Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weight Watchers

I joined Weight Watchers yesterday. I'd like to lose about 75 pounds. I'm trying out the online version, rather than go to the meetings. If it turns out that I feel I'm lacking motivation or falling off the "wagon" using the online version, I'll start going to the meetings, but I'm hoping it'll work out with the online only approach.

Over a 2 year period from 1999-2000, I lost 98 pounds using Weight Watchers. I felt great, was physically active, and enjoyed having a far greater set of clothes options available. Slowly but surely, 75% of those pounds have returned. And they're weighing down this mid-50s body.

The program has the core concept of "points" that you allocate to your food for the day, but the calculation of points has changed quite a bit since I last worked the program, so I'll need to dig in and figure out how it works. This is a good thing for me. The more I dive in and learn, the better the new model will stick with me.

I love to eat but, honestly, I feel I'd rather feel healthier and be more physically fit than eat to my heart's content. Gotta get in shape to make sure I can take care of Skip in the years to come!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Quiet Christmas For Us

We've got a low-key Christmas going this year. No big parties here at the house. And, we aren't giving each other too many gifts, unlike years past. We have so much stuff, it's hard to rationalize spending money on more things we don't need. This is sad for Skip because she is a great gift-giver. Picks out great things to give me. She's also a great gift-picker, finding things for me to give her!

On Christmas day, we're having brunch with my mother at her new home. She sold her house on the Cape this fall and now lives in a very nice independent living apartment in central Massachusetts. (She's encouraging us to move there, but we're still 7 years from age eligibility.) We went there for Thanksgiving and the brunch was very good; we're expecting another good meal on Christmas. Then, we'll head back to her apartment to exchange stockings and visit. She'll let me put football on the tv. My brother's son got married this fall, and that nephew and his wife will be stopping by for a visit since they're heading off on vacation the next day.

On the 30th, we'll be getting together with my mother, my siblings and their kids for a family celebration. We'll be having this shindig at my mother's place, where they have a private dining room for family get-togethers. My brother's 3 kids are all adults now and my sister's two sets of twin boys are 16 and 20. I'm not very good with kids, so it was hard for me to chat them up when they were young. Now, I enjoy their company very much so these get-togethers are really fun for me. The fact that we'll be at my mom's and none of has to cook or clean up is just an added bonus.

We used to host a party for Skip's brothers who live in the area and their kids and grandkids but we skipped a year some years back and never brought it back. We will be seeing 2 of Skip's brothers and a sister-in-law for dinner in early January, though.

Even though we're not exchanging a lot of gifts, we're not completely done. Guess I'll have to get out today or tomorrow and finish up!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Worry

Let's just say right up front here that I am not a worrier by nature. I expect positive outcomes and I rarely worry about the bad things that could happen. All this in spite of Skip's 20+ years of progressive MS.
But now I worry about one thing in particular ... breaking down when Skip's in the car. I've mused here and there about it ever since our vacation in Maine in August 2009. I spent a good amount of time in the 3 hour drive to Maine worrying about what would happen if we broke down. The car contained Skip, two dogs and me along with an unbelievable amount of stuff, such as a 5' ramp and a hoyer lift. Of course, we didn't break down on the way up or the way home.

In fact, we have only broken down once in the last 25 years of driving and it happened in summer 2010 (so does this mean I shouldn't worry about this?). Ironically, it happened a day after I spent way too much money having tons and tons of preventive maintenance done on our car. Some kind of cable moved out of position and I couldn't put the car into drive. Turns out it was caused by that preventive maintenance. The car had to be towed, and we had quite a time finding a handicapped-accessible cab to get us home.

But our Honda Element with wheelchair mods (aka the Toaster) isn't brand new anymore. Right now, it's only 6 years old with a bit less than 60,000 miles on it. My plan is to keep it for as long as possible, ideally for another 100,000 miles.

I think I worry because it would be so difficult to get Skip home safely and easily from a breakdown.

What would happen if we did indeed break down? Let's say the wrecker dispatched by AAA comes and he needs to tow us somewhere. We can't hop into the front seat of the wrecker and drive with him. Skip can't stay in the Element while it's towed. So where does she go? How does she get home? So far, I've thought of using a handicapped cab (not available everywhere), an ambulance (big expense, and I don't see how we get the wheelchair into it), and lifting her out of her wheelchair and into a regular car, but that would require leaving behind the wheelchair in the car and at least 3 or 4 folks to make the transfer both into and out of the car.

I'm sure there's other options I haven't thought of. Any ideas? I'd love to have some solutions in my pocket in advance of any traveling.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Stuff on the Right-Hand Nav Bar

I've added 2 new items on the right-hand side of my blog: a space to replay my last 5 tweets and a list of the most popular blog posts. Of course, so far, I've only tweeted twice, but one of those tweets was a test text sent from my phone, so it'll be easy to add updates going forward. When I was looking for the tweet gadget, I noticed another gadget for listing your most popular posts. I thought that'd be fun for a while. Not surprisingly, most of the popular ones are about caregiver aids, since those are the ones that'd show up in Google searches. Because, from experience, I haven't found much online about things like our modified Honda Element (called the XWAV) or the lift system (Surehands) that we've got installed in the bedroom and bathroom. But why was a post about going to a Halloween party with or without a costume a top post?