Sunday, February 20, 2011
Believe it or not, I just spent the past two hours checking out the SparkPages of my friends and tried to leave comments on all of them. Sometimes, I get ashamed at myself for not checking everybody out but it seems to only get done once a week despite my good intentions!
What amazed me is that I missed so much. So much to celebrate, so much to feel sorrow for, so many achievements and so many setbacks. But that if life, isn't it? Nobody promised us a smooth ride and some days are filled with sunshine while others are just rained out. But you what is important? It is the overall picture that counts.
I often think about that when the scale won't move or worse still, is moving in the wrong direction. If we let each little setback kick us out of the saddle, we would never ride again. There are some days when it takes all of my patience and willpower not to stay indoors and eat myself into oblivion! Just today, I ate 3 Kashi cereal bars.....the dark mocha almond flavour. Add that to the 3 I ate yesterday....do you detect a problem here? Me and my gut and lack of willpower...
But on a positive note, I did walk 2.5 km yesterday and another 5 today so I'm trying hard to look at the overall picture rather than my setbacks and advances. I bought an exercise ball yesterday so now I have to learn to use it safely. With my luck, I will go flying off of it, only to find myself half-dead and to hear Lou chasing it around the room. Oh, and Maddy would just curl up by my side and go to sleep. Between Lou's excitement and Maddy's snoring, all my cries for help would go unnoticed!
Well, there you have it a blog which I entitled "much ado about nothing".
Thursday, February 17, 2011
If you are regular reader of my blogs (my goodness I sound like I am famous!) you will have noticed that a few days have gone by without my tongue wagging and my fingers typing my thoughts.
First there was Valentine's day, and despite the upbeat note of my blog, it was a hard day for both my husband and I. That day has always been special for us as it marked the day our beloved Peaches was adopted and thus given a second chance at love. We always celebrated her adoption day because her love was the very epitome of the word itself! So, this marked the first year and the first of any such kind of anniversary is sort of hard. We gave ourselves permission to have a little cry and then we told and re-told all of the funny stories she was involved in over her 17 plus years.
Then the next two days, we were under a blizzard warning and trust me, this time the weatherman wasn't wrong! We were bombarded by one of the worse storms we have seen in several years. People complained and were pretty grumpy but John and I actually had a lot of fun clearing the driveway several times over. I walked the dogs each day and people shook their heads as if to say "she's nuts to be enjoying this". It helped too that we were both home as the college was closed here as was the college John is attending.
Today was my first day of work all week....I had taken Monday off as a "mental health day"...see, I wasn't making it up about feeling low about Peaches! All was going well, until it started to snow again and then the grumbling started. It is funny because I used to be one of those who HATED winter but now that I actually get out in it to exercise, I really kind of like it.
We had some sad news today at work, Cathy, my friend and student, died after a very hard struggle with cancer. She was told back in June that cancer was found in four different spots but that didn't deter her from attending school each and everyday. She even attended a literacy conference during which she was declared student of the year. She had her final appointment with the cancer specialist back in early October and was told to go home to enjoy her Thanksgiving. She lived past then, she attended school up to Christmas, she attended the Christmas potluck (she was the one who walked to the cafeteria when somebody mentioned they needed salt!!!!) but then came the new year and her body wouldn't allow her to sit for such a long time each day. She was more devastated that she couldn't attend classes than she was about dying! Last night she took her final breath and I like to think that Heaven got a new angel today. She touched my life in so many different ways! There she was a little scrap of a young lady, with a speech impediment, and who was determined to learn to read and write. God Bless you Cathy for showing the rest of us that hard work does pay off and that blessings do come in many disguises.
So, today I sort of went around with a heavy heart. I went to pick up some groceries for my mom and this woman said to me, "don't you just hate winter" and I said, "no, actually I don't mind it at all". She asked me what was there to like about winter and I told her "well, you and I we are still alive to enjoy it so consider the alternative". She thought about it and walked away but not before turning to me, smiling, and saying "thank you, you've given me something to think about"
So, with that I end my blog. Please consider the alternative when you are grumbling about life....because I bet there are thousands of people in graveyards just waiting to change places with you.
Thanks for reading!
Monday, February 14, 2011
After yesterday's rather serious and somewhat sad blog I want to thank each and everyone of you who read it. Extra kudos to you if you responded to it! Thank you! Your words of support mean more to me than most of you will ever know.
If you read yesterday's blog, you know that I've had a couple of off days. Yesterday I was very weepy for some reason and kind of moody, or at least it seemed to me that I was. So it was very suprising and very unexpected that my husband suggested we go out to supper last night instead of tonight. I wasn't feeling very festive but decided to get out of my comfy clothes and at least try to make some effort.
We had our usual supper.....I had a cheeseburger and garden salad and we shared an order of sweet potato fries which are my favourite. Then I suggested that we run to Walmart to buy each other a Valentine. Are you getting the hint that we are not really romantic about Valentine's Day? So, there we were standing next to each other and reading cards that we felt obligated to buy because Mr. Hallmark says we have to. I proposed buying one card (I'm also cheap) and we could write something on it for each other.
I'm not sure how it happened but at that point my husband got abducted by aliens and was replaced by a man who suggested we go home and make our own Valentine's Day cards. I think I was still in shock when I left the store but the alien followed me home and went around the house with me gathering card making supplies.
Now, neither one of us is really creative and I don't have many "arts and craft" supplies so we gathered scissors, coloured paper (that was left from some family project I did several years ago), tape, glue, scissors, and some pens, markers and pencils.
Alien (who surprisingly looked just like my husband) cleared off the dining room table and down we sat. He even suggested that we write down 14 things that we love about each other. We were like two grade one students with our craft projects! All we needed were smocks and those rubber-tipped glue bottles we used to use about 35 years ago.
I've got to post the pictures of the resulting cards as they are hilarious and touching all at the same time.
John's reasons for loving me were:
1. You laugh
2. You like dogs
3. You don't try to change me
4. You don't hog the sheets (anymore)
5. You're a domestic godess
6. You're kind to animals (except me)
7. You're smart
8. You can draw
9. You don't like mushrooms**** (he gets to pick them off of my plate!)
10. your feet are always cold
11. You made us get smartphones
12. You've got red hair
13. You let me drive
14. You like to use the snowblower
My reasons for loving John were:
1. Because it was your idea to make our own cards
2. I love your humour as warped as it is
3. You pretend to like my cooking
4. You don't mind being my arm candy *** (I said this a huge joke!)
5. You love Louisa and Maddy
6. For filling up my water bottle
7. For always tucking me into bed
8. I love your smile and your soft voice
9. For sharing your life with me
10. For the very best bear hugs
11. Your encouragement means a lot to me
12. For calling me Snoo-ger Roo
13. For being Peaches' true love
14. For putting up with me and for not leaving even when I begged you to do so
Bonus reason: For loving Dad as much as you did
We sat beside each other and read these to each other and had a few happy tears. It was the best Valentine`s Day ever....even if it was a day early!
I hope you are all feeling loved this special day! I know I care deeply for each and every one of you!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Please don't read this blog if you are offended by deeply personal issues such as intimacy.
Ok, I warned you and you are still reading so I'm going to write one of the most gut-wrenching blogss I have written. Any humour used will be to cover my embarrassment as I often use humour when I really don't want to confront real issues.
I've got a sexual hangup! I don't enjoy it and it causes me me great physical pain. I also have very little libido. I also have lived with depression for most of my life and thus, have seen many professionals. Some of which have been fantastic and others...well, lets just say they haven't been the best fit for me.
Through therapy it has come to light that I may (emphasis on MAY) have been touched inappropriately when I was two or three by the son of my parent's friends. Apparently, Mom says (she only admitted this within the past six months) that I had told her that the babysitter had his hands inside my panties. That is all she says she remembers. Doesn't sound like much although I'm sure little children don't make stuff up like that so I'm thinking there is a grain of truth in it.
Anyway, my upbringing was really sheltered. Sex was not discussed at all and teenagers who got pregnant (both of my cousins) were "filthy and dirty for bringing shame to their families". Needless to say, I wasn't sexually active...in fact....I really wasn't interested in boys until I left home to go to university!
Had a serious boyfriend but never would have sex because a) I was afraid and b) I was kinda a religious nut at the time. Yes, I became "saved" and was going to devout my life to missionary work. Funny how my parents were more upset that I had turned relgious as they viewed it as brain-washing. Anyway, I think common sense found me along the way and I realized that the bunch of hypocrites I was hanging around with were probably the most un-Christian like people out there. Hence my claim that I'm not really religious but I've remained spiritual over the years although I don't call any church my own, not really.
Okay, was dumped by boyfriend because his parents didn't think I was educated enough and met John when I quit univesisty because I was so devastated by the breakup. Came home to live. Dated John for 11 years before getting married. Sex was attempted but wasn't pleasant.
Fast forward to several years into our married and sexless life. I was always replaying in my mind how sex was dirty and shameful but as a married woman I was supposed to have sex and get pregnant. Oh, and did I tell you my mom told me at every opportunity that I would make a horrible mother. So, I guess the sex thing was kinda not going to happen with those thoughts rushing through my mind.
I sought help and John went with me. Different things were suggested but it all kept getting blamed on the anti-depressants I was taking. I was told to go home and weigh how important my sexual well-being was compared to my mental well-being. Finally, I got a referral with an outstanding gynecologist and again, I spilled my story. This doctor wanted to rule out any physical cause of my discomfort so he suggested I have minor surgery where they look through your belly in various spots. He also suggested tying my tubes at the time as I was 44 and freaked out about being pregnant at that age and having to go off my medications.
Fast forward several months later. Testing came back that there was no physical reason for my discomfort other than extreme dryness in the vaginal area. So, he prescribed Premarin (an estrogen cream) which is applied internally. Some relief was found but sex was still painful. Did I mention I have the most patient husband on this planet? Next appointment I was given testrosterone but I was very reluctant to take a steroid. I tried it in mid-December until last week when I returned to the doctor for followup. He then tells me this could really cause some nasty side-effects like muscle build up, weight gain, deepening of the voice, and a hairy chin. Oh, the joys.
Oh, to get back to my appointment. I had to see an intern first before my doctor. I had to explain this whole situation to a young man, half my age, and try not to blush. THEN, my doctor came in and I had to repeat it all with not one, but two men watching me. (John was out of town unfortunately). First came the lecture on I would have to contact my mental health doctor (can't spell the p word this morning} to get weaned off the medications as according to them I had to make a choice......I couldn't be mentally balanced and sexually active! It was going to be an either or decision on my part. DUH???
Then comes the lecture about how the vagina is a muscle and like any other muscle has to be kept active before they "shrivel up". At that point, I was blushing like a rose and politely suggested that "a man came up with that solution, didn't they". The two doctors did not find my humour appropriate and I kept thinking to myself "well, how is this for not appropriate, you are telling me my vagina is going to dry up and die"
So, then the doctor pipes up and says "I have these pills in my office which were free samples. I've never tried them or prescribed them but they might help you". I took them and stuffed them in my pocket. Left without making a follow-up appointment (I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon!). Then I darted to Walmart for some frozen veggies on the way home. Walked into Walmart and set off the alarm with the packages of pills in my pocket! Oh dear! I explained and they didn't ask to see the boxes....thank goodness.....
Arrived home and decided to take a glance at what the pills were..............(warning pee now before you read the rest!)..........
The doctor's instructions were to take one tablet 30 minutes before sexual activity....hmmmm......so I put my glasses on to read everything and that is when I saw in big, black letters....for erectile dysfunction only! What the heck? I laughed so hard but then I grew a bit more serious and I thought, and this is the kind of help available to women. Tell them, basically they have to choose between their mental health and the sexual health and that their vagina's were going to shrivel up and die!!! The final blow were the ED pills! So I'm half mad, partly disgusted, a tad bit embarrassed and I feel like a complete fool.
To add a wee bit of humour....anybody know how many points you earn for exercising your vagina? Oh, and I forgot to mention, the idiot intern's question....."is your husband above average size" and I started to say "well he does have about twenty extra pounds........when brain kicked in and I realized that wasn't the size he was talking about........
I know this was a bit personal to blog about and I hope you don't think I'm gross for telling you this. I'm going to discuss my mental health with my doctor but for me it is not a question of deciding which is more important in my life. Without my medications, I would probably be dead but perhaps there are a few changes that can be made so it is not an all or nothing battle.
Thanks again for reading and for your support.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Well, we thought yesterday was a cold one. Today it is just as sunny but even cooler at -23 C (-9 or thereabouts in F) and I am tired of people saying it is too cold to exercise. Honestly, if we used that as an excuse, we would only exercise a few perfect days of the year. So, here is what I do to walk comfortably outdoors.......ahem.......
I start with an inner layer of regular bra and underwear....just in case I'm in an accident....I don't want to show up at the hospital naked and frozen!
Then I add a layer of longjohns which are so very unattractive despite the catalog images we see. To make matters worse, mine are made by Dickie so if I'm found in a snowbank my rescuers are going to say "well, the underwear says Dickie but it looks like a female to me".
Then I pull on a thick pair of socks which go halfway up my calves and are arranged just so over the bottom edge of my longjohns.....don't want any VLJL....or visible longjohn lines showing, now do we. Then I pull a long sleeve t-shirt on which again has to have its tail tucked inside the longjohns as there is nothing worse than a cold wind hitting your lower back. Check for visible shirt lines!
By that time, I am either sweating profusely or have to pee. Somedays it is both! Add two super-excited dogs to the mix and you can see how this is quickly turns into a military operation.
In the porch, I pull on wind pants that are a mile too big but get the job done. Then I layer a fleece jacket under a winter coat. All gets zipped up and strapped on. Next comes the wool hat pulled down over my forehead....much to everyone's amusement but that is where I find the cold wind the most....just above my eyebrows! So I kiss pride goodbye and pull my hat down low.
Boots are next. They have to be warm and comfortable....mine are 15 years old and still serve me beautifully. Finally, I wear wool handknit mittens because I find them warmer than any leather mitt on the market.
By this point, the dogs are jumping all over me and I remember I have to snap on their leashes which requires me to take off my mittens. Usually I end up going out the door with one mitten on and the other in my mouth as I'm struggling to lock the front door and not be pulled down over the front steps by the sled dogs.......didn't know a Pomeranian could be so strong, did you?
Then we pile in the truck which excites them even more and they bark at every living thing and some things like garbage cans that look like humans to them. I drive, half deaf through town to the outskirts and go across a huge bridge to get where we are going. Barking is at fever pitch by this point and I've often thought of opening the truck windows and letting them accidentally jump out.....tsk....tsk....tsk.....especially since I claim to love dogs!!!!
Get where we are going, we all pile out of the truck. Truck gets locked, my nose gets wiped for the first time of many, leashes get removed and my bliss starts. Watching them and hearing nothing but the snow crunching under my feet is wonderful therapy for even the most frazzled minds. Seeing your breath freezing in the air is an added bonus! Head down, I proceed to walk and ignore the numbing cold on my cheekbones. I talk to myself sometimes (did I mention I'm nuts), point out imaginary bunny rabbits to the dogs (just to see them race off into the woods), and generally embrace all that nature has to offer.
Yesterday, I made the discovery that if I got down on the snow about eye-level with my dogs (I discovered this by trying to bend over and realizing I was too padded to actually bend comfortably) the dogs go wild. They think it is a great thing Mommy is doing when in fact I was trying to check Maddy's foot for snow and ice buildup! I took off my mitten which Lou grabbed and took off with. It ended up in more snowbanks and was tossed between the two of them and was quite snowcovered when I retrieved it....but....and you have to love wool for this....it was still dry and warm inside.
After about 40 minutes we end up back at the truck and the barking resumes....so much for tiring them out.......nothing and I mean nothing....tires the vocal cords of my two. Between Maddy's high pitched yelps and Lou's deep bark I don't need a radio...just earplugs.
Back at home, they rush in ahead of me to grab their toys. Meanwhile, I'm still in the porch, trying to peel the layers off of me without sending the snow and ice everywhere. Everything comes off.....yes....everything and dry stuff goes back on. I pee, get dressed in comfy clothes, and let the beasts out to pee in our backgarden because everybody knows they can't stop long enough on their walk/run to do that....heaven forbid!!!!
While I log on to Spark to enter what I walked, they flop down on their beds for a well-deserved rest. Then it is time for me to think about supper.......did I mention that I want to come back as one of my dogs when I die as they are lying on their beds with eyes half-closed but their sniffers are keeping them abreast of what is going on in the kitchen. They could be half dead and in the midst of a good "doggie chasing bunny" dream but if something hits the kitchen floor they have it sniffed, licked and swallowed before I even notice something fell off the counter!
Then its back to their beds where they usually stay until my husband arrives home. He asks if they've been out and they look at him and say, "yes, but we would go again" so off they go on another excursion. Meanwhile, I'm flaked on the chesterfield, trying to muster enough energy to check on supper and there they are racing through the snow....again!
Oh, the joys of owning a dog or two or three! What we don't do for them. I wouldn't have it any other way I'm sure I wouldn't be walking so much if I didn't have them!
Thanks for reading!
Susan (206 pound human) Maddy (10 pound Pomeranian) and Louisa (64 pound Golden Lab/mix)
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