Yes, Virginia, there is still a Sandyquiltz.
It's not so much that it's been a busy fall. I'm still in school, of course, but I've had a lot less travel this semester and the class is set up in such a way that it's been easier to work around my other responsibilities. That being said, I've not been online much at all--even social networking--and I've been working on quilting or embroidery not at all. Other than going on a fall retreat in mid-September with some of my quilty buddies, during which I did spend the whole weekend embroidering, I've not touched anything since.
I decided this summer that this year (program year, August to August) is the Year of Physical Health. It's all part of my focus on balance. I did a number on myself last year and wasn't in a particularly good place by last May. So I'm slowly peeling away the layers, focusing on one additional thing at a time, so that by next summer I'm in a very, very different place. If I'm not physically healthy, no amount of other kinds of self-care are going to be particularly useful. So this blog post will simply be a brief update as to what's been up with me other than school and work.
1. In mid-August, I went back to Weight Watchers. I've decided their new points system (that ticked me off when it was introduced last January) is really smart and works really, really well. I've lost weight nearly every week even when on vacation and traveling for work, and haven't felt like I've been deprived or anything. I'm just being more conscious about what I do and getting lots of activity in. So yay for that. I'm already down a size! Woo!
2. In mid-September, I started working with a personal trainer again. I'd done it before with a different trainer who I'd worked with on and off over a period of years, but then I took a long break, preferring to do my own thing at the gym. I found, however, that boredom was setting in and I wasn't feeling like I was making effective choices. I'm now with a new trainer--"new" being the operative word as the shine of school hasn't worn off her yet--and she's been great. She's 23, full of energy, and reminds me of all my nieces and daughter, so we have fun together. We're doing "functional strength training" which focuses more on large muscle groups and the kinds of movements that mimic day-to-day life. I'm having a great time. I never know what she's going to have me do and there's times I feel like a downright Tough Chick by the time I'm done. Battle Ropes are da bomb.
3. This week, I had my first appointment with a physical therapist about my vertigo. I'd planned on doing this back when I was going to PT for my knee a couple of years ago but we didn't get to it. A few weeks ago, I got fed up with the constrictions having vertigo was putting on me so I made myself an appointment. Sure enough, the PT was able to pinpoint what we're pretty sure is going on, so now I have a set of exercises to do three times a day. It's a mix of retraining my eyes to communicate better with my inner ear and loosening some neck muscles while strengthening others. If anyone's curious, email me and I'll see if I can explain it better. After only a couple of days of exercises, though, I'm already noticing a difference! I'll be starting to have more frequent appointments with my massage therapist to address the neck as well. I'm on a full court press to get Un-Dizzied! This, however, is why I've not done any embroidery. My neck has not been right in awhile so I've decided that when I'm actively in school doing so much reading, I shouldn't exacerbate matters with doing embroidery at the same time. And I'm making friends with a cuddly wrap-around heating pad on my neck and shoulders while watching TV at night.
4. Y'all already know about my style efforts. Boy, is that paying off. What's far more important to me than the comments I've gotten is feeling confident when I'm in front of people that I'm conveying the me I want to convey--professional but comfortable/approachable at the same time. And it only takes me about five minutes to figure out what to wear now, as opposed to the agonizing four- or five-outfit rummages I used to have in my closet. Now I'm working on figuring out the right-sized sock liners that will allow me to keep wearing my flats as our weather gets colder--I love my flats and don't want to give them up yet! I ordered four different brands/styles to see what would work in different pairs of shoes--still testing. Having a sock liner show over the edge of my flat is like having your slip show. Yuck.
5. I just added an Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker, to my kitchen appliance collection. I use my slow cooker a lot at this time of year, but the Instant Pot has been all the rage on the Weight Watchers social networking platform so after doing some research, I used a gift card I'd been given and bought the Smart Instant Pot: It has an app for my cell phone so I can check on progress without being right in the kitchen. This girl can't resist throwing a little technology into the mix. I just got the Instant Pot and a couple of cookbooks earlier this week so I'll keep you posted. My first foray into rice went well, anyway!
6. I also took advantage of the Craftsy sale and bought "Make the Most of Your Pressure Cooker" and "Make the Most of Your Food Processor." I have a high quality food processor that in recent months has become a very nice Parmesan grater. I've used it in the past for making dough, too, but I really should be using it more than that. I thought watching the class may give me enough tips to start using it more than I do, and maybe speed up the cooking process even more. Last year we ate a lot of sandwiches when I was deep in the midst of studying so I'm hoping to do better this year.
7. I succumbed to a Facebook ad and bought the DragonTree Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner. My trusty app (LifeTopix) is great for tracking personal tasks and schedules and the like (I use Outlook for work), but I'd ended up with four other types of journals--one (electronic) for meal planning, one (electronic) for life goal planning, one (print) for habit-tracking, and one (print) gratitude journal. And none of them had a full month view (and even full weeks were hard to come by). I like being able to see the overview at a glance and then zero in. So although I'm still using LifeTopix as my portable task list, I'm now using the Dreambook for meal planning and other personal goals. The beginning walks you through a process to develop concrete projects and goals around whatever areas you need, and then has full month and weekly planners. You can break down projects into tasks and track the tasks in the week (which then get put into my LifeTopix). It starts each day with an intention and ends each day with a gratitude, so I can do everything in one place. I use it for meal planning, making notes about people I want to touch base with or personal care-type things I need to set up, and so forth. I've avoided paper planners for years because I don't like the visual clutter--I hate having to cross something out and rewrite it somewhere else. But I'm pushing myself in an entirely different direction with this one--I'm using colored pens, little happy face stickers for days I stick to my food plan, star stickers for days I get intentional exercise, I'm doodling and writing random notes in the middle of the day--it's fun. And plenty of stuff gets crossed out and rewritten, and it doesn't bother me! I've also released myself from tyranny of journaling where I wrote lots and eventually just got bored of listening to myself. Now everything is just sentence fragments, words, brain dumps, and random thoughts. It's been working really well for me. There are lots of this kind of journal out there: I may do a different one next year, but so far, I really like this one! It felt a bit pricey when I first made the purchase but it's very good quality and I'm using it multiple times a day, so price-per-use is excellent.
So that's all the news from Western NY. Really--not much going on over here except Sandy is finally starting to take care of herself. As always, the main reason I'm telling y'all this is in case someone out there is feeling as cruddy as I did last spring. Maybe I can be an inspiration. Or maybe you'll just want to get a really comfy pair of socks for flats. Whatever works for you.
(Next week--some new exercise-related apps I'm trying out...)
(By the way, those two links to Craftsy classes are affiliate links and they're new ones so they should work. I think. Still haven't taken the time to look it over yet as I was gone a lot of October. But thanks for supporting this blog!)