Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wish I knew what was causing what

When you go on vacation, you have to plan for everything you might need.  We knew we needed stuff for the beach, which included beach towels, a blanket, rash guards, sunscreens of different levels, goggles and two suits each. We needed clothes and while it didn't sound like 4 shorts each and 7 shirts was too much for 3.5 weeks, it seems we have double what we need for clothes.  We needed books and games for midday and evenings and computers to stay in touch and work during off times.

As a woman, I have to plan for my monthly cycle and of course, think about contraception.  Last month I was pretty sure I didn't ovulate, but wasn't sure as the past few months have been less obvious and my period was 4-5 days late.  This month, with so much going on, I didn't write down dates so I was really shooting in the dark. But I had to be prepared with feminine products.  And with not k owing when it would start, every time we go anywhere, I have to bring my emergency supply with me in my purse.  By now, I am at least 10 days late.  Again, I don't think I ovulated... And maybe this is my first true menopausal month?  Or... Is it my thyroid?

I was also having some serious hot flashes. Like bad. So much so that I thought I would go crazy if I had to go through years of hot flashes all day long, many times a day. These seemed to have mostly subsided, but no period. While theoretically I could be pregnant, I know I'm not. As always, My husband and I are careful, and with a crazy month, there wasn't much time or desire for fun in bed, though it did happen, but it's not even in my thoughts as a possibility. It's either my thyroid or menopause.  Only learning my thyroid levels in September, will I know.

Wouldn't it be ironic if I started skipping my period with menopause during vacation in Croatia?  I learned of two of my three pregnancies while in Croatia (and also started miscarrying during one of the same vacations).  I've only been in this country 5 times and to have 3 major fertility things happen during those vacations?  That's a little weird!  Others milestones happened in other times we've been here too.  1995 found out I was  pregnant with our first, 1997, oldest potty trained himself while on vacation. In 2001 we found out I was pregnant and then miscarried during that vacation.  2006, our younger son started eating solids for the first time (after months of trying at home beforehand).  And now in 2012, I am perhaps missing my first period due to menopause. Weird stuff!  No such big milestones happened during other vacations - only the ones to Croatia!

But, perhaps, it's not menopause and just a messed up thyroid.  I'll find out soon enough.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finally a post from vacation!

Well, we are about halfway through our vacation.  We spend one day in Zagreb, the capital of croatia and wheree my husband is from.  We quickly met up with the kid's grandfather, aunt and cousins and my mother-in-laws two best friends and then we were off to Biograd which is a seaside tourist area. The first week we were supposed to be able to get access to the internet, but it turned out that while, we "could get it" we used up so much of the allowed limit that we basically could check weather and my husband the family email account to make sure everything was ok with the house and the bank/bill payments.  That was when we were at the sea side on the coast. We spent a week on the seaside. Our plans had to change quite a bit because of the weather.  Unbelievably we had 4 days of bad weather.  Basically unheard of in July on the coast. We were able to salvage 3 days by making city road trips.  One was to a town called Sibenik. We went to the old cathedral, a fortress and then had the most fabulous dinner.  We all enjoyed, but my oldest son agreed with me that my dish was the best. Of course, I can't find it online, but I'll try to find it to make it at home.  It was called sibenski takuin. Yum!

Eating has been ok.  Not great, and definitely heavy on the bread as getting access to the food I'm used to eating isn't in great supply on the seaside and definitely not on the island we are currently on.

We swim every day and walk and just enjoy.  We are currently on the island Mljet. Search for pictures.  It is as beautiful as you will see.  And now I'm off to go swimming with the family.  I'll update again tomorrow now that I have Internet!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Last day... going on vacation!

And I took photos, HOWEVER... no time to post them. Hopefully the yard/flower beds will be in decent shape when I get back. If not I can look back and say, "Well, it 'was' nice!"

I've had so little sleep and my brain is so foggy. It's that long term lack of sleep going on right now too. Reminds me so much of when we had a young baby. I don't miss that feeling. Young baby? Pfft.... for us, it meant someone was still in diapers - as they were HORRIBLE sleepers. So glad that this sleep deprivation will come to an end right quick. I can't handle many more days of this!

I think everything is set. I sure hope so as I'm about out of time. Just time for a shower, buying a couple ebooks and making dinner and doing those dishes - then off to the airport and then overseas. WOW!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Posting in the middle of packing hell

Can I say hell in a blog? Well, I just did - as it fits!

Finally getting down to packing. Mostly finished with gathering it all. Stuff from the bathroom and electronics take the most time. Clothes are the easy part! Count out the underwear, shirts, shorts and your good. A little thought has to go into it, of course, but it's not in the same category of getting organized as getting the toothbrushes and sunscreens and hair stuff and all that crap we think we need.

It was really nice a minute ago to cross a line through the majority of the list. I'm not going to bed until I have the rest packed... I know I won't sleep if I don't get it packed and that defeats the purpose of trying to go to sleep! Ack!

I haven't even really waited until the last minute - it's just a lot to ready! The yard, the house, the laundry, the refrigerator, etc. YIKES!

Yep, we will crash on the plane tomorrow - for sure. And on the 3 hour layover in Munich.

But, it's all going smoothly, so far. Fingers crossed that it stays that way. No sign of new poison ivy either and I got a bit scared after digging in the cul de sac when I saw some poison ivy and wasn't sure if there was more of it we didn't see! I've had enough of that for a long time and poison ivy and a beach vacation just doesn't sound like a good combination, does it?

Well... I'm off... don't know if I'll get to posting tomorrow or not. I hope so as I want to show my yard's mostly finished state, but we'll see how the battle of the clock goes!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Today I moved the sand pile - a half ton approximately. I had ordered a ton and we've used about half of it so far.

I also cleaned up the garage for the car to go back in, and then I got the driveway all picked up and cleaned off. I haven't seen the driveway cleared off in more than two months. It started so innocently - a few shady perennials for the side yard, but then I kept seeing all these wonderful full sun perennials and I had to make room for some! Boy, did I create PROJECTS for myself.

I hope to get some pictures up of it tomorrow. That's if I get all the packing done early enough!

Today I also cut my little guys hair, helped my husband with his hair cut and did laundry. I want it all done and caught up and also all done so that we have everything we could possibly want for vacation.

And then I made the dinner I've been craving like mad for a couple weeks.  Here it is:

A toasted and buttered pumpernickel bagel sandwich with cracked pepper turkey breast deli meat, imported swiss cheese, farmers market tomatoes, green peppers, bib lettuce, purple onion, applewood smoked bacon, fresh dill sandwich slicer pickles and avocado slices. O. M. G. YUM!  We used to eat this lunch ever Saturday after farmers market. I always went to the farmers market at 9 am, brought that stuff home, went out to the grocery store, brought that stuff home and then made this sandwich for the family for a hearty lunch. Though, usually without the bacon. Bacon was a special treat as it was dinner!

Tomorrow will be farmers market sage pork sausage and roasted beets and a tomato salad. The tomato salad probably doesn't fit with the flavors, but I got a whole bunch super cheap and we should eat them up (why slightly blemished tomatoes sell for 18 cents a pound versus the $1.50 pretty ones cost, I have no idea. We're not talking bad spots, but birthmarks, basically.) Then on Tuesday it will be the 'eat up what we have in the house day'. I'm hoping I won't need to go to the grocery store for any last minute emergency shopping, but we'll see.

It's getting to the frantic end before a long vacation. But the yard stuff is done for now.... now it's just what's on the side for fall and believe me, there's plenty to do in the fall too!

Stats for 6/15/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 169.6

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Got a haircut today

I was waffling back and forth with getting a haircut or not before leaving on vacation. I like the ease of long hair. Pull it up and go - simple as that. But, when it's shorter, I can wear it down more easily too and it will be easier to deal with it shorter while on vacation and dealing with sea water (which I had a horrible time with when I had really long hair).

I don't recall the last time I had a haircut. I just remember thinking the next time I should get one would be when we were getting ready to leave for vacation. I want to say it was about 5 months ago. My hair grew quite a bit in that time and either my hair grows faster than most people's hair grows, or I lose track of time more than I realize. She cut off about 3 inches of hair... I guess that's about 6 months of growth, so 5-6 months ago is about right. 3 inches just seems like a lot more when your hair is shorter than when it's waist length or past your butt length!

My hair has changed a lot over time. I've mentioned before how it used to be straight and now it's quite curly, but it's also gotten a light finer. I don't even know if it's gotten thinner as much as it's gotten finer - and maybe part of the reason it got curlier? I don't know... it's changed.

I'm seeing more and more white in it, but what I first thought was a white streak in my hair, I realized it was my blonde streak. I've always had these streaks of light blonde hair around my temples - like natural highlights. I guess it's not a white streak quite yet.

While getting my hair cut, the hair dresser decided to blow it straight. I've never done that - ever. It will get pulled mostly straight when in a pony tail, but I've never in my life tried to make my hair straight. For a decade I was trying to put curl into my hair like all other teen girls in the 80s and early 90s. Then, starting late mid 90s my hair got a bit wavy and I was excited! By the late 2000s, it was beginning to get curly and by now? It's curly! I used to pay big bucks to get those curls and they never looked natural, so I'm thrilled to have the curls now and never wish them away.

When I came home with my straight hair, I was curious what the reaction would be. My husband's eyes got wide and my 7 year old said, " Your hair looks stupid!" And we all laughed. My mother in law said it made me look older. Just what a 42 year old woman wants to hear, right? I thought it made me look more like my mother - especially since the last times I really spent a significant amount of time with her she was in her mid-40s and she has straight, light colored hair. And I thought it looked too formal - just not me. Here it is:

I took a photo of it before cleaning. No make-up as usual when I'm putzing in the house and I'm wearing grubs, so not for 'show', but it shows the blown straight hair - though the cut is the same as I've gotten the past 18 months.

It got wavier as the day went by and the humidity started to work on it. When I was at the grocery store my 7 year old said, "Your hair still looks stupid!" Only later when I put it in a ponytail to go work in the yard did he saw, "Ah, now your hair looks right." I guess in a ponytail, curly or straight is about the same.

And then here, after cleaning and grocery shopping and working in the yard getting to the last of the mulch. Yes, I'm done (doing a little happy dance which you can join me in!)  I took a shower and did the 5 minute styling I'm used to doing.  We all here at home agree that the curly look is better for me.

Again, no make-up, no fuss and in harsh lighting with a horrible 3GS Iphone photo, but you get the idea. (and man, both that shirt and that dress make me look fat!)

My husband got a bit weirded out as his aunt used to wear her hair like the straight bob style. I remember it like that too back when I first met her. She's blonde (though she frosts/highlights her hair so it's a lot lighter hair than mine) and she has blue eyes like I do and again, the last time he was around her much, she was in her mid-forties. I reminded him a little too much of family.  I don't have any old photos of her and none scanned in, but I found this one of her online (at about age 60-65), in a shorter hairstyle.

So, it's not that we look alike, but have similar coloring/features and with straight hair, it was a bit weird to my husband.

But, more than anything, I'm too lazy to blow my hair straight. The stylist took about 20 minutes to do it. Um, no. 5 minutes and done is how much time I spend on my hair and I like it that way. Then, IF I'm going out to work or somewhere, I'll spend another two or three minutes to put on mascara so that I have eyes (eye lashes are blonde).

Anyway... it was strange for me to see my hair straight. I was young the last time it was like that and the last time it was straight and short? I was like 15!!!

But back again to the really important stuff, the mulch is DONE! Woohoo! Now just to remove a half ton of sand. Not a big pile, just heavy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sorry I'm getting less talkative!

Just way too much other stuff on the plate. I met with 4 people today, plus went to my son's last day of Art Camp's Art show and then tonight took some more pictures for work and talked to a couple people for the blog stuff I'll be writing for work.

It was a very busy, full day. A good day. Started out nice too. The scale was finally under 170 again, finally!

Stats for 7/13/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 169.6

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bowing head in shame - the mulch is still there!

But it shrank a lot, does that count?

The weather ended up being way, way hotter than predicted and I ended up having a meeting to go to.

Today, however, I spent about 90 minutes shoveling mulch and distributing it in the back yard. Not tons of fun, but it needed to be done. I got my teenager to mow the lawn, but as he's new to mowing this year, it also meant several interventions from me. Some to show him spots he missed and some to show him how to do it easier.

Tomorrow I'll do more mulching. I need to as Friday morning the city picks up the lawn debris stuff and that's the last time they come before vacation. I want that headache dealt with. MAYBE when I'm all done I'll take photos of everything I've done. I showed before photos, so the after should show all the work easily enough.

But now to bed. I'm running way low on sleep again. I think it's nerves getting to me with our trip coming up!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's mulch day!!!

The heat wave broke yesterday, but was raining yesterday morning. I had work meetings in the afternoon and my MIL had a friend over in the evening, so yesterday was a bust. But today? No rain and the high of 81 degrees. If an 81 degree day in mid July doesn't scream "finish up all your summer projects woman, as we probably won't give you another day like this again until September!", then I don't know what does. And, as we will be out of the country for 3.5 weeks in a WEEK, I need to get this all done. For sure.

Pfft... When my mother-in-law asked me in all seriousness if we would be done with the path and stuff by the time we left for vacation, I scoffed at her for even thinking that it was possible to take 6 weeks to do this project. Well, she was more right than me. We've been done with the rocks for a month which is mainly what she was concerned about - but now she's concerned with being able to put a car in the garage for vacation. And we've been done with the planting for a few weeks (mostly), but the mulch? Well... that took way longer than I anticipated. Partly due to the poison ivy. Partly due to me misjudging my available time with working, and partly to do with (well, greatly to do with) the scorching hot weather.

By, tomorrow it will be done. Done I tell you! Woohoo! Unbelievable to even think about a reasonable temperature. The last few times I've gone out, it was 85 before 10 am. I gave up when it got to 90 degrees (and humid) at 10 am. No way!!!

So, today is the day of the 'big mulch dig'. I plan to get to it as soon as soon as I finish some work this morning and then not stop until I'm done. Then I'll snag my teenager and have him help me with tidying up the yard and dealing with the remaining stones, the sand, and the potting debris that's left (most of it is gone). We'll put in the remaining stepping stones in the fall for the side yard. They weren't part of the master plant, but make sense to do since we have the extra stones.

I'm almost giddy thinking about finishing up. That's because I'm still fresh. I might update when I get done, just to say I'm DONE. That will be a first for me - a blog post with an update!

Update - first update is that after working several hours for work, I got a headache. I decided I would just work outside this afternoon/evening then, once my headache was gone.

Then I went to get my son from camp and it's hot outside! I thought my thermostat outside was lying to me (as it will give odd readings sometimes in the afternoon if the sun hits it). It said 91. But I went to my car and it said 92. What??? Accuweather says it's cloudy and 87 now. Well, I see it's sunny and 91. I'm holding off a bit. maybe this evening will be cooler and tomorrow and the next day are supposed to be too. So much for the "big mulch dig", but the "Big Dig" took forever too, right?

Stats for 7/10/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 171.8

Monday, July 9, 2012

Almost forgot to mention my newest accomplishment!

Every year my husband swims across the pool length in one breath - 25 yards. Every year I try to see how far I can go and I can get to almost 2/3s of the way across, so about 17-18 yards. I know I tried last year and it was about the same as always. But, because I wanted to see if it was better this year, I tried again. I was shocked to see that I was beginning to feel the panic of "I need air!" just a few feet from the wall. I pushed myself a a few more seconds and touched the wall. I did it! Swam the length of the pool without coming up for a breath.

This probably shouldn't be a big deal, but when it's such a big change from what I could do before, it's noteworthy - or, in this case, blog post worthy.

When I got to about halfway across, my husband took notice and started swimming (free style) beside me. He saw me make it across and gave me a high five. I didn't know he was there, but was happy to see him witness it because I was shocked with myself!

I asked my husband if he felt it was that I was stronger, or that I had less body to pull across the pool, but he said no, neither of those. It's that I have more cardio vascular fitness. And, that is true, of course. I wasn't even trying that hard to be efficient. In the beginning I was seeing more how far I could glide before needing to take another stroke, but then I decided to really go for it when I saw I was fairly close to the wall. I could probably do it without feeling like, "I need air now!" if I tried to be more efficient in my underwater swimming and that is a huge change from before - huge!

It all just reaffirms that I've come a long way and that I can still go a long way too because no way am I super fit or super strong. The body is an amazing machine and I'm just beginning to treat it right and use it properly.

Stats for 7/9/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 172.0

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Waiting for the heat to break and got to thinking

I have one last push with the garden to get it done, but everything came to a screeching halt with this heat wave. Not smart to be out there working hard in the sun and heat and not necessary. So what if my driveway is still full of mulch? It's not a big deal.

My husband reminded me of the summer of 1995 in Chicago. That was the last worst heat wave this part (and that part) of the US experienced.  And it still is/was the worst heat wave - NPR was talking about it the other day I guess.

That summer, we moved. We moved during the heat wave. We moved from one un-airconditioned apartment near Lake Michigan to another un-airconditioned apartment, a 3 flat in Chicago a few miles inland. We hired movers and they were carrying our stuff up the back stairs of our apartment building two flights on a 104 degree day. How can I ever forget it? Our landlord had also painted all the windows shut so we couldn't get a cross breeze. Huh... I bet I could google both now! Ah, I found them. Had to show my son as he has no memory of it as we moved from Chicago and the 3 flat  apartment when he was 10 months old!  Now I've hyperlinked the two places - in street view - talk about taking me back 17 to 19 years! (maybe someday I'll google everywhere I remember living!)

It was the summer I had just finished my BA. We moved closer as I was planning on starting my master's at the local university, walking distance from our apartment. I remember going to job interviews from my un-airconditioned home, in my un-airconditioned car and trying somehow to look presentable in my business suit once I got there. Interviews themselves were a reprieve from the heat. Starting work in late August was a HUGE reprieve.

We spent so many weekend afternoons at a local juice bar (which we were pretty sure was a front for a local Asian drug business as they never had any business, yet never closed). This cute little flat (and the one before it) had problems with cockroaches. We were so determined not to take cockroaches with us to our move to Philadelphia when my husband started his PhD that we poured borax in and around every single box from the kitchen. We found one almost dead cockroach a few weeks after moving and that was it - no more cockroaches! Woohoo!

This was all pre-kids. Seems like another lifetime ago now. I think I was a different person. Aren't you really? That was 17 years ago now - a master's degree later, several employment positions later, 5 cities later, 2 kids later, my husband's PhD and becoming a fellow with the society of actuaries later and several jobs, before his mom moved to the United States and so on. Really, sometimes I think it's more amazing that marriages last. We change so much over our lifetimes! I know I'm not the same girl my husband married in 1993 when I was 23 and he was 26. And he's not the same man. Somehow we've managed to find ways to grow together - both in age, maturity, girth (though me a lot more than he) and now with getting more fit and trim. It's kind of neat really. He's been there for me through it all... and all these thoughts because of thinking of another time of our lives when it was miserably hot!

Stats for 7/9/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 173.0

Friday, July 6, 2012

I think I'm finally getting in the swing of things

This juggling work, kids at home, and the home projects thing had me thrown for a loop for a couple of months. But, I look around me and I see a clean house, laundry is caught up, work is getting done for my paid job and most of the planning for vacation is done. I find I'm in a rhythm of things.

This morning, I got up, fed the little guy and myself, got some laundry started, emptied the dishwasher, watered one of the new perennial gardens, and sat down to write for my job. I did that for a couple hours, fed myself and the kid and then worked for another hour and then took my son to his speech therapy, made dinner and then went to a worksite place for awhile, came home and took out the recycling for tomorrow and now I'm sitting down to watch The Wire with my family now that the little guy is in bed.

By some miracle, I'm on top of everything. I think that might be a first in like a year. Really! But now I'm being beckoned.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Business pays off!

I was in whirlwind mode. So busy I didn't even check the stats. I didn't post - nothing. I simple just stuck my head to the business at hand, buckled down and got to it.

We had a party on the 4th. For that party, we really only needed to run the vacuum around, clean the bathrooms  and dust in a couple rooms, but I took the opportunity to do a lot of deep cleaning. My younger son's room was easy. There were some books and toys in other rooms that needed to make their way back to his bedroom, but other than moving the bed from the wall to vacuum under it, his room was a snap. Only thing I realize, is that it's time to weed through his toys again as he's outgrown several.

Then I tackled my bedroom. As always, our bedroom ends up as the laundry holding station - the stuff that is clean, but for one reason or another, the laundry hasn't made it back to the dressers and closets. We had a bin of socks waiting to be paired up - like wool socks from skiing season still waiting, bed linens from winter, etc. And again, more clothes from me and my younger son that was waiting to be donated because they aren't the right size. And of course, random stuff that I don't even know how and why it ended in my bedroom. Like a holder for an iphone for a bicycle?

When everything else was clean, food was made (pulled pork and pulled brisket), I went to my teens room. Now, supposedly, he had already cleaned up his room. It took several "you aren't finished yet" prompts as he can't see that he missed 4 odd socks on the floor around the room, or doesn't consider the paper binder garbage even though it's broken and abandoned probably 3 months ago. Going through that room, even after the teen declared it "clean" took about another hour, but it's done.

That leaves just the craft room - which is my husband's problem as he put in all his darn paper sorting stuff in there in January, saying he would get to it in less than two weeks. Uh-huh. The garage still needs to be tidied up, but not until we're done working in the yard and then lastly, the storage area of the basement needs cleaning, decluttering and rearranging. Really, only the garage needs to be dealt with and will be dealt with before vacation. The rest can wait - as can the rest of the painting in the house.

The infection on my arm seems to be getting better. Every day the redness and swelling is a bit less. I managed to get more poison ivy on my legs, but that itching is bearable at least. Scale isn't budging downward, but the last time I was on an antibiotic, the scale skyrocketed. Plus, it's the part of the month I don't usually see losses. Eating has been pretty good though, so in the end, it should move down a bit. I'm not really worried about it.

It's just crunch time here. House is basically clean. The yard just has one more area to mulch and then that's it. It will be vacation time! Woohoo!