Coffeegirl63's Blog

Good Intentions and Improved Health July 16, 2011

Filed under: Food,Healthy Living,Writing — coffeegirl63 @ 10:50 pm

My daughters went on a seven-week road trip, leaving Memorial Day and returning this week. My younger daughter, who lives with me, turned 18 while on their trip. They celebrated her day in New York City by seeing Wicked on Broadway. It was, in my daughter’s word, Epic! What a wonderful time for them! Adventures… Sister Times… Weddings… Graduations… 21 states, as far north as Maine, as far south as Orlando, Florida… The Wizarding World of Harry Potter… EPIC!

While my daughters were enjoying their adventures, I took advantage of the opportunity to experience living alone for the first time in my life. It’s true: I’m 48 years old, and I’ve never lived alone. I got married at 20, and I moved from my parents’ home into my husband’s apartment. When I separated from my husband 20 years later, I moved back in with my parents. I lived there until I rented a room in a friend’s house 2 years ago for a year. Last summer, Julia and I bought a new house together. See? I’ve always lived with someone. So for the last week of June, I took a stay-cation from work and just did what I wanted. I had some laziness, courtesy of Netflix, but I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do.

Several things in the last year have filled my life with a bit more than I have handled well. Some of my success in life is due to my tenacity, my sense of responsibility to accomplish (at whatever cost) what I commit to, and my ability to focus. Sometimes I take those talents to an extreme, and they become stubbornness, people-pleasing, and perfectionism. There’s not always time to deal with stress as it comes, so I just store it all in my upper back until I do have the time. In the last year, I chose not to deal with an unhealthy relationship or to address some nagging negative health issues (“I know it’s been eight months, but I know this tummy ache and these headaches will go away on their own! And, good grief, isn’t everyone tired most of their waking hours??”) I’ve been keeping up with my job and all its new responsibilities, but I get behind on some of the less “squeaky-wheel” tasks… until the finance controller turns up the volume of the squeaking. And he gets so grumpy and closed minded when I tell him, regarding the accounting, “that was then, this is now… it’s time to move on!!” Financially, I’m doing fine, but I have a huge brain block regarding creating a budget that I will follow. And I’ve been wanting to get serious about my writing for a long time–this blog has been a testimony to how well I’ve done pursuing that dream (hopefully, my current pace and enthusiasm are a new trend).

I made a list of tasks I intended to accomplish, keeping in mind that a vacation should not end in a state of greater exhaustion than it began with. The intentions I followed through with: First and foremost, I guarded from time diligently. I rearranged my living room; culled through and organized my clothes closet (necessary, as I’ve lost about 30 pounds so far in 2011); culled through and organized my pantry; defrosted, cleaned, and organized my freezer (necessary, as my annual seafood order arrived my first day back at work); figured out my ideal sleep schedule (turns out I work better later at night, so I need to wake up later in the morning); figured out my ideal eating needs and schedule; and dealt with some of my deeper health issues (the rest of this post is dealing with the last two items).

I started seeing a chiropractor at the beginning of June. My medical doctor wanted to treat my chronic neck and upper-back pain (and accompanying finger numbness) by shooting steroids into my spinal column (he said cortisone shot, but we know what he meant). It’s not that I am opposed to modern medicine. On the contrary, I’m grateful for it. But I didn’t have a good feeling about that solution. A friend told me about her chiropractor, Dr. Molly Kallenbach, DC, http://doctormolly.com/ at Thrive Chiropractic. Before going in for an anesthesiologist-administered, spinal column-invading steroid shot, I made an appointment to see Dr. Molly. From my first appointment, I felt relief from the pain in my upper back. Such a good choice! Right away, she wanted to address my overall health. She put me on a detoxification diet to try to give some of my organs a break. The foods-to-avoid list was more extensive than I’d anticipated: dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, tomato, corn, alcohol, caffeine, beef, processed meats, peanuts, and peanut butter. I knew I didn’t tolerate dairy well, and I’d begun to suspect that maybe soy was not going to be a good dairy alternative. I was just happy to see that I could eat fruit. So for two weeks, I ate a lot of salads, fruit, and non-gluten whole grains. Fortunately, I really like salads, and the ingredients are beautifully plentiful and affordable this time of year (I’m hoping, now that I’m writing more regularly, that I’ll start inserting pictures into my posts again). My regular meals were: quinoa or brown rice with fruit and rice milk for breakfast; salads, with a variety of colorful and tasty vegetables and sprinkled with chia and hemp seeds and sliced almonds, for lunch and dinner. When I had questions (and I had a lot), I’d ask my dear friend, Julie–see http://glutenfreeveganfam.blogspot.com/ for a plethora of healthy-eating wisdom; it’s a delightful journey of literary wit and gastronomic adventures.

Between my semi-weekly visits to Dr. Molly’s house of healing (she doesn’t call it that, but she should) and my new health habits, I’ve felt better than I have in years–no tummy aches or headaches, and I require way less sleep and feel alert throughout my days.

My first introduction of a new food was inadvertent. Who knew canned tuna uses soy? Maybe it’s a preservative or something, I don’t know, but I certainly would not have chosen to introduce anything new during my work day! It was such a tiny amount, but the ensuing tummy ache and headache sent my to the tuna-fish can to read the ingredients. Since I was leaving a few days later for South Carolina and Johnny’s graduation from Army Basic Training, Dr. Molly and I decided I should go back on the detox for my week of travel. It was surprisingly easy to stay on the diet most of the time. I went to a grocery store the day I arrived and bought salad stuff and snacks. There were a few meals we ate on base (food court of the PX), but there was one place that sold salads. The family went to a BBQ place one day–everything was fried, breaded, swimming in BBQ sauce (tomato), loaded with cheese, or (usually) some combination. It looked and smelled delicious, but the way I was feeling every day was strong motivation to “be good.” I was not disappointed to have to resort to a protein shake for that meal.

I have been very slowly trying new things. The foods it seems I can have: eggs, gluten, very limited amounts of coffee (one cup a day, a few days a week, instead of my three or four cups a day every day of the week), and alcohol. This weekend, I plan to bake a loaf of whole wheat bread–I hope that turns out well for me. Unfortunately, a few days ago, I confirmed that soy is poison to me. Without thinking, I ate a protein bar (which was made of soy, and dairy, and soy, and corn, and soy, and dairy, and soy). The next day was rough, the day after that was even worse. Thursday, I was tired, had a headache, and had more pain in my neck than I’d had since I started seeing Dr. Molly. Yesterday, I was in pain to the point of tears, so tired I was muddleheaded and had to leave work early, and (hardest of all for me, I think) an emotional wreck. I spent more time crying than not yesterday. In retrospect, I’m guessing the meltdown was a vortex of several things hitting at once combined with having poisoned my body (causing pain, over-tiredness, and stress).

As I said, my motivation to eat well is strong, and confirmed daily. My daughter likes eating healthfully, as well, and it’s nice to have someone to cook with. Eating out is a challenge, unless it’s to http://www.jasonsdeli.com/ or http://www.soupersalad.com/ or some other place with a self-serve salad bar. Shopping takes a lot longer now because I have to read every label. It seems everything has soy of some form in it, most insidious–soy lecithin (ok, I know it’s not technically insidious, but it sure feels like it!). Well, as my friend Julie (http://glutenfreeveganfam.blogspot.com/) says, “Honey, that’s why you only eat foods without labels!” Certainly would be easier.

Today, I’m still a little muddly, but I’m feeling a lot better: less pain (probably use an icepack on my neck after I post this), not as emotionally distraught, but still pretty tired. Dr. Molly said it would be three or four days of getting over the assault on my body, but I was hoping it wouldn’t take that long. Seems she knows what she’s talking about… again!

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Gratitude July 10, 2011

Filed under: Healthy Living,Relaxing,Times with My Family,Writing — coffeegirl63 @ 11:50 am

Recently, I have been thinking about some things I’m very grateful for. I’d like to share with you just a few of them, as well as the events that prompted the realizations…

Today, while checking my work email so that tomorrow (my second day at work since June 24–the first being June 28 when I went in for half a day to process payroll) won’t be completely overwhelming, I saw an email notifying me that my fish order will be delivered tomorrow and that I need to be prepared to take it home as soon as possible. Grateful for: having internet access at home so I can check email at my convenience. Not having to be completely surprised and unprepared for upcoming events (one necessary preparation today: defrosting, cleaning, and organizing my freezer). Working for a company that sells fish (which I love) and that is generous enough to allow me to buy some of the best fish I’ve ever had at a price I can afford. Living in a home big enough to allow me to have a full-sized freezer. Having a freezer large enough to store a year’s worth of fish, a year’s worth of beef, and a year’s worth of green chiles at once, in addition to foods I can purchase in quantity because they are on sale. Having money to buy the aforementioned foods.

As I sit on my front porch enjoying the weather, the view, and a cup of coffee, I’m grateful for: having a home with a front porch and a view. Rocking chairs and a table so heavy it won’t be blown to Kansas or Wyoming by the high winds we get here in Peyton. Coffee. Owning a laptop so I can sit on my front porch and still use my computer. Cell phones so I don’t have to miss the call or text of someone I love (you know who you are).

I miss my kids. I’m grateful for: having amazing kids I enjoy and who love and get along with each other–enough to spend their vacation times on adventures together. Having kids I am so proud of! Kids who aren’t afraid to follow their dreams… even when those dreams don’t look like they originally thought they would and being willing to take the risks and to follow those new paths. Having kids who love God with all their hearts and seek Him first in their life plans. That each of my kids is my absolute favorite.

As I sit here on my front porch writing my thoughts, I’m grateful for: living in a country that encourages, even requires, that all children–including females–be educated, an education that is offered at no cost to families of any socioeconomic status. The ability to read and write. A natural giftedness for communicating in the English language. A love of the beauty, the fun, and the essential limitlessness of words. Living in a country that encourages its citizens to express their thoughts, even providing for that freedom of expression in one of its most important documents.

Thinking over my life–the things I’ve done well and mistakes I’ve made–I’m grateful for: the natural consequences that help me learn lessons quickly… most of the time. Grace and forgiveness so that I’m not paying the painful price of my errors in a way that destroys me or those I love. Friendships and honesty so I can be encouraged in the successes, so I can continue along right paths, as well as be shown the errors in a loving way, correcting some before they become tragedies. Growth that allows me to learn from my successes and failures.

Also, as I sit here on porch and look at the view, I’m grateful for: my lawn and my lawn mower. I am going to go now and avail myself of said lawn mower so I can cut the grass that is now long enough to wave in the aforementioned Peyton winds.

I’m grateful for you who find my writing worthy of your time. Thank you.

 

The Film Industry July 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — coffeegirl63 @ 9:41 pm

Something else I’ve learned this year:

I have always been pretty sure that it must take more than a minute to produce a 60-second commercial… but that’s all I knew. Then I met a producer-videographer-photographer. I got to help him on a shoot, and I found out just how little I actually knew. Did you know that it can take 10 hours or more to produce a 30-second commercial? If it’s being shot outside, you are completely at the mercy of the sun and the clouds and their chosen interactions with each other. There are things you can do with lights and reflectors, but if the sun decides to hide, you’re just out of luck until it decides to come out and play.

My daughter was in a 6-minute video (http://tinyurl.com/SweetSlasher) filmed here in Colorado Springs. It took several Friday and/or Saturday nights in a row to rehearse and to film. It’s amazing how many times she had to run down the alley just to get all the angles and shots the director wanted. She also pushed her way through the door and fell to her knees so many times that she had huge bruises on her knees and shins. She was very professional about it, though. I’m pretty sure I would have cried and whined like a little girl. They were also at the mercy of lighting. They had to film with the same light each time. That meant we got together… and waited… and then had to hurry before the light changed too much. Even filming inside the apartment involved lighting issues… because of the light coming through the one window.

Recently, I was cast in a couple short films. I wonder how long they’ll take. Fun, though, huh? Who knew??

Earlier today, J shot a commercial, at two locations, for a long-standing client. I met him at the first location and helped him by doing some gopher duties. I’m good at everything, except I suck at “bending the light.” I know. I wouldn’t have known what that is either. I just know that I was supposed to hold a mirror (tool of convenience, I think, since it was found on the wall at the first location) and reflect the light onto the model’s face, but I couldn’t find the light once it left the mirror. When I was trying to describe to a friend what I supposed to be doing, J told me that it was called bending the light. So, yeah. Evidently, that’s what I suck at.

Currently, J is running down leads, and I’m babysitting his inbox to see if anyone answers his request for voice-over talent for another commercial he’s working on. I’m not sure how his tasks are going, but mine is certainly boring. You know the saying about a watched pot never boiling? Of course, it’s not true, but the point is it FEELS true! Have you ever watched an inbox? Even the cat in the room has forepaws on the window sill, knowing that there must be more excitement than this to be had in the world! Since there are other people in the room (working on various aspects of editing the commercial), I can’t play Pandora. Think I’ll run out to my car and get my iPod… Much better. First song on the list: Johnny Angel. Appropriate since I’m going to South Carolina next week to see Johnny’s graduation from Army Basic Training–we used to sing Johnny Angel when he was little.

People who have a passion about something, see the world through the lenses of their passion. In the same way that I can’t read or hear English without editing it, at least in my brain, J can’t watch a movie without re-editing it in some way–the acting, the lighting, the camera angles, the special effects, etc. I’m pretty sure his passion is more fun than mine. I don’t know what influence I’ve had on J, but sometimes when I watch a movie, I question what I see, wondering why they chose the lighting or the camera angles or movement–not critically, just curiously.

So, that’s my foray into the film industry, so far. I have no aspirations for stardom (no delusions of grandeur–for my travel-size Nearly). However, as I told you in a previous post, I am working on trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone, and exploring what might be out there that I didn’t even know I love. I don’t think I’ll ever be a model; the camera intimidates me, but I’m looking forward to seeing if I like acting. J says I have natural talent. If I ever want to do anything serious with it, though, I’ll need training. I’m not sure I have enough self-confidence to be okay with being told that I’m no good. I’d probably just cry and go home.