My Journey Begins

I made a decision a few days back, the decision to take back my health. I’m about to turn 54 and I’m not at all where I know I need to be to keep up the pace in my job or to live much longer as a healthy, functioning person.

I have an old and dear friend who has lost 93 pounds and kept it off for 3 years now. She looks totally amazing and is healthy along with having oodles of energy. I would look at her before and after photos and think “I want that”, but wasn’t willing to just spend 30 minutes sitting down to talk with her because I knew it was going to cost money and a change in lifestyle.

Now after 2 years of working as a STNA, I know that I must do something. I’ve tried various diets, programs etc over the years and that didn’t do it. I even changed a few things, but I’m still sitting back at 185 (down from 199 but holding) and my body is saying some not so nice things to me at the end of my shifts. 7 years ago I was at 155, still heavier than I should have been but 30 pounds less than today.  My blood pressure is creeping upward too, into the high range, no doubt from lugging me around.

I now work in an assisted living memory care community, so I’m not pushing and pulling lifts with bodies on them (a broda chair alone can weigh 90 pounds before you put the resident in it for the day, adding 200 to make a total of 290 pounds to push and pull up hallways), but I’m on my feet for 8 hours and still doing some lifting and a lot of squatting-to-standing. I need a change.

I don’t just want that, I want THAT!!!!

My daughter-in-law got with this friend of mine (we all go way back) and started down her journey and has lost a sizable amount toward her own goal. She even decided to take the plunge and become a health coach. She is now my coach. And when I start seeing success I’m jumping in too so I can help other people make a healthy turn around.

I plan to post photos, blog entries and encouragement for others who want some inspiration. And if you see the results you seek you can contact me and I’ll hook you up with my health coach.

Yes, it is a financial investment in the beginning, but I realized looking over my bank statement that I actually spend about this amount on iced coffees, breakfast and lunch at the drive thru when working, or when I’m out and hungry. I’ve invested a lot of money to get here, a little more to get healthy only makes sense.

Day One will be as soon as my tools and food arrive (and yes you do transition to your own foods over time), when I will post my official weight for the start of the journey and photos. I’m sticking myself out there because where I am now doesn’t matter as much as where I’m going to be!

Change Is Good

I’ve been a bit silent of late because, quite honestly, I was a bit down. As in depressed. Not lay on a shrink’s couch and spill my childhood and blame it on someone depressed, or “mommy’s little helper” medication needed depressed. Just bummed.

I love my profession, caring for the elderly, and have a passion for memory care patients. When I took the position at my sister’s facility I felt I had found the place I’d stay for many years. But when your sister is the Executive Director, and policy says no family can be a direct or indirect report (never mind it was approved by the corporate HR), sooner or later someone is going to become disgruntled with management and pitch a hissy fit.  Some nurse who didn’t like the E.D. enforcing policies decided to stick it to the facility and complained. She has no idea the can of worms she has opened because many people there are direct and indirect reports to family, and now that will have to be addressed because my coworkers and resident families are very unhappy about my having to resign and go else where.  50+ fellow employees signed a petition, resident’s families lit up the integrity and friends & family phone lines, but it did no good. I gave a 30 day notice and started hunting for a new job.

The first job I found was very close to home, so much so I could walk if I wanted too. But one look at the very clinical feel of the memory care unit and I simply could not stomach it. I oriented and the entire time it felt like an institution and not a good way to care for our elderly with dementia. I was really in the dumps over it. I prayed and sometimes even yelled at my Father in Heaven, not liking this one bit!

Then…I found it. I knew of a local place that was just opened, and is all memory care assisted living. At this point, figuring I had nothing at all to lose, I walked in and applied. I was interviewed and hired on the spot. My 3 day class from Teepa Snow’s organization on caring for dementia residents was a huge plus.

I found my dream job folks! You know those places you see on Facebook with the cute little front porches inside the building? The ones that don’t look like a nursing home but more like a neighborhood from long ago? Well that is what this new place is like! In fact they call each ‘unit’ a neighborhood. And it is all person centered. If grandma wants to sleep until noon, she does. If she wants to sit in the living room and sip coffee in her jammies, she does that too. Court yards that wrap around the entire building, all secure and feeling like you are strolling along past outdoor porches with rocking chairs and smiling old folks keeping them moving. Inside the dining rooms and living rooms feel like home. As you walk around the square past each neighborhood porch there is furniture that feels like outdoors and mimics true days of old. The pace inside is gentle and loving. We serve their meals in chef’s jackets so they feel like they are dining out in a fancy place. It is amazing!

I now look forward to going to work every day. It is like being at home! I do dishes (in a dishwasher), set tables, make beds, assist with activities of daily living…and I’m expected to sit outside in the rockers with my residents and engage them! Yes, paid to spend time watching a movie or tv show, walking the court yard paths, or working a puzzle or playing a game! We are care partners, like family members, to our residents.

Sure, we have some who sun down and become difficult, but with the training I have I know how to redirect them, validate their feelings, empathize and help them through those bumps in the road.

Who knew that when forced to change, it was because God had something better in store for me! This job has blessed my life so much, in ways I could never have imagined.

Sunday Wine Musings…

It is 7:10pm, first day of daylight savings time, so my body and mind believe it is really only 6:10pm and I have to convince them this is not the case because I must be up at 4am tomorrow for work. Hoping the wine helps with this a bit.

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, wasn’t sure I was going to keep writing it but I’ve decided to stick around and try like crazy to post more often. Life has a funny way of invading your plans and priorities have to be addressed. Sadly most days writing is not the priority. At least folks can tell from my Instagram on my page that I have not died!

While I’ve been away, I had to patiently wait until my daughter passed the 3 month mark to let the world know that I’ll be a grandma for the 6th time come late summer/early fall. I am beyond over the moon about this, as the Nana gig is by far the most amazing yet. I am hoping for a girl this time, as we only have one girl in the mix, but a healthy baby is a joy regardless of gender. Early in April we’ll find out that secret and it is either buying more Bengals and Reds attire for a boy, or tutus for a girl. Well and yes sports items for her too because that is how we roll.

News flash…save your money and if you are into those Yeti tumblers, I can tell you that RTIC is just as wonderful and about 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost. I fill mine as I leave for work at 5am and that coffee is still hot at 9:45am in our daily stand-up meeting at work. If I use it for cold drinks, ice is still in it 12 hours later. Could be longer but I’m rarely one to let anything sit that long before consuming it. Really, save yourself a fortune! I’m making a series of cup cozies for that size tumbler, though they don’t need one as they never ‘sweat’ and are easily held no matter if it is a hot or cold drink inside. It is all about having a fashionable cup at that point! 🙂

Over the past week I was trying like crazy to come down with a rip-roaring sinus infection. Maybe the weather didn’t help as we had a few odd days with winter, then spring (even a tornado warning at work) then back to winter again. We are currently experiencing winter for those interested in what cue card nature is reading. The infection was growing, causing a headache, snot factory, and over all fatigue. In the past I have boiled water and put tea tree oil in it and inhaled the steam, but that can burn your skin and its uncomfy to breathe. So, on a whim I googled and found out I could put tea tree oil in my neti pot!!! One drop, per the many articles I found, or it can irritate the sinus membranes. But I did this twice a day over 3 days and could feel it draining away. Today I’m breathing freely and really amazed. NOTE: I am NOT a doctor and this is NOT medical advice…just passing along what worked for me, flush those sinuses with saline and tea tree oil at your own risk.

I’ve not been neglecting my shop, in fact I have several items to stock, just haven’t taken photos and built listings. Again, life has been in the way a bit but I now have the supplies for shipping and I’ll be placing these over the next few days. My daughter is starting to add things as well, so we’ll have some really nice items coming this week.

Speaking of her…she recently became a Jamberry rep. Like me, she has a passion for direct sales, but needed to find her passion for a product. Me, I’m back on Avon but that is another post. My baby girl LOVES the nail wraps and finally took the plunge to become a rep. And she is making money, which is no real shock as once you find your passion product you are going to do well. It doesn’t hurt that these sell themselves right off your finger nails. Seriously she has people stop her to ask where she got her nails done. I had tried them once but didn’t have a real clue what I was doing. Now, if you go to a party or search YouTube you will have it down. I let her do a manicure on me 2 weeks ago from her stock and was blown away. I wash my hands at work easily 30 to 50 times in a shift. The wraps held up great through it all. And trust me I am hard on my hands, they are my most used tool every day at work. I also bite my nails. So this helped me make it 2 weeks without biting them at all. I actually have some nail to work with today and she came over and did my nails and my mom’s with the wraps we purchased from her. Mom is going through chemo and her nails just are so thin and fragile now. We figure wraps will help to protect them and she found a color she loved. You can see how short my nails must have been by where they are today, with this new french manicure wrap on. I LOVE them!

My index finger is the shortest I have and I’m determined to keep at this to get something grown. I cannot go real long, as nails cause skin tears to our elderly residents, their skin is onion paper-thin so it takes so little to injure them. But I can have pretty nails!  Each sheet is enough for 2 manicures with a few wraps to spare, and only $15 a sheet! Check out her shop, the selection is just incredible. You can do a Basic Bundle for only $58.50 and that includes 4 sheets of wraps, the mini heater, and all the supplies you need to do your wraps, so it is quite the savings!

Well the dryer is calling me with the song of its people, so time to get my laundry folded and tuck myself into bed for my day tomorrow.

Y’all have a marvelous one!



When The Scale Goes Down

gobigJanuary usually brings out the new year resolutions for most folks, but not for me. Just not my thing to make a decision to do anything in particular only to have that resolution die in flames 3 weeks later. My son goes to a local gym where I used to attend, and for the first few weeks of the year it is packed to the walls, but come the end of the month only about half of those people are still around. By the end of February 90% will have stopped going, forgetting their resolution to drop weight and get in shape.

For me, the need to get some weight off is tied to my blood pressure. Being a Medication Aide now, I take vital signs on residents so I purchased a higher end electronic BP cuff. I’ve been monitoring my own and yikes, it was starting to get into the lower end of the high blood pressure scale. Actually some times it is more like moderate. Being a blood donor (if it is too high they won’t take your blood), and a member of a family full of high BP folks, this is a cause for concern. Between my weight and my serious addiction to coffee, I knew I had to start making a few life choices to protect myself. I’m not getting any younger and I want to live a long, healthy life.

My first step was drinking more water. Like a LOT more water. I’ve read that you should divide your weight by 2, and that would give you the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day. This meant 97.5 ounces of water a day for me. Yes, I was sitting at 195 pounds, and that much water made me feel like I could swim with the whales. No one believed me when I told them my weight, seems I carry it well, and being large chested it helps to make the poundage more balanced and less obvious. My blood pressure, however, doesn’t lie.

The second step was to cut back on portions. I’ve not stopped eating my favorite things, I just eat less of them now. I don’t measure, per say, I just eat slower and eat a smaller portion than normal. Especially with dessert, IF I have it at all.

Step three was cutting down on the caffeine consumption. This was really difficult because I LOVE coffee, this girl runs on it. A few months back my daughter introduced me to the wonders of Dunkin Donuts iced coffees. Mama here was in love with the peppermint mocha, but after Christmas this amazing flavor vanished and won’t be back until we roll in to the holiday season again. Now please understand, this girl doesn’t mess around when it comes to her coffee, you go big or you go home. I don’t go home when it comes to java. A large, iced coffee, with the flavoring and NO cream or sugar is 260 calories or so. Um, that is just dandy if you aren’t eating anything but I am good for a breakfast sandwich too, and then  at work once the residents have breakfast we can chow down on the left overs. I rarely passed up some bacon or a small danish, maybe a pancake or french toast. I wasn’t gaining a pound, but I wasn’t shedding any either.

I was under the mistaken impression that I needed all that caffeine for energy for my day. The sugar that comes in flavor shots wasn’t hurting the cause either. So, to scale back on the intake of my liquid motivation, not to mention the money spent daily at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, I started making up the coffee at home, the night before, so while getting ready for work my coffee is brewing. I grab a carton of muscle milk, my go cup of coffee and head out of the door for work. My calorie intake dropped significantly with the home brewed cup, it is less coffee than I was drinking in the very large, iced variety, and with the minimal calories in the muscle milk I can nibble on a half piece of french toast or pancake at work and not come near what I was consuming.

And last, but not least…SLEEP! I’ve read countless places that not getting enough sleep will impede on weight loss. Now I am in bed and asleep in time to get 8 to 8.5 hours a night, sometimes even more. Once in a while there is an exception, but over all I make it a point to get enough sleep. Between that rest, and the fact that I’m now down 10 pounds for January, I have more energy without the caffeine over load.

Thankfully, the numbers on the scale keep creeping down, so I must be doing something (or things) right!

A Little Therapy Session

Have you checked out the shop blog? Drop by and see what I’m working on both for the shop and myself!

By Hook And By Hand

I’m busy working out of my basket of cotton yarn today. I had an exam this morning and now I need a little hooker therapy. I’m making wash cloths from the 100% cotton yarn, and will have these in the shop soon.

I ordered the yarn for my temperature blanket 2 days ago, and in impatience I’m waiting…and waiting, for the UPS man to show up. I’m pretty certain it hasn’t even shipped yet but I’m really excited to start this! 🙂

What are you working on today?

Screenshot_2017-01-19-15-56-53-1.png My basket of cotton yarn

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Saturday Coffee Clouds

My brain is in hyper drive this morning, thoughts rolling through and then vaporizing like the steam clouds off of my coffee cup which is sitting next to me. I’m propped up on pillows on my bed with my lap desk and laptop, enjoying my ‘nest’. My room is my haven, it is a crazy collection of things that make me comfy and feel happy. I do some great thinking, resting, sleeping, laughing and relaxing here. No negatives permitted in the nest of the marvelous one.

I’m amazed at how much time can be wasted through the use of social media apps. I’m not knocking them or you for using them, I’m a serious addict myself. For example, we get a 30 minute “break” at work, it is our lunch time so to speak, each shift. Often I just hit the break room and crochet for the 30 minutes as that calms my soul and recharges my attitude battery. But if I make the mistake of picking up my phone when I first plant myself in the chair, that 30 minutes flies by while I’m scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. When I first woke up this morning, I reached for my phone and burned 45 minutes, seemingly in the blink of an eye, that cannot be used again. And that was before coffee! Time is our most valuable possession, each second is a one time deal with no refunds or do overs. And I wasted 45 minutes looking through a lot of crap for a few nuggets of humor.

iStock_000019755169SmallIt occurred to me during those wasted moments, that I have a social media relationship with my heavenly Father most days. My bible study is on an app, She Reads Truth, (Currently working through a 28 day study in John), which I typically read in the parking lot at work. I arrive 20 minutes or so early and spend that time on the app. It is a good way to get in the Word of God and start the day, but it really doesn’t replace the feel of my good old bible in my hands, or time on my knees in deep discussion with my Abba. It is my old friend, onion skin thin pages full of God’s Word and my notations in the margins, highlighted sections that meant something to me, quotes I loved from pastors over the years and so on. I fear taking it in my car, as I don’t want to have anything happen to it. But then I don’t spend time with it at home very often. My prayer time is often of the social media style too, 140 or so characters shot up to the Lord before I start my day, but it hasn’t been deep, meaningful prayers that I need alone and quiet time. My ‘Facebook relationship’ with my Savior of late needs to be addressed. Instead of scrolling through umpteen political posts I need to reach for the Word.

I need to start using my planner, NOW. So much needs to be scheduled or it simply doesn’t happen. Work of course does, but then I need to study for my exam this week, make time to be in the Word and prayer, work on projects for my shop, run errands, do some laundry, write blog posts and other social media posts for my shop, get to church this weekend, watch the services from last Sunday, well as you can see I have a lot to do. It is funny to me that at work I am a time management freak, a multi-tasking champion who can get my work done and kick start 2nd and 3rd shift by doing their laundry assignments. But outside of work I’m a hot mess of too much to do and zero organization. Maybe because at work there is a definite deadline and I do my best work under pressure. I’m hoping by actually scheduling it in my planner in time blocks, it will put enough emphasis on the importance of the tasks that I will get it all finished. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Temperature Blankets

By Hook And By Hand

I’ve been seeing a trend of posts on Pinterest lately of temperature blankets. At first I was confused as to the point of row upon row of changing colors, why and how you would change them. So I did some research and discovered that the outside high temperature of the day is what dictates the color of the yarn.

Obviously this would take some planning and a color chart. I’ve seen a number of these done as one row per day, others as one row per week. Some pick their colors to represent 10 degree ranges, others 5 degree ranges of temperature. In the end the blankets have a look of those beautiful blankets from Mexico, but are a record of the temperatures for that calendar year in your particular area.

I’ve found the photos over at Beneath The Rowan Tree’s blog, her pattern there might help you in…

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Baby Hats!!!

Check out the latest!

By Hook And By Hand

I’ve got the baby bug. In the mood to make a baby item this morning, I pulled out my gear and made this adorable little baby girl hat. Too cute if I do say so myself. On that note I’m going to be adding it to my shop, and a blue version. This particular one is for newborn to 3 months, but I can make them in a variety of sizes (and colors!).

I think some baby booties are a good pairing for this item…what do you think?


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Random Coffee Musings

My brain is full and needs a bit of a mental dump.

  • My go too coffee has changed..I’m hooked on iced coffee thanks to my daughter. I was seriously addicted to Dunkin Donuts Iced Peppermint Mocha, but that is seasonal so now it is a fudge brownie. I avoid cream and sugar, because this large drink already has like 260 calories. It is liquid motivation, energy, common sense, and get the job done all in one big cup.
  • My feet and body are just done. Really. I’ve worked so much lately, including a double shift the day before yesterday, then 8 hours later back on the floor again, that I’m just finished. I even spent the night at the facility in an empty unit because I was too exhausted to drive home after the double shift, which meant an extra 1.5 hours of sleep so it was well worth it. Just packed a go bag and extra uniform and showered there too. I work another double tomorrow, with an 8 hour break before being back on the floor Monday. I cannot wait for Tuesday to just sleep in for a change.
  • I love my job, and my residents, even when I get punched, clawed, kicked, rammed with a walker, and nearly bitten. Those behaviors are summed up by one of my residents, a tiny little darling who, when I wake her to get her up, always says, “I’m scared”.  96  years old, tiny little thing, and terrified. Poor lady just wants to go home to her home town where she was raised, it is the last place she remembers living because dementia has stolen much of her present and past and that is all she knows most days. That and where she worked when she retired. I just hug her and promise to protect her, she hugs me back and says “I love you”. Makes the whole crazy mess worth it.
  • I have so much studying to do! Need to take my Kentucky medication aide test so I can pass meds at this facility. I’ve worked so much lately that my brain just doesn’t have what it takes to study. Must work on that.
  • Is it just me, or does red lipstick on women over 50 tend to make them look like the old hag living on the corner? You know, the one who is bat poop looney and dresses like she robbed a thrift store drop box or granddaughter’s closet? A Baddie Winkle wanna be? *shudder*  Sorry just my opinion.
  • I managed to kill my air plants. Seems soaking them in water for 20 minutes, twice a week isn’t just a suggestion. I did well for a while, but now they are but dust. Guess I’ll be ordering more because I rather like them.
  • Do people realize when they are in their cars picking their nose that we can see them? Seriously you are not invisible and that is flat out disgusting, especially when you lick your fingers off!

Just some random stuff, now there is room for more random thoughts.

Staying Warm

Have you checked out the shop blog? Show some love over there!

By Hook And By Hand

Winter has moved into our area, though with it being 59 degrees today one would be hard pressed to prove that! Have no fear, in greater Cincinnati one only needs to wait a few minutes before the weather will change. Snow and cold will make an appearance before long.

15673038_1067450206697553_1784120851927591983_nWhile waiting for the snow to fly I’ve been working on a number of scarves to sell. These are nice and thick, 72 inches long, and I can customize the colors to suit a variety of preferences. I’m currently working on matching hats. The hat pattern that comes with the scarf pattern simply isn’t working up to look right, so I’m on a quest to find a new one so I can make them and get them on the shop. I have 3 more scarves that should release later today in the Etsy Shop. Currently I am working on the…

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