End of Covid Hiatus

I don’t know if I should appologize for the long absense or just jump right in on what I am doing now. I think the right thing to do is to catch you up a little and work on that appology.

The last few posts I wrote in 2020 were written with the intention of consistently writing and hiking on a weekly basis. That fell apart almost as quickly as I had written the promise. Like most of the world, Covid took me by surprise and greatly affected and changed my life. After several deaths of family members and close family friends, and after being stuck working from home, I fell into a hermit like funk. I wouldn’t call it depression because that would come later. The time I dedicated to my in-person students doubled or tripled. I avoided the computer if it wasn’t for work use. I quickly learned how to order my groceries and almost anything else I needed to avoid wearing the mask or going into public. I read so many homework posts that I even quit reading books for a time. We were all promised that this would be for a short time, but the time kept growing and friends an family kept dying. By the end of the summer, my job ended. Students didn’t want to go to college if they had to do it all online and teach themselves. I get it, it wasn’t an ideal situation for me either.

I quickly switched jobs and taught a modified version of high school. It was the perfect year to make that transition, only a third of the school population was on campus at a time. We had no discipline problems. But people kept dying. I just wanted 2020 to be over, as I’m sure most others did too. I knew that things wouldn’t magically be better because we entered a new year, but it felt like there were so many possibilities, a fresh slate. Twenty-twenty-one had different plans for me, however. My youngest cousin died, my dad got sick and died, my brother-in-law passed, and a close friend gave up her fight with cancer all in the first month of the year. My kids didn’t wan me calling any more because I always had bad news. As difficult as the year started, we were at least able to go on small tips to see family that we hadn’t seen as much as we had previously. But, now I was depressed. My life had been turned upside down. I couldn’t see relief or a change for the better. My life had turned into teaching and caring for my mother and brother, seeing my husband little, and doing things I loved even less.

Since our hike from Mt Hood to the Bridge of the Gods, Camazon, my daughter, had wanted to hike the Camino de Santiago for her 30th birthday. That is this year. In the summer of 2021, we began talking about it again and decided that we were going to do it. Planning and learning ensued. Now it is 2022, and I need to be in training. And what better thing to do than to start blogging again to help encourage myself, maybe even take better care of myself. In the coming weeks, I will explain what 20Time is and how it is helping me, my current health and fitness level, things we have learned about hiking the Camino, and my training milestones.

Thank you for being patient and not giving up on me.

Goodish News

I finally had my cardiologist appointment today. It wasn’t horrible. It was through tele-med which was conducted at my local clinic connected to the cardiologist in a town 60 miles away. I was a little peeved because I had to get a fourth EKG for this one appointment, but be it as it may, I got good reports on all of them. They also had an echo cardio machine that worked through Bluetooth that the doctor got to listen too.

With this appointment, the EKGs, and my explanation of the problem – the personal trainer wouldn’t work with me without his approval – I have been cleared to exercises. In fact, he told me to exercise until I am done and exercise more. He did repeat my doctor’s consultation on my diet – to eat low fat, low carb, and low sugar. What does that leave? I know, more plant based foods. I really like plant based cooking, but my husband doesn’t and I like to snack on quick easy to grab foods. But, I will listen to them the best I can. I do still have to have a stress test, but it doesn’t have to be the fancier one for older women. Not saying the I don’t fit the build, but I am glad to just get on the treadmill while hooked up to a bunch of wires. If it comes back okay, I don’t need to see the cardiologist again. If not, we will have a talk and have an angioplasty done. Let’s hope it all works out for the good.

With quarantine (social distancing), I have been sitting on the computer a lot more than normal. I am teaching online now instead of in person. So, I am grading daily for hours on end as well as making sure everything works for my students. We have had a few Zoom meetings, but they would like to just use it for office hours instead. That works for me because the administration thinks we need to have more meetings than we would normally have. I have seen people who I have never seen before.

But, because of working online, I need to be sure to do something physical to help signal the end of the day. I have done a variety of exercises, baked, cooked fancy dinners, and cleaned. So, I am much more intentionally active than normal. Last week, I hiked at the nearest trail. It is one of my favorite and a bit more active than most of the trails that I go to. Last week, though, it was the busiest I have ever seen it. I saw eight cars/trucks/suvs, 2 quads, a motorcycle, and three people besides myself walking. At one point, I saw that a pair of them were playing with a dog; my fear of dogs (completely absurd) drove me to turn around and back track. That turned out to be great. I did more uphill hiking than I would have and walked almost double from what I would have. Later in the week, I hiked at my most frequent hiking spot and only saw three vehicles. I plan to go back there more often. I have increased my stair climbing as well; from 16 times up and down my flight of stairs to 24. My yard is looking great too. I am loving this.

I am enjoying self isolation so much that I ordered my groceries from Walmart to pick up ready to go. This benefited me in two ways: I didn’t have to go into the waiting line to get in the store and get my temp taken, and I didn’t spend as much money as I would normally have. I love it. I am going to do it as much as I can. I am going to check out Thrive too. Pretty soon, I will have anxiety to go anywhere with people. It’s already that way with people on the trail. If there are cars in the parking lot, many times, I will drive on and find some place else to hike.

So in these troubling times, I am finding some good. I hope you are too.

Self Quarantine

Self quarantine has not been a problem for me. I quickly shifted from teaching in-person to online. Now it hasn’t been peachy, but not difficult. My biggest challenge is to not sit on the computer all day doing school work or wasting my time on the internet saving things that I will probably never use. So, I have made a schedule for myself. And as most of my schedules go, I figure I will fail terribly. I hope to hike everyday, even if it is three miles. I also want to do yard work, projects, and miraculously keep up with my grading.

What has been happening is that I spent the first week, eight hours a day, on the computer. Then I would make a fabulous dinner because I wasn’t over tired because I only got 5 hours of sleep. I have been posting my meals on Facebook and was also posting some of my good moments as well. Then while I was actually hiking, I thought that I should be utilizing this space for all the wins in my life. I don’t know how regularly I will write, but I am planning on stopping in here regularly.

Last week, I got a mini hike in. I went to the local small lake planning on hiking around it. But as I started a storm was also starting to move in. I hiked up and around the lake about 1/3 of the way around when I couldn’t tolerate the wind much longer. I was in the midst of talking myself into continuing on when the snow started to fall. That was it – the last straw. I am a fair weather hiker, and this wasn’t fair weather. I turned around and rushed back to my car. Then the snow stopped.

I did get to do some yard work for three of the seven days. I will come out of this ahead on the weeks and trimming if nothing else. I have my spring garden in my greenhouse for the first time. My potatoes are planted in the ground.

So I will continue to look for the bright spots in the day and time to hike. To you reading this, I hope you will find bright spots in your days too. Stay safe and sane.

Good News?

Just under two weeks ago, as I stated last Monday, I found out that a personal trainer wouldn’t work with me because she was afraid I would have a heart attack while working with her. This is because I have chest pain when I work out, sometimes, and have elevated blood pressure.

I went to my doctor this past week to get permission to work out. The first thing she said is that she has never had anyone asking for permission to work out like this. Yes I had borderline high blood pressure, but working out would help that. The chest pain is concerning, but since it goes away while I am exercising, she agrees with me that it is just my back pain radiating through my chest. Internal nerves are nonspecific. Meaning that just because my chest hurts doesn’t mean that is where the true pain is coming from. This is good news.

However, she doesn’t feel that she should say everything is alright if I am asking, and a personal trainer is asking. So, she ran an EKG which came back with few minor blips. She has also requested that I start taking blood pressure medicine, see a cardiologist, and possibly get a special stress test because menopausal women often show a false result.

I can keep on doing what I have been doing. So, I am hiking and climbing hills, I am using the elliptical, and I am keeping busy at home.

I take this seriously. It might be nothing, but we want to know. Just a year ago, my cousin who is two months younger than me was in the hospital for a major heart attack. This is something I don’t want to risk. I want to live, and I mean live, well into my 90s. That means to think about what I am doing and how I am doing now. I need to pay attention and start taking care of myself better.

First in 2020

Well here we are in a new decade. My first post in awhile and in 2020. I find that I go periods of inactivity and want to apologize for it. Then I try to make up for it by committing to a period of mass writing. That is not working for me at the moment, apparently.

After talking with writing friends, I have decided that I have been a bit overloaded in my life. I was taking a mental break without even being aware of it. I just checked out of my normal activities. I quit writing everything. So, now I want to get back into writing and other challenging things slowly. I want to do this right so that I can keep at it. I hope to be writing weekly as well as hiking weekly. I have started this month/year with two short hikes a week.

I have also joined a gym. The first time in about 10 years. That is right after I got my master’s degree and started working more than I had in many years. What I have come to realize about my job is that it sucks time from me when I need personal time the most. But, I am going to try the gym. However, I also signed up for a free meeting with a personal trainer and discovered that my health isn’t good enough to work with her. I have to get my doctor to approve the new level of activity.

How has it gotten so bad? A lot of sitting for work and mental tiredness that begs for food to stay awake. A tiredness that drains every desire from me. But like every spring semester, I see a light at the end of the tunnel and get excited for the summer. I plan my yard work and my trips. This includes backpacking and family travel. With that in mind, I have to work out more in order to be able to do any of this. So, I am taking back my life. I am not going to give in to my slump anymore. I am going to be proactive and think of myself.

My husband is 20 years older than me, and when we got married, I told him that he had to live at least until he was 90. I think he will make it, and that is after he has had open heart surgery. But now I think he is healthier than I am. I have to think of my health so that I can live until he is at least 90. To do this, I am going to make that dreaded appointment with my doctor and reschedule with the personal trainer. I am going to go to the gym, and I am going to hike. And, I will continue to find things to do daily that make me happy instead of just work and waste time on the computer eating my life away.

This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is something that has been coming because of the things that I always want to do in the summer. I am going to get ready before the summer is here and I have to uncomfortably push through my trips. What is your life looking like for the near future?

26) Pet Peeves: Day 62.2

My pet peeves come from stupid things people do. I hate it when people destroy things needlessly. That is graffiti, vandalism, and even personal destruction. I don’t like to see broken things around or destroyed/marked up things. I hate it when there is litter and trash scattered across the country side or even on the streets. We can keep this world clean if we cleaned up after ourselves. If our trash can gets knocked over, we can pick up everything that fell out instead of letting the wind and animals scatter it around. If we drop something, and we realize it, we can pick that thing up. We can clean our space even if our neighbors don’t. Monuments, signs, and walls are not there to be marked up or broken apart either. We can leave things nice for other people to enjoy. There is nothing enjoyable about broken things.

Thanks for letting me state my peeves. It seems that everywhere I go lately something is marring the experience because of stupid actions.

25) What is my spirit animal?: Day 61.2

I never really thought of what my spirit animal may be. I feel that I can relate to or find precious things about many animals. So for the fun of it and the purpose of the blog, I decided to take a couple of quizzes on Pinterest. The honey badger came form BuzzFeed and the turtle came from SpiritAnimal. I really like what they both have to say about the animal and personality.

You get your way, no matter what, because you’re the toughest animal out there. Other people might have feelings, but they don’t concern you in the slightest because you are IN CHARGE. Everyone better bow. You’re the HBIC (Head Badger in Charge).

You‘re The Turtle

Turtle Spirit Animal

What It Means To Be The Turtle

The turtle totem wisdom teaches us about walking our path in peace and sticking to it with determination and serenity.

Slow moving on earth, yet also incredibly fast and agile in water, those who have the turtle as totem or spirit animal may be encouraged to take a break in their busy lives and look around or within themselves for more grounded, long-lasting solutions.

24) My first Hollywood crush: Day 61.2

My first Hollywood crush was Kevin Bacon. When I saw him in Footloose and the Flatliners, I thought he was so hot. And I loved the characters. My best friend and I went to every movie of his at the local theater. We talked about him, and she gave me a button that said, “I love Kevin.” During that time, my dad took me to a car museum, as he usually did, that was called the Bacon Museum. I was so excited. What if the guy who owned the museum was Kevin? I kept looking all around the museum looking for clues of Kevin, never finding one. But we did meet the owner, and he looked like an older Kevin. I convinced myself that we had gone to Kevin Bacon’s father’s car museum.

23) Piercings/tattoos: Day 60.5.2

I have two pairs of ear piercings. I was 16 when my brother bought my first pair of earrings, with my mother’s permission. So when I went to his place to visit, my cousin took me to get my ears pierced. We called my mother to get permission. After the piercing, I didn’t touch my ears at all. I didn’t want to irritate them but didn’t know that they needed to be twisted. Several hours later my cousin took me into the bathroom and drenched cotton balls in rubbing alcohol to clean them. That is when she found out that I had left them alone. So dribbling the alcohol down my ear and neck, she started turning the first one. Being warm and hungry, smelling the rubbing alcohol, I quickly found myself on the floor with my brother standing over me and hearing my cousin laughing in the background. Needless to say, my next set went much easier because I kept turning them all day long. But when I got home, my mother accused me of going behind her back and planning all of this and asking for forgiveness, not permission.  Thirty years later, and it is still an issue.

I have no tattoos. When I was in high school, the thing was for girls to get roses tattooed on their shoulders. I loved roses and wanted one, but I never wanted to part with my money or deal with my parents. So, time went on, and I never got one. Now thirty years later, two of our four kids have tattoos. My husband wasn’t very happy with them, and the saying became that if I wanted a divorce, all I had to do was to get a tattoo. Now I have found one I would like to get with my daughter. She is ready any day, but again, I don’t want to deal with my husband about it. The tattoo would be a tiny rose along the edge of one ear; my daughter wants hers on a finger.  Some day…

22) Three Personality Traits I’m Proud Of: Day 59.2

I have been in a bad habit of cutting myself down; usually only seeing my bad traits. This negative self talk is not healthy, and so, I have tried to change that about myself. I try to smile at myself in my mirror in the mornings and be grateful. But that has nothing to do with looking at the positives of myself. This prompt is helpful in that. I have to take a look at myself and see what I like.

Today, I am proud of my perseverance.  Even though much of what I set out to do gets waylaid by my sidetracked mind, I do find ways to get back and finish. It might take me longer than expected to finish something, but it will get finished.

I am proud to be a loyal friend. It takes a lot for me to turn on someone. Once we are friends, I am there for you and will not turn my back on you. I will not dump a friend for a newer one who comes along. I will try to find ways to fit everyone into my life and stand up for those who need it.

I am proud that I can see things on the brighter side. I am usually positive and upbeat even when a lot of things seem to be going wrong. I will be miserable for a short time, then bounce back and find my happiness and the light in the world.