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Showing posts from 2016

Lost (thoughts on the outcome of the election)

The most devastating thing that’s ever happened to me was when my Grandpa died.
I’m sure if you’ve lost a loved one, you will understand what I am about to describe…
The thing that struck me the hardest was the next morning, waking up, and realizing that the world was going on as if everything was normal. I walked out my front door and I had to do some things….I had to get gas in my car, I had to stop at the store on the way to my grandparents’ house. It was absolutely insane to me that no one around me realized what huge loss had just occurred. 
Everyone was walking around like life was normal when it wasn’t.
I felt a little like that waking up the morning after this election.

The Crazy Year

I know I said my next post was about being high, and I promise I’ll get to that.
But I have crap in my head that is begging to come out. You’ve been warned.
I want to talk about “The Crazy Year”.
“The Crazy Year” is the year immediately following the birth of a child or the ending of your partnership/marriage/relationship that was supposed to be life-long. 
It’s the year that everyone goes crazy.

Spinal Fusion Surgery Recovery - 6 month out from L5S1 fusion!

So, it's been 6 months since my surgery!

Seems like a good time for a little update.


Spending with Cash - Stop Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck, Adendum

I wanted to take a minute to talk a little bit about the most common excuse I hear for NOT budgetting in the way I outlined in my previous post... spending with cash instead of a card.

"I don't want to carry that much cash around!"

Or....five billion other version of that excuse.

I say "excuse" because that's exactly what it is. It's an excuse.


Budgeting that Works - Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck pt. 2

Budgeting is one area in my life I get asked about quite a bit lately. Probably because I've shared publicly that last year, we started working on our finances.

It's crazy to me that in this day and age of hyper sharing, we're still all weird about sharing financial information. I used to work for the government, which meant my salary was public information. And that's when I realized....wait, we all pretty much know what we all make. And we all see the economy, and we're all living with the effects of coming out of a pretty bad recession. It's been rough. We're all going through it. Why don't we TALK about it!?

I would venture to guess that one reason we're in such an economic mess is that we still treat money like some taboo, untouchable subject.

Well, let's stop that right now.

My name is Cyndi, and I used to live paycheck to paycheck. I don't anymore, and here's how I got out of that hole.


Why Budgeting Didn't Work For Me - Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck pt. 1

I had an on-paper (well, on-Excel) budget for years, but I still got further into debt and still always felt out of control of my money. I felt like it was more hassle than it was worth. What was the point if I was still always going to be broke?

Budgeting didn't work for me for many many years.

So I get why most folks are reluctant to try it or why they say it doesn't work or doesn't matter. I've seen with own eyes that it didn't work.

Fast forward to today and I have a budget that really works. It's not that different and it's based on the exact same Excel spreadsheet I've been using for years. What's the difference?

Let me tell you why budgeting didn't work for me before.


On Giving to the Homeless

I recently reached out to a somewhat famous blogger/podcaster/personality because I heard some comments from him about his view on giving to the homeless. It really struck a chord with me.

His views are pretty common. So I'm posting my letter here as well.

Enjoy.


Adventures in Pinteresting - Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

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We had a low key 4th this year with some friends and I was in charge of bringing desert. Not wanting anything super heavy, but also not wanting to worry about anything that needed refrigeration, I started perusing Pinterest and decided on Lemon Sugar Cookie bars. Reviewing a few receipes, I settled on this one from Inside Bru Crew Life




How'd they turn out?


Spinal Fusion Surgery - 3 month out

Some notes on my recovery up to this point:

I had my 3 month follow up last week (which, technically, was more like 3 months and two weeks) and my doctor said things looked "Awesome". As usually, that was a HUUUUGE relief to hear. I'm an anxious person by nature (working on that) and so the entire time between my first post-op x ray and the one last week I was just worried "oh the hardware is shifting" or "what if it's not fusing"....but it's all going well! PHEW!

It's made me really grateful that I got strong and healthier prior to surgery. Looking back several years, when I first had the idea of surgery and my doctor at the time said "You're too young, no one will operate on you", I'm actually grateful for that. I think my recovery would have been much harder if I was weaker and heavier. The first week, especially, would have been so much rougher if I had been weaker. I can't even imagine what those first few steps …

Adventures in Pinteresting - Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

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I'm a bit of a Pinterest addict and I regularly use it for inspiration for my weekly meal planning.

Yesterday, I realized I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed to be cooked and I had no time to cook them and no idea HOW to cook them.

So I went to Pinterest and typed "slow cooker chicken thighs". One of the first recipes that came up was this Lemon Pepper Chicken Thigh recipe. So I went with it.

This was possibly my biggest Pinterest success so far.


Spinal Surgery - L5S1 Surgery Day (a retrospective post)

Spinal Fusion Surgery – L5S1 Fusion Surgery Day
I’ve never really written in much detail about my surgery day and all the specifics about being in the hospital so I thought I’d spell all that out for anyone curious or wondering what it’s like.

Dave Ramsey, I'm done with you

I've mentioned before, my husband and I got on the Dave Ramsey train last year.

And, from a factual, budgetary view, it's worked out really well. As many of his callers state and as a great deal of the testimony in his books claim, it has indeed felt like we've gotten a raise.

But, OMG Dave Ramsey.

I can't with that man anymore. I just can't.

He's just a terrible person. Just awful.


Spinal Surgery Recovery - L5S1 Fusion Post Op 8+ Weeks

I was meaning to write this last week, when I was officially 8 weeks post op. But now I'm one day shy of 9 weeks post op. But my recovery has tapered off...I'm probably about the same as I was a week ago anyways.

How is it being 8 weeks (and 6 days) post op from fusion surgery? Pretty ok.

I've mentioned before, I think it's really important to hold a positive mind set. The past few weeks have been a test, because my recovery from here has been super slow.

Initially, you just get radically better every day. Every day is some huge improvement and it all seems miraculous. Now....it's slowed down. I've reached a bit of a stasis in my level of activity and pain and improvement.


Good Steward

"Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel" Proverbs 12:10
As a Christian today, I almost always feel that I'm "interpreting" the Bible differently than the masses. But there are certain things that I think are less about "interpretation" and more about willful ignorance. 
I admit....it's ignorance that I've deliberately chosen, myself, for a while.
I could list a million verses about our call as Christians to be good stewards of the earth.  But you can go find them....they are there. Google will help you.
At the end of the day, something I've been struggling with lately is this:
Can we, as Christians, look ourselves in the eye and say that God calls us to torture animals in order that we can eat?

"How do you lose weight?"

Five years ago, I was really unhealthy and overweight. I know I weighed somewhere over 204 (I’m 5’6”), but when I crossed that 200lb threshold, I stopped getting on the scale. 
Like lots of moms, I tentatively looked into things to try to lose weight. I tried Couch to 5k once and stuck to that for about a week. I’d go shopping and try to buy what I assumed was “diet food”. But I was super uncommitted and uneducated, so it was a recipe for failure.
I was also going through a lot of turmoil in my life at that time. I was a newly divorced single mom and running my own business and really struggling. And one day a light went off in my head…..I deserved to be treated better than I was treating myself.
Around that time, about four years ago, one of my oldest friends, who just so happens to run her own gym, told me about a program they were going to run at the gym. A 21 day weight loss challenge, guided by her and her nutritionist husband. At that point I had cut out beer and started runn…

Spinal Surgery Recovery - Notes on Help and Equipment

I read a lot of different stories online about what I might need for my recovery, so I thought I'd write up a little summary of the things I bought and needed, as well as the level of personal help I needed from my family during my recovery.


Spinal Surgery Recovery - Meds

Another topic I was wondering about prior to my surgery and that I've seen a lot of discussions started about is medications during recovery. What do you get, how much do you get, and are you going to get addicted.

In my first few cursory searches about meds after surgery, I got really concerned about addiction. Getting put on narcotic pain killers for months didn't sound appealing to me.

In my case, most of the commonly prescribed pain killers make me vomit. Through trial and error over the past few years, I learned that Percoset won't make me barf. But that's all I had experience with.

Let me take a few steps back.....


Spinal Surgery Recovery - Losing Weight From Surgery

I was curious if surgery would make me lose weight. On one hand, you put your body through this major trauma and it has to heal itself, so you'd think it would cause a degree of weight loss.

On the other hand, you are laying around for months so you'd assume that would negate that weight loss and maybe even cause weight gain.

I randomly googled it one morning before my surgery and, apparently, LOTS of people ask this question and have LOTS of very interesting opinions about it. So what the heck....I'll throw in mine (along with my experience thus far).


Spinal Surgery Recovery - The Hardest Part Isn't the Pain

Ok, maybe the title of this is misleading. Because, the first week or two of pain was really terrible.

But I'm 4 1/2 weeks out now. And I'm going a little crazy.

It's been over a month of log rolling out of bed and having to ask people to pick up my phone when I drop it. A month of walking really slow and getting tired really easily. A month of watching my family do all the chores....dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. Maybe that sounds good, but for an OCD, Type A mom like myself, at this point it's kind of torture. I can't clean up after myself. I can't pitch in with the house hold cleaning. I can't organize my closet or spring clean the kitchen.

And it's stupid little things too. I can't put on jeans, because they waist band kills my scars and I can't make my body do what it needs to do to get into jeans anyways. I can't cuddle with my husband at bedtime or my kids on the couch because I can't twist or bend. And when I'm layin…

Spinal Fusion Recovery - The Real Poop

I honestly didn't research this surgery as much as I normally research things before hand. Mostly out of fear. And, I honestly am glad I did it that way. I would have been far more scared about the surgery if I'd watched videos first.

But there are a few things I wish I'd known before going into this.

One of them was how your bowels handle surgery and pain meds.  
When I was done with surgery, one of the things they asked me was if I wanted stool softeners or laxatives.  At the time, I had attempted one time to get out of bed once and it was torture so I declined the poop meds. I didn't want to get caught having to rush to the bathroom when I didn't feel capable of doing that.

Oh, what a mistake.

The thing I didn't really take into consideration or know much about was how hard core pain killers really stop you up. I'd never had surgery before, nor had I ever been on that level of pain meds for any extended period of time.

I started taking the laxatives and …

Two Week Post Spinal Fusion - Tired Tired Tired

It's been 15 days.

Overall, mostly things just get better each day. I'm weaned down about as much as I can be at this point on drugs. I had probably my most comfortable nights sleep last night.

I feel, though, that I've gotten to the "cranky" stage. My back scar is to the point of being mildly itchy, tight, and annoying for anything to touch it. I am mentally clear enough to want to do a lot of things that I can't do and be annoyed by all the things I see around the house that I can't do. It's really hit me in the past few days that I have so many limits on what I can do. My biggest priority going into this was not to be "typical me" and to stick to the recovery plan and not push myself.

So today I'm trying to figure out what I can do to be productive around the house that won't set back my recovery. And that's a surprisingly difficult list to come up with.

In trying to be productive, I realized yesterday that if I want to get ou…

Spinal Surgery Recovery - Day 12, 1 Mile

I walked 1 mile today.

My doctor said that I should aim to working my way up to a mile by 3 weeks out.

This morning, I went for a walk. I was alone so I took the walker. 10 minutes down the road (which was really only a few houses down) I was feeling good and just decided to go for a full 30 minutes which I roughly calculated to be about a mile.

It actually took me 40 minutes, and the last few blocks were slow and tedious and pretty uncomfortable.

And then I had the realization that my doctor probably meant 1 mile TOTAL IN A DAY, and not 1 mile TOTAL IN ONE SESSION.

Ooops.


Spinal Fusion Surgery Recovery - Day 9

It's day 9 of my recovery from spinal fusion surgery.

I had L5 S1 fused via a bone graft and some hardware and had posterior and anterior incisions (that means I got cut in the front and back).

I've been meaning to write about this for a while but today was the first day I felt mentally clear enough to do it. Probably because today is the day I've taken the least amount of pain meds.

When I initially had this surgery recommended to me over two years ago, I just googled "spinal fusion" and found a LOT.....and I mean A FREAKING LOT....of really bad stuff online. Lots of people complaining a lot about how horrible the surgery was for them. I admit, that scared me off, so I put off the surgery.

The thing is........my particular situation wasn't getting better on it's own. And I was in line to lose most of the feeling in my right leg and maybe lose control  of my bowels.

So about a year ago, I googled "spinal fusion SUCCESS STORIES" and that totally…