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, carolinehirons.com.  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!

Health Update - February 2017...

Taking a small break from the craziness of the day.  Last week, I visited both my endocrinologist and kidney specialist.  During my visits, I had shown to have lost weight and major improvement on my blood sugar, and stable on my kidney function.  My kidney specialist indicated that I probably should take the pill to help alleviate water retention more often.  Honestly, I just figured it was due to that monthly thing about to happen.  I always retain a good bit of water right before that time.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with myself.  I keep telling myself not to get lost in all of the "good" and focus on reality - I still have more weight to lose and I need to make sure I keep working hard to not eat fast, be cognizant of when I am about to binge, and make healthier choices.  I am getting better, but I still have a lot of work to do on that aspect of life.

I feel the new FitBit Charge HR 2 is helping me as well.  The new features on the device alert me of when I need to get up and get some steps in every hour.  That helps me make sure that I am getting up to walk around and not sit for hours on end.  It also helps with keeping my knees and other joints from hurting so badly when I get up to head to the bathroom or whatever.  I really feel old when I try to stand after sitting for a long time.  Sometimes, I wish I could scream out loud.

I cannot give up.  I know I can do this and my dearest hope is to be rid of my sporatic back pain.  After having to bring groceries up the stairs, my back lets me know how bad an idea that was.  Unfortunately, I have to get groceries in order to cook at home.  Still, I cannot give up - I must keep my head down and keep focusing on the positive.

Those of you out there with similar issues, I understand your pain.  I truly do.  I am trying not to wallow in self-pity because it is not going to help me out of this mess.  Just doing as much as I can when I can.  If that is all you can do, that is good enough.  Keep trying, do not feel like you are giving up - you gave as much as you can.  Rest - hit it again in 5 minutes, but never give up.    

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Living a Sheltered Life?

At Christmas, I went to celebrate the holiday with my father, his girlfriend, and her family.  I have one cousin that lives in the area, but I rarely see his family or him.  Usually when his father comes into town, then he or his father will contact my father for getting together for dinner one evening.  As of late, even that has gone by the wayside - no one seems to have time for one another.  It is kind of sad, really.

However, getting back onto topic, Bo and I spent Christmas with my father.  I brought a fruit bowl, veggie tray, guacamole, pretzel chips, and olive and roasted red pepper hummus for the Christmas dinner party.  I was making sure I had some fresh veggies for me to eat rather than pigging out on chips and what have you.  Makes sense, right?

During dinner, one of the girlfriend's step grand-daughters made the statement that I must have lived a sheltered life because my father did not like macaroni and cheese.  For me, I can take or leave macaroni and cheese.  However, when I choose to eat it, I prefer my mac 'n cheese to have a really nice cheesy sauce.  I have eaten Kraft Mac 'n Cheese a couple of times and not really a fan.  I enjoy Velveeta shells and cheese - my mom would purchase that when my father was out of town.  Another mac and cheese we liked was Stouffer's or back in 1978, the Morton mini mac and cheese or spaghetti servings.  During the summer, I would stay up all night with my mom.  We would pop those in the oven and eat them together late at night.


However, I have had mac and cheese that was simply just boiled macaroni, then someone thought they were clever to just grate up cheese and either let it melt on its own or put it in the oven/microwave to melt.  My opinion - not a huge fan.  It has no real taste and is pretty much dry.  In the end, I would rather not even have mac and cheese, if prepared in that manner.

On the opposite side, the young woman stating I lived a sheltered life had no idea of how to eat asparagus or even broccoli - she claimed that broccoli tasted like dirt.  Growing up, while I realize we may not have had a lot of money, my mother made sure I found a liking for spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, asparagus, and brussel spouts.  

I fully admit, I am no huge bean eater.  Cannot stand refried beans - it is just disgusting to me.  I can usually eat charra beans, but then again, everything tastes wonderful with bacon grease in it.  I do love green beans and black-eyed peas.  I even love regular peas - I have come across a lot of people who say they are gross.  I still love them.

So, as I reflect on the comment I lived a sheltered life, I really do not think I did.  My mother did all that she could to get me to eat as many vegetables as possible in my life.  For that, I am eternally grateful because of my current situation today.  I have so many options when it comes to changing my diet and eating clean/healthy.  The fact that I am open to so many vegetables makes preparing meals a hell of a lot easier. 

When it comes to food, I did not live a sheltered life.  I enjoy a wide variety of vegetables.  I think what makes me a little bit more successful with my meals is that I try to always have a colorful plate.  Not only is it pretty, but you can be assured that you are probably getting the right amount of vitamins and so forth to keep you healthy and prevent sugar spikes. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Cold War Within...

Dear God, is there somebody out there
Is there someone to hear my prayer
I'm a simple man with simple words to say
Is there some point in asking
Asking for more only got us where we are today
Lost and alone and afraid


Give me, love for the lonely
Give me, food for the hungry
Give me, peace in a restless world
Give me, hope for the children
Give me, a worldwide religion
Give me, peace in a restless world


Dear God, can you hear me crying
A whole world crying
Looking for something to say
We had it all and we threw it all away
Is there somebody watching
Somebody watching over the mess that we've made
We're lost and alone and afraid

(Lyrics by Midge Ure)

Today, I spent a majority of it sleeping.  Perhaps, I needed the rest from an incredibly stressful week, or even day.  When I was awake, I spent the time thinking about the Women's March and the concert that Midge Ure performed last night in Denton, TX.  Even though the song above has been his opening song for the entire tour, last night, for me, it took on a different tone.

It had been over 20 years since I had been in Denton, TX.  Fall of 1986, I transferred from Tarrant County Junior College to North Texas State University (Now, University of North Texas) and attended school there.  Many long trips to Denton were made and the soundtrack for many of those were Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Midge Ure's solo work, Billy Currie's solo work, and other wonderful artists during that time.  Mix tapes were scattered throughout my car.

I had remembered when "Dear God" was released.  I was at North Texas and picked up Midge's solo effort at the record store across the street from the University.  At this time in my life, I was attending classes twice a week and studying at home the other three days.  My mother had suggested this manner of attending school since my first semester had been so difficult.  As always, she was on point with that and I actually felt like I could breathe.  I had a few good friends where I shared classes and I felt very comfortable with myself for once.

"Dear God" reminded me so much of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" via the message that it sent.  The cold war was still going on and all we really wanted was peace.  Well, at least, that was what I wanted.

Yesterday, millions of women went to march in protest against the new President of the United States, Donald Trump.  To put it lightly, Donald Trump is not a nice man.  If you say something against him, then he tends to take to insults and so forth.  He has on often times called out women as being ugly and fat.  How could someone like that - with no manners, basically, win an election?  Easy - he was able to placate to the population that feels unheard and make them feel heard.

I will stop here for a moment and tell you straight to your face, I do not like Donald Trump and I did not vote for him, but I feel exactly the same about Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I did not vote for her, either.  I lived through the Clinton presidency and by God, I did not want to live through another one.  Some people around here feel it was the second "Camelot" and I would like to remind those individuals that many people did not fare well under that presidency.  If you think that by my not supporting HRC is that I did not want a woman for president, you are wrong.  I would have voted for any other woman, just not her.  I even said I would have voted for Condalezza Rice, if she felt compelled to run.  I think she is an awesome lady and did well as secretary of state.  I only wish I could say the same for HRC.

As I was driving home after the show, in awe of the absolutely wonderful (really, no words to properly describe) experience, I thought about Midge singing "Dear God".  As of late, I am truly scared of what we are doing to each other.  When the song was written, there was the Cold War still in play between the US and the USSR.  Today, our cold war is within ourselves.  

Over the past year, I have watched people make assumptions about others based upon their political opinions.  Friendships have ended due to all of this mess.  The tolerance level is reaching an all-time low - people are becoming so intolerant that they have become hypocrites.  Everyone was up in arms about how Donald Trump and Billy Bush discussed women.  However, those same people seem to forget how they would talk about certain men and how they wanted to jump into bed with them.  My opinion is if it is okay for you to do it, then you cannot say someone else cannot do it.  It is funny how people truly are.  I tread very carefully in those areas.

In my own life, I have felt my own share of bullying, even today.  However, you cannot fight some bullies as they are within a higher standing than yourself.  I have learned that I have to let it go, no matter how much it bothers me.  I also try to get out of harm's way when I can.  I do not think I will ever understand how we can have a women's march when we have women in society who will do whatever it takes to burn and keep another women down.  As I heard several times on YouTube, "We women need to build ourselves up".  I would love to see that, but as long as we have insecure women in high positions doing what they can to bring other women down in order to keep rank, we will never reach our ultimate goals.  

When I reflect on my life, the past several years are full of regret.  Mainly because most of that time was spent trying to prove something to someone and never getting anywhere.  Today, out of necessity for myself, I am in a better place.  I hate that these people still want to make my life miserable, but I refuse to allow them much more power over me.  They had their time and my life was in the worst place it had ever been.  No one can change or make better what happened to me, but I can move forward and I did.

Anyone who truly knows me will know that I will do some silly or even crazy things to show support of my family and friends.  No matter what endeavor - I feel it means a lot to show your support and lift those people up to achieve goals.  This world is so hard on everyone - why not help each other out to make it just a little better?

For Midge, I meant what I said when I said that I was just utterly grateful for your stop in Denton.  While Denton's square might be a scene from "Back to the Future", you gave me the experience of a life time - the opportunity to watch someone I truly admire and love perform.  I saw you smile a lot on stage and I figured it was because there were so many in the audience doing what I was doing - singing along - and aloud.  Not because we were trying to help the other band members, but in celebration for your being there and, for me, my support of someone special.  I pray that you will return, but if not, this show will live in my heart.

For all of you, take some time to think about how you feel regarding the current climate of this world.  I am scared - scared of what we are doing to each other.  I am just a single person with not much of a platform to speak.  It is very easy for celebrities to stand on their platforms and be heard.  For the rest of us "little people", our voices are so little to be heard.  However, together, we can make a great deal of noise.  Perhaps, people will start thinking about the lyrics of this song.  I would love to see a world of love and kindness to others.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Upgraded FitBit from Charge to Charge 2...

I recently recharged my FitBit Charge to see where I was activity wise.  How much was I truly walking?  Nutshell, I was getting about 3500 steps on average.  Since I sit a lot for my work, that makes some sense.  I need to get up and walk about more simply because if I sit for a long period of time, my joints hurt so badly when I initially stand and take a few steps.  I dislike this aging process.

So, last week, I decided to upgrade my FitBit to the latest version - the FitBit Charge 2.  I do not need the higher end versions, so this one works perfect for me.  This week, I am going to put the new FitBit to the test.

Since I am essentially starting over - as my dietician put it "New Year, New You", I have lowered my step goal down from 10,000 to 5,000 steps.  If I can do 5,000 steps a day, then I am half way towards to the suggested goal of 10,000 steps.  

With the crazy weather, the arthritis in my back and knee are really providing a lot of challenges.  However, I need to get past those challenges and get to moving.  My thoughts are that if I move more, then after sitting for 45 minutes, I should be able to get up a lot easier than I do currently.  Also, build up the strength I have lost over the past close to 3 years.  

I had reached out to my personal trainer, but quite honestly, after the situation with my back and how it brought me down, I feel that she does not wish to work with me.  Perhaps, it unnerves her for whatever reason.  I do not blame her for what happened.  Things happen and I have no real justification to say it was her fault.  I just need some help.  So, maybe I should look at an alternative.  My complex does not have any recumbent bikes.  Also, I want to check with work to locate a gym with a pool and that my company has a discount program.  This way, when walking is just not working out for me, I can ride the bike for my exercise.  I have also located my Yoga DVD for heavy individuals, so I would like to work with that and the exercises I did for my back with physical therapy.  Take time to build up my core and endurance.  In the process, I would hope that some weight would come off of this frame.

Time to get started on that process!  In the meantime, I am evaluating this new FitBit.  One thing I will say right off the bat - I may need to turn off the text messaging.  It is one thing for on the phone, but quite another on my wrist.  Too funny - I need to truly sit down and evaluate how much I need some of these Twitter notifications.

(Update:  Really loving the new FitBit Charge 2 - it has helped me refocus on what I can do, even when I have back and knee pain!)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Should I Go For a Real Change...

In 2006, I learned I had type 2 diabetes the day right before Thanksgiving.  My thoughts regarding the disease was so conflicted - what I could and could not eat, how I should be treated, and so forth.  My PCP at the time not only started me on an oral medication, but she quickly referred me to a Diabetes Education course.  My insurance covered the course and I attended with a friend that lives close to me.  This way, someone close to me would understand what was going on - my parents had been through this when my father was diagnosed with type 2 a year or so before that time.

I got educated in what I could and could not eat.  I made mistakes with thinking I could never have candy and so forth.  Honestly, I can have candy and so forth as long as I planned for it.  I expected people to help me and I found I had to really help myself.

Since that time, a few people in my life have gotten similar diagnoses.  I do not consider myself an expert, but yes, I do have to manage my disease.  I get asked so many questions and usually, my first reaction is:  Did your PCP prescribe you the Diabetes Education course?  In a recent situation, a friend's doctor wants to wait 3 months to send her to class, yet, provides some rather bad advice on what to eat.  

Interesting conversation I had with my counselor regarding people who speak about something that they do not know.  Is it really right for someone to make an assumption regarding how to handle something when it is not really their field of expertise?  No - it is not.  However, with people coming to me for information, maybe I should go back to school and complete a degree in nutrition and work that route.

Right now, I am not a good example of a healthy person.  By NO means.  Then, again, I am the perfect example of a person struggling with themselves.  If you want to lose weight and you have to juggle the carb counting, I say put counting calories on the back burner until you get the hang of the first piece of business.  That was what I did originally when I was diagnosed and I lost 14 lbs - more than anyone else in the room for my education course.  Most of that was probably water, but I would take it for it was worth.

My point here is that I struggle with my battle.  Right now, the battle is going "okay".  I have some good blood fasting values, but I am not losing any weight.  Some of that is due to the amount of insulin I have to take.  With insulin, I fight a battle to get the fat off.  Makes one wonder why, but that is how it is.

I analyze what I eat.  For example, I had two toaster waffles, 2 eggs scrambled, 2 sausage patties, milk, and less than 1/4 of maple syrup.  However, I ate it so quickly because I was dealing with a blood sugar drop, that I ended up going back for an apple and some orange juice.  That part is not so good.  However, if I were to eat a similar breakfast, without the waffles, I would have been fine.  In fact, I would have been full.  So, the question for me is - was that because of the low blood sugar or just the fact that I was woofing down my food.  The former, I know is a huge issue with me.  I am trying to eat in 20+ minute intervals.  I think I need to add drinking 16 oz of water to help with the hunger.

As I stated, I am no nutritional expert.  I know what I was told to do, but honestly, that is specific to me.  Some information I have, it is available on the internet.  I will suggest something, but I would rather prefer if people would not come back to me with excuses of why they do not want to do it.  It is really your choice - you asked for advice - take it or leave it.  I do not want to have a debate about it.

So, that might be my downside for creating a support group and so forth.  Everyone is different.  None of us were built from a factory, so none of us are perfect.  We all have wonderful and some troubling imperfections, but that is what makes us all beautiful in the world - our individualism.  Keep that in mind when asking for advice - what works for me, may not work for you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

This Week's Thoughts...

So far, I have made a dent in the clutter situation in my apartment, but I still have more to do.  That is okay.  It needs to be done and I am starting to feel better.  I just need to prevent myself from falling into the trap of looking at things to buy for "after" the declutter.  It is better just to wait until the declutter and deep cleaning are done.  At that point, think hard of what to get rid of in order to bring something new into the apartment.

Bo and I did not sleep well last night.  Yesterday was the 7 year anniversary of my mother's passing.  While I felt incredibly sad, the weather outside was a bit frightening.  The weather was very cold and the area experienced snow flurries.  The part that made sleeping a bit of a pain was that in the evening, the smoke alarms in the apartment would intermittently go off.  Not sure which unit has some issues, but poor Bo, he hates the devices.  I feel awful about it, so I am hoping that the units in question are those that I can reach easily with a ladder to change the battery.  Nutshell, smoke alarms are basically a necessary evil.  You have to have them, but when they are faulty, they are not much good.

My hope is that the weather will warm up a bit.  I know by Monday, the area will be back in the 60s.  Texas weather is really crazy.

On Monday, I purchased a couple of audio books.  I am disappointed that the system did not recognize the fact that I had credits available when purchasing one book.  I am working on trying to be better at cleaning.  I have only heard a few sections of this one book and I am already working on making sure that the kitchen sink is empty.

I am still trying to organize myself a bit as I go along.  It all takes time, I realize.  However, I am simply trying to form good habits.  I was proud of the fact that I avoided getting food out from a restaurant this week.  I may get something out tonight, but that is still being decided.  I am still pretty stoked that I have a good bit of cash in my wallet that I would not necessarily had at this time of the week.  So, that helps me promote preparing my own foods to eat.  I actually feel better about that.

At Michaels, I bought some journal books to help me with changing my habits and so forth.  The "Fitness and Nutrition" journal allows you to set up an 8 week plan, set your starting point, and your goals.  My reward for this 8 week period will be treating myself to purchasing either a new perfume or get a makeover.  Notice, I did not put in there to get something from the Cheesecake Factory or Smallcakes.  Food as a reward is not a good idea.  Proper rewards like getting a new perfume or makeover make sense - I am not tempted.

Now, that I have said that, I am trying to make sure I eat my breakfast, even if it is one of those Boost Glucose Control chocolate shakes.  Also, make sure I eat a sensible lunch and dinner.  Last night, I went a bit overboard and had chili with cut up hotdogs and chopped onion over crushed crackers and topped with some cheese.  I did not eat the entire can of chili - I have the other half as leftover, so that is actually a good thing.

The other things I am doing is trying to wean myself off of diet sodas.  I try to drink more water and unsweet iced tea.  My blood sugar is showing signs of improvement in that area.  For instance, my blood sugar in the morning has been ranging between 210-220.  Lately, my blood sugar is ranging between 130-140.  That is a vast improvement.  My hope is that my weight will start falling off as well and that in turn will help wean me down on the amount of insulin I am taking.  I may never get off of insulin injections, but to be taking less would be a good thing.

The other reason for changing my habits in order to lose weight, I am so sick and tired of the back and knee pain.  The weather changing outside is a contributing factor, but when I haul heavy bags either in or out of the apartment, I pay for that with severe back pain.  Oxycodone does absolutely NOTHING to rectify that situation.  Sitting down provides immediate relief, but I need to be more active.  I am going to work on strengthening my core muscles as well.  My chiropractor indicated that it would help my back.  Personally, I am tired of going under and nothing working to ease or eliminate the pain.  I know that there are people in more severe situations than myself.  I feel for them - I truly do.  I just wished that I could end the pain and be more productive.

One thing that I am looking into doing is maybe posting video logs.  I put myself out there in this format, but I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos.  Maybe I can help others - who knows.  I know there are many who make money from YouTube, but I am not in it for that.  I would be doing it to increase my self-confidence.  To be honest, I hate seeing myself how I am today.  I also know I have low self-esteem and so forth.  People out there can be ruthless - I have seen that first hand.

I try to be kind to all people.  I put up with a LOT from people who have no sense of their going too far.  I need to nip that stuff in the bud when I experience it.  Those people need to learn boundaries and how to properly handle themselves.

I have a lot on my plate for this year, but I can make it happen.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Overhauling "Me"...

I spent some time thinking about what the focus for this year should be.  Not really a theme, but what is it that needs to be done.  Nutshell:  I need an overhaul.

I need to pull myself out of my 8+ year depressive funk and challenge myself to do the things that need to be done.  I know why I have been depressed for so long.  I have allowed other things in my life to derail me.  I am not blaming anyone here but myself.  I did things that I felt compelled to do and let other personal responsibilities go by the way side.  That is not right, either.

After my mother passed away, I never really got to grieve over the loss.  However, people where I worked found it perfectly acceptable to tell me to just throw myself into my work and "get on with it."  I spent the better part of four years bending over backwards and doing work when I should have been relaxing, yet, getting nowhere in my profession.  In fact, I was told that if I wanted to get ahead, then I would need to leave the company.

I finally get away from the oppressive situation, find someone who trusts me and has faith in me, then my physical ailments come into play.  Again, another situation where I find myself just able to do the "work" work, but unable to take care of other responsibilities.

I have asked for help, but you know, help is dependent upon its own time table.  There is the "help" that makes the offer and lets you know that it has no issue with tossing anything of yours away as it has no emotional attachment.  Yeah - that is not going to work for me if you throw away something that meant something to me.  In fact, let's just say, I will never speak to you again.  Better to let that help go do something that it truly enjoys.

I have spent a better part of this year seeing a counselor and a dietician for my weight issues.  However, I still get the whole "you should see about a gastric sleeve" by various people.  Yes, I have a bias against the surgery.  Mainly because once I get it done, there is no going back to how it used to be.  No more enjoying eating a banana if I wanted.  No more enjoying some foods that I really do like, even if I do not eat them on a regular basis.  There has to be a better way for me to lose weight and damn it, I am going to find it.

I am more depressed that someone close to me, when told about my recent issue, made the statement that I needed to "quit eating cakes, cookies, and sweets".  There is more to my eating habits than just eating sweets.  If this person spent more time getting to know me, rather than staying away, that person would find that I do not always eat a lot of sweets.  I eat a lot of healthy foods as well.  I starve myself because I may miss my breakfast and I end up making up for it by eating an outrageous fast food meal.  How to break the bad habits - for this person, eating two meals is enough, but I have watched that same person eat a load of crap as well.  So, do not be coming to me with the suggestion that I should quit eating sweets as that is the issue.  It is not.  Small wonder I struggle with anger issues.

My home and physical self reflects the chaos that my life has endured the past eight years.  The only person that sees it and is trying to help is the counselor.  If I do not go to food, then I allow something else in my life to go to hell.  This was not what I had intended - it happened.  

So, this year, it is time to overhaul "Me".  It is time to allow those close to me who hurt me with careless statements to get an earful, rather than soaking it into my being.  Let go of the things that are holding me down - emotional and physical.  If I get something done, do not sit and criticize how you could have done it better.  Nod and say, "Good job!"  Nutshell, this year is about "ME".  So, I am going to be that selfish bitch.  I think I have earned it.