Microblog Monday – The Real Hunger Games

I was feeding Turbo (my leopard gecko) this morning, and as I plopped 6 fat crickets into his terrarium it dawned on me…

This is like the real, live version of the Hunger Games…and I am the Capitol.

I know, I know, but stay with me for a second. While I don’t have cotton candy hair, nails and skin – there are some undeniable similarities…

I go reap (buy) 36 crickets from the pet store (ripping them from their little cricket Mommies and Daddies). I bring them home in a plastic bag with egg cartons in it, and transfer them into the training center (cricket keeper). While in there, I fatten them up with vitamins and good food (gut loading) in preparation for the big day. Then, I use a black plastic tube to transport them from their training center (cricket keeper) into the desert-like arena (terrarium). The giant Lizard (Turbo) snaps up as many as he can when they are dropped in, but a few manage to escape and hide in the caves or foliage. But they can’t hide forever because there is only one water source in the hot arena (terrarium). The giant Lizard (Turbo) sits in waiting, knowing their desire to survive will outweigh their need to hide – and they will slowly make their way to the only water source. Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes it takes days. But when they do finally come down to the water, Turbo makes his move before they even know what is happening. There can only be one surivivor, and it is always Turbo.

Sick, right? How can I live with myself (Right???)? Seriously, can Lizards be vegetarians? (Just kidding, I know they need live insects to survive). But I can’t help asking myself am I going to have the blood of a thousand crickets on my hands when I die?

I think, from now on, it will be Mr. Big’s job to run the hunger games feed Turbo.

To see more:http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2016/07/microblog-mondays-100-milestones-and-commitments/ 



6 months ago, I had my first ever severe migraine with aura. I had one more after that. My doctor was alarmed at the sudden onset of them, but chalked it up to changing hormones and wrote me a prescription for pain medication.

Then, 1 month ago, a terrible head pain started. It last for four days before I went to the doctor, who – after a thorough examination – thought it was a sinus infection and armed me with antibiotics, nasal spray, antihistamines and a neti pot.The pain became less severe and more spaced out through the day – and soon it was just a constant fullness/ache that was made worse by exertion, laughing or movement/bending. When I completed the medications and it still continued without change, I began to worry. I started taking Ty.leno.l every day to get through, and crossed my fingers that if I just used the neti-pot enough, it would get better. The nature of pain changed and became a dull ache and fullness, interrupted by periods of sharp jabbing pain. Exertion, laughing or movement/bending brought on the most intense pain I have ever experienced (and I have a high pain tolerance). This has continued steadily for weeks like this.

I tried to get in to see my doctor last week, but she was away. Not wanting to go to the hospital, I just waited patiently for her to return. In that time, I experienced two episodes where I could not find the words I wanted to say. Never has my cognitive ability ever been off – and it was very scary. This could be from a multitude of things – stress not being the least – but in combination with my head pain it was terrifying.

When I called my Doctor after her vacation, she scheduled me in for an 8:30 am appt this morning – when the office doesn’t even open until 9:30 am. That should have alerted me that this may be more than a sinus infection.

I spent 1.5 hours there this morning while my Doctor and her resident asked me a hundred questions, poked, and prodded me. I had numerous actions to complete, which was comparable to a small workout. At the end they determined it was not my sinuses at all. The tests they performed on me in the office all appear normal, but they are concerned about my symptoms and my head pain – and have booked me in for an MRI brain scan.

I am no fool. I know exactly what they are looking for, and I’m scared.


Living Fitness

I read this really interesting article that I can no longer find (go figure) that talks about ways to improve your fitness without intentionally working out – it’s great for people who can’t afford/don’t have time to go to a gym, or ones just looking to supplement their workout. It was filled with little tips to get more out of your every day tasks to improve your overall fitness. I LOVE this idea. Love, love, love!

I’ve been implementing them for three weeks now, and am really impressed with the results!

The key tips were things like:

  1. Learn to speed walk, and speed walk everywhere you go (I have started this now and find it’s amazing how quickly you adjust to speed walking – and I really enjoy the burst of energy it gives me even if I’m just speed walking to the bathroom)
  2. Park the furthest you can from any entrance (I’ve always done this, but I admit on rainy days I often cheat and park close. But no more! I have an umbrella in my car now so I have no good excuse!)
  3. Do one lap of the entire grocery store first, and then do your shopping (This one seemed odd to me at first, but I tried it last week and enjoyed it. It didn’t take long, and I felt like I got a bit of energy from the jaunt around the store. Also gave me a chance to see what was on sale, and decided if I REALLY needed it by the time I walked around doing my actual shopping. I really think it helped with impulse buys too!)
  4. Set a timer on your phone or work calendar to get up every 1.5 hours for a 5-10 minute walk (I do a modified version of this and set my calendar to get up and walk once in the AM and once in the PM – and will build up to more often. I am hesitant to take time away from my busy job to trot around the building a couple times, but I think if I can make it work by dropping off a few items, peeing, getting water, etc, it will hardly impact my work day at all. I also find the 5-10 minute walk gives me energy and improves my focus.)
  5. Take the long way around anywhere you walk (Use this daily at work. I walk to the furthest bathrooms, the long way around to the cafeteria, the long way around to deliver stuff, etc. etc.)
  6. When walking in the woods, select bumpier terrain (if physically able) the extra effort will give you more exercise than a walk on a flat surface (Haven’t had a chance to use this yet, but plan to when we try out geocaching this weekend!)
  7. Always take the stairs (I do this on and off, but will commit to being more consistent with it)
  8. Clean with a purpose: set a timer for each task and rush to get it done (without skipping on the details) (This is the one I LOVE the most! I have started by setting a timer for each room I clean (I.e: 8 minutes for the bathroom) it’s amazing how fast that time goes by, and how sweaty you get rushing to get a good, thorough clean on a room in a limited time. So far, I haven’t made it in time ONCE – but I get closer every day!)
  9. Drink water first thing in the morning (before your eyes are even fully open), and eat something. (This one has made the biggest difference. I  wake up at 5:20 and I used to not eat or drink until 8:30 – that’s 3 hours of operating with zero fuel of any kind. Now, I drink water as soon as I wake up – and then steadily all morning. I eat a hard boiled egg or an apple when I wake up, and then have my breakfast at 8:30 like usual. What.a.difference. I am more energized and I feel way better. One day I slept late and didn’t eat or drink – and I could barely keep my eyes open on my long commute….that really showed me how much difference this water and egg or apple has been making in my life. Everyone should be doing this!)

All of these things were easy changes to make, and therefore easy to sustain. My energy level is much higher than it used to be, and over all I feel better.

My next goal is to get a fi.tb.it of some kind (except, I am the cheapest.person.alive and they’re expensive!).  I would love to see how many steps I am getting in, and how many I can increase it to if I could only swallow the price tag!

What small things do you do each day to improve your health? Any of the above? If you try one, I’d love to know how you make out! The last two have been game changers for me – and I totally recommend them to everyone now.

#Microblog Monday – Perception

I was visiting with my nephew yesterday and he was wearing his customary pirate hat (plain red toque pulled down over one eye) and cape (mardi gras beaded necklace turned backwards). I took a picture of him all dressed up, and he asked to see it. I showed it to him and he stared at it for a minute before thoughtfully announcing “that is not me”.

When I asked him why he didn’t think it was him, he said “Because I am a pirate!!”.

He meant he was *clearly* dressed as a pirate – and yet the camera was only capturing an adorable boy in a red toque and a necklace…not at all the pirate he was imagining in his minds eye. He confidently and patiently explained to me that the camera was broken, but “that’s OK because I’m right here” and then returned to his sinking pirate ship (large, flat rock). Thankfully, this experience did not effect his belief that he was a pirate in any way – and it taught me something too.

Sometimes pictures don’t show you what you think they will. Sometimes they don’t capture the whole picture. Sometimes, we should just accept that instead of beating ourselves up over the way we look in just one picture.

Sometimes, 4 year olds can be pretty smart.

For more on Microblog Mondays, see: http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2016/07/microblog-mondays-99-epistles/ 



So – I wrote this post “Of Two Minds” two weeks ago and hit post. I was filled with excitement and good things (as you can tell from my words). But so much has changed.

I need to work, to attend school. The income I bring in will help pay for my Graduate school fees – so it is imperative that I work. I had worked out with my new University (we’ll call it “TUT”) that the courses I needed I could take around my work hours (I work 7-3) – which was perfect. It would take a bit longer, but it would work. This was 100% dependent on getting credit for the courses I had already taken at my previous University “LUC” (I had started my Masters after finishing my Undergrad in 2008, and then withdrew). I had been informed by both Universities that getting credit for those courses would be no problem. Fast forward to this week – after weeks of back and forth with LUC – they are unable to provide the documents I need because they don’t have them. The courses I took where special topics – and those Professors alone had copies. Those Professors are now off doing field work all over the world (Archaeologists)…and 100% inaccessible. The few we did hear from didn’t have copies, but suggested they would check their storage lockers when they returned from “______(Belize, Congo and Italy)” in the next year. For some reason LUC did not feel it was imperative to keep copies of the courses being taught that were special topics – so now TUT can’t evaluate them and give me credit for it. All of it seems to fall back on the response “As the student, you should have kept your coursework”…

To say I’m devastated would be an understatement – even though I am trying to remind myself there a million worse things that could happen. The reality is that in order to complete the courses I need to complete now – I would have to quit my job. There are too many to make vacation and lieu time cover my absences, and I couldn’t afford a sabbatical right now.

I had convinced myself that my acceptance into the program was a sign from God that I was meant to be there… but I was completely side swiped by this impossible situation that no one can find a resolution to (besides quitting my job).

I’m completely lost. When I decided to go back to school, and I got accepted, all the years of pain from infertility melted away. I have only ever had two dreams – one was to be a mother, and the second was to teach at University. I was determined that if I couldn’t be a mother then I would at least be a Professor and everything would be OK in the end. But as of right now, both of those dreams are so deflated it makes my head hurt.  I don’t know where to go or what to do with myself. I know that when one door closes, another opens – but right now that door seems so blurry I can’t even make out the lines.