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February 2013 posts

Lipozene - TO THE RESCUE! NO.

Lipozene sounds like a pharmaceutical drug doesn't it?

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8 weeks = 3.66 lbs weight loss in a study. "Wow."

LIPOZENE!  (What sounds like a...) HARDCORE FAT BURNER TO THE RESCUE!

It's NOT.

But, the commercials, websites and marketing might make you think so.

It is a fiber - glucomannan -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipozene

A health advisory was released by Health Canada stating the following: "natural health products containing the ingredient glucomannan in tablet, capsule or powder form, which are currently on the Canadian market, have a potential for harm if taken without at least 8 ounces of water or other fluid. The risk to Canadians includes choking and/or blockage of the throat, esophagus or intestine, according to international adverse reaction case reports. It is also important to note that these products should NOT be taken immediately before going to bed."[10] The health advisory was issued after authorization of some products containing glucomannan for the purposes of appetite reduction, weight management, treatment of constipation and management of high cholesterol levels

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"Lipozene is made from the Konjac root, most commonly known as >Glucomannan. This water-soluble fiber expands and acts as a dietary fiber gel in your stomach that helps you feel full, so you eat less and as a result, reach your weight loss goals quicker.

 This water-soluble fiber has been cultivated as a weight loss aid in Japan for generations. In fact, there are even studies that connect its main ingredient Glucomannan with alleviating constipation, reducing cholesterol and regulating blood sugar.

 Lipozene is natural and does not contain any stimulants. There are no known harmful side effects when used as directed.

 Lipozene is not a pharmaceutical drug and is available without a prescription.

You should not be taking this "dietary fiber gel" that "expands" inside your stomach if you have had bariatric surgery.

Stop it and talk to your physician.

 


Joan Rivers on David Letterman Pokes Fun at Adele

Joan, Joan, Joan.  You're just NOT funny.

Via OAC - because David Letterman is on way past my bedtime.
Mrhumphreys
Joan Rivers - Someone who has gone to great lengths to alter her own appearance through multitudes of plastic surgeries and gets paid to make fun of people based on how they look. A case-study in no self-esteem. Look in the mirror, Joan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kc67DurG2I

Ms. Rivers negatively stigmatized Adele by making a hand gesture about Adele’s physical size. She later went on to say to Mr. Letterman, “What is her song? Rolling in the deep? She should add fried chicken.” Joan then continued to elaborate on a conversation she had with Adele where the singer expressed nervousness regarding singing at the show due to trouble swallowing. Joan commented to Mr. Letterman regarding this story by saying “Oh yea, you can swallow,” while at the same time making the hand gesture referencing Adele’s physique.

To view the video, click here.

The OAC feels Ms. Rivers’ comments were highly inappropriate and only further stigmatizes individuals affected by the disease of obesity. Ms. Rivers’ forte for commenting on Hollywood’s fashion taste does not provide her the right to mock someone’s physical appearance. The OAC now wants YOU to respond to this issue as a “Bias Buster.”

Share Your Opinion!

If you feel Ms. Rivers’ comments were stigmatizing, please contact her at the number or email listed below:

Joan Rivers Worldwide Enterprises: 212-751-2028 or customerservice@joan.co.
(*Please copy the OAC on all emails at biasbusters@obesityaction.org.)


Yo-Bro - Powerful Protein Yogurt For Boys?

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Yo-Bro.  Got you some of that yogurt you like from the health-food store.  I heard about it on NPR this morning, so I ran out and got some -
  • The First Yogurt For Men. The Greek Yogurt that’s high-protein, all-natural and great tasting, in a man-sized package. Specifically designed for the active lifestyle. www.powerful.yt

You know how I like a man-sized package.

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It's too bad that the nutrition stats rock, 'cause this girl would totally try it, even though you probably don't want me to.  Not only am I a girl, but a former fat chick.

  • Product - Powerful Protein Greek Yogurt 
  • Facebook - Powerful Protein
  • Price - $2.00-$3.00
  • Location - Nowhere near here - send me one?
  • Pros - Zero fat, super high protein
  • Cons - Silly branding, although, I get it.  Yogurt branding is SO SILLY.  "Activia!"  I get it.  Boys deserve their own bull-branded red-colored boy-gurts or something.  I am being totally facetious.  Send me some.  These stats are wonderful.

Cleveland Clinic study shows RNY bariatric surgery restores pancreatic function by targeting belly fat

Just to keep you on your toes, a couple days ago I shared the study that stated that WLS doesn't save you money in the long run.

Now, we hear once AGAIN that roux en y gastric bypass bariatric surgery fixes diabetes damn near immediately. This is just another study on THAT topic.

We already knew this.

Thanks, pancreas!  *thumbs up for working so well!*

86982-612x612-1
*Waves to all the post bariatric reactive non-diabetic hypoglycemics*

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Cleveland Clinic study shows bariatric surgery restores pancreatic function by targeting belly fat

2-year study indicates how gastric bypass reverses diabetes. In a substudy of the STAMPEDE trial (Surgical Therapy And Medications Potentially Eradicate Diabetes Efficiently), Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that gastric bypass surgery reverses diabetes by uniquely restoring pancreatic function in moderately obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

Continue reading "Cleveland Clinic study shows RNY bariatric surgery restores pancreatic function by targeting belly fat" »


$1000 Camera Contest with Wellesse

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1 Grand Prize + 9 First Place Winners will be chosen.

(See Terms for Details)

Submission Dates: 02/20/2013 - 03/05/2013

Voting Dates: 03/06/2013 - 03/19/2013



Salt, Sugar, Fat - Michael Moss

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.

Continue reading "Salt, Sugar, Fat - Michael Moss" »


Emotional Healing and Awareness: Why does it hurt?

Thanks, Lisa - this is great! Please make more videos.

 


Study - Caffeine Consumption And Mortality -- WAIT, what?!

A large study of nearly half a million older adults followed for about 12 years showed --

As coffee drinking increased, the risk of death decreased.

Coffee-cup-01
I'm going to live forever.

Sorry.

MNT -

Study author Neal Freedman, PhD, MPH, National Cancer Institute, discusses the significance of these findings and the potential links between coffee drinking, caffeine consumption, and various specific causes of disease in an interview in Journal of Caffeine Research, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Journal of Caffeine Research website. 

"Epidemiology of Caffeine Consumption and Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-specific Mortality" presents an in-depth interview exploring the many factors that could contribute to the association between coffee, disease, and mortality. 

Dr. Freedman examines the relationship between coffee drinking and behaviors such as smoking and alcohol abuse, the physiological effects of caffeine on blood pressure and cardiac function, and the importance of differentiating between the effects of coffee and caffeine. 

"Given the near-universal daily consumption of caffeine, Dr. Freedman's research underscores the urgent need for randomized controlled trials to identify which components of coffee and other caffeine beverages benefit or harm consumers, under what circumstances, and in relation to which health outcomes," says Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research.


No long-term cost savings with weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery does not lower health costs over the long run for people who are obese, according to a new study.   Shocking?  Meh.  No.

Pre-op patients don't want to know this sticky business, so maybe you should close your eyes or click away.  NOW.  I don't want to pop your bubbles.  I am not in the biz of selling weight loss surgery up in heah.

I don't think it would come as a surprise to many long-term post bariatric patients.  I know you understand.  We live it.

But that is just me, consider my stance as a nine year gastric bypass post op, married to a nine year gastric bypass post op, with a mother in law and sister in law who are both gastric bypass post ops.  Collectively we have about 30 years of missed "obesity" costs, but we have increased our health-care costs in other areas.  (*Looks at my current tally at the hospital.*)

Tumblr_lwj43hxcbD1ql141xo1_400The four of US (yes, this is totally biased because it is my immediate circle and what I know...this is understood, I am not arguing, I do not care to sell WLS nor unsell it!) are currently all maintaining a normal or slightly overweight body weight 6-9 years post bariatric surgery, however between us, we have created some seriously HUGE bills and other health conditions since having weight loss surgery.  (I have not shared much of it because I'm already TMI and HIPPA cries.)

Imagine now if any of us have a full and complete regain - which is a totally and absolutely typical pattern.  What then of our health?  What if we have the comorbids of obesity come back?  (Some of which don't always go away.... have you met my legs?)  Just saying.  I know we have made it this far, but it has NOT been cheap.

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Reuters -

Some researchers had suggested that the initial costs of surgery may pay off down the road, when people who've dropped the extra weight need fewer medications and less care in general.

The new report joins other recent studies challenging that theory (see Reuters Health story of Jul 16, 2012 here: reut.rs/NrQKPU).

"No way does this study say you shouldn't do bariatric surgery," said Jonathan Weiner from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who led the new research.

But, he added, "We need to view this as the serious, expensive surgery that it is, that for some people can almost save their lives, but for others is a more complex decision."

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, about 200,000 people have weight loss surgery every year.

Surgery is typically recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) - a measure of weight in relation to height - of at least 40, or at least 35 if they also have co-occurring health problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea.

A five-foot, eight-inch person weighing 263 pounds has a BMI of 40, for example.

For their study, Weiner and his colleagues tracked health insurance claims for almost 30,000 people who underwent weight loss surgery between 2002 and 2008. They compared those with claims from an equal number of obese people who had a similar set of health problems but didn't get surgery.

As expected, the surgery group had a higher up-front cost of care, with the average procedure running about $29,500.

In each of the six years after that, health care costs were either the same among people who had or hadn't had surgery or slightly higher in the bariatric surgery group, according to findings published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.

Average annual claims ranged between $8,700 and $9,900 per patient.

Weiner's team did see a drop in medication costs for surgery patients in the years following their procedures. But those people also received more inpatient care during that span - cancelling out any financial benefits tied to weight loss surgery.

One limitation of the study was that only a small proportion of the patients - less than seven percent - were tracked for a full six years. Others had their procedures more recently.

The study was partially funded by surgical product manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Claims data came from BlueCross BlueShield.

It's clear that surgery can help people lose weight and sometimes even cures diabetes, Weiner told Reuters Health. But it might not be worthwhile, or cost-effective, for everyone who is obese.

That means policymakers and companies will have to decide who should get insurance coverage for the procedure and who shouldn't.

"It's showing that bariatric surgery is not reducing overall health care costs, in at least a three- to six-year time frame," said Matthew Maciejewski, who has studied that topic at the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, but wasn't involved in the new study.

"What is unknown is whether there's some subgroup of patients who seem to have cost reductions," he told Reuters Health.

In the meantime, whether or not to have weight loss surgery is still a personal decision for people who are very obese, Weiner said.

"Every patient needs to talk it through with their doctor," he said. "It obviously shouldn't be taken lightly, but shouldn't be avoided either."

SOURCE: bit.ly/K8qAyI JAMA Surgery, online February 20, 2013.

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Importance  Bariatric surgery is a well-documented treatment for obesity, but there are uncertainties about the degree to which such surgery is associated with health care cost reductions that are sustained over time.

Objective  To provide a comprehensive, multiyear analysis of health care costs by type of procedure within a large cohort of privately insured persons who underwent bariatric surgery compared with a matched nonsurgical cohort.

Design  Longitudinal analysis of 2002-2008 claims data comparing a bariatric surgery cohort with a matched nonsurgical cohort.

Setting  Seven BlueCross BlueShield health insurance plans with a total enrollment of more than 18 million persons.

Participants  A total of 29 820 plan members who underwent bariatric surgery between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2008, and a 1:1 matched comparison group of persons not undergoing surgery but with diagnoses closely associated with obesity.

Main Outcome Measures  Standardized costs (overall and by type of care) and adjusted ratios of the surgical group's costs relative to those of the comparison group.

Results  Total costs were greater in the bariatric surgery group during the second and third years following surgery but were similar in the later years. However, the bariatric group's prescription and office visit costs were lower and their inpatient costs were higher. Those undergoing laparoscopic surgery had lower costs in the first few years after surgery, but these differences did not persist.

Conclusions and Relevance  Bariatric surgery does not reduce overall health care costs in the long term. Also, there is no evidence that any one type of surgery is more likely to reduce long-term health care costs. To assess the value of bariatric surgery, future studies should focus on the potential benefit of improved health and well-being of persons undergoing the procedure rather than on cost savings.

 


Panera Bread Hidden Menu - Or - This is how to get a MM to GO to Panera Bread?

I was just fumbling through my morning routine of empty dishwasher, make coffee, listen to morning radio.  I heard this story on NPR about Secret Menus and I stopped and thought, "Well, there's today's blog entry."

BECAUSE LOOK WHAT PANERA DID AND I WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN CAUSE IT WAS A BIG OLE SECRET!

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Panera (Bread, which I avoid... because it is a BREAD. STORE. CLOAKED. AS. A. SIT. DOWN. RESTAURANT.) now offers on the sly, teh foods that I can enjoy, and that many of you can also enjoy, but we have to play the secret game to get them.

NPR -

One thing you won't see on Panera Bread's secret menu? Bread.

As Scott Davis, who oversees menus for Panera Bread, explains, "This is probably the most extreme anti-kind of Panera diet you can have, right? It doesn't include bread and flour and that sort of stuff."

Davis says that the company had been missing out on a whole group of diners: diabetics and people who were cutting carbs or avoiding gluten. This menu lets the company tap into that growing health-conscious market.

"If someone never considered Panera before because the name 'bread' is in it ... this is a way of opening that door," says Davis.

So at its 1,800 stores around the country, Panera trained its employees to either pull out the secret menu card or scan a code that'll put the menu on a customer's mobile device.

But only if someone asks for it.

Here's my rant about this -- It's A Schtick, It's A Marketing Ploy -- to get foot traffic into the restaurants to "find all the foods" that are on the "hidden" but not-so-hidden-because-we-promoted-them-on-our-website-menus.  

 

The restaurant also desires that while you are there, you will add-on a purchase of a simple-carb from the bakery-porn-case of scones, souffles, muffins, cookies, bagels, or loaves of bread?

Shortbread cookies are my nememis.  Thank you for noticing.  Let's see if I can get through there without looking.  > - <


Brain study aims to stop overeating after weight-loss surgery | Health - WCVB Home

Brain study aims to stop overeating after weight-loss surgery

A clinical trial at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, MA is under way where a group of people who have had gastric banding surgery undergo non-invasive brain stimulation.  Video is at the link.

Oh advertising - (@) (@)

If this is the kind of advertising that they can utilize in France for push-up bras, I can only imagine what might work for plastic surgery.

Valege Lingerie - Click to Enlarge
Valege Lingerie - Click to Enlarge

My mind.  It races, the, um... options?

The US is so backwards sometimes.

Potentially NSFW -  Thanks AdWeek


Imagining WLS? Weight loss surgery hypnosis?

USA Today -

A couple in Sarasota, Fla., lost 150 pounds between the two of them using hypnosis where they essentially were hypnotised into thinking they had had gastric bypass surgery.

Each of them has lost more than 70 pounds.  This is no joke.  They are adorable.

Would you consider hypnosis for weight loss?  Have you tried it?  Do you think it will keep the weight off in the long-term?

Good for these two, though, really.  

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I love your nuts. A super fast review.

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NO GUT FAIL = I LOVE YOU.

OR.  When Beth leaves WalMart And Goes Into A Regular Grocery Store She Finds Food!

I love these little nutbars.  I've been eating them all week.  I love you Glenny's.  My gut thanks you for making a NON-SUGAR ALCOHOL PRODUCT.

Note -

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Ingredients

PEANUTS, AGAVE, SYRUP, PEANUT BUTTER, BROWN RICE SYRUP, SUNFLOWER OIL (SUNFLOWER OIL, ROSEMARY EXTRACT, TOCOPHEROL), SALT. MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES OTHER TREE NUTS, SOY AND SESAME. MAY CONTAIN PIT OR SHELL FRAGMENTS. MANUFACTURED IN A CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE PLANT. NON-GMO.

  • Product - Glenny's Peanut + Peanut Butter Bars 
  • Via - I bought these at Market Basket in the candy aisle next to the chocolate which I was considering - but I am getting them on Amazon now.
  • Price - Wicked good on Amazon.  $12.40/case of 12, $1.05/est. each
  • Pros - Super simple ingredients, no gut rumbles, no sugar alcohols, no fiber gut death!  Non-GMO.  YAY FOR MM!  (You really have no idea, I am SO SENSITIVE TO FOOD, I react TO EVERYTHING.)
  • Cons - I can't eat them all day, THEY ARE PEANUTS, high in calories, don't overdo it, silly!
  • Rating - Pouchworthy, MM

Melissa McCarthy Is Not A Hippo. Weight Bias.

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I have been itching to see this movie since the preview showed just before I saw Les Miserables.  I adore Melissa McCarthy, and her body has ZERO to do with her sense of comedy.  The woman oozes funny.  

I do not particularly enjoy jokes that play on fat, body-size, or jokes written specifically to poke at the person of size.  I do appreciate a decent self-deprecating joke now and again as a person who has been there and lived the life.  

We get it, and it's okay that not every single thing is socially acceptable one hundred and ten percent of the time.  

But what is not okay are things like this jerk-wad of a reviewer calling Melissa McCarthy a hippo.

It is 2013:  we are not allowed to make jokes at the expense of a person's gender (among most EVERYTHING else...) but we can do it about their physical appearance?

Ridiculous.

To combat weight-stigma, the OAC needs YOU to help us BUST weight bias and stigma! Do you have an example of weight bias or stigma that you would like to share with the OAC?  If so, please email biasbusters@obesityaction.org.


Study - Physically Active Bariatric Surgery Patients Less Likely to be Depressed

If there was ever a motivation to get active, here it is -  

Just one hour of moderate-intensity physical activity a week — or eight minutes a day — was associated with 92 percent lower odds of treatment for depression or anxiety among adults with severe obesity.

That's TWO songs-worth of dances.

Let's go.

Here is 6:20 worth, dance!  Walk, bounce, march, whatever you can!

IMG_0314

Adults undergoing bariatric surgery who are more physically active are less likely to be depressed, according to a new study, which found that being active for as little as eight minutes a day made a difference.

The study -

Obese adults are nearly twice as likely to have a major depressive disorder (13.3 percent) or anxiety disorder (19.6 percent) compared to the general population (7.2 and 10.2 percent), according to Wendy C. King, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

“Typically, clinical professionals manage their patients’ depression and anxiety with counseling and/or antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication,” she said. “Recent research has focused on physical activity as an alternative or adjunct treatment.”

Just one hour of moderate-intensity physical activity a week — or eight minutes a day — was associated with 92 percent lower odds of treatment for depression or anxiety among adults with severe obesity.

Similarly, just 4,750 steps a day — less than half the 10,000 steps recommended for a healthy adult — reduced the odds of depression or anxiety treatment by 81 percent.

“It could be that, in this population, important mental health benefits can be gained by simply not being sedentary,” said King, who also was the lead author of the study.

The researcher notes it is important to treat depression and anxiety prior to bariatric surgery. Preoperative depression and anxiety increase the risk of these conditions occurring after surgery — and have been shown to have a negative impact on long-term surgically induced weight loss.

As part of the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2, an observational study designed to assess the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery, King and her colleagues assessed participants’ physical activity for a week prior to undergoing bariatric surgery using a small electronic device worn above the ankle. Participants also completed surveys to assess mental health, symptoms of depression, and treatment for psychiatric and emotional problems, including depression and anxiety.

The study included 850 adults who were seeking bariatric surgery between 2006 and 2009 from one of 10 different hospitals throughout the United States.

Approximately one-third of the participants reported symptoms of depression, while two in five reported taking medication or receiving counseling for depression or anxiety.

The researchers noted that the link between physical activity and less depression was strongest when only moderate intensity physical activity was considered. However, the number of steps a person walked each day, no matter the pace, also was related.

“Another goal of this study was to determine physical activity thresholds that best differentiated mental health status,” said King. “We were surprised that the thresholds were really low.”

Because this was an observational, cross-sectional study — meaning patients’ regular physical activity and symptoms of depression were measured at the same time — the study could not prove that a patient’s physical activity influenced mental health.

“Results of the study are provocative, but we would need further research to verify that physical activity was responsible for lower levels of depressive symptoms in this patient population,” said study co-author Melissa A. Kalarchian, Ph.D., associate professor at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, part of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “Nonetheless, physical activity is a key component of behavioral weight management, and it is encouraging to consider that it may have a favorable impact on mental health as well.”

The study is published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

Let's move!

 


The Great Blog Loss of 2013

I got a comment via email yesterday and I couldn't respond to it because I have no internet connectivity.  

The commenter posted that my blog sucked lately and that Why Was That and did I plan on it sucking long time?  Well, that sounds ... dirty.  Is that better?  Innuendos help make a blog better long time?

I apologize.

I will tell you again (which I started to do so in the previous-but-now-deleted-post-which-abruptly-ended-and-was-posted-when-I-didn't-know-it-was-posted-because-I-had-a-seizure-mid-posting... Please excuse the previous three sentence post which is NOW GONE.) that I have been without any connection to the outside world since the Blizzard of 2013 and that's been more than a week. 

Shout out to Verizon!

Verizon-shutterstock-thumbsup

  • I have NO landline PHONE.
  • I have NO INTERNET aside from what I see scrolling on Facebook and what loads on Teh Googles when it wants to via phone cell tower.
  • I forced Mr. MM to buy a cell-phone hot-spot so I had internet access at all inside the house.  It doesn't work so well.  But, here I am.  It's worked for 300 words so far.  *hits save again*
  • I have NO cable TV, nor satellite, nor much of a DVD collection.
  • Did I mention there are four children here?  O-o
  • This IS the mini-apocalypse.  Forbid what happens when we have REAL WEATHER here.  9-10 days of power loss and communication fails for snow?  REALLY, 2013?
  • We have had ONE HALF DAY of school in the last 10 days, and now my kids on on VACATION.
  • The day after the blizzard, we had a death in the family, my kids had their first wake experience last night and funeral today.  (All is well, they did wonderfully...)
  • Are we having fun yet? 
MeNolEvEth
I can only claim the tall one. LOL.

I don't know what is going on in the world other than what I hear on NPR while cleaning my kitchen because that is where the non-internet radio IS.  

For example, during a post-wake gathering last night, my children and I surrounded a television that was on the local news.  

We saw an EXPLOSION IN THE SKY and thought the world was ending. WHAT IS THIS?!  WHAT WAS GOING ON!?  It was just the sky over Russia imploding, and very old news, but new to us. 

DSC_0568

 We might be losing it.  


And she disappears.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams

A blizzard came.

*I would insert the photos here, but apparently I can't get them to upload without internet! > - <I suppose you could ignore my quote and please to pretend there are photos of two feet of snow here with cute kids and whatnot.*

We lost power for four (or five?) days and there was no school on Friday, Monday and Tuesday with a delayed opening today. There are still houses without power in our area. My bedroom was 39 degrees at times, and we had to evacuate for a while. This also means that we lost water, toilet flushing and all basic necessities because it's that awesome here. You must laugh, because otherwise you would cry.

Honest.

We lost all of our frozen food, and most of our refrigerated items, even after putting them out in the snow. After three trips out for food, we realized that there was no food to be found in most grocery stores and sort of gave up. Next week will be better as stores are restocked. The shelves were empty as we tried to find fresh and frozen foods -- I posted photos to Facebook -- most of the stuff was being damaged out as we were trying to find stuff to buy.

Only in Massachusetts would the temperature go from 8 degrees to 45 degrees in one day and from two feet of snow to no evidence of a storm. One would never know there was a blizzard here -- other than the trees torn up everywhere, the glass-backed basketball net ripped off my garage, the wires down, the Wal-Mart parking lots filled with tree company trucks and the massive greying snow piles in the school and mall lots. We have no home phone service, cable and no internet -- as many/most in our town don't as well. Our "service call" with our internet provider is pending for the end of February. "Super!" It's particularly awesome when you are an online college student and work On The Internet. (Yes, I'm working on getting an extension.)

On a somber note: we lost an elderly family member during the storm. Finding a working internet connection to email the obituary over -- was quite a process. I can only imagine this poor soul watching over us and laughing at our trying to scramble to get his arrangements together with a funeral home that has no lights. (Yes, he would laugh, and they promised the lights would be on by tomorrow.)

P.S. This is my payback for whining about my $500 electric bill, I know.  :/  (Attempt four at posting, and GO.)