Monday, July 15, 2019

A Personal Tribute to the MELT Method

     What's the MELT Method? At the bottom of this post is a description. If you are not familiar with MELT, please read that first.
     The MELT techniques for relieving Stuck Stress use assorted balls and a 36" roller to stimulate and rehydrate connective tissue. I have been consistently practicing MELT techniques on a daily basis for almost three years. It has helped to keep me active (golfing, lap swimming, walking, gardening, traveling, teaching yoga) and mostly pain-free, despite the fact that I have a hip that could be replaced at any time.
     Last Thursday in a moment of inattention, I missed a step down and wiped out on a cement sidewalk. My right ankle rolled and I landed on my left knee and the heel of my right hand, stopping my face about 3" from the cement. I flopped onto my right upper arm and rolled over on my back to assess the damage. Simultaneously I was feeling stupid (of course, I fell in front of a bunch of people), in pain, and wondering if anything was broken. After a few moments, I got myself up and headed home. The rest of the day was spent with one or more ice packs on swollen and bruised body parts.
     I am so grateful that I have stayed in shape enough to keep my bones so sturdy. Nothing was broken. The only treatment I had was ice, over-the-counter pain meds, and a chiropractor visit to straighten my slightly whiplashed neck. Here's where MELT comes in...
     My bounce-back from that nasty fall, the worst I have yet experienced, has been amazing. I attribute this in significant part to my daily MELTing. Yes, I have some very colorful bruises, a scabby knee, tender spots and a bit of stiffness in my sprained ankle. Those will pass in time. But the very next day after the fall, I was able to swim a half-mile. I continued periodic icing, but was able to resume normal activity. Two days after I was able to golf, gripping the club with a very bruised right hand. Three days after, I did my usual swim of 30 laps (36 laps = 1 mile). The bruises are disappearing fairly quickly. Those 20-30 minutes of MELTing self-care each day have proven themselves to be time very well spent. I'm hooked on MELT and plan to stay hooked.
      I'm 63. A fall like I experienced has put some folks my age in the hospital, even in a nursing home. I'm grateful I was not seriously hurt, and I am motivated to keep using the balls and roller every day.
      I'm MELTing, I'm MELTing!!!
                 Leta

** What is MELT?
MELT is all about the connective tissue which is a tissue that wraps around every single "thing" inside of us ~ every blood vessel, every bone, every muscle fiber, every organ, etc. Consequently, it is the most abundant tissue in the body. Because people don't know what connective tissue is, no one has learned how to take care of it. Diet and exercise do not address connective tissue.

The mere act of daily living (sitting for long periods, carrying kids or heavy bags, even the gentlest form of exercise) causes tension inside the body which results in the connective tissue becoming dehydrated. In MELT, we call this Stuck Stress. Stuck Stress is a stagnant "sediment" caused by excess waste in the body.

Connective tissue dehydration, or Stuck Stress, is a natural, cellular process happening to every single one of us, every single day regardless of age, activity level or diet. If you get out of bed in the morning or up from sitting for a long period of time and you feel stiff, you've experienced Stuck Stress.

The simple, gentle compression and lengthening techniques of MELT yields great results to help you get and stay out of pain by reducing Stuck Stress.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Pet Peeve, Great Read

     Because it is so easy to become completely depressed over the mess the current administration has made of most everything, I'm having a need to write about something completely trivial, a first-world problem, a pet peeve of mine.
     The subject pet peeve is the placing of signs apologizing for a problem rather than fixing the problem. One example of this is on Interstate 70 around Limon, Colorado. There are several signs indicating "Road Damage Ahead." Fix the road! Granted, the signs are cheaper than the repairs, but the signs do nothing to improve the situation. Another example is at the YMCA branch I use regularly. Yesterday there were numerous signs apologizing for the excess warmth in the women's locker room. I don't care if the powers-that-be feel bad about it or not. Fix the problem!
     I think I'm going to make up a bunch of signs for around my house: "I apologize for the fact that this room is dirty." Then I won't have to clean anymore!!!!!

     Moving on, I highly recommend the book, Becoming, by Michelle Obama. It is very well written and easy to read. It's a look into a world that is foreign to many of us: her growing up in South Side Chicago; her courtship, marriage and family development with Barack; and what it's like to campaign, then live in the White House as the First Family. The story of Barack proposing to Michelle is especially delightful.
     I apologize for not writing any more right now. 😛
          Leta

Monday, June 3, 2019

Joy, Post 4

     This was my last morning (Saturday) for Dusty snuggling and belly rubs, as his peeps return today from NOLA. As soon as they arrive, it will be "Grandma who?" for Dusty.
     The band stayed at the Laporte house overnight, and Dennis started Saturday off well with a Starbucks coffee for me (visiting our younger son who works there) and a walk for Dusty. Dennis fixed us a lovely breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and biscuits, yummy good.
     I headed just before noon to the Denver airport to retrieve my older son and his partner, back from a fun trip to NOLA. Driving on I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins is what I refer to as "running the gauntlet," so it's always a relieved joy to conquer it safely. It was so fun to hear about their adventures and to report that their doggie was a very good boy for me. It brings me great joy to see how caring and loving they are with each other.
     On Saturday evening, the sons, their girls and I went out to the favorite Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our younger son's arrival on the planet. I love these kids more than life itself, so "joy" doesn't quite cut it to describe how I relish being with all of them. I love listening to their banter, teasing, adventures, trials, dreams and silliness.
     Sunday dawned an absolutely glorious Colorado day. Son Derek and I took Dusty on a long walk that included Dusty catching the frisbee and swimming in the Poudre River for stick-retrieval. I think that 8-year-old pup would keep retrieving till his legs wouldn't even hold him up anymore. For a golden retriever, fetching is pure joy, and his love is infectious.
     Since we couldn't get a tee time to golf, Derek and I just hung out for a few hours and talked. There are few greater joys for me than the conversations we have, covering a huge range of subjects and going down deep on many. It feels like we know each other better than I ever knew my parents. That pleases me so much.
     Derek's love was on the job at Whole Foods, so we went there to visit her and for a late lunch and beers. Yes, in radically-ingenious Colorado, the Whole Foods has a tap room, and you can buy a delicious meal from their many food bars and enjoy it with a beer there.
     In another example of joyful synchronicity, the sons are starting their own business, and Mom, who has been doing tax prep work for several years, has plenty of knowledge regarding businesses and taxes. So our ride to the Denver airport was an interesting Q&A about that.
     My flight back to Wichita was delayed due to storms, but I did get home safely, albeit two hours late. I had the forethought before I left to wash my bedding, so the final joy of this trip was crawling into my own clean bed for a lovely night's sleep.
     I hope these four "Joy" posts have inspired you to consciously recognize those times, often "ordinary" life-stuff, that ignite your joy flame. The more we notice, the better life gets.
     Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,
             Leta


Friday, May 31, 2019

Joy, Post 3

     The Raptors won NBA Finals game one, and Fred VanVleet, a former star at hometown Wichita State University, was great. Woohoo!
     I again awoke to snuggle time with Dusty, who loves the simple belly-rub. When I read a randomly picked inspiration from Science of Mind magazine, the affirmation was "I greet each new day with eagerness for another opportunity for joy." Amen!
     I joyfully report that my neck/shoulder ache is considerably better. Thank goodness it did not interfere with swimming, as I was able to swim a mile this morning. Swimming is pure joy for me.
    As I was driving into Fort Collins, I passed a garden center, and the sign said, "You know you make me want to sprout." Joyful giggle.
     One of my culinary treats in Fort Collins is Culver's. So after swimming a mile, I felt fully justified in having a butter burger and malt. Yum!
     In a rare move, I cooked a spaghetti and meatball supper for my husband's band, who arrived at supper time for a gig at the Swing Station. It's a bar about a hundred yards down the street from our son's house in Laporte. Younger son and girlfriend joined us for supper too, and gave me a dog-walking break by taking Dusty out while I did the dishes. Feeding folks and now having a clean kitchen are joys to me.
     I am reading and really loving "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. She wrote a paragraph about her mother's extensive annual spring cleaning and finished off the paragraph with this: "It's because of my mother that still to this day I catch the scent of Pine-Sol and automatically feel better about life." How joyful is that!
     Friday finished off with seeing my husband's band, The Haymakers, playing at the Swing Station. Lots of our sons' friends came out, and it was great fun.
     Blessings of safe travels, good friends and family together, good food, good times, life is a joy!
     More joy to come...
            Leta


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Joy, Post 2

      Probably the thing that Dusty and I are both pros at is napping. So after Wednesday's lovely afternoon nap, I met up with my younger son, his girlfriend, her 6-year-old daughter, and the girlfriend's parents at O'Dell's Tap Room for a beer and a sit on the patio in the glorious sunshine. It was the 6-year-old's last day of kindergarten, a big and joyful milestone. It was a rare event and quite a treat to be with this son's whole family.
     I came back to the house, took Dusty on another walk, and settled in to watch the Cubs finally win one after a several-game losing streak. I was asleep much earlier than the previous night and slept very well.
     Joy hit a rough spot when I woke Thursday morning and moved. I was stunned by shooting pain in my neck and left shoulder. This is an area that annoys me occasionally, but there was no hint of this coming when I went to bed. I worked to resurface my joy with the mantra, "this, too, shall pass." I believe it's a result of the strong doggie pulling me on the leash, just more muscles out of practice that will adapt.
     Despite the irritation, I took Dusty on two short morning walks. It's another beautiful sunny day. (I'd note here that I had come from Wichita where we've had record-setting rain in May with very little sunshine, so sunshine itself is a joy.) Otherwise, I spent the morning reading a good book, a luxury I seldom give myself, though I'm not sure why.
     I met the same crew from O'Dell's for lunch, before the parents left to return to Nebraska and before the 6-year-old went to her dad's house for a few days. I asked my younger son if he would come and walk Dusty with me, so that he could hold him and give my shoulder and neck a break. He agreed.
     Colorado has some stores which sell products that offer mighty-fine pain relief. For the first time, I went to one of those stores all by myself. (For me, the overwhelming number of options and my lack of knowledge can be quite intimidating.) I got a pain-relief cream and had a lively discussion with my service person who is, unfortunately, a White Sox fan. Our discussion resulted from my Cubs t-shirt, always proudly worn. I was joyfully satisfied walking to the car for having done it "all by myself."
     I got home right at nap-time, and Dusty and I continued to perfect our skills at napping. My younger son came over late afternoon, and we went on a walk with Dusty, including a stop at the schoolyard for ball-chasing and stroll along the Poudre River. My son handled the dog, giving my body a break. I told my son what a joy it is for me to have time alone with him to talk and catch-up. He's at a point of new adventures in his life, and I am so happy for his ability to create a great future. He's also about to turn 30, and I am overjoyed at the wonderful life he has made for himself in Colorado.
     So it's evening. Dusty is sacked out from the walk and ball-chasing. The NBA finals start tonight. I'm a big Raptors fan. So you know what I'll be doing tonight.
     More joy to come...
            Leta


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Joy, Post 1

     Back in March a dear friend and I traveled to Oklahoma City to see Rob Bell's "Introduction to Joy" show.  He is still on tour with this event, so if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.
     The gist of the show is that joy is found in nearly every moment if we are present to it. Being present is the key.
     I am currently on a grand-dog sitting vacation in Colorado. Dusty is my son's dog who stayed with us for 11 months last year while Derek was off on his Australian adventure. Just being with Dusty is pure joy to me. This dog-sitting adventure began last evening (Tuesday). I am committing to seeing those moments of joy and sharing them along the way. Here are the starters...
     I am dog-sitting because my son and partner are away on a trip. They left Denver Tuesday morning and left their CRV in the west economy lot for me to pick up after my Tuesday evening flight. The key was in a magnetic box hidden in the wheel-well. My flight was great, even landing 20 minutes early. I made my way through the airport in the general direction of ground transportation, eventually looking so confused that two security officers asked me what I was searching for. They directed me to the shuttle for the parking lot. Despite the long, winding walk, I found the bus. I did not, however, find much joy in the weather--40 degrees, windy and raining. Thank goodness I was wearing a hoodie.
     The bus driver had only one passenger, me. I told him the vehicle I was looking for, and the row and section of the west economy lot where the CRV was parked. Instead of just dropping me off in the general vicinity, he drove me around until we found the vehicle. What an angel! What joy, for finding the vehicle was the part of the trip I was most stressed about, multiplied by the yucky weather. I reached my hand into the appointed hiding place and landed right on the key box, no searching necessary. Hallelujah, to be inside the vehicle and out of the rain. Joyful relief!
     The hour-plus drive to Dusty's house went fine despite the rain. Given that his people had left him earlier in the day, and he had been alone for a few hours, Dusty was quite happy to see me. He gave me the paws-on-shoulders hug of greeting that I love so dearly. Big joy!
     I got settled in, texted the family regarding my safe arrival, and climbed into bed, with Dusty taking his (large, he's a Golden Retriever) space mid-bed. Both of us slept well. When I woke up, he crawled up to me and put his head on my belly for petting time. Speaking of joy!


     Dusty and I went out for a walk, a beautiful, cool, sunshiny morning. We ended up not on the usual route as it was time for kids to be arriving at school, and there were too many people and too much traffic for an excitable and exceedingly friendly dog. We did, however, have a lovely encounter with an older gentleman who is a crossing guard. There are a lot of dogs walked around this area of Laporte, and he carries a pocket-full of treats ("cookies") for the dogs. Dusty had him pegged. Treat received. Joy for both Dusty and me!
     Back at the house, I talked with my son to ask a few questions that hadn't already been covered. I learned the awesome news that he got the part-time job he really wanted, starting mid-June. More joy! 
     After a shower and clean clothes, I walked down the street to Me Oh My Pie, a bakery and cafe in Laporte that I have passed many times but hadn't yet visited. Oooooo, biscuits and gravy on the menu. Dare I? I'm very picky about this dish, because my husband makes the world's best. I went for it. It was great! It's a very cute place, convenient, yet another joy-spot in my day. 
     Now, Dusty and I are hanging, soon time for another walk. Life is good. 
     More joy to come...
          Leta


Saturday, May 4, 2019

I Have My Garden Back!

     For years, at least five, the neighbor's fence directly behind our house has been falling down, mostly on my garden. It was only a couple of shrubs on our side of the fence that held it up, sort of. The falling, rotten fence also revealed the neighbor's dump of a back yard--all weeds, rotting play set, discarded mattress, you name it. Needless to say, there was no reason for me to enjoy being in our backyard, so my interest in gardening languished, and I did only the bare minimum.
     I have no idea what finally initiated the fence replacement, but it was completed several weeks ago, and we no longer have to look at their dump. Hallelujah! I had turned several areas of garden plots back to lawn over the years, due to too much shade for vegetable gardening, and it being more than I wanted to care for as I got older and also as I travel more. So now I have a manageable size garden that I want to play in.
     Alas, doing only the bare minimum has left me with many projects. A couple of landscape timbers edging the big backyard bed had rotted. I replaced those today, which included drilling holes for re-bar to hold them in place. Yes, I can still operate a drill. The drought of a couple winters ago killed both of my huge double-knockout rose shrubs, and those had to be dug out, no small challenge, but also "mission accomplished." Because of extensive tree-trimming we had done last fall, I now have enough sun again to grow herbs in my herb garden, and I planted a half-dozen varieties there this morning. I also planted peonies, ornamental grasses and a giant hosta.
     Multiple projects remain. Those include ongoing lawn restoration, weeding, debris (limbs, rotted lumber) removal, and several empty spots to plant, naturally, my favorite thing to do. It's time to get my fountain going again. I have a lot of nice rock with which I can do something creative.
     I am so excited to look out on the backyard with joy rather than disgust. My muscles ache with the pleasure of hands-in-the-dirt, manual-labor efforts. I'm good about pacing myself, knowing that it will all get done eventually. And for the first time in years, I want to go hang out in the backyard and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
     Hallelujah!
              Leta