Quick hello

…from Fort Lauderdale.  We made it this far, obviously.  Just so you don’t get too jealous, it has been raining off and on since we arrived this morning, our hotel is quite far from anything, and our plane had no running water so there was no tea or coffee, and one had to use antiseptic towelettes in the bathrooms.  And it’s only 70 degrees farenheit.  We did manage to find a great diner-type restaurant for lunch and what looks like a good Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant for supper.  

Because the hotel is so far away, there was no regular shuttle from the airport.  We had a choice between a $20 per person for a general shuttle with a 20 to 30 minute wait and a private car for $50 with no wait at all.  Guess which one we chose?  It was a Cadillac Escalade, and rather pleasant, I must say.  The lady limo driver is coming back tomorrow morning to take us to our ship!  

And this was definitely the last post……

Love,  gail 

Last post…

No, not THAT Last Post!  This is my last one before we leave.  I promise to write stuff when we’re away and post it when we get back.  It will be interesting for me to keep this blog separate from the Travel Journal which will also be done in progress this trip.  We’ll see how that all works out.

Report on doctor’s visit this morning.  First, he kept me waiting for over an hour — at 8:15 in the morning, he was already that late; I really feel sorry for the patients with late morning appointments!  He did apologize, telling me to blame his nurse for scheduling him to do 44 things before seeing his first patient.  But after those pleasantries were exchanged, he still gave me all the time we needed without making me feel that he was rushing me out of the place. He is a pretty amazing guy and I am truly blessed to be his patient (true of all my docs, actually).  I got a cortisone shot in my troublesome left shoulder which should help with that problem once it stops hurting from the shot.  I’m scheduled to have facet injections in the C4-5 and C5-6 areas in June, which was the earliest the anaesthetist could see me — he’s another of the amazing docs.  We agreed that injections like this once a year or so would likely be a good thing to help manage the pain.  It has gotten a bit out of control now because it’s been over a year since the last one. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  With the exception of an on-time appointment and a parking space in front of the door instead of around the corner. Man, it was cold!

The suitcases are packed and locked.  Both are actually well within the weight limits.  My backpack-cum-purse and carry-on are almost ready, as is Doug’s carry-on. House watcher and mail gatherer are all arranged.  In the morning, I can print our Air Canada boarding passes, make some sandwiches to eat in the bus on the way to Toronto, and wait for Robert Q to come and pick us up.  What more could I want at this point?  A slightly warmer departure temperature, since we won’t be taking winter coats or boots!

Be well, all of you, while we’re away.  A random act of kindness each week we’re gone would be a nice thing to do.  More importantly, tell someone you love them, and be generous with your hugs.  And your time.

Talk to you in about three weeks. 



I have a headache

And I’ve had it pretty much all day.  As much as I have tried not to dwell on (or even mention much, beyond the stupid hand) things physical, today has pushed me a bit too far to ignore them.  For the past week or so, the pain in my neck has gotten worse, complete with the spasms that run from the top of the spine (where it joins with the cervical spine) across my left shoulder.  Trying every technique I learned in physio to settle the spasms has led nowhere, except that I have kept my head too still, leading to a stiff neck and headache.  The tingling in the right hand has gotten steadily worse and is beginning to interfere with some of the things I want and need to do right now.  To top it all off nicely, an old injury to my right wrist has acted up, really making the whole right hand almost useless at times.  I guess I’m really fed up with all of this ridiculousness.  Pretending that it isn’t happening doesn’t work.  I’m not converting the symptoms to something fatal.  I have continued to function, more or less.  I have’t whined and moaned about it and done the “poor me” thing.  But none of that good behaviour has made it any easier for me to deal with what’s been happening.  In fact, I think it’s made it harder.

So what do I do now?  What arsenal of tools can I draw from to help me cope, especially with the next few days which are going to be a bit hectic, what with final prep for the trip and all.  Until we actually get on the ship and get unpacked, I am not likely to relax much.  Any and all suggestions welcomed.

Tuesday morning, I get to see the doc who may be able to help with the neck issue.  I had a series of cortisone injections in the cervical spine a year ago (I think I must have mentioned this before), and I had such relief from it that I am willing to have another onedespite some risk involved.  All I have to do is convince the doc!  Wish me luck, please, and pray if you do that.

Bye for now,

Love, gail






It’s all perspective..

Those of you who follow this blog regularly may be aware that my friend Peter comments almost as regularly as I post, and he says stuff that is pretty darn important (mostly).  However, I want to say some things about his comment on yesterday’s PS post (have a quick look if you don’t remember).  You see, Peter, it really is about perspective.  Although I haven’t known you all that long, I do know that over the past few years, major weight loss has not been an issue for you. Some days, in your blog, you indicate that you do need to lose a few pounds, but then for a while you were posting your caloric intake, and I had to remind myself that you’re an athlete who trains hard and needs lots of carbs.  I, on the other hand, am allergic to carbs; whenever I see one, I want to eat it, and whenever I eat one, it reappears as a new bulge somewhere on my body.  Even if, in some other life, you were heavier than you are now, I can’t imagine that you were ever faced with the necessity to lose lots of weight.  By lots, I mean more than 50 pounds.

For those of us who live in the fat world, the task of significant weight loss is a life-long one.  Most of us have tried nearly every diet or weight-loss plan known to man (and woman) and even when we are successful in reaching our goals, we know that it would take no effort at all to return to the blimp-like creatures we once were.  Maintenance is almost as hard as loss.  But to get back to the perspective thing and remember that I speak from the position of one who has lost 50+ pounds and kept it off for over a year.  It took me about 8 months to lose the weight, and during those eight months, losing a pound in any given week was cause for celebration.  Sure, I know that normal body-weight fluctuations can be more than a pound, but when you’re trying to lose weight, that knowledge is replaced by the need to celebrate every small victory.  Even if it’s only a pound. 

During 2013, my goal was to lose another 30 pounds.  Well, that never happened, so I take solace in the fact that since last January’s pre-cruise weight, I’ve only gained a pound. Maintaining my position has been very difficult for me because of all the other crap that went on during the year.  I eat in response to stress, to ward off depression and to deal with depression — the classical mood eater.  So I’m proud of that one pound. From my perspective, it’s a victory.  Sort of. 

This year, I am going to lose those 30 pounds. So, my friend Peter, when I come back, you can be my personal trainer if you like, but you have to remember that you will be starting with a potato of the couch variety, one who is largely allergic to exercise, and one with some physical limitations that would try the patience of any personal trainer.  We do plan to join the Y when we get back so I can start some water programs (provided it has warmed up a bit; no swimming and then coming out into the cold for this kid).  We can discuss fees and things after our tea date.  I do insist on weekly weigh-ins though, as a means of providing reinforcement for success and renewed motivation in the case of blips in the process.

Despite the ridiculous weather, I did go out this morning for my last coffee date before departure (with my brother).  Had to get a few groceries and return the cable to Best Buy, so since I was out anyway, I went over to Tim’s and got us some tea.  It was most welcome when I got home.  I mean, really, enough already!!  The snow plow guys had been by during the early morning hours so the driveway had been plowed.  It had also had time to drift in again.  The streets in the subdivision had not yet met a snow plow, and the parking lots were being plowed as I tried to park in them.  If it hadn’t been so cold in the wind, it would have been amusing.  If you like that sort of thing.  It’s been so cold this winter that Doug’s Winnipeg cousin has had enough.  And everyone knows that Winnipeggers are among the hardiest of us Canadians.  We’ll see how hardy we are when it comes to church tomorrow morning.  The evening service is a definite, no matter what the weather.

Well, never mind.  Thursday morning, we fly to Florida.  I’ll hold on to that.

Love, gail


I forgot to report that this week I gained a pound — Mandarin and a couple of tea biscuits from Tim’s will do that to me.  The good thing is that I checked and I weigh one pound more than I did last year at this time.  I consider the kind of maintenance a good thing!  I will check the scale once more before we leave on Wednesday, and my goal is to maintain my pre-trip weight, or darn close to it, for the three weeks of our holiday.  I will be a whole lot more active, and while we really don’t eat a lot more in terms of quantity, there will be more calories, no doubt.  And likely some snacking.  And maybe some booze.  A little.

Love, gail

I found something!!!

The person who loses at least one thing a day has actually found two things today.  I usually throw all the cables for charging my various devices on a small desk in the bedroom, where they’re handy to an electrical outlet.  They’re all very carefully labelled since some of them look remarkably similar and with my limited knowledge of such things, I don’t want to screw anything up.  When I was trying to get things together prior to packing them, I couldn’t find the cable for the Bluetooth keyboard that goes with my tablet.  It was gone.  Nowhere in the house.  I swear it!  I went to Best Buy, thankfully following my brother’s advice to take the keyboard with me, and discovered that it requires a micro-USB (the other end is a regular USB, I knew that).  Before that moment, I was totally unaware that there was a micro-USB, thinking that the mini-USB that connects the remote from my hearing aids to power was the smallest it got, and thus the same size as the one for the keyboard. At least I didn’t try to force it into the hole that looked the same size. 

So I shelled out $20 for three feet of cable with two little connectors on it, being told I could return it if the other one turned up.  Guess who’s going to Best Buy tomorrow!! It had been hiding among a pile of papers that was waiting to be packed somewhere in our luggage. How it got there is, of course, a total mystery, but that doesn’t matter, I found it.  That’s what matters!

Second found item: two small flashlights that accompany us on all trips ever since the big blackout a long time ago.  They’re tiny LED lights, a couple of bucks almost anywhere these days. Ours were not where I initially thought they were, and it’s been bugging me for three days that I can’t remember where the are.  Logically, they should be in a suitcase that we use all the time, but when did we travel last, where did we go, and which luggage did we actually use on that trip.  I narrowed it down, I thought, by the process of elimination. At one point, I asked Doug to shake the suitcase that I was now absolutely certain contained the elusive little things, but he said it didn’t rattle.  Now where do I look; that suitcase was my certainty.  Just before I started to type this, I went to look myself.  I opened the darn thing and poked around inside it.  And there they were, exactly where I had remembered, or at least deduced, they were!  THAT is an accomplishment.

Perhaps I haven’t lost my mind after all.

I’m going to have supper now.  My right hand hurts.  My nose hurts because I looked outside and saw the wind blowing.  My nose always hurts in the cold.

Love, gail

Good day today!

I got a ton of stuff done today and still managed to get two meals ready.  Also did laundry, darned socks, sorted out clothes for the trip and did the thing I dislike nearly as much as any other household task, ironing.  Two pant hems to whip up on the sewing machine tomorrow, formal wear for the trip to pack somehow, and I think I’m on the down-slope of preparations.  Feels good.

A good friend, upon reading the blog, suggested that I try to banish the negative thoughts from my mind, and thus from my day-to-day functioning.  Would that it were so easy!  She is aware of the difficulties, but hopes that I could engage in some brain training to change how it works.  I will try.  The thing is that for folks like me who are prone to depression, finding the positive is sometimes nearly impossible. Funny, while Doug can be far more positive than I, he also has his dark moments.  When we got married, we agreed that the two of us would never be sick at the same time. I wish we had made the same agreement about our moods. Trouble is, when one of us is in a bad place, we often drag the other in with us, despite our best intentions not to do so. 

So perhaps the solution to my pessimistic view of things lies in the sharing of effort to train the brain. We have investigated a brain training program to help keep us both sharp (and maybe even help with my failing memory).  Maybe there is a part of it that can change thought patterns as well.

I’m very tired.  Physically.  Standing on my feet for much of the day, walking back and forth all over the house (note to self: find pedometer), missing my nap….  Time to go and collapse in my La-Z-Boy.

Love, gail

One more thing off the list

Only one more doc to see before we leave.  The eye doc says I’m good for another year.  Next week, I see the pain guy, the one who is helping me manage  the problems with my neck and the numbness and tingling and pain in my rigth hand.  Hopefully we can make some decisions that are going to help.  Not that I am willing to make any changes in meds or stuff like that before we go, but when we get back, then I will go all out.  But other than the eye doc this morning, the day seems to have gone by pretty much on its own, and I got nothing done aside from eating, drinking, cooking and napping.  A wonderful day, all things considered.

Tomorrow, I am actually going to get stuff started for th e trip.  I have clothes to try to on, some new jeans to shorten, some socks to darn for Doug, and some laundry to do.  That should keep me busy. Also, I think I’m being realistic in deciding that I will limit my on-ship exercise to brisk walks and stairs.  Did that today at St. Joe’s and the university, and that felt good.  If I say I’m going to do the bike and then don’t, I feel guilty, and I’d rather not do that. On the ship, walking is a matter of course to get from point A to point B, and if I add some deliberate exercise type walking and some stairs, I will be fine.

For now I want to keep Doug company and watch some TV.  Be well my friends, and take care of one another. 

Love, gail





….don’t bother me.  Ate too much at The Mandarin at lunch and am now paying for it.  I’ll see you tomorrow.  One thing though: the fortune cookie.

“If it is necessary, it is possible.”


Love, gail