September 28, 2014

Halifax!

I am in Halifax visiting my daughter! I surprised her real good!  I just booked it a week ago. Lily's birthday is October 1 and the closer it got the sadder I became at the thought of not being here. I had enough Air Miles so with that, it only cost $130. When I get a job I will likely not get vacation time for a year so I did it. I arranged it with Matt. He picked me up at the airport on Friday morning at 10:00am and took me to their apartment. Sarah works til 2:00 then walks to the school to pick up Emma at 2;30 and then Lily is done at 3:00. I stayed behind Sarah. Then when Emma came out she saw me and yelled "Nana" and came running to me. Sarah turned around and saw me. It was great! 

I have a small video clip but it appears I can only insert photos on the phone. 





September 19, 2014

Beautiful Day for a Walk

Well, I went to the doctor yesterday, just to get a refill on my prescriptions.  My blood pressure was a little high, which I knew since I took it myself at home in the morning.  She decided to add another medication to my already-too-long list of medications.  I know from experience that regular exercise brings my blood pressure down almost immediately, within a couple days, so I decided I will put off adding the new pill and really buckle down and get committed to regular activity.

Today is an absolutely GORGEOUS day, so I went out for a walk.  My Garmin was charged up so I strapped it on and headed out.  The thought kept coming to me that I would do a one-minute run somewhere in there.  Maybe even a couple.  A couple times I thought about it, but didn't.  Then I decided I would run for one minute from 14:00 - 15:00.  I was on a road with no traffic, so that was good.  When it was almost time to run, a truck was pulling out of a driveway just ahead.  I prayed that they would pass me before I had to start.  Haha!  They did.  I hit the lap button and did my run and it really wasn't that bad.  But note to self - don't try to run without a running bra!  Mine aren't great, they are old and I wear two together, but certainly better than an old, stretched out regular bra.  I am, shall we say, well endowed, and I felt each bouncy step in my shoulders.  I know...TMI...LOL.

I have been doing a Plank Challenge this month.  Nothing formal, just something I made up for myself.  I started with 30 second planks, committing to 1 or 2 per day.  Week 2 was supposed to be 35 seconds, but I felt good so increased it to 40 seconds.  This week, I thought I would try shorter times but more reps.  I did 20 seconds with 5 reps the first day, then 6, then 7.  Last night, I did 10 secs but with only 5 secs in between and that was when I felt it in my abs the most, so I think I will continue that and build up reps and also try to do more than one set, with maybe a minute or two between sets.  Here is my calendar with beautiful butterflies when I complete the challenge each day.



Eating has been ok, until we brought some English muffins and crackers into the house.  Jim picked them up and I didn't have to eat them, but I am so tired of eggs for breakfast, and I made a pot of soup the other day and crackers just sounded good.  I know that when I eat those kinds of carbs, I crave more of them.  I need to be strong.  

I've been looking for work and was able to go to Burlington on Monday to write a "General Competency Test" for an Administrative Clerk position with the Canadian Government.  There were about 40-50 people there.  I think I did well.  I scored 47/50 on the practice test that was online.  I am now anxiously waiting for an e-mail with my results and hopefully and invitation to an interview.

  

September 8, 2014

Good Start to the Week

I have some time to kill before I have to pick up Jim from work. It sucks having only one vehicle sometimes. If I need the car, I have to drive him the 42 km to work in Fort Erie and then pick him up. He likes it because he says it makes the time away from me shorter!  So, I stopped at McDonalds and got a coffee and came down to the parkway with my book. It is a glorious day. This is the Peace Bridge that goes from Fort Erie to Buffalo, NY. 


And the Buffalo skyline.


Things have been going well. I got on the scale this morning and, after a gain last week (partly due to too many nuts and dark chocolate), I was down 9.8 lbs!!  My activity wasn't as much as I wanted but I did get my planks in every day. This morning I got on the treadmill for a 30 min workout and felt good after 35 seconds with the plank so pushed through to 40 seconds. 

I found a great blog called Satisfying Eats, with grain free, sugar free, low carb recipes! There are a lot of Paleo/Primal sites but that doesn't always translate into low carb. I tried the deep dish pizza recipe on Saturday and it was delicious. 


Tonight will be salmon cakes and Better than Red Lobster biscuits. They use almond flour and a bit of coconut flour. Mmmm... Can't wait to see if they tast as good as the picture looks. 

September 4, 2014

My September Challenge

A couple weeks ago, I read an article that someone had posted on Facebook called 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body.  It is an amazing article, a post on Andrea's blog, called I'mperfect Life.  She emphasizes all the wonderful things her body can do, even with all it's imperfections.  There is lots of great info there.  You should check it out.

Linked with the blog is a Facebook group called I'mperfect Life Monthly Fitness Challenge Group that I decided to join.  You post your goals for the month and report on how you are doing.  My challenge for myself is to do a plank, just one at a time for now, at least 3 times per day.  I started with 30 seconds and will increase the time by 5 seconds each week.  So far, so good.  I even posted a picture of myself doing a plank.  I asked Jim to take a picture so I could see my form.  I realized that the shadow I saw in the picture was actually my stomach hanging down.  At first, I said "UGH", but realized that it looked like a pretty darn good plank, especially with an extra 100 or so pounds on my body; and I was proud of myself.

    
The other part of my self-challenge is to do some kind of intentional activity for at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days/week.  This is really something I should be doing anyway, for my diabetes and blood pressure.  Yesterday, Jim and I finally got on our bikes, like we've been saying we would do all summer.  My bike has a gel seat, so that wasn't too bad.  I think I may need the seat and handle bars raised just a little, to make it more comfortable.  It was just a short ride, about 15 minutes, but my legs were a little wobbly when I got off.  Then, we went down to the lake to catch the sunset.  It was beautiful.  The picture really doesn't do it justice. 


 We walked out to the end of the pier and back and then a little farther to make it 15 minutes, for my 30 minute total.  I felt great!

Tuesday, I finally got my hair cut, after about 2 1/2 years.  I had been thinking about it for a while now.  It was just getting too long and frizzy.












 Note to self - Learn how to manipulate photos in Blogger!  I would have liked them side-by-side.

One of the reasons I decided to do it is that I am hoping for a chance at a good job (and it really was time).  I applied online a couple weeks ago for a position as Administrative Clerk with the Canadian government.  It is in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  I was lucky that I happened to see it in my Job Alert emails, as it was only posted for one day.  With the online application, I had to do an "Unsupervised Internet Test".  So, last week, I received an e-mail inviting me to go to Burlington and write a "General Competency Test" on September 15!  I usually do well on this type of test.  I did one several years ago, when applying for another government job.  Hopefully, the results will be good and I will be granted an interview.

August 30, 2014

Experimenting in the Kitchen

I love one-pot meals.  You can make the mess and get it cleaned up ahead of time.  Then, all you have to do is throw it in the oven and only a few dishes after dinner.  The problem is, most of these great recipes contain pasta...or rice...or potatoes.  All the wonderful high-carb foods.  So, I have been playing around a bit this week. 

My first attempt was a quiche that had a rice crust.  That was pretty easy.  I just made some cauliflower rice, sauteed it with some garlic and onion and proceeded with the recipe as normal.  It turned out really good.  I think it helped that the recipe called for cooked rice.  One other time, I substituted the cauliflower rice where it called for dry rice.  That time, I doubled the amount and used less liquid because I figured rice usually doubles in volume as it absorbs the moisture.  That one wasn't too bad, but I really liked the quiche.


Then, yesterday, I wanted to try something to replace lasagna noodles.  There are a few options.  I have heard of using zucchini, which I did many years ago, and it was good, but watery.  I also made an eggplant lasagna, also many years ago (Weight Watchers recipes).  That was my first time to try eggplant, and it was pretty good.  So yesterday, I decided to try using cabbage.  I googled it and found several examples of people using it, so gave it a try.  I cooked it first, because I thought it might be watery like the zucchini.  It still did get a little watery, but once it sat for 15 minutes before cutting it, the pieces came out of the pan well.


 


This tasted really good, too.  So, two successes this week!

This morning, we were up and had to be out the door in about 20 minutes, so it ended up being a drive through and grabbing a coffee and bagel.  Not a good choice.  So my challenge for myself this week will be to get a few ideas and be prepared for those days when it is breakfast on the run...or set the alarm 1/2 hour earlier...now THERE'S a novel idea!  LOL

We are off to an end-of-summer party this evening at friends' house and hopefully a day at the pool at a local campground tomorrow, with the same friends (hoping that it doesn't rain).  We already have a taco salad made for that.  I just have to eat it without the corn chips, but with a dollop of sour cream, I don't really mind.  Monday is our grandson William's 9th birthday.  I can't believe how quickly he has grown; and, our daughter recently found out she is preganant!  Baby is due March 3.  It is still too early to know if I can start knitting pink or blue, but we are very excited!





Have a great long weekend!  :) 


August 28, 2014

Proud Mama

I am REALLY proud of our oldest daughter Hillary.  She was a single mom, working as a lifeguard.  A few years back, she decided to go back to college to be a law clerk and moved back home with William.  She did really well with that and worked for a while at the law firm where she had done her placement.  Then, she decided she would like more responsibilities.  She liked the idea of going to court, so enrolled in the Paralegal program at Conestoga College in Kitchener, which is a good hour drive for her.  It was a three semester program with a 3 week placement after second semester.  She started last September and finished two weeks ago.  Yesterday, she got this in the mail:


 Notice it says "with High Distinction"!  That means an overall average of 90% or more!!  Who knows, maybe one day a lawyer!! 

My blood sugars were a little wonky yesterday.  I was eating well, but the numbers were higher than I thought they should be.  Perhaps my body is getting used to the less medication.  And I know I need to get moving again.  It is beautiful this morning with a temperature of 15.  I will go for a walk this morning. 

August 25, 2014

Doing the Turtle Happy Dance!


 

I am happy this morning!  I vowed to stop getting on the scale every day.  After all, it's not (or shouldn't be) about the number, but my health.  My blood sugar numbers are what's important.  Weight loss is a bonus side effect.  So I weighed last Monday, and after a week of really good eating, I am down 6.8 lbs!  Woohoo.  After getting down to the mid 220's last summer, the grains and other not-so-desireable foods (and even just too much of the good foods) slowly crept back into my diet and the weight slowly crept back into the 230's, and then the 240's.  One day, I finally hit 250.5 and started doing a bit better.  My sugars weren't horrible, but not really good, either.  I bounced around with a few pounds for quite a while (even getting down to 240.x one time, and decided I really need to get back to serious low carb eating.  So, last Monday, I weighed in at 242.7 and this morning...235.9!!  My sugars have also been really good.  When I saw the doctor last, she told me, if I am not eating very many carbs for a meal, to cut back my Gluconorm from 2 pills to one, rather than reducing my nightime insulin.  I have been doing this, taking only one at every meal since Wednesday, and the sugar readings have been spot on!!  I go to see her again on Sept. 4.  I am sure she will be pleased.  

Life has been pretty busy.  We have been lucky to be able to have William over quite a lot this summer.  He is here this weekend.  Hillary is working this evening, so they will both sleep here again and go home in the morning.

Speaking of Hillary, we are expecting our fourth grandchild in March!!!  She had a miscarriage 2 years ago, so was waiting until after the first trimester to tell anyone, other that Jim, I, Josh and Sarah.  Boys are nice, but I am hoping for a girl, just because I see her with Sarah's girls, and she loves so much to do their hair and all the girly things like dolls and fancy dresses.  Of course, we will welcome with much love, a boy or girl.


Saturday evening, William wanted to play a game and chose Whoville-opoly.  It was put out back when the Jim Carey version of The Grinch was made.  It is your regular Monopoly, but with fun property names and characters.  Jim won, of course.  It was a lot of fun.



We had a very tasty dinner last night.  I wanted to use up some pork tenderloin that has been in the freezer for a long time, so I did a rub with mustard, garlic, rosemary and about a teaspoon of maple syrup, then wrapped it in bacon and did it on the grill.  We only lit one burner and put the meat over the unlit burner, 15 minutes one side, then flipped it for another 20 minutes.  Then, Jim turned on the flame under the meat just for a few minutes to to crisp up the bacon a bit.  Also, some grilled asparagus and steamed some broccoli.  The meat was perfect!  Nice and moist.




My next BBQ experiment is to try a turkey.  I have a small one in the freezer and I hope to do that in the next few weeks sometime.

I found a recipe online for mini key lime cheesecakes.  I am going to make a macadamia nut crust, instead of graham cracker crumbs, and add some sweetener instead of sugar.  William and I are going to make them.  Hopefully, they will turn out!

   

August 20, 2014

Two Triumphs for the Turtle!

My sister got a job today.  She works as a Teacher's Assistant in a kingergarten class and was classified as a 'casual' employee.  Today, she got a call that she has been hired full time, permanent.  Great news as she will get benefits.  My niece has Type 1 diabetes and the supplies are very expensive, even though they are partially covered by the provincial health care plan. 

So, my other sister decided we needed to celebrate.  My 3 sisters, 2 nieces and mom and I went for lunch to a great Mexican place called Chile and Agave.  I looked at the menu and wondered what the heck I was going to eat.  SO MANY CARBS!!!  One sister shared a plate with one niece and suggested that maybe mom and I could share something.  She wanted shrimp tacos, which is breaded shrimp and white flour tortillas, along with rice and refried beans.  I almost agreed, just because that is me...I am a people pleaser, but I stood my ground and said that I wanted to have a salad.  YAYYY ME!!!    I ordered it without the tortilla chips and it was AWESOME!  Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled chicken and a sprinkling of feta cheese, garnished with a few orange slices. 



I did succumb to a need for caffeine this afternoon.  If I need the car during the day, I have to drive Jim to work. Since he is on days this week, that means leaving the house around 6:00am.  I got decaf on the way in. It is about a 35 minute drive.  When I went to pick him up, even though I had my mom with me for company, I was getting VERY sleepy at the wheel; so we stopped at McDonald's and got a coffee as we were about a half hour early.  That's ok.  I still want to cut back on the caffeine, but I'm not going to beat myself up over the odd cup now and then.  As long as I don't get back to my 3 or 4 (large) mugs/day.

I had dinner planned ahead.  I knew what I was going to make and had all the ingredients.  This recipe was in one of my favourite cookbooks, but included white rice, so the carb count per serving was 64g!!  I substituted cauliflower 'rice' for the white rice.  I reduced the liquid a little since the cauliflower wouldn't absorb it like rice would.  It had onion, celery, green pepper, tomatoes, 'rice' and scallops.  Kind of a 'Scallop Stew'.  It was delicious!  I will definitely make it again...when we decide to splurge again.  The bag of scallops was about $25 at Costco.  We had bacon-wrapped scallops for 3 people a couple weeks ago and we had dinner today and I got 3 more portions from what was left over.



All-in-all it was a good GREAT day!  I think I am feeling a little better after the osteopath appointment this morning, a nice meal with my family and my niece won her soccer game this evening!

August 19, 2014

Good Eye Report

I had my appointment with the ophthalmologist this morning.  Due to them rescheduling once and then me rescheduling, it has been nine months since my last visit instead of six.  She said that my eyes look great.  There is no swelling in the back of the eye. Several years ago I did have some leaking in the macula and had laser surgery to repair it.  The doctor described it as "spot welding" the areas where there was leakage. There is a bit of scar tissue in my right eye from that surgery that may present some problems in the future, but all is good for now.

No coffee again today!  After my appointment, Jim asked if I wanted to pick up a coffee from Tim Horton's and I was tempted.  We even pulled into the parking lot, but then I changed my mind.  The fact that my stomach was feeling a little unsettled helped.  The thought of coffee really didn't sound very appealing.  I did still have a mild headache most of the day, but a little less than yesterday, so maybe tomorrow will be good!

Good eating again today and really good sugar readings! 

Tomorrow morning I go back to the osteopath.  I really hope he can help me.  There have been a few new issues.  I am not sure if an x-ray would show anything.  I will ask him if he thinks I should see my doctor and request one.  

August 18, 2014

Withdrawal

I woke up with a bit of a headache and it hung around all day.  I shouldn't complain really.  I have a few friends who suffer with terrible migraines, sometimes for days at a time.  I didn't have any coffee this morning, so I am wondering if I was experiencing WITHDRAWAL!!

I am going to get back on the low carb Paleo wagon (I am wondering how many times I have said that), as my leg/hip/glute/lower back problems aren't getting any better; in fact, they have actually been a little worse after seeing the osteopath.  Today, I was standing at the counter for quite a while as I was cutting up veggies for a broccoli salad and veggie tray to take to a BBQ this evening.  After a while, my left leg went tingly and weak and I had to go sit down for a bit.  Later, this happened again.

I ate well at breakfast and lunch, and did pretty well at the BBQ.  I didn't touch any of the "munchies"...chips, cheesies and other goodies, or any of the bite size chocolate chip cookies or ice cream bars that were passed around.  I did have some potato salad and one hot dog on a bun and a few rice crackers.  Oh, and I did give in to a cup of coffee after dinner.  So I guess today was kind of an "easing into"

I was saddened to hear about the suicide of Robin Williams.  I have been watching my Mork & Mindy DVD's this week.  I think I will jot down some quotes as I watch them.  Some things Mork says seem rather ironic when you know how his life will end nearly 40 years into the future.  It always affects me deeply when I hear of needless deaths due to mental illness.  I think, "There but for the grace of God, go I".

I am so tired and need to go to bed.  I've been wanting to post, but have really been at a loss as to what to write.  There seems to be a lot of chaos in my life at the moment and I tend to get overwhelmed; but even if I sometimes take a few steps back, I will continue to move forward, one step at a time.



July 22, 2014

My Baby's Birthday

Today is Sarah's 26th birthday.  It's hard to believe how quickly time flies.  It is a hard day as she is far away in Halifax.  Last year, they were here on vacation for her birthday.


She will miss out on her birthday ride on the carousel in Port Dalhousie.  Only one other time has she not been home for her birthday.  She celebrated her 16th birthday in Paris, where she was on a 3-week course doing her grade 11 French. 

We were at the grocery store the other day and right near where you walk in to the produce section, there was a display of melons.  The usual cantaloupe and honeydew.  There were also two other kinds I have never tried.  A canary melon and something I had never heard of called Golden Dewlicious. We chose the canary melon. 


I didn't really know how to choose, so I picked one that was a nice, bright yellow, rather than one of the paler ones. 

   
I cut it open after lunch today.  Inside, it is much the same colour as a honeydew, but the seeds are a bit orange.  It tasted really good...sweet and juice, but different than a canteloupe. 

My friend Sharon that passed away, liked to crochet.  At the funeral home, they had a basket with an afghan she had been working on that was unfinished.  It didn't sound like her sisters-in-law do anything like this, since they didn't know if it was knit or crochet, so I asked if I could take it and finish it off, as long as no one else wanted it.  Sandra got it for me last week and brought it over.  It is a scrap afghan in bright colours and thankfully, it looks like it is an easy pattern to figure out. 


She also brought 3 garbage bags full of yarn and a tote full of granny squares.  There are 340 of the squares, which is enough to make 2 or 3 afghans, depending on how large I want them.  So, my plan is to put the squares together and give an afghan each to Sandra and Dawn, the two other "chix".  I hope that will make a nice memory for them of Sharon. 



Eating has been good.  This is Day 3 of cutting out the grains and sugar again.  I am hoping that will help with the aches in my hip and leg, if that is due to inflammation.  Exercise, not so great.  I did get a couple days in last week.  I guess I need to make it more of a priority.   

July 16, 2014

A Good Walk

Yayyyy!!!  I am feeling great right now.

After reading so many inspiring posts on the Facebook group From Fat to Finish Line, I decided I need to stop the pity party and get moving again.  I have to remember to start slow, so just walking for today.  One day at a time.  My hips/glutes were a little achy but it was ok.

I committed to one episode of Big Bang Theory at a comfortable pace.  That lasted about 22 minutes.  So, I decided I would keep going to 30 minutes.  I still felt good, so decided to finish up the second episode.  That was finished at 43 minutes, so I did the extra 2 minutes to make it 45!!  I completed 2.25 miles and am really proud of myself for making a start. 







Now I need to get some meal ideas in place, especially for times when we need something that we can grab on the go. 

Josh had an appointment yesterday with a doctor to talk about his radioactive iodine treatment.  He will have to spend one night in hospital, since they only have one bathroom at Sharon's house.  He will have to sleep alone for a week and keep 3 metres away from people.  He will have a special low iodine diet for two weeks before the treatment because they want the body to be craving iodine for the best absorption.  After the treatment (about a week, I think), he will have a full body CT scan that will show if there is cancer anywhere else in his body.

I've got lots on my mind and lots going on in my life, but I need to try to not let it overwhelm me.  My health is the first step, because I need to have a positive attitude, and exercise and healthy eating will surely help with that.  

July 8, 2014

Finger Lickin' Good

I think we all know who that slogan belongs to.

Last night, I gave it a second shot at the Paleo KFC .  I think I first saw the link on Facebook and tried the recipe back in April.  This is the picture from the website.



There were a couple glitches, like the coating kind of melting and pooling around the chicken, and sticking to the foil on the pan, but they tasted good enough for me to try again.

I read through the comments on the blog and scraped the excess wet mixture off on the side of the bowl before dredging the chicken in the dry mixture.  I also used parchment paper instead of foil to line the baking sheet.  Success!!  Here is what mine looked like.




Not bad, eh?  Hillary and William were here for dinner and I got the thumbs up from both of them!

Josh had his follow up appointment with his cancer doctor last week.  Along with the thyroid and parathyroid glands, he removed 118 lymph nodes.  31 of them had cancer.  Of those, 18 were located in the central neck area.

He finally got both drains removed and his scar is looking really good.  I imagine that, with time, it will be hardly noticeable.  

In the hospital, Josh's calcium was too low, so he was on IV for a couple days for that, and then on 20 calcium pills/day, along with 12 Rocaltrol (I think that's the name...kind of like a "Super vitamin D", to help with absorption).  On Monday, the doctor called Josh and said his calcium was "through the roof", which would explain why he was feeling REALLY crappy.  So he didn't take any calcium for 2 days and is now on a much-reduced dose.  I think it is maybe 6 pills/day and 2 of the Rocaltrol.  He will continue to go for blood work once/week until everything is balanced out.

One of Josh's vocal chords is paralyzed, which affects his voice and his breathing, as far as cardio exercise is concerned.  With time, the other vocal chord will adapt and get stronger and he should be able to get pretty close to normal again.

He goes to see another doctor next week about his radioactive iodine treatment.  This will hopefully kill any cancer that is still there and show if it has spread anywhere else.

My eating has not been good, and I am feeling it.  I am sluggish and achy.  With the death of my friend, I realize that we don't know how much time we have on this earth.  I have been very fortunate that I do not have more problems than I have.  I really need to focus on my health.  If I do that, the weight will take care of itself.  Both Jim and I felt a lot better when we cut out the grains, and I know I also need to get back to lower carbs.  It is so easy to slowly slip back into old (bad) habits. 

Josh and Sharon have set a date for their wedding.  Thanksgiving weekend, October 10, 2015.  I know you shouldn't use an event as motivation, but it is there.  I want to look and feel pretty at my son's wedding, so it is an incentive, but for the health aspect of it, I have told Josh I will participate with him in the Thyroid Cancer Run/Walk in Toronto next year in June.  This year, it was just 2 days after his surgery.  There is a 5k and 10k.  I have my sights set on the 10k. 

   
    


 

June 25, 2014

Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend


This picture was taken on our 50th birthday weekend getaway in Niagara Falls.
We called ourselves "The Chix".
Me, Sandra, Dawn, Sharon
R.I.P.  Sharon
December 14, 1961 - June 18, 2014
 
Sandra, Sharon and I met in kindergarten, when we were all 4 years old.  Dawn, we met in Grade 7.  I mostly kept in touch with Sandra over the years, and she mostly kept in touch with Sharon, and Sharon kept in touch with Sandra and Dawn.  I lived in another town about 40 minutes away and would occasionally join them on one of their "wing nights" at a local bar that has the best chicken wings.  :)  We moved back here in 2001, so I started seeing them more regularly.  Our birthdays are all within about 6 weeks of each other.  Sharon and I were the same day, although she was a few hours older!  :)  We all went out for lunch for Sandra's 40th birthday and decided to make it a monthly thing.  "Chix Lunch" was born!
 
Sharon's mentally challenged brother lived with her.  Last Wednesday, he couldn't wake her up before he went to work in the morning.  He was very smart to know to tell his supervisor about it, and they contacted the police and Sharon's other brother.  She did have a lot of serious health problems but it was still a terrible shock to hear the news.
 
She was one of the kindest, caring. humble people I have had the privilege of knowing.  She would drop anything to help someone.  She did a lot of volunteer work with the Special Olympics.  The number of people who came to the funeral home is a testimony to how many lives she touched.
 
Sharon's funeral was Monday.  Dawn and Sandra both spoke about her.  I lost it when Dawn mentioned that "We were the Chix".  After the service, as the family was leaving, they played "Come Sail Away" by Styx, one of Sharon's favourite bands.  I lost it again, but was smiling inside.  I don't know who chose that song, but it was perfect.      
 

June 18, 2014

Emotional roller coaster

Last Thursday was a long day.  Josh's surgery went for 9 hours, instead of the scheduled 8.  There was a bit more cancer than he thought.  He had to go down for a few inches behind the breast bone as well as all the other stuff.  The tumour was attached to the wind pipe, and the doctor considered taking out part of the wind pipe, even booking a room in the ICU, but he was able to avoid that and remove the tumour with a fraction of a mm to work with.  The vocal chords were wrapped around the tumour, so Josh's voice is considerably quieter than we are used to.  The doctor says that will probably last for a couple months.

There are 4 small glands behind the thyroid that control your calcium.  Those had to be removed as well, but he was able to transplant 3 of them into a muscle.  It will take some time for them to work again, so in the meantime, Josh has to take huge amounts of calcium.  He was on an IV until Monday, until his calcium levels were brought up. 

He came home yesterday.  He still has drains on each side of his neck, but a nurse will go to the house to change them.  His stitches will come out on Thursday.  We didn't count, but probably at least 50-60 stitches.


Waiting outside hospital for Sharon to bring the car around.  You can see the stitches around his neck.  They go right up to behind his ear on both sides.  We were joking that he can tell people it was a shark attack! 

Sarah was here a week before the surgery, so we were able to have some fun beforehand.  Jim & I dropped her off at the airport on Monday.  I always try not to cry, and I thought it might be a little easier, since it was just Sarah and I didn't also have to say goodbye to Lily and Emma.  But, it wasn't.  I still cried.  :(  Hopefully, they will all be here at the end of July for a visit.

OMG!  My friend Dawn just called and told me that our friend Sharon (not Josh's Sharon) passed away last night.  I think I have put up walls to protect me from all that has been happening, because I just feel very numb.  It is very surreal.  She was the same age as me.  Exactly.  We shared the same birthday.

More to deal with. 


June 11, 2014

Joy in the midst of the storm

It's an emotional week.

Sarah is here from Halifax.  We aren't doing a whole lot, but enjoying the time together.  Last Friday, Hillary didn't have any classes and William had a PA day, so the four of us went to check out the new Outlet Collection at Niagara mall.  It would have been nice to have had a lot of money to spend, but it was good to go and see.  It's very nice.

Sunday, we had a BBQ with the family, so they could see Sarah and wish Josh well on his surgery.  It's been almost 2 years since Sarah moved away.  Of course, it rained!  And 17 people coming to our small house.  That's fine...we've done it before many times.  It's just 'cozy'!  :)  We remembered that we have a huge tarp, and Jim was able to rig it up to cover the patio.  It worked great! 

Sarah wanted to go out to a local restaurant for some chicken wings that she has been missing, and Monday was also Sharon's 28th birthday so we invited her parents to join us.  They are great, 'normal' people (like us)!  LOL

Later that evening, I got a text message with a picture:

 
After dinner, Josh and Sharon had gone to Niagara Falls and he popped the question!
And she said "YES"!!!
 
 
 
I am SO excited!  Sharon is such a sweet girl.  We couldn't ask for a better daughter-in-law; and it means the world to see my son so happy.
 
So that is our joy in the midst of our storm. Josh's surgery to remove his thyroid and all of the lymph nodes in his neck is tomorrow.  I just want to hear that the surgeon was able to remove all the cancer and that it hasn't spread to any other parts of his body.
 
Maybe an impending wedding gave me a kick, but yesterday I ate really well, had no wheat.  The only starch I had was a bit of quinoa salad.  The only carbs from veggies and a bit of fruit.  This morning, I got up not feeling the aches I that I normally have been feeling, and my leg/hip/IT band is almost pain free, after weeks of it giving me trouble and slowly getting a little worse.  Coincidence after just one day?  I don't know, but it sure is encouraging!
 
Tomorrow is going to be a VERY long day.    

June 3, 2014

Well, hello!

It's been ages since I've put up a post.  I was in Halifax April 15-30.  Sarah doesn't have internet and I don't have a huge amount of data on my phone plan, so I didn't get online much.

I had a wonderful trip, spending time with Sarah, Matt and the girls.  Of course, the time went too quickly and I didn't want to leave, as I miss them so much, but I was ready to come home to my Sweetie Pie.  <3

We didn't do a lot of tourist-y things, as it is off season and Matt was working a lot of the time.  I was there for Easter and Emma's 5th birthday was Easter Monday.  It was just us, but Sarah did a great job with a 'Frozen' theme.  I took some of my plastic snowflakes from Christmas for decorations and Sarah made a gorgeous cake.  The snowflakes on the cake are made of white chocolate.

 
 
We also went to see Mary Poppins at the Neptune Theatre.  It was Emma's first live theatre experience and was a wonderful show.  
 
 
It has become somewhat of a tradition to take a picture next to the big lobster at the airport.  He is made of mosaic mirror tiles.  This is where  you can buy fresh, live lobsters to take home. 

 
The trip home was somewhat of an adventure, as I got stuck in Ottawa overnight due to fog in Toronto.
 
Sarah sent me this picture of the girls on Mother's Day. 

 

Since I've got home, I just have not had much motivation for anything.  Weight has been more or less maintaining +/- a few pounds, but it is up around 15 lbs since last summer.  Still, I need to remember that I AM 80 lbs lighter than when I was at my heaviest (probably around 10 years ago), and although I have a long way to go, I will get there! 

Activity level has been almost nil.  We get a walk in here and there, but nothing regular.  We want to get the bikes out.  We didn't do any biking last year. 

The next few weeks will likely not see too many posts again.  Sarah is arriving on Thursday.  Just her, not the girls.  :(  She is coming to be here for Josh's surgery.  Our son was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on Feb. 10 and is having surgery on June 12 to remove his thyroid and all of the lymph nodes in his neck.  The surgeon has booked 8 hrs for the surgery and 5 nights in hospital.  He has to be at the hospital at 6:00am and surgery is scheduled for 8:00am.  It is going to be a very long day. 

I got my exercise on Sunday, helping build a fence at Josh's girlfriend's house.  We helped again last night.  It is almost done.  I did get on the treadmill this morning.  It was only 15 minutes, but that is a start.  That included 3 x 1 minute runs.  I have started seeing an osteopath about my IT band/hip problem.  Just 2 visits so far, but I am hopeful that he will help.

Time to go and get a bit of cleaning/organizing done before Sarah gets here. 

I will leave you with a picture of my lilacs!  I have always loved them and bought myself a tree last year.  The blooms are purple with white around the edges and I got quite a few of them!



 

April 12, 2014

Exciting Busy

Just popping my head in quickly.  I'm not sure how much posting I will get done in the next few weeks.  I have been busy getting ready for my trip to Halifax to visit my daughter.  It's mostly for the granddaughters.  I told Sarah that, if she didn't have any children, I wouldn't have visited 3 times in one year!  Not that I don't miss her, but I could handle it.  But I couldn't handle it to only see Lily and Emma once a year or less.  They just grow up so fast.  And yes, there is Face Time and Skype, but it's just not the same as cuddling up to read a book or watch a movie together, or play endless games of UNO or Monopoly Junior or feel those little arms around my neck.

I have been busy this week, sewing a doll quilt for Lily.  At Christmas, I took both girls blankets I had made.  Emma's was a crocheted afghan, and Lily's was a quilt.



I had already made a smaller one to match Emma's for her doll, which I was going to give her for her birthday, but then I thought, since I gave them both one at Christmas, I couldn't very well just give Emma a doll blanket and tell Lily she would have to wait until her birthday in October for her doll version.  So this week, I made the quilt.  It's a good thing it was small and I used a super-simple pattern.
 
 

So, I am off on Tuesday, unfortunately without Jim, but I will be there for Emma's 5th birthday, which happens to fall on Easter Monday this year.  Flights were a lot more expensive over Easter, which is why I am going earlier. 

Hillary and William came and slept over last night, so I could see them before I leave.  They had a Frog Run at the Sugar Bush this morning, so we went for that.  The kids collected little plastic frogs in a basket and got a treat at the end.  It was a perfect day.  Bright and sunny and warm enough to go without a jacket.  When the frogs start croaking in the spring, it means the weather is getting warmer and sap season is over...thus the Frog Run. 


 
It's so nice to actually feel like spring is here!  (Although, it is supposed to be only a high of 3C on Tuesday, and below freezing overnight!)  I bought a small pot of what I though was hyacinth last weekend.  There were no blooms and there was a lot of wrapping around the pot.  When I got it home and cut back the wrapping a bit, I realized it was miniature daffodils, which is another of my favourite flowers.  I was glad anyway, since it is daffodil month for the Canadian Cancer Society and that is heavy on my heart as we wait for Josh's surgery in June.
 
 
So, how have things been on the eating and exercise front?  Not great.  Maybe not as bad as I think.  I did get out for some short walks, just by walking to a destination rather than driving, and I did make some healthy dinners, which is an effort for me sometimes with the shift Jim is working, so I guess just put the slips in the past and press on.  Progress, not perfection.  There might not be a lot of planned "exercise" in Halifax, but plenty of walking, I'm sure.  Matt is off the week after Easter, so we may be able to do a bit of exploring.


April 8, 2014

Feeling Positive

Today is a good day!  My sugar was high this morning, and I knew it would be because I did some a lot of emotional eating yesterday.  But still, even though I was expecting it, I felt a bit discouraged.  I also weighed myself and was up about 5 lbs since yesterday.  Again, I know my body does that when I have a bad food day.  It should also come off quickly, though.

I had my BIG cup of coffee in my Nova Scotia mug.  I can't wait for my trip!  This time next week, I will be there!


I checked e-mail and Facebook.  I joined a new group the other day.  From Fat to Finish Line.  This is a documentary film that is being made about a group of 12 strangers who have all lost at least 100 lbs.  They came together and ran the Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West last year.  I first learned about it from the Runs for Cookies blog by Katie Foster.  This is a Facebook support group for runners trying to lose or maintain weight through running and healthy lifestyle.  Someone posted about having a bad day yesterday, and making a fresh start today.  That really encouraged me to pick myself up and keep moving forward. 

Jim was out so I got dressed and ready to do a workout on the treadmill.  Just as I was headed downstairs, he got home, so I suggested we go for a walk outside instead.  It was damp, sprinkling and a little chilly, but it feels so good to get out.  We just did a loop down into Port Dalhousie and back through Jaycees Park.  Along the way, I said I wanted to run for just one minute, so Jim timed it for me.  Then later, he said, "Ready for another minute run?".  So we did it again.  This time I asked him to hit the lap button on his watch, just for curiosity's sake to see my pace. 

The total walk was 3.25 km.  My pace for the one minute timed was just under 9 minutes/km, which is right about where I have always been for running.  I did my 50-second plank and will walk to my mom's tonight for our weekly movie night.  That is another 1.7 km, so I am happy with that. 

I have started tracking my food again.  I am going to track my carbs and calories.  It is a lot of work to weigh and measure and write it all down, but that has given me success in the past, both for weight and blood sugar control.

Time for a cup of tea. 

April 6, 2014

Oh! What a Beautiful Morning...

What a change from yesterday!  Saturday was cold and windy and just not nice.  This morning, the sun was shining, and although a little chilly at first, promised to be a beautiful day.  It did not disappoint! 

We had to pick up a few things at the grocery store and stopped for a coffee at Tim Horton's afterwards.  There were a few people sitting out on the patio enjoying the sunshine.  I have a feeling those stone benches would have been a little cold on the buns, though! ;)

I had some overripe bananas on the counter, so made some Paleo Banana Bread with them.  I got the recipe from The Civilized Caveman blog.  He has some great recipes there.  The main carbs are from the bananas, but that would be divided between 10-12 slices.  It uses coconut flour, which has 9g carbs per 2 Tbsp., but 6g of fibre, so you only count 3g.  The recipe uses 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp.).  Anyway, it smelled great baking and looked great when it came out of the oven.

 
BUT, when I tried to take it out of the pan, it stuck!! 
 

Oh well, it did taste great.  I had greased the pan with coconut oil.  I guess next time I should used something else.  The recipe said to use your fat of choice, but the blogger did say that he used butter. 

Jim needs to renew his passport, so since it was SO nice out, we decided to walk to Costco for them.  We would get in a nice walk and get the pictures taken.  Two birds with one stone.  I wore the pink jacket that Sarah got me for Mother's Day a couple years ago.  It had always been a little too tight.  Maybe it still is a little, but the buttons weren't pulling like they used to and it felt comfortable.


Ha!  I just noticed Jim's shadow in the picture.  It was really sunny!  :)

It was 4.5 km round trip and I did my 40-second plank when we got home. 

Dinner was not exactly low-carb.  It wasn't horrible, but more carbs than I like to eat.  I saw a "Grandpa's Acadian Meat Pie" at SuperStore.  It was one of the winners in the Recipes to Riches TV show.  I haven't followed it, but I think each week was a different category...appetizers, desserts, etc. and the winner each week got their food put into grocery stores across Canada as a President's Choice product.  There will be a grand prize winner, which I am not sure how it is decided.

So this meat pie was one of the winners and I had to try it to compare to my own.  We only make it at Christmas.  Usually, when you see frozen, pre-made tourtiere, it is made with ground pork, which is the way a lot of French Canadians make it.  But the Acadian way is not ground meat, but cooked until it shreds, kind of like pulled pork, but without the BBQ sauce.  The PC pie was made with pork and chicken.  It was ok, but certainly not as good as the Frigault version.  We use beef, pork and chicken and also put a small amount of cubed potato in it.  My mom started using the chicken when she married my dad as a replacement for the rabbit that my grandmother used.  I am glad I tried it, but don't think I would buy it again.  I'll have to wait for Christmas...my sister could tell you the number of days left!