Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Coming clean

It rained last night.  A lot.  Sometimes there was thunder which is something that always gets little Katie going.  Where Bonnie (the sister sheltie Katie never met) would tremble and cry, then curl up in the smallest possible ball and wait a storm out, Katie takes it on.   She squares her shoulders, plants her feet and barks hysterically at the ceiling or the window, wherever she feels the danger might be coming from because she’s got a family to protect!  Nobody in this family got a lot of sleep last night.

This morning Katie and I did a bit of walking around the yard.  We got completely drenched.  Katie’s fur does the prettiest thing when it gets wet.  It gets curly! (click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see her curly fur!)  This is the closest she wants to get to a bath!

But what I really wanted to talk about was a different kind of ‘coming clean.’  The one where you’re honest about what’s really happening.  I need to tell you how it’s going with two commitments I’ve made; one is to do 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days, and the other is to write at least one letter a week every week from sometime in March (I can’t remember the exact date) until Memorial Day.

I’m happy to say the letter writing campaign is still going, though it’s become more difficult to find people to write to as the weeks go by.  I still have some ideas though and should be able to finish this challenge.  If I get a letter out today that is.  I made Wednesdays my letter writing days…but recently it’s suddenly been Saturday and I realize I have to write to someone RIGHT NOW!  Still it’s been fun.  And I’ve been using some lovely cards that Bree at “Wipe Your Paws” made for me.  They are one of a kind and I’m sure people love to receive them!

The 30 minutes for 30 days commitment?  Not going as well.  For the first 10 days I managed to get myself outside to walk at lunch or weekend mornings.  Then the world seemed to get in the way.  Horrible weather, crazy work days, lack of motivation seemed to overwhelm me.  I missed one day, and committed to adding an additional day on the back of the 30 days.  Then I missed another day.  I tell myself there are no excuses.

Now I’m working on convincing myself that a day lost should not sink the entire program.  Just like a diet, when you fall off the wagon the worst thing you can do is give up completely.  So maybe I need to make that goal a bit smaller, so that I can achieve something and not beat myself up so much.  I remind myself that in dog training we set tasks simple enough so that the dog can be rewarded.  We try not to set the dog up to fail.  That positive reinforcement works better than negative talking.  What works for my dog should work for me, right?

So I need to figure out a way to get myself into the habit of daily exercise with smaller, baby step tasks, so that I gradually make exercise a priority in my sometimes hectic life.  Any suggestions?  I welcome all ideas!

Meanwhile, soggy Katie and I are going to make time for an adventure this Easter weekend.  We hope all of you  have time for adventures too!



The 5K

This afternoon I participated in a 5K.  I was physically alone, but spiritually with several other people across blog-land.  I first read about a 5K happening at noon on Sunday April 10 over at Gerry’s Torch Lake Views.  I think Robin participated in the 5K too.  A bit later Gerry decided to name her portion of the walk the Don Gould Memorial 5K.  I never met Don, but he seems like he was a great guy.  So on my 5K walk, miles away from the shores of Lake Michigan where Gerry walked, I thought about him, and lots of other great people I’ve known.

Soon enough though I got caught up in my surroundings.  We don’t have a lot of spring color here yet.  In fact things are pretty much the color of mud.

But it was warmer than we’ve had since last summer, and mud isn’t snow.  There were lots of sounds coming from the swamps.  Really loud sounds of peepers and blackbirds.  Funny how you can tell there are a lot of peepers only a few feet from you but you can’t see them!

I had a lovely walk through farmland and woods.

And I found a little bit of color near the end of someone’s driveway.

I’ve long given up on growing crocus in my yard.  Between chipmunks, squirrels and deer they never survive.  But it was nice to see some on my walk.

I think I went a little longer than 5K, along what used to be my favorite route when I was a runner.  I remembered where the mile markers were, but I wasn’t wearing a watch so I don’t know if I was fast or slow.  I suspect slow, but it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I was out on a walk, thinking about people and things and enjoying being out in the fresh air…and even out in the mud.  I think this is as good a time as any to start doing the 30 minutes of exercise every day for 30 days.  I think it’s on my 101 things to do.  So here I go…30 days…30 minutes a day.  Starting now.

Wish me luck!  And thanks Gerry, for motivating me to get out there and do more than my usual mile. I hope you had a wonderful 5K as well.

Even if you DID get rained on.





Maybe it's just the weather

Yesterday at work during my ‘lunch’ break I went for a walk.  It’s the first walk I’ve done at work since winter set in.  I don’t know how far I went – it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I got out of my beige cube, away from my dual computer screens and into the fresh air.

I talked to myself the entire walk, past the condos full of retired people, the elementary school with children running and squealing on the playground, the bigger homes quiet with everyone away at work and school.  Past the bits of wooded areas, filled with frolicking squirrels and a flock of robins bob bob bobbing along.  I reminded myself that I actually have it pretty good.  That none of the things that are bothering me are anything major and really, compared to many, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.   I reminded myself that you’re supposed to be able to choose to be happy and I just needed to get to getting with that.

“Happy happy happy” I repeated in my mind, in time to my steps.  That’s right…I’m just happy happy happy.  Darn.  My knee starts to hurt.  And my shoes are old and not as comfy as they should be.  Wait a minute…I’m happy happy happy.

And I was, as long as I was walking AWAY from the office!  Just like Katie when it came time for me to turn around and head back I was less than thrilled.  If someone had me on a leash and was urging me to get back in the car to go home, I’d have sat down and refused.  But I had to be the responsible adult.  So I went back to the office.

Still, the little walk made the day brighter.  But this morning taking Katie out I felt a little twinge in the knee.  Wait a minute..I forgot.

I’m happy happy happy.




Knee strategy

I’m going into my fourth week of knee issues now.   It seems to be getting better as I rest it, ice it, compress it, elevate it.  You know…the mantra of any sporting person….RICE.  I called my doctor’s office last Friday to see if I could get an appointment this week.  Turns out he’s busy all week, and all they could offer me was to have me call at 8:30 this morning and see if I could get in.  I couldn’t even get past the busy signal.

Meanwhile this morning the knee feels almost 100%.  I even took Katie out for a bit of a walk around the neighborhood to see if I could get it to hurt again.  Nada.  So I went back online to see what I could figure out.  Perhaps I have tendinitis, an overuse injury that just takes time and care to heal.  That makes sense as I can’t pin my knee pain to a specific event, as people with tears in their MCL or meniscus usually can.  If it really is just tendinitis I’m already doing everything there is to do to make it better.  And it is getting better.

So, though I haven’t reached my doctor yet I’m feeling a bit better about the prospects of being able to walk around a grocery store without ending up with ice on the knee.  Maybe someday I’ll even be able to take a walk that is longer than six blocks.  If I’m careful.

I’m registered to do a half marathon in October.  I guess that isn’t going to happen as I’m unable to train, and should already be up to running 10 miles or so.  I can’t even walk one at the moment.

Maybe I’ll just go and cheer everyone else on.



What 8.5 miles sounds like

This morning I went out for my long walk in preparation for the 10 mile race coming up in a couple of weeks.  The plan was to do 8 miles; my favorite hilly 4 mile loop and then a less hilly 4 mile out and back.  The plan changed during the first mile when I had to pass a recently squished groundhog.  To avoid having to pass that groundhog three times I decided to do the first 3 miles of my favorite hilly 4 mile loop, then turn around and do 2 of those miles in the other direction, add a different 2.5 out and back and then head for home, holding my breath when I passed said deceased groundhog while looking studiously the other way.  Good plan.

Since I wasn’t going to carry a camera I thought I’d share my walk with you through the sounds I heard along the way.  Think of this as an audio nature report.  You get to add the visual through your own imagination.  You’re welcome to come along:

Early in the walk I am amused by the sounds of brown squirrels barking angrily at me from high up in massive old oaks and tall hickory trees.  Then, while I am focusing on the trees, trying to find the squirrels, there comes a startling rustle from the tall grass near the edge of the road.   About 6 inches from my left foot!   A very much alive groundhog hustles for safety under cover of the grass to his drain pipe underneath a driveway.  And before I can recover from that a loud swooshing noise makes me literally jump as hundreds of blackbirds sweep up and out of the trees overhead, then swarm around and land, only to sweep up into the sky over and over.  The sound is amazing and indescribable.

Chugging up a hill I tried to keep my steps and even my breathing silent as I creep past a house that has three dogs in the yard.  They have never actually come out into the road, but they bark a lot, and it was such a peaceful morning that I don’t want to incite them.  Success!  On beyond the dogs’ house I head downhill and approach a tight corner.  I’m on the inside where cars coming up the hill and rounding the corner can’t see me.   I hear a car coming up behind me so I can’t cross to the other side of the road.  I remind myself that one car’s noise can often cover up a second car’s approach so I slow down.   Sure enough just as the first car passed me another, undetected, came toward me from around the corner.  As I hopped up the bank to give the car room I make up a saying:  “A  wise country walker is vigilant at all times.”

Moving down the hill, coming out of the woods and heading across the wetlands a young male cardinal chirps at me from the underbrush along the road and later bright yellow and green goldfinches chatter happily as they hop among the grasses of the marsh.  As I approach the backside of town I listen to the rumble of a train coming and the hum of air conditioning units straining under the rising heat of another summer day.

I turn around in town, the end of mile 3, and walk back toward the marsh this time moving on the other side of the road.  A bit of water gurgles down the drainage ditch, widening and getting deeper as it gets closer to a stream.  At the bottom of the hill small frogs plop from the sides of the ditch landing splat into the water.  A chickadee goes through his litany of calls, then hops out to the end of a branch to watch me go by.

Back up into the cool dark woods I climb, the hum of the frogs in the swamp replaced by the higher pitched hum of bugs accented by what I think of as the “futuristic bug,” the one with the high pitched electronic sound that starts and stops, gaining in volume then cutting out.  I creep by the dogs’ house again and sigh in relief as I make the edge of their property without hearing their excited barking.  I’m further along the road, under the canopy of trees and hidden by the brush when I hear:  “DON’T GO THERE! DON’T GO THERE!”  I stop…consider…and wait to hear what’s next.  Then I hear:  “GOOD DOG!”  I laugh -and mosey on.

Now I’m five miles into my walk and I’m begin to have trouble with my IT band.  That’s a muscle or ligament or something that holds your kneecap in place.  I think.  Anyway the inside of my right knee is starting to get sore, and it is distracting me from the sights and sounds of walking in the woods.  It’s making me watch where I place my feet and not the scenery.  I began to hear nothing except the argument in my head.  Should I head for home and just do 6 miles?  Or continue on and risk injury?  A lawn mower sputters to life somewhere nearby.  The argument continues.  But just before the corner where I must make a decision I begin to walk on pavement after miles of walking on uneven dirt roads.  The knee feels much better now.  It’s still a beautiful day.  I had committed to 8 miles.  Heck I still have water left in my bottle so I continue on.

Now the sound of the freeway dominates my walk.  But along the way a chipmunk scurries into the underbrush sounding like something much larger.  A blue-jay cries.  Mourning doves coo.  I notice the sun is beating down and there are no woods to hide in.  The booming of a radio alerts me to a car coming up from behind and I step onto the shoulder.

Mile 7 and my knee is no longer having a good time.  Soon I’m not hearing any sounds other than my knee shouting at me and my mind berating my bad decision.  By mile 8 I’m considering hitch hiking.  Then with half a mile to go I’m just watching my feet and slowly slogging away.  One more hill, one more corner.  I stand in my neighbor’s sprinkler to rest.  I wonder about this whole 10 mile walk thing which is coming up in two weeks as I hobble home.

Now I’m sitting with the leg up, ice on the knee.  Katie is licking the salty slime off the rest of me.  Silly girl.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you strong.

Here’s hoping that’s true.