Accidents Happen: Day 35.2

There was a big accident that ended in a semi burning to the ground near my house. This accident killed one, seriously injured one, and one walked away. When we look at this we can easily see the effects on those three people; we can even safely assume the immediate effects on the families of these people. But we don’t think about the thousands who have been affected in some manner.

We talked about this in our writer’s group tonight. We thought that it would make a different type of story to take a chapter to show the affect on an individual who was touched by something like this – one chapter, one individual. So the entire book would have several short stories of multiple people’s lives in either that day, or even in a larger time period.

I think that If I Stay worked on this in a smaller scale. The author looked at the life of one character who lived after a horrific accident and how that changed so many things about that person.  I think that it would be interesting to take this type of story on. But, it is not my project to pick up. It could be a fun group project for each of us to write about a single character, or it could be someone else’s project.  I’m just mulling it over and putting it out there.


It’s Just Boredom: Day 34.2

At night when no one else is around, I find myself making many passes through the kitchen stopping for something that will fill an unknown desire or satisfy a mood. I used to think it was loneliness. Being home alone isn’t always easy, but I can entertain myself fairly well. I also get grumpy or anxious if we string too many nights together where I am not alone. So it must be something else driving my food patrol.

I watched a program today that was talking about dopamine fasting. It is where anything that raises our excitement/happiness levels can over stimulate our brains, so people are starting to find ways to help stop or slow the dopamine for a rest. Blue screens, games, good books, sugars, etc all adds to the dopamine levels. Where we are busy and involved in many different things these days, our dopamine levels are always spiking. So when we have down time we don’t know how to deal with it and we search our more. Some people do this by going onto social media, others take risks, and I find that I am eating. If I am on the computer or doing something active, I don’t need to keep going back to the kitchen. But, if I am watching TV or find myself at a loss of what to do, I am in the kitchen stuffing myself all night long. I am looking for the next dopamine hit.

It is boredom that is driving me to the food. A little training and I can deal with the emotion or I can learn to entertain myself in a better manner.

Exercise Design: Day 33.2

In physical therapy, there is a machine that has two moving platforms and a solid one with a ladder back to hold on to. This machine can be used in many ways, but I use it with one foot on the solid and one on a moving piece. I stand so that I can slide the piece to my side making me do standing splits (sort of).  I do this for each side. For another move, I stand facing the back with one foot on the solid piece and one on the moving to slide my leg back putting me into a lunge.  I really like this machine because coming back to standing is not difficult keeping me from putting too much strain on my knees. These exercises help to stretch my thighs and calves as well as strengthen my thighs and hips. It is the machine I miss the most when I don’t go to physical therapy.

Right now, I won’t be going for two and a half weeks. I have asked a couple of times if there is a way to improvise. Each time, I am told no. Once I went in and asked if I could use a towel on my kitchen floor to imitate the moving piece. I was told that it was not recommended. Remembering a piece of exercise equipment that was sold on TV at one time, I set out to try the towel anyway. The TV equipment was a flexible piece that a person stood on with booties over their feet. It allowed the person to slide back and forth. Though the towel wouldn’t be the same as that either.

As the PT said, it was more difficult because the bands on the machine weren’t there to help me stand back up. I did hold onto the sink, but that limited my movement to a point. I was doing more of a side lunge instead of the splits. However, it was something. Doing the back lunges worked with a little extra effort. I liked the feel of this even though it wasn’t the same. I will do it again, only going to ten instead of the 20 I am usually required to do at physical therapy. I think it will help strengthen my legs and maybe help with the stiff movements I have in my knees. I do look forward to going back to use the machine again soon.

Sick Days, Ring Tail, and Books: Day 29, 30, 31, 32.2

I haven’t felt well all week, but by Wednesday, I was so warn out that I couldn’t look at anything to write or read. I had a sinus and stress headache to go with the cold I had gotten.  After lying on the couch for several days doing little, I finally feel much better. Earlier today, I was outside watering my orchard and walking around. Since it is the first real movement in several days, I felt weak and didn’t do much at once, but I kept at it and got some distance in. So in the following space, I’ll try to make up for my missed writing.


A dark night critter crossed the road ahead of me; my lights barely reaching it. It had a hunched back and a long tail. I had my suspicion of what it was, but I hadn’t seen one in so long, I was uncertain. Sure enough, as I got closer, my lights shone on its tail, rings. I was seeing the first raccoon in this area for many years. My excitement spiked as my thoughts turned to the raccoons of my youth.

I had seen some raccoon nests in my neighborhood and many road kill, but I can’t remember a live sighting in the area.

I do remember a few little kits on my grandparents’ property in the northern California coastal area. My cousins lived on the property too and found two or three kits with no mother. They gathered them up and took them home to raise. My aunt made them stay outside, but agreed to feed them.

Raccoons clean their food, so they put out a large basin of water near where the kits were fed. My cousins would take out leftovers, food scraps, and dog food. The kits picked up each piece of food and dunked it in the water before eating. They grew quickly and soon found homes for themselves. But they never forgot the free food. They would show up each evening and peer in the window sometimes tapping at it asking to be fed. They reminded me of excited puppies the way they scurried around in anticipation of the food. No matter what was thrown to them, they would wash, and in their excitement, sometimes drop in the water. But they were eager and would fish out anything at the bottom of the pan.

While visiting one summer, my cousins showed us how the coons cleaned themselves and their food. They threw out some scraps when the raccoons appeared at the window. The food was quickly cleaned and gobbled up, but they waited for more dancing around and peering into the window watching us eat our meal. Finally, Damazon got up, got a handful of ice out of the freezer, and threw them to the coons. The ring tailed critters grabbed them up and dunked them in the water. Because the ice becomes slippery in water, the coons dropped them. They tried grabbing the ice with their paws, but the slippery ice stayed out of their grasps. This kept up until the ice disappeared and the coons would grab something else to dunk into the basin.

They were curious too and liked shiny things. Anything left on the porch, the raccoons would pick up, dunk into the water, and taste. If it was shiny or uneatable, the coons would take them back to their dens. Every now and then, we would have to go hunting for a den to see if we could find our missing item.



Fall has been just as fickle as spring was. It is here a day or two, then the temperatures revert back to summer. My poor plants don’t know what to do about this. It has allowed my squash to ripen on the vines, and because I kept that area covered, I have my self seeded spinach coming up. I should have some to eat in the next few weeks.

We are working on insulating the greenhouse, so the plants don’t freeze in there either. Then I will transplant my spinach and plant other vegetables for us to enjoy this winter. I am excited because the winter garden is why I wanted the greenhouse in the first place.

It is nice that I can winter over my herbs and citrus trees. But being able to grow fresh salad vegetables is most exciting to me.

I love that the weather is warm some days and cool the others. It gives me incentive to be outside more. Some days I am doing yard work and some hiking. Other days, I just enjoy the sun coming onto the patio and warm myself by it. But on the windy days, I am inside hiding away.



Book Exchange

Last year, I read on Facebook, about a tradition of Norway or someplace like that. The tradition is a Christmas Eve one. People exchange books to read in front of a cozy fire on Christmas Eve. My family is full of readers, so we decided to do our own version. Three of us agreed to try it out. We drew names and bought each other books that were delivered right to the person. This was a really fun experience and everyone got books that they greatly enjoyed.

We have talked about it all year between each other and with other relatives. We got more people interested in trying it out. I have requested names of those interested so we could draw names again. This time we had 11 of us interested. Some close relatives and some not.

We drew names today and made the announcement so everyone knows who they need to buy books for. There are no rules to this book exchange other than the book has to make it to the family member before Christmas Eve. I prefer to find out what genres the person enjoys and make my selection on Amazon so I can have it wrapped and delivered with no extra cost.

We’ll see how this turns out to determine if we will keep building on the tradition and if we will add anyone else.  I am looking forward to see what I will be reading this Christmas Eve. I know last year, one person didn’t wait to read and instead opened the book and began the day the book arrived.

Free Day: Day 28.2

I have a free day, actually 2.5 weeks, from physical therapy. I don’t have to drive an hour away, and I don’t have to have my calves beaten on by a massage gun. But, that doesn’t mean that I have the time off. If I want recovery from the neuroma or any of the other things causing my body pain, I have to be sure that I do my work.

As for the physical therapy, I have been doing all the ones at home where I have the equipment, but there are machines I cannot afford on my own. So I must go in to use the equipment and let the PT massage my claves. Without the PT, I have to find other methods. Today I am using a foam roller to massage my calves and I will do my own feet. I can still stretch them too.

I am going to try to imitate one of the machines later this week.

It turned out to be a good thing that I have this time off. A light touch of the flue has me down. I have little energy after I get home from work. I can do a little bit of physical therapy and rest from there.

I’ll have to report next week how the improvising is going.

Catch Up: Days 24, 25, 26, 27.2

I have been busy late at night with an event this weekend then I got sick. So, I neglected my writing. In order to make up for that I am going to write several mini articles. I know I have been slacking, but I am trying to keep as close to the challenge as I can. I thank you for your patience and for checking up on me.


Today’s Hike

I had a meeting in another town that is a little more than an hour away. Every time I have to go to a meeting, I dream of stopping along the way and going hiking. However, most of the time, the meetings get over after dark or at sundown, so I drive home instead. Today I had plenty of time to take a hike and no commitment to rush off to.

I could have stopped many places, but I chose to stop at a local lake where my family goes camping in the summer. Again, I could have stopped many places, but I went all the way into our camping spot because I was hoping to find a place where I would not run into a single person. This wish was fulfilled. As I was hiking, I did think how no one knew where I was. I should have let someone know where I went in case I got hurt or, with my luck, ran across a snake.

There is no trail. Instead, I hiked along the shoreline for a while. The water was low, so I circumnavigated the island, crossed through three camping spots, and climbed a hill to follow the power line road. The shoreline hiking reminded me of the Lost Coast. I hiked on sharp rocks, gravel banks, and sand, but this terrain was different in that it wasn’t very soft. I didn’t sink half a step for every step I took. The rocks didn’t tip and turn at every step.

When I turned away from the water, again it reminded me of the Lost Coast bluff hiking. Every time we turned away from the water it was to climb a bluff. The ground is firmer and there is shrubbery. I jumped at a few moving shadows half expecting some critter or snake to be on the trail.

I made a loop out of the hike by following the roads until I was once again on the beach heading back toward my car.

I have only hiked this area when camping. It was a great experience it hike it by myself and in the stillness of nature.


Hiking Clothes

I am asked often about what I wear hiking – if there is something special that is needed. I think we are over loaded with having to have specific equipment for so many different things that we can let not having the appropriate clothing keep us from enjoying a hike when the opportunity presents itself.

I have specific clothing I hike in when I go on a planned long hike or backpacking trip. This is partly because I want to keep the specific stains and stench to a limited amount of clothing. But I also choose clothing for temperature and comfort. I ask myself questions: Will it keep me protected from the sun, wind, rain? Will it help alleviate chafing? How fast will it dry? And what does the weather call for? Then I can plan from there.

But, for the spontaneous hikes or short hikes after work, I wear whatever I have on. Sometimes this is a mistake, but I make it work. I keep a pair of hiking shoes and socks in my car at all times. In the fall and winter I have an extra jacket, buff, and gloves. Sometimes my pants are too long and they drag in the dirt. I have stopped that by, keeping hair bands to blouse out the bottom of my pants with. Sometimes I wear dresses. On these days, I wear shorts or leggings; this takes care of the bottoms. Then I either have to preplan and bring a shirt, or if it is a skirt, I can just wear the top.

Today was one of the skirt and top days. I pulled up to my destination, slipped off the skirt, and put on my shoes. Left with a sweater to wear, I was glad I was completely alone. Along the way, the 70 degree day got to be too much to be hiking in a sweater, so I slipped it off. Thankfully, my daughter had talked me into getting a bralette. So I was out at the lake in basically a lacy sports bra and my biker shorts. I’m sure that if anyone would have been around, I would have been embarrassed. But, I was quite comfortable by myself.



To continue with my move to intuitive eating, I need to look at my emotions. As I stated before, I think, I don’t always recognize the things I am feeling and what that physically feels like. I thought that one way to learn this for myself is to list my feelings I recognize and how they manifest in me.  Then I am going to have to look at the other feelings and become honest and forthright with them.

Feelings I know:

Anger – agitated, heated, adrenaline pumping, tight jaw, maybe tight muscles, silent

Sad – crying, silent, want to be alone and hugged at the same time

Frustrated – this is a weird one, I want to fight and cry, my mind seems foggy or overloaded

Hangry – shaky, hungry, angry because I haven’t taken care of the hunger, hurried, easily upset

Emotional – I don’t have a true emotion for this, I can laugh or cry just as easily, usually have low ambition

Ambivalent – don’t really care, don’t want to do anything, nothing makes me excited, food is blah and I keep looking for more

Content – I wake up with a smile on my face and just jump into the day, smiles come easily, there is nothing to nit pick

The rest, I’m not so sure of anymore. I have numbed my feelings by eating over them, stuffing myself with food instead of whatever I emotionally need.  This I want to fix.

Seated Elliptical: Day 24.2

At physical therapy today, I was put on a seated elliptical machine for a warm up. I have seen them being used in the past but have never been on one before. They are interesting machines. My time on the machine went by quickly, and I could have gone longer. There are several things to look at with this machine.

It is a person powered machine. I have to step/peddle in order for the computer to work. This is really cool for me. I like not having things plugged in all the time. I was hesitant while my assistant was setting the computer because I didn’t want the handles to hit his arm, but he knew how to stay out of the way. While working out on it, I thought of how cool it would be if I could power my TV or radio with it. It might be an incentive to work out more.

Both the arms and the feet work the machine. It is much like the standing version, but has a nice broad seat like the incumbent exercise bikes. While I did enjoy using the machine, I felt like I was missing out on the experience. What I liked about standard elliptical is that it mimics the movements for running. But this machine does not. My legs worked more like they were on a stepping machine. Just back and forth, not in an elliptical/oval motion. The design kept me from getting quite as tired, thus being able to go longer. A setback, though, was that with my body shape, my belly was in the way. However, it did encourage me to suck my gut in.

I wouldn’t go out and buy this machine, but I would use it in places it was available.

My Eating Life as an Adult: Day 23.2

After moving out on my own, I couldn’t afford much for food, so I ate really weird combinations or at my places of employment. I remember eating an entire carton of cottage cheese with crackers for lunch one time. Cereal and top ramen were often top on my list. At work, I ate fried foods or chips and candy. I built up a taste for salty and sweet. And, nothing was ever what I really wanted. Sometimes, I would cook on my day of, but I was still crafting my skill and it wasn’t Mom’s cooking. I put on weight and I started exercising more. I thought that it was all because of the lack of activity, not that my eating had changed. Not that I had new stresses I didn’t know how to deal with.

After I got married, things didn’t change much because of my work schedule and our incomes. I did cook a little more often – the rich baked casseroles I grew up with because they were cheap and went far. My weight evened out. I only worried about my eating because it wasn’t matching the food rules I had developed.

With my first child, I cooked well balanced meals and made sure that she was given food when she needed it. But I was often tired, and I developed eating out of exhaustion. After everyone went to bed, I would break out the cookies. When the older kids were at school, I’d break out something I didn’t want to share. I had no limits when I was on my own. Then I started getting sick. Every month my body seemed to reject food for a week and plague me with migraines. I’d lose 10 pounds and be so hungry I’d eat like crazy to make up for the week. Oddly, I did lose a lot of weight in a few months and before I knew it, I was below pre-pregnancy weight. I learned that if I ate too much sugar, fruits included, or fats it would send me into this downward spiral. I went a year with no sweets and little fats. Hormones helped.

When we decided to have my second child, I had to go off birth control and it started again. Upon becoming pregnant, the sickness wore off.  I ate fruit like it was going out of style. I couldn’t get enough of it. I couldn’t lose weight as fast as I did with my first pregnancy, so I started doing thing that in the past would have made me very ill. I started eating large quantities of sugars and fats. I didn’t get sick; instead I put on the weight. At that time, phen phen was hitting the market. I decided to give it a try. The weight did come off, not all of it, but enough to make me happy. So I didn’t stay on the drugs very long – I didn’t like how I felt either. The weight quickly went back on because I hadn’t really changed much in my eating behaviors.

This was the start of true diet yo-yoing. I tried many things that I heard about short of shots and further drugs. The cabbage soup diet made it where I couldn’t go out in public for a week. Other diets lasted longer and had better results. But, as soon as I started feeling good about my weight and shape, I’d go clothes shopping.  Within a month, every time, the clothes would no longer fit and I’d be heavier.

I went to gyms, participated in competitions, saw nutritionists, and joined a 12 step group. Nothing stuck. The closest to something sticking was when I began this journey to get better and to hike long distance. I lost a lot of weight, but when the struggle became long with the winters, things went back to normal. Leading us to now.

Now, I am ready to give up dieting. My first step is to let my body know that I can eat what I want and that nothing will be off limits again (except milk for lactose reasons). Writing out my food history was a big help in realizing why I ate as I did and that eating that way no longer helps with them.  Next I will discover what my feelings truly feel like.

Revelations: Day 22.2

Revelations are all around me, and no, I don’t mean the ones from the Bible. Life has been revealing some facts about me lately. The most recent revelation is that being active and productive is so ingrained in me that the only acceptable way to stop and rest is to be eating, and even then I tend to multi task. This also revealed why I eat as I do at times. I eat when I am tired. I eat when I feel worn out. I eat when I need to think something through.

The other day I realized that I don’t recognize my emotions. I was asked a while ago to write my feelings every time I ate and what I ate. I took this seriously. At first I wrote what I was doing before I ate. Or I would write whether or not I was productive. It was all about production and being busy. I did recognize guilt and frustration. But what feelings to notice. What we pay notice to, we bring more of to ourselves. I still struggle with this. I have been emailing a friend my gratitude list daily for a while, but mostly it is full of my accomplishments. Even when I try not to, it really is. I mention my successful class or that I got my garden clean or I was able to listen to my waterfall while I was doing my morning exercises. See, it is still about what I did. I haven’t ever mentioned anything about the roof over my head or the food I get to eat. An exercise I am going to try when I am done evaluating my eating history is to list physical feelings for emotions. Some I know, some I will have to think about or talk to other about.

There have been more revelations, but it is late, and I cannot think of anymore right now…

Counting: Day 21.2.5

Like my writing, I can’t seem to be consistent. I think that I should have titled this for day 22, but I got mixed up. The first number in my title is to be for the day of the challenge. The point two is to represent that I am doing this for the second time; indicating that this is the better version as they don with technology upgrades. However, I don’t feel that this is an improved result of the challenge.

The first time I took the 100 day challenge I had to prove to myself that I could sustain a challenge. I liked that it was ending the year on a positive note instead of setting myself up for failure with a resolution, a set of impossible ideals, I wanted to start on January first. It worked for me too, but this time, I have already done it; I don’t have to prove anything to myself. The challenge has no astronomic value to me.

With this loss of value, I don’t give my all to the challenge. I do make good choices and am learning much about myself through analyzing the choices. Writing is still happening often, and I am exercising more than I was, but I am inconsistent. I went to bed last night not once thinking, “Wait, I have to write before I fall asleep.” Instead, at work today, “Oh! I didn’t write yesterday.”

This is why I am numbering with the final point five on many of the posts. Indicating through the numbering system that they have been written partially through the second day and that a second post should also come that same day.

One good thing has come of this; I don’t feel guilty about my exercise or lack thereof. I exercise with enthusiasm when I have the energy and time. I enjoy moving my body because I want to not because I have to.