Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Light through the cracks

 I have made it my goal to read more 'inspirational or educational books' this year.  My goal is at least one a month.   Honestly, that's been pretty easy.  I am averaging about 2 a month (on top of my normal reading of fiction books).  I picked up a memoir the other day.   While maybe not educational in a sense that I would learn something that would be useful for my personal health and fitness journey, this book was still inspirational and a very good read.

I am not ashamed to say that I picked up this memoir due to the fact that the mountain climber had been kidnapped and I wanted to read the gory details.  However, I got a lot more than that in the book, A Light Through the Cracks by Beth Rodden. 

The book does give the details of the kidnapping that occurred while she was on an international climbing trip.  However, the story of that terrifying ordeal is interspersed throughout the book as the author relays what brought her to that point and how she struggled to survive and move on after the experience.   This was a story of a young girl who followed her dream of being a climber and became a professional/sponsored climber.  It is the story of a young woman who struggled for years to overcome the fears and trauma caused by the events that occurred during a seemingly simple overseas trip.  The guilt caused her to pursue relationships that were not healthy.   Her fear caused her to avoid people and situations.  Almost every decision made after that momentous event was clouded with the past traumatic stress of the events.  

Even more interesting to me, we are able to follow a professional mountain climber as she lives in a male dominated sport.  We walk with her as she fears losing her sponsors and as she works to complete difficult climbs.  Along the way, she explains different aspects of mountain climbing so that the without realizing it, the reader is becoming educated in the sport of mountain climbing.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was not what  expected in that it didn’t dwell on the actual events of the kidnapping.  But it was a really good read. The story flowed and was informative and told in such a way that you couldn’t help but like the characters and hope for the best for them. 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Grief is a Funny Thing


 Just when I thought I was doing better.  We have been powering through clearing out my parents house.  While it is overwhelming and some weeks I leave and feel as if we are not making any headway, because seriously were does all this stuff come from?   But in my heart I know we are doing good.  We have moved through the house with laughter at the memories that our parents left us.  I have cried less and less.  But then grief reared it's ugly head.     In a way, it's funny.  But on the other hand, I just sit here and cry.

For the last two nights I have had dreams. Both of them had a similar theme, a parent had come back to life.  In the first dream, my dad was alive again. After all these years (dad died in 2017) he was back with us and alive.   And in my dream I was panicked, because over the last few months since mom died, we have dismantled his life.  We have gotten rid of things that he saved for years.  (Bulletins from every Sunday he preached, which spanned 50 years, files upon files both in paper and digital formats). And we have been ok with it, what we are getting rid of is not at all sentimental to us (we keep anything that is sentimental to us and we even have a box of things that we have kept that was highly sentimental to our parents, things like my dad's squeak toy from when he was a baby).   But in my dream I was in a state of panic because my dad had come back to life and I had to tell him that I had gotten rid of so much of his stuff.  I woke up before i had to tell him, but the angst was there.

Then last night, I dreamt that I was working and had to run out to get something for my computer, so I snuck into a visit to 'mom's new nursing home."  Mom directed me and I pushed her in a wheelchair through this new home and when people would talk to us, we would share the story about how she had been dead for 10 days, but was alive now and that is why we moved her to this new (weirdly laid out) nursing home.

I'm telling you, grief is weird!

Friday, April 26, 2024

What goes around comes around

 A few years ago I wrote a post about "It's only."   (you can read it here)  I used that mantra for a while, but then I totally forgot about it!  For a few years I forgot about it!  But today, I remembered it.  I was watching a youtube video of a fellow weight loss journey and the gal was talking about her frustration and actually just doing it and how she had to do something but she kept failing day in and day out.   And at that moment I knew and remembered my mantra!  

The process of this is to set a goal or a challenge for just a short time.  And then stick to it....because it's ONLY a day, or a week, or a month!   This came around when I was working at the bank.  EVERYONE was bringing us donuts, candy and other treats and it was really hard to resist.  My manager and I were both struggling.  And then one day while we were talking we decided that we were going to challenge each other to resist the temptation until our back to back vacations. (she went on vacation one week and I went the following week).   During our conversation we made the comment that 'it's only six weeks until vacation time, we can resist for six weeks.  Anyone can resist for six weeks!  We laughed and said that after the six weeks we could eat anything we wanted....we only had to make it the six weeks.

And do you know what happened?  The mantra worked.  When people brought us donuts and other amazingly tempting items, we resisted because it was only a few weeks that we had to do it!  And we both made it the complete 6 weeks!

So that is my challenge!  Next week. I want my calories between 1200-1400. I'm only asking for next week.  Not the next month, or the next year or the rest of my life!  Just one week!  I am being kind to myself and giving myself a pass for the weekend...but those days I have to remain under 1600 calories.   I am doing this because i am trying to find balance between being mired in a weight loss journey and life!  So my weekends are usually a bit more relaxed.   

So this is my line in the sand!  This week...one week...it's ONLY one week!  I can definitely do it!

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Did I do it

 My word (or rather phrase) of the week for last week was Just Do it.   The question is did I actually do it?

So what did I have to 'just do'.   The main thing was get my butt in gear and move!   I had been fighting off a cold or some crud. (Jason had it worse and is still congested and sniffly.) Due to feeling under the weather I stopped standing at my desk.  I had worked my way up to standing about 3 hours and then I felt so run down that I didn't stand at all for a week.  At the same time, I also failed to get on the exercise bike during my break.  

The bike is important because that helps me earn the miles that I need each day for my 2024 miles in 2024 challenge. (You can read a bit about that challenge here.)    In short, I need about 5.5 miles each day in order to obtain the magical 2024 miles by the end of 2024.   I was on target with my miles, and even had a few miles banked for a rainy day.  Then I was sick and didn't ride or even walk all that much.   So after my week of being sick I was behind!  This past week was to be my redemption!  I was going to get back on the bike and at the barest minimum not fall further behind.  So how did I do?   Well, I did ride!  But not enough!  I missed one day, simply because I had fallen out of the habit (yes, one week and the habit was broken) and simply forgot!  I also was off on day and didn't ride that day.  So I didn't make up ground and in fact, I actually am a bit further behind now!  Yup, so a mixed bag of success for actually riding at all; but a failure because I fell further behind.

So how did I do with the stand up desk?   I stood.  The first day I only stood for an hour, but by the end of the week I had gotten myself back to 3 hours.  In fact, that last day I was even doing a little two step dance at times at my desk!  

My eating was pretty solid!  I didn't have any day where I binged and/or overate.  I made healthy choices and kept my calories in line.  Of course, there is always room for improvement!  ALWAYS.   So this week I will focus on getting more fruits and veggies.   I will also work on drinking more water (why is water such a difficult one for me?)

It's spring and I've been able to get outside some and work in the yard.  It feels good to get some fresh air without freezing my behind off.  This past week I worked on preparing the soil in the three new beds. Yes, we are adding three new beds to the vegetable garden.  (they are each about 8 feet by 4 feet).  I have been digging and raking and working the soil and pulling junk out of it (weeds, roots, clumps of grass, trash, and the ever present rocks).  And each time I go through the soil to remove all this unwanted junk, it is just helping to prep the soil!    I have also weeded (Must.Get.Mulch.Soon) and transplanted plants from my mom's to my place.  Yes, I grabbed some hostas!  I had been talking to mom before she died about splitting her hostas (they are Way past due for a split) but ended up totally removing about 4 feet of them after talking to my brother.  Free plants are GREAT!  


I'm slowing starting to see my weight trend lower and lower.  My scales have been really odd lately and they fluctuate and aren't at all reliable (At least I don't feel they are since I can weigh myself twice right in a row and get two different numbers.)  Could I get a new scale?  Sure.  But I have a sneaky feeling it is our uneven floors that is the culprit!   BUT, what I am feeling good about is the fact that just a month or so ago the numbers were fluctuating at the top of this 'decade' and even going into the decade above my  weight.  And now, the numbers are fluctuating at the lower end of the decade and I have even seen the decade below once or twice!   So I'll take that as a sign.   I don't need to know the exact number, I just need to know that it is going down.  So I will take that as a win!

Jason got a new toy yesterday, so we stuck around the house and he messed around with that.  Today we HAVE to get out and mow the yard (at least a few areas that are bad).   We hopefully will be getting a riding mower within a week or so.    Jason's parents have a friend that is selling a zero turn mower at a good deal. Jason's dad went to look at it and says it looks good.  They originally told us that it would need back tires within a year, but they were thinking that they would last for another year.   But when they pulled it out to tune it up and sharpen the blades (yes, they do their own work on their equipment...and actually do some as a side business apparently and yes we will be calling them to tune up our push mowers and snow blower soon!) they realized the tire wouldn't hold air, so they ordered them and are putting them on !  Yay!  So hopefully the days of push mowing 8 hours to get the yard mowed (and doing it weekly) will soon be behind us!  Once we can mow faster, we will have more time for the fun stuff in the yard.   Fun stuff?  Finishing clearing the brush and weeds, landscaping, gardening, etc!   Ohhh yeah, and maybe we can get back out to hiking too once the yard doesn't take so much time! 

I have been lamenting for the last year or two that all of my healthy living and life stats are scattered here and there.   For example my calories are in Myfitnesspal and my steps are in garmin. And I have to manually add my exercise bike miles to one or the other or both.  And each app is awesome, but they don't always integrate into one thing.  Myfitness pal doesn't do to bad with pulling info into one...but I have other things that I want to track like healthy habits, my reading (which I do have an app for...but once again...a different app) and even if I took my medicine for the acid reflux and how I feel after I eat.....trying to see if the medicine helps...or if certain foods and certain eating behaviors help).  I buy a day planner yearly, which I try to pull everything to....but there is a lot of stats and information.   In December I toyed with creating my own planner.  I was going to create it in canva, place it in my kindle direct publishing account for 'sale' and then buy it from there to have it printed up nice.  But when I started to create it I was stumped.  What do I need to include...how do I want it laid out...so many questions and I just didn't do it.   BUT, I have decided to do more of a bullet journal for now.  Each month create pages that I think I would like to have included.  And then use it for the month.  I can then take notes of what is missing, what doesn't work, what works and adapt it for the next moth.   I will only be creating one month at a time, so I can always adjust.  So yesterday I bought a blank 'sketch pad' style book and hopefully today I can start creating what May is going to look like.  Right now I am thinking of the following things:

*  Calendar page (typical calendar month page).  On this calendar page I will divide the square for the day into 4-5  each section will be colored when I successfully complete the habit for the day.   So I can be working  on and tracking  4 habits.  (I will be tracking things like   water, food tracking, exercise, vitamins, Did I get my miles for the 2024, etc)

*  Pages for Food consumption.  I have gone back and forth with two thoughts on this.  The first is a place that I can write down all my food and the corresponding calories.  The second is to actually just have a page (another calendar??) that shows my total calories for the day.  I like the abbreviated version because it would be easier to see how I did at a quick glance.  But I feel as if I need to have my food written out side by side with my habits while eating (did I eat fast...slow...etc) and how I felt after I ate (acid reflux or no)  AND a place to indicate if I took my pill or not before eating.    That is the benefit of creating each month as I go....I can try both and I can adjust monthly.

*  Water consumption....

*A monthly goal page - monthly goals.  such as 'did you lose weight', 'did you exercise 3 times a week'  did you at least maintain your 2024 miles.   Simple yes and no questions (Could be broken into different sections, weight loss goals, life goals, reading goals, household goals)

*Monthly wrap up -  page for highlights from the month (for example if we go for a long hike or on vacation....) and any goals that need a bit more discussing.

* I have always gone back and forth between adding in mood/emotions to a journal.  But it could be an interesting add to the journal to correspond with my food... how much does food affect me mood?

* Obviously an area for weight 

* A review page for a quick review on books I read for the month.....or at least a place to PUT the books I read that month. 

* I also just saw someone else include in their journal a calendar that allowed them to show when they started a book and when they ended the book.   I thought that would be neat.  

*A place to put my word of the week- and maybe a little area as to why I chose it..or how it affected me?

*Body Measurments

What am I missing???

So we shall see how this goes!   Wish me luck!  I will share on here when it's done!  

Saturday, April 13, 2024


 This last week was a bust, all around!  It was a bust for what I did with exercise.  It was a bust with my weigh in and it was a bust for the couch!

The weigh in week started really strong.  It was the weekend and we had a productive weekend!  I got my strawberries planted.  We mowed.  We weeded.   We cleared brush.  We did so much!  I was going strong!

I even took apart our old couch!  Literally, I busted it up!  I first ripped off the fabric and then I started to deconstruct it piece by piece.   

I have always enjoyed taking things apart.  It is interesting to see how things are made and put together.  Who would have known!   So it was a fun time for me!   


It wasn't until Wednesday that I started to feel it.  Ok, if I want to be honest, my throat started hurting on Tuesday and on Monday I kept saying "I'm so darn tired".  But I thought that I was tired due to our crazy busy weekend and I thought my throat was just raw due to the fact that this acid reflux thing (you can read about where it started here.)  seems to make my sinus' drain all the time.  But no, by Wednesday I had to admit that the head cold (moved to chest) that Jason was dealing with had been oh so kindly shared with me!    

Luckily for me, I never got it too bad.  I just feel run down, sore throat and some sinus drainage. I think what has saved me from really getting sick is the fact that I have been religious about taking my vitamins.  I've also been really on top of eating lots of fruits and veggies. (Thanks to that book Built to Move that I read a while back. You can read my post about it here.)  I also listened to my body and I slowed down and rested....a lot!


Which brings me to my next bust.  I did not stand even a single hour this week at work and at my standing desk.  I didn't get on the exercise bike even once.  I did NO formal exercise routine.  I didn't do anything!

My food was the only thing that was not a bust!  My average daily calories was 1300!   That's awesome!  I had lots of fruits and veggies!  I ate nutritious foods!  I did great!

But I did have one more bust....and that was with my weigh in! I stepped on the scales expecting great things!   I didn't get great! Luckily I didn't get horrible either!   What I did get was a loss of 0.2 pounds.  2/10ths only!  Not even a half of a pound!   Like I said, not horrible.  Horrible would have been a gain!  So I didn't do that!  But dang, I want more loss!

I'm not out!  I know that I am feeding my body nutritious food.  I am giving my body what it needs.  This weight loss journey is NOT just about weight loss.  It is about being healthy and I know that I am feeding my body healthy options!   That is just as important!  In the meantime,  I will monitor my calories more closely and see if I can get the weight to reflect my efforts!  I'm not giving up!  I've got this!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

March Review

March is in the books!   How, because this year is just FLYING by!   But irregardless, March is over and we are now 10 days into the next month!  I have been remiss!  I haven't shared my progress report for the month of March for my weight loss (and life journey).  So before more time passes, lets review March and talk about April.

Purge Project

    I have been working on this project.  It is more a sporadic effort.  I am not vowing to do one item per day or anything like that.  I am aiming for 5 big items or 5 collections!  In this way, I can't purge a single book and say "One down!"     NO, I have to purge a collection of books. (For example, I have some photography books that are just collecting dust.  Getting rid of ONE of them does not count!  However, if I purge the collecction, then it counts!)   I made it to about 4 big items.  So while it was not hitting my goal, I feel as if I was somewhat successful!   

For the month of April I will be continuing with my purge goal of 5 big items or collections!

Books to Edify the mind

In February I decided that I wanted to make sure that each month I am reading at least one book that is good for my mind, and betters me along the path to health and fitness.    I started out with a book called Thinsanity (you can read my review here)   And in March I read the book Built To Move, which I loved (you can read that review here., even though it went live in April, it was read in March!)   I actually read two books in March, and the review will be written eventually!)   I have also already started on my April book!

Exercise and Movement

This was a mixed bag of success and failure!   I was so successful with getting my miles in!  I didn't actually bank a lot of extra mile toward my 2024 miles in 2024 Challenge, but I held my own!  Beyond the miles, I did not do any formal exercise!   Ok, maybe once or twice, but that is a big maybe!  So that is also a big fail!    The other success for the month was that I actually bought a stand up desk!  I typically stand for about 2-3 hours a day at this point.  I'm building my time standing!  (it's crazy how much my hips and feet hurt from standing!)

Food and Weigh In

I actually did pretty good with my food.  I ate quite nutritiously!  I feel like I ate good for my health!  My calories were right in line most days!  I was doing good.   I would have expeccted my weight to drop quite a bit!  But it didn't!  I lost a whole whopping 4 pounds!   Ok, that was a bit condescending!   I lost 4 pounds!  YAY!     Every pound gone is a good pound!  (But I still wanted it to be more!)

Overall, it was a good month.  I had my successes and I had my failures.  But my failures were smaller and they did not derail me from the overall goals of losing weight, being healthy and being happy!

Saturday, April 06, 2024

My feet ache! Or do they???

 A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from the company Flow Sole asking if I would be interested in trying their insoles that are for plantar fasciitis pain.   Of course I said yes!   It was a resounding yes!

I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in 2013.  (post here).  I immediately went out to follow the doctors advice.  By the end of the day I had purchased a device to add to my shoe to help with the pain.  I was set, right?    Well not quite!   What I bought was intolerably painful for me.  I tried something different with the same results.  This and that....I've most likely tried it and hated every product!   So when FlowSole offered for me to try their insoles for plantar pain I was all set to try!  

The package came in the mail after a few days.  And I was super excited to try them out.   I had taken a quick peek online when they first contacted me, but I chose to not look too deeply at the product.  I wanted to have a clear mind when I received and tried their product. (Which in the fairness of transparency, they did supply to me free of charge as compensation for a review.)   

The day came and I was super excited to open the package!   The packaging was neat and clean and the box gave some information about the company and product.  The packaging labelled this as the "foot pain relief insole". I was intrigued, but wary.  That is a big and bold statement to make.  I have suffered from foot pain almost my whole life, even before the plantar issues cropped up.  (This has always been referred to as "the Bone" and I wrote about it way back in the first year of this site,  in this post.)   Lifelong foot pain has made me very particular about my shoes and feet.   The main reason that I was wary was the fact that I typically have issues with any shoe or device  that has a large/pronounced arch. I can't tell you how many pairs of shoes and devices that have been purchased only to end up in the trashcan (my parents if they were alive would attest to this also as they bought me special shoes on more than one occasion).  So I honestly expected to put these insoles into my shoes and within moments hate them.


Instead, I put the insoles into my shoes. I put them into my favorite pair of Asolo Landscape boots, that are now used for yard work.  I chose those boots for a few reasons.  Number one, they were the shoes that I knew that I would be wearing the most over the following week or so.  Secondly, the Asolo Landscapes were nearing the end of their life and I wanted to really put the insoles through a test.  

I slipped my feet into the shoes with the insoles and my eyes widened with shock.  It wasn't painful!   They actually felt, dare I say it; comfy!  I wore them for a few hours and I was still wearing them when Jason and I ran out to go to a local store.   It was while we were strolling through the store that I felt it.  And it was not a good feel it!   My little toe on one foot was rubbing. (in shoes that had NEVER rubbed) and my feet were sore and achy!  Ok, that was me just trying to be nice,  they just downright HURT!   

Taking my shoes off never felt better! I was undeterred though, I have been told enough times to let my feet get accustomed to the new feelings.  The next day I put the shoes back on.   And do you know what?   They didn't hurt as bad!   And by the third day they actually felt really good!  By golly, these insoles actually worked!    Over the last few weeks I have been right on the edge of plantar pain.  (Yes, I can usually feel it coming on).  But this week I haven't had any of those twinges of pain!   I know, how awesome is that?

I know it's only been a week, but so far I am impressed!  I will definitely be using them more!  I may be buying more pairs of them also!  Not just for myself, but for Jason.  Yes, Jason saw them and declared that they looked really comfortable and he might need a pair!    

You can buy a pair of Flowsole Insoles for yourself.  They appear to be about $35-40 per a pair.  But seriously, if they can help foot pain, well worth double that price!     Check them out, you may like them.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Built to Move

 I have recently read a book that had a profound impact upon me.  That book was Built to Move by Kelly and Juliet Starrett.

In the last year I have noticed a decline in my ability to move effectively and efficiently. If I have to get down to the floor it is painful, cumbersome and not very graceful for me to rise back to a standing position. That fact has bothered me, and I have 'hoped' that by getting back into a regular exercise routine that I would be able to recover some of my lost mobility that I had seemingly lost overnight.   

It wasn't until I read the book that I realized that this problem had been building for a while, but I had been ignoring it and treating the symptoms by doing things like buying trekking poles to negate my balance issues while hiking. 

The premise of this book is that our modern lifestyles do not utilize our bodies the way they were made to move.   Furthermore, by not using our bodies to their fullest abilities, we have lost a degree of function and effectiveness.    They say that the book is getting everyone to realize and achieve what the body CAN do and not what our bodies are doing.

The book breaks everything down into 10 core 'vital signs' that we should be focusing on.  They included range of motion, squatting, walking, sleep, eating and proper breathing.   For each vital sign they gave a benchmark test for the reader to complete and mobilizations to utilize in order to correct and better yourself.  They also gave research about why the vital sign was so important.  And let me tell you, some of the stats and research were sobering!

Some of the thing that really had an impact on me included:

* A 2010 study showed that people that sit for 6 or more hours a day are 37% more likely to die earlier.  (these numbers did not change for people that exercised regularly)

*Compared to a person that walks 4000 steps, (the average American walks 5117 steps a day), if you up your step count to 8,000 a day you lower your risk of dying early by 51%.   If you up your step count to 12,000 steps a day, you have a 65% lower chance of early death.

*For every inch your head is tilted forward (think looking down at your cell phone) you add 10 pounds of load to your neck, which then affects the arms and back. 

*Micro nutrients are important (which I knew, but have resisted really counting).  They follow the research that if you aim for 800 grams of fruits and veggies a day you will come very close (and most likely meet) your micro nutrient goals.  I like that plan so much better!

*In a study of middle aged women who at only 1 serving of fruit or vegetable a day they were 50% more likely to end up with a physical limitation versus someone eating 2-4 servings.

There was so much more in this book!  I'm telling you, I can't say enough good about this book and HIGHLY recommend it!   It has had a profound impact on me.  I immediately upped my servings of fruits and veggies!  (that 800 grams is about 6 cups a day). I FINALLY hit the button for buying a stand up desk.   I became cognizant of how I am standing and sitting.  I am ready to make changes so that my body can work the way it was intended. 

Once again, I recommend this book 100% .  It is a fabulous read.  I actually got it from the library and I will be buying a hard copy so that I can actually have it handy so that I can do the mobilizations and tests so that I can better myself!