24 January 2013

In Which I Know Best ...

Hello all!  I hope you are all staying warm and safe this week, since it sounds like it's cold/snowy/freezing in so much of the country.  As you already know, I have been waiting for winter weather, so my complaint is not with that.

This is a story about how I have been incredibly sick for the past week, and how it took way too much time and effort to get the right meds.

A week ago yesterday, I left work feeling kinda sick.  I thought it was because a co-worker who had just returned from a smoking break spent about half an hour in my office.  I had a funny taste, and my throat felt scratchy, and I was having a hard time breathing.  But then even once I got home, I just kept feeling worse.  Figured, well crap, I'm getting something, and then went to bed.

My usual morning routine on a work day is:  get up, feed starving felines, take Dug for a walk and feed him, shower, dress, fix and eat my own breakfast, go to work.  About two minutes into my walk with Dug, I knew that when I got home, I'd have to make myself a cup of tea and sit for a bit.  First I thought I would just go in late, but after about half an hour, realized it just wasn't happening.  Sent an e-mail to my boss, and to my dr's office, and went back to bed.

Thursday and Friday were just kind of a blur.  Coughing, chills, runny nose, congestion, the whole thing, and every once in a while, a slight fever.  Dr said he would prescribe something, and it is the same thing he prescribes every time I'm sick, which I learned through experience and another dr I saw in an emergency masks the symptoms.  Plus, I could not get more 1 1/2-2 hours of sleep at a time.  Now, I know from a lifetime of previous experience that the ONE THING that works for me, every single time, and gives me a chance to get sleep, is codeine cough syrup.  ALWAYS.

I asked the dr for some.  He said he thought it wasn't necessary (he usually says this for about two weeks).  Over the weekend, I called the on call dr, who was very sympathetic, but said I should add some over-the-counter meds to my prescription meds, and they would help.  Which of course they didn't.  So finally on Tuesday, I called the office again, and asked if someone - anyone, the janitor, the electrician, anyone - could take a listen to my lungs.  Because I felt no better, and was starting to worry that I had pneumonia.  They said that a nurse practitioner had time and since it was The Tim's day off, he took me right over.

She talked to me, went over things, and did an exam.  No pneumonia, thank goodness, but "severe exacerbation of asthma from a bad cold."  (I had no idea I had a cold!)  And most importantly, she prescribed codeine cough syrup.

Tuesday night, I slept the whole night, and yesterday, finally felt like I might live.  The dr told me to stay put until Monday, to be sure I'm doing better and so I can get some much-needed rest.

Today is the first day in a week when I felt like a human being again.  Granted, a human being who still feels like crap, but such a noticeable improvement!

I know that codeine is a controlled substance, and shouldn't be taken for anything and everything.  But for my entire existence it has been the one drug that allows me to get a decent amount of rest whenever I've had a bad cough.  And I always have to suffer for about 10 days at a minimum before the dr even considers it.

I can't decide if I should ask for a refill and hoard it, or switch drs.  Or both.  But thank God I feel better.  I can't remember ever feeling so terrible for so long.  For no reason.


14 January 2013

Staying Motivated

10 Tips for Sticking With Your Fitness Routine

I know I'm ahead of things, since it isn't Tuesday yet, but I won't be able to post tomorrow, and I wanted to share my thoughts about this week's topic.

I used to be a person who made fitness one of my New Year's resolution from time to time.  And usually by the end of January, I'd bagged the whole idea, and that was that.  Then, I was suddenly having major surgery twice in 5 months!  And spending a lot of time in physical therapy to recover.  Guess what? Not only did exercise help me recover from surgery, but it made me feel better, look better, and get so used to exercising, that I missed it when I didn't do it.

Over the years, I've stuck with it, though not always as dedicatedly, but as long as I'm still doing something actively, I think it's good.  So when this week's Ten on Tuesday topic was about sticking with your fitness routine, I decided to share.  Like most things, this may not work for you, but maybe there will be something here to make you give fitness a try.

1.  Tell someone your plan, or even better - post it on your blog!  If you are accountable to someone other than just yourself, you may be less likely to slack off.

2.  Set realistic goals.  So often, this is where I would fail.  But I've learned the hard way, that even if realistic doesn't sound life-changing, it may mean you'll actually do it.  For instance, due to our vacation and the holidays, I got a little bit carried away with my eating.  Rather than feel like nothing is worth it, I've decided to aim to lose 2 pounds a month.  That's not only realistic, it's even below the level of one pound a week that most doctors will recommend when you start trying to be fit.

3.  Reward yourself.  When I hit a goal, I treat myself with something small, but desired.  It can be anything, sometimes for me even a treat in the form of food - a couple of cookies, a bowl of ice cream.  Small amounts, but only if I've kept my promises to myself.

4.  Do something you LIKE TO DO.  I enjoy certain things at the gym or at home, but I also love to walk, and ride my bicycle.  Sometimes I just want to be left alone to do my thing.

5.  Make time for fitness.  I never ever used to be a morning person.  But after the aforementioned surgeries, when I would be awakened at 5:00 a.m. every morning when the doctors and medical students would be making their rounds, my internal clock reset itself.  So I got into the habit of getting up early every day, and exercising for about half an hour before anything else.  I usually manage about 3 times a week, and if nothing else, my walk with Dug gets me up and out early.

6.  Join a gym if you want to, or like group classes.  True, some gyms are ridiculously expensive, but often you can find a more reasonable one, and some allow you to take group classes for a slightly raised fee for non-members, even if you don't join up otherwise.

7.  Make yourself do it regularly for at least a month.  I know it sounds crazy, but once you get into the habit of it, it's a whole lot easier to stick to the plan.

8.   Find out if you can count on your spouse or a friend to join you, or at a minimum, be your cheerleader.  Encouraging words make a big difference.

9.  Look in the mirror.  It doesn't take long to look better.  And I don't mean look thinner, I mean look better.  More awake, healthier, and more comfortable in your body.

10.  If all else fails, make yourself walk someplace at least once a week.  Maybe around the block for half an hour.  Maybe up a couple of flights at work.  Or if you live someplace where it's possible to do so, take your walking shoes and take a walk at lunchtime during the workday.  I often walk for 1/2 hour.  Fifteen minutes, then I turn around and walk the way back, another fifteen minutes.  Then I still have half an hour for lunch.  Even this little bit can make a difference.

Remember though - if it all makes you so miserable that you only set yourself up for failure, you may need more than just suggestions to help you get healthier.

Good luck!

08 January 2013

Next on the List ...

I've been taking my time formulating my ideas for my goals and intentions for 2013.  Because, I finally realized that they are mine, and technically don't even need to be recorded for/reported to anyone else.  However, one of the main purposes I started this blog was to write for myself, and keeping track of goals and intentions is one way to check myself throughout the year without feeling like I may have forgotten something.

One of my intentions and goals has already been reached.  I was really itching to review my stash, and did so last weekend.  I try to do it at least twice a year, but I had decided that it was just time to say goodbye to yarns that, even if I loved them and they were beautiful, I was just not likely to ever use.  I decided I was going to be ruthless.  And though I could probably have been even more ruthless than I was, I had a lot of stuff to give away and/or sell.

First - the yarn, bags, needles to give to Interim House, here in Philadelphia.  They have a Knitting Club for their residents, and it is wildly popular.  As a result, they have a hard time keeping everyone in supplies!  (Last year, we collected for them at Christmastime at Rosie's, and it was a huge success.  This year, I didn't have my act together, so it was a no-go.)  Anyway, I decided that besides "lesser" yarns that I had, the knitters deserved some of the nicer stuff as well.  By the time I was finished, I had jam-packed two large boxes (the kind that bottles of wine are shipped in) with LOTS of goodies.

I always like knowing that I can find a new and good home for my yarn.  :-)

The yarn that I didn't send to Interim House, I was going to sell on Ravelry.  But then I realized that there was so much, by the time I photographed it, uploaded it, and described it, months might pass.  And the whole purpose of this exercise was to move things out of here NOW.  So, I've decided to so something a little bit different, and create "Mystery Boxes."  What are those?  Well, I'll take a few boxes, fill them with various yarns, and sell them for an all-inclusive price.  Any given box could contain laceweight yarn, sock yarn, a sweater's worth of yarn - you get the idea.  I queried a couple of Ravelry forums about this idea, and though some responses made it sound as if I were trying to send Komodo dragons in the mail they were so incensed at the idea, there were a lot of people who thought it sounded like fun.  I figure it's worth a try.  So stay tuned, 'cause I'll be posting the Mystery Boxes here for your perusal as well.

Reviewing my stash is such a good thing for me.  It reminds me of what I already have, what I can let go, and what things I am likely to actually use.  I am really going to try my best to knit from my stash as much as it's possible this year, and ideally, I would like to have made a reasonable dent in the remaining stash by the time I am ready to review it again.  Granted, some of the yarn is already designated for specific projects, but unless those projects actually get started or finished, the yarn isn't going anywhere, right?

Next up: trying to decide what to knit/who to knit for this year.  That's gonna take me a little bit longer to determine.  But I'm on my way!

06 January 2013

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Well, here we are on the twelfth and last day of Christmas.  Always a little bit sad for me, as it is my most favorite time of the year.  But then again, I always have to remind myself that if Christmastime was all of the time, it wouldn't be any big deal.

At least now, we have something special to celebrate on January 6, which makes the end of Christmastime a little bit easier to take.  Because exactly one year ago today, Dug the Doodle Dog officially became a member of our family!

He has been a wonderful addition!  When we adopted him, the vet said he was probably four years old, so we are saying this is his fifth birthday.  After dinner, we'll have some presents and treats, and give him extra hugs and kisses.  Now it seems hard to think about a time when he wasn't here.  

Everyone says that he is so lucky to have been rescued, and that is true.   But I think we all know who was luckiest in this whole situation.  :-)

Happy Birthday, Dug, we love you!

02 January 2013

First Set of Plans

Hello everyone!  I am hoping that you all had a happy new year's eve and day, and had a chance to celebrate but not too much.  I was sick the whole time, but let's not go into that now.  Rather, let's move on.

Even though Christmastime is still here for a few more days, it's time to get thinking but plans for 2013.  The first plans I'm sharing with you here are two reading challenges I've decided to join.  A few years back, I joined a few reading challenges (too many to be honest), and I enjoyed them very much.  But I didn't want to do it again right away, so that it wouldn't suddenly feel like I'm back in school and *having* to read certain things.  But over the last week, I found a couple that I've decided to try this year.

First up:  2013 TBR Pile Challenge

I've read blogs where people have participated in this challenge, and it always sounded like fun.  This year, I was convinced to give it a try because Lorette posted about it, and I decided it was just plain time for me to do it as well.  (Plus, I *heart* Lorette.)

And here are the books I'm going to try to read over the next year as part of this one.

1.  Ines of My Soul  - Isabelle Allende
2.  Girls Like Us – Sheila Weller
4.  TheHappiness Project – Gretchen Rubin (Goodreads review)
5.  Truth and Beauty – Ann Patchett (Goodreads review)
6.  The Queen and I – Sue Townsend
7.  TheImperfectionists – Tom Rachman (Goodreads review)
8.  TheHouse at Riverton – Kate Morton  (Goodreads review)
10. Travels in the Scriptorium  - Paul Auster
11. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. – Sam Wasson
12. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen

1.   All Our Worldly Goods – Irene Nemirovsky       
2.   World Enough & Time – Christian McEwen

These are all books I have either on my shelves or on my Nook, and this will mean I will finally get to reading them!

I'm joining this challenge because DUH.  Ireland + Reading = YAY!  This one will give me a chance to read some books I've wanted to read, while also introducing me to some new Irish authors.  Win-win, right??

This one has levels, and though I would have liked to chosen more, I decided to start with the Luck o' the Irish Level (6 books).  And here is that list:

2.  Dracula  - Bram Stoker
4.  Broken Harbor – Tana French
5.  Gallows Lane – Brian McGilloway
7.  Molly Fox’s Birthday – Deirdre Madden
8.  A Star Called Henry – Roddy Doyle

I love to read, and I love learning about new books, series, authors, and I found that joining these challenges is one way to do that pretty easily.

So, you'll probably be hearing about these books and others as I start my way through my new year reading.  I just can't wait to see how I do!

(P.S. When I am editing the post, it shows the text the way I want it to look.  On publication, the font changes in the second part.  I've tried to fix it, and I can't get it to work, so let's just pretend it's all OK ... )

01 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My wish for you this year is that - no matter what terrible things happened before - that you look at 2013 as nothing but possibility.