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Shoulder & poetry

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First, in answer to your question, Paula: The audiobook I listened to during my Arkansas trip was The Last Juror. It was definitely fiction. I enjoyed it but didn't think it was Grisham's best.

What WAS stellar was my homeward-bound audiobook: Zola Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. It's a classic & I have it at home but had gotten sidetracked when I started reading it years ago. Wow, was I foolish to let myself get distracted! Hurston does just gorgeous things with language, & the many experiences of her character Janie have to be a really faithful portrayal of life for African Americans in Florida during the first half of the 20th century. I still have one or two CDs left to finish that book--must find time this coming weekend.

I take your point on my shoulder, Paula--so glad you have experience with this kind of injury. It IS a rotator cuff problem; my x-ray the other day showed no fracture, but I already knew that. And I am definitely limiting movement with it because reaching up for my seatbelt in the car, or out the window to take a tollway ticket, leaves me in excruciating pain. I have to see an orthopedist before getting a PT referral; I can't see the ortho till next week. I've not been overly impressed with orthopedists I've dealt with in the past, but I'm hopeful that this one will be better because his group practices sports medicine as well as regular ortho.

The following is not fitness related, except in the sense that receiving rewards in the work I care about really raises my sense of well-being, & hence my motivation to exercise & eat right. At the beginning of August one of my poems won a Goodreads contest & in midmonth it was included in the August Goodreads newsletter, which went to more than 2 million people! Now it's also posted on my Goodreads page, & quite a few people have posted nice comments about it, or just ticked that they like it.

Then last night I was notified that another poem of mine had won an annual poetry contest run by the Southern Illinois Writers Guild. There's an actual prize of $100!

I was already pretty jazzed about these happy developments, & then this afternoon I got an e-mail from an editor saying she wants to publish a poem I had submitted to her journal. I do receive acceptances like this from time to time, but like most writers I also receive plenty of rejections. So this was very cheery news today, the cherry on top of the rest! What a season of success I am enjoying!

Now I'm going to get ready for bed so I can get up & walk hearty tomorrow!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINKMCD 8/22/2009 9:55AM


Great news about the award and the acceptance. May the recognition of your work continue!

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CZARINA_TV 8/22/2009 9:27AM

    Congratulations Ruth! Let's hope those acceptance letters keep piling up!

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CTEMPLE 8/22/2009 12:26AM

    Congratulations dear Ruthie! Looked for the goodreads website but too many, pls send us a link.


Comment edited on: 8/22/2009 12:30:42 AM

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SHANSHE 8/21/2009 10:06PM

    WONDERFUL news all around Ruth... so good to hear. i have been to Goodreads before, but never seem to get interested in anything, so move on, too bad I missed that poem!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So it turns out that I can walk as fast as I jog+walk! I took a familiar route this morning & made it in 33 minutes (just under 2.5 miles). Often when I've jogged it in the past (with short bits of walking) I've covered it at the same rate, about 4.7 mph. Apparently keeping a steadily fast walking pace, then, will serve me just as well as the slow running I was doing--& it makes a BIG difference to my motivation not to have to fear tripping & falling.

What a relief!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DECAROLIFIC 8/20/2009 5:33AM

    Or, you've gotten fitter, and are able to walk faster than you used to. Perhaps if you ran it now you would be even faster! Doesn't avoid the scraped knees though :)

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TINKMCD 8/19/2009 8:47AM

    What great news!

I can't run--wrecked a knee permanently during a brief flirtation with jogging in my late 20s. So it's good to know that brisk walking is effective, too.

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SHANSHE 8/19/2009 1:25AM

    Woo HOO! That is wonderful news!

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CTEMPLE 8/18/2009 10:45PM

    Excellent discovery Ruth I'm against running anywa, bad for the knees apart from the falls.

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CZARINA_TV 8/18/2009 5:14PM

    Good for you!

I have this idea that I walk home and then do some more cardio for 10-15 minutes to get my heart rate up. I've done it twice, I think... Maybe something like that would work for you?

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Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm a little annoyed at myself for repeatedly gathering good plans & intentions & then dropping them almost immediately. But it really has been a challenging few months, what with my second fall this year, struggles with sleep, my dad's surgery, my daughter's suddenly aborted plans to move overseas . . .

Still, after my time at Dad's last week, followed by a weekend trip to Michigan with my husband for the wedding of some young friends, I am ready to get serious AGAIN about dechubbifying myself. Right after I finish this blog I'm going to correct my weight here (I'm up a few pounds after the time away) & track my walks last week to see how many calories I'm burning with the decreased intensity of exercise. I want to lose about 20 pounds.

My husband has agreed to my proposal of no desserts except on weekends. That will make a real difference for us, as we had gotten into the habit of little desserts almost every night. Besides that, I'm going to lighten up my eating more generally; I'll use quick tracking here at SP unless I start cheating too much, in which case I'll go back to full tracking.

Exercisewise: long morning walks 6x/week, plus short strength-training sessions at lunchtimes. For now I'll focus on lower body & abs, given the ongoing & sometimes excruciating pain in my left shoulder. Tomorrow afternoon I'll see my doctor about that. I look forward to going back for PT to help it heal.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 8/18/2009 12:45AM

    Every day a new beginning, doesn't matter how many times!

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TINKMCD 8/17/2009 8:36PM

    Go you, Ruth!

You've had such a challenging time of things lately.

It sounds as if you're well on the way to getting back on track.

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SHANSHE 8/17/2009 7:34PM

    You are a very determined and strong woman Ruth, I know you can do and do it WELL!

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A semi-vacation at my dad's

Monday, August 10, 2009

A first for me on Friday: I made a 12-hour road trip by myself! I made sure to get up early enough so that if all went well I'd arrive before nightfall, & that worked. Also, when returning library books on Thursday evening I was able to pick up two audiobooks for the trip. I listened to a John Grisham novel ALL DAY as I drove--& it kept me awake & alert so that I never had any close calls. Thank God!

I ate a good breakfast before leaving & took along some fruit & baby carrots & bunuelos (Colombian cheese/cassava bread), which meant that I didn't need to buy any food along the way, except for a candy bar as a treat. I also took my filled water bottle & refilled it several times.

As I got closer to Dad's home, I began to feel really happy, even jubilant--relief that I had made it safely, satisfaction at having spent little money & avoided fast food, & delight in the beautiful countryside of southwestern Missouri & northwestern Arkansas. Then it was great to roll in & see my sister, Dad's wife, & then Dad himself come out to welcome me!

Dad is recovering quite well; he feels weak but knows it will take time to build up his strength again. He will start PT & OT this week.

It was fun to have my sister show me the ropes--how to fill the bird feeders (my dad & his wife are very devoted to the cardinals, yellow finches, house finches, hummingbirds, two kinds of woodpeckers, & other birds that flock to their backyard daily), what needs to be watered often on the porches & in the garden, & how to make the "lite" mojitos she had been concocting each evening to sip with Dad & Jan on the back porch (1 lime per glass, lots of ice, seltzer, a shot of rum [but none for Dad], plus sugar or sweetener [unfortunately no mint leaves, as we haven't been able to find any in groceries or garden centers around here]).

She & I also went on a fast walk for 45-50 minutes around the golf course down the road both Sat. & Sun. mornings. Each of us wore my heart rate monitor one day, & we confirmed that our rates were plenty high with this exercise. Which releases me from the need to get back into running! I have been hesitant because of my fear of falling yet again on Chicago's irregular sidewalks, combined with the fact that running around a track is so very dull. But I can walk! & break into a run now & then when I feel like it. So that's resolved. If weather allows, I plan to continue these walks every morning this week till I leave.

My sister left yesterday evening, & I miss her very much but continue to enjoy being with Dad & Jan. Today I have focused on cooking: muesli, beans, brown rice, & spicy chicken/bean gumbo (which Jan & Dad thoroughly enjoyed for supper). While I was waiting for things to cook, I finished reading my current book. Tomorrow I'll do some editing. There was a prolonged downpour this afternoon/evening, which means I won't need to make watering rounds tomorrow morning. I LOVE the sound & smell of falling rain.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 8/20/2009 10:35PM

    That is a beautiful area - it's very similar to the area of eastern Oklahoma where I grew up. I can relate to the feeling you had being with your family. There's something so comforting about being with family, and then to add the beautiful scenery.

What John Grisham novel? One of his books was written about a murder in my hometown - I think it's the only one he's written as a true story - but many in my hometown disagree that it's a true account of the situation. I forget the title.

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SHANSHE 8/15/2009 6:27PM

    Oh wow, it sounds positively wonderful!!! So nice and refreshing getting away from home, sitting with your dad and his wife, doing the little chores around the house for them, etc... Getting to see your sister for a bit as well, listening to the rain pour outside. *Sigh* It sounds heavenly to me! I need to get away!

Catch ya later and I bet you are on your way home if you aren't there already... Hope everything continued to go so well the rest of your visit and that your dad is even stronger.


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CZARINA_TV 8/12/2009 10:28AM

    Glad to hear that your dad is recovering well. Your semi-vacation sounds so pleasant and restful!

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TINKMCD 8/12/2009 8:50AM

    What super news about the walking! I don't yet have a heart rate monitor, but checking my pulse against my watch seems to show that mine is up in the right range as long as my pace is brisk (at least 2 mph).

So glad to hear that your Dad is recovering well.

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BABY_GIRL69 8/11/2009 5:25PM

    Hey Beautiful! I have a 10-12 drive next week & what a great ideal to have a book on CD! That is CD right? LOL Its great you had a good time with your sister, I love spending time with mine but she is out of the country: military. She is up for retirement in a few years so I thank God she won't see combat. Keep those mojitos lite! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon for sharing your time with your dad, sister & Jan.


Dee emoticon emoticon

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CTEMPLE 8/11/2009 12:53AM

    great positive post!

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The jury is still out

Monday, August 03, 2009

But because of my long-term insomnia issues, I tend to be a little ahead of the curve in figuring out new solutions to diminish insomnia (with the help of my doctor).

For the past three nights I have slept REALLY well . . . even going back into sound sleep after being thoroughly waked up by my husband last night as he turned the light on & off while trying to adjust our ceiling fan. AND it happens that before bed each of the past three nights I have taken a selenium supplement along with my glucosamine/chrondroitin & Amitriptyline. Coincidence? Maybe not!

I had taken selenium regularly for a few years, during which the insomnia hardly ever flared up. Then I began taking it just occasionally, wondering if I might be getting too much in my system. However, tracking here at SP has consistently shown my normal diet to be quite low in selenium.

I've done a little searching online today & learned that research shows that selenium appears to help diminish anxiety attacks--among many other benefits. My insomnia is kinda similar to anxiety attacks, so it's quite possible that the selenium is benefiting me in a similar way.

Anyway, I'm NOT complaining!

Family updates: My dad is home now & recovering quite well from the heart surgery; I'll spend my week with him August 7-14. My daughter, on the other hand, didn't get to move to Colombia as expected, because the principal & HR people at the school that wanted to hire her put the wrong name on her forms (required for getting her work visa) & then said there wasn't enough time to get it fixed. This was a huge disappointment to all of us--but I think it will prove to be for the best. What my daughter really wants is not to teach upper-class Colombian girls at that school but to work with poor kids. Now she's going to start the process of validating her Colombian citizenship so that work visas won't be required, & she's looking into the requirements for joining a soccer ministry for kids in poor neighborhoods in Medellin, her birth city. Both of those will take some time, & in the meantime she will live with some good friends & job hunt. She is handling the disappointment really well--I'm SO proud of her resilience.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 8/20/2009 10:27PM

    God has a plan for your daughter, and it will be the best plan!!

So glad to read about the Selenium - I need to try that. I tend to be anxious at times. I understand about the middle of the night "panic attacks". That's the way my insomnia affected me when I was going through menopaus.

I'm definitely going to do so research on the Selenium.

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SHANSHE 8/15/2009 6:21PM

    GREAT news on the selenium and sleep, has it continued to work?

Oh wow, that is a HUGE disappointment for your daughter, but you are right, she is soo resilient just moving on and working in another direction. GOD knew this was not the job she needed or really wanted it sounds like!


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TINKMCD 8/5/2009 9:59AM

    So glad to hear that you're getting some relief from the insomnia. I know first-hand how wearing it can be. Insomnia for me is always anxiety-related as well, so I will look into selenium supplements.

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    Nice, glad to hear that you are making progress with your sleep.

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CZARINA_TV 8/3/2009 9:33PM

    Good to hear that you've been sleeping better. Even if it's just a placebo effect, anything that works, works! It's also good to hear that your father is doing well and that your daughter is turning lemons into lemonade.

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DECAROLIFIC 8/3/2009 6:51PM

    Selenium huh? Gotta remember that. Great that you're sleeping better again!

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CTEMPLE 8/3/2009 5:39PM

    Dear Ruthie glad to hear that your dad is recovering, what a achallenge at taht age.
Also glad about your sleeping , I will try selenium I'm a chronic insomniac from childhood ( too many quarrels at home). As for working for the poor in Medellin tu sabes lo que pienso de eso, demasiado peligroso en todo sentido,hasta el de la salud , pero que se va a hacer, los hijos tienen que hacer su propia vida.

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