Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As many people do, I've made a few New Year's resolutions. The first one is to lose weight. I've had this as a resolution several times---somethimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. I'm currently within 5 pounds of my heaviest weight. I don't want to post my weight for the world to see, but I will say that I want to lose about 50 to 60 pounds. My lowest adult weight was in the summer of 2001 when I was 26. It was 50 pounds ago. Why did I gain it back? Well, to be honest, some family issues came along and I stuffed my face instead of telling people what I thought. By the spring of 2008, I had gained the 40 pounds back. I lost about 10 of that through a "Biggest Loser" contest at work. Then I met Vince and gained it back plus 10 to 15more----I have seriously eaten out more in the past 3.5 years than I did in the 33 previous years!

Well, this year HAS to be different. By June 23rd, 2011 I want to be 30 pounds thinner! I have a wedding dress to fit into! If that's not a goal, I don't know what is. However, I don't want this to be a quick fix. It has to be a lifestyle change. Vince is also wanting to lose some weight. He had no idea how many calories he concumed in a day until I showed him the calories he ate today and at Subway yesterday. (Not EVERYTHING at Subway is low calorie/low fat---meatball sub = 630 calories and 27 gramsof fat!) He doesn't like to eat first thing in the morning and doesn't have time for lunch most days. Therefore, he's famished by dinnertime at my house and sometimes snacks when he goes home.

Hopefully, we can keep each other motivated to lose weight and as Vince says "get into a shape other than round!"

My other goal is to save money and spend it wisely. I've not been using coupons as -dilengently as I used to. This is due to a few things: not as good of deals to be had, I have a good stockpile of what I need, not worth the gas money to make 50 cents on stuff I don't use. I sure miss the free Bayar meters that gave me $10 Register Rewards to use at Walgreens to get free stuff I needed! I've sure the diabetes clinic I donated the meters to misses it to. Oh well, maybe some more deals will pop up this yeat.

I have been finding some good deals on wedding things, but I'll save that for another post. I'm going to post more this year than I did last year! I'll also try to include a few pictures each time. Here's two today!

Lucky giving love to Ginger on the day she died 11/09/11:

Here's a picture of the engagement ring 11/05/11:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

There have been so many changes in the past 3 months since my last post----both good and bad. The best thing and worst thing happened within the same week, just 4 days apart. On 11/5/11, my boyfriend of 3 years and 3 months proposed! On 11/9/11, I had to put my Chow, Ginger, to sleep. I will give more details on both later this week. Right now I want to share something I found in a newspaper when I was in college way back when. I cut it out and saved it. While looking for readings for the wedding, I went looking for it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Miss Her Already

It's never easy to see someone you love decline in health. I experienced it with my dad in 1997, my mom in 2008 and now it's happening again. This time it's with someone who can't verbally tell me how she feels. I have to just see it in her struggle to stand up and her slower paced walk. This time it's with my nearly 13 year old Chow, Ginger.

It really started, I guess about 5 years ago when she was seven and developed arthritis in her front legs. Thankfully, a visit to the vet and some medicine eased her pain and helped her get back to normal. A year old two later, her ears stared to look different. The vet explained that her digging her ears and shaking her head caused hemotomas and eventaually scar tissue. She looked a little different since her ears didn't raise the same anymore, but she didn't seem to notice. Her skin over the years has always seemed to be a mess. Every bath causes a hot spot. She's been on so many rounds of antibiotics that I've joked that she must be allergic to cats! I've tried the lamb and rice diet to see if it's a food allergy, but she eats cat food every chance she gets.

Around this time last year, she REALLY scared me! She was having trouble getting up in the mornings and any time she laid for a long period of time. I was terrified that she was near the end. Thankfully, once again, medicine did the trick. Half of a $2.50 pill every morning made all the difference in the world. She was literally better over night!

Right before Labor Day this year, I noticed she seemed to be slipping when she walked around the house. I thought it was due to her nails being too long. I had the trimmed when I took her to have her kennelled for the holiday weekend. When I picked her up a few days later, the vet mentioned that he had seen her wobble when she walked. I asked if she needed more arthritis medication. He shook his head and said it was her muscles getting weak. He also reminded me that she was getting old for a Chow...which I knew already.

She has her good days and bad days. One thing I have to give her credit for is that it may slow her down, but she keeps trying. She doesn't bounce through the house anymore (I miss that SO much!), but she still insists on visiting the yard next door every morning. One morning I planned on just taking her out to the cable on the porch, but she insisted on heading down the street. That wouldn't have been a problem if I were dressed in more that a bath sheet and flip flops! I'm glad the two houses next to me are vacant...I'm sure I was a sight. She was almost to the highway before I caught her. Not bad for a arthritic, weak-muscled dog! She might stagger, but she keeps trying. I love her determination.

My biggest worry is that I will have to make that final decision for her. I don't want to do that. It breaks my heart to even think about it. I don't want to lose her, but I'd rather she go in her sleep. I had to make that horrible decision for my last dog, Comet, and two cats that I had. I got Ginger when she was 8 weeks old. I've watch her grow from a tiny puppy to 55 poiunds of fur. I'll be with her until the end, but I don't want it to end! I hope she leaves this Earth peacefully in her sleep, but if she tells me she's not happy, I'll do what I have to do.

Until then, I plan to make her as happy as possible. That means slow walks up to the end of the block now instead of a mile or more. It means letting her have some cat food and human food now and then. It means car rides whenever I'm going on a quick trip or even a long ride just for her. I wish I had know that she liked car rides before she was 11 years old! I have a lot of regrets. I wish I could have done some things differently. I can't change that, but I can do my best for the rest of her life.

I got a an email a couple weeks ago that included the following link. I think it's a great idea for anyone with a beloved pet. Ginger and my 17 year old cat, Snowball, have both outlived Max and Salem who were only 8 and 7 when they died from cancer. You never know when their last day will be, so try to have a perfect day every once in a while.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What If Doctors Were Treated Like Teachers?

Someone forwarded this to me in an email today and I thought it was interesting enough to share.

"What If We Treated Doctors The Way We Treat Teachers? A good friend and colleague who is now in Chicago first gifted me with this parable. It's been in my thoughts lately as my wife pursues her medical degree. In fact, she and I have talked about this at length, and when making comparisons between how physicians and teachers are treated, she is just as astounded. Parallels are occasionally noted between medical training and education, especially the capstone clinical experiences present in both professions. Let us pretend that physicians of all specialties were held to similar measures of accountability and enveloped with the same kinds of discourses that we see in education reform debates. What might that look like, and how would the general public, in addition to doctors, feel about that? It would not take a skilled social scientist to observe that, despite exceptional achievements in treating disease and diagnostic technologies, for example, the medical profession is failing. It has failed in its tasks to disseminate good information about health, quash misconceptions, fight corporations and health lobbies that keep people sick, and prevent high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, particularly in low-income populations. What do we do about this? Well, I have a few proposals listed in no particular order:

a.. We must begin to hold all physicians accountable, regardless of specialization, to certain quantifiable measures of health, namely cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, and BMI. All patients assigned to a physician must meet specific annual minimum standards of health. Bad doctors will be those who do not meet their patients' annual minimums, and they may be subject to certain penalties if the health scores of their patients do not improve in a reasonable amount of time.

a.. It will be mandatory for the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as all of the major governing bodies in medicine, to set a goal for reaching universal health and well-being in the United States. That is, a target year will be identified in which every person will achieve the ideal values in cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI. Future targets may include assessments of mental health. A specific interval of time will also be determined to assess all patients for these values. Although pharmaceuticals may be used to stabilize or improve health outcomes, the patient must not be on any medications at the time of assessment unless approved by an official of the administrative body of the national health assessments.

a.. Quantifiable variables will be utilized to evaluate all practices and hospitals. All of this information will be made public. Additionally, medical schools will be evaluated based on the quantifiable health of patients in the care of their graduates. Medical schools will subsequently be ranked based on the health outcomes of their graduates' patients regardless of specialty. Given more advanced statistical models, these numbers could ultimately be used to assess the impact of pre-medical programs at the undergraduate level.

a.. In certain high needs areas, such as family practice, emergency medicine, or in practices in low income areas, alternative routes to being licensed will be provided. Moreover, data will determine what skills are necessary to impart in the curriculum of such programs. For instance, if a certain community prevails in specific medical conditions over others, then time will not be wasted covering rare conditions so that alternative programs can operate expeditiously.

a.. Barriers to participation will be lowered in certain instances, in the form of direct subsidies or significant tax exemptions, for the opening of small hospitals or short-term care centers by private organizations or motivated members of the community.

a.. Any hospital or practice is subject to a turnaround plan if minimum health requirements are not met. Should the facility not meet those requirements of minimum annual health, the entire staff will be terminated and reconstituted with more competent practitioners. Moreover, staff may be required to enroll in continuing medical education in advanced and remedial level re-licensing courses, including basic physics, chemistry, and biology.

a.. In addition to in- or out-of-network information and basic demographics, an online data warehouse will be established that will provide all health data and outcomes for every licensed physician in the United States, regardless of specialty. The individual physician's education, license information, and health outcomes of patients will be listed. Should in-network physicians be deemed unfit for local health care consumers, the Federal government, with matching funds by health providers, will offer subsidies for consumers to see other practitioners.

a.. Finally, a certain percentage of any and all physicians' patients will be assigned to them, care of those who qualify will be fully covered by providers. This will ensure adequate racial, income, and overall demographic diversity of clientele. The annual minimum health outcome data of these patients will also be included in the physician's overall quality.

Did I miss any? What if we indeed held doctors and other professionals to the same bloat and condescension that we currently hold teachers? I can predict some of the responses that physicians might make: "We can't control what our patients do or eat outside of our offices to maintain minimum levels of health. Also, these variables -- BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure -- are limited and don't adequately measure a healthy person. And one other thing, you can't expect us to be evaluated based on all patients equally, regardless of family history, poverty, and other complications."
As an educator, my sentiments exactly! "

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I LOVE Free!

These are the things I got free this month from Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS and Kroger! There are 2 Bayar Meters (to donate), 5 boxes of cereal, 3 packages of toilet paper, and 2 mouthwashes. And who says coupons aren't worth it?

I forgot to add these freebies. Two butters on sale at Kroger last week for $1 each, used 2 $1 coupons. Five single load Tides from Wal-Mart at 97 cents each. I used five $1 coupons reduced to 97 cents. I only paid 7 cents each for tax. Not bad at all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

I normally do not dress my cats up, but I had bought this for someone else and she couldn't use it. For $5, I thought I'd give it a shot. This is what I got:

Sweet Snowball was my first victim...uh, I mean model....She tolerated it, but wasn't amused.

Midnight didn't seem to mind the outfit, but he just couldn't figure out where the ringing bells were coming from. After about 6 shots, this it the best I could get.

Coal put up with it much better than I expected! I got several shots without getting scratched!!!

Pumpkin did NOT like this at all! He ran through the house like his tail was on fire! As you can tell, he didn't even want his picture taken in this get-up. After seeing his reaction, I didn't have the heart to put it on Roadrunner or Lucky........YET!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day!

No work for me tomorrow! I love the snow! My outside tree looks great with the snowy background.