Archive for January, 2012

Gratitude day #4

Today was the first time in sixth months that I’ve come home and wanted to run. Not for my mental health, not because I felt I had to for my physical health, but because I wanted to. For fun.

Well, not a giggly, frolicking kind of fun. A more subdued, quiet form of fun followed by a hot soaking bath laced with epsom salts.

It’s taken me six months to get to week 7 on the Couch to 5k app. There’s been quite a bit of a repeating of weeks. But last night I could run four minutes and walk two minutes with no problem. In fact, it was easy. Enjoyable. Fun.

I am grateful that I stuck with the program. I’m sure there are plenty of un-fun runs ahead, but now I have a good memory of a fun one to tuck in my back pocket.

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Gratitude day #3

Several months ago we purchased tickets to see Stomp through the MU Concert Series. I’ve been anticipating the show ever since.

Until last night. The show was at 7 p.m. and I got home at 4:30 p.m. exhausted and wanting nothing more than to go to sleep. But John heated up leftover soup while I tucked the chickens in for the night, and afterward I managed a fifteen minute nap.

Then back to town we went.

It was SO worth it. Watching these folks on a video is entertaining, seeing them live is an experience.

One of the things I don’t like about teaching is my exposure to noise pollution. Kids are loud; my room reverberates with sound, and I think the constant, chaotic chatter contributes to my end-of-the-day exhaustion.

Stomp was loud, the auditorium reverberated, but this wasn’t noise, this was like finding your pulse. You could feel the sound in the floor, in the seat of the chair, until the beat settled in your breastbone and matched the rhythm of your heart.

It was music.

So, today I am grateful that I have a husband who will feed me dinner, drive me to town in the dark (something I am reluctant to do myself) and settle me into a theater seat to experience something I didn’t even know I’d be disappointed to miss.

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Gratitude day #2

Today I am grateful that I got to sleep in until 5:45 a.m. on a week day morning! We are in the process of drying Laura off which means she’s now milked every other morning. We started a few days ago, but I’ve had somewhere I’ve had to be on those mornings, so my alarm’s been going off at its usual time.

Not so this morning.

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Gratitude journal

I listened to Dr. Andrew Weil on the radio this past weekend. He said that people who keep a gratitude journal for seven straight days will reap the benefits of that positive energy for six months.

I figure it can’t hurt to try.

Today I am grateful for the fact that even though I felt too tired to go to yoga, I went anyway. Turns out, I was the only one to show, so I got a private session.

During shavasana – or corpse pose – Sarah read a story about a young boy whose job it was to tend the cows. When one cow came into the barn without a rope to tie her, the boy went to the master and asked what he should do.

“Pretend to tie the cow,” the master said.

So, the boy did.

The next day he found her still in the barn with the other cows. When he had released all the cows, the one cow refused to leave the barn. So, he went to the master and asked what he should do.

“Pretend to untie the cow,” the master said.

So, the boy did.

And the cow happily left the barn.

The moral of the story is that it sometimes takes a teacher to untie you from something that never even existed in the first place – a reminder that we often feel bound even when we are completely free.

Thank you for the reminder, Sarah.

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Detox and doughnuts

Breaking the fast

I made the required three weeks of my detox diet. No caffeine, no alcohol, no flour, no sugar. I dropped seven pounds, but not graciously.

I’ve tried to ease back into a “regular” diet. Granola for breakfast, soup or salad for lunch, and a smoothie for supper. Hot water to drink. This morning, though, I celebrated with doughnuts and cafe au lait.

The recipe for the spiced doughnuts came from Top Pot: Hand-Forged Doughnuts. Top Pot is a Seattle specialty, and they recently published a cookbook. I tried the master recipe for spice doughnuts, chilled the dough overnight, then fried them up this morning. The tricky part was getting the very soft dough into the very hot oil – some of my doughnut shapes didn’t turn out very round. After bubbling away in the hot oil until they were a nice golden brown on both sides, I tipped each doughnut into a bowl of cinnamon sugar.

Once they all cooled, breakfast was served.

The doughnuts were pretty good. Not as great as my flour and sugar-deprived mind had dreamed they would be, though.

A few hours later, I headed into town for a swim. I managed 1,100 yards today. I’m getting better. Still, I’m not sure I’m up for even a sprint tri. I checked the results of last year’s race: 10 minutes in the pool, 45 minutes on the bike, and 25 minutes for the run. I can’t do any one of those things in that timeframe right now, let alone all three at a whack.

After my swim, I had to come home and take a nap.

I may not be triathlete material.

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I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I’ve wanted to, a couple of times, but I haven’t. Christmas has been packed away; school has started back up. I managed the Jingle Bell 5k and then the First Night 5k when it was a balmy 62 degrees. One cow has been dried off and the other is going to every other day milking starting tomorrow.

So, it’s been busy, in a normal, wintry kind of way.

I had decided my New Year’s Resolution would be that this would be the year I could quit. Everything. I wanted to stop running. I don’t like it. I planned to stop the detox diet I started the end of December (probably not such a smart thing to take up during the dark days of December). I wanted to quit knitting because I keep making mistakes I have to rip out. I wanted to stop blogging.

Notice the past tense. Notice the blog post.

I’m still running. I still don’t like it, but I can run longer than I’ve ever been able to run in my life. I’ve added swimming to my workout. John fixed my cyclocross bike’s brakes and dusted off the bike trainer – a skimpy set of three rollers that scares the bejeezus out of me, but I’m going to have to suck it up and learn how to balance on the damn thing. I want to do a sprint triathlon this spring.

The detox diet ends Thursday. I will have managed three weeks without caffeine, alcohol, flour, or sugar. I’ve juiced my own grapefruit and carrots for breakfast; munched on endless spinach salads with a variety of homemade vinaigrettes; and I’ve whipped up a smoothie every night for dinner. I’ve lost six pounds.

I whiled away the time I didn’t spent cooking by planning decadent menus for Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras. I bought a doughnut cookbook.

The sleeves have been attached to the body of the sweater, and I’m working my way up the yoke. The hard part is over and the fun begins. Let’s just hope I’ve got the arms attached evenly on both sides.

A hundred years ago 90 percent of the country’s population was rural. Today, 90 percent of our population is urban. People don’t know where their food comes from. People think living in the country is pastoral and idyllic. Some days it is. Some days, not so much.

I think it’s important that someone record that delicate balance farm people walk while juggling 21st century reality with 19th century responsibilities.

So, I plan to keep recording, running, and knitting.

This weekend, though, I’m making doughnuts.

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