Help me help you by telling me what to write.

My body and my brain are confused. With 4th of July being smack dab in the middle of the week, it creates a weird flow to the days. Tuesday felt like Friday, and today feels like a Monday, but it’s actually Thursday. When I had the day off yesterday, my body/brain felt like it was Saturday and couldn’t understand why I wanted it to go to bed at 10:00 last night. What a weird week. :/

Thanks to all of you who were so kind to send nice thoughts about my dad. He’s doing better – going to physical therapy a couple of times a week and he can now walk without the cane and his left hand is working a little better now. I don’t think he’ll ever be 100%, but he’s so lucky to be as well off as he is.

So you may have noticed my irregular posting lately (i.e. the last couple of years) and I think it’s because I just don’t know what to post. When I was writing about weight loss (or my lack thereof) it was easy – write about food, what not to eat, what I ate that I shouldn’t have eaten, what exercise I did, what exercise I didn’t do that I probably should have, weigh-ins, workouts, and whatnot… it felt easy and effortless. But now, I don’t know what to write about – I have no theme. When I wrote about self care and self esteem, it seemed as if no one was really interested in that – I heard a lot of crickets during that time in the way of feedback. And I feel like there are so many others out there who write about that stuff WAY better than I do, so I’ll just leave it up to them.

I mean, I can keep coming here once or twice a week and just opening my blog and writing whatever comes to mind, OR you can help me come up with some topics. Is there anything YOU think I should write about? Are there topics that you think “huh, I sure wish Jill would write about this, I’d love to get her take on it”? or should I just stick to plunking down my thoughts whenever the mood strikes (which apparently is only about once or twice a month). What say you? If you want to suggest a topic, my only request is that it not be political in any way, shape, or form. I do not do the political stuff AT ALL. There is so much of that out there right now by lots of folks who are more articulate than I, and really,  I just want my little corner of the internet to be a nice place to visit.

So here are a few topic ideas I’ve been rolling around in my head:

  • The Greatest Decade of Them All: The Eighties. All of my teenage years were in the 1980s so I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to those ten years. From toys to fashion – I was there and lived it (as did most of you since my demographic seems to be women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s).
  • Bad at Makeup: Wherein I might do a video (a la the young Youtubers of today) that shows how completely inept I am when it comes to applying makeup. Seriously guys, I’m just not good at it, but it might good for a laugh.
  • Plus size fashion: I buy clothes and show them to you. Wow! So innovative and original!!!
  • Veggie of the week: I pick something from my Harvest Bag and show you how I prepared it.
  • Book Club/Podcast review: I talk about what I’m reading and/or listening to
  • Healthy Living: what I’m doing now vs what I used to do (I’m slowly but surely putting forth more effort in this category), or things I’m learning to do better, etc.
  • Stuff about marriage and parenting teens, maybe? I don’t feel like there are as many resources about how to take care of your marriage in the later years, or how to parent teens and young adults. Not that I’m an expert, but maybe it would open a dialogue here and we can learn from each other.

So what do you think? Are you interested in reading about any of these topics/all of these topics/none of these topics? If you answered “none”, then what do you suggest? Seriously, I’m open to any reasonable suggestion.

Okay wow – 747 words already! How did I do that? Anyway, please chime in below in the comments and let me know what you want to see here at the ‘Pear. I don’t want to stop writing, but I’m having terrible writers block. Help me help myself!

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Maybe I just need vodka?  (source)

 

 

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Know the signs of stroke. But also know the signs that might not be a stroke, but are probably (definitely) a stroke.

Well.

These last 2 weeks have been stressful and exhausting and frustrating, to say the least.

Early in the morning on June 2, I got a call from my mom saying that she thought my 79 year old Dad had a stroke. He had fallen that morning while working outside and was dizzy and having trouble walking. I took the news very well – I was very calm and dignified and stoic. (That is a total lie – I lost it and started crying hysterically. My husband had to take over things like dialing the phone and driving because I was FREAKING OUT.) We drove to my mom’s house, picked her up, then drove to the hospital where the ambulance had just delivered my dad to the ER.

The EMT who arrived at my parents’ house first, checked for signs of a stroke – had my Dad raise both arms (he did), had him answer basic questions (he passed, all without slurred speech), had him do basic fine motor skills test (he was able to count to 4 while touching his thumb to the tips of all four fingers on the same hand)…they determined that he probably had not had a stroke, he was most likely dehydrated.

At the hospital, they did labs and took his blood pressure and monitored his heart – all came back good (well his blood pressure was a little high, but not alarmingly so). They gave him 3 bags of fluids and he seemed to improve. I think he was still feeling a little dizzy, but he didn’t say so then. They agreed he was probably just dehydrated, and Dad said he was feeling better, so they sent him home with orders to follow up with his primary care physician. WHEW! Okay, cool. We can deal with dehydration. No problem!

But later that day, he wasn’t really any better. And the next day he was much, much worse.

Turns out, he’d had dizzy spells and fallen twice before in the previous week, but those  were minor compared to Saturday’s spell.

At that point we knew we weren’t dealing with just dehydration.

Fast forward 10 days later and we finally get an MRI which confirmed that he had 3 mini strokes and one larger one caused by a clogged blood vessel in the pons area of the brain.

So all those dizzy spells he was having were actually strokes. It played out like this: he would get dizzy, fall, have trouble walking for a bit, then it would all clear up and he would be fine. That last one though, he got really dizzy, passed out and fell, and then he stayed dizzy for quite a while. His speech didn’t get very slurry until later that Saturday night and into the next day. It was almost like a slow progressing stroke, if that’s such a thing.

His face never drooped on one side, he never lost complete feeling on one side of his body (his left hand and leg are just a little weaker than his right), he didn’t have a severe headache, he had no loss of vision in one eye, he was never confused…I mean those are the symptoms, right?

I take a CPR/First Aid course every year for work and those are the signs we’re told to look for. My dad didn’t really have any of the obvious signs but you would think that a hospital ER would know to look for this, right? Not necessarily:

Another alarming finding from the study was that across all ethnic and age groups on average, if you use an ER of a nonteaching hospital—that is, a hospital that is not connected to a medical college—you face rather high odds of having a stroke missed: 45%. And, worse, if you are in a low-volume ER—meaning one that doesn’t see very many patients compared with other hospitals—the odds of being misdiagnosed increase to 57%! The take-home message here is that, if at all possible, use a busy university hospital when you need to get to an ER.

(Source: David E. Newman-Toker, MD PhD, associate professor, department of neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. His study appeared in the journal Diagnosis.Date: June 30, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Health)

The hospital we went to is in a very small town – it is definitely not a university teaching hospital and it is very low-volume.

So here’s the symptom that should have tipped us off: he got dizzy for a few minutes.

Um, what?

That’s right. Plain ol’ Dizziness. Out of the blue, unexplained dizziness was the only sign of the first mini stroke. He had been outside, looking up at something, and he got dizzy and fell. The dizziness went away after a few minutes, so he didn’t really think much of it, in fact, he didn’t even tell my mom about it until a week later, when he got dizzy and fell the second time. The next day though, when the dizziness came back again, it didn’t go away for several days.

That’s not to say that every time you get dizzy, it means you are having a stroke. But if it comes on suddenly and out of the blue (not as in if you were laying on the couch for 3 hours then stood up suddenly – that’s different) and you are at risk for a stroke, then call 911 and tell them to take you to the nearest university teaching hospital (if that’s a possibility).

My dad spent a couple of days in the hospital and is now on blood pressure medication, a blood thinner, a statin for cholesterol, and an aspirin, and will start physical therapy this week to help improve the weakness on his left side, his walking, and his speech. He has a good chance to make a full recovery if he does what he is supposed to –  I think he will because it really scared him. And the rest of us too.

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My Dad. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick of all the conflict and strife on social media? So am I.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

When I have a few moments of free time, I like to jump on the internet and see what’s happening in the world. I usually check out the Big Three of Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but lately I find myself more irritated than anything with all of the bad news and conflict that shows up in my feed. So today I decided there had to be something positive on the interwebs and I went searching for some sites that focused on the lighter, more positive side of life. Mind you, this was a quick Google search, but I think I hit on some winners:

  • Sunnyskyz.com. Here you will find uplifting stories, cute animal pics, positive news stories, and fun videos. When you want to remember that good people still exist in the world, this is your landing place.
  • Hooplaha.com.  This site boasts “only good news”. It’s a little more grown up than Sunny Skyz – if you want something with a little more substance than cute animal pictures, this might be the place for you.
  • Positive.news – For serious news consumer, I give you positive.news. Politics, society, science, and the environment (plus more) are covered here in an uplifting light.
  • Goodnewsnetwork.org. This site was founded “as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media”. It is here to remind us that there is still a lot of good in the world to report, even if we don’t hear about it on our radios or TV or major social media sites.
  • Bored Panda – Honorable mention goes to Bored panda because I find it interesting and fun. While it’s not necessarily a “positive” site, there is enough on here that makes me laugh and think that I decided to include it on my list.

This little exercise has already helped me feel better and less anxious. I encourage you to do your own digging and find even more positive news sites and share them. I’ve had enough of the arguing, bashing, and conflicts I see on the Social Media Trifecta. I think I’ll start making the above selections my first stops when I hop on the internet from now on.

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Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

What are some of your favorite positive websites? What sites do you go to when you need to be inspired? Share in the comments below!

Successful weekend

Hello!

I had a busy yet successful weekend in that everything I had to do went off without a hitch – amazing!

I’m happy to report that my Harvest bag that I received on Friday did not need as much prep time as the week before. There were a lot of things in this bag that really only needed a good soak and scrub – onions, asparagus, oranges, grape tomatoes, grapes, butter lettuce…I can’t think of what else was in the bag. I spent less than an hour taking care of my produce and most of that hour was just washing and drying and putting away. Easy peasy!

Saturday was my youngest daughter’s 13th birthday and she invited a few friends to go to the mall and then back to our house for a sleepover. I know, that sounds like a nightmare, right? But actually it was all good – we spent a couple of hours at the mall (where I treated myself to a little something at Sephora) and then we went to Target, picked up pizza on the way home, and then the girls spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and playing outside (it was a GORGEOUS day – sunny and warm!).

Sunday morning I had a bit of a dilemma: I could stay home with the birthday party or take my middle daughter to her last club volleyball game of the season. My husband was away on a sporting event of his own, otherwise he could have taken her (or stayed home with the youngers). I had told the 13 year old that I would make muffins for them when they woke up Sunday morning, but I also didn’t want the 17 year old to drive to downtown Tulsa by herself, plus I just wanted to be there to watch her play. So I decided that since my son was home (he’s 21), and the girls would probably sleep late, that I would go ahead and go to volleyball with my daughter. The younger ones would just have to make their own muffins (which they did). At the volleyball game (this was actually a huge regional tournament) there were several vendors there selling fun things and I bought myself 3 fun tshirts and 3 pairs of fun dangly earrings for a very good price. I don’t typically buy things for myself often but between my Sephora stuff and the tshirts and earrings, it turned out to be a “treat yo’self” kind of weekend! I had planned on taking the birthday party guests home when I got home from the tournament, but when I arrived home early afternoon, the guests had already been picked up by their parents, which was kind of a relief because it would have meant over an hour of driving for me. Win!

Sunday afternoon and evening I was WORN SLICK from all the driving and thinking and planning and activity from the weekend. I pretty much just sat on the couch and watched Naked and Afraid until it was time for bed (I love that show – anyone else a fan?).

And that was my weekend. In years past, I would have been a frazzled mess over all the activity but I’ve learned to make these kinds of activities enjoyable for myself too, and that has made all the difference.

 

 

If your mom likes to read…

…get her some books for Mother’s Day! I just had an idea and real quick thought I’d post some of the books from my book club. We’ve been reading some really great books lately and with Mother’s Day just a little more than a week away, I thought I’d share some of the selections we’ve read to inspire you to get Mom a book. Thanks to magic of Amazon Prime, you can order these books and get them in time for May 13th (that’s Mother’s Day, y’all.)

Heartwarming story of a woman who realizes that the more people she lets into her life, the sweeter life becomes. I just finished this book and I loved it. I got this from the library, but I’m seriously considering buying a copy because I want to read it again.

The cover of this books is gorgeous once you get your hands on it – it’s embossed on the front and back, and the texture of the paper is divine. If you haven’t read this since high school, maybe it’s time to read it again?

If Mom likes a thriller, she’ll like this one. This book took a turn that I did not see coming – but it really works.

Does Mom like historical fiction? This is about a group of strong women who set out to escape their own lives by becoming melded with an Indian tribe in the Old West. Very beautifully written. (pssst…this one is $1.99 on Kindle! (as of this writing))

And here is something I would like for myself,

I have a clip on book light, but it’s a weird shape and it doesn’t stay put very well. I’m thinking something like this could be the answer to all my reading-in-dim-lighting problems! I’m going to drop a not-so-subtle hint to my kids to get this for me for Mother’s Day. 🙂

Okay, I know this was quick but I just wanted to dash off some ideas for those of you who are completely in the dark on what to get your Mom. I hope this helps!

 

Amazon links are affiliate links.

Don’t Forget the Fun

For the last few days I’ve been at war with my body image. Usually when this happens it’s because I feel like something is out of my control, and I direct that frustration towards my overly soft, chubby body, but this time I couldn’t really pinpoint what I felt I didn’t have control over. Our finances are fine (for the first time in a while), my kids are okay, marriage is intact…really I have no idea what brought on this onslaught of negativity towards my weight. The ONLY thing that’s annoying me right now is allergies – there’s so much pollen in the air and springtime in Oklahoma means the wind is blowing ridiculously all day every day (there’s a reason the line in the song is “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain” *sigh*). And when my allergies hit, there’s usually a little feeling of sadness that comes with it – so maybe that’s what was going on.

But as I drove to work this morning, I was scrolling through the Sirius XM channels and happened to stop on a new wave channel (read: 80s music). I heard some familiar tunes and then this song came on and for whatever reason, my sad little heart perked up and I sang my lungs out:

Sometimes God gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

I don’t know why this song did the trick – because of it’s bouncy rhythm? because it’s a fun memory from my early teenage years? because it’s just an excellent song for car-dancing???? I honestly felt a shiver go through my body and then I felt my mind shift into something more positive, and I realized that I have been missing a fundamental element of life in the last few weeks: FUN. I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that was just pure fun, and after the last couple of rough weeks, I need a bit o’fun!

So I have to remember to build in some fun moments to every day – I need something to remind me that life is not just work and making dinner and beating my hair into submission…laughing and enjoying life are important too. And apparently, car dancing.

That Harvest Bag Life

I’ve mentioned here in the blog about my delivery of vegetables and fruits that I receive weekly from a local farm and how much I’ve enjoyed my bounty which I have dubbed The Harvest Bag (that’s not actually what the farm place calls them, but it sounds like it should be called that, right?)

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But I have learned something…there is something a bit dark that you’re not told when you order your first delivery…and it’s this: The Harvest Bag is a commitment. The Harvest Bag is a LIFESTYLE. The Harvest Bag requires attention, otherwise its contents will wither and die, not unlike those tiny digital animal keychains from the 90s (Tamagotchi, anyone?). I hate to admit that some of the produce from my first 2 bags ended up in the trash because I just didn’t understand that I needed to take care of things right away (or at least within the first couple of  days). What can I say? I was unschooled in the ways of vegetation and did not know what I did not know.

BUT when I got my bag last Friday, I was prepared with a plan. After work that evening, almost as soon as I walked in the door, I started taking care of business. I washed, I salad-spun, I chopped, I diced, I roasted, I steamed…I did everything humanly possible that I could to ensure that my produce would not go unused this week, and that it would not suffer the same fate as its Sister Bags had in the weeks before. All told, I spent about 3 hours of my Friday night tending to my little Tamagotchi vegetables. Such triumph! Such a dopamine rush! This morning I thanked my Friday Night Self for taking the time to prepare it all  – making my lunch salad was a breeze because the ingredients were already prepped and chopped and ready to go. It also makes throwing a balanced dinner together a snap.

And now that I know what I need to do, I’m confident that it won’t take me as long to prep the next bag’s contents on Friday night. Although it might help if I were to buy a bigger salad spinner.