Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Little Inspiration

I've been in my head a lot today.  It didn't start off bad, I've even been getting a little extra sleep lately due to the kids being on spring break.  But I have been undertaking some major projects at work lately, which have meant a lot more standing and walking, which leaves me aching and sore.  This was day 2 of "monthly disaster" and while mentally I was in "get s#it done mode" my body was so sore and tired.  I still moved mountains but my hips, knee and lower back were feeling as stiff as stone.  All I kept dreaming about was getting home to a hot bath.  
I was sharing my tales of woe with two girls at work, whining about how everything aches and I'm always tired and I could feel a slight silence fall over us and I looked straight down at my ever-growing stomach and slapped it and proclaimed, "of course this thing isn't helping matters either!"  The girls chimed in agreeing that they need to lose weight too.  Because that's what we do, we're women.  
So tonight I spent a good amount of time with my younger son, he has such a tender heart and misses me terribly when I'm at work.  So I try to make up for it by giving him a ton of affection and attention.  We had a good time creating things with blocks and watching some videos of the fountains at Bellagio in Las Vegas.  My son is 10 and he put on a lot of weight pretty quickly.  He's been having a lot of back and ankle pain and I know he's getting teased at school and feeling low.  I suspect he's been using food to comfort.  I don't want to pass my bad habits onto him.  It makes me sad.  When I thought about my lunch of frozen French bread loaded with butter, garlic and cheese, and was thinking about having something completely nutrient-void dinner, I looked at my son and decided to eat a healthy dinner.  I had a hummus wrap loaded with veggies.  And when he went looking around for something to eat after his dinner, he finally settled on having a hummus wrap too.  And it solidified (again) that I need to be a good role model for him if he's going to turn things around.  I mentioned that he and I should get healthier before our move to California, so we can do whatever we feel like without pain.  He looked at me blankly.  It will take work on both our parts. I would never have believed my workout partner would be my 10 year old son, but maybe this is the start of an even greater adventure!

Fresh Air

*from 3/15/15
Tonight, when my everything came to the part where we turn down the lights and bring the quiet back to our day, I cracked my window open and let the smell of fresh air flood over me. I was cooling off from the copious loads of laundry I've been doing, but somehow the fresh air at night always makes me nostalgic.  I think back to my youth, nights spent out on the town with friends, dreaming about boys or chasing them or avoiding certain ones.  Laughing, dancing and doing pretty much whatever we wanted.  That kind of carefree attitude came at the price of heavy drama, but it still felt good. 
When I closed the window, I realized that I am sad today.  Not tired, not stresses, sad.  It sneaked in through the open window.  I am sad because I'm not young anymore, because my life isn't very exciting.  I'm sad because even though I could physically walk several miles all around the wildlife sanctuary, my hips were aching nearly the whole time.  I'm sad because I didn't even care that my hair looked dirty when I left the house.  I'm sad because at the end of a night where I only ate two meals plus 2 snacks all day, I feel miserably bloated and uncomfortable.  I'm sad because these issues are fixable and I care so little about myself that I choose not to fix them.  Stretching and strengthening my hips would make walking for long periods much more comfortable and help me avoid having more knee issues.  And I don't do it.  I ate low carb most of the week last week, then Friday came and my kids and I had the day off and I just let it all fall apart, and kept it going all weekend.  Wine, sugary treats, pizza.  It's not so much about what I ate as it is about how it makes me feel, and the message that sends to my brain.  It's like my stomach and tongue are at war.  It tastes so good but it makes me feel bad.  I know this is part of the learning curve, where I listen to my body.  I know one thing for sure, my body can't process certain things as well.  We ended up at Applebee's for post-wildlife sanctuary meal.  Their menu is definitely designed for carnivores.  I wasn't in the mood for Mac and cheese or Alfredo, so I had a chicken dish that was set on a bed of tortilla strips.  That was hours ago and I am still full (or bloated, hard to tell).  I hate this feeling.  
So I think my lesson for today is that the price I pay for eating certain things just isn't worth it.  I hope I can remember this feeling next time I want to eat things that make me feel this way. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Small Changes

What a difference a day makes!  I am not trying to make it seem like today was top notch, but I felt better emotionally and physically today.  I felt attractive and was in better control of my stress level, I even made some customers laugh today, which felt awesome.  A few things were different about today: I actually got less sleep but felt better-rested, I drank a ton more water, and I was having inner-dialogue and reasoning sessions with myself all day.  I was craving sweets and didn't have any with me, but I found a couple Wint-o-green Lifesavers (my least favorite flavor, which worked in my favor) and a sugar-free peppermint disc.  It worked.  My face feels and looks so much better even with just one washing. I am pretty amazed at how it is taking care of itself, no moisturizer needed.  I realized after the fact that I'd taken too much Vitamin D3 yesterday and am wondering if that may have contributed to my low energy.  It may have been ovulation too, the hormone shifts in my body are tumultuous these days!  Lol.  Or, at very least, I am becoming increasingly aware of the changes.  
I did a short meditation session, some stretching and some massage with my fo roller.  As soon as I finished with all that, my knee felt better.  
I can't guarantee I'll be cheerful and energetic tomorrow, but for now, the small changes are a significant help!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stress and experiments

Today was just one of those days where everything falls to pieces a little bit.  As insignificant as it is in the scope of things, I started off with a bad hair day and everything went to pot after that.  I had to pick up my older son from school due to bad behavior, I spilled or dropped or broke a huge majority of the things I touched, didn't have a healthy lunch planned so I ended up eating a microwaveable pizza (ooh boy, culinarily delight), I had customers yelling at me for problems someone else caused, major shipping department issues, while I was training a boy how to use contact lenses he was crying so hard right in an open spot where the entire waiting room of people could see...it just seemed like today everyone and everything was demanding way more of me than I had to give.  I am so irritated to say that my exhaustion has returned without warning and I am so tired of the cycle.  
I tried to research some things myself today, which I insist on doing even though it hasn't helped me much in the past.  One of the things I looked up is why my knee still hurts so much after having the torn cartilage removed.  I found an orthopedic doctor that went into great depth about this and said it is really common, and some of the most common causes of it are stopping physical therapy too soon, tight tendons or muscles and weak supporting muscles.  I admit, I thought maybe this was a botched surgery or that I'd re-injured it until I heard it from an ortho dr that this is common, and very easily treated.  I have just been way too inconsistent with working to rehab my knee.  
Another thing I looked up is my fatigue.  Again.  And I Googled it just like I am feeling, "why am I so tired all the time?"
I found a fluff article from some magazine with the word "health" in the title, skimmed through it hastily.  I really want to be diagnosed with something so I can move on, not read some fluff about not using my phone before bedtime.  But after looking over the article it did make me pause.  Most days aren't like today with my level of irritation skyrocketing and a bunch of stress piled on top.  I have been accused of being really easy-going and pleasant as a person.  So I don't think stress is much of an answer for me.  I'll toss depression in that same boat, been there, feels like my own personal Hell, I don't think I am depressed.  A few things did pique my interest though.  They are not new, but I have always brushed them off.  Water.  Exercise. Nutrition.  My thinking has been teetering between poles so much lately.  Geneen Roth vs South Beach Diet.  Sleep more vs get up and work out.  Find a new dr and see if they can figure out what's wrong with me or finally try what everyone has been saying all along to see if it works.  The scarey part about that last one is learning my friend's story.  She started feeling run-down/exhausted in August and it wasn't until January she found out she had end-stage, in-operable cancer.  At diagnosis they told her without treatment she would only live 12 weeks, with treatment she will live less than 1 year.  So when I weigh out the uncomfortable feeling of bothering another doctor or going back to my own for the same old things, vs maybe there really is something wrong and we've missed it, my friend's story makes me feel like I would be stupid not to keep looking for answers.  It may be something as minor as hormonal changes or adrenal fatigue.  It may be just part of aging.  Whatever it is, I want to know. I have my annual physical exam due in May and I think I can go sooner than that if I want, but until that time, I am going to try a few experiments.  
1.  Physical therapy exercises on my lower body.  I have to admit, when I do them, I have less popping and pain.  I will make more effort to be more consistent.
2. More water.  I used to be so good about this, and now I'm a slacker.  
3. Better nutrition.  I still believe in Geneen's philosophy in examining why I want to eat when I'm not hungry (I used it today when I was stressed out and it worked).  Part of her program is to listen to your body and eat the things that make you feel good and don't eat the things that make you feel bad (physically).  Junk-carbs like donuts and chocolate make me feel bloated and uncomfortable.  I always feel my best when I keep my carbs reigned in a little.  I also will be trying to eat more veggies.  
4. Stretching and meditation.  I've really let these two things slide with all my college work, but they make me feel so good that I need to make a little more time for them.
5. Skin.  Maybe it's odd, but the skin on my face is so dry and dull.   I haven't worn makeup for nearly 15 years so I don't bother washing my face unless I was in the heat a lot during the day.  I do use moisturizer on my face, but I hate how no matter how carefully I apply it, it always ends up in my eyes later on.  So I am going to make an effort to wash and exfoliate my face, which feels really refreshing, I've just been neglecting it.  My skin is naturally dry, and I don't like the feeling of not putting moisturizer on it, but I am going to see if the combination of washing and drinking more fluids makes a difference without the moisturizers.  
So those are the things I want to try to see if they really make that much difference.  I have also started taking a multivitamin with a low dose of iron, just to see if it makes any difference and I am taking an OTC allergy medicine due to recurring positional vertigo (allergies were suspected but not diagnosed). 
So much going on, it'll be hard to know which change is working, but I don't consider it a bad thing if I continue these healthy habits.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

California

California was everything I expected and more!  Everything went so smoothly, flights were on time, the hotel was beautiful, even the rental car was nice.  We spent some time exploring Sacramento, it is so clean and the highways are really smooth and look new.  The midtown area is bustling with vibrant little shops, apartments, and restaurants.  Everyone there was so personable and really aimed to please.   There was a dramatic difference in the weather, with my city in the single digits and Sac in the 60's.  It was so nice to be able to wear skirts and sandals again! 
We explored other parts of Northern California too, with a side trip to San Francisco and San Jose, and an impossibly charming Nevada City.  Traffic was a little nuts near San Fran and I'm glad we aren't going to live there, but otherwise, being in California for vacation was like being in paradise!  
Even my kids had a great time.  It was nice having a good deal of time where my husband and I could be together without having our faces buried in our phones.  It gave us a chance to reconnect and discuss how we want things to go from here, at least concerning the potential move.  Plus, his driving skills renewed my view of him as our hero!
We don't take selfies together too often but I'm glad we have one in Sacramento.    
We ate so much food it's amazing I fit the airplane seatbelt on the way home!  What a strange thing this is, eating on the road.  We had a tiny fridge in the hotel room but it didn't do much good if only one person had leftovers, we still went out for meals together.  The leftovers ended up stinking  up the room until we threw them out.  But the food was good and the service even better.  
I started dreading coming home about halfway through the week, I was thinking about how awesome it would be to live in a place where the winters are warm and green and blooming with flowers and life. I was starting to realize how much I would miss the evening glasses of wine my husband and I shared in the hotel lobby, recalling all the awesome events of the day, and the look of amazement on the kids' faces when they saw something new or interesting, starting to dread the reality that I had to come back to this frozen, snowy place we currently call home.  We had to catch an early flight Saturday morning at 6am to get home, and the whole day I had a lump in my throat, leaving California felt so wrong.  I'd grown attached far too easily.  So much so, that I didn't get the familiar "it's good to be home" feeling that I usually get upon returning home from travel.  And when my husband and I would discuss "the move to California" I had to contain myself while he was being pensive.  Our job was to figure out what to do with our apartment lease renewal, which was due today.  We had the choice of signing for a year or going month-to-month for a hundred dollars more each month.  That was a huge conundrum.  Visiting Sacramento solidified my husband's desire to move, and I have been on board for a while now, but how to fill out the lease when we don't have jobs lined up or anything else coordinated.  In the end, my husband said he thinks it would make the most sense to wait one year, build up our resources and build/strengthen our connections out there so we can find jobs a little easier and have more of a cushion in case we don't find work right away.  I knew he was thinking rationally but I had a very emotional reaction to his idea.  I felt like I was going to cry like a little girl you are going to make me suffer through another horrible WINTER???!!! And I did express my dismay in having to face that reality, but I knew in the end that he was right.  We have a decent cushion now, but moving is not cheap, and the worst way to start off in a new place is feeling stressed and worried.  I comfort-ate so much today, silently crying via sugary treats, but after I went through all sorts of emotions, my husband chimed in and said he was really excited that we finally made the decision and are just going to do it.  And we are going to do it.  Not as soon as I wanted, but a year will go fast, and I can handle what's left of this winter plus one more if I know that's the last snow I have to deal with.  Plus, a year gives me time to see family and friends more, seek out the perfect apartment for us, and brush up on my Spanish.  I can accept the logical route for once.  I feel fortunate to have a logical husband who is looking out for all of us.  I think our move is going to be pretty darn smooth when it happens.  Now if only I could get rid of this lingering jet lag...