Sunday, October 19, 2014

My favorite time of year

The heat has finally left us, and I can at last say it is autumn here in Memphis.  I am on the lookout every day for pretty fall colors, but haven't seen too much as of yet.  I have, however, decorated the inside of my house, as well as my front door, so I am enjoying some of the colors of fall.  I also keep a Yankee Candle burning, either "Farmer's Market" or "Thankful" - my two current scents. so it smells like autumn in my house, as well.

I made my first pot of soup yesterday - beef vegetable - the first of many to come, I'm sure, along with some cornbread muffins.  A chill in the air is all the encouragement I need to start looking at soup and casserole recipes and thinking about new ideas I want to try.  I've also gone into baking mode: last weekend it was banana bread (two loaves, one to eat and one for the freezer) and this weekend it was chocolate chip cookies made with both semi-sweet and white chocolate chips and pecans.  I really need to curtail my baking, or we'll end up gaining weight over the winter!  I'm just in this "nesting" phase!

At any rate, it is my favorite time, hands down.  I love the crisp, clean feeling in the air and the brilliant colors that nature displays for our viewing pleasure.  I love wearing sweaters and sweatshirts and hoodies and jeans and flannel shirts.  I love fires in the fireplace.  I love drinking hot apple cider and bonfires and taking walks though leaves that crackle as you step on them. I don't even mind it getting dark earlier, at least if I'm at home and can curl up with a good book beside the fireplace, with a cup of something warm.

Yes, all of that and more...I love autumn.  And I hope you do too.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Back at last!

So I went back to work this week, on Wednesday the 15th, which actually fell on the nine-month anniversary of my surgery.  I worked four hours Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and I have to say, I was very happy to see the weekend arrive and, even better, a LONG weekend.  Even with a reduced schedule of four hours a day, my job involves a LOT of sitting, and I never realized how hard it is on the back!  My new office chair is a total bust, but the kneeling chair is great.  Hopefully, I can get a different type of office chair in place of the bad one, but I know that will take time...

In other news, my baby got a bath and haircut yesterday and came back looking quite dapper.  This cold weather we've been having makes Chance very frisky and prancey (is that a word?), and his blue kerchief seemed to go with his feisty little spirit. 

I'll share one more fun thing.  For Christmas, my father-in-law gave me an Amazon gift card.  I love Amazon, because you can find absolutely anything you want, and have it delivered to your door.  So what I found was an adorable sterling silver bow ring.  I have a thing for bows.  It's sort of kooky, and it's mostly under control, but every now and then, I just have to have something with a bow.  I just can't help it; it's sort of a sickness.  So anyway, I used my gift card and got this.

Isn't is ADORABLE?  It will be even more adorable when I get a manicure. 

Now that I've fed the Bow Beast, it should be okay for awhile.  Maybe.

More later --

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday check in

So, it's been a really good week.  Healthwise, I've done at least one or two things every day that made a positive impact on our health.  We've been eating better -- for example, I haven't used a frying pan all week; instead, I have used my oven and roasted or baked all my meals.  I've added a lot of  good veggies to our diet (broccoli, peas, carrots, green beans, etc.), and I try to keep a large container of salad made in the fridge that we can have at all times.  Also, we have been taking the salmon oil supplements every day.  So, even though we're not eating perfectly, I feel like all these little changes are helping us to be a bit healthier.  As I always say, Progress, Not Perfection

My big news is that the final piece of ergonomic office equipment has been delivered to my workplace, and I will be headed back to work this week.  I am nervous and excited at the same time.  It is just shy of nine months since my back surgery.  Nine months.  Wow.  I could never have guessed in my wildest dreams that my back surgery would ever lead me down the path I've been...and if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have chosen not to do the surgery.  But, having said that...I am so much better than I was, and I believe that ultimately, this surgery will be a rousing success.  It's just that the road getting there will have been very, VERY rocky.  And nobody chooses rocky, if they don't have to...

But, what's done is done, and I'm ready to move forward.  A little nervous, yes, but ready!

More later --

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Health: a small word that packs a big punch

So, I am focusing on my word for 2014.  This first week I've worked on meal preparation because, frankly, that is where things can go horribly off-track, and the chickens all come home to roost at my door.  I love to cook; I love to bake.  My dearest loves to eat, especially sweets, and I'm one of those old-fashioned Southern girls who believe that you show your love through the food you serve.  So.  It's a bit of a conundrum.  A sticky widget, if you will.  I know this is all me and my head stuff that needs rewiring.  I know I need to equate steamed veggies with a longer, healthier life with love for my mate.  It all makes logical sense, but I just gotta tell you ... a plate of steamed broccoli just doesn't give me the warm fuzzies that a bowl of, say, mashed potatoes with gravy does.  But I digress.

Last night I served grilled tilapia with green beans and brown rice.  And (dipping head here) garlic toast.  Progress, not perfection, right?  Steve made the comment during dinner that he really liked eating healthier, which just made me happy.  I know making these small changes is good for us, but hearing that little word of affirmation made it even better.

In addition to meal changes, I have started both of us on salmon oil capsules.  The main immediate goal for both Steve and me is reduction in inflammation, but fish oil provides so many other great health benefits:  heart & cardio function, joint health, brain function, and more.  I found a very high quality cold pressed salmon oil supplement with all eight of the Omega-3s that we need, and I feel really good about that.

Steve is using the treadmill, and I am doing my PT exercises faithfully, and doing some walking outside, but not enough.  I need to do more.  So, once again, progress, but definitely not perfection.  We have lots of room for improvement, but that's okay.  As long as we're in pursuit of the goal of health, I'm happy.

Wishing you good health too, my dear readers!

More later --

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

 Does this basket make my butt look big?   No, seriously...

I am not really one to make resolutions, simply because I don't want to set myself up for failure.  How's that for positive thinking?   I just think that starting too many things at one time sort of predetermines a less than successful result.  At least, it does for me.  I have to keep it simple, stupid.  Big time. 

So, rather than set out a list of things I want to accomplish during this year, Steve and I have a word that we have chosen to make our focus this year and from now on:  HEALTH

We are going to try to keep health as a focus, and just do better.  I know we won't miraculously become perfect eaters, working out obsessively and becoming Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels.  We don't even care about doing that.  We just want to go into our senior years healthierIt's a big deal.  We've only got each other to take care of each other!

So, this is our time to do better.  To start making small steps to improve our health.  I went grocery shopping yesterday and bought a couple different kinds of flash frozen grilled fish, so that's on the menu this coming week.  I've also got a whole chicken in the freezer, and I'll take it out to thaw and we'll have a whole roasted chicken too.  Yummy and (yep) healthy.  I also bought a lot of green veggies, so we're good on that account too. 

So my wish for you is a very Happy and HEALTHY New Year.  And, may all your resolutions be keepers. 

More later --

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

It has been a very good Thanksgiving and Christmas for us this year.  We have been able to spend time with family and those we love.  My back is so much better, and my return to work is imminent. 

We feel very blessed and fortunate.  Here are a few photos from our holidays.

 This was our tree this year.  I think it turned out especially well.  And, since Hobbes didn't try to climb it even one time, it stayed pretty throughout the whole Christmas season, which was a true gift.

Here's my favorite scene, a cozy fire in the fireplace and the lights on the tree offering the only other light in the room.  Ahh, peaceful! 

 I had to snap a pic of the reindeer resting on the bench outside a Barnes & Noble bookstore I went to a couple weeks before Christmas.

 This is my dearest and me, taken on the weekend before Christmas.
 Hobbes wishes everyone a Meowy Christmas!

Chance definitely believes in Santa Paws!

More later --

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's up, doc?

I saw my spine surgeon this morning.  Well, actually, I saw his nurse practitioner, Amy, who is wonderful.  This visit was mainly to get the doctor's signature on the paperwork proposing new seating equipment for me at work and also a proposed return to work schedule.  He signed off on everything, and now the Long Term Disability Insurance Carrier will order the new equipment I need.  Once it arrives and is installed I should be good to go.  So the clock is definitely ticking, and I should be back to work very soon.  I am happy and excited and nervous all at once.  I never could have guessed that I would have been off work for over seven months with my back fusion surgery.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and it will be a low-key celebration at our house.  I did go out and buy my own cake, because I wanted a good birthday cake this year and did not want to make my own.  So I got a carrot cake (yummy!) and can't wait to cut it tomorrow evening after dinner.  Speaking of dinner, Steve is going to pick up burgers on his way home from work.  I know....but what can I say...I love a good burger every once in a while, and it has been awhile.  It just sounded good.  Tomorrow is going to be a rainy, messy day and we're just going to stay in.   He was busy in the bedroom, door closed, with the gift wrapping supplies earlier this evening, so I will have some happy surprises I'm sure.  Then, Saturday, we're going out to a birthday lunch and a little shopping with our wonderful next-door neighbor, Pam.  I am very blessed.

For the first year in I can't remember how long, we will not be traveling at Thanksgiving.  Instead, we are hosting my family members here.  I'll be cooking, and we'll have a full house, and I'm really happy about that.  I've been planning meals and looking at recipes and making shopping lists and fluffing up the guest room and doing all the things you do when you're expecting company.  I've been trying not to overdo things with my back, and mostly succeeding, but not completely.  It's hard to know where the line is of what's okay and what is not so much...  Anyway, I'm learning as I go. 

I will leave you tonight with a picture of my baby in his "punkin" kerchief. 

More later --