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It wasn't the best birthday I've ever had....

Monday, May 14, 2012

It started off with my husband basically ignoring me for the first hour because he was trying to figure out a problem with the lawnmower. After being ignored on my birthday by the one person who knows how much these things mean to me started my day off badly. I finally went to him and said, I know you don't do presents but a nice Happy Birthday and a hug would have been welcome this morning! He did as I requested and said that he was sorry but he didn't even know I was awake and he was working on the lawnmower and not thinking about what day it was. And, if that had been the end of the bad part of the day, I would have been fine.

However, I had decided to do the grocery shopping regardless of the fact that it was my birthday. I was ready to go, coat on, shoes on, purse in hand when the phone rang. Now, normally, I probably would have let it go but since it was my birthday, I thought it might be my dad or one of my 4 sisters calling to wish me a happy birthday. I thought it would be a quick greeting and then I could get on with my day so that I could be home by noon and could get outside to enjoy the sunshine and read my book.

It was one of my sisters and although, I did appreciate her calling to wish me a Happy Birthday, I wasn't really in the mood for a long chat so after her best wishes, I told her that I had to go because I was on my way out the door when she called. Unfortunately, she didn't twig to me wanting to get off the phone and proceeded to tell me about the bad things happening in her life right now, which normally would be fine but I listened anyway and by the time, I got off the phone, an hour had passed and now it was 11 a.m. and I knew there was no way I would be home by noon! I briefly contemplated not going but there were things I needed so off I went.

I finally got home around 1:30 and I was tired, and hungry, and grumpy. I made a salad, ate it and without even listening to the message that was flashing on the answering machine, I grabbed my book and headed outside to have a wee nap in the shade. After that I felt better. I listened to the message and it was from another sister passing on her best wishes for a great birthday! But, she's very loud and I had a headache so I didn't call her back even though I did want to talk to her since I haven't since the spa weekend! I could have called her yesterday but I didn't want to disturb her on Mother's Day.

Around 3:30, DH got up after having worked nights the night before and we started getting ready to go out to dinner at one of my favourite Italian restaurants. We had never been there for dinner, just a lot of lunches and this is where I said I wanted to go. It's about a 40-minute drive from our house. We picked up my mother-in-law around 4:30 and headed to the restaurant (we took her with us so we could celebrate Mother's Day with her at the same time and we had planned to go hiking with her on the actual day).

We got to the restaurant around 5:30. I made the reservation over a week earlier and I was hoping we'd get a window seat but we didn't. We were stuck at a table near the kitchen and restroom and didn't as much attention as we normally do. The restaurant was busier than it normally it is at lunch time but it wasn't packed and with 3 waitresses and a maitre'd plus the owner roaming around, there was more than enough staff for the people who were there.

It was probably around 10 to 6 when we ordered soup and snails to start, which we received around 6. We were finished with them well before 6:30 and then we proceeded to wait for our entrees. And, we waited, and waited, an waited. Finally at 7:30, we asked about them but the waitress we asked but the waitress we asked never came back to tell us where they were (all pastas by the way). At 7:40, we corralled the owner and told him that we had been waiting more than an hour for our entrees and we were fed up and wanted our bill for what we'd had so far. He apologised and said the food would be out in 5 minutes and offered my husband a free glass of wine. But we just wanted to get out of there. We weren't happy with the wait. We weren't happy with the "free wine" offer and we weren't happy that our special occasion dinner had been ruined by the slowness of the restaurant. We suspected they had forgotten to put in our order. They did bring us our mains within 10 minutes but as I said, we just didn't want them anymore. DH asked for the bill, which they brought with everything we had consumed so far on it and we paid it in cash for the exact amount and no tip. And, then we left.

We took the scenic route home and saw some amazing mansions along the way including some that were for sale (DH checked when we got home and the cheapest one was $1.5 million). And, then we went to Dairy Queen for some sweet treats. And, that was the best part of my day!

When we got home, I checked the answering machine to see if my other two sisters or my dad had called to wish me happy birthday but none of them had and that bummed me out as well.

All 3 of them called on Sunday and apologised. They said it's because during the week, they're faced with the date every day but on the weekend, they had just forgotten that it was the 12th and therefore my birthday. And, my dad said that he figured because we had had lunch together on Friday that he didn't need to call.

And, tonight, the two sisters who neglected to call me on Saturday are taking me out to dinner. I just hope it's a better dinner than Saturday night's was!

Okay, venting is done. Friday was great and Sunday was great and the sun is shining and I'm on vacation this week and all is wonderful!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 5/30/2012 5:30PM

    Somehow I missed this. Sorry the day of was such a bummer. Mine wasn't the best ever either, but... the year is looking up for the rest of it. Hope the new year goes much better for you and you have a great time!

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_LINDA 5/15/2012 9:43AM

    Sorry your birthday wasn't up to your expectations. I would never being going back again to that restaurant again if that is the kind of service and placement you get having made the reservations a week in advance!!
At least some of your relatives are making up for it.
Guess all families are different. Ours usually don't even bother with birthdays, rarely even wishing anyone a happy birthday. We couldn't even get together when we were passing the big 50 milestones. Maybe we have too low of expectations or are just too dysfunctional or wrapped up in our own lives. Mom was a little disappointed no one wished her a Happy 75th last year. But her relatives rarely pay attention to her unless they need something -like dog sitting or to borrow something. She, however, always gives her grandchildren, who are mostly all adults now, gifts or money on their birthdays.
I expect my 50th to pass as quietly as all my other birthdays with only Mom wanting to get me a cake and a gift.

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JUDITHWITHROW 5/14/2012 11:03PM

    No fair that your birthday stank! I celebrate your life and the support you have given my this past year!
Judith

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SEATTLE58 5/14/2012 9:31PM

    Let's just hope that your meal tonight will be way more than your expectations could ever be and Happy Birthday to you!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ERH12275 5/14/2012 2:25PM

    Sorry they didn't call on your b-day and hope you have a great time tonight.

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Spa Weekend for My Sister's 50th Birthday

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I've just returned from being away enjoying a spa weekend with my 4 sisters (Monika {birthday girl}, Fiona {from Montreal}, Alison and Margaret {twins & the babies}. My second sister (Monika) celebrated her 50th birthday on April 19th and her wish was to have a spa weekend with all of her sisters. So with much planning, we agreed on the past weekend.

We spaaed at Langdon Hall & Spa:

www.langdonhall.ca/

Had dinner at the Napa Grille:

www.napagrille.ca/

And, stayed at Homewood Suites:

homewoodsuites1.hilton.com/en_US/hw/
hotel/YYZCBHW-Homewood-Suites-by-Hilto
n-Cambridge-Waterloo-Ontario-Ontario/index.do


We were originally planning on staying at Langdon Hall to get the whole spa experience but they wanted $1000 PER PERSON PER NIGHT!!!

That was too rich for us so we each got two spa treatments and then spent our money elsewhere.

I had an Indian Head Massage:

Originating in India, this invigorating yet relaxing scalp massage helps relieve tension and stress through friction, clawing and striking movements using sesame oil. Starting with the shoulder and neck area, the therapist will then move up and over the scalp and face area and finish with chakra holding to create peace. 45 mins

And, Reflexology:

Reflex points in the feet that relate to zones throughout the body are manipulated through acupressure to help release blockages, create balance and assist in healing. 55 mins

The Indian Head Massage was great once the pain was done (shoulder blade area) but I don't think the reflexology worked as she said that I would feel great for the next 3 days (i.e., no pain) but my left knee was aching within half an hour after leaving her. She also said I would sleep great that night and I did (11 p.m. to 8:45 a.m.). It was also interesting that when she was massaging my feet, the painful parts related directly to the parts of my body that suffer the most pain, i.e. lower back and left knee. I said it was sort of like a tarot reading with my feet instead of cards! So that was kind of cool!

We also got to use the sauna (too hot for me), the steam room (they make me cough so I didn't use it) and the hot tub (pretty nice, not too hot) while we were there. After we were all done our treatments, we walked around the property for about 20 minutes. It was really nice.

From there, we went to the hotel to check in. Here's what our accommodations looked like:

homewoodsuites1.hilton.com/en_US/hw/
hotel/YYZCBHW-Homewood-Suites-by-Hilto
n-Cambridge-Waterloo-Ontario-Ontario/r
oom-type-desc-popup.do?roomtypeId=QHWN


Pretty nice for only $64 per person per night, isn't it? The hotel also had a pool but I never got a chance to use it (although my sisters did) because I slept in on Sunday morning. And, after breakfast, someone (a child, I'm thinking) pooped in it and the pool was closed for the rest of the day.

After we checked in and got settled, we went to dinner. I got to drive because I drive an SUV (an Envoy) and it seats 5 people with more comfort than my sisters' vehicles.

We shared a couple of appetizers - Gourmet Cheese Fritters (panko breaded trio of Canadian brie, 5yr. Old cheddar and pepper jack cheese, spicy marinara and lemon preserve dipping sauces (I didn't have any)

and, Grilled Flat Bread (Shiitake mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, pesto sauce & fine herbs) - really yummy

And, then for the main course, I had Chicken Caprese (grilled pesto brushed breast of chicken, beefsteak tomato and buffalo mozzarella slices, balsamic vinegar reduction, herb roasted mini potatoes, seasonal vegetable) - it was good but after having a bite of my sister's entree, I wish I had ordered it instead because it was wonderful (Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a maple glaze and apple compote).

And, then the restaurant presented a slice of chocolate cake to the birthday girl (Monika) and everyone sang Happy Birthday to her. None of the rest of us ordered dessert because my 3rd sister (Alison) had warned us that she had made and brought brownies and sparklers to be enjoyed back at the hotel.

On the way back to the hotel, the birthday girl and the two youngest sisters started talking about how great it would be to go dancing now. My third sister (Fiona) and I wanted no part of it because we were so tired.

We got back to the hotel and went to our rooms. Within a few minutes, Alison arrived at our door with a container of brownies with a sparkler lit on them singing Happy Birthday and once in the room proceeded to give each of us a sparkler and lit them as they were doled out. And, then the smoke alarm went off! Big scrambles to get the sparklers to go out and Alison called the front desk to say we didn't need anyone coming up because we had just burnt our popcorn and were now airing out the room - LOL! But once the alarm desisted, Alison (she's so nervy) lit the final sparkler and held it close to the open window and we sang Happy Birthday to Monika again and while we were singing, there was a group of people outside the window who joined in, which was kind of cool! (and we didn't set off the smoke alarm again).

After the brownies were eaten, Monika and the two youngest sisters (Alison & Margaret) adjourned to their room to dance to the music on Margaret's iPhone. And, Fiona and I stayed behind to read and then sleep. I lasted for about a page and an half before I zonked out. I have no idea how long Fiona lasted since she was on the pull-out in the living room.

Sunday morning after breakfast, we all went back to Alison and Margaret's room and chatted until it was time to pack up and get out of there. Fiona had to catch a train at 1 p.m. to go home so Alison and Margaret left a little earlier than Monika and me to take her. Monika and I checked out and then went on a hike through an adjacent field. Monika told me that the spa weekend she had envisioned turned out exactly the way she wanted and she had a great time so that's good.

Since I hadn't had much alone time during the weekend, I pulled over and stopped on a road 5 minutes from my house so that I could read for awhile before going home because I knew my husband would be awake and waiting to hear about the weekend (and he was).

It was fun and I'm looking forward to my next spa weekend, perhaps next year when Fiona turns 50!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIE_2B_LESS 5/2/2012 1:44AM

    What a fabulous weekend! I love it...especially you all setting off the fire alarms! Priceless!

Interesting treatments and something you can always remember. Family memories are always so special!

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SEATTLE58 5/1/2012 9:11PM

    Wow, how fun to be with your sisters for your one sister's birthday party! That's making good memories and you did so well with your eating too. I'm sure your sister really appreciated you all getting together for her! Oh my, that head massage and the foot reflex sound heavenly to me! So glad you could go and have fun along with some good R&R!

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LAURIE9404 5/1/2012 12:21PM

    That sounds like a wonderful Spa weekend! Those treatments you had are very interesting too. I've never heard of the Indian Head Massage before. It's so great that you can share those fun times with your sisters. So cool!!!

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Should I or Shouldn't I?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm currently in the process of fundraising for this year's Arthritis Walk. I did the Walk last year and raised almost $2100 and decided to try to raise near that again this year but didn't know if I could do it again. Well, as of this morning, I've raised $1875 and then this afternoon, I received the following email from my location's organizer:


Hi Joanna,

I have been watching your phenomenal fund raising efforts. When last we emailed you thought perhaps you would not be able to rival last year's performance but wow you are moments away from $2000.00

Joanna -- an additional part of my role beyond planning the Walk details is to create awareness about the Walk and its people and purpose.

Would you please consider taking part in a newspaper article with me in your community?

Next steps would be with your approval I would use the story from your Walk webpage to create a news release. I would send the release to you for approval. From there I would send it to the appropriate editor to ask for support and coverage. The reporter may cut and paste the release as is or may follow up with you for further details and ideally a photo opportunity.

As you can see below my signature I have done this a few times and found great success.

Ideally I would like the article to run early May so the article has a spin of "a month from now" or "next month" Joanna will be .......

Thank you again for your efforts, I hope this is an opportunity that interests you.

Sincerely,

Heather Pickles
Special Events Coordinator - Burlington Office
The Walk to Fight Arthritis - June 10th, 2012


And, here's what my page says for my arthritis story (thanks to TMANNY for some assistance on writing my story):

On Sunday, June 10th, I am participating in the Walk to Fight Arthritis. I am walking and raising donations to support nearly 4.5 million Canadians who live with the pain and disability caused by arthritis. Please consider donating to me and supporting this important cause.

In September 2004, I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). When you tell people about it they say 'oh ya, my granddad has thatí or `I have that, too. Itís in my knees'. All they hear is the "arthritis" part. Unfortunately RA isnít that simple. Basically your body decides that your joints and organs are its enemy and goes to warÖitís more of a chemical war than a hand to hand combat, so itís like having acid poured on your joints and organs. Now imagine what that does to your body. Not only is there pain, but fatigue, fever and flu-like symptoms. The pain you learn to live with and can push through it to do your day-to-day stuff but the fatigue is the one that can really knock you down. This is a fatigue like none you have ever felt. Personally, I need at least 9 hours of sleep a night and 10 is even better.

The medications that are available do help a lot of people but there are many more they donít work for or they work for a while and then just quit. It took my doctor almost 5 years to find a medication regimen that works for me. This is where the Arthritis Society comes in as they help fund the research needed to create new and better medications. The main medicine Iím on now is whatís known as a biologic. I get it by IV four times a year. It takes about 5 hours to receive. It has lots of scary side effects like progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a rare brain infection, plus heart problems, serious infections, low blood cell counts and there are infusion reactions, too like hives, swelling, dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness, headache, cough, wheezing, or having trouble breathing while receiving or after receiving it.

The other problem with a lot of meds especially biologics is the price. Theyíre very, very expensive. So you look at the medication choices and you think well maybe the meds are worse than the disease but then I think about the loss of mobility, the possible joint destruction, the possibility of becoming crippled, oh and the chance of deathÖ yes unfortunately RA can kill you. Now picture all of this in a child because kids can get RA too. Now decide do you want to help fight for a cure? Please help me in the fight of my life the fight to find a cure for RA and other autoimmune diseases.

THANK YOU!


So, should I or shouldn't I?
emoticon

P.S. This is not a solicitation for donations.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHOLICCORGI 4/24/2012 6:52AM

    Go for it, Joanna!
My co-workers grandaughter is 8... she has Downs Syndrome AND RAD! As an adult, I can comprehend havign this disease and living with it. Hailey does not quite grasp it, but she is always cheerful and always smiling. How I pray to be more like she is!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEDICATED2HIM 4/21/2012 5:28PM

    hi Joanna,
YES, please do the arthritis walk on behalf of those of us who are sidelined this year! I was so excited to do the walk in May (in my area) and had to kiss those dreams good bye because of health issues. Go for it girl! and let me know how I can sponsor you...If the info is in the blog, forgive me....I'm going back to look.

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GAELA-I-CAN 4/21/2012 3:03PM

    Hi. You are definitely an angel. I have been unemployed since Nov., so I have no money to give you, but I can send you thanks and prayers. I am HLAB27 positive
. I have been on medication since I was forty. In Oct. I WAS diagnosed with renal failure, and I had to go off the meds. than I lost my job and I had no money to go to the doc to find any meds that I could take without damaging my kidneys any further. So here I am in constant pain, and I must go back to work. What a delema. Well I do thank you and look to you as a source of inspiration. emoticon emoticon

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March is Autoimmune Awareness Month

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March is Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month. Please share this graphic to help people understand the effect of autoimmune conditions such as RAD (rheumatoid autoimmune disease) on the body.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMMYWIZZIE1 3/13/2012 8:04PM

    emoticon

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ELISOS 3/13/2012 1:51PM

    Thank you!!

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SEATTLE58 3/13/2012 10:53AM

    Thanks! emoticon

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NYKIMMIE 3/13/2012 9:13AM

    emoticon

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CATHOLICCORGI 3/13/2012 8:19AM

    emoticon

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Countdown to the 5% Spring Challenge - Assignment 5

Monday, March 12, 2012

Current Weight: 219 pounds
Target Weight: 208 pounds
By When: May 12, 2012

Daily Calorie Requirements:

Calories Eaten: Eat between 1,290 - 1,640 calories per day
Calories Burned: Burn 1040 calories per week
Weight Progress: Go from 229 to 209 by 05/12/2012

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLE58 3/12/2012 10:39AM

    Good for you in making this commitment! It really is a mind over matter, isn't it?! emoticon emoticon

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