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Kay’s Naturals Honey Almond Protein Cereal Review – Gastric Bypass Review

Cereal is not my friend.  I have never – not even as a child – really enjoyed a bowl of cereal.  As someone who has had gastric bypass surgery, I find that something with too many carbs can sometimes cause a hypoglycemic attack, so I have tried to avoid foods like cereal – even when I am craving them.  But protein is protein, my gastrically altered amigos, and I have heard good things about Kay’s Naturals products.  It only took a free sample to convince me I really needed to try this cereal.

Now in the past, when I have actually eaten cereal, I prefer it dry.  I find some cereals quite tasty right out of the box, but hate the texture of soggy flakes.  So to be fair, I took my first taste of Kay’s Naturals Honey Almond Protein cereal right out of the bag.  I opened it, and got a whiff of the really pleasant and sweet aroma from the cereal.  My first few dry bites were tasty.  I loved the subtle sweetness of the cereal, although I didn’t really get a strong almond flavor.  I poured the single serving pouch into my bowl and proceeded to pour enough milk on it to actually call it “in milk”. 

Once it was in the milk, the cereal seemed to lose a little of it’s flavor.  It was tasty, I just didn’t get the same sweetness that I got from the dry cereal.  Between myself and Granuaile, we finished the bowl.  Most importantly, I didn’t have a hypoglycemic reaction from the cereal!

 The one ounce bag of cereal contained 100 calories, and 1.5 grams of fat.  There are 9 grams of protein – although it is soy protein isolate, so not the best source of protein, but still protein!

You can purchase a case of 12 bags of this cereal for $13.  Definitely more expensive than Cheerios, but a great option for those of us who have had gastric bypass surgery.

Feeling a Little Blue – Not Healthy if You’re Not a Smurf

I find myself crying today. 

My friend Kathy has a grandmother that she loves, admires, and cherishes, like all people should do with their grandmothers.  Kathy’s grandmother is very close to 100 years old.  A big celebration has been planned to mark this milestone birthday, and invitations have been sent.  And then Grandma Angelina had a stroke.  She was taken to the hospital on Sunday, and it has been determined that at some point, she has had a heart attack as well that has done some serious damage to a heart that has loved for almost 100 years.  As you can imagine, a heart that old has been broken a few times – because when you live to be 100, you suffer a lot of loss, a lot of sadness.  But if you are surrounded by people who love you and cherish you, like Kathy does, those kinds of heart breaks heal.  That is not always the case when a 100 year old heart suffers a heart attack.

Reading Kathy’s painful updates on Grandma Angelina’s declining condition has brought up the sad memories of my dad in hospice.  And the lack of time I had to prepare for Bean’s death.  And how much I miss them both.  My dad missed so much by not being here.  Brighid has grown so much in the three years since he’s been gone, and Eilis has just gotten smarter and prettier.  He never even got to know Granuaile, except for the few minutes he held her as he lay dying in hospice.  I think he’d think she was funny.  And Bean – well, she would hardly recognize Brighid now, so grown up and almost done with high school.  And with Eilis barely 2 when she died, she has missed out on so much fun!  She never knew there would even be a Granuaile.

There is never a good time to die.  Not for those left behind, anyway.  Whether you have 100 years with the person you love, or 100 minutes, every passing crushes your heart.  We can fill it back up with the new memories we create and the new happinesses we experience, but every once in a while, a crack opens back up and some of the air escapes, and you feel crushed all over again.

Donald, Get Yer Troosers – We’re in Greenock!

August 23rd 

Today will be an interesting day.  Jim, Brighid and Russell have tickets for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and since we’re not in Edinburgh, they have a pretty long bus ride, leaving at 3 today.  We have no excursions planned for the day for the rest of us, but after a leisurely breakfast in the dining room (love the eggs benedict), we decide to take a stroll through the town. 

As we are leaving the ship, there are two bagpipers in full dress standing to have their pictures taken with people as they disembark.  We hop right in line to get our pictures, and I think they might be my most favorite of the ones we had taken.  Then, as we made our way down the path, there was a guy dressed up in an inflatable costume, standing about 8 feet tall, in a kilt and a Tammie (Tam O’Shanter hat).  None of my kids wants to get near him, so I just take his photo and move along.

There is not much here in the village, so we walk down towards the mall.  The street is lined with little shops, although honestly, it seems as though every other one is a bakery, and the ones in between are selling real estate.  There aren’t really many shops to stop in and browse through, so we make it to the mall in record time.

The mall is WAY smaller than anything we’ve been in here – I don’t think there is an anchor store in this mall.  It’s mostly made up of shops similar to those on the walk here – a number of bakeries among them.  There is a coffee shop – not a Starbucks – and they don’t have sugar free syrups.  There is a magazine/newspaper shop, so Jim goes in and picks up a couple of gossip magazines.  Unfortunately, one of them is for the UK version of Big Brother, which I don’t even watch in the states, so I don’t have any idea who anyone in the book is.  That’s kinda funny.  We run in and get Brighid a couple of birthday cards, since her birthday is tomorrow.  Eilis finds a miniature birthday cake in traditional Scottish flavors (I think it was fruit cake), and we buy it because it’s so cute.  It’s really a petit four with royal icing, but again, it’s decorated like a tiny birthday cake and comes with a candle, so it’s ours.

After a nice walk through, we head back to the ship.  They have a whole pavilion set up with Scottish crafts, souvenirs and gifts, so we browse through there a good hour.  I end up buying a tartan plaid dress for Granuaile, who did not get an Irish sweater, and Eilis used some of her souvenir money from Nanny to buy a snow globe featuring the Loch Ness monster.

We headed back up to the dining room for lunch, and then the girls went to the kids’ club.  It wasn’t long before it was 3 o’clock and time for the gang to leave for the Tattoo.  I went to pick the kids up at the kids’ club, and they came back for a nap before dinner.  I figured since it was just me controlling the two of them at dinner, it was better that they were well rested!

Dinner wasn’t too bad – they were really trying to behave!  It was another nice meal, and then Eilis went to the kids’ club. 

Jim and Brighid came in around 1:30 in the morning, and Jim wasn’t feeling very well.  It was cold and damp in Edinburgh – go figure, cold and damp in Scotland! – and they just about froze their butts off.  Brighid ran up to the buffet and got him a cup of hot tea, and they both sat on the bed and excitedly talked about the Tattoo for a while.  Then they both went back to the buffet to get a snack and some more tea.  They had not eaten since lunch, and there was supposed to be some better food out for the people coming back from that Tattoo, but they came back with just the same old late night buffet stuff.

We talked until well after 2 AM, and then Brighid went to her stateroom and we went to bed.

The show tonight on board was The Music of Scotland, and Granuaile and I went with Dot and really enjoyed it.  I love that they bring local flavor to the shows with traditional music like this.

Buon Giorno, Y’all!

So, I started taking Italian lessons tonight 🙂  I was glad to learn that I am an excellent speaker.  I pronounced everything perfectly.  Unfortunately, I had very little clue as to what I was saying! 

The teacher is awesome.  She’s a mother of 4 grown children, she was born and raised in Italy, but she speaks fluent English, having moved here many years ago.  She is patient, and she was quick to compliment.  I did have to order a couple of books – an Italian/English dictionary, and a book about Italian verbs, but I’m excited and hope by the time we travel again to Italy, I can communicate better 🙂

Grand Princess Martini of the Day – Toasted Almond – Gastric Bypass Review

NOW we’re talking MARTINI!! toastedalmondmartini.jpg

I know, I’ve badmouthed martinis all week long so far.  They were not going to impress me with a martini if Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson carried Brad Pitt into the dining room to serve the martini off of his washboard abs. 

But this one has Amaretto!  And Kahlua!  And Brogan’s Irish Cream!!  Oh, yeah, and vodka, which honestly, if they had left it out, the drink would have been perfect.

Cold and creamy, with all of the good stuff working over time to kill the gasoline burn the vodka causes as you swallow, this martini is the one to order if you are at a martini bar and all of your alkie friends are guzzling down drinks as if there is Beyonce’s diamond ring in the bottom of every glass.  It’s the least alcoholic tasting of the martini’s I’ve tried, and I’m sure if you slip the bartender at the martini bar, he’d be willing to leave out that nasty vodka without telling your friends you are a booze baby.

My fellow gastric bypass patients – yeah, if you’re a sugar dumper, just have the smallest sip of this one.  But if you want to try to make it at home with less alcohol (and less sugar), you could use the DaVinci sugar free Amaretto syrup.  If you can tolerate a little sugar, this is worth trying.  This was a nice drink.

Grand Princess Drink of the Day – Ultimate Cooler – Gastric Bypass Review

The ultimate cooler cocktail is billed as the drink that will cool down your senses.  I don’t know about cooling them down, but I would say one too many of these, and your senses will be dulled at the very least.

I have tried to find out what might be in this cocktail by looking up drink recipes online, and I cannot find anything that describes itself as an “ultimate cooler”.  But since the drink we were served was sort of like drinking the pretty blue Listerene that fools you into thinking it won’t taste like Listerene but it does anyway, I found a recipe for a drink actually called Cool Mint Listerene.  That has to be this drink.
Basically, this drink is Blue Curacao and Peppermint Schnapps (or Rumpleminze – the German version).  It is a gorgeous blue, and it reminds you of the cool, refreshing Caribbean water on a hot day.  And then you drink it.  And you realize you are drinking gasoline.  Or turpentine.  Or that pretty blue Listerene that fools you into thinking it won’t taste like Listerene.  But it does.  And so does this.

If you’ve had gastric bypass surgery – I beg you, please don’t waste drinking on this!  If you HAVE to drink something, get a fuzzy navel or a nice strawberry daiquiri.  Save the anti-freeze for your car.  Other than the sugar in the alcohol, there’s nothing else in here that will harm you – no bubbles, no added sugar, no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Skip this drink of the day.  You can gargle at bedtime.

Penny Lane is In My Ears and In My Eyes and Out the Bus Window

August 22 on the Grand Princess, and we are in Liverpool, England.  I have to admit, I don’t know anything about Liverpool other than the fact that is it the birthplace of the Beatles.  I even have a difficult time choosing an excursion here, because there isn’t anything that jumps out at me as something we would all enjoy doing.  There are 7 of us, and while I’d love some of the Titanic history, or even a walk in the Beatles footsteps, not all of us would.  We end up doing a city tour, and it turns out to be quite interesting.

The architecture in Liverpool is stunning.  There are old buildings that have all the fine detail buildings had back in the day interspersed with modern buildings and even a building that serves as moveable art.  I am so busy snapping pictures of the gorgeous things we are seeing that I honestly don’t hear very much of what the tour guide is saying.

This is another half day tour, so we don’t get to see a lot, but we do stop at two amazing churches.  One is a Catholic cathedral that has some of the most beautiful stained glass I have ever seen – until we go to the Church of England cathedral, which has even more stunning stained glass.  We see Albert Docks, and the Cunard building, and then we take a trip to see the heart of Beatles heaven.  A quick drive past the bronze Beatle statues, and a look down the street to see The Cavern Club, the venue where the Beatles first played – and were told to “cut out the bloody rock” when they played Elvis Presley songs. 

We drive around the city, and I am most fascinated by the Lamb Bananas that exist everywhere!  These are odd little Japanese sculptures, which I thought were dogs, but apparently they are half lamb, half banana.  They are painted in different colors and patterns, depending where they are in the city.  I thought they were cool.

Lamb Banana

The last highlight on our tour of Liverpool is to go down Penny Lane.  This is not an easy task in a large motorcoach, as Penny Lane is a rather narrow street.  The worst part of the whole experience was when our tour guide decided to play the song “Penny Lane” for us all to listen to as we drove down the street.  Except he played it on an old cassette player, and then held his microphone to the speaker on the cassette player for us to listen.  It was like listening to one of those “lost Beatles tapes” – you know, where someone taped them and they were in a bar somewhere with a really bad sound system. 

Interesting fact – our tour guide’s mother was in charge of organizing a street party in their Liverpool neighborhood.  She had to come up with some activities for the children, so she paid a young John Lennon 50 cents to do a few songs for the children.  She claimed it was Lennon’s first paid gig!

Back to the ship for the whole lunch time routine.  Eilis enjoyed the afternoon in the kids’ club, and we enjoyed the afternoon hanging around and relaxing. 

The best part of Liverpool?  Our deputy cruise director, Stu, is from Liverpool, and his Mum still lives there.  He had not seen her in 7 years, and he got to spend the day with her while we were in port.  I couldn’t wait until the Grand Princess morning show the next morning to hear how it went – and believe me, I welled up with tears when he talked about his visit!

The Incorruptibles and a Visit with St. Vincent Pallotti at San Salvatore in Onda

This really does have something to do with our recent vacation, although it comes a little out of order. 

I am fascinated with the Incorruptibles.  The Incorruptibles are the bodies that have not decomposed as other human bodies would.  Although I do not know at what rate incorruptibility occurs, there are a handful of saints and blessed Catholics who are incorruptible. 

There is a long list of things I’d like to do before I die, and I won’t say that seeing the Incorruptibles is high on the list, but it’s definitely something I think would be interesting to do.  If it were possible to see all of the saints who remain in an incorruptible state, I’d want to go.  If I can’t see all of them, the ones high on my list are St. Bernadette, who died in 1879, but looks like this today:

St. Bernadette

Pope Pius X, who died in 1914:

Pius X

Grand Princess Martini of the Day – Sour Apple Martini

sourapplemartini.jpgI’m just beginning to think there really is not one redeeming quality to a martini anywhere.  I just can’t handle them! 

A sour apple martini – a pretty standard martini nowadays – is made with vodka and sour apple Schnapps (hmmm, do they do a fuzzy navel martini?).  It’s sour.  And throat burning.  And very alcoholy tasting.  Ewww. 

Please keep in mind that these drink reviews are from a non-drinker.  And it’s important for non-drinkers to know that if you are ever out socially and you want something to sip on while everyone else enjoys a cocktail, there are some that just are not meant for palates that do not appreciate the merits of a good strong drink.  I wanted this drink to be somewhat fruity – maybe a little like a Jolly Rancher candy.  It’s not.  It’s yuck.

Grand Princess Drink of the Day – Grasshopper

Ahhh, minty fresh; but I like it too!  Oh, wait, that’s Irish Spring soap.  Or is it this drink?  Never mind.

grasshopper.jpgThe Grasshopper – a green drink to celebrate our day in Dublin.  This drink is made from green Creme de Menthe; white Creme de Cocoa; and either milk, fresh cream, or for a really decadent drink, vanilla ice cream.  I’m thinking the one we had was made with cream.

This isn’t bad, but I’m not a big fan of things like mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I like the creamy consistency of this drink, and the alcohol taste, while definitely there, is not the kind that burns your throat when you swallow.  It is definitely a refreshing cocktail. 

The best thing about this drink in terms of your gastric bypass patient is that it does not contain any sodas, but of course, the creme de menthe and creme de cocoa are both loaded with sugar.  Take a sip or two, but you don’t want to over indulge with this one.