I will leave my heart at the door, I won’t say a word

Here goes my annual music augury.

Sort of like doing Tarot with your Ipod or other MP3 player.

I Ask: “Tell me what I need to know?” and then I push random play.

This is what I get:

Cover: “All I Ask” by Adele

So I am single again, and just a few days ago I felt so broken and confused, wondering like so many singers of the blues, what if I never love again? Then the dream of so many years ago came back to me so clearly that the only way to really move forward is to let go of the past I grasp. So yeah, this fits pretty well as a cover.

Cross: “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carol King

I sat still and closed my eyes and let the light fill me and put out to the universe to show me my real friends and my correct direction. And as always my Lady of Compassion heard and answered; a patient friend was there with Miso soup and a listening ear. A trip to the Buddhist Temple brought me a warm greeting from a cat and an unlikely crow and even my first ride on the light rail.

Behind: “Why” by Tracy Chapman

Why are the missiles called peacekeepers when they are aimed to kill?

Why is a woman still not safe when she is in her home?

Love is hate, war is peace, no is yes…..

Somebody’s gotta answer….

So let’s just say this is a pretty perfect song for what’s wrong in my life. One thing 2014 and 2015 have taught me is that love shouldn’t hurt and I have a right to feel safe, respected, cherished and if I don’t feel that where I am, it’s not my responsibility to change them or how they behave, but it is my responsibility and privilege to change my location.

As to world peace, I can’t raise the level of the ocean, but I can warm my little circle and I almost forgot that again. So back to peeing (if you don’t know the story, no worries, I will tell it again I am sure), I mean meditating.

Beneath: “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carol King

So a little musical augury puts my love of love at the root of my situation, passion is my Achilles heel. That is true, so I guess its a good thing that I am embracing a little less pleasure centered approach to living because I won’t, won’t, WON’T be here again.

Above: “Live Here With You” by Dusty Springfield

If wishes were horses, we’d all have a huge feed bill.

Before: “Bye Bye Bye” also Dusty Springfield 

I sure get discouraged, when I think of what a fool I’ve been

Well, yeah, moving on….LOL

Self: “You’ve Got A Friend” in Me by Randy Newman

Well I guess I just need to realize being a toy loved by a child beats being a real superhero.

But doesn’t the universe realize, “I am Mrs. Nesbit!”

“Tell me the hat looked good, I know the apron was a little much, but tell me the hat looked good!”

LOL

I find it pleasantly humorous that as I decide to embrace a year of serious study of the teachings of Buddha and dedicated practice of letting go my illusions and attachments that this song comes up as self.

Maybe, if anyone is interested I could go through the whole amazing analysis of how Woody goes from ego driven love to compassion or how Buzz has a perfect existential crisis.

What?

No one is actually interested in hearing my in depth philosophical treatise on “Toy Story?”

K.

Next.

Family and Friends, Externals: “Back When” by Tim McGraw

So if there ever was a set of lyrics that fit the world I dream of its this song. I want to sip tea on a back porch, have doilies on my chair arms, feel safe and happy in a community of people. Yup, this song is also perfect.

Hopes and Dreams: “Rose Gold” by Pentatonix

Because we are all superstars!

Final Outcome: “Love in the Dark” by Adele

Yeah. Some choices can’t be unchosen and forgiveness is not permission. Some things broken can’t be repaired.

 

So anyway that was kind of fun. Tomorrow I may actually do a post that makes sense.

Namaste.

 

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…

However one must still take the medicine. That is one of many bits of wisdom that I have accumulated in my lifetime of adventures and books, a bit of wisdom from childhood complements Disney’s Mary Poppins.

I am happy to be known as the Mary Poppins Nurse, I knew she was a Time Lord long before Pop Culture acknowledged her origins. I knew she was a Time Lord when PBS was in its infancy and Oscar the Grouch was orange. However, I am not here today to discuss Time Lords, or Mary Poppins or other purportedly fictional bits of sugar that helped my wisdom grow and flourish, I am here to talk about the medicine.

Medicine is the tough stuff we have to swallow to become better: better health, better writer, better informed, better person. Medicine is often bitter with wide ranging side effects, not all of them pleasant.

I remember just how disappointed I was as a child when I read a biographer’s portrayal of Jack London (how I loved, loved, loved his books) as a soft, overweight man willing to trade his name to grape juice manufacturers for ten silver pieces, and as much likely to survive an adventure as a spoiled persian cat. It was a tough pill to swallow.

I was still too young to realize that sometimes more motivates a biographer than love and facts; yet old enough to know that not everything in books is real; I somehow expected much more of Jack. I vowed then, I was not going to be like Jack, I would be a lifetime adventurer.

I now have great empathy for that armchair traveling Jack I so despised as a child.

AlThough it is also good to know that one opinion was mostly false, more scholarly biographies have reinforced my original perception of Mr. London without ignoring his faults, the facts are that he did slow down as he aged due to renal insufficiency of unknown origin and he was one of the first to trade his name and image to a product for money.

I am still am an adventurer.

I still have to take my medicine, including the aches, pains and infirmities of age, disease, and a few bad choices.

But there is so much sugar in my life, from roses blooming outside my door, to smiles from babies and the triumph of met goals.

Today at Physical Therapy my exercise assistant (who is a mere 22 years old and cute as a button) said with awe, “You’ve done so much!”

My first response was, “I’m old, more time to do things.”

But the truth is, if my life had run smoothly would I have had so many adventures? I don’t think so.

Today I salute all the hard parts, the things that made me better, more interesting, the things that led me to realize there really are only three important questions when contemplating an action.

1. Is it compassionate?

2. Is it ethical?

3. Does it support my long term goals?

Now all of you go out and take your medicine and say a thank you for the sugar that helps it go down….

Delicious and Nutritious breakfast porridge recipe and my protein powder preference quandry

A healthy day begins with a healthy breakfast. I know this not only from the plethora of pointed press I have been force fed or voluntarily consumed about nutrition, but also from personal experience. In fact, this is perhaps the only nutrition fact that has remained consistent in my 50+ years of trying to eat right and eat well.

In my life of battling unwanted weight gain and episodes of malaise, general joint pain and depression, as well as acknowledged opportunities to find healthy options during life altering illness, I have seen the rise and fall and rise again of low carb, low fat, low sugar, liquid food substitutes, calorie counting, and cabbage (or other single healthy food) heavy diets. I have been taught four food groups, food pyramids, glycemic index, inflammation ratings (IF), and ONQI ratings, and the latest (and I think at this time greatest) ANDI score; and through them all the need for a good breakfast was always clearly stated regardless of how that “good” was defined.

Personal experience also reinforces the belief that breakfast makes everything better. I am more energetic, able to cope with pain, frustration and the good things in daily life with a nutritious breakfast. So what does a good breakfast look like for me?

I  find myself less likely to make poor food choices later in the day if I start my day with at least 14 grams of protien, a bit of fiber, and coffee. (Getting enough carbs is never an issue for me.)Ok, maybe the coffee just wakes me up enough to make my breakfast, but I can’t imagine breakfast without it.  Since I am training to compete again in a triathlon, weight loss is a priority for me as well and I restrict my daily calories to 1800. (If I ever doubt the benefit of 1800 calories a day, I just carry my dogs 35 pound bag of food around for a few minutes and I am again convinced that the best thing I can do for my knees, hips, feet and race times is shave another 35 pound off the old body. My doctors are in complete agreement on this fact as well. At 5’5″ I am currently weighing in at 218 lbs, definitely obese by medical standards.)

A side note here for those who privately express horror at my telling my actual honest weight, I think lying about it is even funnier. I mean look at me, this is obviously my weight. Yes my weight makes me uncomfortable, therefore I am doing something about it. Lying about my weight would change nothing. However, telling the truth motivates me to face and change that which makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway  porridge and smoothies are my two favorite breakfasts.  One fast, one more preparation intense, they both include the protien I need and the flavor I crave as well as other important nutrients.

Quinoa Porridge, 30 minute prep/cook time. 3 servings

2 cups filtered water, or 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup organic apple cider

1 cup quinoa (I like Trader Joe’s Red)

2/3 cup dried fruit (I like it with dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, or chopped prunes)

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

healthy dash of nutmeg, or cinnamon or cardamom (only use one and experiment with fruit and spice combinations. I like cardamom with cranberries, nutmeg with prunes and cinnamon with cherries and for cranberries and tart cherries I use apple juice)

1/2 cup soy, rice or almond milk

Place everything but the fruit and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to slow simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Stir in dried fruit and milk choice and recover and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and leave for 10 minutes to finish absorbing fluids.

I eat one serving right away and  place the other two servings in containers in the fridge. They are delicious reheated or cold with a bit of creamer over them like rice pudding.

As to my smoothie, my recipe is very usual and completely basic. I throw a cup of frozen organic berries in my blender, add 1/2 cup of filtered water, 1/2 cup organic vanilla soy milk and a scoop protein powder and blend. If I feel like mixing it up I will add 1/2 banana and 1 T of flax meal. Smoothies are easy and fast, but they are the source of my greatest diet dilemma at the moment.

I am in a complete quandry, my favorite protein powder is whey based. I love Aria’s vanilla protein powder; the cost, taste, texture, and what it puts into my diet (the hard-to-get-enough B-vitamins, calcium, and iron) and what it leaves out (artificial ingredients); but what I am struggling with is that protein powders have a large manufacturing, shipping and container carbon footprint and the basis for this powder is also whey, hence NOT vegan, hence even BIGGER carbon footprint.  I love Aria, but feel it doesn’t fit my big picture of ethical living .

I am slowly working my way through trying vegan alternatives, so far the “not gonna do it at all” contenders are Trader Joe’s Soy Protein powder, Alive and MRM’s vegan protein powder. Sadly, I had a vegan protein powder that I  really, really liked from Spouts (store brand) that was discontinued about 2 years ago. Right now Aria is on my shelf while I muster the courage to bring home a hemp one to try (courage is necessary because finances and personal philosophy require me to actually finish the can of protien even when its sand box grainy (TJ’s)or tastes waaaay to “healthy” (MRM) or weedlike (Alive).

It all comes back to the same question, the needs of the one over the needs of the many. Where do my needs for nutrition, convenience and enjoyment end and my need to leave my circle a little better tended for my having been here begin, or better yet how do I make the two mesh well? So that is my protein powder problem and my blog for today.

I am tagging it for Sally Frye folowers as this porridge recipe would be very apropos for the Rennaissance, although it would not be served for breakfast but be a supper or nursery dish. Also my quinoa use and my struggle with the politics of protein powder speak to the key elements of my training and my homesteading/living green goals so going to those readers also.  I hope all of you enjoy.

I can’t believe its almost May, 2012. I must be off the cyber verse now, because I have a Puppy Shower to prepare for and many errends to run.

Namaste, friends.

Jo Crowfae

 

Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe

Back in the water this morning, first time in 6 months, I went with the goal of at least putting my face in the water, and best case scenario completing a length or two without a kickboard.  I far exceeded my own expectations. The water was cold  on my feet and even colder on my shins and thighs but then the windy day made staying out of the water worse than diving in, so in I went.

I borrowed Dawn’s kickboard as mine is lost somewhere in the interim off training and I did my first length swimming head waaaay above water and psyching myself off for face in the water breathing on the back length.  Fear fought back and the excuse wheel spun but I learned last year that the best way to push past my “face in water” phobia is to just do it, so I did. I turned, kicked off and face went in the water, breathed out all that useful air and panicked. No breathing back in that time. Kick, kick, kick, face in again and this time turn my head and take a breath. So far, so good.

Three laps with kick-board done my DIL had to get out of the pool so I pushed forward and asked her to take my kick-board to the far end of the pool, which meant I had to swim for it.

I created the need to swim and so I did. One length without pausing was a good three weeks into last years training but I nailed it first time in the pool, then back with kick-board; one full lap with kick-board. Then Phil took it where I needed to “fetch” it, so I again swam to other end and kick-boarded it back.

Time to go for broke, I was going to swim there and back again; I caved 3/4 of the way on the back again and I touched my toes down at one point because the phobia just needed to make sure the bottom of the pool was still there, but only touched and finished swimming.

So now I am at five kick-board laps and two full swim laps. Two more kick-board laps, one more swim lap, one more kick-board lap, and a final full swim lap means I completed 8 laps with my kickboard and 4 swim laps, that’s 600 meters or .37 miles.

After which I walked almost three miles.

It was fun. I am sore tonight and fully aware of how de-conditioned I am cardio-vascularly speaking but I am proud of myself. I showed up, I did me best, and I amazed  myself!

And that is the beginning of this years “try”athlon training!

Now gentle readers, go out there and amaze yourselves as well.  There are so many little ways to exceed your own expectations of yourself today.

Namaste.

Life’s obstacles do not define me, or faith precedes the miracle

There is a video out in the cloud ( wanted to add the link but still on the techie learning curve with that one and opted for finishing the blog over obsessing on the link) that is of me at my heaviest, trying to get into my sons lifted jeep. It is hilarious and I try and try and try to get into the front seat with more creative contortions and finally succeed in getting up there, only  I end up in there backwards.

I saw an obstacle, I set a goal, and when one method didn’t work, I tried again. I was persistent, creative and not afraid to laugh at my learning process. My son video taped it with my full permission. I wanted a record I could look at to remind me of how things really were, and well, because it was funny to be the person confuzzled by such a small challenge and figured it would make others laugh as well.

However, the real obstacle wasn’t the jeep, although that was what was the practical manifestation of the problem. The obstacle was a lifestyle focused on intake and excess of calorie consumption without disciplined expenditures, I was very fat and very out of shape.

I like running, but it is hard to run when your frame is bearing double its designed load and the support structure is weakened by disuse. I wanted to ride a bycicle, I liked the idea it looked fun, but I never learned as a child and I would full-on panic at sitting on a bike and lifting my feet. I like lots of outdoor activities but I was pretty inhaler dependent as well due to compromised breathing. I also really like food and it is easy to drop onto the couch, switch on a mechanism like the computer or TV that requires nothing of me but existence and a few finger pushes and consume addictively high calorie consolation for how hard it is to do what ever I am struggling with at the moment.

I would love to say that I suddenly had an epiphany that day I struggled to get into and addressed the real problem. I didn’t. I laughed at myself and made excuses for why I couldn’t change.

However last November when I moved to my new home I got on the scale and realized I was well on my way to adding a third persons weight to the two people I was already carrying on my frame and slowly began to make changes in how I ate and lived. I still did not have a concrete goal though and so my weight would go down a bit and up a bit and down a bit more and then up to the starting point.

I was also struggling with my health and depression again so I started rereading my go to people when I am tanking emotionally Kabat-zinn, Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle and remembered that to get somewhere one must have a destination. It was now May.

I have had completing a Triathlon on my bucket list for more than 5 years. However just “I wanna do a Triathlon” wasn’t enough to get it done. I picked a race date at the end of October and signed up. Now I had a deadline. I needed to find a place to swim, learn to swim, a bike, learn to ride the bike, and relearn how to run, and probably needed a trainer.

My personal obstacles were pedal neuropathy, physiologically reduced lung capacity, a now 237 pound body(I was on my way back down) on a frame meant to be 137, and a tendency to whine, some lower back and neck and shoulder issues. My liver wasn’t really happy with me either and I pretty much lived on Tylenol and Ibuprofen to keep moving through the bodily aches and pains.

And yesterday I met my goal.

The miracles along the journey were too many to even list or count from finding an incredible chiropractic practice through my friend Sara who were very willing to work with my limited finances (I did do a lot of over time and robbing Peter at first because the reduction in pain from going to Backfit of Gilbert was immense enough to know I needed the care), my daughter-in-law and son joining in and offering me not only the use of their pool but their side by side training support, same son and DIL and also Pat taking me to their gyms, the unexpected gifts of my bikes, my sons careful research and persistence in teaching me to ride the bikes, and the list goes on and on and on…

What I know today is life is full of opportunities to learn new skills, change old habits and focus on what works instead of what doesn’t. Wishing is a good first step. Then comes making a measurable goal. Next is making the effort, sweating the sweat, moving through the pain, believing anything is possible and somewhere along that road comes the miracle.

What’s up next for me…well continued training and an April race that is longer, where I will be even faster and stronger. And well, its November, which means Nanowrimo starts tomorrow and a 50,000 word novel will begin with one sentence.

After that, I am thinking maybe space travel.

Showed up, finished, took home a silver.

I woke up scared.

I rode to the event fighting fear that kept me on the edge of tears. My friends and family were there supporting me and telling me I could do it.

And then I was in the pool and they were counting down the time 3…2…1 go! And I kicked off and there was no more fear only breathing and swim strokes.

I did it.

I swam. I biked. I ran. Not fast, not well but better than before I started to train and I took fifth in my weight class (I am an Athena) and second in my age group. My daughter-in-law who trained with me, kicked my butt on times and got a bronze cuz there are fewer Slow Old Fat Triathletes than young thin ones like her. In my eyes she got double gold.

My swim time was pretty awesome for me. I did it in 8:36 (eight minutes, thirty-six seconds) much better than I have ever done in practice.  Next time will be better (and double the distance). As it was my first time all the people coming up behind me discombobulated me and I lost time letting the mob pass.

My eight miles on the bike was very slow, the first half of the four mile loop (2 miles) was a slight upgrade and I did the eight miles on my beach cruiser because I really want to take the mountain bike somewhere and get street tires and a check-up after its altercation with a car before putting it in a position of trust.  It was slow and hard going.  Coming around the first lap and knowing I was into the uphill again the excuse wheel began to spin, but there were my friends holding signs for me and cheering. I wasn’t about to let them or me down and just kept peddling.

My time was about what I expected. I predicted 85 to 90 minutes and completed it in 71 minutes 17 seconds. Again beating any practice times but really sloooooooow.

I used the beach cruiser partly cause of the needing to get the geared bike checked out, But also, and this was a big one, I am comfortable on it’s no gear and no power break turtle type solidness and fear was a HUGE part of what I was facing down in this whole triathlon. I have only been riding a bike, any bike, for a little over two months.  I need practice, practice, practice. I need to learn how to use gears and my hand breaks in a way that doesn’t throw me over the bike. I am glad that I took Bessie as there were times when the real competitors were woooshing by that Bessie and I’s sympatico natures kept me from succumbing to fear. The one time I did let fear take over the reins I had a small spill and spent a couple minutes walking my bike before I got back on and finished.

Coming into the transition area my left knee sharply announced it was done and I dismounted a good 100 or so feet before I was supposed to dismount.

My run was the thing most affected by my October falls and mishaps. Dawn was waiting for me as I came into the transition area and paced me the whole way (Mind you AFTER she had already completed the same thing at a dead run) My left knee was screaming four letter words at me by the time I finished biking and did not want to run, walk or really do anything that required it to flex or extend or bear weight. But Dawn was there right beside me  and quitting was not an option. I walked more than half of the run, so run time was 9:23. Still better than I predicted.

And guess what, I the Slow Old Fat Triathlete who in June of this year got breathless walking a mile, had never ridden a bycicle, and never taken a swimming lesson, then fell messing up her left knee Oct 3, got knocked down by her Golden retriever injuring her right knee on Oct 8 and THEN got hit on her bike by a car re- jacking her left knee again Oct 13, finished her race. (Yes, I am talking about myself in the third person.)

Better yet, I can’t wait for my next one.

So many thank-you’s to say: Rick, Dawn, and Phil Veatch who were all my trainers (Phil is the official trainer), Dallon as well, Jody and Steve, the staff at Backfit Chiropractic in Gilbert, Sara, Pat, Amie, Ken and Deena, the women in my training group, the nice lifeguard at the pool who got me the ice pack today, and others I know I am forgetting…I could not have done it without you.

..and also a special thank you to James Owen for the audiobooks that were the soundtrack for a lot of walking, running and stationary bike time the past few months.  You and my son Rick are the examples that motivate me to focus not on the obstacles I need to overcome but how I will accomplish my dreams.

Lots of love to all of you who have followed the first lap of this journey, and it ain’t over yet! 400 meter, 12 mile ride, 5 k is my next race and I plan to beat my times a lot on my way there.

So I am thinking a lot more training is in order.

But now its time to sleep.

P.S. If I can do it, anybody can!

14 Days and counting…

My “baby” who was born in 1984 so you do the math, completed his first Sprint Triathlon Saturday and placed 6th in his age group.  So proud of him. Dawn is training, training, training and will also make a good showing for herself.  I kind of feel like I started something, I hope its something we all keep doing, myself especially.

I have had a tough couple of weeks motivation and “mindset” wise as I have worked through three injuries. The first was a fall at a restaurant in a patch of super slick mud, the second was while running with my dog and came off a curb onto knee and wrist when said dog bolted after something in  the dark, and the third was just Thursday and involved my bike and a vehicle. On top of this the sudden temperature drop in the pool water I have allowed to be a HUGE deal.

I had almost lost (which for me means quitting cuz to me winning this just means showing up and crossing the finish line) and the race was weeks away.

So I really worked on getting into a better mindset yesterday while I was at work. I was gonna do my swim even though I had been in pain all day at work. After work I headed over to the pool and was hit with a blinding migraine on my first lap and almost passed out on my second. All kinds of possible disaster scenarios passed through my thoughts , I was wearing a helmet but had hit my head in my bike  accident and this was like nothing I ever experienced before, besides which I greyed out for a moment.

Pride wanted to stay and finish but good sense won out, drowning would make it hard to race. I have tried hard to keep my actions in line with the big picture while inwardly furious that I can’t stay on my training schedule. I had either been working or icing for 48 hours (My roommate Amie has been awesome by the way plying me with hot soup and ice packs.)

So I got out of the pool.  At that minute I was soooooo done.

The voice in my head knew that I was just a big loser and the universe was set against me succeeding as evidenced by all these things standing in my way, I should just quit trying, and at that moment I was sure my sons thought I was just a big baby whiner and more trouble than I was worth, blah blah blah…yes, I really do have a voice like that in my head when fear is my master.

Luckily that voice in my head is Full Of S***, and even more luckily I more quickly realize that.

So tonite my heart and soul bound and gagged the voice of fear and foolishness and instead played all the loving encouragement of my sons coupled with the awesome visit and moral support from two of my same-age friends who also believe life is still about living with gusto and I went out and ran.

yes I still have a bit of that headache, probably related to elevated BP, but my knees and ankle held out for the mile, I iced them when I got home while I wrote this; and i faced the fear from the fall and I took the dog with me to run this evening

and I feel one hundred percent better about everything.

Tomorrow I get back on the bike…