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.