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April is the cruelest month

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 2009 has been a challenging month for me so far! With my husband back, I am not doing very well at getting to bed early or controlling my eating, so my weight is back up a bit.

We are waiting with trepidation to see how a problem at church is resolved. Too much to go into here; suffice it to say that this was NOT the most glorious Holy Week of my life, though the services were lovely. It is sad to contemplate parting ways with my beloved community--I pray that it doesn't come to that.

During Communion on Easter Sunday, while I was singing with the rest of the music team, I lost a contact. (Yes, I use gas-permeable hard ones, because they're comfortable for me & give me better vision than soft lenses would.) After the service a dozen or more people tried to help me find it, but no luck.

My husband is feeling quite gloomy about prospects for getting an appropriate job.

But there are some good things, as always.

1. On Saturday I went back to regular strength-training exercises for the first time since I injured my arm--& I did fine, with smaller dumbbells to begin working back up to my previous level.

2. The weather is ever-so-slowly getting warmer.

3. We did our taxes yesterday & found that we had been pretty close to the target for paycheck withholding (a small federal refund, a somewhat larger state payout). That was a big relief.

4. Easter afternoon we had an especially nice time with my kids, who came for dinner & did some of the prep & lingered afterward for a game of Trivial Pursuit & then prolonged conversation.

5. Recently another of my poems was accepted for publication. And a friend & I will be featured readers at a monthly poetry reading on April 26!--a real honor during National Poetry Month.

Edited to add two more:
6. My hot flashes really are fading away!

7. The lost contact prompted me to make an appointment for my husband & me at the eye doc. I did need an adjustment on my lenses, & my husband needed his first bifocals. And there was enough money on our flex savings card to cover the charges for both.

I have to keep reminding myself of the good stuff. And I'm thankful that I am loved by a God who knows what it is to suffer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 4/18/2009 1:42AM

You really are a God send in my life!! Here you have issues, problems, etc... and you say it quickly like you are just throwing it out of your system and then you fill it back up with all those positive things! You are awesome my dear!

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CTEMPLE 4/17/2009 8:48PM

    So many positive things!

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ILYSE721 4/15/2009 7:07PM


I am glad to see that some things are getting better (like your arm and the hot flashes).

Jeff and I have had some church issues in the past, too, so I feel for you. Pray and ask him to show you where you really belong and I will be doing the same.



Comment edited on: 4/15/2009 7:08:12 PM

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Dribs & drabs

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I have a few small things to update & celebrate . . .

1. Tomorrow I have a PT evaluation, to see how much progress I've made. I think the PT will agree it's been a lot! Yesterday & today I have even tried modified pushups & can do them without pain to my arm. Keep in mind that I've never been good at even modified pushups . . . it's something I should work on consistently.

2. I love the way I feel after doing my PT exercises & the final stretches.

3. Mentally I've been counting my PT as my main exercise these days, & finally today I made it official. It takes me at least half an hour daily, so I should give myself credit. I found 5 strength-training exercises in the SP menu that are close enough to the ones I've been doing, & entered them on my fitness tracker.

4. Nowadays, any day I am going to go straight from work to a meeting or event, in the morning I usually try to pack a supper as well as my lunch, to heat up & eat at the office before I leave. This means I can be efficient & do my food tracking all at once over the lunch hour. It's great to already know that I'm well within my calorie range--& to have a specific yummy supper to look forward to: dhal with a bit of brown rice; papaya chunks; & half a cup of extremely creamy but nonfat cottage cheese. A scrumptious dinner for just 332 calories!

5. My husband started daily walking yesterday! In January when he had a long-overdue checkup, his new doctor advised him to walk at least 20 mins. per day. He is finally getting started, & of course he felt really good afterward. Yay!

6. The hot flashes seem to be petering out (knock on wood)!! OK, it's too soon to say for sure, because last June I had a whole month of no hot flashes but then they returned in July . . . but what I started noticing yesterday is that I had only a couple, both in the evening, & they were "mini" flashes. The heat started coming over me but then it sorta faded away. I had another one like that just now. It would be GREAT to see them fade away altogether this spring!

7. I'm meeting my sister tonight (maybe her husband too) to hear a presentation by Bill McKibben, a really excellent writer/thinker on earthcare/environmental issues. Really looking forward to it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 4/4/2009 7:33PM

    I am so super excityed to hear how well your arm is doing and wow, how dedicated is that to pack your supper too? You are awesome girl! I hope one day to be as prepared and "together" as you seem to be, LOL!

I sure hope those hot flashes go away completely and for good. I hear they are the most awful things and I do not look forward to having them, LOL!


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CTEMPLE 4/3/2009 6:00AM

    Dear Ruth, overjoyed with all your achievements!

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Why it's a good idea to leave some calorie space

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yesterday I was feeling a bit smug because I had tallied my calories (ahead of time, because what I was going to eat for supper was measured out) & was a little below the minimum. One of my colleagues had filled her treat bowl with chocolate miniatures, so I helped myself to four of those. I was still well within the recommended calorie range . . .

But after Bible study last night, my friend who hosts us brought out a cold Coke each for Emily & me, & then poured some Doritos into a bowl for us. Normally I would just respond with a polite no (I don't drink Coke OR eat Doritos!), but this was definitely a moment that required a cheerful yes. A. & J. (married couple) & their kids are originally Burundian; they were refugees in Tanzania for a number of years & came to the U.S. about a year ago. They are currently unemployed & plan to move to Nashville soon to be near some relatives, who have told them it's easier to get work there--& a lot cheaper to rent an apartment.

Emily & I (both native to the U.S.) have been using Bible study as a way to help J. & A. learn English--we print out "easy English" copies of the Scripture that will be the preaching text on the upcoming Sunday & read through them together. (These are available online, easy to find by googling "easy English Bible.") It has been wonderful to immerse myself in the accounts of Jesus' life in the gospel of Mark in this way: trying to explain the most basic terms, sometimes by acting them out. A. & J. are Christian, which helps, but Emily & I don't know any Swahili or Kirundi, the languages they're most familiar with. Yet I feel as if I've gotten inside these Bible passages in a new way.

Currently living on unemployment & food stamps, A. was offering the chips & Coke out of pure love. No way was I going to say no. My calorie count was just a bit higher than it should have been yesterday as a result, but it was well worth it. Oh--& the jolt of caffeine shortly before bedtime didn't make my insomnia flare up at all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 4/4/2009 7:28PM

    God blessed your efforts to honor Him by not allowing that caffeine to affect your sleep and I sincerely doubt that those doritos will affect your waist, either.

What a blessing it must be to be able to reach out like you have and teach someone. The added language barrier makes it even greater. I have wondered how teachers who know only English and a bit of Spanish teach ESL kids and they do such a wonderful job.

I bet you will miss A. & J. when they move to Nashville and I pray they are able to find a good job there.


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GETHEALTHY231 3/30/2009 3:43PM

    What a blessing to be able to show God's love in both words and actions! Sometimes we have to do things for the greater good and I am thankful you did. What a wonderful commitment you have to your two friends to share God's word with them under such language barriers. I would love to be fly on the wall to see you acting things out! I'm sure there are some hilarious moments.

Now, this isn't an excuse to "take one for the team" and go over more often for doritos and coke - just joking. emoticon

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Ways that hot flashes actually help me

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've been meaning to make this list, as I am heartily tired of hot flashes but have noticed a few benefits they bring. emoticon

1. They almost always come when I'm a bit under pressure, stressed, or just running out the door. So they help me stop & notice those feelings.

2. During the winter when a hot flash hits just as I'm running out the door, my mood instantly perks up because no matter how cold it is outside, I'm packing a portable heater & feel completely comfortable! Heh. Of course this benefit will soon be gone as spring establishes itself here in Chicago, but it definitely helped me get through this winter.

3. They keep me drinking lots of water. Even on winter days, I am often wanting ice water instead of hot tea because of my built-in heater. My water intake has shot up since hot flashes started arriving just over a year ago (intake has also been helped along by my trusty Camelbak bite-valve bottle). emoticon

4. I look kinda cute when my cheeks get all rosy. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 3/26/2009 1:07AM

    Leave it to you to make a positive out of a negative!!! I may need reminded of these in a few years!

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ILYSE721 3/17/2009 6:57PM

    Very positive Ruth!

I wish I could agree with #2 but its been in the 90s the last few days here and was an extremely mild winter (even as far as Phoenix winters go). Maybe that's why I have been wishing for a vacation in Alaska.

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Using the Recipe Calculator

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm going to have to contact SP staff to advocate improvements in the calculator at SparkRecipes. Those of us who cook from scratch have to struggle with some real limitations there.

First of all, most of the legumes in the database show no option of dry measurements, which I need. I have to go to the "Equivalents" page in my trusty More with Less Cookbook & look up that legume (or a very similar one. Today, to track the 1.5 cups of dry lentils that I included in the soup I'm making, I went there & saw that 1 pound of dry lentils = 2.3 cups --> 6 cups cooked. To find out what 1.5 cups comes out to, I had to divide 6 by 2.3 = 2.6, & then multiply 1.5 x 2.6 = 3.9.

Quite byzantine! It would make my Sparklife a lot easier if I didn't have to figure all that out.

When I finished adding all the foods & clicked to calculate the nutritional values, I ran into another problem. The sodium content was through the roof--more than 1,500 grams per serving. That made no sense, since I had used all fresh ingredients (except for the lentils & quinoa, which had no added salt). Finally I realized: it must be the "chicken broth or bouillon" I had added from the database without checking out the sodium content. Indeed, it has huge amounts of salt. Turns out there is NO homemade broth option in the database--they are all canned/processed versions. Finally I found a "natural / low sodium" one that didn't include MUCH salt, so I added that.

I hope I can figure out a place to report these issues. It's easy to get tired of tracking one's food when entering the recipe takes a long time & requires one's own mathematical calculations! emoticon

But otherwise, I'm doing fine! Heh. In a little while I'm going out on my first "it's almost spring!" run!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 3/14/2009 5:16PM

    I agree... the recipe calculator IS hard to use and I don't like that you just put servings in instead of what IS the serving, like 1/2 cup or whatever, ya know?

Sparkpeople is making improvements all the time, so I am sure they will take your suggestions into consideration.


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