Friday, November 30, 2012

a patience friday

Well, again this morning I was mostly dressed for the run when my left foot informed me with a high keening of arthritis pain that we would not be running.  DARN IT.  It's really hard to surrender to that, when I'm already in my running tights, already got my pants and shoes pulled on, already got the underarmour shirt on, already got the rest all piled up and ready, and already started stretching.  It feels almost like a point of no return and it chafes me to stop.  

But, just for today, I chose love by not running on a foot that was clearly indicating I should not.  

Now, to continue choosing love throughout my Friday...

Praying for me, that I do.  And praying for you, that you do too!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

progress report - boring but i'm smiling

Yesterday, the cookies were still in the hall, and I walked past them every time without touching.

Yesterday, I ate lunch in the Bistro and did not request a cookie basket or freak out about the different soup bowls.

Yesterday, I ran in the morning and biked to and from work.

Last night felt better than the 2 nights before it.  

Go figure...loving one's body feels better then destroying it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

cookies on monday, cookies on tuesday, bring on the hill

Well, yesterday was another not-so-banner day for me.  A coworker brought these amazing chocolate chip cookies - made by his MOM, for heavens sake! - and they were really small (which my brain translates as somehow not as bad a choice as big ones) and they sat in a container in the hall all day.  There weren't many times that I walked by that container without snitching one.  And I passed thru that hall a lot.  DARN IT. 

I've been putting off running up the Brady Street hill, as I was getting re-conditioned after my involuntary running vacation.  This morning I decided that 2 days in a row of nutritional crimes against my body meant it was time to do the hill again.  Gotta help the body burn all those awful carbs or the pounds they've probably already added.  

It's still the Brady Street hill.  It didn't get more gentle during my time away.  It really takes me to the place of ONE STEP AT A TIME.  Looking ahead just isn't an option, if I'm gonna actually do the whole hill without walking.  

And that's what I did.  Which leaves me a bit less bummed about two days of cookie binge.  And a bit more hopeful that I'll choose love today.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

some mondays, i lose the battle

If you've followed the naked blog for long, you know that Mondays are difficult for me, and doubly so Mondays after a longer-than-usual weekend.  I am ALWAYS hungry all day long on Mondays.  I assume it's my body's response to me messing with my usual schedule and routine.  I always run late for work on Monday morning.  My muscles are always more stiff when I stretch for the run on Mondays.

Yesterday was no exception, and it contained the multiplier of the Thanksgiving weekend behind it.  I was glad to still make it out for my run, and didn't bother to be frustrated that it was one of the slowest runs I've done in awhile.  I had forgotten to pack snacks, so I worked away at my desk all morning feeling voracious to the point of distraction.  A friend invited me to join her for lunch, so I stuffed my rice and beans in the fridge and joined her in our Bistro there at work, where I can get a nice bowl of soup for about $2.  

The soup is a perfectly adequate lunch.  It is hot.  It is big.  It is unfailingly yummy.  It is varied.  What's not to like about soup for lunch?

We have new dishes there now, purchased to be quieter when handled and banged about.  The big bowls are shaped different than the old, noisy big bowls.  I am pretty sure they are not ACTUALLY smaller.  But they give the illusion of being smaller.  When the bowl came, I saw it and instantly thought "smaller."  And KNEW it was almost surely a visual trick.  Still, for whatever reason, my stupid animal impulses were stronger than my knowing-better brain, and I couldn't get past the feeling that lunch wasn't "enough."  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Then I followed that mis-perception with a bad choice - I asked for the free cookie basket.  One can ALWAYS have free cookies in the Bistro, just for the asking.  Unfortunately, they don't bring you A cookie.  They bring a basket, you know, for the table.  A generous and sweet thing to do.  And - Monday sufferer extraordinaire that I was - I reached into that basket more times than I want to write here.  

Doh!  This is the naked blog!  That means I gotta tell the truth.  


I might have eaten something like 5 chocolate chip cookies for dessert yesterday at lunch.

Yes, this makes me want to cuss like a sailor. 

Nothing to do, of course, but pick up and do better going forward.   Anything else is self-sabotage, and I think yesterday's lunch was a sufficient dose of THAT, don't you?

Grace.  It's everything.  Today's goal:  not abusing that grace.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

karen's beans and rice recipe

I make this on the weekend and then eat throughout the week.  Totally vegan, cheaper than cheap, almost no work at all, highly satisfying and nicely spicy, pretty darn good for you.  It's my own adaptation of a recipe I found on the internet. 
The picture doesn't do it justice - I generally add a smidge of water before microwaving a bowl of it, and today I added too much.  But if I put off posting this, who KNOWS when it's going to happen!  Trust me.  It's yummy!  


1 (1 lb) bag dried pinto beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilis
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (kind in jar is okay)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning blend
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1 large onion, chopped

Rinse beans in colander.

Put in a crock pot.

Cover with water, plus about 2 inches over top of beans.

Add all ingredients except the can of Rotel.  Truth:  I don't even bother stirring.  Just put the spices in first, everything else on top, and it's FINE.
Cook on low in crock pot about 8-12 hours until tender. (Overnight is what I do - you can stir and even add water a bit, but I generally don't bother them.)

Add the can of Rotel (no need to drain it first).  Stir.  Turn crockpot up to high setting.  Cook about 4 more hours.

Serve atop cooked brown rice ( COULD choose white rice...but brown is so much better for you!  Come on!)

wrinkles and fog and cellulite

I stood in front of the mirror this morning at 4:40 AM, brushing my teeth and noticing all the extra lines and wrinkles in my face that this hour of the morning brings on.  It occurs to me that God had pretty good timing, bringing me on this "letting Him teach me to love my body" at this point in middle age, right when evidence that I'm no longer 17 becomes so obvious that even I in my generally oblivious state of being can notice it.  I looked at the wrinkles and I didn't hate them at all.  Just noticed.  Actually I'm pretty sure losing weight has added wrinkles, where everything all used to be all plumped full of fat and now isn't.  

It's okay.  I love the peace of seeing and just embracing where I am.  I've been very blessed.  I grew up in a house where my dad told me every day (many times, most days) that I was beautiful and smart and that he was so very proud of me (and he still does that very same thing, every time I see him, even now.)  Somewhere there in the middle there were a couple of voices that did a lot of damage on that front, and my voice joined theirs for a long time in condemning agreement.  But those old voices grow quieter and deader each day, and the things I say to myself and about myself grow kinder and more life-giving each day.  And - oh happy, blessed thing - into the picture comes a man who tells me I'm beautiful every time he talks to me.  On one hand, I'm glad to be at the point of not NEEDING that validation.  On the other hand...DANG it's nice.  I'm just sayin.  

The fog was thick this morning.  Running on the bridge, there was no water to be seen below, no downtown Davenport to the one side, no downtown Rock Island to the other.  Just me and the black morning and a few very dim orange lights and the fog and the little patch of concrete and steel beams just a few feet ahead of me, and cars zipping by, being swallowed nearly instantly by the fog.   I ran the only way I can, one step at a time, just doing the best I can with THIS step and not minding the ones ahead.  The fog helped highlight that for me.  No visual gauge of how much further to the turnaround point, how much further to the end.  

I ran and I thought about the grace in learning to love my body.  I ran and I really felt my muscles moving and working, listened to my rhythmic breathing and the much-lighter-than-before patter of my feet on the pavement.  I loved what my legs can do, the way they carry me.  I remembered that when I started hating my legs was 7th grade, a year with many black marks on it, the least of which was I went from 94 pounds to 126 pounds, and cellulite appeared on my legs and has never left me since.  I realized at 46 it's unlikely this journey will lead me back to even 126 pounds, much less 94.  Which means me and my cellulite had best make friends - we're probably (not definitely, but probably) in a 'til death do us part kind of thing.  

You know what?  It's okay.  Really.  I've run far enough down this road to understand:  He loves me just exactly as I am.  

I can do that too.  FOR REAL.  All I gotta do is keep letting Him teach me.

(You too, by the way...)

Monday, November 19, 2012

being one with the bike

My son Caleb is 23 years old and inspires me pretty much every time I spend time with him, whether it's politically, socially, or health-wise (and I think that inspiration runs both ways, which is fun.)  He is an avid "fixie" rider, meaning his bike is of the "fixed gear" sort, which means basically 2 things:

1.  It has no "speeds" for shifting.
2.  The wheels only move exactly as the pedals do.  There is no such thing as coasting.  Forward or backward or completely stopped on the street are your 3 choices on a fixie.  

I pretty much think he's crazy for loving his fixie, but he and his fixie friends assure me that I just don't know what I'm missing.  Truth:  I'm not interested in exploring that territory. I am a frequent user of "coast" mode and I love using the gears to navigate hills.

But whenever I ride with him I note how his bike is basically just an extension of his body.  Really nimble and agile.  It reminds me of when I was a teen on my beloved excessively high-strung horses - just a total connection, one moving with the other seamlessly and without thought.  What a great high.  

It has been nearly 3 years now since I bought Lulu in her wonderful pinkness.  When I first got her, I was beyond terrified and clumsy on her.  It was proof to me that I am no longer the wild, fearless, skinny little thing I was at 16.  Every push of the pedals felt like taking my life into my own hands.  The streets felt like potential corridors of death.  Heck, it took me basically a year of riding to get to the point where I could stand on the pedals while coasting.  

This past few months, I have begun to feel that connectedness with the bike.  The joy of pushing the envelope, whether it's whipping 30 MPH down Main Street hill or just doing little swervy navigation.  I grin like I'm 5 when I stand WHILE pedaling - this is a whole other world.  Yesterday I navigated several construction zones with their uneven surfaces and gravel and such.  This used to make my hands clench and my stomach twist in knots.  Now the challenge just makes me happy all over, even though I'm still pretty slow and awkward as I rise to it.  

I'm not 23 like my son.  I won't be pulling his insane stunts anytime soon.  But I do like growing into that feeling, bit by bit, that the bike is an extension of my body.  

Wonder what that'll look like a year from now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

one of those food photo blogs

I got blessed yesterday with leftovers from my parents' house - my mom is a lady who could (and would gladly) feed the entire world.  She's where I get my love of feeding others.  Having read the naked blog, she was on to my rice-and-beans diet and wanted to expand it a bit for me.  So I came home with a grocery bag full of assorted leftovers and such.  AWESOME.  

So with the goodies from Mom and assorted various things I have lying around, here's what I made for my supper tonight, after a nice little hilly 17 mile bike ride in the perfect sunshine (can you say LOVE, JOY, HALLELUJAH?)

Little olive oil in the pan.  Add garlic (about a teaspoon, minced), about a quarter of an onion, chopped, 4 baby bella mushrooms, chopped, handful of frozen green beans, and about half a can of rinsed garbanzo beans.  Stir fry.  

Add a little handful of deboned, chopped chicken.  And an actual ONLY ONE SERVING of cooked spaghetti (that's a very small amount, as compared to what most of us consider a serving.  Salt and pepper.  Stir fry some more.  

Add a little parmesan cheese and serve.  Note:  the important thing to do, if you're gonna eat pasta, is DON'T make it the main part of the dish...cuz pasta - and especially regular, not-whole-wheat pasta, which is what I had here - is excessively simple, way over-processed carbs (equals NOT a body-loving choice IMHO).  (The other thing you could do there instead of spaghetti, is Shritaki noodles - great spaghetti substitute, methinks.)  Veggies are the main part.  Pasta is just a little element. 

This was a delicious, warm, satisfying meal.  Portabello mushrooms give you a day's worth of Vitamin D, which is hard to come by.  Garbanzo beans are insanely good for you - ditto the onions and garlic.  Frozen is one of the most nutritious ways to get your green beans.  Chicken...if you're gonna eat meat, it's a better choice than many (and trust me, the meal would be FINE without the chicken).  Olive oil...c'mon...happy fats!  And I went very light on the salt and parmesan, neither of which is really a beneficial item other than for taste.  Give it a try!  Nice change. 

My crockpot pinto beans for beans and rice came out killer awesome and totally vegan...I'll try to share them sometime this week...and I've got some bean soup bubbling happily on the stove and promising warm comfort in days to come as well.  Watch this space for recipes this week.  Apparently that's the current trend! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

on speaking terms with the body

It's nice, being on speaking terms with my body.

Tuesday morning I woke up before the alarm with a painful tummy.  It was enough to bring me up into a sitting position and take away my (usually very easy) ability to sleep through.  A couple of years ago...heck...this time LAST year...I wouldn't have had any solutions.  My only response to such pain has always been:

1.  Try to be very still, so as not to make it worse.
2.  Try not to complain or get all emotional, as that only makes it worse.
3.  Try to just ignore it.
4.  Just muddle through.

All this time of letting God teach me to love my body, though, has had this wondrous effect:  my mind and body are connected in ways they never were before.  Perhaps knowing this will help you understand:  before this adventure, I detested my body.  Hated it as an enemy and a source of shame and contempt.  Was adamant that, "I am not my body just carries me around."  

Today I am past the worst of that.  I begin to understand that my body IS a part of who I am, and not just a vessel to carry around what REALLY matters about me.  I am more whole than I have ever been.  

The joy of that wholeness...I am learning how to ask my body questions and hear its answers.  So when I sat, curled in pain on my bed from the pain, I didn't ignore it or just muddle through.  I asked my body what was wrong.  I listened.  Felt.  Listened some more.  Some answers came to me.

Some of the pain was just simple muscle soreness from returning to running after being off for more than a month (if you have a little cute flat belly, you maybe haven't experienced the fact that carrying your gut around CAN cause soreness, when life gets bouncy.)  That pain could be addressed with massage.  It helped, a lot.  But it wasn't the whole story.

Some of the pain was diet related.  I mentioned before that I am on a mostly beans-and-rice diet right now, for financial reasons.  You gotta drink plenty of water, if you're gonna eat that way.  I mostly do.  Monday, I didn't.  Some of the pain was as simple as:  stuff is crowded inside there and can't get uhhh moving without a little fluid.  Two big mugs of hot water later that part of the pain left me. 

A good hour of focused attention, meaning asking my body questions, listening, trying what I know to do, and listening some more...took the pain away.  It hasn't returned to me since.

I'm pretty sure this stuff is elementary for a lot of you out there.  Like, you've been doing it since you were little.  Maybe you're shaking your head and thinking, "Duhhhh...."  But this is for the rest of us, who have spent our lives as enemies to the very flesh that carries us everywhere we go.  A story of hope, that it doesn't ALWAYS have to be like that.  

If you can't hear what your body says to you, may I suggest one more time:  step into the adventure of letting God teach you to love your body.  

He'll blow your little mind. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

stiff feet and beans and rice

Took a lot of stretching this morning before my run, and then it was a very slow one.  That's to be expected - I was feeling the effects of Monday's run after so long off the road.  Still, it was delicious to be out there in the chill.

Navigating the business of these arthritic feet is interesting.  I had to stop and decide this morning - is that pain, or just stiffness?  Loosening my shoelaces helped with the first bit of throbbing.  I remembered the x-ray I was shown, how there is extra stuff grown on the bones on the top of my feet, so it made sense that maybe that pain was just excess lace pressure.  That tactic worked enough to get me out on the street.  Feet were fine for the first 2.25 miles, and for the last quarter mile it went from stiff to OUCH.  So I'll be dragging the bags of frozen peas out of the freezer at work today to ice my feet while I sit there working.  I am NOT willing, at this point, to give up running unless it is made crystal clear that there is no other option.  Just love it too darn much.  

This month and next, I am doing a bit of traveling for love's sake (a visit to my guy in Chicago, and a December introduction to my soon-to-be-born granddaughter, Ms. Eliana Mercy Glenn, in Kentucky).  The travels don't fit in my budget (I have an actual budget now! But that's a whole other blog...), so I'm doing all manner of creative things to make it happen anyway.  On the list:  cutting food expense to as bare-bones as can humanly be done.  What I'm grateful for:  nearly 2 years of letting God teach me to love my body have been a good investment.  I know now how to eat cheap and reasonably healthy, as opposed to cheap and basically ruining my health, one bite at a time.  So from now through the end of 2012, I shall be enjoying the many ways that beans and rice can be concocted.  While I look forward to a time when hopefully I can get back to eating a ridiculous explosion of fresh veggies, what better time than winter to test out this beans and rice business, eh?  IT'S GOOD FOR ME. 

Maybe I'll share a recipe or two. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

back at it

This morning I finally got back out there for the run, after WAY TOO LONG away.  First there had been my arthritic feet, egged on by the rainy weather, that stopped me.  Then I had a wicked bad cold for 3 weeks that allowed me only to get up and go to work every morning, and cancel basically everything else in life in favor of sleep.  But my body has healed and the rain has ceased and though my feet are stiff, they are not painful.  So this morning I ran!

Late fall is here.  It was 25 degrees when I got dressed this morning at 4:45.  That meant running tights under the jogging pants and layered shirts and wool socks and gloves and even the ear warmer thingy, though it's not yet cold enough to need my mouth and nose covered.  Beautiful, perfect running weather.  Far better than summer.  Put a bounce in my step.

Right before I got derailed, I had been starting to really work at improving my speed.  I didn't work on that this morning.  The goal was just to get out there and finish my 2.5 miles without walking.  I am learning what a forgiving thing the body is...despite weeks away from running, I was able to pick it back up easily.  Not the slightest need to walk.  Heck, when I got up the incline of the bridge to the flat part, I even picked it up and hustled, which wasn't even a goal!  So if you saw some chubby fool smiling her way across the Centennial bridge this morning way before sunrise and were irritated, my apologies.  I don't like peppy people in the morning either. 

I mentioned the body is forgiving.  That ain't no lie, folks.  Not only have I not been able to run in over a month, but also many factors in life have kept me mostly off my bike for most of that time as well.  Have I gained a little weight?  I think so, but I'm not gonna be silly enough to derail myself by stepping on a scale to verify that.  I can still wear all the clothes I was wearing, so though I can feel places where weight is either increased or shifted badly, the fact is I can't be up more than 10 pounds total.  And the number on the scale is an irrelevancy for me anyway.  Truth is, God and I are still working out this gig of Him teaching me to love my body.  He's still surprising me daily in the cool things He does.  

The rest doesn't matter.

To all of you who have taken a moment to say you've missed the blog too.  Thanks for the encouragement.  I think maybe I'm swinging back to gear!  May you be encouraged today as well.