Friday, January 23, 2015

Jailbreak complete and what I'm reading this week

Sorry I've been a little less chatty this week on responses.  I took my declaration of a jail break seriously last Friday and got the hell outta Dodge to keep some spark of sanity.  The neighbors saw fit to let their a-hole demon dogs out every 20 minutes to bark for 10 minutes at a time and then the other neighbors dog would bark for 6 hours at the first time the other dogs barked.  These mongrels are turning me into a dog hater.  No actually a bad owner hater.  I want to not nice things.  Between that and another visit from the Christmas vandal who this time was messing with the snow on our lawn, I'm ready to pick up and move.

But enough of my trip to Twitchville, let's get to...

The Type-A Guide to Taking a Spontaneous Vacation  (Gave it a go this week.  I must say I prefer a bit of structure even if a rough outline)

Why Apple Cider Vinegar Needs to Be a Mainstay in Your Life  (I've been drinking it 3x day to help my body recover from those heinous antibiotics)

31 Genius Uses for Essential Oils  (I've been using these so much more over the past few months!  Love 'em!)

The Crazy Thing We Didn't Know About Burning Fat (Until Now)  (Well, I did share a similar story a few Fridays ago but in case anyone missed it.  ;-)  )

Why Did Old Phone Numbers Start With Letters?  (I wondered this when the Mr and I were binge watching The Wonder Years a few weeks ago)

Answers for 15 of Your Biggest Questions of 2015  (I don't know if they're the biggest but you know, adequate for fillers sake)

Find Substitute Ingredients  (For those times when you're halfway through a recipe and out of a major ingredient)

Why You Can’t Rely on Calorie Counts (and What to Do Instead)  (Of course we can't rely on it.  We're all basically screwed.  LOL)

See How Much the "Perfect" Female Body Has Changed in 100 Years   (I'm waiting for the roll oriented body to come back in style like Renoir's "After Bathing" portrait)

Dover Police DashCam Confessional (Shake it Off)   (Best.  Video.  Ever. in its entirety)

Whatcha got planned this weekend?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Current Crushes

It's time to find out what I'm currently crushin' on y'all!  Some of them were Christmas gifts and others are beauty products I've recently tried.

So let's get to it!

Caldrea Rosewater Driftwood Hand Lotion

I picked some of this up at a specialty shop but it sells for the same price on Amazon.  It smells so good!  It's a very light scent and it's only got a hint of rose but has a nice, clean scent.  I could roll in a tub full of it.

The Wonder Years Complete Series

I bought this as a surprise gift for the Mr and I.  We've been waiting for this series to come out on DVD forever with all of the original music.  We binge watched the entire series from Christmas night through New Years Day.  Time Life Star Vista really did a great job packaging the series.  TONS of extras on the discs that any WY's fan would love as well as a reunion of all of the stars, a yearbook and they secured the rights to 96% of the music on this version.  (If you're watching on streaming services, you're not watching with the original score and that music was another character on the show, for sure)  Search for a coupon code, I found one online at the time of purchase for $20 off.

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Booster

I saw Julie was recommending her favorite hair products one day and since she has like the best hair ever, I was curious to see what she used.  I went to Ulta looking for the brand of shampoo she recommended and saw this Strictly Curls Curl Booster and thought I'd give it a shot.  I love it!  It gives some great volume to my less than voluminous hair and defines my curls.  Couldn't ask for more for my naturally curly locks.

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment

I also saw this on Julie's list and gave it a try.  I don't know that I've been using it long enough to notice much difference in length but the shine I get now is amazing.  I love the smell of it too and how soft my hair is after I leave it on for 5 minutes.  I'm going to keep using it and review it more thoroughly later.

What are some of your current crushes?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My experience with Doctor on Demand

When a case of the creepin' crud ruined my holidays, I knew that the length of my misery and symptoms probably meant I had a bacterial sinus infection.  Nothing was working to kick it to the curb.  Last year we found out when we received a pretty hefty bill that our primary care physician dropped our insurance company without letting her patients know.  We tried looking for new in-network providers and the ones with really great ratings were booking out six months!  Uh, hello!  My bacteria laden sinus infections won't wait 6 months and honestly, I'm not a fan of picking one doctor and being passed off to anyone else in the practice.  Call me old fashioned.  (Not shocking for those who have been following a while)

The thought of paying my $10 co-pay *hoping* she gives me a script for meds and then getting some stupid bill for anywhere from $50-100 more between the insurance company and the doctor billing me for her time in her germ ridden office was not on my to do list.  I decided I would break down and let technology be my friend.

If anyone has watched the Dr. Phil show, you've probably heard of Doctor on Demand.  It's an app where you can essentially Skype with a doctor for non emergency purposes and not have to be a slave to when the doc can fit you in, travel to the office and hope you don't pick up what the guy hacking next to you has.  The office visit is $40 for a 15 minute appointment and this day, I was all over that.

You register for an account and give them your address, credit card info and pharmacy info so they can send your prescription right over after your session.  So I tried doing this on the mobile app and unfortunately, it kept crashing.  I have a Nexus with Lollipop and have read (after the fact) complaints from other users with the same phones it keeps crashing. I was irritated because I'd just handed over all my personal info and when it tried to connect is when it would crash.  Oy.  Part of the info they want to know is what your symptoms are so if you're thorough, they won't have to ask you much.  I listed the pertinents...length of symptoms, what I've tried to do to help it along and what meds I'm on, etc.

So I used a tablet instead since it had a camera as well.  I got on the app through that and it was fine.  I thought since it's called Doctor on Demand I'd hit a button and be directly connected to well, a doctor on demand...not that day.   Because of the uptick in the sick people all around the country,  I had to schedule an appointment whose next available slot was an hour away and they give a 15 minute window for them to contact you..  If you figured you called your doctor and they said we can squeeze you in in an hour, you'd probably be satisfied with that.

Screenshot of the page where you click to see the doctor

She called the tablet and we got down to it.  The call lasted 6 1/2 minutes before she shot my prescription off to the pharmacy.  She was very nice, thorough and open to any questions.  It was actually done so quickly that when she asked if I had any questions, I just threw her a bone to see if there were any interactions with my birth control.  I knew from past bouts that you need to use back up because it affects the potency of the pills.  (I can almost hear my mother putting on Marvin Gaye.)  She checked my brand and was going to switch the prescription because it said it would affect the flora in my gut.  Then she saw basically all antibiotics do that and I told her I take pro-biotics and she said that was perfect and it wouldn't affect me as much.  After ending the call, I was asked to rate the doctor.  I could use both a star rating and write something if I wanted too but I didn't.

When a week later I wasn't feeling any relief and actually getting a little worse after two days of feeling better, I called back.  Yeah, it'd be another $40 but a trip to Urgent Care would now be hundreds in the new year with our deductible back to zero.  I got the same doctor and this time it was on demand.  I just had to fill out my symptoms and such and it connected me to her after she reviewed my 'chart.'  She saw I was seven days in and said that it's very possible that I picked up an additional infection while trying to fight this one.  (The Mr was sick this whole time as well as us going out all day one day and I'm sure I could've come in contact with another sickie)  So she prescribed another antibiotic to take.  She was super thorough, nice and I was relieved to see her face again...even if it was sideways on my tablet.  When the Mr picked up the script an hour later, I just blindly popped the pill and then decided to read the pamphlet of side effects.  You know how Santa's list is super long?  So is the list of side effects of this antibiotic and the serious side effects are scary as hell.  I called the pharmacist to ask if this was safe and she said yes and I said even though I'd had tendinitis in the past since one of the side effects is tendinitis or spontaneous rupture of the Achilles tendon?  She said stop taking it and get a different class of antibiotic from the doctor.

Well, I wasn't about to pay another $40 just to get a prescription again and this was on the weekend so I didn't know if the doctor I'd been using was available.  I called the customer support number in my email I got from them and told them the situation and she gave me a credit for a free call to a doctor who could see me immediately.  So I talked to a different doctor and he said he was hesitant to think it was bacterial now since Amoxicillan has a 90% success rate and I wasn't exhibiting all of the typical signs of bacterial infection (basically no constant flow of green goo coming out of my face) and I wasn't a fan of trying a new med if I didn't have to.  I only had one more day of Amoxicillan left so he said to finish that out and start taking two 1000 mg vitamin C doses per day and I should only require more antibiotics if 3-5 days after I stopped taking them I began seeing aforementioned green goo.  Otherwise I'd just have to wait it out.  He said if I needed relief I could do an OTC steroid nasal spray but those things are scary and my condition wasn't painful so I wasn't going down that road and he didn't make it sound like it would help me much anyway.  I was grateful that they issued a free credit so I could speak with someone else and basically get a second opinion.

When your visits are over, the doctor will give their notes taken during the visit on how long to continue treatment or what to do before needing to go to your primary care physician if you have one.

Here are the biggest down sides I experienced.  Most of you would likely use your cell phone, my app on my Nexus kept crashing.  When I switched to my android tablet which had its camera on what would be considered the side if you were reading it like a book page, the app did NOT reorient or flip to match the camera position.  Meaning in order for me to look normal to her on her end, I had to have the whole conference call with her being sideways like she was taking a nap.  Luckily I've got good peripheral vision and it wasn't a problem but that is a MAJOR flaw with this app.  It should flip like any other app and you've got people like me or elderly people who use their tablets for everything and its going to be a big deterrent for them to want to use it regularly if that isn't fixed.

Also, the whole mobile app crashing for Nexus users.  They need to fix that ASAP!

Would I use it again?

Absolutely!  For the little things like a cold or flu, prescriptions or maybe your regular doctor can't fit you in for a few days.  This is a perfect way to see a doctor relatively fast and be on your way.  They cover pediatric, psychological and lactation issues too (with different pricing).  Go to their website if you want to take a peek at what they offer.

Have you ever used Doctor on Demand?  Would you?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My word for 2015

I'm always so hesitant to do this because I've done it in the past and don't know if I've stuck to it the way it was intended.  But since I've seen many people trying to kick off the new year with a 'word of the year', I will give it a go and see if it sticks this year.

My word is...

Last year seemed to fly by at lightning speed and at times I just wished away parts of it for one reason or another.  Something was too hard or annoying me or emotionally draining and I just wanted it to be over with.  When I did my 100 Happy Days project last year, it forced me to put the concept of "savor" into practice.  There were glorious days like Day 38 12 MILE WALK OF SAN FRANCISCO!  (Pac Heights to Ferry Bldg to Ghirardelli Sq to Pac Heights) and then there were days like Day 85 where "woke up which means I'm alive, so...there's that" was the best I could do.  And in the end that's a pretty great thing because many people won't wake up today.  So this year, I'm doing a one happy year project to force myself to savor every day.  I've written down something each day that made me happy.  I've got the Mr doing it too.  We'll see how long we both last.  Fingers crossed!

I also want to savor the process of exercise and what it does for my body but most importantly the process of physical therapy and how it not just heals me but keeps me healed.  I am good at some parts of PT and then other parts suffer or I forget and then gripe when I'm hobbling around.  If I did everything I had to do to keep my leg muscles in tip top shape, it would probably take about 45 minutes a day between balance board work, stretching, rolling, PT exercises, massage, etc.  I need to remember it doesn't all have to be done in one 45 minute stretch, I can break it up throughout the day.

Finally and most obvious when you hear the word 'savor', I want to savor my food.  The Mr and I both tend to not really even look at our food when we eat and they say you eat with your eyes first.  You look at something and think "damn, this is gonna be GOOD!"  I want to get that kind of appreciation back for food.  Smell it and take in how it looks and play my old game of food critic.  Where you try to pick out what flavors pop in each bite, the texture and such.  I did that a lot when we were in the throes of weight loss in the beginning and I think it served me well.

So there's my word for 2015.  If I didn't choose it weeks ago, apparently my tea bag would've given me inspiration as well!

If you were to choose a word for 2015, what would it be and why?

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Monday, January 19, 2015

My Dirty Little Secret


We all have our cleaning styles.  Some people are neat freaks and dust/clean daily, others dust a few times a week, some every other week and then there's people like me.  We basically clean when company is coming.

I mean we keep dishes going, it doesn't look like a frat house in here or anything like that.  But given we live in a small house and that means a Pottery Barn catalog, 2 glasses on the coffee table and my make up case on the table can make it look like a cluttered mess in here.  When company comes, we usually spend the day before cleaning.  When I say clean, I mean dusting and average amounts of deep-ish cleaning like wiping down the cupboards, chair rails, etc.  I actually have a reputation in my family for not allowing people in the house if they don't call first.  There was ONE incident the day after Christmas on our first Christmas after we were married.  We had lots of gifts that year and the house was in shambles from wrapping paper, scattered gifts everywhere, dishes everywhere from prep the days leading up to Christmas, leftover containers, it looked like a bomb went off.  We'd spent the day after Christmas playing with our toys and not worrying about cleaning up because we saw all of our family and friends and weren't expecting anyone.  There's a knock on the door and instinctively the Mr opens it despite the fact I'm in my pajamas with gross hair, no bra and aforementioned house bomb gone off.  It was my dad who wanted to see the air hockey table he went in on for us that year...oh yeah and to meet his new girlfriend for the first time.  There was no way in hell I was having that be the first impression she had of me or how my house looked!  I told him to give us 15 minutes and he said no so I said I'm not letting anyone in so we'll go out to the car and we did!  We stood out in the cold and talked to them and my grandparents in the freezing cold because of how bad my house looked.  My mom's side of the family thought it was hilarious and it always got thrown back in my face "oh, you'd better call first or she'll make you stay out in the freezing cold."  Well, yeah.  It has been firmly embedded in people's minds, we're not "swing on by" kind of people.

Embarrassing but true.

Before you start throwing FlyLady my way, been there, done that, didn't stick with it.  I have a problem with people telling me how to do things even if it's for my own good.  Hence no personal trainer sessions.  I'd end up punching someone.  I just know my limits.  ;-)

Our house is filled with the usual clutter including piles of crap to go upstairs but it's not like the upstairs is any better.  The office looks like a dumping ground for homeless items.  We donate items from time to time and I tell myself I'm going to just go through and pull out everything in the closets and get rid of it because if it's been in the closet for 10 years, obviously I'm not missing it.  But some of those bins are full of pictures and I'm not and never will be a scan to digital and chuck the print kinda gal.  I'm pretty sure my high hair 80's pics will end up in an antique store someday since we have no one to pass them down to.  Or there are things I want to put up in an extra room when we have one and I don't want to get rid of.  More importantly there are things like stuffed animals the Mr bought me over the years or gifts from people that I just can't bear to get rid of.  I know I need to conquer that because otherwise I will be priming myself for being found under a stack of bins and need to be spatula'd off the floor.  Clothes have always been washed, dried and chucked in a laundry basket in the basement.  The piles were sometimes hip high and we'd have to weed through it all to try to find an outfit to wear or workout in and it would only be addressed when I got irritated and started screaming about how frustrating it was.  The Mr would make two trips upstairs and we'd spend 30-45 minutes putting away every stitch of clothing.

It's maddening to live this way.

My grandma is was a neat freak.  Her home always had every dish put away, every surface wiped and was company ready at a moments notice.  I would love to have inherited that gene!  I grew up a little different.  I don't remember much from when I was a little kid when my mom was home with me as far as how our house was kept but when my parents divorced and we moved into an apartment, so began the solidification of my bad habits where cleaning was concerned.  Mom worked two jobs.  She'd have her day job and then have a job selling home products (think similar to Home Interiors from back in the day) in the evenings.  The kitchen table wasn't really used for eating, it was piles of products to be sorted, spiral notebooks and paperwork.  We ate on TV trays.  Cleaning consisted of "piles."  Piles of like items would be made and put on the stairs to go up (familiar?) and the house was in constant state of controlled chaos and only really got cleaned/dusted when company was coming.  (Familiar, again?)  The laundry was done and thrown on top of the dryer, never brought up to the closet because it was full of crap being stored for someday.  (Sensing a pattern?)

One day I pondered how my mom who was raised by a neat freak could have such a lackadaisical cleaning style that then got passed down to her daughter.  I mean I know she was a single mom but did other people live like this?  My best friend was raised by a single mom and I knew I could stop by her house any time and it would always be company ready.  I began to resent the lack of housekeeping example set for me.  Then something hit me.

My mom was 17 when I was born.

What 17 year old is concerned with keeping things tidy or dusted all the time?  She may have had to do chores but when faced with having a place of her own to do what she wanted, when she wanted with her new hubby, I'm sure chores were the last thing on her mind.  There are often things I wish I'd been taught by her but then I forget how young she was when she had me and maybe she hadn't quite learned these things herself.

When we got sick and weren't getting better, I wondered if our lack of regular cleaning was doing more harm than good.  That and I felt like every surface probably had cooties on it between the two of us.  We always felt congested in our bedroom regardless of the time of year.  So I was determined to deep clean in the bedroom like we never had.  I would be surprised if there was a single inch of that room that wasn't scrubbed down.  The walls, the nightstands, the remotes, the lamps including the harps, light bulbs, etc.  Picture frames, shelves, tops and bottoms of shelves, in the crook of wood designs on the armoire...nothing was safe from the vinegar/water/essential oil cleaning solution.  We vacuumed under every single piece of furniture and steam cleaned the carpet.  I even took down the curtains and washed them.  I say that with pride but maybe people do that all the time?  I wiped down the ceiling fan which didn't look too bad from the part I see but then holy sh*t, the back of the blades and the rest of it!?  Coated in dust that was raining down on us every night.  Even the stuff under the beds like under the bed storage containers got wiped down and we'd just done a thorough cleaning under there 7 months earlier when we got a new mattress.  You don't think about dust settling on every square inch of everything, everywhere.

I don't blame my mom for not teaching me better because I'm a firm believer that when you know better, you do better.  But I also don't want to continue these bad housekeeping habits I picked up. It's just common sense that when you come home to a clean, tidy house, you're less stressed.  I want to live that clean, stress free life where the house is concerned.  They say control the things you can.  I told the Mr that I wanted every load of laundry done in 2015 brought upstairs so we can put them away and not have the Fraggle equivalent of Trash Heap in front of the washer and dryer.

I want to be better about keeping the kitchen and bathrooms SUPER clean over "good enough."  Those places are where the grodiest of the grody germ wise hang out and I don't want to be breathing in a bunch of crap.

So far we've kept that promise on the laundry.  It keeps coming upstairs and it's better taking 15 minutes to put it all away than 45 minutes.  Plus I also see that I don't have room for it all so it's time to thin the herd on some clothes.  Or maybe instead of having a whole drawer of crap I can't wear just yet, I can space bag it, slide it under the bed and wait until I can.  I am a pack rat and I know I need to just go through stuff that doesn't get used or worse I waited too long to use and now it's expired.  "Oh, I can't use that lotion, it's expensive.  I need to save it for something special."  Then the texture changes and it's useless.  I'm sure there's some big psychological crap behind it all like I want nice things, couldn't afford luxuries as a kid but when I got them I had to make them last.  Stuff like that will always be ingrained to a degree.

But even if I wasn't taught to keep house a certain way as a kid and basically being a kid when I got married (21), doesn't mean I can't change those habits.  I can't expect them to all change at once.  But I know for sleep and health's sake I must keep up with regular vacuuming and dusting of the bedroom and remembering to wipe down the window sill and such with crappy builder grade windows on their last legs.

I've been trying to get into the habit of wiping a spill the second it happens as I wasn't always the best at that.  Knowing myself the way I do, I know I'll need to do this my way and not follow some website because I end up rebelling against that.  I have seasonal allergies and I need to remember that health isn't just about eating right and exercising, it's about keeping down the dust, mold and pollen in the house.  Something I honestly never gave a second thought to...ever.

One step, one swipe, one box at a time.

How often do you do regular cleaning vs. deep cleaning?  What bad habits did you pick up from a parent that you brought forward into your life when you moved out?

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Jail break and what I'm reading this week

It's Friday, y'all!  Word has it there's gonna be a heat wave of 40 today!


Last night we watched The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306, a documentary we bought after seeing it at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.  (I bawled like an idiot through the entire thing and people were looking at me like a dork.)  We make it a point to watch it on MLK's birthday every year.  It should be mandatory viewing for students, no...everyone.  If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream it for free.

I am so ready to do a jail break.  I've been cooped up in this house for weeks.  Then the one day I went out, I think I got a new disease so I'm cautious.  Even deep cleaning, I'm sure the air quality in the house is much less than walking around in the germ ridden world right now.  Maybe I'll go out and bring a purse full of cold and germ fighting arsenal including my travel air purifier if people are hacking around me.  I need to get out and walk or I'm going to bounce off the walls!

But enough of my impending meltdown, let's get to...

How Cold Weather Can Help You Lose Weight Without Exercising  (I'm moving to the Arctic Circle)

Why Your Period Wreaks Havoc On Your Poop Habits  (Not pretty but this explains a lot)

What makes Olga run? Lessons from a 94-year-old track star  (Run Olga RUUUUUN!)

Price Is Right Announcer Tries To Run Backward On Treadmill, Eats It  (Georgefoolery will get ya every time)

34 Ways to Bust a Bad Mood in 10 Minutes or Less  (Good tricks to keep in your back pocket for those crappy days)

Stretch, Walk, and Roll — That's How You Make Your Rest Day Active  (So that's how you have an active rest day)

27 Things That Have Been Ruined by the Internet   (Yep, the internet has basically ruined everything)

36 Questions to Ask That Could Make You Fall In Love  (These are great questions not just for potential mates but to bring you closer to your spouse)

The mystery of the 132-year-old Winchester rifle found propped against a national park tree  (This is amazing!)

Sir Patrick Stewart Makes Fun Of All Of The Worst People On An Airplane  (I <3 Patrick Stewart)

Hate to Wait? The 5 Immediate Benefits of Exercise Backed By Science  (All of these are absolutely true)

15 Things You Might Not Know About Schoolhouse Rock  (Schoolhouse Rock is, was and always will be the sh*t.)

Watch Maroon 5 Crash Real Weddings in 'Sugar' Video  (Um, friggin' awesome!)

What's on your agenda this weekend?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oh Daddy

Anyone else start singing like Christine McVie while reading the title?  Anyone know who Christine McVie is or the song Oh Daddy?  Here...educate yerself.

Okay, so yesterday I was talking about those family movies and in one scene in the Jason Bateman movie the family was sharing memories about their dad.  When they asked Jason to share one, he couldn't think of one.

So I asked the Mr what memory he would share in that situation.  He recalled when he went on a trip alone with his dad and they went to Traverse City, MI and they rolled down Sleeping Bear Dunes.  It was one of the rare times that he had his dad all to himself and it meant a lot to him.

It was such a special memory that I planned a trip back for the first time since then for his 40th birthday.

I happened to fall in love with the city when we were there and it's a favorite fall vacation spot for us now.

When he asked about my dad, I had to think a bit.  My parents divorced when I was 8 so I didn't get a full childhood with him like the Mr got with his dad.  But what immediately came to mind wasn't a grand trip but just a simple moment.  I remember Dad driving me to the babysitter's one morning and he just bought a new van back in the 80's.  He would later go on to carpet that bad boy floor to ceiling but at this time, it was just the two seats up front and nothing in the back.  I was sitting on the wheel well in the back and he would swerve the car slightly to wiggle me around on the back of the well.  I would crack up laughing as the Doobie Brothers blared on the 8 track.  He took a turn pretty hard and I flew across the back of the van to the other side.  He asked if I was okay and I laughed hysterically.  I was having a blast.  He might've taken another turn or two sharp to send me into fits of giggles as I begged him to 'stop' but really meant 'more.'  That was the joy of being a tot in the 80's, we could get slammed around the back of vans or ride in the back of a pickup truck on the wheel well with no seat belt and only good sense to keep us safe.  Those were the days.

What is your favorite memory with your dad or significant male figure in your life?

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