Fitbit Charge HR

Fitbit Charge HRIt finally happened. I was finally able to buy a Fitbit Charge HR. I bought the extra large because I didn’t trust that the large one would fit my fat wrist lol. I also didn’t trust that the band on the large would keep it on. I prefer a regular watch band.

I wanted to buy something like this a couple of years ago, but these are so expensive, and I just didn’t have the money. I bought The Spark from SparkPeople, which is a great product, but it’s glitchy. When I am riding my bike, it logs it as “General exercise” which means if I really burn like say 300 calories, it logs it as 94 or something. I don’t like that. I also didn’t like that it didn’t work with the bluetooth to connect to my phone, and this does.

When I lost 70lbs a couple of years ago, I used the Noom app, and to tell the truth I’ve been using it ever since, I just haven’t lost any weight because once my motivation goes away, I don’t lose weight, so whatever I am using doesn’t do any good. I have a new gadget, and I have some motivation to lose weight again, so I really hope I get my moneys worth with this new watch lol.

Of course I won’t be able to put it to good use for another month. My gym membership is frozen until April 15th, so on that date I will ride my new Schwinn Meridian 3-wheel tricycle to Planet Fitness. The physical therapist said I can use the exercise bike and the elliptical machine and to do some of the exercises I did at Physical Therapy. Until then, I will use the Fitbit watch and the Fitbit app to track my sleep and my steps and log my food. I’ve already walked 3,070 steps since I got it this morning. It wants me to walk 10,000 steps per day, and I’ve already walked a quarter of that so far. The day isn’t over.

I was going to wait until next month to buy it, but I was just dying to have it now. I’m impatient lol.

Weight Loss at Planet Fitness

planetfitness1I have been going to Planet Fitness 4 days a week for a month now and I am already starting to see results. Not scale results, but I can see results in my face, my double chin is getting smaller and so is my stomach. The scale results haven’t changed because I’ve been building muscle. I don’t expect to see much difference on the scale, so I’m not stressing over it.

I am a little confused about something that I’ve been seeing on the interwebs. I went to search for the Planet Fitness logo, and I see images like these.

planetfitness_judgementzone 44073962 e18byg1 Judgement-Free-Zone-Judged-for-being-fitWhen I first started going to Planet Fitness, there was a guy in the locker room with his teenage son. I was getting ready to leave, and he was getting ready to exercise. There was a Planet Fitness commercial on the TV and I wasn’t really paying much attention, but it was one of the usual ones that play over and over with a drill sergeant. It’s this one.

He told me “You know what they are saying in that commercial? They are saying they don’t want you to exercise here. They are telling you that you can come here and hang out and take selfies if you want to.” Really? Because the message that I got was that they aren’t pressuring you to kill yourself at the gym. Hence the “No Gymtimidation” quote all over the place.

I think people are getting the wrong impression of Planet Fitness. You know what I see? I see people come in and exercise at their own pace for as long or short as they want. I see people who are happy who do whatever the heck they want without anyone yelling at them, like in that commercial.

You know what I do? I ride my bike there, which is about 25 to 30 minute ride, then get in the Total Body Enhancement for 12 minutes, walk on the treadmill for 50 minutes to an hour, get a massage, then ride home on the bike which is another 25 to 30 minutes. That’s the extent of my exercise. I see people who are using the machines and they have big muscles and no one is telling them they are in too good of shape to continue going to Planet Fitness. The day before yesterday they set off the lunk alarm because there was some obnoxious person dropping the weights and making loud noises. That’s the first time I heard the lunk alarm in the month that I’ve been going there.

For those saying Planet Fitness doesn’t let you build muscle, you’re wrong. For those saying Planet Fitness isn’t a real gym, you’re wrong. So I think if you don’t like the message Planet Fitness is sending in their commercials, go to another gym. Life is too short to act like babies. I’m serious about my weight loss. If you are serious about being a jackass, go somewhere else.

Baleaf Men’s Thermal Cycling Tights

Winter is coming, and it’s going to be brutal in Bakersfield. People in the mid-west don’t believe that California is capable of getting cold, but trust me, it can get pretty chilly in Bakersfield. That’s the main reason I stop riding my bicycle for exercise when it starts to get cold in October.

I can handle a little bit of cold weather, but not on my bare skin. When I ride the bike, I try to wear tight fitting clothes. The only bicycle clothes I have are bicycle bib shorts, I never bought the pants because I could never afford them. I prefer to buy my bike clothes online because they are much cheaper than at the bike store. You can shop at the bike store, but they are going to jack up the prices and you won’t be able to try them on. Bike Nashbar is usually reasonable, but their prices are still a bit out of my price range right now. I bought my bib shorts from them only because they were on sale. I went back to their website for the bib pants, or even just a regular pair of bicycle pants, but they were too expensive for me right now.

My next option was Amazon. I searched for bicycle pants and found Baleaf Men’s Thermal Cycling Tights Size XL for only $20. The shipping was free if I bought $35 worth of stuff, but I didn’t have that much to spend, so I paid the $5 shipping.

These pants have a few features that I was hoping for. They are tight enough for the bicycle and they have fleece inside to keep my legs warm while I’m on the bicycle. They also have a drawstring which will come in handy when I start to lose some weight from going to the gym 4 days a week. They also have pockets, not that I really need them since I keep everything in my gym bag. I don’t like to keep things in my pockets on the bike because I’m afraid they will fall out. These pockets have zippers so there’s no chance of anything falling out. The pockets are good for those times I’m just riding the bike to the mall or to Michael’s because I will have a place for my wallet, phone and keys.

This makes me so happy because I really like exercising, but I hate that I can’t exercise when it’s too cold outside. Now I have a reason to keep going to the gym this and every winter.

Update: Well, so much for this idea. Unfortunately, my calves and thighs are way too big. These pants were so tight that there was no possible way I could put them on without the seams bursting lol. It would be a shame to waste $25 on a pair of pants I would probably end up having to throw away because the seams kept coming apart. So I sent them back. I have awhile before it starts getting too cold, and I have a pair of sweats that I can just wear to the gym for now.

I’m going on my diet AGAIN

breaking the scale

Have you ever been in the situation where you are always struggling with your weight, but the person you live with can eat whatever, or decide they aren’t going to eat anything at all for days and end up losing tons of weight with little to no effort, but you are working your arse off to lose weight, but you end up gaining weight? Yeah, I’m there.

2 years ago I lost 70lbs with Noom and Weight Watchers frozen dinners. My partner was very supportive, and by supportive I mean he didn’t wave bags of potato chips or cookies in front of me and he didn’t constantly ask if I wanted to go to McDonald’s or Taco Bell. I felt like he was doing exactly the thing you are supposed to do when someone you live with is struggling with something.

Unfortunately, when the weight stopped coming off, he started wanting to go to certain restaurants and buy certain foods like cookies and chips and leaving them out in the open for me to eat. Sometimes he would try to hide food, but I would find it and end up eating it for him. I’m an addict. It’s like leaving bags of heroin on the coffee table for a drug addict, or stocking the fridge with nothing but alcohol for an alcoholic. He got sick of not being allowed to eat the foods he wanted to eat, so when I got down to a certain weight, he felt I was finished. I’m sorry, but when you have an addiction to something, it’s never over.

So here I am, having almost gained back every pound I had lost 2 years ago. We went to Food Maxx yesterday and bought 20 Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners. Tomorrow we are going back to the 99 cent store to buy 20 cans of Progresso soup. I can have a bowl of cheerios for breakfast with my almond and coconut Silk, a Slim Fast shake for my 10am snack, a bowl of Progresso Soup for lunch, another Slim Fast shake for my 3pm snack, a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner with extra veggies added to it for dinner, and then another Slim Fast shake to curb my appetite when I get hungry again late at night. Once my stomach shrinks again I can remove that late night shake.

I don’t feel comfortable being out in public because I feel ugly. When my face is thin and my neck is trimmed down, I actually feel good about myself and my self esteem goes through the roof, but when I see my big round fat face and no neck again, I feel worthless. It’s a terrible feeling when you look at yourself in the mirror and you can’t stand the person you are looking at. It’s an even worse feeling when you start to cry. Why can’t I just be happy with how I look? Some people actually look good when they are fat, but I don’t feel that way about myself. And here’s the thing, it’s not like I’m morbidly obese like the people you see on My 600lb Life. I’m not anywhere near that weight. I’m talking 260lbs and the only thing fat on me is my face, neck, chest and stomach. And my stomach is a typical guy gut, that’s it, but somehow I feel morbidly obese. I feel like I’m lucky that I’m not 600lbs by now. I’m telling you, if it weren’t for willpower, I probably would be that fat right now.

The nutritionist at the clinic told me not to deny myself anything. Like if I want some ice cream I can have some ice cream, I can eat 1 serving of ice cream even every day if I want to, but you know what the serving size of ice cream is right? Half of a cup! Seriously? A half of a cup? That’s like 2 bites for a fat arse like me. It doesn’t even put a dent into my stomach. But you know what? I would rather have half of a cup a day than no ice cream at all for the rest of my life. I can’t buy ice cream because there is no way I’m just having 1/2 a cup, I end up packing a 8oz coffee cup with ice cream at least 3 times a day lol. It’s cheaper to buy the big cartons of ice cream, but it’s better to just buy one of those little tiny cups that only cost $1. That way I get ice cream, and I don’t have that temptation waiting for me in the kitchen.

Anyway, enough of me rambling on about it. Talking about it isn’t going to make it happen, I have to actually work my ARSE off to make it happen. That means I have to get back on my bicycle, or walking, or both.  I have a lot of work to do and I intend on doing it. Enough talking, start doing.

Noom Week 1 Weigh In

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Today was my first weigh in for week 1. I restarted my weight loss program with Noom less than a week ago, but for some reason, Noom wants me to weigh in twice a week and today was the first weigh in. I started out at 238 and today I was 234.6. I was actually 240 before I began my weight loss program, but I had already dropped 2lbs by the time I started, but I can’t count that. So as it stands I have lost 3.4lbs.

That’s good enough as far as I am concerned. You are only supposed to lose 2lbs a week, so I’m happy with 3.4lbs. I have been dieting and exercising, except yesterday I didn’t because I follow a routine now. I eat lunch at 12, then wait about half an hour before getting on the bicycle, then I try to be finished by 1:45 so I can get in the shower so I can watch tv with my partner. He likes to watch TV with me from 2pm to 5pm because that gives us time together. If we don’t, then we never see each other because of my video game addiction lol. So there is a reason for a routine.

My nutritionist wants me to follow a specific diet where my plate has 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch and 1/2 vegetables. Here are the papers she gave me which shows the plate planner, and breakfast, lunch and dinner.

plate plannerplate planner1

They don’t seem to be too bad. They are actually what SparkPeople wanted me to do, but the thing is, sometimes I don’t want to eat a specific thing. I usually only eat a Weight Watchers frozen dinner which is green in the Noom app. Hey, I lost 70lbs with the weight watchers frozen dinners, so how can I go wrong?

I will do my best to eat a healthy diet, but I can’t promise I will be able to fill a plate since I usually just eat my food from a bowl. If I eat pasta or rice and meat and vegetables, I usually mix the entire amount and eat it in a bowl. I find it better to combine everything because it puts sauce on the veggies so I don’t have to use margarine or butter. Oh and I asked her about that, and she told me to use lemon in place of butter. I haven’t tried that yet, but I have a feeling it isn’t going to be the same thing lol.

Well, I can’t promise I will eat a 3 or 4 course meal, but I will promise to do the best that I can with what I can actually afford on my disability checks. So far the best option for me is 1 weight watchers frozen dinner for $2 at Food Maxx. It fills me up and it isn’t expensive.

I don’t know if I will continue to update my blog every week like I did 2 years ago.

The Spark of Fire Under My Ass

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This new gadget that lives on the laces of my left shoe has really lit a fire under my ass. Now I know why it’s called The Spark. Every day since I’ve had it, I’ve been walking to the store and walking longer distances when walking the dog, and I’ve been riding my bicycle on my trainer in the patio. The first couple of times it was all I could do to stay on it without dying from the pain in my thighs, but since I’ve had the Spark, I’ve been using it for as long as I can. Yesterday I only got off of it because my show was coming on. Today I woke up early specifically so I could spend as much time on the bike as I could. I was only on it for 36 minutes, but I’m working my way up to a longer ride.

The goal they gave me for steps is 6000. The first day I barely made it to the goal, the 2nd day was basically the same, but the 3rd day, well, that you can see in the image above. Of course, that’s not all from walking, most of that was from the bicycle. You see, it doesn’t just log my cycling, it considers my pedaling to be steps. My nutritionist wanted me to walk 10,000 steps per day, well, here you go.

Sometimes I buy something and feel real good about my purchase, while other times I feel like I have made a huge mistake and regret it. I am so happy that I found this because it got me off my butt and made me think about how much time am I going to spend walking today, and how much time I’m going to ride the bike today.

IMAG0747SparkPeople also sent me a workout DVD called Total Body Sculpting with Coach Nicole. The exercises look pretty good. I haven’t started using the DVD yet, but I plan on soon. I want to buy the weights first. They have workouts that are beginners, intermediate and advanced. They also give you a week planner so you aren’t doing the same exact workout every time. The SparkPeople website even has these workouts available in the list of exercises so I know what to log. All I have to do is watch the video and then when I finish, log it with the exact amount of time I did it and I get the calorie credits. Cool, eh?

So I feel so much more motivation than I did before. If I ever get to the point where this DVD isn’t working, I mean when it becomes too easy and I plateau, then I will have to buy another one that is a bit more advanced. I will also have to step up my cardio as well. Perhaps I could do the 2 hour bike ride and then 2 hours of exercise DVD. Hmmmm… I better not count my chickens before they hatch lol. We will see how it goes, yes?

So… until then…

Weight Loss

I have struggled with my weight since I quit smoking and gained 50lbs. I vowed to never get over 200lbs in the late 90’s, but I just couldn’t control the weight gain. I wasn’t eating anything that bad, so I never could understand what I was doing wrong.

Last year in January 2013 I made a New Years resolution to start losing weight. I was 262lbs and I dropped 70lbs and went down to 192lbs. I was so proud of myself, but then both my partner and I decided that we’re both tired of eating nothing but fruits and vegetables and weight watchers frozen dinners every day for the last 6 months, so we decided we could eat restaurant food and regular store-bought food as long as we stayed within a certain amount of calories and portion sizes. Well, try as I might, I couldn’t drop any more weight and I plateaued at 192 for a whole month. Then the weight starting slowly coming back and recently I went right back up to 235. UGH!

So yesterday I decided screw this eating whatever the hell I want crap, I NEED to drop this weight, like right this minute. I started the Noom app all over again from scratch and when I weighed in for the first time I had already lost some weight, so I was 227lbs. For breakfast and my 10am snack I had a banana. For lunch I had a Weight Watchers frozen dinner. For my 3pm snack I had yet another banana and for dinner I had a Weight Watchers frozen dinner.

Most people say not to eat anything after 6 or 7pm. Well here’s my problem, that’s when my appetite really comes to life. It seems as though I’m starving at that time lol. I mean, I can eat a banana for breakfast and snack and then a little meal for lunch and then another banana for my 3pm snack, but around or after dinner time, it’s like I’m famished, like I haven’t eaten in 10 years. That’s when I’m expected to not eat any more food? Yeah, um… good luck with that lol.

Last night around 8pm I started going into the kitchen and I grabbed a slice of bologna and then a slice of salami. I really wanted to make a sandwich, but when I go on my diet, I don’t eat bread. I could have eaten way more food than I did, but I chose to be good. I took a sleeping pill around 10pm and went to bed around 11pm or so.

This morning when I woke up I weighed myself and it said I was 224lbs, so at least I know the lunch meat didn’t affect my weight and the food I ate yesterday was the right amount. The Noom app said I could eat 2000 calories, but I logged around 1300 or so. I did log the lunch meat. The bologna was yellow and the salami was red.

If I can just stick with it, I will lose weight. I have complete faith in my ability to lose weight since it worked last year, I just need to be 100% committed and use the word “NO” when asked if I want to go to KFC or Golden Corral.

I bought some veggies at the store, like I bought 2 things of cauliflower and some broccoli and brussel sprouts and some other things. I didn’t buy any salad stuff because I don’t like salad without either thousand island or ranch, and those are definitely not on the menu for me. Although I did lose 40lbs back in 2003 or 2004 when all I ate were salads and I used ranch dressing, but for some reason it doesn’t work for me anymore. I have to find what works best and do that.

I haven’t been riding my bicycle to lose weight because of the heat. The best time to ride my bike in the summer time is at 5am, but I can’t seem to get to bed until 3am, so that’s out. Last night I wanted to go to bed early because I’m so sick of sleeping in until noon. Now that summer is coming to an end, when the heat starts going away I can start riding around 10am or so. I just can’t stand the heat, not even to go for a 30 minute walk. I feel like a vampire out in the sun about to burst into flames.

I’ve tried to go back on my diet this year, then my partner would buy junk and naturally I would eat that junk and then give up. I’m not going to pass up a bag of potato chips or cookies on the counter. I have an addiction. Potato chips and cookies are like crack cocaine to me. I just need some willpower… like a ton of willpower lol. If willpower came in a can, I would drink it. Unfortunately it does not. So I’m working on myself so that I can be healthy, it just takes time and patience. I know I can do this because it worked before.

I love positive feedback, but everyone is different, so what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. I’m sure people are going to say “Well what you gotta do is eat this and that and then do this exercise and blah blah blah” and that’s awesome advice, but I have to do what my body can handle and what I’m comfortable doing. I really do appreciate the advice, and thank you for thinking of me and caring enough about me to try to help.

I am using Noom which gives lots of wonderful advice and articles and I am in a Noom group so I get to talk to a group of about 10 wonderful people who are all in the same boat. It’s more of a lifeboat, but a boat all the same. This is just something that I have to do for myself.

First Weigh In of 2014

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Today was my first official weigh in for 2014.  When I decided to start my diet up again as my new year’s resolution for 2014, I was 213lbs and I wanted to drop a few pounds before officially starting, so I did and now I am down to 207lbs.  See?  I’m serious about this!

My goal last year was just to get down to 200lbs and I did that by my birthday, but I ended up going down to 193lbs which brought my weight loss to 70lbs.  This time I want to get down to 150lbs which means if my official weigh in is 207lbs, then I have 57lbs to lose.  I’m not positive 150lbs is the right weight for me since people insist that it’s not realistic because that is way too thin for me, but I’m 5’7” and the ideal weight for my height is 150lbs, and that was what I used to weigh, and I could still pinch an inch, so I wasn’t skinny by any means.  Although, I have built up a lot of muscle since I weighed 150lbs, so perhaps 150lbs would be too thin.  I don’t know so I will decide when to stop when I get to whatever weight that proves to be too thin.

So the image you see above is my weigh in screenshot from the Noom app on my Nook HD+.  I will take screenshots every Friday when I weigh in and I will post them on my Noom page.  According to the weight graph, I should be at 150lbs by September 28, 2014.  Last year it told me that I would be at my goal by September (or was it November?  I can’t recall) and I was at my goal by June.  Perhaps I will be at my new goal by June again.  That would be awesome because that would make the perfect birthday present to myself.

I will be using the waist graph in the Noom app, but I won’t be doing screenshots of it because I think that’s overkill.  I mean, most people probably don’t give two shits about my weekly weigh in, so I’m sure the waist graph doesn’t make any difference lol.  I barely care about it, but I use the waist graph because it would be neat to know how fat I was in inches from January 2013 when I weighed 263lbs compared to what my inches will be when I get down to 150lbs (hopefully in June).

Anyway, I don’t think I will be writing a blog post every weigh-in day, because I’m sure that’s too boring for people.  Instead I will just upload the screenshot on my Noom page.  I may blog here and there about this and that.  So… until then.

New Year, Noom Me… Again

Noom Logo

What do we always do on January 1st?  We make a new years resolution.  What is the number one resolution?  Say it with me.  To lose weight.  I did just that in 2013 with Noom and I plan on doing it again starting today.

We have already been to Food Maxx to buy our Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners which is what helped me to lose 70lbs in 2013.  We also have our frozen veggies and fruit in the fruit bowl.  I start physical therapy on January 3rd and I will most likely ride my bike to get there and use the Noom cardio trainer app to log my bike ride and my PT.  I took the Noom app off my phone and put it on my Nook HD+ because I like the bigger screen and because I need the space on my phone.

Like i said, last year I was lucky enough to lose 70lbs and every week I had weight loss, and no gain.  I would love to do the same exact thing this year, but even I know that is nearly impossible.  If you try hard to do something you did before, you won’t do it and you will become frustrated and you will end up doing the opposite, so I’m just going to relax and hope for the best.  If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.  But I hope it does lol.

So from right this moment, every breakfast I will measure the exact amount of cereal and pour the exact amount of soy milk and slice exactly 1 banana into it for breakfast.  For my snacks I will stick with fruits and lunch and dinner I will try to stick with veggies and the weight watchers meals.  That is how I did it in 2013.

It’s not difficult to do something if you set your mind to it.  I said that I will NOT eat chocolate or cookies or ice cream, and I kept my word.  Instead of eating those bad things, I substituted them for fruits.  Instead of eating chocolate ice cream, I chopped and froze a banana or cantaloupe and blended them in the food processor and made my own healthier ice cream.  Instead of eating store-bought cookies, I made my own from a recipe that I found.  In fact, here are all of my healthy recipes that I found and altered to make them healthy.

I don’t drink soda or any alcoholic beverages, so that’s a blessing, but I do drink coffee with creamer and no calorie sweetener.  I did okay on the diet last year with the coffee, so that’s not a problem.  I tried to drink water, but I just can’t stand plain old water.  I drink Crystal Light, or well the Food Maxx generic version of it anyway.  It’s 5 calories per 8oz which is not too bad.  Although people are always telling me to cut out the sweeteners and blah blah blah, but again, 70lbs last year speaks for itself.

Anyway, so that’s my plan and I am hoping to drop down to 160lbs this time.  I would like to get down to 150lbs, but I’m just going to try for 160 and see how that goes.  If I find myself wanting to drop another 10lbs then I will.  Once I get to my main goal then I will continue using the Noom app to maintain my weight.  And of course I will start blogging every weigh in day again.  My weigh in days in 2013 were Fridays, so how does Friday sound?  Sounds good to me.  So it’s settled.  This coming Friday will be my first official weigh in and blog post.

My Year In Review

my year in chalkboard

before and after morro bay 2013 was a very good year for me.  I started out not wanting to make a new years resolution out of fear of the disappointment that would always come from breaking it.  I decided to make one after a few days, and I stayed with it, well, until July anyway.  I said I wanted to lose weight and I did.  By July I had lost 70lbs with an android app called Noom, but then the weight stopped dropping and I gained 10lbs back, but fluctuated throughout the rest of the year.  I started out the year at 264lbs, went down to 194lbs and as of today I am 205lbs.  I will make another resolution to get back on my diet so I can get down to the weight that I wanted to get down to.  I know how to do it, I just need the willpower.

xray1 On March 16th I had an accident while riding the bicycle home from the grocery store at night and I broke my arm.  It was the ball of my left arm that fits into the shoulder socket.  I didn’t have a cast, instead all I was given was a sling from the emergency room.  By that time I had already lost 35lbs, and as you can already tell from the previous paragraph, the broken arm didn’t stop me from reaching my weight loss goal.

etsy banner While I was recovering from my broken arm, I decided that I wanted to start a new craft.  Well, it wasn’t really a new craft, it was an old craft that I learned when I was 9 and in the Cub Scouts.  I had some materials, so I wanted to use them up by making a couple of keychains.  I had so much fun that I decided that I wanted to learn a more complicated pattern.  I got so good at it and I was having so much fun that I ended up with about 40 keychains, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I started out with keychains, and I added dangle keychain style earrings, studs and hoops and I already have plans on making and selling dream catcher earrings.

On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled DOMA to be unconstitutional and Prop 8 was finally repealed.  HURRAY!  What a glorious day that was for the gay community in California.  In fact, 18 (or 19) states made gay marriage legal in 2013 and legal on a federal level.  The reason I said or 19 is because Wikipedia doesn’t include DC, but says eighteen states AND District of Columbia.  Whatever.  18 or 19, it’s still a huge victory for us.  Illinois is in that 18, but theirs isn’t legal until June 2014.

IMAG2002 In late July I started having pain in my parotid gland, which happens at least 2 or 3 times a year for I want to say the last 10 years, but I am not positive.  It’s been going on for a very long time.  The parotid gland is the saliva gland and for some reason the saliva doesn’t release into my mouth, instead something blocks the way and it swells up to the size of a golf ball or bigger.  I try to milk it so the saliva goes into my mouth, and that does work, but it hurts really bad.  The doctors usually give me an antibiotic and it clears up in a week, but this time it didn’t clear up.  My doctor sent me to an ear, nose throat doctor and to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone inside of my parotid gland.  The ENT doctor sent me to have a cat scan with contrast which showed that I had several stones in both of my parotid glands, but the ones on the right side were much bigger than the left.  I had surgery on November 20th to remove my parotid gland.  The area is still numb and I was told it will probably be numb for another couple or few months.  YAY!

My back has caused me tons of pain for so many years and this summer I finally found out what was causing it.  Apparently I have scoliosis in my spine.  I told my aunt about it and she told me that my great-grandmother was born with scoliosis and she lived her entire life with it.  I remember she had a hump on her back, that was the scoliosis.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy for a month and that halted the pain, but it didn’t correct anything.  I have an appointment in January to start treatment up again, and it’s a good thing too because the pain is already starting to come back.  My first treatment was a shock, no, seriously, they put these electrodes on my back and it shot electricity to my nerves to dull them.  They had me do exercises for half an hour and then they would give me a deep tissue massage. The electrode was only applied to me on the first visit, all the other appointments were just me laying on the table doing exercises and then massages.  The last couple appointments didn’t include a massage.

bread slicer pumpkin bread We went to a thrift store in October and I found a bread machine for only $6.  I can’t say I have ever had homemade bread before, like ever, so that was quite an experience.  I did learn that I was doing it wrong for a very long time when I had such a horrible stomachache which felt like I had a 10lb brick sitting in my stomach.  Apparently the bread was too dry.  I read the instructions.  It clearly stated that I was to use exact measurements, no more, no less, so I was only doing what I was told to do, but apparently rules are made to be broken.  Now the bread is light and fluffy and it actually tastes better than store bought bread.  My favorite bread to make is Spiced Pumpkin Bread with raisins.  Have you ever had a ham sandwich or a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with pumpkin bread with raisins?  It’s quite awesome.  Although I will have to cut back on the bread when I start my diet up again.

We also helped feed a couple of neighbors for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which frankly is what the holidays are all about.  It’s nice to receive presents, but it’s even nicer to do a good deed for someone.  I guess those were our good deeds for the year.

Of course we exchanged presents.  I got a Nook HD+ 32GB tablet from my partner, and I gave him a Google Chromecast so he can watch Netflix and YouTube from his tablet, plus I got him Netflix.

I don’t know what will happen in 2014, but I’m sure it will be as memorable as 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!