Category Archives: Health

A Gift

Yesterday was my birthday. I’ll wait while you shout ‘Happy Birthday!” and “I wish I’d have known!” and “I feel bad I don’t have a gift!” If anyone is thinking of singing, please don’t. Sadly I think the traditional Happy Birthday tune is quite dreary. But I certainly appreciate and accept your good wishes. <insert gracious nod here>

Got all that out of the way? Good.

I’m giving myself a gift. I told myself I was giving it starting today, but then I forgot. And the day is nearly over (just past 9 pm as I type this). So I figured by putting it in writing, sending it out over the wire and all, I’ll be more committed to my own gift.

Best of all, the gift I want to give myself won’t cost a dime.

It’s to treat my body well.

This means making a better effort at eating right, mostly. I’m already an avid exerciser. By avid, I mean I enjoy running and try to do it more days than not. Truthfully life (job and kids) and weather interfere more than I’d like, but I can still run further and faster than the average bear. I do want to start doing weight training. My arms are flabby and I have back fat up the ying yang. Needless to say, I don’t like how that looks.

Today I did not eat well.

Meals, I eat pretty healthy. I like pretty much everything. Food and I do not have trouble getting along. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, and appreciate creative food preparation and pairings. Flavor and variety are good!

But I also have a massive sweet tooth. Mostly in the form of chocolate. I’ve gotten into some very bad habits in the last few months due to that tooth (and its friends), and the pounds have crept on. This must stop. I deserve better than this.

I love myself. I love my body. And the best way to show that is to feed it good food and to keep the junk out.

There. It’s in writing. And after I hit “Publish” it will be out there for all my thousands (cough, cough) of readers to see and I will be committed.

We deserve it.

Another Call from Camp

I’ve been keeping this from you. No good reason, really.

On Wednesday I had quite literally just stepped into a meeting with my boss when my cell phone rang. This is highly unusual on three counts. One, I rarely am physically present for meetings these days. Due to our team and business partners being located all over the country, and in some cases, the world (Ireland and India specifically), we have conference calls. A lot. Second, an in-person meeting with my boss is a thing of some note. I go months without seeing him, as he and I work in different locations. But on Wednesday he was at my work site, and we had a one-on-one scheduled. And third, my cell phone really does not ring all that much.

I looked at the number and it was the same familiar unfamiliar number from a few weeks ago, only this time I knew who it was right away. Camp was calling.

“Hi, Mrs. Ragtop Day?”  Quick aside here – I hate it when people call me Mrs. Anything. I’m not a Mrs. and I hate the assumption that I am. I know the camp person was trying to be respectful, but honestly I’d rather be called by my first name. Aside over.


“I’m calling from the First Aid area of Camp-Where-Your-Kids-Go and I have Belle here.” At this point two things were running through my mind. Was this a repeat of Belle just needing to talk to me? Or is “First Aid” a clue that she is hurt? And if so, how seriously?

“Belle has been scratching her head and we did a check and found some lice. Well, a few nits anyway, no live ones. You need to come pick her up.”

%*#)$*@#@)(#_!@* was the only thing I remember thinking.

We went through this in two separate episodes a year ago (I think I only blogged about one episode). It completely took over my life for two weeks the first time, and a week the second. I finally gave in and shaved Belle’s head the first time (only Krystal was affected the second). Belle’s hair is exceedingly thick and lice probably think they’ve landed in some sort of Nirvana when they find themselves on her head.

There have also been several cases at Camp. As awful as this is for us, it’s not really a surprise.

I brought her home and started in on the routine: laundry (oh, yes, the laundry!), shampoo, lice comb, nit comb, manually nit picking, and laundry.

The good news is that I think I got them all. At least she went back to camp on Thursday and Friday, and Krystal says they’ve been checking her hair 4-5 times a day as well. I check them both too and will every day, since we leave for vacation in less than a week and I am not dealing with this on my vacation!!

Survival Parenting

I try to be a good parent. I think we all do. I want what’s best for my kids, and that means taking care of them physically – making sure they have clean clothes and healthy food, and emotionally – encouraging them to do their best and comforting them when things don’t quite go their way.

Then there are the times when it all goes out the window, and you go into survival parenting mode. When the only parenting goal you really have is to make sure your kids stay alive. That happens when Mom gets sick. This is when I wish there was someone else to lean on.

Since Saturday afternoon when I first started feeling symptoms, I’ve been really only able to take care of myself. I spent most of Sunday in bed. It was raining and there was nothing for the kids to do. They watched TV all day. They asked for popcorn while they watched a movie, and that was their lunch. For dinner I did manage to drag myself up to make some tortellini before crashing again. Anything they wanted for a snack I said yes to.

Krystal has assigned herself as my nurse. She has been urging me to call the doctor since Sunday (I finally did on Tuesday). She made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Belle and herself for Monday night’s dinner as I just couldn’t do it. Tuesday morning she got up and went downstairs before coming to see me and brought me a glass of cold water and the thermometer. She said, “Which medicine do you take? I only saw the Tylenol PM, I didn’t see Tylenol AM.” And I laughed and she didn’t know why.

Krystal also made lunches for she and Belle to take to camp on Tuesday. She said she liked playing mom, but she could see how much work it was.  I whimpered during the whole 10 minute drive to camp. Everything hurt and it wasn’t getting any better.

The doctor said it’s H1N1, as I’ve already relayed, and that I should expect to be out of commission for 7-10 days. Today is Day 5, and I’m happy to say that I’m seeing light. As I told the girls this morning, I feel better, but not better. Right now my goal is to make sure the kids don’t get it. The doctor suggested wiping down all doorknobs in the house, encouraging frequent hand washing, and keeping food preparation to a minimum. When I told the girls all this Krystal groaned, “I’m tired of playing the mom! It’s too much work!” Of course, Krystal is in survival parenting mode too, since that’s pretty much all an 8 year old has up her sleeve in that department.

I think I’ll take us all out to dinner when this thing finally blows over. We’ll all be ready for it by then.

Swine Flu

Swine flu – heard of it?

I have it.

I have a post in my head about it all, but my energy level is so low this is all I can manage. The doctor says 7-10 days before I feel human again.

Hopefully be back sooner rather than later.


Back in February I decided I was worth the time, effort and money to join Weight Watchers to lose some extra weight.

I went to meetings (something I’d never done before) and counted points. Going to meetings was a huge logistical challenge for me, what with the whole working full time/parenting full time gig I’ve got, but I did do it.

I even lost some weight. Until I didn’t anymore.

And I’ve come to a conclusion.

While I’d still like to lose a few more pounds, I’m OK with where I am. I am eating much more healthfully, overall, than I had been. Oh, I’ve slipped up a few times, which mostly occurs when I dare bring ice cream into the house. And honestly, it will probably happen again, but I try to keep it in check. Eating enormous quantities of ice cream, as tasty as it is, does not equal healthy.  And I do love my dark chocolate. Frankly, I don’t know if I could get by on eating much less than I do now, long term. More to the point, I don’t want to! I love food, the healthy stuff as well as treats. And I’m not willing to give them up. But I am eating better, and I’m exercising most days, and I’m feeling good. Isn’t that as much as I can ask for?

So I bid WW adieu – thanks for the tools, but I am on my own from here on out. And I’m OK with that.

I Got Nothing….oh, wait, here’s something

I have nothing to say, but feel the need to post. So I went searching for a meme, and found one that actually fits something that happened this week.  So, not an exciting or insightful post, but one relevant to our current life. Here you go:

It’s that time again for this weeks Saturday six and this weeks theme is Doctors & Health, so without further a do let’s get on with it:

  1. Do you rush straight to the doctors when you feel ill? Me? Absolutely not. I have to be pretty sick to go to the doctor for myself, although I do keep up with routine visits, thanks to good insurance and my advancing age (ahem). With my kids it’s usually different, mostly because I know kids have still developing immune systems and they catch so much. Belle was sick this week, and I gave her a few days to get better on her own and then called the doctor on Day 3 of a 101-103 fever.
  2. Do you have trouble trying to make an appointment with your doctor? For a sick visit I’ve had no trouble. Routine visits I usually have to wait months for.
  3. When was the last time you visited your doctor? I had Belle in yesterday for a sick visit (it’s viral, so it was a waste of a co-pay, and she feels remarkably better now, so I guess all is well). My last visit was in the last month for my annual physical.
  4. When someone close to you is ill, are you caring and considerate or do you try to stay away so you don’t catch anything? If one of my kids is sick I pretty much have to be as caring and considerate as possible, since it kind of goes with the job description of “Mom”. I’m rarely sick, so unless they have strep throat (which I am a magnet for), I don’t worry much about catching anything from them. Also, we get flu shots each year, so that helps my stress level around that.
  5. Have you ever made the excuse that you are ill to get off work/school/college etc? I haven’t taken a sick day for myself in awhile – I did have walking pneumonia a year or so ago that I finally broke down and saw a doctor for at the insistence of my co-workers. The doctor recommended several days of rest, so I took the next day (a Friday) off and lay on the couch all day. It was delightful. I’m fortunate to have a very flexible work situation, but if I did not, I would not be above calling in “sick” to get some personal time.
  6. What really annoys you about people when they are ill? The whining.

No Room in the Frig!

I’m on day, let’s see, Day 9 of Weight Watcher’s. I had my first weigh-in after being on the program for a week yesterday, and had a loss of 1.2 pounds, exactly in the healthy range. They recommend a loss of 1-2 pounds per week as a healthy rate of loss. I must confess that, although I’d read that time and time again since I first started reading teen, and then women’s, magazines, it wasn’t until I lost my post-marriage weight that it all made sense. You have to make gradual changes to make them a habit, and to ensure you can keep that weight off. And lest you think I was unsuccessful because I’m back at it, I want you to know that I lost 18 pounds nearly 4 years ago, but have gradually put back on about 7 of them. My goal is to drop those 7, plus maybe a few more.

But that is not what I came here to talk about!

Since I’ve been on WW, lo, these past 9 days, I’ve been trying to eat better. Which is kind of the point, no? And I am! I am eating healthier, feeling better, and trying to figure out how to make myself remember all this when I feel like throwing in the towel. I really do feel better when I eat better. Who’da thunk??

But I have a problem I wasn’t counting on.  My refrigerator is full! I am shopping more frequently than usual (1-2 times per week, versus 2-3 times per month) and even though I go in planning on only a few items, inevitably I come out with far more. And the fresh stuff (roasted broccoli and cauliflower is my current go-to, ever-so-delicious snack!) takes up a lot of room!


I really need to figure out a way to feed us all on this for awhile till it gets down. A lot.

New Ways to Spend Money

I posted some time ago (pause, while I find that post) about my internal dialogue about losing 5-10 pounds.

This morning I stepped on my bathroom scale and blanched. It was higher than it has been since I was on my way down nearly four years ago. I can’t say I was surprised, since I’ve been feeling a little chubbier than usual lately. Still, it was not pleasant to have that validated.

So on my way home from my morning at work I swung by a Weight Watchers location and went to my very first meeting. I handed over my credit card for my first month’s payment ($39.95) which includes unlimited meetings and their online tools. I also got introductory materials to take with me, which will be mine to keep forever. I was quite surprised when my initial weight, at noon, fully dressed, was almost a pound lighter than my  “first thing in the morning” weight had been a few hours earlier at home. I guess I’m glad it’s going in that direction, and not the other!

So we’ll see. Five pounds would make a difference, while I think I’ll feel and look better if I can get to ten pounds less, and find a way to stay there. I liked what the leader (a man!) said – “This isn’t about dieting, this is about living!” Who wants to die, when they can live, right? I do have food issues, which I’ve mentioned before, so I don’t see this as the be-all, end-all. I still need to deal with my relationship with food. But while I’m handling the emotional/mental part of that, I can be managing the mechanics of eating less and making better choices.

Did I need to spend $39.95 to do that?

No, but sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is, and frankly, I’m worth $40.

Running, I Miss You

OK, let’s see where we are on this. Can we get a time line, please?

September 2008 – Tessie the dog entered our family. I altered my work schedule to be home with her full time for the first two weeks.

October 2008 –  I started working from home at least half days, again, to accommodate the addition of the pup. The longest stretch she’s been alone has been about 5 hours, but most days it’s between 3-4. Since my office is a 10 minute drive from the house, this makes this ever so much more possible. I don’t think I can recommend anyone get a puppy unless they can have someone home a good portion of the day. Obviously in the beginning we’re talking about house training, but even after that it’s about companionship, socialization and preventing boredom.

November/December 2008 – Winter arrived in earnest. And by this I mean: cold, snow, ice, snow, cold and on and on. Which means there’s not a whole lot of outside-ness going on.

I say all this to say that with finagling my schedule each day to be home at least half time, meet all my work obligations, parenting responsibilities and still be a responsible dog owner, I have not been getting outside to exercise. At all.

Which brings me to my point (I do have a long winded way of getting to this). Running is my exercise of choice – it’s the only type of exercise I’ve found that makes me feel as good. And while I’m mostly talking from a physical standpoint, I also have to add mental to that list. Given the winter I’ve been having, I think my psyche could really benefit from a good run these days. I take my iPod and listen to podcasts mostly (my favorites focus on “Lost”, Disney, football, and “Heroes”). But just getting out and moving my body, breathing fresh air and living in the moment.

I miss running. I need to find a way to work it back into my day. It’s times like these when having a parenting partner would come in real handy.

Laying Off the Crap

I constantly struggle with weight issues. Much of this struggle is not visible to others: my BMI is in the healthy range (barely) and I am in decent shape (not as good as I was 6 months ago though!).  But struggle I do. For starters, I have a mammoth sweet tooth and an unnatural relationship with ice cream. So unnatural that I have had to stop buying it. Too many times I have gone through a whole container which supposedly has 14 servings (does anyone ever eat just a half cup of ice cream at a time!?!?) in less than 36 hours.

While I was married I put on quite a lot of weight. I was literally using food as a substitute for love, though I didn’t really realize this till later. After my divorce I joined Weight Watchers and lost it, and looked and felt great.I honestly don’t think I’d have had the mental or emotional “room” to lose that weight inside that marriage. Had we stayed married I feel sure I would have continued to pack on the pounds.

Now I find the weight creeping up again, and I am aware of two things. One, I am again using food as a source of love. And two, I’m feeding that need for love with too much crap.

And so, I need to lay off the crap. I need to stop reaching for another piece of chocolate just because the first (or second, or third, or…) is gone, or because I’m bored, or lonely, or frustrated, or…..When I feel the urge to eat “just because” I need to find another activity to feed that need. Not all needs can be fed with food.