Tag Archives: wii fit

Still Unbalanced Cycle

More multiple sclerosis NO balance issues

ID-100287617

 

After a year of turmoil and strife, my Wii Fit and I are back in sync!  In honor of this happy, healthy reunion, I thought I would re-post this blog from last year.  

I hope you enjoy it friends….

My last blog discussed how I had failed the heel to toe test at my neurologist’s office and how that caused drunken memories and great concern.  It concerned many of my readers too, which made me analyze this over and over.  Then I decided to take some action!

Naturally klutzy my whole life, until the heel to toe test incident, I hadn’t given my balance much thought.    I did fall this past summer but that was only because Fido, my pet portable ac unit, tripped me.

Picture 13

I fell again a couple of months later but that was only because I was packing up my home after needing to move and I was incredibly grouchy about it-the move and the packing.

But on a visit with family recently, I fell again.  Not wanting to admit MS was the problem, I decided to make it a crime of assault instead.  The sidewalk attacked me.

There is even a crime scene photo-

16120011

These goldfish didn’t survive the crime.  They landed on the ground when my two year nephew dropped them and quickly reached for the doorbell.  No, he wasn’t reaching for the doorbell to get me needed help.  He just loves pushing the doorbell.  And with me on the ground, there was no adult to stop him.

I did get my first black eye from the incident which I tried to take a picture of, my first selfie.  But it didn’t come out; proving that I should not take selfies, ever.  But you totally should have seen what the sidewalk looked like when I was done defending myself.  The crack I gave it looked something like this-

ID-100143137

But what if these falls have more to do with balance than assault charges or klutziness?  Maybe, they are a combination of both.

Suddenly I realized I can do something about this!  I don’t have to be content with being a Fido/sidewalk victim, at their mercy whenever they decide to be obnoxious.  My Wii Fit has balance exercises I can do.

I went looking for the Wii Fit.  It’s not that I have been neglecting it exactly.  It’s just that I only moved a few days ago and the Wii Fit board got pushed aside during the move. I hadn’t unpacked it yet.

ID-100174833

Ok, ok, the move was actually five months ago, but that is a few days in MS terms.

I pulled it out, took the batteries from the TV remotes and put them in the Wii Fit board, after removing the old ones and cleaning up battery acid in the compartment-guess it had been a long time since I used my Wii Fit, and then checked out the exercises.

I discovered a new balance exercise I hadn’t tried before- ski jumping!  Aren’t female ski jumpers entering the Olympics for the first time this winter?  I need a goal.  I will practice and practice and then enter the Olympics!!!

No, I’m not crazy.  I know I would never get good enough in time for this year’s team. But the next Winter Olympics, I’m in!

ID-10032460

Ahhh, but the Wii Fit is a cruel and bitter trainer.   It refused to cooperate.   When I would do the ski jump game, it would tell me I failed.  Over and over I would try, eager to improve and become Olympic ready.  And over and over my TV would flash the word unbalanced at me.

Unbalanced, like a washing machine stuck in a wet useless cycle, unbalanced.   This was almost more upsetting than the heel to toe test.

Luckily, I found other balance exercises that I did pretty well at.

Ski slalom for one.  I aced the ski slalom game.

ID-10023448

And tightrope walking.  I was actually pretty good at that.  And, the tightrope on the game is between two tall skyscrapers.  Yet, I didn’t fall once!

Ok, new goal- Nik Wallenda watch out!

I am training to be famous tightrope walker!

ID-100174584

For more on my on again/off again dysfunctional relationship with my Wii Fit.including the unethical way we met, check out my book, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis

cover-half

Get Fit Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Concrete Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Olympics Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bear Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tightrope Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Seal of Approval

Multiple Sclerosis inspiration of the aquatic kind

 

In last week’s blog, I talked about whales.  Today’s blog is about seals.  Well, a seal, one seal in particular.  Who knows, maybe next week I will blog about sharks.

Or dolphins.

Or maybe crabs.

Let’s hope that if I ever feel the need to blog about crabs is will be of the marine kind, not the cooties kind.

 

But before I blog about a seal, (a gray harbor seal to be exact like the guy above and not a singer like the guy below,) I must first digress just a bit.

 

I wouldn’t be much of an MS blogger if I didn’t enjoy MS blogs.  In the links section of my website I list some of the ones I regularly follow.  I highly recommend you check them out as long as you promise not to like any of them more than you like mine!

LOL!

(Not really LOL but I didn’t want to come off as too possessive so I hope the LOL tames that envious side.)

 

On a couple of occasions I have had the chance to meet Rick Conti, a fellow blogger who blogs about MS, his faith and Haiti.  Rick really loves to write about Haiti.

His blog is called Limping into the Light.

It was his blog of last week however, that lead me to flop on my bed and hide my head under the pillows in deep shame.  His blog and the fact that I was really, really tired.

He blogged about the importance of exercise.  Read his post here-Step across the Line.

While I rested his blog stayed in my head, maybe because he was right.

Technically, I know about the importance of exercise.

 

I know that supposedly it will help me have more energy, (maybe if I exercised more often I could confirm that.)  When I started my own blog I talked a lot about my own ‘get fit’ plan that involved veggies, more water and exercise.

I have made more progress on the first two tasks than the last.

The thing is, there are exercises I enjoy, specifically beach walks and using my Wii Fit.

But in addition to the ‘being tired’ excuse there is the old and tired excuse of no time.

Which is exacerbated by MS robbing MS’er’s of precious time in the day.

See what I did there-using the word exacerbated?

Rick’s post continued to haunt me and began to destroy my excuses.

It was my favorite time of year.

It was a beautiful day.

I live only minutes away from one of the ten best beaches in the country.

(I’m not making that up- I’ve read it in travel magazines and on Dr. Beach’s website.)

It was time to get my butt and legs moving again and get back on the exercise bandwagon.

I headed to the beach, parked and used the stairway to walk down the sandy cliff.  That was a ton of exercise right there and I wasn’t even on the beach yet!

As I got down to the shore a seal popped up in front of me, very close-maybe only in water waist deep.

The surf was rocky and there are sharks in them waters so I wasn’t going in to splash around with the little guy. But I started walking to the left along the shore and the seal swam alongside me.

 

He was doing most of his swimming beneath the surface but at least 5 different times he popped his head up, looked directly at me and then dived again.  Was it my imagination or was he following me?

It was definitely the same seal as he had distinct markings on his back. Maybe he was checking me out because he thought I was following him?  But since I’m drastically out of shape I was not keeping a steady pace and was stopping to rest a time or two (or three or four.)

Yet each time he popped up, he was right beside me.

Since I was enjoying this I walked pretty far.  (I always forget about the walk back.)   When I realized my seal friend wasn’t about to give me a ride to my car I knew I had to turn back.  But I didn’t want to lose him either.

As I was trying to decide what to do, my friend popped up again, looked right at me again and turned around himself. We started heading back together.

 

After a couple of feet, he reversed direction and I didn’t follow.  I just figured our visit was over and kept on my way.

As I walked I realized we had gotten pretty far from any other beach goers.  It was then that I saw a guy heading in the opposite direction, walking towards the isolated part of the beach. Was my seal friend trying to warn me to not be alone in that area with this strange guy or have I just watched too many crime shows?

Luckily, I may never know.

I got to the end of my walk, the area where there were lots of people and the stairs back to the parking lot.  Right before I turned to walk off the beach. my seal popped up again!!!! He looked at me, seemed to nod his approval and then started swimming off into deeper water, as if saying he would be on his way now.

 

It was an awesome experience.  So much so that I came home, sat my butt down and wrote about it on Facebook.  Many people commented, calling my friend things like a guardian seal, a gift from the universe, an angel, a muse, a visit from beyond and lots of other cool things.

Perhaps my seal was none of those things.  Perhaps he was all of them.  Perhaps he was just a cool fluke-not the flounder fluke, I think my seal friend would eat that fluke, but fluke as in a chance occurrence.

I guess I can’t really be sure what the seal’s true intent was in keeping me company in my attempt to exercise and ‘get fit.’

But I know I enjoyed him.

And, if I’m being honest, no matter what, I need to look at his visit as something even bigger than me.  Something, or someone, besides Rick, saying “Get some damn exercise girl!”

And, unfortunately for my tired, busy self, there probably aren’t many excuses to get around that…

 

 

Lots and Lots of March Stuff

Happy first week of March everyone!

MS-Badge
Healthline

So much to share with you friends!

First up, and in no particular order, other than the order that I finally learned how to post this badge on my blog and am afraid to move it around for fear of losing it, order-  my blog was nominated a top MS Blog by Healthline!!!

I didn’t even know I was nominated!

Thank you to whoever nominated and voted for my blog!

And to be honest, I didn’t know much about this website either.  So now I’ve checked it out, love it, and have added it to my website.   Talk about MS awareness!

 

Speaking of which, Happy National MS Awareness Month!

Next up, have you gotten a chance to order my book, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis yet?  If you would like too and would also like to help out an amazing organization, let me tell of an exciting opportunity.

cover-half

My book is listed in the Race to Erase MS online store and if you purchase through their store during the month of March,  50% of the proceeds go to the Race to Erase MS campaign.

I’m so excited to be working with this amazing organization!   Here is the link if you would like to take a look-

Race to Erase MS Online Store/MS Madness!

So the first week of March was filled with bad news, one fall-stupid bath tub, Ash Wednesday, my first book signing, good news, lots more good news-see above and many, many hours of  pondering all of the above.  Thus, I unfortunately do not have a new blog for you today.

 

BUT, as Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, I thought I would repeat last year’s Lenten blog.    I promise a new post next Friday.

Have a great week friends!

 

When Multiple Sclerosis and Lent Collide

Adding God to the MS balance beam

Due to Lent, this blog has a spiritual tint to it. I hope though, that even my non-believing friends will enjoy it from the aspect of how it incorporates another one of the elements of living with multiple sclerosis.

And really, how can you not believe in a higher power? I mean, God is freaking awesome! The sun, the moon, the Earth, the oceans and on the eighth day he created the Rolling Stones! How can you not love the creator of all that!!

For me, Jesus is my God. Only someone that cool would be capable of creating Keith Richards and keeping him around past his over ten lives thus far. But no matter what you believe dear readers, I wish you great health and many, many laughs always….

 

I think I messed up the Lent thing. As a Christian, I was excited about the approach of this time of year. We use this time to grow closer to God with prayer, almsgiving (does trying to make people laugh count as almsgiving?) and fasting.

My goal was to take advantage of this opportunity. I saved change to put into the little cardboard box that was our church’s mission project to support a local mission. I even put in quarters. When it was time to turn the box in and it seemed a little light, I even took some change out of another jar where I had been saving for my Lions Club.

Speaking of my Lion’s Club, I also fed the crew of a local Habitat for Humanity project in our club’s name. I didn’t have time to get fellow Lion’s to help me but that was ok as it was supposed to be a small crew.

The numbers increased however and thus it was that my fatigued MS self was slapping together ham and cheese on a windy morning for hungry construction workers. And, unfortunately, as far as I could tell, not a one of them was single! Not that that had anything to do with why I was there, it was about almsgiving of course.

 

When two fellow Lions asked my tired self to help them clean the God given beach, I did put a stop to that. Really, how much almsgiving can you do???

For the prayer portion of Lent, I obtained many books about Jesus and set to grow in my relationship with Him. It worked; I have enjoyed a lot of what I read.

But here is where MS screwed me up. My brain takes much longer to process information. So, while I was reading all of these great spiritual works, I was taking up a ton of time in my already pretty crowded with exhaustion, day. That left no time for the things I should be doing for my general health.

Suffice to say, what I wound up unintentionally giving up for Lent, was working out with my Wii Fit. Officially, I gave up casual reading for Lent in favor of more involved spiritual material and was planning on curbing my sweet tooth. But before I realized it, I was fasting on getting exercise and I am not sure that counts.

 

With MS there is so much you should do and so little energy to do it in. With Lent, there was so much I wanted to do and only forty days to do it in. Ok, technically, you don’t have to stop the prayer, almsgiving, fasting routine just because Easter arrives, but having a time table sure helps to keep you focused.

That is when I figured out where I went wrong. Focus is the key word.

There are always going to be more things I want to do and more things I have to do and I will always have to walk this MS balance beam of energy supply. Some days I may do it well, other days not so much.

But if I put God first, maybe I won’t have to balance Him with other things. Not even with MS.

 

Maybe Jesus IS the balance beam of energy. With Him first in my world, everything else will fall into place, even my Wii Fit, after it gets over being mad at me. Perhaps I will bring it an Easter basket….

Here is the other thing I learned, as it says in scripture, “it’s never to late to start all over again.”

 

Wait, maybe that isn’t scripture, maybe that’s Steppenwolf. I will have to check my notes. I have also really been into 70’s music lately.

The point is, everyday you just have to give life your best shot. Wait, shot is not the right word. Jesus is all about peace and love, not violence-no shooting…

Ok, let me try a third way. We are humans and as humans we are total screw ups. But screwing up isn’t always bad if we can learn from our mistakes and keep our focus on what is right and what is good for us.

And, no matter how hard you try, you can’t use Lent as an excuse for not exercising!

 

 

 

Unbalanced Cycle

More multiple sclerosis NO balance issues and a contest winner

ID-10044009

My last blog discussed how I had failed the heel to toe test at my neurologist’s office and how that caused drunken memories and great concern. It concerned many of my readers too, which made me analyze this over and over. Then I decided to take some action!

Naturally klutzy my whole life, until the heel to toe test incident, I hadn’t given my balance much thought. I did fall this past summer but that was only because Fido, my pet portable ac unit, tripped me. I fell again a couple of months later but that was only because I was packing up my home after needing to move and I was incredibly grouchy about it-the move and the packing.

But on a visit with family recently, I fell again. Not wanting to admit MS was the problem, I decided to make it a crime of assault instead. The sidewalk attacked me.

There is even a crime scene photo-

16120011

These goldfish didn’t survive the crime. They landed on the ground when my two year nephew dropped them to quickly reach for the doorbell.

No, he wasn’t reaching for the doorbell to get me needed help. He just loves pushing the doorbell. And with me on the ground, there was no adult to stop him.

I did get my first black eye from the incident which I tried to take a picture of, my first selfie. But it didn’t come out; proving that I should not take selfies, ever. But you totally should have seen what the sidewalk looked like when I was done defending myself. The crack I gave it looked something like this-

16120012

But what if these falls have more to do with balance than assault charges or klutziness? Maybe, they are a combination of both.

Suddenly I realized I can do something about this! I don’t have to be content with being a Fido/sidewalk victim, at their mercy whenever they decide to be obnoxious. My Wii Fit has balance exercises I can do.

I went looking for the Wii Fit. It’s not that I have been neglecting it exactly. It’s just that I only moved a few days ago and the Wii Fit board got pushed aside during the move. I hadn’t unpacked it yet.

Ok, ok, the move was actually five months ago, but that is a few days in MS terms.

I pulled it out, took the batteries from the TV remotes and put them in the Wii Fit board, after removing the old ones and cleaning up battery acid in the compartment-guess it had been a long time since I used my Wii Fit, and then checked out the exercises.

ID-100215263

I discovered a new balance exercise I hadn’t tried before- ski jumping! Aren’t female ski jumpers entering the Olympics for the first time this winter? I need a goal. I will practice and practice and then enter the Olympics!!!

No, I’m not crazy. I know I would never get good enough in time for this year’s team. But the next Winter Olympics, I’m in!

Ahhh, but the Wii Fit is a cruel and bitter trainer. It refused to cooperate. When I would do the ski jump game, it would tell me I failed. Over and over I would try, eager to improve and become Olympic ready. And over and over my TV would flash the word unbalanced at me.

ID-10048051

Unbalanced, like a washing machine stuck in a wet useless cycle, unbalanced. This was almost more upsetting than the heel to toe test.

Luckily, I found other balance exercises that I did pretty well at.

Ski slalom for one. I aced the ski slalom game.

And tightrope walking. I was actually pretty good at that. And, the tightrope on the game is between two tall skyscrapers. Yet, I didn’t fall once!

Ok, new goal- Nik Wallenda watch out!

I’m training to be famous tightrope walker!

 

Contest Winner!

Only a few more weeks until the release of MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less Story” of Multiple Sclerosis!

My publisher won’t give me an actual release date for fear that I will stalk them if it is late, which of course, I would. But they have said that mid- February is likely!

Please keep an eye on this site and my FB page for updates.

One person who doesn’t need to watch for updates as she will be getting an autographed free copy along with a $10 gift card is reader Kym B from NJ! Her name for the MS monster on my cover won my most recent contest.

The name she entered is Myron. Myron just seemed to fit. I think I will refer to him as Myron, the myelin munching monster.

Congratulations Kym!

And thank you to all for entering and for supporting my writing!

ID-10079330

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gonna be a DOOZY…

An MS’er tackles a NOR’easter that could turn into a blizzard

I was going to start 2014 off healthy, I swear, I really was! But in the days leading up to the new year, the weather folks started talking about Hercules-a massive NOR’easter about to attack my area. And EVERYONE, even super healthy people, know that the only way you can weather a storm is with the three C’s- chocolate, chips and candy.

What is a healthy, fit, svelte MS’er, stuck in a not so fit, not so svelte, not so healthy body to do? You have to be storm ready.

The only appropriate thing seems to be to plan on re-starting my ‘get fit’ plan after the storm. Actually, Farmer’s Almanac says it is going to be a stormy winter. Best to start the plan in April. Or maybe May.

 

Seriously friends, holidays, storm planning, brain fog, fatigue and possible power outages have made it necessary for me to release today’s blog one day early. And while I don’t exactly know what Hercules will bring, it seems likely that it will look like the blizzard of 2013, which I have already written about.

So for this week, please allow me to re-post what was originally titled Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days.

For the record, a second blizzard is upon us and I STILL haven’t bought vinyl toilet seat covers!

 

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 lying 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.

 

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…..

 

 

Updates, Tidbits, and Smidgets

A multiple sclerosis recap

ID-10095012

Don’t ask me what a smidget is because my foggy brain is too tired to explain it to you. Or, if you want the truth, I have no idea. It just sounded good so I added it to the title.

Speaking of titles, thank you for the title suggestions, comments, words of encouragement and promises to buy my book. For preorders and/or to lock your promise in, just send a blank check to me at the address listed in the contact page. Kidding. I don’t have an address listed in my contact page.

Seriously, I appreciate the support of all of you and that support is what led to me actually publishing my book. But coming up with the title is still stressing me out. It is hard!

ID-10069183

Apparently all of you think so to because I received more encouragement in my What’s in a Name contest than title ideas. But I am grateful for all of it! Unfortunately, none of the titles I did receive work quite right, and thus there is no official winner. I am still planning on donating a portion of the proceeds to agencies that help people with MS so I guess you could say we are all winners here.

In the meantime, I am working away on edits and will keep you posted as soon as I get a title that I can post about. But since I wanted to update you on the status of the contest, it occurred to me that some other updates on the blog are in order as well. Let’s check in on how some things have turned out.

In MS Sucks I wrote about how multiple sclerosis was doing its damnedest to keep me away from seeing my favorite band, the Rolling Stones. Well MS, you still suck BUT you lost! My Rolling Stones fairy godmother is stronger than you and she helped me get a ticket and a ride to the show!

 

I will likely be in pain and a fatigued zombie for a while afterwards but it will be worth it to the see the icons of classic rock. (Mick would agree with that description of his band. Keith and Charlie are pretty humble so they would disagree and name other musicians they feel are more worthy. Ronnie would just take another shot of whiskey and toss off a lick or two.)

Many fellow MS’ers and readers agreed with my nomination of Forget-me-nots as the official flower of multiple sclerosis. But when I reminded them about it so that they could sign the petition, they forgot. So much for that idea….

 

And speaking of flowers, the day after I posted The Evil Curse of the Yellow Green Demon Dust, it rained and temperatures dropped to the point where many people were forced to put on their heat. This week the demon dust was back and they are predicting a heat wave by the weekend! Oh well, at least the cold weather gave me the break I needed to pull out my air conditioner.

My last ‘get fit’ plan update was in early April with the Not Working It Out post, followed by a brief commentary on the plan in early May with Once Bitten. It is time for some new information.

My ‘get fit’ plan is totally coming together! I have lost 6 lbs since the first of the year. Add to that the 5 lbs I had lost previously when I was chasing my great nephews around the hot, yucky state they live in, and that makes (hold on, let me grab my calculator,) 11 lbs!

I admit that that is not even close to where I hoped to be when I see my neuro in July. And with the arrival soon of my hometown’s annual Portuguese Festival filled with linguica, Portuguese bread, wine and sitting on a bench watching Portuguese dancers, I may not make my goal..

 

But I have accomplished some things. For example, I have completely given up diet coke and have pretty much given up bread. (Unless I am at a restaurant then I will eat bread, but none at home. Unless I am having a sandwich, but almost none at home.)

Recently I was planning for company and needed to make some snacks. I saw a recipe for incredibly delicious looking cookies that I made but messed up the recipe and they turned into a crumbly mess. So I didn’t eat the cookies. I just used the crumbles to top ice cream.

I still needed a snack for my group and had the ingredients left over and so I made them again. This time they came out the way they were supposed to but I have to say, they were too sweet for me!!!

ID-10024166

How is that even possible? Before my ‘get fit’ plan I was the queen of sweet! Honestly, I really didn’t like them. The dough was much tastier.

I insisted that my group divide the leftover cookies between themselves and take them home. But, I refused to share the leftover grapes and put the grape bowl in my fridge next to the delicious strawberries I had bought the day before. One of my friends commented on all the produce I also had in there. She found swiss chard and the berries, and mint and lime that I also bought for a cleanse I was doing.

Speaking of a cleanse, I have become addicted to water. I drink so much water I could be a fish. Wouldn’t that be fun? I so wish, I wish I were a fish….

 

And speaking of fish, I have started taking walks on the beach. No, I haven’t gone in the water as I still look too scary to put on a bathing suit- don’t want to scare the great whites away! But I have come out of my cave and walk so I can exercise and soak up natural vitamin D. I like to make my walking social, so I bring my Wii Fit with me for company….

Oh, and I quit smoking!!!! Ok, I actually quit smoking several years ago but I think it still counts. And now, when I bum a cigarette off of a friend here and there, I actually feel gross afterwards…

So you see, even the babiest of baby steps eventually do get you someplace…It is taking me longer than I should to make healthy changes but I am thrilled that the changes are being made. I know that a whole lifestyle change is in order but it is unlikely that I will suddenly adapt to that. So for now, I just keep stepping along, thrilled that I have moved past crawling..

d walking

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Danilo Rizzuti] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When Multiple Sclerosis and Lent Collide

Adding God to the MS balance beam

 

ID-100140165

Due to Holy Week Services (and, let’s be honest, the WEGO Health awards ceremony- yea!) I am posting this week’s blog a day early. Also due to Holy Week, this blog has a spiritual tint to it. I hope though, that even my non-believing friends will enjoy it from the aspect of how it incorporates another one of the elements of living with multiple sclerosis.

And really, how can you not believe in a higher power? I mean, God is freaking awesome! The sun, the moon, the Earth, the oceans and on the eighth day he created the Rolling Stones! How can you not love the creator of all that!! For me, Jesus is my God. Only someone that cool would be capable of creating Keith Richards and keeping him around past his over ten lives thus far. But no matter what you believe dear readers, I wish you great health and many, many laughs always….

 

I think I messed up the Lent thing. As a Christian, I was excited about the approach of this time of year. We use this time to grow closer to God with prayer, almsgiving (does trying to make people laugh count as almsgiving?) and fasting.

My goal was to take advantage of this opportunity. I saved change to put into the little cardboard box that was our church’s mission project to support Catholic Relief Services. I even put in quarters. When it was time to turn the box in on Palm Sunday and it seemed a little light, I even took some change out of another jar where I had been saving for my Lions Club.

 

Speaking of my Lion’s Club, I also fed the crew of a local Habitat for Humanity project in our club’s name. I didn’t have time to get fellow Lion’s to help me but that was ok as it was supposed to be a small crew.

The numbers increased however and thus it was that my fatigued MS self was slapping together ham and cheese on a windy morning for hungry construction workers. And unfortunately, as far as I could tell, not a one of them was single! (Not that that had anything to do with why I was there of course, it was about almsgiving.)

When two fellow Lions asked me to help them clean the God given beach, I did put a stop to that. Really, how much almsgiving can you do???

ID-10093139

For the prayer portion of Lent, I obtained many books about Jesus and set to grow in my relationship with Him. It worked; I have enjoyed a lot of what I read.

But here is where MS screwed me up. My brain takes much longer to process information. So, while I was reading all of these great spiritual works, I was taking up a ton of time in my already pretty crowded with exhaustion, day. That left no time for the things I should be doing for my general health.

Suffice to say, what I wound up unintentionally giving up for Lent, was working out with my Wii Fit. Officially, I gave up casual reading for Lent in favor of more involved spiritual material and was planning on curbing my sweet tooth. But before I realized it, I was fasting on getting exercise and I am not sure that counts.

ID-10014651

With MS there is so much you should do and so little energy to do it in. With Lent, there was so much I wanted to do and only forty days to do it in. Ok, technically, you don’t have to stop the prayer, almsgiving, fasting routine just because Easter arrives, but having a time table sure helps to keep you focused.

That is when I figured out where I went wrong. Focus is the key word.

There are always going to be more things I want to do and more things I have to do and I will always have to walk this MS balance beam of energy supply. Some days I may do it well, other days not so much.

But if I put God first, maybe I won’t have to balance Him with other things. Not even with MS. Maybe Jesus is the balance beam of energy. With Him first in my world, everything else will fall into place, even my Wii Fit, after it gets over being mad at me. Perhaps I will bring it an Easter basket….

ID-10072410

Here is the other thing I learned, as it says in scripture, “it’s never to late to start all over again.” Wait, maybe that isn’t scripture, maybe that is Steppenwolf. I will have to check my notes. I have also really been into 70’s music lately.

 

The point is, everyday you just have to give life your best shot. Wait, shot is not the right word. Jesus is all about peace and love, not violence-no shooting…

Ok, let me try a third way. We are humans and as humans we are total screw ups. But screwing up isn’t always bad if we can learn from our mistakes and keep our focus on what is right and what is good for us.

And, no matter how hard you try, you can’t use Lent as an excuse for not exercising!

 

(Check back in April for a “get fit” plan progress report!)

ID-100145440

 

Image courtesy of [gubgib] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [adamr] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [luigi diamanti] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [nongpimmy] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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.

ID-10039904

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…..

 

Image courtesy of [digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friends in Low Places

An unusual MS relationship

ID-10054115

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.

ID-10088565

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.

ID-10097364

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.

ID-10019625

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

Unproductive Produce

Multiple Sclerosis and the Grocery Store

I hope anyone following my blog hasn’t given up on me and my ‘get fit’ plan that uses my Wii Fit and Montel William’s Healthmaster Elite. During late July/early August there were a few gorgeous, almost autumn like days where I was super productive on the plan. My Wii Fit and I bonded again and I actually achieved one of the fitness goals we had set, (a miracle close to the whole water into wine magnitude-it is amazing how much regular maintenance can heal a strained relationship).

And I made two more of Montel’s smoothies. Montel’s Green Fruit Smoothie was super healthy and pretty good. I wish I could call it delicious but citrus fans will likely think it so. And I made the Strawberry Banana Smoothie which was super yummy and hands down my favorite thus far!

Then the heat and humidity came back with a vengeance and I was done. No one likes the humidity and you will often hear people say “Oh, I don’t like it either-this weather is so uncomfortable.”

I have been told that while it is important to me to keep my blogs light and humorous (ie, no whinnying unless it is done for comedic sake,) it is also important to share with others what living with MS is like. So for educational purposes, please allow me to describe how humidity plus multiple sclerosis translate into miserable days and why the ‘get fit’ plan falters during those days.

Humidity for people living with MS is not simply ‘uncomfortable’. It is a severe ramp up of all your worst symptoms, specifically turning your body aches into pain, your fatigue into a state of comatoseness (so what if that is not a real word, this is my blog so I can get away with it), and your brain fog into a state of no brain at all. It hurts to even think.

After several days of this where Fido and I were hunkering down (Fido is the name of my portable air conditioner- see my post on MSRelief.com for more info  http://multiplesclerosis-relief.com/2012/07/27/petless/ ), one morning we awoke to the news that that day’s temperature would drop to 86 degrees and the humidity would fall from 96% to 91%. What a relief!

My legs needed to move for more distance than just from my bedroom to my bathroom, I had no food in the house of any kind and only a little bit of bottled water left. It was time to hit the grocery store.

Being responsible and on a budget, I ventured out of my room for a pen, paper and my coupon file. I made a list including the coupons that would help me save. Feeling confident, I ran (which for people with MS on a humid day translates to shuffling at a slow to medium gait) from my ac bedroom to my ac car, expecting to arrive at an ac grocery store.

The store was ac controlled alright- controlled to such a low state you could barely feel it. Why is it that in May, when the temperature reaches 72 degrees for the first time, the powers that rule blast the ac into an Arctic frenzy, but in August when the temperature is over 85 degrees they suddenly worry about the electric bill and lower the ac to barely noticeable proportions?

Still, I had some energy and there was a great necessity for groceries so I proceeded to shop. In the produce section, I picked up many items including a super duper bag of kale I had come to appreciate as an easy way to get some good greens into my system. As I continued to shop, the heat and walking started causing my legs to throb considerably. I moved as fast as I could to finish and forgot to even check the list I had painstakingly created. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be bothered to check the list, it was that I simply forgot it was there even as I repeatedly moved it from my right to my left hand as I grabbed likely random items.

At the check out, I waited in the long line behind a woman whose ATM card refused to work- the heat must have gotten to it too. I tried to ignore my legs which were now in pain. I considered lying across my filled cart to rest when it was time to start unloading the groceries. When the clerk tried to ring up the kale, she noticed that the bag was ripped open and pieces of kale were now falling all over her conveyor belt.

How did THAT happen? I hadn’t noticed it when I put the bag in my cart. Did a bag of cookies on an end cap I passed reach out and slash the bag out of jealousy that kale was being purchased and they were not?

Obviously, she couldn’t sell me that bag; did I want someone to get me another? I told her that I did, I was trying to eat healthier. She hit her “need help” light and continued to ring up my purchases. No one came to help. My brain fog had a foggy idea.

“How about you charge me for it and trust me to grab another bag on my way out?”

She thought that was a brilliant idea. Did she have brain fog too? Groceries paid for and bagged, I left the counter to head to produce to pick up another bag of kale. That is when I realized that the produce section was in the opposite direction from the entrance where I parked. I refused to cry. I will pick up the kale and just be on my way.

At the kale section I saw that there were only three bags left and all of them had use by dates of that same day! I am trying to get healthier but eating a whole bag of kale in one day was just too much for even the healthiest of us. I also needed to save money and so I had no choice but to head to another line, customer service, to get a kale refund.

This line was the biggest and slowest moving I had ever seen. Now no longer simply hurting, my legs seemed to be unmovable blocks of cement. I again thought about lying across my cart of bagged items. I thought about why I still hadn’t purchased one of those canes that can easily turn into a seat if you need to sit. (The reason why I hadn’t thought to buy one was because the only time my foggy brain thought of it was when I needed it.)

 

Between the Western Union requests, returns and lottery, the line seemed not to move at all. The kale had only cost $2.99, why didn’t I just leave without the refund? My foggy brain never thought about that. Instead, it came up with the idea to abandon my groceries (almost $100 worth) right there and get the hell out of the store.

I was about to do just that when the line moved and it was my turn. The clerk asked if I had a penny. The daggers my eyes were throwing told her I did not. I took a brief bit of pleasure that I was 1 cent richer after this experience.

In my car, with the ac blasting, I realized I never even used my $10 worth of coupons I had so carefully collected when I compiled my list. So be it- I was down $10 but up 1 penny.

At home, it was all I could do to put my refrigerated items away. The rest of the groceries sat scattered around the backseat of my car or just inside my front door. The good news from this saga is that as I was trying to get healthy I hadn’t purchased any ice cream or chocolate or anything else delicious that could easily melt in the heat and long lines.

AND, as the produce aisle was the first stop on my grocery store journey when I still had a brain and some energy, I HAD remembered to buy the ingredients for Montel William’s Broccoli Soup recipe. I even bought actual broccoli and will make this soup. But not that day.

Exhausted and hungry I was grateful that I bought some healthy cereal and took a box of it into my bedroom for my lunch/dinner (I had no idea what time it was, only that I was hungry.) But I didn’t grab any milk. My arms and hands were hurting too much from the excursion to pour milk into the box. Ooops, my foggy brain meant bowl. If I used milk, I would need a bowl and a spoon and it just seemed too involved a process…….

 

NOTE- I am progressing on my plan and have received some great veggie recipes to help. But I still need more. There are only two weeks left to enter my 50 Shades of Green/Doing It Veggie Style Contest. See the details in the 50 Shades of Green Blog entry.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net