Sunday, April 16, 2017

Road Trip!

Tomorrow I leave for my longest solo road trip ever. I am going to Fauquier and Culpeper Virginia, the land of my Nelson ancestors. 

While there, I am hoping to find a link or two beyond my great, great Grandfather, Major B.F. Nelson who was born September 4th, 1817 in Fauquier County. At some point, he moved to Copiah County, Mississippi and sired George B. Nelson, who then fathered George B. Nelson Jr, (my grandfather), and my Daddy, George B. Nelson III. 

Along the way, I am going to stop and have meals with family and friends. And, special friends are going to meet me in Virginia and hang out with me (and hopefully help me with my research!) while I am there. A trip to see the home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, is also in the plans. 

I am going to have to be careful to pace myself, but I have my neurologist's blessing to make the trip. Many things have been weighing heavily on me for some time, and I am looking forward to leaving it all behind for a few days. 

A fun song mentioning from Virginia from one of my favorite musicals, 1776! 

https://youtu.be/urgrF6OBuZc

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

FODMAP

A couple of weeks ago, I had never heard of a FODMAP. My GI doc had to write it down because I had no idea what he was saying.

FODMAPS are:
a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as food additives. FODMAPs include fructose (when in excess of glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol).

These are not well absorbed in the bodies of some folks. In some cases, they can aggravate IBS. In my case, I was having pain very similar to what I was having before I had my gallbladder out. Apparently, my body is simply no longer processing certain foods the way it did before my cholecystectomy. 

So, reluctantly, I gave my bread, cashews, granola bars, apples, cookie mixes, prepared soups, and honey away and began the diet. For me, that word has always been DIE with a T, but I wanted to feel better. 

After only two weeks, I actually feel a lot better. The pain is mostly gone unless I accidentally ingest something that is on the no-no list. My beloved garlic is a major offender and it seems to be in EVERYTHING! Much of what I am not supposed to eat, I am allergic to already, so I don't miss it. Alas, much of what I would be allowed to eat, I am allergic to as well! I don't miss bread as much as onion, garlic, and mushrooms. I do miss pasta and am hoping to find some FODMAP approved varieties soon. 

One of the advantages to patronizing local restaurants is that the managers/owners can tell me exactly what is in most of their food. They have been wonderful in adapting menu items so that I can enjoy them. Billy's, Goldie's, Gumbo Pot, Rowdy's, and The Coffee House Cafe have kept me from starving thus far. I am also having to cook more, which is not entirely a bad thing for my waistline or my wallet. 

Besides not being in as much pain, there have been some other perks of the low FODMAP diet. My reflux is much better and I have been able to cut my medication in half. I am, slowly, losing some weight, and best of all, I actually have more energy. I am not going to be running any marathons, but I seem to be able to get a little more done these days. 

This lady has a great website for guidance on how to manage this diet:

http://www.katescarlata.com/


Bon app├ętit!





 




Monday, April 03, 2017

Tornado Warning

Last night, we had an honest to goodness tornado warning. Not a watch. A real live warning. 

When Dave Roberts told me to get in my safe place, I realized that I don't really have one. We can partially close off a tiny bit of hallway, but that it about it. Everything else has an exterior wall and windows. 

I dutifully grabbed my spare bed wedge, a couple of pillows, and a blanket. Trying to actually get down on them was a quite a scene. I am glad no one was recording that operation with a cell phone! When the all clear was sounded, it was an equally entertaining scene trying to get up. Thank goodness my husband was there to help me. 

I have often worried about not hearing the phone ring at night with my red alert calls. My mind was set at ease last night. I received SIX calls. Three on my home phone and three on my cell would be enough to wake even me. 

Thankfully, we escaped any major damage. But, this is Mississippi in the Springtime. 

My pillows and blankets will stay handy. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Basketball

I admit it. I am not a basketball fan. It moves so quickly that I have trouble following it. The score changes with nerve-wracking swiftness. I would rather watch football or baseball. 

However, when a Mississippi team is working hard and doing well, I am happy for them. My sister and brother-in-law both graduated from MSU and I have a nephew there right now. 

Once the Lady Bulldogs got to the Sweet 16, I tried to watch the games. My heart just couldn't take it! It was all I could do to tune into the last 5 minutes!  How could die-hard State fans watch and not have heart attacks??

I will be following the game via social media on Sunday. But, you can rest assured I won't be tuning in till the last 5 minutes! 

Good luck to the Lady Bulldogs! They have earned their place in history. 

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

*Disclaimer* This is not about any of my dear friends who happen to be blessed with the name Mary! 

In every life a little contrarian must fall, I suppose. Lately, on Facebook, there have been a couple of folks who seem to believe it is their bounden duty to contradict posts whenever and where ever possible. This is not just on my own posts, but the posts of friends as well. Some of them are not friends of the person whose post I might comment on but choose to step in and hijack the post for their own agendas. I don't mind opposing viewpoints, but when it is a never ending campaign it gets wearying.  A change in Facebook settings may be in order. 

For the most part, I try not to post anything too controversial on my own wall. I don't like conflict and negative, contrary people are draining both in real life and on social media. As a retired counselor, I admit that I try to figure out what causes them to be so ornery. 

 A June 9th, 2016 article in Psychology Today states:

"While contrarians often see themselves as righteous defenders of truth, others may experience them as crotchety pot-stirrers." 

Bless their hearts. 

My grandmother used to say "It takes all kinds to make a world." But, I don't necessarily have to let them into MY world. A visit to the unfriend and/or block buttons may be in order.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Food, Glorious Food

As appetizing as this picture looks, if I should eat it, I would be in the Emergency Room within minutes. I am very allergic to the strawberries, cantaloupe, and the kiwi. Now, on this new FODMOP diet that I am on, the cherries and peaches are off limits.

As a child, I was the queen of the picky eaters. I could not bring myself to eat peas or beans. I was not big on fruit. I could not drink milk without getting queasy, and I never could quite get used to yogurt. I never really liked tuna, and thank goodness the smell of cooking shrimp discouraged me from ever trying it.  I was one to eat cornbread, meat, hard cheese, eggs, tomatoes, starchy vegetables, and peanut butter. 

Over the years, I tried to add the foods that I had not wanted to eat as a child, but they were never quite tolerated and some even caused almost disastrous results as my ER bills will attest.

Ironically, when I was tested for allergies, I came up allergic to most fruits and non-starchy veggies, ocean fish and shellfish, most peas and beans, and coffee. Long time reflux keeps me from citrus fruits and spicy things. 

Ironically, on this FODMOP diet, many of the things I am allergic to are off limits. Many of the things that I would not eat as a child are also on it. I have to wonder if my young self instinctively knew that these foods were not good for me.  Fortunately, I had parents who did not push me too hard to eat the things I did not want. 

My "child self"  was instinctively wise to what my body needed and did not need. As I go through this plan, I am going to try to recapture that instinct for what my body does and does not want and need. 

Wish me luck!

 

 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

FM Radio

On my last vacation, instead of plugging in my iPhone with its customized playlists, I decided to listen to old fashioned FM radio.

It turned out to be a lot of fun. As one adult hit/Top 40 station faded out, I would scan to see if I could find another one. I almost always could. I found out that John Tesh really is everywhere with his 'Intelligence for Your Life.' 

Best of all, I heard some new (for me, at least) songs. Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You', Nathan Sykes 'Over and Over Again', Andy Grammer's 'Keep Your Head Up' (How did I miss THAT??), and 'Scars to Your Beautiful' by Alessia Cara. 

I am glad that I got out of my iTunes rut long enough to rediscover the fun of scanning for new stations and hearing different music. Of course, now that I have discovered it, I will be downloading it on iTunes! 

Here is a radio song for your morning. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azdwsXLmrHE

Monday, February 27, 2017

Uncertainty

"In conditions of uncertainty, humans, like other animals, herd together for protection."
-James Surowiecki

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that nothing in life is ever totally certain. But, lately, I wake up every morning to terrifying levels of uncertainty. And, I am one of the "lucky" ones. Caucasian, middle-aged, retired, and with enough resources to live comfortably. 

When I wake up, I read about today's "target." Who is it going to be this time? Is my local Mexican restaurant going to be raided? Are the precious Vietnamese people who do my nails legal and safe? Is some mad man going to mistake one of my friends (or one of my doctors!) who hails from India for someone from the Middle East? It seems that anyone who is black or brown is at increased risk right now. That scares me.

Are my LGBT friends going to lose their hard won rights? Are my friends with disabled children and grandchildren going to be able to send them to school? Are my friends going to lose their health insurance? Am I going to wake up to find that America is engaged in a nuclear war? 

Uncertainty is one of the most difficult things to live with. Anyone who has every waited for medical test results, that college acceptance letter, or the phone call telling you that you got the job can certainly relate.

As a Christian person, I am trying to cling to the 103 verses in the King James version of the Bible that tell me not to fear. 

I'm working on it. 





 

 

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Pinterest Success

Most of you have seen the pictures of what happens when ordinary people try to recreate something they saw on Pinterest. There is even a site that highlights some of these failures.

http://pinterestfail.com/ 

However, I had seen this shaving cream marbled paper idea that I was compelled to try. I love using this type of thing in collage work. So, I went to the dollar store, bought some cheap shaving cream and one of those disposable aluminum baking pans and went to work.

Not being certain of the permanence of food coloring, I chose to use liquid watercolors instead. 

I recommend doing this outside if at all possible. It is messy! 

I was able to get 4 sheets of marbled paper from one shaving cream/watercolor bath. Each one was a bit lighter, but I can use all of them for various projects. I found that different colors needed to be stirred more, especially the red.

Overall, I was very happy with my results and plan to do more soon. 

 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hidden Figures

My husband and I went to see this movie yesterday. I had heard good things about it from my friends, and this movie did not disappoint. 

It also set me to thinking (dangerous, I know!). These women almost did not get to do the wonderful things they did just because of their gender and the color of their skin. That thought just stuns me. It also made me wonder. What if that refugee that we "can't have over here" holds the key to a cure for cancer or our shot at putting a man on Mars, with the right education and support. 

 In today's world, I just don't think we can afford to waste intelligence and talents. I don't care if they are Arab, Mexican, Cuban, African, or whatever. The world needs ALL of us, using whatever gifts we have to keep it going. 
 
" Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2 

You never know. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Impossible Detox

I see variations of the meme on social media all the time. Detox your life in 4 easy steps! Yes! 

No. 

What if the people who do this are family members? Co-workers? Church mates? Difficult people cannot always be as easily avoided as this meme makes it sound. 

Granted, I have been able to distance myself from people in the past who have done all these things. But, what does one do when one has no choice but to be with people who do these things on a regular basis?

Some days, I can shield myself to an extent. This is never easy for me. Being around these behaviors on a regular basis can make me physically ill. But, if I quit every organization or activity where folks do these things, I would not have much of a life outside my home! 

2017 will see me working to develop my defenses. I may have to get out of situations which become completely intolerable. And I want to learn how to better deal with difficult persons who cannot be avoided. 

Wish me luck. 

 

Monday, January 02, 2017

Organizing Art Supplies

Today, I used my "Christmas money" to hire Lacey McLaughlin of Neat Freaks Organizing to help me clean up and organize my art area. 

Said art area is actually a corner of my living room and is not very large. Making the most of my small space was a challenge that Lacey took on willingly. Bless her. 

My supplies had become so scattered and piled up that I found my creativity was stifled as well. I look forward to being able to regain my creative freedom as I use my newly reorganized space. Now I just have to find the time to do my own art in between getting ready for classes and other obligations. That is the hard part. 

Wish me luck!

 

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 How Did I Do?

Last year, I decided to make (hopefully!) simple, realistic resolutions. So, how did I do? 

Much like socks, I have decided that I will never find the mates (lids) to all my Tupperware bowls. I did find a few, so I am going to consider this one fairly successful.

I DID have total success in finding the perfect pencil sharpener. This little Prismacolor sharpener not only sharpens my graphite pencils without waste, but my colored and watercolor pencils as well. It was about $10.00, but has been totally worth this price. 

One thing I did not have as much success with was seeing movies in the theater with the hubby. It is hard to find much we really even want to see these days. We also tend to have different tastes in movies, so it can be hard to find something we both want to watch. Netflix has been wonderful, because we can usually find a TV series, documentary, or occasional movie that we both enjoy. Right now, we are hooked on Midsomer Murders.

Thanks to Lacey of Neat Freaks Organizing, I have found quite a few of those things that I put in supposedly safe places. She helped me de-clutter my office and it has been nice to feel like I can breathe in here again. 

I can't say that I have made more art, but I have done some decent quality work this year. After Lacey helps me de-clutter my art area, I hope to do more this coming year. 

 I did manage to hug some grand trees! A large oak in front of the otherwise disappointing Beauvoir in Biloxi made the entry fee worthwhile.I hugged crepe myrtles, dogwoods, Bradford Pears, even a couple of pines. I love trees. What more can I say? 

I am trying to decide if I want to make any resolutions for 2017. I have a feeling staying relatively healthy and sane might be as good as it gets. I still have a day to decide. Stay tuned! 






 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No Shopping Zone

I tend to shop like most men. I go in, get what I want, and get out. I don't have any desire to look at, touch, or try on everything. 

When I do shop, I try to patronize brick and mortar stores if possible, particularly those locally owned and operated. Unfortunately, much of what I need simply can't be found locally. Decently priced plus sized clothing is in short supply. Specific electronics are not always available here. And the makeup that I am actually not allergic to (and can afford!)  is not to be found in Vicksburg. 

When I go to Jackson for doctor's appointments and allergy shots, I try to do necessary shopping while I am over there. I knew today might be a busy day due to customers returning Christmas gifts, being off work, etc. But, my external hard drive decided to die on Christmas Eve, I ran out of makeup, and I wanted to have lunch with my sister, so I reluctantly made my way to Flowood. 

First I went to JC Penney to the Sephora section for makeup. After waiting 15 minutes (I always get behind THAT customer) a second salesperson came up and helped me. We were able to find one of the two items that I needed. Check.

Then I made the mistake of going to Ulta to look for make-up item #2. I was using my walker and I was absolutely flabbergasted at the number of people who bumped me trying to squeeze past me instead of going around. After a salesperson did it, I left without even asking about the potential purchase. Fail.

I went across the street to Best Buy to look for the aforementioned external hard drive. I got my walker out of the back seat and headed across parking lot (I was in the marked crosswalk) when a car (driving too fast for this situation) hit his brakes to avoid hitting me, then zoomed behind me so fast that the customers coming out of the store were shaking their heads. This actually happens to me all the time in Flowood and Madison. 

A trek to the back wall of the store revealed that there were no suitable hard drives on the shelves. Another Fail. 

I came home, got on Amazon Prime, (I start at Amazon Smile, where a portion of the proceeds from my purchases goes to a charity providing clean water) and in 10 minutes had my makeup, hard drive, and a couple of other things on the way. No almost being knocked over, no futile and exhausting excursions to the backs of large stores, no almost being run down in the parking lot, and no being behind "Miss Thang" who thinks salespeople exist for her sole pleasure. 

The WIN in the situation was having lunch with my sister at Amerigo. Next time, I will just go to lunch and do my shopping at home!