Thursday, March 12, 2015

Catching Up On Normal

I spent much of the past few weeks mentally collecting blog topics, but my memory is so poor that I can't really remember what it was I wanted to write about.  I was completely overwhelmed by all things chili for two solid weeks, with the two chili cook-offs I participated in. I finished off the last few spoonfuls last night to put it completely out of its misery, by the way.  Speaking of chili, today is National Chili Day, according to Hard Times Cafe, who were giving out free bowls of chili today to celebrate.  Not sure how late their open tonight, but maybe, if you're hungry and you're still up and reading this (lots of "ifs" here), you can still get a fee bowl.  I like Hard Times, and certainly recommend it.  If I hadn't eaten so much chili over the past few weeks, I might've gone there tonight.

I didn't really eat that much chili.  Aside from taste-testing, and a few samples at both cook-offs, I didn't eat much.  I finally ate a bowl for lunch on Tuesday, and I have to say I wasn't crazy about the taste.  I think it was overcooked.  That might be the reason why it didn't score as well.  I will definitely work harder for the next one.

Faithful Pup Scout has been getting sick lately.  I believe it is partly due to changing her food, though I was very careful to slowly introduce her to it.  Nonetheless, her vomiting isn't unusual.  She has a very "sensitive" stomach, something that has plagued her since she was a pup.  Our vet prescribed a special diet after we noticed that treats seemed to cause her to vomit.  We cut them out completely, and the prescribed (expensive) food was intentionally bland so as not to upset her.  She seemed much better after that, and really didn't seem to miss the treats.  However, she goes through spells of vomiting, followed by diarrhea, several times a year.  Eventually, we settled on a brand food that she seemed to like, Rachael Ray's Nutrish.  Unfortunately, I recently read a fairly poor review of the food that scared me enough to transition Scout to a new food.  We settled on the Blue Buffalo brand, and while Scout seems to really like it, her body doesn't like it quite as much.  So we're starting over with a cleansing diet of boiled rice and chicken to reset her system and see if it's just the food, or if there is something more serious going on.  Scout is an elderly dog and has her issues, so we're treading carefully.  Her demeanor is very good, and she's very playful, so that's encouraging.

Speaking of health, I'm having a nuclear stress test tomorrow morning, and I haven't studied.  Seriously, I'm concerned that my cardiologist is concerned about my latest EKG.  I haven't had any problems, and actually have felt pretty good, even if I'm gaining more weight than I'm losing.  My stress level is pretty high lately, too, mostly due to work issues.  Frankly, a high-stress job is probably not the best thing for me.  I can't imagine doing anything else.  I'm invested in my government career, and I'm much closer to retirement each day, though that's hardly an incentive.  The bottom line is I just need to take better care of myself, from diet and exercise to how I deal with stress.

One thing that keeps me from being stressed is sports.  No, seriously!  It's true!  Other than my Pittsburgh Steelers, I actually find the Terrapins to be quite exciting, both the Men's and Women's basketball teams, and we're entering March Madness, the ultimate in college basketball craziness.  Also, it's baseball Spring Training started, and with the Pittsburgh Pirates having some success the past few seasons (after 20 years of losing), and higher expectations this season, the Bucs are fun to watch again.

Speaking of Spring, I'm one of those guys who actually prefers the Winter weather.  I love snow.  I'm actually kind of depressed that we're likely done with the white stuff for this year.  On top of that, we have the dreaded Daylight Savings Time.  I start each day at 5:00 a.m., and the time change, moving the clocks forward, is exhausting..  I'm just not adjusting well, and the "lack" of sleep is making me very tired this week.  Given the stress test tomorrow, I'm pleased that my weekend is actually here, since I'm not working tomorrow, and I'll get a few more hours to sleep in the morning before my appointment.

Despite the stress, and the lack of sleep, and the sick dog, life is pretty good.  Thank the Lord.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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