Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hobbit-ish Potpurri:

Howdy Humble Readers...

We're beginning to feel a little like Noah around here and wondering if we need to build an ark.  Another few days, and I may have to start checking for moss between my toes.  It's been raining pretty much for a week.  The upshot is that the grass is nice and green, but I'm getting a little tired of walking in the rain every morning.  I'm trying to remember how I managed when I lived in Seattle for four years.  All the rain never really bothered me then.  Hmmm...

I had an appointment with Dr. B today.  Just another follow-up on my blood sugars.  He's very happy with my sugars, and my weight loss (47 pounds down!).  He basically told me that he normally sees diabetic patients once a month for at least 6 months as they adjust and commit to the changes they need to make, but he doesn't need to see me again until I need a refill on my prescriptions (sometime early August).  Woohoo!  My blood pressure was a little high today, but he chalked that up to the lingering cough.  We did talk about my goal of being med free (at least for the high blood pressure) by my 40th birthday a little over a year from now, and he's very confident that I can get there easily.  So long as I stay on track. 

Pippin has cut two teeth in the past week.  So with the congestion from the cold he's still got, and the runny nose stuff from teething, my life has been all about snot the past few days.  You know, I can handle the poop, vomit, and pee.  But drool and snot just make my skin crawl.  Ick. 

Ginny has been doing really well with her letters and numbers, being able to name all her uppercase letters for the last few months.  Recently she's started figuring out that there's an order to them all, and has begun counting to 10 by rote, as well as singing the alphabet song.  This week I started working with her on recognizing her name printed out.  We had some dollar store beach balls from Pip's birthday party, so on one of them I wrote out all our names in block letters, and she's gotten very good at picking out her name.  I toss her the ball, and when she catches it she has to find the name I say.  Next we'll start working on lowercase letters. 

AF is here, and true to form, she's been a little strange.  For the last 6 months or so, there has been a lot of spotting before and after, and killer (KILLER!!!) cramps.  This month, no spotting, hardly any cramps (mostly just a backache)... just 'hey I'm here' and that's it.  Could this be due to getting my sugars under control?  Being more physically active?  Or simply that it's been a year since Pip was born and my body is getting back to normal?  Probably a bit of all three, but still it's strange. 

Planning on buying myself a new pair of shoes for walking this weekend, maybe some more yoga pants for when I'm working out, and a belt!  Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've owned a belt?  The capris that I bought at the beginning of April are already getting to be too big, and the jeans I got in January are starting to slip when I walk (especially if I've got my keys or phone in my pocket).  Since another wardrobe of pants isn't in the budget, a belt will have to do the trick.  I haven't worn a belt in more than 20 years.  I'm super excited.  Dorky, huh?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pippin Update: A Whole Year

Hey Humble Readers...

Well, better late than never, right?  I'm finally getting things together to tell you about Pippin's first birthday party.  I still can't get over the fact that he's a full year old now.  How has it been a year since that crazy nightmare C-section, since my crazy-lady roommate in the hospital, since bringing him home on Mother's day? 
Spent a couple of hours the night before blowing up a ridiculous
number of balloons.
 For his birthday, I had decided ages ago that we were going with a beach/surf theme and I wanted to use royal blue and orange for the main colours (totally not even thinking about the fact that those are Oilers colours, and we are a Flames household... my sister and BIL thought this was hilarious as they are big Oilers fans). 
 On the menu were spicy grilled shrimp skewers, fruit kabobs, chips (sea salt and vinegar of course!), gold fish crackers (for Ginny), cake, and a cocktail called a pineapple smash (pineapple juice, white cranberry juice, and vermouth) for the grown ups. 
Graham crumb sand, and blue sprinkles for the water

Took forever to find the little umbrellas
 I'm really happy with how the cake turned out, as I am not a baker or a great cake decorator.  Of course I got the idea off Pinterest, and with surrounding the outside with kitkat bars, it made it soooo easy.  The cake was chocolate raspberry, with raspberry jam (low sugar of course) in the middle.  Pippin totally went to town on his piece, ending up with cake up his nose and in his ear. 
"Happy Birthday to you!"
Ginny loves the Happy Birthday song so much that she's been singing happy birthday to Pip since April.  And yes, she's still singing it, more than two weeks after his birthday.
mmmmm... cake!

more please?
He was spoiled rotten.  I had told most of the family that what he really needed was summer clothes, and they came through.  He got a ton of tshirts, shorts, and muscle shirts.  And couple toys and books thrown in there too. 

opening gifts with Daddy

Lookin' like a little old farmer

of course he wanted to play with the paper
It was a relatively small gathering, just the four of us, Gramma (Beloved's mom), Mama (my mom), my sister and her husband and kids.  Still we had fun celebrating our little man.   By four o'clock our hobbit hole was ours again, he was bathed, redressed, and we were all resting.  I can't imagine what it's going to be like when we start having birthday parties with tons of kids.  I'll be a mess.  :)
official 1 year portrait

how can you not love this face?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Night Chit-Chat: Under Quarantine

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Well, another weekend down the toilet, thanks to the crud.  I'm still coughing like an 80-year-old with a bad case of emphysema.  Ginny is still barking like a seal.  And now poor Pippin has got the wretched cough to add to his intense teething and drooling (cut 2 teeth...FINALLY... on Thursday).  The only hold out is my Beloved, but he rarely ever gets sick.  I can only think of twice in the past seven years that he's been sick, beyond some sniffles.  What I wouldn't give to have his immune system. 

Oh, and to add insult to injury... my regular cough medicine (safe for high blood pressure and diabetes) was recalled back in January due to a packaging flaw, and hasn't been available since.  What am I supposed to do without my Buck.ley's???

I did, finally after missing five days, get a walk in this morning.  But while I didn't go my usual 6km, I think I overdid it, because during breakfast I got really light-headed and ended up needing to lie down for the rest of the morning.  I will walk again tomorrow, but I'm going to take it slower. 

The good news?  Well, at least it's stopped raining. 
Well, this was supposed to be a nice little shot of Ginny and I.
Gotta love toddlers... :)
Onto this week's Chit Chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading...  Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister.  It's an enjoyable little book, a follow-up to School of Essential Ingredients.  I think you all know by now that I'm a foodie, and this book speaks that that aspect of me in a big way.  A sort of collection of stories about a group of people all connected by way of a small restaurant (and the cooking classes the owner offers), this a book for those who enjoy cooking.  My only complaint is that I think one or two of the characters could be a little less introspective... everyone in the stories spends a great deal of time living inside their heads. 

Watching... I'm sad that there's no more Call The Midwife or Mr. Selfridge now for quite a while, but the season/series finale of Smash is on tonight, so I need to see how they tie up all the strings.

Listening to... Ginny talking about her shadow-girl. 

Cooking/Baking...  I'm so glad that I planned an easy supper for tonight.  My Lazy Sausage Casserole.  Italian sausage, taters, carrots, fennel, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, green pepper, garlic, and some herbs and balsamic vinegar all roasted together.  I love how it makes the hobbit hole smell like a pizzeria.

Happy I accomplished this week... I got Ginny registered for her first ever 'program'.  She's going to be doing a parent and tot gymnastics camp of sorts this summer.  I know, by some standards, I'm behind on getting her involved in something like this, but I have my reasons (budget, transportation, etc).  Part of the issue is that her birthday is in November, and so many programs required her to be 2 by September of last year for enrollment.  I've also discovered a music program that I may enroll both Ginny and Pip in for the fall. 

Looking forward to next week... Getting back to a regular schedule once we kick the crud to the curb.  I also have an appointment with Dr. B, and I'm hoping that he will be very pleased with my blood sugars.  I'm going to request that he do a blood pressure check as well, because I'm wondering if my hbp meds are too high. 

Thankful for today... my Beloved.  He doesn't shy away from jumping in and taking care of things when I'm out of commission.  He takes such good care of us. 

***Bonus Question*** What chore around the house do you 'dislike' the most?  I know I've said this before, but I despise laundry.  It's never finished.  It takes an absurd amount of time from beginning to end.  Only to have to start all over. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Pop over and check out what the other's are chatting about this evening, or better yet, jump in yourself and join the conversation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Police Action In the Shire

Hey Humble Readers...

It was a bit of an exciting afternoon here at the hobbit hole. 

Around noon I noticed a couple of police cruisers blocking off the cross street directly across from our front window.  By three o'clock things had gotten more serious. 
Taken from our balcony.

Tactical vehicles, a mobile command center, and a paddy wagon, along with countless unmarked cars had poured into our neighbourhood. 

Apparently, according to one of the many neighbours who were hanging out on our front lawn to watch, there was a raid on a drug house down the block, and the dealer was waving his shotgun around out his front door, and aiming at the RCMP officers.  There were several loud bangs (not shots, but perhaps those flash-bang things).

Shortly after four o'clock, the Mounties must have gotten their man, because all the vehicles started to high tail it out of here, starting with the paddy wagon. 

The really scary thing is, there was a very similar situation on the same block almost one year ago exactly. 

Is it any wonder that I want to move?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Spring Fever

Howdy Humble Readers...

Spring fever indeed.  Ginny and I are both suffering with the crud... sinus congestion, hacking cough.  Ginny seems to be okay most of the time, until she throws a tantrum (she is two, after all) or eats something.  Me, on the other hand... oy.  So much for a fun extra long weekend. 

The crud has been taking it's toll on my new exercise routine.  There's no way I can walk 6km+ when I'm hacking up a lung.  And quite frankly, I don't have the energy to do it.  It's also wreaking havoc on my stick-to-it-ivness as far as the diet is concerned.  I haven't given in yet, but it's getting harder.  All I want are my old comfort foods... potatoes, fries, pasta, bread (and not just my low carb stuff.  I want a thick slab of brioche with strawberry jam).  MUST.  STAY.  STRONG.  I've even relaxed my self-imposed ban on artificial sweeteners, just to help manage the pressing need for sweet.  Diet Dr. Pepper, anyone?  The lack of exercise, and the cold itself are making an impression on my blood sugars, not for the better. 

Are all toddlers/preschoolers more than a little bit OCD?  Or is it just Ginny?  I swear it's getting worse.  The toys from her farm set CANNOT intermingle with her toys from her airplane set.  And heaven help Pippin if he messes with her tea set or picnic basket once she gets them set up.  Certain books have to be on particular shelves (ok, she may have gotten that from her mummy) or she will throw a fit.  Meal times can be a challenge at the best of times (where oh where did my good little eater go?), and if she gets the wrong colour utensil or plate?  Yikes!  Please tell me this is a phase. 

A couple of you asked, so here it is... my thoughts on the new Star Trek movie.  I loved it!  (Technical difficulties at the theater notwithstanding... ended up getting a free movie pass because the sound was messed up so I can go see it again.  With my Beloved this time.)  I thought that it was spectacularly well done, and the story was awesome.  Like the first in this reboot series, it's very accessible to new Trek fans, and still honours the original.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but there are some great tributes to the original series.  And of course, the eye candy in the movie is outstanding.  :)  I never would have thought that I would find a Vulcan attractive.

I've given up on "The Purchase" by Linda Spalding.  I got 150 pages in, and it was just too depressing.  I swear, if I wanted to read about Job I would read about him in the Bible.  Life is too short to read boring maudlin books.  I've moved on to "Shepherd's Abiding" by Jan Karon (second to last in the Mitford series), and I picked up a couple of books at the library yesterday that I'm looking forward to reading... "Lost Art Of Mixing" by Erica Bauermeister and "Winter Palace" by Eva Stachniak.   What are you reading right now? 

It was supposed to stay nice all day today, but the clouds are rolling in.  I would guess that we're in for some rain earlier than anticipated.  It suits how I'm feeling.  Maybe once the wee-lings are settled for their afternoon naps, I'll get a chance to curl up on the couch with my book and a cup of tea. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Broken Record

Hey Humble Readers...

Are you still out there?  Even after I dropped off the face of the earth?  **sigh**

Apparently... obviously... I have been in a real blogging slump for the last few months, and I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to break out of it.  I want to blog.  I need to blog.  In an effort to get myself back into the routine, I have signed up for ICLW for this month.  Hopefully it will give me the kickstart I need to get back at it. 

Other than my bloggy-suckiness, things in the Shire are pretty good.  My seasonal allergies and this spring cold that I'm battling are proof positive that spring really has sprung here on the frozen flatland.  It's a long weekend here north of the 49th parallel, and because he worked some overtime at the beginning of the month, my Beloved gets an extra-extra-long weekend.  He doesn't have to be back in the office until Wednesday afternoon!  Yay! 

In diabetes/weight loss news... my sugars have been really good for the most part.  There have been a couple of blips, but there were obvious reasons (like Pip's birthday party).  I'm walking a little over 6.2km every morning.  I am a hair away from being down 42lb.  The new capris that I just bought at the beginning of last month are getting too big. 

A one-year-old Pippin, post-cake. 
If you look closely, you can see cake in his ear.
I'll do a full post with lots of pics in a day or so.

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I'm almost finished "Plan D" by Sherri Sheppard.  I've found it a bit repetitive and more conversational in tone than I like for non-fiction, but I have gotten a few good ideas and some good encouragement.  I'm also reading a historical novel called "The Purchase" about an excommunicated Quaker, his family, and the young slave they 'mistakenly' buy.  It's interesting, but slow.  I'm hoping it picks up soon.

Listening to - My Beloved, chuckling to himself as he watches youtube clips.

Watching - My Sunday night usuals... Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge (if I can stay awake that long).

Cooking/Baking - Because it was a bit cooler today, I decided to do what will likely be my last big Sunday night supper until the autumn.  Braised short ribs (done in tomatoes and sherry, with carrots, celery, garlic, and onion), mashed potatoes (with sour cream and horseradish), and roasted mushrooms and zucchini.  Was very yummy! 

Happy I accomplished this week - I've hit 10000+ steps every day for the last ten days.  We also went to the first farmer's market of the season yesterday.  It was a nuthouse!  They've expanded this year so there is room for a lot more vendors, but even so it was still crazy, especially trying to navigate the double stroller through the crowds.  Treasures from the day included two new pairs of pretty jewelled flip-flops for me (2 for $20), some fresh zucchini and cucumbers, and some illicit chocolate chip cookies.  Also got to go to a movie (Star Trek) last night with some girlfriends, and then out to a pub afterward. 

Looking forward to next week - Some fun family time.  Tomorrow it's off to a park for some play time on the grass (something that doesn't happen often enough, given our neighbourhood), and Tuesday we're taking the wee-lings to the library.  Ginny hasn't been in ages, and will likely go mad for all the books.  Thinking about going garage sale-ing next weekend. 

Thankful for today - Sunshine, rain, and green tea.

***Bonus Question*** Do you like your name? Would you change it if you could?  I've never liked my name.  It's gender neutral, and that has caused me no end of grief.  In fact, one of my BIL has the same name.  I would love to change it, but it would be bizarre at this stage of the game. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Why not pop over and check out what others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: One Extreme To The Other

Good Evening Humble Readers...

I'm hoping you've all had a lovely weekend.  Ours was busy but good.  Errands, housework, an impromptu date night, church, and a fun/interesting afternoon today (more on that later) made for a lot of running around, but it was good. 

First and foremost, we have had the most astounding change in our weather.  Tuesday we had a daytime high of 1C.  Today we got up to 28C... from winter to summer in the span of six days.  While I'm going for my walks I've noticed that the trees are finally sporting green buds!  Hooray!  It's supposed to get back to seasonal by midweek, but tomorrow is supposed to be another hot one. 

My Beloved and I decided, rather on the spur of the moment to go out this weekend.  MIL came to spend time with the wee-lings, and we did a little antiquing (just window shopping, trying to find some interesting/affordable pieces), went for dinner, and to a movie.  It was fun, and I did splurge a little bit on dinner (felt it later) but I did enjoy it.  We went to see "42" as well... fabulous movie.  I loved it! 

The highlight of my weekend was this afternoon.  One of the local malls was hosting a sort of antiques roadshow.  I heard about it on the radio a few weeks ago, and made an appointment to have my family heirloom violin appraised (you can read about the violin here).  The gentleman who was looking over my family treasure was intrigued by the history of the violin, even more so when he spent some time looking for my grandfather's great uncle in multiple lists of British violin makers and through auction records and not finding anything about him.  It fits with the story that I've been told that he was a cabinet maker by trade.  The appraiser speculated that the violin may be something that Frederick Barnes may have made it as an apprentice or perhaps as a hobby.  Because there were no auction records and nothing about Barnes in the lists of UK violin makers, it's hard to establish a value.  However, he said that it was beautifully constructed and even with the damage and repairs that happened when I was a child, he felt that it could easily be worth up to $3500.  It's nice to know how much it's worth, but it will never be sold.  It belongs to the wee-lings now.  I simply hold it in trust.  I just hope to hear one of them play it.  I long to hear it make music. 

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I just finished "In This Mountain" by Jan Karon early this morning.  Now I'm onto "Plan D" by Sherri Shepherd.  It's about her journey with type 2 diabetes and how she has managed to go from medication to controlling the disease with diet and exercise alone.  I'm hoping to get some insights and ideas, and hopefully laugh a bit too.

Watching - Call the Midwife (tonight's episode was particularly heart-wrenching.  Poor Sister Bernadette), Mr. Selfridge, and Bletchley Circle.  I love Sunday nights on PBS!

Listening to - the neighbours thumping up and down the stairwell.  There was a break-in in the building (a basement unit on the back side of the building) on Friday, and I'm finding I'm a bit hyper-aware of the outdoor sounds now. 

Cooking/Baking - Typical Sunday night fare... lemon dill roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, gravy.  I did a bit of baking this weekend too... I was on the volunteer list for church this weekend, to make the communion bread.  I tried a recipe I haven't used in a while, to make a brioche loaf.  It tasted great, very eggy and yummy, but the shape of the loaf was a bit off.  Looked a little funny when our pastor was holding it up at the front of the church.  That's what I get for trying to be fancy, I guess. 

Happy I accomplished this week - I hit my 10000 steps!  Yesterday and today.  I don't know how I'll manage it during the week, but with errands and grocery shopping it was easy to get there the last couple of days. 

Looking forward to next week - I'm half excited/half dreading Pippin's birthday on Friday.  How is it that my baby boy is a year old???  I'm hoping that the party comes off okay. 

Thankful for today - The fact that the Big D is coming into line.  That I have this chance to change my future and my health. 

****Bonus Question**** What are the top 3 things on your to do list for next week?  Wash all the windows.  Clean the blankety-blank fridge.  Bake a cake!


This has been posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over to see what the others are chatting about tonight, or even better yet, join in!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A *Surprising* Doctor Appointment

Howdy Humble Readers...

I can't believe what I'm about to say. 

(If you've been around here a while, you know that I'm not terribly happy with our family doctor, the underwhelming Dr. B.  His dismissive attitude when I went through my miscarriages and his brusque bedside manner made for a bad start to our doctor/patient relationship.  Unfortunately, the way the medical system works here makes it extremely difficult to change doctors.  Anywho...)

I just had a great doctor appointment. 

(let that sink in)

It was awesome. 

Dr. L, the doc who diagnosed me with diabetes two weeks ago, had been adamant that I have a follow up appointment with Dr. B.  So, I printed off my blood sugar/exercise chart and my food diary and headed downtown this morning feeling a bit anxious. 

Maybe it's just me, but I have always felt that there is a lot of judgement out there in the world at large about type 2 diabetes.  It's not like type 1, where you can't help it.  Whenever I read an article or see a report on tv about type 2 diabetes, there always seems to be an attitude of "well, you did this to yourself you lazy fatso" (and no matter how true that is, no one wants to hear that).  So, given all that, and my less than stellar relationship with Dr. B, I was sure I was in for a sermon about diet and exercise. 

At the beginning of the appointment, before I had a chance to say much, Dr. B was going to add ANOTHER medication to my lineup, possibly even insulin.  When I was able to ask him to look at my blood sugar chart, he changed his tune. 

He actually started smiling.  He asked where I had gotten the chart and where I was getting my information, I told him that I had just set it up myself and that I was using reputable websites to get my carb information along with measuring everything.  I also told him that I was working toward my 10000 steps a day, and that I had just passed the 35 pound mark for weight loss (check out my new ticker up there on the right!). 

He asked me where I got my motivation.  My answer was simple (albeit a tad cheesy).  I want to be around when Ginny and Pip graduate high school and be at their weddings.  I told him I want to be off the high blood pressure medication by the time I'm 40 (a year and four months away).  I want to be managing my diabetes with just diet and exercise in two years.  And along with those goals, I want to get to a healthy weight. 

I'm not targeting what the BMI chart says I should weigh, because I think that would be too extreme for my frame.  I'm shooting for somewhere in the 160s, but I'm not thinking seriously about that yet.  I have a long way to go to get there, and I know me.  I need smaller, more achievable short term goals. 

After I prattled on for a few minutes, with Dr. B just smiling away, he looked at me and asked if I would consider coming to talk at a town hall meeting that he's heading up next month.  He wants me to talk about motivation and exercise, not from a doctor/medical perspective, but from a real person perspective.  To be honest about the challenges and the rewards of it all.  (oh yeah, there's going to be about 100 people there... Yikes!)

To say the least, I was floored. 

I walked out of that appointment laughing, the exact opposite of my appointment with Dr. L two weeks ago.  Talk about unexpected. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Spring in the Shire

Howdy Humble Readers...

I'm hoping that you're all doing well, wherever you are.  I haven't been commenting much lately, but I do promise to improve that, and please know that I am reading and following what's up in your parts of the world!

Spring has sprung in the Shire.  Finally!!  Warmer temps are here most days, and it feels good to be able to have the windows and doors open on the hobbit-hole.  I confess, I did have to turn the furnace back on yesterday (if it had just been me, I would have just put on a couple of sweaters and sucked it up, but the wee-lings were cold and that changes everything).  Another sign of spring... my snow mold allergy has kicked in.  Oh well.  It means that summer will get here eventually. 

I have had a miniscule interlude of single parenting.  My Beloved had to go out of town for work (to be on-site at the part of the company that he does the accounting for... does that make sense?).  He has been gone one night, but I sure do miss him.  He should be home in the next hour or so, and I'm very glad.  I really don't know how the multitude of single parents out there do it, and do it well. 

For the last couple of days, my morning workout has consisted of doing workout videos (can't go for my walk and leave the wee-lings at home alone, and if I don't do it early in the morning, it just doesn't happen).  I've realized just what it is about workout videos that I don't like.  The host/trainer.  The fake cheerleading/encouragement/patronizing commentary.  It gets on my nerves and makes me want to spew a string of expletives at the screen.  I'm going to have to get past it, though.  Because once there's snow on the ground again in the fall, I'm not going to be able to go for walks.  Any good recommendations?

INPUT NEEDED: Plans for wee little Pip's birthday party are coming together.  I'm struggling with the menu though.  We are doing a beach/surf's up theme party, and for the life of me I can't decide on what to serve.  I have the cake figured out, but other than that, I'm hooped.  I've been toying with the idea of shrimp or fish mini-tacos, but I'm not sure.  It's an afternoon party, so it doesn't need to be too much in the way of food, but I still want something yummy and beachy.  Any thoughts?

Something I'm pondering today... can diabetes have an affect on my cycle?  And vice-versa?  For the last few months, AF has been, well, odd.  I start getting cramps about 3 days before she actually shows up.  I was fully expecting her to show up on Sunday, because I had wicked cramps for a few hours (needed my heating pad).  The cramps died down a bit, but she didn't actually make an appearance until today.  Odd.  And my sugars, which had been going in the right direction, yesterday jumped up for no apparent reason.  Hmmmm...

Well, I have to go get to work on supper.  Crock pot beef with broccoli on brown rice, with broccoli slaw.  Yummy!