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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

a bunch of happy nothing

Hey everyone –

I had a serious topic planned, but the afternoon gets later, the sun gets brighter, and I’m feeling less and less in a “serious” mood….I’ve decided to just chat a bit in this post. This could be a “favorite things” post, but feels more like “Melinda’s in a good mood and wants to talk about happy things” post.

First up, wanted to share a big milestone. Most of you are aware I sell renegade hoof boots. Most of my sales have been out of state. Couple weeks ago, I had my first local, new customer and so I finally got around to applying for a business license for California. It came in the mail yesterday and I feel so….official. I really love selling the boots, meeting new horse people, and interacting with people’s horses. Really, this whole thing just feels like an excuse to get to know fellow equestrians better! I really like being in the position to support and help the barefoot people around me. When a fellow blogger and friend needed a different size of boot for a race that weekend, I was able to send her a pair that worked. When someone at a local stable contacted me about a pair of used renegades I had for sale, I found out she had purchased her original pair online but had some fitting questions and really wanted to someone to come out and take a look at them. I really enjoyed be able to swing by and offer tips and reassurance. I never thought I would own my own business, much less one based on selling a retail product – but it’s a blast.

I have a backpacking trip with my mom and a cousin this weekend. I’m trying out 3 new products – sock liners and the “special” underwear that they advertise and quick drying, antimicrobial etc. I’ll also be wearing my “Buzz off” Ariat shirt that I picked up last fall in the clearance bin. Mosquitoes LOVE me, as although I’m not crazy about wearing a shirt with chemicals in it, I have a choice between that, or 100% straight Deet applied to a majority of my body. It’s not just the uncomfortable bites that are worrisome about mosquitoes, but the diseases and infections that can occur. I’ve test worn all 3 items and I’m very very happy with all of them so far. I’m concerned with the pressure of the shirt against my skin with the back pack straps – I have very sensitive skin and that combo might irritate it. So far no concerns with the sock liners or the underwear.

I’ve been focusing on my lifestyle lately. Big changes in life mean the opportunity to develop good habits. For the last 6 months I’ve been dabbling in primal eating and workouts. It makes sense to me. Instead of my typical “cold turkey” approach that more often than not leads me to have to “restart” several times, I’ve been gradually adding elements to my life one at a time and evaluating how they make me feel. I’m pleased to say that I think, at least for me personally, this is the right direction. Here’s a couple of the highlights:

*I haven’t been able to drink milk since Tevis 2010, but have been OK with fermented dairy products. I recently picked up a bottle of plain kefir and I LOVE it. I really like the taste of plain yogurt, and the taste is almost identical, but I get the same “feel” as drinking a glass of milk – something I’ve really missed.

*I’ve ditched gluten and most grains. I realized that I feel like crap when I eat things with high gluten contents. In fact, I’ve discovered that if I eat gluten, I have more problems with dairy. I like dairy more than gluten so the gluten had to go. I’ve done “south beach” and other low carb diets before, and would drift away eventually because there are some grains that just make life that’s constantly on the go a bit more convient. So, as a starting point I decided to keep oats, corn, and brown rice and ditch the rest of the grains. This has been surprisingly successful! I go days without eating any grains, but the ones that remain are there because they are life savers in some circumstances. I use corn tortillas when I have to have a portable lunch, rice and polenta as a pasta substitutes (I LOVE pasta, so it was important to have something that I could make similar dishes with), and oats for those mornings when I really really just wanted oatmeal over anything else (happens about once a month). Currently I trying to figure out a way to eliminate corn – but I won’t unless I can find something that performs like a tortilla that makes food portable. I’ll just be setting myself up for failure and will end up eating something that is even crappier than a tortilla in desperation.

*I have a problem with veggies – I have a very low tolerance for their texture and taste and will end up gagging and dry heaving if I’m not careful. I’ve found that oven roasting them gets around this for some reason. I’ve also noticed every time I cut out processed sugar, my tolerance for veggies and their textures and flavors increases over about 2-3 weeks. I will go from not being able to choke down a few pieces of greens without gagging, to actively craving salad and munching on asparagus right out of the steamer. Veggies totally lose whatever flavor aspect made them intolerable. I’m not convinced it’s the bitter notes – I drink a lot of (decaf) black coffee and tea and love the bitter flavor. There’s just something else there….something that once non-fruit and dairy sugar is out of my diet, goes away. My advice to people who struggle with hating veggies like me? Start with roasting your favorites, with your favorite spices. You may be surprised what sneaks onto your plate and palate later on.

*I’ve ditched the chair. My migraines/headaches, back pain, and lethargy seem to be connected to the days I spend a lot of time sitting. So I decided a week ago that for every hour of sitting I do at work, I have to stand for at least one hour. At home I rarely sit down, so most of my issue was in the office. So, I rigged up something totally ghetto with boxes and made it so I could work on my computer while standing. The first day, I really did need to sit down after an hour of standing. Now, a week later, I stood for 4 hours straight, without needing a sitting break – and I didn’t even notice. It never even crossed my mind to sit down. In fact, I didn’t even FEEL like sitting down. Static standing does start be uncomfortable after a while, but I’ve found that all it takes to refresh my legs and feet is a short walk down the hall to grab a cup of water. I’m also finding that as I stand for longer and longer periods of time, that I like to slip my shoes off. I’m noticing all sorts of benefits from limiting my sitting time – my hip flexors aren’t sore after dressage, I’m more alert and feel like being active, I’m warmer (I’m always cold), and my posture has improved – similar to what I experienced after my last 3 day backpacking trip. I also finding out just how uncomfortable sitting is. I actually find myself taking breaks from my sitting instead of vice versa. At home, when I do need to take a seat, I find myself trying to squat, sit on the floor, or – if I HAVE to be at a table or desk – using my exercise ball. It’s taken a bit of effort in the beginning, and some creativity – but I really recommend trying it out for a week or two if you can.

*Work outs are pretty consistent with what I've discussed before, so won't go into it - I still run because I love it, but my focus is on functional strength and moving as much as possible throughout the day.

Farley is 6 weeks into rehab and by all indications is doing really really well. I’ll have her re-ultrasounded at week 8 and (of course) everyone will get an update.

No update on the puppy yet. And I haven’t chosen a name yet. In a couple of weeks I should know whether it is boy/girl for sure and at that point I will let you know what I’m considering. Thanks everyone who has submitted names – there’s a lot of really good ones. (It’s not too late for those of you who haven’t gotten around to it yet! There’s a prize for the one I pick!)

I’m excited about getting a new computer. It’s hard to do website updates because my computer is old and I have to run an old version of the software that I’m using – not to mention it’s SLOW. I have list of things I want to do to make the website useful and fabulous. Look for a major update in July. Everything is still accurate on the website – it’s just not as fabulous as it COULD be.

I have to put a big congrats out for Karen (from and her beautiful cover on this month’s issue of Endurance News. The Death Valley ride is so much fun and the pic made me wish I had been able to go back. There’s hope for this year! (My manager takes the holiday off, so have not been able to take the same time off as him in the past). Fingers crossed for a winter break, sound horse, good weather, the finances to do it, and the time to prepare. Mmmm….that’s a lot of things that have to go right…..It’s my secret ambition to be on the cover of endurance news. Can you think of anything cooler than that? Maybe when I’m a vet and I discover the coolest research breakthrough ever for endurance????? I can dream….


  1. Mel, several years ago EN published my "decomposed" lyrics "On the Cover of Endurance News" (apologies to Dr. Hook) along with a make-it-yourself cover kit. The editor and I giggled and giggled over that whole concept. And yes: it's one of my bucket goals to get my photo on the cover!

    Food: I find that when I eliminate the foods I really can't tolerate, EVERYTHING gets better. My respiratory allergies decrease, my attention span increases, and my temper sweetens...all those things being indicators that the "bad" foods were probably hurting me more than anybody realized. White sugar is my major bugaboo (HFCS is also poison); getting rid of that stuff makes the good stuff better. I'm betting that your vegetable-thing is related to your other-food-thing!

    chair: I have a yoga ball at work instead of a chair (I also stand and scamper around the building a lot--"librarian" isn't necessarily a sedentary job!)and have found that it's much better for my back/legs AND my attention span.

    I'm waiting eagerly for more dog and horse news from you....! How old are the puppies?

  2. Q about the dairy thing. As M. is a cattle guy, and his fam has a dairy farm, we drink raw milk. It has been a long time since I have had anything else, but when I did it was really, really disgusting. Am interested in hearing about how you found you were unable to tolerate the grocery store gross stuff (link?).

  3. Lots of good stuff, Mel. I especially enjoyed your comments on standing up. I feel better after long computer work at home since I started sitting on my excercise ball instead of my very nice and comfy office chair. I think maybe humans weren't designed to sit in chairs. I wish I could squat like they do in other countries.


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