Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Nine months of therapy...down the tubes...

With one family drama. A while back, DWR posted a pic of 8 ways to enjoy the Alaskan Trails. I apply them to the managing of holiday expectations.

1) Leave no trace.

Husbands are good for this. They can recall conversations that parents don't seem to recall and remind you that you're not crazy. "Yes, we did have a conversation about what people's plans were, my husband remembers it as well even if you don't, so nah-nah-nah-nah-nah."

2)Share the experience. Be considerate.

Call me. Ask me if I could please ensure that no one's feelings are hurt and that everyone's needs are met by having a civilized conversation. Yes, we now have to share holidays with other families, that is hard. Then, let's come up with a way in which we get to be together in a way that works for everyone.

3) Observe the rules - know the law.

And, to quote, "I'm the law, bitches!"

4) Enjoy and respect plants and wildlife.

Let's enjoy each other, but respect that perhaps our expectations are different and unless we TALK, no not email, we can't know what everyone expects...and now we have wildlife.

5) Respect property rights.

Again, we all have certain limitations, things we are willing to do, and we must respect those financial or other restrictions.

6)Be willing to yield trail.

Yeah, so I sort of felt like I always yield the trail, which is why I had to go to therapy in the first place.

7) Plan ahead. Be self-reliant.

If you work in retail and know that the likelihood you will have to work is rather high, then perhaps you should make this known when plans are being made. "Oh, btw, remember how we decided to alternate holidays so everyone could be together, well that only works if you can come visit us because we probably won't be able to make it down." Ok, I will plan ahead. I will know that not only do I have to plan for funds to go back East, but also funds for staying on the West Coast.

8) Be alert - act safely, think safety.

I need a drink before I engage in certain conversations with family. Ugh.

Sunday, October 02, 2011!

Swim, bike, exercise, whatever! Oh, so very frustrated with my leg. Last week I tried a little strength training, followed by a VERY easy swim the next day and seemed okay. Then I went to the PT on Wednesday. He poked, prodded, moved me in ways that caused pain. And guess what...the week of COMPLETE rest, completely undone. I'm supposed to be doing these exercises and very subtly move, but even subtle movements means later pain...that's not good. Its funny. Last year, this time, I injured my foot. My guess, and the irony, is that if I had undergone physical therapy then for my foot and corrected a problem that was way less painful (at least I could swim), I would not be in this predicament. But, instead, I went to a podiatrist, who shot me full of cortisone, put me in a boot for 6 weeks, and ordered me to rest. When things didn't get better (ie, I couldn't go back to running), I went to see an ortho, got an MRI and was told I probably needed surgery. I know there are people out there who have ideas about how athletes (and I say that loosely) should be treated. I would like to find one.

I go back to PT tomorrow and will inform my PTist that his exercises cause me pain or he caused me pain. I would like to have some relief from my pain. I would like some exercises that after doing them a few times, relieve my pain. I don't want to be in PAIN anymore! I guess its time to get mad and take control.

So much for my happiness project...I guess that's my new happiness project - pain free.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I joined Facebook recently. Perhaps it was a matter of "how long can I be a hold out?" I did the same thing with my cell phone, I was one of the last of my friends to have a cell phone. Which, in hindsight, was pretty ridiculous. I don't know how many times I missed someone I was supposed to meet because I had no way to get a hold of them. Facebook was somehow different.

JE and I went to a wedding of a high school and family friend last weekend up in Foresthill. It was gorgeous and a little surreal. Her sister, who was my good friend and swimming buddy, is married to someone from our high school. His sister was also there with her husband. His best friend, also a HS friend, was there with his girlfriend. We were sitting with the later four and it was sort of weird to think about HS again. We left early because JE had the Tahoe bike ride the next day. On our trip to Tahoe, we passed the sign for Pollock Pines. Having just seen some old high school friends and acquaintances, I was reminded of my high school best friend. She came from Pollock Pines our seventh grade year and we instantly became friends. I lost touch with her around the time I went to Mexico. I remember hearing that she moved somewhere near where I currently live. I remember thinking I should look her up, but didn't really have a way to do so...or so I thought.

So, after the wedding and the little stroll down memory lane, I did look her up...because now I am on Facebook. I found out that we have lived in the same town for the past 7 YEARS! Living our lives mere blocks from each other. However, the irony of this is that two weeks ago, she moved...back to where we grew up. So, a little irony for your day.

I smile though because she and I were always kindred spirits and to know that for quite some time we ended up in the same place is so fitting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


At different points in my life, I have tried things for pain management. I suffer from chronic inflammation in my neck. When I am stressed, all sorts of fun things happen - the crunchies, tightness, increased teeth grinding at night, ear pain, etc. Its good fun. Last fall, as I mentioned, I suffered a foot injury that has since sidelined me from running (yes, I am reading about running shoes causing increases in injuries) and then recently, I over-trained on the bike and seem to be suffering from inflammation of the bursa or iliopsoas tendonitis, and my leg hurts, a lot. Of course, I am not a doctor, so until I go see one, I don't really know. After a year of spending money seeing podiatrists and orthopedics and getting nothing out of it, except "you need surgery," I don't have a lot of faith in the local sports medicine providers.

I did make some changes, most specifically to my diet. I have cut out dairy, except for the half and half in my coffee. I am not drinking wine because of the inflammation to my sinuses and I recently had the beginnings of a sinus infection (which is pretty much what happens when I get allergies anymore.) I cut out meat and only occasionally have chicken or fish. I cut out most wheat, although I will occasionally have pitas with a tuna sandwich or as toast. I definitely notice faster recovery with my sinus issues. I have barely done my neti pot and I am already feeling less stuffy. I dropped weight within a week of this plan. It hasn't had any affects on my more chronic issues or injuries, but I am trying other things as well for those issues. BT introduced me the Nutrition Data from Self and I am quite fascinated by the inflammation factor rating. For example, almond butter has great anti-inflammatory properties if you eat 1,500 calories of it, otherwise its only mildly anti-inflammatory. Leeks, it turns out, are high on the anti-inflammatory rating. Wild salmon is the all time anti-inflammatory, which we all knew. Too bad its so damned expensive and who knows how much longer it'll be available...hmm. And so the experiment continues with the hope that some day I will be pain and injury free and feeling as good as I did last April and May when I did this diet plan (and didn't have the leg or foot pain) for the first time. Searching for the balance...

Monday, September 05, 2011

My body continues to fight me...

Or the other way around. This past year has been a year of injury and the return of some chronic pain issues. It has put me back to a very frustrated place of ten years ago. Frustrating because I thought I had learned so much, made strides to deal with pain and injuries, and yet, here we are again. But I must remind myself of one very important detail. My body reacts in a very physical way to stress and emotion. An injury last fall in my foot sidelined me from running. Shortly thereafter, I began to have the pain problems in my shoulder and neck again. Without an outlet for stress and emotion (the running), the chronic pain issues resurfaced. So, I got back in the pool and rediscovered something I had once loved very much. It changed my shape and left me quite svelte for my wedding day (although the tan lines were hilarious.) I was feeling very good. I had my routine of Jillian strength training, swimming and some yoga. I dropped about 8 pounds that I had been carrying for way too long. I also started focusing on my diet and began to rethink some choices. Another wonderful little reaction to stress is stomach aches. I have since realized that I seem to have an inflammatory response to everything (no pun intended) -allergies, stomach aches, chronic pain in my neck, back and shoulders. It has become very clear that some major life changes are in order. I am pretty sick of being sick or in pain.

I am now sidelined with some crazy pain in my leg - this is new - from biking, which I was also excited to rediscover, until the pain, of course. To boot, I have come down with one of my infamous sinus infections. (Bless you sudafed for all you do to relieve my sinus pressure.) So, again, I have to become one of those people for whom a very restrictive diet, careful exercise and stress/emotion management must be a daily thing because, like I said, I am sick of being sick and in pain. I like being active. I like being calm (I use this in place of happy.) I like being pain and allergy free. (And so does my husband.) He has a very hard time when I am sick or in pain. He is patient, caring, attentive and so very loving. But I know he hates that I am suffering and he wishes he could make it stop. Yeah, so do I. So I rest. I have given up on the idea that I will ride the Tahoe ride next weekend. I will take care of myself. The pain will go away. The stomach aches will stop as I restrict things like dairy, gluten/wheat and red wine. The allergies will get better too. The experiment continues.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Its been so long since I posted, that I doubt friends are even checking anymore. I have been married 3 months now and still smile when I think of what a gorgeous day it was. The weather was perfect, we were surrounded by friends and family, everyone had such a good time, and I married my best friend. It is true that you will be glad its over, but I wouldn't have exchanged it for anything. I have such wonderful memories of that day. Yes, its one day and there will be more wonderful days, but I am so glad to have those memories. It was a beautiful gift to be able to share something so special with everyone.

Life moves ahead at a somewhat frantic pace. Both JE and I are working long hours, which has put a bit of a strain on us, and required us to think about how we structure our life. It certainly means a little planning and delegating. I am still only at 90% in my job (salary-wise, of course,) but my new role is proving to be one of those that could potentially take over and require 100% of my time (which would mean that I am at 160% time-wise.) I realized very recently that I enjoy the process of problem-solving and/or design and the implementation process; the figuring out of how something can improve, putting together a plan to do so and executing it. This was probably a very useful thing to realize for someone who has struggled to figure out what she wants to do with her life. It is something I have only ever applied to education, but it finally allows me to think about other areas that might be interesting. As JE replied when I revealed this to him, "Well, you are your father's daughter." Dad's an engineer. Yeah, well. I guess that makes sense. It was something I had always thought I had wanted to be, but after constant frustration in math and science, I gave up on that idea. Perhaps that is why I have taken to math and science in education so readily. Its a good place to be ultimately.

I have also been reading The Happiness Project and doing some of my own. Its made me think quite a lot. I decided to join a book club as a result of part of my project. It made me think of books I have read recently and of a trend I have long been curious about: the title with the apostrophe s. For example, The Tiger's Wife is one such title. They abound. And for whatever reason, I seem to have read a lot of them lately, so while this has really nothing to do with the rest of my post, I decided to share some of my apostrophe s favorites:

(1) The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Pachett
(2) The Tiger's Wife, but Tea Obreht
(3) The Heretic's Daughter, but Kathleen Kent
(4) The Hangman's Daughter, by Oliver Potzsch
(5) Ahab's Wife, by Sena Jeter Naslund

Despite the commonality of their titles, these books are pretty different and all wonderfully enjoyable. So, if you book club is considering a tribute to the apostrophe s book, any of those would be a lovely choice.

Monday, April 04, 2011


It has been much too long since I last posted. JE and I are tying the knot in some 40 odd days. Life has been busy, stressful at times, but all in all, I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. There are moments in wedding planning when you realize that city hall makes so much more sense, or elope somewhere beautiful and have a party later. I have moments of guilt at the cost and shear over-done-ed-ness of the whole thing. At some point, just as many of my friends have, you realize that this isn't an event for you. Its an event for you and your family and their friends, and some of your values and expectations just go flying out the window. I really admire people who are able to maintain a sense of themselves in the whole process, and possibly a little more earth friendly in the process.

We have tried to maintain a sense of the simple. We sent save the date postcards on recycled cardstock. I also made our invitations on the same cardstock. We forced the issue of the RSVP card and envelope by asking people to respond online. My engagement, and likely only, ring is made from recycled and conflict free parts. It includes a diamond that was my maternal grandmothers, making it extra special - just a few ways we've tried to stay truer to ourselves. I can't really beat myself up about all the "didn't dos." I remember my brother having a similar realization. He was pretty fed up with all the stuff and in the end chose not to fight it. We will be surrounded by loving family and friends. It will be a beautiful party. It will create more waste and crap than we so desire, but we will make amends, and in many ways will just have to let go.

And for those brides who have done it in a more earth friendly manner, I salute you. As the waste and stuff piles up around me, I just sigh, and figure ways to repurpose stuff (and return) and eliminate unneeded stuff as much as possible.

I am so excited to marry JE, but I will be glad when this is all over.