Walk on the Stirner Arts Trail

My friend Gayle invited the teenager and I to go for an appropriately socially distanced walk on Easton’s Karl Stirner Arts Trail.

The Arts Trail has added a new nature trail, some new art, a Qi Gong station, a labyrinth and a chime installation. So that was really fun.

I walked more today than I did in the last two days combined. Maybe three.

The teen

We also saw at least seven breeds of dogs so that was a delight. Frolicking puppies of every type.

But it was the best feeling when my daughter and I came upon the labyrinth and I explained the spiritual value of a labyrinth (and it turns out I managed to summarize exactly what the signs said).

It was like I got a redo on the vernal equinox.

So I brought into the labyrinth my recent stress and doubt, asking the universe to guide me.

My gift

And I repeated my mantra to the center of the labyrinth— and walked out my hands open to the receiving position ready to get answers. Or guidance.

At the altar

I feel refreshed.

For Gayle’s take on the adventure:

Fat Girl Walking on the KSAT

Sweet sleep

It’s 6:25 a.m. and I just poured a mug of my favorite coffee—Archer Farms Cafe Mosaica from Target. I haven’t made any in days. As part of my quest to lower my stress, fix my blood pressure and start sleeping better.

Before recent stress and life changes, I knew the routines of my body. I need at least eight hours sleep. As I get closer to my menstrual cycle, I may need more. It is typical for me to get so tired I sleep ten hours without moving in my bed. Usually only one day a month. But that hasn’t happened in a while.

For counterpoint, I usually have three days around the middle of my cycle where I’m high energy and extraordinarily confident. That hasn’t happened for a while either.

Both can probably be attributed to stress and hormone changes now that I am in my mid-forties.

There was a period for a year or so when I had insomnia once a month.

But now most of my issue is life. I think that’s how you know you’re getting older. More things disturb your sleep,

The garbage man arrives at 5:15. The cat has a hairball. The kittens decide to ricochet off my bedroom door. My personal favorite this week— the cockatoo has nightmares and calls out gently in her sleep.

So my typical sleep pattern is to collapse in bed between 9 and 10:30 pm, sleep like the dead for about 90 minutes, take about twenty minutes to fall back to sleep, get several hours good sleep before waking up briefly in the wee hours, drifting off again, and waking up when something else happens or one minute before the alarm.

(My superpower is innate time sense so I don’t often need my alarm.)

Thanks to the cockatoo’s rough night coupled with a 5:15 am visit front the garbage man, I got about six hours interrupted sleep Wednesday night. So yesterday—a long work day on top of it—I reneged on my caffeine abstention especially when I discovered my blood pressure had jumped to 153/98.

I had two cups at the office and a diet soda with dinner (that I used to wash down half a pizza) and I slept 7.5 hours last night and, according to the scale, lost a pound.

So today I am enjoying my favorite coffee and back to aiming for moderation.

Wednesday night update

I have a plethora of potential topics to blog about but none of them feels right for tonight. It’s Wednesday, which means quasi-deep cleans for the bird cages and garbage collection.

The top two topics on my mind are sharing my “frugal hacks”/budgeting process and my journey with my blood pressure which is also connected to my cerebral palsy.

But they are such serious topics.

The teen just suggested cats.

Oz is jealous

Both the boys—our cats who turn 9 this month—are in my room right now. I just got done with the roomba and am waiting for the “white” laundry to get done in the washing machine.

I didn’t sleep well last night but I also did not dream. My shoulders are so tense they hurt. But I had a really peaceful productive day at work.

I mixed the last of my coffee from Jamaica with some decaf and, if Dunkin made my drink correctly, my afternoon latte was a decaf. Only caffeine today came from a half cup of coffee.

Meals today… 3. Content not too bad. I totally forgot the connection between high blood pressure and sodium so I’m being more cognizant of that.

Breakfast: mostly decaf coffee with half and half, 12 ounces water, one everything bagel toasted, half with roasted red pepper hummus, half with Brie.

Approximate morning water: 50 ounces.

Late morning treat: decaf black tea with Yogi ginger tea.

Lunch: iceberg lettuce salad with purple cabbage and carrots, leftover dark meat from a rotisserie chicken, some real bacon crumbles, some imitation bacon bits, some processed chicken bites (three popcorn chicken size bites) and blue cheese dressing.

Afternoon: 20 ounces tap water

Meal break: iced coconut (unsweetened flavor) latte with skim milk, light ice and one pump caramel and about 10 gummy bears.

Supper: grilled cheese on cheap stoneground wheat bread, made with light mayonnaise instead of butter, with cheese from last night’s cheese platter and tuna. Vegetable was baked sweet potato fries. Another 12 ounces water.

Vitamins: multi, zinc, calcium/magnesium/zinc combo and B-complex.

As for other pet news, Nala is peacefully cuddly today and seems to be filling in feathers nicely.

Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo

And in exciting news, Fog, the newest member of our household almost voluntarily got into my lap. She also rolled onto her back and let me pet her belly until I got tired of it.

Six weeks ago Fog was a feral kitten who had never been indoors!

Misty (on the teen’s lap) and Fog

Leap Day 2020

Happy Leap Day!

Welcome to the extra day of the year.

Last night the teenager and I killed it at the gym. Two really good workouts at the gym this week. Go us!

At the gym

The teen packed my gym back so I was dressed in one color gray and had no socks so I had to work out in my nude knee high stockings. How old fashioned am I to wear nude knee high stockings?

I blended in with the Planet Fitness walls! I did about five minutes of physical therapy stretches in the locker room, then about 20 minutes of weight training, five minutes of sit-ups on the decline bench with a ten pound plate, and the five minutes of stair stepper which amounted to 25 flights.

And then this morning I did something funky to my neck feeding the cats.

Speaking of cats, Fog (the wildest and smartest of the feral kittens we trapped) was tricked into sitting on my lap today.

Fog

Nala is doing well. She barely plucking but been having mini temper tantrums. She’s chasing the budgies right now (good thing they can fly). I have to put her back in her cage as I have an 8 a.m. pedicure appointment and it’s 7:25 and I’m not even dressed.

Maybe today I’ll find my ATM card. Damn thing has disappeared. I don’t keep it in my wallet, it never leaves the house unless I am going to the bank. (That’s one of the ways I prevent impulse spending.)

Okay, I hope everyone has a great day. More soon! Especially since Monday I embark on a new adventure to treat my stress-induced high blood pressure.

The Art of Self-Soothing

I haven’t made it a secret that I’ve been struggling. Fitness, stress and work have been heavy on my mind.

And I don’t know about you—but when I’m stressed the habits I need most seem to be the ones that fall first.

First to go is cooking. I love to cook. I love to enjoy a meal. But as soon as I am stressed, I start eating processed foods and pizza, because I like those foods and they are easy. But they take a toll. Even though my weight is healthy, I can still feel the impact of those foods on my body, my stamina, my energy, and my moods.

I’ve worked really hard lately to balance stress eating with healthy eating. I actually brought a frozen dinner to work to eat for lunch earlier this week. I actually crept into my office to eat it in secret because I was embarrassed. I didn’t even enjoy it. I was just lazy.

So I went home and made this casserole:

Now this was a delight: spaghetti squash roasted by the teenager, then I mixed it with tomato sauce, kale, chick peas, feta and Italian cheese blend. I sprinkled in some nutritional yeast for extra vitamins.

Speaking of vitamins, when I’m stressed I stop taking mine. I don’t eat as much at meals when stressed so I don’t have a full enough stomach to take my vitamins. On top of that, then I end up snacking and binge eating chips or Doritos.

Another bad habit when I’m stressed is over-cleaning. In a desperate attempt to control something in my environment, I clean until I exhaust and/or hurt myself.

And if you see me skip a blog entry, that could also signify I’m tapped out.

So how can I self-soothe?

  • Text friends and make arrangements to go out. Today I texted my husband and asked if he could visit me at lunch time. I cried and told him my fears and my struggles. Despite the fact that I asked him to move out in June, and we’ve lived apart with minimal contact for eight months, he hugged me and held me and that made my cry more. I think that was the best hug he ever gave me. He made me feel protected. So I thank him for that.
  • Play with the kittens, cuddle with Nala (my Goffins cockatoo), manhandle one of my older cats or listen to the budgies sing.
  • Watch stand-up comedy. I love stand-up.
  • Shave and moisturize. Something about soft, smooth skin is reassuring.
  • If I’m not going to the gym, I at least need to do physical therapy exercises for my S1 joint in my back and my balance.
  • Write more.
  • Does budgeting count? I hope to do a blog entry on budgeting. I don’t mean paying bills, I mean planning the future use of anticipated income. It also makes me feel in control.
  • Occasionally splurge on a fancy coffee or a treat. But not often enough to qualify as stress eating.

Okay, I’ve shared what I had to share. I’m going to watch some Gordon Ramsay now. Another relaxation technique. Eventually I want to blog about his different shows. He is very prolific.

Monday successes (kitten!) and Dollar Tree finds

So I had my annual physical today. I adore my physician. I’ve struggled to find a doctor that, honestly, gave the impression that he cared whether I lived or died.

I got my flu shot. Better late than never, right?

We interrupt this blog entry to say… I just got a text from my teenager who disappeared while I was on the phone… Misty’s final sibling has been trapped.

Sardines.

But I get ahead of myself.

I went to the doctor this morning and apparently they have a calculation for your risk of heart attack, stroke or other heart disease or something like that in the next ten years. Mine was 0.5%. But my blood pressure was also super high due to stress. I need to keep an eye on that.

And today I went to the gym. Did ten minutes on the treadmill. Did 15 minutes worth of weight training. Really I could do the weights at home and walk around the neighborhood… and if I don’t start working out in earnest I may do that. Cancel the gym and use what I have at home.

In other updates:

I made an Asian-inspired chicken for dinner that was amazing.

I put the candy the teenager bought me in a pretty jar. Ate some yesterday. Have been good today. I don’t think this is what they mean by eat your colors.

And we stopped at the Dollar Tree to get sardines to trap Misty’s siblings and I got groceries. And not processed junk either.

They had lentils, cheddar cheese and riced cauliflower in dollar-sized portions. I forgot to check the sodium on the cauliflower… usually riced cauliflower is plain. The cheese is real cheese. They had a big bag of shredded cheddar cheese, but it turned out that was cheddar cheese food.

We reunited Misty and her sibling, but that will be a story, with video, for tomorrow.

For this week, we now have:

  • 1 dog
  • 1 cockatoo
  • 2 kittens
  • 2 cats
  • 3 budgies

Heaven help me. I have the start to a petting zoo.

Stamina and challenges

My daughter has rediscovered her love of the treadmill.

She has rekindled a dream of running in the spring with her very own dog by her side.

“Hey, Mom,” she calls to me after an afternoon with her grandparents, “I want to go to the gym.”

I don’t. But I’m stubborn and a lazy bodybuilding princess so I go. Because if she wants to go that’s a challenge to me.

I like challenges.

I even do the treadmill with her. I hate the treadmill. I hate the treadmill because with my cerebral palsy, the treadmill requires all my concentration.

But today, as she did walk/run intervals on her treadmill, I had a realization.

I’m not sure I know how to run.

I set my treadmill to intervals, too. My intervals were 3.5 miles per hour and 4 miles per hour. But that difference was enough that I had to run on the higher setting. It was hard to stand upright, run, and not use my arms against the handles to keep my balance as I ran.

That was interesting to learn.

I’ve always wanted to run a 5k, and the last time I tried I did all my training and the actual race with a broken toe.

So who knows.