Monday, August 30, 2010
This was a three moonflower night - so pretty and fragrant! Usually we only get one at a time.
I hope you enjoy!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Well, my friends, one of my BIG discoveries since joining Spark People in my efforts to lose 30 pounds and regain my strength and stamina, is learning what a powerful impact stress hormones have on weight gain and the ability to shed those extra pounds. It didn't seem to matter how good my diet was or how much exercise I got, when stress reared its ugly head, my efforts to control my weight felt futile. So now, with this new discovery, stress management is as high on my list of life-style choices as diet and exercise.
Today was the school work bee, signifying the 'real' beginning of the new school year. I need to refocus my efforts. It doesn't matter how much I love teaching where I teach, love the children I teach, and love my co-workers, teaching is stressful. My summer, while there have been some very pleasant aspects of it, has also been stressful, so I am not entering the new school year Rested and Ready. Just Ready.
Part of Ready is having my classroom and materials organized and beautiful. Part of Ready is having my home organized and beautiful. And part of Ready is having my stress management plans - well..... organized and beautiful.
One of my primary personal goals for the school year is to prevent as much stress as possible and to have stress management plans in place:
After a lot of research, I ordered my Sleep Number Bed to, hopefully, alleviate the searing pain in my hip that wakes me up every couple of hours every night so I can, hopefully, get sound and uninterrupted sleep.
Related to that, I downloaded onto my iPod several different guided meditations specifically for sound sleep .
I need to wind down each evening with yoga, meditation, or both.
I am trying to eat only healthy foods, and packing nutritious lunches.
As recommended by my Alexander teacher and physical therapist, I will continue with water aerobics twice a week.
While the weather is still great, I plan to ride my bike at least 3 days a week.
Walk every day - this is where Stella is my best help-mate
Make certain that my life never gets so busy that I do not pursue my passions.
Keep in mind the many things I am grateful for.
I know I am not alone in my ongoing quest for effective stress management strategies and life-style changes; so many of us are! I hope that you can push me back on track if I fly off kilter, and that I can do the same for you.
What are your favorite effective stress management techniques? How can we best help each other?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Hi My Friends,
I have had to back way off of the Spark People site, although not the Spark People lifestyle. I have missed having the time to read your blogs, one of my favorite things on this site. My summer was as busy as I expected it to be with the joyful expected visit with my sister and niece, our visit to Myrtle Beach, and visits with friends in the south along the way. And life was busier than I expected it to be with the loss of my sweet mother-in-law, selling her house and car, finding the right places for her special things, and the emotional work of loss, as well as busier than expected with my brother's and friend's cancers, my fall, and physical therapy.
That said, a few updates:
My friend is doing very well with her chemo. It has actually made her feel better instead of worse. Her husband says that if it weren't for her lack of hair, you wouldn't know she was sick. She continues to be upbeat and an inspiration to me.
My friend who had gotten beaten almost to death has made about an 80% recovery. His head injury was severe, but he is back to living his life, helping at the church, and is another inspiration in my life with his positive energy and lack of bitterness.
My brother is still contending with fear and frustration with his cancer. It is hard to be of any help so far away, especially when he is someone who rejects help. I am hoping to take a little time off of work in Oct. to spend a few days in Martha's Vineyard with him. October is when he can get some vacation time. We need some together time and to do something fun together.
Music has been fun when I have had time for it this summer. I added voice lessons to my classes, so I have been studying voice as well as guitar. Music has always held an important part in my life - it is a meditation and a joy.
The feeling has not returned to my toe even after a month of PT. The podiatrist was discouraged and believes I will need to have a nerve stimulator implanted in my back to send messages to my foot. I am not even a little bit ready to veer off of my course of PT, strengthening my core with back-safe exercises, and working to keep my piriformis muscles and hip flexors strong and flexible. My physical therapist says that nerve damage takes a long time to heal, so I am feeling very strongly that patience and work will pay off - right now I feel much more patient than my podiatrist.
Today, I finally got to the dentist after my head injury. At first, I did not want to go because there was no way I could hold my mouth open for the dentist to do anything. Then I went all Drama Queen and worried that he would tell me all of my chipped teeth would have to be capped, so even after my jaw healed, I didn't want to go. The news wasn't that bad (it rarely is ); he repaired nine chipped teeth and said, as my PT did, the nerve damage (to my teeth) will take a while to heal but he believed it would.
Finally, my bike has been getting a workout. Well, I have anyway. It has been pleasantly cool in the morning for biking and Mike left my bike at the school so I don't have to lift it in and out of the car. Also, I have started water aerobics at the Y and signed up for a personal trainer. Don't worry - I told her all of my current restrictions and she will be working within those parameters. If she doesn't, I'm out of there! But I am happy to have an exercise class I can go to so I can stay motivated now that the school year has started up.
My weight goal met, I have turned my attention to regaining my strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. One of my big goals this year, my hardest one, and the one I would most appreciate your support with, is stress management. Once the school year begins, with all of the busy-ness that entails, I often go into overload and spiral right down the stress path.
Big Goal - STRESS MANAGEMENT!
My house is organized - which, aside from totally enjoying my sister and niece, was my main goal for the summer. After 4 years of taking care of my parents and their house, mine had become kind of a disaster area. De-cluttering should go a long way toward reducing stress!
Now my attention has turned toward my classroom, and I have been putting my time and energy there full time. I have written my Welcome Back letters to my returning students, Welcome to the Older Group letters to my new students, my Pep Talk Confidence letters to my graduates and got all of the letters in the mail.
We start later than many schools - Sept. 1, but I am immersed in preparing for the school year and being ready to hit the ground running when the children arrive.
Three of the girls are laying now!
This is 3 days worth of eggs from the girls who not long ago looked like this:
Miss Stella continues to be a ball of energy every day, then crashes in the evening. She is like a little kid - it's so cute! She has enjoyed the times when I have taken her along when I work in the classroom.
I am afraid that I will not be very present here on SP for at least a few more weeks as the school year gets underway, especially since that overlaps with my PT which is also time consuming. I will try to at least stop by once a day, but I sincerely hope you haven't been feeling like, and won't feel like, I don't care about you if I haven't checked in or responded to your blogs. If you need a little TLC or just want to touch bases, feel free to send me an email.
Wishing all of my friends strength, health, happiness, and flexibility of body and mind.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I am feeling frustrated with my back pain and fighting depression. Occasionally, I can knock it back to tolerable, but for quite a few days I have not known whether to cry or throw up. Ice, NSAIDs, gentle stretching, and rest help minimally. Before I started PT, my toe was numb, but my back didn't hurt. Now I am feeling a bit of relief from my foot neuropathy, but am struggling with my back and hip. My physical therapist is working with all of this, and included some electro-stimulus and moist heat therapy with my last session.
Several of my sweet friends have complimented me on my 14,750 fitness minutes. For the last couple of weeks, those have been strength training for my back (exercises recommended or approved by my PT), walking, and swimming. It is not comfortable, but on the other hand, it does seem to help loosen my back muscles and hopefully strengthening will add to the support I need for full healing. I wish I could be biking, but it is still too hot and humid and I do not want to add any more stress to my body.
I hate feeling whiney, but, there you have it. A second vent from Chris.
On the bright side of my days, we got our second egg from one of our pullets, so we had enough tiny eggs for breakfast.
Tiny fresh egg over easy, oat bran/flaxseed waffle, and fresh blackberries = Yum!
The chickens are so healthy and gorgeous. They come running when we call them and eat out of our hands.
Myrtle and Eleanor
Denty and the Henhouse Gang
They do add joy to my life!
So I am coping with exercise, rest, counting my many blessings (which are greater than the sum of my pain), and a little help from my friends.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Just yesterday Mike and I were trying to figure out when we should be expecting our pullets to start laying. Denty, the rooster (or the Little Egg That Could) has definitely reached maturity. His crow is fully developed and he is without doubt, King of the Roost. So, it seemed that the hens should be about ready to start laying.
Last evening I went on line to see how many weeks old the chickens usually are when they start laying. Most sites said between 18 - 24 weeks, which put my Henhouse Gang right in the ball park. We had put a couple of plastic eggs in the nest box to help them get the idea of what is supposed to be going on in there. Each morning, the two plastic eggs have been sitting there without any company.
Today, however, right on cue, there was one little pullet egg sitting with the two plastic eggs!
(I took the plastic eggs out for the photoshoot )
Of course, the proud parents had to pose with the egg...
We have no idea which chicken laid the first egg, but I suspect Eleanor - she has consistently been the first chicken to try anything new.
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