Sunday, October 10, 2010
So my goal was to stay healthy so that I could support others in my household through their challenges. And indeed, my husband is through his heart procedure and recovering nicely and the dog had his spleen out and is doing fabulously well (we are ignoring the lesion in his lungs for the moment). I, however, am not doing so great.
I've seen more of my gynecologist in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 6 years, including an endometrial biopsy on Friday as well as an ultrasound and some blood work. No results yet. And my body is sore, probably from the stress of it all.
I have a meeting this afternoon that will likely take most of my energy for the day.
I need to be outside in the sunshine. Or inside with fabric in my hands in a sunny room -- I just peeked into my quilt studio and the light is fabulous.
Hey! I'm going to stop whining right now and go spend the rest of my "blog time" playing with fabric! Whee!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Life happens. Not all of it is good. I need to be healthy now, so that the rest of my household can depend on me to be there for them. So, I'm reviewing and restating my most urgent goals to support that end.
1. Sleep. Because I'm stressed, sleep is a problem right now, but I need to be in bed at least 8 hours a night, to allow sleep to happen if I can.
2. Nutrition. More than ever, I need to eat healthy foods and skip the empty calories that make me tired and craving more empty calories. I stocked my freezer with a few nutritious frozen entrees for quick meals, but I prefer to do quick cooking in the pressure cooker -- it just requires a bit of planning. So, I need to plan.
3. Environmental control of food. Make sure those above mentioned empty calories aren't available in my kitchen or office by cleaning out the fat, sugar and salty snackies.
4. Have easy to eat nutritious snacks around. I've stocked up on organic instant oatmeal packets (wonderful comfort food), graham crackers and almond butter, but I need some apples as well. And other easy to eat quick snacks.
5. Watch my posture. I keep slouching and it will make my back and neck hurt more. Sitting up straight is free -- I just have to do it.
6. Exercise. I may not be able to make it to the gym as often as I'd like and I even missed my weekly yoga class last week for an appointment. But I need to be sure to get some exercise in -- walking my mile to work, or walking the half mile around the block. It will help with weight maintenance and with sleep.
7. Water. Drinking the water really does help me feel better. Life on the edge of dehydration is no fun. I will not only fill my water bottle daily, I will actually drink it. (This past week, I took the filled water bottle with me to work and at least twice, it was still full at the end of the work day. Oops.) Maybe the time of year for ice water is past, so room temperature water is okay.
8. Be flexible. Have a Plan B AND a Plan C, just in case.
9. Breathe. Deep breathing is a profound relaxation technique that I have developed through my practice of yoga. When I'm stressed my breathing tends to become quick and shallow. If I'm aware of it, I can slow down the breath and inhale deeply.
10. Control caffeine intake. I'm very addicted to caffeine and am currently holding at two cups of black tea per day. Really, no more. Sleep or no sleep, stress or no stress, more caffeine won't help. And getting back down will be painful.
11. Make time for me to just be. Quilting time is critical for my general happiness. My current project is a "design as I go" quilt -- which is both good and bad as it requires a little thought each time I pick it up. I have a new hand piecing project that is relatively mindless that is for waiting rooms. (There will be a lot of time in waiting rooms.)
12. Take vacation time from work if I need it. This semester has been crazy busy so far and although I dislike leaving my office without coverage during the academic year, I have lots of vacation time and I should use it if my body or spirit need a break from that crazy busy-ness.
13. Spend some time outside. This helps me a lot with stress. And it gives me perspective on my own little world. Gardening, walking around the block or through the woods to work are all good.
14. Remember to make a lap for the pets. Every time I sit in my easy chair, I get two animals on my lap right away. Good for me, good for them. Keep their routines as normal as possible.
15. Be gentle with myself. Some of this list sounds a bit grim, but it will lead to the best outcomes. Accept I won't be perfect. While writing this blog, I've caught myself slouching at least 4 times and straightened up 4 times. So remember that these are goals and not absolutes.
Monday, August 23, 2010
The academic year starts this week at my institution of higher education. Yesterday was "move-in" day (in pouring rain). Today is opening convocation and a community picnic (also likely in pouring rain). And classes start on Wednesday.
Although I am a 12 month employee, summers are less structured and I've taken a fair amount of time off. I'll miss that.
But, with the academic year, there is better structure for my exercise program -- my favorite gym on campus has extremely limited summer hours -- and I simply didn't get to the main fitness center this summer at all. And it's cooler, so I'm more likely to walk back and forth to work. (Although not in this pouring rain.) Today sometime, I will block off my workout times in my calendar in the hopes that I can hold on to those times.
I have a full agenda for the year and I'm looking forward to it!
Friday, August 06, 2010
I took this week off work with the intention of getting the house clean and getting the garden under control. Ha! We've had a hot and humid week and every time I looked at the stuff in the house, I wilted -- and started sewing. So quilting is a great vacation activity too. . . .
But the garden still needed work. I decided it was finally time to mulch, mulch, mulch. We had 3 cubic yards of mulch delivered on Wednesday (the hottest day of this hot week). I spent the morning mulching. There is still a huge pile of mulch in the driveway. I had sweat pouring off my face and really soaked my gardening clothes. I figure that the whole load of mulch may weigh more than a ton! Lots of shoveling into the wheelbarrow. Since I'm putting down a paper barrier below the mulch (sheet mulching), this process involved a lot of squats. My quads are very sore. A reminder to do squats as part of my regular workout routine.
Then there were the hedges. Normally my husband manages our 50 feet of hedges, but this year he has had health issues and they haven't been a priority. Well, they moved up my priority list as the new shoots were waving a yard or more above the "top" of the hedge. So I started clipping -- with my regular handheld clippers. My poor right hand got a serious workout. I got tired of that and I couldn't reach all the way across the top, so I got a new set of manual hedge trimmers. They are heavier than clippers and give me a longer reach. This morning, my shoulders are sore. And our bushes have Mohawks! I can't reach the middles! I'm going to keep trying, but leaning into the bush with a fairly heavy set of trimmers is exhausting. And I discovered both a bird's nest and a big paper wasp nest in the hedge as well. Maybe my goal should be being able to manage our electric hedge trimmer by next summer. It's currently too heavy for me to hold steady high enough for me to do the tops of the hedges.
Or maybe I should take out the hedges, which are useless other than as privacy screening, and put in something useful that provides the privacy and some other benefits.
So there it is, sore shoulders, sore quads -- and lots more to go.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I just read the main blog about being a picky eater and reading through the comments has made me reflect on my own eating habits. I definitely have some preferences, but does that make me picky?
First, I'm a vegetarian. There are multiple reasons for this -- eating lower on the food chain is healthier and definitely better for the planet. But it also emerges from my dislike of eating meat and meat products -- taste, texture and the realization that I'm eating something that was once living and breathing. (My stomach churns just thinking about it.) And of course, after 17 or so years of being a vegetarian, I can no longer digest meat without acute distress.
Second, there are some foods that I have bad physical reactions to. Cucumbers, for example. I love fresh cucumbers, but I've found over the last couple of years that eating more than a slice or two of cucumber creates intense nausea. I've tried fresh local organic cucumbers, I've tried the "burpless" cucumbers, I've tried peeling, I've tried unpeeled. Nothing. I really enjoyed eating the one I ate last summer -- the crisp coolness of it was fabulous. But the effect was awful. *I resisted the fresh cukes at the farmers market this week, but I'll probably test it again this summer sometime.
Third, there are foods that I've had bad reactions to in the past, but probably don't anymore. Eggs are the sample here. When I had gallstones, eggs made me throw up. My body still remembers this and I get all queasy when I eat eggs. In the 2 years since I had my gall bladder out, I've eaten identifiable eggs maybe 3 times. I've kept them down, but the queasy factor was significant and I'm not into it. Coffee is also in this class. I'm pretty sure that it was a gall bladder related problem, but the last cup of coffee I drank left me feeling like I was going to die. I'm not prepared to go through that again. Ice cream -- again, with the gall bladder, I just couldn't tolerate it -- too much fat and eggness -- it's not bad to have a control on ice cream, I have a little more trouble remembering it somehow. And I do occasionally have a problem with it still, so extreme moderation is the key.
Fourth -- time of day. I'm finding as I get older that I can't eat in the evening if I want to sleep at all. Particularly rich foods are likely to be a problem. I had a large chocolate chip cookie one evening around 8 and was the energizer bunny until around midnight -- energizer bunny with a queasy tummy. Again, not a bad damper to have, but another limitation.
There are foods I avoid -- I think it is so ingrained that I don't even think about it any more. Living in the Northeast, okra isn't an issue most of the time. I have a few places locally where I can eat out and choose fairly freely from the menu and know it won't be a problem with my choices and calorie goals. (The vegetarian part is still the toughest.)
On the "not picky" side, I eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Our CSA (community supported agriculture) farm folks enjoy growing unusual vegetables and sharing them with their members along with tips for cooking them. I grew up in a household that raised our own vegetables and have an appreciation for fresh vegetables -- although I prefer my veggies less thoroughly cooked than my parents did.
On the other side, I'm moving into the local food thing and that could seriously limit my food choices, particularly in the winter. I'm not currently set up to can my own food, although I grew up doing that, so I have the skills. I'm really trying to not buy food from China -- that just is too far away and adds too much to my carbon footprint. I'm looking at orange and apple juice from Argentina and thinking that I live in apple growing country -- why not New York state apples? (Maybe this is another blog post. . . )
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