Different Muscles: Day 85ish

Yesterday, I spent 4 hours sewing a gift that I really needed to get finished. Half way through the project, I realized that I was using muscles that I hadn’t in a while. I was leaning over my work table laying out the next step, when my back started to burn. I had to keep standing straight and stretching. When I was ironing, the same thing happened.

Although, I sit at the desk often and don’t sit up straight, I still don’t use the muscles that the day required. They are also different muscles from cooking and doing dishes. My back hurts then too, but not the same.

This morning, when I got up, I felt like I had been hit by a car or something. My back and thighs had the soreness of working out, but again, not where I would usually have the pain. Who knew that sewing all day could work forgotten muscles? I surely didn’t. I knew that I was moving more than when I do desk work; I had to get up from the sewing machine often to do the next ironing or pinning.

It was a fun day in which I didn’t know I would get some muscle training. When doing something outside the norm, be prepared for different muscles to be worked.

New Traditions: Day 84

My family and I just learned about a tradition in Iceland where there is an exchange of books on Christmas Eve and everyone reads. Being how most of us are avid readers, we decided to start a new tradition in our family. Unfortunately, we saw this just a bit more than a week before Christmas, so we only have a few people who will try it out with us. There are three in fact. It was a fairly quick process to draw names and send out the assignments.

This is a tradition I hope we can get others involved in with us. Through trying to choose a book for someone else, one that we love and want to pass on, we are learning about each other more. Luckily there are Goodreads and Amazon wish lists to see what the other is reading, but we also want to pass along a book we enjoyed.  In two days, we have drawn names and purchased books delivering them directly to the recipient.

I love Christmas and traditions. It’s not the getting, but the giving and the selecting the perfect present for the people we love. I have always given my grandkids a book or a series for Christmas, so it fits right in with what I already do. If I don’t know what to get a person, I usually default to a book too. With the kids grown and the grandkids somewhere else, I won’t be able to read with them on Christmas eve, but to know that another book lover is reading somewhere else with me and because of a gift, I think that is special. It doesn’t matter where we are to enjoy a book together.

Hopefully, you have a tradition of your own and are preparing to share it with your loved ones.

Life Theory: Day 83

When I was in the seventh grade, I was sitting in my science class listening to the lecture and looking at the slides of cells. We had just finished studying about the universe, and I noticed that the cells were made similar to the shape of the universe with the nucleus in the place of the sun and the other parts of the cell were like the planets. This stuck with me for a long time. I thought that since the cells made up a larger being couldn’t the universe be  cells making up an even larger being that we had some cognizance  of and that is what many name God or a higher power?

This summer, my granddaughters and I were talking about their theories on life, and I told them mine since they were very similar. It is a bit ironic that almost six mo518lOCCytyL._AC_US218_nths later, I pick up Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door. This book is all about how the mitochondria in the cells make up a human which is their universe, and that there are many different kinds of universes as well as sizes and shapes. I feel as if L’Engle has put my theory in a much simpler way of understanding.

There are many thoughts out in the world that get picked up by different people. If one doesn’t do something with the thought someone else will.  This book is a great reminder for me of that theory. My dad used to come up with ideas for tools and with a few months, he would see them in a magazine he subscribed to. This book came out before I had the idea, but it could be that there is more to do with it. I had an idea for a book but didn’t pursue it, and a few years later, another woman published a book with a similar idea. To me these are examples of what L’Engle is trying to show in her book. She shows through her characters that people, things, ideas are communicated between places without moving or speaking. These ideas are the ones waiting for someone to do something.

This is a book I’ll be sharing with my granddaughters because of the theories we had talked about and because it illustrates my ideas so well.

Exhaustion: Day 82

The end of the fall semester hits right before Christmas. So, I have finals to grade, grades to post, new classes to set up, and presents to make and buy, and things to bake, decorations to put up. There is a lot going on. I have Christmas parties, crafting and jewelry making parties, painting class to go to. And the exhaustion hits. It doesn’t care that I have more than the usual amount of things to do in a week or if there is more. It hits.

I am less creative and need to sleep a lot more. I am making up for the short hour nights I had during the semester from when I had to stay up late to grade or to plan for a class. I am making up for the lack of school stress. So I don’t do things as fast as I would normally do, or I start something and have to quit to do something else.

I try to have things as close to completed before this hits, but something always comes up. I should be done grading and have the grades posted by now, but I’ve been out doing other things all week. So this weekend, I have to grade as well as the other things I wish to do.

I can’t bypass the exhaustion as I would wish to, so I try to navigate it as well as possible. I have to be very good at time management and flexible with my schedule.

I know that exercise helps to give me energy, but somehow exercise and hiking always gets shoved to the bottom of my to do list. I want to make it a priority, but don’t seem to know how to. How do I prioritize things for myself when I have always prioritized everyone else all my life? How do I prioritize something that I see as a pastime or recreation instead of productive?

Is exercise productive? I think so. It is what helps me and others get over that hump. It drives creativity and energy.  It reduces stress. So now I need to get out there and do some exercise or hiking. We’ve had two days of sunshine, and I have yet to go hiking. I think I better get out and do it tomorrow.

Sunshine: Day 81

After several days of gray overcast skies, we finally have sunshine.  I didn’t know what to do first: follow my cat’s lead and lie in the sun rays in the kitchen, go outside, be responsible and work, or celebrate. So, I worked and did my physical therapy.  Then the rest of the day got out of control.

I was going to take a hike today, but by the time I got my errands done, I had to go home and put away the frozen foods and make a few phone calls before I forgot them once again. The sun was setting by the time I actually got out side to enjoy the warmth of 50 degrees. It was nice too.

Since the sun was setting, I decided to water my greenhouse plants and fill up my waterfall instead of going for a hike. So I got to walk across my yard 15 times with a three gallon bucket taking water from the rain barrel to the waterfall. It was good exercise, and I walked on the railroad ties to practice my balance and looking ahead instead of at my feel. But, it wasn’t hiking. So hopefully tomorrow I will be able to hike.

The sunshine was a nice change though, and I did notice people’s attitudes changed. We don’t notice the slump in attitude as the days of gray skies add up, but when the sun comes back, the attitudes are noticeably better.

Checking In Once More: Day 80

I am ¾ of the way through with this challenge, so I thought that I would check in on how I am doing. I have been writing regularly; not every day but most, and the day after a skip, I write an extra post. I have done something physically everyday as well. I had hoped to do about 30 minutes of exercise everyday but knew that might be a problem, so I said I would do some exercises. I have stretched, done yoga, hiked, walked, hula hooped, done stairs, swimming, arms and abs, so I feel pretty good with this.  I have found new ways to incorporate exercise into my days even when I feel that I cannot add anything else to the day. I have weaned myself off the television, but I have picked up a computer problem.

I quit dieting in November to be able to honor myself. I eat when I need to eat not when I am bored or lonely. Sometimes, I fall back to the emotional eating because that is what I know. But for the most part, I am working on intuitively eating. My blood pressure is good. My sugar levels could be better but aren’t horrible. I am not losing weight, but that will come with time. I need to learn to accept myself the way it is and not worry about the unhealthy behaviors of dieting including shaming my own body.

My back still has days like today where it just burned or ached of and on all day. My feet have improved, but I will need at least one more set of shots. My knee is stronger and not locking up as often.

I have been having problems with the 52 week challenge because I am not a cold weather outdoors person. Instead, I am a fair weather hiker. I know that this needs to change, but that is okay for now. When I have a reason to hike in the cold, I do fairly well. I will work on the 52 hikes in 52 weeks after the holidays. I cannot use being too busy as an excuse because I am supposed to be making my health and training a priority if I am going to be able to finish any of the big hikes we have planned for this summer and the future.

My mood and attitude have greatly improved. I see where I have time to do some of the things I love and where I can improve my time management.  The way I am treating myself is improved, and I wake up looking forward to a busy day.

I feel good about what this challenge has done for me so far and am pleased that I have worked so hard at it. I will definitely do this again and try other healthy challenges.

It’s a Cold World: Day 79 – Rant

All afternoon, I have been thinking about the “Baby It’s Cold” by Dean Martin controversy. I wanted to write about the issue, but it is getting so much attention that I almost didn’t. But I have a few thoughts from an English teacher’s perspective, and this fits with the topic of banned books we have been talking about all semester. There are people saying that we shouldn’t play it because it supports the rape culture. Then there is Dean Martin’s daughter and others who point out the time period that it was written and the history of the song. From an English professor’s standpoint, both of these people are analyzing this song from different theories.

When we discuss literature in English classes, we often tell our students that there is no wrong way to interpret the literature as long as the argument is supported by the literature. The side that is complaining about the rape context is analyzing the song from a reader’s response or structuralism theory. They are looking at how the song fits with what they relate to and what they know. While the other side is using post structuralism or historical theory looking at the time period in which it was written. Both have good points and the literature supports it.

The real problem goes to censorship. The group protesting the song is trying to sensor what is aired and what people should listen to. This song is a classic, meaning that it is relatable to many generations. It should not be censored because some people find it offensive. We cannot and should not censor things for the few who speak loudly. There are many things in this world that are offensive, and we must learn to live with it. Life can be offensive at times, and if we do not know how to live with things and people who do not please us, we cannot function well in the world. Part of our rights is about free speech. Censorship impedes free speech.

This is like the book bannings that have happened in this country for decades. People find something in a book and contest the fact that it is in a library or a school. The book has something that the readers could benefit from, but it has bad language, violence, sex, drugs, witchcraft, racism, and many more issues. So, parents or others complain and try to get it taken off the shelves, but these are the things that need to be addressed to teach the lessons that need to be made. Learning about racism in a first person narrative is much more meaningful than being told that it is bad and that people are just people. Same with this song, if a parent or teacher thinks that this song is about the rape culture, then it needs to be used as a teaching tool instead of taken off the air. Those who see it as a classic should be allowed to enjoy it without criticism.

I like the classic songs. They are much more pleasing to me than most of the current ones, but I do not intend to tell r anyone what they can or cannot listen to. Please do the same for me and leave the song be.

Clear Cutting: Day 78

I have strong connections to the redwood forest in Northern California. I love trees. Whenever we fly over clear cut areas in the forest, it makes me sad. The redwood forest is a healthy forest with very good logging regulations to keep it that way. However, much of the forest in Washington and Oregon are clear cut. This type of logging leads to monocropping which leads to weak soil and easily diseased trees.

There are people who believe that my clear cutting the forest will be better because it gets cleaned out and there is more room for the trees to grow. This is false, however. The reasoning behind clear cutting is monetary. It is easier for the logging companies to come in, build a few roads and just start chopping. The cleanup is quicker and easier. The cutting itself is even easier without the other trees getting in the way.

This kind of logging leads to erosion because the trees and undergrowth are what keeps the soil in place. The driving of tractors over the soil also loosens it making it easier to wash away. It also destroys natural habitats chasing animals off to live somewhere else. And it kills the plants that the animals would have eaten had it remained. The animals cannot come back until some of the other plants do. Some of these plants will come back no problem, but some need certain conditions, like a fire, in order to regrow.  Disease can also infest a monocrop much faster than a mixed crop. The just go from tree to tree wiping out many acres in a season. Then it is highly susceptible to fire.

Clear cutting and monocropping our forests are not the answer to our wood needs. Yes, it helps give us wood quickly, but it is poor land management. There are other things we can do for the wood than wiping our acres at a time every year.

Second Day of Misadventures: Day 77ish

After our crazy trip getting to a trail head, the next morning dawned bright and fresh. It was chilly out, but my enthusiasm was high. I got up dressed and did all of my physical therapy while waiting for the other two to get up. I waited on breakfast to eat with them. I even brought all our food back to camp.

When they woke and came out of their tents, I was on the second set of stretches for the morning. But we quickly split up our food (we shared a bear can), and dove into our breakfasts. I learned last year that I cannot eat a large breakfast before hiking, so I had peanut butter crackers and dried melon.

When we were packed up and ready to go, we did a few more stretches, went down to the water to refill our water bladders, and strapped on our packs. The hill that we have climbed and descended several times now looked daunting. We hadn’t thought of what it would take to get down the steep bank with our 40lbs of weight on.  It was precarious, but no one got hurt. We used my trekking poles and the stumps to help uIMG_20180612_095820624s down.

Back on the trail we met 4 people heading north right away.  We had a friendly chat and set off on our way. The girls were in front until I couldn’t keep up any more. My pace is much slower than theirs. Since it was the three of us we tried to keep together. I took the lead for a while. The trail was nice and sunny. Soon I was very warm and had on too many layers.  I didn’t want to stop yet and take off a layer, so I continued.  We passed many interesting plants and creek beds. Not much water to be seen. We did see a gnome garden in a hollowed stump. We stopped to check it out and take pictures. Next time I come this way, I am bringing a contribution.

We started the day going down and around, but it didn’t take long before we were climbing. The trail wasn’t steep but I had to stop and rest often. Sometimes it was because of the strain and the pace, but eventually it became because I was not feeling well again. It was quite obvious that I had not trained enough this spring for the trip. I was lagging behind and feeling the climb. We climbed up until we came to a logging road. We crossed it and clearly saw the trail on the other side. Then we stopped for the girls to have a snack and to sit without our packs on.  I was feeling worse.  A couple of times I got up to puke, but it never happened.  We rested a while and talked about how this was probably the best place for me to catch a ride if I couldn’t go on.  I wanted to go on, but I really was struggling with how I was feeling.

Along the way, I had taken some salt tabs and electrolytes, a chewed several ginger candies, and I drank a lot of water. I was still feeling poorly. We continued along the trail which wound up, down, and around the mountains. We passed great fields and young trees. We could hear the logging trucks at times, but we never saw another person.

Five hours and five miles into the day, I was feeling miserable, and we just weren’t making progress.  Something had to change. We stopped for another break without our packs. I decided that I had to eat something since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Just getting the food out of my pack made me vomit. I puked so much water. I knew I wasn’t dehydrated. But after a short shit, I was able to continue on feeling fairly well.  Our pace quickly picked up, which was good because the next camping spot was at least 5 miles away. We had to make our 10 miles for the day.

The miles seemed to fly by. We stopped occasionally to rest and finally to eat a few bites of protein bars and crackers.  We came into the logging areas where there were many downed trees and slash piles.  We talked about the marked trees and the trail. It was devastating to see everything cleared out for miles around.

As the sun started to sink behind the mountains we came across our first crossroads in the trail and the first hikers we saw since heading out in the morning. We talked about camping there since it was cleared and flat, but we were low on water and didn’t want to have to hike to water in the morning.  Two miles further, we found water and filled everything and drank some too.  We needed to get through the night and several miles further for the next day.

At last, twelve miles from where we started, we found a wide spot in the trail that would fit our three tents. We didn’t care that the trail was right next to my tent. We set up, drank a lot of electrolytes and ate a simple dinner.  Too tired to even play games or talk, we crawled into bed.

Detox: Day 76

Today was a day to go slow and really treat myself while still getting some important overlooked things done. I started with a simple detox bath: 1 part baking soda to 2 parts Epsom salt. Some might say that I don’t have everything for a detox bath, but these are the vital items. I didn’t feel like adding essential oils today. I don’t know why; I just didn’t.

I had my easy day of small projects. It was great. Then I did a detox yoga practice. It really worked my core through twists not strengthening.

I feel great. I started the detox baths a few years ago because I liked how the made my hair and skin feel. I try to get one in a week, but often fall behind on that. I would have liked to have really cleansed my hair too, but I didn’t know if I was going to stay home today or not.

In the past, I have learned that yoga twists help me relieve constipation and bloating. Any day is a good day to do this for me, but since this was a day to honor myself through pampering, it was a great choice. The practice just flew by.

But, why detox? Well, I wondered that too. It turns out that a detox helps the body clean out toxins. The liver cleans them normally, but with all the toxins in our lives, that is hard work. So we help our bodies once in a while. Toxins come out in urine or through our pores. The bath makes us sweat and flushes that away. The yoga helps to squeeze the digestive organs and move things along.

One last thing to aid the body would be to drink water. Water flushes the toxins our and helps lubricate the bowels. This step though is hard for me. I didn’t work very hard today and I was cold, so I didn’t think about drinking water most of the day. Now I am very dry and will have to make up for it.

I think I will try to bring back the weekly detox days. It is a great way to pamper myself and improve my health.