Dealing With Unexpected Grief

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Grief happens, because it is a part of life, and life happens.  We all experience grief in different ways, and at different times.  There are stages for grief, and they are well documented by experts.  My story today was inspired by a recent wave.

I have been lucky, to be 42 years old, I have lost some of my grandparents, and their siblings,and two of my uncles;  but most of my immediate family members are alive. I dread the coming days when that changes.  It will happen, and I will have to deal with it, unless I die before the rest of my family.  I don’t dwell on it, and I don’t live in fear of what will be.  We all have our time, and there is nothing we can do to avoid it.  What we can do is live, and try to follow the moral guidelines we hold dear to our souls.

In the years since I have moved to Fredericton, NB, I have experienced the loss of some friends.  It is a hard thing to learn to live with, the loss of a close friend.  There are two people in particular that I am thinking of.  They were my friends, and I still miss them.

I don’t focus on the loss, once time passes, and the funeral becomes a little less fresh in my mind.  I have a lamp that one of these friends gave me, at my desk.  It has an arm, and hinges to tighten to hold the lamp in the position I want it to stay in.

Every once in a while, the lamp tilts down.  I have always seen this as my friend’s ghost checking up on me.  It may sound silly, but I say hi to him whenever it has fallen down.  This friend became ill when a virus attacked his heart.  He had some time to prepare for the end, and we all knew it would happen.  We had all gathered in the hospital to show support for him and his wife, near the end.  It struck me hardest before he was gone, one of our mutual friends had gone in to see him, and he was not in very good shape.  I wanted to know if she had told him  that my husband and I were there, so he would know.  She said she had told him for us.  When this friend dropped me off at home, I was alone.  I leaned against my door, after I had closed it, and had my cry.  I cried off and on for a week, little fits here and there, but that was my moment when I let myself feel the pain of losing that friend.

On New Year’s Eve, 2016, I was with the same group of friends, celebrating the beginning of 2017.  It was our annual house party, and it is always a potluck.  We meet, have a few drinks, eat, talk, and play games.  If there is a World Juniors Hockey Game being aired, my husband makes our hostess turn on a TV, so he can enjoy what is notably the best hockey in the world, especially if Team Canada is playing.

When we came home, it was 2017.  I had enjoyed a lovely evening, and was in good spirits.  I walked over to my desk, and the lamp had tilted while I was out.  I said hello and happy new year, and did something I haven’t done before.  I sent a group message to the other friends that were at the party with me, and passed on the story, and a happy new year from our friend’s ghost.  It felt like the right thing to do.

The other friend died more recently, we are quickly approaching the one year mark.  We became fast friends when we met on a dance floor.  I had talked to her on occasion before that night. When my friends wanted to bail I asked her if I was welcome to hang out with her for the rest of the evening, and it started a beautiful friendship that ended way too soon.

It was the big C she was fighting when she lost the battle.  Cancer is awful, and she fought like a warrior; until she couldn’t anymore.  My friend was vibrant, beautiful, and had just started a new phase in her life.  She had moved away for school. She was an artist, and learning was something she was passionate about.  We kept in touch on facebook, and she was really enjoying the courses she was taking.

One day she confided in me that she had found a lump, and it was cancer.  I stayed in touch, and we chatted about school, her cats, her treatments, and her apartment adventures.  One day I realized that she hadn’t been saying much.  She was losing her fight. I started a conversation; that was the last one we were going to have.  I was trying to be supportive and positive.  It wasn’t working.  So, I did what I do best.  I got her laughing.  We went down a silly path in that conversation about her feelings about cancer.  She got to vent, creatively.  I like to think I helped her deal, in a very small way.

This week, I saw an ad for a band I like that is coming to town.  I always go to see them, and I don’t plan anything different this time around.  I was sharing it on my wall, when it hit me.  I had introduced my friend to this band before she moved away.  We had a blast, and she liked them, too.  She was a people watcher, and was confused by the mixture of people and styles of the other fans that were there.  We decided that they were Preppies, Hipsters, and Lumberjacks.  Plaid and beards and all mixed with a few clean-cut well dressed glasses wearing people.  An odd mixture, but all present enjoyed the show, as always.  I took her a little out of her comfort zone that night, but we had a lot of fun, and it was worth it.

So the other night, when the memory of seeing the band with her the last time they were in town hit me, I was sitting at my desk; overwhelmed with grief.  I let the tears fall.  It was completely unexpected, but necessary.  That’s the thing about grief, it has to run its course.  Things happen, and you feel sad sometimes.  It is what it is.  It is healthier to deal with the feelings when they arise, instead of bottling them inside, where they fester and grow.  Not letting your feelings out is toxic, and it never ends well, because instead of a healthy release, it could be an explosion, and the aftermath of that could be a bigger disaster than you are able to handle.  So focus on the good times, and the memories that make you smile.  When you need to express your grief, you don’t always get to choose when or how that happens, but it is necessary to help you move past the grief being so heavy on your heart all of the time.  There is nothing wrong with grieving, and I do cry when I am overcome with grief.  I try to be alone if I can, but you can’t plan it every time.  You just have to deal with it, and keep moving forward, until it isn’t so raw.  The important part is to let it out, so you can begin to heal.

It never goes away. I will always miss my friends, but I am still here, and I have to keep on living. One minute at a time, to a day at a time; whatever I am capable of in that moment. My first friend made me promise to take good care of my health, and I am honouring his memory by doing my best to be healthier.  My second friend was an artist, and I am working towards writing a book this year.  She would be proud that I am working on a lifelong goal, and as we had talked about many things during our friendship; she would also be happy to know I am working on my health and cleaning and organizing my house before getting the book started.  She had a preferred method for upkeep on cleaning styles, and I plan to get that method in place when the deep clean is done, so I keep up with it for the long-term.  That is how I am honouring her memory.  This is important too, it helps me keep them in my heart, without causing more grief.  If you don’t have a special way to honour the memory of a lost loved one, start one.

Random acts of kindness are a positive way to do good for someone else, and in your heart, it can be from your loved one, in their memory.  Take whatever time you need to decide what it will be, and follow through.  This way, it won’t just be yourself that you help, it just might help someone else cope a little better in their day, too.  Even if it only makes you feel better for an hour, it is a start, and by helping others, you can begin to help yourself heal in a positive way.

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Wait, what? Me? Really? Oh, Thank you!

flower-887443_1920When I started going to Zumba classes, I did a lot of the movements at half speed.  I had to pace myself.  I still do, but I am pushing myself more now than I did a few years ago. I go as much as I can, and I hate to miss class.  It is literally the best part of Mondays and Wednesdays.

I am an optimist.  Loyal, and honest to a fault. I am stubborn.  When I make up my mind to do something, I usually don’t change it.  I can be firm on my decisions, and hard to sway from something I have already committed to in my mind.

I use this to my advantage.  I am working really hard at everything in my daily life right now.  I don’t know if it’s because I hit that number 42 this year, and things are all clicking into place at this point in my life, but things seem to be going well right now. *Knocks on wood*

I am making progress in my cleaning and organizing challenges.  It is not fast, or furious, but it is coming along, one frenzied spurt at a time.  I plan to dive back into it this weekend.  I really hope to get enough done that I can share pictures soon.

I am working on my health too.  I am constantly talking about Trim Healthy Mama, and whether or not the food I am eating at any given meal is on or off plan.  I am cooking more, and I tried a salad in a Mason jar for lunch one day this week.  It was fabulous.  I may add those into my regular lunch rotation, with a little less dressing.

I am Blogging, hear me type!  This is a new adventure for me, and I am having a lot of fun.  I am Always Thinking…so it is nice to have a focus for some of my thoughts.  I really enjoy watching for likes and comments, especially from strangers.  It is great to have support from your friends and family, but the kindness of strangers in the Blogging world is truly phenomenal.  There has been a lot of support and encouragement since I have started, and that motivates me to keep going.

Which brings me to the point of my story.  People are using words like engaging and inspirational when they are commenting about my work.  Wait, what? Me?  Really? Oh, Thank you!  is exactly how I feel when this happens.  I am learning how to accept compliments, and those are some mighty big ones!  I am flabbergasted by the word inspirational.  Not me.  I am just me.  I am starting to believe that I can tell stories and be funny.  But I am the same person I always was.  Maybe a little more focused and better at following through with things, but not inspirational.  Not me.

So if I stop for a moment when I hear or read a compliment, sometimes I am just processing what I am hearing or reading.  I might need a moment to understand that you are sincere, and figuring out an appropriate response.  I realize that a simple thank you is the standard reply for a compliment, and sometimes the delay is longer than expected for my reply, whether in person or online.  Trust me when I say that I may truly be in shock when I am experiencing this, and I am learning how to accept the praise, and even starting to pay it forward with saying nice things to other people too.

Quirky, stubborn, geeky, fun; with a wicked sense of humour, I believe.  Inspirational is not a word I would choose to describe myself.  It seems so much bigger than I am, but if people are getting that feeling from me just being myself, well I guess I must be doing something right!

Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

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Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy; but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share the story of a friend.  It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Megan’s Story

My name is Megan, and this is my story.  Buckle in, and grab a coffee, it’s a long one.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my weight.  I started gaining weight in grade school.  There wasn’t a traumatic event, and I never went hungry that I can remember, so I am unsure of what triggered my need for food.  But I remember that it started early, and I learned to sneak and hide my extra food early as well.

I can remember coming home on half day Wednesdays at lunch time, and loving it because the babysitter that was at the house all day for my baby brother would serve me a huge plate of fries while I watched Inspector Gadget on the TV.  Most of my allowance was spent on junk food, but I didn’t gain a lot at first because I was really active.  I was running and playing with my friends in the schoolyard at lunchtime, I would ride my bike everywhere in the summer, and weekends were filled with either roller skating, ice skating, or skiing.

Junior High School came, and I started to gain a little more.  I remember being uncomfortable in my body, but I figured that as long as I wasn’t the biggest kid in school that I was still ok.  My parents took note of my continuous gain, and tried their hand at helping me.  Mom would make me go for walks around the neighbourhood with her, and we had workout VHS tapes that we would do.  Most of the time I did the tapes half heartedly, and during the walks I could be heard howling through the neighbourhood, crying because she was pushing me, literally, to go faster.  Bribes were given, for every 10 lbs I lost my parents would buy me $50 worth of new clothing, and back then that would get you a LOT.  Nothing worked though, and I continued to eat, and hide my junk food.  I remember my dad looking for an eraser or something in my desk one day and coming across my stash of empty junk food wrappers.  What a humiliating day that was for me.  But it still wasn’t enough to get me to change.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I was moving out into my first apartment with a friend as my roommate, and I was so excited!  Not for the normal things like being able to have friends over anytime I wanted and the normal run of the mill young adult dreams, but I was excited because for the first time in my life I could eat a piece of cake for supper if I wanted, and no one could tell me no.

My weight continued to creep up.  I think I was around 280 lbs at the age of 23 when I met my daughter’s father.   During my pregnancy I let myself have whatever I liked, and I skyrocketed to about 335 right before my daughter was born.  I stayed around 325 when I met my now husband, but as things go, the relationship got comfortable and I let my weight go up.  It didn’t matter because he thought I was beautiful no matter what.  I was in love, in a secure relationship, and food was used for everything.   Celebrating something?  Eat!  Stressed out?  Eat!  Having company over?  Eat!  Bored?   Eat!  It was my coping mechanism for everything, good and bad.

I got a wake up call one day though when I went to the doctor for my annual check up.  I was told that I was pre diabetic, and my weight was too high to register on his scale.  It scared me.  I was also at the point where I couldn’t walk the length of the mall without breaking into a sweat and being out of breath.  If I had to get from one end to the other, it was easier to get in my car and drive to the other entrance.  All of this scared me.  So I joined a gym.

I remember that first day at the gym, scared out of my mind about my health, scared out of my mind about having the people in the gym judge me, but resolved to make it work for me.  I had a trainer weigh me on the special gym scale… 388 lbs.  I cried in her office.  I did my first workout that day on the treadmill.   I went at a speed of 2.0 km per hour, no incline, and forced myself to stay on it for 20 minutes.  Afterward, I remember dry heaving in the parking lot because I had exerted myself so much.

I continued to go to the gym, and had a couple of friends who would join me on the treadmills.  Eventually it started to get a little easier, and I could go a little bit faster.  I started participating in classes and discovered that they were not only fun, but full of supportive members who became my friends and cheerleaders.  I kept getting stronger and loved the challenge that the classes gave me, and was doing two different, hour long classes back to back.

But it wasn’t enough.  I hadn’t beaten the diabetes diagnosis.  I was, however, keeping it under control strictly through diet and exercise.  The insane gym routines took over my life, everything else was planned around my gym time, and in 6 months I had managed to lose 50 lbs.  Getting back into the workforce proved to be my undoing.

I had to find myself a part time job to help out with rising expenses at home, so I found one working for a local grocery store.  I figured it would be simple enough for me to pick up, and something I would enjoy doing.  Turns out I do enjoy it, but it was much harder on the body than I had anticipated it being.  After hours of checking people out through the registers my shoulders ached, my back was on fire, my knee was tender, and my left ankle (which  had suffered multiple fractures  20 years ago) was screaming and swollen from bearing my weight.   Yes I had lost 50 lbs, but I was still 330lbs.  The ankle was the worst, throbbing and in so much pain that I would be limping horribly after work.  Because of the pain in the joint I was unable to attend gym activities after work, and the weight started to creep up yet again.  I had to make a decision, did I  want to work and help my family out, or did I want  to participate at the gym?  My ankle would only let me do one, so I chose work.  I tried different wraps, bands, and ankle supports, and even had my doctor send me for an x-ray because I was convinced something was terribly wrong.  Had I re fractured the bone?  I thought nothing but a break could be this excruciating or cause this much swelling and intense pain.  It turns out that arthritis can.  Because of my weight, and because of my previous injury my ankle was now full of arthritis, even more so than my doctor would have expected.

So began the daily dose of Tylenol Arthritis medication, backed with a couple of Advil, a nice tight wrap, and off to work I would go.  Some days it helped,  others it did nothing.   I can remember driving home after an 8 hour shift on my feet, and in that 7 minute drive my ankle had swollen so much and got so painful that I had to text my husband from the driveway to please come help me out of the car and into the house.  An 8 hour shift left me completely useless the day after, and my day off would be spent on the couch with my leg up, and a bottle of medication next to me.  Up and up my weight creeped, more and more the pain increased.  I felt trapped.  So I started doing my research on bariatric surgery.

I had thought about it before, 10 years ago when a friend of mine had had the Gastric Bypass surgery, but she had some awful complications with it;  and I dismissed surgery as not being for me at  the time.  I learned that surgery had come a long way in the last 10 years, and not only that, but that there were different types available.  I started researching on a process called the  Gastric Sleeve, and was able to chat online with someone who had had it done.  She patiently answered all of my questions, listened to all of my concerns, and told me every nitty gritty detail of her experience with the surgery.  It was because of her that I finally asked my doctor to put my name on “the list.”  I knew that the list was a long one, and that I would still have time to do all the research I wanted to do, and that if I decided down the road that surgery wasn’t for me I could always remove my name.  But I got the ball rolling.

In the meantime, things with my weight were out of control again.  I had ballooned up to 377 lbs, and was at the point that I was considering buying a cane to help me get around the house.   At age 36 I was considering canes, or possibly even a walker.  I was at my rock bottom.

13 months after my referral was sent in I got “the call” that the surgeon’s office was sending me an information package to be reviewed, with  a portion of it to be filled out and sent back.  This was it!  Things had started and after 13 months of research and speaking to more surgery patients I had decided to jump through whatever hoops I needed to and to go for it.  This was my last chance, and I needed to take control of my life back.  A whirlwind of dietician appointments, blood tests, surgeon appointments, and trial diets passed in the next 5 months, and then I found myself in the hospital wearing that awful gown that leaves your rear end exposed.  This was it.  Today was the day.  I was going to have my sleeve surgery to help me regain control of my life.  I was excited and nervous.  I padded down the hall behind the nurse to the operating room, and got on the table.  They were pleasant and helpful, adjusting my pillows, making sure I was comfortable… but when the IV wouldn’t take for the 5th time, and I felt my arms being strapped down I started to shake and cry.  My nerves were kicking in, and I knew that when I woke up my life would never be the same.

I stayed in hospital for 3 days, and off work for 4 weeks while I recovered.  It was interesting learning again how to eat, and even more interesting to watch the changes already happening in my body and weight.  I celebrated every little milestone and success, but not with food.  Things were changing and food just wasn’t the central focus of my life anymore.  Life now is so different in that when I am full, I am full, and content to put the fork down.   Before I’d have cleaned my plate no matter how I felt.  My relationship with food now is completely different.  Yes I still enjoy it, I will always enjoy it, but in smaller portions, and with better choices.  My new small tummy can only fit so much in at meal time that I have become very picky about what goes into it.  There is no room for the junk I used to eat before, so when choosing my food I try to get the most nutrition and protein that I can.  Constantly sipping my water all day long to battle dehydration has simply become a part of my life now, as has tracking every single morsel that enters my mouth so I can see how much protein, fat, and carbs I’ve had.  It sounds very daunting and like a lot of work, but in the last 9 months of doing it daily, it has just become a part of my daily life now, like brushing my teeth.

9 months.  That is how far out I am from surgery now, and in that 9 months I have gone from 377 lbs to 269 lbs.  That is a loss of 108 lbs.  My clothes have changed drastically as well.  When I first started my sleeve journey I was wearing a TIGHT size 28 jeans, and a 3-4X top.  Now, being 108 lbs lighter I am wearing a comfortable size 18 jeans, and for shirts I can now wear a size L or XL from most regular stores!  Not plus sized stores, regular stores!  But the biggest change has been in my mobility.  I still wear my ankle wrap to work at the store in the winter when the arthritis acts up in the cold temperatures, but now, after an 8 hour shift I can come home, get out of the car, and come help make dinner.  And the next day, I can walk freely and do whatever errands need to be done.  I can walk easily from one end of the mall to the other, and I am incorporating the gym back into my life, alongside my work, not having to choose between them anymore.

For me, surgery was the right choice, and one that saved not only my mobility, but my life.  My quality of life has improved drastically in such a short time.  In discussions with other patients I hear most of the time that their only regret with surgery is not having done it earlier in life.  I can understand that feeling, but I am glad that I did it when I did.  If I had had my surgery earlier in life I don’t believe I would have been as prepared, or as successful as I have been.  I still have a ways to go, and at least 70 more lbs to lose.  But for the first time in my life I feel in control, and rather than anticipating what I can put in my mouth next like I used to, now I am anticipating that cute little summer dress that I am going to buy, and look and feel amazing in this year!

Thank you Megan for your honesty and for sharing your story here.  You are one of the people I thought of when I was starting this series.  I know it can be hard to put it all out there, but it is time that people like us speak out to try to help others.  Keep celebrating every little success, and be proud that your decision is certainly the right one for you.  I have always admired your spunk.  I may not be an obvious cheerleader, but I am very impressed with your success and determination.  Keep going, my friend, you are an inspiration!

Zumba: Sometimes I go to the Beat of My Own Drums

It’s time for another Zumba story!  I enjoy going to Zumba twice a week, with a great group of people.  It is a steady group, and there are some of us that are regulars, and some that come once in a while, and there are even people who join the group and become regulars. We call ourselves the Zumba Crew.

When I started, I was a long way from the same level and speed as everyone else.  When I start a new song, with new moves, I improvise.  I will not use my arms if the moves are new, it can be too much to learn all at once.  I didn’t spin on my feet for a long time, I marched instead.  Sometimes, when everyone else was doing a fancy move that had them turning, I would smile, or wave, and stay facing forward.

That’s one of the things I like about the class I take.  I am encouraged to do what I can, and to not feel like I have to be the same as everyone else.  There are options.  If I don’t want to move my arms, I don’t.  Sometimes they do get tired.  It helps to enhance the exercise when I move them, so other times,  I do.  There are times when I can keep up with everyone, and there are times where I go at half the speed.  And there are times where I mess up.  When I do, I laugh.  Out loud.  At myself.  Usually for zigging when everyone else is zagging.

I wear a pedometer in class, and I broke 4,000 steps today.  I like it when I get more than 5,000 steps in a class, and it has happened before, so I always try to get as many steps in as I can.

You have all heard of playing the “air guitar” to a favourite song.  At my Zumba classes, sometimes we play the “air drums.”  Today we were shown how to do this properly.  If you just flap your hands around from the wrists, it is rather pointless.  The way to move correctly is to swing your arms from the elbows right through to the hands.  Hard.  As hard as you can.  I also saw a different method on TV, on the show This is Us.  There is an actress on that show that went to what was called a “Fat Camp.”  I watched her exercise with actual drum sticks.  It wasn’t a Zumba class, they were in an air drumming exercise class.  We don’t use sticks at Zumba.  We could, but it might get dangerous.

So we drum out the beats.   We were told to just pound the drums that weren’t there, like we were making the beat ourselves.  I was going for it, when a funny thought struck me.  As I was beating the air drums, going side to side, and up and down, I thought I’d better watch out for my cymbals.  I am well endowed, and that could hurt too!  I shared the thought with someone else, and when she laughed, I knew I would write another Zumba Blog post tonight.  So I found myself laughing with a new friend at Zumba.  I left with a  story to tell, and I was also feeling good after a great class.

 

Getting back on track with everything in one day

I made some resolutions at the start of this year.  I am working at them, at my own pace.  This week I feel like I am falling behind.  We had a lot of snow early last week.  I missed two days of work just digging out from under it.  My husband, who normally does the shoveling, hurt his back, and is still recovering.  So I did it myself.  It was a lot of work, and the reason I missed the second day is because I spent more than 4 hours shoveling, and it exhausted me.

So I rested for 2 days, when I wasn’t shoveling.  Eat; shovel; sleep; repeat; for 2 days.  I didn’t get much done inside the house for those days.  We managed.  We averted the crisis of having no Pepsi in the house for my husband.  It was a close one, though.  He doesn’t enjoy coffee, he likes Pepsi.  I enjoy coffee, and today, I am home without the car, so I can focus on what needs doing inside the house, and drink a lovely bucket of coffee.

I prep cook on the weekends.  It is on my list of things to do.  I need to get at the dishes and laundry.  I want to finish the kitchen and move on to other rooms, but life happens.  Other projects have popped up in the last month, so it was not a productive couple of weeks in my kitchen.

If you are following my blog, you are familiar with the Tish-ism in Bouncing the House.  It is what I do.  I crank the tunes and clean.  This is in my plans for today.  But where do I start?  There is SO much to DO and only ONE DAY.  I am a weekend warrior when it comes to cleaning, and someday, when I am more energetic or have things under control so that I only need a half hour a day in the week for maintenance house cleaning, that won’t be the case.  I will be able to manage it this way at some point, and then I will have the time I need to focus on writing and crafts.  What I WANT to do.

At the start of the year, I decided on three things as my resolutions.  Work on me by living a healthier lifestyle, clean my house, really clean it, top to bottom, and write a book.  I will not begin writing in earnest until the house is done.  I will never get the cleaning done if I jump into writing and get lost in my creativity.  I have a plan, but it takes dedication to stick to it and get it all done.  One thing at a time, one project at a time, and one day at a time.

My creative mind travels in circles, and this can be distracting when I am working on something.  I start loading the dishwasher, and go through the house to collect dishes.  I find empty bottles and cans that also need to be relocated to the kitchen for rinsing and recycling.  I fill the sink with really hot water, dish soap, and dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher.  I wander into the bedroom and find laundry that needs doing.  Get the laundry started.  And realize that the dishwasher door is still open, the dishwasher is still not full and running, and the sink now has cold water with bubbles and dirty dishes in it.

So I add more hot water to the sink of dishes, and finish loading the dishwasher and take a break at my desk for a few minutes, only to realize that I lost track of time and the water in the sink, which was too hot when I sat down, is cold again and the dishwasher is finished and needs to be unloaded and the clothes in the washer need to be put into the dryer and a new load put into the washer but there is a load in the dryer that needs to be folded and put away.  That was a long and busy sentence on purpose.  It is demonstrating how I get in a loop.

Putting things away is a hard thing for me.  I get so far with the cleaning and I just leave it for later which essentially is never and the clean clothes get piled up and the dishes are just used straight from the dishwasher so they pile up again as the dirty dishes can’t go into the dishwasher if there are clean dishes in there and you get the idea.  I go in circles, constantly, if I let myself, and when I do this, the chances of me finishing anything are slim.

What do I do to fix it?  Well, I am stubborn, and that means if I make myself do all the dishes, I can get them done.  If I don’t start ten other things at the same time.  Some of the chores in my list are the kind you start and have to walk away from, so I try to get them going first.  That is also a trap.  I need a break, and I lose three hours.  I have no concept of time at all.  

Turning the music up LOUD helps, as long as I don’t turn it down on a break.  I can’t sit at my desk for too long if the music is loud.  That is another tactic I use.  It works if I don’t just grab the remote and turn the music down so I can spend more time at my desk procrastinating from the things I really should be doing.

Another thing I am going to implement today is a list.  I find crossing things off of my list gives me a small sense of accomplishment, it means I finished that thing on my list.  I make lists whenever I travel, and go over them several times to be certain that I don’t forget anything, and I cross items off as I pack.  I don’t forget things when I have a list made.  So I need to make more lists.  This can take time and be distracting.  I can put too many things down and never get back to the list, because I need to start a new one.  Or I can just spend too much time making the list and get nothing else done.  Not productive at all.

I think today I will be making more than one list.  I also think I need to make lists more frequently until I get things back under control.  After all, that is one of the goals here, to get things under control so I can let myself do the things I want to do.  I will make two, on a small piece of paper.  One for cooking and one for cleaning.    If I just use both sides of a small piece of paper, I can flip it over, and not waste paper that way.  If the list is small; maybe, just maybe, I can finish everything on it.  And that would help to get me going in the right direction again, and help me get back on track.  OK.  Time to make my little lists and get my day going in the right direction!  When I finish them, I have two writing projects that do need my attention.  That will be my reward for getting the chores done, I can then work on some other projects that will make me feel good about working on them, not just to finish them, as I may or may not finish them by the end of the day.  Getting time to work on them, though, will be a reward I can work toward.  Progress is progress, and that is my ultimate goal for today.

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Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 3

 

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy; but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 3.

I love food.  I love to eat.  Sometimes I eat too much.  Other times I eat the wrong things.  I don’t allow myself to participate in guilt about eating.  I have cravings.  I give in to them.  I find if I don’t; I go way overboard when I finally cave.  I can settle for one of each flavour in a bag of candy.  It’s better than having the whole bag.

I don’t always make poor food choices.  I don’t always eat until I feel sick from over eating.  I don’t always have more than one helping.

I do associate food with feelings.  I think chocolate tastes like happiness.  Most sweets do to me.  Dessert used to make my day.  I have started to tackle that problem.  I am addicted to sugar, and it is bad for me.  Sugar is a diabetic’s kryptonite, only you want it, unlike Superman, he fights to stay away from it.  Even Superman needs help with his kryptonite sometimes.  It’s not an addiction for Superman, but like me and sugar, it is better to keep far away from it, at all costs.

When I was growing up, there could never be enough Kool-Aid in my water.  If it was so thick I had to chew it, that was how I wanted it.  Currently, I have actually started reacting to things being too sweet.  It was nothing I had experienced before, until recently, in the last two or three years.  Age has to be a factor in this.  Certainly my change in eating habits has also contributed to  this foreign concept.  Not allowing as much sugar in my diet has increased my sensitivity, I think.  Similar to the non-smokers reacting to the smell of cigarettes.  A scent-free environment really highlights any scent that enters into it, and this might be what is starting to happen to me, with sugar.

I am not on the aspartame train.  I have found that I feel better when I cut it out of my life.  I am trying other sweeteners, I am using stevia, and erythritol which is also known as Swerve.  It comes in granular and powdered forms, and I have started to figure out how to use it in food and drinks.  Swerve does leave a cool feeling on the tongue, but doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste.  I used to drink a lot of pop.  Now I can go days without it, and try to only have it as a treat.  I didn’t like Zevia, a pop made with stevia, the first, second, or even third time I tried it.  But I kept trying it, and now I enjoy it.  It has to be really cold, and then it is good.  I haven’t gotten to the stage where I choose water over other beverages yet.  I am working on that, too.

The Trim Healthy Mama (THM) plan I follow most of the time has me trying new things a lot.  I like every recipe I have tried, and that is a big bonus.  I fall short on a night like tonight, when I worked all day, and then came home to what the snowplow left in my driveway.  The heavier snow that clumps all together at the end of your driveway, where it meets the road?  Yeah, a foot of snow blocking me from parking in my driveway.  My husband has hurt himself shoveling earlier in the week.  80 cm of snow (that is 2.62 feet) in one storm was a little too much for us to tackle.  The storms of this week are being called Snowmageddon.  We went at it together, taking turns with the one shovel, working our way from the step to the shed where the other shovels were. I got the dustpan out to putter with between turns.  He pushed himself, and now he is starting to recover, as this was a few days ago.  We got a guy with a tractor/snowblower rig to widen the driveway so I could dig the car out and move it.  I was not going to be done before spring; otherwise. It stormed again last night, and I was up and at em this morning, and got myself shoveled out and drove myself to work.  Then I came home.  Ugh.  I mean, yay,  exercise.  I spent an hour and fifteen minutes pushing and pulling the snow out of my driveway.  Ten minutes for swearing, and another ten talking myself out of crying in a heap.

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My back is not a happy camper, either.  But I pushed through…the snow, the anger and the agony of it all…and came in for supper and a beer.  I am going to have another drink too.  I worked hard moving around a lot of freaking snow this week.  My back is not amused, but I have not hurt it.  I went to Zumba last night, and upped my activity levels for the week big time, up and over the top of all those snow mountains in my yard.  So when I was being asked if I wanted him to make homemade pizza for supper,  I told him to make it.  Is it on plan? No.  Did I stay on plan by eating everything but the crust?  Not a chance.  Sometimes you have to make the easier choice, because it makes more sense.  I was on plan for the rest of the day, so this was not going to ruin everything.

One thing I learned with THM is that you don’t have to wait until Monday to start over.  You don’t even have to wait until tomorrow.  In 3 hours, you can be back on plan, working on your goals again.  I like that.  It works for me.  When I see that I am not making progress, I know what I did that was not on plan, but I don’t beat myself up over it.  I just start again, and every time I do this, I work a little bit harder to stay on plan.  Eventually I will be able to say no to more things that are off plan, and yes to more things that are on plan.  Little by little, I am making progress.  Some day all of those little things are going to really add up.  So I keep working on me, and I let myself be human and take the easy meal sometimes.  The important thing is for me to not take it every time.

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I am 5’2 3/4″ tall.  That snow bank is indeed taller than I am.  Let’s hope there is no more snow on the way any time soon!

His and Hers Weekend Projects

We are both home this weekend.  He works one in three weekends, and this is his favourite, the three-day weekend.  He has been off since Friday.  I have every weekend off, and rarely go in for overtime on the weekend unless there is a need for extra cash or to make up for missed time.

I am on a mission this year to clean my house, so I can be guilt free when I settle in to write my book, and work on various craft projects.  So I am working on a cleaning challenge, and an organizing challenge.  I also have a plan for maintenance cleaning after the main cleaning is done.  They say it goes quicker every year, and this is the year I plan to finish it.

I am not a hoarder (except when it comes to craft supplies; I am dreading the necessary purge of them), and I know how to clean.  Laziness is my issue.  Combine that with a poor sense of time management and a healthy dose of procrastination, and you get the mess my house is in.  It is lived in, I can find what I need almost every time I need something, and I do enough to get by.  I don’t feel comfortable with guests seeing the disaster zone.  So I have taken it upon myself to get this place clean and tidy before I dive into my next creative projects.

I also go in circles, and am finding this is creeping into the cleaning and organizing schedule.  Yesterday I just could not bring myself to continue the projects started on Friday after work.  I am procrastinating the dreaded craft supply purge, even though I have decided that I will donate the items to the annual Relay For Life Yard Sale in support of my team from work in their fund-raising.  I will be joining the team again this year.  I am moving my craft supplies into my bedroom, out of the guest room.  I have the cutest shelf that I bought for this project.  Last weekend we got it assembled.  Friday the old mattress was removed from the master bedroom, so we could get the new shelving unit in place.  I bought plastic bins for it, and it really is pretty to look at.  Now I am over thinking how to organize it.  So I have stopped that project.

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He went to work on the man cave yesterday.  He put his new bookshelf in place Friday night, but needed bolts to complete his project.  Yesterday he went out to get what he needed, and today the man cave looks a lot more organized and there is room to move in there.  We can even sit on the fold down couch that doubles as a guest bed to watch movies in there if we want to.  It hasn’t been cleaned the way I intend to clean in my challenges, but one thing at a time.  I do not plan to clean it for him.  He will have to do that room himself.  I will make sure he knows what needs to be done for spring cleaning in there, and leave it to him.

Yesterday I asked him what he wanted to accomplish this weekend.  He was going to putter in the man cave.  I was OK with that.  This morning, we are taking a bit of time to relax before diving back into the weekend projects.  I asked him what his plans were for today.  As expected, he wants to rearrange furniture for the new fish tank we bought a couple of weeks ago.  The next question was to define my role in his project.  I have been drafted to help lift and move furniture around.  That is fair.  So I am left to figure out what I am going to tackle today, when I am not moving the sofa and chair.

This is the progress in the man cave so far:

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The bookcase on the right, and the shelf between the two bookcases that the TV is on are new.  We both have a long way to go in finishing our projects, but progress is progress.

Last night I started cleaning and organizing around my desk.  I wanted to just watch TV, and needed to feel like I was being productive.  So I started.  My office is in the living room, and I need to work on purging paper, and cleaning and organizing the desk and office corner.  All areas of the house need this, so I am not wrong to find something that I can do from my desk.  However, it is not getting the kitchen or the craft supply project finished, either.

This is where my creative mind needs to be put on the back burner for a bit.  I NEED to finish in the kitchen.  It is the first project in my larger,  more in-depth challenge.  I am also going to have to delegate some chores for my husband, or I will never get to write my books.  He is going to get the list for the living room.  He will be exempted from my office area, as I am not going to tackle the man cave.  So he will get the responsibility of 3/4 of the living room.  He doesn’t mind some chores, so if I pick the ones I don’t feel like I need to be in charge of myself, he is fine with pulling his weight in maintaining the household.  Thank goodness!  We both work outside of the home, so we need to team up to tackle things around here.  Sometimes we growl at each other if we are in each other’s way while working on the same tasks, so we work better alone for some chores.  Depending on what it is.  I am fine helping move furniture around.  He is fine pitching in when I need help.  We do work well together, and can count on each other to get things done.

I am going to head back into the kitchen today.  I really need to be puttering at it all week.  I sent out a message that I may be needing help next weekend, as I grew up with sisters, and I am  used to sharing the workload.  My husband was an only child, and he is fine going at his own pace on chores by himself.  He will be working next weekend.  I don’t expect my friends to clean my messy house for me, not at all.  An extra pair of hands is appreciated, but even more importantly, someone to chat with while I work, and help keep me from wandering off to procrastinate is what I really need.  Sometimes, the music isn’t enough.  When I feel like I am OK having a friend over, even if they bring their own craft project to work on while I am cleaning; it helps me stay on track. It also keeps me from starting ten projects at once; as I wander through the house.  Yes, I find a way to go in circles, even though I live in a mini home.  It is how my brain is wired.

When the African Violet Blooms

I got married six and a half years ago.  The day of Hurricane Earl, to be exact.  In the middle of my bouquet, was a live plant.  An African violet.  They were in all the bouquets and featured as centrepieces on the tables.  We had a wedding planner, and she put things all together for us.  We made as much as we could ourselves, but our families do not live in Fredericton, so we wanted someone else to decorate and have things ready for us.

Our parents on both sides were skeptical.  They didn’t want us wasting money for a professional, and they weren’t sure it was necessary.  I don’t know what we would have done without her!  I arrived at the church and she wrapped me up and ran me into the building without the weather ruining my wedding dress.  A true miracle worker!

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My mom and mother in law helped with the favours.  We made them ourselves.  They turned out cute as a button!

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They held the nice chocolates you get from Costco.  We put both light and dark chocolates in each one.  I worked on those squares off and on for years when I picked my colours.  When it came down to the night before the wedding, my mom took on the final push to get them all ready.  It was an impressive little army of teddy bears when they were done.

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When it came to planning the wedding, like a lot of things in my life, I decide on what I want, and then I go for it.  I made up my mind about the African violet bouquet and searched the city until I found a florist that would make it happen.  I found the pattern for the favours the same way.  I decided I liked the idea and worked on making them.  When I found my dress, I didn’t even try any dresses on at any stores.  I found THE pic of THE dress in a magazine, after going through hundreds of magazines with thousands of pictures.  I then approached a local seamstress, and she worked her magic.  She did a beautiful job of making a wedding dress for me.  Doing the things you can for your wedding makes it more economical, and gives it your own personal touch.  Local businesses like printers, bakeries, seamstresses, florists and wedding planners benefit from your special day and make the effort to do right by you, so you recommend them to your friends.  It is what they do.  Not everyone has that luck with their vendors, but we had that part covered with the wedding planner.  The only thing she didn’t handle was the weather, and we still had a lovely wedding.  It was memorable.

tishs-demo-bouquet

Back to the bouquet, this is a picture of the trial run.  We had several African Violets on all the tables, and by the end of the reception, they had all been sent with guests to new homes.  All but one.  Mine.  I got a throwing bouquet and kept my own.  I took it apart within a few days and saved the heather, which dried nicely and lives in my guest room, in a vase, on a decorative shelf.  I replanted the violet.  It grew to quite a size in the first few years, and then it started to fade.  As long as I am alive, I want that plant to live.  It symbolizes so much.  It is a living memory of the most important day of my life.  Like a marriage, it needs to be cared for and nurtured.  I have it in a good place in my kitchen, now, and it is making a comeback.  I thought it was a goner a while ago.  So I took some time, found it a new place to live, and it is starting to thrive again.  I turn it when it leans towards the sun, and keep turning it every so often, just like watering it.  I don’t have a schedule, I just keep an eye on it, and if it seems a little wilted, I give it water.

I was pleasantly surprised this week when my husband announced there were flowers growing on it again.  He has a greener thumb than I do, so he keeps an eye on all of our plants.  His Christmas cactus is huge.  I call it the Green Monster.  It is also blooming for the second time this winter.  That plant is over 20 years old.  Someone asked me how old it was the other day.  I couldn’t really believe it was that old, but it is.  That is a chair behind it, in case you are trying to judge how large it is.

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What’s my point with this?  Well, to put it simply, if you take the time to care for your African violet, it may not always thrive, but with the right amount of nurturing, just like anything in life, it will bloom when the time is right.  It gives me great joy to see the next group of flowers reaching for the sun, and gives me hope that my marriage will continue to blossom also.

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Update:  I am currently amazed at the number of flowers on my African Violet.  The pic below was taken on June 4, 2017.

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It is the same plant as the one in the first pic in this story.  It is still making me smile!

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy; but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 2.

It seems fitting that in part 2, I write about Type 2.  I touched on it a little in the first part of my story, and now it is time to elaborate.  I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic in 1999.  At first, I was to eliminate sugar from my diet, and try to follow the Canada Food Guide. Sugar is hidden in practically everything we eat and drink.  Especially in processed foods. Without medication, and struggling to understand the diagnosis, I failed to regain control of my blood sugars.  At first, I was constantly testing my blood sugars as high.  Not the highest they have been, but consistently high.

After failing round one, using diet and exercise for treatment, metformin was added to manage my blood sugars. It came with a cocktail of other medications.  As a diabetic, when you are diagnosed, some medical professionals consider preventative medications a  necessary part of the treatment.  They add in medicine that you would not be taking if you were not a diabetic, but because you are, they keep stricter than normal levels on things like blood pressure and cholesterol.  Soon I was taking 3 prescription medications, and not sure if I really needed 2 of them.

I have acid reflux.  Sometimes I forget about it because the medication I take for it keeps it under really good control.  There were a few different types I tried, and I am still taking one medication for this.  It works, and keeps the heartburn and stomach acid at bay.  I don’t generally eat really spicy foods, but who knew bananas could cause heartburn?  So, this, like my thyroid medication is an acceptable one.  I did not agree with having to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, but these other medications were acceptable.

Now, with my weight being what it is, I am still on a blood pressure medication.  It has been higher than it used to be, and I am working on things with my plan.  I am not currently on a cholesterol medication.  I hope that I can control both my blood pressure and cholesterol, without medicine;  when I accomplish my goals of losing weight.  This will impact all areas of my health.  If I can be healthy enough to not have to take anything but the thyroid pill, that would be worth all the work.

Now that I am working on a plan for my health, I am eating less carbohydrates, and it is having a big effect on my blood sugars.  I am on a low carb;  not a no carb plan.  I am becoming very sensitive to both sugar, and my insulin.  I am having what feels like extreme highs, and more lows.  I am new to treating the lows, and am learning not to panic and over treat them.  So when I have a low, I have to reevaluate the amount of insulin I am taking.  It is on what is called a sliding scale.  I am not always sure I am taking the right amounts, but when my body responds positively to the food and insulin, I do feel better.

I used to feel very tired when my sugars were high.  I still do,  to a lesser extent.  Even when they are higher, it is not as easy as it used to be to figure it out.  I am not as sluggish when I take insulin.  I do have insulin resistance.  My body still makes it, but it is not being used properly, or there is not enough being produced by my pancreas.  That is why I am taking insulin.  My body needs the help.  There is a chance that I won’t need it someday, if I keep working towards a healthier lifestyle.  That is something to strive for, and the fact that I have to lower my insulin doses tells me that it is a strong possibility.

I also have what is called Dawn Phenomenon.  Some diabetics have an increase in blood sugars overnight.  It is generally thought that it is the body’s way of preparing for the new day, and the extra sugar in the blood is to help you wake up.  In diabetics, it can put your sugars up before you even have anything to eat at the start of your day.  It is harder to be alert and to focus when your blood sugars are high.  I am now in the habit of testing my sugars more frequently, and this is helpful.  My doctor advised adjusting the long acting insulin at nighttime as this may help to manage the higher sugars in the mornings.  I have a feeling that I am going to have to become a lot more serious about it, and start a food, blood sugar and insulin diary to really get a handle on it.

When my sugars are low, it is still obvious to me.  I get shaky.  I get really confused, it is hard to think, it is like I am in panic mode.  I freak out a little. I sweat profusely out of my scalp, of all places, when I am awake.  At night I notice my legs are where I sweat when I am having a low.  Luckily, I wake up when it is happening.  Also, the frequent trips to the washroom usually have me up through the night.  So if I am up, and I feel off, I test to be sure about where my sugars are.  I have started keeping juice boxes with me at all times, and hard candy.  I am learning how to live with type 2 diabetes.  It is not an easy thing to figure out.  Not enough insulin allows my sugars to go high.  Too much can cause a low, and if my sugars get too low, that can be fatal.  I usually take a  lower dose of insulin if I am not sure how I am going to react to how much insulin I am taking.  I am cautious about taking large doses, but sometimes they are necessary.  Type 2 Diabetes is not an easy disease to live with it, but management is the key, and I am on the right track.

I am obsessed with food, and addicted to sugar.  I am working on both of these issues, and changing my habits along the way.  I was thinking about how to go about starting this series when I chose the name.  Yes, there are other meanings for the phrase Trust Your Gut, but to me, my world revolves around my emotions, food and my health.  They all tie together in my life, so when it comes to my health, I have to trust my gut.  Am I hungry or bored?  Will that affect my sugars if I eat it?  How much insulin do I need to take if I want to eat that?  All of these things factor into my decisions, and a lot of the time, I am guessing.  So, I go with my gut feelings a lot in my day.  Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I don’t.  I am the only one in control of what I eat, and how much of it I eat.  Sometimes I have the willpower to avoid bad choices.  Other times I give in and have what I want.  I used to feel like I shouldn’t eat at all if my sugars were high, before I started taking insulin.  Now I can juggle the dose to accommodate for both good and poor choices in terms of food.  I hate having to think about the consequences for everything I eat, but it is a fact of my life, and I decide how I want to live it.  Working towards living a healthier lifestyle is something I am glad I decided to do.  I am still here, and my gut tells me to keep on this plan and it will work, so I am giving it my best shot.  Pun intended.

 

His and Hers Shopping on Superbowl Sunday

It struck me funny today when we went to a local hardware store for some home improvement items and odds and ends that by the time we left, we each had our own shopping carts.  My husband had a short list, of exactly what he needed for his project.  He is working on the man cave, and it’s his thing, so I have no worries about it at all.  He is installing a shelf between two bookcases for the TV to be on the shelf.  It is not a large TV, and it shouldn’t be too heavy for what he wants to do.  He thought we would be only gone for an hour.

I wanted cube storage shelves.  It was another weekend where the gumption wasn’t there to keep working on the cleaning, and we just got the new headboard installed yesterday.  Bye bye milk crates, I’m a grown up now.  It is curious to me that it is designed to be an inch or so above the floor.  It is nice.  When my room is all clean and neat, maybe I will take a picture.

So off we went to the hardware store.  His list involved getting wood cut to his required lengths for his project.  I wandered.  One of the employees saw me going up and down the middle aisle, and asked if he could help.  I replied, “Nope.  I just hope my husband comes back to find me at some point.”  He hoped so too.  I don’t think he really knew what to say.  I get that reaction from people sometimes.  It’s OK, I am used to it.

I found my shelving unit, but it was too heavy for me to get into the cart.  I found collapsible fabric cubes, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for.  Then I found the cutest plastic bins that have an aqua pattern on them, with white.  And they were on sale!  That sold it for me.  While I was wandering, I found the sliding cupboard drawer inserts for organizing the cupboards, and one for pots and pans.  We can’t afford everything all at once, those are on a wish list. We may find a more affordable solution if we keep looking.

I also found a wall art display for just clipping pictures on.  It is exactly what I have wanted for YEARS to hang various postcards on as an art display.  It found its way into my shopping cart.  At this point, I found my husband, and he had his supplies.  I showed him what I was able to find, and he lifted the white 9 square cube shelving unit box into my cart.

By the time we were done, I had decided to go to the next store also.  I wanted a cleaner they carried.  I also got a desk drawer organizer, which I am in desperate need of, it is scary in there.  I got a magnet stick from the canning supplies to fish out the mason jar lids that vacuum seal to the plug in my kitchen sink, and the cleaning product I wanted.  He had time to go to the dollar store for a pop and the frame I needed there for something I printed earlier that needs a frame.

We then ran to two different grocery stores to pick up a few things, and then to a restaurant for take out.  Our one hour errand was three hours long.  It was Superbowl Sunday, after all.  I am not the biggest football fan. I watch it every year, and I enjoy the commercials and the halftime show.  My friend is the biggest Little Monster I know, and he wasn’t going to be able to go to his other friend’s house to see the halftime show.  So I recorded it and drove over to get him.  Nobody enjoyed it more than he did, and we had fun watching it.  More than once.  We discussed the song choices, all great, and the outfits and the whole presentation.  We agreed that it was an awesome halftime show, and Lady Gaga did a phenomenal job.  I loved her entrance, and the exit was perfect.  I did sense a Bowie influence in her first costume, and that was fitting for her to still pay him tribute in that small way.  He was a big influence in a lot of musicians lives, and she has performed his music in remembrance to him.  I liked that choice.  My friend also pointed out that in the last song, the group of dancers moved to be in the shape of a football.  I saw the helmets, but that never dawned on me, until he said it.  Overall, I think it may be one of my favourite halftime shows, and they are always good.  Here is a selfie with Lady Gaga, my friend, and me.

superbowl-51-halftime-selfie

It was a close game, and the Patriots came back to win it in overtime.  So for the fans, I am sure the game was a big hit this year.  Whomever they choose to play the Halftime show next year has some mighty big sparkly boots to fill.

All in all it was another productive weekend.  We got some chores done, even if it wasn’t progress on the kitchen, it is progress.  Sometimes you need to take the detour to get to where you really needed to go in the first place.