Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I had been looking forward to meeting Maha as she traveled around the country, so I was delighted that she chose to stop in my town to visit. I had meant to be a better welcoming committee, but I had had a therapy session, then spent the morning cleaning my friend's house while she was in chemo. I worked a little too long and had an attack of low blood sugar so I had to hurry home to eat and revive. I did NOT want a repeat of falling and landing on my head.
So I missed being there when Maha pulled into town, but was not too far behind to drive up to the park to finally get to meet her. She told me which camp site she would be in, but after reading her blogs, I would have known her darling Toyota Dolphin anywhere. What a pleasure to pull up to the park and finally meet her!
Unfortunately, Ohio did an even worse job of welcoming Maha in than I did. It was sweltering hot, and the electric sites did not have much shade to speak of. That being said, we enjoyed each other's company immensely in spite of the heat. Maha is as delightful in person as she is in her blogs. I feel like I have met a sister spirit.
My only regret was the shortness of her stay and the tightness of my schedule, however, in spite of the heat the time we had was quality time. It was sad to see her off, and I am looking forward to reading her blog about the park in Indiana she is headed for. It looked like a very pleasant park along the Ohio River.
Maha, thank you for the delightful visit and have a safe and fabulous trip home.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
A great day all around!
I started the day with my Alexander teacher who worked with me on some back release methods then did cranial sacral work with me. She also explained some new things I could do to release the tension in my neck and back that jams up the rhythm of the cranial fluid exchange. I felt about 2" taller after I worked with her.
In the afternoon, I got together with my singing trio. We played and sang for 2 hours and had a wonderful time. We have made a lot of progress together, still have much to work on, and really enjoy working together. The three of us have been good friends for decades, and about a year ago, we added singing together as something we make special time to do.
Yesterday, I signed up at the Y so I could start getting a pattern of routine exercise started before the beginning of the school year. It will be much easier to keep it going if it is already established. I am keeping the aerobics easy until my back is healed. Today I took my first water aerobics class after a 5 year hiatus. It was really fun. I did tell the teacher in advance that I would make adaptations when there were exercises that were contraindicated for my back. After taking the class I know more about what to ask my physical therapist about what I should and should not do. I had already planned to ask her about gentle twisting because I miss that in my exercise routine. My back is actually feeling stiffer after having bending and weight restraints. I know I need to heal, but I do want to move more naturally.
Tomorrow I plan to try out the water program for arthritis as well. That one is just before the water aerobics, so I think I can do both - providing my PT agrees that it will promote healing. I have to admit to a little bit of impatience. I love to move. I love yoga. I enjoy weight lifting. And I miss them all. I know that slow is fast and I will be the first to remind others of that; too much too soon can prolong the healing process and make it take longer. What I know intellectually and what my body wants to do, are a bit at odds with one another at the moment.
To top of an already enjoyable day, on my way home this evening there was a beautiful rainbow! I haven't seen a rainbow in quite a while and this one was spectacular. What a treat!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
I have been enjoying summer for having the time to cook and the delicious summer foods to cook with. And as you know, I love photography! So combining the two - a little dinner blog.
Two personal sized blackberry cobblers ready to go into the oven. Place blackberries in the bottom of the personal sized pie tins, top with your favorite whole grain biscuit recipe, sprinkle ever so lightly with sugar, and bake in a 410 degree oven for 12 minutes.
Thai jasmine brown rice: Place in the rice cooker before starting the fish. It will be done when the rest of the meal is finished.
Red trout: place in a pan lightly coated with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, and place in 350 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Grate fresh peach over the surface and bake for 10 more minutes.
Spicy sweet potatoes: slice very thin, coat lightly with olive oil, a little salt, and some red pepper flakes, then bake along with the fish at 350 for 20 minutes.
Kale: chop and wash. Steam for 10 -15 minutes until it is tender but not mushy. Salt to taste and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.
Prep and cooking time all under 30 minutes ending up with a delicious, nutritious, and appetizing meal.
With blackberry cobbler for dessert.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Good eating and good exercise today.
I love summer food and also the luxury of time to prepare it. I started the morning with a fresh organic egg (not one from my chickens - they aren't laying yet) and an oat bran/wheat germ/ blueberry waffle. For sweetener, I just added some more blueberries, uncooked, to the top of the waffle. The recipe made 2 waffles so I froze one to become a toaster waffle tomorrow. A glass of milk topped off breakfast.
Then Mike and I went to the farmers' market to enjoy the morning, socialize, and buy some fresh produce. The young men I buy my beets from were there with some choice beets. One of them asked me if I ate the greens ( I do) which reminded me of borscht, which I haven't made for a long time. We bought the beets, some Hot,Hot,Hot PepperJam, blackberries, more eggs from the Amish girl who sells them at the market, and some purple potatoes for Mike. Thinking of the borscht, we stopped at the groceries store and bought some organic low sodium chicken broth and some no fat sour cream.
When we returned home, I started the borscht for dinner. I peeled, cleaned and sliced the beets, put them in the chicken broth to boil along with a dash of apple cider vinegar. While the beets were softening, I chopped up the beet greens, then added them to the soup. Once the beets were tender, I put the soup in the refrigerator to chill for dinner.
For lunch, I prepared green smoothies for Mike and I. The smoothies included two large kale leaves, 1 chard leaf, 1 stalk of celery, 1 Granny Smith apple, half a cup of plain yogurt, and enough cold water to make it a good drinking consistency. Put the blender on the smoothie setting and voila! A delicious lunch. Along with the smoothies, I served pita chips with a side of goat cheese mixed with a little bit of the Hot,Hot,Hot Pepper Jam. Mmmmm!
Snacks - blackberries so tart they made my mouth pucker. What a treat!
A few days ago, Mike ordered peach cobbler from Bob Evans. It was very disappointing; for starters, it appeared that either they messed up his order or they had NO idea what a cobbler is. It looked like peach pie - top crust, bottom crust, and some peaches that were probably frozen. After that experience, I decided to prepare Mike and I peach cobbler, done right, for dinner. Done right in our house means whole grains and no sugar, as Mike is diabetic.
I made biscuits using flour, wheat germ, baking powder, olive oil, and a little cold water. The cobbler was easy. I used individual mini-tart pans, chopped a peach into each one and sprinkled them with a little cinnamon. I patted out the biscuit dough to cover each tart pan, sprinkled with a little more cinnamon, then popped them into the oven for 15 minutes.
Dinner included fresh borscht and the deli chicken that Stella didn't steal . Peach cobbler for dessert.
That's what I love about summer - healthy decadence!
Physical therapy is the motivator I needed to get back into a reliable exercise routine. I start with the 5 exercises I do for PT (2 times each day) then added on exercises for upper body strength as well as the ones I am doing for back and leg strength. Of course, Stella and I go for several walks a day, as well. This evening, I will not only do my PT exercises, I'll put in an hour of guitar playing - which (for you musicians out there) is a trackable cardio exercise.
I have been very disappointed about my bicycle. Now it is cool enough in the mornings and evenings to ride it, and riding my bike would be a great form of exercise while my back is recuperating. However, with a five pound weight restriction, I can't put it in my car and take it back out again. It isn't safe to ride out here in the country, although a lot of people do. I prefer to ride in town or go out on the bike path for longer excursions. A little creative thinking and I realized that Mike could load it into the car for me. A friend could meet me at the school and unload it. Then I could leave it in my classroom so I can go out riding when I am in town. I plan to be back to normal activities by the time the school year rolls back around so it won't take up classroom space when the children are there. In the mean time, it will be locked up and safe in a place where I can easily access it.
By the way, I definitely decided to write about the importance of freedom of movement for children to maximize their academic learning. I think it is a crime that so many schools are cutting back, or even eliminating, recess so they have more time for that infernal testing. My article will be positive, though, I won't rant. (But that's why it is so hard for me to write about things I am passionate about - I WANT to rant!) I do feel so very fortunate to teach in a school where children can go outside to play, we can go outside for lessons, and the children have freedom of movement within the classroom. For my newsletter articles, I try to show the philosophy that guides what I do educationally.
My eye is looking quite a bit better, although it still draws comments and concern. My chiropractor has been making some cranial adjustments and my Alexander teacher has been working with cranial/sacral balance.
Here are a couple of photos I hadn't included in my vacation blogs:
This is a photo of the children from Changde. Hannah is kneeling in the second row at the far left of the photo.
This picture includes the children from Changde (in orange T-shirts) and their siblings (in white T-shirts with orange writing.)
They are a very happy and well loved bunch of children, all of whom were a pleasure to spend a week with.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I am back to doing PT exercises for my exercise. Well, that and walking and organizing closets and playing my guitar and tending the chickens. Overall, it is a pretty pleasant way to burn off calories and maintain flexibility.
I bought a waffle iron the other day, the traditional kind which is hard to find - the Belgium waffle irons have become much more prevalent. When I visited my friend in NC a week ago, she made waffles for breakfast and that made me want to replace the one I used to have. I made up my own waffle mix using whole grain flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and a tiny bit of sugar. That way, I can make up enough batter for only one waffle by adding an egg, a little milk, olive oil, and blueberries right before cooking it. It is a tasty, yet wholesome, treat in the morning - although tonight I had a waffle and smoothie for dinner.
When I brought the chicks home this spring, I brought the kindergarten teacher's roosters home to raise for her. She only has enough room in her yard in town for a flock of 4 hens. This was the evening she came to pick up her two roosters - the barred rock and one of the australorps. I hated to see them go, although 3 roosters could be problematic in the long run. So now Denty is officially King of the Roost.
I can't believe it is almost August already. I have to write an article about education for the school journal by the end of the weekend, but as usual, I am having trouble getting started. I had originally been planning to write an article called, Let the Kids Do It, about letting them conquer frustration instead of giving them so much direction their work is no longer their own. Now I think I want to write about the importance of the freedom to move especially for highly active children who have a hard time sitting still. Whatever I write about, I've got to get started!
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