Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Ten

1. Exciting times in the Helen household over the weekend as our little abode became wedding central.  Besides the wedding and reception items being shipped to the house, Little Helen and I went for her dress fitting.  The seamstress nailed the alterations in one try so we ended up picking the dress up and bringing it home.  She also tried on veils but didn't buy one as I think if she goes with a veil she wants it to more closely match her dress, but she did buy these beautiful earrings!

2.  We are in a weather pattern where we have fairly decent weather during the week then either cold and drab or rainy on the weekend.  This is not working out well for me to get to the beach.

3.  I don't often take many breaks at work but my bosses' son was in the office the other day and he asked me to play with him.  He'd gotten a ball toss toy and was dying to try it out.  After all was said and done I thought we could probably use some little kids around here to get all of moving more!

4. Does anyone know where the word "converse" went?  I know I'm going to sound like an old fuddy duddy but it seems that people are now using the word "conversate" and it's driving me nuts! Is that even a real word?

5. Every once in a while I see something shared on Facebook that makes me laugh right out loud.  I sent this one to Mr. Helen via text:
6. My struggle with exercise continues but I guess I should be satisfied with the fact that I am managing 3-4 decent workouts a week.  Honestly that's only 1 or 2 less than I normally do but it feels like a lot.  I just don't seem to have the energy to do more than what I'm doing right now though so I'll be satisfied with what I can get.

7.  While at the Bridal Salon, Little Helen and I both spied these shoes and wanted them.  However, this salon takes some consignment and this was a single pair (not our sizes) that could not be ordered. I took the photo in hopes of finding them online but they are from a shoe company in Pakistan.  I guess it's just not meant to be.  When I showed Mr. Helen he said, "No More Shoes!!!"  Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

8. I'm still feeling cranky about the random 10,000 step thing with the Fitbit and other fitness trackers.  I realize the idea is to get people to move more than they do as movement is better than being a couch potato.  But when I read (usually via FB) that someone is marching up and down in their kitchen so they can get in their steps, I just feel annoyed.  WHY?  First of all that's just a random number and secondly we don't all move the same amount every single day.  I'm cranky I tell ya!

9. I made the final payment on our vacation house in the Outer Banks so it's starting to feel like a vacation will be happening.  I am in dire need of it, I'll tell you that.  I'm pretty much at the point where every single day I think how much I don't want to go to work or do housework or chores or anything except sleep in and lay on a beach.

10.  In the best news we got all week, Mr. Helen is part of that huge data breach that the federal government had.  We will be spending the next couple of days enrolling in the protection offered.  But I think they're being chintzy - offering it for two years.  Plus it's not like the hackers aren't hearing this!!  They need to offer protection for life as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Do you watch Scandal?  Mr. Helen and I recently started and we are hooked.  We are already on Season 3 and hope to get through Season 4 before the new season starts in the fall. I'm not sure why I never DVR'd Scandal because it's a Shonda Rhimes show and I generally love her stuff.  Oh well, thanks to Netflix, I can catch up.  I'm also watching Orange is the New Black (Mr. Helen doesn't care for it).  It's an interesting show based on a true story.  I do have to say that I liked the first season of that show best, but now I feel committed to see it through.


So you know how you plan something and it doesn't quite go how you thought it would?  Well, that's how my day off beach time ended up last week.  But the change was good!  My friend Em had the opportunity to come and join me, which of course meant I got to see her little guy. It was his first time ever at the beach and he loved it! He's 10 months old now and if you say the word no - even if you're not speaking to him - he shakes his head no.  He also has learned the sign language for "more" so his mommy never has to worry if he's still hungry because he tells her, patting his little fingers together and saying "Mo, mo."  Plus any kid that will eat my Chopped Veggie Salad is a champ in my book! Isn't he adorable in his surfer dude rash guard?

Of course, though I planned NO CHORES, I ended up doing them before and after the beach because I was supposed to meet my sister for lunch on Saturday and I was working at the mall on Sunday so I just had to.  Friday night my sister called me and cancelled our lunch and since I had my chores done, I got to have a second beach day on Saturday! I took another guy with me this time.

I secretly think it's funny that Mr. Helen and Baby M. have the same style of hat. It was nice for us to just have some down time together.  A couple of hours in, he had to prop his leg up on the cooler and we used an ice pack that was in there, for his knee.  He is definitely better but admitted he was disappointed when he went for his last followup and the doctor told him no running for at least 3 more weeks.  He can't help himself and finds it hard to be still but as I pointed out, we are no longer spring chickens and things take longer to heal!

So my one day of beach turned into two and I totally felt refreshed and ready to tackle this week.  It was like a mini vacation.

Anyone who reads Lori or Debby's blogs gets a garden tour.  I don't really have much yard but I do find a way to enjoy flowers via my patio pots and a couple of plants in our strip of front yard.  The thing is, my thumb can be brown and sometimes even the easiest of plants will die on me.

That right there is a Gerbera Daisy that my brother gave me for my birthday back in March.  Once the blooms stopped I normally would have thrown it away but this year I decided I would try to keep it and put it outside.  I did and it has been blooming like crazy.  I'm so proud of myself lol!

Also in the flower category - these next couple of weeks are my favorite time to run because of the honeysuckle.  I ran by this huge patch of it yesterday morning and had to stop for a brief second to really enjoy it!  If we had any sort of fence I would totally put honeysuckle on it.


As longtime readers know I so dislike eating in front of the TV and that has been an ongoing battle in my house ever since Little Helen grew up and left home.  But this time of year, it's easier to get Mr. Helen to sit at a table because I grill, then we sit on the patio.  Maybe another reason why I love this time of year so much!


Speaking of Little Helen, she is coming home this weekend for a dress fitting.  I am so excited to see her in her altered gown.  We are 5 weeks away and counting down to the wedding.  While changing wallets last week, I found this:

That is a gift card for an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.  I don't remember having it and had no idea how much was on it.  The spa is in the same town where Mr. Helen works so I sent him with the card so they could swipe it to tell me if there was anything on it.  I suspected that it would be useless as I'm not one to waste a spa card.

He texted me:  "$126 - enjoy!"  JACKPOT!!!

I'm calling today to make an appointment to get highlights in my hair for Little Helen's wedding.

I love "found" money, don't you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Can Never Go Back

I have been looking for some inspiration, information or some other "ation" to get myself out of the funk I've been in.  You have no idea what it's like to wake up every day and just wish to not feel this way.  While I do better and feel better on beautiful weather days, the fact is that not all days are going to be 80 degrees and sunny with no humidity.

I've been looking through tons of photos I took in the Grand Canyon and on our trips to St. Martin as I work on the project of turning them into the art for our family room walls.  As I went through them, I noticed my size and weight and how it literally has been all over the place over the past 10 years (July of 2005 is when I was diagnosed hypothyroid). At one point I found a photo of myself and Mr. Helen on a beach, looked at it, then thought "that's what I want right now."

That in turn led me back through this blog and through food trackers and diaries looking to see what it was that I was doing at the time. As I read and looked back and forth at the photo I had that deja vu-ish feeling and distinctly remembered when we took that picture I was wishing I was a little more toned and a little bit smaller in size... the same size I want to be right now!

Will I ever be satisfied?

As you know I've been wearing a Fitbit to track sleep issues.  And while that has gotten a bit better, I am still working with my doctor because I still have too many nights of restless sleep.  'Rest-less' is really a great word to describe it because the days after those nights I do not feel rested at all.

But I digress.  The Fitbit also provides information on steps, heart rate, active minutes, distance, floor climbed and calories in/out.   While I just haven't paid any attention to that, I decided I wanted to see if the statistics could shed any light onto my stagnation as I realized I wasn't doing too much different from what I was doing a few years ago when I took the magical photo.

The Fitbit allows you to set goals for weight loss, i.e. 1-2 lbs. per week and then prorates your caloric intake over the course of the day so you have real time information if you are eating too much or too little to make your goal.  I set mine midway - for 1.5 lbs. of weight loss a week - i.e. a 750 calorie deficit. Then I committed to tracking food for one day BUT I chose to do this on a day when I didn't exercise and also a day when I had to work both jobs. I wanted the number of steps and calories burned to be just an average day - or actually a low calorie burn day.  I also committed to NOT looking at the stats until Wednesday morning and to just eat like I normally would. As it turned out, the steps were a bit low (I generally do about 7,000 without any exercise) because I ended up being tied to my desk at my full time job, but this is what I saw:

And right when I saw that, I knew I never could go back to hard core dieting.  You see, if I wanted to lose 2 lbs. a week, my caloric intake on that day would have to have been around 1000 calories.  I know 300 calories doesn't seem like much, but to me it would be the difference between living a life and being in a diet prison.

And yes, I realize if I exercised, I would burn 300-400 calories and could have still eaten 1400 and been within range for 2 lb. weight loss - or I could have eaten more, but the honest truth is, there are days when I don't exercise and that a fact.  This was just proof that I can never go back to being a slave to those statistics.

I can never go back to worrying about this.  I am honestly and truly satisfied with how and what I eat and I appreciate not being obsessed with every bite that goes into my mouth.  Instead I am trying my best to work out 4-5 times a week, eat whole foods, and now and then, allow a treat of some sort.  I'm also back to staying off the scale.  Those numbers mean nothing in the long run.

I suppose the next step is to get myself satisfied with the rest of it - to appreciate my hard work and realize that even if it's at a snails pace, some day it will pay off - even if the pay off is longer life due to better health. And maybe, just maybe I will go back - go back to the size I was in the magical photo.  But this time, I'm going to appreciate it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flowers, Food, and Funnies

Even if I do say so myself, I have taken some really good photos with my iPhone lately.  I wish I could consistently do this

My neighbor's beach rose

The Irises that also belong to my neighbor and line her retaining wall, which is the right side of my driveway.

Martini on the patio.  I used a filter on this one but can't remember which.


I got an eye job!  Just kidding. I have hereditary eye bags and since I was in my early 30s I've wished to get rid of them.  Now, I have, through the magic of this free photoshopping app.  And yes, of course, now I really do want to get my eyes done. Oh vanity!


One of the very very few convenience foods I eat - and I would say I average eating these about two times a month - is a Jimmy Dean Delight breakfast bowl.  I generally end up consuming them because I'm running late for work and don't have time to make breakfast. At $2.50 for the bowl, it's a pretty inexpensive breakfast.  But of the reasons I don't want to eat stuff like that is because of all the fillers, processing, etc.  so when I saw these new bowls by Good Food Made Simple, I bought a couple to try.

As you can see, not many ingredients, not many fillers, and unfortunately, watery and not much flavor either. Back to the filler-preserved deliciousness that is Jimmy Dean Delights


I just love a good crockpot meal that allows me to go to the beach, or have some time to read or watch a movie.  I have made these Braised Pork Carnitas twice now and we love them.  Both times, I omitted the salsa from the recipe and I have officially scratched it off my copy.  Mr. Helen likes it over white rice or in a wrap.  I like it in lettuce wraps with a bit of guacamole & chopped tomato on top.


We've had a few days of real summer weather this week (unlike last week with the overnights in the 40's).  I love it!  I've been sitting on the patio trying to soak up the sun, even if it's only an hour after work trying to get a bit of a base tan before my first beach excursion, which if all goes well, will happen tomorrow.  While I can't afford to go away right now, I decided I would take a vacation day and actually not do chores or get involved in any projects.  The whole plan for tomorrow is to get up, work out, go to beach and stay at beach until dinner.  Normally I would be fretting about being this pale and being in a bathing suit on a beach but I need this down time so bad I don't even care! Sunshine for the soul.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Whine and Tea

**** WHINE ALERT ****

I seem to have lost my exercise mojo.  Besides the awful winter we had, there has just been one thing after another life-wise. I've been thrown off and can't seem to find my way back. We started to get a bit of decent weather then it rained for 4 straight days and the morning temps were down in the 40s.  I had to pull some long sleeved shirts and a vest back out of my winter tote.  For about a month prior to last week, I'd been lucky to get 3 workouts in.  Then this week, when I finally could resume things as normal, it took sheer willpower to run 2 times and get in 3 workouts where I did 2 miles of walking and 30 minutes of strength and core training.  Sheer willpower as in I actually told myself 'out loud' that workouts were non-negotiable. I can honestly say I did not enjoy one single workout and spent the whole time wishing I was done.  I always wonder what that mental discouragement does to the effects of the workout on the body.  In any case, I just felt like I was going through the motions.  And then, I woke up on Saturday and had the thought that if I never exercised again, I didn't care.  This is so unlike me. Even when my eating has been off to the point where I'd out-eat my exercise, exercise has been my thing. A very weird place for me to be mentally and physically.

I think part of it is my continued discouragement with my weight and size.  I'm not gaining or losing, just sort of steadily maintaining the extra weight I don't want.  I try not to think about it but most every day as I get dressed, I feel upset about the things I have to wear right now and then I just feel sad about it.  Mr. Helen keeps telling me to to just let it go but I can't seem to do that.

I have also been wondering if this BLAH feeling is also the result of not having a vacation yet. Usually we vacation somewhere warm in May but this year put it off until August due to Little Helen's wedding. I keep not wanting to go to work - either job - so I think I'm really missing that break I would have had by now.

Whatever it is, I'm ready for it to be over with. I want to feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.


Ok, enough whining - how about some good news?

My sister, who is my daughter's maid of honor, decided to throw her a fancy tea for her bridal shower. Since she is the only attendant, my mother and I were going to help her, but then she found a place that would do a full on English High Tea at a very reasonable price. We figure between ingredients and our time, we'd probably spend about that much per person anyway.  It's a big old Inn and we are hoping the weather cooperates so we can have it on the patio which is shaded by huge trees.  If not they will accommodate us inside.  As the inn is about 15 miles from my house, I went and looked at the property and took a photo and video for my sister to see.

Outside of the Inn.  The patio is under that clump of trees on the left of the photo.

Patio Video

The Inn only has plain white cups and saucers so I told my sister that my contribution would be pretty tea cups and saucers.  I looked around at some yard sales and consignment shops but realized it was going to take much longer than I had to get that many together.  Then I went to Home Goods and found some for only $1 more than what the consignment shop wanted.  Unfortunately, I procrastinated while I looked around some more and by the time I went back, they only had 5 (I need to buy 30 and then return what we don't use).  I decided to stop at Marshall's since they're owned by the same corporation and got 3 more.  At that point I was trying to decide if I should just order them online for more than I wanted to pay when I remembered that 20 minutes south of my town there is another Home Goods/Marshall's.  After work last Tuesday, I drove there and hit the motherload!  I was able to buy another 22 sets and the best news is that I can return what we don't use at the Home Goods and Marshall's that are right around the corner from my house.  Now to just wait and see how many RSVP and then to decide which cups to use as we have all sorts of different patterns.  It should make the tables really pretty.

We are going to give each person the tea cup to take as their favor.  Fun, right?


My wedding outfit is complete and I have manicure, pedicure, and hair appointments all set.  I'm actually going to throw a few highlights into my hair and then on the wedding day, I'm getting an updo. Since Little Helen is getting married an hour away from where we live, I've been corresponding via text with the salon and stylist who will be doing my hair.  For once I've been thankful for that newfangled texting thing!

Here's a collage of my whole outfit plus what I'm going to do with my nails!

The last big thing that needs to be done is to get Mr. Helen to buy a suit.  Even though the wedding is about 6 weeks out, it's starting to feel like it's all over but the vows!  Which means it's only about 60 days to vacation.  Yeah, I'm definitely in countdown mode.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm Still Standing

Hello blogland.  I was beginning to think I might not ever blog again with all the craziness in my life.

The last two weeks have been sheer hell interesting.  Mr. Helen had his knee surgery and though done arthroscopically, the recovery has been slower due to how messed up the knee was once they got in there.  Not to mention, he'd already had surgery on this knee and there was scar tissue.

The first couple of days were fine, other than tiring for me as Mr. Helen completely depended on me for everything. I did so many trips up and down the stairs, that my FitBit was saying I was doing about 12,000 steps - and that was with no extra exercise!  On the 3rd day, I had to go back to work - both jobs - and while he wasn't quite as mobile as he had been with past surgeries, I set him up nicely before I left and told him to call if he needed help.  He never called but when I got home, I found him in a terrible state, with his thigh, calf, and knee swollen up as big as a basketball.  I had a fit and told him to call the doc to get in, but he wouldn't.  I felt terrible leaving him to go to my part time job but it was too late to get coverage so off I went.  When I got home, he was waiting for me to help him get upstairs to bed... and he was still miserable. That night, the leg was bothering him so much he couldn't lay down to sleep and tried to sleep standing up supported only by his crutches.  Thursday morning, I pretty much laid down the law and demanded that he call the doctor.

In the midst of all this, I was trying to sell the tickets to the concert that I probably should have tried to sell the minute they scheduled his surgery.  But he insisted he would be OK (and the other two times he'd had this surgery, he was mobile a week later), so I didn't.  Now it was literally 3 days before the concert and here I was with $250 worth of tickets.  The night that Mr. Helen didn't sleep, I had advertised the tickets both of Facebook (useless) and Craig's list.  I had 6 offers for full price through Craig's list and the first buyer was so determined to get the tickets he offered to drive from New Hampshire to Connecticut to pick them up on Thursday.

In order to be safe, I was having him meet me in the lobby at my office, so I had to go to work.  I told Mr. Helen if he got in with the doc, to call his father to take him because I had to go sell the tickets.

Are you beginning to get a picture of the stress bucket I was becoming?  Here, let me show you:

Fortunately, the ticket buyer showed up a full hour ahead of when he'd said he would and Mr. Helen got a late morning appointment with the doc so I was able to take him.  The doctor basically said he had swollen like that because the knee was so irritated internally, it released blood to try to protect itself.  He ended up draining 8 oz. of blood off, rewrapped his leg and sent us on the way.

Thankfully, that seemed to do the trick and Mr. Helen began to feel a bit better.

Because it was Memorial Day Weekend, I had taken Friday off as a vacation day long before the surgery was even scheduled. intending to have some fun time off.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans right?

I didn't have a fun-filled day, but I did get a whole bunch of things around the house done, as well as getting the patio open.  Longtime readers know my patio is a happy place for me, second only to the beach.

By the time I went back to work again on Tuesday, Mr. Helen was starting to act and move around more like previous surgeries so I felt confident he was on his way to recovering.  Over last week, he did seem to be a little better every day - and he even did a repair in the house that I've been asking him to do for NINE years!  Maybe this slower healing thing has it's advantages after all.

I guess another advantage to this two weeks of disruption and Mr. Helen constantly being home is that he said to me yesterday, "I had no idea how much you do on your days off.  You don't ever just get a whole day off do you?" Nice that he noticed.

Oh, and did I mention that in the midst of all that, I've also been helping to plan Little Helen's bridal shower? We are in true wedding count down mode now.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to our week on the beach and nothingness in August for sure.