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.)