They don’t call it “mindless eating” for nothing. On Saturday, after Chuck and I donated plasma and collected another fifty bucks apiece at BioLife, we did some shopping at Sam’s Club for blueberries and Triple Zero Greek yogurt. He wanted to stop at Costco and buy our one guilty pleasure, Kirkland’s dark-chocolate-covered caramels with sea salt.

He came out of the store without them.

“What happened? Why didn’t you get the caramels?” I asked.

“They didn’t have them. I knew exactly where they should be, but something else was in their place–so I saw these and bought them instead. Dark-chocolate-covered almonds. Almonds are good for you, though, right?”

“Well, yeah, I guess they’re better for you than caramels, but they’re still coated with off-plan chocolate.”

When we got home he poured half the tub into his empty caramel canister and handed the rest over to me. One of the most dangerous places to keep something like this is right by my chair, and, yet, here it sits.

I had just had an awesome, on-plan morning and lunch, and then what do I do? I pick up the tub of almonds (beside my chair!!), deciding to have just a few of them–and then didn’t stop at a few. Now I’m almost sick, not only because my stomach is suffering from almond and dark chocolate overload, but because I have trashed a perfectly good Monday in relatively little time. What.was.I.thinking? I wasn’t thinking anything, obviously; hence, the term “mindless.”

Someone once said (and this may be paraphrased), “If you’re going to eat, eat! Don’t watch TV. Don’t read. Don’t do something else while you’re eating. Just eat.”

There is great wisdom in this. If you’re doing something else, like, say, playing Candy Crush or watching the news or piddling on Facebook, your handful of almonds is gone before you even realize you’ve eaten them, and guess what: you didn’t even get to enjoy them because your mind was on something else the whole time! So you grab another handful and those disappear in like fashion.

Something else that’s smart, that I read or heard at one time, is not to drink while you’re eating. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure it was my doctor who told me this. Drinking water or tea or anything else, for that matter, helps you pack away more food into your stomach. Drink a big glass of water before your meal and then drink more after, but do not take a few swallows in between bites. This makes sense to me, and it’s a good rule of thumb we  should all make every effort to employ!

Chelsea and I have been doing a lot of walking. Well, technically, I guess I have been doing a lot of walking, but Chelsea has covered a lot of ground in her power chair. We never get bored because we change up our route almost every time we go out.

Yesterday, for instance, we walked about two and a quarter miles up by the swimming pool and baseball complex. Then she asked if we could walk to Cameron’s apartment, since she hadn’t seen it, yet, so we did that, too.

Last night as we were watching something on TV, I decided to add some treadmill time to my already-walked two and a quarter miles. I was slightly shaken, however, when the treadmill jerked or jolted a couple of times, as I was buzzing along at 3.3 m.p.h.

I hope it’s not on its last leg. I’ve used it for over a year now, almost daily, and I have no idea how long treadmills can run before they need some kind of maintenance. I don’t know the first thing about who to call or how to go about getting it fixed, especially since I bought it on a swap and shop. (I jokingly told Chuck I may have to keep donating plasma until I can afford to buy a new treadmill. I may have said it as a joke, but there may be a ring of truth to that, too. I can’t go without my treadmill, especially as I see fall and winter quickly approaching.)

I’ll say one thing: even though I’ve only used it for a little over a year, it has served me well. We only paid $250 for it–and it was practically brand-new when I got it.

Now, every time I get on the treadmill I’m going to be a little scared that it will go haywire and throw me off or something–or stop abruptly. I haven’t decided how I’m getting my walking in tonight, whether by treadmill or some other outside walking. I’m just tickled to death that I can walk outside now, in full view of everyone, without fearing someone will stop to ask me if I’m okay or wonder if they should be calling an ambulance for me.

In other news the Royals clinched the American League Central Division title. It looks like it’s going to be a blue October around these parts!



Never Say Die, Never Give Up

Faithfully I’m taking my vitamins every day, the ones I read about in The Sugar Solution and the additional ones that Dr. Grayson told me to get. I’ve been taking them regularly for at least three months, and I can’t tell much of a change in my feet.

Dr. Grayson said it would take a while, but I wish now I had asked him to give me some kind of time frame for a reference point. I have noticed sometimes that one of my toes (actually a couple of them) hurt sometimes when I’m walking. I’ll take that as an encouraging sign.

I remember, before my neuropathy got to the point it is now, that walking was more painful. I used to tell my dad, “I don’t understand how my feet can be numb and hurt at the same time.”

I remember shopping in JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby with Chelsea and a friend and hobbling all around the store. I couldn’t get off my feet fast enough.

Now I find that I can walk, walk, walk, but I am beginning to experience some discomfort (although it’s not as bad as it was before my feet lost more and more feeling). That has to be good news, right? Maybe the nerves in my feet are regenerating. I’m at least hopeful that is the case.

I spent my whole morning being tired yesterday. Chelsea had a third of her stack of pancakes left from when she had breakfast at Generations the other day and she couldn’t finish them all, so I ate the rest (for the second day in a row). That meant the oatmeal I had fixed for breakfast could stay in the fridge until lunch time.

When Chelsea left for work, I went right back to bed and had a restful sleep. I don’t remember the last time I had a good nap like that. It was wonderful to catch up on some sleep, but I felt like a bum for not getting my morning treadmill done.

When I got home from my afternoon route, Chelsea messaged me and asked if I wanted to walk to Wal-Mart with her later. She said she could meet me at the end of our street. I agreed, but then she messaged Chuck later and said she would like for someone to pick her up a snack wrap from McDonald’s for dinner.

When she called, I was in the middle of fixing Chuck’s dinner, but I got on the phone and said, “I thought you and I were walking to Wal-Mart at 7:30.”

“Well, that’s what I had planned,” she said, “but I’m leaving a little early because I’m tired.”

We ended up walking to the Mexican restaurant, La Carreta, all the way uptown! Can you believe it? I can’t! I have discovered, however, that the last hill toward Main Street is much more grueling than the last hill to get back home.

I marvel, though, that I can do the hill while taking even breaths, without my side or my lungs hurting. It’s amazing to me. That never would have been the case before Trim Healthy Mama.

When I think back to the first year of our marriage and even when the kids were babies, I would sometimes be down at a week at a time, in bed, not being able to move without screaming out. I was strung out on Flexeril and Darvocet for days at a time.

I remember once having to call my mom and dad because my back hurt so bad that I couldn’t lift the kids out of their beds to take care of them. I spent most of that time on the floor in the living room. I was not able to get myself up off the floor, so I stayed there.

When I was 21 years old, it was discovered that I had a birth defect called spina bifida occulta. It turns out that a lot of people have this, but don’t know it until they happen to have X-rays for some reason or another, for instance, if they’re in a car wreck or something. The reason I found out was that I began experiencing back pain during the summer after my second year of college. I was working at Sonic at the time and had to hoist up fifty-pound bags of onions to make onion rings.

I went to the doctor who told me to lift with my legs and sleep with a piece of plywood under my mattress. I did as he said, but it wasn’t long until I was suffering with more back pain.

“We better get some X-rays,” Dr. Riley said. That’s when he explained to me that I had a gap between my sacrum and the last vertebra in my back. He said I was born that way, but he assured me that a lot of people are; they just don’t know it.

That is why, after I gave birth to Chelsea, I wasn’t overly concerned. They started telling me her spinal column hadn’t closed properly and that she had a birth defect. “Okay,” I thought. “So do I. That’s no biggie.” I didn’t know the extent of her birth defect. There are three forms of spina bifida: occulta (the most common one), meningocele, and myelomeningocele (the most severe type). Chelsea’s diagnosis was myelomeningocele.

Her type of spina bifida required immediate surgery to close up her back. My obstetrician told me she had a hole the size of a doorknob in her back. There are varying degrees of the lesions, both with size and location. Steve Largent of the New England Patriots had a son with spina bifida. He had been born with a lesion the size of a half-dollar, and the nerve damage he suffered was significantly less than Chelsea’s.

The blessing was that Chelsea’s lesion was between the first and fifth lumbar vertebrae. If it had been higher, the nerve damage would have been higher. The lower the lesion, the better the prognosis.

I was worried that her birth defect was my fault for two reasons. Was it because I had spina bifida that she was born this way? They said no, that with myelomeningocele, the spina bifida would have to come through both parents. I suspect Chuck has spina bifida occulta, too, because, although it may not always be the case, sometimes spina bifida occulta is accompanied with a tuft of hair on the lower back, and Chuck has that.

The second reason I worried that it may be my fault was that around Thanksgiving, after I had been pregnant for a few months already, I came down with a bad back, again. Because it was Thanksgiving, if I didn’t go back to work on Monday, I would not have been paid for the holiday.

I told Chuck I couldn’t take any Flexeril because I was pregnant, but he said, “You have to. You can’t miss on Monday or you’ll miss not just one day, but three days on your paycheck. You have to get your back better before Monday.”

After Chelsea was born I expressed my concerns to Dr. Riley, but he assured me that the Flexeril I took while pregnant had no bearing on her being born with spina bifida. He said that I would have had to take a whole bunch of it to have a detrimental effect on the baby.

I also found out that, by that point in my pregnancy, the birth defect was already present. The spinal column forms in the very first month. Chelsea already had spina bifida before I even knew I was pregnant. My taking Flexeril came after the fact.

While the kids were still babies, I tripped on a stump in Mom and Dad’s front lawn as we were walking to the car after a late game night. I caught myself and didn’t fall, but, after that incident, I wasn’t bothered by any more week-long episodes of severe back pain.

Mom was convinced that tripping on that stump “healed” my back. While I think that is unlikely, I can’t deny that God has certainly been merciful to me. X-rays may tell a different story, but I feel that I have been healed.

In any event, I’ve not been bedridden for a week at a time for years and years, where the slightest movement would cause me to scream out in pain, and look at me now. I walked seven miles in one day a couple of days ago!

The last time I missed any work was half a day back when Chelsea had her bowel surgery in January of 2014. The prayers of God’s saints pulled me through because I was really in fear for her life at that point. She was so desperately ill, and that third surgery was really scaring me. The morning of the surgery, though, I felt a peace settle over me that was indescribable.

Before that I hadn’t missed work for years. I took off for my mom’s funeral, of course, back in 2001.

Then, there was a time, after that, in the next few months or so, when I felt my chest become very tight while I was driving my route, like my whole torso was in a vice. I thought maybe I was having a heart attack, and I called my boss on the radio. She drove out in the country to finish my route for me, asking me if I thought I was okay to drive her van back to town.

As the bus pulled away, and Chelsea and Cameron looked at me out their bus windows, I really wondered if I were going to see them again. I wondered what the appropriate thing to do would be. Should I call Chuck? What if I was having a heart attack? What if I wouldn’t see him, again? Should I call him, just in case? Maybe I should have, but I didn’t.

It was determined at the doctor’s office that I had an episode of high blood pressure and I wasn’t allowed to drive the rest of the day, I think. I was only out a day, though, and then I was back to normal. Weird.

Then I took off part of a day when Dad passed away. I drove the afternoon he died, but I took off part of a day the next day to meet my siblings at the funeral home to make arrangements. Then I took off the day of his funeral, too–at least part of the day.

God has blessed me with good health, apart from moderate menstrual cramps, but that’s all behind me now.

Then, of course, I got this whole diabetes thing, but that is even controlled–at least for now. The worst part of the diabetes is my feet. If I could manage to get my feet back to normal that would be a big deal. I’m thinking the more I use them the better they’ll get, even if they get stiff and hard to walk on after I’ve been sitting for a while.

For now, I’m going to keep on keeping on, taking my vitamins and walking every chance I get. Knowing myself the way I do, it’s hard to believe I have hung with Trim Healthy Mama for as long as I have. I was contemplating this today as I walked around the walking track. After hitting a stall for the last several months, how can I keep going? The answer is simple: walking is not as hard now. Food combinations are easier to understand now. If I didn’t give up back when I had only lost twenty-five pounds and doing my treadmill every day was a major battle with self-discipline, of which I had very little, why would I give up now–now that exercise has become a habit, now that it doesn’t hurt so much to walk?

I will not give up. I will not say “die.” I will keep going. This is my new life, and I thank God for it every day.

Don’t forget to check out my sidebar menu for my affiliate links, please! I have one for the Trim Healthy Mama store and also for Piping Rock products.  The Piping Rock link is under “Whey Protein Isolate” on my sidebar menu.

Thank you for following and supporting my blog!

My First Fitbit Progress Report!

I knew that I loved my new Fitbit, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting actual weekly progress reports! It keeps track of my stats for me!  I got my first weekly report via email, and yesterday I earned my first Urban Boot badge for walking 15,000 steps!

If this doesn’t motivate me to walk more, I don’t know what will!

Fitbit stats from Monday, September 14, to Sunday, September 20:
Total steps: 67,324 (daily average: 9,618; best day: 13,331)
Total distance: 29.87 miles (daily average: 427; best day: 5.91)
Total calories burned: 18,803 (daily average: 2,686; best day: 2,928)
Total floors climbed (what?): 153 (daily average: 22 floors; best day: 37 floors) Okay, I don’t remember climbing any stairs, except on my bus and when I got home. Do you think it can actually “read” inclines that I walk?

Me at the Veterans Cemetery

A Walk to Remember

My non-scale victories are really starting to pile up. My walking lately has been just short of phenomenal. It helps to have a daughter who is my willing walking buddy.

I walked almost all the way downtown to Uptown Style today and then tried to beat my oatmeal home! When I left the house I had twenty-nine minutes left on my oatmeal timer. I figured I could walk fifteen minutes and then head back and be home before the kitchen timer went off. I didn’t make it, but, according to my watch, I was very close.

When I’m walking outside the house, rather than on the treadmill, I’ve noticed I can’t pick and choose my hills. Probably, by the feel of my legs, some of those hills are more than a 7% incline. Some of them seem to drag on for more than two minutes, too, but that may be all in my head.

I’ve noticed that my Fitbit has me burning more calories than my treadmill does. It’s because my Fitbit knows how fat I am and my treadmill does not. On the other hand, my treadmill knows exactly how steep the hills are that I walk, but the Fitbit does not.  Oh, if only my Fitbit and treadmill could communicate back and forth.

Probably the biggest NSV of late is being able to go to Piggly Wiggly the last four or five times without even looking in the direction (in other words, not looking right in front of my face) at the two-story-high cotton candy display in the front of the store. You heard me correctly: I am now able to go into Piggly Wiggly like any other responsible adult and say no to the cotton candy.

Last night Chelsea and I walked in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery and got lots of pictures. It’s a beautiful spot and is the final resting place of Chuck’s mom and dad. I walked well over a mile there and then we drove over to the school and walked the perimeter of the campus. A few years ago, they put new sidewalks all around the schools and along the end of the softball field to join the Rotary Club Walking Track. I feel like I got a good workout in last night.

A few words about my in-laws’ epitaph, lest you find it uncaring or dishonoring: The epitaph reads like a text message, I know. Funny story: After Chuck’s dad passed away, he was talking to his mom on the phone about what they were going to put on the plaque. I couldn’t hear what his mom was saying, but I could deduce what they were talking about.

When he got off the phone, I said, “You know what else your dad used to say all the time?”

“What?” he asked.

“It’s good enough for who it’s for.”

He looked at me quickly and said, “Stop it! You heard her say that!”

“How could I?” I said. “She was on the phone. I couldn’t hear her talking from all the way over here.”

Anyway, that’s what they decided to put on there. It was something his dad said all the time. The problem with that was, they only allowed eleven characters and spaces for the top line and nine on the bottom line. We had to get creative. Grammatically speaking, this drove me insane, and I think it did my sister-in-law, too, but misspelling “enough” and leaving out the apostrophe in the contraction “it is” and using numbers for the word “for” was the only way we could get it all in. Anyway, it’s good enough for who it’s for. 😉

So, you see, it isn’t a lack of respect for his dad/parents; it’s merely a way to memorialize a saying that was made famous (to us) by his dad and bring a smile to those who remember.

In celebration of National Daughters Day, since I have such a great daughter, I treated her to a snack wrap meal at McDonald’s this evening. She met me at the end of our street and we walked–yes, I walked again!–to McDonald’s. Confession: I also had a snack wrap, but I pulled some of the tortilla away where it overlapped. It wasn’t on plan, but it was grilled chicken and not absolutely the worst thing I could have eaten. Probably the five or six fries I ate out of Chelsea’s french fry box before she threw them in the trash were!  I imagine I can go without eating potatoes for the rest of my life, but every once in a while I may still have a few out of someone else’s box before they throw them away.

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Stats for 9/23/15:
Weight: N/A
Exercise: 7.10 miles all together!  Woo hoo! Are you kidding me??  2,954 calories burned, 15,994 steps taken
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) FP: fat-stripping cheesecake mocha frappa
Breakfast (8:15) off-plan: the rest of Chelsea’s chocolate chip pancakes, instead of throwing them in the trash, like I should have done.
Lunch (12:15) E: the oatmeal that I should have eaten for breakfast
Afternoon snack (3:45) S: Coconut shake and mixed nuts
Dinner (7:45) off-plan: McDonald’s snack wrap with five or six fries. Don’t judge me: it’s National Daughters Day.




When I found out I could make money by joining the Amazon affiliate program, I was stoked! I’m only too happy to endorse products or books or movies that I find worthwhile and truly believe that other people would enjoy, too.

The bad news is, I live in Missouri. For some reason, people who live in a handful of states are ineligible to participate in the Amazon affiliate program. Bummer.

Enter Trim Healthy Mama and their affiliate program. I was thrilled that finally I could refer people to quality products and earn a small commission by doing so. You will always find my affiliate link to the Trim Healthy Mama store on my sidebar menu.  It is also –>HERE<–.  

I decided to contact Piping Rock because I also highly favor their whey protein isolate. It’s a great texture, it’s on plan and it’s cheap!!! I have recommended this product to many, many, many (countless) ladies. I have not heard of anyone who has bought this and not liked it.

Piping Rock was more than happy to have me on board as an affiliate, so now I have that link to share with you, too!  You may also find this link in my sidebar menu under “Whey Protein Isolate.” It is also –>HERE<–.  This is my affiliate link: http://www.pipingrock.com/?rwcode=AAAZPJ.

I don’t take my affiliate links lightly. In good conscience I could not recommend products or services that I myself would not use.  I am crazy about Piping Rock Whey Protein Isolate and use it daily, sometimes twice daily! I confess that I have not used any of their other products, yet, but I know that other ladies have, and they certainly seem to be reasonably priced.

It is my Adsense ads and my affiliate links that help me to pay for my blog web site.  I will have to say, though, that those video ads that are on all the pages I visit annoy me to no end! If I had my druthers I would not have video ads on my blog. If there are such ads on there, I apologize. I know how aggravating they are! Believe me, I don’t choose the ads; Google does.

This has been a public service announcement. LOL  Okay, I was joking, but it is my intention to serve the public with worthwhile information and products–so maybe it really is a public service announcement!

I hope you’re having a wonderful on-plan week! Mine has been good so far!

One of my old college friends commented on my latest Facebook profile picture, saying how proud she was of me. It prompted me to look up the old photo of when we were last together, and I couldn’t help but share it in the THM Beginners group.

Trim Healthy Mama really has brought me a long way since then! I am so grateful to God for the health I have gained through this plan!

THM--Feeling Younger

A Whole New World

On my birthday, I got to spend some time with my sister, Chantel. Chelsea and I played games with her and my nephew, Preston, and Chantel’s boyfriend, Michael.

We played a game of Oodles and four games of Huggermugger. Of course, we had lots of fun. We really need to get together more often. Chelsea and I had tagged along with Chuck who wanted to watch Higginsville play against the Spartans, and he dropped us off at Chantel’s before heading out to the football game.

It was a stormy night and they evacuated the stadium at one point; and Chuck had to wait in his car for the game to resume.

My sister made me a delicious chocolate cake with my favoriDanny's Birthday Cakete double-boiler icing. We didn’t get a picture of the cake, but we did get a picture of the one my brother-in-law made for me a few years ago–so take a gander at this and I think you’ll get the basic idea. The one Danny made was a colossal fail in the appearance department, but it made up for it in taste!

The wonderful thing about Trim Healthy Mama is that I can have completely off-plan treats like this decadent birthday cake and know that the next day I can hop right back on plaDSCF4467n. My life will not end just because it’s my birthday and I want to eat the Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes my sweet daughter had delivered to the house and the chocolate cake with mouth-watering icing that my dear sister made.



Today was a great day of on-plan meals, and I got a lot of walking in, too. Of course, I did my treadmill this morning (despite my best efforts to talk myself out of it). In addition to that, Chelsea and I decided to go to Confederate Park on the spur of the moment, instead of walking around the school campus–but, get this, we drove to the school campus afterward and I got another mile and a quarter in! Have I completely lost my mind, you ask. Maybe so!

All together for the day I  have walked 6.21 miles! Seriously! That’s 14,004 steps!

Confederate Park is absolutely gorgeous, and Chelsea and I plan to go back several more times as the nights grow cooler and vibrant hues of fall start settling in the trees. Tonight we saw lots of geese. If you look really close in this photo, you can see a couple of them in the background to my left.

Me at Confederate Park

I had walked around Confederate Park–many moons ago–before I found TrimConfederate park Healthy Mama. Let me just say, I did not enjoy it back then as much as I did this evening. In fact, even though I had walked with friends I hated every step of that painful trek. Walking is no fun when you are desperately out of shape.

Trim Healthy Mama has opened up a whole new world to me! I have to admit, though, at the beginning of this journey I had to push on the door pretty hard.

There were days when I wanted to give up on the treadmill, but I kept fighting, anyway. I still have days like that, but they’re not as bad. Today, for instance, I came close to suffering defeat. I caught myself thinking about tomorrow and the next day and the next day, when all I have to do is tackle this day. This mile on the treadmill is all I need to conquer. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

I told Chelsea, as I gain more confidence, we will attempt to cover more ground at Confederate Park. Some evening this fall we will walk up the hill and visit the chapel and walk around that area.  When you have a beautiful site like the Confederate Park in Higginsville, Missouri right in your back yard, so to speak, it’s really inexcusable not to visit it on a regular basis. It would be a real shame (and it has been a shame) to let the autumn come and go and not hang out in Confederate Park on crisp, cool afternoons, just soaking in the sun and sights.

Thank You, God, for this new world You have shown me through Trim Healthy Mama! I haven’t been this healthy in years, and I love how I feel!

Don’t forget to check out the Trim Healthy Mama store through my affiliate link, please, if you’re running low on supplies or want to check on their new products. Thank you!

Weight: N/A
Exercise: 6.21 collective miles for the day, 2,643 calories burned.
Blood sugar: 100 (8:12 p.m., after dinner)
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) E:  Sour Cream Apple Pie Smoothie
Breakfast (9:00) E: Blueberry Yogurt Baked Oatmeal 
Lunch (12:30) S: Chocolate muffin in a mug
Afternoon snack (4:30) E: Sour Cream Apple Pie Smoothie (Hey, I have to use up that Fage Greek yogurt, remember?)
Dinner (7:45) E: Chocolate peanut butter yogurt oatmeal

Long Weekend in Short

Friday:  Today marks the beginning of my fifty-seventh year here on earth. That’s a sobering thought, and I kind of wish it hadn’t come to me.

Today I am 56 years old, never to be 55, again.  That has never bothered me too much before, except when I turned twenty. That kind of bothered me. It was as if I was aging a whole decade. Never again would I be a teenager.

My kids have already given me a great birthday. To start, when I went in to start Chelsea’s IV, she said, “I’m not going in today. I thought I would just hang out here with you.”

“Funny you should say that,” I said. “I was just thinking about walking up town with you when you went to work today.”

“We still can,” she said.

“Well, it looks like it may rain, so I’m going to go ahead and do my treadmill this morning, just to be on the safe side.”

It was extremely muggy this morning, but I did my treadmill, anyway, just as fast as I usually go–even faster because I bumped it up to 3.9 the last few minutes to get my mile and a quarter in sooner than I normally do–with as many hills thrown in as usual, too. I worked up a sweat, that’s for sure. It took me a while to cool down after that!

Just because it’s my birthday doesn’t mean I can be a slacker! I did my treadmill while my oatmeal baked and Chelsea’s IV ran. By the time I ate my breakfast and got Chelsea into her chair, I had talked myself into walking uptown.

Last night when Chelsea was getting ready for bed, she said, “In honor of your birthday tomorrow, why don’t we put off doing IVs and wound care until Saturday and just see how it looks then?” And then she smiled. Oh, right. As if we would even entertain such a thought. She’s a funny girl.

My legs were beginning to burn on that last hill toward Main Street. What wMe on my birthday, walking uptown with Chelseaas I thinking? But we made it. We went into the photography studio to see all the photos in the Country Fair photo contest. Chelsea had entered a few, but none of hers won. My niece, on the other hand, had entered some, also, and had won two blue ribbons and a red one!

When we left the studio, I told Chelsea if she wanted to she could go in to work for a while, now that we were there. She decided she would. “I’ll be home pretty soon,” she said.

After drinking some water and checking my Fitbit (thank you, Sheryl), I made some more oatmeal to stick into the oven for my lunch today.

Chuck had donated plasma in the city on Thursday, so I had had asked him to pick up some Ezekiel bread from Costco for me and some Triple Zero yogurt and Fuji apples from Sam’s Club. He had to call Chelsea at the salon to ask what kind of apples I wanted. He should have also asked her about the yogurt because he brought me home another big container of Fage Greek yogurt–after I had just bought one the week before!

I told him I was going to have to have oatmeal twice a day just to use all that yogurt before it went bad. I haven’t asked in the THM Beginner’s group, yet, but I’m hoping I can stick that second tub in the freezer until I need it. Is it okay to freeze Greek yogurt?

I was just getting ready to stick my peach yogurt oatmeal into the oven and leave for my second preschool route when I heard Chelsea coming up the wheelchair ramp on the deck.

“You’re home!” I said.

“I told you I wasn’t staying long,” she said. “I may go back up later. I’m surprised to see you here. Aren’t you supposed to be driving?”

“I only had Lindsey this morning, and I only have Peyton and Vincent on my second route–so I’m just getting ready to go pick them up now. Right after I put my oatmeal in the oven.”

When I pulled up to the house after my route, Cameron’s convertible was in the driveway. He usually comes over before work to watch Family Feud, eat lunch, sometimes shave and take a shower. I don’t know why. Did he run out of soap at his apartment or something?  lol

When I went into the kitchen to check on how much time was left on my timer for my oatmeal, I turned to see a big tower of cupcakes on the dining room table.

“Cupcakes!” I said.

“I know these are off-plan,” Chelsea said, “but it is your birthday.”

“Oh, my! These look so good!” I said. “Are these–?”

“Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes,” she nodded, affirming what I had thought.

I had a feeling that’s what they were. She had come home from the salon a couple of weeks ago, going on and on about these fantastic cupcakes Karmin’s mother-in-law had made.

I couldn’t even wait for lunch. I had to immediately sink my teeth into one of them. They were just as wonderful as Chelsea had said they were. Cameron helped himself to one, too, and then another, since he had to go into work and wouldn’t be here later.

Chelsea ate one, too, and then I had another. Oh, my word. As she said, it is my birthday. So is tomorrow. Sort of. After the Country Fair, we’re all going up to donate plasma (Chuck, Cameron and me) and then the whole family will go out to celebrate my birthday for dinner.

Today Cameron gave me a $50 gift card to Ross Dress for Less, my favorite store, and Chelsea gave me a new purse. It wasn’t quite what she had in mind for me, but it did have some bling on it, which she knew I would like. She said they didn’t have any purses with crosses on them. I told her it may be a little big for me, but that I would look and see if I could find one I liked at Country Fair tDSCF4485omorrow and then return that one. Then I would just consider the one I bought at Country Fair as being from Chelsea. I do like the one she bought, but it’s just not quite me. It’s kind of a baggy purse. I love the bling, but I don’t love the size or the length of the too-wide hand strap. It’s too wide to be a hand strap and not long enough to be a shoulder strap. It’s a shimmery charcoal gray, which is in my color pallet, but I would have chosen a more standard black that would go with everything, since I’m a one-purse kind of girl. I carry the same purse all the time, and then when I wear it out I get another one.

Saturday: I got a great new purse today with the money Chuck gave me for my birthday. It’s a Montana West purse and it’s all leather. I love it. At the same booth, I almost bought a multi-colored sweater and matching necklace, but the two items together would have been over sixty dollars. As always happens to me, when I went back to look at it again later someone else had already bought it.


Here’s the sweater I almost bought, but the necklace was a different one.  The sweater was a “one size fits all.” Do you know how long it had been before the “all” pertained to me??  I was thrilled out of my mind that it even fit!DSCF4478

We went to BioLife Plasma Services and donated plasma on Saturday. If you want to do this and make $150 for your first three donations, you need to do donate your first time before October 3 and your second time within a month after that. Ask them about the Buddy Bonus for your $150 coupon and then please fill in my name (Dirinda Lacen) for the referring donor. If you do this, I will get $40.

I already have $140 on my donor Visa card, $100 for my two donations and $40 for referring someone else! I am happy and grateful for this opportunity to make money while saving lives in the process!

Sunday: Chelsea and I walked to Wal-Mart and back after lunch today. I took a photo of my favorite scarecrow from the Country Fair.  This one is from John DSCF4541Knox Village East. It was a pirate with a pirate’s flag, a treasure chest, a map and a sign that read “We treasure our residents!”  This was the winner in the scarecrow contest in my book. Hands down. There was one uptown that was also nice. It reminded me of Mr. Potato Head.

Sorry I hadn’t posted in a while, but I’ve had a busy weekend and hardly any spare time to sit down and write.  DSCF4534 DSCF4535 DSCF4537DSCF4538 DSCF4539







A Kid in a Candy Store

I had just gotten home from my afternoon route when I noticed I had a missed call from Chelsea on my cell phone. I called the salon to see what she wanted and she asked if I was going uptown soon for anything.

“Not really,” I said, “but I can. Why, do you need something?”

“Well, I’m getting kind of hungry so I wondered if you could bring me a snack wrap and a medium Dr. Pepper from McDonald’s.”

“Okay, sure,” I said. “I need to pick up some Redi Whip at Piggly Wiggly, and I guess I can get you some more chocolate milk.”

Here’s the first dumb thing I did: I went to the grocery store before I had my afternoon snack, so I was hungry. The second dumb thing I did was going to the store without adult supervision. Yep, I left the adult me at home.

As I walked into Piggly Wiggly I was smacked right in the face by a colossal cotton candy display that seemed two stories high–large bags of velvety cotton candy in every color of the rainbow. There was pink and baby blue and soft yellow and lavender and orange and pastel green, I think, and a kind of red one and oh, oh, oh!

I couldn’t withstand the temptation. Could.not. All of a sudden I was a little fourth-grade girl, sent on a class field trip to the circus with two dollars in my pocket, two dollars that I could spend on anything my little heart desired. Two dollars I could spend on a flashy circus souvenir or a Coke and some popcorn or, or, or FOUR BAGS OF COTTON CANDY. 

Yes, I did that. In fourth grade, I seriously spent every dollar my dad gave me on cotton candy. It was either two dollars or four dollars. I don’t remember the cost of circus cotton candy way back in 1970, but I remember very well exactly how many cotton candies I bought. FOUR BAGS OF COTTON CANDY. I’m surprised I didn’t get sick. How can a fourth-grader with four bags of cotton candy in her stomach not get sick?

If I were Superman, cotton candy would be my kryptonite.

Okay, so fast-forward forty-five years. A fully grown adult woman in Piggly Wiggly is brought to her knees by a cotton candy display, front and center of the store. I may be fully grown, but at that moment in time there was nothing “adult” about me. Without a minute’s hesitation I reached for a pink one and a blue one and put them in my cart. Then I got as far as the pre-packaged salad mixes and doubled back for the intriguing yellow one. The sales lady had told me a couple of days ago that the yellow one was lemon. Had I ever had lemon cotton candy? I didn’t think so, but I was about to try it. And I almost got an orange one, too.

All these Trim Healthy Mamas tell stories of becoming desperately ill when they splurge on something off-plan. Why doesn’t that ever happen to me? Why?

I ate that whole package of yellow cotton candy. The whole thing. That whole package that served four. I had almost half of it gone before I even got to the salon with Chelsea’s snack wrap and drink. What is wrong with me?

I shouldn’t be allowed to go to the store without adult supervision. I can make it fine past the cookies and the chips and the crackers and, yes, even the candy aisle, but, please, Mr. Grocer, PLEASE DO NOT PUT A BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN IN THE FRONT OF THE STORE TO SMACK ME RIGHT IN THE FACE WHEN I WALK IN THE DOOR. Please, I beg you. I’m not strong enough to ward off a cotton candy attack. In fact, I may never be strong enough, no matter how many “trimaversaries” I have.

The people who package cotton candy are geniuses, too. Clear, crisp, plastic bags with brightly colored streamers, starbursts, and confetti printed on the front, and huge, bright yellow letters: Cotton Candy. They may as well have printed “This is going to be absolute HEAVEN on your tongue!” It was my fourth-grade field trip to the circus all over again.

The rules of life are: you don’t send an alcoholic into a bar to buy a package of sunflower seeds and you don’t send a sugar addict into a grocery store where there is the hugest display of cotton candy known to mankind.

So I didn’t get my afternoon snack. That yellow cotton candy was my afternoon snack, and, guess what, there was ZERO protein in that. Oh, there were lots and lots of carbs, but zero protein.

I thought I was doing well. I thought I was gaining strength. And then the bottom dropped out. Ugh.

True confession isn’t much fun. Why don’t I get sick after that? I deserve to get sick.

Other than that, my day was fine. Other than that, my day was perfect. Other than that. Man.



You Can’t Always Get What You Want, but, if You Work Hard Enough, Sometimes You Can!

Once upon a time there was a small, freckle-faced girl, with brown eyes and thick, wavy hair, named Marsha Gill. She wasn’t very tall, but she ran like the wind.

In fourth grade, at recess and P.E., she was out in front of all the boys. No one could catch her.

I don’t know if it was because I was boy-crazy or what, but I wanted to be that girl. I wanted to be the girl with all the boys running behind me. “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.” I must have lamented over my sorry state of utter jealousy to my dad because he was quick to offer up a solution for me.

“Roller skate around the basement,” he said. “Build up your leg muscles.”

Since my dad knew everything under the sun, I determined to do exactly as he said. I think I must have roller skated around our basement a hundred times a night or so.  (These days I work out my determination on the treadmill!)

I would crank up my mom’s old Zenith turntable and put on a stack of her hit records, and I was all set for the night. Luckily my mom was a “hipster.” She listened to all the popular music of the day. That probably explains why, even today, much to the disappointment of my husband, I’m such a zealot of sixties music: it reminds me of my childhood. It brings to mind all of the good stuff: riding along with my mom when she picked up my dad from work, driving in the city to dentist appointments, going out to eat at the Forum, going shopping at Antioch Center, going to Gladstone Bowl or McBowl in Liberty two or three nights a week. Whenever we were in the car, we had the music on.

Our basement was a big, full basement that had a pole on either end. I would skate around and around, swinging myself around the poles as I made the circle.

A couple of years later, in sixth or possibly seventh grade, I challenged Marsha to a footrace at recess. I tied with her. She said she didn’t have her good shoes on. That’s okay: I’ll take that. Tying with Marsha Gill in a race was the highlight of my young life, even if she didn’t have her fastest shoes on.

I never asked her to race with me again. I had a feeling she thought I was kind of goofy to ask her the first time, but I had to know if my hard work had payed off. It wasn’t really hard work: it was child’s play–I mean, come on! Still, I gave it my all, and I think I did manage to build up some pretty good leg muscles in the process. My dad really did know everything.

Courtesy of my wonderful cousin, as you know, I now have a Fitbit. I wore it all day yesterday and burned more calories than I thought possible!  Including a walk to Walmart and back with my daughter after lunch (and, according to my Fitbit, it’s a little over 8/10 of a mile one way!) and 1.25 miles on the treadmill last night while watching television, I walked 4.97 miles yesterday!

Chelsea’s home health nurse came in today as I was getting ready to dig into my breakfast.

“Mm,” she said, “are we having cinnamon rolls today?”

“Baked blueberry oatmeal,” I responded proudly.

“It smells good!” she said.

Oh, you know it does! And it tasted good, too! I’m happy that the cooler temps are back so that I can have this every single morning! I had the chocolate peanut butter kind for dinner last night.

I may find it hard to break from my E breakfast since I love oatmeal so much, but I am going to try to squeeze more S meals in just to shake up my metabolism.

I love my new Fitbit!  Along with my treadmill this morning, Chelsea and I walked around campus and the walking track tonight. All together, today I walked 13, 314 steps and 5.91 miles! My Fitbit says I burned 2,274 calories today. Can that be right? If it is, I guess it’s because I’m still carrying quite a bit of weight around!

Stats for 9/14/15:
Weight: N/A
Exercise: 1.25 on treadmill and lots of walking around campus and the walking track (5.91 all together). It was a beautiful night to go walking! Chelsea took a photo of me at the walking track. We tried to take one of us together, but none of them turned out.At the walking track
Blood sugar:  96 (10:15 p.m., after my Snickers Shake and right before bed)
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) FP: Snickers Shake
Breakfast (8:45) E: Blueberry Yogurt Baked Oatmeal
Lunch (12:30) S: Salad with Ranch, turkey, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery and cashews
Afternoon snack (4:45) S: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Shake
Dinner (9:30) FP: Snickers Shake



Are You Ready for Some WEEKEND?

Cameron and I have our appointments scheduled for donating plasma at BioLife tomorrow! We tried to schedule an appointment for Chuck, but apparently they haven’t gotten around to documenting that they have received the fax, which the doctor’s office says they sent.

Chuck says he doesn’t know why we didn’t know about this a long time ago. To be honest, I had heard of it before, several years ago, but somehow I got it in my head that the kind of people who donated plasma were desperate drug users or something crazy like that. Misconception on my part.

It was my beautician who told Chelsea that plasma donation was how our pastor and his family saved up for their vacation.

Really, it’s a no-brainer. Not only is it a good way to make some extra cash, it helps people, too.

I’ve heard so many women lament that they would love to order a Trim Healthy Mama book, but they just can’t afford it. With just one plasma donation, they would be able to afford a book and have fifteen dollars left over to buy some other Trim Healthy Mama [affiliate link] products!

BioLife also has a “Buddy Bonus,” so if you give my name (Dirinda Lacen) as a reference, BioLife will give me forty dollars! And then for every person you recruit to donate plasma you can make forty dollars, too!  That’s even more Trim Healthy Mama products! Just think of the almond flour you can buy! Almond flour is expensive, you know!

Cameron has decided to use his plasma money to keep his car fueled. I told him his car ran on blood. He said, “That’s pretty funny, Mom.”

I’m taking a book with me (and wearing slacks: lesson learned last time), and I will just kick back and relax and let the money roll in while I read my book.

What will I do with my money? Oh, the sky is the limit. I think I’ll just leave it alone and let it build for a while, like a savings account. I think Chuck said he was going to do the same. Then I think I’ll use it to buy my next pair of Go Walks or my next pair of orthotic inserts or, wow, I just don’t know.

We could do like our pastor and save it for vacation.

Some people are super donors! They have some names on their wall that have donated over 700 and 600 times!

My wonderful and generous cousin sent me the FitBit Ultra that she used before she got her newer model. I haven’t figured the whole thing out, yet, but I think I was able to enter my height and weight last night. I also tried to put a “greeting” (which was only my name), but it didn’t save–so maybe I didn’t do the other right, either.

I used it when I got on the treadmill last night, and it had me burning a lot more calories than my treadmill said I burned. It stands to reason that it would, if I successfully entered my height and weight.

Hey! I just took it down to the school campus and walking track and Chuck and I did 1.7 miles in just over half an hour. He wanted to get back by 5:30 for the Royals game. It said I burned 263 calories. Then I went to McDonald’s and got Chelsea’s dinner (I didn’t walk; I drove), and now I’m at 290 calories burned!

And my Fitbit is talking to me! When I left the walking track, the screen said, “What’s up, Dirinda?”  As I was sitting here, working on my blog, it said, “Move it, Dirinda!” Boy, this could get annoying.  Just kidding. It’s not audible: I just happened to be looking at it when I saw it.

Oh! It just now said, “Let’s go, Dirinda!”

Chuck said, “Tell it to shut up: you already went.”  Haha!

Oh, I see! It says something every time I pick it up! How cool is that?


Anyway, I love it! Thank you, Sheryl, for thinking of me! I still haven’t figured out the sleep thing. Do I just hold the button in and start the timer? I must do more research!

Weight: N/A
Exercise: 2.95 miles all together (1.25 on the treadmill), 344 calories burned
Blood sugar: 101 (6:13 p.m., after walking, before dinner)
Pre-breakfast snack (5:30) FP: Snickers shake
Breakfast (8:45) E: Baked Blueberry Yogurt Oatmeal
Lunch (12:00) S: Zucchini spaghetti with meat sauce
Afternoon snack (4:00) E: Fuji apple and Triple Zero Greek yogurt
Dinner (7:45) S: Sirloin burger with sauteed onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, lots of lettuce and a big slice of homegrown tomato.
Evening snack (9:00 or so) S: Cashews