Happy 80th Birthday Mom – HaliPawz

img_9046

My mom is turning 80 today.  As a writer, I want to convey all of my thoughts, my emotions, into the perfect masterpiece to share with her today, but I find myself critiquing every word. How do you say Happy Birthday to someone you thank God for everyday, someone you feel blessed to still have; someone you are fiercely protective of, yet want to encourage as much independence as you can? “Happy 80th Birthday Mom” just doesn’t seem enough.  

Happy 80th Birthday Mom. Looking forward to many more adventures!


As my mom enters her octogenarian years, I think back to how our lives, our relationship has changed.  As the youngest of six, I truly feel lucky to have had older parents.  I would find it funny when my friend’s grandparents were the same age as my parents.  I was ok with my mom & dad being older and parents, not best friends.  I think I always felt just a little closer to my dad growing up. I wanted to be with him more.  My mom was a stay at home mom until I went into first grade, then she started working.  Since she would work until 4, my dad would get home earlier so I just alway seemed to be with him when he was home.  My parents were more relaxed with me. They had raised 5 kids already. They were on “autopilot” with me. 
I learned some interesting lessons from my mom, long before I even realized they were lessons.  The older I get, the more I realize how much I am truly BOTH of my parents. I used to think I was so much of my dad’s daughter, but there is more of my mom than I would have ever imagined. 

I learned to be there for others when they needed you.  Growing up, mom would always be the first to volunteer to help someone, to recognize a need in others and help.  I didn’t realize these were lessons when I was younger. I used to think…why are you spending time with them or spending time doing that; instead of with me, or me and my sister(s).  It wasn’t until I was older, I realized she was always there for others, sometimes when no one else was. 

I learned tea is more than tea. True friendships are solid. The world could get along better with tea. My mom’s best friend, Pat, comes over about once a week, and has for as long as I can remember.  My mom would turn the teakettle on and they would proceed to get caught up on family, politics, neighbors. No topic seemed taboo. I never heard them disagree about an opinion.  I never see my mom drink hot tea except when Pat was over.  We grew up going on vacations with the two families. Pat is usually at any major family events when she can be.  They both may be getting older, but tea time still takes place.  They each sit at the exact same spot at the kitchen table they always have, and they still solve the problems of the world, or at least the problems in their worlds, their communities, their families.  

My whimsical, non-sensical, side is all her. From her passion for Hallmark Christmas ornaments, to her cute knick knacks. She has a flair for finding the cute, the different, the unique….and loves it.  I never realized until recently how that transferred over to me. It is this side, combined with my science & math side, that makes me so great in optical, in problem solving in general.  I can look beyond the part that makes “sense” and twist it to make it perfect.  I can see past what is in front of me to picture what is needed. 

Mom with the whimsical statue she liked at Omaha Zoo


On the Train at Omaha Zoo


Mom has a sense of adventure I never saw as a child. She is always willing to go somewhere.  She is always willing to experience something. The past few summers with mom have been the highlight of my summer.  She might not be able to walk very well but get her in her scooter and she is ready to go! She has lasted all day at Disney World, she has gone to the rodeo, she has survived days at the zoo in 95 + degrees. She loves doing things. You can always see a smile on her face when she is out seeing what the world has to offer.  Her willingness to just go, to just do something different is amazing to me.  Might even be why I was willing to go pick my nephew up at 12:30am so he could join me and my niece on our quest to find Pokemon.  

Representing Marysville Michigan in Florida


Her love for family is strong.  Her family, including her extended family, is the most important thing to her.  When asked what she wanted for for 80th birthday, she said, “for all of her kids and grandkids to be with her”. She didn’t want a big party. She just wanted us all together.  So guess what? Every one of my siblings and their kids and grandkids will be together with her celebrating the amazing woman she is.  My mom is such a trusting person. She looks for the good in others and believes in them. I am a cynical person by nature. I question. I dig. It is because of her I’m often willing to forgive. To give a second chance. 

Mom with Birthday Cupcakes after her surgery

Happy Birthday Mom


Mom is always willing to accept those as they are.  I used to say she looked at life through rose colored glasses like it was a bad thing.  Now, as an adult, I realized it is a good thing. It makes you accept life as it is.  It helps you navigate through the tough times.  

My mom is stronger than I could ever imagine. From the pain she endures because of her arthritis to the emotional scars she has from life in general. Losing both of her brothers fairly young, to caring for her husband as Alzheimer’s took his mind before his body. She took those moments. She bore the pain. She came out stronger on the other side.  It is because of her, her strength, I know I can get through anything as well.

Mom and Cayla Omaha Zoo

I am so blessed to have the amazing mother than I have.  I look forward to celebrating her 80th birthday with her and my family today and look forward to many more summer adventures with her and many more birthday celebrations! 


HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY MOM! 

The Bandits Went Up My Tree – HaliPawz

Last night was a crazy night.  I needed to run an errand that I had been putting off, so at 10:30pm, my niece and I head out of the house to drive across town.  The dogs had been driving us crazy going in and out of the patio door, so I decided to take both of them.  Cayla put the leash on Bella, I put one on Zipper, and we headed out the door.  I saw Bella almost drag Cayla down the porch steps and all of a sudden, Zipper started his high-pitched, excited bark.  I look over and see something scurry up my tree.  I’m used to seeing squirrels going up and down it, but these were bigger, and a lot of them.  I look over again and peeking behind the tree is a raccoon!  I have never seen a raccoon in my yard, let alone a bunch of them. All of them had run up the tree except this one, who kept peeking at me around the tree.  I was trying to get Cayla to come back near me to see him, but Bella was pulling her in a different direction.  I couldn’t help but laugh because the raccoon would peek around, see me looking, then disappear again behind the tree.  We did this game for about 2 minutes.  Cayla was finally able to make it back on the porch to see him while I held the dogs.  She saw the game we were playing and then it ended as he also went up the tree.

Raccoon peeking out from behind a tree

Thank you to  irissansfrontieres for this perfect picture to match my story!

 

We used the flashlight on my phone to try to look up the tree to see all of them, but had no luck.  I needed to get something out of the van, which was parked under this raccoon climbed tree, so I unlock it and cautiously approach.  It’s like I was waiting for a raccoon to swipe my ankle from underneath as I approached the van.  Cayla, laughing at me, had to remind me they were poltergeist raccoons, but for some reason, I was just waiting for them all to start launching themselves at me in an attack as I neared the van!  Luckily I was able to enter and exit without harm, other than my pride as I was being laughed at.

As we were backing out of the driveway, we saw something come down out of the tree.  Assuming it was the raccoon, we looked to see where he headed off to….only to our surprise, it WAS NOT a raccoon, it was something else!  It was long, skinny, and seemed to have a funny walk.  We drove in the direction to see what it was, only to discover it was just a very skinny cat.  Wait…a cat???  What the heck was going on up in my tree?  An animal party?  I have raccoons AND cats up there at the same time!  All we could do was laugh at the situation!

We headed across town, turned down a road leading to our destination, only to see another odd-looking critter go running across the road.  We still have no idea what it was.  We tried to find it, but couldn’t.  While I was stopped for a few minutes, something round hit the top of my truck on the moon-roof and then rolled down the windshield and was gone.  It would not have been a big deal, except for the fact I was nowhere near a tree!  Now things are falling from the sky?!?!  What was going on?

As we pulled out of the driveway to head back home, we see yet another strange critter running across the path in front of us, but this time, we were able to identify the creature.  It was my favorite stinky friend; a skunk.  We waited, wanted to be careful to allow extra time for him to get where he was going before driving past him, especially considering all the craziness happening with the various critters.

As we were going along Gregory in Swope Park, my niece says, “deer”  I look, I don’t see anything, she says it again and I see a doe in front of us, off to the side of the road.  I slow down, giving her time to decide what way she was going to go.  She sees us, and then turns…..but does she run?  Oh of course not, that would be too much like normal and the night was anything BUT normal! This crazy deer turns and walks directly in front of us, down the street, with ATTITUDE!!!  I’m not kidding!  Her tail was SWISHING back and forth…..we both started laughing.  It was too much.  We follow her a short ways and then she runs off to the other side, as if to say, thanks for playing…see you soon!

We arrived home, no sign of our masked bandits in the tree, no sign of any other crazy critters in the yard.  I guess our crazy night of animals gone wild was over.  It was a humorous night for the two of us, the dogs were happy because they got to go for a ride in the truck, and my errand was complete.  All in all, it was a successful, adventurous, humorous trip!

 

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

 

 

 

Do you want the icing or the cake? -HaliPawz

image

Sometimes it is important to take the time to make sure all of the ingredients are correct in the relationship before you add the “icing” to the cake. Remember, if you don’t put the correct ingredients in or cook for the right amount of time, the cake isn’t worth eating.  Once it’s done, it has to cool before adding the icing or it doesn’t stick to the cake.

Take your time and your cake will be amazing.

Why is my vision worse when I drink soda – HaliPawz

img_2287

Why is my vision worse when I drink soda, or for my Michigan friends and family, when I drink pop? It’s a random question, I know, but the optician in me has been bothered by this question for a while.  

Since I have been trying to lose weight, I have not been drinking as much soda.  I still drink it, I just make sure to include it in MyFitnessPal calories, so when I do drink it, it is usually one can of Coke followed by one or more glasses of water. On rare occasions, I have a “I don’t care” day and don’t track all of my calories. These days are usually when I have plans with friends and I just want to enjoy myself.  Last night was one of those nights.  I had plans to go out with friends so I was careful to not eat too much during the day, keeping my available calories on the high side. 

Our plans changed slightly, so we ended up going to a local bar I had never been to before. They served Pepsi, not Coke. I would usually opt for water with lemon, but I wanted something more and didn’t feel like drinking alcohol. I had three glasses and no water for the night. 

I fell asleep on the couch watching tv, nothing unusual, but Bella, my Mastiff, woke me up at 3am. I still had lights on, the tv was loud, and I had to throw a load of clothes in the laundry, so I stood up to fix all of it and go to bed.  I looked out my patio door to see what the dogs were doing and noticed halos all around the lights.  My eyes felt heavy and dry, I couldn’t focus clearly on the clock. Since my LASIK surgery, I hate when my vision is blurry but I know it’s temporary. I really hate halos. I always notice them more after I’ve consumed a larger amount of soda (last time was after leaving a movie theater). 

I saw the pattern, the question still loomed as to WHY….now, common sense tells me it is because I’m dehydrated and dehydration affects your whole body, including the vision, but I wondered if there was more too it.  I began my Google search, since there is always an answer in Google, it might not always be right, but there is always an answer.  First five results were about caffeine affecting your vision.  Great! There are answers.  Until I started reading them. The answers were about a study showing where consuming coffee daily can affect your vision health. I’m not a coffee drinker but kept reading because I thought it might be the same thing, until I get to the line….

Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three cups or more of caffeinated coffee per day were at a higher risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma. The results were interesting though in the fact that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma, and ruled out other drinks and foods that were caffeinated.

The optician in me was interested in learning more about this study, but I wanted to stay on track. I found a blog where someone noticed worse vision after sugar binging since they went paleo. Of course, everyone went to diabetic conclusions, which I have been tested often for diabetes and I do not have it, plus my vision isn’t affected when I eat chocolate, only when I consume soda.  Still no answer.  

I then when to my scale, not that I wanted to check my weight after a “cheat” evening, but my scale also measures BMI, body fat, and water. 3:48am and I’m stepping on a scale. 26%. I knew it was lower then my typical percentage of anywhere from 33-37% but I realized I had no idea what it should be. Back to Google.  

Google Results for what should my water percentage be


50%!?!? I was currently at 26%. First thing I did mentally was set a goal, not only for weight loss, but to also get to 40% water; steps to the goal of 5o+%. After reading a couple articles, I realized my water percentage should go up as I lose weight, but I still need to step up my water intake in general. 

I think it’s safe to conclude consuming so much soda isn’t the sole contributor to my halo vision, but the lack of consuming enough water to counterbalance the soda consumption. I’m dehydrated, clearly, and my eyes are warning me to do something about it before it affects more of my health. 

Health through eye exam, hazel eyes
As an optician, I understand your eyes are the window to your health, so it is important to listen to what your eyes are telling you.  When your vision changes in any way, process what was different in your day, if you can conclude what the cause was, great, if you cannot, make an appointment.  It could be your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. 

So now I know, if I’ve consumed a large amount of soda, I need to make sure I also drink plenty of water. If you are someone who notices a lot of halos at night, you might want to check your water percentage. For now, I will drink a glass of water, put some Refresh in my eyes and get a couple more hours of sleep.

Optician PSA: Even if your vision is perfect, get an eye exam ever 12-18 months. It truly is so much more than just a prescription for glasses or contacts. 

Know what the band is playing before jumping on the bandwagon – HaliPawz

img_1166

I recently watched a video being shared on Facebook regarding Donald Trump being a racist.  I know the intent was to show a protester not fully informed about the subject of his protests, but I saw so much more. 

The video – Black Lives Matter protester regarding Donald Trump

Video courtesy of Dennis Michael Lynch

  

Screenshot of Dennis Michael Lynch’s video regarding Black Lives Matter protester

As you can see, it has been shared over 8000 times. People are reacting in many ways to it.  

 This is an example of too many issues in our country today. Not just with racism or Donald Trump…we have a society where people jump on bandwagons without truly knowing facts. They follow crowds, spouting off “facts” that may or may not be true. Stop following others. Stop sharing things you do not know are true. Do your own research from sources OUTSIDE your comfort level. I’m not a Trump fan because he encourages the racial division and the violence that follows, because he knows it helps hype him up. He’s made a living over sensationalizing media moments and he continues to do it with his political campaign. Encouraging racial division for media sensation IS NOT the same as him being racist. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. I don’t know because I haven’t done enough research on that topic. I know he LOVES Omarosa for all the money she helped make him when she was on his show, so he can’t be 100% racist LOL. The point is….verify before you spout off. Don’t just be a follower. Before you jump on a bandwagon, know what the band is playing! 

#knowthefacts 

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Carginia Cambogia, my experience with it -HaliPawz

img_1177

I am trying to lose weight.  I was at the doctor’s office, stepped on the scale, and was saddened by the weight they were recording.  I had gotten off track and it wasn’t good. I’ve always been overweight. Sometimes it bothers me, most of the time it doesn’t but this time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to do something NOW. I really needed something to help me kick-start my weight loss. I had read about Garcinia Cambogia before but honestly, I thought it was a gimmick so I brushed it off. I went back and started doing more research.  It seemed to have mixed reviews. One thing that seemed consistent in all my reading is the purity of the product really made a difference.  I looked at the product at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart but it was only 50% pure.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have been using Amazon more and found a product that claimed to be 95% pure and had a 4 star rating based on over 1600 reviews. I decided to dig a little deeper about this product.  Let’s face it, they couldn’t buy that many positive reviews. It was worth reading a few of them.

I was pleased with the reviews, found them to be credible, and decided it would be worth the $20 to try it. I spoke with a co-worker who decided she wanted to try it as well, so we ordered two bottles.

The day I placed the order, I decided to start watching my caloric intake before the product arrived.  I logged into the My Fitness Pal app and updated all of my information. It calculated my daily allowance of calories at 1732 based on my current weight with a desire to lose 2 lbs per week with a sedentary lifestyle.  I decided I was going to start realistically and then any exercise I did would just be a bonus.

About 2-3 days after ordering, I received an informative email telling me how to get the most out of the product.  It stated to take 1-2 pills 45-60 minutes before eating on an empty stomach. Of course, my skeptical mind thought….oh sure, just a gimmick to get me to buy more because my “month supply” just turned into a 15 day supply if I wanted to “Maximize” my results.  I decided it didn’t matter, I was going to follow their instructions and track my results.

The product arrived and I started taking it on February 24, 2016. The bottle looked just like the pictures.


The capsules were fairly easy to swallow. The only complaint I have is, since they are gel capsules, they sometimes seem to lodge themselves in your throat and you have to drink 2+ glasses of water to get them down.  This doesn’t happen all of the time and I can’t explain why it happens sometimes and doesn’t others.

I knew I was stopping at Chipotle for dinner so I didn’t really eat lunch that day.  I had a handful of cashews with sea salt for lunch.  I needed extra calories because I wanted to be able to have chips with my dinner!  I took 2 pills in the parking lot, went in to order dinner, then headed home. To be honest, I didn’t notice a lot of difference.  I ate my normal Chipotle meal. I was full when I was done, but I usually am. (Side note….I LOVE Chipotle and could eat it 1-2 times a week…am I the only one who wishes they have a “frequent diner” type card?)  To be fair, I had only waited about 35 minutes because I didn’t want my food to get cold.

The next day, we had a meeting at lunchtime and we were having Panera.  I ordered a salad along with some Macaroni & cheese.  I took 2 capsules 45 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start.  It ended up starting a little later, so I was closer to the hour before I started eating my salad.  I finished my salad and started on the macaroni & cheese.  I couldn’t even eat half of the first container! (Panera puts the to go Mac & Cheese in 2 containers). I was shocked.  I closed it up and put the two containers in the refrigerator.

After the meeting, I went back to work and had no desire to snack on anything during the afternoon.

Over the weeks, I tried diligently to keep my calorie count under my daily goal. I tracked every mint, every tootsie roll, etc. I still drank my Coke, I stillate my Chipotle and chips, I would still stop at Culvers….but I also cooked more at home, made smart decisions to balance my calories for the day.  I would have 1 day a week where I wasn’t as careful and would have about 2000-2200 calories but I would also have days where I only had 800 calories.  For the most part, I stayed around 1500 calories.

Some things I noticed during those times….I didn’t have cravings.  I wasn’t starving, even on the days I did the lower calorie counts.  I would balance the number of pills I took based on the size of the meal I was going to eat.  For example, if I was going to sit down and eat a full size meal, I would take two pills, but if I was just going to run through McDonalds and order a Crispy Chicken Snack Wrap, I would only take one. I do have to say, if you need something quick and tasty, those are one of the best 350 calorie items.  They are tasty, they are filling.  You can also order them grilled for a few less calories.   I think by balancing the pills, planning my meals, I was able to maximize on the effectiveness of them.

One day in particular was especially evident.  I had been taking the pills for 3 1/2 weeks and noticed some pleasant changes:

Saturday March 19, 2016

I spent the day with friends at Horsefest in Springfield, MO. I took my pills but I did not take them while I was there due to time constraints with meals and just not planning efficiently. I had also decided I wasn’t going to track my calories for the day. Here are a few things I noticed.  I wasn’t in the back of the pack struggling to keep up with my friends.  We went down a flight of stairs to look at some vendors and I noticed when I climbed back up them I wasn’t winded or felt like it was a struggle to do so.  Does this mean I am gaining more lean muscle like it claims? I’m not sure. What I do know is I felt better about myself and my movements.

We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (you can read about a previous experience here) and yes, I ate a few of the rolls. I said I wasn’t keeping a calorie count for the day, I was out with friends and I wanted to enjoy myself.  The interesting thing is….I wasn’t able to finish my steak dinner! I took about half of it home. In the past I would have ate 3-4 rolls AND finished my steak.  The less meat consumption was even with me not taking any pills all day, so it is obvious my stomach has shrunk slightly. Even with the additional calories and not taking the pills, I only gained 2.2lbs from the day before.  I will admit though, I had a difficult time losing those 2.2 lbs.  Seemed to take me 3-4 days.  Makes me wonder if it would have been that difficult if I had taken the pills before eating that large of a meal.
Here are the results after taking for 4 weeks (28 days) exactly.

14.6 Lbs lost

2.5 Inches lost in my waist

1 Inch lost in my hips

0.4 Inches lost in my neck (no clue why My Fitness Pal tracks the neck but it does)

Now, those changes aren’t overwhelming, by any means….but they were done simply by taking the Garcinia Cambosia and watching my caloric intake on a track designed for 2 pounds of weight loss per week. I wasn’t perfect with that track. I probably had 6 cheat days, including one where I drank a can of Coke and ate 5 Girl Scout caramel delight cookies….and let me tell you, they WERE a delight! But I paid for it in the calories that day!


So I consider inches lost and pounds reduced to be a win. I am continuing with the Carginia Cambosia.  I am getting ready to spend a week in Orlando, going to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World where I do not plan on watching my calories as closesly as I have been, but I do plan on continuing with the Garcinia Cambosia.

I have also recently read that they work better when you pair them with Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract which I have decided to order from Amazon.  I did see some at Wal-Mart where the percents were too off, so I will be trying them while I’m away but won’t share my true experiences until I have tried the strong, purer, product.  I will be sure to share them.

I do want to say at the time I am posting this, I have currently lost 19.8lbs.  I wish it was more, but again, for only taking a little over 4 weeks and not including any major exercise, I am pleased with the results.
Have you personally tried Garcinia Cambosia? Have you tried the Green Coffee Bean Extract?   I would love to hear your experiences, both good and bad.