As of late, I have been using Philosophy's gentle scrub, then using First Aid's cleansing milk for my second cleanse.  I am sure I would get a foul look from Caroline regarding the first scrub as she does not care for scrubs' micro beads for exfoliation.  So, as soon as I am done with my products, I will not repurchase those.

I also purchased an SPF from Target to start using.  Honestly, my initial skin care was crap.  I would take off makeup using Noxzema face cream, use an apricot scrub to cut down on the breakouts and such.  Use Sea Breeze as a toner to get all of the dirt off my face before applying makeup.  My dear mother introduced me to Oil of Olay as a moisturizer and nutshell, that was it.

My mother had originally wanted me to visit a place in Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth to get proper skin care and learn how to properly apply makeup.  Somewhere along the way, that dream/idea never materialized and I started getting makeup on my own and playing with it.  She was never happy with me for sleeping in my makeup, as young women have a tendency to do - because we are lazy, really.  Still, I always remember my mom telling me that she would take me to this botanical shop for all of the proper things to do with makeup.  

My current plan is to continue going over the various YouTube videos that Caroline has so thoughtfully put together to help me sort out what would be the best products for my skin.  I want to reduce the signs of aging, but I also know that I do not get enough water in my system each day.  So, I know my skin is dehydrated.  Part of me wants to get Sunday Riley and the other part of me is saying Kate Somerville.  Ack!

I want to save my money for the serums and oils that make sense for me to use.  For cleansing and such, I would prefer to look on the less expensive side for those.  That way, it makes total sense.  This may be a bit of a long testing process, but I did manage to get a Sephora test skin care kit with so many different brands.  I am looking forward to using those to get an idea of what works and what does not.

Here's to getting to know Caroline Hirons and my own skin!