Sunday, March 27, 2011
These past weeks since the wedding have been totally chaotic, for a number of reasons -
1. I missed two of the biggest days of my course, and am still struggling to get everything done and handed in by next week. The class did all the assignments in class - the largest, most time consuming one in groups, but I have to do it alone - my fault, and I will eventually get it done.
2. I have finally broken the lease on 'the old house' I love and didn't want to say goodbye to even though I hadn't lived in it for over a year, but now need to try to have everything done over there to get it back to pristine condition after having sat empty for all that time. No easy task outdoors, let me tell you, despite having kept the lawns mowed.
3. Dad has just given up on life, is refusing to do anything, spends his time sleeping, even sleeps all night, something he hasn't done since his first stroke. He has always been awake all night since being admitted to hospital. Nursing staff also agree he has no wish to participate in any of the things he used to enjoy. I try to be there as much as possible for him, to encourage him to eat, feed him if necessary, but mostly he refuses to talk, most times even refuses to acknowledge I'm there with him. Hard on him, hard on me too, but I can't just stop going to spend that time with him because I know deep down he realizes someone of 'his' is there with him, even if he can't remember who I am.
He did come home yesterday for a visit, enjoyed eating lunch outside in the new outdoor kitchen I made in the undercover area between the two units from Fiona's old kitchen cabinets. It looks great, works wonderfully and it made Dad happy to see it. He even talked about it for a few minutes, which surprised me. He told me he wasn't going back to the nursing home, that he was staying here - totally impossible, he needs constant supervision and it takes two trained staff to shower and dress him, plus provide for all his other needs. I tried to do it for 4 months, had to give in when my doctor threatened to put me in hospital if I didn't do something about finding a more suitable alternative for Dad.
4. All of these things combined are taking their toll on my health. I was run down and having trouble getting over the lingering after effects of the flu/virus/bug/whatever I had prior to the wedding, and had no energy at all then. Now with the above things adding to the emotional and physical load, I am feeling totally drained of energy, have no strength or motivation left to exercise once I've finished trying to fit as much into my day... think you get the idea... I know plenty of you are dealing with far bigger, far more stressful workloads in both your personal and work lives, and I am not complaining, just leading up to something II needed to say...
I have suddenly realized I am letting this all get on top of me, I am giving in to the pressure, and I know my health is suffering as a result. Why? Why is 'now' so suddenly hard to cope with? The answer suddenly came to me this morning while I was pulling on my jeans . Go figure, maybe I should just stop thinking and focus on a single thing, as I was doing at the time - will they stay up or do I need a belt?
As of this moment in time, I will stop thinking continually of everything I need to get done, by when it needs to be done, and how I'm going to get it done. I will take one small, simple task at a time, will allot a set amount of time to achieving that, and I will work towards achieving it. Once done, I will move on to the next task, then the next, and so on... Soon there will be more on the 'already done' list than the 'to do' list, and I will not be torn in a dozen different directions.
Another thing I have just realized I am neglecting is myself - I sit, I do nothing but plan, with no time to do what I plan to do, then I waste the rest of the day feeling depressed about not having achieved anything. No more. From now if I find myself getting a little stressed, I will take an hour out of my day to do something relaxing - knit, read, walk, anything which seems right at the time. After the hour, I will go back to what I was doing, feeling a lot more relaxed and motivated.
I will get everything done, it will be done on time, and most importantly of all... I will survive!
Monday, March 21, 2011
I came across the set of' Billy Jack' DVDs last night while searching for another movie, and just seeing them again put a smile on my face. I'd spent years tracking them down, finally managed to get a copy of each of the three decidedly hippie era movies which I loved so much when they were first released.
Never thought much about them at the time, but woke this morning with 'the' song running through my head. Up out of bed at 5am, made myself a big mug of chai to take outside to drink in the freshness of a still dark and raining morning in my new outdoor kitchen area. It was while I was waiting for the kettle to boil that echoes of 'the' song started me thinking...
With all the problems the world is facing at present, we can come together in an effort to help alleviate the suffering of those affected, can work side by side regardless of differences in race, religion, skin colour, financial or educational status. Why is it in our everyday lives so many people can applaud these efforts and yet not manage to do the same in their own lives?
Ok yes there have been some horrific occurrences in the past, but isn't perpetuating the hate only perpetuating the wish for retaliation and continuing the desire for revenge? How many millions have to die before we can learn to accept the differences and strive to find the similarities?
And now I'll get off my soap box and sit outside in the pre-dawn peace and quiet, to listen and see the world waking up. Please take a few minutes to check out the song below, 'the' song I think of every time I hear mention of the 'Billy Jack' movies...
'...one tin soldier rides away...' This song sends shivers down my spine every single time.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Last time I started the 28 Day Bootcamp Workout Challenge I was doing ok for the first week, then started to come down with a whole pile of symptoms than made me feel really dreadful, robbed me of energy and made it hard to even get up out of bed in the morning. Next, as I was getting over that, was Fiona's wedding, and the nightmare of making sure everything was going to be organized, that nothing was going to be forgotten, so far as taking Dad from the nursing home to a new and completely unfamiliar (to both of us) dementia specific respite house in Geelong. I just couldn't cope with the Challenge, so let it slide.
When we returned (me still feeling totally without energy, and Dad so confused he just gave up speaking and instead stayed within his own imaginary world where life was easier), I decided that lying round wasn't helping, that I needed to force myself back into exercising and catching up on all the stuff I'd neglected in past weeks. Making the decision was easier, by far, than the reality, but little by little I'm getting back to normal. My first step was to start again on the Bootcamp Workout Challenge, bt this time there was no excuse for not following through.
Today I did my Day 7 workout for week 1. Since the first time I tackled it to today, I have noticed that I can hold positions longer, reach further, stretch easier, than I could first time around. Had I not repeated this week and been able to compare it with my results last time I wouldn't have realized just how much better I am doing this time to the last. I can even feel myself, when I think I can't hold a pose or continue with an exercise, finding a little extra strength, endurance and determination to hang on just that little bit longer. I am getting there, I am actually doing it!
I never would have imagined 7 days of 10 minutes' exercise per day could give me a more flexible body, able to do things I couldn't a week ago. These benefits carry over into my everyday life - I find I have more muscle tone, can do things I haven't been able to in ages - for instance yesterday when I mowed the front lawns, I'd accidentally forgotten to charge the electric start, and was just about to give up till today when it would be charged. Nope, I was going to give that cord a pull, and keep pulling it till I got it started. Haven't been able to start a mower that way in years, but yesterday I did it, and did it more than once!
Exercising our muscles isn't just about a slimmer, more toned body. For me at 56 years of age, exercising is a way to not only make sure I hold on to the things I've been able to do all this time into the future, its about finding I can do things I couldn't do, and its about doing all I can to make sure my body is fit and healthy and well nourished enough to carry me through into an active, healthy old age.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I have just finished eating dinner, but not just any dinner, it was the biggest dinner I've eaten since returning to Spark People last April! Autumn is happening here in Australia, and in our town its hit with a vengeance - cold mornings that make you want to snuggle back under those bedclothes, sunny but not always warm days, and from about 5pm the cold starts creeping in again...
I love summer, but I absolutely loathe being cold, and detest winter. I have great difficulty coping with the cold, and in the past, the only way I have managed to put up with it was by turning the heating right up and eating big, carb laden meals.
I'm almost at the end of week 2 of maintenance, and there is no way I am going to put back that weight I managed to lose. All day long I've been craving a big serving of some kind of hot, spicy casserole, topping a base of rice. Normally I'd have made a really hot, creamy curry, lots of coconut cream, which would be served over steamed white long grain rice. Not this time! I now had to put into practice all the things I've learned while edging my way towards my goal weight.
To divert my mind from curry and rice, I called in on a friend - the best move I could have made, lol. I had a coffee, and then we went out into her garden so we could pull out some of the small succulents which had self sown in a garden bed. They are nothing spectacular on their own, but when they flower, they have a mass of tiny pink fluffy flowers, which when fully open would measure at least 4 inches across. I brought 4 plants home with me for the garden I put in a few months ago.
We moved on to check out her veggie garden, and as a result I came home with a bag of rainbow chard, a half dozen zucchinis, some banana chilis, and some seeds of yet another easy grow plant, name of which is also unknown. Driving home I decided some of these were going to make up the basis of my dinner tonight, and I was going to cook enough of 'whatever it was' to take for lunch tomorrow, and hopefully for another 2 servings to freeze for later meals.
My dinner tonight consisted of a little olive oil to fry freshly crushed garlic, finely chopped chilis, sliced onions, chopped rainbow chard stems and zucchini slices, and once they had begun to soften a little, in went the chopped chard leaves. Once they began to wilt I added a can of no added salt crushed tomatoes, a can of drained and rinsed red kidney beans, and a jar of medium hot low salt chunky tomato salsa. I allowed that to simmer, covered, till it was combined and to allow the flavours to combine, then decided to add 2 portions of steamed brown rice, which I stirred through evenly. After that was thoroughly heated I ladled myself out a huge bowl.
Absolutely wonderful - delicious, spicy, warming, filling, satisfying... and so low carb it was impossible to believe. There are at least another 5 servings in the pan, which means that the major source of carbs - the rice- only equates to one third cup per serve! I was glad I had mixed the rice through the veggie mixture, because not only did it take on their flavours, it swelled a little more, and helped thicken the juices to create the perfect sauce.
As with all my other spur of the moment creations, I just threw in whatever amount of veggies I felt like adding, didn't measure anything, and the only amount I know accurately was the one can of red kidney beans. Strange how these recipes are those which are so enjoyable I'd love to replicate them quite often, and how at times I get close, but never quite the exact result.
All I know is that this would have to be one of the most satisfying meals I think I've eaten, which managed to counteract the miserably cold weather and my hunger, as well as being really low in calories, carbs, sodium, and fats. Definitely a winner! I am one very happy Sparker right now!
Here's a photo of the leftovers still in the pan on the stovetop. Believe me, it tastes - and smells - way better than it looks, but just wanted to share the picture with you too, lol.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Think I'm 'weddinged-out' somehow. Not that I didn't have a wonderful time, not that it wasn't enjoyed by everyone there, its just that I feel in need of a break from all things wedding while I give my mind and body a chance to recover.
Feeling better today than yesterday, and thankfully felt better yesterday afternoon than I did in the morning. Got all my exercise in yesterday, and today other than the walk to see Dad this afternoon and home again, I'm done.
Today is my repeated Week 1, Day 2 of the 28 Day Bootcamp Challenge, did the 10 Minute video for that, followed by the 20 Minute Resistance Band Workout video, which I found harder than I'd expected. Showed me well and truly which muscle groups I've been lax about exercising. I plan to repeat the workout each day for at least a fortnight, so I can get a little added strength in the places it's apparently lacking.
I've just returned home after a 30 minute walk with the dogs, only the second time since Ned staged that escape from the old house, leaving Keiodie there in the yard asleep. I found him quite some time later, curled round the base of a young tree, fast asleep, with a lovely lady petting him and concerned about his being out alone. Since that time he has backed away whenever he saw the leashes in my hands. I didn't push it, let him get over it in his own time, and Sunday afternoon he was so glad to see me return, and the arrival of two friends, he allowed Sarah to put on his collar and leash and take him walking. He wouldn't allow me to walk him, maybe just in case I took him away from the yard he obviously loves spending time in.
Today Ned and Keiodie were both excited at the prospect of a midday walk, and we all enjoyed our 30 minutes in the sunshine, walking the streets, while they stopped to sniff at any interesting smells. I was tempted to walk further, but after 20 minutes, Ned was slowing down, kept looking at me anxiously, and was beginning to whine quietly to himself. As soon as I said 'Ok, let's go home', his head was held high again, the tail was wagging enthusiastically and we picked up the pace instantly.
It's back to my course tomorrow, but I will definitely make sure we all have another 30 minute walk before I leave for Eventide in the morning, because all three of us enjoyed the exerc ise today. We will gradually increase time and distance, and once again Ned, Keiodie and I will be walking the 2 or 3 mile walks we used to enjoy each day.
In times past, whenever I felt over-tired, over-stressed, or just plain exhausted, as I have been since returning from the wedding, I have handled it by lazing round feeling sorry for myself, telling myself rest is what I needed. This time I tried exercise in an effort to increase my energy levels. Valuable lesson learned - exercise really does elevate my energy levels, improves my mood, and makes me want to keep moving!
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