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Christmas preparations

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas has been sneaking up on me. I am definitely losing my focus. I thought I had bought all the presents I needed to, and I thought I had wrapped all the presents that needed to be mailed out of town, wrapped, packed in a box with lots of styrofoam peanuts, sealed, addressed, and mailed said box. And I did do that. But as I was patting myself on the back for getting it all done, I remembered two or three more presents that should have been wrapped and mailed in that box...but weren't. Grrrrrrrr.... Now I either do more wrapping and packing and mailing, or I just let it go, figuring that they were small gifts and I can send them next year.

Except for the fact that they are little jars of hand creams and lotions, and I very much fear that they won't keep for an entire year.

Meanwhile, my house is a wreck, even though I had extensively cleaned not that long ago. It is a wreck because my son came home from college, and he just dumps everything in the middle of the living room, where he leaves it until I either move it myself, or we have a big enough fight about it that he decides it isn't worth the grief. I just don't know why it always has to be this way. I love my son. But he is a complete slob, and I just HATE fighting and arguing and yes, screaming at him to get him to pick up his stuff. Nor do I think it is right for me to clean it all up, especially since he will just be angry with me for putting it in his room. Why? Because his room will then be so crowded with stuff that he won't be able to walk across it.

Where is the Christmas spirit in all that? Hiding, for sure. I also very much fear that I have put on extra pounds already, when the month is barely half over. I have GOT to get on track. Today I bought tons of healthy veggies and fruits at the farmer's market, but even with those I need to be careful not to overdo it.

OK, gripe over. I am glad, glad, glad that my two college students are back home with me. I am glad that my shopping is over. I have even written the rough draft of the Christmas letter I put in with my cards. So things have been accomplished. We will probably buy a tree tomorrow. If you wait until close to Christmas and buy your tree at Lowe's, they are marked down to super cheap. I think we paid less than $10 last year. Now, it wasn't a very pretty tree, but once it's decorated, it doesn't matter all that much.

And I am planning my meals for the week, and there will be lots and lots of veggies in them - beets, kohlrabi, eggplant, sweet potatoes, small red potatoes, carrots, cabbage - all from the farmer's market. I also bought some local grapefruit, and my orange tree is just loaded with pretty oranges. If I get to them before my son does, that is.

Now I am starting to feel a little better about Christmas. The first party is tomorrow (Boy Scout party), and I just need to focus on my goals and then I won't overdo the food.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'd definitely go ahead and mail those extra gifts. You'll feel better for having done so.
And I would calmly remind my son to pick up his things and put them in his room, with no hint of anger, 2-3 times throughout today and explain that it stresses you out to have them in the living room. If he doesn't put it up himself, then you have every right to place them in his room tomorrow (no throwing!). LOL! He'll get over it. You just hate to think he might be mad at you b/c you really just want him to love and appreciate you. But college kids are a breed of their own. He'll appreciate you one day, when he has kids of his own. Hold onto that thought!!! I know I do. My son is 23. You are not alone!

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BLITZEN40 12/16/2012 7:40PM

    Wow, sounds like you have a lot going on! I made my kids write the Christmas letter this year. They ended up writing it from the dog. That was fine with me as long as I didn't have to write it. If my kids leave stuff laying around out in the living space, I dump it in their rooms. They're used to it and don't get mad, but if they did, I'd tell them next time I'll throw it away. And they know I would, so they don't mess with me. lol Glad to hear you've got your kiddos home with you, and when the dust settles from the hurry and scurry of the season, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful Christmas! WTG incorporating all those healthy veggies into your weeks meal planning. I need some of your ambition! emoticon

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Viruses come for a visit

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Well, the stress of the season - or something - has gotten to my immune system. I am generally pretty healthy and don't usually get sick more than once or twice a year, usually for just a couple of days. In fact, I was patting myself on the back for this just a little while ago. You know...Wow! I am great! I don't ever get sick!

Like I have that much to do with it really.

So...I started coming down with a cold last Sunday morning. It never got really bad, it just made itself at home in my body and decided to hang around for awhile. I had to work this evening (of course!) and I started to feel really bad this afternoon. I managed to get through work pretty well, hopefully without sharing my germs with anyone else, but right now I am feeling like a steam roller ran over me.

And, instead of taking some strong meds and going to bed, here I am typing up a blog! Yes, my priorities are definitely in order. ;-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN40 12/6/2012 11:59PM

    Hope you get a good sleep tonight and feel better! Drink lots of water and flush that bug out. emoticon emoticon

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KERRIELYNN719 12/6/2012 11:16PM

    Oh no!! Feel better

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STORMIWEATHER 12/6/2012 11:10PM

    Take care of yourself and I hope you feel better soon

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TMDI (Too Much Depressing Info)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I have written before about a research study I participated in recently. I have actually done quite a lot of similar studies for this same research institute. There is a small incentive payment (but it's a lot of money for someone like me who is always struggling financially), the requirements have never been onerous, and I always get information about my weight, bone density, etc.

Today there was a brief seminar to explain what our study results meant. I hadn't really looked at them all that closely before. The result for me of looking closely at the results was major depression. (Not in a medical sense.)

My bone density is currently in the 'green' area, which means in the normal range. However, it is just barely in the green area, and certain critical areas of bone are well into the 'osteopenia' range (spine, pelvis). In addition, it is on a downward trend. I am not that old! If things don't change drastically, I will have severe osteoporosis by the time I'm 70, if I live that long. The only part of my skeleton that has decent density is my arms...and they are not terribly critical to my mobility, independence, etc.

To top that off, my weight/obesity problem is worse than I had realised. Most people, looking at me, would say that I am fat, but I am not sure all that many would call me obese. Which I am by BMI, for sure (32).

However, my body fat percentage was measured by the DEXA test, which we were told is the only truly accurate measurement of body fat. Every other method - calipers, even the 'bod pod,' provide just estimates. And, just to made bad worse, the DEXA test measures body fat consistently quite a bit higher than all the other, estimating methods. Well, they did a whole bunch of tests, and determined that the higher, DEXA numbers are right. body fat percentage is 50.4%!!!! That is appalling - even though I know I'm fat, I did not think it was that bad! More than half of my weight is just...fat. And, again making bad worse, my abdominal fat was measured at 53% of my overall fat.

I am still digesting (pun sort of intended) the meaning of all this. On the plus side, my fasting glucose measurement was well within the normal range. Whatever my other problems, at least at this point I don't have diabetes.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

*MAMA*2*BOYS* 12/6/2012 12:21AM

    Aw, hugs! :( I'm so sorry! I'm assuming that you were given information on what you should do, particularly regarding your bone density results..? We were just covering osteoporosis in my Anatomy and Physiology class. Hopefully you are making sure that you get enough dietary calcium and vitamin D (it is easier for your body to absorb calcium if it comes from food as opposed to vitamins, and getting 15-20 minutes of sunlight each day without sunscreen on, depending on where you live should provide enough vitamin D- if you live in the northern half of the U.S. and don't drink very much enriched milk, you may need a supplement). Just remember, without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium. After about age 30, you can no longer increase your bone density, but getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can limit the amount of calcium that your body draws from your bones to maintain your blood calcium levels. Also, high-impact, weight bearing exercise may help slow bone loss and it will certainly help lower your body fat ratio! I'm sure I just repeated things that you already know, but I wish you good luck in taking what you have learned from this study and using it to better your health! emoticon

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BLITZEN40 12/6/2012 12:07AM

    Welll, on the bright side, at least you caught the osteo stuff now and can take preventative measures. And last I heard, you can actually INCREASE your bone density with exercise and the right combination of vitamins and minerals- Calcium being the most important. And body fat levels are always changing, especially here on SP... so don't beat yourself up over that. It sounds like using the DEXA test as a measuring tool, we'd all have higher BMIs than we think we have. And I think most of us carry most of our fat in our bellies- I know I do! So cheer up, this is all stuff you have some control over and you're at the right place to do it! You can do this! emoticon emoticon

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Thoughts on Gratitude and Greed

Monday, December 03, 2012

I have been thinking a lot about gratitude as a result of an incident yesterday, and I thought I'd put down a few of my musings, as a way to help me think things through.

Yesterday my son and I went to Mass, and were told there was an Angel Tree in the narthex. Which means that needy people's names, ages, and gift wishes are written on a small construction-paper angel, which is hung on a tree. The idea is that church parishioners, who are presumably much better off than the needy people, will each take an angel or two, purchase the gifts requested, and return them to the church, wrapped and decorated.

I was reluctant to do it, because it wasn't our regular parish (whose angel tree we had missed), and because I am really struggling financially right now. However, my 11-year old son really wanted to get something for a boy his age. He was just jumping with excitement thinking about how happy this boy would be with the gift he would choose. How could I say no? I couldn't.

So I told him to pick an angel and meet me at the car. Several minutes later he came to the car with no angel. I asked him why. Well...there was only one angel for a boy near his age. What had the boy requested? A $50 gift card.

Bless Danny's heart, he knew that that was too much money for me. But it went way beyond that. All his pleasure at the thought of picking out a toy an 11-year old boy would REALLY love...was taken away from him. There's nothing that special about a gift card. Other than the denomination.

And I have been struggling with whether my initial reaction - anger that someone would be that greedy - is appropriate. Yes, I will spend more than $50 on my own kids - not a whole lot more, but more. And yes, sadly, some of that money - maybe the majority of that money - will be on a credit card. Why? Because I want my kids to have a nice Christmas. It won't be super extravagant - but things are expensive and my income has gone down. Maybe that is a mistake, but it is what I will do.

I am far less willing to spend money I don't really have on an angel-tree gift. Right or wrong, my own kids come first.

But it does bug me, when I think that, struggling as I am, I am hugely better off than the vast majority of the world. And I am grateful - very grateful - for the many blessings that I have. Maybe I am the greedy one, or maybe I am raising my kids to be greedy.

Today Danny and I volunteered our time for Elf Louise - a Christmas charity which, like the Angel Tree, aims to provide Christmas gifts for children whose families probably can't provide them. (Angel Tree does include the adults, unlike Elf Louise.) We wrapped presents for two hours. Danny got so much happiness thinking about how happy the kids would be when they got the presents he was wrapping. He and I both enjoy doing things for others. We will never see them get the presents. We will not receive any gratitude from them (although the people in charge today at the wrapping center did thank us for our help). I hope they will be appreciative. I know they may not be.

However, looking at it from my side, I am grateful we had the chance to do something to help others. It may have helped us more than we helped the recipients of the gifts.

This is rambling and not very coherent. Oh well. I may have some further thoughts on this subject later. For the moment, my questions are - Should we demand gratitude? Should we NEED gratitude? Are people who aren't grateful still deserving of help in excess of what is needed to live on (i.e., Christmas presents)? Heck, is it greedy (thus, presumably, ungrateful) for a 10-year-old kid to ask for a $50 gift card?

And one last question: why does the spell-check programme have a problem with the spelling of 'each?' Good grief!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HDHAWK 12/12/2012 8:25PM

    You have given your son such a gift by teaching him how to give to others and that it doesn't have to cost money!

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RUNNER12COM 12/12/2012 8:05PM

    I, too, appreciate how this has really connected with you. And good for you for teaching your own child the value of thinking of (and doing for) others.

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    The fact that you are thinking so deeply on the subject is a testament to your heart. I applaud that. While we can only guess the thoughts of others, we can always test our own hearts and lead our children. You're doing great.

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BLITZEN40 12/3/2012 9:36PM

    It's always such a good feeling to help others. If you want to benefit most from that feeling you have to put aside thoughts of whether your help will truly be appreciated. Unfortunately often the people who really need the help the most don't get it and the ones who are given that help have such an attitude of entitlement, feeling grateful is the last thing on their minds. I am making a generalization here, there are some recipients of freebies who seem thankful, but by enlarge, from my experience in working with them, they are not.

Good parents put their kids first, so of course it's natural as a good parent to give your own children the best gifts you can. Not everyone is in the position to give to the needy, so if you can do that in addition to supporting your own family, that's great, but certainly not expected. It's not greedy to take care of your own children first... it's responsible. And it's also normal to hope for some level of gratitude on occasion, especially when you go out of your way to help, but it may not be a good idea to expect it, especially from folks you don't know personally. Sometimes just knowing that you did a good thing has to be enough. And a request for a $50 gift card on a giving tree as a child's Christmas wish seems a little fishy to say the least... kinda sounds to me like somebody's mom or dad wants $50. And yes! Spell check always tries to turn "each" into "etch". Quite perplexing.

Great blog, and so nice of you to help out and wrap all those presents! (and think of all those calories you burned while doing it) emoticon emoticon

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TIMDEB 12/3/2012 7:08PM

  Thanks for sharing this story on SP. Great that you are even thinking about this with your son as most of us just go on just worried about our own lives. God bless you.

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Farmers' Market

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I grew up going to the local Farmer's Market fairly regularly, and have always loved being able to get fresh local produce. That market, sadly, is nothing but a shadow of its former glorious self, but I still go whenever I visit my mother.

Here in South Texas, it took me awhile to find a farmers' market. There are actually quite a few of them around, but none is convenient to my home, and I wasn't motivated to seek farther afield until recently. I have found a decent little market which, depending on what vendors show up on any given day, has a good selection of things I want.

Today I bought lots of winter veggies - sweet potatoes, small red potatoes, carrots, beets. I love beets. Lately I have taken to roasting my veggies, so that's what I did tonight. I also bought a small tuna steak. What a delicious meal - and such a good feeling that I made nutritious choices.

And - maybe not such a good thing - I have enough for an army. I will be eating these veggies for many days to come. I hope I don't get tired of them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN40 12/2/2012 1:48AM

    Farmer's markets are so fun! They are seasonal where I live and only run through the summer. It's always so inspiring to see what others have grown and created. Enjoy your take and way to go shopping healthy!

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3RDBABYWEIGHT 12/2/2012 12:38AM

    I love Farmer's Markets! Enjoy your veggies!

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