Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
Yep, it is time once again for that ubiquitous summer family vacation. In our case that means cramming four extra-long people into a very small automobile (I will never own a mini-van or an SUV) and heading out on the highway...looking for adventure...in what ever comes our way.
Actually, we are returning to visit family in the Midwest. We will be spending most of our time in a summer cottage on Lake Michigan with my brothers and their families. Should be extra cozy. But to be by a large body of water is like manna from heaven. I’m having to psych myself up for dealing with mosquitoes though - we don’t have them here in Colorado. I know, I know, last year Colorado had the most reported cases of West Nile Virus of any state in the U.S. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Last year I saw maybe 3 mosquitoes all summer so I don’t know where all these infected skeeters are.
Of course there is the food issue to deal with, both in traveling and being with family. We always bring a cooler of “good” food with us when we travel, and my parents live close to a nice health food store. But I do know there will be lot’s of chicken, fresh tomatoes, and corn on the cob on the table, so I will try to prepare better options for myself. We’ll see how I do, my parents can be insistent on certain foods that they think are healthy. My husband is great at eating in compliance, so I will lean on him for support.
Just finished making tapes for the trip; I have eclectic tastes in music so they include everything from Turkish folk music to The Stones. Should keep everyone awake and on their toes.
I will be back writing soon... in the meantime be well, breathe deep, relax, and have fun!
I will if you will.
A while ago, I went in for a checkup with my naturopath. As I have been healthy and feeling good for a few years, I wasn’t anticipating any ‘bad news’. All was going along swimmingly until she took my blood pressure. A puzzled look crossed her face and she pumped up the cuff again.
It was 130/82. I have never, ever in my life had an elevated blood pressure reading. In fact, I am most often in the lower ranges of normal, about 110/70. I was shocked. I certainly hadn’t expected this.
Prior to taking my blood pressure, she had asked about any stresses I have been experiencing. I talked about the state of world affairs and the part the U.S. is choosing to play in all this; having a son who is approaching draftable age and knowing that the U.S. government is already gearing up the draft boards for reinstatement... yeah, that would be enough to drive a mother’s blood pressure up a titch. But I had a sinking feeling that wasn’t the only reason. I agreed to come back in a few weeks to have my BP rechecked.
As I was driving home from my appointment, I thought about what I had been doing lately to relax and I realized...nothing. I had been doing nothing to relax. I couldn’t remember the last time I had practiced yoga except for a few stretches here and there. Knowing that B’s not only respond to relaxation practice, especially with BP management, but that we really need to relax in order to stay in balance, I made a commitment to myself to incorporate more relaxation into my daily schedule.
I have found throughout the years that relaxation has to be practiced on a somewhat regular basis to be most effective. It is almost like my muscles forget how to release completely if I am sporadic in relaxation practice. So when I am ‘rusty’, I use the tense/ release technique until my muscles relearn how to let go again, consciously tensing all large muscle groups and holding for a few seconds, and then releasing. This is best practiced lying down, and most effective doing several rounds of tensing/ releasing. After some practice, it becomes easy to relax just through conscious intention. Also, deep breathing exercises and dancing are great stress relievers for me. I highly recommend the books “Relax and Renew” by Judith Lasater and “Conscious Breathing” by Gay Hendricks for some excellent guidelines and practices that are easy to learn and master. Both of these books have made a tremendous difference in the quality of my life and I reread and refer to them over and over again.
So, a few weeks later and I am running errands close to my naturopath’s office and decide now would be a good time to have the BP checked again. I try to relax as I drive over there but ‘knowing' I should relax makes me all that more tense, and it is difficult for me to relax in traffic. Having long given up being concerned about what people think of me singing in my car, I decide to sing as loudly as I can as a stress reliever. So I belt out a few to the Moody Blues and feel the tension drain from my body.
And guess what?? BP was 118/82 that day. I’m sure the relaxation practices of the past few weeks was helpful in lowering my blood pressure, but in that moment, it was the singing that did it.
I read recently in the Blood Type Encyclopedia that chanting and singing are part of the Antistress Protocols for type B.
Today was a day to be outside!!
After all the rain we finally had, the sky was that brilliant blue we get up here, the air scrubbed clean from all the dust, pollen and pollutants, the sun bright but the air cool... my favorite kind of weather. It was only about 70 degrees F, usually we are in the upper 80’s/low 90’s by now.
So, I packed the boys up and headed to My Favorite Garden ( see a previous blog) for a morning hike. My boys are quite troopers on the trails now and it is I who has to struggle to keep up. I know I talk a lot about hiking but it is my favorite activity and I have time now to indulge since summer is our down season in arts admin. In fact, this is the first year I am not teaching dance/creative movement in a summer program and although I do miss it ...I really don’t all that much...quite a surprise.
Anyway, back at home and after some upper body strength training, I decide to tackle, literally, the garden. I get stuck in the perennial border bed. I had intended to just putter in the garden, but once I started, there was no turning back. What a mess it was. My youngest son finally rescued me from the savage salvia with requests to pick some lavender to dry for his room. He is quite the budding herbalist and at 10 years old, had a list of about 17 medicinal herbs he wanted for his garden. We settled on 6 - horehound, lemon balm, peppermint, hyssop, thyme, and calendula, since we already have chamomile, comfrey, sage, and parsley.
My father gardened for a hobby and my grandfather gardened for a living. I grew up with acres of flowers that my father grew, all started in an old-fashioned glass-sided greenhouse. I was an adult before I knew you could really plant a seed directly in the ground and it would grow.
So I guess you could say a green thumb runs in my family. I get my B gene from my father, and I suspect his father was a B as well. Perhaps it’s the B gene that makes my thumb green.
Well...at least it rhymes.
Yesterday, to celebrate my son’s birthday, we decided to go out for breakfast. Realizing too late that it was Father’s Day we soon discovered that all the good restaurants were already taken. So... we ended up at a notorious chain restaurant. Hoo boy... what to eat here. I decided on the Denver omelet, after all, I do live in Colorado. It was passable, fortunately not much ham in it. But even when eating mainly compliant foods there is a BIG difference between organic and mass-produced food in the quality of the meal. I didn’t have any digestive upset after but sure felt like I had consumed inert matter instead of food.
Went for a long hike up a new ridge that mainly mountain bikers use. Quite lovely views of the foothills and even hiked high enough to clearly see Cheyenne Mountain behind the hills. Lot’s of black clouds out over the plains though. There were a couple tornadoes on the plains as well. We stopped for awhile to watch a Black-Chinned hummingbird soar quite high and plummet into a death defying nose dive and then actually perch on a dead branch.
There is a saying in these hills that if you have gone on at least 20 hikes, then chances are you have been watched by a mountain lion. I wonder how many times we’ve been watched. I have never even seen lion tracks, well, that I have recognized as such as they do resemble dog tracks without the claw marks. Nor have I seen a bear and they are quite prevalent here.
Since we were celebrating my son’s birthday, of course we had cake. I substituted with spelt for the flour but the rest was the usual less than healthy ingredients. But that’s cake for you.
Today is another(!) day of clouds and rain. It would be nice if we didn’t get our rain all in one go. I am so used to the sunshine that I feel sleepy and lethargic without it.
I have again agreed to speak before our district school board on a ridiculous policy change the administration is proposing and I am already beginning to feel butterflies. Although I have been told that I speak well, public speaking is not something I enjoy. But I do like challenging myself and this is one more way I can stretch beyond my self-imposed limitations of who I think I am.
Always a good thing to do.
Unfortunately for my children, this is what their mother turns into during summer vacation. Patrolling the rounds of snack refuse, looking for gross displays of non-compliance. One would think that it is harder to monitor their eating during the school year - not so! They both are creatures of routine, and eat quite compliantly during the year; O son has eggs, turkey sausage, and cinnamon raisin sprouted grain toast for breakfast, A son usually has homemade granola with soy milk, and occasionally turkey sausage or an egg. Lunches are typically almond/peanut butter sandwiches on spelt or sprouted bread, fresh fruit, organic corn chips/spelt pretzels, multigrain bars, etc. Of course, they could always ”trade” at lunch but since we have always eaten weird food by typical American standards, I have never worried about that much. I remember my oldest boy on his first day at a new elementary school telling his classmates that his family eats seaweed. “First of all, dear, it is ‘sea vegetable’ and not ‘seaweed’, and secondly, you might want to think twice before telling your friends about the food we eat.” Nothing like branding yourself as a weirdo on the first day of school.
Ever since finding out my sons blood types, I realized that the BTD would be very difficult for us as a family to adhere to. We do keep a myriad of food choices available at all times but, alas, one person’s bene is another person’s avoid. Sigh. So I have always thought that the best I can do is educate them about what foods are healthy for them and why, as well as emphasize the universal neutrals in meal preparation.
Until summer vacation comes. Until mother sees what food choices they make when they have the time and inclination to do so. And they are at both ends of the extremes with this one. My sweet, darling, youngest one is hyper compliant, not letting one tidbit of honeydew melon (a favorite) cross his lips, while the big, grumpy teenager says, “Mom, I just need food!” OK. What to do. With my O teenager, since we do tend to grow them tall in our household, I understand the “just need food” scenario. But I do strongly encourage him to add more animal protein to his food choices and need to remind him to lay off the carbs. My A son needs a different approach. I do encourage him to eat a little more broadly than I think he would normally choose, letting him know that it is OK to eat honeydew melon once in awhile, just not all the time. He could stand some loosening on many levels and I think enforcing strict dietary guidelines is not at all healthy for him.
I do frequently have a plate of attractively arranged raw, sliced vegetables and fruits placed in a prominent place in the kitchen, so when they come a’grazing, it is the first thing they see. And it does always get eaten. Another strategy is to make the choices for all meals, not just dinner, and to enlist their help in the preparation.
And lately, I have noticed them looking up info in ER4YT, and also asking questions about what is healthy and what not for their blood type. Just today, my type O son asked, “If Grandpa is a type O, why is he a vegetarian?”
Maybe this is all sinking in after all. Perhaps it is time to retire the police uniform.