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Beautiful Day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This has been a picture perfect day, sun shining, blue skies, green, green grass, flowering trees, and a smell of spring in the air.

Early in the morning, while it was still nippy, I went to the Y and walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes. This is the first time I have used my Kindle while exercising. It worked pretty well, but because of the movement of walking, the view of the page went up and down. Later in the day, I got a wonderful walk in with Stella, out in the meadow watching birds while the poodle zoomed around at top speed just enjoying the freedom to sprint.

My friend, Sue, and I worked on some new songs. She didn't bring her banjo, but we played on guitars and my mandolin and uke. We talked about stress management; we deal with it in the same ways: music, art, walks, and time with family and friends. We are both teachers and have noticed that the profession of teaching has become more and more stressful. Like me, she has developed a hiatal hernia in the last few years. I am still puzzling over the best way to meet the current demands on teachers, be an effective teacher, and not develop stress related disorders. Obviously, I haven't found the answer yet.

On this sunny day, I am feeling very positive about meeting my goals, my progress, and being able to bring my self back into sync with good health.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLIAN 5/1/2011 8:32AM


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MARY1313 5/1/2011 12:02AM

    Meowmama, I love that word, nincompoopery! LOLOL!!!!

Love the picture in my mind of Stella and the picture of the flower. beautiful.


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MEOWSNEWPAGE 4/30/2011 10:13PM

    composing music is good stress relief !
do we get to hear it when it is completed?
I helped pour concrete then had dinner with the neighbors and played my guitar for stress relief today

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 4/30/2011 8:51PM

    Nice day! Stella is lucky to have such a caring owner. I feel so bad for the dogs who don't get walked in my neighborhood.

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IUHRYTR 4/30/2011 7:52PM

    Continue making the best of every day and doing the best job you can, including caring for our doggie friend Stella. -- Lou

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MEOWMAMA3 4/30/2011 7:16PM

    What a glorious day! You deserve it teacher-sister! I hear you loud and clear on the stress management of the profession. If it makes you feel any better, I think we experienced teachers, though worn down, handle the stresses better than most newbies I meet. They are dumbfounded by the politics and bureaucratic nincompoopery that nobody prepared them for in college. And working for a really low starting wage, not knowing if they'll get laid off or never hired....and then there's the actual teaching of the children. Sheesh! It's enough to make me run out and buy a lottery ticket! Enjoy your Sunday. I'll be outside trying to tame my backyard jungle. It was too cold and rainy during my break to do anything out there.

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WATERMELLEN 4/30/2011 6:28PM

    It's good to feel good -- and to be one of those people who notices!!

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BILL60 4/30/2011 5:36PM

    Hang in there!!

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My Food Tracker Hates Me - But Meeting My Fitness Goals

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dealing with my GERD has been a challenge. I have been having such digestive pain, I hardly want to eat because my food punishes me after eating. For the past week, my food tracker has been yelling at me. Yup. It does that. I haven't been getting enough calories, calcium. protein, fat or carbs. Today, I decided to go on a smoothie fast to give my stomach a chance to rest and maybe do a little healing. Because of my hypoglycemia, I have to consume protein and carbs throughout the day or I can get almost comatose, so I can no longer just do a water or juice fast. Over all, I think it was a good plan, as I have felt much more comfortable today than I have for quite a while. But I swear I could see my food tracker having convulsions when I tracked my meals today.

I joined the Spring into Spring Bootcamp and am really enjoying it.

Coach Nicole's short workout videos have been fun; I especially enjoyed today's video for arm strength using resistance bands. The videos have helped me break the cycle of being bored with the same old exercises. Even though I have done most of the exercises in the past, it is fun to get back to them and have them arranged a little differently. Another benefit to the videos is that they are no-excuses short. Once I m done with them, I am craving more exercise so I add on with exercises of my own. Sometimes the very thought of a long exercise video will make me want to take a nap instead of exercising.

Walks have been varying in terms of pleasant. It seems like many mornings I have to put on boots, a sweater, and a raincoat to go out for my walks, but today was a beautiful, sunny day, although chilly. No matter what the weather, my walks outside are always entertaining between my rambunctious poodle, the nesting birds (today I saw Mama Hawk guarding her nest), and wildflowers.

I'm also getting in lots of music practice time. I just got a new concert ukelele - it's a little bigger than my little blue uke, and much better quality. And it's really cute!

I hauled out my mandolin, so I have my uke, mandolin, and guitar all next to each other and I am practicing the same songs with each of the three instruments. It is definitely brain gymnastics to do that because they all have different chord shapings. I am having so much fun with them, it's hard to put them down.

Stress management? I am still working on that one. The walks, exercise, and music are all part of my stress management program. I am doing deep breathing... but not enough yoga and meditation. If you get a chance, nag me about that so I'll do a better job of kicking back into my old yoga/meditation habits.

I am VERY open to suggestions for other stress management strategies. I am discovering that stress really HAS made me sick, so apparently my stress management program wasn't as effective as I thought it was.

This has been a tough week both health-wise and at work, so I am very happy for the weekend. I plan to get to the gym tomorrow morning, then a trip the farmer's market, and music with friends. I hope you have a lovely and relaxing weekend, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NO_SNOW_BODY 4/30/2011 7:46PM

    great blog, at least you know your triggers and how to calm things down a bit

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MEOWMAMA3 4/30/2011 7:21PM

    Chris, you, of all the people I know, seem to be doing every possible positive, calming, focusing thing to relieve stress. I really feel for you because I know the type of school stress that is wearing you down and I suffer from it too. I am literally in tears by the end of my last class at least once a week, they are so awful and I get so frustrated. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm pulling for you and am here for you if you need a shoulder. Enjoy that new uke! I really love the scrollwork! Hang in there, summer is in sight!

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MEOWSNEWPAGE 4/30/2011 4:07PM

    Yup Stress will make you sick. It makes me eat then it makes me sick in all body, mind and spirit.
this might sound crazy but church has helped me. I am going again tomorrow.

emoticon and hugs too hug our hubby several times a day!
emoticon sorry

Comment edited on: 4/30/2011 4:08:29 PM

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    Hmm. Stress is my middle name so not sure I could offer advice on how to avoid. How to get more, sure!
I'm learning the power of "no".
No, I won't make that decision for you or no, I won't let your problems become mine. The first time I told my DH "no" in this context, I felt guilty as he relies on me...way too much. This is so funny because his job is to make crisis decisions! However the empowerment was a reliever as I thought about the reverse and do I rely on him to make simple decisions for me? The answer was no. So when he asks what he should have for dinner, chore to do next(yes, he does)I have learned to let these simple questions go and put it back on him.
It may sound simple or small but those small reliances were becoming VERY stressful. Perhaps there are some things in your life you can hand back. Look at all those things you do in your work and how many decisions you make daily for ???numbers of students and family.

I'm learning as I hand back small things I can focus on the bigger. Now if he could just remember where he left his keys...

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 4/30/2011 2:52AM

    Beautiful guitar emoticon

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MARY1313 4/30/2011 2:43AM

    I have GERD too. Please take something for it. I threw up in my sleep from it and aspirated myself, not once but twice. I was in the hospital 8 days each time. I'm so fortunate to have lived through that, and a lot of people don't. I take prilosec and it has helped so much.

My brother's vocal chords were damaged by GERD, by the acid eating into them. It's really not something that I felt like I could treat myself. It scared me too badly!


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WATERMELLEN 4/29/2011 9:50PM

    You're doing a great job of dealing with exercise, GERD and stress (all interrelated): and the new uke is a great idea too!!

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Dang - Another Health Challenge

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saw my doctor today about the hiatal hernia my chiropractor diagnosed. She was concerned about my swallowing problems and has referred me to a digestive specialist who will do an endoscopy. Don't know when that will be yet.

The GERD pain is inconsistent, it comes and goes. But for some reason, it is at its worse at 3:00am and wakes me up. It is hard to fall back asleep. My doctor gave me some Nexium to take, which is supposed to kick in in a few days. I have been resistant to taking that kind of medication because it is not without its own health risks, but she would like me to take it short term to see if it helps me heal.

She also says this is related to stress. I know I have blogged about what a stressful year I am having. I thought the stress was only making me tired, but apparently it is changing the very contours of my inner body; even with all of the stress management techniques I have been practicing.

In the meantime, I am having a great deal of difficulty eating enough and it really shows up on my food trackers. I have always had an iron stomach. I could eat anything and I love spicy food. Recently, though, I have been adhering to a strict GERD diet, but suffering each time I eat no matter how bland it is.

This is NOT a lifestyle change I am enjoying at all.

The fun change I have made is join the Official Spring Into Shape Bootcamp Challenge. I am enjoying some new routines.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAJANE 5/3/2011 12:44PM

    emoticon I too hope it's a bug. And that you can keep enjoying spring and the pup 'cuz I love your pix. I've joined the spring bootcamp too. But for stress i need to do yoga with the wii fit.... emoticon

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    Make sure your doctor tests you for H-Pylori. I discovered that was the cause of my GERD. Once the infection was cleared up, my GERD went away!

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    ARGHHHHHHHH emoticon emoticon

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IUHRYTR 4/29/2011 7:06PM

    I know you will overcome this challenge as you have so many others, with confidence and resolution and a positive attitude. -- Lou

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SIRIRADHA 4/29/2011 10:04AM

    It's common for GERD to show up at night. I hope the meds work for you. I have esophogeal spasms sometimes and they are horrible! You've probably heard all this before, but try sleeping with your upper body elevated, take a Tums before bedtime, don't drink alcohol because it relaxes the sphincter that keeps the stomach acid down there where it belongs, and eat small meals. That's my big contribution for what it's worth.

I hope things ease up for you posthaste!

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CAROLIAN 4/29/2011 4:01AM

    I have had this problem for about 15 yr my consultant says stress so i get camera every time it plqays up though med seem to work at the moment.The consultant told me to loose 1/3 or my weight which i did from 21st -14 and he wants at least another 4-5 off.I got rid of cause of stress housemate 11 yr ago and havent been too bad. emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 4/28/2011 10:14PM

    That must be such a bummer- I've seen pictures of that delicious food you cook! I hope you can be a happily retired woman soon- think of all the free hours to work on your fairy house projects, and your music. At the very least, Summer vacation is just around the corner! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEOWSNEWPAGE 4/28/2011 9:33PM

    emoticon for stress and anxiety and more emoticonjust for being you.
doctors tend to treat symptoms(unless you are me)
sometimes talking can get to the root cause
I'm always ready to listen when you want spark mail me.

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WATERMELLEN 4/28/2011 9:13PM

    Glad you're seeing a digestive specialist: hope you get the help you need, and sorry about the GERD in the meantime . . . miserable!!

Here's to a big bowl of Greek yogourt, my go-to when my tummy is upset. And maybe some mint tea??

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OLDERDANDRT 4/28/2011 9:02PM

    emoticon!! GLad to see you've joined that "Challenge"!!! I did, too!! SOrry you're having tummy trouble! Maybe you'll feel better once school is out for the year and take away some stress, even tho it's only for the Summer. Hope to see you around the Spring challenge!! emoticon

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 4/28/2011 8:54PM

    You keep yourself informed & pay attention to what your body is telling you. Many of us don't follow such sensible routines. Is the bland diet temporary?

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Mama Bluebird

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I decided that rain or shine I am taking a minimum of two walks a day; my long one in the morning before work and my shorter one in the late afternoon/evening through the meadow and woods with Stella.

One of the first things I did when we bought our house 15 years ago was put a blue bird trail in the meadow. This time of year, I enjoy checking the blue bird houses, counting the eggs and watching the baby blue birds as they fledge and grow. I posted a picture of one of the nests with 5 eggs in it in my Earth Day blog.

Today, I was actually able to get a photo of Mama Bluebird on her nest. I have promised her I would ignore her and her nest for at least a week now.

I'll have to go back to bothering the spring flowers instead.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 4/30/2011 7:23PM

    Beautiful! I got in my car this morning and looked up and saw a bright red cardinal on my front steps. He flew to the tree and we stared at each other for a solid minute and then off he flew! We've also had a flock of geese feeding in the field behind us. They make quite a racket but look so regal when they fly away in formation!

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MARY1313 4/30/2011 2:46AM

    Awww beautiful!!!


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OLDERDANDRT 4/27/2011 9:20AM

    How'd you do that?!?! I was always taught to stay away from the boxes and nests b/c you'd scare the birds away and they wouldn't build there any more! Now, obviously, I was taught wrong since you consistently get these great pics, but how'd you do that!?!? Huh?

emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/27/2011 9:21:25 AM

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PENNYAN45 4/27/2011 4:56AM

    I didn't know one could create a bluebird trail. But after reading your blog, I googled it and learned exactly how to do it. Thanks for that.

Happy spring to you! Your work has made it a richer spring for all!


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MAWRTIAN 4/27/2011 4:22AM

    So sweet, what lucky birds. I love the hikers/campers saying of "Take only photos, leave only footsteps"


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ROCKYCPA 4/26/2011 9:30PM

    beautiful picture and good for you helping keep bluebirds alive.

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MEOWSNEWPAGE 4/26/2011 8:39PM

    peek a boo ma ma birdy

me loosing it

Comment edited on: 4/26/2011 8:41:09 PM

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MEOWSNEWPAGE 4/26/2011 8:16PM

    don't worry you can go back any time you want. Blue birds dont know how many days are in a week.
nice photo
like voyerism for yellow chocolate easter peep

Comment edited on: 4/26/2011 8:20:24 PM

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 4/26/2011 8:05PM

    FYI, I joined the 10 minute team & I used it to tracker my shorter evening walk. I t serves. 2 purposes; it helps to keep that 2 nd walk tracked & supports the Spark Team also. I am glad I did that because it made a big difference for me.

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WATERMELLEN 4/26/2011 8:03PM

    Thank you!! You get lots of credit for encouraging the heartening resurgence of bluebirds . . . they are so lovely!

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A Day in the Life of

Monday, April 25, 2011

Not a lot to report today. I was able to get a walk in before work today, as there was a break in the rain. Since I didn't get my walk at the Nature Preserve in this weekend, I went there for my morning walk. The spring flowers are blooming, but I didn't get deep enough in to see the trillium and Virginia blue bells. Although the day was gray and I had to dodge large puddles so I didn't get too wet before work, the walk was pleasant with the earth giving up the rich musky scent of wet soil and worms. A walk and the sights and aromas of spring were perfect to set my frame of mind for my day with children. Just as I arrived at back to the school driveway, it started to pour. I felt really fortunate to have been able to get my 40 minutes in between downpours.

I am back to tracking foods. Because of my back, I think my activity levels are not in sync with my caloric intake. While my weight isn't way out of control, that darn uncomfortable muffin top is happily residing just over my hips and I need to send it packing.

I am enjoying my new car, but still figuring out how to drive it for maximum efficiency and how to use some of the features. I was able to get 51.8 mpg between town and home today - not too slouchy!

I was finally able to get an appointment with an accupuncturist - yay! My appointment with her is early next week, so I'll let you know how it goes. I am really looking forward to it and hoping that it will compliment the chiropractic work I have been getting and promote healing.

Amazon has quite a selection of soprano ukeleles for close to $20. I ran the idea of purchasing 10 or so by the school manager to add to next year's music program. I already have enough recorders for each student so I can teach music theory with woodwinds, but I can include ukes in the music program for strings. I have about 8 guitars, but the ukes are so much easier to learn, especially for small hands.

The spring beauty photos are some I took in my yard yesterday between rain showers. It just stopped raining here, so now I'm off to get in one last walk and let Stella zoom around the yard. Maybe Mrs. Bluebird will be on her nest.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 5/3/2011 8:11PM

    Hoping the school approves the purchase of the ukes. It must be tough getting funding with all the budget cuts but nothing ventured... and also hoping the acupuncture helps. It might help relieve pain and stress. -- Lou

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MEOWMAMA3 4/30/2011 7:26PM

    Lovely! Good for you walking in the mornings. I can barely find my way to my coffee! lol!

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    I grew up playing the uke and graduated to guitar and banjo. Throw in 4-5 years of violin lessons and it rounded out my strings. It's still the easiest thing for a kid to grasp. Good luck. We'lla ll get together and play "my little grass shack..."


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    Love the beautiful pics! Congrats on the positive moves you're making despite your back! emoticon

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MARY1313 4/26/2011 12:43PM

    Love the pictures! Ukes are something I have wanted to pick up but never have. Maybe I'll check on those ukes for myself!


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KRITTERKEEPERS 4/26/2011 12:10PM

    Beautiful flowers!

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AQUAJANE 4/26/2011 11:48AM

    Beautiful. I loved your last post about your MIL and the bird eggs too (but somehow my posts wouldn't take...) emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/25/2011 8:17PM

    Your spring beauties are . . . beauties! I saw some in the woods this weekend -- along with colts foot, marsh marigolds, dog tooth violet and all three colours of hepatica!!

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