Monday, December 30, 2013

11 Days Post-Surgery

11 days since surgery...where is the time going? After this entry, I probably wait until Day 14, then Day 21, and once a week unless something else is going on (e.g. braces on).

I feel like my progress has essentially stopped since about Boxing Day. My facial numbness hasn't changed, swelling seems to have levelled off, bruising is slowly fading, pain is about the same.

The majority of my pain now is the incision line, holy crap. Either the left or the right side is always stinging. Last night I made the mistake of being careless while I put on a hoodie and my incision hurt the rest of the night.

I'm able to go without pain killers now, especially since they don't do anything for the incision anyway.

I've also been able to eat soft foods, although I'm still pretty limited. I've eaten an entire thing of ice cream in the past few days, yum. My weight has gone back up to what it was pre-surgery and my energy levels are pretty good.

I am a little frustrated that progress feels like it's at a standstill. I guess I got used to seeing big differences from day to day, but obviously things never stay at that pace. I'm okay with the facial numbness, but I really want the incision stinging to go away. Part of the problem is that my nose is constantly runny and it's right under my nostil where the incision is, so it's always being rubbed (albeit very very lightly). When your face stings, it makes you feel miserable.

I do feel some progress with my facial muscles, it's getting easier to smile. Laughing still hurts, though. We had some people over the other night for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and I needed to take 3 Tylenol 3s because I laughed WAY too much and my incision was killing me! I felt extra swollen the next morning. Stupid funny friends! :-)

Looking more or less normal except for a little bit of swelling and some light bruising (not covered in makeup here)


I don't get why I look so porky from this angle, I'm starting to think it's a combination of where I store fat (my chin) and the swelling making me look bad. Bye bye jawline. I realize I've been taking photos in terrible lighting, it does make the bruising harder to see.


8 turns done, 9 turns left to go


Smile looking less pathetic...happy to show off my new Michigan pullover



Before (left) and after (right) 8 turns.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

9 Days Post Surgery Video



Long and probably boring unless you're particularly interested in SARPE. I tried to make the video more educational for future/current SARPE patients. I also talk about how I feel about the surgery in general if you're on the fence about going through with it.

9 Days Post-Surgery

The subtitle of this post should be In Pain and Tired of it!

The last few days, I've been in more pain than before, and it's pretty annoying. I've been taking it pretty easy the last few days: no driving, mostly just sitting on the couch all day. Granted I did spend 2 hours tidying up Anthony's house yesterday but it was nothing too vigorous.

Lately, I can feel the incision along my upper gum line and it feels irritated quite frequently, mostly on the left (less numb) side of my face. It feels like I have a canker sore that is always throbbing. Although laughing and smiling bothers it, yesterday I spent the day alone (i.e. no laughing at Anthony's antics) and it still ached. I read a blogger say their surgeon told them the incision can get irritated from the fact their jaw is widening while the wound is trying to heal.

My right lower eyelid has been stinging for about a day, too. My upper cheek bones are still numb and very sensitive to touch. Today we went out to TJ Maxx (our second home) and my nose felt like it was in a vice. I think it was my sinuses.

On top of all this, I tripped on the basement stairs yesterday and involuntarily clenched my jaw as I went down. There was a cracking sound and the back right side of my jaw was immediately sore, and still is a day later. Ugh. There was no extra pain when Anthony turned the key today so I don't think I did any actual damage.

To make all of this worse, I only have one Percocet left. I have my Tylenol 3s but as I mentioned before, they don't do anything for me. I took 2 about an hour ago and it had zero effect on me. Seriously. I'm not even drowsy, just continuing to be in pain.

Oh actually, on top of ALL of this, Mother Nature is reminding me that I failed to conceive a baby this month, too. Thaaaaaanks, Mother Nature. Although I have to say, I am impressed my body let go of 8lbs while simultaneously retaining water.

Speaking of my weight, it has not fluctuated at all in the past 3 days. It's been the exact same number, down to the decimal. If Anthony wasn't also weighing himself lately, I'd think the scale was broken.

I guess I'll quit my whining and do the usual photos. I've noticed that I can tell in my photo if I'm having a good pain day or not. I don't know if it's evident to other people, but I think I look worse when I'm having a bad day.

Very little swelling left from this view...and I must say, it's taxing holding my mouth closed like in the photo.

Still looking porky from the side. The bruising covers up easily with makeup, as seen in this photo.

The gap is getting big!
Here's a fun gif I made, starting with the day before surgery, up to today. 
Sorry, I should have put captions on each photo so you could see what day each one is. Also, I think it's hilarious how awful the day of and day after surgery photos are. Other bloggers have said what I'm about to say: I looked a lot worse than I actually felt.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

7 Days Post-Surgery

Wow, has it really been a week? It's been a blur of sleeping, popping pills, sleeping, drooling, popping more pills, choking on everything I put in my mouth, sleeping, and then popping more pills.

I'm pretty sure I'm insane for undergoing this during Christmas. But alas, Christmas is now behind us and I can take it easier than I have been. It's also (mostly) the end of staring longingly at food I can't eat.

For this entry, I wanted to mention things about recovery pains that I haven't mentioned yet. I'm hoping future SARPE patients will read this, and I'd like to be thorough. It'll probably be boring for everyone else, sorry!

For starters, being in a car is just awful. I don't know if it's the angle I'm sitting at or the vibration from driving, but I can never find a comfortable angle to relax.

Secondly, my sinuses are really the main thing that hurts now. I've never had a sinus infection so maybe this isn't actually sinus pain, but I think it is. Right below my lower eyelids is so sensitive. My lower eyelids are really sensitive, too. Washing my face and removing makeup is a huge chore. I can't rub my eyes too hard because it hurts my face so badly.

Weirdly, the left side of my face is now less numb than the right side. I'm not sure if it has to do with how I sleep or what, but I hope it balances out soon.

Another weird thing is that my eyes have felt dry since surgery. I think it's because my lower eyelids are mostly numb so perhaps when I blink, my eyes aren't closing normally.

Walking and talking are pretty tiring, too. When I walk, my front teeth feel like they absorb my weight with every step. When I talk and I pronounce words that force my lips to close (m, p, f, b sounds), it also hurts my front teeth. Sometimes I try really hard to talk normally and it ends up causing sharp pain in my front teeth.

Also, the dreaded "w" word: weight. I wanted to be really careful I didn't lose too much weight from all this. That has not happened. My appetite is basically gone and you can only drink so many meal shakes in a day. Eating mushy food is still a pain in the butt because I'm still choking on everything and I'm still not used to the RPE appliance in my mouth (honestly, I hate that thing). I've dropped 8lbs since the RPE was installed last Tuesday. I'm probably going to end up losing more. I had to buy new jeans today because everything I own is too big now. That was happening due to my intentional weight loss pre-surgery but now my jeans fresh out of the dryer are too big. I know it's weird I'm complaining about it but it kind of freaks me out. I don't like unhealthy weight loss.

But anyway, now here's the good stuff:


7 days post-surgery



Still a bit swollen, the bruising is really taking its time fading (I am wearing makeup in this photo)



Gap after 4 turns (plus some during surgery?)



The lack of normal eating is starting to get to me, I have to admit. I didn't think it would but man, what I wouldn't give for a greasy slice of pizza right now.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

5 Days Post-Surgery

It's already been 5 days since my surgery, and it's one day until Christmas!

The last few days have been somewhat eventful.

On Sunday, Anthony and I came back to Sarnia as the dad's side of my family went out for dinner. I'm not sure if it's the surgery or the meds but my ears are very sensitive to noise. The noise in the restaurant was almost too much to handle. I was able to eat the clam chowder I ordered. It was delicious and so good to eat something normal adults eat. I was even able to chew it a little bit, although chewing feels very weird.

On Monday (yesterday), I had an appointment with my orthodontist. They showed me how to turn the key for the RPE. It felt very weird and uncomfortable. I swore I felt blood trickle down my throat from my nose, but the assistant seemed to shrug me off. I later had bleeding from my nose (first time since surgery) so I think I was right. They want to see me back in 2 weeks. My gap will be approximately 1cm by then!

Right after that we had to drive to London to see my surgeon. He told me I'm actually ahead of schedule as far as healing, and I can do more than most people can at this stage. That made me really happy although you couldn't tell because I can't smile! I have to go back to London in 6 months to see how things are going.

In comparing myself to SARPE blogs people have written, I do feel like I'm doing really well. I can move my lips/face more (this is what the surgeon pointed out), I've only bled from my nose once, and my swelling isn't too bad. I think I'm also eating more and getting up to do more moving around. My surgeon was surprised that I already have tingling in my face because that usually comes later. I've had tingling since the day after surgery so I am very happy that my nerves are bouncing back so fast.

I do get really tired out from being out of bed, walking and talking, etc. Talking and swallowing tire me out the most as the pain tends to overcome the Percocet.

I have to say, the idea of turning the key in the RPE has me pretty nervous. I've heard all sorts of stories about it hurting, although those who got the surgery to go with it (like me) say it only feels weird. So far, "weird" has been my experience. It makes sense, since my jaw is loosened up and all. It's just kind of a barbaric thing to do to yourself. If I haven't really explained, the appliance in my mouth widens my palate .025mm every time I turn the key in it. Younger kids are able to get the RPE appliance without surgery but as you age, your skull bones get fused into place, requiring surgery to loosen them.

Here's some photos from today. Sorry for the greasy hair. I have oily hair as it is and the lack of showering daily is terrible. I'm about to rectify the issue with a nice hot bath.

5 days post-surgery, holding the RPE key


Side view, still looking pretty swollen from this angle


The gap, after 2 turns of the key (possibly some during surgery?)


Smile progression...I can actually sort of smile today.
I would like to take this moment to brag about the fact I turned the key in the RPE on my own, on my first try. I keep hearing about how hard it is to do it yourself, how you "need" someone to do it for you. A desk lamp, a mirror, and some determination go a long way, my friends.
Oh and Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope your Christmas is joyous and relaxing.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

3 Day Post-Surgery Video



Not a long video...mostly just to show you all my ability (or lack thereof) to talk.

3 Days Post-Surgery

It's 72 hours after my surgery. I'm actually feeling worse today than I did yesterday, probably because I mostly slept horizontally last night. My butt hurts SO much from sitting in the same upright position 24/7 that I just couldn't bare to sleep on it last night. I put 2 pillows down on my bed and slept on that. Not horrible, but not ideal. My nose is now very congested.

Worst of all, I feel the most "out of it" I have since I was literally knocked out for surgery. I'm tired and feel like I'm asleep even though I'm awake. I guess it's just the effects of the Percocet since it is a "high" feeling but I've been trying to wean myself off them slightly as I'm scared to get addicted. 

Today is my and Anthony's 4th anniversary. I'm currently in his spare room that he set up for me, and he's out shopping for last-minute Christmas gifts. There's supposedly a vanilla McDonalds milkshake on its way to me. I haven't had one in months so it'll be a big treat. Later tonight we're going back to Sarnia as my dad's side is doing Christmas stuff. 

Here's what I look like so far today.

Is it just me or the swelling going down a bit? I didn't crop my shirt out; as you can see, I'm drooling all over it.

Still have a double chin. Lymph nodes are less sore today.

My hair is looking progressively worse! Anthony is going to help me wash it later today since we'll be going to a restaurant with my family.

Yesterday I ate quite a bit as I was so hungry. I had a large thing of baby food, chicken broth, an Atkins shake, a root beer, and a pudding. I had most of that right after another and my mouth hurt so badly after, that I had to take more Percocet and I was pretty much done for the night after that.

I quickly looked at some SARPE blogs before writing this and it seems like the people who chose to do video blogs are way more capable of talking than I am. I'm still barely coherent. One girl sounded just fine a day after surgery! I do think I've had less bleeding than others. Other than right after surgery, I haven't had any bleeding. There's some blood around the incision when I wake up, but my nose hasn't bled at all which is a normal part of SARPE surgery. I think I have less pain, too. I'm just uncomfortable more than anything, and the congestion in my nose is frustrating.

I've been checking my weight regularly and I'm pretty consistent which is good. The morning of surgery, I was 126lbs, down 4lbs from my normal. Likely due to the fasting and not being able to eat solids (because of the appliance). The morning after surgery I was back up to 130. Yesterday and today I've been 127-128. Even though I was working on losing weight prior to surgery, I'm careful to get my calories in as I want to be as healthy possible. My main objective is always to be healthy.

I've been really appreciative of how supportive everyone is, so thank you! I didn't expect so many people to comment here or on my Facebook. It really makes me feel cared about which is so nice. I have some great people in my life.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2 Days Post-Surgery

So my SARPE surgery and (2) wisdom teeth extraction was a little over 48 hours ago.

My mom drove me to London on Thursday morning and we got to the hospital right on time. I thought there was going to be a lot of sitting around but no sooner was I assigned a bed and a gown, they told me I'd been called to the OR! I got a little nervous at that point!

I ended up lying in a bed just outside the OR for over an hour. Not sure if it's standard to wait so long after being called to the OR, but it gave me time to catch my bearings considering all of this happened so quickly! Different people came out to talk to me. I think I confirmed my name, birthday, and allergies 100 times before surgery.

Finally they wheeled me in and hooked me up to the anesthesia. Next thing I knew, I was waking up while being wheeled into another hallway. I asked, "Am I done?" and they confirmed I was. For the first few hours, I felt pretty good. But then the drugs wore off.

We had a bit of an ordeal when it came to the narcotic they prescribed me. My mom came back up from the pharmacy and told me my prescription was for Tylenol 3. I've been prescribed T3s a few times and they've never done much for me (neither codeine nor acetaminophen do). My surgeon ended up having to come back in from home to write me something else (Percocet). He and the nurses were a little ticked with me, and were actually arguing with me that I should have known better and told them Tylenol 3 doesn't work for me. This was pretty upsetting being that I was in so much pain. Try crying when you can't move your face, not fun!

So my surgery finished around 2:15pm and I didn't go home until almost 7pm. I probably would have been discharged sooner had I not been in so much pain and had to wait for the surgeon to come back.

Anyway, I've been sleeping pretty well, sitting up. The percocet makes me sleepy which is nice. I did a good job of preparing everything beforehand so I've been comfortable. I'm at Anthony's now which is good because it helps with the boredom. I could probably write a novel about the whole thing but I won't.

Here's the damage!

The day before surgery and the day after.

2-days post SARPE. Everything from my lower eyelids to my upper lip is swollen and numb so I can't make any facial expressions or move my jaw too much. I think sleeping sitting up and icing regularly is really helping the swelling.

So swollen I have a double chin. Something I didn't expect is that my lymph nodes are super sore!

The gap has started!! My front teeth feel very weird today. I don't start turning the key in the RPE until next week (I think) so it's weird I already have a little gap.

I have a little bit of bruising in my cheeks and strangely, around my ears. My ears have a yellowish tint. I'm sure the numbness in my face will last awhile, and it tingles frequently. My face often feels itchy but when I try to scratch, there's no sensation. 

In general the pain is not too bad, my face is mostly just frozen in place which is uncomfortable. The only pain I really have is when I try to swallow and my neck isn't at the right angle. My palate cracks and it's the most unsettling feeling. Also, I've been lying on my ass since Thursday morning and it really hurts. I have to stand up regularly and give my butt a rest!

I didn't really have any expectations for what recovery from SARPE would be like. I think I'm in less pain than imagined, on weaker drugs, and more lucid than I figured. I am so excited to be able to eat real food again, whenever that will be. Steak seems like a distant dream.

Oh...this popped up on my Twitter feed today and I feel like it describes my current life perfectly:

Give her this, then this, and then these...


This is what I have to take daily:
2 Percocets every 4 hours
400mg Ibuprofen every few hours (whenever I remember)
Decongestant, twice a day
Penicillin, 3 times a day
Ex-Lax, twice a day (not helping at all, TMI)
Stool softener, twice a day (see above note)
Periogard rinse, twice a day
Sleep aid, once a day, before bed

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

RPE Appliance Day One + Pre-Surgery Photos

Today I had the RPE (rapid palatal expander) appliance put in. The whole ordeal of getting this was not fun, for me or for the orthodontist and assistants. They had a hard time putting the elastic spacers in, they had an even harder time fitting the temporary metal bands, and I thought I was going to break my teeth getting the appliance put in. All of the assistants who were involved made jokes that my mouth was a challenge.

Getting the appliance put on was actually pretty quick, but not painless. They did a few dry runs trying it on before cementing it in. My teeth have been so sore that it was really annoying every time they said they were going to try it again. They'd have me bite down on a tool to help push the metal bands around my teeth. Keep in mind I haven't been able to chew anything, let alone bite down as hard as I can on a friggin' metal tool. When they test-tried it on for the last time, I joked, "I don't need the cement, let's just leave it how it is. It ain't coming off if it's that hard to put on, right?" I think they felt a bit bad for me.

But hey, it's on now. I'll admit I'm not thrilled about it. It fits lower in my mouth than I thought it would, and it's far more obtrusive than I thought it would be. I can barely swallow or talk, which is causing me anxiety and panicky feelings. I'm allowed to eat now but I probably will just stick to a protein shake before I head off to curling.

We had a potluck at work today (pre-appointment) and originally I thought I was going to be able to eat whatever I want. Not so with the elastic spacer pain! Fortunately we had a few mushy things so I filled up on hashbrown casserole, beans, and the best clam chowder I've ever had. My coworker's dog and I were both making sad puppy dog faces at the pulled pork and other delicious-looking (but crunchier) food.

Right now my mouth actually hurts less than it did with the elastics, which is surprising. This is going to take some getting used to, though. When my mouth is closed, my tongue is right against the RPE, causing me to produce a lot of saliva. You can't really tell in the photos below, but the RPE is barely higher than my teeth. There's very limited real estate in my mouth now, I have no idea how I'm going to eat. Fortunately, I don't really need to try as I get surgery in two days anyway. I just need to get through the rest of today and Wednesday. We're also having a potluck at curling but I'll have to settle for smells.

Here's the damage. I hate taking selfies but I guess I'll have to get used to it in order to see and show my progress.

The roof of my mouth for the next 4-6 months. The blue is the glue/cement and will hopefully chip off a bit.

Metal mouth side view


The elastic spacers (wore them 5 days to make room for the metal bands)



And now, pre-surgery/palate widening face and smile:
Bye bye narrow palate!


Pre-surgery face


Okay, THIS is my last entry pre-surgery unless something dramatic happens in the next 24 hours (gosh I hope not).

(P.S. I apologize for the long-windedness of my entries as of late. I'm trying to be thorough not just for my own sake, but for anyone reading who is interested in the process. I'm not trying to appeal to everybody; otherwise I'd shorten the entries. If you don't like it, feel free to look at the pictures instead!)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Preparing for Surgery

Greetings, friends. Did you know the final countdown until Christmas is on? Only 9 days left! It's also only 3 days left until my SARPE surgery.

Trying to prepare for surgery is a big task, as is preparing for Christmas. I get to experience the joy of planning for both at the same time. To say I'm not a little stressed would be a lie.

I'd been more or less procrastinating about buying Christmas presents, but I was able to finish that up this weekend and today. I just need to wrap everything and I'll be ready to go. Unfortunately I won't be able to start and/or finish the sewing projects I had on the go for Christmas gifts. The main thing will have to wait, and the other stuff can wait until next Christmas. And you know what? I don't feel bad about that. I always "should" myself too much and take on too many projects. It's not worth it.

The bigger task has been preparing for the days after surgery. I've spent over $100 buying stuff to prepare myself. Meal replacement shakes, various medications (extra strength Advil, extra strength Tylenol, Gravol, etc), dark towels I can bleed onto, soft foods. It's a lot of work preparing yourself to be incapacitated and unable to chew.


Preparatory shopping spree #1...the egg nog is Anthony's... ew!


Fortunately, my loving boyfriend has agreed to pick me up and drive me back to Ann Arbor so he can take care of me. I think it'll work a lot better than fending for myself in my/my dad's apartment. When I had my toenail surgically removed last year, my dad really wasn't much help. I know I'm going to need some help in the days right after surgery so it'll be best if I can have someone reliable to help me out. Also, my boyfriend has a great satellite TV package. He suspects I'm just using him for his TV...he might be right (just kidding).

I realized I kind of confused everyone with my last post. I had a few people wish me luck for surgery last week, thinking I meant I was getting it last Thursday. Last Thursday I had the elastic spacers put in my teeth to prepare for the RPE appliance. It's a metal bar that will be installed tomorrow. Unfortunately, I had no time to prepare for the fact that my days of chewing hard food were over (for awhile) on Thursday. My teeth hurt so much with just the elastics that I'm unable to chew even soft foods. The pain wasn't too bad on the weekend so I went all out, eating junk I haven't had in months. My final steak for awhile was a bacon-wrapped filet. Good way to go out, I must say.

Last post I said I was 95% excited, 5% nervous. Right now I'm 95% excited, 4% stressed, 1% nervous.

When I post next, it'll probably be from my bed, post-surgery! Hopefully my post will be coherent, and not just a drug-induced haze of curse words.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oral Surgeries Consultation + Andi Day One

So today was a pretty big day, for both Andi and I. Again, sorry for the length.

Andi hasn't had time to write lately, but she decided to go with Dr. M (the last ortho we saw) and today was the day she got her braces put on. While I was waiting for the oral surgeon to arrive, she sent me this photo:



I'm hoping she'll do an entry about the process and how things are going!

Since I can't comment too much about her stuff, I'll focus back onto me. I drove to London today to see an oral surgeon. I was incredibly lucky to get in before 2014 since this was their last appointment until the end of January. Their other practice didn't have openings until March.

The oral surgeon (Dr. L) was really personable. As it turns out, he grew up less than a mile from where I grew up. He even used to work in the same building that I work in now. He made everything really easy to understand, and was interested in knowing what I want to see improved. For a guy who's been a doctor for a long time, there was no lack of great "bedside" manner.


My deformities...where's my nose?

We talked and looked at drawings, photographs, moulds, and x-rays of my mouth and teeth. As it turns out, I have several problems, more than any of the orthodontists and dentists knew about. The whole process is much more complicated. All in all, I require FIVE different procedures, and two visits to the OR.

1. SARPE (surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion): My orthodontist (I also chose Dr. M) will be putting a metal device in my mouth on Monday. Then next Thursday, Dr. L will loosen my upper jaw so my upper arch will be widened.

2. While I'm under for the SARPE, he'll be removing my 2 remaining wisdom teeth.

A few months of wearing the RPE appliance and I'll get braces put on. Then, sometime in 2015 or 2016:

3. Dr. L will cut out a piece of both my upper and (4.) lower jaw and put plates and screws in to properly align things.

5. Dr. L will then make an incision in my chin plate and move it forward. I had no idea this would be part of the surgery and it kind of freaks me out.


By some stroke of luck, they had a surgery opening for next Thursday. They called my orthodontist and asked if they had time to put the RPE appliance in my mouth before then and initially they said no. I was then looking at an appointment for the end of April! I was disappointed but understood, of course. So while the receptionist and I were discussing April, my orthodontist called back and said to book me for next week and they'll make it work. Even the receptionist was excited for me, haha. +10000 points for Dr. M. for that.


My phone, always the wise guy, played this song on shuffle when I left the appointment.

I feel a little bit overwhelmed at how quickly this is happening, but overall I'm very grateful I don't have to wait until the end of April. Can you imagine if I hadn't gotten to see Dr. L for this consultation until late January or even March? My surgery would probably then be booked for late spring, early summer, and then I wouldn't get braces on until fall, likely! Now I'll be able to get braces in the spring.

After I left the appointment, I had to make several phone calls and fortunately next Thursday is going to work beautifully. I'll be off work the week of Christmas which is convenient since I had only planned to work Mon/Tues anyway. I'll only miss one hockey game, and nothing else since everything breaks for Christmas anyway. I'll still be able to attend and eat at our work potluck this upcoming Tuesday, and I won't be able to pig out on sugary Christmas treats after the 19th.

Being the busy person I am, this does throw a bit of a wrench into plans. Mine and Anthony's 4th anniversary is 3 days after surgery so we won't be able to do our usual dinner. I probably won't be able to really enjoy Christmas dinner either since I have to stick to soft foods. I'm also going to have to break the low carb diet in order to actually get some calories in. On top of all this, it's normal to get post-anesthesia depression, so I may be feeling sad and down during Christmas.

All in all...95% excited, 5% nervous.


Saying goodbye to this crowded, crooked, narrow, crossbite, retrognathic smile forever.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting Fit, Progress Update #3

Well, I made it through another month! This month carried its fair share of invitations and opportunities for non-keto friendly meals, but somehow I still managed to lose weight.

I'm even going to post photos!

FYI, I'm doing this a day early since I had a good day (food and exercise wise) yesterday and knew I'd be getting a Starbucks latte today, so I wanted to do my measurements before potential bloating.

MEASUREMENTS

Height: 5'5½" December 6 November 7 October 7 September 7Total Lost
Weight 130lbs 135lbs 140lbs148lbs20 lbs*
Bust 33" 34" 35"36"3"
Waist 27.5" 28" 30"31"3.5"
Muffin top 35" 36.5" 38"39"4"
Upper thigh 21.5" 22" 23"24.5"3"
Belly35"35.5"??0.5"
*I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

Today was the first day I measured in at 130lbs, after bouncing between 131 and 132 for the past few weeks. This means I've now made my first big scale-based goal. This also means I'm now in high school weight territory. Can't complain about that.

FOODS I ATE A LOT OF THIS MONTH
Steak
Eggs
Steak
Almonds
Berries
STEAK
Spinach and chicken salad
Steak

In other words, the sirloin kick is still in full swing. I think it's crossing into addiction land. I knew I had a problem when I bought a $38 4-pack of steak so I could get through a weekend in Sarnia.

THIS MONTH'S VICTORIES
  • I have a few articles of clothing I just cannot wear anymore, they're way too big
  • I bought a pair of size 6 (non-stretch!) jeans thinking they'd probably be too small and I could just hang onto them...but they were too big when I got them home.
  • Favourite blouses from Dynamite are starting to get baggy, especially in the stomach region. These are the same blouses I used to have to put double-sided tape in between the buttons around the stomach to keep a flat seam.
  • Met my November goal to work out 9+ times outside of organized sports. All in all, I was active 18 of November's 30 days.

  • GOALS FOR THE MONTH GOING FORWARD
  • Exercise 10 times outside of organized sports
  • Enjoy Christmas and indulge a bit

  • THOUGHTS
    I'm starting to see how rude people can be about weight loss. Twice in this past month, people have been pretty critical. The first time, I was asked how much more weight I plan to lose. When I answered, the person snapped at me that it was too much and I look fine now, why would I want to lose anymore weight? I shouldn't have even answered the question because it's nobody's business but mine. Secondly, the number I'd like to get to isn't underweight by any means; it's still within the "normal" range of the BMI.

    The second time, the person told me I didn't need to lose weight in the first place. Thanks? It's reassuring to know that not everybody was looking at me thinking, "Jaime could stand to lose some weight," but I'm not doing this for anyone else but me. Good or bad, other people's opinions don't really matter. I never understand why people make comments like that, especially since it doesn't take into consideration that I was really unhappy at 150lbs.

    PHOTOS
    Pretty nervous about this so be nice.


    I have a jawline again! Now I see the facial difference people have pointed out. August 4 and today.


    Stomach progression (September/October then second row is November/December)


    Clothes-on comparison (was already down 10lbs in left photo)

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Jaime's Consultation #5

    My fifth and final braces consultation was today. It was a doozy. I apologize in advance for the length of this entry. I never promised brevity!


    Consultation #5 - Dr. M.
    As soon as I walked in their office, I was mesmerized at how nice it is. It's clear Dr. M goes to a lot of work to make the office a comfortable place for patients. The waiting room is huge and there's video games for kids to play while waiting, coffee and TV for parents. They even have a little station set up so you can brush your teeth with disposable toothbrushes before seeing the orthodontist.

    There were so many other neat "bells and whistles" about this place, it was impressive. However, I'm wise enough to know bells and whistles = $$$ and I wasn't too far off in that prediction.

    This consultation was by far the longest and most detailed. They don't really seem to take the whole "consultation" word too seriously; they treat you like you've already chosen their office for treatment. For example, they take a "before" photo of you for your file, take numerous photos of your mouth, set you up on their rewards card system, show you around the office, etc.

    We went over pretty much everything and of course, Dr. M suggested orthognathic surgery for my overjet. To my surprise, he suggested the palatal expansion, but he said I would need surgically-assisted rapid palatal expansion (SARPE) because I'm too old for just the mouth appliance to work; my skull bones are fused together at this point. I thought that was interesting as the ortho in Michigan just suggested the appliance, not surgery. He also said I'm a tongue thruster!

    What's funny is that I've admitted to some of the doctors that I sucked my thumb until quite late and surprisingly (and sadly), their response has been, "Don't beat yourself up over it. You have so many other problems, your mouth would be fucked anyway!" I'm paraphrasing, of course.

    Later in the day, I came back to the office to get some molds taken to send to the oral surgeon in London. It's looking like I'm going to get a consultation about the SARPE and lower jaw surgery. Unfortunately I couldn't get a hold of the oral surgeon but I found out from their other office that I might be able to get in for January, if not March. That means the actual SARPE surgery wouldn't be until who knows when, and I'd have to wear the RPE appliance for a few months before even getting braces. So basically I'm going to be about 85 years old before I have nice teeth.

    I was quoted $6250 for everything, ceramic or metal (yay!). This of course does not include costs related to the oral surgeries.


    A New Dilemma

    When I came home, I felt really sad and defeated about all of this. 3 of the 5 doctors have recommended jaw surgery, one didn't mention it, and the other said don't bother with it. Initially I wasn't seriously considering it, but after getting my molds taken today at Dr. M's, I had my usual jaw pain because I held my mouth open for maybe 90 seconds. It would be nice not to have pain anymore, since I do contend with jaw pain regularly. Even just singing along to music gives me jaw pain.

    I'm considering jaw surgery now for about 2 big reasons:

    1. "No more half-measures" (thanks, Mike Ehrmantraut). Should I do the "quick fix" like some of the doctors have recommended? Or do I just suck it up and actually fix my problems? I never expected to have perfect teeth but if I go this way, I'll have a smile I'll be really happy to show off. It'll also impact my appearance slightly, too. My chin will stick out more than it does, and I'm sure even when my mouth is closed I'll look different because my upper jaw will be wider.

    2. I think I can manage the time and resources to do this now. I have a generous amount of sick leave at work (thank you, PSAC), so I could take a ton of time off work to heal up. Also, they say part of the cost of oral surgery is covered by provincial health care. I don't know yet what that leaves as far as my own dental insurances. I'm not sure if this oral surgery would end up costing me that much and if it does, is it paid by my insurance separately from the $2500 orthodontist limit?

    The big con of course is that it'll be months before I even get braces put on. I had been hoping to move to the next stage of this by December, not sometime in distant 2014. I know right now it seems so far away, but in the future, will I be happy I did the surgeries? I don't know.

    It's also added expense, but the braces and everything will be happening at a time when I'm better off financially. My car is done being paid off in the spring, so absorbing added costs from oral surgery won't be so bad.

    If this was a few months ago, I would have dealt with my disappointment by going to Arby's and ordering a ton of food (I have been known to eat 2 Arby's combos in a sitting). Instead I took a nap and then bought some sugar free candy, which I only ate a tiny bit of. The times, they are a changin', eh?

    Andrea's Consultations #3 and #4

    Consultation #3- Dr. T #2 (same as Jaime's Dr. T #2)

    I was excited to meet this orthodontist as my sister and I thought he would be cheaper being in the US. He wasn't, though. I wasn't a big fan of this orthodontist. He didn't seem very "involved" with the consultation. By that I mean he just seemed too quiet. He looked at my mouth and just said, "Yeah, you need braces." Dr. T was friendly and chatted to my sister and me about Canada/Sarnia. This orthodontist didn't make me feel excited though about braces.

    He also doesn't do ceramic braces, which is what I want. His estimate was the same as Jaime's, $5500.


    Consultation #4- Dr. T #1 (same as Jaime's Dr. T #1)

    This orthodontist was very friendly and professional. He introduced himself to me and shook my hand when he saw me. He checked my mouth out and explained in very much detail the whole process that I would have. Dr T said I didn't need to take any teeth out, although there would be a very slight chance I'd need one out. As Dr T explained everything, he sat almost right in front of me, made eye contact, and smiled. He seemed happy to help me. He shook my hand again as he left and told me he was glad he met me. In my opinion, friendliness goes a long way! He set me up with an assistant, who I had known from high school. The payment plan was figured out using a program on a computer so you could switch around numbers; unlike the other places that had sheets which were just prices handed to me. The computer was set up at a little table so both the assistants and the customers could view it. I liked that.

    This ortho made me feel very excited again for braces! Dr T offers clear ceramic braces, which I am interested in getting. I got my quote for ceramic on the top teeth and metal on the bottom. My total quote was $ 5585.

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Jaime's Consultation #4 - Dr. T. #2

    Consultation #4 - Dr. T #2

    This morning Andrea and I went over to Port Huron, MI to get an American opinion.

    The clinic was nice and quiet which is always a good thing to me. It's also less than 5 minutes from the Bluewater Bridge so even though appointments there would potentially be a bit of a hassle, it's still pretty close to home. Unfortunately their office is only open Mondays and Thursdays so I couldn't just schedule appointments for Friday after work and then head to Ann Arbor after. Definite con.

    The orthodontist and assistants were kind of weird, and Andrea agreed. They wouldn't tell you where they wanted you to go/stand/sit but then say, "What are you doing?" or "Where are you going?"

    This consultation was interesting. Dr. T didn't recommend jaw surgery to me, but instead said he wanted to put a palatal widener in my mouth and then do braces. It didn't sound like they wanted to take any of my top teeth out, unlike all the other dentists/orthodontists I've seen. I'm really intrigued by that, as I do have a narrow mouth. Unfortunately, they don't do ceramic braces at all.

    Money wise, he wants $5500 for the whole shebang. They have the lowest down payment (but are flexible) and the longest amount of time to pay for everything. I had been hoping the American orthodontist would be cheaper than the Canadian ones, but this is right on par with our prices.

    The Dilemma

    I'm starting to feel conflicted about what I should do. I guess that's the problem with getting so many opinions. On one hand, metal braces don't need to be on as long as ceramic. But metal is more obvious, and if I get married in the next 2-2.5 years, I'd like to be able to smile with my teeth showing.

    Except for the first orthodontist I saw (the first Dr. T), all of them have discouraged getting ceramic braces. They say they stain, they can pull some enamel off, and they are difficult to remove at the end. Those things worry me, and I wonder if stained ligatures and chipped enamel are really worth looking slightly better for 18-24 months. They're also more expensive, albeit not much. My sister is pretty much set on getting ceramic but I'm wondering if we should be listening to the fact that so many dentist/orthodontists hate them. Obviously, they're the experts.

    I'm really, really interested in the palate widening idea. I have one more consultation next week, and it's with an orthodontist who does ceramic braces. Perhaps I'll ask him if the palate widening is something I can explore with him, as this orthodontist today is the first one to suggest it.

    Decisions, decisions...

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Jaime's Consultation #3

    I had another consultation on Wednesday, this time with my own dentist, Dr. S #2.

    I've been going to my dentist for a little over a year so it was nice to know what to expect as far as office and personality.

    This consultation was less exciting than the first two, since I already know my dentist and I have an idea of what advice and costs to expect.

    My dentist did a panoramic x-ray on me, then took a quick look at my mouth. I could have called out the notes to the assistant myself. "Class 2 malocclusion, maxillary crowding, mandibular crowding, overjet of 20 milimetres, some gum recession..." Next consultation I should try that and see what they say!

    Anyway, my dentist has roughly the same opinion and price as the first two. He did start off his opinion by asking if the other 2 doctors I've seen were "scratching their head" after looking at my mouth. Wow, is my mouth really that bad?! I didn't tell him that Dr. T had been mumbling under his breath during my exam, asking himself whether he could even help me.

    Option 1: Orthognathic surgery, then braces. My dentist seemed to think this was something I should really consider, whereas the first 2 were more or less iffy on whether I should bother. No price estimate (an oral surgeon has to do the surgery).

    Option 2: Wisdom teeth out, then 2 teeth extractions from the top, 1 or 2 on the bottom, then braces for 18 months. He did offer ceramic braces, though he prefers putting metal on the back teeth (I hadn't considered this yet). $5500 plus "3-4 hundred" for ceramic, plus wisdom teeth extractions. Probably in the same $6200 range.

    I was pretty certain I didn't want jaw surgery, but now I'm starting to wonder if I should get it at some point. I've been advised by all 3 dentists that I'll still have a bit of overbite if I don't get surgery. I think the smartest thing would be to go through with the braces and then decide on surgery afterwards (I was told that's an option). Decisions, decisions...

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Getting Fit, Progress Update #2

    Lots of posts lately! Hope you're enjoying reading them as much as I'm enjoying writing them.

    This felt like a really, really long month. I came face to face with the realization that I need more patience with weight loss. Sometimes I know it's going to take months, other times I get frustrated because time seems to have slowed down.


    MEASUREMENTS
    November 7 October 7 September 7Total Lost
    Weight 135lbs 140lbs148lbs15 lbs*
    Bust 34" 35"36"2"
    Waist 28" 30"31"3"
    Muffin top 36.5" 38"39"2.5"
    Upper thigh 22" 23"24.5"2.5"
    Belly35.5"???
    *I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

    FOODS I ATE A LOT OF THIS MONTH
    STEAK! Seriously, I'm in the middle of a top sirloin kick right now. My poor wallet.
    Nuts (almonds mostly), pumpkin seeds, raspberries, brie, Babybel cheese, pepperettes, smokies, baby spinach, spinach salad, eggs (omelets galore)

    This was definitely a protein-heavy month. I found myself constantly craving a big steak or eggs. It was interesting since in the past I've really only ever craved carbs, especially cake. I barely thought about carbs this month.


    THIS MONTH'S VICTORIES
    • Some of my clothes are starting to get too big.
    • More people are noticing the weight loss, telling me it's very noticeable.
    • My favourite blouses from Dynamite fit nicely right now. I used to have to put double-sided tape between some of the buttons but now I can eat a big meal and they still aren't too tight.
    • I weighed myself less frequently
    • I beat my fitness goal during the month of October. I was active 18 of October's 31 days.
    • My running is finally improving...I've done a few 4-5 mile runs outside. I've also beat my old mile record, which is awesome!

    THOUGHTS
    • I probably would have lost more weight this month had I not had so many cheat days. Thanksgiving, Halloween parties, Halloween candy...it all added up to me indulging in candy and sweets a bit more than I should have. I'm not too upset as I still want to indulge from time to time, but I think I do need to be a little more strict. I have very little self-control when there's junk food in front of me. I can rationalize the heck out of it before I'm even finished chewing.
    • I have a new found love of steak. I never really liked steak before but now a big, juicy medium rare steak could cure what ails me.
    • Drinking wine on a low carb diet is a really bad idea. Sugar hangover was very bad the next day. I don't know if everyone is like me, but sugary drinks make me pretty ill the next day. 
    • I started taking daily asthma medication (Singulair) at the end of September in order to control my exercise asthma. It started kicking in about mid-October. I feel a LOT better but still need my inhaler when I'm running.

    GOALS FOR THE MONTH GOING FORWARD
    • I would really like to be down to 130lbs for Christmas. I know that now that I'm average weight for my height, that the weight will be slower to come off, probably getting slower each month. I need to be disciplined about candy/cheat treats if I want to make my goal.
    • My November goal is to exercise 9 times outside of my organized sports. 
    • I would like to focus a little more on strengthening my core.

    Sorry, no photos...still feel a little weird about posting my half-naked self on the Internet. :(

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Andrea's Intro + Consultation #1

    Hello, I am Jaime's sister, Andrea. I'm 22 and live in Sarnia. I spend much of my time working two jobs which are both with Lambton County Developmental Services group homes. Since I am a casual (part time) worker, I end up working many random shifts, day/evening/overnight. I like to spend my free time hanging out with my friends, boyfriend, and of course, Jaime! I like to relax by watching TV, movies, or reading. I have three cats that make me laugh daily. I love all different kinds of music. I buy a new album on iTunes almost every week! 



    I've been wanting braces for awhile, but at first I didn't actually think I needed them. Growing up, my dentist never talked about braces to me, so I just figured my teeth were fine. As a kid, I also didn't realize the cost of braces, nor did I understand insurance. Some of my friends had braces and I remember just thinking, "Hmm that kind of sucks." 

    As I got older, I realized that maybe I did need braces, but my teeth weren't too bad, so I didn't care much. It wasn't until I got a bit older (late teens) when I started noticing all the straight, perfect teeth of people around me. This was something I began to notice more and more as time went on. In photos of myself, I would think, "Jeez, my teeth look worse in pictures from different angles!!!" I can admit, at first glance of my face straight on, my teeth aren't too bad, but the bigger I smile or from the angle you are looking at me at, you can definitely tell my teeth are crowded. 

    There is one picture in particular that made me decide I want braces FOR SURE. It is a picture of my boyfriend and me that his parents keep on their fridge, and all I can think when I look at it is, YIKES my teeth look terrible in that picture. Worst angle possible. I carried on to my boyfriend about needing braces and he kept telling me to stop worrying about it, my teeth are fine. I texted my sister right then and said something about getting braces. I thought, just go for it Andrea if it's really something you want. 

    Jaime and I had discussed getting braces someday in the future many times before. It was just recently that we decided that we were going to go for it now! I was very excited to hear that Jaime wanted to get braces at the same time as me! What could be better than going through braces at the same time as your sister?! It makes the process that much better. 

    I'm hoping with getting braces, my smile will look a lot nicer! Sometimes I feel like my crooked teeth make me look younger, so I'm hoping that straight tell with help me look my age. I'm also interested in getting my teeth whitened after the braces are off. Too many years of drinking pop and being too lazy to brush my teeth. My teeth are far from being pearly white! The only thing I'm worried about is the obvious: what will people think of me with braces as an adult? Is it going to make me look younger?


    Consultation #1 of 4 - November 4/13 - Dr. S.
    (Note from Jaime: This is the same Dr. S. as my Consultation #2)

    I had my first consultation for braces today. It went okay. I wasn't fond of the dentist, but the quoting/pricing/treatment sounded average to me. One thing that was said was that I would need 4 teeth pulled to make room to straighten my teeth since my teeth are crowded. This makes me nervous a bit, perfectly good teeth being pulled out!! I'm worried how I would look between the time the teeth are pulled and until I can get the braces on. There will be some gaps in my smile! This is also an extra cost that I did not think about too. 

    I was quoted $5500 for metal braces plus $600 for the teeth extraction (total of $6100). (Note from Jaime: Andrea says she wasn't offered ceramic braces, which is different from what this dentist told me.)

    Next consultation next week! I am looking forward to it.

    Jaime's Consultations #1 and #2

    Yesterday was a busy day. Aside from working and going to my usual Tuesday night curling, I also had my first two braces consultations.

    Consultation #1: Dr. T.

    So far, the big "pro" for this orthodontist is the fact it's very close to my work (and home). The office is modern and clean and my appointment began on time (something I appreciate).

    I was pleased that in several places in their office, they display a digital slide show of before and afters of their patients. Of course, all of them were kids, but some of them had way worse teeth than mine (and Andrea's).

    After doing a (free) panoramic x-ray and side views and looking in my mouth a bit, I was told my jaw is steeper than the average jaw, and that if I ever want to fix everything, I'd need to get jaw surgery. Dr. T. didn't seem to think this is a necessity for me, as he said my jaw may revert to how it is anyway. With this in mind, I was given 3 options:

    1. Have Dr. T. remove some teeth, then go to an oral surgeon for the jaw surgery, let that heal, then get braces for 2 years. Total cost approximately $10, 000. Ouch, literally and figuratively.

    2. Get some teeth removed, braces for 2 years: $6200. This was the option the orthodontist seemed to think was best. I need to double check if the quoted price included tooth extractions.

    3. No teeth extractions, braces for 2 years: "four thousand something."


    Consultation #2: Dr. S.

    The big pro with this dentist (he's not an orthodontist) is that it's very close to my apartment, less than 5 minutes driving.

    The office was a bit older and busier, since it's a regular dentist office. A dental assistant of some kind took a look at my provided x-ray, then poked around my teeth a bit. She seemed to be looking at my gum recession more than anything, which was weird.

    The dentist came in and his examination of my mouth and teeth was very strange. The best way to describe it was he was manhandling my teeth. He was pretty rough, pushing on my teeth and cheeks. He wasn't actually hurting me, but his hands were all over my face. I became aware of how ridiculous it probably looked and had to keep myself from laughing!

    He presented 2 options:

    1. Yada yada messed up jaw, I could get surgery but he doesn't think I really need it. Do that, get braces. No quoted price on that.

    2. Get my 2 remaining wisdom teeth removed, then get 4 more teeth removed, then metal braces for no more than 2 years, "probably less." $6200. He said they do ceramic (which is what I want) but that he hates doing them and doesn't recommend them. That alone made me decide I probably won't go with this dentist. Personally, I'd rather have ceramic braces 2 years than have metal braces for 18-24 months. Maybe I'll feel differently once I have them, but right now that's how I feel.

    I also had to pay $75 for that opinion. Whatever happened to "penny for your thoughts." Blah.

    Tonight, my own dentist is giving me his opinion (hopefully it's free). I have a great dentist, but I'm anticipating he'll be the most expensive.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    Jaime's Braces Intro

    Hopefully this post will backdate itself, but if not, sorry for inundating you with posts today!

    As you know, I'm your loyal blogger Jaime. I have had ugly teeth most of my life.

    My story is a bit different from Andrea's. Embarrassingly enough, I sucked my thumb throughout childhood (uhhh and teenagehood...). When I was 12 or 13, my dentist recommended to my parents that I get braces. I had a consultation done but when the big insurance question came up, the whole idea seemed to die a quick death. I had wanted braces pretty badly then but my parents wouldn't tell me the outcome of the insurance research. A few years later, they finally admitted the insurance wouldn't cover the cost of braces, conversation over.

    I've always hated my teeth, since I have severe overbite and a lot of crowding. Some people have said my teeth look okay and that I don't need braces, but I dislike being patronized. I know my teeth are ugly, it's something I'm comfortable admitting.

    I've since had another consultation but it was just before I left Iqaluit, and it didn't make sense at the time to get braces from an orthodontist in Ottawa (who visits Iqaluit periodically). I'd have to drive 16 hours round trip every appointment! Since then, I've put it off every year, waiting to feel like it was the right time to drop $6000.

    Sometime since I moved back to Ontario, Andrea started saying she wanted braces. Late this summer, she finally said she was going for it. I talked to Anthony a bit about it and realized it was never going to be the right time, and I needed to suck it up and part with the money. Andrea agreed it'd be fun to get them together, since misery loves company, right?!

    Here's the damage...






    Unlike Andrea, I'm not too concerned what people think, especially since I'm planning on getting ceramic (clear) braces. I'm looking forward to finally being able to smile with my teeth showing, and not having to stress every time a camera comes out. I'm really glad Andrea and I are going to do this together, it makes an un-fun process a little more bearable.

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Brace Faces

    I have some semi-exciting news to share! You will notice on the right-hand side of my blog, my younger sister Andrea (AKA Andi) is now a contributor on the blog. For the next little while, my sister will be helping me to blog our way through the process of getting braces.


    Lisa needs braces...


    We have both been wanting to get braces for awhile, and finally decided to go for it together. I thought it'd be fun if we blogged about it since it's something a little different, and seeing progress of just about anything can be interesting (in my opinion, anyway). Our situations will be a little different due to severity of tooth crookedness, insurance (and lack thereof), personal opinions, etc.

    Our plan is to each do an intro post about our current smile, our expectations, fears, and wishes for the experience. Every month or two (probably 2) we'll do a progress update with how things are going. We will also blog about the consultation experience, since we are getting 4 of them (each).

    We're excited and hope we can make it interesting to read about! We'll be sure to keep adding relevant Simpsons stills (we'll post 'em 'til we run out...which may be soon.)



    Next up: Jaime's Intro and Andrea's Intro


    (P.S. Next week I'll be posting my 2 month weight loss progress update, so check that out November 6 or 7!)

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Low Carb, Low Guilt Peanut Butter Cookies

    Okay so I'm not reinventing the wheel here or anything, but I thought I'd share my low carb peanut butter cookie recipe. I used a few different recipes to make mine. I did this exact recipe yesterday and just warning you: it's hard to eat only one.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup peanut butter (as I have learned, do not use low/no fat PB, they will not bake properly)
    Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (I use Truvia)
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 egg
    2/3rds cup oats (or up to 1 cup, if carb count is not an issue to you)
    1 teaspoon Cinnamon
    1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
    Chocolate chips (optional)

    Directions:
    Mix peanut butter, sweetener, egg, vanilla, and oats in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. You may want to use a spatula to scrape off the dough from the sides of the bowl later on (can't let any of the dough go to waste!).

    Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie pan and spray with cooking spray.

    Drop rounded spoonfuls on the pan, and criss-cross flatten with a fork. I can get 20 cookies out of this amount, but I like my cookies a bit on the small side (3" diametre or so).

    Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 350F for 10-11 minutes.

    Take aluminum foil sheet off (with cookies attached) and cool on a baking rack immediately to avoid burned bottoms (unless you're like me and love burned cookies).

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    Getting Fit, Progress Update #1

    Alrighty! It's been a full month of my low carb thing, you know, the thing I've always said I would never do? I'm going to try and do these progress updates in the same format each time. In the future, I'll post some (likely fully clothed) photos of myself. Any progress I've made is hard to see in photos just yet, anyway. After all, it's only been a month.

    Sorry this is long, it'll be shorter in future months.

    MEASUREMENTS
    October 7 September 7Total Lost
    Weight140lbs148lbs10 lbs*
    Bust35"36"1"
    Waist30"31"1"
    Muffin top38"39"1"
    Upper thigh23"24.5"1.5"

    *I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

    THE BASICS (this section will only appear this month)
    As I mentioned, I'm doing a low carb, high fat and protein diet. I'm eating 1200 calories a day, tracking calories in a great app (and website) called MyFitnessPal. I don't have a specific number of carbs I'm trying to stay within per day. Less than 60g, preferably. I've gone totally gluten and starchy food free. The main things I've cut out are: fast food, candy, bread/bagels, flour, cake, rice, pasta, and potatoes.

    I keep active by using the various elliptical machines at the gym, usually for 30-60min 2-3 times a week. I play indoor soccer, just started hockey for the first time ever, and will continue curling at the end of the month. I want to keep playing sports long-term, I'm not just doing the new stuff (soccer and hockey) for the sake of losing weight...in case you were wondering.

    FOODS I ATE A LOT OF THIS MONTH
    Brie (god bless brie), other cheeses, salmon, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, celery, carrots, nuts (mostly almonds), hard boiled eggs, chocolate soy milk.

    THIS MONTH'S VICTORIES
    -Pants are fitting better
    -Stomach looks flatter
    -A few people have noticed I've lost weight

    THOUGHTS

  • Gluten: Everyone loves to yap on about how much better they feel going gluten-free. Maybe I'm the first person in the world to say I don't actually feel any "better" being gluten-free. I'm certainly less bloated and gassy (TMI!) but I don't have a new lease on life or anything.
  • I've had only one "cheat treat" that I felt was actually worth it, considering how gross I feel afterwards. Sugar and starches sit like bricks in my stomach.
  • Sweetened things, even artificially sweetened things like Diet Pepsi, taste extremely sweet.
  • Numbers game: One thing I want to curb is how often I check my weight on the scale. Since I check it first thing in the morning, the number I see ends up setting the tone for the whole day. That's not a healthy way to be. Ideally I only want to check my weight once a week. Doing is a lot harder than saying, though.
  • I'm realizing that the main thing about eating carbs is that it's convenient. They're cheap, they're filling, and they generally taste good. I have to eat quite a bit more than I previously did, just to eat enough in a day.
  • I want/need to make different and/or more complicated recipes, e.g. casseroles. I'm sure I'm going to get tired of eating the same basic stuff. Unfortunately I don't really like salad, but I'm confident I can put something together I'll like.

  • RECIPES I LIKED THIS MONTH
    Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
    Low carb peanut butter cookies (I added oats for better texture)

    Check back November 6th or 7th for my next progress update!

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    The Burden of Autumn AKA Autumn Anxiety

    Before I begin, let me just say that I'm not writing this so you can see how neurotic I am. I'm writing this in hopes that I've identified something other people are feeling, too.

    Every year when October 1st rolls around, scores of people celebrate the beginning of fall and all the lovely things that come with it. Pumpkin everything! Halloween! Leaves! Changing colours! Sweaters! Thanksgiving!

    Every year when October 1st rolls around for me, a ridiculous sort of anxiety starts to overtake me. In the past, it's manifested itself as a baking frenzy. I start reading Pinterest and I start wanting to make things. I've felt antsy unless I'm in the kitchen (Anthony never complains about this).

    This year since I'm doing the low carb thing and baking is mostly out of the question, I feel a bit at a loss. Every day since September 21st, I've felt increasingly anxious about it being autumn. You see, I feel like I am never doing enough to enjoy autumn. While everyone is praising pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for Halloween, I feel trapped by the idea I'm not doing enough to enjoy autumn while it lasts.


    Replacing your bed with a pile of leaves in order to enjoy autumn is not recommended.


    I drive by signs for pumpkin spice lattes and the internal battle begins: "Oh I should get one of those...but they're so sugary and never as good as I think they're going to be. Ugh, but they're only around for a short time. Can I really budget the sugar today? It's also expensive. But Jaime, pumpkin spice latte!"

    I drive by houses with bales of hay, pumpkins and other decorations and I feel jealous that I don't have a house to decorate for the seasons. I secretly vow that once I move into a house, I'll go all out. I'll really do autumn right.

    I drive by trees changing colours and I feel downright guilty that I haven't taken the time to stroll in the park, breathed in the autumn smell, and immersed myself in autumn. I tell myself that I'm wasting autumn if I'm not fully immersed in it.

    I see cute sweaters in the mall and I wish knit sweaters looked any good on me. How (superficially) perfect it would be to buy a beautiful cardigan and go for a walk in the park, sipping a pumpkin spice latte and planning what pies I'm going to bake that evening. That would be the textbook definition of enjoying autumn.

    The truth is, I love autumn but dealing with the constant guilt of not enjoying it enough is getting to me. What a ridiculous problem to have.

    This year I decided to create a fall bucket list. I thought if I made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish by November 1st, my anxiety would subside. Most of my list doesn't have anything to do with autumn and so the guilt and the anxiety is creeping back up as October inches forward. Maybe I need to revise the list to add more of the cliche autumn activities.

    I talked to a friend today about this and he agreed he feels some anxiety about not enjoying autumn enough. I feel like I may be onto something here. How have we gone from simply liking this season to feeling immense pressure to enjoy it in some kind of LL Bean catalogue spread-approved way? Just to show you what I mean, I wrote that last sentence without even looking at the LL Bean website. Here's their front page right now:


    See what I mean?


    I don't have the answer to my questions. I don't know why I feel so much anxiety to enjoy a season I get to experience every year. I don't know why I feel like I have to enjoy it in such a rigid, pre-decided way. I don't know why just enjoying it simply and being happy it's October isn't enough. Why are we so focused on getting as much out of autumn as possible? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.



    (Non-sequitur P.S. from Jaime: I'll be updating again on Monday or Tuesday about my weight loss progress, so keep your eyes open for that.)

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    On Not Wanting Kids

    Ever since I was a little kid myself, I've known I don't want to have kids. Not being the norm in our society, I'm often met with resistance to this idea. How could I possibly not feel that maternal instinct? Don't I know it's different when they're my own? How can I not want to leave a legacy after I'm gone?


    Courtesy of Anne Taintor


    I've never really sat down and discussed my feelings from start to finish, so here goes.

    The first time I can remember not wanting kids was winter 1995 (if it matters, I was 9). I received a beautiful doll for Christmas. It was from a line called Baby So Beautiful and I still remember the commercial, with the famous Joe Cocker song, "You Are So Beautiful." Strangely enough given my no-kids personality, I loved playing with dolls. I loved taking care of things and pretending my dolls really were my kids. My grandpa had made a lovely wooden doll crib for me and I happily tucked in "Karina" (what I named the doll) every night and took her out every morning. I loved that freakin' doll. I even had play food that I would pretend to spoon feed her. However, I distinctly remember thinking to myself at least once, "No way I'd want a real baby." I knew even then that babies were a huge responsibility and that I couldn't just shove a baby in a closet and ignore it for as long as I felt like it.

    How could I possibly have felt that way at age 9, you wonder? The jury is still out on the whole nature vs. nurture thing when it comes to our personalities, but I'm starting to think the nurture part of my personality plays a bigger role than I originally assumed. It occurred to me earlier this year that my lack of interest in being a mother is probably directly linked to how frequently my parents bitched about being parents. I can't even tell you how many times my mom told me (albeit when I was being a brat) that she wished she'd never had me, she'd wish she'd never had kids, we're such a headache, she'd be so much happier without us. She probably doesn't remember saying such horrid things, but it was imprinted on me like a brandishing iron: having kids makes people unhappy.

    Aww, poor Jaime, you must be thinking. You can still change your mind! Don't let your parents' thoughtless words change your mind on something so wonderful! Sure, maybe I could have, if this wasn't the narrative I was hearing my entire childhood. I never really even stood a chance at wanting kids. When I was 12 or 13, my parents each had a friend without kids. The one friend was (and is) unmarried, lives in an expensive part of Canada, takes frequent expensive vacations, and has a bunch of cats. The other friend was happily married, owned a Mercedes convertible, moved from expensive house to expensive house in Sarnia, and had a bunch of cats. I had more interaction with the latter friend and I've long considered him to be one of the strongest influences in my decision not to have kids. I saw his cushy life directly as a result of not having kids. I saw, and I liked. I liked a lot.

    So now let's back up and look at the situation. As a kid, I kept hearing about what a pain in the ass kids were. Then I meet adults without kids who live seemingly glamorous, happy lives. Duh, right? 1 + 1 = 2. People with kids: unhappy. People without kids: rich and happy. Impressionable, indeed I was, and can you really blame me for coming to the conclusion that having kids is a bad idea?

    Once I realized these driving factors in my choice not to have kids, I considerably relaxed about the whole thing. I have the tendency to over-analyze my personality and the choices I make in life. Whether to have kids has always been at the front of my mind for no other reason than to constantly reassess if I still feel the same. I would hate to get to my late 30s, give it some thought for the first time in a decade, and realize, Hey, maybe I do want kids? Oops, too late. It's something I give constant thought to, but admittedly, the older I get, the less I want kids. Most women my age would say that seeing their friends have kids plants the envy seed in them. For me, it's the opposite feeling. Every time a friend of mine has kids, I almost feel sick. When I inevitably see their first photos of them with the baby, it's like they're a whole different person. It freaks me out. I know it sounds weird or crazy, but the idea that you can never go back after having a baby scares the hell out of me. Despite the fact I have numerous tattoos, making the permanent decision to have a kid makes me feel queasy.

    And then of course, people want to argue with me about it. If I feel sick to my stomach when I think about having kids, maybe I'm not such a great candidate for the whole parent thing. If I've lived my entire life not wanting kids, why do you think you're going to change my mind? I've never understood why people push the childfree to reconsider. It's like pushing gay people to be straight. Come on, if only you knew! It's different when it's you! You don't know what you want, you just haven't tried [x]. I'm sure if you tried, you'd love it.

    I really hope nothing in this blog post comes across as me saying, "It's stupid to have kids," because I honestly don't think that. Despite how I was raised, I recognize the fact that having kids brings unspeakable happiness and fulfillment to people. Really, I'm glad for people who feel driven to have kids and then do (or adopt). The world should be filled with more parents who want to be parents. The world would not be better off if someone like me had kids. I would not be a good parent. I might not forget about my child for days on end like my frequent nightmares suggest I would, but I would not be happy. I wouldn't do right by the child, I would not be the best parent I could be. And really, why would I have kids if it's not something I've longed for my whole life?

    Just for the record, yes, I do realize at some point in time, I might feel differently. That's why I'm not running out and getting my tubes tied. Although I think it's possible I COULD change my mind, I really, honestly don't see it changing. It's been the one constant opinion I've had my whole life. As well, the older I get, the more content and sure about I feel. It's like a comfy chair that just keeps getting more comfy.

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    Changing Perspectives

    My brain's been scattered lately, hence the lack of posts. I currently have 4 draft posts in the works since I keep starting entries and not finishing them. Maybe this one will stick.

     The one consistent thing I've been think about lately is how my perspective on things are changing lately.

     On Christmas 2010, I nearly hit 3 deer that ran out in the road in front of me. It was extremely fortunate I didn't hit them, and I have no doubt I was mere inches from certain death. I decided at some point shortly thereafter that I owed the world big time for not dying that day, so I started donating blood regularly (and I still do).

    In August, I had a similar experience again. Anthony and I were headed up Lake Huron for our first solo weekend away in over a year. Right before we got to our destination, we were about 5 seconds behind a double fatal collision. Of course, we got out and tried to help, but there wasn't much to be done. The experience reminded me of why it's so critically important to donate blood. I felt like I needed to do more; donating blood isn't enough. I forget how, but I ended up stumbling upon One Match, the bone marrow donor database in Canada. I signed up right away. Of the few people I've told that I've signed up to be a bone marrow donor, everybody has said, "Ouch, donating bone marrow hurts like an [expletive]." My response? The same as my decision to donate blood: "Hurts a lot less than dying needing bone marrow and not having a donor."

    Ignoring all the other ways witnessing a gruesome accident seriously messes you up, I've also started changing my perspective on driving. I'm trying to slow down, look around more, be more safe. Of course, I already think I'm a good driver (who doesn't?) but there's room for improvement with everybody.

     ***

    I'm also in the process of trying to lose a few pounds again. I lost a bunch of weight back in 2009 but it has slowly crept back up on me, especially now that I live in the southern world of fast food, bakeries, stadiums, bars and restaurants. Spending weekends in the restaurant mecca that is Ann Arbor doesn't help, either. Anthony and I love to go out for meals and despite our active lifestyles, it's catching up on us.

    I've always had this dumb half-assumption that because I'm not technically overweight, it would be really difficult for me to lose weight. I'm not sure why, I guess I always felt like being not skinny but not fat meant this is just how my body wants it to be. It was probably an easy way to pass off the blame for my terrible eating habits.

    Anthony and I decided to start a little weight loss bet and it's turned up my competitive streak! I always said I would never do a low carb diet because I'm addicted to bread, bagels, and cake. Then I saw some photos of people my height and weight who went low carb and lost a ton of weight. I decided I'd give it a try and so far, it's going much better than I thought it would. I don't think about carb-y food at all, I'm not tempted, and I'm not craving anything. I think it's actually a really good thing for me, because now I can't rely on the same old meals, I have to learn to make some new things.

    I'll try to post some of my progress since I know people like reading that sort of thing. No photos yet, I'm not that brave!

    Here's what we have to start:

    Start of weight loss bet: August 26th

    Weight: 150lbs
    (Height 5'5.5")
    Measurements: ??? (didn't take them)

    Start of low carb: September 5th
    Weight: 148lbs
    Measurements:
    B: 36"
    W: 31"
    H: 39"
    Thigh: 24.5"

    I'm not going to do another progress check until October 6th, but I am down to 143lbs today (Sept. 14).

    Oh, and about the bet...I have to be down to 140lbs by September 30th to beat Anthony. So far, I'm closer to my goal than he is to his, so we'll see. The loser has to take the winner out to whatever dinner they want. I have no idea what I'll pick if I win, because now it has to be low carb!

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    On Wife Blogs

    Something that has really been bugging me lately is the popularity of what I call "wife blogs."



    Normally, I'm a "live and let live" kind of person, but I've noticed in the past year that these blogs are gaining prevalence, and the whole thing rubs me the wrong way.

    For the sake of not being an asshole, I'm not going to link to any specific blogs. If you have no idea what I mean by wife blogs, do yourself and a favour and skip reading this post. Close the window. Go on leading the life you're living, because you've already got it under control.

    So how do you know you're on a wife blog? Generally it's going to have a custom design with a gigantic title, usually including the girl's first name. Pastels are a dead giveaway. Also prominently displayed will be a photo of the girl, sometimes with the husband, sometimes not. She'll look somewhere between the ages of 19 and 30, and it'll probably be a black and white photo, it'll probably be outside, and she'll probably be beaming this big, phony smile.

    The blog will feature such headers as "About the Girl!" "Our Love Story!" "About our Son/Daughter!"

    You will have the option of clicking over to their Facebook page created for their blog, Twitter account created for the blog, Pinterest, and Instagram. No wife blog is complete without a million ways to worship the blogger, like she's some kind of celebrity.

    Let me cut to the chase. This is what bugs me about these blogs, in no particular order:

    1. The vast majority of these blogs are all fluff and no substance. It's all just garbage: ugly filtered photos linked over from Instagram of vacations, meals they ate, drinks they drank, shoes they wore, selfies, pet photos. Maybe I'm crazy, but I want to read about your thoughts. I don't need to see this glamorized version of your life that makes you seem more vain and vapid than you really are. What do you think about? What do you worry about? What scares you? What are your goals in life?

    2. Between all the fluff is even more crap. Giveaways, sponsored reviews, link ups. Wow, way to thin out an already thin blog. It's all a big contest for advertising revenue, comments and attention. I feel like I'm looking at a Cosmo magazine written by one person.

    3. They reinforce the idea that the only thing interesting about women is their appearance, their marital status and their mommy status. These tend to be the main topics of their blog entries. The wife of an old friend of mine has a terrific blog in which she wrote about this very problem with our society.

    Guaran-fucking-teed, the first thing you're going to do when you stumble upon a blog that has an "about me" page is click the "about me" page. It's harmless and it's human nature, of course you're interested. It would just be awesome to actually learn something about that blogger apart from her marital status and number of children (this includes "fur babies"). Also, spare me the cutesy talk. "I'm Jaime. I've been married to my high school sweetheart for five years!! We have a beautiful baby girl named [atrocious name with many superfluous "y"s]. I have an IRRATIONAL LOVE of cheese, H&M socks, and if I won the lottery, I would spend all day cuddling baby pandas! Squeeeeee!"

    Blog posts tend to be pretty light topics of absolutely no controversial matter and no deep thoughts. Everything they write about is a harmless, self-congratulatory anecdote of no real substance.

    These blogs, and the comments they accumulate, leave me with this ill feeling that all my fellow women care about is weddings, husbands, kids, and looking aesthetically pleasing.

    There is one blog that I've been reading regularly for a year now that falls into all of the criteria I listed above. The blogger is very different from me, we share very different values, and I highly doubt we'd be friends "in real life." I've even complained to Anthony in the past that I'm not sure why I read her blog, since it contains all of the garbage in #1 and #2, and I have nothing in common with this person.

    Suddenly, on a drive to work the other day, it occurred to me why her blog is so immensely popular: she constantly posts photos of herself and her husband (and now baby). She has made her life extremely public and accessible. For some reason, it's addictive. We always want to see more. What drives this voyeuristic tendency? A need to judge? Insecurity? The need to seek an available role model?

    It bothers me reading rows and rows of comments of, "Wow, you look so awesome! I wish I was as pretty as you!" and other comments about these bloggers' personal appearances. It's been blowing my mind progressively more noticing how much value is placed on women's appearances.

    Also, I do feel the need to make a disclaimer that I realize getting married and having kids is a big part of people's lives, I'm not diminishing that. My entire point is that there's more to life than just these things, and it's sad when these institutions seem to comprise 100% of people's lives to the point where they no longer have an identity. You're more than just a wife, a mom, a brunette. You are a person with thoughts and opinions, and our world would be a better place if you shared those thoughts, rather than drown them out with shitty Instagram photos of your breakfast.

    I've been on the lookout for more cerebral blogs written by women, or really anyone for that matter. Sorry to sound harsh, but I don't give a shit about your Pinterest-inspired house, your recent purchases, your anniversary vacation, or any other meaningless crap other 20-something women sadly seem to care about. I want food for thought, damn it. If you know of some good blogs, please, by all means, link me up.

    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    Dear Sirius XM Classical Pops

    Dear Sirius XM Channel 75 - Classical Pops,

    I know it's really early on in our relationship, but we have a small problem. You see, before I met you, I used to listen to those other stations. You know, the ones that play Billboard Top 40 stuff, the 90s one, and the alternative rock one. In other words, the stations that replay the same music over and over.

    I know you couldn't hear me, but I used to frequently yell at those stations. Sometimes I was even sarcastic. "Oh thanks, Sirius XM. I hadn't yet heard The Lumineers 'Ho Hey' for the 30th time today, thanks for making sure I did." Sometimes I pleaded and begged for somebody to hear that I was tired of Mumford and Sons, and everything else that I've heard so many times, my ears would practically bleed.

    But then I met you, Pops, as you like to be called. You were my light in the dark. Your soothing classical tunes cured what ailed me. You seemed to never play the same thing twice. Your DJs provided interesting trivia about composers. And I know you can't hear me, but I never even yelled at you.

    Until today, that is. You see, you and I have been close friends for over a month now. The only time I ever cheat on you is to listen to your sister station, Symphony Hall.

    Pops, I have something to tell you. Please bear with me as this news may be hard to hear. I think you have amnesia. For the past few days, I've been hearing repeats. I know, I know, but please just listen until the end. Pops, you're not even replaying more obscure songs, you're replaying the most played-out music in the classical genre. I'm still a baby at all this but even I've heard Vivaldi's The 4 Seasons enough times, and let's not forget about your ill-timed replaying of Tchaichovsky's The Nutcracker. Pops, what month is it? No. It's August, Pops. Christmas isn't for another 4 months.

    Worst of all, Pops, you played The 4 Seasons twice today. Were you aware of this? I realize in your condition it may be tough, but please try to rise above all those other stations like Sirius Hits 1 and The Pulse. Please, please.

    This is so hard for me to talk about, Pops. I left all those other stations to be with you. You promised me more relaxing commutes, you promised me variety, and now you're kind of letting me down.

    Think it over. If you decide not to change, I may have to break up with you. We'll still be friends, of course, but I may need to start seeing other stations. You understand, right?

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    4 Years in Photos

    Today would have been my 7th anniversary in Nunavut had I not left. Seven years ago, I woke up at the crack of dawn, said goodbye to Ontario, and got on a plane (for the first time ever). It's a day I won't soon forget.

    In honour of my unanniversary, here are 7 of my favourite Nunavut memories, in no particular order: chronological order:

    1. Being driven around Rankin Inlet after arriving. For starters, it was 4C that day in Rankin, and we had left a humidex of 45C in Ontario.

    Rankin Inlet looked something like this:

    IMG_0348
    Rankin Inlet, August 2006


    It looked so dirty (as in, lots of dirt) and rustic. I had seen many photos on the Internet prior to moving but nothing can really prepare you for the first time you set foot in Nunavut. I remember thinking something cliché like, "We're not in Kansas anymore!" I felt impossibly far away from everything I'd ever known, and even though I was excited, I was also scared shitless that first night. Not only did my new home look like Mars, but we couldn't even afford to leave if we wanted to.


    2. Summer 2006 was all about exploring Rankin Inlet (on foot, no quad yet). It was a lifelong dream of mine to one day see Hudson Bay. I felt immensely happy to be able to see it everyday. I wasn't working yet and would sometimes go for walks during the day, staring at everything and trying to soak in Rankin Inlet. I will always have a special spot in my heart for Rankin Inlet; it took a long time to stop missing it once I'd left in 2008.



    3. Summer 2007. It was a great summer, to put it mildly. I had started my job and made several friends in town. It was a summer full of quad rides on the land, bonfires, messy Legion nights, and mosquitos. My best friend Erin and I still laugh ourselves silly at all the crazy stories from that summer.

    After a night of drinking, we'd hop on over to Kativik for some frozen boxes of fish and chips. Then we'd head to one of our apartments and shove the stuff into a barely preheated oven. Sometimes we wouldn't even wait for the food to cook all the way through before digging in. We'd bitch and moan that we wished we lived in Iqaluit, where you can just call up The Snack and they bring you junk food!


    4. My 22nd Birthday. I had moved to Iqaluit (alone) just a month prior and hadn't really made any friends besides a coworker or two. I love celebrating my birthday and was dreading spending it at home alone. The one friend I'd made, without really realizing what a big deal it would be to me, planned a birthday party for me and invited people over. She cooked me dinner, and made not one but two cakes, and fed me chocolate martinis all night. What I thought would be a sad and depressing birthday ended up being one of the best birthdays I've ever had.


    5. Summer 2008. Are you sensing a trend with me and my Nunavut summers? This was a quiet summer, I still didn't know too many people. I had a good friend at this point and we'd drive around in my new-used Suzuki XL-7, pigging out on the Snack and drinking at the Store House. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the past and started to break out of the depression I'd been in for a while.


    The day I got the Suzuki, my first car vehicle. August 2008.


    I cannot think of summer 2008 without thinking of Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs album. The two go hand in hand for me, that album was my anthem during summer 2008. When I listen to that album now, I can feel the same simultaneous sadness and excitement I felt during that summer.



    6. Tori's and Anthony's visits.




    My lifelong "BFF" Tori came up for a visit in December 2008, and Anthony came up twice in 2010. It was totally awesome getting to show my southern people around my home. What northerner can resist taking a visitor to the grocery store to see prices? It may sound odd, but I'm grateful and thankful that my close friend and my boyfriend got to see what my life was like for 4 years, and to experience it themselves, albeit on a smaller scale.

    7. I was looking through my Facebook photos and I realized I missed a whole ton of memorable times, so #7 is devoted to every other great memory. Here are some photos, hopefully you're not viewing this on slow Internet!



    Cape Dorset, April 2009


    Erin and Jaime, Iqaluit, July 2010


    Anthony and Jaime, Iqaluit, April 2010


    Iglulik, November 2009


    Morning sunset, Iglulik, November 2009


    Iglulik, November 2009


    My first (and last) sealift, summer 2009


    The midnight sunshine view from my apartment, Iqaluit, June 2009


    Yikes! Cape Dorset, April 2009


    Erin's long weekend in Iqaluit, summer 2008


    Red Iqaluit sunset, summer 2008


    Meeting Jen!, Iqaluit, summer 2008


    Typical night in Rankin Inlet, winter 2007


    Nunavut friends are forever friends. Rankin Inlet, June 2007


    My uniform for 4 years, day one. Rankin Inlet, winter 2006


    The only proof I was ever a college student. Rankin Inlet...late 2006? early 2007?


    Deciding to make a hot tub out of that quad wheel-barrow thing. Rankin Inlet, July 2007


    One of my favourite photos of all time. The cabin, Rankin Inlet 2007 (RIP Paul)


    Toonik Tyme Igloo, Iqaluit, April 2010


    Trusty steed, Iqaluit, April 2010


    My first time driving a snowmobile. Outside Iqaluit, April 2010


    IQ Day, somewhere outside Iqaluit, April 2010


    Chesterfield Inlet, November 2009


    Repulse Bay, November 2009

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