Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Have any of you ever gone to a Psychic or had your fortune told. Or shuffled the Tarot cards? The word psychic, comes from the Greek psychikos—"of the mind, mental". Also called sensitive, a psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception (ESP), or is said by others to have such abilities. 

I have this incredible urge to have a reading just for fun but have no idea where one finds such a person. A Google search gave me a bunch of names here in my city, but how does one go about choosing a psychic.

12 years ago, one of my friends came into class one day to tell us about her "fortune telling" adventure and thought it helped give her a heads up to life. It sounded so intriguing but the rest of us never got around to actually going. The upside (or downside) was that she ended up separating from the sod who was her husband (just like the psychic said). I always wondered if it was seeing the future or the suggestion to my friend that made it happen. The marriage was pretty bad to begin, abusive and controlling so it may have just been the push she needed to end it.

My boss mentioned to me that I can't let things just slide off my back, that I was more sensitive than the others who work for her and why I was picking up such toxic vibrations more than others. Yup, that's me. I can pick up small nuances that others just don't feel or see. It might be called intuition, second sense, a gut feeling, ESP, a Wooooo moment.

I've known this for most of my life and yet cannot put a finger on why I can sense stuff that others don't. For many years I taught nursing and so many times I would be compelled to go see one of my students just as she was dropping a patient (we caught them together). I will phone my son and hubby just as they are pulling in the drive as if there was some signal they were emanating to let me know they were near. And as a mom, I would wake up seconds before my babies awoke as if I picked up some vibration from their room.

After my dad and mom died there were just too many little nudges that they were still around to discount. I remember driving along the highway on my way to bury my dad's ashes (I had the canister in the car). It was pouring rainI mean torrential downpour. As I got close to my exit, I glanced over to change lanes and swore it was my dad driving the car beside me. At that exact moment, the sun came out and stayed hot and sunny for the rest of the afternoon. Shivers!

I haven't quite got a grasp on what this all means. Can some people just "see" like the Ghost Whisperer? Can this stuff be dangerous or just a curiosity for a laugh and fun time. A mystery which maybe I should ignore.

Us Canadians (right Gilly) believe we can get almost anything in the States. Do you think there might be a psychic in Chicago? Are any of you game?

Weird. I know. It's a strange day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Changes & Unfill Update

Gilly mentioned she quit her job. I guess it was catching because so did I!

Sort of.

I've been on assignment with an IT group for the last nine months replacing someone on maternity leave. But it's been brutal. One of the most toxic environments I have ever worked. No cooperation and you can actually feel the contempt floating in the air from our client. My manager has been very supportive but sometimes you just have to call it quits. So I did.

My choice was to go back to my previous "home" position or do a little shopping around amongst a bunch of other groups. And it was successful. A manager that I worked with before will take me on. Quick and easy. I just had to ask. She's excited because now she has someone to write processes and procedures and keep track of projects. Lots of fun!

So now the wind-down of my current work. I'm hoping to get out of Dodge by the beginning of May (3 months earlier than expected). It is sad that it had to come to this but the situation was just not getting better like we were promised. I feel bad for the few that have not found their way out of the mess, but someone has to keep the lights on.

Now that the monkey is off my back, it is actually freeing. It only takes me 10 minutes to get to work now and the new place will take me 40 minutes, but as I said to my new boss, sometimes those 10 minutes can suck the life out of you.

Just a little update from some previous posts:
  • My Unfill: I can eat again. And again, and again. It's been 4 weeks and I think I need to start adding a few drops back. My weight is at 168 lbs and I still have restriction (now have about 3.9 cc after they took out 0.5 cc) but am snacking too much. I am waiting as I am on antibiotics (after my tooth was pulled) and I want to make sure the capsules actually go down. They were a bit of a problem last week when I started them as well as the Advil LiquiGels. I had some esophageal spasms and it hurt like heck. It takes lots and lots of water to make them go down. One word of advice: if you think you can just open a LiquiGel and drink it. DON'T. Advil liquid is one of the most disgustingly bitter liquids I have ever tasted.

  • Makeup Makeover: A while back a friend needed me as a model for her makeup class. She helps those who have had cancer feel better by giving them ideas for using makeup. The class was for makeup for TV so it is a bit heavy. She finally sent me pics and I really don't recognize myself. I changed my profile picture but it still doesn't seem to be me. But it is. Here are the few she sent me (that I will post). At least I've lost my double, double chin. It's amazing that a good application of makeup can erase what I think I look like.
But hey. I need to get used to this new 57 year old face. And there is always Photoshop when we need a little tweaking.

Lastly, could someone make it warmer. We have had this freakin cold weather (0 C or 30 F) for the last week. I am so over winter. The snow is almost gone but please warm up!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pictures That Tell a Story

Last night I was watching the Nate Berkus Show and there was a photographer (Me Ra Koh) with her book titled Your Baby in Pictures. She mentioned that we now take lots of digital pictures and they sit on our computers never seeing the light of day.

I'm kind of guilty in that I take lots of pics on my digital camera but don't print them out much. I do make digital scrapbooks of big trips and print out some of the photos on my printer to display on my bookshelf, but haven't done that for a long time. Sure there is Facebook and of course we post on on Blogs sometimes.

My point is that the lady mentioned how we should try to take pictures that tell a story. Her book gives a "recipe" for capturing the various stages of a babies life but can be extrapolated to all other ages. She showed a photo of her 6 yr old son reading under a blanket tent set up in the living room. That way he would remember how he used to build tents. Another was a picture of her daughter on the first day of school. She was sitting on the front porch tying her runners because the little girl thought she couldn't get into kindergarten if she didn't know how to tie her shoes. That picture will always tell that story as she goes through life. She mentioned how we display the grad photos and portraits as a point in time but that is all there is.

I started to think of some of my photos and a few do tell a story. A wedding photo I have shows me with a big smile but what I remember is that I had just tripped over a big rock on the way into the reception and DH had caught my arm. The photographer snapped at that exact moment. It looks like a happy couple, but I remember tripping.
I also remember a photo my aunt had of my 10 year old cousin taken on "Picture Day" at school. This was before digital. When the photos arrived there was a fly, smack dab on his nose. It was funny. And a photo I remember. He died a month ago but I always remember that fly sitting on his nose. I have cute pictures of my kids and memories of the day come flooding back. Those are the ones that hold a special place in my heart.

Photos remind us of places where we have been, people we know and a feeling comes flooding back. I am going to try to take more story photos. I hope you too can find those photos that hold a special place in your heart. A photo that will live forever and one that the family will talk about over and over again.

This photo was taken in Dunedin, New Zealand. We walked from our hotel down a big hill to a brewery in the rain. When we couldn't get a tour we entered the attached pub and I ordered the Ploughman's lunch and this is what I got. This was pre-band and is now just a memory. No way could I ever eat that much anymore. Although the beer would probably go down.
I think I might get the book. I might not have babies of my own anymore, but I think it will be helpful to try to capture something more than a simple picture. I'll be looking for the story when I snap away. May all your pictures tell a story.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm keeping it low key this year on St. Patrick's Day. Many times we have spent the evening in an Irish Pub drinking some beer and eating fish and chips. But this year not really in the mood to party. DH is at a hockey game (Senators vs NJ) so I am here by myself just enjoying the solitude. Sipping a a glass of cheer for the day as I have some Irish blood in me. My great great grandparents arrived during the Irish famine and settled in Canada. One day I'll visit Ireland as it draws me there. So raise a glass to toast those that were, those that are and those that are yet to come.
And a big thankyou to all my blogger friends who keep me grounded. You are truly appreciated.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Back to Basics—How I'm Doing—Too!

I read Dinnerland's post today and thought it was interesting to review our so called band "rules". Here is what Dinnerland wrote:
"I've decided to return myself to the band basics and give myself a grade. There are 10 band rules, and if each 1 is a point, then 10/10 would be perfect, 9/10 would be an 'A,' 8/10 would be a 'B,' etc..."
Sandy talking again: I'm not a big rule follower. I've always been one to more or less buck the system (except for anything against the law, like murder, drinking and driving, stealing). But the band needs some rules just like any other body part. You wouldn't walk on a broken leg or put yourself into a diabetic coma by not taking medication or run up a set of stairs during a heart attack. I look at managing with the band but all these "rules" are part of that. If we stray, in my case, I have pain and agony. And who wants that! So here goes my assessment (and thank you Vanessa!).

Rule # 1: Eat 2-3 small meals a day only; eat only when hungry, and skipping meals is OK.
  • I eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Now post unfill I can actually eat in the morning, enjoying eggs again. My favourite to take to work is ham wrapped around cheese slices. I wouldn't say I experience any signs of hunger. I never have. It's a tough one so I just eat every 4-5 hours but rarely skip meals. I rarely drink Protein drinks. Where I fall down is nibbling on chocolate or having some wine on the weekends. All calories in.
  • Score: .5/1
Rule # 2: Eat slowly (wait at least 30 seconds between bites) and chew thoroughly; the goal is masticate food until it is almost liquidated in your mouth.
  • I have mastered this one. It probably takes me at least 30 to 60 minutes to eat my small portion. I chew the crap out of my food and it is masticated to pure liquid when I swallow. This one has always surprised me when I get stuck on liquids. I also have TMJ in my jaw joint so when I chew it crunches. One of the reason's I have had to go to softer foods is to prevent further deterioration from the excess chewing needed to get a steak eaten.
  • Score: 1/1
Rule # 3: Stop eating as soon as you feel full
  • I agree with Vanessa that this rule is a bit ridiculous for people with eating issues. I portion out my food (1 cup) and just eat that amount. I have felt "full" by getting a small ache in my upper left shoulder which I believe is just an iritated nerve being stimulated by the band. But I could still eat if I wanted to. When the band is too tight, nothing goes down or only a few bites.
  • Score: Not able to assess.
Rule # 4: Don’t drink while you are eating
  • I am a star with this one. I drink lots of water during the day. But stop about 10 minutes before I eat and then wait for at least 30 minutes after eating before I drink again. Now this isn't 100% of the time. At some meals on the weekend, I will sip wine during the meal but it wouldn't be more than half a glass.
  • Score: 1/1
Rule # 5: Don’t eat between meals
  • FAILURE! When I am at my sweet spot/green zone I forget about eating all together so would say I rate an A. But I'm an emotional eater and the brain seems to take over even when my band is crying out in pain. So chocolate and ice cream are my go to foods to soothe the brain. I'm not really hungry. This one isn't the band's fault, it is my wacky brain's fault to eat because of emotions and not hunger. I will also add, this is why I got fat in the first place. I know what to eat and I know the portion size to maintain a low weight, but my brain just doesn't get it. It's watching while my inner demons take over my body as I lose control. I feel helpless and disgusted. This is why I blog. To make sense of the why.
  • Score: Not able to assess until my brain gains some control.
Rule # 6: Eat only fresh food
  • It took me a bit to figure this one out so I'll reword it to say. Don't eat fast food, junk or processed food. Put good stuff into your body. This I do about 85% of the time. Pre-band, my tastebuds got so used to eating fast food that I didn't enjoy the foods I cooked. I was addicted to salt and fat and high fructose corn syrup that my body couldn't figure out food. I now cook a lot, freezing leftovers for my lunches. I still use convenience foods from the freezer and a few frozen WW meals but overall, I have busted the fast food addiction. My band just doesn't let me eat salads or raw veggies so mostly I cook them or make them into soup (ie roasted asparagus, broccoli soup, added to chili). I rarely eat protein bars or store bought cookies But I had a donut the other day and I still have chocolate. But I also ate fresh strawberries. Thankyou Florida for growing these whilst those of us in the North still have snow on the ground.
  • Score: 0.75/1
Rule # 7: Avoid extremely fibrous foods
  • Ha. Ha. See #6 above. I love, love, love roasted asparagus. No problems ever but I do avoid raw veggies unless they are chewed to a pulp. I only have celery cooked in stews or chili. I think everyone is individual on how certain foods affect them so I'll give myself top score. If I can't chew something to liquid, I spit is out. But that goes for a chunk of beef or sausage too.
  • Score: 1/1
Rule # 8: Drink enough water during the day; avoid carbonated beverages, which can give you gas pains.
  • I am a superstar here! I drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water throughout the day. Always have, always will. I think I have had, at the most, 4 cans of Diet Pepsi in the year since being banded. It just doesn't taste the same. I don't really drink anything else except skim milk and black coffee. My pee is pale yellow though.
  • Score: 1/1
Rule # 9: Only drink no-calorie or very low-calorie drinks
  • I don't like the latte's or creamy drinks from Starbucks or other coffee shops. I'm a purist with my coffee. Strong, black, no sugar.
  • Now here is where I lose points. I like wine and beer. I've been told to cut out all alcohol and I would lose all the weight I wanted. So to speak to that "someone" who told me that yesterday (and you know who you are and I still love you dearly-VCM), it's not going to happen. And if any of you think I am turning into a raving alcoholic. Not.
  • Having the band didn't stop life. I am about 10 pounds away from a weight that I know I can maintain for the rest of my life. As I've said in other posts, if I get there I'll be happy, but if I stay at my current weight, I'll be happy too.  And my life includes  a glass or two of wine or a few bottles of beer when I want. Just following health guidelines for including these in our diets.
  • Score: 0.9/1
Rule # 10: Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • I'm working on this. I've been walking 2 km per day for the last two weeks and striving to make that 4 km per day by the end of April. To actually get fit, I need to return to the gym for a few classes and some weights. It will also redistribute the bulges of fat that are hanging around. This part is a work in progress but routine is what keeps it going so I have plans to get this routine into my life over the next few months.
  • Score: .5/1
Total Score: 6.65 out of a possible 8 (#3 and #5 not able to grade at this time)

I guess that is a 83.125%. But it's just a number. I could easily bell the curve to make it better or worse depending on how hard we all mark ourselves. So I'll just plod along following the "rules" as best I can and listening to my body.

Doing this brought back a memory from years ago when I was playing Super Mario on my Gameboy (the original one). You had to get through different levels and if you messed up at a level, you had to start the game again. Each day I would play it for hours trying to get to a higher and higher level, til I got to the end. I don't know what I expected, maybe a few million dollars or something, but all it did was display a few fireworks in green and a big Congratulations written across the screen. The levels were so easy when I finally knew what to do. But each time the end was anti-climactic. I played it a few more times til I got bored.

Maybe these band rules will be the same. Living with the band will just become part of our everyday lives. I don't think there will be a big fireworks display or a huge "I Did It" tattooed on our forehead when we reach our elusive final level. Just like playing Super Mario, we will get bored with doing the same thing over and over again and it will just become part of our lives.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

Why is it that you can go for months and have absolutely nothing, nada to do and then Bam! It's like life is in overdrive. The last two weeks have been like that. Here's the nutshell.

  • Last week I did my marathon drive to Toronto for my unfill. I can eat again (ok, those Harrods chocolates are all gone) but my weight is staying steady. I've managed to walk at least 2 km per day just going to and from work and some shopping. I plan to work up to 5 km/day by the end of April.
  • Last night a good friend of mine did a makeup makeover for a makeup course she is taking and I was her model. I'll post some pics of beautiful me when she sends them to me. It was fun having someone do my makeup.
  • My daughter is getting married on October 6th, 2012. 18 months of planning. Funny but my first thought when she told me was how fun it will be to have a party. Afterwards I realized I hadn't once thought how I would need to lose 50 pounds. They've picked the venue: the Canadian Museum of Nature here in Ottawa to be married and for the reception. It looks like an old castle and is so cool. We'll be able to open the Dinosaur exhibit for our guests to roam.
  • My DH and I finally booked our cruise this fall. Once Chicago was announced, I had to figure out how to work around that date and we decided to go to Europe for a Riverboat Cruise down the Danube, starting in Prague on October 26th and ending in Budapest. It's billed as a wine cruise. Oh, it's our 30th anniversary.
Has everyone noticed how the days are getting longer. Woo Hoo for sun! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Treats from Harrods

My son went to London, England last weekend and arrived home on Monday night. The same night I was unable to swallow anything. He handed me a box from Harrods and inside were the following:
Last night I was finally able to have one. Yum!
(and I just snuck one more tonight)

I stopped at the Running Room on my way home tonight to buy a new pedometer for my "Walking to Chicago" challenge. I also found my NIKE runners have the small slot for their Nike Sensor that connects to the iTouch (or iPod) so I picked one up. This way when I am walking outside or on the treadmill it will keep track of my effort. I think a few of you have mentioned that you use it too.

The only good part of all my agony with the band: 4 pounds lost in the last week. But tonight, it's just nice to be able to enjoy a little food again.

I also have the sweetest son in the world!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How do you Spell Relief? U-N-F-I-L-L

Got my band in a tight spot again. And again I had an unfill but not without a lot of drama and driving.

Since coming back from Mexico, I have had many days of eating, then not eating, then getting stuck, and then BAM! Blocked!

Monday morning I was able to drink and ate some oatbran. By lunch I had only managed a few sips of water and it wasn't going down well. I called my Doc here in Ottawa and they told me he was stranded in Newark because of weather. They weren't sure if he would be back on Tuesday and even if so he was double booked. I was on a training course and finally left early only to suffer for most of the evening.

Tuesday morning I was thrilled when I could drink a full glass of water, a cup of coffee and a small glass of OJ. Then the heartburn started. So I called the clinic where I had my surgery done and booked an appointment for 3:00 that afternoon. I hoped in the car and drove 400 km (240 mi) for an unfill.

Yes, we do what we have to do. I spit and vomited into two ziploc baggies along the highway. One stop for gas and it was clear sailing. I still had to wait almost 45 minutes to get in to see the nurse but then blessed relief. 0.5 cc out, leaving me with a measly 3.9 cc in my 10 cc band.

I stayed the night with my BFF (she was thrilled that I just popped in). I was to stay on clear fluids for 48 hours but sugar just makes me feel worse. I was able to down lots of water, Gatorade and some iced tea. I know the band is still swollen so will stick to fluids til tomorrow. I just finished a watered down bowl of Cream of Broccoli soup and loved the saltiness after all that sugar.

The nurse confirmed that flying can affect the band tightness. Sometimes air gets mixed in with the liquid and it shifts with the changes in altitude. I had problems after my trip last October to Chicago and San Franciso but it settled down. I wasn't so lucky this time. Next time I fly I have already decided I want an unfill. Just to be sure. It is also one of the reasons I am considering driving to Chicago, September 30th to October 2nd.

Yes Chickies, I'm going to Chicago. I'll post more about all the decisions that had to be made to free up the weekend. Next time.
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