Renee Weatherbee

Renee's Ramblings


INTRODUCTION:  This section is dedicated to my personal ramblings – it can be about anything, from a favorite product or service, to an opinion I feel strongly about, to a personal essay, to an attempt at adding humor to my otherwise boring day.  Whatever posted here will be highly personal and is my feeble attempt at exposing myself to the world as a writer, something that doesn't come easy for me.  I welcome any comments from anyone who takes the time to read my ramblings and will respond back to you (unless you are being overly offensive, in which case, I’ll just ignore you.)  I don’t know if you’d consider this a blog – blogs are written by people who have a particular expertise in some subject – I have no expertise in anything.  Thus, my ramblings…

Any products or services mentioned here are my own personal opinion.  I am not currently being reimbursed or endorsed by any company for mention of their product or service (however, it’s not out of the question for this starving artist writer – oh, that’s right – I’m not starving, I’m living off my husband’s income).  Any personal essays or opinions on this site are my own and I am fortunate to live in a country where I have the right to write about anything I so choose.  You have a right to read it, or not.  Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back often!

Posted:  February 24, 2013

Is it Aspartame Poisoning?

A friend, Mary Davis, posted on facebook the other day, a warning article about possible negative effects of aspartame on the body.  I’ve heard some of it in the past and didn’t pay much mind to it, but last fall, I went to the doctor because of serious back pain.  The doctor instructed me to lose weight, because I was putting too much stress on my back.  I let him know that while the numbers on the scale indicate that I eat lots, that really isn’t the case.   While I don’t always eat the healthiest, the quantity and total caloric intake isn’t that much. 

The doctor asked me if I drank a lot of diet sodas.  I had to confess that I drink between 4-7 a day, but I never felt guilty about it as they are “diet” drinks – 0 sugar – 0 calories.  I’d been doing this for at least twenty years.  I started drinking diet soda in my late 30s when I started putting on weight.  Dang, I wish I weigh now what I did then.  Since that time, I have gained 80 lbs and gone up 4 pants sizes. Of course, the doctor chewed me out.  He stated that diet drinks are worse for you than regular sodas, as they trick the brain into thinking it’s getting sugar and thus, you can even develop the symptoms of diabetes without actually being diagnosed with it.  I told him that I use the diet soda for my caffeine intact, as I don’t like coffee.  He strongly suggested I develop a taste for coffee.  He was relentless and wasn’t backing down.

I didn’t heed his advice and since last fall, I have put on yet another 10 lbs, stressing my aching back even more.  After reading the article Mary posted, I am putting my body through an experiment over the next 30 days, then I will decide if I give up diet sodas for life.  With God’s help (as I am certain I am a diet Pepsi addict) I am cutting it completely out of my diet for this period of time. 

The article I read stated that the people in their study who quit, lost an average of 19 lbs without adding additional exercise.  What frustrates me is that I try to exercise 3-4 times a week and never lose a pound, and often gain.  I’m hoping that cutting this aspartame evil ingredient out of my life, my body will start dropping fat.  We shall see. I’m not opposed to working out to get results, I just haven’t seen any results for so many years, that I get frustrated.

The other things I hope to improve by not drinking diet soda is to alleviate all the joint pain and muscle aches, twitches and spasms, I’ve been suffering from for years.  While I won’t go into the chemical analysis of what the article claims aspartame does to a person, I am willing to try anything once to alleviate the pain I’ve learned to just put up with for a long time. I am looking forward to a leaner body with less aches and pains, even if I have to give up my favorite drink to do it.  I’ll keep you posted of the progress, because if this is true for me and works, maybe it will help someone else. 


Disclaimer:  This is a completely unscientific experiment and the results will in no way be conclusive and prove or disprove that aspartame is the cause of my weight and health problems...however, if it works, that's all that matters to me personally and I'll be sharing the news with all who will listen, if it can be of help to someone else.


 Posted:  February 9, 2013



I think just about anybody can look at me and see that I’m no girlie girl, but maybe I have a bit of it in me buried inside.  I remember as a little girl dreaming of my own vanity, but I never got one.  I don’t know if I ever requested one, but the desire was always there.

For a woman who probably spends less than $100 on beauty products in a year, not counting shampoos/conditioners and the very basic necessities, and who probably looks like I spend less than a $100 a year, people might be surprised to hear that when I recently purchased an antique vanity to be set up in my bedroom, I was thrilled and felt like one of my dreams had come true.

The mirror on the vanity is the original glass and has bubbled up making things look distorted or maybe that’s just an excuse…maybe my face is getting distorted in my old age!  So one of the first things I purchased was a hand-held mirror and later, my husband bought me a lighted makeup mirror.  I still think I look distorted…but I accept what God has given me and try to work with it – what choice is there? 

I think having a vanity is a huge time saver for me and that getting it has helped preserve my sanity.  I have my own designated and semi-private space where I can sit every morning and do my makeup and hair routine.  Admittedly, I don’t apply much – some anti-wrinkle cream, a little powder foundation, a bit of eye shadow and mascara – that’s about as far as it goes.  Once in a while, when I’m in the mood to feel a little more feminine, I might slop on some lipstick and spritz on my favorite cologne – Vanilla Musk, which my daughters have generously provided me with as gifts, so I doubt I’ll ever run out.  As for my hair, it takes me less than 5 minutes to dry it, it’s so fine.  But everything is right there at my fingertips.  And I have my tweezers right there to pluck out those damn unwanted facial hairs. 

I went on a mission one weekend searching for my vanity.  I scoured all the antique stores in town.  I found one that would work, but it was pricey even after they agreed to drop the price $75.00.  I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money, which is a good thing, as after a day’s thought I realized it was too big to fit in the bedroom with the rest of the furniture. 

We took a trip to Deadwood to the Antique Emporium.  If you can’t find something there, it probably doesn’t exist, but if you ask, they’ll probably locate one for you.

The store is jam-packed full of great collectibles, antiques and fun pieces.  We purchase something there every time we stop, so we try to by-pass it most of the time.  I walked every area of the store, looking over every piece of furniture that might work or resembled a vanity.  It was hard to tell sometimes, because they have so many knick knacks setting on every surface available, but that’s what makes browsing the store so much fun! 

I spotted my treasure.  It was the perfect size.  All the drawers opened.  The top was worn, but still had the original finish on it.  It appeared to be from the late 1800s or early 1900s.  It would serve my purpose and blend in with our current bedroom set.  The price was more than I wanted to spend.  My husband asked and they agreed to take $50 off, making it seem more practical.  I have no idea how they got it out of the store between all the overstocked shelves and furniture, but before long it was in the back of the pickup tied down and ready to haul home.  We got it home, set it up and it looked great.  The only problem was that it was built for a much shorter person than me.  I couldn’t get my legs under the opening of the vanity.  Al solved the problem.  He went and purchased some ball like legs to add to the bottom.  He painted them and installed them.  It was perfect.  I could slide my legs in and get close enough to the mirror to see myself without my glasses on, for without them I am near blind. 

Since then, I have spotted many vanities in thrift and antique stores that would have worked.  I’ve seen some gorgeous new ones in furniture stores, as well.  My recommendations to my fellow women out there is to go out and get yourself one and then go home and have fun with it.  You can decorate it, bling it up, shine it up, load it up with your precious beauty products and you can cut down the time it takes you to get ready each day.  (Another time saver is that to the right of my vanity, I hung up a shelf that has hooks on it, where I hang my necklaces.  I purchased an earring holder, and so, picking out my jewelry in the morning is quick and easy.

(Secretly, I feel like a princess sitting there every morning getting ready for the day…yuck, did I just say that?)  Oh my gosh, maybe I am turning into a girlie girl!


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