LilySlim Weight loss tickers

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Family Christmas ~

Santa brought me a wonderful gift, a couple days before Christmas. My sister and her boys zipped into town as a holiday surprise. My sister had to leave the day after Christmas, but they boys are staying until New Year's. I have my nephews, staying in my house, for a whole week.  They are growing up so fast, and I know they time they'll want to spend here is limited, so I cherish every moment.

The last time we had all the kids together was eight years ago. I bought them all new shirts and took them to Sears for a portrait.  The colors of their shirts indicate which kids are siblings.

Here they are now, in the same places.  My babies aren't babies anymore.  My sister took these photos, along with group photos of the siblings.  I loaded them onto a digital photo frame for my mom's Christmas gift.  I added some of my siblings and me when we were little, and some favorites from over the years.

Here's one from about 1971. I'm in the red dress. This one went on my mom's digital frame.

After our photo shoot, I served lasagna to everyone.  It was so much fun, I did it again Christmas morning, whipping up brunch with Walker's help.  Walker had to work Christmas night, so we decided brunch would work better than a dinner later in the day.  Since I'm not a morning person, I added a little motivation to my OJ - it's spiked with champagne. 

And now, to ensure my nephews stay with me the next time they're in town, I whipped up some chocolate croissants.  Okay, I baked frozen croissant dough I bought from QVC.  But they're so delicious, nobody cares that they aren't made from scratch.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bet You Thought It Would Never Happen ~

Ta-Dah!!! The kitchen is done. Really! Look - I'll show you! 

Oh, yeah!  A dishwasher that actually works!!!  There are two faucets at the sink:  a regular one, and a filtered one for drinking water that is not hooked up to the water softener.
This is Walker's coffee bar ~

Still looking for curtains, but that's it!  That's all I have left to do ~
I'd love a table & chairs in dark wood like the cabinets, but, these will do just fine ~

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From My Home to Yours ~

I'm still here, and I have lots to tell y'all!  Not today, but soon, I promise.  Today I'll just wish a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of y'all.  I hope your holiday is filled with peace, joy, laughter, and love. 

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Remodel Update

I keep thinking that in a couple more days, I’ll be able to post the final “after” shots of my remodeled kitchen.  I’ve been thinking that for a while now.  It ain’t happening.   There’s work being done, slowly.  The weather has caused some delays, because one of the things I’m having installed is new windows.  We had rain for just about a solid week.  Not only did the rain impede the new windows going in, it added to the drying time on the drywall mud.  There are delays off site, too.  The cabinets I picked out at the end of September, the ones that were supposed to take two weeks to come in, are still not here.  And they won’t be, until sometime next week.  Hopefully Monday, but that remains to be seen.  Back in August, we hired an electrician to put in new lights and start the rough-in for some new outlets.  He was paid for the work that was done at that time, and we told him we’d let him know when the old cabinets came out so he could finish his part.  Well, the cabinets are supposed to come out tomorrow, and I have contacted him and left messages, but haven’t heard back.  So the carpenters might end up waiting on him.  That remains to be seen as well.  Meanwhile, Walker and I are relying on frozen dinners, frozen breakfast, and in my case, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and yogurt.  I was buying fruit, thinking that was a good way to get something healthy that doesn’t need to be cooked and won’t make any dirty dishes.  Then, when the drywall dust started flying, I realized we’d have to wash the fruit in the bathroom sink, and, well, that just skeeves me out.  So I quit buying fruit.  We eat from paper plates with plastic utensils and drink from red Solo cups.  At first, one of us would start singing when the cups came out.  That got old a while ago.  And all that plastic going into the trash each day must have my extremely eco-friendly father rolling in his grave.  Well, he doesn’t actually have a grave, since we cremated him and scattered his ashes on a very windy day in a park that was technically not open to the public.  Hey, we left without complaint when the police showed up.  But I digress…..

So anyway, though there isn’t much change since the last batch of photos, here’s where we’re at with the kitchen remodel:

more before......

Guess I never took "before" photos of the breakfast nook, but here it is today.   New windows, new paint.  Those plants don't live there, but their home is currently filled with boxes of kitchen utensils and bake ware.

I painted around the corner of this wall, but ran out of paint so I stopped until the rest of the cabinets come out.

Hard to tell from this photo, but the new wall color is a soft plum shade.  Very pretty!

This is what I've been looking at for WEEKS now.  :(

The rest of the cabinets are supposed to come out today.  That means we lose the sink and this room is totally useless until it's finished from that point on.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Little Fall Color, for Jon ~

I can't bring autumn to west Texas, 
but I can share a little of our
Upper Mississippi Valley color.  Enjoy ~

Friday, October 4, 2013

An Update for Lucy

There isn't any work going on in my kitchen yet, since the electrician finished installing new lights.  The carpenters were scheduled to start in August, but then they had something come up, so we're on hold until the end of this month.  We had the option of using another carpenter, but we like these guys so we decided to wait.  In the meantime, I did some shopping.  Here's a peek at what I picked out:

The big beige rectangle is a flooring sample.  The little one next to it is the counter top laminate.  The walls will probably be beige, and the curtains will be purple.  I think.  I haven't found any that I like yet.  There will also be a tile back splash.  I was going to use glass tile, but I think that's too trendy.  I don't want it to look dated in a couple years, so I'm trying to be a little more "classic".  The background for this photo is a cabinet door.  They look darker in reality than in the photo.  I'm really, really bad at picturing what all the components will look like when everything is installed.  Hopefully, I'll love it when it's done, cause I don't ever want to do this again. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

If It Ain't Broke.....

There seems to be a growing trend in the snack world, and I, for one, wish it would stop.  I’m referring to ‘seasonal’ flavors.  The worst variant of this, in my opinion, is seasonal flavors of seasonal treats.  Case in point:    
candy corn disguised as s’mores.

Who doesn’t love candy corn?  It’s always been one of my favorite fall treats, sometimes mixed with peanuts for a sweet/salty taste, but just as good straight from the bag.  So why mess it up?  Now, I didn’t care for the s’mores flavor of these, so right there it’s got a strike.  It didn’t taste like s’mores at all. There wasn’t even a hint of chocolate flavor,  so that’s another strike.  Why bother changing the flavor of something if you can’t get it right?    Not to mention: to me, s’mores is a campfire treat, and camping is a summer activity.  Yet these babies didn’t hit the shelves, here at least, until September. So again, I ask:  why bother?

Now, s’mores is not the only “new” variety of candy corn available this fall.  This one was also offered:

The flavor of these was good, but again, not all that “pumpkin-y” to me.  I thought they tasted a lot like a molasses cookie.  Which brings me to my next point: okay, these taste good, but if I’m craving pumpkin (or molasses cookie, for that matter) wouldn’t it make more sense to just get a pumpkin treat?  There is no shortage of pumpkin flavored bakery this time of year.  Muffins, cookies, bars with rich cream cheese frosting… really, why would I buy fake pumpkin flavored candy when I could have a real pumpkin treat?

The candy corn division at Brach’s is not alone in their quest to screw up perfectly good candy.  M&M’s and Hershey’s Kisses have been offered in seasonal flavors for a couple years now.   When I see them, I buy a bag to bring into the office so we can try it and complain about how we really wish the candy companies would just leave well enough alone.  I have yet to find a seasonal variety that is really, really delicious.  Which is probably a good thing, because most of these are a “one and done” offering, meaning, next year they’ll be replaced with a different variety.

Now, chips are a whole ‘nother story.  I don’t buy a lot of chips, but a couple years ago Dortios came out with a cheeseburger flavor that I brought home for Walker.  I made the mistake of trying one, and, omg, it was nummy!  Tasted JUST LIKE a Big Mac, right down to the hint of pickle.  I think I ate most of that bag, and bought several more before the “limited time only” ran out.   I really wish they would bring those back, but it’s probably better for me if they don’t.  These, on the other hand, are just icky:

The real kicker, though, is the Oreos.  Apparently, the Oreo folks caught wind of the candy corn situation, and decided to offer up their own solution:


Monday, September 16, 2013

Ask and You Shall Receive ~

I'm teaching Diva how to use my camera.  She was wandering around the yard taking photos here and there.  Eventually, she snapped a couple of the flag, but there was no wind so in the photos, it's just kind of hanging there. I told her, "Ask Grampa Al in Heaven to send you a breeze so the flag opens up," but she gave me the stink eye so I asked him myself. Immediately, the wind picked up, the flag opened, Diva's eyes got big, she ran over there and - ta dah! She got her shot. Grampa always did enjoy flying the flag ~

Friday, September 13, 2013

In Other News....

First, THANK YOU, all, for your support and words of encouragement.  It means more than you can know.  That last post was tough to write, tougher still to publish, but I'm glad I did.  Thank you, thank you. I feel better when I stick to a routine, so I'm going to try to post more regularly.  On that note.....
I decided, back in May, to remodel my kitchen.  It’s not horrible but the dishwasher is on its last legs, and it’s a smaller-than-standard model with no room to install a bigger one.  Plus the veneer is coming loose on some of the cabinetry, and the counter top is warped over the stove.  There are a few other issues, too.  Little things, but lots of little things, so it was time.

I contacted my carpenters, the team who did the updates in my living room last year, and they stopped over to take measurements and discuss what I wanted to change.  A couple days later, they sent me a computer generated image of what we discussed, and I gave the go-ahead to get started.  The first step was to have new light fixtures installed by an electrician, and that turned out to be a royal pain in the butt.

It cheeses me more than I can say to make an appointment with someone, only to have them stand me up.  No phone call, nothing.  If you don’t want my business, just say so, and we can both move on.  But they don’t do that.  Around here, it’s a problem with all the trades, not just electricians.  Plumbers have been even worse.   Compound that with the fact that I work nights, and often have to set my alarm to get up after very little sleep to keep these appointments, and you can imagine how irritated I get when it turns into a no-show.

I let the carpenters know that they would have to bump us down on their schedule, and kept trying.  Finally, at the end of July, I got ahold of a reputable electrician who  happened to have a small window in his schedule, just long enough to install some lights and add a couple wall outlets.  While he was taking care of that, I went to a supply place and chose my cabinets and flooring – on sale, no less!  Then I started packing up, so as soon as the cabinets came in the carpenters could get to work.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  When we bumped the carpenters, they started  a job that turned out to be a lot more involved than originally anticipated.  It’s looking like they won’t be able to get to us until the last week in October.   Meanwhile, my kitchen now looks like this:  

Holes in the ceiling ~

Holes in the walls.  Sigh.

Monday, September 9, 2013


So here it is....the entry I never wanted to post.  I've written and deleted it about a hundred times this year, for a couple reasons.  For one thing, I was raised not to whine, and no matter how I try to word this, in my head, it sounds whiny. For another, I KNOW that I got off easy on the whole cancer thing.  To say now that even though I'm healthy, I'm struggling, well, it just seems wrong.  Ungrateful, somehow.  Because it could have been so, so much worse.  Because not everyone gets better.

And yet:  I am struggling.

For anyone who might not know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of August in 2010.  The following month, I had surgery to remove four tumors, and when my incisions healed I had 35 radiation treatments.  I didn't need chemotherapy and I was able to keep working full time through the treatments, though at times it was difficult.  I finished radiation on December 23, 2010.  That same day, I started taking the hormone Tamoxifen, a course of treatment that is often prescribed for five years following breast cancer.  If you can make it the full five years on Tamoxifen, your chances of recurrence are greatly reduced.

At first, Tamoxifen caused some mild stomach irriation and hot flashes, but that went away and I got along pretty well.  Every now and again, the hot flashes would come back for a few weeks at a time, but they weren't too bothersome.  Last year, around the holidays, they came back worse than ever, but mostly just at night, so my doctor gave me a medication called gabapentin, to help with the flashes so I could sleep.  It works well, but I have to get at least eight hours of sleep or I feel loopy and hung over the next day.  So I don't take it every night.  Around that same time, however, I started noticing other things going on.  For one thing, I suddenly became much more emotional.  Pretty much anything could make me cry.  Walker said I was crabby, so he started spending more time away from home.  In February, when my beautiful friend Cheri lost her own battle with cancer, I just kind of fell apart. 

As days passed, then weeks, and I could not shake my blue mood, I went back to my oncologist.  I've heard from other Tamoxifen patients that it can cause these types of emotional side effects, but my doctor didn't think that was happening in my case.  He felt I had seasonal affective disorder brought on by our unusually long, cold, dark winter.  He recommened that I get a full spectrum lamp and use it for thirty minutes a day.  So I did.  In fact, I got two, one for my home and one for my desk at work.  It didn't seem to help much.  He offered me antidepressants, but I refused them.  According to what we discussed, I am not clinically depressed.  And I have had family members experience suicidal thoughts when taking antidepressants, so I am saving medication as an absolute last resort.

As winter dragged on, and on, and on, things deteriorated at home.  Walker was unbelieveably supportive through the cancer treatment, but now.....I think he's just at a loss.  He can't fix it, and it's looking like nobody else can, either.  So he avoids it.  If he sees tears, he leaves the room.  If I get crabby, he leaves the house.  I don't blame him, but knowing he'll take off if I'm not having a *good* day means that I hide my emotions from him.  Over the summer, I'd have a string of *good* days and think, yay, finally!  I'm over the worst of it, life will get back to normal now.....but then pretty soon, the anxiety and moodiness would return.  The only thing that really seemed to help was exercise, lots of it, and outdoors as much as possible.  I logged a LOT of miles on my bicycle.  When the incredible heat of August blew in, I took to riding my bike before dawn, holding a flashlight in one hand.  I would ride and ride, til the sun came up, and go home exhausted, sleeping through the heat of the day.  I went to another oncologist, just to see if there would be a difference of opinion that would lead to another treatment option, but I was told that at my age and stage of life, even if it was determined that Tamoxifen is behind these issues, there is no other drug I can try.  Later, after menopause, there are several others.  By then, though, I will be already finished with hormone therapy.  I just have to try to stick it out.

So here we are, almost to fall.  The kids are back in school, the pool is closed, and the nights have a chill in the air.  Normally this is my favorite season, but this year, frankly, I am terrified.  The news is reporting this this winter is expected to be longer, colder, and snowier than last year, and I don't know how I will get through it.  One day at a time, I guess.  One hour at a time, if necessary.  I hope Walker and I can find our way to spring, still together, but my first priority has to be getting healthy.  Maybe, if I'm really, really lucky, all this crap will go away as suddenly as it came, and I'll get my life back.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Go Pack Go!

I like football, but don't follow a team.  Walker is pretty much the same way, but when he scored tickets to a Green Bay Packers game, he went all out.  First, he bought us both jerseys.  Then he borrowed a cheese head from a Wisconsin friend.  We headed to Green Bay, a several hours drive, the day before the game, and checked into a motel near the stadium.  On game day, we dressed in our jerseys and toured some landmarks, including a sports bar and the Packers Hall of Fame. 

Our tickets ~

Walker's ready for some fun ~

The view from our club seats
Lambeau Field made from Legos ~

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL??

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Playing in the Garden ~

I'm having some work done on my home, and yesterday, the electrician had to turn the power off inside the house for most of the day.  There's not much to be done in a house with no electricity.  I read a couple magazines, dusted the furniture, took a nap.  Eventually, thought, I headed out to the garden.  We haven't had much rain this summer, so the garden is pretty slow to crank out color, but where I did find blooms, they were gorgeous: 

I had fun taking the bee photos.  It's an exercise in patience, as they don't stay put for long.  I know my photos aren't technically correct, but I don't care.  I think they're pretty cool, and I enjoyed the experience.