Tag Archives: treats

It's the simple things…

Magic Potions

I’ve mentioned elsewhere my enjoyment of cold, flavored coffee. And that when the occasion warrants, I’ll microwave it and drink it hot. It’s no big deal, but it is something I still look forward to every morning. It’s not just a necessary starter fluid for my brain, it’s a treat. I like treats.

In really cold weather I used to add hot chocolate mix to my coffee, or drink it plain. Lots of hot chocolate. But since I’ve lost my tolerance for massive quantities of chocolate, and since I seem to be more susceptible to cold in the post-menopausal world I now live in, I’ve had to find an alternative hot beverage. Of course there’s always more coffee, and straight de-caf for later in the day, but one of my new co-workers kept saying, “drink hot tea.” I’ve never been a big hot tea drinker, but that’s more about me always being easily overheated than anything else. I remembered a few teas that I liked — even hot — and, of course, they were “flavored” teas. (The common term is “herbal” tea.) I once found a variety in Austin called Mint Magic that I liked, but couldn’t find it in any local stores, so I had my friend, Tresha, bring me a couple of boxes when we met in Houston a few weeks ago to go to the Museum on Natural Science (my favorite place on the planet — have I mentioned that?). Then I discovered that Coffemate had a new flavor called Honey Vanilla Creme, which goes perfectly with the mint tea and my other favorite flavor, Sleepytime Green Tea. Yum. These are now my evening treats.

Magic Lotions

Cold weather tends to bring on a rash of dry skin, and in the afore-mentioned post-menopausal world where I now live, the cold feels colder and the dry feels dryer. Woe is me. I could foresee gallons of body lotion in my future. But wait. When I was living in Kentucky and going to a massage therapist for my aching back, she told me “use oil.” It worked in Kentucky (where it was a bit colder than in central Texas), but was always a bit too much for winters here — until now. It’s not necessary to go out and spend a lot of money on fancy body oils — baby oil works fine. And there’s a baby oil gel that’s even better. It’s even possible to add some fragrance, if you’re like me and have a few little vials of “essential oil.” That’s the stuff aromatherapists use to make their magic mood modifiers. I just like to wear it. The nice thing about using plain baby oil gel is that I can use different fragrances or none at all, and still take care of the dry itchy skin. I just put a drop of patchouli, gardenia, or Egyptian musk oil in the palm of my hand, and then a glob of the baby oil gel. Another treat, this time for my nose.

Magic Motions

I almost can’t remember a winter when I didn’t get up in the mornings with stiff joints and some back pain. Bleah. No likee. I found ways to alleviate some of the pain, and have written about those here. I still have a lot of motivation to keep up with the bicycle crunches several nights a week. If I take a break of longer than two or three nights, I wake up more often during the night, and I have the creaky back in the morning. So over the months since I started doing them, I’ve kept up with at least two sets of 50 crunches before I go to sleep. I do some other stretches and whatnot during the day when I’m upright, and now I’m a little less flabby than I was when I moved back down here from Kentucky. And this is a treat for my ego. But let me tell you, the real treat is when I bend over to open The Puppy’s crate in the mornings and my back no longer starts screaming “NNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” It puts a whole new flavor on the day.

Confessions of a chocaholic…

I will be the first to admit I have some bad habits. Okay, a lot of bad habits. And many of them would fall into the “not-good-for-me” category. But I have made some improvements. It has taken me more than fifty years, but that just proves that it’s never too late. And I still have a long way to go, so I’d better live another forty or so, at least.

For starters, there’s the chocolate thing. Now (NOW they tell us) a little bit of chocolate is not a bad thing, at least not as bad as it used to be. And at least not as long as it’s dark chocolate. Nice for me, I love dark chocolate. But there are some chocolates that I have always been prone to overdo. Like Oreos. M&Ms. Kisses. And I got away with it for a long time, with only some extra poundage to show for it. Then, not long ago, those little binges started making me feel absolutely awful. Stomach pain, pounding head, other symptoms I won’t describe. Ugh. Had to stop. Fortunately darker chocolate in smaller doses will make me feel the chocolate happy without the chocolate sick. Small victory. (And I lost some weight.)

Grocery shopping. I hate it with a purple passion. I do all the grocery shopping for the household. It is my personal hell on earth. I hate having to go to a new store, or one on another side of town. I need to go where I know where everything is so I can make my list and zoom through and get it the frak over with as fast as possible. And I have to make that list — and I have to be a little hungry when I go, so I’ll actually throw enough food in the cart to last more than a few days. Because the last thing I want to do is have to turn around and go grocery shopping again tomorrow.

Obviously with such deviant grocery shopping habits, I also have deviant eating habits. I like convenience foods and comfort foods, and convenient comfort foods best of all. And I don’t like to cook. But my recent bout of prolonged joblessness forced me to get more creative with meal components, because they were cheaper than buying all the pre-packaged stuff I normally came home with. For instance, real potatoes can be mashed or baked or cut up and roasted or pan fried or a bunch of other things. Not that I didn’t know that; I just never wanted to do the work involved until I was forced to. Well, it was more than that, really. Working in the kitchen makes my back hurt. Or it used to. A lot.

Chronic pain isn’t that conducive to forming good habits. It tends to make a person cranky and depressed. And then the cranky depression becomes another bad habit and it all seems so overwhelming and way too much to climb out from under. I estimate it has taken me close to fifteen years. Even after back surgery ten years ago to save me from disc damage and nerve damage that could have put me in a wheelchair, I continued to have back and leg pain that I thought would never completely go¬† away. By accident I discovered that taking an antihistamine for a fire ant bite also helped my back pain. Then I read something about B-vitamins and nerve health and I started taking supplements, which also helped. Then I read that doing five minutes of bicycle crunches every day is a great way to get and stay in shape. Ha. Ha. I decided to try that. I lasted about twenty seconds.

But I decided that twenty seconds a day could eventually turn into five minutes, so I kept at it. I’m not trying to time myself any more, because I do my crunches after I get in bed at night. So much easier on my back than the hard floor. So I started doing just ten at a time (that’s ten right-left repetitions), and now I’m up to forty. And I can do two sets of those forty. And most of the time I have no pain. That’s huge. And that’s why I think there’s some hope for me to improve on some of my other bad habits — and why I don’t ever intend to try to make myself give up chocolate completely. Because a good dog deserves a treat.