60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
WATERMELLEN's Recent Blog Entries


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's official: one year post dx, all tests normal and I'm healthy!

Big sigh of relief. (Didn't entirely realize how much worry I've been ignoring, more or less successfully!)

And big thanks to all SP friends who have been so kind and so supportive.

One year ago I had received the bad news, was scared, waiting for surgery, wondering what would happen next, and stress eating to the point of adding 20 pounds in a matter of about eight weeks. Once I'd recovered from the surgery, I signed up for SparkPeople in May, started tracking my food diligently and rebuilding my fitness with cardio and weights.

Here I am: the twenty pity party pounds peeled off again (since July), completely recovered from radiation therapy (including fatigure) and in week 6 of 9 in the podrunner intervals training, steadily working my way back to a 5 k steady run.

There are pink and yellow tulips on the kitchen table. Despite fresh snow in the back yard the days getting longer and spring is around the corner.

Life is good, I'm feeling good, and did I mention how grateful?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:13PM

    Pink and Yellow tulips - so pretty! awe..I am so sorry I missed this blog Ellen. You've been through so much it sounds yet are perceiving even stronger. I love that...you're a great person to know here and...I too am very happy for you, your children and your Mike! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 3/18/2010 8:27PM

    I too am just seeing this and in wishing you the joy of immersing yourself in each moment, I send you this special blessing, from John O'Donohue's book, Anam Cara (Gaelic for Soul Friend):


May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

-- John O'Donohue
http://www.johnodonohue.com/> emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOPAPGH 3/9/2010 10:17PM

    Somehow I was unsubscribed from your blogs and missed this.

What great news!! Glad the running is going well and that we had the luck of starting SP the same week. It has been a thrill following your journey.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WHOLY_FIT_48 3/4/2010 6:19AM

    Just now getting caught up on some SP reading. Soooo very happy Ellen that you are doing so well! As others have posted, here's to our health and healthy living. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with the rest of us. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PHEBESS 2/28/2010 12:03PM

    VERY good news!!!!!!! And yes, you should be ecstatic!

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 2/27/2010 7:57PM

    OMG, Ellen, how happy am I for this wonderful news... Happy for you... for your DH and DCharlie... for your kids... happy for all of us who are so lucky to have met you here... for all the many lives you touch...

That squashy feeling? Yep, it's me hugging you SO hard...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TBANMAN 2/25/2010 10:14PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
CMB2048 2/25/2010 8:45PM

    Your blog is so wonderful and I am so happy you had such wonderful news. I loved the end of your post about tulips, pounds gone, gearing up for a 5K and life being good! You sound very happy!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 2/25/2010 1:07PM

    What wonderful, wonderful news Ellen. Life is indeed good.

Your friendship has been a source of great inspiration to me as I knew that you had faced such big health problems and were doing all that you could to secure your own fitness and vitality.

You're an amazing, strong, determined woman who has fought to be fit. You have set a fantastic example and I'm sure that you give hope to many others.

Thank you and here's to your very good health!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLENDERELLA61 2/24/2010 9:25PM

    Congratulations! Hooray!! Wonderful, wonderful. Here's to health and healthy living! -Marsha

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGHARD1948 2/24/2010 9:21PM

    Ellen, that is just the most wonderful news. I am so happy for you. Life is good, and you enrich every other life you touch. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LYN-EDWY 2/24/2010 8:46PM

    I am so happy for you.
Thank YOU for being such a supportive part of SP.
emoticon emoticon


Report Inappropriate Comment
STARRY-EYEDGIRL 2/24/2010 8:27PM

    Oh Elle, that is such good news. The whole family will also be relieved!

emoticon emoticon emoticonMarg xox emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Great blog! So happy you are doing so well!

Report Inappropriate Comment
IMAGINE_IT 2/24/2010 7:23PM

    Life is very good..and especially with wonderful people like you in it!! emoticon I am so happy to hear that all the tests came back normal emoticon emoticon
P.S. Yellow tulips are my absolute favorite flowers!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRAVELGRRL 2/24/2010 6:46PM

    Congratulations to you! What a WONDERFUL DAY!!!

With flowers on the table, the snow outside is bearable, is it not? I know that got me through many a Michigan winter!

You have accomplished so much in one year!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KRDRAPES 2/24/2010 6:38PM

    so happy for you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment


Saturday, February 20, 2010

I've been thinking quite a bit about a recent FRACTALMYTH blog on focus, the necessity of deciding what to do and moving ahead etc. etc. This seems to me to be a perpetual problem for women in particular.

We women are told, unceasingly, that "we can have it all". And that apparent opportunity to have it all then becomes translated into "we MUST do it all". With incredible pressure to be superb at everything all of the time: be a wonderful daughter, sister, wife and mother; look like a model; be the "hostess with the mostest", entertaining beautifully in an immaculately decorated and maintained "home"; hold down a significant and "meaningful" job; contribute to the community and its charities; be spiritually engaged; and on, and on, and on.

So as I listen to my podrunner intervals and "hummingbird" my way lighly around the track at the gym working my way back towards a continuous 5 k, I've been thinking about these demands. External and internal. And how impossible it is to fulfill all of them. And how crazy we make ourselves trying. Or permitting others to require us to try to do them all. That is, all at once.

I've probably been thinking about this because the wooden track -- quite beautiful, actually -- is suspended above the gym. And I've been working out at this YMCA since 1975, when I was (ahem) quite a bit younger than I am now, oddly enough. Which means that as I jog around watching teens shooting hoops or kids tumbling on the mats or adults sweating through fitness classes they all remind me that this place -- this gym -- is layered with my own prior ages and stages. Points at which I did all of these things . . . but never all at once.

Back in 1975, I had just started work as a college teacher, was commuting to Toronto and exercised mostly during my lunch hours. I was married but (although I didn't know it) that was coming to an end. H1 and I had had no kids, which was a good thing. The teaching gig was my first "serious" job and I was getting up at about 5 am, doing a little yoga and hitting the road from Toronto. I had taken the job, then got my driver's licence on a stickshift VW without a heater or a defroster, then started commuting -- soon driving through raging white-out snowstorms -- and teaching lots of stuff I knew absolutely nothing about. It was a pretty stressful time. The gym workouts commenced because my stress eating resulted in me rapidly outgrowing my two new "young professonal" suits. I cetainly could not afford to replace them!!

Forward a few years: I'd jettisoned that early marriage (not without significant pain); was a newly single woman again and taking a few Jane Fonda style aerobics classes in that gym, legwarmers and all! Also swimming in the pool. And I signed up for an evening course in weightlifting -- at that point, one of the very few women venturing into what was clearly dsignated to be an "all male" territory. But I loved that cramped, dark and smelly little weights room, loved feeling strong, needed to feel strong, and somehow stuck it out.

A few more years: I had remarried, and could be seen angling through the gym towards the squash courts for early morning games with H2. (Yup, I call him that occasionally, just to keep him on his toes 30+ years later. And he doesn't seem too worried, actually).

Add a few more years: there's a young mum just like me back when my own two small children were zooming around at tot time gym. Little people trying out the low balance beam, bounding tentatively on the trampoline and crawling through the tunnels. During my young mum incarnation I was serving on the Board of Directors. I'd also become a certified fitness instructor myself, leading the early morning group class one day a week generally with a jazz tape playing in the background. We volunteer fitness instructors were a bunch of happy amateurs and enjoyed a wonderful social life too, meeting monthly for a potluck breakfast at someone's home. Now other much better qualified instructors lead those classes who are certainly way more professional but (when I happen to catch sight of one of the classes) I'm not sure they're having as much fun as we did!

Those long-ago fitness classes got me running, at first just around the gym and then small loops outside the gym around the Y grounds, but gradually further and further, building up to 10 k departing from the gym and returning to it, until I was no longer participating in the group classes at all. I overdid it for sure, and forgot about keeping up the strength and core work -- but I loved the running.

There were a few years I was absent from this gym while I went back to school; working out at the university gym after rolling off the commuter bus didn't keep my weight from soaring up to 230 pounds. But what I was learning at law school inspired me to initiate a human rights complaint. Why was our Y back home continuing to offer better facilities for men than for women? a private men's fitness facility with whirlpool and steam room? There was a glorious new weights room open to men and women, but surely it was time to redress that other historic inequity. It took eight years but it happened; the women at my gym now have an equivalent facility and the "damages" I was awarded went to my law school to fund a small human rights scholarship.

Called to the bar, practising law for the first time -- so much to learn that school had left out -- and back to the gym. Now I had young teens still at home who needed me to get them off to school in the morning and be available for homework help in the evenings: the only time slot in the day for my workout was right after work on my way home. I'd put my gym bag in the front seat of the car so I couldn't miss it, my husband worked out at noon hours, and we made that arrangement function for a few years. I wasn't running but instead using the elliptical cross trainer and the weights room. I had 80 law school pounds to peel off. That happened, too.

And very soon our children were off to university. Once again H2 and I could go to the gym together first thing in the morning, as we'd done in the pre-kid years of our marriage; then home for breakfast before heading off to work together.

Hit some health bumps. Found twenty pounds. Peeled those off again. A few more blips, a few more adventures -- and here I am back on the track floating above these years of memories. The people below in the gym are living out their own independent lives, of course: but in my glimpses of their lives I can't help but be reminded of my own experiences over the past 35 years.

And of course because it's a Y and not just a fitness club for the young and gorgeous, I also see people in their sixties and seventies and older. Still healthy and looking happy. Grandparents with grandbabies too. What I confidently expect and hope will lie ahead for me if I keep doing this. Keep on being fit. That is what I'm planning. That is what I'm preparing for.

Have I had it all? Not yet. Thank goodness, not yet. Because there are still good times to come! I'm vividly grateful for that. And I'm grateful also for the support from husband and kids over all of the years I've spent at my gym to be a wife, mother, born-again student, and born-again worker.

So one thing I'm pretty sure about: the answer to "Can we do it all at once?" is "No". Not simultaneously. Not well.

But life is long. There is time to try on many roles. We can take our time. Have more fun. Experience more depth. Can we do it all? Who knows. But we can do enough.

We can do enough, have enough, be enough. Sequentially.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 6:37PM

    Oh this made my heart almost ache yet a happy ache. ...wow Ellen...wow. I had tears in my eyes for a moment, happiness for you and sadness for times that are difficult as women. There are too many pressures....yet you're exactly right - slowly, not all at once we can achieve enjoyable days. I love that you played such an active role in the womens gym at the YMCA!! How cool is that?!! Going back to school is pretty darn amazing and law school at that! Keep those bright sunny days coming..love to read about them, you're a great inspiration :).

Report Inappropriate Comment
TKADEEPBREATH 2/22/2010 10:41PM

    I really enjoyed getting to know you through your candid well written blog. You make some very well taken inferences.

I know I can't have it all. I have to pick my "haves". They are enough for me. The rest, well, we're still working out what comes next. Guess that's what keeps life interesting.

Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy it.

Take care Ellen . . . Jan

Report Inappropriate Comment
CMB2048 2/21/2010 10:15PM

    This blog was wonderful. Truly enjoyed reading it. Not only because I can relate to it so much but I also learned so much more about you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
STARRY-EYEDGIRL 2/21/2010 8:42PM

    Oh Elle, I identify so strongly with all of this, even though the circumstances of our lives are different, the time and essence is similar.

I have drifted in and out of all that you have written and along the way, found many doors which were seemingly locked, but flew open effortlessly by thinking them gone. Like the lyrics from Already Gone, by the Eagles on their 1974 On the Border album: ‘So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key’.

I feel so privileged to be peacefully and joyously meandering along on this part of my journey with you.

emoticon emoticonMarg

Comment edited on: 2/21/2010 8:44:07 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 2/21/2010 4:34PM

    WOW! You know what I miss most about running and podrunner (even from just five weeks experience of it)? The way it cleared my head and got me thinking. The way it sent my mind freewheeling over my whole life this far and all the future to come. Thank you so much for bringing that feeling back to me. I know the time will come when I can get there again for myself, but for now it is lovely to go there vicariously - and to learn more of you. I love the sound of your suspended wooden track - I think I would even swap my rough bush path for it - would be easier on the joints, but I'd miss the birds and the sunrise. I have certainly been scrabbling around in the mist lately, searching for focus, trying to work out what is important, what I want for this stage and what I need to do this sequence. It's new for me. In the past I just leapt in without thinking, blindly following a dream (that's how I got Honours in English) then drifted along following other people's expectations (that's how I got Honours in Law) but now the stage has come to bring it all together and tie it up in a package that works for me and that I can carry into a happy future. Thank you so much for accompanying me in my search and for giving me the benefit of your wisdom and insight along the way! LOVE!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PHEBESS 2/21/2010 3:12PM

    Very well said, very insightful, and very poignant - thank you! As always, you are inspiring as well as eloquent.

And, well, some of us opt to not have it all because the dream just doesn't seem possible. I guess I never really thought about having it all sequentially.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WHOLY_FIT_48 2/21/2010 2:19PM

    Ellen, a most wonderful, thoughtful and encouraging blog. I love the balanced perspective you have and appreciate your willingness to share the wisdom you have gained over the years with the rest of us. I needed to read this at just this time. Thank you. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMMERJESSE 2/21/2010 11:59AM

    I agree. Thanks for the reminder. Have a wonderful day.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MSSNOWY 2/21/2010 11:50AM

    Thanks for a wonderful reminder that life doesn't come in one large clump, that thank God there are stages and we can participate in all of them and that they will be what we make of them. Great blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FOSSE_OF_LOVE 2/21/2010 3:04AM

    I loved your blog. It relates to my own life and I see patterns of my parents in what I do today like wanting to be creative, wanting to travel, and to be significant as the numbers of years add to your life. Your blog title is totally right on.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGHARD1948 2/20/2010 5:26PM

    Ellen, you give so much in your blogs, such insight, such honesty, such rich understanding of the life of women. I, like Stlrzgrrl, (gee that's hard to get right) had tears in my eyes as I read.
One of the things that I thought about was how driven some women are to achieve, to be something, while having to retain all the other jobs that seem to have been handed to women. Fortunately many of us see sense and come to a compromise in order to enjoy our lives. When I worked I was driven to be excellent at what I did, but now that I am retired I know I loved what I did but gee, I love being retired.

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 2/20/2010 3:35PM

    I have to go back and read this but FIRST: You CAN'T have it all. I've tried to have it all... and after I got the almond butter wiped off my face, I was VERY sad at the scale... You really need to leave some stuff for other people.

I'm going back to read now...

Ok. I'm back...

Aw, Ellen... you're making it tough on me here... it's hard to type with tears in my eyes... but thank you... for the lovely images of a gorgeous, full, multi-layered life so far...

Such a great piece of writing and another WONDERFUL slice of your life...
"So much to learn that school had left out..."

Now, isn't THAT the truth and something you don't understand while you're still young and snotty and know it all... before you're in the thick of what comes next...

I will stand on my initial comment... you can't have it all... not at one time... I remember the blog I did about multi-tasking: "The single best way to screw up both jobs" Remember?

What you are feeling right now is me hugging you SO HARD.

Comment edited on: 2/20/2010 3:51:53 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
TBANMAN 2/20/2010 3:07PM

    You are absolutely right. I've often said that women CAN have it all, they just can't have it all RIGHT NOW, or at the same time.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 2/20/2010 2:36PM

    It's lovely to learn a bit more about you and your life story in this beautifully written blog, Ellen.

I'm so impressed to know about your postive action to end discrimination at the gym and to establish the human rights scholarship. How rewarding for you to know that you have made a difference in these ways.

I agree that we can't have it all at once, but, like you, I think we can have quite a lot if we take things sequentially.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOPAPGH 2/20/2010 12:36PM

    Like this!

W and I will be empty nesters in about 18 months. I have lots of fitness goals ahead of me, hopefully stretching for decades.

Here's to great productive futures for all SPers!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

I Can Never Exercise Enough to Eat Whatever I Want

Sunday, February 14, 2010

OK, this should be self-evident by now, right? But apparently it isn't. I have to keep reminding myself. Or the scales will remind me otherwise very quickly!

I am exercising more and experimenting with a return to running which I am very much enjoying. But: getting back into running is something it's safe for me to try because my weight is down . Not something that can justify me stopping nutrition tracking or stopping my weight tracking. Completely the reverse. If I want to run, I've got to stay light.

When I was running 10 km 5-6 days a week 16 years ago, always outdoors and in all kinds of weather, I was probably 20 pounds heavier than I am now. Not fat -- not at all, about a size 12 -- and I generally felt healthy and happy because of the endorphin rush from running. If you could bottle that sensation and sell it you'd be rich: and if it were universally added to the drinking water, you'd probably achieve world peace. Really. Or at least that's what I think.

But I was relying upon the then-new technology in running shoes (cushioned soles, air pumps, etc.) to pound along with a lengthy stride, landing on the heel, jarring all the way up my leg through my knee to the hip. I didn't think of it that way, of course. My mental image was a kind of gazelle-like motion, soaring and bouncing (maybe from a viewer's perspective not so much). Because I simply didn't get it -- that the effect of even a few extra pounds is multiplied about seven-fold by the thump thump thump thump thump. Gazelles, of course, ARE light.

I loved running then: my town has beautiful running trails all around the lake and many other picturesque street routes. Loved running with a group of friends from the gym. Loved participating in 5 km races from time to time. And truly believed that running as much as I did meant that I could eat whatever I wanted. So I did eat whatever I wanted, more or less: mostly more. Never tracked, never counted calories, just kept on running.

Thought also that running was the only exercise I needed. Well, maybe a little stretching AFTER the run -- if I felt like it -- but no need for strength training, or abs to strengthen the core: running did the entire job, running was everything.

Shoulda known that my knee and hip joints would eventually rebel. Eventually I had to stop running altogether. And I've missed it ever since. (Also went back to school, commuting three plus hours a day by bus, reading reading reading, getting insufficient sleep, marinating myself in stress and got my weight up to 230 while I was doing that --which is an entirely different story!!).

Last summer when I saw how much some new SP friends were enjoying their running adventures, it all came back to me: I celebrated for them, yes I did, but also admit to feeling envious. But the more I followed the running postings, the more I got the sense that running has changed -- that there are new approaches and new techniques. And that maybe if I tried these new approaches myself I could run again too. Did try it: and so far, so good. I'm having provisional success using some of the resources I found on the Rookie Runners Team site plus specific suggestions from some SP friends (JOPAPGH, thanks again).

As I've blogged before, the main tech tool has been podrunner intervals (downloaded free) which is a 9 week programme gradually increasing from mostly walking to all running of a continuous 5 km. With considerable self-control (would like to be doing this every day) I've been permitting myself podrunner just three days a week with rest days in between, never two days consecutive. At first I used podrunner on the treadmill but quite soon switched to the track at the gym (wooden, cantilevered, very forgiving) which is where I'll remain until we have at least slightly less snowy streets. Again, outside would be my preference but I don't want to slip and twist my knees right at the beginning of this process.

Progress has not been continuous. I'm now only in week five. There was some delay due to right knee and right hip pain (I slowed it down, took extra time before increasing the running) plus a lingering bout of flu which set me back. But no matter, I knew that the flu at least was only temporary and I was determined to accommodate the knees and hips.

Shoes this time: retro Adidas type with very thin soles -- I'm using navy blue Terry Fox specials, actually. And I'm thinking about trying running socks, eventually; they look totally cool!!

In addition I'm using the POSE technique of running; vertical posture, short stride, rapid cadence, landing as lightly as possible on the mid-foot. This took me quite a while to get used to and feels somewhat like running barefoot -- also, at first, somewhat like just running on the spot! Had to resist the impulse to speed up whenever I was lapped on the track (we triple type-As don't like being lapped, not at all!) but stuck with it. And now that the technique is more instinctive, the speed is coming back too at least a little.

But I've discovered that even a small amount of extension of foot in advance of the knee makes my right knee, in particular, quite uncomfortable. I get a locking/clicking/grinding kind of response that seizes the joint and almost immediately radiates pain up into the hip joint and the sacroiliac too. A warning, and I'm paying attention. There is lots of osteoarthritis in my hands (no, I'm not old enough for that, not at all -- but there it is, hereditary). I've had painful left hand surgery which did no good and required intensive physio just to regain the former level of diminished hand function, so I've gotta assume, osteo in hands likely means osteo in many of the other body joints. DO NOT want knee or hip surgery.

The erect posture for verticality means in addition I need to make sure to keep the core strong, with regular abs at the gym. Plus this time I'm keeping up my strength training programme of upper body and lower body weights alternate days: and a special focus on the hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings to keep the knee and hip joints as stable and secure as possible. To increase the resilience and shock absorption of the forefoot I've added foot exercises, pressing the balls of the foot alternately into the floor and lifting the toes, and also raising onto the toes and lowering to the heels. Plus lots of post run calf, quad, and hip flexor stretching.

A cautious old lady runner? Maybe so, but I absolutely refuse to think of it that way. The gazelle may have gone, but my preferred new mental image is the humming bird moving lightly from flower to flower: I focus on barely touching the earth with each step.

Supposing it takes 20 weeks instead of 9 to get to 5 km? That's OK with me; I don't mind if it takes me even longer. I'll pace the progress as slowly as necessary to control the pain.

Supposing I can never run more than 5 km? Ditto.

Supposing I can only run 5 km once a week and have to revert to the elliptical for the rest of my cardio? Ditto ditto.

The best (running every day; running 10 km instead of 5; blasting ahead by signing up for races again) for me would almost certainly be the enemy of the good.

Because this is good. Already I've had some of that euphoric joy of running again. And I'm optimistic that so long as I keep moderation in mind, back off and rest if I experience problems, and then resume again only very slowly if I have to, that this time I will be able to continue running.

Now: about the food part. Today being Valentine's day, my husband made his marvellous double boiler scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and buttered whole wheat toast for breakfast: an amazing treat, but not low calorie! And then I made an early dinner for him and our son (daughter is away in Australia at school): cheese pastry appetizers; herbed lemon salmon with a couple of giant shrimp on each portion; steamed carrots and broccoli; heart-shaped red peppers decorating the plates; a glass of good chardonnay; a generous wedge of bittersweet chocolate mousse torte for dessert; and really good coffee. (Because I don't cook very often, it's quite appreciated when I do: and reassuring to everyone. me included, that I haven't completely forgotten how!)

Yes I tracked it all -- and that WILL be all for today -- and of course I'm well over the day's maximums in calories, fat, carbs. Which is fine. The first time I've been over since Christmas Day, and it won't happen again for quite a while. Not feeling stuffed either -- just self-indulgent and celebratory.

But: I can never ever exercise enough to eat whatever I want. Tomorrow it's back to the track at the gym with podrunner week five session two, lower body weights, abs, stretches.

AND it's back to nutrition tracking WITHIN my calorie range to make sure I stay in my 150-154 lb maintenance zone.

Nothing tastes as good as running feels!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:32PM

    To read about your past days running in comparison to now is remarkable. While u may have achieved different goals then, now you seem healthier in so many ways - your running posture, your breathing, slowing things down enough to enjoy running even more. Pretty amazing blog Ellen! I really loved reading this. I totally agree, not one food can equal the feeling after a great run. I hope your knees and hips continue to cooperate. I think about mine too every time I run. Wondering if that little twinge I feel here or there is something more serious. Keeping your core strong is very important - you're doing great!! I totally agree, exercise always carries my mood so much further than a tasty meal. Catching up on your blogs :)...backwards and forwards I go...

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 2/19/2010 10:27AM

    I am feeling that envy right now! I LOVED podrunner...loved it loved it loved it - having never voluntarily run in my life before I was amazed that it could feel so good and be SO addictive. That's why I kept pushing even after my hip warned me to stop. Oh well. At least my Yeti seems to have steered me right (as usual) in terms of footwear - he refused to allow me a pair of bouncy bouncy shoes and got me thin-soled retro Adidas Attitudes :D and I love them so much I wear them daily, in all their gold and white glory. I draw consolation from the fact that even though I am banned from running and can hardly walk without pain at the moment, I am daily learning more about strengthening my core and improving my posture - both from the physio exercises and reading the experiences of others - THANKS so much for sharing :D

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOPAPGH 2/18/2010 8:46PM

    How did I miss this entry? I have been traveling like crazy and Valentine's was a busy weekend.

So happy you are getting the running groove back and are enjoying the new approach. I still have your DVD. This blog will be the kick in the pants I need to send it out.

I have been runnin in the snow and ice, albeit slowly. Last Saturday was 7.25 miles, with a couple more runs outside since, including 5K this morning.

My run at least a mile a day streak continues. I started on New Year's Eve.

Can't wait for the first race report, whenever that may be.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/18/2010 8:47:11 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment

    You know what this blog title reminded me of? Michael Phelps. I remember in the 2008 Olympics, they kept talking about how much he ate - and it was a riduclous amount. Even then, he ate in a day as much as I ate in probably 4 or 5 days. Apparently when you are Michael Phelps, you CAN exercise enough to eat as much as you want...LOL.

Great blog. And great job getting back on the running horse.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PHEBESS 2/16/2010 10:06AM

    Unfortunately, our bodies wear out more quickly than our psyches - we may feel youthful and ready to run a marathon, but those joints (and in my case foot pads) just wear out from usage, whether we use correct form or not.

On the other hand, I'd much rather wear out parts and know I've lived a good and active life than end my life with all body parts in pristine condition due to lack of use - right?

That being said - be easy on yourself. Maybe you need to think about a triathlon rather than a marathon - work on swimming and biking along with the running, so that you can ease back on the running and do more non-impact cardio. Just a thought. Or speed walking, with that funny foot placement and hip wiggle, also lower impact.

I was hoping to run on sand, to avoid the joint issues similar to what you're having - but I've been told that the sand running is ever worse for the body. So I'm back to walking and swimming. I guess that's why I thought of throwing the idea out there for you to ponder.

At any rate, good luck with it all - and go slowly.

Oh - and both meals sound wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 2/15/2010 7:11PM

    Ah, the truth again comes out... experience and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm EVERY time!!!!

If only we had been smarter sooner... but you offer hope that even the stupidest of us (me) might find a way to again race lightly across the earth...

El, you're doing it all right... and being kind enough to share it with us...

What you are feeling right now is me hugging you to bits...

Report Inappropriate Comment
CMB2048 2/15/2010 10:59AM

    Wow! I never realized that running can be so technical. I tried running a few times but just put shoes on and went, not really thinking about all the different approaches to it. Needless to say, I hated it. So I'm sticking to walking and biking! Sounds like a great Valentine's Day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGHARD1948 2/14/2010 10:38PM

    Ellen, I really enjoyed your blog, so pleased you are listening to your body and going at its pace. You will reap the rewards by going forward "as lightly as a humming bird" - gorgeous metaphor as I see you flitting lightly over the countryside.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 2/14/2010 7:29PM

    Wow, Annie has said it all!

I really like your image of the lightly flitting hummingbird, barely touching the ground. They are such exquisite creatures, aren't they? And I love your strategic analysis of what is required, from maintenance of abs to ankles, hips, knees and so on. You have thought of the whole ... and you're working on the parts.

And I especially like how you are pacing yourself and tuning into your body's needs, rather than setting arbitrary goals. This way, the journey is the reward.

Delectable celebration today!
Happiness and hugs,

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 2/14/2010 6:39PM

    Wow, Ellen, you've really thought about what you want and gone for it.

It's great that you're able to find joy again in an activity that you love, albeit by being cautious and careful about how you go about it. Your determination to overcome physical challenges is very motivating.

You meals today sound very tasty!

Hope you enjoy podrunner week five.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PURPLEBRAIDS 2/14/2010 6:11PM

    Absolutely agree! I myself, am a newbie runner, but have to keep in mind that none of us can out-train a bad diet. Moderation and balance are key. Best of luck to you.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Charlie Gets His Treat: A Tribute to Weaver!!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I love it when my SP friend Ambudman posts her wonderful videos of beloved Weaver -- one of the cutest dogs ever. And: she has a new Weaver blog today!!

My husband had posted this blog of our Charlie (yup, that's me in my golden retriever coloured coat as well: doesn't show the floating fur as much) on you tube: hope you all enjoy it!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLOWINGWATER 2/12/2010 9:33AM

    What a good boy he is!! I just want to come over and give him a good pet! LOL! Thanks for sharing and it's great getting to see you too!

Report Inappropriate Comment
STARRY-EYEDGIRL 2/10/2010 12:45AM

    Oh Ellen how gorgeous you are, and Charlie too of course. Seriously, he really enjoys 'playing' with you, wow to play and get really tasty treats - what could be better? Fantastic.

Now Buddy, on the other hand, failed puppy training school! Mind you, he did everything perfectly at home, but when there were other doggies nearby, discipline flew out the window - all he wanted to do way play with them (more like dominate them) or show off!

We really enjoyed watching you and Charlie, it was just like coming over for a visit - just wonderful!

emoticons and emoticones Marg and Bud xox

Comment edited on: 2/10/2010 12:46:27 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Charlie is so sweet!! And better than that, well trained! It's a joy to have a dog like that. He looks like our son's dog, only their's is a female named Buttercup. She has a kind face just like he does. Great animals.

Great video!

Thanks for bringing me into your kitchen!! That's so cool.

I'll try that some day.

Take care, Jan emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CMB2048 2/7/2010 8:46AM

    Oh, too cute. I don't have dogs but my mom has two Jack Russel's. How I wish they were trained like that.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 2/6/2010 11:54PM

    Woohooo! Yay Charlie, and yay to see you!

If only kids responded to liver treats like that lol... my life would be SO much easier :P

Report Inappropriate Comment
DARLENA3 2/6/2010 10:34PM

    That is sooooo cute. Charlie is adorable and so well behaved. I can feel the love flowing from both of you.

Nice to see you there, also.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGHARD1948 2/6/2010 6:29PM

    Ellen, you do take second place but still look great. Wonderful to see you and Charlie. You don't need to be authoritive of voice, Charlie obviously adores you and his treats. :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 2/6/2010 5:58PM

    Charlie is SO smart! And well-trained. How old is he? Our golden, Duke, is eleven, still a puppy at heart. Don't you love the big welcome homes you get from him? I know what you mean about wearing 'golden' wear. Black pants are w-a-a-ay back in my closet. Lovely to see YOU, Ellen! Looking great!


Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 2/6/2010 5:21PM

    How clever is he?!! And it's great to see you too Ellen.

Thanks for sharing the link.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 2/6/2010 5:20PM

    Funny thing about this video is -- my husband was shooting it in late December when Charlie and I had just come back from the vet's (routine checkup only, but hence my rather puffy "golden retriever" coat). We needed to go out again and get the groceries, and before we left Charlie to do that I was rewarding Charlie for his excellent behaviour at the vet's, since doing his various "commands" is absolutely one of his favourite things. Those are freeze dried liver treats: crack cocaine for canines. Didn't realize at first that Mike was taking the video; and he posted it without asking either me OR Charlie. So we've had several conversations about "appropriation of voice" etc. etc. (Yup, I really do SOUND like that, sadly; not very "authoritative"!!).

Funnier yet: it reminds me of a series of still photos Mike took about 30 years ago when we were first married and had our first basset hound, Ambrose. Ambrose was very very cute and loved to swim. We took Ambrose to the beach, I was wearing a new and (I thought) rather fetching navy blue bikini and the pictures of "me" and Ambrose all focused on Ambrose's floating ears, Ambrose's mournful red eyes, Ambrose's glorious wrunkles around his freckled paws, Ambrose's wagging tail with the white tip on the end -- half the time with my head cut off, or half out of the frame, the fabulous bikini not even a feature!! We've laughed about that for years; but once again in this Charlie video you may notice that you can't see much Ellen face actually!! Lots and lots of focus on our very very pretty dog!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AMBUDMAN 2/6/2010 12:08PM

    What a good boy, and how beautiful. I think Charlie and Weaver would get along great. Thanks for posting the video.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FROSTIERACES 2/6/2010 11:28AM

    Ellen! How fun to see you and Charlie! He is really trained, not one peek at the floor...my dogs don't do that!! Charlie is gorgeous and you're just cute! and tiny looking too in your golden retriever jacket! Thank for sharing...I can tell that doggie loves you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 2/6/2010 9:56AM

    I can NOT believe Charlie doesn't even LOOK at the treat you drop on the floor when you tell him to "leave it"... WOOHOO, CHARLIE!!!

And wonderful to finally see YOU, Ellen!...

Report Inappropriate Comment
MRDPOLING 2/6/2010 9:46AM

    Oh how beautiful he is!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Right now I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed", which is a kind of cross-cultural and historic survey of marriage. And I'm finding it really interesting, both from a personal perspective (we're in year 31, but I did have a diastrous first marriage) and from a work perspective (I do a fair bit of divorce law).

Gilbert is, of course the author of the best-selling "Eat, Pray, Love". "Committed" arose from her compulsion to marry the new partner she met on that earlier odyssey (both of them profoundly reluctant, after their own disastrous divorces) in order to satisfy the requirements of US immigration. It took about a year of constant travel in exile to get the necessary documentation lined up and she spent that year researching and reassuring herself that marrying the man she loved would not be a huge mistake.

The book is witty; it's thoughtful; it's silly; and it's profound. Gilbert considers the relative stability and contentment of the traditional arranged marriages among the Hmong isolated mountain villages in northern Vietnam which commence with kidnapping: the concept of individual choice and romantic love is completely hilarious to these Hmong women. But, Gilbert points out, romantic love would likely have been an equally irrelevant concept within the pragmatic unions of early American agricultural communities.

She contemplates infatuation in the context of watching teenage Buddhist monks flirting in Laos; describes candidly the process of negotiating her own prenuptial agreement (she and Felipe have very different attitudes about money); and reviews all the most recent statistical data with respect to marital resilience and divorce proneness for various demographic groups. And she considers the history of her parents' marriage -- the painful compromises her mother made to provide her with a stable childhood, sacrificing her own career to do so; but equally, her father's willingness to tolerate a huge degree of control by his wife over almost every aspect of his life also in the cause of marital harmony.

What does it take to make a marriage work? What does it mean to say that a marriage is "working" and why is it (at least some days) so much work? And why do we do it: why is marriage still so important to most of us?

Here at SparkPeople many of us are exploring commitment to health, to well-being, to ourselves as individuals, and to community. We know how tough commitment is, and how hard to sustain. Gilbert's new book offers a fascinating and very entertaining account of commitment in marriage specifically, but it also helps illuminate what commitment is about in any endeavour. And commitment, she suggests, is in its essence and paradoxically a most evanescent construct! Possibly one of the reasons we seek to achieve a committed relationship with one other person is because when we begin to understand the nature of commitment within marriage we also begin to understand what commitment means in all areas of our lives.

"Maybe creating a big enough space within your consciousness to hold and accept someone's contradictions -- someone's idiocies, even -- is a kind of divine act. Perhaps transcendence can be found not only on solitary mountaintops or in monastic settings, but also at your own kitchen table, in the daily acceptance of your partner's most tiresome, irritating faults", writes Gilbert.

Romantic enough for ya?? Maybe not, but this is certainly a compelling read: and I recommend it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:36PM

    I have a difficult time accepting Melissa Gilbert as a writer versus Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie - not sure why except that I watched that show like every single day after school when I was little! I saw she was here doing a book signing this past winter at the mall of america....interesting.

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I can tell you now into our 39th year together, it never ceases to amaze me how I learn new things about our relationship all the time. I find the reasons we got together when we were young were very different from why we remain together today. I don't think any of us are a "day at the beach" all the time. I can certainly say I am not. But he dished one of the sweetest comments to me over dinner the other night, just out of the blue. It's those unexpected moments that help me realize it's worth all the effort. Commitment for me comes with unconditional acceptance, and it's a joyful thing. . . even when it is hard.

I look forward to getting this book and thanks for recommending it. Marriage needs all the support it can get. It's gotten a bad rap . . .

Comment edited on: 2/9/2010 7:51:40 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 2/5/2010 8:57PM

    WOW! FractalMyth...your COMMITMENT acrostic is fabuloso!!!

SOOOO interesting, Ellen...I went to a meeting with friends...long ride in car...latest issue of Oprah's "O" Magazine in the back seat with me with an interview with Gilbert, plus a chapter excerpt from Committed. I voraciously ingested both the interview and excerpt.

I'm very impressed with Gilbert and was very happy to get this preview via "O"...but YOUR impressions, analysis, commentary are so amazing and revealing, besides the fact that you're a wordsmith and deft in turning a phrase! Oh, and Usha, your responses are always so full of light...and that Margaret has provided some further fascinating breadth to your own added commentary about being COMMITTED!

What a heady and heavenly coming-together of minds and hearts, heralded by your lucid insights, dear Ellen!

Bowing in gratitude,
P.S. Does Gilbert make any further mention of her teacher, Swami Chidvilasananda, in her latest endeavor?

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Just commenting on your further comment Ellen. Having experienced (for many years) both the institution of marriage and working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in an institution, that being, a mental health facility of a large city teaching hospital, I found myself pondering deeply on your comment about commitment and I think you might have something there. So, a certain amount of 'madness', in both examples, is perhaps necessary for the commitment to be successful. - very insightful! Now I am going to relax, do some yoga practice and think of nothing in particular.


Report Inappropriate Comment
STLRZGRRL 2/4/2010 9:41PM

    Well, I'll tell you one thing... you CAN achieve transcendence at your kitchen table... so long as you have a pile of balled p-nuts on it...

(It truly becomes evident why I am single, doesn't it?)

Report Inappropriate Comment
PHEBESS 2/3/2010 9:28AM

    I like the concept of transcendence at the kitchen table (or more likely the living room couch) - as I transcend and accept the duality of loving DH and hating the fact that the man is rather a slob................not sure I'll manage to reach Nirvana in this relationship, though...........

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRAVELGRRL 2/2/2010 10:52PM

    I think you are right that I WOULD like this book! I have already added to my wishlist on www.paperbackswap.com.

The young monks in Laos aren't necessarily monks because they are religious; it is often the only way their families can afford an education for them. We spent a week in Laos/Cambodia and all of our guides were former monks with excellent English.

It always tickled us to see the preteen monks sitting at computers in the internet cafes in their orange robes! I've got a picture somewhere, I'll look for it...

Comment edited on: 2/2/2010 10:55:29 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRACTALMYTH 2/2/2010 3:05PM

    I wanted to write an insightful comment about how appropriate this post is for me on many levels at the moment, but I'm having a poetic morning so you got an acrostic instead :P

Crazy, huh?
Offering heart, soul, body to an other?
Must be nuts. Look at the statistics.
Monogamy? Misogyny! Marriage - what a trap!
Inside the silence, after
Tears and laughter
My one, my all, my only love.
Eternity is more than just a dream. We are
Necessary and sufficient.
Trust me.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOPAPGH 2/1/2010 11:34PM

    A successful marriage in one huge collective bargain with some wins on each side. If the equilibrium is there, both sides feel satisfaction. When things skew to one side or another, things break down.

May not be all hearts and flowers, but works for the W and I.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 1/31/2010 10:11PM

    Just came back to read your further comment.
You ask:
"But for marriage to survive once embarked upon must we (from time to time at least) willingly submit to a certain wilful degree of madness?"

I've learned that when I do go 'nutz' he is there for me. :-)
"I am here for you," is one of the most profound gifts we can give each other. Over the years, there have been many lessons about what love is, so for me, marriage is an evolving institution. I am constantly challenging what it is to be committed to my self development, while integrating my committment to our 'we-ness.'

More and more, marriage is a place where it is safe to be myself, no matter how that self evolves.

In an evolving institution, we are constantly letting go of the way things used to be to make way for a fresh, new, vital marriage. Never boring!


Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 1/31/2010 2:00PM

    You've certainly given us a lot to think about here. I would never have thought about relating commitment in marriage with commitment to healthy living but I can now see some parallels. Both involve keeping promises and dealing with challenges and happy times. So far I've managed 34 years of marriage and not quite 5 months of maintaing a healthy weight, suggesting my commitment to our marriage has been more successful than my dependability in keeping oft-made pledges to look after my body. Must keep trying harder!

I'm glad to see that you must be feeling better after the flu.

Thanks for a thought-provoking blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 1/31/2010 9:56AM

    I've finished "Committed" now and one thing Elizabeth Gilbert did NOT do was riff on the subversive duality of the term "committed" itself: we may choose as an existential act of will to be committed TO something, but if declared mentally incompetent and a danger to ourselves or others we can also be "committed" BY others to an institutional place of safety, an asylum.

So: is marriage itself an institutional place of safety to which we are committed by various external social forces -- in Gilbert's case, the requirement of US immigration? The infatuation which may result in a precipitate marriage is well-recognized to be a sort of temporary folly, and Gilbert painstakingly avoided that. But for marriage to survive once embarked upon must we (from time to time at least) willingly submit to a certain wilful degree of madness?

Commitment: at heart, nutz??

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRIGHTSPARK7 1/31/2010 1:23AM

    So glad you are writing again. Must be feeling better!

I've enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, pray, love" and your review has sparked my interest to read this one too. 29 years for the hubs and I. I like the quote you have chosen:

"Maybe creating a big enough space within your consciousness to hold and accept someone's contradictions -- someone's idiocies, even -- is a kind of divine act. Perhaps transcendence can be found not only on solitary mountaintops or in monastic settings, but also at your own kitchen table, in the daily acceptance of your partner's most tiresome, irritating faults."

Yes, when we learn to have compassion for our own irritating, idiocies, we do have more spaciousness for the contradictions of others too. It's all one.


Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGHARD1948 1/30/2010 10:49PM

    Ellen, very thought provoking and I'll certainly look out for the book. One of the things that I find most remarkable is how the nature of love between a couple changesas we develop and mature through life. I did write a poem about it once - I must try to find it.

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 Last Page