Friday, February 26, 2010

I am an old hypochondriac

Well, I started getting nervous about the problem of my eyesight, so I called my optometrist and made an appointment. It turns out those lovely gray spots passing through my sight are floaters. They are caused by the deterioration of vitreous fluid in the eye. It is a normal part of the aging process, and is not serious. I can confirm, however, that they are highly annoying. So, I was glad to find out that there is nothing serious wrong with my eyesight. My doctor says it is like getting a grandfather clock. You will hear the ticking of the clock at first, but will get used to it the longer it stays around. So, I guess I just need to get used to these little buggers.

I also realized why my chest has been hurting. I have been swimming more than ever - an hour at a time of upper body exercise. I am not used to doing any exercises with my upper body (as a matter of fact, I have a pretty weak upper body). My poor chest muscles are not used to any use, so no wonder they hurts.

So, I am well. I am just getting older. It could be worse.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mystery Pains

I am beginning to worry that I am a hypochondriac. I am not feeling well, and I worry that it is something really bad. I always imagine the worst when it comes to feeling a little sick. After my bump in the night fears, I am nervous to go to the doctor again. Hubby says I am just getting old. Maybe there is some real truth to it.

Since January, I have had little black spots in my vision. They come up occasionally, move across my vision, then disappear. It is annoying, but hasn't caused any other problem. I Googled black spots (I guess I did not learn from the last incident), and it says it is just a sign of getting older. Today, though, I did decide to e-mail my eye doctor to see if he thinks I should come in for a check up.

Last night, my right thumb started hurting. It was hurting very badly. It did not look swollen and I did not bang it. I could just barely seem to move it. When hubby touched it, I thought I was going to cry. It still hurt this morning, but I heard it pop around lunch time. It is feeling much better now.

The left side of my chest hurts. It hurts from under my arm down the side of my chest. It feels like a muscle ache. I have felt around and there are no bumps. I really have no idea what it is. It started last night too, but before bed. It is not from sleeping in a bad position.

I wish my best friend was a doctor. I wish I knew someone who could say "Don't worry." For now, I guess I will just try to rest and hope it goes away. The groin pull I had a few weeks ago went away. Maybe I really am getting old.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Cooking

I have been on this new kick lately. For the past three weeks, I have been cooking a soup, stew, or chili on Sunday for the week. It has really been quite nice. It gives me a chance to enjoy cooking because I don't have to rush on a Sunday. I can make a big dish like chili and don't have to worry about waiting an hour for it to cook while we are starving. It is also nice to get everything cleaned up without having to do dishes at 9pm. There are plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week so we can have it for dinner one night or lunch throughout the week. The best part of all - soups and stews usually taste better the next day anyway.

I have made a white bean vegetarian chili, butternut squash soup, and black bean turkey chili (we're having that for dinner tonight) so far. I have two more recipes lined up - a Moroccan sweet potato stew and a red potatoes with chickpeas Middle Eastern stew. Today, I just downloaded Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes. Yum!

I am so glad I started this process. It has been so nice to cook hearty food for Bill and me. It has really brought back the joy of cooking and has encouraged me to try new things. I can see myself continuing the process for a long time. Chilled soups over the summer, anyone?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Winter Olympics 2010

The Winter Olympics started last Friday with the Opening ceremonies. We watched "Couples Retreat" on DVD that night. After seeing that movie, perhaps we should have watched the opening ceremonies (just kidding, it wasn't THAT bad). Over the next few days of competition, we still did not tune it. I have seen some of the medal tallies and results on various Internet pages, but I have not watched a single thing. I have seen friends make comments about the Olympics on Facebook, but I still have not tuned in. I don't really know why. I do love sports and, let's face it, there is really not much else on TV to watch.

Yesterday. Team USA had a record day (thank you, The USA got more medals in the Winter Olympics yesterday that any other previous day. I was intrigued so I watched Lindsay Vonn's downhill run and Shaun White's half pipe skills. I was so impressed by the pure athleticism and the emotional charge of these two athletes. It made me want to see more. I used to watch the Olympics every year. It is sad that it seems like there is not enough time to watch the world come together in celebration of incredible athleticism. I hope I can catch more in the second half of the games.

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics?

Friday, February 12, 2010

V Day 2010

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. I honestly haven't thought about it too much this year. It is one of those holidays that is blown out of proportion as far as I am concerned. Much like New Year's Eve, all of the restaurants are crowded and serving "special" menus for crazy prices. I am not interested.

I told my hubby that my perfect Valentine's Day would be staying at home with him and our two dogs. I would like to cook a nice dinner, but I don't need a gift or even a card. I guess I like cards sometimes, but really, what do you do with them? You read them once, you are thankful for the sentiment, and then they sit on the table for days. I always feel guilty about throwing away any cards, so I keep them in a basket in our bedroom. I don't read them again, but I have them all...just in case. When the basket gets full, I toss the oldest cards. It just seems a bit silly to me. My husband can tell me he loves me, and I will be perfectly happy.

So, that is our plan for this Sunday. We plan to go to Whole Foods to get steaks and lobster tails. I would like to cook a butternut squash soup for us as an appetizer, and we will probably get something sinful for dessert. After dinner, we will probably sit on the sofa and watch a movie. I think it sounds great and it sure beats a crowded restaurant any day.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Master Swim

Since this year seems to be the year of the triathlon for us, hubby and I have started to take a Masters Swim class. Last Thursday night was my first class.

I learned to swim as a youngster at the YMCA. I continued to take lessons at various recreation centers in my youth, but I was never a great swimmer. I can manage to swim well enough to complete a sprint level triathlon. Since this year's goal is an international distance for me and a half Ironman for hubby, we decided we needed extra help.

I was very nervous in the class. Luckily, there were about 12 people there, so it worked out well to have 4 people in each of the 3 lanes. Both of us easily got spots in the beginner's lane. The Masters class has a set workout for a one hour session. There is a trained coach there for assistance and critique. There are also lane leaders who are people who have been to several classes and know most of the technical drills.

I was scared that I would not be able to swim for a full hour. Our warm-up consisted of several 200 meter drills (that's 8 pool laps per drill!). At the end of the first drill, I was pretty tired. I felt like I had to swim as fast as I could just to keep out of my fellow swimmers way. I was getting pretty discouraged at first, but with the help of my hubby and my other lane mates, I continued to swim.

My normal reaction to critique is to quit. I almost quit the class. I realized that the coach was giving me tips and not making a personal assault on my swimming skills. I also realized that I came to the class to become a better swimmer. If a certified swim coach says I need to rotate my hips more, then it is not a criticism, but something I need to do to have a better swim stoke. Once this realization was out of the way, I actually enjoyed and got a lot out of the class.

Sadly, I have a different class this week, so I will be unable to attend this week's Master swim. I am already looking forward to next week. I feel confident that taking this class, listening to the coach, and swimming on my own will have a very positive affect on my swim times this year.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

It's all about the fitness

I am very excited about an upcoming event at work. I serve as a member of the employee appreciation team. One thing we thought would be fun to do while the year is still young is a Health and Wellness week. We have a couple of things planned, but I am by far most excited about our fitness challenge.

A colleague of mine has been doing fitness challenges for a while now. I have been doing them with her and her group of friends (which does include some of my colleagues) for over a year now. The challenges all have a theme, but the core remains the same. Workout, record your workout time in minutes, and submit that number each Monday via e-mail. I contacted my colleague to see if she would be interested in doing a company wide challenge in association with Health and Wellness week. The ME Fitness Challenge was born.

We are using a theme of March Madness. For 8 weeks, each person records their workout times, and those times are converted into baskets. The teams of 5 people have their individual scores tallied, and the teams play in a round robin type tournament until the ultimate winner is chosen.

I thought it would be nice to have 10-15 people join. Based on experience, I really thought that was all I would get. I am thrilled and excited to say we have 40 people doing the challenge - that's 50% or more of the company!!! We had to expand the teams from 6 to 8 to accommodate all of the people. I am so, so very excited that folks are participating in this event. I think it will be lots of fun, and any effects from the challenge will only be positive.

The challenge starts 2/14/10 (I know, not the best day, but people can start working off those Valentine's Day chocolates right away). I'm sure I will be posting more as the challenge continues.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Is the substitute better?

My stylist, J, just had her first child last week, a gorgeous baby girl. We knew it was unlikely that she was going to be able to do my next haircut after our last meeting, so I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with K for today. I knew K was new to the salon. I actually did not recognize her at all when she called me name for my appointment. We hit it off right away and got down to business. We picked a nice chocolaty brown color for my hair, and away we went. After the color processed, she asked me what I wanted as far as the cut went. She took some off the bottom and cut my bangs, something that was much needed. I looked and felt great when I left the salon.

Here is the problem. I have been going to J for about 4 years now. She is actually a personal friend as well as my stylist. I attended her baby shower not 3 weeks ago. The thing is, K gave me one of the best haircuts I have ever had. What's a girl to do? I did schedule my next appointment with K for 6 weeks from now. I don't think J will be back by then, but she will surely be back for the appointment after that one. It's not like I would be leaving one salon to go to another. I would still be at the same place. I would still see J if I did decide to switch. I guess there is no sense worrying about it now. I have at least one more appointment to make a decision.

What do you think? Stay loyal to a friend who does a good job or make a business decision to change to someone who may do a better job?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Snow on a Friday night?

After several false reports this year, we finally got some snowfall in 2010. Where I live in the Southern US, we don't get much snow at all. It is actually very rare for us to get any sort of accumulation of snow. It is a big deal (and sometimes too big a deal) when we actually get some. People race to the grocery store in a panic to make sure they get their bread and milk before the snow starts falling. And when it does start falling, it is like the world around us shuts down.
It really is comical, especially when you hail from the North where winter snowfall is just a yearly experience.

Well, we got a big snowfall (guesstimating about 4 inches) this past Friday night. Yes, it started about 6:30 pm, once I was home for the day and ready to enjoy the weekend. It continued overnight and even a bit into Saturday. My hair appointment was canceled (I can barely see through my bangs) and we had to forgo our dinner date Saturday night.

On the plus side, fresh snow is always so lovely. The dogs just love it, and it was so much fun to see them run around in the new snow. We all took a walk together on Saturday afternoon, then played snowbound for the rest of the weekend. We always seem to be running around so much, and it was nice to be all together as a family in our home with no schedule. We also had electricity for the entire time, so there is no complaining from my side.
I just wish we had another day snowbound. What fun is it if you can't get a full day off of work? It is like this wonderful free day to just do as you please. I am lucky to work for a good company that decided to open at noon today. My dear husband was not as lucky. He had to go in at normal time, even with the frozen roads.

Soon, the snow will be melted and the backyard will be a huge mud pit. At least we have the memories of the great snowfall and the fun we had. Who know what the remainder of the winter will bring? I hear there may be snow in the forecast for later this week. On Saturday!