How is everyone?

So, it has been a while since my last blog post. I guess you could say things have been a little busy here in Southwest Florida. I hope you all are well.

It has been 49 days since Hurricane Ian smashed into Florida causing major damage and 114 deaths from Lee County north into Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. Because the storm was so huge, it caused problems all over the state and then headed to the Carolinas for some more havoc.

Mike and I were very lucky. Although there is damage to the house, we can live in it. There are many people in our surrounding communities that weren’t so lucky.

Just when we thought hurricane season was about over – here comes Nicole. Oy! We had a rainy, breezy day. Those on the East coast of Florida weren’t so lucky. Did you all see the pictures of the homes washed into the Atlantic Ocean. So sad.

So, now that things are back to “normal” (really – you CAN see the normal if you look over the giant piles of debris everywhere) I plan to get back to reading and reviewing good books and talking about eating healthy and being good to your body.

After 46 days of erratic eating, I’m back to eating more fruits and veggies, lean protein, and fewer carbs. I’m looking for healthier recipes for Thanksgiving- including apple pie croissants!! Now that stores here have milk, eggs, butter, and fresh veggies – we no longer have to go on our evening grub crawl to find food trucks so we can eat. Next time you see a food truck, stop and buy something. If it weren’t for them a lot of people wouldn’t have eaten anything in the days after the storm. That is how bad things were.

So, hug your loved ones and enjoy every day with a smile on your face. Remember to be kind, especially to those who are in helping jobs. (Keep in mind, if you are dealing with storm aftermath, your local grocery checkout person, receptionist, public works staff are working to help YOU when they should be home getting their own situation fixed).

Be kind. Be patient. Be respectful.

Thanks for reading.

28 Disastrous Dates by Poppy Mortimer

When I think back on those magical dating years, I either get nostalgic or horrified, depending on the dating scenario I am remembering. Luckily, my dating life was nothing like Poppy Mortimer’s. The 28 dating stories she has written about range from laugh-out-loud funny to down-right scary.

28 Disastrous Dates made me laugh and feel so happy I am not dating any longer. If you want a good laugh, read the book. Just a warning, even though the author doesn’t swear and has kept the stories rather tame, some of the situations are for mature audiences only.

Have a laugh. Reminisce about dating. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

The author and her publisher provided me with a copy of the book through Book Sirens in exchange for my honest opinion.

Trying to get back on track

After several stressful months, I think I might be ready to get back into the swing of blogging. I hope that 2021 has been good to you, kind reader. It has been quite the year and it still has a month and a half to go!

So many things happened and/or changed in 2021. First, my wonderful mother fell ill and sadly passed away. After six months, I am still having a hard time with her passing. Not a day goes by that I don’t think “Oh…I should call Mom and tell her about this” or “I wonder if Mom knows how to do that”. I really miss her.

Work changed A LOT. In the past three years I went from covering supervisor duties (banking, training, programming, etc.) to not having any responsibilities at work. It’s not a demotion because I was not promoted to supervisor or even paid for those extra duties. Once they finally hired someone and I trained them…that was it. So, I found another position within the company and I am happy and loving it.

The crafting video YouTube that I started with two friends has been put on hold due to the friend with the studio selling her house and moving. I’m working on setting up something at home but it is going to take some time. I will probably blog, with pictures, some craft projects until I’m ready to go with the videos again.

Last month Mike and I went to Orlando for vacation. We met up with family and went to several Disney parks. If you have been a Disney park visitor in the past and plan on coming back, be prepared for massive changes. We are not happy with the way things are going there, so it will be a long time before we visit again. It will take years for us to save up because of their new ticketing and Genie+ charges. Needless to say, it was NOT the happiest place on earth when we were there.

So, friends, I think I’ll be back to writing book reviews and commenting about life here in the blogosphere. Looking forward to interacting with everyone again.

Thanks for reading.

Worst drivers license picture ever

I finally had the chance to go get my drivers license upgraded to the one that give me clearance to fly. Of course, there’s no way I’m getting on a plane during Covid. But if and when things get back to “normal”, I’ll be all set.

While I am happy to have it done and that it only took a half an hour, I must say it is the worst picture ever as I am suffering from masknea (acne from wearing a mask). Oh well, to be almost 55 and look like I have a teenagers skin…sigh.

I hope your year is going well.

Prepping for a NEW YEAR

I haven’t stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve in years. Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I have decided to stay up until midnight to make sure that 2020 actually ends. I’m sort of worried that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that the date is December 32, 2020. That would be so 2020!

During the month of December I have been working on plans for 2021.

  1. Health – I’ve started what, so far, is a helpful way to lose weight. NOOM. Someone I know lost 100 pounds using this service so I thought I’d try. So far I am down 6 pounds! It is a very different approach towards weight loss. More info to come in the new year as I chronicle my journey. Mike and I are also starting to exercise more and plan to make it a habit in 2021.
  2. Career – Since work has changed so much this year, I have been feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. I have decided to work on taking my passion for crafting to the next level. I’ve been listening to the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast and have really been inspired to find how I can make the world a better place through my passion of crafting. Things currently in the works:
    • Craft videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting a good enough following to monetize my craft videos.
    • Creating a plan to sell my crafts on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, craft shows, etc. I am making a list of what to make in preparation for upcoming holidays and celebrations.
    • Planning a way to start doing at-home craft parties once we all get Covid-19 under control.
    • Collaborating with two friends on a really cool videography project.
  3. Reading – Increase my reading and book review blog posts by creating a calendar to remind myself to post reviews to my blog twice a month.
  4. Brainstorming on a podcast idea I have.

So, those are my big plans to make 2021 the best year ever.

What are your plans for 2021? Do you plan to stay up until midnight? Do you have a craft you would like me to create a video for? Do you have any book recommendations for me? How about a healthy recipe or an exercise for me to add to our getting healthy plan? Please drop me a note below and I promise to send you a great big thank you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Slow and steady

In my mind, I see the story of the tortoise and the hare. Remember that one? I have always loved that story. The hare thinks he will always win because he is faster, so he laid down and took a nap. While he was napping, the tortoise, who is slow but never gives up, wins. That’s how I’m taking this whole get healthy and lose weight thing. I’m down 3.9 pounds. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of all my friends and family. I am saving all of the recipes and tips that you have sent me and am hoping, with cooler weather, to take some of you up on taking a walk together. My friend, Suzanne, and I have joined 99 Walks, which is a motivational tool to get us walking. I’m looking forward to walking together in person or virtually. Thanks Suzanne!

One thing I have to get better at is planning meals. Some days when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is prep and cook a meal. This past week there were several days where I came home and said “NOPE!!! I’m ordering DoorDash”. This has got to stop. Not only is it more expensive than eating at home, it is harder to find healthier foods for delivery. So, Mike and I will be making up a menu, shopping, and doing some real food prep today. I want to see how much money and time we save doing this. If anyone has any tips, tricks, or recipes for meal planning, I would be grateful if you would share.

See you all next Monday for my weekly weigh-in.

Overwhelmed with your kindness and excited about the future.

Everyone has been so supportive of my weight loss journey. I’ve received so many tips and messages of encouragement the past few days. I love each and every one of you for joining my cheering squad! It was kind of overwhelming to get all the messages. You all lifted my spirits!

So far, things are going well. We’ve found some great recipes that use more Whole Foods and less processed foods. Our two favorites have been the crunchy chicken and black bean tacos and the glazed pork loin with cucumber radish salad.

Breakfast has always been hard for me because it is my favorite meal. I love everything about a good hearty breakfast. Scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, pastries, and most of all – delicious coffee. I can have eggs on Weight Watchers. They are actually a zero points food. (Please don’t ask me to explain why. I don’t care why, I’m just glad they are). Two slices of bacon cooked crispy are 3 points. Pastries – I have to cut them out all together. They are delicious but they are like Pringles to me – I can’t just eat one. LOL.

Then comes coffee. I like mine light and sweet. That means a lot of cream and a lot of sugar. Yesterday I tried having my coffee with 1% milk and Swerve sweetener. BLECH!!!! Today I am using 1 TBSP of Natural Bliss Salted Caramel creamer. It is n to sugar free. It is 2 points for each tablespoon. I did not add any additional sweetener and it is ok.

I am already feeling improvements in how I feel. I slept really well last night after working hard around the house with food prep and laundry. My mood is better and I feel that I can accomplish this task and reach my goal.

Blame in on the…

In July 2019, I bared my soul and admitted, not only my weight but that the doctor told me I had to do something about it.

I did. Joined Weight Watchers online, right after I got home from the doctors appointment. I was actually doing very well. Blood pressure down. Lost 18 pounds. I was moving more and eating healthier.

Then came Covid-19.

I am not putting all the blame on Covid though. I am fully accepting my contributions to my backslide. However, I lay about 49% of the blame on this stupid “new normal”.

Since I don’t have the best immune system, I asked put in for a work from home assignment – but only if someone with more of a reason to stay home (small children, elderly parents living with them, immune compromised themself or a family member at home.). I was given the work at home assignment to help another department handle calls from people who needed financial assistance or were looking for information. While I am grateful for the chance to stay home and healthy, I was now tethered to a computer answering calls 8 hours a day. The ringer on the laptop didn’t work, so I actually had to sit, with headphones on, waiting for a call to come in. So, what did I do – I snacked because I was bored. On top of snacking, I literally sat for 8 hours. Sitting and snacking for 8 hours. In my regular job, I would be on my feet most of the day attending to the needs of the patrons at the library. So….you got it…the weight piled on.

On top of all of the snacking and sitting, I was also an emotional wreck. My visit to my elderly (sorry Mom and Dad – I don’t think of you as elderly. When I close my eyes I see you in your 40s still.) parents was cancelled due to the pandemic. Our other mini vacation to the Flower and Garden show at Epcot in Orlando was also a victim of the pandemic. To make matters worse during this terrible 2020 shit show, we had two relatives die without us being able to celebrate their lives at a funeral or memorial service.

Then, we discovered Door Dash. Now I didn’t have to shop, prep, or cook everyday. We just ordered our food – already cooked – to be delivered. Bad find. That food is NOT healthy. Chilis, Chik-fil-A, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabbas, Metro Diner, Wendy’s, Plaza de Mexico, Buffalo Wings and Rings…all so delicious and so NOT healthy. While it helped to deal with the changing situation of food shortages and also put funneled some money into our local eateries, more pounds packed on.

About two months into working from home, I decided that, in order to stop snacking constantly, I needed to find something to keep my hands occupied. CRAFTS to the rescue.

I painted, I drew, I colored, I sewed, I taught myself to crochet. I spent my time looking for something new to learn. I started to learn Spanish. Being distracted from stress eating, I stopped gaining but didn’t lose any weight. In order to do that, I would have to start moving more.

Fast forward to July 8, 2020. My “triumphant” return to my regular job at the library. After sitting every day for three months, I could barely keep up. Between the extra weight, the lack of exercise while working from home, and the stress of being back out in the germs – I thought I was going to have to quit my job because I couldn’t keep up. I would go home and cry because I was in so much pain. It took me almost two months before I was able to keep up with my job again.

Well, I had my four month follow up with my doctor this past Friday. While it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was not good news. After ballooning up to 321 lbs (oh I have a hard time admitting to that in writing but I’m doing it.) I made the commitment to restart Weight Watchers and get to feeling better. At my doctors appointment, I weighed in at 317.6. By some miracle, I was only up a pound from my previous appointment.

After a long discussion about next steps, the doctor agreed to give me 3 months to make progress in my weight loss. I feel terrible, which is a great motivator. Healthy eating and food prep starts today. I did well enough on Saturday and Sunday to actually lose a pound, so the journey has begun….again.

Please, say prayers, think good thoughts, send encouragement, share helpful tips/recipes and exercises you have tried. I need all the help I can get. Each Monday morning, I weigh in. To keep my honest, the doctor asked me to email him my Monday weight.

So on with my journey….