Microsoft is pissing me off

I don’t really enjoy being told that I have to do something-anything actually. I especially don’t need or want a mega-corporation telling me that in just a few months my PC will no longer be safe, no longer will be afforded updates, and that will one day, I assume sooner rather than later, will simply need to be replaced after years of friendship and loyalty.

Microsoft is going full tilt to tell the users of Windows XP that in April we are on our own.
Yes, I have XP on my computer and I love it. I am not ashamed to admit that. I got this laptop in 2008, maybe even 2007. It was at the same time that I made the decision to go back to college. At the time, I didn’t know Vista, didn’t really want to know Vista and so chose, when Dell built my computer for me, to go with XP.

It is logical, simple, comfortable, and does exactly what I need.

Now Microsoft will stop supporting XP users in April. Dire warnings are in the news and on television everyday speaking to the risks that XP users face. I am intelligent and I can make my own choices regarding risks of continuing to use a program that is unsupported. However, I don’t appreciate that Microsoft is using this decision to step away from XP to push their newest operating system: Windows 8/8.1.

I understand that tablets and touchscreens are technological marvels only dreamed about when XP came out. I also understand that Microsoft has to sell its products. That’s what mega-corporations do. In fairness, Microsoft is saying that it might be possible to upgrade to Windows 7 or to Windows 8 if you currently have XP.

Start reading all the news articles about upgrading. It won’t be simple. It won’t be pretty. It probably won’t even work. In a nutshell, Microsoft is basically forcing XP users (with non-support scare tactics) to ditch their old PC and run right out to purchase a new piece of technology already loaded with Windows 8.1.

I loath Windows 8. Again, to be fair I might feel differently if we used that OS on a touchscreen compatible device. We don’t. My husband has Windows 8 on his computer. This is the separate monitor and CPU that he refuses to give up. The big, dust-collecting system sitting in our bedroom with cords snaking, and curling and wrapping around other cords. That is where we have Windows 8 installed. I have used that system only a few times. It is not touchscreen compatible and so you have to do things with the mouse, and with the open windows that to me seem ridiculous. I have no desire to take the time to learn how to use this system, thus I don’t want that system on my existing computer, nor do I want a new computer with Windows 8.

My basic computer works just fine for what I need, but Microsoft is assuring me that I will, at some point, need to move out of the dark ages and into the light so why not do it now. They are talking to the woman who still avoids getting a new cell phone that does more than text and make phone calls.

I’m not a technology prude. I understand that change is inevitable. I am ticked off though, and I believe rightly so, when choice is taken away from me. I am also not naive. I know that just after I finally consent to the Microsoft gods and run out with credit card in hand to buy that new and better device installed with Windows 8.1 I will be privileged to learn that Microsoft has just introduced Windows XYZ–the new and enhanced version of defunct Windows XP.

I will have a shiny new device with an OS I hate, and oh…by the way…the warning that attempting to upgrade to the new Windows XYZ will cause a total meltdown of my new computer but Microsoft will give me a $50 store credit when I rush out to buy a replacement.

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Are you getting tired of my food issues yet?

God, I don’t seem to have a life, other than food lately.

When I sat out upon this journey I don’t think I really believed it would become all-encompassing. My time is occupied with food: shopping, reading labels, prepping, planning, cooking, proportions, symptoms, pain or no pain, guesswork and ruling out trigger foods.

I have been up and down, overwhelmed and overjoyed to feel great, ticked off that even the smallest change can set off a pain reaction, stalled at one moment and loosing (literally) 3 lbs overnight. I’m trying not to make this about dieting, as in weight loss, but when you have been carrying around excess fat, and you begin to lose it so easily just by changing your diet, then mysteriously you don’t drop any weight for over a week it is not easy. Let’s face it, I am human and it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in really liking the idea that you can lose weight so easily. Especially now that I am down 16 lbs since January 11th.

I finished class and testing this past weekend and finally shed the last of an almost two-week long cold/flu bug that stalled a lot of progress while my body tried to fight off bad things. I thought I was on my way. As a reward, once we move out of this first phase chocolate (for its antioxidant properties) is allowed. Actually, even during the first 5 weeks 100% unsweetened chocolate is okay. I just was never able to stomach the bitterness and so avoided it entirely.

But, Friday night I allowed myself a small treat to celebrate just how well I had been doing for 5 weeks. I had one square of 86% dark chocolate. That means some sugars after not having any sugars or sweeteners since starting this program except for natural sugars in food. I couldn’t figure out why my joints began to ache (denial I suppose) and continued to ache right up until last night. So after all the great progress, the only thing I could conclude was that there was some food I missed that my body didn’t like and I made the promise that I was going to find out what it was.

I went back to my food diaries. I eliminated many of the other common trigger foods that people have problems with and was going to test each one starting next week. On a whim, after lunch today I broke off square number 2 from my bar of 86% dark chocolate. Within 2 hours my thumbs were beginning to tighten. I was coughing for no reason. I was nauseous.

I forced myself to eat some dinner, but food didn’t even sound good. My fingers are stiff, my left ankle aches.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that my body is telling me that it won’t accept chocolate. It is making that point loud and clear so I expect another day or two of pain all over again. Is eating chocolate worth this? No it is most definitely not. Even being in pain, my body is trying to tell me to eat more. It’s whispering, “Go ahead, have just a little piece.”

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Cravings are a huge signal that a food is messing with your head and your gut and your willpower. The chocolate is gone-desert for my daughter. I can only speculate what may happen if/when I re-introduce other sweets. even something like honey, or dried fruit. I’m not ready to cope with that yet.

I am however amazed that I lived for years with this amount of pain in my body. How quickly and easily it is to forget bad aspects of your life when you actually feel good. I’m also pretty thankful that I finally have some tools to recognize what I was putting my own body through. It is with a lot of regret that I spent years blaming age, hormones, work, and stress for this pain, never realizing just how much my food choices (and sugar cravings) were holding me in a never-ending cycle of pain.

Enough whining and enough time at the keyboard. I think some Aleve is needed tonight so that I can sleep.

If you feel like it…have a piece of chocolate in my honor. I won’t mind.

Saying bye-bye to dairy for awhile

I long had my suspicions regarding dairy products as foods that irritate arthritis. I read somewhere ( I think it was actually at the Arthritis Foundation website) that dairy can be an issue for those who have arthritis. Here is a nifty little link that discusses foods to avoid if you have arthritis

A few days ago, armed with organic plain greek yogurt (gross), organic whole milk, and two types of organic cheese (heavenly) I began testing these foods. We are asked to eat dairy at all 3 meals and 2 snacks for three days. I made it through one. By mid-afternoon on day 1 my thumbs and wrists felt like I had been lifting sterilization trays back in the Oral Surgery office. Once dinner was over my knees were creaking and aching, and by bedtime the intolerable weight of the blankets on my ankles was no longer a distant memory.

I am not dairy intolerant. I am however dairy sensitive as it directly influences my arthritis inflammation and pain. I’m not heartbroken about the milk situation. I haven’t drank cow’s milk in over two years specifically in response to that AF article. I do (did) have yogurt (sweetened) once or twice a week for breakfast, and cheese was definitely a part of my diet. I’m not heartbroken about the yogurt issue either, although it can be a nice morning protein change. The cheese however is another story as I was hoping to be able to re-introduce that form of dairy back into my diet. Things like sour cream and cottage cheese, as well as sheep milk and goat milk products may or may not be an issue. Some people tolerate those easier than the other forms.

My hope is that, because I had to overload on these items, that with some time and some caution, I can add a little cheese back into my diet with minimal upset to my joints. It won’t be an everyday food though.

So, starting tomorrow I think, I will be testing wheat. I can’t imagine life without bread forever. I would kill for a sandwich right now as no bread has passed my lips for 4 weeks. I shouldn’t complain though. This is probably one of the reasons that I can say I have already lost 14 lbs-but just a little whole wheat, crusty bread–please.

Time to check in with my body

I have completed three full weeks on this eating program.

I have lost 10 1/2 lbs., 3 inches around my waist and 2 inches from my hips. My jeans sag worse than a teenage boys. The back fat roll under the bra band is just about non-existent and what there is left of it isn’t pushing the bra up around my neck anymore.

I don’t remember the last time I took any medicine for my arthritis. Of course I haven’t undergone a miraculous cure, but I just don’t need anti-inflammatory NSAIDS anymore.

Now I have the option of testing and possibly returning some of the foods I have avoided for three weeks. Things like dairy, wheat, corn, peanuts.

I have some mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I do want to know how my body reacts to those foods, but on the other side is the realization that a real possibility exists that some or all of them may stress this new line of defense I have worked so hard to establish. Of course a 2 or 3 day test of a specific food won’t ruin my progress, but I don’t relish thinking that eating some yogurt or cheese or a piece of wheat toast will have me rushing toward the Aleve bottle either. When you hurt for so long, then almost overnight feel nearly 100% better there is definitely anxiety about changing all that up. The nice thing is that I know I can fix any issues by simply keeping trigger foods out of my diet if I choose.

That is where the power of this program comes in and why the focus isn’t just on weight loss. It encourages responsibility and a sense of control over your health and daily ability to function. I like feeling my age again and with it the realization that 54 is definitely not old.

I also like sitting here at this computer and seeing more and more space between my boobs and lessening tummy bulge. I rather like whining about my too large jeans. I love the anticipation of buying some new clothes that I don’t have to hide behind.

I like being healthy, so it is on to testing rather than wondering and avoiding. It’s better to know and plan. So early this week I am testing dairy. That means for three days I eat dairy for 3 meals & 2 snacks. Since I gave up cows milk about 1 year ago I am going to use organic plain Greek yogurt and some really good organic cheese. I won’t lie. I am pretty anxious and excited to put a piece of cheese into my mouth again. Fingers crossed that it will be a food I can tolerate because I do enjoy an occasional piece of delightful cheese.

Watch for the results late next week.