Tag Archives: get fit plan

Feeling a Little Icky, All Over Again

An MS inspired parody

 

Funny how things come around.

I wrote this blog two years ago and while the children I mention here are now older (both are official toddlers,) the words in this blog post still apply.  So while I rest up after one of our yearly visits with these little ones, a Thanksgiving Day visit to be exact, here is a repeat of a former spot on blog post. I hope everyone had an awesome turkey day!

What is with me and show tunes lately?   I don’t even really like show tunes yet I can’t seem to get them out of my head.

Just recently I posted a blog based on the song A Few of My Favorite Things and now the song I Feel Pretty from West Side Story is lingering around.  This is especially weird as

  1. I don’t even like that song and
  2. I really, really don’t feel pretty at all.

On this family trip my get fit plan has gone right out the window.  And, as during the packing for this journey my suitcase was too filled with toys for the little ones to add any of my nicer clothes, I am schlepping around in my least pretty wardrobe possible.

Luckily, kids don’t really notice what you are wearing. And while family may notice what you wear, they aren’t really supposed to care.

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So it doesn’t matter that I don’t feel so pretty.

So why is that stupidly annoying song hanging around my musical brain?  You would think the songs that would be lingering might be Rockin Robin or Riding on a Train, both songs that blast frequently from two of the kid’s toys.  But no, I Feel Pretty it is, over and over again…..

To help combat this frustrating ordeal, I thought if I actually sang the song, maybe it would go away.  But since I don’t feel so pretty, I may have to change the words to be in keeping with how I really feel.  So, on a day after one of my blasted shots, where the kids have a prior engagement and I am in a rented home with my mom who isn’t feeling well and my sister who insists on watching bad TV, here is my MS/vacation version of I Feel Pretty.

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I feel achy, oh so achy

I feel achy and shaky and uptight

And I pity the person who bugs me tonight

 

I feel icky, oh so icky

It is sickly how icky I feel

And so icky that I can hardly believe it’s real

 

(Since the state we are visiting is on the west coast and it is hotter than it should be in December)

 

I feel sticky, oh so sticky

I feel sticky and sickly and tickly

It is a wonder if I will sleep tonight

 

(And since the state we are visiting is covered with cottons fields that we all seem to be allergic to)

 

I feel itchy, oh so itchy

It is witchy how itchy I am

A very itchy and bitchy ma’am

 

See the grouchy girl in that mirror there,

Who can that crab apple be?

Such an achy body,

Such tired eyes,

Such a lazy gait

In another state I must be.

 

I feel sleepy, oh so sleepy

So sleepy and weepy, it’s not right

And it isn’t even close to night!

 

(I actually did some research for my little song parody and it turns out, I don’t even have to change any words of Part 3 of the chorus for it to fit into my own little MS away from home song.)

 

It must be the heat,

Or some rare disease,

Or too much too eat,

Or maybe its fleas!

 

I feel icky, oh so icky

It is sickly how icky I feel

And so icky I can hardly believe it’s real!

 

Don’t worry friends, I just wrote this little ditty to do anything to get rid of this song.  If my version didn’t work, the effects of the shot are starting to let up, the MS MonSter (see my prior blog post MS/PMS MonSter Mash) is starting to head back into its cave, and the children have time on their dance card to hang tomorrow which will be a straight shot of adrenaline and joy.

I don’t know that after chasing and playing and hanging with them that I will be feeling pretty tomorrow either.  But I will definitely feel less icky.

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Dear friends,

Want to stay home and avoid Black Friday shopping?  

Want to give a gift that brings laughter to others this holiday season? 

Why not give MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis to family and friends? 

MS Madness! is a gift that will make them smile over and over!!!

 

 

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

An MS’er acknowledges autumn, again

 

******This blog was first published last year.  But the sentiment is so relevant, I had to post it again.  Plus, it was a busy week.******

I have said it before and I will say it again, I love fall!  And again, I really, really love fall!  It is my absolute favorite season by far!  When I tell grouchy people this they say, “ya, well, fall means winter is coming soon.”

To me that is ok; winter is my second favorite season!

I love fall so much that, MS fatigue aside, I don’t even bother to sweep up the dead leaves that blow into my front doorway every time I go in or out- they are just awesome fall decorations!

Here are some reasons why I love fall- cooler weather, cool breezes, barely any humidity, cooler weather, no bathing suits, cooler weather, and pumpkins.  Pumpkins are definitely a great part of fall.

 

I am not very artistic, so carving pumpkins has never been my thing.  But I like looking at carved pumpkins.

Mostly, I love the essence of pumpkins.   So much so, that I have pumpkin room deodorizer and a vanilla pumpkin scented candle.

I thought pumpkin was a vegetable but it turns out it is actually a fruit.  The confusion comes from the fact that it is in the squash family but it is still just a fruit.  That’s ok.  It is a healthy thing I actually like.

Come fall I seek out pumpkin everything.  Do you know that Dunkin Donuts makes pumpkin coffee, pumpkin munchkins, and pumpkin donuts?  I don’t even like coffee but throw some pumpkin in it and it is yummy!

 

Recently I discovered that Dunkin’s also offers pumpkin cream cheese.  It is beyond describable in its deliciousness. Then I learned that you can buy pumpkin cream cheese in the grocery store and have it at home whenever you like!  I considered this but reasoned that the nutritional benefits of the pumpkin paled in relation to the calories in the cream cheese and thus, didn’t buy it.

The grocery store also had pumpkin ice cream but the container was huge and that was just a bizarre mix.  Pumpkin is a fall food and does not belong in combination with ice cream, a summer food for when it is super hot out.   Pumpkin belongs with hot things, like my beloved tea.

I learned from Facebook about Hersheys Pumpkin Spice Kisses but told they were hard to find.  I went on a quest to find them that took me two and one half hours away from home and employed the assistance of a friend.  We didn’t find them.

 

Truth be told, I was in the area anyway and didn’t make the long drive just for the kisses.   Lucky for me, two weeks before Halloween, they appeared in a local pharmacy and they were scrumptious.

I have heard that Pringles will be releasing Pumpkin Spice potato chips soon and if the Pringles factory were nearby, I’d be waiting at the door!  I wonder if the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory has any direct links to the Pringles factory?

Reese’s even makes chocolate peanut butter pumpkins but I must admit, I’m not sure how much real pumpkin is in them.

 

Please don’t think I have fallen off my ‘get fit’ plan, I am just trying to incorporate my favorite fall flavor into it.   I hadn’t used my Montel Williams Healthmaster Elite in a bit and thought maybe I should see if Montel had a recipe for a Pumpkin Smoothie in the recipe book.

He did not.  BUT, he did have a recipe for Pumpkin Yogurt Pancakes and Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins.  I was in!

First up, the pancakes.   I think they might have been super delicious except for the one fact I forgot- I totally stink at making pancakes.   Is that an MS thing?  If not, it should be because part of the problem was flipping the floppy things.   Usually I am a good flipper (see prior post- Flipnastics) but the problem is, I can’t flip on demand.  Plus it was hard to know when to flip.

 

The bottom line was that while I sampled the few bits of cooked pieces I came up with, and they tasted pretty good, mostly I had a mess of burnt cakes on the outside, raw pumpkin yogurt batter on the inside.

Next up were the Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins.  I was able to use many of the same ingredients so I only needed to go back to the store for zucchini which was puzzlinging as all I could find was something called green squash. I asked a healthy looking person in the store for help and she informed that green squash was the same as zucchini.  So why the two different names?  Is it just to confuse the already confused like me?

 

Whatever it is called, I brought it home and made the muffins and score- they were awesome and healthy!!!  They were easy to make and each muffin was filling and had a vegetable and a fruit in it!  I have got the healthy eating thing down friends!

Fall is here and everything pumpkin is good for you.   The world is a happy, smiley pumpkin face, place!

 

*Note #1   This year my local Dunkin Donuts is not carrying pumpkin cream cheese.   Thought I would warn you in case you don’t find it at your local Dunkin’s either.  Why do they take away something amazing?  I had no choice- I was forced to double my order of pumpkin munchkins.

 

*Note #2  Our guy Jack danced a sexy rhumba (yes, rhumba is a dance, not a vacuum cleaning robot,)  to make it to round 3 on DWTS!  His family was there to cheer him on although I am not sure Ozzy knew where he was.  Does Ozzy ever know where he is??  Don’t worry Ozzy, I can relate!

 

MS ironic comment of the night came from Head Judge Len Goodman, “you do weird things with your hands.”

Please keep voting.  Interestingly, I heard from cyberspace that some clueless person has actually challenged an MS’er with the expected “if Jack Osborne can do DWTS then you must be fine.”  The MS’er responded.  I don’t think I can legally print her response here but I say hey, at least they were talking about MS!

(Somewhere in between the bleeps and $%&&$#@@’s of course.)

Talking is awareness friends so let’s keep Jack in.  Turns out, the guy is not only one of us, but a pretty darn good dancer!

Vote for Jack and his partner Cheryl Burke by calling 1-800-868-3402 up to 60 minutes after the show on Monday nights or by logging onto ABC.com or Facebook.com/votedwts up to 24 hours after.

 

 

 

 

Taffy Summer Revisted

An MS’er revisits a candy store

 

Friends, due to a crazy week and a prediction of no internet for a few days, I am posting this week’s blog early.  And also due to the above, it is a repeat from this time last summer.   Luckily the humidity hasn’t been as bad this August but I think we can all still relate……… 

This post is dedicated to all of my Cape Cod friends who are likely in the deep, deep throes of Augustitis. It’s ok my over worked, over heated, over tired, over questioned, over being run over friends- Labor Day will be here soon.

 

The stickiest job I ever held was at a candy store that made its own salt water taffy. (In case you are wondering, the salt water part is a myth- no we didn’t take beach pails across the street, collect the bay water and pour it in the taffy vat.)

 

This was my first real job at the legal age of 14 as opposed to the four not so real jobs I held before.

Those jobs included selling shells (high end shells painted with nautical themes by my very artistic uncle), sweeping the sidewalk in front of one lovely storefront at the bottom of my street, and babysitting the three year old whose parents owned the store next door to the sweeping place. A job where I would watch the child in the backroom of the parents store or take her to the beach to build sandcastles as long as we didn’t go in the water past her knees.

The craziest job was during the summers when I was 12 and 13 and ran my family’s guesthouse. I would take strangers (often single men) up to their bedrooms in an empty home and give them the keys to the house.

Luckily it was never a problem (oh, the bliss of the naiveté in days of old.)

But I have been thinking of the candy store job a lot lately, and I am not sure why.

Is it because no matter how clean the owners kept the place or how many inspections they passed, the floor of the backrooms were always covered in corn syrup? That reminds me of how sticky I feel in this miserable humidity.

 

In this damp sticky weather I am sticky as soon as I wake up. I am sticking to clothes, to chairs, and with my MS clumsiness, I am sticking to walls too.

The summers at the candy store I also stuck to everything. I easily ruined three pairs of shoes each season and those were the only times in my life where I actually followed my mom’s “take your shoes off as soon as you come in rule.”

I would need to allow an extra five minutes to make it back to work from my lunch break as my shoes stuck to the sidewalk with each step and added precious extra seconds to my walk as I forcibly yanked my feet off the ground.

No wonder I turned out clumsy, MS or no MS.

This weather is making me stick everywhere and I am just a sticky, icky mess similar to the sticky mess I was at the candy store. Problem is, at least taffy is sweet. I am not feeling so sweet these days.

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Maybe this job is on my mind as I am working so hard on my ‘get fit’ plan and those summers were the years when friendly tourists asked me how I stayed so skinny working in a candy store.

It actually wasn’t that hard. Believe it or not you get sick of fudge easy when you smell it all day long and I never again want to even see taffy or corn syrup. Ah, but it is nice to remember that at one time people referred to me as “so skinny.”

Perhaps I am thinking of those busy summers as I suddenly realize that I used to love the season and the excitement the crowds, summer activities, and the hot weather brought.

Not so much anymore.

 

Now the crowds translate to noise which makes my ears hurt, much too long to get anywhere or do anything and dangerous road conditions. And the hot weather makes me want to move to the Artic.

Yes, that is it. That is why I am fondly pondering those years in the seventies. I am wondering how I survived and I don’t mean in the guesthouse business.

No one in my world had ac in the eighties. We definitely didn’t have it at home and not only did the candy store not have it, the heat from the ovens and taffy machines jacked up the temperature. Yet I don’t remember suffering like this.

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What is causing me to turn into an achy, sweaty, smelly mess as soon as the thermostat hits 82? Is it the extra lbs? Age? Global warming? MS?

Oh yes, MS affects everything, especially things that happen between June and September.

I can fondly ponder all the memories I want. As long as I ponder them in an ac cooled room with a big glass of ice water and some time to rest.

And no taffy anywhere!!

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Once Bitten

Nutrition vibes wreak havoc on an MS brain

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I swear that I really am taking this whole healthier diet thing seriously.  Yet, I just seem to falter at every turn.  And the most frustrating thing, (although with multiple sclerosis it is hard to list frustrations in order,) is that when I think I am on to something good, it gets proved to be wrong.

Earlier in April I was munching away on an apple; supposedly a very healthy snack. I was telling myself how delicious it was and how many vitamins I was consuming when out of nowhere, I bit out a bite of the inside of my cheek.

It hurt, a lot, and the apple got a little bloody and so I gave up. I didn’t realize that my teeth were that sharp and that a healthy diet could be dangerous.

And if I am being totally honest, I was totally lying.  It wasn’t delicious at all, before or after the blood.

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Luckily, my social media friends informed me that it was free cone day at our local Ben and Jerry’s.  Once the blood stopped, I headed there and the cold cone helped numb the area.  The servers were super friendly and said that customers could come back as many times as they wanted as long as they waited in line and weren’t too obnoxious about it.

The cold helped but I didn’t want to use my earlier healthy eating incident as an excuse to fall off my ‘get fit’ plan.  So I only went back three times.

Kidding. I suffered through my pain and only had one free cone. I paid for the other two.

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I take comfort in the fact that at least I start my day on a fiber filled, all things healthy note.  I have a favorite cereal that is pretty nutritious.  I hesitate to name it here in case someone is able to burst my bubble and tell me that Fruit Loops aren’t that good for you.

Kidding again; the cereal is not Fruit Loops.

After hearing a neurologist speak on the benefits of flax seeds (see my prior blog post Not Working It Out,) I bought some and started adding them to my cereal.  They provide extra crunch and make my breakfast extra filling.  And I was losing weight so I felt this was finally a good breakfast choice.

THEN, I was informed that the body does not really digest whole seeds and it is better to get your flax in the powder form!   There went my extra crunch and now my cereal is just powdery and gross.  It is enough to make an MS’er pull out her Fruit Loops coupons- at least there would be fruit.

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Finally, in the scope of consuming more veggies, I made a wonderful, good for you recipe.  It is a casserole made with kale, whole wheat pasta, onions, diced tomatoes and ground turkey.

The diehards might argue that any type of pasta is not really ideal and casseroles are not the best choice, but I have to find something edible and since there was a lot of good in this recipe, I felt it was a great compromise.  I had made it once before and loved it.

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Unfortunately my MS brain got a little cocky in the kitchen and also got a little lazy about measuring things.  This time it came out way spicier than intended but still not bad.  Hey, crushed pepper is also good for you, right?

I ate my dinner and had a ton left over so I gave some to my sister and her boyfriend for their dinner.  Then I watched the news.

Turns out a recent report found that A LOT of ground turkey contains antibiotic resistant bacteria, fecal bacteria and E-Coli!  I won’t tell you what fecal bacteria is, but if you want to be grossed out, look it up.

The news didn’t say which companies they tested or where they bought the ground turkey leaving you to wonder and panic all on your own.  To make matters worse, this report wasn’t even a recall but a warning.

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What does that mean?

It means that it was up to my indecisive MS brain to decide how disgusting this news was and what to do with the rest of the casserole.   It also said that if you heated the turkey to 165 degrees, you probably killed all the bacteria and E-Coli.  How the heck did I know how much I heated the turkey?

It was hot, I know that. I could tell when I dropped some on my foot after transferring it from the pan and my foot stung a bit.  Does turkey need to be 165 degrees before it stings?  Or does it sting at 150 degrees? 160?

The folks who make ground turkey came out with their own report where they stated that the results of the first report were misleading; but I have heard that they are all just a bunch of turkeys.

What is a committed MS’er to do?  What would you do?  And what if a pizza joint and a burger place where within a ten minute drive from you????

Yes, healthy eating with MS truly bites.  And as in the case with the apple, I say that literally!

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Friends-don’t forget to enter the fun contest described in the blog post, What’s in a Name?  You only have until 5/24/13 to get your entries in!

 

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Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days

An MS’er tackles a blizzard

In my world, cold is better than hot (as long as cold includes a nice cup of scalding hot tea,) and snow is better than humidity. Seems I remember in the past, losing hot water and having to take an ice cold shower before heading off to work. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hell.

More recently and AMSEML (after MS entered my life,) I lost hot water again and attempted the cold shower. It was summer and so while I was not looking forward to it, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was.

The icy water was not refreshing. It felt more like sharp edged icicles stabbing me all over. It hurt so much that I wasn’t able to breathe. I kept telling myself to breathe, what was wrong with me that I wasn’t breathing? It was too much and I burst from my shower covered in soap.

 

Flash forward to storm prep for the blizzard of 2013– the storm that was to arrive only two weeks after a previously predicted snow storm never showed up. I love winter and had eagerly awaited this one, the winter the Farmers’ Almanac promised would be cold and snowy.

The reality is that what I love about the season is being toasty warm and drinking tea while watching the lovely snow fall from my window. I didn’t doubt the blizzard predictions and even enjoyed monitoring them on the nightly news. But no one, no matter how prepared you are, seriously appreciates what a lack of power means on a 20 degree day, at least for more than a few hours.

I bought the batteries and bottled water. I watched the weather reports. As the wind kicked up late in the afternoon before the blizzard, I plugged in my electric blanket to warm my bed up before the expected power outages. Just before nine it happened; the power was gone and so was the immediate future of further electrically generated heat. Since I had pre-warmed my bed, and was exhausted as always, I drifted off to sleep.

Morning and frigid air came quickly. When I awoke, I buried deep under my covers and rested there for another hour. I tried to flood my brain with positive self talk.

You knew power outages were likely.

It’s not like you are going to die from the cold, you’re still inside.

So it will suck for a bit, so what, that’s life.

There’s no way to know how long this will last. It could be minutes, it could be days.

Get up and get moving, you’ll have to at some point.

When I accepted that cold or no cold, I couldn’t justify laying in bed all day, I crawled from my cocoon and began to layer up. Me, the girl who has never, ever worn hats since rapidly removing the ones my mom insisted I wear on my walk to grade school, (removing the hat as soon as our house was out of sight-hopefully enough time has passed that I won’t be grounded for admitting this,) put on a hat.

It was a miracle I even found a hat in my house. (I think it must have come in the pretty scarf/glove/hat Christmas gift set several holidays before, the scarf and gloves I do use).

I layered on anything I could possibly think of; undershirt, turtleneck, sweater, sweatshirt, sweatpants, three pairs of socks. Where oh where did my leg warmers from the eighties go? I layered up so much that I looked and walked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

 

Then I realized I had to pee. My vow to all those reading these words is to never, ever again silently make fun of people who have those soft, vinyl padded toilet seat covers. I may even buy one, if only to use during cold weather power outages.

Once I recovered from that shock, I wobbled my padded self and my blankets to where I could be productive in spite of the circumstances, the sofa. Wrapped in my Boston Bruins thermal blankie (still one of the best Christmas gifts eva!), I tried to decide how to spend the arctic day. I was determined not to use the blizzard as an excuse to fall off my “get fit” plan.

I could exercise. But no, I needed to save the treasured batteries on the Wii Fit board and there was no tv anyway. How about outside to shovel? No point, the snow was still coming down and there would be no way to warm up when I was done. I could just move around my house but hauling all those blankets and layers seemed dangerous.

I insisted I would at least eat healthy and hydrate properly. I had even prepared for that- buying produce and rinsing it before the storm so that I could make myself a salad and eat fruit so as not to falter on my plan.

But that wasn’t happening. Everything was so frosty there was no way I was sinking my teeth into an ice cold apple or orange or even attempting to put together a salad. And the water was ice cold too. I did manage a banana for breakfast but that was the end of eating healthy.

After that I went to the snacks; easy to open, not cold to bite into. One may wonder why I had snacks in the house in the first place. Remember, there was a blizzard coming and my “get fit” plan is taking the baby steps route.

Still trying to be somewhat productive, I thought I would use my laptop battery to get some writing done. But no, between MS and the freezing air, my fingers were not inclined to cooperate.

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What I missed most was that scalding cup of tea I so treasure. So much so, that when due to a dangerously low amount of wax I needed to blow out one candle, I fell into a dangerously euphoric state. Picking up the glass covered candle, I realized how hot it was.

As I tightly grasped the bottle with both hands, I almost felt it was a mug of tea I was holding. I popped out of my reverie before I gulped the wax itself and made the best of the situation by cuddling the bottle against my face, neck, hands and arms until its warmth was gone.

Soon the MS aches ramped up and the cold went from being unpleasant to excruciating. At some point it turned dark again and I shuffled back to my cocoon of bedding, hat and all.

I was luckier than most. By the next morning, the power was back, 36 hours after it went out; much, much better than what some folks were dealing with.

 

Here is what the storm taught me. The best of intentions can often go awry if something bigger than you has other plans. Like say, God, or storm fronts, or multiple sclerosis.

Sometimes you just have to give in and wait out what is holding you back, even if it could be minutes or could be days.

Controlled cold is better than uncontrolled heat. Controlled heat is better than uncontrolled cold. And, in spite of this frigid, miserable Saturday, I stand by uncontrolled cold being better than uncontrolled heat. This way, I can still whine in August.

And lastly, what I learned most, I need to start looking for vinyl toilet seat covers…..

 

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Friends in Low Places

An unusual MS relationship

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Multiple Sclerosis is playing a cruel trick on me once again. This Garth Brooks, karaoke country song is stuck in this classic rock girl’s head. And there is absolutely NO reason for it as there are plenty of better choices that could be stuck in my brain- You’re My Best Friend (RIP Freddie), Lean on Me (the MS’ers caregiver anthem), With a Little Help from My Friends (the Joe Cocker version of course) or the classic Waiting on a Friend (love you Mick and Keith.) But no, it is Garth Brooks in my head and I have a very dear friend who is cracking up about it.

One of the things I did not expect in the aftermath of my MS diagnosis (in addition to the pain, frustrations, shots, and bladder issues of course,) was that friendships would change. Most for the better, but sadly, some for the worse.

While my foggy brain continues to struggle with the fact that my life with MS would not include people I imagined as here forever, and Garth’s song is making me want to head to my local dive bar and reconnect with other folks from my past, I remain deeply grateful to all the friends I do have.

I have also learned to expand my definition of friendship. My dictionary offers these two components: one who is not hostile, one who favors or supports something. It does not specify that the friend has to be human.

As you know, I am trying to get healthier. In doing so, I have developed a very welcoming and gracious bond with my Wii Fit.

 

Like many relationships, this did not come easily. When the Wii Fit first came into my world we exhibited a very dysfunctional relationship. Its bossiness and snide remarks were overwhelming and I was actually terrified to turn it on. I describe this terror in great detail in one of my first blogs Me and My Wii.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the Wii Fit is a Nintendo gaming system that links to your TV and helps you work out. It does this by a special board that you work out on and that monitors the progress of your animated self, a Mii.

Problem was, my Wii was very hard on me. It could be downright mean sometimes if it didn’t think I was holding my own in our relationship. Usually a sweet person, I would often find myself shouting obscenities at the Wii for its nastiness. This was not the basis of a good friendship.

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But with age, comes maturity and the need to be more understanding of the people in your life. You have to appreciate that; not everything is directed at or about you, that things are not always going to be as you think they should be, and once in a while, you may have to extend yourself in ways that you don’t necessarily want to, if a relationship is worth continuing and based on the good of both parties involved.

When I turned on the Wii Fit, I worried what attitude I would be confronted with. Yet, the Wii missed me and happily welcomed me back.

It offered a welcome present in the form of upgrading my status to gold (personally I am more of a silver person but as the gift was heartfelt, I cherished it.)

It told me it was happy to see me and was looking forward to spending time together.

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It reminded me that all it ever really wanted was for me to reach my fitness goals and in the time we had been apart, it was proud that I had! (Ok, about three months later than planned, but again, the course of true friendship does not always run on schedule.)

It suggested the best way for us to grow closer was perhaps by trying different Wii activities together, ones that we both may enjoy and benefit from..

I took it’s reminder to try my best but not too push myself too hard as an apology for its harshness in earlier workout regimens.

I realized my part in the problem by neglecting the Wii for so long, and not even having the compassion to keep it dust free.

We began to work together and bond like we had never bonded before.

Of course, no relationship is perfect, and we still have our issues. For one, the Wii needs to stop being so needy. I know that we get along great but I have a life and visiting every other day is fine. It needs to stop nagging me to come back EVERY day.

And the Wii is still sad at my nephew Drew’s disappearance from its life. Drew had set the Wii up and grew close to it by creating his own little Mii, only to then move across the country. The Wii’s heartbreak is excruciating.

Back when we were battling, it tried to blame me for Drew’s dismissal- suggesting that maybe he left because I hadn’t paid enough attention to him. Now, it deals with the trauma by making fun of Drew (bet he’s got some love handles now, huh Yvonne?) or acting like it doesn’t care by putting the Drew Mii to sleep.

I must add spending time with the Wii to Drew’s list of things to do the next time he is home; help your grandmother defrag her computer, help me move some furniture, visit with the Wii.

I have learned that the best of companions (human or gaming system) enjoy hanging out, can air their differences, seek to resolve tension, and work together for the improvement of both parties.

For my part, to be a good friend I need to keep the Wii dust free, its batteries charged and visit with it regularly.

For its part, the Wii wants to help me ‘get fit’ and work on my balance issues; a task desperately needed as I tripped twice doing the heel to toe walk at my neurologist’s office, a walk I had mastered back in my dive bar days.

Which brings this post back to the beginning, Garth’s friends in low places. The Wii is low- it sits in my TV and its board sits on my floor. And by definition, it is technically a friend.

Maybe not a friend I would toast with a beer, but a friend nonetheless.

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Image courtesy of [photostock] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [sattva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Boaz Yiflach] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Childcare/Pringles/Vacation Diet

A multiple sclerosis ‘get fit’ plan

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It helps that I am starting this New Year ‘get fit’ plan down five lbs after a month long family vacation. I am not completely sure how this happened as, since it was vacation, I was not exactly trying that hard. But I do have some ideas.

Idea number one is that healthy vibes might have graciously taken some pounds off when I made the decision not to join my family at a famous, nationwide, supreme buffet restaurant that shall remain nameless. They offer such healthy horrors as cotton candy and chocolate that pours miraculously from a fountain.

I am not much of a buffet fan. I think buffets are just a ridiculous excuse to gorge, if only for the justification of making sure you get your money’s worth. I know most buffets offer nutritious options, but who is actually filling their plate with broccoli when you have meats, sweets and carbs galore?

Plus, if I am spending money to go out to eat, I would like a nice person to bring me my food in appropriate portions and then maybe bring me a little box so that I can take some food home for lunch the next day. I can get up a million times to keep re-serving myself at home. No, I am not a fan of a buffet.

Since the rental car didn’t fit the entire family and the car seats needed for our youngest and cutest members, I offered to stay home with the little ones. The baby received a bottle for lunch and I must say, I make a mean bottle. I could tell by the cooing and the big burp he let out when he was done.

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The oldest and I ate very healthy lunch of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Don’t judge. I put a bit of ketchup on the little one’s plate to meet the veggie requirement.

When the adults in the family returned, they all looked puffier, stuffier and ready to pass out from overindulgence. Hence, I definitely avoided extra poundage there.

Idea number two of the possible reason for the unexplained weight loss was the amount of activity required when hanging with the little ones. The baby wasn’t crawling yet, but he had perfected the across the rug roll. If you made sure there was nothing dangerous in his rolling path, you didn’t really have to chase him too much. Every once in a while you might have to roll over to him in order to see what he was up to and to play with him, but it wasn’t too exhausting.

 

roll to doggie

roll to doggie

His older brother however, all 22 months of expendable energy of him, kept me moving. Where does all that energy come from? And why do kids instinctively gravitate to the one thing they are not supposed to touch and have been told over and over to leave alone? And how come they understand the word “No” very clearly when they say it to you, but conveniently forget what it means when you say it to them?

I thought I would be smart and buy him a toddler’s basketball set. I figured I could pull over a lawn chair and toss the ball to him and he would throw it into the net, over and over. Not quite. Our basketball game revolved around him throwing the ball everywhere but at the net, and then heading in the opposite direction to try to touch what he wasn’t supposed to, while I was chasing the ball.

Eventually, he did get great at the game. He would catch a pass from me, head to the basket, drop the ball in and then clap. He did this three times. And then he was off. All day…

He also helped me on a project and this help may be the third reason why I actually lost five lbs on vacation. If you remember from my Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere blog, I was determined to try all the varieties of Pringles holiday flavors coming out in November, and then inform readers which was the best. Turns out the child loves Pringles and was a big help, taste testing and consuming many of the chips in order to help me get this issue straight.

My MS brain did not connect the obvious fact that if I wanted to keep him out of the Pringles, I could put them on a shelf out of his reach. Who knew that when he couldn’t open the tops of the Pringles canister the regular way, he would discover the skill of removing the lid with his teeth?

But he did help. We were able to find and test the Pumpkin and Spice, Cinnamon and Sugar, and White Chocolate Peppermint flavors. I was thrilled to complete this important taste task before the end of the New Year and thus, would have the answer on the best Pringles flavor before I focused on my ‘get fit’ plan.

The child liked to work on the taste test whether or not I was with him and able to take precious notes on the various taste differentials. Luckily in this case shown below, we had just washed the floor.

 

taste test

taste test

Anyway, after great debate, we decided that Cinnamon and Sugar was the best of the holiday flavors, followed by the Pumpkin and Spice. The White Chocolate Peppermint was just icky. Ultimately, the basic Pringles flavors rock the potato chip world the best. For me, it is regular but the child prefers Sour Cream and Onion.

Thank you little ones for the exhaustingly fun way to lose a couple of lbs. Unfortunately, these two live across the country. I am on my own for this plan now. Anybody have a child to lend that will run me ragged five lbs at a time?

 

brief rest

brief rest

 

Image courtesy of [Clare Bloomfield] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [renjith krishnan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resolve This!

An MS’er attacks the New Year

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Happy New Year everyone! Hope you have had an excellent start to this first day of 2013.

Yes, oh particular ones, I do realize that today is the 11th and thus eleven days after the first official day of the year. But my question is, says who? The Mayans?

I have chosen to start the New Year and my New Year’s resolutions today for several reasons.

1. I had way too much chocolate and goodies still leftover from Christmas to even attempt any healthy eating plan. Unlike my thinner friend who decided to start her resolutions on 12/29 to get ahead of the game (New Year kiss-ass,) I choose to be a rebel and just start later. I also resolved to waste less, so I would be immediately failing if I threw out the good stuff. My friend had help in that department. Her four, pretty much grown kids, who were home for the holiday helped her devour her treats. I was forced to tackle mine almost completely alone.

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2. The end of the first official week of the New Year was filled with two afternoons of MRI’s, for which I needed to refrain from taking my wonder drug, Aleve, for several days. (More on what I Iearned from the MRI tube in a future blog.) Without my over the counter pain meds, the aches were miserable and I resolved to do nothing but lie around my house and whine about them.

3. As you can see from the above, this year I resolved to take my health and ‘get fit’ plan seriously. So I seriously chose a good day to start- the 11th, the Yvonne deSousa official first day of the New Year! A brief Auld Lang Syne to all!

If you happened to be following my ‘get fit’ plan over the summer, you understand that it takes baby steps to achieve healthy new fitness goals. Little by little, I have been sneaking better habits in and have figured some things out along the way that may help all of you in your ‘get fit’ journey as well.

 

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1. One regular size Mounds candy bar is not the equivalent of two servings of fruit.

2. Kale is the best veggie in the world but eating eight bowls of Portuguese kale soup is not the healthiest way to meet your veggie requirements.

3. While super delicious, Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkins are not actually made from pumpkins and thus, don’t count as a fruit serving.

4. Cinnamon is an excellent spice and very good for you. But shaking just a little on ice cream, puddings and baked goods is the least effective way of adding it to your diet.

5. Just because something is in the yogurt section of the dairy case and starts with Yo, doesn’t mean it is the same as the yogurt the experts all tell you to eat. Apparently the stuff that comes with mini M&M’s and Oreo cookies are not the best in yogurt options.

6. Since dark chocolate is good for you, one would assume that milk chocolate is even better as it has milk in it. Apparently, that is not the case.

7. Turns out calories consumed by eating raw cookie dough really do count.

8. Vegan and vegetarian are considered by some to be politically incorrect words these politically correct days. The new appropriate phrasing is “plant based diet.” This I discovered when another friend and I attended a class on “plant based diet” cooking. (See, I really am trying.)

The class was held in a small, quiet room in a doctor’s office, and was just beginning when my friend called to tell me that she was late as she couldn’t find the place. I did what any good friend would do and gave her the best directions that would help her find it.

“It is directly across from McDonalds on Main, you know the Mickey D’s we went to last month to pick up the Frappes.” Despite the offended looks I received from the instructor, I did take home some good recipes.

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Over the fall, you, readers have been concerned about me as well and have sent me some helpful information. One reader and dear friend recommended a book called the Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book that I purchased and have leafed through several times. I swear one of these days I will actually read the words written in it, I really will.

Another reader mentioned the website www.skinnytaste.com and honestly, it looks really good. And I heard from the founder of the website www.msdietforwomen.com and that looks really good too. Guys, you are on your own on that one.

I also discovered the website www.crazysexydiet.com that is geared towards people using healthy foods to fight cancer, but has the same good for you basics we all need. I was at first pleased when I read their list of 9 Foods You Should Never Eat and discovered that I only ate 2 of them- two didn’t seem that bad. Then I realized that Portuguese bread and Italian bread are considered white bread so damn, there were three things on the list I need to cut out.

Not to forget the other part of any person’s ‘get fit’ plan, is the fact that you must drink lots of water. It is not that I have an aversion to water, I just forget to drink it. I usually remember right about the time in the evening when I remember to take my “so I don’t pee all night” pill, which of course, is too late to start drinking water.

And then there is exercise. Another reader sent me info about a website www.crankyfitness.com    The concept of this site is that if exercising makes you cranky, the website can relate.

What all of these things seem to say is that the basic plan should be to eat more vegetables and fruits, no processed foods, much, much, less meat, sugar, and flour, drink water and exercise. I am on it!

I have charged the batteries in my Wii and have the ingredients for my first recipe, a Ham, Brown Rice and Peas casserole for WHICH, I am going to substitute kidney beans for the ham and exchange half the brown rice for farro to add some good grains.

I can do this! Want to join me?

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Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [sattva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Feel Icky

An MS inspired parody

What is with me and show tunes lately?   I don’t even really like show tunes yet I can’t seem to get them out of my head.

Just a few weeks ago I posted a blog based on the song A Few of My Favorite Things and now the song I Feel Pretty from West Side Story is lingering around.  This is especially weird as

1. I don’t even like that song and

2. I really, really don’t feel pretty at all.

On this family trip my get fit plan has gone right out the window.  And, as during the packing for this journey my suitcase was too filled with toys for the little ones to add any of my nicer clothes, I am schlepping around in my least pretty wardrobe possible.

Luckily, kids don’t really notice what you are wearing (except for the 21 month old who enjoys undoing and redoing the snaps on one of my sweaters, luckily a sweater I wear with a light shirt underneath.) And while family may notice what you wear, they aren’t really supposed to care.

So it doesn’t matter that I don’t feel so pretty.

So why is that stupidly annoying song hanging around my musical brain?  You would think the songs that would be lingering might be Rockin Robin or Riding on a Train, both songs that blast frequently from two of the kid’s toys.  But no, I Feel Pretty it is, over and over again…..

To help combat this frustrating ordeal, I thought if I actually sang the song, maybe it would go away.  But since I don’t feel so pretty, I may have to change the words to be in keeping with how I really feel.  So, on a day after one of my blasted shots, where the kids have prior a engagement and I am in a rented home with my mom who isn’t feeling well and my sister who insists on watching bad tv, here is my MS/vacation version of I Feel Pretty.

I feel achy, oh so achy

I feel achy and shaky and uptight

And I pity the person who bugs me tonight

 

I feel icky, oh so icky

It is sickly how icky I feel

And so icky that I can hardly believe it’s real

 

(Since the state we are visiting is on the west coast and it is hotter than it should be in December)

I feel sticky, oh so sticky

I feel sticky and sickly and tickly

It is a wonder if I will sleep tonight

(And since the state we are visiting is covered with cottons fields that we all seem to be allergic to)

 

I feel itchy, oh so itchy

It is witchy how itchy I am

A very itchy and bitchy ma’am

See the grouchy girl in that mirror there,

Who can that crab apple be?

Such an achy body,

Such tired eyes,

Such a lazy gait

In another state I must be.

 

I feel sleepy, oh so sleepy

So sleepy and weepy, it’s not right

And it isn’t even close to night!

 

(I actually did some research for my little song parody and it turns out, I don’t even have to change any words of Part 3 of the chorus for it to fit into my own little MS away from home song.)

 

It must be the heat,

Or some rare disease,

Or too much too eat,

Or maybe its fleas!

 

I feel icky, oh so icky

It is sickly how icky I feel

And so icky I can hardly believe it’s real!

 

Don’t worry friends, I just wrote this little ditty to do anything to get rid of this song.  If my version didn’t work, the effects of the shot are starting to let up, the MS MonSter (see my prior blog post MS/PMS MonSter Mash) is starting to head back into its cave, and the children have time on their dance card to hang tomorrow, which will be a straight shot of adrenaline and joy.

I don’t know that after chasing and playing and hanging with them that I will be feeling pretty tomorrow either.  But I will definitely feel less icky.

 

Best Medicine

 

Image courtesy of [M-Pics] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Ambro] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [scottchan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [farconville] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Leslie’s Wedding

This MS’er goes to a party

Groom kept falling over

It was the morning of a friend’s wedding and I thought I was prepared. In the old days, thinking I was prepared meant I was prepared. I had an outfit ready. Fancy, gauzy, flared, black slacks that I had worn as part of an ensemble to the last wedding I went to, before multiple sclerosis officially entered my world. For some strange and annoying reason, the top no longer fit. Luckily, my mom had a perfectly nice top I could wear.

I found shoes in my closet that would go with the outfit without being too high or obnoxious for me to walk in. I had a jacket in case it got cold, a purse that matched, and back up shoes in case I had a long walk to the church. (The church was small and parking was often tricky.)

As the occasion of the wedding brought up many memories of my friend, I wanted to write her a personal letter to put in the card. I woke up early and with my morning cup of tea beside me, turned on my computer and wrote to her. I was happy with how the letter came out and was finished except for printing.

I started to play around with font and then color. Somehow, I managed to highlight the text in black and could not figure out how to undo it. I tried everything, even copy and pasting the text to a new document and trying to keep the highlight while changing it to a lighter color. Nothing worked. Not wanting to abandon the personal sentiment of a letter meant that I needed to start all over again which meant that I had far less time to get ready.

Shower and makeup. I had stopped wearing makeup since diagnosed with my other medical condition (the gross eye issue called blepharitis– if you are wondering what that is, check out my earlier blog post, Oily Tears and All.) But I had bought make up for this special day.

Trouble was, I always have trouble with lipstick. So I bought a lip gloss that swore it held like lipstick. It did. So much so that you needed an industrial cleaning agent to remove it, which I did not have. When my hand shook and I smudged the gloss on my upper lip, the stain was coming with me to the wedding.

I was really late now, so no blow drying my hair into a nice style. I never do anyway, it’s too exhausting. I usually just put some sort of goop in my hair and hope for the best. Most of the time, my hair cooperates. Today, it did not.

On to getting dressed where to my horror, I realized that I didn’t have any black underwear to wear under the pants. The pants screamed for black. I actually did have black underwear, several pairs, but I hadn’t thought to set any aside for today and they were all now at the very bottom of the very dirty laundry pile.

I found a pair of clean dark blue that almost worked, but not totally. That meant that instead of the dress socks I hoped to get away with wearing, I had to go with the black panty hose I had bought just in case. Just in case what, I didn’t know. I guess, just in case I needed to camouflage the wrong color underpants.

It had been forever since I wore hose and I forgot how tricky they are to put on. I sat on my bed and got my right leg in. The left leg refused to cooperate. It seemed I couldn’t lift it high enough to put into the hose without falling off my bed. I struggled and struggled and never remember having this much trouble with balance and coordination before. I eventually contorted into the weirdest position imaginable and managed to figure it out.

Then, of course, I had to pee.

The outfit was no trouble to put on but there was the realization that I hadn’t tried the slacks with the shoes. I must have been wearing higher heels at the last wedding as this morning I kept stepping on the pants. As if walking wasn’t hard enough!

Jewelry was next and as I struggled with the right earring in the ear lobe that had pretty much closed up, I was reminded of when the bride’s mom had originally pierced my ears way back when with a sewing needle and some ice.

Would Sallie have her needle with her at the wedding? Even if she did, she would be too busy to pierce my ears anew so I stabbed at my earlobe several times until the earring made its way through.

Finally out the door, I found a prime parking spot on the street directly in front of the church. Trouble was, I was not able to parallel park my car without half of my car up on the curb. I embarrassingly tried several times in front of other wedding attendees before giving up, and at the direction of one of the ushers, double parked in the church lot.

I knew I would be kissing and hugging people and my meds give me horrible breath so the last thing I did before entering the church was pop an Altoid into my mouth and then dropped the tin; white chalky Altoids spilling all over my fancy black slacks.

The bride and I

And then it was time for the wedding. I had made it. The bride was gorgeous, her and her groom were ecstatic, I had a blast catching up with old friends and if anyone noticed my smudged lip color, my bad hair, Altoid remnants all over me, or my tripping over my long hem and hiking my pants up constantly, they didn’t say.

So what if the hem/heel issue, my fatigue and my wobbly legs kept me off the dance floor.

So what if the volume of the band increasing greatly after dinner required me to leave earlier than I would have liked, missing the cake. Who needs cake? I am on a ‘get fit’ plan, remember?

(For the record, I ate the salad and green beans that came with the wedding dinner.)

And so what if my leaving early meant that I could not try to catch the bouquet? I don’t need a bouquet. Unless George Clooney dumps Stacy Keibler and gets over his commitment phobia which is not likely any time soon.

Maybe by the time I go to the next wedding…….

Congratulations to Kenny and Leslie!

Bride and Groom hitting the road

Photos by JA and JT as my disposable camera just doesn’t cut it.