Saturday, January 19, 2019

#2158 Saturday with Sandy

The time has absolutes flown by today. I can't believe it's already 8:00! I've been busy doing different stuff today.

First, although this doesn't really pertain to me right now, I want to mention that MT entered the lottery to have a chance to hike the John Muir Trail this summer. Hiking the JMT has been a long-time dream of MT's, and he finally feels like he is in a place in life where he can afford to take 30 days off to do the hike. I'm not exactly sure when he'll find out if he drew out a permit, but I'll keep you posted. That was the first bit of excitement today.

Saturday is WW weigh-in day for me. I was down a mere 0.2 lbs, but I think that any minus is a good minus when it comes to the scale. One of the ladies in the group achieved a loss of 100 lbs, so we celebrated her. I am happy for her. She is so smiley and cute. The kicker is that she works at one of the best donut shops in the city. I think it makes her all the more impressive.

As happy as I am for her, I feel jealous and underachieving. My feelings caused me to have a serious talk with myself about my future with WW. I'm still processing it. I'll probably have more to say on this subject when I write on Wednesday.

With my wobbly feelings, I headed to Kohls to look for swimsuits. Sheesh! I'm a glutton for punishment, right? I did manage to find a couple of swimsuit tops that I thought looked okay. I also bought a swim skirt. I have tops and bottoms already, but I wanted something new and I couldn't choose between the two tops. I also bought myself a cute cover-up, a couple of moisture-wicking tops for when we go to the temples and some underwear.

I spent a couple of hours at Starbucks doing a little thinking and writing, including jotting down some thoughts about WW. I find it is helpful to be in a neutral location, free of the distractions of home. I popped in my airpods, listened to music and thought about myself for awhile. So much introspection!

This evening I have been paying our bills and making sure all is right in our financial world. Seems to be.

Now I'm going to take some time to do some reading. I made the mistake of going to the library yesterday. I have little self control when it comes to books. Before the trip to the library, I was already actively reading three books. I went to the library just to pick up a book I had on hold that I am planning to read before February 7. It's a short book, so I can probably read it quickly at the end of the month. Unfortunately, I saw a book that I have been wanting to read for almost a year now and I just couldn't pass it up. I have seven, make that six days, to read the book Educated by Tara Westover. Add to that the book I'm reading for the book club, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, which we will be discussing the first 116 pages of  on Tuesda, so I've got some reading to do. The other two books don't have any time frame. One I read before I go to bed because it's on my Kindle and the other is a book I own, so there's no rush. All of the books are good, so I'm excited to read.

I'm looking forward to watching football tomorrow. I'll be rooting for the Saints and the Chiefs, if you are interested.

Hope y'all are having a nice weekend so far! Stay safe and be kind to each other.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

#2156 three things: me, me and me OR 10 years, Ekpe and stretch


Oh Thursday! You're so fun because I can write about three things,

1. 10 year challenge. You probably know there's a thing going around on Facebook where you post a photo of yourself 10 years ago and a photo of yourself today. I thought I would do it, but then I took a photo of myself last night and looked at it compared to 10 years ago and I was kind of depressed. I didn't realize how much I had changed. The wrinkles, the brassy hair. Of course in the 10 years ago photo, I was on vacation so I was kind of tan and my hair wasn't all dried out by the harsh Utah weather. Maybe I should wait until after I get back from Thailand to post it. I'll have a little suntan and a big I'm-on-vacation smile.

Oh what the heck. There's only a few of you looking here and you all love me, so I'll be brave:

February 2009

January 2019


2. My friend Ekpe. You all know that I am a big fan of #Ekpesbookclub, the Twitter-based book club hosted by Utah Jazz center Ekpe Udoh. Tonight Ekpe hosted an Author Talk event with Camron Wright, author of the last book we read as a group, The Rent Collector. Camron lives here is the Salt Lake area, so it was pretty great to have a local author talk to the group. (It was also streamed on Facebook Live by the Utah Jazz, if you are interested.)

After a nice discussion about the book, Camron Wright was nice enough to sign his book for anyone who was interested. (I was!) The book is set in Cambodia, so I took the opportunity to chat with Camron about Cambodia for a minute, since I'll be there in a few weeks! I won't be in the area he wrote about, but still. I actually asked him what he recommended that I eat there. He didn't have a suggestion, but told me I should email his son who has spent a lot of time there. lol

Ekpe was cool enough to hang around and chat and take photos with anyone who was interested. (I was!)

He was also selling t-shirts like the one he is wearing. I bought one, of course. I'm gonna wear it to work tomorrow. He is a very nice man.

3. Stretch. My word for this year is stretch. I chose it because it can mean literally stretching my body, but it can also mean stretching out of my comfort zone a little. Every day I ask myself how I am going to stretch.

Today I told myself that I would stretch by introducing myself to at least two people at the Author Talk event. It's hard for me to just walk up to someone and say "Hi! I'm Sandy!" but that's what I told myself I would do and I did! I actually introduced myself to two people: Bentley and Whitney, both of whom I recognized from the Twitter discussions. I even chatted with them for a few minutes and took a pic of Whitney with Ekpe. Whitney took this picture of me and Ekpe.

So there you have it. Tonight's post was all about me and that's okay. I'm pretty awesome :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#2155 travel Tuesday: trip prep

We are about 23 days or so away from our trip to Southeast Asia. Our preparations continue.

Today is a big day. MT and I went to the travel clinic at the county health department to get some recommended vaccinations. My poor left arm feels like a pin cushion. MT actually got one more shot than I did because I've already had a flu shot. Today we received vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus and Hepatitis A and B. Yes, I'm sure we were vaccinated for MMR when we were little kids, but Ryan, the super nice county guy, told us that for our years of birth, the immunization has proven unstable. Since all three of those diseases are bad news and because there has recently been an outbreak of one of the Ms (measles I think) in Cambodia (or Thailand), we just went ahead and got the shot. We will also be taking an oral vaccine for typhoid.

You may be shaking your head at my lack of memory on this important topic. Honestly, we were there for an hour and got so much information, I couldn't possibly remember all of it. Thankfully, they gave all the info to us in a handy packet. We have traveled many places and I've never even thought of getting any of these vaccines before. It's precautionary since we will be going to very tourist-y areas, but it's all good.

We also got a prescription for antibiotics in case we get really bad diarrhea while we are there. We will be taking plenty of Pepto with us in any case.

You might be wondering about the danger of malaria. All of the places we are going have low risk of malaria. However, it was strongly recommended that we take mosquito repellent with us. We have bracelets AND Deet spray, so we feel like we are covered there. The county guy agreed.

Tonight I will be applying for visas from Cambodia. I think this might be the first country that I've visited that requires a visa. Props to the Kingdom of Cambodia for a nice website that makes the application process easy. The site says we will hear back from them in three business days.

This weekend I will be gathering the clothing I plan to take and making a list of what I feel like I need to buy. I am pretty sure I want a new bathing suit because I haven't bought a new one in the last couple of trips, so I'm due. I'm not sure what else I want or need except maybe for some long pants that I can wear at Angkor Wat so I don't get too many bug bites.

Another thing I think I'll bring along is some aloe vera. That stuff is good for everything.

Our travel agent, Candice, sent me an email today to let me know she will be sending over our "packet" which includes itinerary and phone numbers and stuff. I love to get her packet because then I know that trip time is getting closer. Having all the documents and stuff just makes it feel so real!

More to come...

Sunday, January 13, 2019

#2154 weekend wrap-up

I was feeling better today. I am still super-sniffly, my ears are popping, and my voice is sometimes good and sometimes froggy, but I didn't nap today, so that's progress. The naps I took on Friday and Saturday were less I'm-going-to-lay-down-and-rest-now and more I-can't-hold-my-head-up-and-keep-my-eyes-open-any-longer. I heard from one of my co-workers on Friday that she was terribly sick and had to postpone her flight home. A few minutes ago I heard from another co-worker that she fell ill today and wasn't sure she would make it in tomorrow. The crud is going around!

Osi did eat a little bit of food today. Very little, but I'll take what I can get. For her whole life, we have avoided feeding her people food. I was so worried about her that I broke my own rule today. I cooked her a scrambled egg and she ate that. I also had some deli rotisserie chicken that she ate. I managed to sneak some meds into the chicken, so at least she had a little medicine today. You can tell that she has lost weight in the past few days. She easily jumps on the bed and the couch now and her collar and bandana are much more loose around her neck. Her eyes even look a little bigger, but maybe I'm imaging that.

Last Sunday and today (also Sunday) I got back into the habit of cooking a couple of meals. Last week I made lasagna roll-ups, which is basically lasagna but instead of layering the meat and cheese and pasta, you spread the meat sauce and the ricotta mixture on a single piece of lasagna, then roll that piece up so you have one perfect serving of lasagna. It wasn't any more work than regular lasagna and we all liked it a lot. I loved the portion size aspect because I always eat too much.

I also made a white chicken chili that MT really liked. It had a little spicy kick, but not enough to damage his delicate tum-tum.

Today I made a very simple chicken soup. MT doesn't like it as much as last week's soup which is okay. I also cooked a chuck roast and made another pasta dish, this time with the same meat sauce as last week (a fresh batch) over penne covered with mozzarella. Simple and yummy and there's plenty for easy meals, both lunch and dinner, throughout the week. 

Doing the cooking for the week on Sunday is kind of a hassle, but I find when I don't do it, figuring out what to have for lunch and dinner during the week is also a hassle. The three of us like it when there is food in the fridge. I even write what is available on a little white board so the boys don't have to ask me what's available. Very handy.

Yesterday I finished my first two books of the year! There is a 2019 Reading tab at the top of the page. You can click it to get info about what I've read.

Hope y'all had a great weekend and that you're feeling good and ready to start the third week of January!

Friday, January 11, 2019

#2153 under the weather

Yesterday at work I felt a cold coming on. My head was stuffy and I was sneezing and coughing. This morning when I woke up, my voice was not normal. Words were cutting out and my voice was rough. I felt okay as I was laying in bed, except for the voice and scratchy throat, but then I stood up to get ready for the day and I was very dizzy. I decided to stay home today.

I went right back to sleep and stayed that way for hours.

Most of the day was spent on the couch. I watched Demon House on Prime. It was scary, so then I had to watch something else. I chose Taylor Swift Reputation Tour on Netflix. I like Taylor and her music, so I enjoyed it. I did get cozy on the couch with a blanket and dozed off for a few songs, but I saw most of it. Then I just went upstairs and got in bed and slept for about 90 minutes. I think my sister called sometime during that nap. I answered the phone but we didn't chat. I don't even remember saying good-bye to her. (Sorry Lizzie.)

Tonight I did cook. It didn't require much effort to make my favorite comfort food of eggs and potatoes. Now I'm back on the couch watching the Jazz game and drinking some hot tea with honey to soothe my throat.

I'm a ball of fire.

Osi is sick, too. She hasn't eaten much, if anything, today or yesterday. I couldn't get her to take her medicine last night or this morning. I managed to get a couple of pills into her tonight, even though she literally spit the pills out. She's just been sleeping all day, which isn't unusual, but it is unusual that she has not once sat by the treat cupboard and grumbled at me. No cookies, no chewie bones, no hemp treats. I'm a little worried about her. Hopefully she'll feel better tomorrow.

Hopefully we both will.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

#2152 tough days for Osi

My sweet dog Osi suffers from epilepsy which causes her to have seizures. She takes anti-seizure medications, which I have found delay the seizures. She will go for many weeks without having any seizures, but they seem to build up and then she will have a series of episodes that will last two to three days, with about four seizures or so each day. The thing is that I can't tell when the seizures will come or how long they will last or how severe they will be. Even if I did, there isn't anything I can do to prevent them or to make them less traumatic for any of us, including the dog. All I can do is pet her and talk to her and help her recover as well as I can.

The seizure cycle started on Sunday and it seems like her last one was last night (Tuesday). Today she is very quiet, hasn't eaten much and is mostly sleeping. I think the episodes take a lot out of her. I know they are tough on me too. It seems like she has most of her seizures in the middle of the night, maybe because it's quiet and she is resting.

When she starts seizing, my "mom hearing" kicks in. Even if I'm sound asleep I will wake right up and go find her. Lately the seizure and the after-seizure time has been lasting about an hour. Sunday night there were two seizures that I got up for, so I only had about four hours of sleep. She had one before I went to bed, so I got to bed late. She also had one before I left for work. Monday was rough for me.

Osi is the nicest, sweetest dog you would ever find. Her sickness makes me feel so sad.

Monday, January 7, 2019

#2151 must be an acquired taste

We probably all have something that we ate as a child, or even as an adult, that makes other people kind of scrunch up their face and say "Eww." For me, a tasty childhood treat was something my dad called "peanut butter scramble." It was made with a spoonful of peanut butter and a splash of white corn syrup. We mixed those ingredients together and spread it on a slice of white bread and hooo baby it was good. I admit that I have had a peanut butter scramble as an adult and it wasn't the same for me as when I was a kid. It wasn't exactly gross but it wasn't exactly good, either.

Last month when we were in Georgia, my mom was all about trying typical southern food. One of the foods she was interested in trying was boiled peanuts. I don't think I had even heard of boiled peanuts, but after she talked about them, I noticed little food carts that sold boiled peanuts and saw signs at convenience stores advertising them too.

The day we were driving to Charleston, we stopped at a convenience store for a potty break and a snack. As I was looking at the snacks, I saw two heated containers with boiled peanuts. One of the containers was Cajun flavor and the other was original. I pointed it out to my mom, and we decided to get some original flavor.

Not my pic; it came from the internet but this is EXACTLY what I saw in that c-store


I don't think we have boiled peanuts here in the west. (I just asked MT and he has never even heard of such a thing.) I was surprised to find that the peanuts are boiled in the shell and the water was, well, hot, of course. We asked the clerk at the c-store how to eat the boiled peanuts. She looked at us like we were kind of stupid. "Just like you eat a regular peanut, I think," she said. Then she asked a man who was behind us in the line how to eat a boiled peanut. "Ain't y'all ever eat boiled peanuts before?" he drawled. "You pop 'em in yer mouth, shell and all, and chew 'em up."

Shell and all?

"Well sure," he said. "The shells is soft and add to the flavor. Or you can shell 'em and just eat 'em like a regular peanut."

We did not fill up the container with boiled peanuts. The clerk admonished us, "I'm gonna charge you full price, so you might as well fill it up." I'll be honest with you: they didn't smell very good and they looked pretty gross too. I told her that we'd never had them before, so we probably had plenty.

This is not my photo; I found it on the internet, but this is really how boiled peanuts look

Back in the car, Mom opened the container of peanuts. I don't think I have the words to describe what it smelled like, but it didn't resemble peanut smell. Mom decided she didn't want to eat the shell, so she gingerly slid the shell off the nut and popped the soft nut into her mouth. 

"Eww. Ugh. Yuck. Do you guys want to try one?"

Lizzie, who was driving, said that she would try it. Mom handed her a nut, shell free. Lizzie put it in her mouth and immediately the corners of her mouth pulled down and she sort of whimpered and made a sad moaning sound followed by "Eww. Ugh. Yuck." I think her eyes were watering and she was sort of laughing and crying at the same time AND keeping the car on the road somehow.

I was laughing so hard at the look on her face that I was crying. Then Mom asked if I wanted to try one. I said no because why should I when it was so clearly gross?

My mother and my sister were having none of it. If they could eat one, I could eat one. I felt like I had to then. Mom handed me a shelled nut. It looked like a Great Northern white bean and smelled like nothing I have ever smelled before that day. I put it in my mouth. Immediately, my mouth was flooded with an excessively salty flavor. I bit into the nut, expecting that maybe it would have a tiny bit of crunch, but no. It was mushy, like an extremely over-cooked bean. The texture was terrible and the flavor defies description.

I started crying. I felt like I was three and my mom was forcing me to eat peas. With all my heart I wanted to spit that stupid peanut out but there was no way I would do that since both Mom and Lizzie had womaned up chewed and swallowed the foul goober. I was sort of laughing, but mostly, for real, I was crying. It felt like that wad of nastiness would not go down my throat. I couldn't swallow it which just made me cry even more.

Finally it was gone. Mom and Lizzie were laughing and I had to laugh too because honestly, what kind of person thinks boiled peanuts are a good treat? Damn! I'm sure there are plenty of perfectly lovely southern people who think boiled peanuts are great. That's why I think maybe they are an acquired taste.

There are southern foods I would be happy to acquire a taste for like grits or biscuits and gravy. I can't say that I'm glad I tried the boiled peanuts, but at least it's off the list and I won't ever have to have them again.