Sunday, April 28, 2013

So Angelo suggests we play tennis which, in itself, isn't strange but I haven't played in over 10 years and all I'm used to doing is situps, squats and walking.  But, okay, let's give it a go.  First of all, I arrived at the courts and my tennis shoes fell apart.  I guess if you don't use something it disintegrates  overtime.  The rubber on the bottom of the shoe separated from the sole itself but did I know this?  No.  It wasn't until I was running full speed ahead to get a ball that my legs didn't move as fast as my upper body, my shoe snapped and I flew ungracefully about 4 feet landing on my knee and shoulder, spinning my body and coming to a final stop on my back.  I know I scared Angelo to death and the people in the other court were probably trying desperately not to laugh...unlike me who started laughing hysterically.  "Are you okay?....Come on Caroline, are you okay?"  You could hear the real concern in Angelo's voice.  After a full two minutes I got up and limped back to the service line, my bloody knee groaning with every step.

Now Angelo is a big man.  He's overweight but still knows his way around a tennis court.  Every ball he sends my way is well placed so I don't have to run.  We see how one-sided this is going to be so instead of really playing, he starts coaching me; and I must say that of all the tennis coaches I've had in my past, he is excellent, the best.  Unfortunately, I was pretty sore so we only played for a short time.  We left the courts and headed to Dick's sportswear to get me some new shoes and to get some balls...yes a dozen was just not enough.  Not only that we got a "hopper", one of those great baskets that picks up the balls with little effort whatsoever.  The thing holds 72 balls...hope that's enough!

So Angelo suggests we play again today.  Oh sure, she says, stiff muscles groaning with every step.  But the day was absolutely beautiful and the courts we almost empty.  We worked on my serve for awhile, then it was backhand.  I have always hated my backhand, no control of where the ball would go at all, but as I said, Angelo as a coach is terrific.  Two baskets of balls later and I'm starting to place those balls where I want them.  He did the same for my forehand which is extremely rusty.  It was over an hour and a great work out, if I do say so myself.  AND, I didn't fall once!  I probably won't be able to walk or lift anything tomorrow, but it was a great day!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I must admit that the more I see of what is going on in America as well as overseas where terrorism is concerned, and as much as I do NOT see their own countrymen denouncing these acts of violence against "infidels", the more I am pigeonholing the Muslim population.  This is very sad to say as I once lived in Muslim nations that welcomed me into their families.  We ate together, danced together, laughed together, and cried together.  Yet the terrorism and the hate against Western civilization grows and I see no end of it in sight.  Our own countrymen of Muslim background are now acting against us, setting off bombs in crowded locations and to what end?  What do they hope to achieve?

I was reading some things on Facebook today and saw a quote by a young Arab woman.  Yasirajaan said, "Muslims view "Islamic" terrorists the same way Christians view the Westboro Baptist Church..."  I guess Muslims find them to be an annoyance.  But the last time I looked, the Westboro Baptist church didn't set off a bomb in front of a synagog or drive jet airliners into tall buildings because it's in a country that they do not like.  Terrorists are not annoyances....they are terrorists!

What I would like to see is an Arab Nation, such as Saudi Arabia, or Jordan, get on the television and denounce these people.  Then I would like to see them take action against them, help us ferret them out and deal with them accordingly.  I know that if these "terrorists" were plotting against the King Abdullah, he would have them killed, in a public square, beheaded or hung, for all to see.  Yet I see none of this.  I see complacency.  I don't even see annoyance!  And hence, I begin to pigeonhole.  To question the beliefs of the Muslim population, to be cynical and damnatory of their interpretation of the Koran, and fear the spread of a religion that allows terrorism to rule the world.  And I hate this in me....I hate hating but I feel my hands are tied as well as my heart!

Just got back from a three and a half mile trek around the neighborhood.  So far I've lost 13 pounds and seem to be stuck at that weight which is terribly frustrating.  I keep telling myself that I'm getting muscles which weigh more than fat, but it's still exasperating.  Angelo has noticed a change in my body; stomach smaller, butt smaller, posture better, legs thinner, so I suppose I should be very happy with the way things are.  It's just so infuriating to walk and sit-up and squat until your muscles scream the have nothing weight wise to show for it.  I have upped my walk to five laps which is 3.3 miles and can be done in about 50 minutes.  Now that the weather is better there is so much to see.  Mothers walking with babies, small kids on bikes, people walking their dogs, green leaves finally budding from the trees, flowers in bloom, pollen on every surface known to man.  Luckily I am not bothered by this, I'm only bothered by being stuck at 187 pounds for a week!  I keep telling myself "patience woman; after all it took you months to get this big and it will take you months to lose it." 

Monday, April 22, 2013

My best friend loves doing my cards when we are online.  We do them at least once a week and I'm surprised at how spot on these things are.  Of course we don't know at the time that they are spot on; it isn't until life happens that we realized we misinterpreted the actual meaning.  We always seem to read into them what we want to happen, or what seems logical.  Take, for example, the bad health card; we thought it had to do with Angelo and his ticky heart.  But days later I ended up in hospital with chest pains.  When I left the hospital, I made an appointment to see my doctor to make sure everything else was okay.  Imagine my surprise when one of my tests came back  showing I had high sugar and was borderline diabetic.  That was a real scare and really pushed me into this diet and exercise mode.  I live with a diabetic, I know how bad diabetes can be.  So, that health card was actually about me.  It's freaky how this kind of thing happens.

Other cards that keeps coming up are the travel card, an invitation, and the garden card.  We interpreted these as my being invited to go to Australia.  Then, a week or so ago I received and invitation to visit my little sister.  She lives in Baltimore and I haven't seen her in years.  Not only was it an invite to see her, she was extending an invitation of a friend of ours who, is more like a cousin.  He is having a family reunion in his garden to show off his lovely blooms.  So, I'm heading to Baltimore in a few weeks, then taking and extra four days to go spend time with my grandbabies.  So much for the trip to Oz this month! 

Tezza did get the scythe and the coffin which means death.  This occurred right before Beau needed to be put to sleep.  She tried hiding it from me but I knew.  So that was right on track too. Although the scythe and coffin mean death and it could be death of anyone, Beau was sick so there wasn't any way to misinterpret that.  I told her today, as she did my cards once again, that we need to be less specific when coming up with what the cards mean.  Be very general and we'll know in a week or two what they were telling us.  Of course the logical woman in me says it's all hokum, yet the child in me wants to believe.  It's a religion, right?  One thing I do know is I'm taking a trip to Australia sometime this year if I have to steal the money!  I'm on a healthier and happier path and no matter what the cards say, my life is great!  What more could I hope for?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I have been on my diet for two weeks now, seriously dieting I mean.  Counting those calories, watching my food intake, exercising, staying away from those things I crave like wine and chocolate and all other sweet things known to man.  I have had a few glasses of wine, but only a glass or two a week.  For those that know me that's a real sacrifice especially when I used to drink two glasses daily.  And now that the weather is warming, I'm really missing having my wine on the porch at the end of the day.  I've lost 10 pounds and want to continue having the fat melt away, but at what sacrifice?  I have increased my walk to four laps....maybe I should push it to five so I can appease my cravings, or maybe I should just walk five laps and hope that more pounds fall off without taking those extra glasses of wine a night.  I mean, if I were at my ideal weight, I could exercise more to justify my alcoholic intake, but until I get there, these sacrifices must be made.....but oh how I miss my wine.  Okay, today I'll do some extra exercise and have a glass of wine.  After all, I deserve it and it IS the weekend, so why not.  Because it sets me back in the weight loss department.  Oh the dilemma.  No, it's settled, I'm having a glass, and yes, I am whining about wine~

Friday, April 19, 2013

So we have decided that we can no longer live with this kitchen.  Whoever redid the floor the last time did a hell of a poor job.  It slips and slides all over the place.  The cabinets are nasty and dated and can no longer be cleaned.  The stove goes out if you clean it and the frig is too small to store anything.  Yes, it's time for a redo!

The Home Depot refitting salesman came yesterday and we picked out new cabinet fronts and made changes to some of the cabinet sizes so we can fit in a larger frig as well as and a microwave exhaust.  This will free up some much needed counter space. We wanted to add another bank of counters but cannot do it, it's out of budget so we will make due with what we have.

The building manager will come on Wednesday to take measurements and place orders.  Then in four to five weeks we should have construction happening here.  I'll keep you posted!  (I'm so excited!)

Monday, April 15, 2013

What a gorgeous day for a walk!  There is a slight breeze in the air which kept me cool as I increased my pace.  Three loops around the neighborhood; a 35 minute walk if I walk fast.  I've put together a great playlist that moves me along....everything from Huey Lewis and the News to Lady Gaga, all upbeat songs that motivate me to really move my feet and expand my stride.

I passed a man looking at trees in the woods....he made me a bit nervous until I realized he works for the development.  He was probably scoping out to see which trees were damaged in the storms this winter.  It was strange seeing him on his hands and knees crawling around in the brush and shrubbery.  He finally crawled out from under a bush and looked kind of sheepish at me.  I shook my head and kept walking.

I also passed two women as they ambled along with their baby carriages, talking a mile a minute.  They appeared to be talking at the same time and I couldn't tell who was listening to whom.  The second time we passed one another they seemed to have paced themselves; one spoke while the other listened.  Of course I couldn't tell what they were saying with the earphones plugged into my head.  For all I know they were saying, "look at that crazy lady bee-bopping down the street to the beat of the drums in her head!"  I smiled and waved as I passed.

My neighbor came outside but I kept my distance.  She can talk my ear off and I had another lap to go so I smiled really big and waved even bigger then I turned my head and started walking faster.  I hope she didn't find me rude, she's really a lovely lady, even if she is a bit lonely, and I do enjoy our little chats.

Finishing my last lap I realized that I wasn't tired like I usually am at the end of these walks.  Maybe it's time to add another lap, maybe it was the time of day that I walked (I usually head out first thing in the morning), or maybe it's that the birds were singing and the squirrels were frolicking in the branches.  I sat on my porch for a few minutes enjoying the day.  But I have things to do, dinner to cook, and a shower to take.  It's spaghetti and meatballs, which I cooked earlier.  Now I just have to make the sauce...but a shower first (I have my priorities, note I jumped on here first!) until next time, enjoy the spring!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I am sitting here listening to Angelo struggle through a piece of music and my ears are bleeding.  He used to play it so well, but he hasn't practiced in forever and now the music is no longer in his head.  The pianist in me wants to go show him what to do, or yell, "stop my ears are bleeding".  But the patient teacher in me sits back and makes comments when he asks for them.

This puts me in mind of when my daughter was learning the violin.  Oh those first several weeks of that screeching drove us all mad.  Eeeh Haw  Eeeh Haw, it sounded so much like a sick, braying donkey and all we could do is rub salve on our ears and hope she found the skill.  And boy did she.  She used to play it so well, really feeling the music and enjoying the flow of the melody as it left her fingers.  I would dream of her playing an electric violin at a rock concert (she was not a classical student by far).  Unfortunately she had one teacher that pushed her too hard too fast and Bravard lost interest.  And now she doesn't pick up the instrument at all and I doubt she could manage Mary Had a Little Lamb if her life depended on it. Ah well, you can't live through your children.

So now, Angelo has gone from trying to play Fur Elise to doing scales.  He's found one of the beginner books and is going through it.  With his dialysis and the neuropathic pain that shoots through his limbs, this is a good exercise for him and I wish he would do it every day.  And, although he's still plunking and hitting the wrong keys, at least he's working on his dexterity.  So what if the ears are still bleeding, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to keep feeling in his fingers.  Now if we could just figure out what to do with his toes....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I had stopped drinking Chardonnay for  quite awhile; got sick of the oaky aftertaste, the overwhelming melon, and the pungent vanilla.  It grew boring, and soon every bottle tasted the same.  So I moved to other wines....

Yes, I'm on a diet but I can put these calories in my app and cut them somewhere else; I want a glass of wine.  But not in the mood for a dry red I decided to open a bottle that was given to us by a friend.  At first I was a chardonnay.  But something on the label caught my eye...unoaked.  So I'm trying this Steelbird and I must say it is really quite nice.

First of all the color is a soft lemon yellow hinting of the citrus to come.  The nose is full of green apple and lemon with a subtle hint of green, like mint.  A crisp full-bodied wine with a surprisingly short finish, it's one downfall.  I would prefer the flavor to linger a bit longer, but having such a short finish makes you want to take another sip, possibly drink the bottle quicker.  As for the price, I have no idea what it costs but I imagine it's between $8 and $12.  It's a great wine.

I think I'll make scallops and pasta for dinner.  This would go beautifully with the flavors here.   Mmmmm, yes I look forward to dinner!

No, these are not my feet, but my scale tells me the same thing.  So did my doctor!  As well as prescribe everything from blood work to a mammogram and colonoscopy.  I'm also having a scope down my throat to check for damage from acid reflux as well as an exam to check my bone density since osteoporosis runs in my family.   The great news is I've got an excellent ticker!  I'm just OVERWEIGHT.  The doctor said I need to lose at least 25 pounds.  (The same thing I've been telling myself but I am actually listening to the doctor.)  The good news is, I've lost 5 since I went to the hospital last week.  I know, five pounds in a week is a lot, but believe me, I'm fat and the first of the pounds falls's the last 10 that's the killer.  Anyway, I've loaded some apps onto my phone to help motivate me.  They work together, a calorie counter and an exercise counter....this should be easy if I can stick to it.  It's the sticking to it that's hard, but, at least for today, I've been eating healthy, counting those calories (1750 a day) and exercising.  Ask me in a week if I'm still motivated!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher
"...I read the news today, oh boy...."

Margaret Thatcher was a name from my youth to which I never really paid much attention.  It wasn't until I was older and much more mature that I felt compelled to read the history of her and her many years as Prime Minister of England. (Of course, having Meryl Streep play her helped tickle my curiosity.)  I am not an expert, by any means, but I'm not ignorant either.  I know she had a very checkered economic record during the 80's as the economy suffered an excruciating squeeze as both interest rates and the exchange rate jumped. The number of unemployed soared to a post-war high of over 3m in 1986.  Yet, despite these setbacks, household incomes began to rise sharply after the recession.  She was able to cut government spending back to under 40% of GDP and the budget deficit was brought under control resulting in a new economic course away from state control and towards the market disciplines that paved the way for price stability.  (Yes, Obama could learn something from her where balancing our budget it concerned!)

But, besides her success in turning the economics of her government around, there were some things that I had no idea about until I read the news of her death, today.

1.  Soviet Journalists gave her the nickname "The Iron Lady" because of her ferocious will and determination.

 2.  Thatcher helped develop soft-serve ice cream.  Prior to her political life she was a research chemist and worked as a food scientist.  She developed additives for ice cream and she and her team discovered a method of doubling the amount of air in ice cream to make it "soft serve".

3. Thatcher refused 20 female karate-chopping bodyguards that the Japanese had arranged for her.  The Japanese were told that Ms. Thatcher was attending the meeting as Prime Minister and not "as a woman per se".  So she was given, like every other dignitary there, 20 karate chopping gentlemen.

4.  Thatcher did her own cooking.  In the 11 years that she served as PM, she never once had a chef in her employ.  Every night she cooked for her husband as well as for cabinet members who frequented her apartments.

5.  When asked if she would have gone into politics as a "do-over" she said she would not.  She said the toll it took on her family was regrettable.

Oh...and she was born on Friday the 13th.

Just little things but I'm sure they will be questions on the new Trivial Pursuit Game.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Yes, I had a nice little scare this week.  On Tuesday I was talking to Tezza, my bestie on the other side of the world (Australia) when my heart started hurting and I was having trouble breathing.  I had had several cups of coffee and felt as though I was going to vomit.  The tube leading to my stomach felt pressurized and my diaphragm couldn't seem to expand.  And as the day progressed, these feelings became worse.  My neck started aching and my jaw hurt like hell.  So what did I do?  Look online for female symptoms of a heart attack.  And boy did I scare myself something silly!  (If you are a woman, do NOT read these symptoms which include EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE and the articles that are attached are worse.)

Angelo rushed me to the hospital where they immediately took me into the emergency room and began taking pictures of my heart.  Next came needles in each of my arms and one in my stomach.  They gave me a painkiller which did NO good whatsoever.  After two hours in the emergency room the nurse came and dropped something under my tongue which made my my chest stop feeling constricted and opened up my breathing, my ribs no longer hurt and, for the most part, I felt better.  Unfortunately, I had a headache to end all headaches!

They couldn't find anything wrong with my heart however the next thing I know they are admitting me to the heart ward at the hospital (just to be on the safe side) where they pricked and prodded me all night only to tell me what they had told me the night ticker is in great shape.  Finally, four blood tests and 12 hours later they let me out of the hospital.

Today, Friday, I still have chest pain, a headache that won't quit, and all I want to do is sleep.  Luckily I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and hopefully I'll be able to find out what's wrong with me.  I think acid reflux has burned my esophagus because I can no longer eat certain foods and when I do eat, which is rarely, I can only eat about a quarter as much as I did before and this food I have to eat in such small bites that I might as well not eat it at all.  Though I am STILL a bit worried, the good news is I'm finally losing weight!