Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obligatory New Year Resolution Post

Every year my resolution is the same;  I resolve to work out regulary, lose weight, and get healthy all around.  Every year I start out well and in no more than a few weeks all returns to it's normal gain-lose-gain-lose roller-coaster ride.  Well this year is going to be different, damn it!

I have just a tad bit more incentive to get healthy this year.  After two years solid of chest pain caused from a combination of GERD and coronary artery disease, I had a triple bypass back in October.  So, yeah, I think it is a very good idea to eat healthy and exercise reularly.

So, how do I go about actually sticking to my resolution?  For starters, I wrote down a workout routine and posted it on my bulletin board so I will see it everyday.  Secondly, I thrive on variety, so I have six different workouts planned, one for each day.  The seventh day I shall rest.  I will also be keeping a record of my weight, which I will be checking once a week.

As for food, the household has been decent about only having "healthy" foods in the house...except for on what we call "Fat Sunday".  So, as long as we can all be good, it will all be good.  I have only had fast food three times since my surgery, and even then I didn't eat all of it.  My appetite and preferences have changed (for the better) since surgery.  I hope it stays this way.

I think if my friends and family can be supportive as well as holding me responsible for my resolution, it would help.  I would love to hear things like, "How's the resolution coming?",  "You're looking good!", and "Don't eat that, you fat pig!"  would be nice.  OK, maybe not the last comment, it would probably make me sob into a tub of ice cream.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

...And Two Months Later...

Today, December 18, 2013, marks two months since my surprise heart surgery.  I am doing well, everything is healing on schedule. I don't think there is anything new to report.  I saw my surgeon for the last time on December 6th.  From now on I will be working with my cardiologist.  I have an appointment with him on January 2nd.

 If I were to complain about anything right now, it would be the same two complaints I have had since the beginning, I have extreme exhaustion very easily, - I don't think I can find words to adequately describe what I mean by "easy exhaustion".  Imagine yourself casually walking through your house when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, you feel as if every ounce of energy is stripped from you...right down to the bones!  It is as if you could just lay down where you stand and sleep for hours.   And I am still constantly frustrated over being on restricted activity. I want my independence back! Oh, God, I NEED my independence back!

A new complaint would be the aching I feel in my shoulders and collar bones. I was warned I might experience some aching in the shoulders, and I have been feeling it on and off a bit since week one.  However, over the past week I have been feeling the ache more frequently and to a more painful degree.  I attribute this pain to muscle ache due to exertion and healing. Since it is usually worse later in the day and especially at night when I lay down to sleep, I am apt to believe this true.

The only over-the-counter pain medication I am allowed to take right now is acetaminophen, which is worthless to me.  For some strange reason acetaminophen (Tylenol) has never been effective in relieving ANY type of pain I have experienced. It doesn't touch the pain at all.  Instead, it makes me extremely drowsy.  I suppose since my pain is at it's worse at night, I can try taking the Tylenol and letting it make me drowsy enough to sleep through the pain.  Sounds legit.  :)

Don't misunderstand me here.  To have had major heart surgery and two months later only have three complaints, I think I'm doing pretty good!  Oh, and a bonus, I have been working hard to eat healthy and have lost nearly twelve pounds since surgery.  :D 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Unsolicited Advice About Cats

There are dog lovers and there are cat lovers.  Well, it doesn't end there, there are also animal haters and animal lovers.  What I intend to talk about here are those of us who love cats and how we are baffled by those who don't care for the feline species.  Yeah, I know, it is just horrible and freakish to not love our little pussies.

What I have found is that most persons who don't like cats just simply do not understand them.  Some people tend to think that cats are selfish, solitary, wild, snobbish, destructive, demon creatures.  They want to believe that cats are supposed to act like dogs but just have a screw loose or something.

What I deduce from non cat lovers opinions is that they don't seem to understand that cats speak a unique language and we must learn how to speak it back.  Most cats, when understood and communicated to properly, are the most loyal, lovable, cuddly, comedic, and nurturing creatures.

Of course cats can be destructive, evil monsters.  Any animal can when treated improperly, even dogs.  When you take on the responsibility of owning a pet, any species, you must learn (preferably before you bring it home) how to train and care for it properly.  If you can't handle this species, then find a more appropriate one for you.

The biggest difference between dogs and cats is that dogs are happy to learn enough human language (verbal and sign) to be a "good dog".  Cats do the same, but they expect us to return the favor because - and this is the big difference- after all, humans and cats are on equal ground!

Allow me to explain each of the main misconceptions about least from my own experience...

1. Cats are selfish - Absolutely not.  Cats, when happy and feeling accepted and accepting of their home and family, will hunt and share their spoils with the family.  They also are very cuddly and give as much rubs as they receive.  Most cats prefer to play with their toys with family. Cats prefer to snuggle and sleep with their family. Really, a cat that exhibits selfish behaviors is probably insecure and unhappy in the home.

2. Cats are solitary animals - Wrong again.  Yes, many cats are just as comfortable being left alone as they are being with the "pride".  In my many years of cat ownership (of many cats) I have yet to meet one cat that preferred to be alone ALL the time and just couldn't stand being around other animals or people.  Cats can sometimes become nervous when there are a large amount of people (especially strangers) around.  Wouldn't you be worried if you were surrounded by a bunch of giants?  But when a cat is happy and content at home, they will love to be in the mix of things.

3. Cats are wild animals - This is a common misconception.  Cats are domesticated animals, this is why there is a word for wild cats, feral.  Cats can survive on their own and it is probably the fact that they can hunt prey and can be unruly when improperly trained, that most people call them wild.  But cats are specifically bred to live with, and be companions to, people; wild animals are a danger to humans.  A happy and well trained cat posses no danger, only love and boundless joy. 

4. Cats are snobs - Just because they are somewhat independent and don't always look at you when you talk to them doesn't make them snobs.  Yes, you can train cats to do tricks.  How do you think they get cats to do tricks on T.V.?  Really, it's all in how confident and secure they feel with you.  Dogs obey and learn because all they want to do is please their master.  Cats obey and learn when they identify their human with comfort and security.

5. Cats are destructive - Like an untrained dog can and will destroy your property, an untrained cat will do the same.  Many people think that owning a cat doesn't include training; they assume cats can't be trained, that they are wild, independent creatures.  Wrong, cats can easily be trained, just not in the same way as a child or dog.  This is where it is imperative that you learn and speak the language.  Might I recommend the book, Is Your Cat Crazy? by John C. Wright  .

6. Cats are possessed by demons - You might think so when you see them frightened, angry, or even in a very playful mood.  Again, when cats are not happy and secure, and are not well trained, they can exhibit awful behaviors.  You might have owned a cat that attacked you seemingly out of the blue when you were petting it, or walking down the hall.  Maybe the little monster hissed, yowled, or ran rambunctiously through the house at three every morning.  These are all behavior problems rooted in insecurities and poor training.  They can be fixed, for the most part, easily.  Again, I recommend the above book. 

The above photo is of my cat, Macie, napping with one of her toys.  Taken December 13, 2013.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Unspeakable...Speaker?

We all have one, a piece of us that stays hidden deep inside.  A small little piece that fills up but no matter what, stays hidden, and tight, and buried deep inside. 

It can be beaten, threatened, tortured, but no matter what it will never give in.  Some may call it the unspeakable bellhop.  No matter what, he will never tell his deep dark secrets.  Some may call it the unspeakable baker.  No matter what his recipes are his and only his to know.  Or some may call her the unspeakable speaker.  This one is rare, I suppose.  This one is mine. 

As you all know, I love to write, especially about me.  And if you've read my blog, or maybe you are a friend of mine on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or even a friend or family member in real life, you might think you know all there is to know about me. Think again, my husband doesn't even know all of me...and he knows the most.

There is a part of me that longs to scream out to the world, but I don't let it.  I call myself an open book, but lets face it, no one is an open book.  We all have deep dark secrets that we would never let the world know.  We all have things we are afraid to open up about for fear of ridicule, or even worse, for fear of those we love using them against us.

I have always been extremely independent.  I find it very, very difficult to depend on others.  "If it needs to get done, it's best if I do it myself", has always been my motto.  People will let you down, but what's worse is, we must all carry our own weight.  I have always believed this (see again my motto).  I don't know how many different ways I can say the same thing.  I don't like having to rely on others for things I can, and should, do myself.

This fierce independence has proven to cause me a great deal of pain and suffering lately.  It all started about...oh, I don't know...a few years ago.  My husband and I had to go down to one car between the two of us.  What this really means is that I have no car at all because my husband, being a typical man, insists on driving 100% of the time, leaving me with zero transportation...unless he is there to drive me (or I find a friend to give me a ride).

I have never gotten used to the no transportation conundrum.  But now I have another problem to deal with.  I had open heart surgery back in October and as a result I am on very strict restrictions while I heal.  This means yet more of my independence is stripped away.  I am like a naked baby lying on the floor unable to clothe myself whilst all the world watches and takes pictures of my little pee-pee.

What does this little story about my loss of independence have to do with the unspeakable speaker?  Everything!  One of my deep dark hiddens has been ripped out of me and displayed for all to poke and prod and use against me. 

Don't worry, though, I have plenty more hidden in the endless well of the unspeakable speaker.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?  Hmmm, maybe.  Even though one of my deep dark fears came true, I am still here, still alive, still strong (although I don't feel as strong).