Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chronic Pain and Working Out

I've always been overweight. A combination of genes, not really liking sports and liking reading / watching TV all contributed to that. I would walk with my parents when I was younger and living at home, but I wasn't too keen on it.

Most of my college years I was forced to exercise because I didn't have a car and had to walk everywhere. I was in pretty good shape then but then I got a car and backslide a little. After I graduated from college, I didn't really exercise at all. I was dealing with my mom's death and working my first full time job.

A year after I graduated my chronic pain started and I became acutely aware of my health. I didn't try to exercise that first year because I was trying to get a hold of the pain. But I did start trying to work out after that in order to try and be healthy in general.

I tried a lot of things. Dance Dance Revolution was one of my favorites, but it is really an intense workout so I could only do it once in a while. Mostly I'd just try to walk when I could.

After Emily was born, I got a jogging stroller and would try to run with Emily but it was hard. When I went back to school, I took yoga every semester I could but I wasn't really losing any weight because of that.

I had heard about the Couch to 5K program when I started trying to jog, but I found it extremely hard to try and time when I was suppose to walk and when I was suppose to run. I got a smart phone and found an help that helped a lot. We also got a treadmill which allowed me to run indoors.

But my chronic pain still makes it hard to exercise. I ran on and off last year and I did lose 20 pounds of the course of the year. I've kept it off but without exercise, I've mostly hit a wall. I tried to start running at the first of the year, but the flu and Todd ending up in the hospital ended that quickly.

Yesterday I managed to get back on the treadmill but I had to start back at Day 1, Week 1 of Couch to 5K. I hope that I will finish the program and keep back up with it, but it's slow going. I woke up today with another migraine (in part because I also woke up with a cold) so it's going to be a rest day.

Even with my chronic pain, I am on a quest to get healthier. Hopefully I will actually be able to finish Couch to 5K this year!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Costume Plans of 2014

I love cosplaying but I'm not that great with sewing. But I manage to put together some interesting costumes to wear to the various conventions that I go throughout the year. I have plans to make two, possibly three costumes this year.

The first costume that I'm working on is for a horror convention that we'll be going to next month. I have a hard time figuring out horror related costumes to wear. I have my American McGee Alice costume from last year, but I'm also going to make a Disney's Haunted Mansion Tightrope Girl costume.

I love the Haunted Mansion so I'm not sure why I didn't think to do this costume before. But I'm working on it now. I have the corset and the skirt and I'll be adding on the details. Hopefully I'll be able to finish that in the next couple of weeks.

Then I'll be working on the Kaylee Layer Cake Dress 2.0. I hand sewed 1.0 a few years but I didn't do a great job and it's now falling apart. I've been meaning to remake for awhile now, but with the Browncoat Ball coming to Greenville, SC in October
it's moved up in the queue. I'm hoping to figure out how to use my mom's sewing machine so I can use that instead of hand sewing it. Hopefully that will be finished in time for Dragon Con.

If I finish the Layer Cake Dress, I might start my Ducky MoMo costume. It will actually be me cosplaying as Candance cosplaying as Ducky MoMo. It's going to be complicated but Todd has said he'll help me design it. He's the engineer so I'm sure we'll be able to figure something out.

For now, that's what I'm working on. I'll post pictures on Twitter and Facebook as I put the costumes together!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Ghost Adventures - Help Me!

Last year, I wrote a post about how I always thought my basement was haunted. I never had any concrete evidence to prove that though.

When I went to college, I had a great interest in ghosts even though they freaked me out. When October rolled around, I saw that they were offering free ghost tours of the campus the night before Halloween. One of my roommates and I decided to go.

It was the first year for the ghost tours and the people running it hadn't expected such a large turnout. We waiting in the cold for hours but finally it was our turn. Our tour guide had a flashlight but we were pretty much in the dark.

We walked around the oldest part of campus learning about all the ghost stories. One story was about a girl in one of the dorms that would see the words "Help Me" in the bathroom mirror after a shower. We ended up in the courtyard of Barnard Hall which was not being used at that point in time. We heard about the most famous ghost of CMU which was Carolyn.

Carolyn was a girl who had gone to Central in the 50's. She had gone to a dance with her friends but had gone back to her room complaining of a headache. Her roommate found her dead in the morning. It is said that she roamed the halls of Barnard ever since.

It was the eeriest part of the evening and I had a hard time getting to sleep the next day. I didn't have any early classes in the morning so I had the dorm to myself. I locked the door and took a shower. When I came out, the words "Help Me" where on the mirror.

Needless to say, I was extremely freaked out. I never mentioned it to my roommates, because I didn't get along with the majority of them and knew they could have been playing a joke on me. I took cold showers for the next month of so.

When I was brave enough to take a warm shower, it appeared again. And would every time I took a warm shower in that dorm room. It was extremely freaky but still not a solid case for a ghost.

Next time, my experiences with the Cinema Ghost!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Twitter Poetry

I was an English minor in college so I used to do a lot of creative writing. In addition to stories, I would write a lot of poetry. I've been having a hard time finding the energy / brain power to write lately. I work and that usually uses up the majority of my spoons for the day.

Laying in bed a few nights ago, I was thinking about my past poetry. All of it was also pretty short and then I thought about Twitter. That's how my new Twitter account, @PoetMandy, was born.

I've posted a few poems there already and hope to write at least one a day to try to keep my creativity flowing in a micro fashion. I am still working on my novels but it's a long process and I don't always have the brain power needed to edit.

If you like poetry, please consider following @PoetMandy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow Day!

Often there will be a lot of hysteria around here when snow is in the forecast. But we've gotten a lot of snow this winter so we knew to hunker down when nearly a foot of snow as called for earlier this week. We didn't get a foot but we got enough that both Emily and Todd had two snow days.

Emily loves the snow, in part because she really hasn't gotten to play in it before. In years past, we'd get some snow but it wouldn't be a lot and it would usually melt the next day. But we got a bunch so a few days ago, I braved the cold to take her out to play.

The first thing she wanted to do was build a snowman, thanks in part to her love of Frozen. The snow was perfect packing snow so we quickly built a snowman. Then Emily decided that her snowman needed a friend so we built another snowman.

After that, she wanted to have a snowball fight. She would pick up big chunks of snow but thankfully her aim was poor and didn't actually hit me. I hit her a few times but my aim was better so I mostly got her in the
back with small snowballs.

We played a little more but I was getting cold and getting a migraine. So we took our bowl that we had brought out to get some snow to make snow ice cream. 

Once we were inside, we took off our wet clothes. Emily was really excited to help me make the snow ice cream. I added too much vanilla so it tasted weird to me. But Emily loved it and that's what matters. We had extra snow in the bowl so Todd tried to make some. His was better but I'm not a huge fan of snow ice cream. But it was fun to make with Emily.

Even though the cold gave me a huge migraine, it was worth it to see Emily's big smiles!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Frozen Sing-Along

I love going to the movies and it's nice that Emily is old enough to sit through a whole movie. We don't take her very often so it's a big treat when we do go.

We saw Frozen as a family when it first came out, but when I heard about the Frozen Sing Along showings, I really wanted to go. We have the soundtrack so both Emily and I know all the words to the songs.

There was a showing last Friday so I decided we could go because Todd had no interest in seeing it again. When we got to the theater, Emily saw one of her best friends. They hugged and talked for a minute but they were going to go see the Lego Movie.

The theater was empty when we got in there but a few people showed up. Even with a near empty theater, it was a lot of fun to sing along with the movie. Emily had a good time too.

I'm guessing that the sing along won't be in many theaters for much longer (if at all) but I'm glad we got to experience it!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

College Memories - Li'L Chef

Image: www.flickr.com
I was always pretty much a homebody. I liked hanging out with my parents in high school and just being at home. I was never one to party.

But my mom wanted to help me spread my wings so she insisted that I got to a college out of town. I decided on Central Michigan University, in part because it was were my dad had gotten his Master's degree.

It took me seven years to finish my degree. I changed majors three times and had some issues with classes. But partly I just loved being in college and living in Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant has a main road that runs right by the school. For the majority of my time at CMU I didn't have a car so I had to walk everywhere. There were fast food places that you could get to, but Li'l Chef was one of the restaurants you could go to without having to cross the massive street.

Li'l Chef also was the only 24 hour restaurant within walking distance to the campus. I had many meals in there, often on Saturday night after LARPing. We'd sit with kids coming from the bar and talk about what had happened in the game.

Yesterday I saw on Facebook that the Li'l Chef in Mount Pleasant was closing. It's sad because I have a lot of memories of that place, but it's been probably ten years since I've been there. I've moved on since college and I guess so has Mount Pleasant. But I'll have fond memories of that place that was a part of my experience.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten Years Ago....

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/
I watch the Super Bowl every year. I’ve been to a few parties but most of the time I just watch it from home. As I watched the excellent half time show this past Sunday, I was reminded of another Super Bowl from ten years ago.

In 2004, I was struggling with my new chronic pain. I was in the midst of the doctor’s trying every medicine they could think of and none of them making any difference. I was living at home at the time and I was suffering from very high levels on Super Bowl Sunday.

I still watched the Super Bowl though I was stuck on the couch because it hurt to move. In years past, I had gotten up for snacks or to go to the bathroom during the halftime show. But that year, I watched it because I wasn’t going anywhere.

So I got to see Janet Jackson’s boob, which didn’t seem very shocking to me. Partly because I have my own boobs, but I was feeling doped up on pain and whatever medicine I was trying that week. I didn’t really think much about it until the internet exploded the next day.

Ten years later, I still think that a lot of fuss was made about not much. But I’ll always remember it as part of what happened at the height of me trying to figure out how to manage my pain. Thankfully this year’s Super Bowl I felt pretty good and got to watch it with my family

Monday, February 3, 2014

Todd and MS

Last month my husband was complaining about double vision in his left eye. He didn’t think much of it because it wasn’t painful, just annoying. I kept bugging him to go to the doctor’s and finally after trying to work a 12 hour shift with it he went to urgent care.

Urgent care couldn’t find anything wrong so they sent him to the hospital. The ER ran a bunch of tests and found lesions which are a sign of MS. He was admitted to the hospital and stayed there for four days. It was some of the longest four days of my life, in part because of worry over Todd and worry over Emily who had the flu. I also got the flu, but luckily for both of us it was short lived.

Todd was released from the hospital after four days with a diagnosis of MS and type two diabetes. The diabetes isn’t too bad and it’s something that he should be able to control with diet changes. The MS isn’t bothering him at the moment but we know it’s something that will get worse as he ages.

The next week Todd spent trying to get a detailed doctor’s note so he could go back to work. Originally he didn’t have an appointment until March but finally they were able to squeeze him in allowing him to go back to work.

So far he’s been feeling okay. I’ve been sick with worry and have been feeling worse than normal with my own chronic issues. We are slowly getting back to normal but making some changes to be healthier. We have changed our diet as a family. Todd’s dropped a lot of weight already and I’ve lost a few pounds too.

All in all, it could be worse but it’s quite a shock. Now we have two people with chronic health conditions but I’m sure we’ll manage. Hopefully the rest of the year won’t be as bad as January was. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Me and Football!

Image: https://www.facebook.com/NFL
It’s Super Bowl Sunday! In honor of the big game today, here is the story of how I became and stayed a football fan.

When I was in high school, I was part of the marching band. This required me to be at every home football game. A lot of the other kids would just talk and ignore the game, but I decided that if I had to be there every Friday I should know the basics.

My parents always watched the Lions on Sunday. Though my dad did more watching and my mom would often nap on the couch. But they were both more than happy to explain how football works. I started watching the Lions with them nearly every Sunday.

I continued to watch football in college though not as regularly. I would often go to the home games for my college, Central Michigan, in part because it was a cheap way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

After college, I started dating Todd. He loves football so once we moved in together Sundays were football days during the season. When we first started dating, he watched more college football but he always preferred the NFL.

When we bought our house, he was excited to get DirectTV for the NFL Sunday ticket. That he could watch any game he wanted, including our team the Lions. Emily knows that on Sundays in football season, Daddy gets the TV in the living room. She’ll play in the living room while football is on. She picks teams to root for by the color of their uniforms, but she knows how to put her arms in the air when a team gets a touchdown.

Emily is excited to watch some of the big game tonight with her mommy and daddy. I’m not sure which team she’ll be rooting for but I’ll try to live tweet her responses to the game on Twitter. Todd doesn’t really care which team wins either but I’ll be rooting for the Seahawks because they are my friend Judy’s team.

I hope everyone has a great Sunday – with football or without!