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Showing posts from October, 2015

Day 175: Walking through the Door

175 days. Nearly 6 months ago I embarked on a new, healthier lifestyle. And I am still at it! I have replaced some bad habits with some good habits. And I am not even close to finished. I am certain that God has more molding to do!

It is 6:08 a.m.Saturday morning. I am listening to the sound of a heavy rainstorm outside. Perfect weather for Halloween! I just hope that everyone stays safe. I will be praying for the safety of my kids as they drive to work and friends parties. And the safety of all the little trick or treaters. And all who suffer everywhere.

Starting my day with Mass before I go teach. I need to get some exercise in today. I am thinking about pushups and crunches on my break between students.

I had a bowl of sauerkraut last night. It seems to calm my stomach. I am also thinking I need to drink more water. Woke up with a dry mouth.

I plan on making it to the gym tomorrow.. My biggest challenge is simply walking through the door!

Happy Saturday! Stay safe! :)

Day 174: A Good Day!

Oatmeal OJ and one slice of bacon.My new post Mass breakfast.

I am feeling pretty darn good this morning. I woke up WITHOUT THE ALARM at 6:00 a.m. This in itself is amazing. Grabbed a cup of coffee and hopped on a bus to go to Mass. Very windy, dark and drizzly. I love this weather. The Jesuit priest who presided this morning was so inspiring, I actually took notes!!
My jaw and neck pain and stiffness has subsided. I am trying to eat mostly soft foods. I had a rather late meal last night (8:00pm) of sauerkraut, goat cheese chicken breast chunks and olives.  I was actually craving sauerkraut, which, by the way is probiotic. I should eat more sauerkraut! 
I am on my way to my massage appointment and then will teach all afternoon.

Happy Friday!!

Day 173: An Altered Schedule and an Emergency Rice Cake!

I made it to the gym again today.  Very proud of myself.  I worked back and biceps and a bit of elliptical.  I didn't get a chance to do any crunches, plank or stretching because I was heading out to teach some students. I am on a break right now, at the library. I have one more student before I stop at the grocery store and then head home.

I plan on doing some yoga with some soft background music when I get home.

I didn't pack any food today.  I really regret that.  I woke up and hit the floor running. My schedule has been altered this week. I don't mind that so much, but it has thrown me off. Today I had a morning rehearsal of the Honeybee musical I am accompanying at one of the grade schools.  Several of my students cancelled their lessons this week because of school carnivals.

I'm ok with change. But I really missed having a meal in my backpack. I did however, have the foresight to pack 2 rice cakes. I actually did have a rice cake emergency! I had planned on going…

Day 172: The Space in Between

I am going to sound like a broken record.

But then again, using that saying makes me sound old!

Anyway, moving on....

I HAVE to increase my exercise.

There is just no way around this. When I start getting "busy" or too exhausted or too whatever, I suffer.  And it is just that much harder to get myself motivated again.

So, my new goal is to make it to the gym at least 3 days a week. I was going to say everyday, but that just doesn't always work with my schedule. And part of my imbalance has to do with me taking on too much and then getting burned out.

I've noticed that I do life better with space between.

On top of that, I will incorporate more walks into my day. That part is easy since I walk and bus as a means of transportation.  But I need the weights.I need to push myself past my comfort zone.

Gym 3 days a week! Everything Else: (Prayer, Stretch, Blog, Piano Practice, Drink copious amounts of water, Eat fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and lean protei…

Day 171: Brilliant!

Glorious sunrise this morning!

I popped up at 6:00 a.m. this morning. I love the autumn chill in the air. I made a mess of garlic hash browns ad coffee, threw on my gym clothes and ran off to catch early Mass. I made it half an hour early, so I was able to take part in the rosary.

I am so glad I woke up early! Look at the sunrise I would have missed otherwise!
Now I am having tea and oatmeal at Star bucks before I run to the gym!

I went to the gym yesterday.

 I worked my chest and triceps. Did some crunches, a bit o'plank and some stretches. I feel good.

For lunch, I packed some leftover hashbrowns from breakfast, yogurt, gluten free cornbread, Orange slices and an oatmeal power bar that I made last night. Gluten free of course.

I was famished after my workout, so I stopped at the nearby Burger King and bought a whopper junior with cheese, no buns. I found a nice little spot on my teaching route and had a wonderful little personal picnic. I chopped up my bunless burger and mixed …

Day 170: Pondering Zombies

Today my stats are the same as last week, except for a gain of one pound.


 But I am not overly concerned because I know last week was a slug week.

Me, the slug. Hardly any significant exercise.

But I am sore from my gym workout yesterday, which means I did some good work! And I am back to the gym today. I also am feeling my energy rise. I've been sleeping a lot lately.  Hopefully I will find balance sometime during my life.  Usually it's all peaks and valleys.

Looking out my window, the sky is overcast. I see splotches of blue and some puffy white clouds. A bit of drizzle.  Sun is trying to make an appearance.  I'm feeling really good. 

Today my kids all have the day off. I like Mondays. I make them a big breakfast and we visit a bit before I head out to teach. This morning they are watching the episode of "The Walking Dead" that they missed. I can't watch that show. Gives me nightmares.  I am back in my room blogging. I hear gasps and groans, and &quo…

Day 169: "The Listener's Secret"

"The Listener's Secret" from

"Listening unlocks love.

Listening is how we care for and love others and, in turn, experience greater care and love in our own lives. It’s amazing how it works, the more you love, the more love you experience.

Showing compassion to others also teaches you self-compassion. When you care for someone else, you’ll find yourself thinking, ‘Wait a second, I just showed that person a lot of love and compassion, I’m going to show myself that same level of love and compassion.” This is known as the “Helper’s High.” Listening is a simple and powerful way to bring compassion to the world and to ourselves. It is one of life’s beautiful mysteries. "

I received this in my email this morning.  It really put a positive spin on my day. And I am experiencing this "helper's high". I have noticed that my own depression is diminished if I can reach out beyond myself and help someone else.
I am really enjoying being …

Day 168: Galileo

"Galileo" Indigo Girls

The healing power of music hit home with me. Yet again.

How many times must I learn?

It didn't ease me out of my slump. It shot me out like a cannon ball! :)

Our chamber music group did a private party today at the Q Center.  The audience was engaged and very appreciative. They gave us a standing encore.  So we surprised them with a sing-along performance of "Galileo" by the Indigo Girls.  We had a guitarist and her partner on egg shakers.

I've been humming this song all day.  Where I have I been?  I didn't know I liked the Indigo Girls.  I really listened to the lyrics and was deeply moved.

After the concert an older woman came up to me and hugged me. She had tears in her eyes. She thanked us for our music and said, "What I really enjoyed most about the concert was watching how you communicated with the rest of your group. You actually seemed to really like each other!"

On that note, I am enjoying some down time this e…

Day 167: Happier! :)

Feeling better. Much better than yesterday at least. But I am still very low energy. I had to cancel my doctors appointment on Thursday because of an insurance malfunction. Sigh. But I should  be able to reschedule in November.Good news is the dentist in Salem who's family I teach has offered me a free consult regarding my TMJ! I am so grateful for this kindness. I will definitely follow up on this. Lately it feels as if my jaw is in a vice.
Perhaps I should cut back on the caffeine. After this pumpkin spice latte, that is!

Happy Friday!!

Day 166: I Just Am

There is a lot of information floating around about diet and nutrition.  I mean, so much that it just boggles my mind.

A few years ago, I felt very unhealthy.  I actually passed out (on the sofa) after eating a big Thanksgiving feast at my brother's house.

After that day, I was convinced that my diet was too high in fat.  I began reading.  (Well continued reading. I am a reader!)

I found a lot of written information to support my hypothesis that my diet was too high in fat. And well, so was my body!

I stopped using mayo, cut back on all meat and dairy and processed food. 

I felt a bit better. Honestly, anytime I take charge of my lifestyle I start feeling better I dropped a pound or two.

Then I started thinking about meat.  I've long wondered why in the world we need to eat animals.  It seems so violent. That a living being needs to die for us to live. But I never thought I had the discipline to actually give up eating meat.

So I read some more books.  Watched some movies.  Fo…

Day 165; A Salem Walk

Oh my goodness, today was the perfect day! There was a crisp, coolness in the air. And the leaves have begun to change color and fall. But the sun was out and it was mild.  Perfect weather for walking!
Wednesday is my Salem day.  But my first student cancelled because of a house full of family, including a precious grandbaby who I met last week!

So, I was able to take my time yet again! This has been such a wonderful week for me. I like not rushing around.

So I hopped on the Max to Union Station. Stopped by the cafe for a cup of Earl Grey tea. My favorite barista was there.  I called him the "Psychic Barista". He sees me walk in and we smile and nod as he grabs a cup, puts in a tea bag, fills it with hot water and then drops a few ice cubes in. I don't need to even open my mouth!  It is like our private joke. For a time I was commuting between Salem and Portland 4 or 5 days a week.  And most of those days I stopped for tea. I have trained him well!

Then I hopped on board…

Day 164: In Praise of a Good Book

Yesterday was such a good day!  I had one student cancel, so I had plenty of space to walk and breathe and just BE between lessons. I walked past a little neighborhood book share and picked up a fun, fast paced suspense novel called Missing Persons by Stephen White.  The author is a clinical psychologist. Great psychological jargon and depth of characters. Great escape!

I love the little book shares. I walk by at least one on each route! I sometimes just browse, sometimes borrow and sometimes leave a book to share. Love it!

Speaking of sharing, I just went through an online training to be a listener on 7 cups of tea.

I'm really excited about this. Sometimes we all just need someone to listen to us. And I am happy to find a place where I can give back!

I just made breakfast for my son and I.We have a nice ritual of breakfast together on his days off and then he drives me to the neighborhood I am teaching in. …

Day 163: Happy Dancing in My Kitchen!

I'm just going to jump right into my stats.

Because I am happy dancing all over my kitchen this morning!

I lost 2 pounds this week.

One inch in my waist!


Today's Stats: October 19, 2015 BP: 98/73 Pulse: 72 Weight: 188 lbs. Neck: 14" Chest: 43"  Waist: 37" Hips: 45 Thighs: 22 Biceps: 13" Calves: 15" Ankles: 9" Last Week: 
Stats: October 12, 2015 BP: 101/70  Pulse: 78 Weight: 190 lbs. Neck: 14" Chest: 43"  Waist: 38" Hips: 45 Thighs: 22 Biceps: 13" Calves: 15" Ankles: 9" I think my eating plan is finally paying off!  I now need to up the exercise. But for now, I am smiling! Happy Monday! :)

Day 162: I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

Our chamber music group performed last night. It was the best ever! Wonderful, receptive audience, good piano.  The church we performed in was older and the acoustics were very "echo-y" if that is a word!  But once we got used to it, the sound was lush and we just seemed to be immersed in the music.

An interesting thing happened last night. I was so tired before the concert.  I had actually been considering cutting back or not continuing after the New Year.  But once I got on stage and we started warming up, I was revived!

I was going to come straight home and forgo the after concert party. But they went to the "Over and Out" again - the church where we performed was just down the block.

I couldn't resist!

I'm glad I went. People really are not so bad after all. Especially people you make music with.  I just had one drink. It was called a "Cumin Centipede". Very tasty!  I was also quite hungry by the time the concert was over. I had my bunless ch…

Day 161: No Buns!

Up with the thunder and lightening! I woke up to rumbling this morning, about 5:30 a.m. Att first I thought my stomach was growling, but then the whole sky lit up! I love storms! I feel energized!

I am going to go to Mass this morning before I teach piano class. So I need to pop up soon. I am thinking about what to have for lunch. I am performing in a concert tonight, so I need to pack enough food for about 12 hours. I am going to allow myself one meal out. I think I'll pack my rice cakes and do a rice cake cheeseburger. Still feeling the need for  comfort food this week. I found a wonderful website: I found out that on the McDonald's site, you can click on a menu item, find out it's nutritional info and click on an individual item to remove it. For example, I greatly reduced the carb content of a quarter pounder with cheese by clicking the buns to remove them. I also removed the ketchup. Another suggestion…

Day 160: Words of Wisdom as I Bolt

I am feeling a little low today. No particular reason.  But I couldn't think of anything positive to say on my blog. 

So I opened Facebook to see if any of my friends had any words of inspiration.

And the above post was the first thing I saw!

This is my post for today! Not too old! Not too late! :)

But if I don't run out the door now, I will be late.


Happy Thursday! :)

Day 159: Zita Unplugged

I had lunch at McDonald's today.  I ordered a jalapeno double cheeseburger and a large unsweetened ice tea. I threw away the bun and plopped the burger and fixings onto my rice cakes. It was really quite good!  I mean, sometimes I just want a cheeseburger!  I looked up the nutritional content online just now:  Total calories: 430. Fat grams: 23. Carbs: 35 g. Protein: 22 g. Sodium: 1,030 mg. Dietary fiber: 2 g. (

Yikes!  Look at that sodium content!

I looked up the calories in the buns I tossed: "There are 150 calories in a 1 bun serving of McDonald's Hamburger Bun. Calorie breakdown: 12% fat, 75% carbs, 13% protein."

Then I looked up the nutritional content of a Quaker Oats rice cake:

Day 158: A truckload of pumpkins

On my way to Salem. I have five students there now. So I think I can justify the weekly trips. I truly enjoy the bus ride. It gives me a nice break from life. Not that I really need a break from LIFE, but the hour long bus ride gives me space to breathe and let go of the feeling that I need to be doing something. Instead I am just being something. And what is it actually that I am being? Ah, such deep thoughts . For now I am being content. I am not in this frame of mind often.  It feels good. I am feeling peaceful in this moment. When I get off the bus, I will take a pleasant walk to The Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant for lunch.  Then another walk through downtown Salem, past the state capital to the transit station to my bus to my first student's house. We just passed semi truck carrying a load of pumpkins. It truly is fall!! :) And fall has always been my favorite season. 
Happy Wednesday!

Day 156: Sheep May Safely Graze

One of my favorite pieces ever. "Sheep May Safely Graze" by JS Bach. I did my yoga listening to this beautiful piece this morning!

So, I made an exciting discovery yesterday. I bought a whole sockeye salmon on sale at Fred Meyer's for only $3.99 a pound! And they cut it into steaks for me. Came home, plopped it on a olive oil greased backing sheet and topped each steak with a thin slice of lemon. Baked for about 20 minutes.


I made some prepacked meals for my week. The OMG fish, some brown rice and broccoli.

I feel silly. I have never bought a whole fish before.  In fact, I often buy frozen fish because I am never sure when I will have time to make it. And then I am disappointed.

It came to $13.00 for a whole fish.  It fed my son and son-in-law dinner last night, three prepacked on the road meals for me, one breakfast (salmon, broccoli and parmesan cheese on grits...yum!) and there is still enough for another meal.

I managed to crawl out of bed with enough time to…

Day 155: The Emergency Rice Cake

Today is a good day. A very good day!

I started out with a nice brisk walk on the trail.  Then I headed to church.  Catholic Mass.  Lately, this is feeding my soul.

After Mass, I set out on  my teaching route.  I am so thrilled that it is flowing so well. Sometimes I feel like Mr. Magoo. Remember him? Little near-sighted cartoon guy? He would just set out walking, humming, not seeing a darn thing.  Cars and trains would nearly miss him and he would just keep walking along.

I am near-sighted too, but I see well enough not to walk into any moving vehicles. But with my route all laid out with plenty of time between students, I have time to breathe and enjoy life. No rushing!

And I do some of my best thinking on days such as these.

I packed a little lunch: Rice cakes with cream cheese and olives, greek yogurt and a homemade walnut-apricot power bar. I stopped for tea on my route.  Unfortunately it was on Division Street at a new little cafe which feature much decadent looking pastries and…

Day 154: I want to dance!

I have always been somewhat insecure. Because of this, I try to go deep in life, developing my skills, learning compassion and seeing beyond the exterior. 
But yesterday I ran into the grandma of one of my piano students on the bus. She almost didn't recognize me (I haven't seen her since the spring of last year). She did a double take and said, "Wow! You've lost 20 years!"

I'm still smiling.  Especially since yesterday I almost neglected my exercise.

I am newly inspired. I've decided that I want to take a dance class. True confession: back in the day I was quite the disco queen. Big hair, sequins, yup.  I was that chick!

I loved it! I was so painfully shy, but I came out of my shell when I danced.

Years later I took up belly dancing. Same thing. My alter ego took over. My dance instructor said I had a "wild gypsy style". lol

I'm interested in folk dance. But I can't really find anything that fits my schedule. I'm pretty much teachin…

Day 153: The Evil Demon of Sloth!!

Note to self: No more excuses! I overslept again.and I almost talked myself out of my trail walk because I had a 10:30 massage appointment. But I crawled out of bed, stepped into my running shoes, plugged  in my headphones and walked out the door. It was a short walk, but I can feel the difference, especially in my mood. I checked the time on my cellphone and headed for home in time to get ready for my appointment.I had a wonderful massage and am now enjoying a cup of coffee at the neighborhood McDonald's. They serve all breakfast now. I was brave to look past the bacon, egg and biscuit- my weakness! But I conquered! (I I also had the presence of mind to tuck one of my homemade gluten free power bars into my purse-score!)

Feeling quite peaceful. But how to battle that early morning demon who whispers, "Just go back to sleep. You need it.You deserve it.Exercise tomorrow."

ARRRGGGH! In addition to my daily, mandatory exercise, I need to EXORCISE this demon of sloth!!!


Day 152: Zudles. Dude!

I finally made zudles! And successfully!  Zuchini shaved into noodles. I didn't get all fancy and buy a spiralizer or anything. I just used a good old fashioned potato peeler.

This morning I woke up late. Arrggh. Still working on my mornings. Plus I had a rehearsal for a 1st grade "Honeybee" play and a 2nd and 3rd grade "Portland Musical" at one of the local grade schools.

So I did not get to do my normal routine. I did some good fast walking. But I am feeling a little flabby. I really need to get into the gym and do some strength training. 

I woke up at 6 a.m. With a big smile on my face because I knew I could get away with another hour or two of sleep. Those are my favorite times!  I lay in bed and surfed the internet a bit. Then I set my clock. But obviously I was really into my sleep, because I hit the snooze repetiviely until 9:30 a.m.!

Then I decided today was the day to make a zudle salad. I shaved two zucchini and two yellow summer squash into ribbons. …

Day 151: The World War II Memorial

I'm sure I've mentioned this before. But I'll say it again: "I love the rain!"

I am on an Amtrak bus heading to Salem today to teach piano. I don't think I have anything profound to say at this moment. I have a lot on my heart. I think I will close my eyes and pray. Plus I am feeling a bit of motion sickness coming on.

Talk tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday! :)



Update: I am here in Salem at the transit center waiting for the bus to my first student's house. I had a nice, healthy lunch at the Taj Mahal. Wonderful Indian food. I find it second nature now to not put any bread on my plate. :) After lunch I walked downtown past our state capitol. And for the first time, I walked over to the World War II Memorial. Next week I plan on spending more time at the site, reading all the names and historical plaques. And praying. But now off to teach piano!

Day 150: AKA Five Months Baby!

Here I am. Five months later!

First of all, I am proud of myself for sticking with this blog! 150 days of daily blogging. I am notorious for starting a project and then getting distracted and starting another project, and the cycle continues!

Secondly, I am proud of myself for sticking to a healthier eating plan. I have not bee perfect, but I have managed to adapt a few habits that I have stuck with.

Third, I am proud of myself for putting exercise up higher on my list of priorities. When I don't actually make it to the trail or gym, or even get calisthenics in at home, I walk faster between students houses, and get off the bus at an earlier stop to get more steps in.

Before I list my before and after stats, I want to say that I am overjoyed that I finally secured health insurance! I am planning on visiting my old doctor here in Portland for a checkup in the next few weeks. I went to my health chart online, and looked at this oldest record they have for me. It was in November of…

Day 149

Ahh. Monday morning. At Starbucks, watching Portland life going by.

I have come to be quite fond of Mondays.

I am doing better with my morning routine. Rolling out of bed and running off to Mass has become a much needed addition to my life. I am already finding that I don't feel quite right on the mornings I don't make it to Mass.

I am drinking a pumpkin spice latte with coconut milk. I had a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries and nuts.

After I ponder for awhile, I'm going to buy some groceries and head home to make up dome meals for the week. I am thinking salmon patties. I made a broccoli salad yesterday. The leftovers will be perfect for my on the road meals. Plus some nice crisp apples. Pumpkin lattes, crisp apples. Fall is in the air! And Portland is having gorgeous mild weather. I am looking forward to the rain and gray skies. I am more productive on those days. But I will not complain about beauty!

I think I'll do my stats tomorrow. It will be day 150- aka…

Day 148: Over and Out

It's funny, I could say I am learning to play the ukulele (I am!), or I am learning Mandarin Chinese (I dabble!), or I am learning a new piece on the piano (always!). But REALLY I am learning the basics in life all over again!

I played in a concert last night. It was the premiere of the newly formed Portland Chamber Group.  We consist of a soprano vocalist, a cellist, a french horn player, two clarinetists and yours truly on piano.

I was a bit anxious before the concert. I had a busy, intense week. Filled with the usual teaching and rehearsals, plus many exchanges on social media regarding the tragic school shooting. I didn't feel sufficiently prepared. Ok. Honestly speaking, I never do!  I still have a bit of stage fright after 50 years of playing the piano!

But it went REALLY well. We had a small, appreciative audience.  After we got used to the acoustics and into our "zones", it was magical.

I chose a Schubert Impromptu (Opus 90, Number 1) for my solo. We were all…

Day147: Waking Up

I am lying in bed, considering getting vertical. Feeling emotionally raw and vulnerable after some Facebook encounters yesterday. I stewed all day about the arguments flying back and forth between people who wanted stricter gun control after the shooting in Roseburg and pro gun supporters shrieking "You can't take my guns!"I was sickened and saddened by this behavior and frankly wanted to understand where I stood on this issue combined with a burning, compassionate desire to somehow get involved in conversations with other people about moving forward to prevent more tragedies. I was in for a rude awakening. I usually stay out of political debates. But something clicked in my heart. This issue was about the violent, tragic loss of innocent lives in a place where people are studying to build better futures. A place of learning. A place where people should be safe. What "learning" took place on campus when nine innocent people lost their lives?

The same old slogan…