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An Update

Hi again,

In my last post, I mentioned that I might share more about what is going on in another post…. well this is that post. :) I actually find it interesting that it seems to be getting increasingly difficult to share about my physical challenges. I used to be fine with it and could share what I was dealing with at any time and with anyone that wanted to know. Now, it feels like I need to keep it more to myself. Maybe it is the fear that if people hear me talk about my problems, they won’t want to be around me anymore. If people hear that I am struggling and not happy, they will feel I am a person they do not want to be around. But I wonder if sharing my “stuff” will help someone else who is dealing with stuff too and I think it is important to share. This is a bit long so please bear with me. I feel like I am trying to cover a lot of stuff in one single post and it makes it rather long.

Back in March, I saw my specialist about the results of my bone scan that I had earlier that month. He basically said that there was bone irritation but he couldn’t figure out why. He felt that injections might help and if they didn’t, I might need more surgery. I hate that word…. surgery…. it sounds painful to me. I have been through 3 already so I feel like I have had enough of them. I don’t want any more. So I hoped so much that the injections would work. I had to wait till June 13 though to get them. It turned out to provide plenty of time for me to worry about whether they would work or not. I wanted them to work so much because I wanted relief and the ability to have my life back again. Since early December, I have been slowly on the decline in terms of pain levels increasing and my ability to do stuff decreasing. By June, I was getting out of the house maybe 2 times a week for a couple of hours each time and then I would spend the next day or so after trying to recover from it. The pain level shoots through the roof after being in town. I can thankfully look relatively normal though with the help of painkillers but they only cover the pain for so long which is why I can only get out of the house for a couple of hours.

Fast forward to June 13. Lucky Friday June 13 to be precise. lol I am not a person of superstition so it doesn’t bother me. The injections went fine and they used freezing first which was great. The freezing lasted most of the day which was also amazing. I nearly passed out when I got the injections but that seems to be a regular thing with me and needles. lol No big deal. With the freezing in, the pain level dropped right down and it worked even better than my usual painkillers. :) I felt like I could do anything! But it didn’t last. The pain came back with a vengeance and I really hoped that the injections would still kick in despite that. I was told that it could take up to 5 days for them to work. But with each passing day, I got more nervous. They ended up not working. I was so discouraged. I cried a lot because it felt like it would never end. I felt like I could go through yet another surgery and end up still in pain. I don’t want to keep living like this because it isn’t a life.

As it turns out, it seems to mean something to my specialist that the injections didn’t work. He seems hopeful which helps me have some hope. I need to go see him to talk about what is next but I can’t get in to see him until September. So I wait. I don’t know what is next. I am trying to remain positive. But it can be hard when the pain level is so high some days that I can barely get myself out of bed and make my breakfast.. It is so painful to do simple tasks like getting changed or washing my hair. I am struggling to get the painkillers I have to work enough that I can still go in to town once a week for a couple of hours. I feel like I spend a lot of time cooped up. On the bright side, I am getting to sit outside some and enjoy the fresh air, flowers and birds. I have one of those zero gravity chairs that I can lean back and be ok for a bit. I get to read as well. But it seems to come with a price. I struggle to bring meaning in to my life most days because I can not accomplish nearly as much as I want to be. I am trying to enjoy the moments I can sit outside and not feel guilty about it. I tell myself that when I get my life back, I will be so busy that I won’t have time to just sit so I should enjoy it while I can. Sometimes that logic works. :)

I realize this is really long but I feel that I covered an awful lot of stuff. I am hoping that by sharing what I am going through, it might help someone else. I don’t know how but maybe it will. I have found it helpful to read stuff other people share about going through and then overcoming their struggles so maybe sharing mine will help someone else. If it does, it feels like it brings some meaning to it all. I hope you have not fallen asleep from boredom yet. lol I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and joining me on this journey called life. :)

 

 
 

National Chocolate Day

Hello again,
I apologize for my absense once again. There has been a lot going on and I have been finding it difficult to blog about it. Either because of time, the innability to sit at the computer or just having a hard time sharing about it. Right now I am dealing with a lot of physical pain but there are more questions than answers so I find it hard to know what to say. I do want to share more about what has been happening but right now I want to share a quick post concerning possibly my favorite food ever…. Chocolate. lol

This morning I was scrolling through stuff on social media and saw something from Canadian Living. They shared that today is apparently National Chocolate day. I thought it is only fitting that chocolate has its own day to be celebrated but I have never known that July 7 is that day. Now I know. :) Now you know too. I am thinking chocolate covered strawberries sounds lovely for dessert to celebrate chocolate, don’t you? :)

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Influenster Review: Impress Manicure

Hello again,
Earlier this year, I joined up with Influenster which is another company that has members qualify for and try products to review. Earlier this month, I received my first “voxbox” to try and review. It is from Broadway Nails and it is called the Impress Press on Manicure. I received 2 different colours to try free from Influenster. I would like to share my review here now.

First, I would like to share a couple of links. I needed to do a YouTube video for the influenster review. This is the first time I have ever recorded myself for YouTube and had no idea what I was doing. lol It turned out not too bad but I think I was talking way too slow so it is a bit long. I recorded my first impressions and the process of putting the nails on. You can check it out here: Voxbox Impress manicure video review. I also posted a photo on instagram which you can see here: #impressmanicure instagram photo. If you look on the photo, you can sort of see that I had to place the nails up a bit higher to cover the ends of my natural nails which left a gap at the bottom of my nail that wasn’t covered. You probably can’t notice in the photo but my natural nail on thumb and pointer finger was still a tad longer the impress nail as well.

I got the impress nails a couple of weeks ago and waited until I figured out a way to take video while putting them on. That was a bit of a challenge and I ended up finding a way to attach my phone to my mini tripod to take the video. I noticed right away that my natural nails were too long and I had to cut them down as far as I could. I was kind of sad about this because I really love using my nails to pick things up and open stuff. Despite cutting down my nails, the impress nails were still a tad too short. That is probably my biggest issue with them. Otherwise they are really nice. Finding the right sizes for my fingers is a bit tricky because it is difficult to tell the different nail sizes just by looking at them. I also seem to have huge hands and the biggest nail was a bit small for my thumb still. But I did find the sizes that fit the best and that was the most time-consuming part of it all. Applying them to my natural nails was very easy and quick. It was nice not having to wait for anything to dry. My initial thoughts were quite positive.

After wearing them for a few hours, I noticed that it was impossible to pick anything up that I previously used my natural nails for. For example, picking a plastic ruler up off the table proved to be an interesting challenge. lol I had to get creative and eventually picked it up. lol I also noticed that some of the nails didn’t stick down flat against my natural nail. This provided a space for gunk to accumulate. I have a feeling that it happened because my natural nails are too big for the size of nails that the manicure set has. Other than these issues, they stuck really well and seemed to stay on through out different activities. They even lasted through hair washing. :)

After 4 days, I lost a couple of nails. It was the pointer fingers that I use the most for stuff. They also had a fair bit of gunk that got stuck underneath and that was gross. I hope this isn’t TMI for the blog. I decided to take the rest off as well since it looks funny without a whole set. Some of them were not very stuck any longer and probably would have come off that day as well. I was also getting frustrated with having no nails to pick anything up with. I honestly use them for a ton of stuff. I think if the nails had been longer, it would have been different though. I probably would have really loved them if they could have been just a bit longer.

Since my mom has smaller nails, she was able to try the ones that didn’t fit my nails. It actually worked out pretty much perfectly in terms of the sizes included and the sizes we both needed. But for her, they started falling off within a few hours and within a couple of days they had all fallen off. She even lost one while putting dishes in the dishwasher. lol She has nails that seem to resist everything though so we both were not entirely surprised. I am not sure this is a reflection on the product so much as my mom’s nails are rather resistant to anything she puts on to them. I don’t think it is her fault either. It is just one of those things I suppose.

Overall, my impression of the Impress manicure from Broadway Nails is mixed. I think they go on easily enough and last fairly well on my fingers but they are too short. I normally avoid the whole fake nail market because the nails are too long. lol These nails look more natural which is so nice. If my nails were smaller or they were a tad bigger, I think it would have been great. :) So would I recommend them to other people? Probably. Depending of course on how big their natural nails are. Would I use them again? Probably not. Just because they are too short and don’t last incredibly long on my nails. I hope this is helpful to you and thank you for reading my blog!

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Review

 

Catching Up

Hello again,
Do you ever have that feeling that the more you try to get done, the farther behind you seem to get? Or no matter how much you manage to get done, you fail to get caught up? You feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that you need to get done and there never seems to be enough time. That has been pretty much how I have felt for about the past month. I should admit that it isn’t that I am constantly on the go even though I wish I could be. My back limits the amount of time I can be up and get stuff done and it makes life interesting. But I won’t get in to that right now because that isn’t necessarily the focus of this post. Today I want to actually catch up on what has happened in my life lately. I have had a few times in the past month where I would have liked to post something but didn’t find the time to do so. So today I am going to give a bit of a recap if you will. :) I won’t go too in-depth but I want to touch on stuff that has happened. :)

Since I have basically been MIA since the last part of April, I will start there. I believe I had written about the vole damage pretty much last. If you read that post, you may be wondering what has gone on with that. At the time that I wrote the post, I was still feeling pretty shocked and in disbelief about the whole thing. We approached a lot of “professionals” about the whole thing and some actually said that there was no chance of anything coming back and all we could do is chop it all down. Some professionals said to wait. We felt we should wait and my friends who are not considered professionals advised the same thing. Well it turns out that not all professionals know what they are talking about because a large amount of the trees didn’t know they were supposed to be dead and are actually doing good. :) It goes to show that sometimes professionals do not get it right. We have tried different stuff and hoping for the best. Don’t laugh but right now a few actually have gauze wrapped around their trunks and it seems to be helpful. lol My mom and I had a few laughs about literally bandaging up our trees. The reasoning behind the idea is that bark breaths and it also works to keep the trunk cool and I thought fabric or gauze was the closest thing we had. We started with electrical tape to protect the trunks temporarily and the jury is still out on whether that had helped. It is a long story how we came to wrapping gauze around the trunk and I may share more at another time. But so far, at least half have survived and some are flowering. :)

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get my hair cut again by the same lady I mentioned in an earlier post. She is amazing at what she does. I decided to go super short out of necessity more than anything else. It has been absolutely amazing because I wash my hair and comb it in like 5 minutes. It dries super fast as well. Sometimes I do miss my hair but most of the time I really appreciate having more time for other things. With the pain level I deal with in my back, it is hard to manage simple tasks sometimes so I have to simplify things where I can. I wish I had chopped off my hair for my surgeries as well. My goodness it would have saved me so much pain and trouble. I am not sure if I will keep my hair short or not when/if my back improves. I like how easy my hair is to care for now. Another benefit is when it rains and my hair gets wet from being outside, it takes so little time to dry again. :)

On May 17, I got to go to my very first concert because I won tickets to go. :) I got to see Steven Curtis Chapman and even got a meet and greet after because that was part of the tickets that I won. I don’t think I am really a fan of concerts though as I found it extremely loud but it is nothing against Steven Curtis Chapman. As far as I understand, it is normal that they are so loud. But I love his music and it was so fun to do something exciting for a change. :) When I met him, I didn’t say much because I was in so much pain with my back and had to get home. I got a photo with him and I got his cd as well which I really wanted. :) His songs are very good. I find they are quite helpful when I am feeling low and dealing with a lot of pain. They tend to lift me up a bit and remind me of stuff.

I think that is most of the excitement I have had over the past month. I have been reviewing a product from Broadway Nails as well but I will put that in another post since it will be a review and deserves its own post. That has provided some excitement as well. :) I love trying and reviewing products. It is quite fun even if the product doesn’t work for me. Of course I have been busy with growing my flowers and other plants from seed and would love to share photos in the near future of how far they have come. Growing flowers from seed is always fun. Thanks for reading my blog. I really appreciate it!

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Bzzagent Review: Herbal Essences Naked Shampoo Line

Hello again,

First I would like to apologize for another lengthy absence. There has been a lot going on lately that I will not get into currently but I may talk about at a later time. Today I would like to focus on the topic at hand which is my review of the Herbal Essences Naked Shampoo.

As you may or may not know, I am a member of Bzzagent. I have mentioned that on here a couple of times but depending on whether you have read any earlier posts, you may not have seen that. Bzzagent is a company that you join and are given opportunities to try and review products. Often it comes at no cost to the members of bzzagent. You fill out surveys regularly so they know what products you are best suited to try and review. You also have a score that is affected by your activity on the site (such as filling out surveys) and the quality of work you do when you get to take part in reviewing the products. The goal I think is to not just try products but also share your opinion with the people you communicate with so more people know if the product is good or not. We have all been there I think. You see a product that you think might be good but you do not want to put out money for it in case it doesn’t work. So what do you do? If you are like me, I refer to friends and family and online reviews of the product to see if I might want to buy it. That is where Bzzagent is useful because we try it and share whether it works or not. I enjoy being part of it and thought I should share my reviews on my blog as well.

This is the first campaign I have been part of this year and I am always willing to try new shampoo. It is hard for me to find shampoo that works for my hair and hard to put out the money for a whole bottle if there is a chance that it isn’t going to work. So when I got the opportunity to try Herbal essences new line of shampoo to review, I was happy to do so. In this campaign, I got a full size bottle of Herbal essences Naked Shampoo, conditioner and Souffle. I also got 3 travel size bottles each of the shampoo and conditioner. The Naked line states that it contains 0% paraben or silicone. I have a hard time with shampoos weighing down my hair so I was happy to try it and see if it might work better than my current shampoo. I can not use conditioner for the same reason that it just weighs down my hair too much. I don’t really know why but it does. I had really high hopes for this shampoo but it just didn’t quite work for me. It still weighs down my hair a bit. I normally use Aveeno and it is about the only one I have found that doesn’t weigh my hair down. If that wasn’t available, Herbal essences Naked line would be next best. It isn’t awful but just isn’t as good as my normal shampoo that I won’t be switching. Despite it weighing down my hair, it did make it much softer which is a definite plus.

Since I had the travel size bottles, I decided to ask family if they would mind trying it as well. My mom agreed to take part. She found it worked quite well so it depends on your hair I suppose. She finds that she doesn’t have to wash her hair as often with it. Although she finds the conditioner doesn’t work for her.

My sister has tried it as well and she said it is fine for her hair – it isn’t great or terrible but just kind of middle of the road type thing. But she finds the smell is too strong for her. She dislikes when shampoo smells very much whether it is from natural ingredients or perfume.

Based on the feedback I have received from my family, it seems that this shampoo basically works for 2 out of 3 but only my mom will be considering switching to Herbal essences Naked shampoo. I think I can say that all 3 of us would use it if our main shampoo wasn’t available and we needed something in a pinch. If you have hair like me that you don’t need/can not use conditioner, then this shampoo may not work but overall I would definitely say that it is worth a try. It does leave your hair really nice and soft. I would not say that it is terrible…. just not as good as my first choice. I have tried many different shampoos and I can safely say it works better on my hair than many on the market but it just doesn’t beat what I currently use. I hope this helps. This is my honest opinion and thank you for taking time to read my review. :)

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

First Flowers of Spring have opened :)

Hello again,

The other day, our crocuses finally started to open their cute little flowers. I am pretty sure that there are few, if any, flowers that open before the crocus here in Alberta. This is the first year that we have had crocuses so it has been quite a delight. I am not sure why it has taken us so long to get them since they are wonderful flowers to have. But the great thing is that we have them now and the crocuses were one of very few flowers not touched by the voles over the winter! :) I have a feeling it is because they accidentally planted deeper than they were supposed to be. Otherwise they might have been another casuality to the darn voles. The voles definitely seem to have been digging in the dirt above the bulbs over the winter but only a few inches which isn’t deep enough to reach any of the bulbs thankfully. Plus most of our bulbs are daffodils which are planted quite deep so they are definitely out of reach of most critters I think. Although we did learn the other day that once Crocuses are growing that there are a lot of critters that enjoy munching on them. The first one to open got eaten within a span of 24hrs. We might have to protect them from that happening again. The crocuses that have opened so far are a cheery yellow and a wonderful start to spring. Now if it could just stop snowing on the poor flowers it would be great! lol I would like to share a few photos I took of them below.

I would also like to mention that I got these lovely bulbs from Veseys which is a great company that has wonderful customer service. :) I love to give a review sort of for businesses that go above and beyond to help their customers to help people know which are good to deal with. :) Veseys definitely does that. If you have any problems or questions regarding your plants from them, they are incredible with helping you. I had questions about planting the bulbs last fall and they got right back to me and helped me out. I love dealing with them because I also know I can trust I will get great quality flowers every time. If you are looking for a good mail order company, I would suggest checking out Veseys. They are Canadian as well. :) I do not get paid to share this. This is completely my own opinion. :) I hope you enjoy the photos I have posted below. :)

crocus crocus2 crocus3 crocus5

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Vole damage

Hi again,

I would first like to apologize for my absense. We sort of ran out of internet data for the month and I have been rather busy dealing with stuff which I am about to talk about in this post. We only have 30gb a month which is normally enough but somehow we used it up this month. But enough about that. Today I want to discuss voles, what they are and what they did to our plants and trees over the winter.

Almost 2 weeks ago, we discovered that voles had destroyed our fruit trees and a lot of perennials over the winter. This discovery has been devastating for us because we lost a lot – not just in monetary terms but also in the amount of time spent on them. I know from talking to other people that not many people have even heard of voles so I would like to share more about them and how to hopefully avoid a loss like we have experienced. I like to use this blog to share what I learn and this was a major lesson.

First off. What is a vole you might ask? A vole is a rodent that is a bit bigger than a mouse and I would love to call it evil but that isn’t all that fair. A vole does what it does and I really doubt there is any good or evil intentions behind it. It looks a bit different than a mouse too. It’s tail is a fair bit shorter and it’s face is a bit different. They live and tunnel through the snow over the winter. They can dig shallow tunnels through the dirt as well. Over the summer they seem to live under things kind of like a mouse I suppose. Plus they can breed incredibly fast. They can start breeding at 1 month of age. In optimum conditions, each female vole could have about 100 babies in a year. Plus each of those babies that survives has many babies and I don’t even want to calculate how many that would be. Apparently they breed faster than rabbits. So it is no wonder they can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. We have had problems with them for a few years now but nothing like the damage we have seen this year.

Now for the damage we found. The winter of 2012-13, they had destroyed a few of my perennials and hurt a bunch more. They tore up areas of the lawn as well. We knew they cause a lot of damage. This last fall (2013) we made preparations to hopefully control the amount that could roam around under the snow. My dad had the idea to make poison bait stations and we designed one that would hopefully not get too wet inside it. I would like to say right away that I do not like using poison unless it is necessary. In this case, it was. My dad cut the bottom few inches off of 5 gallon pails and drilled small holes around the base. We put mouse poison inside and placed a board on top to keep out the snow. We made a bunch and placed them around the perennials and Strawberry plants. It worked well but I don’t think we put enough bait inside. All the bait is gone but there were still enough voles to cause major damage.

We have been waiting probably most of the winter to be able to see what kind of damage our perennials sustained but didn’t even think that the fruit trees would be a possible target. A couple weeks ago, the snow finally melted enough that the damage was uncovered. My dad noticed it first. He brought what looked like mulch to me and said it came from the cherry tree. The voles chewed the bark off of all the fruit trees to make what appears to be nests maybe. The darn voles never ate it. The fruit trees are stripped bare on their trunks around the base of the tree that was underneath the snow. We have been planting fruit trees for about 10-15 years. They were finally at a point that we could start selling some of the fruit this coming year. The voles changed that. We had close to 10 mature cherry trees, about 30 honeyberry bushes, 5 apple trees that produce eating apples, 2 pear trees, 4 saskatoon bushes, 2 blueberry bushes and a few hundred strawberry plants. The strawberry plants were turned into mulch but not all were destroyed thankfully. We have spent countless hours tending to the trees, pruning them, and weeding around them. All that work was finally paying off. Seeing this damage left us devastated and in shock. Now we get to wait and see if any of it might come back despite some professionals saying it probably won’t. Some say wait and see because there is an extremely slim chance they will not all be dead. So I am hoping for miracles to happen. Right now we are considering what our options are and whether there might be any way to save any of it. There is a lot of money’s worth and time invested in these trees. It would be a shame to have to start all over again.  I will post some photos below of the damage that they caused.

What have we learned? This winter was ideal conditions for them to breed and basically raise an army. They do not just attack perennials or wreck the lawn, but also trees as well. But they never did anything to our mature willow trees or spruce trees which is odd to me. Many people attribute vole damage to mice which isn’t quite correct but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter who we blame right? At least in this case, the way to prevent damage would be the same if you are expecting voles or mice. Articles I have read say that you should put wire mesh around tree trunks to protect the trunks and place bait stations on the ground under the snow. I wish I had known about the wire mesh. It is too late now for that so kicking myself doesn’t help. But for this next year, you can be sure to see wire mesh around every fruit tree trunk that is still alive! :) We also have a cat now too and he is an excellent mouser…. er… vole killer. lol I actually just saw him catch another one this morning. So I think it is safe to say he is helping us in the fight against the voles. Voles destroy trees that benefit the environment and the trees also give us food so in my books, too many voles is a bad thing. I don’t mind seeing the population level of the voles go down.

Below are photos I took 2 weeks ago of the damage to the fruit trees. As you can see, the voles ate the bark off the base of the trees. Trees can not survive without the bark.

vole damage vole damage2 vole damage3 vole damage4

Here I would like to show 2 photos. The first is of a Honeyberry bush that the voles didn’t manage to touch for what ever reason. It is a bit hard to see but you will see the difference between the 2. The second is what the honeyberry bushes look like after voles visited and had a very big feast on. I suppose it is a bit like a before and after shot. It’s quite sad what they did. But on the bright side, the voles didn’t destroy all of the honeyberry bushes and the bushes that have been chewed on have varying degrees of damage. Although most look like the chewed up version below.

honeyberry  vole damage honeyberry

I hope this post has been somewhat informative and not just sad. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. :)

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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