Art Of Listening Is Dead

Believe it or not, this is actually related to this blog and soon you will understand.  But for the moment indulge me and just believe me when I state that the art of listening is dead.  It truly is dead at least I’ve experienced it way too many times, both in my job, when speaking with customer service representatives and also in the professional field.

So I started to wonder as to why I consider the art of listening to be dead, I mean I like listening to music but music isn’t dead.  I like talking with my friends and they are not dead, so what could be the problem.  Oh yeah, maybe a part of it has to do with how we say things.  Too often I find that I am speaking with people other than family or friends, the people I’m speaking with tend to meander around and I way too often wonder if they have a point or what their question will be so way too often I stop them and ask them what is it that I can help them with or if they understood my question/answer.  Now I should know better than to do this because it interrupts their chain of thought and usually they have to start over from the beginning which usually means that I have to sit there and listen to them ramble on once again.

I’ve learned that if you acknowledge what a person is saying then it helps them get past the point they were trying to explain but that doesn’t always work.  So now that you’ve heard me ramble on allow me to give you my example and why I truly believe what I stated above.

Now I don’t know if any of you have been following my blog and know about my problems so let me sum it up quickly.  I used to be slender and fit but now I’m not.  I’m severely overweight and I have high blood pressure.  My mowing my lawn in the hot temperature and high humidity is what led me back to trying to get in to see a doctor since I haven’t been on my blood pressure meds since August of last year.

Okay, history lesson over.  So I go into the doctor’s office and see the Nurse Practitioner and explain about my heart beating harder than usual while mowing and how long I’ve been off my meds.  I stated I a few (3) pills which I took weeks ago but now I’m out and since I want to start exercising I would rather not strain my heart too much.  So basically for 3 days I took meds that were left over from September of last year and have not been on the medication for 24 days.

So I step into the office and right away I cringe as I step on the scale and see that my weight has gone up to a whopping 221.2 pounds which is not good but I can at least say that is with my clothes on and lately I can button my pants without sucking in my gut.  Then as usual they put me in a room where they take my blood pressure, only the machine is having a very hard time trying to get a blood pressure reading and finally it comes up with 190/110 now I don’t know if you’re familiar with this reading, I’m getting pretty close to stroking out.  Or at least that is what it should mean but I’m not red in the face, I’m not having difficulty breathing and my heart rate was 97 which unfortunately is normal for me since I’ve had high blood pressure.  However, instead of the medical assistant taking a second reading because that reading was way too high, she let it stand and walked out of the room.

In walks the NP and I explain things and all she can hear is that my BP is way to high, she accepted the BP that the medical assistant took and the NP states that my current BP medication is not working so she is going to change it to another drug which I said I did not want to take because somewhere in the back of my mind I remember it not working, so I said no the usual prescription should be okay but she says no and is insisting on upping my medication and possibly making me double my dosage to twice a day.

I tried to explain to her that I have not regularly been on the medication because 3 days does not establish a pattern especially when I don’t have any more pills.  I even told her that I found those pills I took I found hidden in the back of my cabinet and that was all left over from September of last year and I hadn’t had any meds since last September but all she apparently heard was….    blah, blah, blah blaaaa-hh, blah blah blah took meds earlier this month.

So she wrote me a prescription for a medication that is too strong and if I take this then I know that I will black out, it is what happens when it drops my blood pressure too low which is what the higher medication does.  But I sit in the office realizing that she is not listening to a single word that I’m saying and so I try to be patient but she took my trying to clarify her misunderstanding as my defying her and so she sends back in the medical assistant who just hands me a paper which talks about the side effects of the medication and a log of sorts to document my blood pressure.  So hoping that the NP took into account my information, I go and make an appoint to see her in 2 weeks.

I actually was kind of concerned as I left the office because I haven’t had BP measurements that high ever, so I drive home because I see that it is getting late and I have to start getting ready for work which in case you can’t guess, can be quite stressful at times.  Okay so as I’m driving home, I’m dealing with some really bad drivers on the road and barely avoid 2 accidents.  I decided that something is wrong because when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m not red in the face, I’m feeling okay and my heart isn’t straining, my breathing is fine so I decide to get out my own BP machine and take my own BP.  First time it comes up at 158/102 with a pulse of 106 which is high but not OH MY GOD HELP ME, I’M GOING TO HAVE A STROKE !!!!!   No not at that level so I decided to go ahead and make my lunch and start getting ready for work but I manage to sit down and decided to take my BP and only about 35 minutes have passed so I take my BP again.  Guess what????    I didn’t have a stroke and as a matter of fact my pressure had dropped to 150/96 with a pulse of 97.  Now granted this was 35 minutes later than when I last took my BP and I’ve been moving around fixing lunch and getting my uniform ready for work but I managed to sit down on the sofa and took the reading and got a much better reading.

So at work I call the pharmacy and find out she gave me a prescription too strong and not the type I requested, silly me for knowing what works well with my body, never mind that I’ve been taking this particular type of medication since 2001 and have increased the strength when I went up to higher elevation and decreased it when I moved to lower elevation.  But I don’t know a thing about my body and how it reacts.  Oh and in case you were wondering about the other med she was going to prescribe to me, I had some friends on those meds, even my mother took it and they all lost a lot of their hair.  I don’t have much going for me but I really love the thickness of my hair and the texture of it, provided I’m not sick.

Tomorrow I’m going to call and tell her about my readings and ask why she didn’t insist on the medical assistant retaking my BP, especially when she did an EKG on me and things looked okay but displayed a more rapid pulse rate than most people my age.  It will be interesting to see if she will take her medical training and my information into consideration or if she is going to stick to her guns because if she does than my visit today was the first and last visit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to see another doctor, it just may be a while before I can get in to see one.  In the mean time I guess I’m going to take it easy on exercising especially in the high temperatures when there is a high humidity and since we’re about to go into our drought time, being in the heat will be easier than being in the heat with humidity.

Alright now, we’re back on track.  So how does this matter considering this is about my stumbling attempts to lose weight?  I’ll explain.  I’m going to go back to eating Primal and it is my hope that by the time I head out to DragonCon I will at least be 200 pounds but I would like to be less.  This means that I’m going to have to start eating better and I’m taking OTC supplements to help unclog my arteries and slowly build up my miles on my recumbent trike (pedal power rocks except when you roll over rocks).

I kind of went the long way around but I guess I wanted you to see the amount of frustration that I experienced, which was way too much but that was after the NP chose to ignore all of my input.

What is the moral of the story, be concise when speaking or asking questions.  Think about what you really want to know and then try to express yourself, whether be to ask a question or to answer a question in a precise way so it doesn’t get lost or misconstrued by the receiver.

But if you’re a total nut case….like me…..then you can blog about it all you want and hope that people who read the blog will just laugh at my antics.  Hey, I’m laughing so why not cut loose and let yourself laugh.  You can do it either now or at a later time…the choice is yours.

So as of today I’m going to focus on eating primal, good thing I cooked a lot of meat in advance because I like meat!!  Okay I like some veggies and at least I’m trying to expand my taste buds with a few different type of veggies.  Hey it is what has worked in the past but my only problem was that I never stuck with it.  So maybe if I stick with it enough to lose the 20 pounds by Labor Day maybe I can last even longer.

What is the one thing you can take away from this…..LISTEN.   I know that I need to practice this but I must admit to being frustrated when it takes more than 5 minutes to explain what the problem may be or to ask a question.  I hope you have more patience than me and hope your day/night is good.

Different Approach

 

Okay so here I am once again writing in this blog and wishing that I still wasn’t overweight, but just in case you couldn’t guess, I’m still overweight.  Basically I have no will power and at home no one really cares that I’m trying to diet and when family all get together it is a marathon of eating all of the worse things.

So here I am with about 2 weeks to go until my family reunion as they go about trying to plan for things to eat and although it is usually sort of healthy, I fall back into the area of having fajita tacos which means that I’m eating tortillas, usually flour and eating all sorts of other things which are really that good for me.

Lately I’ve rediscovered baking but seeing that I’m trying to watch my carbs, that means that regular flour is out and you can’t always substitute almond flour for places where you would usually used regular flour.  I’ve tried baking using a sifted combination of almond flour and tapioca flour and although it is good, I have to be careful about the amount of liquids that I add into the mixture.  In the recipe that I’m adapting they suggest using coconut flour which gives it a type of denseness but I don’t like the taste of coconut in milk, flour or oil.  Yeah I know sounds kind of silly for someone who has been trying to go paleo/primal because apparently most of them believe that you can’t cook/bake a single thing without these products but I hate coconut.  No, let me take that back.  My mother has an awesome recipe for coconut macaroons but since it is made with sweetened condensed milk and I’ve yet to figure out how to make that type of milk in a primal fashion, I’m not going to be eating coconut.

So now I’ve come across something that has peaked my interest once again and so I’m trying it to see how well I can stay on it.  The diet is very restrictive…..NOT!  The exercise plan is very strenuous…..NOT!  Worse of all it is extremely complicated….NOT!!

For dieting there is some restriction and actually it is a pretty good thing to do and fairly simple.  Cut Out Wheat !!  Yeah really he says it is that simple.  So I started doing some limited research on cutting out the wheat in my diet and am pretty amazed at how much wheat are in so many common products.  In my research I also learned that there are several other products which have wheat in them but that is only a part of the main product and of course the main offender is flour.  Unless you are actively trying to cut out flour, you don’t realize just how much it is used in our every day lives.

Most of us were raised that we have a sandwich for lunch when we went to school unless you bought your lunch at school but I’m pretty sure that flour was used in those lunches.  One thing that I’ve never gotten past is having a sandwich for lunch which is usually eaten on the go as I am preparing to go to work because just in case you forgot, I work a late evening shift and only get off a little before midnight.

So yeah it is easy to understand that I need to cut wheat out of my diet, this is what Mark Sisson promotes as do other paleo diets and they encourage using other substitutes but they also stress to restrict the carbohydrates that you consume.  According to this one book I just read, you don’t have to count carbs, calories or anything like that, just cut out the wheat.  I will admit that they push is also to eat more organic or at least a healthier diet but mainly cut out the wheat.  I’ll be honest, I’m not made of money and so I have to be very careful when it comes to eating organic because it is downright expensive and to be perfectly honest, organic does not mean it is chemical free, they still use chemicals when growing organic.  So I try to stay organic on some things and others, well at least I’m eating better.

Let’s see, I’ve talked about cutting out the wheat, the next thing that is promoted is Tension.  Just in case you don’t remember, I used to jowalk (jowalk=jog until I ran out of breath, then walked until I caught my breath and then repeat) (I was doing HIIT before it became popular)  5 miles a day, six days a week which meant that I was an endorphin junkie.  Also I was about 30 years younger and not so overweight.  Sure I had put on some weight but it was only about 30 pounds which quickly came off and the pounds stayed off for a long time.

Back to the word Tension.  I plan on using tension to help shape my body.  I’m not talking about the type of tension/stress you can get from work or really, really annoying people; I’m talking about using your own body’s tension to help redefine my hidden muscles.  Oh they are down there underneath the flab I just need to work them and they will come back.  So how do I work them, well according to everyone, I need to get out and move, do quick dashes, lift weights and all sorts of things physical and I will get back my physique.  Well I’ve been trying to do it and all I got were strain muscles and end up hurting myself.  As I mentioned above, I’m planning on using my own body’s Tension to help build back up some of the strength that I once had.  So how am I planning on doing this, why with something super easy, called Isometrics.

Wait…. let me take that back.  Isometrics aren’t exactly easy if done right because you’re using your own body to rebuild your strength which is what I desperately need to do.  I didn’t realize it but when I was younger, I had a lot of strength although I wasn’t very muscular and could push and pull a lot more than other people though.  Now that I’ve let my muscles go to pot, it will be a long battle to get them back into shape.  I know that isometrics actually work because one of my uncles used to be very skinny and had absolutely no muscle tone but he started working out and doing isometric exercises and soon he had developed strength.

So using Tension I plan on redefining my muscle tone.  This person did not push vast amounts of cardio but there is one bit of cardio that I really enjoy doing and that is riding Serenity.  She is my recumbent tadpole tricycle, which is pedal power.  I’ve spent money buying her and now I’ve been slowly decking her out so I can take her out on the open road and that is what I plan on doing for cardio exercises and believe me when I say that I will be doing some lifting too because the trike has a base weight of at least 30 pounds and with all of the additives I’ve put on the trike the weight has increased too.  So I will have to lift it in and out of the vehicle I’m traveling in as well as ride.

The last part of the equation is to breathe.  I will need to breathe during my exercises but the real hard part will be to learn to breathe through the stress at work.  Yes there is a lot of stress at my work as I’m sure there is with your own job and so if I can practice breathing maybe I can keep myself from reacting poorly and saying anything that will not be beneficial.  He stresses to accept the negative and not to let it rule us, which is hard to do because I’m sort of a attack the problem head on type of person and have always been that way so this will as always be a work in progress.

 

New Year Better Eating

Yes like so many people I would like to make a resolution that I will lose weight when the fact of the matter is that I’ve lost a lot of weight but gained most of it back.  You know the “Yo-Yo” effect, well that’s been me.

So many times I find that I get bored eating the same thing day in and day out and too often if I don’t prepare things in advance I fall and then it is hard to get back to better eating.  I don’t know if anyone else experienced what I did over the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays and if you did then I’m sorry but if you didn’t then just be thankful.  What did I experience, pain!  Pain in the form of weight gain, pain in the form of eating too much and pain in the stomach because the things I was consuming were making me feel sick to my stomach.  I was living on Tums and Alka-Seltzer almost for two months and I just couldn’t stop myself.  Okay it doesn’t help that work was extremely stressful.  Yeah I know everyone would say breathe in and out slowly or count to 10 but those don’t work very well for me.

Did I say that I was stressed well I most definitely was stressed and my hair stylist agreed with me, saying she was having to cover more gray than usual.  Let’s just say that where I work was extremely stressful for the last two months and no even my massages helped relieve the stress.

 

SICK

Yeah I was sick and it seemed that no matter what I ate, I was getting sick.  I was living pretty much on 6 Tums per day and/or 1 or 2 doses of Alka-Seltzer per day.  Yes I know that it is not good for me but I was looking for relief.  I kept on seeing that it was because we were eating food that we normally would not eat but still I ended up eating it and I might have started out with the idea of only having a tablespoon of something but then it seemed the more I limited myself the more tablespoons of the food I ate.  I know that it wasn’t good for me but I couldn’t stop myself because it is not something that I would usually eat.  So the food was richer and I was eating a lot more than I normally had but I seemed powerless to stop myself.

 

Finally it looks as if most of that food is out of the house and I’m getting more of the food that I should eat back into the house but it is a slow change over process.  I got so sick on some food last week that if I moved I felt sick, if I sat still I felt sick and the worse part of all is my pants are tight and they are my stretch pants.  I think I have a permanent indentation around my middle from where my waistband should be.

 

Solution:

Oh the solution is simple, eat better and eat healthier and then I will lose weight and be more energetic.

Yeah we’ve all read the articles and see the ads in print, video, TV and Internet about how you can quickly lose weight and never feel hungry.  Well I learned that those are not the way for me, many of them make you count calories and although I passed Calculus II in college with an ‘A’, I still don’t like doing the math of counting calories.  Note they tell you to do all of the counting and then to exercise, exercise, exercise but how can you do it when it actually hurts when you’re obese and try to do their exercises.  All too often then do not account for the fact that if you’re fat, you’re not able to move in way and if the exercises are too strenuous and hurt so after one or two tries I stop doing them either because I hurt myself or else they are too intense for me.

If only we could take weight off as easily as we put it on, that would be my one wish, forget World Peace.  Sorry just watched Ms Congeniality and just had to toss in the last part.  With my weight gain I’ve also become less active and yet when I used to live in another city, I used to run 6 days out of the week, come rain, sunshine, extremely hot temperatures or cold temperatures the only thing was that I had already lost the weight and found that I needed this outlet for all of my energy and I was eating whatever I wanted or could afford and by afford I meant because I had less than $20 to spend on groceries per week.

That was then and this is now and now is what has me concerned.  I’ve found with the few extra pounds that I’ve put on have put on, doing simple things is leaving me short of breath.  It seemed to happen so quickly so I scared myself into realizing that something has got to change and it is only something that I can do.  So with my weak will power I’m going to try and do something that will help me and it starts with me having better eating habits.

I can’t change how I eat such as in a rush or at my desk because I don’t really get time away from my desk to eat my dinner but I’m going to try and chew my food a little bit longer and maybe the chewing action will help.  I’m very picky when it comes to vegetables and I really don’t like a lot of vegetables so I’m going to eat more than the usual green beans and broccoli for my source of vegetables.

I’ve already started eating better starting today.  Unfortunately I didn’t wake up in time for breakfast before I had to rush off to an appointment and when I finally got home I was starving because it was almost 1130 hours.  I tried to relax eating and managed to do that a little bit and then took a nap before I left for work.  By the time five o’clock came around my stomach was growling big time.  So I ate and this may not be such a great thing since I usually get off at 2300 hours and the odds are I will need to grab a snack to eat before that time.  Maybe I’ll raid that pouch of tuna fish that I hid at work and mix it with mayo so it will be a better snack.

Remember me saying that I wanted to relax more as I ate, well I was doing my best and my partner was trying to take the foot traffic  coming into the building and the only lady in the lobby left but then she came back in and walked right up to me just as I put the food in my mouth.  I had to step away and thankfully my partner handled it because the only way I would be able to talk with the lady would have meant that I would have to swallow my food with very little chewing which would make for a very upset stomach.  My partner tried to take care of her but she was one of those people who are just lonely and just wants to talk.  So much for trying to relax and enjoy my meal at work.

Remember my saying I was always running out of time to prepare food, well I had a little bit of help today because they cooked the butternut squash for me and I had some cauliflower rice to go with my beef fajita meat and only used may for my condiment instead of wrapping the beef fajita in a tortilla.  The real thing that I wanted to say was that I’m trying to take care of my protein part of eating better.  I went to the store and bought some ground beef for hamburger patties, ground turkey for hamburger patties, chicken sausages, fajita chicken breasts and bacon, all of which were cooked out on my grill.  Once everything had cooled down I vacuum sealed them in the food saver bags and now I have 8 beef burgers with mozzarella cheese chunks and dried cranberries; 8 turker burgers with spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese, 6 fajita marinated chicken breasts cooked and cut up like for fajita servings, 5 chicken spinach and mozzarella sausages (hot dog size), and 1 1/2 pound of bacon all cooked up.  Now the bacon stays in the fridge for snacks and the rest have all been sealed up so I have the proteins all done.

I’m happy that I been able to eat better today and I realized that I got up late and was more concerned with getting my cup of coffee that I forgot to weigh in.  So on Saturday morning I was at 221.9 but on Sunday I was at 219.7; so I figured that I would go somewhere in between the two and chose 220.5 as my starting weight.  The important thing I should have done but didn’t do was take my blood pressure which I need to do when I get off and start keeping better track of it.

I noticed one thing though, I didn’t start having shortness of breath until I started taking my BP meds but now it is a regular thing.  I know, go to the doctor and get this take care of and I will do this, I just need to find a doctor because the last one moved out of state and the one before that went to Doctors Without Borders.

I should be off work early tonight so I’ll probably go home and make breakfast muffins so I can have something with my coffee and maybe even make some blueberry muffins the paleo/primal way so that I won’t go overboard on these items.

Plus I need to run to the store and buy some BBQ tools because my old ones have grown legs and run away.  It got so cold Sunday afternoon while grilling and I couldn’t find my bike lock to secure my gas grill to something outside that I had to haul it inside w/o being able to clean it.  I keep on forgetting it wasn’t summer time and so I wasn’t paying too much attention to the sun until it started setting….oops!  So finished cooking just as the sun was setting and the temperature had gone from high 60’s to 50 degrees, almost 18 degree change.

Either way, protein cooked, now to work on the veggies and put them in the smaller bags so all I have to do is grab a bag and stuff it into my lunch bag and head out in time to be to work on time.

So healthier and happier eating to you.

Soon A Change

So as the title suggests, soon again I will be attempting to eat better which it is my belief that it will allow me to lose weight.

I’m sitting here late night in my hotel room at DragonCon after having had dinner with friends and went out to have a drink or two with another friend that I’ve come to realize that I’ve had one continuing problem while being here in Atlanta and that is how I’ve felt after almost every meal.  I’ve either over eaten or else what I ate did not agree with me. I’ve also learned that it is now time for tequila and me to part ways which means that I’ve learned that as I’ve gotten older I can no longer handle tequila which was evident as I had a type of margarita during one of my dinners.  Yeah there is a chance that the meal didn’t help but in the morning I was still belching tequila and I continued to feel nauseous for several hours during the day.

Another disappointing note as DragonCon 2015 draws to an end, I was unable to give blood which I had been able to do in the years past.  Which meant that I couldn’t get their wonderful T-shirt but the main reason was that I was very low on my iron reading.  So why was I low, well I’ll tell you why.  I had a nervous outbreak of pimples…yeah, I know at my age but still they came up and made their appearance just over 2 weeks before I left for DragonCon.  I could smell the copper and iron in my blood and I remembered that one of my friends had actually been hospitalized when he had too much iron in his  blood so I did my best o make adjustments in my eating habits before I came to DragonCon….bad mistake.  I changed my diet too much and I did not have a high enough amount of iron in my blood after taking iron tablets and eating more iron rich products but after 3 days of trying, I finally had to come to terms that I could not give blood.

So what did this mean for me, it meant that all of the extra money I paid to get on meds for my high blood pressure was almost for naught.  I did the expense of getting on the meds so that I could donate but now I’m not going to worry about it but I will be keeping a closer eye on how I can regulate it through diet and exercise.

However, I won’t be fussing about things too much until I get back home on Wednesday.  I’ll go grocery shopping when I get back and I have one day to plan things since I turn around and go to another convention on Friday in my city and hopefully I won’t get out of control when I’m there.

So this is closing out the bet that I lost to myself and I did learn one thing, if I eat primal, my cholesterol levels go down, my blood pressure goes down and I feel more energized, so I guess I will need to change my lifestyle a little bit.  So for now I’m signing off so that I can get some sleep before I see my friends off for their journey home.

Okay my lack of sleep is catching up with me so I need to crash very soon, so I’m outta here,

Uncle

Okay I know that I haven’t been keeping up very well in writing and I’ve no one to blame but myself because I get easily distracted.  Look over there…..ahhh, Shiny!   Yeah I get that easily distracted and now with that being said like the title suggests, I know for a fact that I lost the bet with myself and so I do not get the espresso machine that I wanted.

The only good thing about it is the fact that my wallet is happy about it because it means that I will not be spending the money on that because right now my wallet has taken some hard hits this summer.

Excuse #1:   For the last 3 years I’ve had my second vehicle just sitting in the driveway of my house.  In that time I have since learned, about 1 1/2 years ago, why my vehicle was acting up and odds were that it was due to a mistake made by the garage where the car was repaired.  Apparently an air bubble was in the transmission line so when the engine got up to running temperature, it would trap the bubble thus making me lose the use of the gears.  It would basically lock the gears into position and believe me, it is extremely hard to start a vehicle while in third gear.  Then the battery went dead and well my truck was still running and so I just kept on having that repaired.

This year my state is incorporating motor vehicle inspection with registration of my vehicle and so in order to register my car I had to have it inspected and there was no way out of it.  The only good thing was the fact that I wanted to get the car running, so when the tow truck came, we pushed the car out of the driveway and away drove the tow truck driver with my puddle jumper on the back of his truck.  I call my Escort a puddle jumper and there is a good reason why besides it being a name used for a ship on a favorite show of mine, Stargate Atlantis.  Trucks are rear wheel drive and because trucks are so light in the back, then tend to slip and skid when the tires are in water, but my Puddle Jumper has front wheel drive and because it is a manual transmission, it means that I can better control my take-offs and I don’t slip and slide around like in my truck.

So why am I telling you this, well it is because I just go socked with a +$1,000 repair bill for my Puddle Jumper which was good but not really, because I still had to get it inspected and registered.  So I don’t usually drive it as much because I like my truck and it is automatic transmission.  So I’m driving to work about a month ago, happy that I didn’t have to take out a loan from the bank to pay for my repair bill when another problem happened.  Some lady cut in front of my truck on the freeway as I was going 65 mph and then she hit her brakes, although there was no traffic problem, so I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting her and my brakes locked up.  Do you know how hard it is to get over to the right side of a freeway (4 lanes) when everyone is doing 65 mph or better?  Damn hard is how hard it is.  So by the time I got off the freeway I was almost at the station that I scheduled to work at that evening so I drove into the parking lot of the station and the moment I took my foot off the gas the truck came to a halt.  Yes you could smell that the brakes were burnt up because they would not release.  My life officially sucked that day.  My brakes locking up is the same problem I have been trying to get my garage to fix for the last 18 months because it has been happening any time I had to do an emergency stop or a quick stop.

Now into the shop goes my truck and I’m very thankful that I had my Puddle Jumper ready to go, only I learned that they barely did things to get my Jumper running and now I have to go and do things such as put new sparks plugs in the vehicle and check out a few more minor things and then maybe the engine won’t conk out on me when I have the clutch in.

Excuse #2:   So my Baby Truck, which is what I call it since it is only a V6 engine, was in the shop for about a month.  I kept on hoping that they would not call me for a couple of more weeks but they called and said that the truck was ready to be picked up.  Now my wallet is crying because I had to pay $400 to get my truck out when I thought that the last time I paid to have work done on my brakes was the final fix….apparently not.

So yes I’ve been stressing about my financials big time because I didn’t even know if I would be able to make my yearly pilgrimage to Atlanta for DragonCon.  I tried riding my trike for some relief but that didn’t go too well.  I didn’t get off as early as I wanted and so I got maybe an hour of sleep before I had to get up and load up my brother’s truck so I could make my drive out towards West Texas for my next stage of my riding.

It was a hard ride and I later learned some of the reasons why I struggled with the ride.  It was at an elevation of 4,000 feet and I usually ride at 200 feet which meant that it was hard for me to breathe or even catch my breath.  Then my lack of sleep didn’t help anything either, because I could tell if the elevation or my lack of energy from lack of sleep had anything to do with the ride.  Last of all I was practically falling asleep all the way back on the drive home.  I had stopped a couple of times in cities for potty break and for drink break, heck I even did the tourist thing in Langtry, TX, home of Judge Roy Bean.  Hey they made a movie about it, look it up and enjoy it.

So I’m about 2 1/2 hours out from town and going 80 mph when the truck starts shaking, so I pull over figuring that I have a flat tire but I don’t hear or feel it on the truck.  I pull off the road and check out the tires but everything seems okay, so I get back on the freeway but the truck shakes again as I’m going 70 mph.  I finally find an exit and pull over into Junction, TX where I try to put gas in the machine but of course the card reader wasn’t working right at the machine so I had to go inside and pay and then I’m still trying to figure out what all of the shaking is coming from.

Long story short, I have to drive all of the back roads to get to my home town which normally would have been 2 1/2 hours of driving but instead it becomes almost a 4-5 hour drive as I have to take access roads and back roads and can’t travel above 45 mph.  I have now been up for 21 hours straight with only 1 1/2 hour of sleep the night (morning) I left for the ride in Marathon, TX.  Turns out that the tread was separating from the tire and I was lucky not have had a blow out.

So as you can see, me and vehicles are not going well together, besides I almost went broke putting gas in The Beast which is what my brother calls his Ram 2500 super duty truck.  Yes that means it drinks gas like it was going out of style and my wallet is almost $175 poorer because of the drinking problem The Beast has with gas.

Between my repair bills and gas bills I’m almost broke and still I’m trying to save for DragonCon because I refused to have a credit card.  I like not being in debt, it is a great feeling but sometimes….ouch!

About now you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with me giving up and crying Uncle when it came to keeping the bet to lose 30 pounds before September 1st.  Well I’m sure that lots of you have the same problem and when the stress really hits, it just keeps you off-balance and no matter what I did, I got an upset stomach about every other day so nothing that I was eating tasted right and this summer I’ve been living on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  No sleep, financial worries, stomach problems and just being frustrated got the best of me during my bet.

Now this doesn’t mean that I won’t try to get right back on the dieting…excuse me, get back into the better eating habits of times past and maybe something better will happen.  But for now I’m just now coming out of my worrisome slump and will use the few days I have less to investigate a few interesting recipes I’ve been looking at, only I don’t know when I’ll have the time to prepare them.  I know, I know….make time.  Well I’m just not that good of a baker or chef to make time.

All joking aside, I started off good but I find that I’m easily distracted.  I’m hoping that once I get back from DragonCon I will be able to start sleeping and eating better and maybe I can start seeing some results.  Oh I’ll get my espresso machine just not for some time.

I lost the bet with myself but I’m not giving up, I have a more fit person inside of me who is trying to get out.  Apparently she is not ready to make her appearance just yet, but soon I hope.  Hell I just need to win the Power Ball or Lottery big time so I can not stress out about my finances.

Day 100

Okay so here I am at day 100 and I’m wondering what in the hell I have been doing for all of this time…oh wait, I know what I’ve been doing…eating poorly.

Yeah, I’ve got no one to blame but myself for not being on top of things and I know that I should have already achieved my goal by day 100 but I kept on falling backwards and finding one reason or another for me not to eat the correct way.

I had given myself 148 days to lose 30 pounds, a simple 30 pounds and thought, hey this will be easy, no problem.  Unfortunately I kept on putting things off and figuring that I could lose it without any problem but now I’m beginning to wonder if I’m stupid or lazy…wait, I’ve been both.

So I stepped on the scale this morning knowing that I would be in trouble today and I was right.  So far as of this morning I’ve lost a whole 3 pounds…three pounds, how disgusting.

Lately I’ve been realizing that I’ve been waiting too long to get serious about things, even when I had the 5 pound loss but what did I do, I did/ate whatever I wanted and let things slide.  Now that the rush is on I’ve been trying to contain my desire for sweets but keep on trying to find something that works.

I’m beginning to see that I’m about to get desperate and as I get desperate I’ve started doing some checking on the latest and greatest or at least the latest diet way to me.  I noticed something printed in the newspaper and decided why not look into it, maybe they would be offering some new way to lose weight other than the usual stuff which is calories in and calories out.

I was looking at it and went to the web site and was intrigued by the Nutrimost Fat Loss System and was listening to the testimonials and as typical, I was impressed by what most of them were saying.  So hell yes I was curious about what was happening and that was when the waters became very murky.  They continued with the song and dance talking about how great the system was and then they did something that got my attention, they said it doesn’t cost much compared to the cost of your health.  TRAP !!!!

Now they were talking about how they are giving you a discount and tell you to fill out a form and for $26 they can set you up for a consultation and that it normally costs $99.  But wait…there’s more!  Yes in deed when you go in for your consultation you will get a chance to put your hand on their special device which will measure things within your body based on the electrical stimulus that are sent through this device, it will measure the toxicity levels and all sorts of other things and then they will take that information and come up with a diet that is tailored for your weight loss, but they don’t call it a weight loss they call it a health improvement.  They then show a woman cooking a steak and having a couple of slices of tomato and how she takes some drops (I thought they said with no medication, guess taking drops doesn’t count as medicine) and it kills the appetite and in 30 days men can lose up to 40 pounds and in women they can lose up to 40 pounds in about 40 days and best of all you will keep it off.

Then I did some investigation of my own and learned that you have to buy all of these supplements before they tell you the results which basically comes down to eating 500-700 calories a day…calories in and calories out.  Many people are against this because the brain needs more than 500 calories to keep on function at high-capacity.  However, I will say there was something positive that I picked up from this diet system which was to drink alkaline water and that it would help detoxify my system and not leave me feeling quite as thirsty.

I did some research on the internet and learned from several reputable sites that drinking alkaline water can be healthy for your.  It can help flush some of the toxins out of the system but there are as always problems if you drink too much.  It appears that it can help some so I’m trying that to help settle my stomach but I’ve only just begun drinking it.  I’ve tried two different brands, one being chemically enhanced water and the other well sorry to disappoint, it too is artificially enhanced but I will say that the last one taste better.

So I’m going to drink it for a couple of days to try and get my body a little bit more balanced, if that is even possible, and then focus eating better…oh wait, I’m doing that for the last couple of days.

So this is going to be an interesting weekend, I’m hoping that I don’t have to rent a car to go out for my trike ride but if I can’t get my brother’s truck then I just might do that but then again I just might rent a vehicle anyway because I’m not sure if my other vehicle will be out of the shop.

I have a 94 Ford Escort and just had the slave valve replaced on my manual transmission about 3 years ago and started experiencing the same problem of the gears locking up and even when I pressed on the clutch…no let me correct that, when I stood on the clutch it still would not disengage the gear that the vehicle was in, which made it extremely difficult when I can to a stop light because I would have the clutch in, stomping on the brake pedal and then would have to pull the parking brake so I could slow my forward movement to 1 inch every 15 seconds.  Yeah, really a bad situation.  I called the shop and said I’m looking at over $200 in labor to look at the vehicle and seeing that I was still paying off a few loans and notes I had racked up while out of work, I didn’t have the money to spare.  So my Escort sat for 3 years and things started going bad, such as gas, battery died and I was already spending money on getting my 93 truck repaired.  Why the truck, because it was my baby truck and needed help.  Finally came across someone at work who said it sounded like an air bubble was stuck in the transmission fluid and as the engine got hotter, the bubble would go to the top and block any other fluid from flowing through the system.  I learned that too late.  My car had been sitting for just over 2 years so dead battery, bad gas and it needed more things done to it so it had to wait another year.

Escort is in shop getting fixed and I’m on pins and needles because so far the cost is around $1,000 for repair but that was a week ago when they said they were still testing my vehicle.  So why not get a new car or truck?    On my best dealings let’s say that I had a $300/month vehicle payment, that would mean that in 4 months I would have paid more than my repair bill but still would not own the vehicle for several years, 4 or 5 depending on how expensive of a car I wanted.  So my two babies will have to do for now.  My truck will need repair so that is why I can’t take it on long trips and I need it close by should it break down and driving over 300 miles away from home really puts me at risk.

So car worries aren’t helping me much but it is something to work through.  This is putting a little bit more stress on me and probably why I’ve still got a sweet tooth.

Oh, wait a minute, I made a chocolate cake in a mug following the Paleo guidelines but it tasted horrible.  It was dry even with whipped cream on it.  I decided to try another spoonful after lunch with some ice cream on the side but the cake resembled something of a rock, probably because it was rock hard.  The only good thing is that it is low on the net carb count which is good but what isn’t good is the lack moisture in the cake.

I later learned that coconut flour absorbs the moisture in whatever it is used so that is why my mug chocolate cake came out a total disaster.  So I will be changing a few things around, such as cutting down on coconut flour for a couple of reasons.  It was a very dry cake and maybe by cutting back on the coconut flour it will be a touch moister but # 2 reason is because I’m not a big fan of coconut.  As of this date the only coconut that I like is in coconut macaroons, the way I make them.  I’ll be experimenting with things, such as adding cacao butter and tweaking things here and there to satisfy my sweet tooth, but maybe just getting my car back from the shop will help curb my sweet craving.

Let me wrap this up, I’ve been a lazy person and not really focused on my weight loss.  I’ve loss 3 pounds from my start weight although I had also gained 4 pounds more than my start weight.  Now I’ve got to start getting serious if I want my espresso maker with all the bells and whistles (PID) system attached.  I already have a great coffee grinder which I’m still trying to get the grind right but with such a cheap espresso machine it really makes it hard to get things just right.

One last thing which has been bugging the heck out of me has been my inability to sleep.  I would be lucky to get 4 hours of sleep and it usually was interrupted sleep so that didn’t help any either.  Then when I went for my massage the guy puts a slightly weighted silk scarf across my eyes to block out the light and it helps to calm me down.  Hey get your filthy mind out of the gutter, I’m serious, he is a good therapist and has helped me get past my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without surgery so I believe in him.  So I usually have to have a towel on my pillow, yes I drool from time to time, so I would use the towel for just in case.  Then I folded the towel a couple of times and put it over my eyes to get me to relax and shut out the bright light my neighbor has on the side of the house that shines in my window to make relax.  I’ve even been able to sleep on my back for the last few nights which is great for me.

Any way, by drinking the alkaline water I’ve started drinking more water and you know that does…it flushes the body system and hydrates you.  So here is to a hydrated me and a me getting more sleep and stressing out less.  I’m now in a tight race with myself because I want that espresso machine.  But the better thing would be that I’m in better shape and health at the end of these 48 days.

Sweet Tooth Catastrophe

Just when I thought it was safe to return to sensible eating…duhn, da duhn……along came a birthday party.  I thought it was all covered in my family gathering back in June but I was wrong….wrong, wrong, wrong….WRONG!  Okay so I could have tried a little bit harder at the birthday party and it was bad that I had the bread on the hamburger and a piece of cake with ice cream but other than that I haven’t been too far off.  Okay I’ll be honest, I’ve been fudging a little bit.

I noticed that lately I’ve had a terrible craving for sweet things, not just cake but all sorts of things.  I read a recipe for paleo white chocolate fudge and it sounded wonderful except for one thing…coconut.  I’m one of those weird people who really doesn’t like coconut.  Well let me take that back, I like coconut macaroons especially since I found a great recipe but of course it has lots of bad things in it like sweetened condensed milk and since I like them slightly crunch, I’ve made them that way and that meant adding flour and stuff like that.  Now where was I…..oh yeah paleo white chocolate fudge.

So, at the time I didn’t realize that cacao butter and cocoa butter were the same, or at least that is what the guy at nuts.com told me when I inquired.  So any way, I thought it was different and since the recipe called for cacao butter, virgin coconut oil and coconut butter, I thought hey, I’ll just substitute butter for the coconut butter and avocado oil for the coconut oil, but then it called for maple syrup to be a part of the mix and I thought I would try agave nectar instead…..WRONG!  The mixture separated so after the 5 hours required for chilling the fudge the separation was evident and the bottom was the nectar which of course did not harden up.  Then I scraped off the nectar and remelted the mixture and made sure that I whisked it really well and then decided that I would take only a small amount and mix it with the maple syrup only after I heated the syrup as it recommended and yes it did reduce some as suggested.  But then the more I looked at it as I poured it into the cups I noticed that it seemed to be separating again, so since I had more, I put the extra aside and decided that I would then mix in cocoa powder and it had a bitter taste since the powder was of course unsweetened, so I added some liquid Stevia and whisked it all real good and put it in muffin cups and put it in the fridge.  I took the last bit of the butter/cacao/oil mix and then just added Stevia and whisked it together and poured it into cups and again put it to rest with all of the others I was experimenting on.

Did you hear that ticking noise, well it was the ticking of the clock to disappointment.  My attempt at making the fudge was a disaster in all three of the different methods.  The only thing I could think of was the fact that I really don’t like coconut so I substituted butter since it said that could be used in lieu of coconut butter.  Maybe in other things but not in this mixture, I think it was the butter and the amount or lack of fat in the product that kept causing the layers of fudge to separate.  But then again I couldn’t quite call it fudge because it never really became fudge.  The closest attempt was the chocolate one and that was horrible because all of the cocoa powder settled to the bottom of the cup.

I’ve written to the author of the recipe to see if she can make a suggestion because I don’t like coconut.

I know, how dumb is that, a person who is trying to go Primal/Paleo not like coconut?  Well it happens especially to this gal.  The only way I’ve been able to tolerate coconut oil is when it is refined and doesn’t have much of the coconut taste or smell.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like the smell of coconut I just don’t like the taste and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t handle the taste.

So this morning I finished making my Keto Diet Tortillas this morning, or more correctly I finished mixing the dough last night and separated them into their little bundles and threw them in the refrigerator as suggested.  I find that I can make them up in advance and then roll out a few at a time, which was what I did this morning.  So from the three bundles that I had, I ended up with five tortillas which are about 1.5 net carbs and something that I can work with.  Don’t worry I’m getting there, so just be patient with my story telling.  So I want chicken chorizo and know because it doesn’t have a lot of fat in it, it will stick to the pan and then the eggs will stick to the pan and we know what a pain that is to clean.  So I had accidentally picked up virgin coconut oil which had been solid but in my kitchen it quickly turned to liquid minutes after my bringing into my kitchen.  Hey it is not a central air/heat house, it was made in the early 50’s so window units rule.  Now back to the bad story, so I put the virgin unrefined coconut oil in the pan and start to cook the chorizo and then add the eggs and notice that the eggs are sticking some but not as much as expected.  The saddest thing is that I was smelling the coconut oil over the smell of the chorizo but I thought that was probably because I got the smell stuck in my nose and figured it was my imagination.  So I filled my diet tortillas with the chicken chorizo and eggs and added some shredded cheese and sat down and took a big bite of…..COCONUT.  The taste of coconut was overwhelming but I wasn’t going to let the relatively good breakfast go to waste.

About two hours later I was regretting my decision to have breakfast and despite my taking something for the upset stomach it was giving me, the feeling did not go away.  Two more hours later I had to take some more antacid tablets and about twenty minutes later things were okay.  I can’t believe how bad I was feeling from this and then I remembered that the last time I bought unrefined coconut oil I had to throw it out and just finished up the refined coconut oil.

So my lesson is learned, don’t cook/bake or use coconut oil if I want to avoid a tummy ache.  As the title suggests, my sweet-tooth is going into overdrive and wanting to be fed only every time I turn and look for some sweet Paleo/Primal friendly recipe what do I come across it asking for…..coconut oil or coconut butter.  Why can’t it be cacao butter, something that I have and it has a hint of chocolate to it which I love.  The fact of the matter is that I want chocolate.

Oh did I tell you about my break down on Thursday???  No, well let me tell you that it was a very rough day at work and I was just about to fall over the edge and explode because I was frustrated by the people on the phone who never listened to a thing I said and almost all of them chose to curse me out…of course I hung up when they started doing it, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t hear them say all sorts of rude things to me.  Alright, you with me now…frustrated almost beyond control.  I decide that I’m going to have some of the chocolate which one of the guys has been selling for the last month and it was my favorite kind, the one filled with caramel.  So I unwrap the candy bar and I see that the chocolate has oxidized which means that it is old but usually it does not affect the taste of the candy.

It must have been a mental thing seeing the white blotches on the chocolate because when I bit into it I could tell that something was off then I chomped on it and very quickly I could tell that it was just nasty.  Now I have chocolate and have worked with it before, even had it to where the moisture had gone out of it and it appears faded and looking too light but it never tasted as horrible as what I had just put in my mouth.  I grabbed the trashcan and spit out the piece in my mouth and threw the candy bar away.

Now one would think that this would cure my need for chocolate but it only increased it and so on Saturday when I went to the parties I had chocolate cake and ice cream.  Yeah it tasted good and I would later regret it but it almost made up for the horrible work week that I just had last week.  I said almost, give me a break.

So now I’m on the hunt for something sweet that will still keep me within Primal/Paleo acceptable range but things are not looking so good.  Oh and I think because I ate so many bananas as a kid, this is the reason I really don’t like the taste of bananas any longer.  It doesn’t make me sick but the smell is not very pleasing to me, which is also why I have to be careful about how I chose my sunblock lotion.

I have cacao butter now I just need to find some recipes where it is acceptable for me to substitute cacao butter because I want and right now I feel that I need chocolate taste.

My sweet-tooth is getting the best of me so I had better find something quick that is acceptable or else I’m going to fall really hard.  Maybe I should borrow some of my great niece’s pool toys to cushion my fall.  I’m walking a thin line and hope I can keep on walking this line until I get past my need, no make that my craving for something deliciously decadent chocolate dessert.

I’m hanging in there…barely.