Category Archives: Health and Wellness

The Me Before I Became Me

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Denise often comes up with thought-provoking ideas. This week is no exception with, Remember me…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Sara I used to be, before I morphed into the Sara I am, now. It happened after I’d found a large stash of my poetry hidden away in a shoe box. I was looking for inspiration, trying to find my way back to Sara the poet. It’s been years since I’d written a single stanza, and I needed something for my writing class.

Amidst the rather bad poetry, I saw glimmers of a young woman who surrounded herself with words. Not much has changed there. I read every day. I’ve done that for several years, but it’s never been my own works, my own words. It seems I put those aspirations away once I’d decided it was time for me to “grow up”. Get some “real” aspirations.

But why do I have to? I mean, if writing is something I’m passionate about, why stop? Why do I feel like I have to shelve the things that inspire me, if it might not measure up to some ideal of what’s acceptable or not?

Like the proverbial snowball effect, thoughts tumbled down a slippery slope of remembrance, bringing me full circle to the other things I used to enjoy, like-

Roller Skating: I could be described as a certifiable “rink rat” when I was a kid. My father DJ’ed the local roller rink, and when I wasn’t in school, I was roller skating. This went on for several years. I made some lasting friendships, had my heart broken a few (or more) times, and thrived within a very unconventional childhood. I still have my quads, passed down to me from my little sister when she outgrew them. They’re sitting in my garage right now, outdoor wheels on, ready to be worn again. Every time I see them, I’m filled with a desire to slip them on and go for a roll around the neighborhood. I swear I will, one of these days.

Singing: Singing had always been  a part of me, just like breathing. So much so, I’d annoy friends and loved ones with my constant warbling. Which is probably why I felt a little awkward during a recent karaoke stint. A friend had asked that I duet with him. He had this notion that I was the old Sara, the one who couldn’t shut up, who had a somewhat decent voice and could carry a tune. Years of choir will do that to a voice box. But, I don’t sing nearly as much as I used to, an understatement, really. Often my radio is turned off. When I listen to music, it’s during a run. My brain is always focused on the next thing, the next task, that I completely block out any opportunity to sing. And while I was a good sport and did the duet, I wasn’t near as confident as I once was. Later I went solo, choosing Young MC’s “Bust A Move”. That was a lot of fun!

I need to sing more. We all need to sing more! It doesn’t matter how you sound. Singing is good for the soul. It just feels good, whether you’re singing, screeching, or rapping to Young MC.


Dancing: If I could figure out how to post home movies on here, I’d flood this post with my ridiculously fun dancing. I used to choreograph routines with my best friend. We’d pick random songs and come up with something we felt was very creative and artistic, wearing unique outfits she’d created. She’s a dynamite seamstress. Whenever I visit my hometown, I visit her. And whenever I visit her, we pop in the home movies, watching our antics. I enjoy dancing, still do, but there never seems to be the time for it. Or I totally embarrass my kids if I do a shuffle through a store that’s playing music, like Old Navy or the local grocer. I’ve often felt the urge to get up and bust a move, no pun intended, Young MC. I really need to just do it, even if it’s for a few minutes in the comfort of my own home.

Me in my very early 20's... dancing
Me in my early 20’s… dancing

It’s not like I’m devoid of hobbies and interests. Over the years, I’ve picked up some new ones. Like running/fitness. Blogging. Taking care of my family. I don’t want to let that go. But, I want to incorporate some of the old Sara back into my life.

I can wear my roller skates while walking with the kids to school. And while you may not see me at a karaoke bar anytime soon, it doesn’t mean I won’t be belting out my own personal rendition of some Alanis Morissette song while driving in the car. Or Nirvana. Always Nirvana.

And if you see a woman dancing in the aisles of your local grocer, just allow her to carry on. Or join her, if you’d like. Maybe you’re looking for the you before you became you, too.

The Twenty Year Reunion

I’ve been friends with the same person for nearly thirty years. We’ve known each other since grade school, and amidst the highs and lows, peaks and valleys that often come from sustaining a friendship during those crazy adolescent years, we’re still friends. Pretty good friends, in fact. Best friends.


We made a pact shortly before our high school’s ten year reunion. It wasn’t anything monumental, really. Just a simple understanding between the two of us. We’d go to the reunion, together. We’d go together to any and all reunions in the future, too.

What I remember most about the ten year, is that it didn’t feel as though much time had gone by. Not really. Most of us still looked a lot like we had in high school, although my appearance was different. I had a hippie vibe to me, when I was a teen. Long hair down to my butt. I carried a man’s wallet in the back pocket of my Levi’s, and I rarely wore anything even remotely feminine. Which is probably why someone had made the comment that I was the most changed.

At the 10 year
At the 10 year

The last ten years went by quickly, a blur of children, husbands, life choices and commitments, changes in my occupation, a myriad of the stuff that makes life, life. Suddenly, the twenty year loomed ahead, a reminder that another decade had swallowed most of us up, and it was time to go back and be reminded of the kids we used to be.

And, you can’t escape that feeling. No matter how hard you try, or how often you tell yourself that we’re all twenty years older now. There’s still that part of you that clings to the memories of what you’d been, how someone else had treated you, the friendships or frenemies you’d made back then. It’s still the same, for the most part. At the party, I really didn’t associate with the girls who picked on me, and they vaguely remembered who I was. If they remembered the rough times, they weren’t saying.

For some, there was no divide. I reconnected with people who I loved whole-heartedly. The ones who were great friends of mine, still are, really. I also connected with those who I never would have connected with in the old days. Those moments felt wonderful. It was like getting to meet someone new for the first time, that you have common ground with. Something you may have never achieved when you’re on different sides of the fence.

Time has changed me. I think I was a lot more outgoing, although inside I was hiding a shy girl, trying hard to squash her. Now, I’m a little more shy, trying to coax the independent, outgoing girl to make an appearance, to show who she is. My best friend, she’s still the same girl. Fiercely headstrong. She had no qualms about talking to nearly every single person there that night, whether they’d ever been friends or not.

Karaoke at the pre-party
Karaoke at the pre-party

There were moments where I sat alone, reflecting, taking it all in. It was a strange. Fun. Awkward. Exhilarating time. I got to dance. I had a few drinks. My feet were killing me. (I’m still a bit of a tomboy, so I rarely wear heels. ) Afterwards, we tried to go to an after party, but the bar had reached max capacity. We were turned away. We made the best of it by eating dinner downtown, at an all-hours eatery conveniently named, “Kitchen”. Maybe it was the booze. Maybe it was the ambiance, but the food was more than a little delicious. One of the best chicken avocado sandwiches I’ve ever had, hands down.

When I’m asked how my reunion went, I say, “It was fun. But it wasn’t fun.” It’s hard to explain my conflicting emotions. There were a few things I wish had gone down differently, but overall, it was well worth the visit. Spending time with my best friend, another close friend of mine in town, family, friends, and attending a pre-party in downtown Portland where I got to reconnect with the people I love and form new friendships- well, they say you can’t ever go back, but you can. I’m different, but in some ways, I’m still that girl with really long hair and a wallet in her butt pocket. She’s an independent, outgoing girl, and it’s okay to let her out every once in a while.

The 20 year

Another Downside of Pre-Pubescence!

I’m honored to have a guest blogger on Momarock, today, sharing her honest and candid thoughts on what happens the day after Mother’s Day.

“No It Isn’t!! YOUR. Day. Is. Over!” she replied as I excitedly wished her a Happy Mother’s Day Week. For YEARS, I’ve greeted my Irish twins the Monday after Mother’s Day in the same way, but the eldest didn’t buy it this morning! I’m not entirely sure she bought it last year, either, but at eleven, at least she made an effort to smile and humor me for a few days! ‘Darn, I knew this day would come!’

Every holiday of every year, my husband and I have the same response to the question of what we want for Christmas, birthdays, and everything in-between—“Well-behaved children!” And we mean it! We’ve been pretty consistent parents for twelve years. At least, on these days, we just want them to do what they KNOW is expected—leave their shoes in the closet instead of in front of the door or the middle of the walkways, put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wear shoes instead of their white socks while running around in the yard, ETCETERA!

We don’t REALLY expect them to rise early and make us breakfast before 9AM church (although bringing a cup of coffee WOULD be nice! We have a Keurig, For Heaven’s Sake)! We don’t expect them to UNLOAD the dishwasher (although they didn’t complain about putting away the silverware when they were toddlers and got to sit on the tall stool for the job)! We just want a few days of parenting PEACE at this point! Isn’t THAT what holidays are for? Don’t we get to have a few FUN days of parenting per year?

We don’t expect perfection! We don’t even expect things to go smoothly at this point! We just want a day when we don’t have to wonder if it’s too late to consider adoption, or if we’d get arrested for posting a funny Facebook status, asking if anyone wants to buy our kids! But that blog has already been written.

‘I got NO LIP for a whole day on Mother’s Day and now she’s sitting in front of the TV on a school morning,’ I grumbled to myself. She knows that’s not allowed, I explained, for the four zillionth time, taking the NICE approach instead of snapping it off, simply because it’s the day after Mother’s Day and I didn’t want to fight! Every time she does this, she is PICKING a fight! Even if I DID allow it, she knows it would be after an exceptional day where the kids got their homework and chores done (without nagging) and had already exhausted themselves by playing outside. –Or at least a rainy day! We’re not TOTAL control freaks, after all! We allow for some grey area.

“Look, it’s another beautiful day! Go outside in your downtime, instead of plunking on the couch,” I said.

I never used to have to tell my kids to go outside! Before they were pre-teens, they did it automatically! They LIKED jumping on the trampoline! They dug worms and went fishing! They also ate breakfast, got dressed and brushed their teeth automatically, every single morning. THAT is because we were consistent parents! WHEN will it all pay off!? WHEN do we get to stop nagging?! WHEN will it all become automatic!?

The other Irish twin, who is almost 11, had run upstairs to give me a hug as soon as he heard me flush the toilet. That’s his way of saying; “I’ve been up to something downstairs that you wouldn’t approve of (SCREEN TIME!!!!!). Don’t go down there!” He smiled as I wished him a Happy Mother’s Day Week and asked me where the treadmill is. Of course I KNOW where the treadmill is, so I assumed he had moved it or sold it on eBay, responding with the question, “Where is the treadmill?”

“EXACTLY! You don’t even know where it is! THAT is because you haven’t been on it in two years! Which is why I want it GONE so I can turn that room into my office!”

“He’s tricking you,” said the evil twin (I mean Irish twin!) “He wants to turn it into a video game room and play Terraria all day!”

So then the arguing began! And I hadn’t even had my Monday morning coffee yet!

All you parents of cute little kids, posting your family bliss on Face Book– -KNOW THIS!!! I did that, too! We were happy, too! It used to be GREAT! But those little angels develop their own attitudes about life around fifth grade and you have weeks, even MONTHS at a time, of wondering why you even had children! Getting ONE peaceful day without them barking at you for no apparent reason will become your GOOD DAY!

Your friends with teenagers didn’t post on Mother’s Day for a very good reason! They knew TODAY would arrive and all those smart remarks they held back yesterday would come spilling out of their kids’ mouths! We don’t know why they WANT to start a fight, but they do! And then they’re happy five minutes later! These years are like a rollercoaster! These years are DIFFICULT! I don’t even CARE about their hormones at this point! I just want the respect I deserve!

So don’t get too braggy, because the parents with older kids aren’t lying when they assure you, “OH, it gets a LOT worse!”

Now that I’ve busted your bubble, I’ll get back to work. Mother’s Day is over and the laundry baskets are full again! Plus, I need to figure out how to sell this treadmill on eBay!

Our guest blogger is a stay-at- home mom and military wife. She enjoys fitness, freelance writing, reading, editing and reviewing books. She may be reached through the Momarock website.


I’m Not Down with the Sickness

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Given the week my fellow bloggers and I have had, I decided to give us creative license in venting life’s frustrations.  

Moving to Arizona had been a dream of mine for many years. It always felt like this proverbial carrot dangling precariously in front of my face, just within my reach yet unattainable.

And now, here I am! Right where I want to be! But I haven’t been able to enjoy it, not nearly as much as I’d like to, because in the nearly ten months of living in this beautiful, sun-filled state, I’ve been sick five times.

I’m not talking about cute little sniffles, either. Sneezes, a cold. Something I can breeze through. I’m talking about down and out nasty viruses, which always leads to a near and dear friend of mine, Mr. Bronchitis.

The first time it happened, I figured it was a fluke. We’d just moved, there was a lot of transition. A long drive, sleepless nights at random hotels. A breeding ground for germs and illnesses. I caught a cold. It always starts out innocently enough, and then BOOM!

That first time (and like all the others times following it), within a few days the cold moves into my chest. I can’t breathe. There’s a lovely rattling sound emitting from the depths of my lungs. Breathing hurts. Coughing is imminent. I go to the doctor,  who tells me nonchalantly that I’ve got bronchitis. (Of course I do. I knew it before I even stepped foot into the urgent care clinic). Sometimes I leave with a script for an antibiotic, depending on how long I’ve let the bronchitis go, and whether it’s bacterial. Other times I leave without a script, having to wait out the virus, but it’s always the same.

I’m sick. Yet again.

The fourth time, the urgent care doc (a different one than the ones I’d seen before) recommended I try to manage my allergies. He felt there’s a direct correlation between my allergies, my exercise-induced asthma (another lovely new side-effect to moving to a new climate that my body seems to reject) and the viruses that are insistent on kicking my ass.

I left with a recommendation to up my vitamin C, D, take zinc, keep using my loratadine, use an organic desert specific allergy spray, spin around three times and then clap twice, nod my head four times while dancing a jig (he never really said that I should do any of those things, that’s me being sarcastic). Anyway, I had this new regimen in place to keep myself healthy, and then guess what?

I got sick. Again!

The fifth time. You know, it’s a long process in getting healthy after you’ve been sick. Really, it’s like a two week period of healing, because you figure you’re down due to a cold, that turns into bronchitis, with a cough that lasts for a long time, sometimes up to two weeks. It’s annoying, it’s obnoxious, it’s depressing. Enough was enough! I was ready for answers!

So, last Friday I sought them out at an allergist/immunist office. I figured if anyone could help me, an allergist/immunist could. The doctor who assisted me (the cutest thing, by the way, in a polka-dotted short dress, heels, jean jacket and a summer hat) tested my lungs, heard my sob story, and was certain that I have allergies that have sprung up from my move here.

And why wouldn’t I have that problem? Arizona isn’t really known for its air quality. It’s one of the worst, actually. My doctor theorized that when I go for morning runs (something I haven’t been able to do much of, given how sick I’ve been, but when I can, I do), I’m opening up my lungs to all that’s around me. The blossoming trees and flowers. The bad air. The dust. The pollen. Which probably explains why I usually end up wheezing during or after a run, blending into my asthma, which then leaves me vulnerable.

Very vulnerable. Add the allergies, and you’ve got a breeding ground for trouble. Throw in a virus, and I’m all out screwed.

I’m now the proud owner of a sinus rinse bottle, to flush out the toxins and allergens from my nose. I’m also on Flonase. I have an inhaler, to be used at least thirty minutes prior to a run. I’m still taking my vitamins, and the loratadine. I never thought I’d have to use this kind of stuff to manage my health, yet here I am.

The doctor wants me to have an allergy test done, to see what’s troubling me. I’m still on the fence, since it’s obvious what’s troubling me are outside allergens, and I can’t really control that, no matter if I pinpoint what exactly I’m allergic to. What am I going to do, live the rest of my life indoors? I can’t have that. I won’t have that. I’m hoping by trying to control the way my body reacts to the allergens, with the new tools (medicine) I’ve been given, I’ll keep trouble at bay.

She also mentioned the possibility of my becoming acclimated to the environment out here, that my body will get used to the world around me. I really hope that will be the case. In the meantime, I’ll be diligent in doing everything I can to keep myself healthy, because I swear, if I get sick one more time…. I may try spinning around three times, clapping twice, nodding my head four times and dancing a jig!

My first marathon
I miss these days…



Camelback Mountain, Sixteen Years Later

I wish I’d taken photos of my first hike up the mountain. At the time, I didn’t know it would be my last, before moving out of Arizona. All I have are my memories, which I blogged about a few years ago (you can read about it, here).

Sixteen years ago, I had parked in a gravel lot, with plenty of other hikers. Present day, Joni Mitchell’s sage words from “Big Yellow Taxi” couldn’t ring more true. Someone literally paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Streets. Driveways. Million dollar homes. While I’d been away, the city of Paradise Valley exploded, building around and on the mountain.

There were no designated parking areas, not any I could find. Hundreds of cars were parked on the side of a busy street, even though there were plenty of signs indicating it was illegal to do so. Even the residential neighborhoods were unkind, with signage like this:

What’s a girl to do? I parked with all the other hikers, hoping I wouldn’t find a parking ticket on my car when I’d returned from the hike.

A good friend of mine had flown in for an overnight visit, Camelback the primary objective on her to-do list. This was a hike we’d planned for many months, her first ever. I’m not sure if the Cholla Trail was the best one to go with for a first-timer, but she was up for the challenge!


It was funny, hiking up a trail I’d been on sixteen years prior. Not much stood out to me, initially. Glancing down the first half mile, I was watching a few golfers out and about on a Saturday morning, teeing off on a really fancy golf course. At a higher elevation, we could see the whole course, perfectly manicured and green, such a stark contrast to the desert rocky terrain around us.


The trail denoted a 1.42 mile hike up, yet my friend’s ipod tracked our steps, and our mileage, too. Coming up on nearly two miles of hiking, we hit a flat plateau, the calm before the storm. We both felt this was a place for hikers to rest and turn back, if they chose not to continue up more treacherous terrain. I’m not a big fan of heights, and I could see hikers crossing one particular area that had what appeared to be sloping rock surrounding a very narrow pathway. I wasn’t eager to find myself there, but I felt as though our whole intention had been to reach the top. It would be a shame not to finish.

Passing the plateau meant digging in and using our hands and knees, if necessary, to pull ourselves up. I couldn’t take pictures, I couldn’t carry my water bottle. Those items were tossed into my backpack, to free up my hands. At one point, I vaguely thought about mountain climbers, the ones I’ve done for workout purposes. Work out mountain climbers had nothing on the actual real deal. The movements, the climbing reminded me of the hike I’d done before, a familiarity washing over me. If I could do it then, I could do it again!

I could see hikers on the very top of the mountain, a collection of them, silhouetted against the blue sky. It seemed the closer we got, the further away we truly were. Like we’d never get there, a total optical illusion. But we kept at it, finally reaching that point where I was terrified of crossing that tiny pathway. But I did that, too, trying hard not to look down while I placed my hiking boots into the tiniest of spaces.

We were sweaty, covered in tiny little beetles that felt content to rest on our shirts. It was dusty, grimy. Large bee-like creatures buzzed contentedly above our heads. Dust had settled into our cheeks, I could taste the grittiness on my tongue whenever I opened my mouth to speak, but none of it mattered. The only thing that mattered was reaching the top, and when we did, it looked like this:


We sat a while, quiet. I notice not many conversations take place while you’re on a hike. There’s a contentment to being quiet and listening to your own breathing, or the breathing of everyone else around you. It feels collective, in a way. We snapped a selfie, and you can see the tiredness on our faces, but we’re glowing with the sense of accomplishment. And sweat.


The way down was even more difficult, considering all the sliding and slipping, trying to extend your body out so you’re literally crab walking down the slopes. But we did that, too, while looking out at the world around us. There was a fantastic breeze that would hit every so often, which felt really great. It wasn’t too hot, even with all the sunshine. It was the perfect day for a hike.

Somewhere on the way down, a chuckwalla was sitting on a rock, sunbathing. Hikers stopped and were snapping photos, which didn’t deter the chuckwalla from his rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was used to that sort of attention.


There’s a feeling of pride when you’ve set out to do something, and it comes to fruition. That’s how we felt when we took our last steps off the mountain, back onto pavement. Tons of hikers were passing us in the opposite direction, ready to embark on their own journey of the day.

The only cloud was the parking ticket I found on my car when we arrived back. I wasn’t surprised, of course. And, $86 was the least expensive violation, according to the pamphlet I’d received along with the ticket . I’m trying to think of a way to go back to Camelback that won’t cost me a parking ticket. I wonder if other hikers are die-hard fans who decide the ticket is worth the price of a gorgeous hike, or if they were surprised to see a ticket on their windshield. I can’t say for sure. I’m sure the parking violations are keeping the city’s manicured lawns and million dollar homes up to snuff, though.