Thursday, October 18, 2012

Basking in my own Awesomeness...

 Well, I know it's been a while, but not because I've been slacking. I actually added another 6 laps since my last post. I'm at 36. My goal is to work up to a mile before the end of the year. This morning I felt so good swimming, and I even walked to the gym. When I got out and took a shower, got dressed and did all my usual getting ready for the day stuff, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I've been getting my whole workout done in about 30 minutes. I was confident that the mile swim I was working toward was attainable. I was only mildly irritated at myself for forgetting to bring my contact lenses to put on after. Then I realized, that I had at some point locked the key to my locker...inside my locker.
Dang it.
Well, apparently awesomeness is fleeting. We all can't have it all, right? Maybe I should think about a combination lock...but then I'd have to remember the combination. I have a hard time remembering my kids' names some days. Don't even ask me what I had for breakfast.

Caren E. Salas


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Almost There...

I am officially up to 30 laps. Next week I'll push that to 32 which will be....
drum roll please....a half mile!
I would love to say that it's getting easier, but I'd be lying. Sometimes my arms drag though the water and I feel like I can barely pull them out for each stroke. My leg muscles start to burn after, like...a half a lap. It takes all my powers of self persuasion to continue. This morning I was thinking to myself as I struggled through the laps. How is it I can love this so much when it's so hard to get through? Why do I look forward to this torture morning after morning? I still am not sure how to answer that really, but I think part of it is the way I feel the rest of the day. It almost feels like, after that workout, dang, I can do anything! I was talking to this man who comes to the pool about the same time as I do. He was saying that on the days that he swims, for the rest of the day he feels "lighter". That makes sense to me. Being out of the water seems easier after I've done my laps. Who knew?
Well, better get to the rest of my day. Feeling better helps me get more done. Unfortunately, it doesn't add any more hours to the day, because that would really be helpful.

Caren E. Salas


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pushing it...

Today, I swam 28 laps. I pushed it up by 2 laps from yesterday. My original plan was to try and go every day adding two laps every week. Well, considering I lost a week because of well, life getting in the way, I felt a little discouraged. When I started up again, I kept thinking, I could do a few less laps. It would be understandable if I back-tracked a little. The thing is I just couldn't bring myself to, once again, backslide into that world of "Well, maybe tomorrow; maybe next year..."  So despite not having a car (long story) and having to walk what I'm guessing is about 1/2 mile to the gym and then back after, I have continued to stick with my goals. This week I should have been to 28 laps. Next week I go to 30 and then 32 which, by the way, is a 1/2 mile. Really. Believe me, I did the math. Oh, okay, I used the converter on my cell phone, but I figured it out anyway.  You know, part of me just wants to be able to say "Yeeeaaah, I swim a half a mile every morning. No big deal..." Of course, I pray no one I know actually sees me swimming  as I gasp for breath every time I get to one end of the pool or another, haha.  I'm telling you, the breathing thing has been the hardest part. My arms and legs know exactly what to do. my lungs and heart...maybe not so much. I'm getting there though. I find that I get more laps done in less time. I'm not trying to race or anything; I guess I'm just getting more at ease with it. Each day I feel a little bit better, or at least closer to where I was before things got crazy (last week). So I just have to keep going. Two laps forward - NO laps back!! That's what I'm talkin' about.

Caren E. Salas

photo: William Salas

Monday, September 24, 2012

Circumstances Beyond My Control..

For those of you who don't know me personally, you may be thinking "What's your excuse this time?" I can hardly blame you. I've been off again, on again, so many times it's embarrassing. This time however, I think I can safely say, is justified. I had to take my daughter to the emergency room last week and it turned out that she had appendicitis. We went in late at night, and I spent the whole first night in a chair, literally. To give you the "Reader's Digest" version, she went to surgery the next day, spent the night in the hospital room (sleep wasn't part of the deal that night either) and then was released late the next evening. Such a fun week! I can't even begin to tell you.
Needless to say this did affect my workout routine. Even if I had had the time or the energy, leaving my daughter was not an option. I am happy to say that she is feeling much better (just don't ask her, haha) and over the weekend we went away and stayed at a hotel. This was a trip we had planned a while back and the doctors said it would be okay to take her. While there, I did go in the pool and get at least a little workout. It felt amazing. I can honestly say I missed my morning swim! (As in, I was disappointed I couldn't go.) Tomorrow things should be going back to normal(ish) so I'm hoping to get my laps in. I refuse to let this "break" to deter me from continuing. I'm still a little tired from everything, but that I know will pass.  Wish me  luck, wish my daughter a speedy recovery and wish yourself a great day!

Caren E. Salas

photo: William Salas

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Inner Wimp

Formerly known as, I have managed to suppress my normally wimpy self, until it has become but a shadow of what it was only weeks ago. Granted, I often have to fight with it, because, like an over-stuffed suitcase, it just wants to spew all over the floor, while I grunt and groan and jump up and down on it, until I get the latch locked once again. Every morning I think "Cool, I get to go swimming," and I zip over to the gym after dropping the kids off at school. I've already had breakfast, put on my bathing suit, grabbed my goggles, and packed my gym bag. I walk confidently into the gym, check in, smiling at the staff and march through the doors leading to the pool area. Still smiling, I stash my stuff in a locker, grab a towel, grab a kick-board and walk to the edge of the pool. Now this is where it gets sketchy. I put one foot in, and cringe.  The cold water mocks me. Yeah, it's saying, come on in, it's not so bad once you get in. The operative phrase being "once you get in". I take a deep breath, bracing myself for the shock that will hit my torso, making me gasp.'t do it. One more step down. Okay, gonna' do it this time...maybe not. After a few minutes I finally swoosh into the water (remember? not allowed to dive).  Okay, okay, if I get swimming I'll warm up fast. This turns out to be true...every time. Duh. First hurdle accomplished. I swim two laps and I want to die. By the fourth or fifth lap, my muscles are burning and I feel like there's no way in hell I will get across. Luckily for me, I'm not in hell...but maybe I could cut it short...just today, my inner wimp tempts me. It's just like in those old cartoons where the little angel sits on one shoulder and the little devil is on the other. No, I can do this. I can. Another few laps and I'm halfway done. Only half? Really? Actually, not even that, but I can do this. Before I know it, I've done twenty laps in the 25 meter pool. I started with twenty and have added two more each week. Now I'm up to twenty-four. Just four more to go. Just four. I can do this.
Can't be a cry baby!
So far my inner wimp hasn't gotten the upper hand. I don't plan on letting it. Wish me luck.

Caren E. Salas


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Side Effects

Normally those words make me cringe a little. Considering that half the meds I take are to counteract the side effects from the other meds I'm taking, can you blame me? In this case however I'm talking about another kind of side effect: the good kind. You know, when you do something and expect a certain result and get a bonus! That's how I've been feeling. Yes, I'm still swimming, every day! I'm so proud of myself. Honestly I figured I'd be sore and tired and it would just feel like one more activity to wear me out. I wanted to do it because I'm embarrassingly out of shape, and for the most part get no cardio-type exercise in my everyday life. I figured I'd do it a couple of days a week, and just get through it. Now that I'm going all the time, I find it almost addictive. I look forward to going the next day. I think about how to challenge myself a little more every time I go.
Here's the cool part. Instead of being more tired all the time, I have more energy during the day. I feel energized! It's awesome. Oh, I know that's what they tell you will happen and all, but they say a lot of other things too. To be healthy you have to do this! You have to do that! I guess there are some people who react well to negative reinforcement: people yelling at them, calling them names, trying to make them feel like a wimp for not being able to do 800 sit-ups. I've never been one of those people. I can put myself down well enough, thank you. I'm not running around saying "I'm in perfect shape, great health, and I don't even have to try." Hardly. What I want, is for someone to say "You can do this. It'll be hard, but you can do this. And just because you miss a day because you had to pick up a sick kid from school, or do some other unexpected errand, does not mean you have failed. You just have to get right back up and go the next day." Now someone does say

This, will not be happening, haha.
Today is a better day.

Caren E. Salas


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Of course...

Being a strong believer in Murphy's Law, it shouldn't have surprised me when I woke up Tuesday morning, the first day of school for the kids, feeling...blah. I was going to get so much done! I still went swimming, thinking maybe that would refresh me, but alas, no. In fact as the day wore on I felt worse and worse. By dinner time I thought someone had somehow fed me some horrid poison that was eating me up from the inside. I wasn't a pretty sight.
Yesterday, I skipped swimming, and opted to sleep in a little later than usual. I still felt...not quite right, but I got through the day and at least got a few things accomplished. I even walked to the store to get some meat for dinner because, by the way, on top of being sick, I have no car at the moment. The walk helped me to feel like I hadn't ditched my routine entirely.
Today, still sans vehicle, my plan is to walk to the gym, and do at least a little swimming. If I can do my 22 laps without feeling too...icky, I will. Speaking of which, I should get going. It's so easy to start doing things on the computer and suddenly hours have passed. So off I go to the gym!

Caren E. Salas


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just Keep Swimming...

Wow, I have really been loving going to the gym this week. I even made a friend: Eileen. We started talking because I saw her doing the same "oh-my-gosh-the-water-is-cold" dance at the pool steps that I do every day. It's not really that cold, and it feels wonderful once you are in, but it's that initial chill that gets me. Unfortunately, my usual approach is to dive in all at once, but alas, this is against the rules, and I'm not really a jumper, so I step, step, pause then whoosh.
So I've been swimming my 20 laps and thinking that although I do enjoy swimming, it's a lot harder than it  used to be, haha. I mean, that while my muscles seem to know what to do, they are not always so willing to do it. Another thing is that apparently I have forgotten how to breathe. I know...breathe in, breathe out, but it's different when you're in the water, obviously.  Bad timing can really be...bad. Little by little however, I'm becoming more comfortable. As I count out my 20 laps, the little wimp inside me is screaming "STOP NOW!!" but the part of me that's fed up with the wimp is saying quite calmly (albeit with an exhausted tone) "Just keep swimming..." So I do.

Caren E. Salas

PS - I just realized I already had a similar post with Dory and "Just keep swimming". I guess she is more of an inspiration than I thought. The previous post was not about literal swimming though, so I guess that makes it okay, right?


Friday, August 31, 2012


Okay, I know the plan was not to neglect this blog and all, but this has been a busy month for lots of reasons. One reason was that my niece was visiting from Japan, and we wanted to spend as much time as possible with her. This was a priority. On top of that, I've been trying to help get things together for my new job at The Living Christmas Company. I know I mentioned that a few times. I've never actually worked out of my house before so it's an adjustment.
Now for the good news. I went to the gym this past Tuesday!! I'm so proud of myself! After (I'm embarrassed to say) two years, I went in and got set up with their new system. I'm a member at 24-Hour Fitness and they just switched locations across the parking lot to a bigger and better facility which includes (drum roll please) a POOL!! Yay! I love swimming. I am pathetically out of shape of course, but I know it's something I can get into. So yesterday, I went over and took the plunge. After about 4 laps I thought "okay, that's enough for today!", so I stopped. Just kidding. Well, actually I did think that, but I pushed myself for 16 more laps: 20 in all. I went back on Wednesday but they were having a water aerobics class, and I never made it back. (Sad face.) Thursday I did another 20 laps, and today I slipped in before the aerobics class for another 20!  After a while I'm sure it will become routine No, really this time. Hey, you have to give me credit for trying, right? Three days so far this week! I totally rock, if I do say so myself, haha. See you at the pool!
Now if these guys were on the other side of the pool...

Caren E. Salas


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crazy week!!

What a week! Monday I have to admit was a great day. I visited with some friends during the day. They live in Santa Monica and you can see the ocean from their balcony. I'm so jealous, but as long as I can visit once in a while, I'm good, haha.  I left a little later than I expected, but instead of suffering through the LA traffic during rush hour, my husband suggested we go out to dinner in Manhattan Beach. He works close to LAX (the ultimate traffic nightmare) and Manhattan Beach is close by. I got off the freeway, picked him up and we had a lovely dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant.  By the time we were done, we just zipped home.
Tuesday got a little crazier, I ventured into the Black Hole, and managed to pull out five bagfuls of toys to give away to the local thrift store. I still have a ridiculous amount of stuff to go through, but I feel like I made a dent. As the week went on, I've been working on learning the ropes of my new job with The Living Christmas Company. I met with my boss (my nephew Scott) yesterday and went over some more information. So much to figure out, but I'm getting it little by little. Luckily the season won't really get into swing until September, although there is correspondence to take care of before then.
My garage...haha (the black hole)

I've been sticking to a fairly healthy diet, and between the climbing (over stuff mostly) and lifting and moving things around in the garage, I've at least been getting some exercise. I'm hoping to get most of the garage done by the end of next week. That would be awesome.
Although I've been busy, I actually feel pretty good. (Shocker) I even wrote a poem which is nice because I've been a little dry in that area. So here's hoping that this coming week I'll get more done and feel even better. One can dream, right?

Caren E.Salas


Friday, July 13, 2012

I just hate when it's...sticky

Okay, this is one of those days when I'm happy I don't live somewhere that humidity is the norm. Blah! We've been having this weird summer-storm-but-really-just-gloomy weather. The sky spits out a raindrop or two every few hours, and then just holds all the rest of it in the air for us to swim in.  I really don't do well in this type of weather, however I'm still trying to just keep plugging along. I've been sticking to a better diet, trying to get out and at least walk, and working on keeping a positive attitude.  I feel a little like the humidity has gone to my head and I'm even thinking cloudy.  I've been staring at the computer screen thinking that the words are just going to come and...not much.
I was supposed to meet with my new "boss" yesterday, but he got held up, so I will meet with him today. Hopefully I'll have much more to report the next time.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I know, I know

Okay, I realize I said I would be more active on this blog and then disappeared once again, but this time I mean it. After the last time, I went on a much needed vacation, where I had a limited amount of online time. That was okay actually, because I think we all need a break from technology once in a while. When we got back I thought about jumping right on and getting back to business, but I decided that I needed to get myself better on track first. So, starting Monday of this week, I went back to a healthier diet (hard after being spoiled during vacation...) and even started walking again. My goal for this week is to go to the gym at least once.
I do feel like I'm at least somewhat refreshed and it helps in some ways that the kids are out of school. There is a lot less driving around which takes up a large percentage of my time during the school year. I'm trying to get the house in some form of order, and then tackle, yes, the Black Hole. We'll see how that works. Also I've been trying to prepare for my new "job" with Living Christmas Company. I'm excited about that, and have been trying to read up on as much information ahead of time as I can. As soon as I get going on that, I'll let you know all about it. Meanwhile I'm working on myself, my house, keeping track of my kids, and possibly venturing into the Black Hole. Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Our vacation house. I didn't want to leave!!
Caren E. Salas

Saturday, June 30, 2012


I am so sorry to have neglected this blog for so long. Things have been hectic with end of the school year activities and my son graduating from high school. I'm feeling more optimistic however, with new opportunities coming my way and my health being on an upswing. Yes, after so long, I think the doctors and dentists and various care-givers have finally figured out what my jaw pain was/is caused by. Two different things contributed: one of which is on its way to being taken care of, the other hopefully will be soon.  All I can say is...Yay.
That being said, I suppose I should get back to my quest for health. As the summer begins to unfold, I'm really looking forward to spending time outside as much as possible. I will be bathed in sunscreen of course, but I really intend on taking advantage of any chance to enjoy the sun.  Every year I promise myself that I'll go to the beach more, go body boarding, go on walks in the sand. This year, dang it, I'm going to make that happen.  The kids are all old enough to either stay home or come with me without the need for constant supervision in the water. 
Also, I will be increasingly involved in "The Living Christmas Company" which I'll explain more about later I'm sure. I'm still trying to do my homework and learn everything I can about it.
I hope to stay active here, and I hope I haven't lost my few loyal followers. Wish me luck, keep an eye out for my posts. Thanks for still being out there for me.

Caren. E. Salas

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Roller Coaster

Wow. I must apologize for my disappearance of late. This time of year is always tough with end of the school year events, and spring cleaning, and planning for the summer... Those last few marbles rolling around in my head are taxed beyond their capacity. Add to that a lovely letter from the IRS, my son getting ready to graduate from high school, and a yet un-diagnosed health issue (remember I talked about having a TMJ disorder earlier? - Turns out, that's not what it is. Great, I now know another thing it's not). It's amazing I can even function. All of this on my mind has also curbed any inkling of creativity. The only thing I've written lately is a poem about not being able to write anything. I feel like I'm riding some insane roller-coaster in space, flying off the rails aimlessly through the universe, with no control or direction. I'm afraid my air could run out at any time, and the second star to the right doesn't seem as bright as it used to. I'm not happy with the way I look, the way I feel physically, and I fight against the effects of depression every day.
Here's the encouraging part (in case you were getting worried that there wouldn't be one) I am here now. I'm writing...something, which is better than nothing. On the wild roller-coaster in space which is my life, I am back on the rails, having plummeted straight down and circling around a bit I'm heading back up. The ride is far from over of course. The clicking of the track reminds me that what goes up, usually comes back down. In the back of my mind I'm waiting for the next drop, but for now I can relax a little. I don't know if tomorrow will be a better day, but I will tell myself that it will be. That gets me through each day.
Whatever works, huh?

Caren E. Salas

Photo: "Roller Coaster At Night" by Fionnrua

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.."

Those of you out there with kids, probably know where that quote comes from. Dorrie from "Finding Nemo" and I have things in common. Just ask my kids.  My short term memory is about as - wait, what was I talking about?
Dorrie does have the endearing quality of encouragement. She keeps urging on Marlin, even when he feels all hope is lost, and even when Marlin tries to push her away in frustration. I think I'm a little more like Marlin in that respect. Part of me feels like "What's the point? I'm not going to achieve my goals! Why keep trying?" I mentioned before, that I need cheerleaders. Self-encouragement is hard! Still, even on my darker days, a kind word or even just a small confirmation that someone has faith in me, brightens my day. What's great is when someone calls me, or messages me from out of the blue; someone I haven't talked to in a while. That's enough to get me going, when I find myself dragging along, or feeling defeated. I appreciate those little surprises more than I can express. That in mind, I hope that maybe I can encourage other people now and then, with a "hello" on the phone or text, or maybe a crazy blog post.  Who knows? It might be just what is needed at that very moment. Hope so.
Just keep swimming, friends...

Caren E. Salas


Friday, May 11, 2012

Tired if You Do, Tired if You Don't

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Danged if you do, danged if you don't." (PG version) Sometimes I feel like it's a statement about my life. There are times when I feel like no matter what I do, I can't win. A neighbor friend of ours used to say "If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."  All of this to say that these days, just getting through the day, is a constant battle. Every time I start to notice something positive in regards to my health, something else seems to fall apart, or something I thought was gone comes back. It's frustrating. I have figured out though, that whether I go for a walk or exercise, or not, I'm pretty much wiped out at the end of the day.  So a couple of days ago I decided, that since I'm going to be exhausted come sundown in either case, I may as well go down in flames, so to speak.  I started pushing myself to go for a walk everyday, as far as I can physically go, even if it's just around the block.  The dog is, of course, thrilled to no end, because he benefits from my decision too. I take my music, my dog, and zip around the block a few times. Afterwards I'm tired, but frankly, if I didn't go I'd be...tired.  So really, this isn't too tough. Hopefully someday I'll feel great, and I'll be so used to going out everyday, it will be the norm. And if that someday never comes, at least I will be a smidge healthier than if I did nothing, and that makes it worth it. It's getting harder to say "Tomorrow will be a better day," but I hope that a better day is coming...I have to believe that it is.

Caren E. Salas

(photo by William Salas)

Monday, May 7, 2012


Just when I was thinking that I pretty much have met my quota for doctors, now I get to see someone new. Seems that in the middle of having the virus from hell, dealing with the side effects from the medications to combat said virus and coping with the usual fallout of my MS symptoms which show up any time I get sick...
what they thought was a related symptom is...not.  Apparently, I have TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) If you have it, you probably aren't allowed to try and say it. I've been told not to eat anything I have to chew (wow, that sounds...bland) and not to yawn, talk much, or open my mouth wide for any reason. (Shut up, I'm not going there.)  Needless to say, I'm thrilled. Seriously. I really needed something else wrong with me.
Okay, enough whining. Good news, I guess, is maybe I can push myself to drink those diet shakes for lunch, and eat healthy alternatives...maybe. Who knows? Maybe I'll lose a few pounds. It will force me to relax (de-stress) to some extent, like it or not. Not that I have time to, of course, but I'm going to try.  Meanwhile, I did have a fairly active day, working on my garage (AKA The Black Hole) and hopefully I didn't hurt my back doing so.  I have decided to try and write here more often, so I apologize if I'm rambling, I think I just need to get back into the swing of it all.  Thank you for stopping by and wish me well...please.

Caren E. Salas


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Starting Again

Well, my sincere apologies for neglecting this blog for so long. April and November tend to be my busiest poetry months, but now the April Poem a Day challenge is over so hopefully I can pay attention to all my blogs.
I continue to struggle with my health, still feeling the residual effects of the 3 different antibiotics I was put on, and the sleep deprivation I had while I was sick.  That said, although I'm not about to jump right in where I left off, I'm not starting over either. I don't want a "do-over". My plan, actually, is to pick myself up, dust off, and continue on. I may have to limp along for a while, but I'm certainly not going back to the starting blocks. This, by the way, is my life: a constant battle of trudging uphill, tripping, falling, sometimes having to rest a bit, and then getting going again...and again....  Still, there are a lot of others with the same condition as me, who are much worse off. If I can walk, talk, see, am not dropping (too many) things, and I'm not carrying a cane or sitting in a wheelchair...I'm having a pretty darn good day.
So here I go again. Wish me luck, friends. Say a prayer. Cross your fingers. Include me in your meditations. Whatever works.  I'm just going to start by trying to walk every day a little bit, and go back to drinking lots of water. (I've never been a big water drinker, so it takes a conscious effort.) I'm just taking one step at a time, trying to be proud of my accomplishments as I go along. Who's coming with me?

Caren E. Salas

(If by any chance, you want to check out my poetry go to )

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Distractions and Life

Okay, well it's been awhile, and I apologize. Part of it, is that I've been sick, and honestly I'm not 100% quite yet. The other reason I've neglected this blog a bit is that this month is National Poetry Month, and for the past few years I've participated in a "Poem a Day" challenge presented by Robert Lee Brewer on his website "Poetic Asides".  My writing and posting tends to get focused mainly on my poetry and all other writing falls by the wayside.  However, seeing that now, I have to make up for time lost while I was sick, I felt like I should post something here, if for nothing else, to get my bootie up and going again.
Exercising and keeping healthy is difficult for anyone I think. Aside from those people lucky enough to have made it a lifestyle from...birth, most of us have to make a conscience decision to eat right, work out and make other healthy choices. I think the hard thing for me is that I feel like I never get ahead. Just when I get motivated and start some sort of program, something happens to gum it all up. Some event, illness, or unexpected situation seems to derail me. Then I have to brush myself off, and start all over again. Does this mean I should throw in the towel? Nah. You see, one thing I have discovered, is that although sometimes I feel like I'm running in place, at least I'm no longer falling backward.  So there's my inspiration. I'm better off than when I started. So now, after being sick this time, I'm not starting over at the beginning-beginning, but at a new starting point. This works for me. It may take a long time, but eventually, tomorrow will be a much better day.
Until later...

Caren E. Salas

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A More Pressing Incentive

Let's talk about "No Brainers" for a moment. I needed incentive to do a little more walking, and really, I didn't have to do anything more than to look out to the street outside my house. There, my gas guzzling SUV sits hungry for another $100.00 fill-up, which by the way, won't even fill it up.  Having four kids, and the fact that we go to Yosemite every other year or so (luggage for six), we can't exactly go out and get a Smart Car. Unfortunately, even though there are grocery stores within walking distance (sort of) I'd have to have a rickshaw or something in order to get all the food back to my house. There are, however a number of errands that I can walk to, and let me tell ya', if gas prices don't improve, I'm going to be walking a LOT more. The problem that arises for me, is the matter of time. It is much faster to jump in the car for that one little item I need at the store, and in some cases I really don't have much choice. I have decided, however, that I am going to make more of an effort, when I do have the time (and reasonable energy), to walk wherever I need to go. It will save us money, and it won't seem so much like "exercise". Sometimes you have to fool yourself. If I tell myself I'm walking to get exercise, it's easier to say that I don't really feel like exercising today. If I tell myself that I'm saving gas money, then I really have no excuse. I'd rather know that this week I can actually pay all the bills. Funny how that works. Hopefully, if some day the gas prices (by some miracle) do go down, I'll be so used to walking places, it will just be a happy habit. One can hope. Until later friends...

Caren E. Salas

photo by William Salas

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Well, the aforementioned allergy attack from hell ended up giving me laryngitis. That was almost a week ago. I think the last time I wrote, I was feeling the beginnings of it, but passed it off as just being a little hoarse. When "hoarse" turned into squeak, and then squeak into barely a whisper, I knew it wasn't good. I did see a doctor who said it could be a virus, but she didn't really see any other signs that it was, and didn't see any signs of it being anything more serious. Good news, she did give me something for my cough, which is primarily at night, so I can sleep. My body apparently feels the need to do some last ditch drainage about mid morning that throws me into a violent coughing fit, but then I'm pretty much done. I'm still moving slowly, but I'm moving and that is good. The National MS Society's current slogan is simply "Move It". I need to needlepoint that onto a pillow and sleep with it every night. (If I had ANY idea how to do that, or, for that matter, the time...)
So...getting to the point. What made me actually leave my house and take a nice, fairly long walk? Was it that instead of putting jeans on to take my kids to school this morning, I put on sweat pants? Well, that might have helped a little, but that's not it. Was it a deeply rooted NEED to finally do something healthy?? No. What got me going this morning stuff.
My daughter works at the Disney Store, and told me, that in celebration of their 25th anniversary, the store was giving out free mouse ears to the first 250 guests. Who wouldn't want that? So, since I can barely afford to drive my gas guzzling monster of a car down the street, I decided to walk to the mall. Not really far, but farther than my norm. Of course they ran out right before I got there, but I didn't regret going. Hey, I did still get a button.  :) At the very least, it got me moving. I think my dog was a little disappointed that he didn't get to go, but I did go in the backyard to play fetch with him when I got home. He ran after it twice...and figured that was enough exercise for the day. Whatcha' gonna' do? He's an old guy.
Until later...

Caren E. Salas


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day...oh heck, I don't know anymore.

I've decided to give up on trying to keep track of how many days I've been on my little journey toward a new, healthy me, especially considering I'm hoping it will be a lifelong goal.  Sorry, it's been a few days since I wrote anything, but I haven't been feeling well. It's mostly due from lack of sleep, but also because, for whatever reason, my allergies have decided to attack me with a vengeance normally reserved for serial killers and child molesters, neither of which, you may be relieved to know, I am.  Unfortunately, because I am on so many medications, I tend to avoid any extra meds that might interact or counteract with those. (Speaking of which I also found out this week that  some of my recent health issues were actually being caused by my meds which, thankfully, are being adjusted.)
I've been trying to at least walk a bit, and well, aside from last weekend, stay on my healthy diet.  Today I do plan to take my rugrat for a walk. Poor little guy, he's probably got cabin fever because I haven't taken him out all week. I think it's a fair guess that if I'm feeling cooped up, he must be too. So off I go. Hopefully I can get back in the saddle, and get my exercise "program" back on a regular schedule.  Wish me luck. It's hard to get healthy when you're sick all the time. Dang! I guess I have to just keep trying and believing that (wait for it...)
Tomorrow will be a better day.

Caren E. Salas


Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 48 - Wish I Could Say...

I wish I could say that I haven't written because I've been busy working out or having some adventure, but no. I know what you all are thinking, and sadly, you are correct. I have totally fallen off the health mobile. It's been a busy and rough last few days. We had a party for St. Patrick's Day which was fun, but messed up my entire schedule and eating plan. If I could count running around to six different stores for various supplies as exercise, then I'd be in business, but somehow, I'm thinking...not.
So here it is Monday, and I'm a little bit down. It's partially because I haven't really gotten enough sleep, or for that matter slept well when I did. It's partially because I ate and drank way too much (but no I wasn't drunk or anything, just not exactly drinking "light" beer.)  And partially, I'm just frustrated with all the stuff I need to do and the lack of time and energy to do it. Same ol', same ol'.  I did take my little dog to "Dog Beach" yesterday, so I got a little bit of a workout getting in and out of there, and playing with him. Today, if I can go for a walk with him I will at least feel like I've accomplished something.  Meanwhile, I have some minor emergencies to deal with and common pains to contend with.  I think I can honestly say, tomorrow will be a better day. It has to be.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 43 - Temptation

 Okay, so my husband sends me out to buy donuts this morning. Donuts! Really? He never gets donuts. He wanted to get them for his staff at work, which was a nice thought, but torture for me. Here, I'm trying to eat more healthy, and out of the blue...donuts. He let the kids have one each and I declined but I did snag a small bite from my daughter's.
It's bad enough that every store is full of Easter candy! Those little marshmallow Peeps...I love those. If I could just have one, it might be okay, but they're like Lay's Potato Chips. Can you really have just one Peep? So here I am trying not to buy that stuff, and yet it still finds its way into the house!! Augh!
My plan is to step away from the sweets, and keep stepping. I need to go for more walks or jogs or bike rides and get out of the house. I can't go to the mall, because well - that's junk food heaven. I need to go to a park or something. Yesterday worked out well because I had to get the oil changed in my car, so I dropped it off and walked home. Then later I had to walk back to get it. I walked briskly, partly because I wanted it to be exercise and partly because I didn't want to be run over by one of the crazy people zooming through the parking lot near the Goodyear place. Survival of the fitness.
Yesterday was okay. Today wasn't great. Tomorrow will be better. Until then...
Caren E. Salas


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 40 - Time Changes...Make me crazy(er)

Yippee! I just love losing an hour of sleep. Wasn't I just writing about this?  As if I am not sleep deprived already, now they're going to take another hour? I do appreciate the longer days and all, but really?  It's amazing how much I'm thrown by one little hour. It means getting up early, that's bad all by itself. The longer days for some reason also throw off my meal planning. I don't realize that it's later in the evening, because it's still so light out.  By the time I realize what time it is, I should have started dinner two hours earlier! My day goes by so fast sometimes I think it's turbo charged, and it's really unfair that I didn't get a little Nitro Booster or something to go with it.

This week especially is going to be a challenge, but by golly, I think I can do it. Of course I may have to set alarms on my phone or in my house to constantly remind me of the time, and I may have to put post-its everywhere to keep me on track, but what the heck? No one said it would be easy.  I'd love to say my favorite phrase about tomorrow, but I'm kind of worried I might jinx myself or something, so how about we just see how it goes?  Until later, friends!

Caren E. Salas

Photo by William Salas

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 39 - Too Many Late Nights

"Early to bed, early to rise..."
Clearly Benjamin Franklin wasn't a mom. I got the "early to rise" part down (even if not by choice), but the "early to bed" part is always a challenge. There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. I know I should be getting not only the average person's healthy amount of sleep, but, according to my doctor, even more. The problem is I haven't quite figured out how that's going to happen, and lack of sleep in not good when you are trying to get into better shape.  I find myself having a hard time being motivated when I'm tired. Well, duh, right?
I just love that commercial for the sleep aids that say "if you find yourself walking, eating or driving while asleep, contact your doctor..." Wow. Sounds like my life every day.
I think what I need to do is to have dinner earlier. This would mean eating earlier (of course) but also the clean up would be earlier. Then I could at least have a little time in the evening if not to sleep, at least to relax.
I was able to stretch a little today, and so far I seem to be holding onto those 2 pounds I lost and I think I may have lost one more, hopefully that will stay off too. Tired today, but tomorrow will be better. No, really. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Caren E. Salas

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 38 - Best Laid Plans

"The best laid plans of mice and me(n) often go awry..." Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck.

Remember I said I needed to make a plan for this week? What was I thinking? Seriously. I should know by now, being a strong believer in "Murphy's Law", that everything that can go wrong, will, and guaranteed, everything will take longer than you think it will.  This was my week. Granted, a few things did go very right, and thankfully I actually got most of the stuff I needed to done, so far anyway. There's still tomorrow to mess up. I have done a little stretching, a little walking, and have tried not to be sucked into the candy aisle at the 99 Cent Store. I do want to shoot every cute little Girl Scout smiling at me from every grocery store entrance. Nooooo! Leave me alone! I have a squirt gun and I'm not afraid to use it!! So many temptations, so many reasons I can't exercise, so many obstacles to overcome on my way to being healthy. 
So...what to do? Slowly I have been adding different disciplines into my life. I eat better food, I drink water more than...other things. I exercise, maybe not daily, but regularly. My thought now is that I need to really think about those distractions that keep me from doing things I computer time. Don't get me wrong. This whole cyber world is fabulous, but it's so easy sometimes to spend more time than I need to. Next thing I know time has passed and nothing productive has been completed.  When I'm writing or even reading something worthwhile, that's okay, but sometimes I feel like I need to limit the time I spend at one time. (By the way, I'm hoping you all think my writing is worthwhile, because you are not allowed to stop reading my stuff) Anyway, speaking of time, I should be sleeping,  truth be said. So until later...
Good Night.

Caren E. Salas 

photo: (pinky_brain.jpg)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 35 - Another crazy week...

Well, as I look at my datebook, I can see lots of obstacles in front of me, I have three doctor/therapy visits for me, one for my son and another for my daughter. On Friday, I've promised to make a long overdue trip to my mom and dad's house.  Now this would be enough to make me a little crazy on top of the taxi service I provide in the afternoon, but then add on the usual household chores and paying the bills (also...close to overdue).  So when to fit I have no idea. I really need some sort of plan. I think before I do anything else I should write out a quick weekly plan so I can clearly see where I have to be and when. Then, I can see where the holes are - there must be a few anyway. Otherwise I'm just going to have to embarrass my kids and dance around the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner. Hmm, that might be fun anyway...haha. Onward and into the week. I'm going to attack it with the precision of a seasoned shopper.
Post it, Plan it, Do it, Live it. Rah Rah Rah.

Caren E. Salas

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 33 - Motivation

Motivation is a complicated thing. For example: I can be mentally motivated to do something, but physically? Not so much. Or, I can be motivated in every way, but still not have the time to act on it. Life happens, schedules change, things usually don't go the way I think they're going to. Sometimes I feel like I need my own cheer-leading squad around all the time telling me "You can do it! You can! You can!" Unfortunately, we don't live in a huge house and I'm sure things would get a bit crowded.  So for lack of an encouragement team, I find that I have to motivate myself. Actually, thinking about it, I can have all kinds of people rooting for me, but if I don't believe I can do something, it's not going to happen. I have to make up my mind that I will achieve my goal, whatever that may be, in the face of obstacles, despite rejections or set-backs.
Easier said than done, right? Days pass and I don't get a chance to workout for whatever reason, or I slip and eat something not quite as healthy... (okay, I didn't really "slip", I did it on purpose, but who can turn down "In n Out"?) and I find myself feeling discouraged. I just have to kick myself a little, keep on trying, and keep on telling myself (you know what's coming) tomorrow will be a better day.

Caren E. Salas


Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 32 - Well, You're Getting Older...

Recently, I injured my knee. It felt like it took forever to start feeling better so I asked my doctor about it. She answered, "Well, you are getting older, your body may not be able to heal as fast as it used to." Really not what I wanted to hear.  I mentioned to another doctor that I had gained some weight, to which she answered, "Well, you are getting older, and if you gain weight, it gets harder to lose it, not like when you were young." Ouch.  I find it humorous that two different doctors not only told me the same thing basically, but both felt the need to remind me: you are getting older. Really? Dang. Just when I was starting to believe I could live forever! Kill joys these doctors are, I'm telling you. "If you don't have anything nice to say..." then you must be a doctor.
Haha, just kidding, sort of. (I offer an at least half-hearted apology to any of you who are doctors.)
My point is, that I have found a sort of comfort in the whole idea of things taking longer because I'm getting older. I've been tracking my progress and thinking, darn it! I expected some results by now!! I've lost...oooh, two pounds after a month of trying to eat right and exercise. My goal is ten, total. Just to get to where I was...well, not that long ago. I refuse to believe the other thing I've been told which is: you get to a certain age and then you put on weight, can't do anything about it.  Wanna' bet?
All this to say that when I have an unproductive day, in regards to my "quest for health" I've decided that I need to be a little more patient with myself.  I need to look at what I have achieved so far, and see that as inspiration to keep going. After all, I'm getting older, I can't be wasting time worrying about whether I'm doing it perfectly or rapidly, and just do it.
Besides, tomorrow will be a better day.

Caren E. Salas

Me in college: actress, dancer...full of energy.

Thanks to Robin Harrison for the photo,
 and California State University Dominguez Hills.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 30 - Not a Morning Person

Four mornings a week I wake up at 5:50am so I can throw some clothes on and take my boys to school. They have to be there by 6:15am for zero period. Big fun. My husband used to wake up at 5:00am to go for a jog. I can barely function at that hour. I can get up, get dressed, and drive, but please don't try and have a conversation with me; I may, or may not be able to speak. Any physical activity beyond stepping on a gas pedal and turning a steering wheel, is out of the question. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm driving in my sleep or I'm dangerously groggy, it's just that interaction with others is a luxury I don't have the energy for, until at least 8 or 9:00.
Though sometimes people will say "Ah, you'll get used to it!" Um no. I won't. I do what I have to do, but I still hate waking up early. And really I don't want to sleep until noon or anything, I just want a little time to process the whole "morning" thing:  get a cup of coffee, and maybe warm up my body a bit, before running out the door. No such luck.
All this to say that exercising has got to be done, at least for me, when I'm fully awake and ready. To those people that are able to get up, jump in the shower and go for a 10 mile bike ride at the crack of dawn, more power to you! But if you are like me, not a morning person, and too busy later in the day, sometimes you have to find some time in the middle of the day. Like I've said before, squeeze it in when you can. It's worth it.

Yesterday I took a little break, but today I walked my dog and went for a long bike ride. I grabbed a little time in between  the laundry, dishes and cleaning the bathroom. Works for me. What works for you?

Caren E. Salas

beautiful sunrise (sadly I wasn't there, he he)

photo by William Salas

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 28 - Got the Music in Me

All right, the weekend was less productive than I would have liked, but we had some family things to do and other projects that had to be taken care of. I did get a little walking in. Today I made sure I put my dancing shoes on. I worked out for almost an hour!! I'm so proud of myself, I must say. I spent about half that time stretching, and I'm actually starting to see a little improvement in that area. It's always nice when there is noticeable differences. So much of what I do will have long term effects but as far as daily measurable gains, not so much.
I have noticed, I always do better when I have my music ready to go. I have great music by the way. I mentioned before that one of the first things I did was to make a play list to inspire me. Some of you, (if you are younger, especially) may not recognize some of the songs but if you want to have fun dancing for exercise like I do, you should look these up. They are upbeat and have a great rhythm. They are easy to bust your own move to. (At this point my kids would groan "Mom, you're such a dork!") Anyway I'm going to list some of my favorite songs to dance to:

"Let's Hear it for the Boy" from the original Footloose Soundtrack  by Deniece Williams
"Eye of the Tiger" from the Rocky 2 Soundtrack by Survivor
"Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics
"Ghost Busters -theme song" by Ray Parker Jr.

That's just a start, and yes I do listen occasionally to music from this decade. Well, hope all my workout buddies are right here with me as we start a new week. This week will be a better week.
Tomorrow will be a better day!

Caren E. Salas

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 25 - Exercising My Cleaning Muscles

Hello Friends!  Yesterday I did get out. I commandeered my daughters bike since mine had a flat. It was such a beautiful day, how could I not? Unfortunately today I didn't get to do my regular workout, but I spent the day rearranging my bedroom. I cleaned out the closet top to bottom, which means up and down on my step stool. I must have gone up and down at least 50 times. That must count for something right? It's like step aerobics for domestic engineers such as myself.  Then I had to remove  the drawers from my dresser (full of clothes mind you) so that I could clean out the inside - I was amazed at how many things can get stuck behind!  So, there's my weight lifting, ha ha. Okay, that was maybe a stretch. You're probably thinking that I'm cheating, and maybe I am.  If I were sitting in my room folding laundry, I don't think that I'd try counting that.  Part of what I write sometimes is to convince myself that I am doing something.  If I start feeling like oh, I missed a day, then that day becomes two, then three, and then it's so much easier to think: What's the point? I'm too far behind! So I look at what I am doing, see if there is physical activity involved, and tell myself that tomorrow I'll do more. Tomorrow I'll be better.
I will be doing some brisk walking in the next hour or so, and hopefully tomorrow, much more rested, I will have some fabulous activity that will provide a little cardio workout. I'll let you know.

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 24 - A Better Day

As a matter of fact, today IS a better day. I knew if I kept telling myself that, it would eventually be true. Yesterday, my little dog did not get his walk, unfortunately. I suppose I spoke too soon when I said I was feeling better. Sitting at my computer, sure, I felt much better...moving around, not so much. Today, on the other hand, I am proud to say I have already walked my dog! Shocker.
And now...a profound apology to those of you living in parts of the world where it's...cold...because:

It is a beautiful day here in Southern California!

I think the temperature may get to the 80s. Heck, it makes me want to jump on my bicycle and go for a ride, or go down to the beach for a little jog. The water's still a little cold yet for a swim, but wow, it's still gorgeous! So, what to do today besides walk the dog? I'm thinking I may have to play my music out in the backyard and bounce around like a monkey out there instead of in my living room.
Yup, I think that's it. Excuse me, I need to put some shorts on.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 23 - I Shoulda' Seen it Comin'

Hello friends, sorry I missed yesterday, but I have not been feeling great. You'd think that after having MS for 25 or so years I would learn to recognize the signs, but not always I guess. I start to feel more tired, sort of depressed, get more headaches, and the next thing I know I can hardly walk. Oh, and just so you know, it's not the exercising that wears me out, usually that makes me feel better (on those lovely occasions when I actually feel good enough to exercise in the first place). No, it's the everyday running around and stresses of life that seem to knock me out of the dance floor. I have to say that today, I do feel a little better, and plan on at least doing some stretches and walking my rug-rat. He's been feeling neglected I think, because well, it's been a whole two days since I took him for a walk. I've played catch with him in the yard, but apparently that doesn't quite count.  He's in the next room whimpering for my benefit: woe is me, nobody loves me. And I thought my kids were dramatic.  Until tomorrow....

Caren E. Salas

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 21 - Feeling Frustrated

As I was getting ready to write this post I realized I was on Day 21. For three weeks I've been trying to keep up with my exercising and healthy diet. I look at myself and think "Is this making any all?" I work out, I eat the right things for a few days and then I slip back.  The weekend comes and it's harder to do what I'm supposed to do. I think this is one of those factors that has discouraged me in the past. It doesn't happen fast enough, and I get frustrated and just give up. My life isn't getting any easier! I haven't miraculously become energetic, so what's the point? This time, I won't give up. Don't let me!! I give you permission to send stern e-mails or  comments should I suddenly stop writing this blog. To stop writing would mean that I have given up the goal and am too darn embarrassed to admit it.  Shame on me. So there it is. I continue on with my quest in hopes that at least the semi-consistency of it will have an impact and that the semi-consistency will eventually become consistency. I will continue to repeat my mantra: Tomorrow will be a better day. Some days it's easier to believe than others, but I'll still say it.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Caren E. Salas

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 19 !/2 - I Couldn't Help Myself

Okay, well, first off, weekends tend to me more difficult for me, due to my husband and kids all being home. We try and at least do something active, so we aren't just sitting around watching TV or something, but as far as a planned "workout"...not likely.
Yesterday my brother-in-law came in to visit from Maryland.  My husband picked him up from the airport and brought him to our house to hang out for a while. As a bonus, my brother-in-law's daughter joined us and brought her baby boy. O...M...G...really, what else can matter in the presence of an 8 month old baby?? I just wanted to grab his chubby little thighs and  pinch those smiley cheeks! If carrying a baby around for hours could count as exercise, I'd have it made.
Anyway, today being Sunday, I don't expect to get much done either, but I did do a little stretching and we may be doing a little power shopping later, so who knows? Maybe I'll at least get a little walking in.
Tomorrow will be a better day. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 18 - Struggling

Waking up with a migraine headache is fairly common for me. Today was one of those lovely mornings. Nothing seems to help, and yet I still have to get up and take my kids to school, much as I would have rather curled up into a ball and tried to sleep. Starting off the day like this always puts a bit of a damper on things. My schedule is immediately behind because I just don't move as fast (not that I ever move all that fast in the morning). Still, I was determined to actually work out today, I pushed myself to get going. I started by walking my dog, figuring if I felt okay after that I could go from there, if not, at least I got a 10-15 minute walk in.  Actually I got back not feeling entirely horrid. I put my music on and did some stretches and a little bit of cardio. It wasn't exactly a scene from Flashdance or anything, but it was something. I worked for about 20 minutes. 
Tonight, unfortunately, I'm wiped. You'd think I ran a marathon. Oh well, my bed calls. Hopefully I will get a little extra sleep, since it's Friday and I don't have to wake up early. (yahoo!) So good night!
Tomorrow will be a better day...

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 17 - My MT

Today I did take a walk, but as far as working out...didn't happen. I did however go for a much overdue session of massage therapy.  You know, sometimes I really need to be spoiled a bit, and one hour twice a month (if I'm lucky) doesn't seem excessive.  I have, by the way, the best massage therapist EVER. This man can work out the knots in my back like a baker gets the lumps of flour out of dough. I was going to say like a jackhammer breaks up a sidewalk, but that seemed too violent. No, he has magic hands that can relax every muscle in my body and turn me into jello. When he massages my scalp it sends me to la-la land. Of course I do look a bit like Phyllis Diller when I'm through, but it's worth it. I'm hoping my little break has rejuvenated me to start again with more gusto tomorrow. Either way, I needed it. My life is often stressful, and a massage is one really good way to soften the jagged edges. Tomorrow will be an even better day because of it. Yes, I do believe it will.
Oh and by the way, if you need a masseuse, I can give you his name and number (he's in Long Beach, CA). Just contact me. :)

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 16 - It's All Uphill Sometimes...

One day, my doctor told me, that because of my illness, I really should be getting nine hours of sleep every night. When I got off the floor from laughing so hard, all I could think was "What are you, nuts?" I have four kids! Three of them are teenagers! Really? Which nine hours were you thinking? Was that consecutive?  So not happening.  Clearly, this explains at least part of my daily fatigue. (Nine hours...yeah, okay.)
That said, you can imagine that my quest for a healthy life is, while not completely impossible, going to be a challenge. Aside from my basic tendency toward procrastination and general entropy, much of my energy is spent, well, getting out of bed, and convincing myself that I can get through another day. Trying to find not only the time, but those last sparks of energy in my body to work out is another story entirely. Still, I usually do feel better after I do.
Today, I took my little dog for a walk. Although I always swore I wouldn't humiliate him in this way, I did put him in a sweater. It was cold outside!! We had a nice little walk, after which I thought, I should have my real workout. Well, I did get through about 2 1/2 songs before my legs decided that no. this wasn't happening after all.  I stretched, I did a few leg lifts and called it a day. Hey, it's better than yesterday. Tomorrow will be a better day. (There's that mantra again, I think I'll stick with it.) Until tomorrow, friends...

Caren E. Salas

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 15 - Two Steps Back

Not a good day for me. Woke up feeling stiff and tired, by afternoon I had a bad headache and couldn't for the life of me, get motivated to even walk the dog. These kinds of days happen. In my case, the fatigue caused by my MS sometimes gets the best of me, and not only do I feel exhausted, but depressed because I feel like I have no energy even for the simplest tasks.  The challenge in this, is not to let it become a pattern, like it has so many times in the past. So, what to do? Well, I have to get some rest, and decide that tomorrow will be a better day. I'm hoping that you, my friends and faithful readers will be rooting for me; actually I'm counting on it. Hopefully, some of you are on the road with me. Since I am determined to try and write my experiences here every day on my (our) journey, I feel like I'm accountable. I can't let you all down any more than I can let myself down. I need to continue on, try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...  2012 may be the year the world ends, but by golly, I'm going out in a blaze of glory, if it kills me (and it just might, ha-ha). Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow will be a better day. (My mantra) Tomorrow will be a better day....

Caren E. Salas

photo by William Salas

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 14 - By the Sea...

Today my husband was off work so I didn't get my regular workout. For that matter, weekends tend to be difficult as a rule because of that fact. This is not to say I don't do anything. Yesterday, in fact, we went down to the beach and I was able to get a nice walk in, plus I walked my dog briskly for a while. Walking my dog is always interesting because it's like: walk, jog jog jog, stop so he can pee on a tree, then RUN jog jog walk, stop so he can pee on another tree...and so on.
Today we went to Balboa Island, and for those of you who are not locals, it's a very cool little area just south of Huntington Beach (AKA "Surf City") here in lovely Southern California.  There's a little ferry boat that you can take to and from the island, and we love it.  We did a LOT of walking around and looking at the boats and houses that line the harbor.  The sky was threatening rain, but all we got was a little spit.  I have to admit, my diet went a bit out the window, because we went to a place called "Wilma's" and I had egg enchilada's. Serious yumminess.  But I truly believe that if you completely deprive yourself of the pleasure of eating, you're doomed to fail.  It's all about moderation. Don't go crazy in either direction and you'll be okay for the most part.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm back to my normal pattern of eating healthy, exercising and dancing around like an idiot in my living room. Hope you all will join me again!

Caren E. Salas

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 12 1/2 That Thing You DO Like

I had a great workout yesterday and I even added the length of two songs! (so about seven minutes longer) I know I've probably mentioned this before but I really think the music, at least in my case, makes a huge difference. I think that's why I was never much into jogging. I get bored. I could probably jog at the beach because I LOVE the beach, but unfortunately it's about 20 minutes or so a way, and since I'm already struggling to find time to workout, that's sort of detrimental. I really believe that to do something you don't like, if there is at least some element that you do like, it makes it a whole lot easier to bear.  I don't even mind cleaning the house if I can crank up some fun music. So my friends, if you are saying to yourself "Well, she can do that, but it's not so easy for me," I'll let you in on a secret: it's not easy for me either, believe me! I just try and get lost in the music, hear the beat, kind of imagine myself 22 years old, and dancing in a club with my friends. Then I'm having fun, not working out. Some people would rather read, or watch TV. So do it!! Watch TV while you jog in place. Read a book while you're stretching. While you are at your computer paying bills, flex and point your toes! Whatever gets you going, and moving. You'll be surprised how it grows on you.

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 11 - Driving...

Sometimes I think all I do is drive around from one place to the next. My kids have three different start times for school in the morning. Today, my son had a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day, so I picked him up from school, took him to the appointment, then had to take him back to school. Not much later (seemed like minutes) I was back picking up two of the kids, and had to take one to an after-school credit recovery program to enroll him. Then I went home and a few minutes later (literally this time) I turned around and picked up my daughter who had been at tutoring. Then I had to go to the store, and then finally home. That's a fairly light day. I don't know about everyone else, but driving for me, is exhausting! Needless to say, I didn't get my workout today, but I still don't feel too discouraged. Tomorrow, my older daughter, Lauren, said she would try and work out with me, so hopefully we can cheer each other on. It's hard to keep up a regular schedule of exercising, and even harder when your life has no regular schedule. I can't beat myself up about it. I will however make sure I get a good workout tomorrow. Really, really. Whether or not anyone joins me, and whether or not I have a crazy day. I've been trying to write here every day and workout everyday, so far I've been doing pretty well I think. Hope you are sticking with whatever floats your boat too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 10 - Crazytown

What a day! I know I say that all the time, but wow. Actually it's been the last few weeks, even since the beginning of the new year. It's just one thing after another! Whew!
Okay, on the good side, a friend of mine called up this morning and invited me to have coffee with her at Starbucks. It was just what I needed: a little girl time. Also, I got a fairly good workout in, even though I had a million things to do. Unfortunately not all of those million things got finished, but they aren't going anywhere right? Tomorrow I'll try harder. Well, it's late (not as late as last night) and I'm tired. More tomorrow. Good night my friends.

Caren E. Salas

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 9 - Squeeze!

What a day! Ever have one of those days when your schedule gets rearranged at the last minute, and everything takes longer than you expect? That was my day today. Added on top of that, was a communication error that led to me driving 45 minutes across town for nothing. Ugh!
Believe it or not I actually did squeeze in a 20 minute workout. It was mostly stretching and a little strengthening, but I did manage to get a few aerobic moves in while I was getting ready to run off in some other direction. So I was thinking...sometimes we need to get creative with our exercise. If I stand on one leg while I'm doing the dishes, I'm working on strength and balance. If I jog with the dog, I get a little aerobic workout. If I sit on the floor to do paperwork I can stretch at the same time. A regular workout is great and my goal is to make time for that every day, but sometimes the circumstances are beyond my control and I have to take care of things. The problem is, for me, (and maybe you too) that one day of not focusing on my health can lead to two days, then three, and so on. The next thing I know it's been a month and I think now I have to start all over. So I put it off even more. I can't do that anymore. I have to accept that there will be days where it will be difficult to fit this kind of thing in, but I think if I at least make the effort to do something, I will continue on again when I am able.

Caren E. Salas

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 8 - Every Little Bit

It's been a busy day. I had to take my son to the oral surgeon who had removed my son's wisdom teeth last week. Apparently he had a "dry socket". Ouch. I had a list of things to do around the house, as well as phone calls to make, and bills to pay. This is my life on a regular basis. This has also been the reason I always gave for not working out, or even trying to be healthy. I'm too busy. I'm too tired. Although these things are true, they are not an excuse. In fact, the not working out is probably contributing to my general fatigue. I'm not an expert, by any means, but I do know I used to feel a whole lot better back when I was more active. So, somewhere in the craziness, I grabbed my little rug-rat of a dog and took him for a walk. Fifteen minutes of brisk walking isn't much, but it's more than I was doing a couple of weeks ago. Tomorrow is another day. I plan to start off by scheduling a time to exercise: not when everything else gets done. Everything else is NEVER going to be "done". Running a house and raising kids is on-going and never-ending, but if I make myself and my health a priority, "everything else" will certainly run more smoothly.

Come back tomorrow and see how I did! :)

Caren E. Salas

Caren E. Salas

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 7 - Incentive

It's Sunday, and my mother-in-law's birthday. Most of the day was spent getting ready to go, traveling there and spending time there.  She looked much better than the last few times I've seen her. She recently had been suffering with shingles, and it really took a toll. My father-in-law, having led a difficult life working as a longshoreman, and various other very physical occupations, has become weak, and seems to be in pain most of the time. Some people complain about their in-laws, but I have to say, I really do love them, and it's hard to see them struggling with so much now.
The reason I bring this up is that if ever there is an incentive for me to try and stay healthy as long as possible, this is it. Having the disadvantage of a chronic disease to begin with, I know I can't just take my health for granted. If I start, (or keep) making excuses why I can't exercise, the adverse effects of age will be I'm sure, increased and happen sooner than I'd like. Clearly, no one lives forever, so I want to feel as good as I can, for as long as I can.  No more excuses or procrastination for me.

It's time to, as they say on the Nike ads:   "Just do it."

Caren E. Salas

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 6 - The Black Hole

Well, I did get in a little bit of a work out yesterday, and today, well, I guess I could call it weight-lifting. I've been trying to clean out our garage for years, and I'm becoming less and less attached to all the "stuff" and more ready to just get rid of it. If you've ever watched that show "Hoarders - Buried Alive" you'll understand. It's clearly a obsession for some people. For us, it's just lack of time. We don't know what to do with something so it gets tossed in the garage. Now it's what I call "The Black Hole"; things go in and never come out! So now along with my resolve to get healthy and to get more serious about my writing, I've also resolve to attack the Black Hole, and make it usable space.  So today I went through a specific grouping of boxes, and was able to get 2 large bags of hand-me-downs for my grand neice and nephew, 2 more to send to the Thrift store, and at least one bag of stuff I either threw away or recycled. Whew! I didn't get to my dancing, but hey, I was moving around boxes, bending over to sort things and definitely worked up a sweat. I'm hoping to at least stretch before I go to bed tonight also.
Tomorrow is my mother-in-law's birthday and we're going over to their house to celebrate. Maybe I can get in a walk or quick workout before I go.  Until later...

Caren E. Salas

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 4 and 5 - Back on Track

Sorry I'm posting this a little late, but I'm happy to say that Thursday I had a great workout for 30 minutes, and took my dog for a brisk walk for about 15-20 minutes also. I usually just go around the block with him but I felt so good I took a longer route.  Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, my keys fell out of my pocket and since I was listening to my Zune, I didn't hear them. I got home and realized they were gone and thought, "of course, the day I go extra far, I have to do it all over again to - hopefully - find my keys."  Thankfully, they were just at the end of our block. So I did end up walking the length of our block and back on top of the other workout and the initial walk. A little extra is okay. Today might be a little more difficult schedule-wise. because my son had his wisdom teeth taken out so I'll be taking care of him, but hopefully I'll at least have time to stretch.'s hoping.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 3 - well...

Yesterday I never quite made it to working out. It was a busy day to say the least, and it just never happened. In the evening we went to the rosary of a close friend who recently passed away. It was standing room only, and I stood for about 1 1/2 hours in 4 inch heels, so maybe that counts for a little exercise. Today was the funeral.  If crying burns calories, I'm set. Seriously though, losing someone who is close to you, and close to your own age really makes you put things into perspective. I really need to be healthy, for myself and for those who love me. I want to be around for them for as long as I can, and that's hard enough when you have an existing disease. So I'm not just dancing around like a fool so I can look better, or feel better. I'm doing it for my family and friends too; for all the special people in my life right now, and those that I'll meet in the future. Time passes way to fast to procrastinate. I've got to get healthy, so I have the energy to spend quality time with others. If that's not enough incentive, I'm not sure what would be.

Caren E. Salas

(Rest in Peace, Steve. We will miss you.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 2 - I did it!

Okay, so yesterday I took the dog for a walk as kind of a warm up, and then I had a 20 minute workout: stretching and dancing and jumping around my living room like a doofus. If I can just do at least that much everyday and increase it little by little, I think I'll see a difference. I did feel a little more energetic yesterday. Unfortunately last night I had a migraine that lasted all night long, so I didn't get a very good night's sleep, but I'm still hoping to have another workout today. At the moment, I have a few errands to run, but when I get back it's "dancin' time"!

Caren E. Salas

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 1 - and five six seven eight!

Do you ever find yourself smacking yourself on the head and thinking "Why didn't I think of this sooner?"
In the last few years I have continually complained that I am so out of shape, and I really had to start working out or at least getting a little exercise.  I went out and bought sweat pants and made a schedule of when I could go to the gym. Of course, being a mom (and a mom with MS), schedules are like unicorns. You can swear up and down that they exist, but somehow they never materialize. I plan things, and then some little gnat flies into the cookie dough. Ew. All right, start over...again.
So the other day I started thinking. What do I enjoy doing? Riding my bike, swimming, body boarding at the beach....and dancing (my minor in college). Duh. If I just had a bunch of music to dance to, I could do that anytime: in between other chores, while I'm doing other chores. So I decided to start working on a playlist. Please realize I am about as savvy with technology as a hedgehog on a surfboard. So...not. I had to figure out how to find the music I wanted, download it, sync it with our Zune and play it back when I want to.  I'm happy to report, that as I write this, the music is on it's way.
Step one almost complete, I have also decided to let this blog be a journal of my journey to healthiness, at least for the moment. It started off as an encouragement blog of sorts; looking for things to smile about. What better to smile about than being healthy? This is especially true for me since it's been a while. Having a chronic illness sucks in many ways, one of which is feeling like you continually have to rebuild your strength. You get to a point, relapse and then, you start over. My goal will be to get to that point where I'm a little ahead of the game, and won't slide back so far.  It's worth a shot. So here I go. Wish me luck.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Search...

Well, for the "millions" of people who faithfully follow this blog - who am I kidding? To both of the people who occasionally visit this blog, you may have noticed I haven't been on lately. My original thought for this blog was to list everyday things that would make me smile. Now, it's not that those things have gone away, or that I'm not looking to find more, but I've decided to go in another direction. Which direction you ask? Honestly, I have no idea.  Right now, my life is filled with things that take my energies away from writing and poeming. Lately, I feel like I'm drowning, and my writing life raft is always just out of reach. Writing has always been therapy for me, and so when I am unable to find time to write, the feelings build and grow, scratching and clawing at my insides like some sort of rabid animal. So what will I write about? Maybe I will write about my search for inspiration; my search for something to hope for; my search for a not so impossible dream. We'll see how it goes.  I have to believe that somewhere out there in the world are the things I'm looking for. Somewhere out there are the answers that will bring a little peace into my life. My goal is to write a little every day. It may not be much, but even a sentence or two will at least help me to feel like I'm writing on a regular basis. Wish me luck friends.

Caren E. Salas

Photo by William Salas