How DO you know?

If your britches are too big, that is…

What’s the criteria that moves you past the point of repeatedly hitching your britches up for the fifty-thousandeth time of the day and actually considering finding a size smaller?

John (my beloved husband) says its when you can take your jeans on and off – without unfastening them at all – easily.

When I had my original DS I had this pair of black pants. They were that stretchy jersey type material – with drawstring waistband – and they were size 6x. The only pair of pants that I owned that I could actually fit on my body. I wore them through the loss of the first 125 pounds. That that point in time I simply couldn’t since the waist up any further and they simply wouldn’t stay on my body. (And my husband was threatening to burn them – he was so sick of seeing them! They did not fit so well, I am willing to admit!)

So this time around – here I am seven weeks since my revision – and I’ve lost a mere 21 pounds (which I’m as thrilled as can be about, I should add) – but my britches keep falling off.

Do I tough it out?

I don’t want to actually break down and BUY something – you know? How long will I be in the next size down, for heaven’s sake?

It is getting to the point where I’m very seriously contemplating a trip to Goodwill or the Rack… Now the next question…

What size to try on next?

New Accurate In-Home Vitamin D 25 Testing!

For all of you who are post-ops without or with inadequate health care coverage when it comes to labs – here’s excellent news!

The Vitamin D Newsletter
December 28, 2008

The Vitamin D Council is happy to announce that we havepartnered with ZRT Laboratory to provide an inexpensive, $65.00, in-home, accurate, vitamin D [25(OH)D] test. The usual cost for this test is between $100.00 and $200.00.

If you read this newsletter, you know about our interest in accurate vitamin D testing. In the next few weeks, you may read about the Vitamin D Council’s quest for accurate vitamin D blood tests in the national media. Before we partnered with ZRT, we verified, repeatedly, that ZRT provides accurate and reliable vitamin D tests and that their method corresponds very well to the gold standard of vitamin D blood tests, the DiaSorin RIA.

Our ZRT serviceis not just inexpensive, it means no more worrying about your doctor ordering the right test or interpreting it correctly. You buy the test kit on the internet or by phone, a few days later the kit comes in the mail, you or a nurse friend do a finger stick, collect a few drops of blood, and send the blotter paper back to ZRT in the postage paid envelope provided with the kit. A week later you get results back in the mail and know accurate 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels of you and your family.

For every test you order,ZRT will donate $10.00 to the Vitamin D Council. Please read the new page hyperlinked below on our website as it both explains the procedure and how to order the test.

Executive summary: keep your family’s 25-hydroxy-vitamin D blood test above 50 ng/ml, year around. Most adults need at least 5,000 IU per day, especially this time of year. Most children need at least 1,000 IU per day per every 25 pounds of body weight. Bio Tech Pharmacal provides high quality and inexpensive vitamin D. Currently Bio Tech Pharmacal is providing vitamin D for numerous scientific studies. To see their prices and for ordering, click the hyperlink below.

As a gift to our readers for the New Year, Thorne publications have provided a free download to a basic paper aboutvitamin D. I wrote it earlier this year for educated lay people as well as health care practitioners. Please read this paper carefully, your family’s well-being, even lives, may depend on you understanding it.

Seasons Greetings
John Cannell, MD

Thank you for subscribing to the Vitamin D Newsletter from the Vitamin D Council. The Vitamin D Council is a non-profit trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. Please reproduce this newsletter and post it on Internet sites. Remember, we are a non-profit and rely on donations to publish our newsletter and maintain our website. Send your tax-deductible contributions to:

The Vitamin D Council
9100 San Gregorio Road
Atascadero, CA 93422

Found – one chicken!

Every morning I don appropriate clothing – this particular season of freezing temperatures and snow calls for many layers and good sturdy shoes – and go out to care for the chickens. Some might dread this sort of thing, but honestly, I enjoy it. I love talking to the girls – they’re so fun – sometimes they actually talk back, in their own chicken-y ways. It’s always fun to check up on them, interact a bit – they love being petted, and Millie (who is queen of the flock nowadays) always has a report to offer. I bring them fresh water, fill up their feeder, and then gather the eggs.

Today was no different from any other morning, really. My morning routine has been altered slightly since Shelly is broody and in the pantry – and this morning I planned to clean out her temporary housing (she wasn’t amused, btw) and check on her overall health.

I’d gotten the flock cared for, got some pine shavings and went to the pantry to deal with Shelly – and heard a car pull up, and after a moment, a door close. I assumed this meant that John was off work early… only, he never came in. I opened the pantry door and what did I find?

A chicken.

What appears to be an Americauna.

On the top rack next to the door.

Looking, well, a little confused.

!!!!!!! Here she is… Isn’t she cute?

I was worried about taking her out to the coop right away – but I figured it was warm – I could babysit – and she could get food to start things off…

Here’s Rooth giving her the once over – making sure she’s okay to be in her coop. Millie looks on thoughtfully… trying to figure out if she’s seen this one before!

A lot of thoughts are going through my head by this point in time… Like:
Did someone drop her off?
Or did she loose her way and somehow make it through over a foot of snow and land on the top of the rack of shelves next to the pantry door?
How old is she?
Do we get to keep her?
Is she really an Americauna?
Isn’t she adorable?
So, of course, I couldn’t keep this news to myself, and so I went and woke William up to tell him.

He was so excited he threw on shoes and raced out to the coop – while wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and SHORTS! – to see the new arrival!
He said, “She does look like an Americauna, doesn’t she?” Then, he thought an moment and added, “I think we should name her Crayon – if she lays colorful eggs, anyway. Maybe we should wait and name her, though…”

So, after a little sojourn with the girls in the coop, we brought her back inside to the newly modified dog bed to spend the day. We don’t want the bossy girls to be mean to her, so will wait until after dark – after the lights have shut off – to relocate her into the coop on one of the roosts.
So – the plan at present is to make her comfortable… and quietly hope she really was a gift! Hmmm… maybe we should call her Christmas!

Six Weeks Post-Op

It’s amazing how quickly six weeks can go by. Of course, I live a fairly busy life – so I guess it shouldn’t be such a surprise that I was surprised that it was six weeks already!

I forgot to weigh again – but late last week the scale read 170 lbs – meaning I’ve lost 20 pounds since surgery. I did do measurements shortly after getting home – but I haven’t had time to do them again – I think I’ll wait until I’m two months post-op.

In terms of energy – totally back up to speed. I’m going full speed ahead – doing laundry, errands, taking kids to various appointments, cooking meals, washing dishes, taking care of dog, cats, chickens – to name a few!

Eating continues to get better with the passage of time. I’m finding that I’m craving stuff that I just don’t do, though! I gave up Coke May 29, 2007 – I cannot believe how badly I want soda – any soda. But I don’t do HFCS or carbonation at all any more. I seriously haven’t given a rip about it in ages – but I want it now! I won’t give in to the want – but dang, I can’t believe how strong the craving is!

(Oh for the daywhen I can get my arms done!)

I am doing better with fluids, too. For a while I simply could not bring myself to do the iced green tea that I’ve lived on for YEARS now. Then, one day – out of the blue – it was the only thing I could fathom tolerating again. Wierd.

I am having quite the issue with jeans that are just too big. I’d just put these jeans on – straight out of the dryer when they’re at their tightest – and they’re a couple of inches too big. The biggest problem is the way that jeans are cut nowadays – you know, lower in the back – well, I’m having to hike my jeans up every few steps! It’s such a pain in the butt! (Thankfully, not literally!) I can’t bring myself to buy new jeans quite yet, though – I’ve got several very nice pairs of them that I will try to hold out with for a while yet.

So that’s pretty much it for six weeks post-op reporting. It’s been a good six weeks. I’m still blown away at how much easier it is on the body to have a lap surgery – dang! SO much easier!

My, it’s pretty!

This is the view out our front window this morning… Yeah, we got a bit more snow!I got up – put on my long johns, pulled on my jeans, found a nice warm sweater, pulled on my warm socks, boots, coat, scarf, hat – and set out… The snow came up to my knees is some places! I couldn’t even find the stepping stones!

And yes – getting the gates open was a bit of a chore! Not that lugging warm water out there to the girls isn’t!

Here’s the view past the coop out to the yard… isn’t it pretty? That’s my egg basket hanging on the fence post while I take care of other business.

The willow that the chicken coop is nestled under is beautiful with the ice and snow on it!

Oh! And we’ve had some really great visitors to the bird feeders the past few days! I think this is a Wood Pigeon – if the lady at the Audobon Society was correct in her identification.
It’s really a pretty big bird – but so graceful.

Speaking of birds… Rooth is determined to check out the snow every opportunity she gets! Problem is – she really doesn’t like it when her toes get cold! She flies places, finds herself kinda of stuck, and then waits – sometimes patiently, rarely quietly – until one of us comes and rescues her and takes her back to the warmth of the coop!

We have what seems to be a whole flock of robins that are hanging out – a lot! – in our crab apple tree. They come to the feeders for seed now and then, too. They must REALLY be hungry!

My Mom received a gift of a lovely little shrub from my friend Charissa (who used to work for my Mom years ago) for her birthday one year. Mom was adamant that we take it with us when we moved her out of the house we all grew up in – we transplanted the beautiful little shrub into two planters – and they have thrived.
Here’s a close-up of the snow and ice on it. It is lovely – but oh, you should see it in summer when it’s in bloom!

I should report that Shelly continues to sit on her eggs (and no! I’m not brave enough to reach under and take them away from her!) and be committed to future Mommy-hood. I’m still searching high and low for fertilized eggs. I really hope we can find some!

It’s so easy…

…to do really stupid stuff.

You know, stuff like:

  • …kinda forget to eat – until 2pm
  • …focus on getting hydrated – to the exclusion to actual calories
  • …fail to remember that protein is super important – and just kinda forget to eat any
  • …listen to the emotional thing inside you that says you NEED to eat that last bite, even if you really already know that THERE’S NO STINKING ROOM!

It’s amazing how distracting real life is. It blows me away how easy it is to simply forget about doing the stuff I NEED to do to be healthy.

Know what my very favorite food is right now? Bread with butter! Lots of butter. It goes down so well – and settles so nicely! I don’t eat a lot of it – but if I’m feeling particularly urpy, it sure does the trick.

My favorite meal since getting home from surgery thus far? Home made pizzas. I actually just eat the toppings. Second favorite – ham and swiss with mayo and dijon on a toasted croissant. That’s yummy!

I’m going through a really wierd transition with fluids, too. I’ve been an iced green tea girl for YEARS – I mean big time years. I’ve never been iced green tea’d out – never. But I am now. After single-handedly keeping Starbuck’s in business with my Venti Iced Green Tea, no classic, with extra ice order – no more. Know what I want now? Plain old lipton iced tea. Wierd. AND, after years of being a mug of Constant Comment hot tea every morning – no more! Now it has to be English Breakfast Tea. It’s so wierd these taste buds!

I will confess that I’m really struggling with breakfast right now. I’m completely egged out. Just can’t go there – my egg allergy is really rearing it’s ugly head. For the most part I just plain old don’t want much of anything at breakfast time. This is the juncture when my “You need to eat even when you don’t feel like it” lecture comes into play! I don’t know why it’s so hard to decide to eat non-breakfast food for breakfast – but it actually catches me by surprise nearly every morning when I find myself choosing a non-breakfast food for breakfast! Fave right now? Left over amazing Enchiladas that my wonderous husband made. They’re the best!

So… here it is 5 weeks 5 days since my revision. Long story short – I’m still figuring stuff out. (Yes, I am supposed to know.) My scale says I’m down 20 pounds thus far, and my jeans would seem to agree – they’re decidedly on the baggy side! All in all – I’m still glad I did it, and I’d do the revision all over again!

We’ve got a broody girl!

If you’re not familiar with chicken type stuff, you may not know what broodiness is…

Here’s a decent explanation:

In short, what it means is that a chicken has decided she wants to be a mommy! Many modern breeds of chickens have had that tendancy actually bred out of them. Most chicks are hatched after being incubated in a mechanical incubator – not under a Mommy Chicken! (Although our Welsumers were hatched under a Mom – and had decidedly different behavior patterns as baby chicks compared to their incubated peers!)

Typically, broodiness comes on in the spring of a chick’s 2nd year of life. So imagine our surprise to find that Shelly is broody! She’s only 8 months old, and it’s as wintery as wintery comes! (We’ve got about a foot of snow on the ground! The wind chill is below freezing!)

The first couple of days I thought it was just a coincidence that every time I went to collect eggs that she was on a nest – I figured she was just taking her time laying. But it soon became obvious that she was more than just taking her time. She actually started to hoard eggs! Then she started to fight back if you went to collect the eggs she was hoarding!

The problem, of course, with Shelly’s broodiness being that we have no rooster – so obviously, we have no fertilized eggs – which means – no babies possible! Bummer!

To be honest, William has been talking about wanting to start an egg business in the Spring. He really wants some Americauna’s to round out the flock so that we’ve got some really colorful eggs to offer. We’ve debated buying chicks in the fall, or hoping for a broody hen to be able to try and hatch some eggs. We just didn’t know to think that we’d have a girl go broody this soon!

So… tonight – after checking on the girls as they were getting tucked in for the night, we realized that right in the nest box – next to the door that is certainly not weather tight – poor Shelly was covered with a dusting of snow. (There are 50 mph winds tonight – I guess it makes sense that some would get blown in!) So we decided we had to get her moved.

John and I rigged up a temporary home for Shelly in the pantry and moved her in. We’ll see what the plan will evolve to be. If we can get our hands on some fertilized Americauna eggs, then we may well be trying to hatch some chicks way sooner than anticipated!

A Huge Revelation

Something that I’ve been able to do since my original DS (July 2, 2002) is drink with my meals. I’d have a few nibbles of food, then a few sips of something to drink, then go on my merry way.

I must confess – food has not been that easy this time out.

About a week ago I had a nagging thought in the back of my brain. It would reoccur about the time I was suffering that horrible “one bite too many” sensation that we DS’ers sometimes experience… Only I was CERTAIN I’d not had one bite too many… I know my new tummy is tiny – I have more restriction now than I EVER had.

Then it hit me – kinda like a ton of bricks… (well, mostly because my husband has been whispering this in my ear over and over again and I just blatantly refused to believe it could be true!).

I can’t drink with meals any more.


I like drinking with my meals. It’s not like I want a gin on the rocks or anything! I want iced tea, for heaven’s sake!

But there just ain’t enough room at a meal for both food and drink. I gotta choose. That’s a hard choice.

Consequently…. I’m facing a bit of a learning curve here – and it’s hard. I admit it. All of you wonderful people I’ve lashed with a wet noodle for not doing a better job with hydration may now mock me – I give you permission. I concede – it’s hard! It’s really hard!

I’m trying really hard not to sound like a total whiner – but I am, huh?!

Okay – so just so we all know and are on the same page – I did WAY better today than I did yesterday. I did an easy 70 oz today. And I’m gonna work hard to keep up the hard work.

Now all I gotta do is remember to eat!

They got cold feet!

When I went to check the temperature in the coop this morning it was all the way up to 30 degrees! Woo Hoo! A veritible heat wave!

So I dressed up in my long johns and jeans and warm socks and sweater and coat and hat and scarf and mittens and went out to get them some clean warm water and check the food and gather eggs.

Yesterday when I went out they wanted NOTHING to do with coming outdoors. Today, however, they seemed somewhat interested in doing some exploration. So I decided to let them out.

I got the water out, scattered some corn, and let them out to explore. The California Whites were the most adventurous – they made it all the way to the big run – and then stood there on one foot looking like they didn’t know why the other foot was so stinking cold!

A couple of the Welsumers decided to follow the California Whites on the corp of discovery. They weren’t amused. It didn’t take them long to figure out that they could get a LOT further if they would fly places – keeping their cold little tootsies out of the cold, cold snow!

So, as I went about my business, checking on everyone, bringing out scratch, etc. I failed to realize that the girls were way not amused any longer. In fact, they were shivering like crazy!

So I quickly herded them back up, carried them one by one back into the coop, and then transferred the water to the interior of the coop.

They were so happy to be back in their little warm coop! I’m thinking they won’t be venturing out into the snow again in the near future!

Oh! Interesting note. In all of the days preceding this weather event the 14 girls had been laying between 10 and 13 eggs a day. The day it snowed – 10 eggs. Yesterday – 9 eggs. So far this morning – 6 eggs (and it’s still fairly early). It will be interesting to see if their production is impacted by the weather.