Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year comes to an end

Can you believe it?  2011 is over already!
Where did the time go?
Admittedly, I have made wonderful progress this year.
For instance, six months ago I couldn't endure three minutes on the stationary bike.
And now, I'm doing 60 minutes every day!
Unbelievable indeed.
My pain level is way down since I'm doing that biking too.
I mean, I can do stuff that will induce the pain big time.  But for the most part, I've had fewer flare-ups (just as all the experts promised) and when I have had a flare-up, it hasn't lasted as long as they used to (again, just as all the experts promised).
So, that is progress to be sure.
Don't get me wrong now.  I still have the matter of my hips to resolve.
And at the end of January 2012, my left hip will be fixed.  (I'll simply have to endure the rehab and recovery.)
Once recovered from that surgery, I'm hoping that surgery on my right hip can be delayed several years.  I'm basing that expectation on the results I had from the steroid injection in my left hip.
During my "in heaven" phase with those shots, I was good to go -- neither hip gave me grief.  So perhaps once my left hip is doing the job it's supposed to do, my right hip will be able to relax and not have to carry the load.  Hence, it might not present the problem that it has in the past.
Only time will tell.
In any event, as 2011 closes, I'm enjoying much more mobility than I've had in many years -- thanks to my persistence on the bike.  And I'm looking forward to continued improvement throughout 2012.
Wonder if 2012 will pass as quickly as 2011 did?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My love affair with peanut butter

I have had a life-long love affair with peanut butter.
Peanut butter on super fresh bread.
Peanut butter melting on a piece of hot toast.
Peanut butter and honey on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and honey on toast.
Peanut butter and banana on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and banana on toast.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on toast.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on saltine crackers.
Peanut butter and brown sugar on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and brown sugar on toast.
Peanut butter on a spoon, just because.
I love peanut butter.
And it HAS to be Kraft.  (I'll actually pass up peanut butter if it is anything but Kraft!)
Smooth is best but Crunchy is next best.
You'll understand when I say I was devastated when I learned, several years ago, that it was my intolerance for peanut butter that had been keeping me in a migraine state.  The term 'intolerance' was used to describe my inability to ingest peanut butter because I don't really have an allergy to it, in the true sense.
I mean, I wasn't going to die if I ate peanut butter (or peanuts).  I was just going to wish I would die.
So some time around 1983 I stopped eating peanut butter (and Planters' dry roasted peanuts -- another favourite) in the interest of heading off my migraines at the pass.  (Yes, my migraines were that bad!)
Other culprits that I was warned to avoid were chocolate (which I actually don't much like anyway so that was an easy one to avoid) and red wine (which I never choose to drink since I hate the taste of it).
My migraines didn't stop entirely but they surely did decrease in frequency. (I had been unknowingly keeping myself in a migraine state by my daily ingestion of peanut butter.)  
We eventually found a treatment that worked for my migraines and I was at least able to function.  (I was still victim to barometric pressure and other triggers that were not always in my control to avoid.)
But back in early January, 2008, a life changing event occurred and since that date I have not had a single migraine from any cause whatsoever.
Some time in mid-2009 I cautiously reintroduced peanut butter to my diet.  WOW.  No migraine. Not even a little bit of a headache.  I've been eating peanut butter every morning on my toast ever since.  Without a hint of a headache.
By Christmas of 2009, (how did I ever manage 25+ years without my beloved peanut butter, I wonder?) when no migraine had yet re-occurred, my very wise little chickadee suggested that I might try chocolate again.
Remember, chocolate is not something I particularly like but one treat I did always enjoy was the box of cherry chocolates that Santa used to bring me every year.  I would eat them whilst I solved my jigsaw puzzle during my holiday from work.  (And I would invariably be plunged into a terrific migraine attack.  Duhhhhhh!)
For Christmas 2009, I received a box of Queen Anne's Cherry Chocolates.  And I ate one every day until they were gone.  No headache ever surfaced.
The gift was repeated for Christmas 2010.
And this Christmas, in addition to the Cherry Chocolates, I also received a bag full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (another favourite).
Neither of these goodies will do anything toward helping me with my weight loss efforts but it is my intention to have one of each treat each day until they are gone.
Because I can -- and one only lives once.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Now that's behind us

OK, the big day is behind us now.
And what a pleasant big day it was.
We were up early (as usual) and opened our stockings in bed.  Then I made John have his fruit juice before he was allowed to open presents (carry-over from my childhood).
We each received an abundance of goodies.  (There are never many surprises around here, although John did manage one this time -- kudos to him).
Once the gifts were behind us, it was time to shower and get ready for the most enjoyable part of what has become our Christmas tradition.
We go into the city to join my little chickadee and her family for Christmas breakfast.  I've lost count of how many years she has been hosting this event now but it must be at least eight (since MSYM is now ten).
The drive to the city was a little harrowing because the roads were just a tad slippery but I took it slow and easy and we turned a normally 45-minute drive into just over an hour.  Best be safe, I think.
The breakfast was fabulous, as it always is.  And as has become the tradition, we were also joined by my good friend, RLR, who is like another mother to MLC.  
My striking young man has come to expect that his Christmas mornings are shared with this special group of people and it is endearing to me that he feels that way.
We opened gifts after breakfast, with MLC playing Santa Claus and MSYM playing his helper.
Then we sat around and gabbed.
The weather continued to get uglier as the day wore on so we headed out just before 2:00pm.
It took us until shortly after 3:00pm to get home -- again, a 45-minute drive taking over an hour.  The roads were truly treacherous.  Fortunately, everyone was driving with suitable caution.
Once home, we unwound from the stressful trip by sitting quietly with before dinner drinks.
Then John set about preparing our "Christmas dinner" -- pheasant breast with stuffing, rice, and carrot/turnip mix.  It was delicious!
We were both exhausted and had little difficulty hitting the sack very early.
Trouble with that is ... I'm up very early to start the next day.
Like 3:30am today.
But I must admit I had a little help ... violent foot cramps drove me from my bed at that ungodly hour.  The cramping has been becoming quite an issue again of late.  I'm not sure what I can do about it because I don't know what is happening to cause them to have increased so dramatically.  They also seem to be limited to my feet now whereas before they were always in my calves and feet.
The only real difference to my regime is the recent addition of folic acid, iron and B-12 to my daily intake (to help build up my blood before my surgery).  I can't see that any of those would affect cramping but one never knows for sure, does one?  Especially with my crazy body!
In any event, I guess it will be a long day today.
I have lots on my plate today too.
Have to get ready for our family brunch tomorrow.
Christmas all over again!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Best wishes to all my friends, family, and loyal readers (whoever you may be).
Ruffed Grouse as viewed from our kitchen window
(©John T. Fowler, almontephotographer.com)
Have a safe and happy holiday!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Remembering a Past Christmas

For some reason, this day always brings back memories of Christmases past (go figure!).
And this year, I can't seem to get images of one particular Christmas out of my mind.
I was thirteen years old and I desperately wanted a pair of textured tights stockings -- they were all the rage that year.

About ten days before Christmas, I was home from school (I don't recall why; obviously I must have been sick).
I had the house to myself and decided I should go snooping for gifts.  I just HAD to know if I was getting a pair of those stockings!
Well, I found the cache of presents and eventually identified one that had my name on it that felt like it might be just what I was hoping for.
I oh so carefully opened the package -- and there they were.  They were blue and black with a diamond pattern.  Truly the most beautiful pair of textured stockings in the whole wide world!
Then I did the unthinkable.  I just HAD to try one on.
I remember shaking as I put the stocking on and pulled it up my leg.  And then I pranced around my parents' bedroom, admiring the sight.
I was still shaking as I took the stocking off and carefully folded it to put it back in the package.
But look!  Now the one I tried on was all stretched out, noticeably bigger than the other one.
So I quickly put the second stocking on and stretched it up my leg so the pair would match again.
Then I very carefully rewrapped the package and returned it to the hidden stash of gifts.
And I remember on Christmas morning being very nervous when it came time to open that gift.
My mother, who knew how badly I wanted those stockings, was watching closely as the package was handed to me.
What was I going to do?  I knew I had to act surprised and excited.  And I figured I could do that easily, since there was so much other commotion going on with our large family.  But would someone notice that the stockings were already stretched?
So I opened the package, let out a squeal of delight, and immediately proceeded to put the stockings on.
There, of course they're stretched, I'm wearing them!
That was the year I learned a very important lesson:  be careful what you wish for!
And I have never again gone snooping for gifts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family Size

I had a most interesting revelation today as a result of an e-mail exchange.
I was responding to someone who is very special to me.  She is pregnant with her second child, and the news got me to thinking.
After congratulating her (because I truly am happy for her), my honest response was: "You've gotta be nuts having another ankle biter. Don't you ever want to be able to rest peacefully again? AAAARRRRRGH! What were you thinkin' girl?"
But as anyone who knows me is aware, I love babies to pieces, and I love children tremendously. I just can't believe anyone would want to do it a second time!  This in spite of the fact that my pregnancy was actually the healthiest time of my life, and I really didn't have a difficult child to raise.
I know some people suffer terribly through pregnancy and/or experience hellish teenage years with their offspring. But that was not the case for me.
Truth be known, I always wished I had had three daughters-- can you believe it?  Fantasized about that being the "perfect family."  But I wasn't able to maintain subsequent pregnancies because of endometriosis, a condition that eventually led to my having a hysterectomy before my 28th birthday.
Today, I'm glad I didn't have my fantasy family because I don't think I'd have the energy to deal with three.  And I so enjoy the fact that my little chickadee doesn't have to share me with anyone!  
Crazy isn't it?  My mother always said, "The Lord works in mysterious ways."  

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is freakin' ridiculous!

OK, I know I'm extremely susceptible to all things threatening to the respiratory system.
But really, this is truly craziness!
Last Tuesday, when I was in the grocery store, the cashier was sneezing like a mad fool and was in absolute misery.
Of course, my first thought was, "Great, just what I need heading into Christmas!"  Because naturally, I figured she had a cold and was spreading it all over the place (ie moi, who picks up everything without even trying).
She quickly apologized for the violent sneezing attacks, explaining that a customer had come through ahead of me whose bags were covered in cat hair and she (the cashier) was severely allergic to cats.
"OK," I thought, "I guess I'll be fine then because you can't catch allergic responses."
And I went on my merry way.
Yesterday, precisely five days later, I'm suffering with non-stop sneezing, and I'm coughing and my eyes are watering to beat the band.
What's up with this?  I wonder.
And then it dawns on me.
That damned cashier WAS sick and had just made up the cat hair story!  How dare she expose customers to her virus like that (and then dismiss it with such a blatant lie!)?  Had management put her up to it, insisting that she work in spite of her so obviously not being well?
My little chickadee did not come up with the statement, "Someone sneezes in Montreal, and my Mom gets sick," without cause.  She came up with it because her Mom has a compromised respiratory system and gets sick with the very slightest exposure to just about anything that flies through the air.
So now, I'll ride this out and pray that it doesn't last a week.
And after January 13th, I guess I won't stick my head outside the door of my home, lest I pick something up before my surgery.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One week to go ...

It's only a week away.
Can you believe it?
Seven days to go.
And then it will all be over.
Just like that.
We build up to it for weeks.
Months even.
Carols playing everywhere you go.
Happy children mailing letters to the Big Guy.
Ritual -- writing greeting cards to friends and family.
Inside decorating -- outside too.
Shopping, shopping, shopping.
Tree's ready -- are the gifts wrapped?
Mom's busy baking.
And finally, it's time ...
Santa's arriving.
Are you ready?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If it weren't for bad luck ...

I'd have no luck at all.
Just like the famous saying goes.  (Sometimes, I swear that was written for me, along with Murphy's Law!)
Yesterday, I spent the day making meat pies.  And oh what a productive day it was!
When I was taking the bounty down to the freezer, my stair lift crapped out -- mid flight, as it were.
So there it sits, a foot from the top of the stairs, waiting for me to reach the service guy.  I'll place a call today and hope that he can make a visit here before Christmas to address whatever is wrong with it.
And of course, because I had spent the day in the kitchen -- on my feet -- I was in fairly rough shape last night.
A soak in my jet massage tub was very much in order.  I filled the tub and lowered myself in, so looking forward to feeling those jets pound away the ache in my shoulders and upper back.
Yeh, right!   The back jets wouldn't work.
Luckily the lower jets were working fine so I was at least able to benefit from those on my legs and hips.  But oh, I so wanted those jets to do their magic on my back and shoulders!
John will take a look at the danged thing this morning, but the last time this happened, we had to call an electrician to fix it (those tubs are complicated monsters).
This morning, I woke with almost as much pain as I had last night.
So today will be an enforced R&R day.  I'll spend it vegging.
Problem is, I don't even have a good book in which to get lost.
As I said, if it weren't for bad luck ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So that's a bust ...

Banking my own blood in the event I might need a transfusion during my surgery was a nice idea.
Except it isn't going to happen.
We spent an hour at the Transfusion Medicine Unit of the hospital today, they having received the results of the bloodwork that was taken on Tuesday.
My hemoglobin level is excellent (especially for a woman!).
My iron level is acceptable for non-surgical purposes but could be higher going into surgery (to help reduce the need for a transfusion).
For starters, I was assured that the likelihood of my needing a transfusion is very low (although one can never be 100% certain about these events you realize).
BUT, because I have a seizure disorder I am excluded from banking my own blood.  The very act of donating blood could bring on a seizure because they are drawing a lot of blood in a very short period of time.
The offer was made to "special request" that I be allowed to bank my blood in spite of the disorder (since it is well controlled) but I declined.
I discussed the seizures I had back in 2009 as a result of an electrolyte imbalance and the thought that the physiological impact on the body might be somewhat similar (if not more impacting).  Hence the risk for me might be a little too similar.  I don't want to go there.
So the decision was made that I will definitely not be banking my own blood.  And I was assured that should I need a transfusion, every precaution will be taken to safeguard my health and wellbeing.
As of today, in order to increase my chances of  NOT needing a transfusion, I am taking 300mg of Iron, 5 mg of Folic Acid, and 1000mg of Vitamin B12 a day.
If I'm not ready for surgery, it won't be from lack of trying ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting my ducks in order

Things are starting to fall into place vis a vis my hip surgery.
The hospital called to book my pre-hab appointment.  They offered me December 19th but that date is booked solid when I'll be staying overnight at my little chickadee's place.  Besides, John has to accompany me to the pre-hab visit, so the 19th wouldn't work.  For various reasons, I didn't like the other dates she offered.  Eventually, we settled on Friday, January 13th.  (My physiotherapist counselled me on the exercises last February so I'm way ahead of the curve on that aspect.  The 13th is plenty of prep time, so I'm told.)
And as for this week being a week of no commitments outside the home, with the exception of my massage therapy today ... well, that fell to the wayside.
On Monday, the hospital called to book my appointment for banking my own blood for the surgery (just in case ...)  Turns out there has to be a consultation (certain criteria must be met in order to bank your own blood).  And they need bloodwork to be done prior to that consultation meeting.
So, they faxed the requisition to me and I went for the bloodwork yesterday morning.  That took me out of the house.  While I was out, I did some grocery shopping (and some other type of shopping).  I did too much walking and suffered terribly for the rest of the day.
Today, I have to leave the house for my massage therapy (originally, the only time I would have had to leave this week).  It's unfortunate that I have to go to the clinic (she normally comes to my home) because it will be especially difficult to manage her stairwell in my now compromised state -- but one must do what one must do.
And now tomorrow, I have to make a trip into the city for the blood consultation visit at the hospital.  At that point, I'll find out if I meet the criteria to bank my own blood.  If I do, I'll have to make another trip into the city, to a different location again, to actually have the blood drawn.  If I don't qualify, they will put into place whatever is necessary to ensure there is sufficient blood of my type available for my surgery date.
One of the stops I made yesterday was to visit the physiotherapy lab at our local hospital to give them a heads up about my surgery.  The Ottawa hospital had indicated to me that instead of my having to go into Ottawa every day for the rehab physio, I could rehab locally.  I needed to know that our physio clinic was agreeable to that.  So that is now in place too.  One less thing to worry about.
You see, I was once a girl guide -- albeit very briefly -- and I took away one very important lesson from those days.  Always be prepared!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My budding writer

I have to share this, it's such a creative story. From what we can tell the assignment was to write a story personifying an inanimate object, without specifically revealing what the object is.
This is what my beautiful boy wrote (no corrections made):
Life Sucks
My face is a screen, my arm is a cord and my hand is a mouse, the other is a speaker and my feet are plugs. Almost every day someone's sweaty hands are all over my buttons and my hand. Most of the day people turn my face off. Whenever some kid turns me on and they play games with people running around I feel little feet pounding my face. When I'm bored I talk to my friends: iPod, TV, DSi, Wii, laptop and Playstation but I've always wanted to know an Xbox. Playstation is obsessed with violent games, iPod thinks he's rich, laptop is so fancy, Wii is crazy about new games and DSi is obsessed with Pok√©mon. Every day I hear these words "time to get off now!," which I think is a woman's voice and then a kid's voice that says "awwww!!!!!" and that voice sounds like a sad boy. I know I'm not the only one probably all of you have one of me, you may even have multiples of me. There are three others of me in this house so there are four of us in total. NO! They're coming! "Homework first and then you can go on." I heard a mother say. "Okay", replied a boy. A couple of minutes later I heard this "Mom, I'm done!" said the boy. NOOOOOOO! He's back, looks like I'm getting turned on now. Bye!
Now, I don't know about you but this coming from a ten year old just blows me away.
Apparently, his teacher didn't enjoy the creative aspect of the story quite as much as we did because he didn't get the grade I thought it should earn.  (Seems he revised it as he prepared the final copy, introducing several grammatical errors, and then he failed to properly proofread it before handing it in.  Those errors lost him grade points.  He was not happy with the final mark.  Tough lesson learned!)
With time, he'll learn not to mess with a good thing.
But in my estimation, it's a fabulous first-run story.
Way to go Marcus, my man!  I hope you never lose that spark.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Getting into the Spirit of the Season

Today I'm truly raring to go.
I've had several consecutive nights of good sleep (low AHI readings = restful sleep).
Oddly enough, I'm back to waking every two and a half hours or so because I do still have to change position, but I'm never up for long.  I make the required change and go right back to sleep.
Today, in fact, I slept until past 6:00am. That's a record for me.  I'm usually up between 4:30 and 5:00am, already on the stationary bike by 5:15am most mornings.
And I have to admit, I do like that routine.
I guess it works for me.  It reminds me of my working days when I was naturally up by that time.
I remember arriving at the office and announcing that I had already put in a day's worth of work because I had done so many household chores before I left home!
I guess my circadian rhythm is morning person.
My mother always used to say that she never needed to use an alarm clock once I came along because she had me to wake up the household.  And she was not talking about me as an infant.  She was referring to my childhood years.  Obviously, I've been an early riser all my life.
So, what am I doing with all this energy today?
I've pulled out all the paraphernalia that becomes my Christmas village and over the next couple of days, I will convert a corner of my home into a wondrous scene.



And I'll also turn space in my sanctuary into a welcoming corner for Santa.

So you can see I'll be busy for the next few days.
Take care.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My hip replacement surgery

I finally got the surgery call to have my left hip replaced.
Monday, January 30th is the scheduled date (that's only 53 more sleeps folks!).
I've got to admit -- I'm scared to death.
But at the same time, I'll be so glad to have it done (knowing full well that I will then have to wait to have the other hip done).
I'm told I'll receive a call from the hospital to book my pre-op appointment.
I'll also receive a questionnaire in the mail, which I am to complete and return to the doctor's office.
Canadian Blood Services will be in touch to arrange the drawing of my blood (I opted that my own blood be used in the event that it's necessary).
The hospital will call me the day before my surgery to let me know what time I should arrive the day of the surgery.  (A first morning appointment has been requested.  Please God, let me be first morning -- no waiting around all day for me with no food in me!).
I should know that there's always a possibility of cancellation, notwithstanding all that has gone before.
OMG, I'm scared to death!
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I got my new glasses!

I did.  I did!
We had a very long day in the city yesterday.
And it started off with a bang.
Really it did!
I "banged" into the side of the garage as I backed out and I smashed my passenger side mirror.
Excellent start to the day indeed!
We arrived at the hospital for our first appointment (removal of John's stitches) and there was no parking to be had.  Ended up on the fifth level in the tightest-squeeze ever of a parking spot.  But we at least arrived sort of, almost on time (we had arrived at the parking garage fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, walked into the clinic five minutes late).
Ninety minutes later (yes, ninety minutes to remove stitches!) we were on our way to our second stop -- my physiotherapy session.
Ninety minutes later again, we were off to our unexpected stop -- my mechanic -- to request that he order a new mirror for my car. That will be $200.00 plus labour and the mirror should be in by Friday.  Perfect timing because we have to go back to the city on Friday so we'll stop in again on our way home that day.
Such fun.
From there, it was on to my eye doctor to pick up my new computer glasses.
Initially, I wasn't so sure they would work for the computer.  They are fine for reading close-up but seemed a tad wonky for computer.  We discussed the likelihood that I might be a candidate for bifocal computer lenses with my next change.  For now, perhaps moving the screen a bit closer might be a solution.
As I try them, they seem to work fine (having moved the screen closer) and they certainly do allow me to see the close-up work (for my bookkeeping etc) so I guess they'll do.  It will take a few days of trying them to ascertain whether I'm happy with them.  If not, it will be back for yet another rework.
My eyes are such a source of joy!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Sorry for the absence

Sorry for the lack of posts here.
I am without computer glasses and it is very uncomfortable for me to work on the computer.
Hence, I am spending as little time as necessary in front of the screen (quickly checking my e-mail; doing my bookkeeping etc).
I'm hoping to get a call today or tomorrow that my new lenses have arrived.
Then I'll be back in business.
Til then, I'm having to remind myself that ...
... patience is a virtue.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

ELLEN -- are you hearing us?

My niece, who lost her daughter Tamarra to cancer last year, has started a "tweet" campaign to try to get Ellen Degeneres' attention for the charitable foundation that she has founded in her daughter's honour.  Following is the letter she recently wrote to Ellen:

"DEAR ELLEN

May 28, 2009, a large tumor was found of substantial size growing on my daughter’s spine and brain stem.  Our life was turned upside down from that day on.  Once it was confirmed to be cancer, surgery to remove the tumor was not an option due to the location of her tumor.  But surgery did occur to place a shunt in her brain to drain the fluid building pressure on her skull and brain.  Tamarra underwent 7 weeks of radiation and after completion, began an aggressive chemo protocol.  Her treatments were given as an inpatient at our Children’s Hospital in Toronto and then McMaster in Hamilton.  She was in the hospital for 3-7 days every 2 weeks for 6 months and every single day we watched the ELLEN show faithfully.  Your show always cheered her up with your energy and fun; we looked forward to that 1 hour of escape.  Sometimes the nurses would sneak in for a few minutes to watch with her and see who was on your show.  Tamarra would always comment and wish, “Mom, imagine how cool it would be if ELLEN came to visit at our hospital.”  Then you started your Canadian campaign and we emailed you, trying to get you to visit our local children’s hospital but we received no answer.  Tamarra watched an episode where a young girl had to get dental work and waking up from her anesthetic, was talking about you.  You aired the video.  Shortly after she had to receive a lumbar puncture and waking up from her anesthetic, was calling on you to have her on your show.  Tamarra was granted a wish from the The Children’s Wish Foundation and she was trying to decide between your show and a family trip to Jamaica.  It was a tough choice, but she decided on the trip so that we could enjoy a week away as a family since our last year was spent in the hospital.  Her wish was approved and we enjoyed a wonderful week in Jamaica.  After returning home (May 2009) Tamarra immediately started another round of radiation as the cancer had spread to her spinal fluids.  During the same time my dad was receiving treatment for his lung cancer.  June 2009 we learned that his treatments were ineffective and had only a few months to live.  He passed away August 27, 2010.  His memorial service after cremation was held September 18 and 3 days later we found out that Tamarra’s cancer was now also terminal with only a few months, if that , to live.  Tamarra was very open and accepting of her fate.  At the time, I wasn’t aware but she was writing letters for friends and family.  She was full of life but dying.  In an attempt to enhance her quality of life we started Holistic cancer treatments.  She immediately started to show signs of life.  She was sleeping better, getting her appetite back, color in her face, energy and most of all – hope.  We drove to the Naturopathic Doctors office every 2nd day, 35 minutes away.  We have a wonderful health care system in Canada but our ND’s professional services are not covered and patients must pay out of pocket.  The cost was too high for our financial predicament so a fundraiser was arranged through family and friends.  In the process of the fundraiser being set up, Tam’s ND had to go away for a week and her treatments were missed and she started to deteriorate and the cost was becoming an issue.  Daily she was getting worse and it was finally determined she had only days remaining.  She was admitted to a wonderful hospice in our hometown and 7 days later on November 23, 2010 she passed away surrounded by many people who love and adore her.  Immediately I started working on founding an organization that financially supports holistic cancer treatments in children/young adults.  Families needed to have a choice regarding enhancing quality of life when their child is diagnosed with cancer.  Traditional therapies – chemo and radiation typically reduce quality of life, making the sick person sicker.  Holistic cancer therapies such as Poly-MVA, IPT and IV vitamin C can be very beneficial when coupled with traditional therapies and can even hold their own in the fight against the disease. 
Cancer is a disease that has affected life on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years.  Following the diagnosis of cancer, there is crucial decision that needs to be made regarding the method of treatment; however, there are an enormous amount of choices concerning treatment from which the patient must choose which best suits him/her.  The best choices for this fight are ones that aim for quality of life and comfort.  TCF is attempting to make that an option for children and their families as well as create awareness on the benefits.
The reason for aggressively “tweeting” YOU is because I want to continue the effort in Tamarra’s honour to get your attention, but now, urging YOUR help to create awareness for our children’s charity affectionately named The Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation!  ELLEN we NEED your voice and your help.  Please answer us!!
Love from your Canadian fans!"
So, in my own little way, I am putting this out there for Ellen to see.
I too watch her show faithfully and I know that she trolls the internet.
Perhaps she'll stumble upon my humble blog and see this plea for her attention.
For information about the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation and to find out how to make donations to help support this very worthwhile charity, visit http://tamarrashonour.com/.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Advent Calendar

Every year on this date, I put out an "Advent Calendar" to count down the days 'til Christmas.
I've done it ever since my little chickadee was truly a wee chickadee.
Several years ago, on a lark, as I passed through Starbucks to get to Chapters, I noticed a most intriguing Advent tree.
It was comprised of numbered drawers, arranged in a tree formation, with each drawer containing a small chocolate treat.
As the treat is claimed on each day of December, the drawer is to be turned around before it is returned to its rightful place on the tree.
And when completed, on the 24th day, a winter scene is revealed.
It was perfect!
It could be used year after year, simply by refilling the drawers each year.
I couldn't find the price on the display unit and eventually I found someone to ask.
Turned out I had found the manager.
He told me the price and asked me if I wanted to buy it.
As I hemmed and hawed, not so sure that I wanted to spend quite that much, he made me a deal I couldn't refuse.
He told me that if I bought the tree, which was the last one he had in stock, I could also take the display unit, since he would no longer have use for it.
That made the price so much more reasonable.
So I grabbed them.
One for my little chickadee.
And one for me.
And forever after, we have the same advent tree which we fill with treats to help us count down the days until Santa's arrival.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So glad that's over

Yesterday was a difficult day indeed.
While John only had to endure two rounds under the knife for his second Mohs surgery, the finished wound is much larger than his first one.
And he is in oh so much more pain.
He figures that it was done too soon after the other, that perhaps they should have waited.  Normally there is at least a month between surgeries but the doctor felt that because each was on opposite sides of his face, it would be OK to go ahead after only two weeks.
Ooops!
John is glad to have it over with, but he thinks that the first side perhaps should have been further along in the healing process before the second side was attacked.
He's probably right, but it's too late now.  The deed has been done and he has to suffer through it.
I reminded him that originally, he wanted the doctor to do both sides on the same day.  Imagine the agony THAT would have been?
Hopefully, the pain will let up before too much longer and he can put all this behind him.
Until the next time, which we understand will be some time after Christmas.  In any event, if the call should come with an appointment before Christmas, we'll refuse the booking.  His next one is in the corner of his left eye so there is no way that can be tackled until this latest injury is fully healed.
And just to add insult to injury, after sitting all day at that clinic, we arrived home to a message from my eye doctor.
I should go in at 12:15pm today to sort out the fiasco of my new computer glasses (they don't work as they should).  If I don't take the appointment, I have to wait two weeks.
So my hips -- which were in burning agony last night -- will not have the stay-at-home-and-rest day that I thought I would have today.  Instead, I have to endure the 70-minute round trip to sort out a mess that shouldn't have happened.
Just what the doctor ordered when I couldn't have my weekly physio session yesterday!
Good thing my massage therapist is coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mohs Surgery, Round II

Well, here we sit at the Mohs Clinic, waiting for John's first go-round under the knife.
Today, he is the only male patient and each of the others brought a female attendant. That means that he is the only male amongst seven women.
Do you know how much noise six women can generate in a very small room when they are all speaking at once?
It's unbelievable!
I've already established the "party" atmosphere for the day so we're off and running to a good start.
John will be just fine, as long as someone doesn't decide to ask him to do a dance!
Later.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I guess it's the carbs

Last week, in my effort to promote weight loss, I decided I would lay off "bad" carbs -- the white stuff, if you will.
I was doing very well too, in that it seemed to be working -- at least I was on the right track (the scale was moving in the proper direction).
Then on Friday, I went out for lunch with my Angel.
And it all fell apart.
Not radically, you realize.  I stayed within my 1200 calorie limit for the day.
This restaurant we frequent must be a truck stop because the specials are humongous.
I ordered the "mini lasagna" which included soup, caesar salad, and jello or rice pudding.
The soup and salad was enough for me so I had them wrap the lasagna (a huge serving -- why it was called mini I'm not sure).
The rice pudding was delicious; haven't had that in years!  (I know, wrong choice but oh sooooo good.)
Of course, the lasagna was made with white pasta .  I only ate some of it for my dinner that evening. (Wasn't all that good either.)
Yeh, I know.
You know what's coming don't you?
The progress I had been making was lost.
Kaput!
Right back up there.
So now we start anew.
Note to self:  NO MORE WHITE CARBS!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Talk about a "senior moment"

I've just got to share this story with you.
OK, I know it's on me, but I have to tell you anyway.
At the end of August, we hired our handy-dandy backhoe operator to come in and do some work out back of the house (to further our landscaping effort since we built my sanctuary).
In mid September, we received the invoice for the job.
I immediately popped a cheque into the mail.
And I've patiently waited for said cheque to clear my account.
But it hasn't cleared.
When October came to a close without the cheque having been negotiated, I figured I'd give him a while longer, remembering past occasions when he seemed to have taken a while to redeem payments.
But as November closes in on us and the cheque still hasn't cleared, I thought I should check in with him if only to confirm that he had in fact received the payment in question.  (Lord knows we shouldn't necessarily trust the mail to always get through.)
So I pull the file to get his phone number.
And there's a copy of the cheque.
Clearly dated 2011-11-21.
Ooops!
September is the ninth month, not the eleventh (that would be November).
What in hell was I thinking back in September when I wrote that cheque?
My call to the gentleman turned into one of sincere apology for the screw-up.
He thought it was quite funny that I was so terribly appalled about the whole situation.
When they got the cheque, his wife said to him, "Oh, Bonnie made a mistake on the date," and simply put it aside until it became payable.  
Nothing to it.
"I never intended for you to have to wait two months for payment," I explained.
"Don't worry about it Bonnie," he said.  "I've waited a lot longer than this for money from some people."
Anyway, call it a "senior moment" or a "brain fart" or whatever, I'm still horrified that it happened.  You can be sure I'll be paying extra special attention whenever I write a cheque now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Tamarra's Honour

Today marks one year since my grand-niece lost her battle with brain cancer.
She was only 18 years old.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Tamarra, but I followed her on FaceBook and she was certainly loved and admired by her family and friends.
Tamarra was my brother John's granddaughter (he lost his battle with cancer not quite three months earlier).
My heart goes out to Tanya, Tamarra's mother, who in the previous two and half years had been asked to cope with more pain than any one person should have to endure in such a short period of time.  Her grandmother (my mother) passed in January 2008; a month later, her mother died suddenly in February, 2008; her father (my brother) succumbed to lung cancer on 27 August 2010, and then her only daughter was taken from her.
Such events bring one burning question to my mind:  What more could the good Lord ask of one person?
A mother shouldn't have to bury her child.
Cancer shouldn't take anyone, much less a child.
In the short year since Tamarra's departure, her mother has honoured her passing by establishing the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation, a NEW not-for-profit registered charity that financially supports families for children/young adults living with cancer to receive holistic oncology treatments.  For information about the Foundation and to find out how to make donations to help support this very worthwhile charity, visit http://tamarrashonour.com/.
Rest in peace, Tanya's angel.
Tamarra Cherryholme
6 Jan 1992 - 23 Nov 2010


Monday, November 21, 2011

My weight loss effort ...

... is failing.
Yup.
After modest initial success, I've ground to a halt.
Nothing.
Nada.
I'm ensuring that I eat a minimum of 1200 calories a day (and believe me, some days, it's a major challenge getting that much food into me!).
And the scale just won't budge.
According to myfitnesspal.com, I should be ten pounds lighter in five weeks.
Well, this is the fifth week since I started with that site, and I'm only down three pounds.
So much for its ability to project weight loss success!
Every day, when I finish recording my caloric intake, I get a message telling me "If every day is like today, you should weigh xxx.x in five weeks."
I've got news for them.
Every day is much the same -- in terms of my caloric intake.
And every day I put in sixty minutes on the stationary bike (yup, I'm now up to an hour!).
I take every opportunity I can throughout the day to do stretches, squats, stairs.  You name it -- I'm on the move!
So I'm burning calories like there's no tomorrow.
If we compare my activity level today to what I was capable of doing a mere six months ago, I should have faded away to nothing by now!
Yet still, that stupid scale won't move.
My little chickadee gave me a lecture this morning, insisting that perhaps my body is at precisely the weight it should be.  And perhaps my brain needs to get in tune with my body.  Cuz my body knows best.
But given my new height (I've shrunk an inch in my old age), I need to weigh less to meet the BMI requirements.
And I am simply too thick around the middle.  That's all there is to it.  Time has proven that it doesn't matter what I do, I cannot exercise it away.
Apparently, my only solution is that tummy tuck that I almost had a year ago. Perhaps it's now time to pursue that again.
I wonder if it would be best to have the tummy tuck before the hip replacement or after?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The joys of getting old ...

I saw my eye doctor the other day.
Finally, I'm getting yet another pair of glasses (but they are a beaut!).
It will be nice to be able to see properly again, even if it might only be for a short while (based on past experience).  We'll see how long this new prescription remains valid.
I also had to order a new pair of computer glasses.  The pair I just bought in January of this year were no longer any good.  They were fine for computer work but I could no longer see to do paperwork.  That made doing bookkeeping a proper pain in the neck, what with having to take my glasses off every time I tried to read a receipt.
Right now, I am straining my neck trying to see the computer screen because my progressive lenses just don't work in front of the computer.  Hopefully, I'll have my new computer glasses by Monday.
This latest appointment also brought about a not-so-great new discovery.
The doctor found "mottling" of my eye pigment, which she explained is a not uncommon occurrence with age.  But it's the precurser to macular degeneration.  (That is why I've been noticing, of late, that I need even more light than I ever used to require.)  She will be watching me even more carefully now.
My cataracts are progressing ever so slowly so we still aren't too concerned about them yet.
And she is now prepared to refer me to a surgeon to have my droopy eyelids repaired -- she says they are at a point that repair is indicated.  Since that is a surgical procedure, I opted to wait.  I have enough surgeries hanging over me at the moment.  Other than when I'm very tired, they don't cause any problem, so my droopy lids will just have to be patient.  We will revisit the issue next year.
She wants me to continue seeing her every four months so she can monitor me closely (cataracts and now macular degeneration).
Family doctor ... dermatologist ... eye doctor ... ENT specialist ... audiologist ... neurologist ... respirologist ... sleep specialist ... dentist ... physiotherapist ... massage therapist ... Have I missed anybody?
No wonder I feel like my life is spent moving from one health care provider to the next!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What a long day THAT was!

Yesterday was a very long day indeed.
And although it seemed like forever to me, I'm sure it seemed longer still for John.
He had his first go-round with Mohs Surgery to tackle his on-going battle with skin cancer.  (One down; two to go.)
He's been struggling with this for several years now and after his last dermatologist retired, he was recently (finally) referred to a new one.  And she's a keeper, to be sure.  (We are both actually her patients, but that's the topic of another blog.)
This doctor is the only one in Ottawa performing the Mohs procedure so she's kept busy.
We had to be at the hospital for 7:20am -- not an easy feat coming from Almonte but we managed it by leaving home at 6:00am to ensure that we allowed for unforeseen traffic delays (read the Queensway that is otherwise known as the parking lot from hell).
Once there, we quickly discovered that the Mohs Clinic (housed in the Parkdale Cancer Clinic of the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital) is a very well-run, finely tuned machine.
Four patients are scheduled for the removal of squamous cell carcinomas on each Tuesday (removal of basal cell carcinomas are scheduled on a different day of the week).
Each patient must arrive with an attendant who will stay all day, otherwise the procedure will not be performed.  In John's case, that attendant was me.
We went armed with a day's worth of food and drink since we had been pre-warned to anticipate the possibility of being there all day long.  Of course I took my trusty iPad along and when I asked for the passcode to access the internet, I was told that I was the first person to ever ask for it -- this is NOT a new clinic! (The staff actually didn't know the answer and had to call IT to find out -- I was given a guest account and it was authorized for four months to cover us for the anticipated repeat visits we will be making.)
Mohs surgery involves the doctor first cutting out the cancer (under local anaesthetic) and then looking at the pathology of that cut while the patient waits in the sitting room (with attendant).  If all the cancer was excised in the first run (rare occurrence), the patient will be stitched up and sent home.  Otherwise, a next cut will be taken,  going wider and deeper and again the patient will be returned to the waiting room while the excisal amount is viewed under the microscope.
This process is repeated until pathology reports a cancer-free margin.
Of the four patients done yesterday, the lone lady (whose nose was being done) required only two cuts.  We cheered, "one down" as she left our cozy, by now very friendly group.
The gentleman whose spot was smack on top of his head was next to leave (four cuts). ("They haven't hit grey matter yet," was his report every time he rejoined us).
We had by now turned the waiting room into a comfort area, using one sofa to sit on and the other for a foot stool.  ("Wow, no group has ever done that before," commented a nurse.  We were just the most innovative crowd ever!)
Believe it or not, John was next to leave.  This at almost 6:00pm!  He had been back for six cuts by this point. (Since I cannot drive after dark, my stepson and his wife met us to provide transportation home -- such sweethearts they are.)
The last gentleman to leave had lost his entire bottom lip and was still in the cutting room when we left.  He would be reporting to day surgery this morning at 6:30am for plastic surgery to rebuild his lip.
Needless to say, as difficult as the day was for us, I was left feeling like we had nothing to moan about.  Gentleman #4 took that honour I think.
Yesterday's procedure was performed on John's right temple.  We return next Tuesday (the 22nd) for stitch removal.
And we're back there on the 29th for the same thing to be done on his left temple.  I will again be his "attendant in waiting" and my stepson and his wife will again provide after-dark transportation.
Then she'll leave him alone until after Christmas, when we will both go back to the Clinic on a date as yet to be determined.  She will operate on John's left inner eye (yes, right smack dab at the inner corner of the eye --- big time ouch, I say!).  And she will remove the basal cell carcinoma from my nose.  I'm hoping she won't have to remove too much (although if plastic surgery is required, perhaps I'll get to choose a nicer nose?).  We'll need to arrange for an attendant and transportation for that booking since we will both be undergoing the knife on the same day.
Oh the joys of aging.  But gosh the wonders of today's technology to allow the complete removal of cancerous cells, while you wait, without general anaesthesia.  Amazing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Damned arthritis!

My hands have decided to become a major problem all of a sudden.
Not that they are not usually an irritant, what with having arthritis and all.
It's just that right now, they are big time inflamed and I know not from what.
I mean, I don't know what has caused just my hands (and wrists) to be particularly sore.
They only appear mildly inflamed but they feel totally incapacitated.
Every movement is truly very painful.
Yesterday, I ran a few errands in town and I had to resort to wearing my arthritis gloves -- they do offer some degree of relief.
As I was reading the newspaper this morning, I noticed that just the act of manipulating the paper was difficult, especially since my wrists too are very sore this time.
So, it's back to the gloves again.
Hopefully, this flare-up won't last too long.
I wish I knew what precipitated this nonsense.
To be sure, I can expect flare-ups every year with the onset of the cold weather.
I get that.
And cold weather normally descends upon us in November -- hence I can count on having flare-ups every year at this time.
BUT, our weather right now is downright balmy!
Apparently, it has less to do with the weather, and more to do with the calendar?
Bizarre, I say!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Moving into Christmas mode

I know, I know, it seems rather early doesn't it?
But before we know it, it will be Christmas.
And there's lots needs to be done before then.
Christmas 2010 in my Sanctuary - "Ready for Santa"
Used to be -- I'm going back lots of years now -- but there was a time that I would finish my Christmas shopping on Remembrance Day (that was yesterday folks!).
You see, since the children had to go to school but we adults didn't have to go to work on that day, my sister and I would meet for coffee in the morning (lots of it) and then head out to the malls for the afternoon. We would become whirling dirvish shoppers for four hours as we crossed off items from our Christmas list.
Then for the rest of the "season" the crazies could mob to the stores without us (I really can't handle those crowds).  Suited me just fine because the further from the stores I am at Christmas time, the better I like it.
While I haven't actually finished my shopping by November 11th for many years now, I am usually done by mid-to-late November.
Won't be this year though.
I don't even know what we're buying our list of giftees yet.  Have barely even started putting the list together.
BUT, we do have the photo for our Christmas card chosen -- and the card is ready to print too.  Now that's a bonus because usually that's something I'm scrambling to do at the very last moment.  (Last year, it was December 4th, I believe, when I printed the cards!)
What with all the medical appointments happening around this place between now and Christmas, I'll have to be quite creative in fitting all the demands of the season into our schedule, always remembering to pace myself lest I end up in a fibro flare up by the time the big day comes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Out of the pit ...

... and back to wellness.
Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.
I was able to sleep last night using the CPAP machine, the first time since last Friday.
My congestion isn't totally gone but it is at least now at a tolerable level.
My voice is almost back to normal.
The sneezing has stopped.
My eyes are no longer swimming.
And the leaky faucet that was in the centre of my face has been replaced with my nose again, albeit a very sore one.  It is raw from all the wiping that has taken place over the past four days but at least it isn't dripping any longer.
It's always been a mystery to me how I catch these things.  But catch them I do.
My little chickadee used to say, "Someone sneezes in Montreal and my Mom gets sick."
And frankly, she wasn't far wrong.  At least it seemed to be that remote a connection.
I swear that I could pick something up by simply walking past an infected person in a store.
Obviously, my day in the big city a week ago Tuesday (November 1st) exposed me to somebody, somewhere in my travels.  I mean, I covered a lot of territory that day and was amongst several different sized collections of people:  the lab for my mammogram; my doctor's office for my flu shot; my physiotherapist's office; my ENT's office for my hearing aid check-up; the fast food restaurant).
Any one of those stops could have presented the culprit.
It takes five days to incubate a virus.  Tuesday having been day one, Saturday (the day I became sick) was day five.
Bingo ... we know when I came in contact with it.  We just don't know where because I was in too many places on the same day.
So, thank you Tuesday.
It's been a delight ... NOT!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wow, big time success!

Well, it certainly is working now!
This weight loss effort, I mean.
After making no progress for months, the weight is coming off me like melting butter now.
Probably too fast, in fact!
I was down a pound on Saturday.
Another pound on Sunday.
And another two pounds this morning!
That's a total of four pounds since my friend had me make that one little tiny change to my diet:  increase my caloric intake each day!
That's right.  Eat more every day.
That's the only change I've made to my daily routine.
I make very sure that I take in as close to, without going under, 1200 calories each and every day.  (Some days, that means having a glass of wine to bring my intake to the required level.)
And it's obviously working.  Because the scale is moving nicely in the right direction now.
Of course, it might be helping at the moment that I'm sick -- terrible head/chest cold that has me sweating/freezing all day long.  There's a red hot poker in my throat.  My eyes are watering like mad and my nose has become a leaky faucet.
Last night was the worst so far.
This nonsense all started on Saturday with a sore throat.  And it got worse from there.
I'm hoping I've turned the corner now and will start climbing out of the pit I've been in for the past couple of days.
I mean, really, how much longer can it go on?  I've already emptied three of the five kleenex boxes in the house and I'm running out of replacements.
I haven't been able to use the CPAP machine for the past three nights because of the severe congestion.
But I'm still managing to eat my 1200 calories a day.
And I continue to get in my 45 minutes of stationary bike each day.
Nothing, I repeat nothing, is going to interfere with my resolve to lose this weight!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Success! Success!

Finally, movement on the scale (in the proper direction too!).
OK, it's only one pound but it's a start.
Last Monday I was on the phone with a friend and we got talking about my latest attempt to lose weight.  I mentioned this new app I had found and how helpful it was in calling my attention to what I'm eating, yada yada yada.
'Cept I wasn't losing weight.  According to the app, I should be fading away.
"I'm eating less than the minimum calorie count every day," I said. "The pounds should just be melting off me."
"That's why you're not losing weight," said she.  "You're body is going into starvation mode.  It remembers when you were so sick last year and lost all that weight the wrong way.  It's protecting you.  You must eat at least the minimum calories every day."
"But," I said, "most days, the only way I'd hit that number is if I add the wine back into my diet because I simply can't put that much food into me in one day."  (I know, hard to believe, isn't it?  But I only eat when I'm hungry, not according to any clock or any schedule.  If my tummy doesn't want food, I don't give my body anything.)
"Wrong," she said.  "You must eat that minimum or your body will hold everything you do give it.  Try it for two weeks.  Make sure you eat the required number of calories every day for two weeks -- don't shortchange yourself even one day -- and see if you don't lose weight."
"OK, I'll do that," I said.  "I've already got two days under my belt because I did manage it on each of the two days before so I will start the clock as of 29 October."
I wasn't very optimistic as the week progressed though.
There was not one iota of downward movement on the scale.
In fact, on Thursday, I was UP by two pounds (and not very impressed!).  But that might have been explained by the over-calorie intake that occurred on Tuesday when I was in the city (we always eat out and I miscalculated).
But this morning, I stepped on the scale and was delighted to see that I was down one pound from what I was a week ago.
So my friend was right. If I stick to it and pay close attention to my caloric intake, making sure to always hit that magic number every day, I will lose weight.
Only 18 pounds to go.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's been a long week?

Wow, Friday already?
Seems like just yesterday I posted here, yet I see it was actually Monday when I last did that.
Tuesday was an extremely busy day.  I went into the city for my usual physio appointment.  But added into the mix this time was my biennial mammogram; a stop at my doctor's office to get my flu shot; then my physio session; my hearing test and hearing aid readjustment (I'm getting more deaf in my right ear!); then to MLC's.  I also got my hair cut that evening and stayed overnight at MLC's (collected lots of hugs and kisses from MBB).
I didn't get much sleep on Tuesday night.  My hips were especially troublesome (most likely due to the exceptionally busy day I had put in) and I hadn't brought my CPAP machine with me.  Lesson learned:  that machine really does make a difference to the quality of my sleep. 
Wednesday morning I took MBB for our usual breakfast before he went to school and then I headed home.  But en route I stopped at my friendly computer shop to pick up a new router.  Their advice had been that I probably needed a newer one to provide a stronger wireless signal (service is sketchy in my sanctuary and on the deck).  By the time I got home late morning, I had already been up since 3:00am and I had had the biscuit.  I crashed for about three hours!  Day gone.
Thursday morning was spent on the telephone with computer guy taking remote control of one of John's computers to try to resolve an issue he's been having.  We spent about an hour on that problem and were not able to figure out what's wrong with it.  He left me with a test to do (which I'll get to) and he will do further research into the issue to see if he can find a resolution.  (I hate computers!) 
Then I proceeded to switch routers.  All went well and our three computers are happily on the network just as before.  But neither my laptop nor my iPad is allowed to join the network -- tells me the password (generated by the router) is incorrect.  I have no idea what password it wants if the one provided (carefully entered numerous times) is not the right one.  (I hate computers!)
My massage therapist arrived for my 1:00pm session so I had to abandon the router issue.  And once I've had my massage, I become very mellow.  Day gone.  No more trying to resolve computer issues; that can wait for another day.
Friday (that would be today) will be spent first talking with my computer guy to see if he can suggest a solution for why this new router won't let my laptop and iPad join the wireless network (there has to be a setting that I'm just not seeing).  If he can't resolve it, I will put the other router back and return the new one as a failed experiment.
Have I mentioned that I hate computers?

Monday, October 31, 2011

My battle with the scale

I'm not making much progress with my weight-loss efforts.
I mean, really, what's a girl to do?
I already eat fewer than the recommended calorie limit each day (and believe me, I struggle to eat as much as I do, trying to get as close to the limit as possible).
I ensure that I get those eight glasses of water each day.
I'm doing 30 minutes every day on the stationary bicycle (I started doing that for the hip mobility, not the weight loss effort, but what the heck ...)
I resisit using the stair lift as much as I dare each day (by the end of the day, I have to use it if I want to get up those stairs).
In a nutshell, I'm doing everything I can to promote weight loss.
And the myfitnesspal.com site indicates that if "every day is like today" I should be xxxx pounds in five weeks.
Well, every day IS like today (and has been for the past umpty dump months).
If what they say were true, I should have faded away to nothing by now.
But my weight goes up, not down.
Withdrawal of wine from my diet has been too recent to know for sure if it's making a difference.
But we're approaching a week without wine (OK, on Saturday we had company so I had wine) and there's been no movement of the scale thus far.
And, just for the record, IF I were to reintroduce my daily glass (or two) of wine to my diet, I could then meet the recommended daily caloric intake.
Sigh.
I'll continue as I am for a while longer (at least for the month of November) and see what comes of that.
BUT, by the end of November, if there is still no movement of the scale in the right direction, it's back to the dietitian, armed with the data of what I've done, to see what she can contribute to the discussion.
I want to lose twenty pounds before I have that hip surgery.
There has got to be an answer somewhere.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baseball season is officially over

Last night, the 2011 baseball season officially came to an end.
While none of my "preferred" teams was in the final face-off (and certainly my beloved boys -- the Toronto Blue Jays -- were never in contention to make post-season), I was happy to back the St. Louis Cardinals in this latest race.  The Cards were, after all, my very first baseball team love, way back in 1963/64 when I first became a fan.
It was kind of fun to back the Cards again in 2011.  It was even more enjoyable to wake up this morning and hear that they took the series.
Congratulations, Cardinals, on a fight very well fought.  Bet you didn't know that you were doomed from the minute I declared my support for you?  Good thing I didn't watch the games, or you'd probably have been eliminated in four!  I resisted watching because I didn't want to jinx you.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Now that baseball season is over, I'll cancel the HD Sports package on our satellite service -- save a few bucks for the winter months.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arrrrgh, I'm getting fat!

In spite of my best efforts to LOSE weight, the scale is going the wrong way.
My physiotherapist insists that it is the muscle that I'm building since I've been clocking 30 minutes a day on the stationary bike -- every day, no matter what.  (I'll grant that some of the extra weight could be muscle, but surely not 20 pounds worth!)
Anyway, I've found this very interesting site (I actually happened on it as an app for my iPad) -- www.myfitnesspal.com -- where I can track my food intake, activity level, and weight.  According to its calculations, eating as I do, I should be losing up to eight pounds in a five week period.
Yeh, right!  The scale just keeps climbing.
There are some days on which, according to this site, I'm not taking in enough calories.  It flashes a caution against putting my body into starvation mode (which sabotages weight loss efforts).
By tracking my food intake, I can carefully monitor my calories to ensure that I do take in enough to meet the daily recommended minimum.
Anyway, I've decided that from now on, I will not have wine unless we have company.
That should limit my wine intake to once, perhaps twice, per week rather than nightly (drinky poo time will  now be a glass of water). There might even be some weeks when I won't have any wine.
We'll see if this sacrifice (and it's a huge sacrifice, let me tell you) makes a difference on the scale.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Weekend Guest

Here are some photos of my recent weekend guest, filling in time until his parents got back from their trip.
He loves having his "own" room at Grandma's place, complete with computer, telephone, and television.

Here he is, talking to his Mom while playing on the computer (and blocking the incoming sun from his eyes).

"Grandma, must you always take my picture?"

Then he gets back to his game.  But of course, he's also watching television!

No wonder he loves "his" room.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long Day Today

Today is going to be a long one.
It's physio day, so I have to go into the big city.
But I'm also having my snow tires put on my car (yes, it's that time of the year again!).  The garage where my tires are stored called with an offer I couldn't refuse:  Book before November 1st, and the service is free.
Well, how could I resist that?
I mean, really, November 1st is next week.
And it could be snowing by then.
And frankly, the way our calendar is filling in, I might not have time to get it done if I don't "do it now," as the saying goes.
Since I'm going into the city anyway, I decided to go in early enough to allow the task to be done before my physio appointment.
But it means leaving here by 8:30am and sitting around the shop, waiting for my car, because I don't have the physical wherewithal to go anywhere (and I don't got no friends to come and take me away for the duration).
I'll take reading material, and my iPad so I can amuse myself doing puzzles (I'm between e-books at the moment).  And of course, I'll have my cell phone with me so my little chickadee will be able to phone me ...  I won't really be alone.
To be sure, I'll be ready for that physio session when I get there.
And I'll be sooooooooooooooo ready for that glass of wine when finally I get home late this afternoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So much fun ...

My beautiful boy is here for the weekend while his parents are celebrating Porter Airlines' 5th Anniversary.
Yesterday when we arrived here with him, the first question out of his mouth was, "Are we going hunting now?"
We had talked with him earlier in the week and explained that his Grandfather thought it would be neat to introduce him to the joys of hunting.  Obviously, he thought it would be a good idea too.
This morning, he was up well before dawn, again asking, "Are we going hunting now?"  We explained that he had to at least wait until it was light out, and he should have a good breakfast in his belly before heading out.
He ate a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs and then eagerly got ready.
First, Grandpa outfitted him with a BB gun and they went out front with a cardboard box so Grandpa could teach him how to shoot.  Bullseye every time, right out of the gate!
Next came the orange hunting jacket (way too big for him but we improvised).
And off they went, young boy and his Grandpa, into the woods to find birds.
I thought they'd never return!
When they finally showed up, sans birds, he declared that he didn't think he'd become a hunter.  It was too much walking.  I told him that he could have asked to come back sooner, to which he said, "No, I was having too much fun!"
He told his grandfather that he liked it, he just didn't like the part of there being no birds to shoot.  But yes, he would like to go again.
Methinks John has a convert!