2013, I Am Ready…

Here we go 2013!

New Year’s Eve is one of two days of the year that I use to examine the goals I’ve made for myself, the other day being my birthday.  Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions I like to think of it as planning my ‘life renovations’.  I am in a constant state of renovation.  This year I wrote down my desired renos as goals completed and tied them into a scroll.  I’ve put them out to the universe, so now, if it doesn’t work out- I’ll blame it on the universe. Haha. Kidding Universe, don’t want to piss off karma.  In a year’s time I will unroll the scroll and see if I have achieved any of the proposed outcomes.

One resolution that I made when I started this blog was to write a post every week.  Well that has obviously not happened.  Instead of beating myself up about it I have modified that resolution to once a month.  12 times a year seems very doable to me.  As for weight loss, yikes I have had to modify that one as well.  I’m going for 24 lbs in the next year.  Again 2 lbs/mo is very doable.

Besides making resolutions (or planning your Life’s renovations) New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection.  I reflect on 2012 with a smile. It was good year for me with the occasional blip:

  • I had a car accident, with no major damage or injuries.
  • I dropped my cellphone into the toilet, the bag of rice trick did not work, but I got it replaced at no extra cost to me. Whew!
  • I had root canal which got infected on my vacation, requiring my cheek to be lanced and freezing didn’t work.  Ouch!

Great memories definitely outshone the negative for 2012 and for that I am thankful. I had lots of adventures with good friends and family.  The most recent was in October to Phoenix, Arizona for the state fair.  I went with two co-workers and we used a VRBO condo which worked out perfectly.  The weather was sunny and hot, although for Phoenix residents they felt it had cooled down considerably.  85-90F is as lot cooler than 110F but it was hot enough for us.

Phoenix

A car is a must for Phoenix, our condo was rather isolated and although taxis can be expensive, it was the most practical for our short visit.

Phoenix

We enjoyed the weather, the shopping and the rugged mountainous terrain.  And the heat, talk about hot desert sun…but the sky was so blue.

Phoenix2 Arizona

cacti Palm trees Phoneix flowers

One of the highlights was attending the Arizona State Fair.

Cotton Candy

My inner child screamed for candy floss, otherwise known as Cotton Candy.

AZ state fair

The rides look fun but personally I find them terrifying.  However, the three of us did get on the chair lift that carries you high above the crowds across the fairgrounds.  With nothing to hold you in but a skinny bar I found that my vertigo was indeed intact. Luckily my dear friend Jody was able to keep me from jumping off.  Although just barely.  (We laughed about it later over drinks, lots of drinks.) Yet, I was able to go on the Ferris wheel without a problem.  I think having my feet dangling is what unnerved me.

Fairgrounds

Ferris Wheel

I went on this.

While in Phoenix we also took in an Adam Lambert Concert.  He put on a fabulous show to an exuberant crowd. OLL AL2

good seats

We had great seats close to the stage.

He played most of the songs from Trespassing, his newest CD, which

debuted at number 1 on Billboard 200.

Adam Lambert Arizona Concert

AL

AL with Ashley, his bass player.

Honey, I think you have a run in those nylons!. lol

I just loved the evenings in Phoenix.  Yes, lots of good memories with some really great co-workers.Phoenix sunset

This past year made me really appreciate those that I work with.  They make going to work something to look forward to.  Even on stressful days there is always a laugh to be had.

I am excited to get started on this new year, 2013.

Already in the works for January:  I have my granddaughter’s 18th birthday to celebrate!  And NO- I am not that OLD, child bride here, remember!  We will do some good old karaoke in a local pub.  (18 is the legal drinking age here in Alberta)

Also a Blue Rodeo concert and OPRAH, hello it’s  OPRAH! She is coming to Edmonton.

Then March sees me travel back for some more adventures in the Mayan Riviera, this time staying in a villa on Akumal Beach to celebrate one of my best friend’s 50th birthday, don’t worry I won’t name you. Yay! So here we go!  I am ready.

Now I Lay me down to Sleep

Sleep is a precious.  Especially precious if you never get any.

I don’t remember the last time that I slept more than 4 hours straight.  On average, I wake up 3x during the night but if I manage to get a solid 4 or 5 hours I am good to go.

Take last night for instance.  I was up til 3 am, way past my usual bedtime of 11-11:30 pm.  I was pooped!  Of course, it didn’t help any that my husband had set the alarm for 4:45 am.

Exactly one hour after my eyes had fluttered shut and I was in the midst of the most delicious dream, seriously, I was dreaming of cake,  he popped his head off the pillow to look at the clock.  I awoke with a start, punched my pillow and settled back down.  Pop, look… wait 5 min..Pop, look… wait 5 min..Pop, look…FOR PETE’S SAKE, THE ALARM IS SET.  GO BACK TO SLEEP OR GET UP!

Of course, I had only screamed this out loud in my head, I was too tired to actually verbalize anything that made sense.  I felt his head turn to me, he nudged me and said,

“Hey are you working today?”  “Arrggghh, No.”  “Oh that’s right, you don’t go back til Thursday.”

He burrowed back down into the covers and was asleep, noted by soft snoring, in seconds.  I sat up, looked over at my sleeping husband and glanced at the clock.  4:40 am.  I flopped back down, readjusted the covers, punched the pillow and closed my eyes to wait for the alarm to go off.  It did.  He quietly got up and headed out the door forgetting that he had only hit snooze.  The alarm blared again, I smacked it off and managed to get a few more hours of sleep.  I was up by 8.  I felt exhausted but couldn’t sleep.

I have sleep apnea and I sleep with a CPAP machine.  That’s short for Constant Positive Airway Pressure.  It’s a fact and NO it’s really not that sexy.  Without the CPAP, my snoring can bring down the house.  I have always snored.  Even when I was skinny (we were all skinny once) I could be heard from the next room.  Eventually my husband would have to sleep in the basement with the door closed and a pillow over his head or earplugs to block out my echoing snores.

Unfortunately, I started to develop all of the health problems that goes along with apnea and hypopnea (low blood oxygen). Weight gain, high blood pressure, morning headache, daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, arrythmias and a racing heart.  I would stop breathing, the heart would race to send oxygen to my brain and then I would awaken with a gasp, choking for breath and a tight chest (from lung spasm and hyperventalation).  At its worst it would happen hourly.  I literally had to sleep sitting up.  I had mentioned to doctors that I thought I had apnea but they told me I didn’t really fit the profile.  Not a Man.

Finally, one night an episode sent me to the emergency room. I was having trouble breathing and my heart was fast and irregular.   Once the tests came back, the ER Doc leaned over me and said, “we think you have a sleep disorder.”  No kidding.

On the night I was tested, I thought I had slept well but apparently had stop breathing ~45 times/hour so I was diagnosed with severe apnea.  (There are way worse cases than mine)

I bought an automated CPAP, which was covered through work by my supplementary health insurance.  This was fortunate since they are expensive (mine was $2100.00 Cdn).  The CPAP works by pushing room air into the nose at a low pressure, initially, so that one can fall asleep.  When breathing stops it ramps up the pressure to maintain an open airway.  It is attached to an adjustable humidifier as well, so the nostrils will not dry out, as can be the case with older models.

 

It is my new best friend and travels with me everywhere.  I adjusted to it rather quickly and find that I feel more awake and have tons more energy during the day.  I even gave up drinking my usual 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day which, I used to need to keep awake.   In fact, I have cut out caffeinated coffee and tea completely.    Granted, it isn’t the sexiest piece of equipment but it sure beats the hell out of gasping for air.  I think it could even scare off an intruder.

The best part is that I don’t snore as long as I wear it.  That makes my husband happy and he no longer has to sleep in the basement.  Now, if I could just get him to wear one.

It’s that time of year.

It’s Halloween.  Yesterday my husband spent hours raking leaves and clearing away dead foliage preparing for winter.  So far, the weather has been sunny and warm..but it’s coming…. oh yes it is.  Oh Winter- scraping icy windshields, shoveling snow and maneuvering snowdrifted roads. Yep, it’s coming. 

My favorite thing about winter is that we go somewhere warm.  Two glorious weeks spent on a sandy beach, somewhere warm.  Ahhhh, nothing like a cold beer in the hand and the sound of surf.  Did I mention somewhere warm?  You get the picture.  Part of the fun is finding that place in the sun.  Every year we, which really means I, sort through different beach destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.  Since the husband is not an adventurous diner we stay at All-Inclusives that are close to towns and then use the resort as a base to travel around and explore the local areas. 

Last year we went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  They are famous for powder soft, bleached-white beaches and the resort we stayed at did not disappoint.  On one especially hot and humid aftenoon, we took a long walk down the beach and came to a outdoor bar/restaurant called the Tiki.  We decided to stop for a Presidente, their national beer.  We grabbed our beers and sat at a small table to watch the surf wash up on the beach.  It was getting to be late afternoon and besides the bartender, we were the only ones there.  Of course, it wasn’t long before I needed the bano so off I went. 

The bathroom, which was located in a smaller building adjacent to the bar, had two stalls, which were enclosed in a slightly larger room that also had a locking door.  I closed that door, my first mistake.  The second mistake was entering the first tiny, dingy stall-overflowing, blecck!  The third was trying to turn on the taps to wash my hands. Only a trickle, thank god for hand sanitizer.  Then, I reached for the door handle (with two fingers) and watched as the handle just spun around. Crap!  Trapped! 

Suddenly, the bathroom walls seemed to squeeze in on me.  I pounded on the door and yelled at the top of my lungs, but with the loud outdoor music my frantic calls went unanswered. Surely someone would be coming- then I remembered that the only one sitting at the bar was my husband. Sweat beaded on my forehead.  Its true what they say, the senses become more acute in times of stress… at least my sense of smell did!  With the humidity only emphasizing the stale urine and deodorizer, I started to gag.   I looked around and noticed that there was a shuttered window above the sink. It had a tiny latch.  Hmmm…  I reached up and pried the rusty hinge open. The shutters flung to the outside.  Thankfully it was a double shutter, large enough to fit my near 6ft frame.  I hopped up on the sink, (made of sturdy cement) hoisted myself out the window and dropped down into an alley.  I made my way back around to the front of the bar.  My husband looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked me what had took so long!  seriously???  We had a good laugh later.    

So one thing I will add to my travel to-do list for this year is- note possible escape routes prior to bathroom use!!

Hmm… Roatan, Honduras looks good.