2017-09-21 Bouncing Back

The entire day yesterday was a challenge. Everything from going through our daily routine to trying to get some exercise despite feeling like the gum on the bottom of someone’s shoe. I did manage to find enough energy last night to mow the front yard and stayed up until just past 10 helping Z study Spanish vocabulary. I was ready to go to sleep and my voyage into dreamland was less like drifting and more like crashing.

When my alarm went off at 3AM which is my wake up time according to the new sleep cycle I am trying I thought about it for about a minute and decided that if my body is fighting off something wicked, then it needs sleep to be able to do that successfully. I rolled over and went back to sleep and woke up again at 6:30AM, which is more around my normal time. In hindsight it was a good decision and I’m not going to try to transition to the E2 until I feel like I am well again.

I still don’t know what was wrong, but I feel better today. Perhaps some sneaky virus affecting my entire system. Perhaps just the net result of overdoing..well.. lots of things. Strange that I could be overdoing anything when I am not working and have loads of extra time to do everything. But whatever.

Today I’ve been more productive and have been in better spirits too. My mom came over briefly which is a rare occurrence. She brought me some tomatoes from her garden. I still have more popping, but will take any given to me as I’m really trying to can and preserve as much as possible to use throughout the year. So far I’ve made batches of chili, pasta sauce, and loads and loads of salsa. I’ve also frozen the extra blanched tomatoes that can be used for anything once thawed.

It’s unseasonably hot out this week with temps in the 90s so it hardly feels like fall and the end of the growing season right around the corner. Still, my cucumber and zucchini have completely died away already. I’m not really sad about it, I’m completely sick of cucumber, and the zucchini is something I am still learning how to cook so that I like the taste. I did some roasting but it still seemed quite bland. I think I let the veg get too big and they were not very good. A lesson for next year if I decide to plant them again.

After dinner tonight I am headed over to my friend Amy’s house to give her a wedding shower gift. I’m super excited for her to be getting married and everything in her life seems to be going fantastically. It’s nice to have people in my life I can look to for positive examples. I always enjoy catching up with her and am really looking forward to the wedding. Even more so now that I have a date!!

I’ve got to run now as the oven timer is telling me it’s time to turn the chicken. It’s good to be getting back to my normal self even if I was only really out of it for one day.

Like a Rubber Ball,
~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-09-19 Going to Try the “E2”

It’s Tuesday and this morning I woke up at 4:30AM, by my own choosing, and got my grocery shopping for the week done and was back home in time to wake Z up for school at 6AM. There’s a chapter in a book I was flipping through, “The Four Hour Body”, which talks about sleep and how to get better sleep. It includes a section on polyphasic sleep, which is a term I had heard before but not really looked into at all.

Traditionally people in America have one sleep period in a 24 hour time span and typically this is 7-9 hours over night. The idea behind polyphasic sleep is to break that up into smaller chunks of time and intersperse them systematically throughout the day. The book briefly describes several options for possible schedules of sleep and the net result should be to have the same amount of REM sleep, which is very regenerative for the body, but take less actual time out of your day.

Some cultures already do a core sleep and the middle of the day nap but there are other options that increase naps and decrease core sleep. Once upon a time when I was first encountering sleep issues, I basically said that I was subscribing to bi-phasic sleep which equates to two core sleep periods a night with a wakeful time in-between. This would have remained true, except for the fact that I stopped being able to go back to sleep and therefore wasn’t getting that essential “second sleep”.

Since I still have some time left off of work I figured I would give the Everyman 2 (E2) or Everyman 3 (E3) model try. For those of you paying attention, I did mention this book I’m referring to yesterday and it was at my new friends house that “we” came across it. He is trying this to, so it’s like a team effort to see if we can make this work. This might make it look like I’m just doing it because of someone else, but I really do have interest to see if this works. Not only to get more satisfying sleep but to gain back hours in my day.

The E2 consists of one core sleep period that lasts 4 to 5 hours in which you have REM 3 times and then two nap periods of 20-30 minutes as evenly spaced in the day as possible. The naps would both give me one more REM cycle each. So five REM cycles total and combined sleep of 5-6 hours. That will give me 2+ hours more awake than a traditional nights sleep, which could be a game changer.

With respect to the kids and our family schedule, my naps are going to have to be early, before they get up for the day and probably right around lunchtime when they are at school. This may also still work when I have to go back to work, depending on the job that I am doing.

Since I only had five hours of sleep last night, and it is almost 11:30AM, I am really ready for a nap. In fact, I think I was ready at 7AM, so transitioning to something like this might be fairly easy for me. And since it was not long ago I was only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night anyway, I know I can do it for a short period until I can get into the habit of taking naps again and falling asleep during the day.

On that note, it’s time to nap.

Happy Sleeping,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-10 Sunday Status Update

I have not done actual stats in a while and since things are taking a turn for the better, it’s a good time for it.

How does this go again?

Exercise…
Step Count: 13K today
Highest Day This Week: 24,118
Lowest Day This Week: 1926 😛

Seven Day Average: 15,595
28 Day Average: 17,693 Maybe I am not doing as good as I thought this week but last Monday <2K probably killed it for me.

Jazzercise This Week: 5 Classes
I was also informed that at the location I frequent the most, I now have 125 classes on the year. 50 More to reach the 175 goal!!
I’m holding steady with 8 pound free weights during class.

I can do three chin-ups on my pull-up bar (touching the ground in between).

I’m also now doing a push-up challenge which is 100 pushups every day. This is a thing that started today and I got a late start on it so I am only up to 30. I can DO IT!

Sleep…
Average This Week: 7hrs 38min
I only hit my target of 8 hours twice, so still lots of room for improvement but worlds better than where I was months ago.
All of this is now also without any sleep aids.

Eating…
Making some modifications and slowly changing bad habits into good. Sugar remains my weakness but this week I cut out both coffee and alcohol to see if it would have a positive affect on my headaches and wonder of wonders, I have not had a headache all week. I’m going to keep rolling with this all this week and see what happens.

Aside from that, I’ve been making fresh juice from fruits and veggies two or three time a week with my new favorite kitten appliance. I August I splurged and got a medium quality masticating juicer (it chews through food and uses pressure to extract juice instead of a centrifugal high powered spinning mechanism). It hasn’t quite become a meal replacement yet, but I’m certain the added vitamins via the fruit and veg are doing me some good.

I’d like to gain a few more pounds of muscle and loose about 5 pounds of fat. The cardio and the diet I think are key in losing the fat, so now I have to figure out what more I can do for getting that muscle. If I hit my weight goal (as far as losing is concerned), I’ve decided to treat myself to a new FitBit.. the one that does the heart rate monitoring. Then I can take the info I got in that physiology testing at UNO and apply it to a training plan.

Dinner meals with the kids are always a challenge and this week was no exception. I can’t even count on one hand the number of times Z said “I’m not eating that”. She’s incredibly picky and not liking the fact that we can’t really afford to be spending money on meals out all the time. I have to cook at home as much as possible and there’s a very small number of things that are acceptable to her.

Relationship Status… Still single but seeing someone now and hopeful about the direction it is going. Pretty soon I’m going to start questioning the various statuses. Like what is the difference between seeing someone, and dating, and being in a relationship? It’s all blurry to me and I’ve tried to NOT think about and NOT focus on it, because it’s still too early.

What started out as stats has turned a little verbose and my attention is now required elsewhere. I’ve already made a list of the things I want to get a jump on this week. It will be a short week of productivity for me since I am going to Austin to visit my dear friend Rebecca. I need to be really organized to get a whole weeks worth of stuff done in just a few days AND fit in some quality time doing things that I love to do. It will be a challenge, but I will rise to it!

Until Tomorrow,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-09 A Fine Time on Nine Nine

Today I woke up early (surprise surprise), but it was OK because I went to bed early so I achieved over nine hours of sleep. That’s a thing that seems to be steadily getting better and I’ve called out the key factors on this before but it bears repeating…
1.) What is on my brain or my level of stress or anxiety any given day which is largely outside of my control, or at least partially out of my control.
2.) What time I choose to go to bed which is completely within my control.
3.) The amount of activity during the day. The more the better.

I’m getting better and better at going to bed at a respectable hour and really nailing the exercise and activity lately. The only thing left is to somehow work on the brain activity. I think meditation might help with that some, but as I stated several posts ago, quieting my brain via normal mediation will take some real work and discipline. And Falling asleep is never an issue, but staying asleep when I wake up is the challenge.

If I can learn to meditate and clear my mind, perhaps I can use that somehow at the magic 4 oclock hour when it’s trying to ramp back up into problem solving mode and I only want to fall back asleep.

That’s probably enough repeating myself about the sleep thing.. I did actually do some noteworthy things today including seeing my new special someone and a meet up with my good friend Amy and hauling my kids around town on errands. It was a pretty good day full of lots of great conversations. All of that quality time with people means my exercise and step count suffered, but I’ve had a pretty above average week thus far and having a low day will not affect my average too much. Besides, the QT was totally worth the numbers taking a hit.

The kids sort of got on each other’s nerves late in the afternoon and once we arrived back home they were happily separated. I had considered a movie or going to Defy Gravity but given the mood, it was better that we all went to our separate corners. I think I also needed a little “alone” time too, but ended up spending most of the evening with Z helping her nurse a burn injury received from a hot glue gun.

It’s past 10:30PM now and I am just getting to writing. Truth be told, I am already getting sleepy and don’t have much in me to elaborate on anything further tonight.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-29 Don’t Question It, Just Enjoy

I’m really trying to make sense of the fact that I was in a better mood today. I should just enjoy it, but my brain is treating this like another puzzle to be solved. Why brain. Why?

All last week I was in a funky mood and if you are following along and read yesterday, I bottomed out over the weekend and was just not able to snap out of it. Yesterday the funk turned into more of an anger situation where I really had to try to keep my temper in check. Luckily, I wasn’t really around many people so I didn’t have to try that hard.

The closest I came to going-off was when I was at the gym getting some cardio in on the elliptical machine and every single one of the 6 machines that they have like the one I wanted to use had some sort of an issue. Every single one. I know there was something else about my time there that pissed me off, but it was so unimportant I can no longer remember what it was. I wanted to march up to the front desk and go-off on the person there, but I held back. The point is, I was just angry and it was largely unfounded.

I got irritated with Josh who was trying to cheer me up and I think most of my irritation came from the fact that I don’t think I wanted to be in a better mood. I wanted to be upset and nobody was going to tell me I couldn’t. Now how is that for stupid?

I ended up doing two Jazzercise classes back to back in the evening and exercise generally makes me feel better, but it didn’t. In fact, I got about 28K steps during the day and none of it made a difference on my mood.

Last night I took a Xanax to help me sleep. I really wanted to get a good night and not struggle with waking up unnecessarily. I have not been taking anything to help me sleep lately, but for some reason I felt like I might have an issue. I, of course, slept great.

Today I woke up a few times around 6 and 7 but rolled over and got more sleep and eventually woke up for good at 8. I felt good. The big difference for me between taking Xanax and other sleep aids that I have tried is that the other sleep aids tend to leave me feeling groggy in the morning, like my mind and my body want to sleep more. With the Xanax, I feel refreshed and ready to get up and get moving.

Today I decided to skip the morning cardio and did a few things around the kitchen and look up some info on the internet instead. The rest of my morning routine was about the same. Around 10, I headed outside to capitalize on the beautiful weather and get started on my edging project. Slowly but surely I am making progress on that. If things go well this week, it will be done by Sunday. I pretty much worked on that all day taking breaks for water and food.

I finished the next stage, which was laying down all the pavers and making sure I had a nice clean line from one end of the yard to the other. That was no small task because there was lots of dirt movement, and leveling, and micro adjustments. I was done around 3:15 and filthy dirty and ready for a break. As I was working though, I noticed that my mood was just so much better than yesterday. Better than the whole last week. Very curious.

I was so filthy dirty from the yard work I had to shower before Jazzercise. I normally would not shower BEFORE taking an exercise class, but I was just covered in dirt. Then I proceeded to do another back to back session of classes. Again, I continued to be in a good mood throughout. I even felt like I had more energy to kick the cardio up a notch. Though I did drop 2lbs in weights for today’s classes due to the lifting heavy bricks all day long.

When that was over, I came back home and made myself some delicious food and just sat in my quiet house all alone contemplating my day. Why was today different? Was it the Xanax and the good night sleep? Was it a better balance of activity with other things? Was it the interactions with people (or lack thereof)? Was it because I felt like I made progress on my yard? Was it the text I got from Simon making plans for tomorrow? Was it due to the fact that I ate healthier and drank more water? Was it the amount of caffeine I had? I have to admit I really don’t know. There are too many variables to try and pin it down and even if I tried to force a “reenactment”, that never works.

I’m at the end of another day now though and hoping that my brain can just let this one go. As I sit here I am trying to decide whether or not I should take another Xanax for sleep tonight. I don’t think I need it, but I didn’t need it last night either. Tomorrow is Wednesday and outside of going for a bit of a bike ride and getting some sand for my pavers, I have no plan. I’m just hoping that despite not knowing why things have taken a turn for the better, it continues and I can just enjoy it.

Hugs and Kisses,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-11 It’s FriYay Again

I’m bound and determined to get my act together today and at the very least finish digging a trench for these edging pavers for my back garden. I also got it in my head yesterday that I would like to go for a bit of a bike ride and really see what’s up with patio trail and how that connects with a few other trails in the area. All this has to be done by like 4 because I am also bound and determined to go visit my friend Leah at her Jazzercise class at 4:30. I have not seen her for about a month.

I’m going to make this one quick today because I really want to get up and at it. No more communication back from my “beach day” friends. I’m very much confused about how when we are meeting in person it seems so very good but then there are such long stretches of silence in between. The longer it goes, the less hope I have for anything.

I had over 8 hours of sleep again last night which makes like 5 days in a row and that is a new record. My average sleep for the week is 8 hours and 1 minute and I can’t tell you how good that feels. I’m really loving the way I feel when I wake up. Refreshed, energized, happy. I could really get used to this. Of course in about four days the kids go back to school so we will all have to be getting up a little earlier. For me, I think the trick will be going to bed earlier too. I should do that anyway and set a good example for the kids. They don’t get back until Sunday so it is going to be an abrupt change for them. Hopefully they have been getting up early on their vacation with their dad.

OK, no more stalling. I’m going to go straight to the backyard to get to work. I need to keep my eyes closed until I get there so I don’t get distracted (again) by something else along the way.

Doing the FriYay Dance,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-10 Strange Days

This week has been so strange. Despite having a few things planned, it seems that nothing is going according to plan. Some of it has been unexpectedly awesome and some of it has been just rotten. I’ll start with rotten so I can end on a positive note.

Yesterday I wrote about my attempt to donate blood and how that turned out. I was so angry. I just hate being turned away and maybe it is because I hate rejection and possibly it is because it feels like a situation that is completely out of my control. Either way, I was just so angry and I felt like punching something when I got back in my car. It was like a mini temper tantrum and that’s not me. I’m very even keel and there is not a lot that makes me angry. This did it though. I channeled that anger into yesterday’s post and also researching more about the diet where low iron is concerned. I tried to take that negative and turn it into a positive and I sort of feel better about it. Sort of.

Yesterday afternoon I had a plan to do Jazzercise, a strength class followed by a dance-mixx class. I was all geared up to do the 45 minute strength set, which was with one of the toughest instructors in my opinion. About 5 minutes in I felt a twinge of a headache, which I had not had going into the class. Another 10 minutes and it was really starting to ramp up into something substantial and about 30 minutes in I was convinced I was having a migraine. On my back doing ab-crunches looking directly up at the light and starting to feel like I wanted to toss the contents of my stomach. The sensitivity to light is a sure sign of a migraine.

Of course I was in the front row and of course it was a strength class which requires one have weights and a ball and a resistance tube and a matt. So many things borrowed from various locations around the room to put away and it would have been very disruptive for me to just quit and put those things away. So I powered through it. It would also look very strange if someone quit 30 minutes into a 45 minute class. I put about 10 to 15% effort into each next exercise until it was finally through. It’s funny how sometimes 15 minutes can seem like an eternity.

When class was over I packed up my things and put all that eq away and high-tailed it out of there. No second class was in the cards for me. After having been afflicted by migraines off and on for my entire adult life, I know the best way to combat them is dark and quiet and sleep, with meds if necessary. That is what I intended to do.

I arrived home and promptly took an Excederine migraine pill, which is just acetaminophen, caffeine, and aspirin. Then I had a bowl of cereal. Then I went up to my room and took a promethazine to combat the nausea. The promethazine also has a nice side effect of making me really drowsy. That’s kind of an understatement though. It actually helps me have a deep relaxing sleep, if I fall asleep. After I took that I had a nice hot shower and then fell into my bed. I was probably asleep in like 5 minutes. No kidding.

According to my Fitbit that was 6:09PM that I fell asleep. The last thing I remember was texting Josh that if I was unresponsive, it was because I was asleep. We were supposed to go to dinner when he finished his work for the day. Apparently he texted and even knocked on my door when he was in the area and I was unresponsive.

I woke up around 9pm, very groggy like I was still in the middle of that drug-induced fog. The headache was gone but my body hurt like I had fallen asleep so suddenly and then slept wrong. It was the strangest feeling. I had a bite to eat and texted with Josh and then decided it would be best if I just let my body sleep and went back to bed. That was about 10:15pm. I slept until 7:30 this morning. Adding it up that was almost 12 hours total. I have not slept that much in forever. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I slept that long. Wow.

Right now I’m at the Toyota service shop getting an oil change. It was good that I woke up when I did so I did not miss my appointment. However, my Mac is very low on power (< 5%) and I don’t have the power cord so I’m going to have to save the “good” for when I’m back home and plugged in.

More Laterz,
~Miss SugarCookie