Archives for posts with tag: health

Soup

One of my all time favorite foods is soup.

I have loved soup since my childhood. My mother made a killer beef vegetable soup. She would leave a pot of it on the stove along with a bowl of noodles. Our method was to fill your bowl with noodles and ladle the hot broth over the top. After adding copious amounts of black pepper, I was in heaven.

Nowadays, chicken soup is my favorite by far, and I make a giant pot of it at least once a month. I don’t even follow a recipe anymore. I’ve made split pea from my leftover Easter Ham, I make potato leek soup, and my girls really like my mushroom soup – a pot of that doesn’t last too long.

I love having soup for lunch. We have a store up the street from my office that sells containers of soup during the winter months, and I am addicted to their chicken noodle. Yesterday they didn’t have any, so I settled for brisket & butter bean soup, which was also good, but I have to admit I ate it begrudgingly.

We also have a place close by that makes a really good Pho…I try to order it every few weeks. Today for lunch I am trying a Thai beef noodle soup. I hope it’s good. (PostScript it WAAAAASSSSS!)

My one rule for soup is I like it brothy. I don’t mind if a potato soup is on the thick side, but if your spoon doesn’t sink into the soup, it’s not soup…it’s pudding.

I also love how soup is a meal that lasts. It seems to take a long time to polish off a big bowl of soup, and it you want seconds??? Big deal…there are worse things you could be eating.

My next soup move is to branch out from the 4 or so varieties I cook. If anyone has a great recipe, be sure to share a link to it! Anything but seafood…Tracy doesn’t do seafood.

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metal-braces3

Back when I was unemployed in 2013, the dentist told me my youngest daughter would need braces. Gee, thanks. I’ll hop right on that.

She has been begging for braces ever since she was in 6th grade. One of her front teeth is crooked, and she’s positive that one singular tooth is the cause of every miserable thing that has ever happened to her in school.

Problem is, braces are like a car payment – I took her to 3 different Orthodontists for consultations and prices, and  braces, it seemed, just wasn’t in our budget.

Until now. We were able to pay off my car, which freed up some money, and we decided to invest in our daughters future, and her smile. This past Wednesday, even though most  of her friends have already had their braces off, my little girl got some metal in her mouth.

She was excited, but also really nervous. Her dream was coming true, but she had just started dating a new guy at school. A guy she is really crazy about. And my poor little dear was afraid he’d take one look at her braces, and hit the bricks.

The first time I saw her with her new mouth, I was relieved. They were so little! I kept envisioning these giant metal Marsha Brady type braces that covered the whole tooth. She didn’t see it that way, though. She was in pain, and adjusting to the fact that her lips were going to look different for the next two years.

That evening her boyfriend came over. And you know what? He loves them. Her whole school loves them too. She got a lot of encouraging remarks her first day back with her new braces and I think it was a real relief for her.

I’m just relieved we are finally getting her tooth, and eventually, her massive overbite corrected. Although I have to admit…I’m going to miss my little Beverly D’Angelo lookalike.

hand-sanitizer

Stop obsessively using this ^^^^^^ .

I am convinced that we, as Americans, use too many antibacterial products. That is why year, after year, after year the CDC claims that the new strain of the flu is “the worst in a decade.” Maybe that’s because when you kill every single little germ in your environment you have no chance to build up resistance.

We have a ginormous bottle of antibacterial gel on our table at work. Several times everyday,  I see a majority of my co-workers pump a handful of gloop into their palms and clear away all the germs. (Ha! one of them just did it as I write this.)

And you know what? Every. Single. One. Of. Them. has been sick so far this year….coughing, sneezing, you name it. Why? Because they’ve killed every germ that could’ve possibly entered their body, thus denying their system to build up any sort of immunity.

The last time I used antibacterial gel was when I was in a supermarket and got chicken juice from a poorly wrapped package of meat on my hands. Yes, for that I’ll make an exception. But to feverishly bathe your hands in gel is wrong, as is to compulsively spray every surface of your house with antibacterial cleaners.

I use none of these products, and I have to tell you, I’m rarely sick. I may get a little bug from time to time…sore throat or runny nose that lasts a day or two, but I can’t remember the last time I was laid out on the couch with tissues and a thermometer.

Sometimes a little germs can be good – in the long run.

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Have you ever heard of the word “snork?” If not, read the urban dictionary definition above.

Yes, it’s that gross sound someone makes when their nasal passages are filled with snot, but rather than grab a tissue and discretely and privately blow their nose, they choose option B…which is to suck said snot up their nose and swallow it. AKA the snork.

It’s a disgusting sound – loud, wet and rattling – a sound that cuts through the air and makes those who are forced to hear it shudder. Or gag.

That being said, let me share a little something with you. I have a co-worker who snorks continually, all day, every day. She’s not sick. She does not complain of constant sinus problems. She just snorks. She’ll be standing over my desk, discussing an ad design with me, and before long I am forced to hear 4 ounces of phlegm travel up her nose and into her throat.

It’s worse after she sneezes. She has one of those stunted sneezes…not a hearty “achoo!” at all. It sounds as if she is swallowing the sneeze, and to make it worse, she’ll “sneeze” about 7 times in a row. And then…then comes the snorking. Over and over again, every 15 seconds or so. *SNORK!*  *SNORK!*

I am certain she has swallowed at least 43 gallons of snot since she began working here.

How does someone develop such a disgusting habit? I mean, she’s a grown woman with children. I don’t know how she has gone this far in life without someone taking her aside and asking her if she’s ever heard of a tissue. Or that foreign practice of nose-blowing.

She did this continual and constant snorking once during a staff meeting, where the entire office was present. It was so gross to hear, and I’m still baffled that not one person called her on it. We have some folks here who can take being snarky to an Olympic level…but not a peep from anyone.

Maybe it’s just me.

Nah…it can’t be. It’s too gross a sound. I guess everyone is too chicken-shit to call her out on it. I just hope I don’t snap one day, stand up and scream…”WILL YOU PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST BLOW YOUR NOSE!”

I really don’t want that to happen. I’ve already snapped at her for being a control-freak-know-it-all. I can’t handle being the snork police as well.

Oh God…she just sneezed….

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During my last doctor’s visit, while my numbers still needed improving, he was impressed with the amount of walking I did. Most months I walk around 65 miles, and while I was hoping to keep that up, August happened.

I’m not a fan of August now that I’m older. When I was young it was prime summer vacation time…hot, trips to the pool, weeks spent on Martha’s Vineyard. But now? It’s just hot…too hot to walk other than in the early morning. And add to that equation the fact that my daughter starts school the 2nd week of August, and my morning walks go out the window.

But I really didn’t even walk on the weekends. I’m not sure why. I was being lazy, I guess.

But today dawned cool and rainy…what is left of Harvey is paying us a visit. And while I can forgive myself for letting August slip away, I won’t let that same mistake happen in September. So I grabbed my umbrella and did my morning walk – just a little over a mile and a half.

It felt good.

via Daily Prompt: Mope

bad-2016

With the exception of two events, 2016 really sucked.

The two events? My daughter’s graduation from VCU and getting the best job of my life. Those are the only saving graces from 2016.

I spent a lot of 2016 moping. I remember long days at my desk at the real estate office, with little to do and less motivation to do what little work I had. I hated my job. I hated that it was only part time. I hated that I was chained to my desk, that getting time off required the approval of several people (in an office that only had 35 employees). I hated that I had no health or dental insurance, sans what little Obamacare offered me.

While I hated my job, I was grateful to have it, which was also mope-worthy. There had to be more to life than just working at a job you hated going to in order to pay the bills.

I had also stopped walking as much as I did. After pounding the pavement to the tune of 900 miles in 2015, and losing almost no weight in the process, I was discouraged. This year I only squeaked out 251 miles. The end result? I feel like shit as 2016 comes to a close.

The election? Let’s not even start. I am so disappointed in our country, who let a lying, racist, p*ssy grabbing con man get control of our lives. Fuck moping – I want to scream almost every day. I think my main goal in 2017 will be ignoring the fact that we have a president. I’ll just float down that river we call DaNile for a little while.

And my dad. Losing my dad sucked. Thinking back on all the vacations my family took to Dad’s house in Florida…all those days at Flagler Beach, playing volleyball in the pool, shots of slivovice with my sisters, and long dinners followed by story telling and reminiscing with dad. All gone.

That coupled with the election of Trumpsy Dumpsy really let wind out of my sails. I didn’t care about Christmas, I really didn’t care about anything.

But a new year is coming – it’s just days away and I can look forward to making improvements in my life. I’ve got this great job, with great benefits…I’ve got everything to live for, so it’s time to start taking better care of myself. Time to ignore the giant pumpkin in the white house and look at the joy in my own house.

Here’s to 2017.

happy-scale

A little over a year ago, my then 13 year old daughter had to go to the doctor for her yearly checkup. She was dreading it, because she knew she was chubby, and that the doctor would lecture her on losing weight, just like she did every year.

Old doc didn’t disappoint. My little girl left the office depressed and sulky with a wounded pride and a prescription for her acne.

Over the next few days she moped around the house, barely eating. When I’d fix her breakfast or dinner, she would bring her plate back up having eaten little. This went on for a few weeks, and I finally had to give her a talk about how if she wanted to lose weight, not eating wasn’t going to get her anywhere in the long run.

We shopped for sensible snacks, and cut out soda all together. She started walking on the treadmill we have in the garage for 30-45 minutes most days. I begged her to let me weigh her, but she refused. I think she was scared that the scale was going to reflect the same old fat number she’d had at the doctor’s office.

One morning I told her that she was going on the scale – that we had to see if what she was doing was working. If it wasn’t, we’d find another solution, but we had to know.

My girl had lost over 10 pounds in less than a month. And this was why I wanted her on that scale – that number motivated her to keep going.

All through the year she watched what she ate, but didn’t deprive herself of the occasional cupcake or egg roll, and kept up her exercise. I knew the weight was coming off because pants I’d bought her just a few months back didn’t fit her anymore, and the XL T-shirts I’d bought her for Christmas hung on her like nightgowns.

Fall rolled back around and it was time to head back to the doctor for another check up – but she was looking forward to this one. The nurse took her blood pressure, checked her vision and her height, and put her on the scale.

A few minutes later, she came back into the office to double check the number on the scale. She said the doctor had seen the difference in weight, and wanted her to double check that she hadn’t made a mistake.

My husband, daughter and I chuckled at this.

When the doctor came in, she was amazed at the change. My child, with hard work and determination, had lost almost 40 pounds over the course of the year. The doctor asked her how she did it, and congratulated her on good choices. She apologized for sending the nurse back in to double-check the scale, but explained that so few children actually lose the weight once they are told they need to, that she’d assumed it was an error.

Doc looked at her and said, “you really made my day.”

And doc made her day too. She was floating on air the rest of the afternoon, even though she had to endure a flu shot and her final HPV shot. She’s still watching her portion size and getting on that treadmill.

And I’m still buying her new clothes…size small.

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On March 24th, my husband and my youngest daughter traveled up to our Nation’s capitol to see The Who in concert. It was to be a real daddy-daughter day…a day off from school, tooling around D.C., topped off with a night of rock & roll with one of music’s most iconic classic rock bands.

They had a great time. The kind of time that they will both always remember. But…

By Saturday afternoon my daughter began to feel ill. By Easter Sunday she could barely get out of bed. Stuffy nose, fever, cough, sore throat; the whole nine yards. I spent the whole day cooking for her Easter dinner and she barely ate any of it.

By the following week hubby had it too…but 10 times worse. His cough was so hacking that he would come close to throwing up. Two very sick family members, both home from school and work respectively…along with me. I felt like a walking target. It was only a matter of time before mommy got clobbered with what I dubbed “The Who Flu.”

But here it is, almost two weeks later and I am fine and dandy, and I can’t help but wonder why. I didn’t even get a sniffle…not a tickle in my throat. Perhaps this was one of those “you had to be there” viruses. Something they both caught in either DC or at the Verizon Center, but miraculously was not transferable to me.

And I’m so thankful. We are super busy at work, and I don’t get sick days. Vacation days? Yes. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to use one of those to lay on my couch with a box of tissues.

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My doctor at the free clinic suggested to me that I visit their nutritionist. I was hesitant, only because the last nutritionist I visited years ago was a real bitch.

She was the type who no matter how much weight you lost or no matter how improved your numbers were, it just wasn’t good enough. She never rewarded you with a “job well done!” It was always, “you need to do better” or “You’re not out of the woods.”

Not very motivating, to say the least.

Yesterday’s appointment was very different, but not in a good/improved way. It was just weird.

First off, she was fat, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m not saying that fat people can’t know the basics of healthy eating, but if they can’t practice what they preach, it makes you wonder.

She assumed a lot. I mean a lot. At one point she said, “well I know you don’t like fruit” to which I replied, “I actually like a lot of fruits.” I mean what was her thought process? Was it along the lines of, “gee, this broad’s a fat-ass so I’m guessing she doesn’t like fruit.”

She also assumed that when I made chicken soup from scratch that I used rotissere chicken and canned vegetables. WTF? Do I have “hillbilly” stenciled on my forehead?

She also seemed singularly unimpressed with the fact that I’ve walked over 750 miles so far this year. Usually the doctors are like, “wow, that’s impressive!” Maybe she just assumed I logged all the miles at the Chinese Buffet lines.

She also got annoyed with me. She asked what I weighed when I was 25. I told her I couldn’t remember…maybe 130? Not satisfied, she asked me what size my wedding dress was. Who the hell remembers that? Then she mentioned to her assistant that I might be in denial because EVERYONE knows what size their wedding dress was. Sorry honey, that was over 20 years ago…I just know I don’t fit in it now.

I also got lectured for not having been administered a gestational diabetes test when I was pregnant – exsqueezeme? That was 13 years ago!

What a nut!

And her eating advice? I found it to be suspect, to say the least. She wanted me to eat “diet” versions of everything….yogurt, bread…isn’t that stuff supposed to be worse for you? She actually suggested that eating Mrs. Paul’s breaded fish filets was a good choice for dinner. She also mentioned little to nothing about exercise.

The only advice I’m going to heed from her is to cut down my salt intake. The rest of it, I know how to do with one hand tied. I just have a hard time doing it for longer than a few months, especially when you stop seeing results.

I’m still trying to reach my goal of 1,000 miles walked by December 31st, 2015 – but now I’m adding dropping some more lbs into the mix.

HealthProblem

I am unfortunate enough to have Coventry Health Care as my provider. “Provider…” ha, that’s rich. All they provide me with is headaches and a monthly bill for healthcare that I can barely use.

I learned my lesson the hard way last year when I called to find out if a specific test was covered, told it was, but was NOT told that the cost of that test would not be paid for, but rather, would be applied to my deductible. Had I known that little nugget of information, I would have not had the test.

So now, I call to check on everything. That being said, before my daughter went back to college I wanted to get her eyes checked, so I called Coventry and asked. The man on the phone told me that my girls are covered through the age of 19, at which point I said, “Great! She turns 20 next week, so I can just get her in under the wire.” He laughed and agreed that it sounded like a good plan.

I had to jump through quite a few hoops to get her an appointment before her 20th birthday, but I got it done. I get her to the appointment and hand over my insurance card. A few moments later the receptionist calls me over to tell me that under my insurance, the eye appointment isn’t covered.

What?

I immediately get on the phone with Coventry, where they once again, cannot even find my insurance via my member ID. The woman on the phone informs me that under my plan, pediatric eye care ends at 16. I explain to her that I had called just the week before and was told that she was covered through her 20th birthday. She says, “Sorry! That’s wrong.”

So I have to go in and cancel the appointment. I felt like such an asshole, but there was no way I was going to chance having to be responsible for the cost of this eye exam. After apologizing profusely for wasting their time, my daughter and I left the doctor’s office and headed back to my work.

I was pissed. I had just blown my lunch hour and wasted my daughter’s afternoon. I called hubby who was equally pissed – he had to take time out of his day to drop my daughter off at my work so we could make this appointment. He said, “I’m calling Coventry.”

To which I replied, “Don’t waste your time. I can’t get the appointment back, and they’re not going to do anything anyway. They are the Healthcare System….they make it their business NOT to care.”

But he called anyway, demanding that they pay for my daughter’s eye exam, because they had told us we were covered.  He kept upgrading to supervisors and managers until he finally got a woman who was willing to pull the tape of my initial phone call too see if this guy had misinformed me. She assured us that someone would call us back within 48 hours.

That was August 18th.

My husband, refusing to give up this fight, called several more times, wasting countless hours, and each time a Coventry employee assured him that a manager would be back in touch with him. Guess how many managers called back? Zero!

It all came to a headthis past Friday afternoon. Without taking up too much more of your time, I will tell you the two lies Coventry told us.

LIE 1: Had we just gone ahead with the appointment, Coventry would have paid for it in the long-run. I will wait for you to stop laughing before I continue.

I have a feeling someone finally did listen to that tape and heard the guy tell me she was covered up to the last day of her 19th year. That is the only reason why this person would be saying this, other than they really wanted to get us the hell off the phone. This is like 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, and my husband and I are RUINING the start of their weekend.

There is no way in hell I would EVER had continued on with the appointment. I know how these asshole companies run – I learned that last year. I’m still paying off a $550 cardiology bill for services they said were “covered.”

I argued this point saying that I had called Coventry while AT the doctor’s office, and was told that she wasn’t covered, so why would I be so stupid as to go ahead with the appointment? And this is where lie #2 came in, just minutes after we were told that she would have been covered,

LIE 2: Because I made that phone call asking if she was covered from the doctors office, I was no longer misinformed about my coverage, thus freeing Coventry of any wrong doing. Because in their eyes, during the second conversation I had with a Coventry employee, I was told correct information. Therefore I was aware of their policy and have no platform on which to complain.

Except I was already AT the doctor, and I had lost hours of my time because someone on your end is a fucking idiot and told me I had until the day before her 20th birthday to get her eyes checked. In other words, because I did my due-diligence TWICE, Coventry was free and clear of any wrong doing.

Yeah, I hate Coventry. And before any of you get on an Obamacare soap box, know this. I LIKE that I can get relatively affordable health care. I pay $365 per month, which absolutely kills us financially. It leaves us with little to no money for anything fun at the end of the month. But if it weren’t for the President’s plan, I’d never be able to afford anything, because it would most likely be $700 or $800 per month for the same shitty coverage.

At least with this coverage if I get hit by a bus, I may not lose my house. I will close with this…If you have a job with an even marginal health care plan, be very, very thankful.