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Archive for July, 2008

I want to thank everyone for your good wishes and prayers.  It means a lot right now to know people are sendin positive energy our way.

The surgeon told us today that he sees no reason why Mom can’t have the surgery, which is very good news.  They are planning to do the cath tomorrow to see if she has blockages that need bypassed in addition to the valve replacement, so they can do it all at once if so.  If all goes well, it looks as though the surgery will be Wednesday or Thursday, which is fast but that’s good.  My sisters should just have time to get in from Oklahoma before they do it.

I am about to go do my push-ups – I’m repeating Week Two of the challenge because I was not happy with the results of my exhaustion test last night, which (all things considered) was no worse than you’d expect, but still not up to par for Week Three.  That’s okay; I figure I’ll be repeating quite a few weeks.  🙂  Then I will do my crunches.  After that, we’ll see, but I suspect that’ll be it.  I’d love to do some cardio but realistically, after spending all day at the hospital, I’m not craving cardio.  I know I need it and it would make me feel better, but I’m just not sure I can summon the energy.  Regardless, I will maintain the progress I made last week, even if I can’t build on it further.

Tomorrow morning I will do yoga, in keeping with my Challenge Change for this week.  I need it, most definitely.  Sitting in a chair in a hospital room all day really reveals to you how badly you could use a little flexibility work!  🙂   And then I’ll be back up at the hospital at least for part of the day, and trying to juggle a little bit of work time with it because I desperately need to be in the office for a while.  We’ll see how it works out, because I don’t know when they will be doing the cath.

Meanwhile, I’m off to my pushups and crunches.  And the good news is, my calories for the day are great.  Not much in the mood to snack so I did pretty well at eating what I took with me.  Always a silver lining, right?  🙂

Hope everyone’s having a great week.  I am going to try to catch up but may be behind, but just know I love you all dearly.

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Well, I thought I’d go ahead and get this posted now, because I don’t know what tomorrow will be like.

The Labor Day Challenge is officially on.  I have WVSooner, Bex, Cammy, and my walking-partner B. signed up with me.

For Week One, the change I plan to make is to build in yoga no less than three times a week.  This is going to be enough of a challenge for me as my house is going to be chaotic.  Originally, I was planning four 35-45 minute cardio sessions but that may be problematic for reasons which will become clear in a bit.

So that’s my first change.  Leave me a comment below and let me know what yours is!

Now…the reason for chaos.  Friday night, my mother called and told me she was having trouble breathing.  To make a very long story short, after spending all night at the ER, we were told she has pulmonary edema due to severe aortic stenosis.  In other words, her lungs were filling with fluid because her heart isn’t functioning well enough to pump it off.

Today we were told that in order to give her any life expectancy at all, she will have to have an aortic valve replacement via open heart surgery.  My mother is 70 years old and non-ambulatory due to severe rheumatoid arthritis.  She has a host of other health issues.  There’s an excellent chance that she is not even a candidate for this type of surgery.  So it doesn’t look good.

I can’t go into details at the moment about what I’m feeling because it’s just too much.  I will just say that my mother is my idol, the person who has always been the standard to which I try to measure up, and quite literally the wind beneath my wings.  She is the one person in the world who has always loved, adored, and admired me, no matter what I did or said or didn’t do or say.  And I haven’t handled very well the fact that she’s been disabled and steadily deteriorating for the past ten years.  I’ve basically been in denial and avoidance – just like I was when my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  It seems I haven’t learned a lot in 20 years.  I’m not proud of that, especially right now.

When I was about 17, after my dad had passed away, and after a particularly nasty war of words between my mother and I, I wrote her a letter apologizing and telling her how much it scared me to think that some day she wouldn’t be there anymore.  I still have the letter she wrote me in return…but I also have it engraved on my heart.  One of the things she said was, “As long as your mother is alive, you are always still a little girl, at least a little bit.  It isn’t until you lose your mother that you really, truly grow up.”  I will never forget those words, never.

It’s possible that the surgeon will tell us that everything is great and they will do the surgery and we’ll have ten more years with Mother.  Dear God, I hope so.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hope so.  But tonight…I am facing the idea that the time may have come for me to really grow up.  And I am so frightened.

So please, if you pray, please pray for her.  If you don’t, please, think positive thoughts.  I truly believe it makes a difference.

I may not be posting much this week.  I will be at the hospital all day tomorrow, and my sisters and nieces will be here tomorrow evening.  At the very least, it’s going to be a rough week.

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Happy Friday, everybody! It’s the end of another week, thank God, and I’m looking back at this one feeling pretty good.

I’ve been doing great with food…it’s hard to say if I’ve been perfect, but then again I’m not really pushing for “perfection” as such. I know that I’ve been extremely good, and I’d say I’ve blown my “80% of the time” goal out of the water, so I’m pleased about that. I’ve slipped back into the groove of making good choices nearly all of the time and that’s always such a source of positive energy for me.

I have done two of my three push-up sets – the third one will be today or tonight – and each time I’ve added two sets of fifteen crunches and two sets of fifteen reverse crunches. Last night I finally got off my butt (and it was so hard, because I felt horrible, thanks to TOM) and did a little over 30 minutes on the treadmill while I watched the first episode of Californication on DVD (I’m ambivalent about it, it’s very gritty and a little nauseating and I honestly haven’t seen a lot of merit in it yet to make it worth wading through all the gratuitous sex; I’m a bit disappointed in it, but it was only the first episode so I’m clinging to hope that it will improve.) I also finally tried out the incredible plank/tricep kickback combo that MizFit demonstrated the other day…and I am just as much in love with it as I’d thought I would be. I am not kidding you…this thing rocks. I only did two sets of fifteen (unweighted) with each arm, because I was really just giving it a test run…but on my “non-pushup” nights from now on, I will be doing these with weights.

So…I’m getting back into the exercise game, slowly. I tend to take it a bit slower during TOM, for a number of reasons, but I find that at least being a little bit active helps. I haven’t gotten outside to walk because my walking partner has a health issue that’s keeping her out of the game, and ED seems less than thrilled with the concept. But that is starting back up next week one way or another, and that generally entails at least an hour of pretty brisk cardio, if not longer.

I don’t want to jump in with both feet and burn out, which I know from experience I will do, but it feels good to at least have a plan of attack.

Enough aimless rambling. On to the meat of the post – my Labor Day Challenge.

It’s pretty simple really. I think you have to have some sort of guidelines, but I don’t want anything strict, so here goes:

  • The goal is to see a measurable change in yourself by Labor Day. Now, you can use whatever yardstick you want – the scale, the measuring tape, the fit of your clothes, the way your arm feels when you smack it, the amount of fat that muffin-tops over your jeans, the tightness of your abs, the energy you have every day, or even just the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel every night when you go to bed. It doesn’t matter what it is – this is your yardstick, so you pick what changes you want to see. Or don’t pick one – just decide you want to see something change.
  • Pick at least one thing, every week, that you are going to do differently in order to make that change happen. You can do more than one thing if you want, sure. But do at least one. A different type of exercise maybe, taking a vitamin supplement, trying a new food, meditating, biking instead of driving to a regular errand…whatever. I’ll try to come up with suggestions every Monday, but really this is very individual. Just one thing a week – and then do it. Make it small enough that you can actually do it, but something that is actually going to move you toward your goal of seeing a real change. Post a comment on Monday’s Challenge post (here) to let us know what you’re going to be doing that week, and how you did on the last week’s change.
  • And a neat segue…let us know how you’re doing. Post about it on your blog, comment about it here, or hire a skywriter if it’s a really good moment, but just stay in the game. If it’s a bad week, okay, no big deal. We all have them. But talk about it! Let us know what’s going on, maybe we can help…that’s what we do for each other, right? Or crow about how great you’re doing so we can share your success, especially if we’re having a bad week ourselves. You’ll keep us going too. 🙂
  • This one’s optional but important for me: don’t try to gauge your success by using your yardstick during the challenge. For me, this means I won’t weigh, I won’t measure, I won’t try on the outfit that I want to fit differently. I’m going to focus on what I’m doing and sticking with my behaviors and changes, and I’ll figure out at the end of the challenge if I’ve succeeded. No letdowns when I see I’m not progressing as fast as I’d like; no momentary highs when I think I’m doing better than I’d hoped. I want to let the behaviors be their own reward.

Okay, anyone want to join in? I know my wonderful Bex said she’s on board and my walking partner, B. (who doesn’t blog) is also – who else? Anybody?  (C’mon, Chris, you can do this one.)  I would love to have the company of anyone and everyone! 🙂

And may you all have a particularly fabulous weekend!

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Happy Thursday!

First, the Random Tidbits:

Today, of course, is the end of the Birthday Challenge – and a gloriously Happy Birthday to my girl, Bex; I hope you have an amazing one.  And y’all stop on by and wish her a Happy Birthday if you have a minute, would ya?  🙂

So, today is also the end of Phase One of my self-imposed weightlessness, i.e., life without a scale.  I’m fairly pleased with how I’ve handled it; I haven’t cheated once, even though there’s a scale downstairs at work (a hundred years old, but I know the differential between the reading and the legitimate number, oh, yes I do), and I’ve only had scale-cravings once or twice.  Never enough to actually go looking for it.

I debated whether to weigh in…and decided that if I felt anxious about it this morning, I wouldn’t do it – in other words, if I felt like the number was going to have any impact on my mood or well-being, I would abstain.  I finally decided to go ahead, because I wasn’t feeling like I cared much either way.

170.6.  Hmm.  I looked at the number and realized I couldn’t decide how to feel…which meant I didn’t have feelings about it.  Which, after all, was sort of the point.  🙂

Logically, it’s an okay number.  It’s up 2.4 pounds from my last weight.  Okay.  I’m currently entertaining my good buddy TOM after a six-week hiatus.  I can live with it.  Also, the body fat and hydration numbers hadn’t changed, and I am extremely happy about that.

So I think maybe I’m getting there, “there” being a place where I don’t live by the numbers.  I know that I’ve been extremely lax in behaviors, and I know that in the past week, I’ve turned that around enormously.  That is what I should feel bad and good, respectively, about – and that’s actually what I do feel bad and good, respectively, about.  I’m making progress!

I won’t weigh in again until my own birthday, or actually a few days before as my birthday is just after Labor Day.  So the Friday before Labor Day will be the next appearance of the scale at my house; it’s going back into hiding today courtesy of DH.  And I’m actually not remotely upset about that.  It will, however, be interesting to see if I have scale-cravings a few weeks into my good behaviors.  Are they going to be enough for me, or am I going to feel the need for numerical reinforcement?  That will, I think, be the real test.  It’s easy not to crave the scale when you’re goofing off and know the number won’t be good.  🙂

I do have a goal for my Labor Day Challenge.  It’s a simple one, and hard to quantify, but I like it.  By Labor Day, I want to see a change.  No, no numbers to hit…no pants sizes to get into…no measurements, no weight, no nothing like that.  I want to see a change.  I want to feel my clothes fit a bit differently, I want to feel more strength and muscle tone, I want to wobble a bit less.  It doesn’t have to be dramatic, just a noticeable, visible, palpable change.   It’s a completely achievable goal, I think.  And I’m going to start using my stars on my calendar again, since what I’m really shooting for here is behavioral consistency.  Today is Day One…anyone want to join me?

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend last night about the difference between being motivated by weight, and being motivated by how we feel, how we move and how we’re treating our bodies.  It was a great reinforcement of the ideals and goals we share and it went a long way toward shoring up my motivation.  It is good to have someone to share things like this with.

I did Week Two, Day Two of the Hundred PushUp Challenge last night, and it went well.  At the end, where you do as many as you can but at least a certain number, I always shoot for the minimum for the level above mine, just because then I feel like I’ve sort of gone the extra mile.  Last night, that meant ten…and I did it, even after all the other pushups I had done.  I was quite pleased.  🙂  I also did my crunches and reverse crunches.  Still no cardio…unless you count the walking I did yesterday morning when I had to move a turtle out of the road but the nearest place to pull over was about a quarter of a mile up the road.  I don’t know if I count that but it felt good to get out and move a little.

Other tidbits…I haven’t mentioned it, but I have poison ivy.  Like, everywhere.  In addition to everything else.  It’s even on my face.  My face.  It’s extremely distressing to me and for the first time ever, I’m considering going to the doctor for a shot.  But I have to say, the blackberry cobbler that I made with the berries I picked (which is where I got the poison ivy) was so, so worth it.  It was amazing.  And yet, that doesn’t make me happier about my face.

Today they start putting in the new carpet, I’m simultaneously excited and terrified.  I always question my decorating decisions horribly when the actual process starts; I’m so afraid I will have screwed up enormously and when there’s this much money involved, that makes me want to yak.  I’ve never been unhappy with the end result…yet…but I always do this.  But I’ll know soon enough and it’s too late to do anything about it anyway.

And now for my thankfulness.  Nothing profound…today, as I was driving in to work, careening down the mountain with AC/DC pouring out of the speakers at pretty near top volume, I thought, “I’m a little strange, maybe.  You don’t see a lot of 35-year-olds on their morning commute to their job in a law office, careening down the mountain with AC/DC pouring out of the speakers at pretty near top volume.  At least, not in this neighborhood.”  And then I laughed, because I really don’t want to be like the other commuters in this neighborhood anyway.

Today, I am feeling a bit thankful for individuality. Not just mine, but individuality in general.  I am so, so, SO glad that we live in a world where everyone is different.  I tend to choose friends from among the “fringe” so to speak – people who are who and what they are, unapologetically, whether that’s the same as Betty next door or completely different from anyone in the neighborhood.  I don’t tend to be drawn to conformists, or really even to people who just naturally fall into the same niche as 80% of the people around them.  I am drawn to that sparkle, that edge, that something that makes a person stand out just a little bit, and usually there’s some laughing at oneself and not taking life too seriously involved.  I like people who think for themselves, too, rather than taking whatever is served to them as the law.

I am very blessed in having met many people like this, and being able to get to know them.  I also feel pretty blessed in being one of those people myself.  So today, I am thankful for individuality and the fact that we are not all alike – and many of us don’t even want to be.

I love you all for who you are, and I hope that you do, too.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

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This one’s all about body-image issues.

As you probably know if you’ve read any of my posts, I have a problem with mirrors.  Actually the mirrors aren’t the problem, it’s what I see in them – which is not necessarily what they are actually showing me.  I tend to see a reflection not of myself, but rather of what my mindset is – happiness, confidence or high energy will typically show me someone pretty attractive, while depression, anxiety or fatigue will give me something out of a horror story.  The only good thing about it is that I have finally realized it’s happening, so I’m slowly learning not to take it seriously.  🙂

I’m aware that I’m far from unique in this; in fact, I’d venture to say it’s a leading factor in girls/women beginning the yo-yo dieting cycle that ends, as we all know, in disaster – if it ever ends.

But the other day, something surprising happened when I was doing my usual pre-shower self-critique.  I wasn’t feeling upbeat that day; actually, I’d been bemoaning the loss of muscle tone I’ve experienced due to spotty exercise habits and thinking about how much ground I need to regain.  But as I was examining my poor, long-suffering and much-maligned body, I found myself doing something completely new.  I found myself (and I use the passive form because it was completely unplanned on my part) evaluating my body from a non-judgmental perspective.

I looked at my legs, and thought, “Hmm…okay, there’s a little more fat there than there was a year ago.  We’ve lost some ground there.  But wow, the muscle tone has really held up.  That walking has been doing more good than I thought.  We’ve got a great infrastructure to build on, there.”

I looked at my butt and thought, “Well, it might be sagging a little more than a year ago; it’s hard to tell.  Definitely hasn’t gotten any bigger, though.  That’s great.  That should tighten up really nicely once we’re back in the groove.”

I looked at my stomach and thought, “Oh, definitely not as flat.  I think some of that is bloating though, I really do.  And it’s not super flabby.  I can tighten up the muscles and feel them pull pretty strongly, so we haven’t lost a ton of ground there, either.  That’ll tighten up pretty well, too.”

I went through the whole body that way, but I won’t detail it; I’m sure you get the picture.  For once, I was thinking of my body in terms of a starting point, not in terms of a pathetically inadequate end result.

And that was, for me, a bit of an epiphany.  I’m not done yet! And from that came, I don’t have to be done yet.  I am a work in progress.

I have always said that this process is a marathon, not a sprint.  I have always said that I have the rest of my life to get where I’m going, because the rest of my life is how long I will be doing this anyway.  And for the love of God, my flipping tagline on this blog says, “Notes from a Work in Progress.”  It’s not like this is really news to me. But as I’ve said before, it’s one thing to know this intellectually and another to really feel it.

It’s an amazing thing to be able to look at your body as a great template for the work you know you can and will be doing.  It’s freeing and a little intoxicating to be able to look at your body and simultaneously see the work you need to do and the great things that have already been done.  To be able to see what you need to do and still feel good about it.

I know that there’s a good chance that in a few days, I’ll have lost the immediacy of that experience and be back to sighing over batwings and (a friend said this and it’s too funny not to repeat) the upper-thigh fat that feels like “mudflaps for my vagina”.   Which is, of course, why I blog.  So that when I forget, I can be reminded.  And I need to be reminded, because:

If we’d walked into the Sistine Chapel when Michaelangelo was halfway through the ceiling, would we have been all that impressed?  If we’d seen the Taj Majal when only the foundation was there, would we have sighed in delight at the potential, or would we have shrugged and wandered away?  If we’d watched Da Vinci smudging in the background for the Mona Lisa, would we have shuddered and questioned his artistic ability?

Or would we have known better?  Would we have pursed our lips and said, “Okay, it doesn’t look like much now…but there’s something good coming, I can just tell by the way he holds that brush…”?  I’d like to think we would have.  Knowing what we know now, we’d never judge any of these works of art based on their beginnings.

So don’t judge yourself that way either.  No, you’re not perfect now.  You won’t ever be.  Sorry, that’s just the truth.  Even the Mona Lisa isn’t perfect…but it’s a classic and enduring work of art, and so are you.  You just aren’t done yet.  And that’s okay.  You don’t have to be done yet.

Because remember, Da Vinci didn’t give up halfway through either.  He didn’t look at the half-done canvas and say, “God, this looks like crap.  I’ve worked my tail off, I can’t believe it still looks that bad!  I’m never going to get there.  Forget it.  I’m just going to set this in the corner and go do a nice paint-by-number.  And look for a day job.”

It’s okay to be a work in progress.  It’s okay to know there’s still a lot to be done.  And I have to believe that as difficult and exhausting as it must have been to paint the Sistine Chapel, still Michaelangelo spent every moment knowing it was a labor of love, and a life’s work.  And that passion and joy in creation show in the finished product.

That’s what passes for wisdom from me today.  You are a life’s work, too, and a masterpiece in the making.  Don’t judge yourself on the basis of what you are, what you have, or what you look like today.  Remember that you’re not done yet, and put every ounce of passion and joy you have into the making of what you will be.  And at the end of it all, when you move on to the next life (whatever your belief of that may be), know that you are the work of a Master.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and a wonderful week!

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Abstinent as in, no whine. HAHA…okay, come on, you’re laughing, right? Ah, well. Made me giggle.

**(Editorial Note: If you can wade through this, there’s something cool at the end, I promise.)**

Happy Tuesday to everyone! I’m considerably improved today, both physically and mentally, so hopefully it’s going to be a decent week after all. Still a bit groggy from meds, but definitely a world away from where I was this time yesterday.

My “research” (what did we ever *do* before the Internet?) indicates that the MegaBump on my arm is not entirely abnormal following the tetanus shot, and that they can last up to two weeks or so. So I’m not freaking out about that any more. The finger is healing nicely, much better than I’d expected. The back is enormously improved, thanks to a Lortab that relaxed me enough (evidently) for the muscles to unknot a little and a massage from DH that furthered the process. And I don’t feel quite so fat, probably due to the fact that I didn’t eat much yesterday (thanks, Lortab!). So the world is a slightly happier place today.

I also forced myself through Week 2, Day 1 of the Pushup Challenge, which I do feel really good about. I tried one and found it wasn’t putting any strain at all on my lower back, so I went ahead and did them all. So I’m pleased that I’m maintaining my schedule there, though I have to admit I’m not doing much else at the moment. I need to get back out and walk but realistically, it won’t happen tonight. This week is a little nuts – carpet is being replaced Thursday and Friday so we’re getting ready for that, and…okay, you know what? I just realized that I’m totally full of s**t. I have no legitimate excuse not to walk tonight, other than my back still being a bit sore, but honestly, that’s more bulls**t. So. If I don’t walk, it’s because I’m lazy and unmotivated. There, I said it.
I don’t want to be unmotivated. I mean, I ate oatmeal this morning. That’s my “motivation marker”. If I start the day with oatmeal, then by God, it’s going to be an on-plan day or I’ll know the reason why. (A saying which, by the way, makes NO sense at all. I mean, of course I know the reason why – because I didn’t stay on plan, duh. Who comes up with this crap?) Anyway. Oatmeal. So the rest of the day needs to be nice and regimented, so I didn’t eat oatmeal for nothing. (You’d think I hated oatmeal, wouldn’t you? I don’t. It’s just more time-consuming to cook than my normal breakfasts.)
Yes, thank you for asking, my ADD is raging this morning. So is my OCD. And my PMS. In short, my wonderful friends, it is once again Acronym Cocktail day for me. Which means someone is going to have to tell me to STFU. 🙂 (If you need a translation, email me.)
Enough. I hope everyone’s having a great week so far. And lest you feel that this post completely lacks substance (which, so far, it does), let me leave you with two little particles of awesomeness.
First, a la the Mizfit – a super cool little exercise move that I am dying to try, because it combines two of my favorite and most-hated exercises: the plank/kickback combo. Demonstrated by my favorite online fitness-general wonderfulness-guru, the MizFit, here.
Secondly, as usual the marvelous Cammy has come through with a fantastic Monday Makeover regarding posture.  Definitely words that strike home for me at the moment!  🙂
Have a wonderful Tuesday!

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Yes, that’s right, we’re back for another episode of Captain Whiny-pants!  In our last episode, our heroine was moaning over an injured finger, and we left her wondering if things could possibly get worse? This week, we find that yes, in fact, they can!  🙂

All right, all right.  I’m just a little whiny.  For whatever reason, my body has decided that evidently, the warranty has expired.  I’ve got a bizarre cyst-like thing where I had the tetanus shot that is not getting smaller or less painful with time; my neck has been bothering me for a week (mouse pain, I think) and now my lower back has decided to get into the act with another episode of whatever it was that knocked me out for a week last time.  Also, I have PMS, my finger is still not completely healed, and I think I’m running a fever.  (Not from the finger, it’s fine, so I guess it’s FUO…)

I think it’s time to retire me to the nursing home or trade me in for a younger model.  🙂

On the bright side, I finally got around to doing Week One of the Pushup Challenge, and it went swimmingly.  I probably should have started on Level Two as Level One has been tough, but not horribly difficult.  But I’m glad I didn’t now that I’m at less than 100 percent.  I’m planning to start Week Two this week, if my back will cooperate.  I’m hoping I’ll be back to normal tomorrow so I can do Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.  We’ll see.

I haven’t gotten a lot of cardio in, which is disappointing, but I’ve done pretty great with eating.  Yesterday we had Mom’s birthday dinner and I didn’t do great, but I hadn’t eaten a lot during the day.  Other than that day, I’ve done beautifully.  I don’t know that I expect a loss on the 24th, but I also don’t know that I care.  As I said earlier I may not even weigh in, as I’d like to consolidate behaviors before doing that.  I’ve made a good start, so I may put off the weigh in until Labor Day.

I have been struggling with mindset and body image, which I think is enormously attributable to PMS.  I feel disgustingly fat, worse than when I started the whole process, and I know logically that’s not remotely true.  So I’m not taking it very seriously and just sort of putting those thoughts aside.  It helps that DH is so great about complimenting me.  I have got to learn to start seeing what’s really there and not what I hope is there or, alternately, what I fear is there.  But then, that’s the ultimate battle, isn’t it?

And now I have to get to work.  I have a couple of things that have to get done today, and then I may well go home as sitting in this chair is absolutely torture.  Oh, and thanks to my allergy issues, I can’t even take Aleve or Ibuprofen for it.  Tylenol, I’d just like to say, is not my drug of choice for muscle issues.  Argh.

Well…end of Whiny A$$ Edition.  I hope that everyone has a beautiful Monday and that tomorrow I am more fit for human company.  Have a great day!

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