A quiet day at last...
Finally, with a good night’s sleep under my belt, I awoke ready to face the day. Sleep is essential for me to be at my best, and when I haven’t slept well in a few nights, it really wears on me during the day.
Made Norwegian pancakes served with fresh organic blueberries (a special treat) and strawberries - yumm! for me and the boys to break fast with.
Then out to the yard for a bit of weed pullin’. It rained quite a bit while we were gone-yea! but that also brings vegetation in unwanted places-boo! So the fam spent the day getting at least a portion of the yard under control. It wasn’t so daunting with all of us pitching in.
Lunch was turkey hot dogs sans bun, organic cherries and rice crackers. The Man and I made pizza for dinner. We use the dough recipe from Cook Right but we make it with all whole spelt flour instead of half white spelt, half whole spelt. We top our pizza with basil pesto, which we buy by the case and keep in the freezer and then thaw for when we need it. I don’t like to freeze many foods but pesto deteriorates rapidly in the refrigerator. On top of the pesto went chopped onion, steamed veggies - carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash...and olives, my biggest nemesis- more on that later. Everyone likes mozzarella cheese so we added that too. I also marinated some beef fajita meat (skirt steak) in a BT friendly teriyaki sauce for the carnivores, well, omnivores. A very satisfying meal I must say.
I do need to eat snacks during the day and today I had a couple pieces of delicious rice cinnamon rice bread spread with organic cream cheese, tamari almonds with dried cranberries, rice crackers, and frozen pineapple. I have resorted to frozen organic pineapple because the fresh ones are almost always rotten in the center.
While I am rattling on about my food choices, let me just say that I cannot overestimate the value of keeping a daily food log. The days that I actually write down what I eat makes a huge difference in what I choose to eat. I guess it ‘keeps me honest’. If I know I have to be accountable for my choices, food that makes it into my mouth is most often consciously chosen. It really does make me think,” Now, do I really need this corn chip or is there a better choice right now?” I know it is a commitment to keep a daily log, and I do not do it every day, but I am amazed at how compliant I am when I do.
My first hike upon returning home from vacation was with my friend the mountain goat. She is getting in shape for leading some day hikes in a nearby mountain town. We went on a trail that I have often heard about but never tried. It is rated fairly easy since it doesn’t have much elevation gain, but I found it quite difficult. I have since taken my family there and they thought it difficult as well. We have hiked trails rated moderate to difficult that we found quite easy. Go figure. This trail has some beautiful over looks on unspoiled redrock formations that are breathtaking. It also has a side trail that climbs to an ‘intermittent waterfall’. I thought all water in Colorado was intermittent, but this waterfall was indeed magical. It was set back in a small canyon, and was a small trickle of a stream that spread across the surface of a huge rock face about a couple stories high covered with green moss, a rarity here in the Southwest. The waterfall reminded me of those desktop Zen water fountains where the water flows over a a slab of sandstone. Very peaceful and relaxing.
One of my (very) long-term goals is to get in shape enough over the next few years to join the Fourteener’s Club, a hiking club that hikes the Peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet. There are about 26 mountains here over 14,000 feet, most of them accessible to the summit by trail. It is a big dream for me, but it is something I always wanted to do.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs. I truly appreciate all the questions and positive comments I have received.
Yes, we all survived our journey through America’s Heartland...just. It was quite an experience, four very long days of being on the road. And we had car problems the entire way which doesn’t make for a relaxing road trip. But, thankfully, no major mishaps. I had visions of being stranded in an Iowan corn field, but that was not to be.
Being back in Michigan, the land where I was bred, born, and raised was an odd experience. Most of my family lives in Michigan and always has. When our relatives arrived here from the Netherlands a couple generations back, they all, on both sides of the family, stepped off the boat and took up residence in MI. My parents still live in the old farmhouse that my father grew up in, that my grandfather helped to build. You would think I would feel some sense of connection to the place, some sort of ancestral tie to that area.
But I don’t.
And I never have. As a young adult, all I wanted was to get out of there. And I never really understood my longing to be elsewhere. It wasn’t that I was trying to escape a tragic childhood or upbringing. Michigan really is a beautiful state with nice, friendly people living in it. Maybe it’s a B thing, but for some reason, I feel no connection to the place I am from.
Except for that Lake.
There is something about Lake Michigan that touches me like no other place on Earth. It is magical to me, more so than any ocean I have been to. I do feel a connection to that Lake that I can’t explain. So it was quite wondrous to spend time there at the cottage. Due to an infestation of zebra mussels, the Lake was the cleanest I have seen it in about 15 years; and although that is not the best for the eco-system there, it made for enjoyable swimming. The sunsets over the Lake were stupendous...and the mosquitoes were quite numerous. They didn’t bother me much but the A’s in the family really suffered. My sons really did go fishing and my oldest caught a beautiful Coho salmon, about five pounds that found it’s way on the grill that night. What a luxury to eat freshly caught fish...
I was able to successfully navigate my way through the maze of chicken, corn, and tomatoes that are always in abundance at my family’s meals, which meant I ate beef at most meals, and some turkey. The only downfall was not being able to find pesto in the grocery store so I did have my brother’s famous tomato sauce on spaghetti (spelt and rice). I was able to drink raspberry leaf tea every morning which helps my stomach accept food easier when away from home. And it was difficult to stay away from wheat. Wheat doesn’t bother me too much if I eat it occasionally, but when I am having wheat every day I really notice my energy level dropping and I begin to feel sluggish and foggy. It is somewhere between a neutral and avoid for me so I avoid it when I can. We did make the mistake of not going to the health food store before heading back home and so we didn’t have any good bene’s for the return loop. We stopped in Omaha for the night and found a few organic fruits and veggies at the grocery store which was a pleasant find on the road.
All in all, it was nice to spend time with my parents, my brothers and their families, but is also great to be back home breathing the thin air again.
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.