Fluctuating Weight

All of my life I’ve had fluctuating weight. It is not unusual for me to gain, lose, and then regain twenty pounds, or more, every year. Because of this, I keep at least three different sizes of clothing at hand. When people give the advice “if you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it” I ignore them. Most of my clothes are “classic” style that never go out of style. I could not afford to keep buying new clothes every year when my size changes!

When I lived in New England, my weight gain often coincided with winter, and I called it my “winter weight.” That really did not seem to be related to what I ate, or what activities I participated in. My doctor always seemed to be fine with my weight, whatever it was. Interestingly enough, for about the past twenty years, I have been “borderline diabetic” which means that my A1C count was “almost” at the diabetic level. The doctor always had someone from staff call me with the blood test results, and counsel me on what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, and counsel weight loss. Even when my weight was below the accepted normal weight for a woman my age and height!

Healthy weight (free clip art)
Healthy weight (free clip art)

What has been frustrating is that I have always eaten the “right foods” and avoided the “bad foods” and it makes no difference in my A1C levels. I would have to say that my weight fluctuations have been related to medications that I have been on, and related to stress levels. Sometimes I stress-eat. Sometimes I stress-fast. Whatever. No matter what my weight has been, since I started having children, my doctor has never told me to my face (and the official guidelines for healthy weight for a woman my age always say I am within the normal range) that I need to change my weight. The last time my doctor was concerned was when I was pregnant, and he told me I was gaining too much weight too fast. So I stopped eating a donut for a between breakfast and lunch snack, and switched to yogurt. Problem solved.

One of the interesting things about getting together with extended family for holiday celebrations, is how many of the family members feel that they need to comment on my weight. Most of them are critical of my weight, no matter what weight I am at the time. That makes family gatherings very interesting for me. Knowing that my family cares is fine, but it is hard to keep from feeling defensive all of the time about my weight when my doctor keeps telling me that I am fine (except for being borderline diabetic, which seems to simply be a forever state of being for me!)

Transform Yourself in Just Three Easy Steps

Makeover (free clip art)
Makeover (free clip art)

Guest post by my friend Marilyn Mueller

Wow, I can’t believe this year is almost over. Now is the time for a bit of reflection on what I have accomplished in the last year. I have accomplished being regular at the gymfor the last eight months. I’m proud of myself for planning ahead and sticking to a workout schedule. I have enjoyed weight training. It truly shapes a woman’s body without making you bulk up.

It’s time I reward myself for my hard work at the gym. Just the other day I looked at myself in the mirror and had the sudden realization that I was looking at a whole new person inside and out. I no longer see that girl who stood in her own way. It’s time I transform my outward appearance to match my new body and improved self-esteem.

After some research I have determined that transformation can happen in three easy, yet sometimes psychologically painful, ways. These steps consist of changing your hair,makeup, and wardrobe. For many years I have played it safe in all three areas.

My current wardrobe style consists of, what some might call, a uniform of black slacks and a solid colored top that I wear to work. In my defense, black is slimming. My hair is so long I typically wear it up and out of my face. I have an assortment of hair ties and clips.

While I am sure many of you have heard of the five minute face, I have engineered a very quick three minute face routine. It consists of moisturizer, eyeliner, lip gloss and mascara.To get started in my wardrobe transformation I perused a few department store websites. I chose department stores because of the mix of trendy and classic clothes.

I found Macy’s to have a wonderful assortment of both trendy and classic pieces that I can put in with my existing wardrobe without breaking the bank by starting brand new. To improve my makeup and hair routine I sought out experts.

I found that Ulta is the one stop shop for my new beauty look. Parting with my long locks won’t be easy, I’m sure the salon experts at Ulta can help me get past that. They also have a Skin bar where I can get a facial. I can’t wait to see what they can do with my eye brows at the Brow Bar.

I’m in for quite the transformation. Some time while I am in there I will also be getting some makeup so I can spend more time experimenting with my make up to enhance my features. My appointment is next week and I will be taking before and after photos. I’m so excited that it will take just two retailers to transform me from head to toe in three easy steps. Alas, I will be putting an end to this physical rut I have been in

Have you lost a black cat recently?

Over the past several years, there has been a longish haired black cat roaming the Shadow Springs Ct/Jeffersonton Rd neighborhood. Nobody seems to know who owns it, but some of the neighbors have been feeding it, as it comes onto their porch and begs them for food. The cat is very friendly. There is a good chance that the owners of this lovely cat moved away – there has been a very high turnover of real estate in the area in the past few years.

Last night, after dark, I was returning home from visiting friends. I was entering the house through the garage door, and I saw the cat in the shadows nearby. At first I thought it was one of my cats (I own black cats) and I called out to it to come inside to eat dinner. The cat approached me, and as it got nearer, I realized that it was not my cat at all, and it was limping badly. Recognizing the cat as the friendly cat that my neighbors feed, I let it into the garage, and shut the door.

I called the neighbors that I knew fed the cat, and advised them that I had their cat, and it was injured. I told them that the cat needed to be taken to a vet for treatment. They said that they did not own the cat and that they would not take it to a vet. They said that they had not seen the cat for more than three days and they had assumed that I had taken it in. (Why, I don’t know….)

Not being able to afford to take every stray, injured animal that I see to the vet (the last one was last spring, and it cost thousands of dollars – and died anyway!) I told them that I couldn’t afford to take it to the vet myself. Again, they said that they would not take the cat to a vet and wished me luck.

I called the non-emergency number to the county Sheriff’s department and asked them to have animal control come get the cat and take it to a vet, and to the shelter. Animal control office had closed for the day, and they took down my name and number and said that someone would call me back.

Waiting for the return call, I went out to the garage and fed the cat. The cat was so hungry – it ate more food than I’ve ever seen a cat eat! The cat also drank all the water in the water bowl.

I fixed up a litter box and a bed for the cat, and filled the bowls with food and water again, and warned everyone in the house to stay out of the garage until animal control could come get the cat.

Animal control came out this morning to pick up the cat. The food and water bowls were completely empty again. The cat was so glad to see us! Came limping up to us as quick as it could get to us, and was rubbing up against our legs, wanting to be loved.

The lady from animal control told me that she was going to take the cat straight to the vet. She said that they would do everything they could to fix the cat up and then take the cat to the animal shelter. She agreed with me that this cat had, at one point, been somebody’s pet. When we picked the cat up, we realized that the cat was injured in more than one place, and the lady from animal control said that she thought that maybe the cat had been “hit.” The left front foot had an infected spot near a claw, and the cat was not using it’s rear left leg at all. She promised to keep me informed as to what they do for the cat. I hope they do, and I hope that the county decides to have the vet fix it instead of putting it down (due to expense.) I hope that someone adopts the cat and gives it a wonderful, loving home.

I am saddened that someone would have abandoned this cat, leaving it to fend for itself in the countryside.

Electric Wine Bottle Opener

A while back, I was given an electric wine bottle opener as a gift. Now, I don’t drink wine very often. Nobody else that lives with me drinks wine, and I hate to drink alone. I don’t like opening a bottle of wine and drinking the whole bottle by myself, and I end up wasting a lot of the wine.

When I do drink wine, I like the sweet, dessert wines. I just don’t enjoy tart, dry wines – they make me pucker up! Red wines give me a headache! And, on top of all of that, removing the corks from the bottles of wine has always been difficult for me.

As I was saying at the beginning of this post, I was given an electric wine bottle opener as a gift. I have only used it about six times since I received it, but, let me tell you this – I think it is just about the handiest wine-bottle related gadget ever invented!

We had guests over to the house yesterday, to join us for dinner, and help us to celebrate Thanksgiving. I asked a few of them if they would join me in a glass of wine. The wine was a gift a couple of weeks ago from a new friend. He had made the wine himself, and I was curious to try it out! Having received several “yes” answers, I got out my Ozeri Extravo electric wine bottle opener and used it to open the bottle of wine. I asked my son (yes, he’s an adult) to make a video of me opening the bottle of wine. Here is the video!

Isn’t that cool? It is easy to use, and it works great!

Necessary Evil

Had to do some grocery shopping today, and went to Wal-Mart. I’m not a big fan of shopping at Wal-Mart, but there is no place in this particular town that has better prices on most of the things that I need, and I am on a tight budget. Since I don’t drive anymore, it is a challenge to get people to take me shopping, and going to Wal-Mart is a “one-stop” shopping experience for the most part. (Except I don’t use their pharmacy – I don’t like waiting hours and hours when I can get my prescription filled in ten minutes or less at the Rite-Aid down the street!)

I like using their Savings-Catcher app on my iPhone – it really saves a lot of money. (Since I signed up for the Savings Catcher, it has refunded me over $141.00!) If you shop at Wal-Mart, I encourage you to use the Savings Catcher program! You can use it on your smartphone, or your computer (if you have Internet access.)

But I digress. I was disappointed today to find expired ham steaks in their meat department. I wanted to buy some ham steaks, and was looking for a brand that was not Smithfield Farms brand. I’ve seen some disturbing videos about Smithfield brand pork, (if you want to understand why, you can watch the YouTube Video below) and I’m trying to avoid buying that brand. I don’t know for sure that the other brands are better, but this video disturbed me on many levels, so I am trying to avoid supporting that company. Anyway, they had a different brand, but the freshness date had expired three weeks ago! There was a meat department employee nearby, and I called out to him. He came over, and I pointed out the expired meat, and he removed it from the case. I wondered how many people buy stuff like this without checking the freshness date on the package? I almost didn’t check the date, myself!

So, note to self – always check the freshness date on meats, dairy, eggs, etc at the grocery store! Even if it is a store other than Wal-Mart!