Life... Health... Reviews...

Friday, January 29, 2010

They sure do grow quickly

I'm sure it was just yesterday that my only son had about five pair of shoes and my two youngest daughters had a slew to wear as well. It's already time to purchase more shoes for kids. Everyone always says that children grow like weeds. I always thought that meant they sprout up quickly, but that's just part of it. They also sprout up sneakily. Have you ever driven from your house in the morning, came back in the evening and all of a sudden noticed a ton of weeds in your yard? That's because they weren't there when you left. LOL... It's the same with children.

You send them to school or give them a snack and before you know it they've either grown taller or wider by at least an inch, and their feet are suddenly squished into the very depths of their shoes with no room to spare. When it comes to buying shoes for my children I always try to make sure I get the correct size and what's appropropriate for their lifestyle, which means casual, play and school shoes. The casual and school shoes can be the same, but it's best to have more than one pair so that one doesn't get worn out so quickly. At least that's my theory.

I'd like to get my son a pair of boots and several pair of sneakers: high tops, basketball and running shoes. My daughters need shoes that go with skirts/dresses and leggings as well as those that look good with jeans. I love to coordinate the children's shoes with what they wear. Even for my son. It would be great if he could wear at least a different pair every two to three days. (Can you tell I like shoes?)

Right now I'll be lucky just to ensure that their feet are comfortable and that the shoes are practical and of good quality. The quality is especially important for my middle daughter who passes down all of her things to her baby sister.

When's the last time you bought shoes for your kids?
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Books to support resolutions

At the beginning of this year I made commitments to myself, which most people call New Year Resolutions. For me, referring to them as commitments to myself, i.e. promises, makes them more solid and permanent. I've noticed when I make commitments and reveal them publicly (like when I kept you abreast of my weight loss) there is a better chance that I will succeed. In fact, that's true for most people.

It's the support and the accountability that makes succeeding at one's goal possible. If we operate in a box then we conduct ourselves on a narrow path without input, variety and encouragement. Another way to receive the support necessary for success is to make use of books and other written materials to get perspective, encouragement and motivation.

There are quite a few books that may assist you in meeting your New Year goals. Here are a few I've seen recently:
  • The Happiness Plan: 7 Simple Steps to Make the Life You Have the One You Want by Carmel McConnell
  • The Law of Forgiveness: Tap in to the Positive Power of Forgiveness and Attract Good Things to Your Life by Connie Domino, MPH, RN
  • The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small by Lisa Earle McLeod
  • You are the Reason: A Survivor's Guide to Ultimate Strength by Johnathan Craig


McConnell is a social entrepreneur, and author of The Happiness Plan, who believes that most of us have the capability to be happy with everything we have right now (regardless of the condition of our finances, work status, etc.) by making happiness a priority on our agenda. She offers seven steps to help in the achievement of happiness, which ultimately results in a flexible plan readers can apply to their lives.

The first step is to decide to be happier using the ABC approach: Allow more room for happiness. Begin by doing something in the here and now. Continue the process. What I like about this book is that it's interactive. You have to really think about the questions, annotate your answers in the spaces provided and each item is reiterated.

The Happiness Plan helps you to realize the best definition of happiness, which is YOUR definition of happiness and how you have control of making yourself happy based on the plan you develop using this book. It isn't a quick read - if you're serious about doing the work - it's a process to putting your plan into action. I'm still reading and absorbing this book. It's my goal to add my happiness plan to my vision board for a complete view of my goals, where I want to be in life as well as the type of person I want present myself as and be on the inside.

One of the things a lot of people believe is that harboring un-forgiveness has a negative impact on the person with the ill feelings not the person it is directed to. Sometimes it takes some self work (delving deep into one's feelings and thoughts) to identify that you haven't forgiven someone. The Law of Forgiveness explores the power of forgiveness from various angles including scientific, religious, individual and societal. Once it has been explored and the reader has a true understanding, Domino gives guidelines and affirmation-based techniques to forgive others and themselves. The steps also include helping others to forgive them.


Personally, I haven't realized any areas where I haven't forgiven someone ... well, that's not exactly accurate. There's a lot in my own life I haven't forgiven myself for so I suppose I need to rethink what I was about to write. I believe that The Happiness Plan and The Law of Forgiveness are going to be two tools that I use in the process of bettering myself. It's not perfection I seek to achieve, but a true knowledge into my thoughts, feelings, process and the keys to unlock the success that is trapped within me.

One of the things I've learned about myself over the past couple of years is that I hate unnecessary conflict, drama and arguments. And, thankfully, I've done a fairly good job of minimizing that in my life at least to the degree where I can minimize my response to it. I try to resolve disagreements with conversation and/or resolution, and if that doesn't work then I prefer to walk away. I think this is a new thing for me, but it's one I am committed to perfecting (if there is such a thing).


The Triangle of Truth seems like the ideal book to help with that. McLeod describes The Triangle of Truth as "the ability to hold two seemingly conflicting ideas in your mind at the same time, and assimilate them in a way that makes their whole greater than the sum of their parts." She, of course, didn't invent that, but once it was pointed out to her she saw it everywhere. I believe I do a pretty good job of doing this because I like to see the gray of every issue. I've talked to a couple of people - mainly men - who only see something as black and white. They don't think there's a way to merge the two ideas to make them both real and possible. That is where I think the book is leading.

There are seven core principles that McLeod offers as a model for resolving conflict. Envision each side of the triangle as a point of view: One side is your view, the other side is the person's view and the apex is the solution that's bigger and better. Make sense now? McLeod says it's more than compromise; it is collaboration, which is right up my alley.

You'll have to check this book out to see if it works for you because at first I wasn't sure even though it presents a viewpoint that I already embrace. Why? I thought it would be boring. (I just have to be honest.) But McLeod is known as a insightful and humorous person so getting through it should be a pleasure.

Finally, speaking of pleasure, You Are the Reason, is touted as heartfelt and motivational. It's a memoir that was written to help others find their strength, hope, peace and purpose. The author was diagnosed with HIV about 27 years ago and when he got the news he had to make a choice: find the courage to fight or resign to die. He ends of falling in love with life after learning from some of the world's greatest thinkers. Now he has a determination and passion for life that is a model for others living with terminal illness as well as those looking for a reason to live. He shares that model through motivational speaking.

Last month was AIDS Awareness Month, which would have made that a perfect time to talk about the book, but I believe that the New Year can bring new perspectives for some people. If you need to discover your ultimate strength then I would suggest reading this book first. If, on the other hand, your will to live is strong and you're seeking happiness then try the other three first ending with You Are the Reason. After putting in the work on yourself, ending with Craig's book will be the motivation to keep you on the right path.

Whether you choose to read one of those books, and I hope you do, or find another one to assist in your personal growth be sure not to operate inside of a box. Seek support, advice and motivation from outside sources. And remember, I'm here - at It's a woman's world! - to support you. Come back and share your progress - or your books - with us.

I received review copies of the above books to facilitate this post; no other compensation was received. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Car maintenance estimates, locations

When I had my Dodge Caravan there were several warning lights that kept coming on including the check engine light. With the van I just got not too long ago, lucky for me, the only light I've seen is the gas light. Besides neglecting to put gas in my vehicle, I normally try to take pretty good care of it. If a warning light comes on I go to an auto shop as soon as I can.

There was one not too far from my house that I was taking my vehicle too until they got rid of all the managers and some of the mechanics that I knew. I'd went in there so many times - and spent so much money - that they didn't charge me for just looking at the van if there was a problem. The last time I went in there and needed something checked the guy on duty told me that it would cost $30 just to look at it. I looked at him like he was crazy. Instead, they did an oil change, which I needed, and checked the problem all for about $20.

I haven't been back since and have been using a mobile mechanic that someone recommended to me. Although he's good and gives me great deals, it isn't always the best situation so I'm looking for another shop that I can take my vehicle to when needed. I'm going to check RepairPal and see what shops they list in my area.

Regardless of where you're located you can put in your specific information and RepairPal will do the work for you. You can get your Ford F-150 tuned up at a San Diego auto repair shop, if that's where you're located, or if you're traveling to visit family and friends in another town you can put that information into the search function to find a reliable location. One of the best features about RepairPal is that it'll give you an estimate of how much your maintenance will cost.

Having to deal with car repairs is one of my least favorite things to do, but if I know what I should expect and that there's somewhere reliable to take my car it makes a dreaded task easy to complete.
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Afterwards...

Before I tell you what happened with the liver biopsy, let me tell you a little bit about what happened the day before. Every ride and alternative ride that I had set up fell through. My response: tears. After I released that little emotion I posted this message of Facebook:

Who lives in the ATL area? Has free time tomorrow, transportation and a caring demeanor? Oh... and likes me enough not to dump me outta their car while I'm drugged. Yup, all rides fell through.

My dear sweet blogging friend Shaunalynn (or random stranger as Mary the nurse will always remember her as!) came through for me. Let me sidebar here: Yes, we've met before. No, she didn't just pick me up off the Internet. Well, sort of. LOL.

Okay, enough of the inside jokes. At least for now.

Shaunalynn (The Art and Science of Parenting) drove from north of the ATL to pick me up (I live south of the ATL) drove me to the VA hospital, which is north, took me home and then drove home herself. Isn't that sweet of her? We had a blast though. Despite the fact that she was trying not to make me laugh 'cause it hurt to take a deep breath; I got quite a few chuckles and giggles in. We took pictures (I still think we should have gotten one of my bloody dressing!), talked about the blood in the trashcan, made faces about behind the nurses back, giggled about men, food and anything else that presented itself as worthy of conversation.

Like Shelley (Naturi Beauty) told me all I had to do was envision what I needed and wanted that day - it came in the form of Shaunalynn. I am very appreciative of that support and love.


Now, back to the biopsy. It went very well. The setting up, poking me and hooking me up to machines took 20 times longer than the actual procedure, which wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. It was not "fun," but I didn't cry so that's good! The recover took the longest. I had to lay on my right side to put pressure on the incision (entry point?) because I bled a little afterward. I'm not even gonna mention the reason why I bled. Let's just say that in a blond moment my mind didn't recall that Ibuprofen and Tylenol are the same thing. ... Don't even ask.

When it was time to start checking me out, I rolled over to find that my bandage was soaked in blood. The nurse called the doctor who inspected it and was pleased to find that it was mostly from the result of the procedure not continual bleeding. With a new bandage in place I rested for another 20 minutes, give or take, before I was cleared to go.

Weird how something so small can be painful.

We arrived at the VA hospital at 11 a.m. and were leaving around 4 p.m. Not too bad I suppose. Especially since they had called that morning to rush me in early and when I got there told me there wasn't a bed available. LOL... That's entirely another story.

<--- The nurse told me to get dressed, but she hadn't removed my IV thingy. 

I am so super sore today because since I am off of one med for another reason and can't take the Ibuprofen. I'm hoping it won't be too difficult to get through the day. Today reminds me of the times before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and how extremely sore I was each day. Although the meds don't totally alleviate the pain, they obviously help quite a bit as I'm finding it difficult to move about. How in the world did I survive so many years without medication is beyond me. I amaze myself.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow I will have less all over pain and the pain from my incision will be gone. It's still pretty tender. It'll be about a week before the results will be back so I'll be sure to update you when I hear something. I kind of hope they find something that will give me the answers I need on what's going wrong with my liver. Then that brings me to the hope that there's something they can do about it. So, don't think I'm too weird, but here's to a *positive* result that is filled with answers and solutions.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hold the freakin' presses!

Here I go with a quick and dirty (who came up with that saying?) post about my health and weight loss. On the health front, I am feeling semi okay. My body is trying to adjust to a medication that the rhuematologist took me off of. Her theory is that since I've been on it so long it may be causing the numbness, tingling and cold feelings in my lower legs. Not too surprising since that's what the caregivers in the pain clinic suspected she would do. To me it seems like the pain is getting worse as a result, but I'm going to try to hold out the three months she said it would take to know for sure.

They're backed up in the hemotology clinic so I haven't had that appointment yet. And excitement of all excitements is my liver biopsy tomorrow. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic! LOL.) I'm a little anxious about it. I guess there are some people out there that wouldn't be, but yippee for them for being so perfect. (LMAO! I had to laugh at my own sarcasm that time.) Although I'm not dreading it and am glad to get it out of the way; it is an invasive procedure so any normal person should feel a little catch in their heart. See, I'm normal.

:)

Now, concerning these presses that need to be held! What is up with my eating and my weight? I'll tell you what's up with it: It's creeping up and food is just finding its way into my mouth. Mysteriously.

(Yes, I laughed.)

I've never been one to give into emotional eating (at least not so frequently), but I've gotten ridiculous.

Before I get more into that, let me share what Heather Hatfield at WebMD wrote about the subject:
When you're happy, your food of choice could be steak or pizza, when you're sad it could be ice cream or cookies, and when you're bored it could be potato chips. Food does more than fill our stomachs -- it also satisfies feelings, and when you quench those feelings with comfort food when your stomach isn't growling, that's emotional eating.


"Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger," says Jane Jakubczak, a registered dietitian at the University of Maryland. "Instead of the physical symptom of hunger initiating the eating, an emotion triggers the eating."

How many of us think about that before we pop something into our mouths? I'm a very conscious eater as is obvious in my recognition that I'm doing it. Now we have to find out how to stop it. Yes, I said "we."


There have been numorous articles written and television shows based on emotional eating, and some actually address what we do to stop. For many individuals it's a difficult process and I don't want to get to the point where it's difficult for me. I need to discover and address whatever is prompting me to eat. I think on some level I know what it is: When it's a situation that I feel like I have no control over and that's making me upset or unhappy then I want a snack. A big snack!

Let's review the most recent situation: Not feeling comfortable that my arrangements are solidified for my ride to and from the hospital tomorrow. I had four options (folks on call/stand by) and it seems like they've fallen through. It's the afternoon before and I would just like to know that I'll have the comfort of someone being there with me.

I'll be taking Naturi Beauty's advice and envision what I want/need, and I am hoping that makes a difference in my anxiety level. I didn't want to have to worry about my transportation then I could just concentrate on relaxing while getting ready for the procedure. I could remind myself that it's fairly routine, that something going wrong is rare and that everything will be okay. Anything they discover will be great because then I'll have an answer to what's going on with my liver. Once I think about all of that then I can just be nervous about the gigantic needle I'm picturing they're going to numb the area with and be relieved when it turns out to be small.

See how the transportation thing is interfering with my process?

That did nothing to solve the emotional eating problem though, did it? Well, I get it's all about relinquishing control. Sure, I can do that. ( Yup, that was sarcasm again! :] )

All I know is that the little bit of extra room that was in my jeans is no longer there so girlfriend - meaning me! - has got to get back on the bandwagon! With.a.quickness!
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Jewelry for little girls

When I had my first daughter, almost 19 years ago, I couldn't wait to get her ears pierced and buy her all kinds of cute little earrings. Her ears were pierced by the time she was 2 years old and before she was 3 I had purchased her two gold rings and she had received her second gold bracelet by that time as well.

Although she can no longer wear earrings; she still loves jewelry. She prefers sterling silver or colorful pieces that are representative of her style.

My two youngest daughters really like jewelry as well, but they don't seem mature enough to take care of it. I find their little rings and bracelets laying around the house (lucky for me they aren't real!) or they say they've lost them. As soon as they show the ability to care for and appreciate their belongings then I will get them some girls jewelry.

Every time I surf to a jewelry web store or walk pass a case at a department store I have to check out the products they have for little girls. Some of the best choices are designer girls jewelry and collections. For instance, wouldn't it be cute if each of my daughters - including the oldest - had an alphabet charm in a different script? Since all of their names being with an A it would be a classy way to unite them as sisters. Or what about love hearts in their favorite colors? Amber loves pink, Amareah digs purple and Anna is partial to orange. Then I could get my own love heart necklace with all three colored hearts that represent my daughters.

Oops, there I go thinking about jewelry for myself again.

With Valentine's Day approaching it's a great idea to treat the little ladies in our lives to some girls jewelry. They're sure to love it!
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Peppermint Pattie, Peanut M&M's

I was fine. Really I was. I mean I had a lot to do, but I have been kind of plugging along through my day. Ignoring any pain (more about that another time), avoiding any negative thoughts... you know, just a regular day. My son got off of the bus, we jumped in the van to pick up my middle daughter, chatted at head start for a minute, went to get little Miss Toddler and came home.

About 10 minutes into them being home my nerves were grated. Okay, what's the deal, I thought, they've been with their father since Friday evening so I should be all zenned out. I had a chance to relax, sleep, veg, nibble, watch television, work and everything else I can think of without interruption. I didn't have to get up early to fix anyone anything to eat and slept until I forced myself to shuffle out of the bed.

Then why do I have the "OMG I can't wait 'til his weekend" feeling when I have 13 days until it arrives?

The feelings of irritation magnified when I discovered that my transportation/help/ride/support for the liver biopsy on Wednesday is up in the air and/or non-existent. I guess everyone has valid reasons, but once again I am left on my own for something important. I was already nervous enough about the biopsy and then to know that now I'm scrabbling to find and way to and fro has really set me on edge.

The ride I have semi-arranged (I say semi 'cause it seems as if he'll forget or something: "Let me call you back after I help my son play Wii.") can't stay there with me. I'll have to go about an hour or two early and may have to wait an hour or so after, and he won't be able to stay... I don't know if someone will be allowed to sit with me while they do the biopsy, but I think I'll be awake and the last time I had bone marrow taken my then boyfriend (now my ex-husband) sat next to me and held my hand. So even if that ride comes through it sounds like a painful, lonely experience.

With all of this weighing on me I have an urge to "fix it" with a little emotional eating. (You're thinking, "Ahhh... now I get it...," right?) All I want now is some Peanut M&M's and a couple of Peppermint Patties. Mmmm... that would make all my troubles go away.

Well, it would give me a few minutes of pleasure and the ability to forget anything while I feel the cool sensation and experience the nut... hmmm? Now that gives me other ideas. ;)
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Adventure Romantica Contest

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dr Oetker. All opinions are 100% mine.

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