Bring Back Wireless Bras: Day 38

Sorry guys, this isn’t meant to be titillating.

I was thinking today that I wish there were a place where I could talk to the public about bras.  Then I realized that I have a place where I can talk to the public about anything I wish.  This is so convenient.  Thanks for that.  I’m still not used to the fact that people outside my crew might actually read what I write.

In most of my adult life I have worn underwire bras.  This is partly because I believed that is what I needed because of the shape my breasts are in from breast feeding.  But lately it is because somewhere in the past 30 years, bra manufacturers have forgotten how to make a decent wireless bra.

When I was in high school, I wouldn’t have been caught in an underwire bra.  They looked painful.  The wireless were made for comfort, support, and looks.  That is the purpose of underwire now.  If I want a good bra, I am going to buy one with an underwire.

Today the wireless bras mimic sports bra.  It might clasp in the back and look like it has cups, but in reality, once it is on, it holds the same as a sports bra.  Don’t get me wrong, sports bras have a purpose (sports) and are good for that, but not to wear with nice business clothes.

But here’s the problem…some women cannot wear an underwire but want the support of it. Since my first biopsy, I have been having problems with underwire bras.  The wire presses against the incisions.   I have been told that many women can never wear an underwire again.  I have purchased several wireless bras in the last six weeks and have not been impressed.  The construction and materials are wrong.  What happened to the patterns of the past? It isn’t rocket science.  These companies made very well designed and constructed wireless bras in the past.  Couldn’t they go to their storage and dig out some of the proven designs?

I would be willing to bet that if the companies used some of the old designs and materials, wireless bras could make a comeback.  The surgery isn’t the only reason to go wireless.  The wires often break or poke out the side of the bra.  I have red spots on my sides right now because of a wayward wire rubbing me while I was at work and couldn’t fix it or change.  The wires also cause some women problems in the underboob region too.

Bring back the proven wireless bras! It would be a good business move. The current ones are crap.

Ear Aches: Day 37

Growing up, I didn’t get ear aches.  I was 21 and pregnant for my first ear ache.  At the time, prescribing antibiotics was the first thing that the doctors did for an ear infection.  Now, they are a bit conservative. Unfortunately, with my second pregnancy, I had many ear aches. Probably because my immune system was worn down trying to take care of a two year old and work a full time job.  I was given many antibiotics those nine months.  My son paid for that.  He was born immune to amoxicillin.

Now when I have ear aches I try to take care of it myself.  Some where several years ago, I read that using apple cider vinegar helped.  So, I soaked a cotton swab in it and just ran the cotton swab around in my ear to get the vinegar into my ear.  It seemed to work.  The ear aches would go away fairly quickly.  I used this frequently.  There has been no official study on why apple cider vinegar or even white vinegar works, but that is the way it is with home remedies.

Then a couple of years ago, I started getting swimmer’s ear.  The wax in my ear swells with water acting like a sponge.  The water makes a funny sound and makes it hard to hear clearly.  I had heard of people cleaning their ears with peroxide, so I tried it.  It is one of the main ingredients in the ear cleaning kits. I put a few drops into my ear and let it percolate for awhile.  The peroxide helped, but I always needed a lot of flushing with warm water afterwards.  But, any pain related to the swimmer’s ear would disappear as well.  Now, I had two remedies.

I have to be careful though.  While in graduate school, I had a bout with vertigo which we never found out what caused it. It was horrible.  I couldn’t drive for a month.  My thinking and coordination as well as my stomach and head were messed up from it.  Unfortunately, since then I have to be careful or I get a moment of dizziness.

After two days of my ears hurting and trying the remedies, I flushed my ear with peroxide today.  Then I had to flush it with warm water because the wax turned into a sponge again.  When it all finally cleared, I left the bathroom to find out that my house was spinning.  I had set of the vertigo.  Closing my eyes and waiting a few minutes helped but did not clear it.  My sinuses are backed up, so I know that this is contributing to the pain and the ear ache. Now I have to hope that going to sleep with help with the dizziness.

The pain has lessened, but I wonder if the home remedy was better than antibiotics this time.

To Become Healthy: Day 36

If I had to narrow what I must do to become healthy into one thing, it would be to lose weight.  So much would improve if I could just lose weight. Many people think that if a person knows that they need to lose weight, they could just quit eating so much or quit eating the wrong thing.  I even fall into this mindset at times, but I also know that that is not the problem.  Most people are not obese simply because they choose to overeat.  There are always other things behind it. For me, it is the emotional eating and sugar addiction.

On a regular basis, I try to set up my day so that I can make the right choices.  I try to not have sweet foods in my house, keep busy, drink water before I eat, and make rules of when and how many sweets I can have.  This fails regularly.  I can choose not to eat sweets sometimes.  But other times, I uncontrollably grab the wrong foods.  If I eat a sweet early in the day, I want it the rest of the day.  If I am having some difficulty, I want sweets more than normal.  I have read that sugar addiction is just as difficult to break as it is with drugs.  I believe this.  I have been fighting this enemy for many years.  I can break the trend for awhile, but when I have sugar again, I go off the deep end and cannot satisfy the craving.  I understand that I need to just keep it out of my diet all together; however, sugar is in all processed foods.  This means that I must make all my own foods, and it is a good idea, but not always feasible.

The emotional eating is difficult too because I eat when I am bored and when I am lonely and with the extreme emotions.  This pretty much looks like all the time.  I do well when I cook all day or when I am hiking or in my yard all day, but I cannot sustain that.  And no matter what, evening comes.  That is when I am done with my work, so I often feel I am done with everything.  I sit on the couch and watch TV for the next several hours and eat my way through the mindless TV programs.

This 100 day challenge has been helping with that.  I cannot exercise with a full stomach, so I have to quit eating dinner at some point so I can exercise.  Also, when I am in my office writing, I don’t get up to eat as often.  I can go several hours without thinking of eating.  This is why I want to make the challenge into some type of life style change.  I don’t expect to blog daily; it is difficult to think of a new topic every day.  But, working on some of my projects would be a great thing for me.  I could also spend time researching for some of my projects and for the blog.  I definitely need to exercise every day.  So, to become healthy, I need to lose weight.  And, to lose weight, I need to stay away from the food.  I can do this with continuing the challenge in the future with a few modifications.

The Dare: Day 35

It started innocently enough; I didn’t have a clue of what I was wishing for.  But I wanted it like I wanted no other thing.  I wanted the most coveted prize.  The saying, “Be careful of what you wish for,” never entered my mind. Maybe it should have as it set me on a course I never would have expected.

We were at a 4-H awards ceremony; my name had been called many times for various awards:  Gold Star, 9 year pin, cooking completion, sewing completion, record book silver bowl, and more.  I missed the trips, but I got those the previous year.  There was only one award left; the most coveted, the Danforth Award.  Being eighteen, I knew that this was my only chance to earn the award, as the next year I would have to be a leader if I want to stay with the 4-H community.

The award was given to the most active, well rounded senior members.  Since I was nine years old, I worked hard every year toward this sought-after prize.  Whenever there was a need for a volunteer, I signed up; if there was a new meeting needing attendance, they could count on me.  You name it I did it.

The introduction for the award seemed decades long, I just wanted to hear the names.  Only two girls and two boys could win this valued prize.  People began drumming their fingers on the table; I came out of my trance.  I knew they were about to announce the winners – CC, we all clapped. I was thrilled for her; we’d done so much together. DI, a cheer broke out for him; he deserved it.  My stomach was in knots, and I chewed a whole in my cheek; only two awards left.  Laurel, that’s me, they called my name!  I looked around as if I had to make sure they called my name.  I rose to my feet and raced up to the podium.  The presenter hands me a small brown leather book.  It was the award I wanted most.51LnylDVjIL._AC_US218_

I had no idea what this book was about, but I knew it had to be good because it was more prized than all the silver bowls and other awards handed out through the years.  I clutched it tightly in my hands and looked down to read the title.  Surprise filled me, it said, I DARE You, not Danforth.  That seems odd for a prized book, but the dare grabbed me, and I knew that it would be read within days.

Like an echo in my mind, I heard DR’s name being called.  I came back to reality and cheered along with everyone else.  We had all been county ambassadors together the year before, and this was a great way to end our time as members together.  We had all been so deeply involved in 4-H throughout our youth; though, we knew it wasn’t going to be the end for us.  Eventually, we would become leaders.

In keeping with the dare, I read the book within a week.  I came to understand why the award was called Danforth.  William Danforth was a successful man who made it in life on a dare.  As a poor sick child, he was dared by a teacher to be the healthiest boy in class; when he met this challenge, he was given another.  Every time he met a challenge, he found another until he was a very successful businessman.  He then turned to daring other young men who needed a boost to be great at something they weren’t.  This book was his book written about the dares and all the while challenging the reader to find a personal one, to make every day worth while and the best.

Now, I understand the award and even that we got this award to encourage us to reach for our dreams, one challenge at a time.  But why wait until we have already accomplished so much?  After reading the book and using it my life, I realize that the officials waited to see who the members to push themselves through repeated challenges were.

This book has affected my life through the effort of earning it as well as the continuing dare it provokes in me just sitting on my shelf.  When I forget my way, I just open a page, read it, and I’m on my way again.  With book in hand, I step into the next dare of my life, the dare to become as healthy as I can be.

Rebuilding: Day 34

Since surgery, I have been doing some walking, but more leg, abs, and some arm exercises.  All my exercising has been in the house and at a minimum of effort.  I have had little energy or drive.

I wanted to change that.  I felt like I was in a place where I could easily spiral down.  I could easily give up on so much.  So, today, after I did some cooking, I went on a hike.  Right away, I noticed that I wouldn’t be able to take on anything strenuous.  I opted for the flatter trails out of a web of trails on the local everything trail maze.  It is a large web of roads, trails, and ruts that create an interesting place to hike.  I can make the trail as long or as short as I want with little backtracking. I climbed but not the serious climbs, I zigzagged around and I was all alone.  The trail was great.  I could see where someone had been improving it for mountain bikes. At the end of the hike, I hiked a little over a mile.  I was tired and hungry.  I felt like I had gone on an all day hike.

The next few days, I am going to try to exercise outside as much as I can. I feel better and more motivated. I also need to rebuild my stamina.  I would like to be able to hit a good trail next weekend.  So rebuilding is the agenda of the week.

Apples From Chile: Day 33

Apples from Chile, pears from Mexico, grapes from Brazil…do you know where your produce comes from or what actually goes into the growing of the plants?  I grew up eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, some my mother grew in her garden and others she bought.  Through this I enjoy eating a large variety of produce.  The produce my parents used to buy wasn’t shipped from all over the world either.  I try to grow my own in the summers but don’t have the green thumb my parents do.  So, I must buy the bulk of the produce for my family’s meals.  This is a costly thing to do as well as difficult.

Living in a small rural town in the middle of Nevada doesn’t provide us with much produce.  We may be the alfalfa capital of the world, but much of the food for our consumption must be shipped in.  If we are lucky we will get produce from California or other nearby states, but most of the time, I find labels from out of the country.  Knowing what I do about produce, I know that these fruits and vegetables were not picked at their peak for if they were, they would be rotten or over ripe by the time they get here.

Produce picked at its peak is preferable because of the nutrition and the flavor.  Produce picked early, stored, and shipped (possibly grown in hot houses) have no or little flavor.  A person growing up on shipped produce alone doesn’t know what they are missing, but one having fresh foods throughout her childhood really understands.  There is even a difference between something that has been grown in a garden and picked that day or hour within eating compared to something picked a few days ahead of time.  I read a post today where the person was asking why restaurants put tomatoes on the burgers. All I could think of as a reply was that if the tomato was home grown, they would know why it is good on a burger.  But the ones in the restaurants are flavorless, texture free pieces of pink food.

On top of this, knowing of what is put on or into our food is appreciated.  When we grow our own food, we know what we use.   And in my case, my parents and I do not use pesticides or chemicals.  But what is grown for markets typically has many different pesticides and fertilizers.  There is a chemical used when the produce is picked and packaged to keep it from ripening and another to ripen the produce when it arrives at its selling point.  Oh, a person could buy organic in the market, but they will pay for it.

I might have found a solution or two.  There is a local farmer who feels the same way I do and has opened up a fruit stand. They do bring produce from outside the state, but not from across the country.  Oh, the peaches were so juicy and sweet.  I went back every week buying what was in season.  Unfortunately the season is over for most produce in the area.  So, my other solution…a greenhouse.  My husband is building me a greenhouse that is attached to our house.  I already have a couple of citrus trees potted and my herbs.  Now I am going to try to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peas, and a few other salad type vegetables.  If this goes well, I am going to buy other plants that don’t like our cold to see if I can grow them in pots.  I will have to take them out during our summers because it would be too hot even with the vents, but with luck and a bit of learning, I can have the fresh produce I have been dreaming about.  No more fruits that are flavored by the soils they are grown in or mealy tomatoes because of the shipping process.  No more high costs.  I could have tomatoes that tastes as they were meant to taste.

Challenges: Day 32

Internet challenges are everywhere.  All walks of life seem to have heard of them and many are trying them.  Why? Some for the thrill, some for the quick fix, and others to try something different.  I am doing challenges to try something different.  Some I hope to make a lifestyle change, and some I just want to know if they are effective.

I don’t do or condone the life threatening challenges that so many of our kids are doing.  I don’t understand the thrill behind it; although, I do understand youth chasing thrills.  It is a societal problem that so many are intentionally hurting themselves and others with these challenges. Are we so lost that we need these as our few minutes of fame? I hope not, but it is not just a onetime deal. A challenge takes off until it wears out then another appears. Sometimes the same kids are doing all the challenges too. So, in my mind, that is telling us that the kids need something.  They are searching for something.  I just wish we could figure out what it is so we could fill that hole and stop the stupidity.

Of course, I am thinking of this as I am contemplating another challenge.  I am deep into this 100 day challenge and doing well.  Sometimes I don’t feel I am giving the exercise part full attention, but I also am still healing from surgery.  This one is for a lifestyle change. But as I am looking for something to write or another exercise to try for the night, I come across one challenge after another, and these are healthy challenges.  So I try an arm routine and an ab workout.  They make my heart rate rise, and I can feel the burn, but I wonder what good one day with these exercises would do? Should I do them regularly for several days to see any benefit? Then again, if I did these as a week or a month challenge, stopped, and moved onto another challenge, is there any benefit to that?  I am tempted to try the challenges, but I think that realistically having a variety of exercises that are preformed would be the wisest.  If I do something for my arms and abs one day and legs or aerobic exercise another never getting back to the exact exercise, but hitting the muscle groups, I would be doing myself a favor. Things would be mixed up and fresh.  I wouldn’t face boredom or problems with repetition.  I just need to remember that aerobic exercise is important multiple times a week, and hiking is the best way to prepare for backpacking.

Second Day out of Mt Hood: Day 31

After a long night listening to critters and my imagination, after fighting the pull of gravitation, I awoke with the sun.  Light poured onto my tent, nature called, I was awake for a new adventure.  The air was cold – no sun to warm it yet, but I was up and dressed, cleaning out my food can and picking breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the day.  Then calling to the girls to get up and packed so we could get water.  I was dry and didn’t know how far before we would come to any water.  I pack and stretch and hurry the girls along.  Before I put on my pack, I take off one layer knowing it wouldn’t be long before I warmed up.

Finally we were headed out, stopping to take pictures where Camazon and Babyzon had looked at the waterfall the day before.  My stomach growls, and I begin to get anxious and hangry.  It is time to get a move on.  We begin down.  We know it will be a long downhill trip, but we are looking forward to some water along the way.  Then we enter the trees and the slope gets steeper, my feet slide forward in my shoes.  The trees become denser and the sound of rushing water drowns everything except our excited chatter.  As we come around a bend, we see a man sitting on a boulder eating his breakfast.  His gear spread out around him gave him a clam air.  My cousin stopped and talked to him; he was the first through hiker we met.  He was fueling for another long day.  He was hiking from the north to the south.  At least he was missing the fires to come later in the season.  When asked how far water was, he said there were a few crossings just up ahead. We marched on energized by the prospect of finding water soon.  The path was clear and easy to follow.  It was encouraging.  We pass a mud puddle; a tinge of worry crept in, and on the next curve a river comes into view. We start watching for places to get to it and filter water as well as eat breakfast.  My stomach let out a growl.  I have walked more than an hour with no food or water since the night before.  This is about my max, especially with exercise.  Camazon and Babyzon climb down a bank to a nice wide spot with some rocks to sit on to filter water.  Yay!  We are all so happy to get water.  Babyzon and I alternate filling our bags and making our breakfast, sharing my filter and stove.  We are having oatmeal with honey.  I forgot to dig my peanut butter out.  I drink almost a liter of water right away and then make sure to refill everything as the water is cooking.  We leave with all our water containers and our stomachs full. Muscling on the packs seems harder than earlier.

Right away we have to cross what to me is a raging river.  The banks are nothing but rocks.  We look for a way across and find a log, but it isn’t stable enough to walk on.  We look more and find cairns beside the log on both sides of the river and there is a sandbar in the middle.  We change into our water shoes, excitement builds again.  We have a reason we carried the extra shoes.  The water is moving fast, it’s cold, and it’s up to our knees.  But we carefully find our way across and are raring to go again.  The first of the water crossings that the forester told me about.  We would have two more today.  Once we find the trail again, we are pleased to see that it is rolling hills not the climb of the day before.  This would not last.

The next water crossing is a well built bridge, and the last one is two logs lying across the water. This one is scary because of the height, the precariousness of the two logs, and the raging water below.  This is the only time height scares me on this trip. Then we begin to climb.  We climb for many hours taking switchbacks.  Hiking only a few feet at a time in some places.  Walking only until our legs won’t lift anymore before taking a break.  That is us old folks.  The girls hike on without us getting frustrated with our continuous stopping.  The divide between the two sets gets farther.  We often see the backs of the girls disappearing with Babyzon’s hands in her pockets.

We’ve been hiking for hours, no campsite to be found.  Our bodies are exhausted.  After all day of climbing deep brown trails surrounded by trees so dense we can’t see the other part of the switchback, we are finally going down.  The girls hike ahead looking for a camp site. There is a cliff on one side and rocks on the other.  The trail is just wide enough for us.  Half the time my trekking poles fall off into nothing.  But the downhill propels us.  We are light on our feet.  The mileage slips away. The sun is below the mountain tops, the color is leaching out of the day.  Desperation is filling our minds.  The drop off prevents us from camping on the trail itself.  We haven’t seen water since morning.  We are facing another dry night.  My cousin starts humming.  The sound gets lost in the trees.  We are startled out of our thoughts by the fuzzy “Mom? Momma?” over the radio.  “Camazon,” I reply.  “We’ve got a camp spot.  It’s got tables, fire pit, plenty of room for all four tents.” My cousin and I sigh in relief.  “Yea!” I holler over the radio.  A pause – “But…” I speak into the radio.  Camazon understands the question, “There’s no water.  But there’s a parking lot.” This statement helps balance out the dread of a dry night.  We don’t have more than is needed to make dinner.  But, the prospect of getting someone to give or drive us to water is great.  My cousin and I pick up our pace.  We’ve passed the last downed tree before the camp so nothing slows us down.  Soon we are gathered at a nice camp ground eating dinner laughing at the day.  No there isn’t water, but another hiker poured the remains of his water into our bags.  We don’t have to go another night without water.

Cat and Cow Pose: Day 30

I have a routine of exercises and stretches I do every day. This started with going to the physical therapist and getting learning things to do to help alleviate my back pain. After many trips to different physical therapists throughout my life, I have come to the realization that physical therapy only works if it is done long term. So the last time I agreed to try it again, I decided that I was going to do everything the therapist told me, and I was going to make it a lifestyle. Over time, I have added extra elements to the routine.

I have always liked yoga; since I first tried it, I have noticed how it helps relatively fast. So, I have added different movements throughout the hour and a half that I exercise in the mornings. One yoga pose that I absolutely love is the cat and cow. I didn’t know what it did for me, but I knew that it helped my back pain and was a natural transition from a stretch called Elvis pelvis to the exercise called horsestance.  Recently, I learned that cat and cow pose actually does a lot for our bodies. No wonder it is just a natural feel good movement.

It is said that cat and cow helps with spinal stretch and pain relief, which I knew. It also helps with the heart and lungs through the stretching and breathing. The movement stimulates and massages the digestive system, the kidneys, and the adrenal glands. And like all yoga moves, this pose helps with flexibility, circulation, sleep, posture, balance, coordination, and emotional balance (stress and calmness).  These are all reasons to do this simple movement multiple times throughout the day.

Many of us have jobs where we are hunched over a desk. This pose helps to counterbalance the posture we get through our desk work. But back pain comes from standing a lot or bending repetitively. This pose also relieves the pains from these movements. I suffer from chronic back pain, and all these things will aggravate my back. Yoga in general will help; cat and cow specifically helps quickly.cow-and-cat-pose

To begin, get on your knees and hands – crawling position. This can be done on the floor or on the bed. I have knee problems too, so I use a foam mat on the floor. Make sure your knees are directly under the hips and your hands are in line with your shoulders.  This is the most important part of this pose. I like to rock back and forth a little first because my wrists and hands are usually stiff in the morning.  Then tilt the pelvis forward (downward) inhaling as you move. Hold a second or two and breathe all your air out as you tilt the pelvis back (upward) squeezing your stomach as you reach the maximum movement.  If this hurts, back it off and don’t move as drastically.  Repeat this several times and try periodically through the day.

I hope that you will receive the benefits of cat and cow as I have.

Get Up and Move: Day 29

Today is a get up and move day.  I actually have had to tell myself that several times today.  I woke up uncomfortable, so I did my exercises and ate breakfast. But then I sat at the computer for a while and sat on the couch looking at cookbooks until I fell asleep for a while.  When I finally got moving, I had to do laundry and my normal weekend chores.

I worked on the computer for several hours until my eyes couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to get up and move. But the movement was watering my potted plants outside.  Then I worked some more until I had to get up and move. So, I prepared dinner and took out the compost.

Not much moving today. I am still tired from the surgery and not moving much makes me feel even more tired. I know I need to move to feel better, but the directive isn’t reaching my limbs very well. It is mired in the sludge of my brain. Instead I worked and ate. I didn’t drink enough water which made me light headed and sluggish.

Now it is almost time for bed, and I am trying to get my exercising and water intake caught up.  Kind of backward today.  Now I will be up all night because I am restless and need to pee every ten minutes. The take away from today is to get up and get moving earlier. Drink water before I eat. Move more often between computer projects. Get up and move.