Determined…

…To move forward despite having little energy to do so. That’s my new mantra! Along with “fake it till ya make it”. Ha!

Went to the doc this week and still don’t have a diagnosis. My TSH levels dropped back down to a more normalish range, though apparently you can still feel crappy at 3.35 but the doc can’t do anything about it till you’re over 5.0 (my previous test was 4.91).

On the one hand, I am happy that maybe I don’t have a thyroid problem…..on the other hand…well, then what is my problem?

What’s a gal to do? Well, her nails and to start watching Seasons 1 and 2 of House (lent to me by a colleague), photo for Jan 27.

What else can I do? Eat healthy! Jan 28 – Slow Cooker Pork with Beans and Greens. JD gave it a 10/10! I liked it too, but not quite that much. Recipe from SparkPeople.com.

Doc has now signed me up for a sleep clinic as she wants to rule out sleep apnea. JD says I definitely do not have sleep apnea, though I am snoring a lot (blush!), he says. Sleeping in a strange place, hooked up to a lot of wires and people watching/videoing you sleeping….hmmm, not something I’d ever consider doing but….my dad had sleep apnea. I remember listening to him snore when I was a kid, and then he’d stop and I’d wait and wait and want to run in the room and scream “Start breathing again, dammit!” (I swore a lot back then).
Heck, he had even had awake-apnea. Dad smoked like a chimney up until the last few years of his life and I remember a particular coughing fit of his at our cottage in which he actually passed out from lack of oxygen! When he came to, he denied that he passed out but it was pretty obvious. Men! Cough, cough, cough, cough, topple over, lay there, open eyes, look dazed, get up, cough some more. Thankfully he was on the floor already fixing something by the wood stove when he passed out so he didn’t have far to fall.
What else can I do to make myself feel better? Well, despite my lethargy (0r maybe because of it) I should be forcing myself to move more. So behold my new pedometer (Jan 29th photo). It arrived today from Well.ca
I find wearing a pedometer very motivating. Something about seeing those numbers and wanting to see what it takes to make more of them! DATA! Give me DATA! And it does. It even distinguishes between basic wandering around and AEROBIC STEPS. What be AEROBIC STEPS? I guess I’ll be finding out!
Excitement! Mystery! Suspense! Stay tuned.
You know I am self-medicating because of how lousy I feel. That’s right, after about 15-20 years off of the stuff, I am back to drinking coffee again. A half cup in the a.m. with lots of milk seems to clear up the brain fog a wee bit. Not even close to the gallons of straight black Columbian I used to enjoy, but I am on the slippery slope, yessir.
I mentioned this to my doc, thinking it would alarm her but NO. She told me “We docs drink coffee to stay alert – it’s a stimulant you know. I drink about 2 cups a day myself…so you go girl! Enjoy your coffee.” Huh? Coffee not bad? Especially for my gastric reflux?
What next?!? If I tell her I am uptight from too much coffee is she going to suggest a ciggie and a cocktail, to take the edge off? “Yes Mizz D, we docs often get liquored up and smoke like fiends – it helps after a long hard day of doctoring people like yourself.”
Hmmm, I just don’t know how I feel about coffee. On the one hand, I like to think clearly (and clearly, who doesn’t?), on the other….I have an addictive personality so I am a bit concerned that my “lil’ helper” could turn into a big ol’ monkey on my back (again) before I know it. I even feel guilty having caffeinated tea more than once in a wee while. Hmmm.
‘Course, if I lost some weight, my gastric reflux might disappear and IF I had sleep apnea, that might disappear, and if I exercised more I MIGHT just feel a whole lot better and fitter and maybe my brain would clear up on its own?
So that leaves me where I started with this blog. Determined to take better care of myself, since medicine doesn’t have any answers for me at this moment.
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Triptych or Troika – you pick

Third (and final ) installation, as I get caught up in my blogging and picture taking.

January 22nd photo: Sun going down behind me. I looked up from the parking lot of our building to see the church on the hill next door. It looked especially pretty and I was especially happy because here it was 5:30 at night and still light out! Yay!!! Spring is coming….in another couple of months….but still…progress. Yay Mother Nature….way to spin the planet closer to longer days and better weather!
January 23rd: spied these arrangements in the cooler of our tenant (and florist). White orchids and hydrangeas! Looks like fireworks exploding in flower form. I love it. Something like this for our wedding would be wonderful. Hope the florist doesn’t tell me this is for a funeral. Doesn’t look very funereal to me? Does it to you?

January 24th photo: this is what my dog looks like when she knows she is going for a walk. Note the flying ears. Flying because she is bouncing up and down on full alert and joyousness mode.

This is why people own dogs. They are the embodiment of the word JOY.

Oh yeah, plus loyal and always happy to see you, no matter how bad of a day it has been (for you or them). Why can’t we all be more like dogs?

The newly shorn Lucy must now wear her coat when outside (according to me, not her). This pic is a stand-in for January 25. I actually took it last winter. For some reason I did not take a picture yesterday….the memory….ah, she is pretty bad these days.

I am finally feeling a bit better, after last week’s 24 hours from Hell, and the resulting days from the outskirts of Hell. I am going back to the doc this week (after yet more blood work) to press for something to be done to restore me to my old self. I haven’t felt this bad since I was severely anemic. I doubt I am anemic, though the doc was quick to point out that my iron levels were normal alright….LOW normal. Still, anemia or thyroid….who cares?! Just fix me.

And finally: today’s photo.

This book arrived in the mail for me today!

I am a FAN of this woman’s work. I already have two of her other books: Time Management from the Inside Out and Never Check Your Email in the Morning. Sometimes I wonder if I should read less about organizing and actually do some organizing instead. But then I get distracted and the feeling passes….tee hee.

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Part Deux

January 16th photo:

More Glee. Finished watching entire first season. Want more. Now.

Being under the weather is a perfect time to catch up on TV, doncha think?

Well, lest you think I was a total couch spud on Saturday, I must tell you that I also (also, stupidly…see January 15th for more superhuman stupidity) walked my dog to the groomer and back. The groomer is a 1.5 hour walk from my house, along the river trail. So that was 3 hours walking total, plus 1.5 hours waiting for the dog to be groomed. Not something to be done when recovering from the total body…er…cleanse…I had just experienced two days prior. While waiting for milady, I headed up the street to a local cafe, read the paper and tried to eat some breakfast. I pocketed the bacon for Lucy – her treat for enduring the indignity of the grooming process. Once we got back to the house, both of us retreated to the couch. She didn’t get up again until it was dark. Methought I had finally wore her out.

January 17th: the new and much improved Miss Lucy.

Jan 18th photo: My mom and stepdad bought a house and are in the process of moving from their condo. On Sunday, JD and I went over to help them at the new place and my mom gave me this little porcelain statue that had belonged to my dad’s mom. People tend to want to give you stuff when they are moving, I have found. Packing up/unpacking your stuff tends to bring forth the following exclamations: Why do we have all this stuff? And: Here, do you want it? Yes, actually, I do.

Nothing special about it – your basic dollar store trinket – but my Oma loved it and I have very few things from her except memories, so it is precious to me because it was precious to her.

January 19th photo of a box on a shelf in my bedroom. It also says: Live and Love on the other sides. Cannot for the life of me remember why I wanted to take this picture. I do know I was still feeling rotten, and perhaps I needed a LAUGH!

January 20th photo: Organizing. Remember that resolution? Hmmm. Tonight I took a few moments to take all my makeup brushes from their various homes and put them all in this beautiful Queen mug. I loved this mug from the moment I saw it (black and pink and pretty writing, oh my!) but I wouldn’t buy so a friend bought it for me. I didn’t want to take it to work lest my staff and co-workers took offense (it’s OK to be boss, but QUEEN??? Really! Some people….) so it now lives in my bathroom. Proudly proclaiming my status as the Queen of my domicile.

That’s enough for this post. More soon.

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Oh dear, where has the time gone?

Eleven days since I posted last!

Well, since then I went away on business, got terribly sick, recovered slo-o-o-w-ly, tried to get back to normal, and tried also to get caught up.
I think I might have to make multiple postings to get all the daily pix in nicely, but let’s see how we make out, shall we?
First up: January 11th photo. Trying out my new contraption for changing skeins of yarn into nice balls of yarn. Yarn is Dream in Colour Smooshy Sock Yarn with real silver shot through it. Since I don’t have a yarn swift to coordinate with my ball winder, I have looped the skein around a kitchen chair. Tedious, but it works! This yarn is going to be knit into a cowl, eventually.

Jan 12th photo: my room at the Royal York, where I was staying while away on business. Ahhhhh, so calm, peaceful and tidy….like my house used to be (and will be again someday, probably when I am retired…LOL). The colour scheme at this (and many other hotels) is classic red, green and gold. This is along the lines of the colours I am thinking of, for when JD and I make over the apartment at our historic property into our marital home, instead of what it is now: a tired looking bachelor pad.
January 13th photo: After the business meeting was over, JD and I decided to take a mini-holiday and spend the rest of the day and the next in Niagara Falls.
Some of the holiday lighting displays were still operating and I tried capture them sans tripod. A little blurry, but hey… you get the idea. Little did I know that I would end up in the early morning hours of the next day sick as the proverbial dog, not sure which end to hang over the toilet. At first I thought it was food poisioning (from the Royal York, really???) but later I read in the local newspaper about a mysterious 24 hour stomach bug that is threatening to close down the hospital to visitors….I suspect that is what I got hit with.
Jan 14th photo: After some debate as to whether I was even well enough to handle the 2 hour car ride home to the Village, I decided I just had to get home. Did not want to pay to spend another night being sick in our hotel, however cheap and off-season it was. On the way home, we stopped at Dee’s General Store in Valens so I could stagger in for her unbelievable butter tarts. Peanut butter butter tarts are my absolute favourite of hers. Still, it was 2 more days before I could do more than just look at one, and luckily there was still one left for me at that time! Stupidly, I went back to work on the 15th, instead of staying home for some badly needed recuperation time.
January 15th photo: Once I dragged my sorry butt back home from work, I flopped onto the couch and started watching the first season of Glee on dvd. What a cool show.
I think I’ll stop here and continue updating the blog with another posting: Part Deux.
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Did the Christmas Spirit Fairy Finally Fly Up My Nose?

It seems exceedingly strange for me to finally get “into” Christmas 2 weeks after the fact but heck, better late than never.

The past, oh, 10-15 years or so, have been a struggle for me with respect to the holidays. The kids growing up, the death of my father, the implosion of my first marriage, the working towards re-establishing/discovering myself, have all contributed to me swinging from being a total Christmas freakazoid to being someone who grimly endures the holidays as a sort of test of will and endurance. Yeah, made it through another one…whew…now give me my medal.
That sort of thing. Not a bah-humbug really, but more like a little kid with her nose pressed up to the glass, observing the holiday merriment going on, but with no idea of how to become part of that again, other than just faking it for everyone else’s sake.

This year was especially bad as I was completely bogged down at work, and as well I felt helpless watching my daughter’s heartbreak at the very cruel ending of her longterm relationship with a most unsuitable boyfriend. (Inside I was cheering the fact that Mr. Rectal Orifice could no longer play head games on her and verbally abuse her, but I was also saddened to hear that she seemed to recreating the mistakes of her mother as I found out more about what her relationship with this person was really like.)

But now that Christmas is actually over, and the frenetic pace of it is a distant memory, I find myself somewhat restored and looking forward to creating new traditions with JD when next year is our first Christmas as a man and wife.

Behold our 2009 tree (Jan 9th Photo of the Day), containing our one tradition (so far) of collecting a Swarovski crystal ornament for every year we’ve been together. So far there are 7 hanging on the tree.

This past Christmas we received a beautiful ceramic snowflake ornament from JD’s cousin and her husband to add to the tree as well: Tidings of Comfort and Joy indeed! (Jan 8th POD)

The story of the Swarovski ornament begins on Boxing Day 2002, when JD took me to Birks to pick out a pair of earrings to replace the ones he wrapped up for me for Christmas (diamond clusters that were just too heavy and painful to wear). As we were exiting the store with my perfect little quarter carat diamond studs, we noticed a table full of dark blue triangular shaped boxes, marked half-off. Being a lover of all things sparkly as well as 50% off sales, I had to stop and check it out. JD didn’t hesitate one bit, picked up a box and headed back to the salesgirl to ring up another purchase….and the Swarovski tradition was born. (And, though Birks no longer carries the ornaments, we have been able to source them elsewhere, and many thanks to Sam’s Club and now Costco for ensuring we have never paid full price for our yearly indulgence so far.)

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Progress

I am continuing to make progress towards my 2010 goals a whole seven (count em, seven) days into the New Year. Yay me!
Not only am I trying to organize home, but also my home away from home (aka my office). What you see in the photo is a recycling bag full of old supplier catalogues. And I do mean FULL. As in, I have to split this into at least 2 more bags to get them to the curb without splitting open.

I’ve also gone through the filing cabinet in the background and come up with two Bankers boxes full of old files to store away (I still need them, just not on a daily basis) and another box of paper to shred. Amazing what can accumulate in just under 5 years!

Today I also called the Wedding Coordinator (WC) at the Village Hotel and she has tentatively booked our wedding date for us. Hoorah for that! If she had told me that our date was not available I don’t know what I would have done as I hadn’t been thinking about a Plan B. Now to peruse the wedding planning package she sent us and get some details down!

I feel really good about this venue. The food there is excellent and the customer service is pretty amazing. (We have a pool/fitness membership there and thus have had many interactions with the staff ). Also the WC, Tracey, seems quite warm and friendly.

Very different from the WC we met at The Highly Regarded Country Inn we had initally considered. The HRCI is in an idyllic setting about an hour from the Village – a real stunner of an old mill converted into a first class country getaway. I would have so loved to bring all of our guests there to enjoy the scenery and the wonderful food and lodging HOWEVER the WC left a bad impression on us. She was so disinterested and cold to us, that we left the HRCI with a real sense of foreboding about having to work closely with her for such an important event. Strange to have someone with that type of personality in that role, but I suppose the HRCI is renowned enough that people will book, regardless.

Anyway, JD suggested staying closer to home after this experience, to make things easier on our aging family members, and thus the theme of Wedding in the Village was born!

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Is This the Face of a Killer?


Yes, actually it is. Today Mizz L brought down her first kill – a little vole she dug up from under the snow in the forest we walk through. Mercifully it was quick (one big shake and she must have snapped something – the neck? the spine?) and she didn’t know what to do with it afterwards. At almost 10 years old, who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks??? I felt pretty bad but “Killah” showed no remorse, just boredom because the little thing wouldn’t squeak anymore. Note to self: get the pooch a squeaky toy already!
Jan 3rd photo:
This is my first “green monster” drink, ala OhSheGlows. Made it with 2 handfuls of spinach, steamed; 1 banana; 1 scoop vanilla protein powder; 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze; 1 handful strawberries. Not bad. Felt pretty darn virtuous drinking it, I’ll tell you that.

January 4th photo:
On the 4th I went to Whole Foods in the afternoon to see, once again, what all the buzz is about. Bought a vegan blueberry muffin, to see what a baked good without eggs or milk would taste like. Kinda heavy and too sweet, but otherwise not bad.
Bought some interesting things that I had read about and wanted to try: chia seeds, sweet almond oil, coconut oil…ended up spending over $70 on two little bags of groceries. Yikes. Beautiful store but all that beauty and goodness comes at a price.
Longo’s is still my favourite store even though the closest one to me is about 35 minutes away.
January 5th photo
Last night I went to see “New Moon” with Mizz J, my dear daughter, and brought home this magazine, to enjoy with my new favourite EASY, HEALTHY dessert – chia seed pudding.
Recipe was on the back of the package. Here it is: pour 1/2 cup of flavoured milk into serving dish. (I used sweetened vanilla Almond Breeze.) Add 1.5 tablespoons chia seeds and mix. Let sit for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Warning: for tapioca and rice pudding lovers only. If you don’t like the texture of those puddings, you won’t like this one either.
By now you might be asking yourself: What is with all the “weird” health foods? Yeah, I am asking myself the same question, only it comes out like: who ARE you, anymore?
Basically it comes down to this: I have been experiencing some changes in the way I feel of late and am trying new things in the hope that I will go back to how I used to feel.
I used to blame it on peri-menopause (the fatigue, the brain fog, the loss of memory, the weight struggle) but after seeing my doc yesterday for this very thing, it turns out it may be hypothyroidism. Wha???? My TSH levels are on the rise, apparently. Hmmm….this explains a lot. We’ll be monitoring them over the next 6 months to see if the trend continues and then….? Medication I suppose.
Meanwhile, I will continue on with trying to adjust my diet and exercise to improve my health (and look better in the wedding dress I still have to buy!).
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Twenty Ten Resolutions


After a completely crazy December at work and a food free-for-all at Christmas, I am more than ready to get back to some semblance of routine and healthy living. This will be my year – I can feel it like I haven’t before.

I’ve made some simple resolutions (simpler = easier to remember and focus on, in my books) and so far, so very good.

They are:

Everyday I will:

– move my body in concentrated exercise (minimum time = 10 minutes)
– clean/organize something (minimum time = 15 minutes)
– take at least one photo of something that interests me that day. I will be posting these to the blog (probably not daily, but as close as I can get to that).
So far, so good.

Jan 1 photo, see above. New year, same old dog – desperately in need of a good grooming, I may add. Jan 1 cleaning/organizing task: creating an enclosure for Mizz L outside, so she doesn’t wander onto the street anymore. JD’s idea, and a great one. A little chicken wire, some stakes…eh voila…the terror of T Street is now confined to our side yard. Thankfully she is not a jumper nor terribly scheming…at least not yet. Jan 1st workout: brisk walk back and forth to our rental property and shoveling the sidewalks and 2 parking lots there.

It’s the third day of 2010 and I am following these resolutions and am looking forward to getting fitter and getting more organized. Last night my fifteen minutes of cleaning/organizing turned into an hour as I went through a large shoebox (from a pair of boots actually) full of hotel toiletries and sorted them into Ziploc bags for easy grab n’ go to fill up my gym bag or travel bag.
I went from this (Jan 2 photos):
To this:

To this:

Then I emptied out a junk drawer in my bedroom so I could store my nicely sorted travel goodies. I love traveling and going to the gym, so making a defined space for all those essentials is like making room in my life for more fun traveling and gym time. Getting organized/making room in my house is symbolic and hopefully synergistic with making room in my life for the things I want to do. Relieving me of physical and psychic clutter, I believe. Day 2 exercise: walking, walking, walking.

Today I am going to make myself a Green Monster smoothie and take a pic of that. I first heard of green monsters when I visited this website: Oh She Glows – the blog of an organic vegan baker I found through Spark People (see below for link). Her photos of the food she makes are so yummy looking I am seriously considering trying to incorporate more vegetarian or even vegan days into my diet.

My exercise today was Day 1 of the Spark People Bootcamp I signed up for. Daily 10 minute workout videos emailed to me for every day this month. Plus I am supposed to do 5 cardio sessions on my own. That should jump-start me!

Today, for organizing, I am planning on tidying up the Christmas wrap etc., which is still scattered about the upstairs.

Things I am grateful for today: A warm house!!! Bengal Spice tea by Celestial Seasonings. JD, for persevering through my stubbornness and baggage and wanting to marry me anyway.

Oh. My. Goddess. The Wedding! This month we must actually start booking things….it will be September 3rd before we know it. Monday morning I will call the wedding coordinator at the village hotel and get things moving in the right direction. Dress shopping is also on my agenda for this month. Wish me luck!

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