Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh for the LOVE of Shoes!

Yesterday was my EMG appointment at Toronto Western Hospital.  Hubby and I flew down in the morning, walked up to the hospital and I met with Dr. A.  The assessment and tests didn't red flag anything for Dr. A, but he will analyze the data and send a report to my GP and Dr. Gentili.  He told me a couple of interesting things.
1.  Nerves regenerate at a millimetre per day on average.  NOT a millimetre per year as I was told by someone else.  Phew!  So this could get better soon!
2.  The radial nerve is the most easily injured in the arm because it runs at the outside of the wrist, near the thumb.  It is a very common injury.  Okay - makes sense.
3.  If my GP suspects I have POTS, I have to see a specialist at Toronto General as soon as I can make arrangements.
He tested my muscle conductivity, listened to 3 muscles in my shoulder, arm and hand (using a 4cm needle injected at each point... OUCH - especially the one in my hand!!) He tested my hot / cold sense, and then the tech came and did the actual conductivity test.  Nothing like being electrocuted to start off your day!
I think the appointment went very well and my GP will receive the results in about a week.

Hubby and I left the hospital around noon and started walking towards Bloor St.  He had a store in mind to check out.  We walked through the Toronto fashion district.  Bloor St. is lined with designers stores like Hermes, Dacosta, Gucci, Chanel, Prada... you get the picture.  All the places you and I with modest incomes, mortgages and bills to pay can only dream about shopping.  Designers you see on Paris runways, and are not sold at your local Sears store.  We walked into the "mall" (they aren't really malls in this area, more like huge office complexes with shops on the main floor and offices above).  The store we were looking for appears to have closed... hmpf! A long walk for not!  But anyways... the whole reason for this post... 

I found a shoe store.  It had a 50% clearance sign, so I said to hubby I'd like to just take a peak at the rack for my size.  I have small feet 35 Euro, size 5 - 5.5 US.  So finding shoes, especially cute shoes, is often difficult.  And I have a new found love of heels.  Now that my feet don't kill me all the time, and my head seems to tolerate a half-day in heels, I'm looking to add to my collection of 2 pair!

So I found the absolutely cutest pair on the rack.  I have absolutely no idea who this "Ron White" is.  I thought the shoes were adorable and I almost asked to try them on.  Until I found the price tag that is.  This is a $589.00 pair of shoes!!! But, they were on sale for the low low price of $299.00!!!  OMG!! I have spent as much at $100 on a pair of Birkenstocks, but not more than that.  $300 for a pair of shoes is quite unreasonable!  But OMG they are so cute.  And apparently very comfortable.  But I didn't try them on.  I put the shoe back on the rack and went to find hubby.  I held up the shoe and he kinda scoffed.  Then I showed him the price.  He laughed out loud and we put the pretty $150 shoe back on it's rack and carried on our merry way.   But oh they are so cute!!

So to compare with the designer shoes, here are my two little beauties.

The red pair are sling-backs from Payless.  They cost $49.00  They are great with a black suit and red sweater or with jeans on casual Friday.  I love the flower.  I call them my poppy shoes. 

The brown pair are adorable and surprisingly very comfortable.  They're Le Chateau and I have no idea what they are worth.

Both pairs were gifted to my by a colleague of my mum's.  They were her daughter's shoes.  Her daughter passed away from Cystic Fibrosis this past year.  I'm kinda honoured that her mum thought of me to give the shoes, knowing I too had small feet. 

So I'm on the look-out now for another pair of cute 3" heels.  I'm no Sex in the City girl when it comes to my shoe wardrobe, but I'd like to have a pair or two more in my collection.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  I, well we, go to Toronto on Friday for my EMG nerve study.  Flight leaves at 6:55am... so at the airport by 6:00am.  Return flight is at 6:50pm, home by 9.  My appointment is at 11:00 and should be about an hour or so.  Fingers crossed for answers!!!  I don't expect miracles, but would like to know what is going on in my right shoulder, arm, and hand.

2.  Sunday morning I had to call my boss for a ride to work.  He asked me to come in and do a few things for a huge file closing on Monday.  No problem working on the weekend... except when it is -37C / -34F, and with the wind chill -46C / -50F.  Yes folks, that is COLD!  Needless to say there is a problem with my block heater in the truck and she wouldn't start.  Heck, I didn't wanna start!  Hubby was working too, so thank goodness my boss lives close and his car started and off to work we went.

3.  I tried to blow up my brother-in-law M on Sunday too.  He tried to kill me.  We're equal!  M came over to try and get the truck started when I got home from work.  He has a block heater tester.  We went outside, the truck was plugged in, and he said to turn on the power to the extension cord.  And my block heater cord arched and caught fire!  He yelled and I ran back to the switch to turn it off, falling on some ice in the process.  Switch off, M comes to the side of the house and made sure I was alright.  I was, just startled and winded from the unexpected slip and fall.  We had a good laugh when I finally got up from the ground.  M,  I'll blow you up, you try and kill me!

4.  So because of #2 and #3, truck went into the dealership today for a check-up.  The block heater is not working.  (for my southern friends, it's COLD here.  -40s cold sometimes.  We have an electric heater plug in our engine blocks to warm the coolant so our vehicles will start in these temperatures.  Some vehicles also have oil pan heaters.)  The block heater is covered under warranty.  Because the truck isn't starting properly they also checked the charging system.  They found I need a new battery, not covered by warranty.  And they charged me $40 just to tell me that.  ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!

5.  Enough about my princess (truck).  My aquarium is slowly getting set up.  The pressure test last Thursday proved the tank could hold it's 40 gallons of water.  Tonight we started putting the stand together.  It was a couples project.  And a lot of fun.  I usually put together the DIY furniture so hubby was asking me how the lock nuts go in.  It was cute.  And it was fun.  We don't often do home improvements together.  Can't wait until we get the stand flipped upright and start rearranging the furniture to set it up in the living room :)

6.  So because I'm doubling the size of my aquarium I have been researching fishies.  I've decided I would like some angel fish and some gouramis.  And some live plants.

7.  Do you ever hear a song and it can totally change your mood?  One of my favourites is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawwo'ole.  (Watch the last 2 minutes of 50 First Dates, that's the song)  It just puts me at ease.  Israel was a Hawaiian musician with a wonderful talent.  It's hard to believe such a soft, gentle voice came out of such a big man.  He must have been a real teddy bear in life.  He performed a lot of traditional Hawaiian music, but has a few English titles as well.  Just go to YouTube already ....Over the Rainbow.  And check out his other videos while you're there.

8.  Because it's been so cold, the air is also extremely dry.  My skin feels like sand paper.  My poor nose is soooo raw... thank goodness I don't also have a cold!  I'm keeping Aveeno in business!

9.  At massage therapy today Dee hit a pressure point that made me feel cold on the top of my head into my left side of my forehead.  Very bizarre feeling.  Like the after-effects of Novocain.  Creeped me out a little.

10.  My passion for cross stitch has been renewed of late.  I'm working on a large project that I started in 2006... Yes, it got put away for a long time, partly because I got so involved with my craft show projects, partly because it is a very involved piece.  Once it is complete I will reveal all.  But until it is done it remains a secret as it is a gift. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Hubby has a weight loss goal.  I started him on my favourite site for counting calories and exercise.  So every day when he gets home from work we sit down and I input what he's eaten that day.  He may hate me for the 20 questions every day before he's lost the weight!

2.  My aquarium is here!!!  It came in on Friday, and after a 14 hour shift, hubby brought it home.  No, it's not out of the box yet... but hubby has been working like crazy with all the snow we've had this week.  I picked up 2 - 25lb bags of gravel on the weekend.  I haven't decided on plants or ornaments yet.

 3.  My physiotherapist has recommended that I try acupuncture.  I have a call into my massage therapist as she has a great one.  (What is the proper term for an acupuncture person?? ist? )

4.  When you scald your tongue on tea first thing in the morning, nothing tastes right the rest of the day!  The new microwave at work works, really well! My thongue hurths...

5.  How many times do you have to ask the letter carrier not to walk across the lawn, which is piled 4 ft high with snow????  Wouldn't it be easier to go up the walkway???

6.  Watching cooking shows at 3pm makes you hungry for dinner by 4pm...  Having only 2 channels to choose from it's cooking or soaps.  Or find a DVD...  I'm already planted on the couch, so cooking it is!  (hmmmm..... those baked chicken wings look amazing.... gotta try the coating - she used tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs)

7.  Sunday I attended a baby shower for an old friend.  Honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to going, but I'm happy I did.  I enjoyed myself and even won a picture frame playing Baby Bingo.  I stitched her a bib as a part of her gift.

8.  Last night the temperature dropped to -29C / -20F.  The cute over-the-knee boots I have are cute... not warm.  Note to self.  

9.  I went to the library today.  It's been so long since I went to the library that my card had expired and I was no longer even in the computer!  I don't generally borrow books as it takes a long time for me to read one.  Today I checked out 2 books of cross-stitch patterns.  Now I have to remember to return them on time!

10.  My dizzy spells have been better that past couple of days.  Until I missed lunch today because I was at physio.  Definitely have to not miss meals... or I feel like crap!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The One Where I Really Haven't Thought of a Title

Without sensation in my thumb, index and now most of my middle finger, injuring my fingers / hand has become a daily occurrence.  I bent 3 fingernails backwards trying to open the oven door - didn't have my hand on the bar, just the tip of my fingers, but I couldn't tell...  I have more paper cuts and file folder cuts than ever - and don't those feel great when you soap up your hands and discover them... My brother-in-law put my new aquarium tank down on my index and middle fingers yesterday and I didn't really notice until I tried to move away...  The list goes on.  The fact that the numbness is progressing rather than receding is bothersome... Only 13 days until I have the EMG nerve study though... hoping for answers.  'Cause the pain in my arm / shoulder today is OUT OF CONTROL!

Hubby is trying to organize some of the stuff in our basement.  Mostly the totes of stuff I want to keep - photos, keepsakes, etc.  He brought up a couple totes for me to go through the other day.  So Thursday, he was working late, I sat down on the kitchen floor to look through tote #1.  It's never a good thing to reminisce.  At least not for me.  I didn't have a horrible childhood or adolescence.  But let's just say I'm really happy it is over.  Long over.  The tote contained everything I kept from about 11 years old through university.  Photos.  Yearbooks.  Scripts from high school plays I acted in.  Greeting cards.  A shoebox of letters from my dear cousin H and some other friends.  And all of my "Italy stuff".  
I started flipping through photos.  It turned out to be a task that will consume a couple of Sunday afternoons.  So I piled them up in a shoe box (I actually need 3, but only had 1 handy) and I will start sorting through and putting them in some semblance of order another day.  When you've got tears in your eyes in the first folder, you're never going to make it through the 40 to 50 more in the pile.  (I like taking photos.  I'm not very good at it, but I enjoy it.)  
The yearbooks and scripts all had the usual notes your write each other in high school - loved being in French class with you - you're such a nice person - you were so great in the play - wish I'd got to know you better - etc...  To me, most of it was crap made up by the person who signed just to show that I was included in the yearbook signing tradition, but no one really meant what they said.  Honestly.  And I only speak to or keep in touch with literally 3 people from that period of my life.  When someone writes in your yearbook that you will be friends forever, at 14 to 18 years old, you believe them.  When your friendships fall apart for reasons still unknown to you, reading stuff like that totally sucks.  And tears fell.  Especially the notes from someone you've known since the age of 3.  When you sat together in every grade through lower school and planned as many classes together as you could in high school, lived at each others houses, went on vacations together... and now it's gone - well, it's been gone for about 14 years... it hurts.  And more tears fell. (As I type there's a lump in my throat and a glisten in my eyes just remembering how I felt 2 days ago...)
Then I started looking at greeting cards.  Ones from friends I don't remember where taken out of the bin.  No point in keeping them.  The ones from my mum and cousin H in Finland I put back inside.  The cards from my Italy boyfriend were carefully piled up and put inside as well.  Then the cards from my grandma.  I didn't re-read them.  I couldn't re-read them.  It was too much emotionally for me to take by that point in sort.  So I sat on the floor and cried.  Or, more correctly, bawled like I did the day my grandma passed away.  Who would have thought a Christmas card from 10 years ago could affect me so deeply.
At this point I gave up sorting that bin.  I put everything I wanted to keep back inside.  I really only threw out a couple of items - an old sketchbook from high school... never really did learn to draw, some cards and a few loose photos.  Guess I'm just not ready to downsize my memories quite yet.

I don't know why I felt compelled to write about my sorting out experience.  I just know I felt like I needed to share my emotions with someone.  Maybe I'm emotional because everything else is just welling up inside of me - health, work, life in general...  I love my life.  I love my husband.  I love my job.  I love my family.  Just facing more medical issues is waning me... and I'm usually a fighter, not a give-upper.  I think right now, emotionally, I'm just tired.  I haven't and won't give up.  But I feel like I need a long vacation from all the medical stuff... even though I know that is impossible.  Until my mood improves, I will soak in the sunshine streaming through the front window, enjoy a cup of herbal tea with honey, and make the best of my situation.  After all, I'm still shiny side up.  It could be a whole lot worse.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  It's Tuesday! Surprise, I remembered to post a Ten on Tuesday.  Seriously folks, this working for a living business is really cutting into my internet, FB, craft and social life!  But honestly, I like being back to work, now 4 hours a day, but I'm freaking exhausted most of the time...

2.  We celebrated my mum's birthday over the weekend - well Saturday evening to be precise.  She was pleasantly surprised at the guest list and very gracious about the whole thing.  It was a small affair with 16 guests and enough food for twice that many. (I went a little overboard... what can I say, I don't wanna run out!)  

3.  Last week I picked up my Christmas crafts from the consignment shop as the season is officially over :( I am happy to report I did well and I will bring more stuff back to them to sell when I have some stuff made up that is not Christmas.

4.  On Sunday I had to work for a couple of hours doing hearing prep with my boss.  Nothing major - photocopying, printing, a bit of little stuff.  I like working when there are no phone calls or anyone else to interrupt you.  You can get SO much more done!  (Can I work like 4am to 8am and never see anyone???  Doubt it....)

5.  After work Sunday hubby and I went to the pet store and ordered my Christmas present. Yes, I know, Christmas was 3 weeks ago, however I didn't plan on getting my gift until after the holidays.  It should arrive this Friday or next Monday...  It is a 180 litre / 39.9  imperial gallon tank with an external canister filter system.  I can't wait to move my handful of tetras to their new home and then start expanding my fishy collection!!  Hubby has promised that I get to have a sink-mount syphon and filler hose too so I can eliminate carrying bucket after bucket across the living room floor.  And I'm going with new substrate (stone) and NO theme.  Plants, rocks, etc.  Nothing like my current tank which is a combination of Greek and Egyptian "artifacts".  Given I've had it for 11 years, time for a change!

6.  I've been doing a bit of research on the possible POTS diagnosis suggested by my GP last week.  And if he's right, it makes a whole lot of sense.  I'm just not ready to face more tests, more doctors and another invisible illness.  But the dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, heart-rate increases on standing, near fainting... they all fit the POTS symptoms.  Now I've got to mention it to the neurologist when I go in 17 days!

7.  In 17 days I'm electing to have needles stuck into my muscles of my right arm and electric current passed through to see how my muscles respond to nerve simulation (or that's what I understand from my reading anyway)... Sounds like I'm not going to have a very fun day... Whadda you think??

8. I miss out on all the good super-yummy, probably no-good for you anyway things in life... Most days it doesn't get me down, but every so often it bothers me.   I cheat a bit, I have like a tablespoon of Cheese Whiz once or twice a week on crackers or toast.  But I miss other things... Cheesecake, coffee (even decaf is off my menu), egg nog at Christmas (mind you, soy "Festive Nog" isn't too bad), ice cream, Italian gelato (I lived in Italy, gelato should be it's own food group!) and all of the gooey, lip smacking dips, spreads and such you find on appetizer tables, buffets and at events like my mum's birthday.  I made an awesome spinach dip, but when the ingredients are cream cheese and sour cream.... too risky for me to indulge more than a taste test to make sure I'm not poisoning anyone.  I can live without the beef or pork or fats... I miss the dairy products the most...  But I digress and take another drink of my herbal tea, sweetened with honey, not sugar.

9.  I need a maid.  Hubby does a good job, don't get me wrong.  I'm just finding I have less and less energy to do things around here.  Like fold the laundry hubby brought upstairs for me on Sunday...

10.  I, I use the word I too much.  It shouldn't be all about me.  But right now I'm struggling with a few more issues than I thought I would have to face at 34.  I try to make it more about other people too... but for just today I'm feeling greedy and in need of some attention.  Could be the headache I've had for a day... could be I'm chilled and sleepy... could just be taking some time for me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  I'm happy the holidays are over and I can start to return to my semi-normal life... Only semi-normal as I'm still only working 3 hours a day.  Holidays are wonderful, but it's time for me to get back in the ol' routine.

2.  I'm off to Toronto again January 28th for a EMG nerve study. It's a day trip.  Appointment is mid morning which allows us to fly down on the morning flight and home in the evening.  Easier on the pocketbook.

3.  I was at my GP today.  He thinks my dizzy spells might be POTS - Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.  Just what I need, another diagnosis...  Have to check with the neurologist I'm seeing in TO.

4.  It's finally winter weather here.  -20C / -4F is normal. And fine by me.  The rain and +4C / 37F last week was not welcome.  Neither was the flash-freeze that night.  Or the 1/2 inch of ice on the truck windows... I needed the hair dryer to melt it down.

5.  My hubby bought me the best Boxing Day present - a seat warmer for my truck.  Loving it when it's -20C!

6.  My mum's birthday is this Saturday.  I cannot believe my mummy is going to be ## !!  Ordered a cake today so we can have a little celebration!  

7.  I have no New Year's resolutions.  I've never made them and I'm not starting now.  I make changes in my life and lifestyle all the time.  Why do I need to make that decision just because it's January 1st?  Being healthy and eating right are part of who I am.  I don't smoke, drink, do extra-curricular drugs, etc.  There's nothing to give up except chocolate, and those of you who know me that will NEVER happen.  The 5 boxes of chocolates in the freezer and 4 in the closet are evidence of that!

8.  I'm struggling at work to do a full day's work in 3 hours... I'm hoping I can convince my physiotherapist to increase to 4 hours next week.  With a couple big hearings and deals closing next week I'm ready to pull my hair out.

9.  I hate having short hair.  I know, I'm abnormal.  I miss pulling it back into a pony tail.  I miss being able to throw on a hat and not having to re-style it when I take it off.   This short hair is a nuisance. It's easier to wash, but requires goop and hair spray and styling tools which I'm all thumbs with...  Can't wait until it grows out some more!

10.  I've been trying to save one of my fish for over a week.  He has swim bladder.  I tried the suggestion on the internet - starve him for 3 days, then feed mashed peas for 3 days.  He's been through it all and still swims upside-down and lies on the bottom of the tank.  I think he may meet the porcelain gods soon.