Sunday, May 28, 2017

Saying Goodbye

Last week I had a really good conversation with my husband.  He pretty much made me realize that I'm trapped in the dieting cycle, and I can't stick with anything.  (Which I know is because deep down I really don't want to change what I'm eating to the extent that all these diets require.)  He said he doesn't understand why I hate myself, and that it was time to let go.

I have been struggling with my weight for the past 20 years.  I have hated myself for 20 years because of my weight and not much has come of it except being caught in dieting cycles, becoming obsessed with eating and food, developing eating disorders and a whole lot of unhappiness.  In 20 years I have not been able to fix the problem focusing on food.  What is another 20 years going to bring?  If I couldn't fix the problem in 20 years, I don't think I'm going to be able to fix the problem handling it the way I have been in the next 20 years.  If I continue down this path the only thing that is certain is that I will continue getting what I have been: depression, self hatred and cycles of deprivation followed by binging.  While my fertility tests have not been able to tell me why I'm not getting pregnant, they have made one thing clear: I'm healthy.  My blood work is normal, everything is working as it should.  I have no internal problems, my body is working well and doing all things as it should.  The problem is mental and emotional.  It's time to let go.  I've hated myself long enough. 

Perhaps I will be overweight my entire life, perhaps that is the thorn in my flesh, and my cross to bear.  But I think more important than being thin is being at peace with myself.  Healing my emotions, forgiving myself for my imperfections and changing my focus from how terrible I am to how I can make life worth living.  Playing more with my children.  I've been cycling between exercising too much and eating too little (creating a lack of energy to do much of anything else) to binge eating (creating a lack of energy and feelings of sickness resulting in not being able to do much of anything else).  It's time to let go.  It's time to re focus.  I am healthy.  Yes I am overweight but I'm not morbidly obese, I'm not going to die of a heart attack in three months if I don't diet right now, I'm not even pre-diabetic, and honestly, I think it got this bad because of the dieting cycle I've been trapped in for 20 years.  The mentality that if I'm going to eat something I better eat it now because tomorrow it might not be allowed. 

I think it is going to take a while to heal my mind and my spirit.  I'm not going to love myself right away.  I'm not going to love my body right away, but I can respect it and appreciate it, and hopefully as I heal my spirit my eating will balance and stabilize.  I've seen it starting to happen this past week.  A few times at my usual snack craving times (the afternoon) I've gotten up to go eat and while starring at the pantry asked myself "what is it I actually want to eat?" and I couldn't think of anything.  Really I wasn't hungry, and since I'm truly letting go and I'm truly not going to diet anymore, my mental frame shifted just a little bit.  I really don't want anything, so I'm not going to eat anything.  When I want something, I'll eat whatever I want.  I haven't eaten the best this week, but I haven't eaten the worst either.  I've still made lots of healthy choices while enjoying chips and sandwiches for lunch.  And overall I've been naturally eating less.  This is just one week, and I don't know what the future will be like.  I don't know the long term impacts this will have.  I hope it will have positive impacts as I focus on things that are really more important than my pant size. 

And so I'm saying goodbye.  I haven't decided yet if I will take my blog down off of the internet, but I'm not planning on writing anymore.  I'm letting go.  For the first time in my life, someone I love has given me permission to let go, and to focus on something else, to heal, and to be at peace. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On Hold

I have several things to report.  The first being that last week I totally failed at the not weighing myself idea.  Half way through the week I did a check in and was 187, and of course got super upset.  That means in the first two weeks of Keto, I lost nothing, not even the water weight you are supposed to lose.  I was talking to one of my friends about it and I think I wasn't being strict enough with my approach.  I was eating too many vegetables, nuts, and too many dessert substitutes.  In short I wasn't willing to do what I needed to do to really make Keto work.  I don't want to micromanage my macronutrients and I know that if I restrict to the point that was recommended I'm going to binge because I know that if I restrict too much it triggers binge eating and then the whole thing wouldn't work.  Keto doesn't work if you are binging on carbs once a week.  So I'm taking a little hiatus while I work on figuring out what I want to do.

The other reason I'm taking a little break is because I have to go get my blood work done this week and one thing they are looking at is my insulin levels.  I want the test results to be reflective of what is actually go on inside my body.  I don't want a problem to be masked by the fact that I'm eating low carb.  When I talked to my doctor about going Keto she said it was a good place to start, and that eating that way could affect my insulin levels when I get the tests done.  I'm all for using Keto to treat a problem that might be there, but doing keto could make my blood work come back in the normal range when normally it wouldn't be in the normal range and then I wouldn't know I had a problem when I actually do.  I hope that makes sense.

One good thing that happened today was that I went in for my first massage ever and the massage therapist said that from how my muscles reacted, I take care of myself, and drink lots of water and I'm really healthy.  That made me happy to hear.  I might not be able to lose weight but doing exercise and trying to eat healthier is helping my body to be healthy overall.  It's also good to know I'm drinking enough water to balance out all my diet pepsi lol.  So that was encouraging. 

One annoying thing that happened today is I tried to schedule my HSG test today only to find out that my OBGYN referred me to a facility that does not take my insurance.  How frustrating!  So I had to call the doctors office, leave a message for the doctors aide, and request a new imaging order with a company that actually accepts my insurance.  The last time I left a message with them I never got a call back and I wanted to know if my blood work was supposed to be fasting or non fasting.  Fortunately the first test was non fasting and the second test I was able to go in for my ultrasound and ask the doctor in person, which was a good thing because the second one is a fasting one, and I'm getting that done on Thursday.  So I don't have very high hopes that I will hear back this time eventhough I tried to make my message sound urgent.  I'll call every day this week so that way when I go in for my appointment and my doctor asks why I didn't get my HSG test done I can say it's because their stupid aide never called me back even though I called 4 times.  So that means I will have to wait another month before I can get that test done.  Maybe something will be revealed in my blood work.  Just in case I never mentioned it yet, this is apart of my fertility tests my doctor ordered.  So far we have confirmed I'm ovulating just fine.  At least I'm getting help now and I'm not suck in limbo waiting for one year to pass. 

We went on a hike yesterday.  I had a good time.  I was the slowest person in the family (beat by a 4 year old) but at least I was there and I did have a good time.

This month is super busy and I don't know how much time I'll have over the next few weeks, but I'll try to post an update at least once every week or two. 

Oh, and I do have a plan brewing in the back of my mind.  I'm thinking of doing Keto with carb ups to help prevent me from binging.  I really think Keto is a step in the right direction, it's just not the whole answer.  I suppose the official name for it is carb cycling but basically you do Keto for two days and then one high carb day like 85-120 g carbs and then repeat. 

Ok, I'm off for now. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

A New Low

Yesterday I had a new low on the scale: 183.4.  Yay!  First time I've passed 184 since January, so I'm pretty happy about that, but that success came after a really rough day.  Saturday was a hard day.  I feel like my body pulled out all the stops and did everything it could to make me binge on carbs.  The good news is: I didn't.  It's easier to not binge on carbs when I'm not eating any carbs.  It was purely psychological.  I did eat several snacks on Saturday, all Keto approved of course.  But Saturday I was tired and depressed and in a pretty bad mood all day.  By the time 12:00 came around I was ready for the day to be over.  My kids were great on Saturday though and that probably saved me.  I managed to play my flute and do some cross stitching to get me through the day.  In the evening I had a church meeting and that actually really helped me feel good.  By the time I went to bed I was feeling much better, and in the morning I had the nice surprise of being lower!  (Especially since on Saturday I was back at 185.2).  So that was a mental roller coaster. 

Sunday was a great day.  I did however eat a slice of home made sourdough bread.  I put butter on it and dipped it in oil, but then remembered that if you add carbs you are supposed to subtract the equivalent amount of fat.  Oh well, next time.  My in-laws stopped by for dinner and home made bread is sooooooo good.  I made it the first day I started Keto and I haven't touched it, not even on baking day, and I put out the oil/seasoning dip and it proved to be my downfall.  But you know what?  One piece of bread on day 12 isn't going to kill me.  It's now day 13 and I'm back to doing full keto.  I had my leftover Chorizo sausage and an avocado for breakfast and sipped on the other half of my morning rocket fuel chamomile tea. 

I'm feeling really good today, and I hope it lasts all day.  I still usually get pretty tired in the afternoon, but I'm pretty sure my body isn't fat adapted yet.  Hopefully Saturday was a turning point and things will get better from here.  I'm going to start weighing myself only once a week.  I've been weighing myself every day because I wanted to see how my body was reacting to the new way of eating.  I did learn one interesting thing.  On the day I ate a lot of cheese, my weight went up by half a pound the next morning.  Which is a classic sign of dairy intolerance.  So cheese in light supply for me.  I can get away with only a very small amount before it starts to give me a stomach ache at night.  I'm also hoping that by only weighing in once it will take the stress off of constantly trying to lose and then the daily fluctuations won't bother me because I won't know about them.  That's the idea anyway.  I could of course just switch to unbearable curiosity and start worrying about it all week, which is not something I want to do either.  I'm trying to just focus on eating and exercising: basically living a healthy life and let the weight take care of itself.  That is the goal anyway, we will just have to see how it goes.

Friday, May 5, 2017

You Can't Win Them All

So, I had my first recipe fail, I suppose you could say, since starting.  Maybe another way of putting that is, the first recipe I made that I really hated.  They were a smoked salmon fat bomb.  I like everything that is in the recipe: smoked salmon, goat cheese, and butter.  But somehow, all together they were not my favorite.  In fact... I ate one and then threw the rest in the trash.  I know my husband wouldn't have liked them because they were super salty and he hates salty things so I didn't even bother. 
They look nice though.  I think that it is possible that if I found a smoked salmon lower in sodium, and used unsalted butter (the only organic butter I could find at the grocery store was salted) they might be good, but that experiment will have to wait a while as the memory of eating them makes my stomach churn. 

I am on day 11 of going Keto and I haven't had any cheat days or meals.  I checked my ketone levels yesterday and today in the afternoon and they are at about 2, so I think I'm on the right track.  Yesterday I was super tired but I think that had more to do with Chloe wetting the bed at 4am and then not being able to fall back asleep.  I've felt much better today.  I was pretty tired this morning but I've felt better since about 11:00, after I went to the gym.  I wasn't very motivated at the gym today and I didn't feel my best.  When I went on Tuesday I felt great, but today was not one of those feel great working out days, and that's ok.  I re-did week 2 day 1 of my 10K trainer which is run 90 seconds and then walk 2 minutes, and then repeat that for 20 minutes.  That felt hard today, so next time I will redo it until it feels easier.  I was really hoping to see some improvement by now in my running since I've been working on it since January 1st but I have a suspicion that my lack of weight loss has hampered my running progress.  I was hoping to do a relay triathlon with my family at the end of summer, but at this pace there is no way I'd be able to run a 10k.  (My husband and father in law would do the other two legs and I would run).  Hopefully Keto works for me and I start dropping weight and can feel better soon.  If things don't get moving soon, the tri will be off, I'm not anywhere close to where I thought I would be.  I originally wanted to run a 5K in May, but even that isn't going to happen with me barely able to run a minute and a half at a time. 

I think my hormones are still messed up from my miscarriage.  Speaking of which I finally was able to get in to see a doctor and get the ball rolling to see what the heck is going on inside my body.  It's been over a year now so I don't have to deal with any "just wait and see if you heal" or "we have to wait until you've been trying for a year before we can do anything".  So frustrating.  But it's all in the past now, and hopefully I can get some answers soon.  I have a suspicion my hormones might be hampering my weight loss efforts. 

And speaking of weight loss, I am down to 184.2 this morning.  So I finally broke through the 185 mark, but I was at 184 just a month ago and the lowest I've been this year is something like 182.6.  Also last night I only drank a rocket fuel bone broth for dinner at 5:00, so I'm not confident that the number reflected on the scale this morning is all that accurate.  I plan on eating  a normal dinner tonight and then we will see tomorrow if it's real weight loss or just a result of not eating solid food for dinner. 

In parting I will leave you with a picture of my salad I ate for lunch.  The dressing is simply basil infused olive oil with salt and pepper on top. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cheesecake and oatmeal

The last few days have been going well.  I've tried out several new recipes.  I made a cheesecake from my dairy free cream cheese and I also made some peanut butter fudge for a fat bomb.  Today I'm going to make some salmon goat cheese fat bombs.  I drank another rocket fuel tea Sunday night and it didn't upset my stomach very much which was great.  I'm feeling pretty good today.  I was able to walk on the treadmill yesterday and today I did Zumba at home.  It was really hard today, but that could be due to several factors besides just changing my diet: I haven't done Zumba in a while and I am just getting over being sick. 
Keto strawberry cheesecake

I've had more energy today than any other day and interestingly enough I woke up this morning and I was not hungry.  After himming and hawing about what to eat for a while, I decided to make Keto oatmeal. It has Hemp seeds and coconut oil and almond milk, and at the end you mix in some almond flour.  I topped mine with some pecans and two strawberries. 
I ate half of my oatmeal.  I really enjoyed it, but I just wasn't hungry.  I didn't eat again until 12:30.  Talk about crazy.  I'm usually ravenous in the morning.  About 10:00 I noticed a weird taste in my mouth, almost metallic maybe?  I wonder if it's a sign I'm starting to go into Ketosis since your breath is supposed to smell like Acetone for a while.  I'm not sue though, as it seems a little early for that yet.  It's supposed to be at least two weeks before you start expressing signs of Ketosis and becoming more fat adapted.  But I will take it as a sign that things are working as they are supposed to.  Needless to say, today I have felt different than before and I hope it means all things are going as planned.  I ate a smaller amount than normal for lunch too.  I just haven't been very hungry today and it's kind of nice.  Much different than feeling like I need to eat all the time, whether I was hungry or not. 

My weight hasn't been doing much, which I am only a little disappointed about since most people loose a lot the first week just from their body dumping their glycogen stores.  However, I haven't really been restricting my calories.  I counted for a few days, but I hate tracking my food, although I really probably should just to make sure my ratios are coming out ok and I'm not getting too many carbs.  The three days I did track everything, it looked pretty good.  My total carbs were about 7% and it's supposed to be 5% so I figure if I just count net carbs instead of total carbs I've pretty much hit that goal (although I admit there is always room for improvement, that's pretty good for a first week) My fat was 75-77% so all seemed pretty good there too.  Day one my weight was 187.6 from eating poorly for a week and a half before I started, and a few days later it was 185 and it stayed there for a few days and now it's 185.4.  So I will see what it is tomorrow at the one week mark.  I'm not too worried about it at this point.  I've shed all the excess bloat from overeating carbs and my pants feel better for it.  It's kind of amazing what just a few pounds can do. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Extra Tidbits and Signs You Need More Fat

Today I didn't have much digestive distress and my head felt a lot better.  My sinus infection is clearing and I have high hopes that it will be completely gone in a few days.  I felt a lot better overall today, and it's the first day this week I did not need Excedrine to get through the day.  My head only hurt mildly in the afternoon.  What I experienced most today was fatigue.  Of course it being snowy and cold outside today, didn't help either.  I was fortunate though that Chloe took a pretty long nap and Lily watched a movie and I was able to take a nap.  My husband stayed home today as well due to the snow.  So I guess the timing worked out well.  It was the day where I was most fatigued and it was also the day I had the least to do! 

Consequently though with feeling better, I did have more cravings for carbohydrates today.  Of course it was for all the junk food that always makes me spin out of control.  But also high up on the list was chocolate.  So tomorrow I'm going to make some chocolate Keto fat bombs.  My powdered erythritol came in the mail today so I can make some delicious Keto treats and I'm looking forward to that.  I may have already mentioned this before but there are several different takes on how to manage "dessert" while on Keto.  Some people say not to do any treats at all, but that is really hard and certainly not simple, and in my opinion not realistic.  Those people also tend to be the no bacon, no dairy, no artificial sweetener people, like super hard core and focused on extreme health.  I'm more focused on how I can successfully change my eating to enhance my life, stop my binges, feel better, have more energy and enjoy life better.  For the rest of the Keto world, Stevia and Erythritol are the two most popular sweeteners.  Swerve is a popular brand many people use which is a mixture of Erythritol and oligosaccharides that is supposed to mix up in recipes nicer than pure Erythritol.  But many of my recipes call for powdered Erythritol so that is what I got at first.  I'm trying really hard not to spend millions of dollars buying every single thing on the market!  Nothing I've bought is required on Keto, but it does make life on Keto easier and I'm all about that.  Plus I like getting new things.  In case you are wondering, these are the things I've bought:

1. Collagen Powder (to add protein to shakes-option in several recipes)
2. Stevia powder (found at Costco although this was probably a label reading fail since the first ingredient is dextrose and the second is stevia, however for one packet there is less than one gram of carbs so I figure meh, close enough.  I'm not usually downing 9 packets in a day (which I figure could equal anywhere between 4.5 carbs- 8.9carbs depending on what their definition of "less than one gram" is)
3. Aloe Vera Juice- used in Keto Lemonade, and I think it makes it taste better. 
4. MCT oil- recommended in a lot of places and added into many fat bombs and shakes
5. Erythritol powder- sweetener for desserts
6. Hulled Hemp Seeds- used in drinks and also in cereals, muffins, and other baked goods
7. Cocoa butter- used in the protein bars I want to make as well as many desserts
8. liquid stevia- for options
9. Ketone Testing strips

I made these Pumpkin spice fat bombs with my home made dairy free cream cheese and liquid stevia yesterday, and they came out pretty good.  They kind of look like little balls of cookie dough.  The kids didn't care for them and Matt wasn't impressed, but I figured for a snack they were pretty good.  Obviously if you were looking at them as a regular dessert and that is what you were expecting, they would fall short.  But I enjoyed them for snacks and I think I will make them again.

So here is something interesting I came across in my Keto book by Leanne Vogel.  It's a section called "Signs your body needs more fat"  There is a huge list here but I will only list the ones that apply to me.
  • You experience headaches, weight gain, sluggishness, constipation, and random symptoms that make your day to day challenging.  (Personally I think this one sounded vague as those are all general symptoms and could be caused by anything but the others are great so I give it a pass)
  • You need afternoon pick-me-ups to get your brain working again
  • You know that your hormones are wonky
  • You could eat and eat and then eat some more.  And sometimes you are hungry again just thirty to sixty minutes after eating
  • No Matter how hard you try to quit it, sugar just keeps coming back into your life.  (This one might have more to do about the qualities of sugar and how addictive it is rather than eating more fat, but it is an interesting idea that maybe adding more fat to your diet could help with quitting sugar)
  • You have moments of extreme emotional highs and lows and have a hard time understanding what sparked the imbalance, or remembering that it occurred
  • Your feet, hands, or love handles are freezing most of the time
  • You think about food constantly and have a "live to eat" instead of an "eat to live" outlook. 
There are lots more listed in her book, but these are the ones that apply specifically to me.  She also talks in there about memory problems, and skin issues as well.  She does have a blog  which I have been wanting to peruse.  I just started listening to her podcast, but I've only been able to listen to one so far so not much to report on that. 
I did find one of the recipes I've been talking about on her blog, so I'm going to link to it below so you can check it out at your leisure, she has tons of other recipes on her site as well and I will link to them if I find myself making anything on there. 

Rocket Fuel Latte (which I used Chamomile Tea)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Keto Flu

Today is the third day and I'm pretty sure I have several Keto Flu symptoms settling in.  It is a little difficult to tell because of my head cold which I will just call a sinus infection from now on.  As soon as I start feeling tooth pain I know my cold has developed into a sinus infection.  I just use my Eucalyptus oil on a Q-tip and swab inside my nose several times a day and that always takes care of it after about 5 days.  I always know it's infected because the Q-tip comes out bloody.... not that you wanted to know that but hey! It might benefit someone... or just gross everyone out. 

Anyway,  Last night I made beef stroganoff for dinner and while the stroganoff was simmering the kids helped make Zucchini noodles!  It took them forever but since I had 45 minutes of simmering time to kill I didn't mind. 
The kids had so much fun making the Zoodles and it is the first time that they actually ate them with dinner!

Matt really liked the Stroganoff as well.  He cracks me up sometimes.  When I talked to him about going Keto he said "you know me, I eat whatever you put in front of me".  I guess I'm lucky in that regard, I can pretty much cook however I want and I get no kickback from my family.  Usually stroganoff is made with Sour Cream which is a big no no for me now, this has a lot of coconut oil in it, and some coconut milk, and it turned out super tasty. 
I would love to share the recipe but I'm concerned about copyrights since everything I make is from different cookbooks.  But some of these people have blogs of their own so maybe I can find it on there and link to it. 

I was hoping to get a lot of sleep last night since Lily doesn't have school today but as luck would have it, Lily threw up at 4am.  She also threw up on Tuesday and stayed home from school.  She slept for four hours that day and was fine the next day so I'm not sure what exactly is going on but I suspect it's due to lack of sleep on her part.  She has a bad habit of not going to sleep when we put her to bed.  She often keeps herself awake until after 9:00pm and now with the birds tweeting and the sun coming up earlier, she has been waking up much earlier than normal.  After changing the bed sheets, and giving her a bath and getting back to bed we slept until about 8am which was awesome but I was still exhausted from being sick, and many many days of poor sleep. 

Lily lost another tooth today while she was brushing her teeth!  That's both bottom teeth gone and her two top teeth are also loose. 
This morning I had a "Rocket Fuel Latte" except I made it with Chamomile Tea instead of Coffee because I'm Mormon and I don't drink Coffee.  It's called many things in the Keto world, many times it's called "Bulletproof Coffee".  It's coffee (or tea) combined with MCT oil or coconut oil, stevia, salt, cinnamon, and optional collagen peptides or protein powder if it's all you are eating for breakfast.  I ate it with one of my muffins, which I have decided I don't really like.  Maybe next time I will try them with more Stevia, or maybe next time I won't feel like I need as  much sweetness.  As time goes on you are supposed to get more sensitive to sweet foods. Anyway, I felt really nauseous after breakfast.  I think my system is just not used to such high fat contents.  Even when I was doing the Whole 30, it wasn't a high fat diet.  It did talk about increasing fat contents but it was more about keeping everything equal.  If it was high in anything, it was high in vegetables.  

At first I didn't think that the higher amounts of fat would psychologically bother me, even though I was warned about how it is really difficult for us in our fat phobic society to mentally make the switch.  However as I've been cooking over the past few days I've really noticed some hesitancy on my part which is purely psychological.  The idea of "that is so much fat!" "That is so much oil in my meat!  I'm supposed to cook directly in the bacon grease?!  That is too much oil to mix in with my eggs!"  It's not so much coconut milk or nut butters, but seeing that much raw oil certainly has all my alarm bells ringing from all the anti fat messages I've received over my lifetime.  I think I will be ok though, as I was warned that this could happen and a lot of places talk about just trusting the diet.  When I get really iffy about it, I just remember:  Well it's not like what I'm doing now is working, and it's not like what I've done in the past has worked so there can't be much harm in inverting my food pyramid, it's not like I felt great before this."  Which I didn't, I felt terrible.  Bloated and tired and sick all the time, and when I restricted my calories I was angry and hungry and still tired. 

So anyway I felt sick all morning, and at first I thought it was due to me being sick, but then I started thinking of the Keto Flu and sure enough nausea is one of the symptoms.  My book suggested taking a probiotic and eating fermented foods.  I have been forgetting about my probiotic since it lives in my fridge, separate from my other vitamins.  So I took my daily dose of those in the afternoon and now I feel slightly better.  I still think I will wait a week or so before trying one of the shakes again.  I think for now it's just too much fat in one meal.  Or I need to decrease the amount of oil I put in it, or take longer to drink it.  Like if I drank it over a 1 hour period of time instead of downing it in 5 minutes would it still affect me the same way? 

This is a useful page out of my favorite book "The complete guide to a High Fat Diet, The Keto Diet" by Leanne Vogel

I was hoping I wouldn't get Keto Flu too bad, but the nausea really surprised me and took me off guard.  I never had nausea with Whole 30 and I was kind of expecting to have symptoms similar to that, but so far the symptoms have been completely different.  So far my symptoms have been nausea and dizziness.  I've also experienced some foot cramps, but those have been very small and haven't been really bothering me.  I'm making Keto lemonade to help with electrolytes and taking a magnesium supplement (which came highly recommended).  The only supplement I added for going Keto was magnesium since that was mentioned in several places.
The two biggest pieces of advice for managing the Keto flu is to drink lots of water (easier said than done when you constantly feel like you are about to puke) and to be patient.  So I'm cool.  I can ride this out for a few weeks.  Hopefully in the next two weeks my sinus infection and the keto flu will be gone and I will be rockin' and rollin'. 

Well this post kind of got away from me and was much longer than I anticipated!  But it's all good.  Thank you all for your comments on my posts so far, it really makes me feel more like writing and it's good to know that people actually enjoy reading what I post!  So thank you to everyone who has posted since I started blogging again!