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Sunday, January 30, 2011

. ..turned 21 in prison doing life without parole . ..

Yesterday we celebrated Stuey's 4th birthday and it ended with the lyrics, "...Turned 21 in prison doing life without parole...".

The day started with the kids both sick. I should've rescheduled dinner but with me leaving town on Tuesday, I didn't want to have to schedule it for after my return. Bad move on my part.

I'll spare you the details, but the day included Nora biting Stuey's finger, Stuey hitting a friend who was over to celebrate and Stuey spending the last part of his birthday party in time out. It wasn't a pretty afternoon. :( Luckily we managed to get some cake and ice cream in along with a yummy dinner.

After the kids were in bed, Patrick was laughing telling me about the words to a song.....called 'Mamma Tried' by Merle Haggard--the lyrics included, "I turned 21 in prioson doing life without parole...".
Stuey turned 4 in time out!
At least we could get a good laugh out of it while listening to the lyrics of the song last night.

Today included me trying to put a little lego airplane together and Stuey making a house visit apology to the friend he hit.

(The airplane was quite frusturating..I spent close to 2 hours on it today and had it nearly together and Patrick spent an hour on it and got it together--wowsers!! Quite the puzzle! Stuey sat watching us the entire time-very patient and eager to play with the plane. Once it was together, he got about 1/2 hour of play time with it before I accidently dropped it. He took that fairly well).

It was definitely not a great birthday, but we did enjoy dinner with some friends last night, so that was fun.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

"No pain, no Gain" is so 1980's

Recently I have been frusturated and somewhat amazed by what I call "exercise mania" among a certain group of athletes. I'm all about fitness-as I teach fitness classes myself and try to stay to a regular workout schedule. However, when the body is in moderate amounts of pain, it is time to take a break and let the body heal.

It seems that people have become very desensitized to their bodies. I see this occasionally at my job as a physical therapist. People have had pain for 4 or 6 months and trudge through it, continuing to do incredibly hard workouts....thinking that it will go away. After months and months of pain and ibuprofen, they go to the doctor and then are referred to me. And sometimes they don't particularly like what I have to say. I get bad looks if I suggest taking 1-2 weeks off from the hard core exercise and replace it with a gentle walk or swim.
Some people I run across in physical therapy want a quick fix. They want me to do something to them that will take their pain away--without them having to modify anything in their life. Its not a reasonable expectation. It is very refreshing to hear people say, "let me know what I need to do to help fix this and I"ll do it" instead of "Fix me".

A little about pain physiology--- there is most often chronic inflammation in an area and the goal of physical therapy is to find the source of inflammation and improve the mechanics which will let the area heal. The longer something has been inflamed, the longer it can take to heal, generally speaking. Chronic inflammation ends up with more pre-mature the sustained inflammatory checmicals accelerates degeneration.

I've discovered that there is a facet of the population that is addicted to working out. At all costs to their body. People who are willing to live in pain and put their bodies in continued pain to get a workout high without respecting and listening to their body.

Its hard to get through to this group of athletes who don't want to modify anything about their workouts. When I speak, its as though my mouth is moving, and words are coming out, but they don't really want to hear (or can't hear) what I'm saying. I explain it in the simplest of terms and even add on...."If you take it easy with exercise for 1 week, and your pain increases, then we'll know that you do need that level of exercise. Give me 1 week to see how your symptoms fluctuate." It works. I see it work lots with my athletic clients who agree to try it.

Lately I have felt like therapy bad guy--as if I took someones toys away by suggesting they stop exercising for 1 or 2 weeks. In the end, its their body, their choice on the rehab approach they want to take. Ultimately, my ideas are simply suggestions.

Please, readers--listen to your bodies. If something is hurting, take time to get it addressed...sooner than later.
And the "No pain, no gain" mantra is an 80's fitness/rehab philosophy. That is SO 20+ years ago. (there are many good by-products of the 80's including 80's music and Patrick, but this workout philosophy is not one of them....)

We know a lot more about pain now then we did then. Its not a good thing.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back at the Hospital & an Archive Photo

I left the hospital around 2.5 years ago to open my PT clinic and have loved every moment. There has been plenty of outpatient clinic business for A Balanced Approach and I've been able to carve out a niche in Kodiak for the treatment of neck, pain, back pain, women's health and childbirth education/doula work.

Last week I got a phone call from a local hospital administrator asking if I could do a few hours of physical therapy in acute care. Lately the physical therapy clinic at the hospital has been short staffed. I agreed, and said yes to 6 hours a week. I have enough business to not take the hours, but for a short term situation, I felt I could-and should-help out.

So this week I donned my Providence Physical Therapist badge and returned to the acute care floor to help patients with strength, mobility and ambulation. Acute Care physical therapy is a whole different scene than what I have been doing for over 2 years, so my mind has had to shift gears a bit.

At A Balanced Approach, I primarily see clients for pain (neck and back, largely), stiffness, some deconditioning. People walk into my clinic and I spend 45 minutes with them in a treatment room doing manual therapy, or sometimes exercises. Its very different from working with patients who have multiple medical conditions, and I must check with the nurse before evaluating them. Being away from the hospital acute care from these past 2 years puts into perspective what a challenging job acute care is. It makes me really appreciate the nurses and staff who do that work on a daily basis-on a medical surgical floor. It is a hard job.

Its felt good to do the inpatient work. Partly because I enjoy the staff up there. I know many of them from before when I did acute care at Providence. And I also know some of them from my doula work.

Occasionally I miss the camaraderie of working with others as a team. However, my office manager, Winona, and I have such a great time at A Balanced Approach--she and I laugh lots and we are an efficient duo in running the business. Its a good feeling. To have such smooth teamwork in running the business. And to have a good time as well! As a therapist, I feel much more productive at my own clinic.

The photo I posted was from early 2000's at Providence. At a dinner out at the Chart Room Restaurant. Good times.


My Triplet

Ever since last summer, I have heard about a gal who is my "TWIN". People come up to me and say, "Oh I saw you at such and such party..." and I would reply, "I wasn't at that party...". People would SWEAR it was me.

My reply would usually be, "well-I have a twin sister but she doesn't live here. Maybe I have a triplet!"
I finally met my triplet a few months ago...she had been told that she looked exactly like me and was eager to meet me (as I was her)! In fact, one person had a full conversation with her under the assumption that she was me-and she had to correct them. She is very nice and friendly, which was re-assuring--if I'm going to have a triplet its a bonus if she is a cool person!

Her name is Crystal and she has a blog too!
It is

I snagged the photo from her blog...Do I think she and I look alike? I say yes.
I can see where people got us confused. Patrick thought so too.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the mountain with SEALs

Every once in a while when I go skiing after work I run into the Navy SEALs training. The Navy SEALs do their cold water training in Kodiak and they also learn about surviving in winter conditions. One of their exercises is to climb a mountain with all their gear, climb back down and then camp. I generally run into them while they are on their way up the mountain. It is kind of cool to skin on by 70 or so troops as they climb the mountain. They are all on snowshoes and carrying 70 pound packs with rifles so it is not hard to skin up the mountain faster than them.

Seeing all the SEALs on the mountain always puts me in a good mood. I chat with them on my way up and am always impressed with their 'can do' upbeat attitude. They always seem very happy - even if it is raining or bitterly cold. I get the feeling a lot of the kids have never even seen snow before, but they always seem glad to be on it. Knowing that these are the types of kids we have in our armed forces makes me feel a lot better about our country. It makes me feel a whole lot more secure. Patrick

Monday, January 24, 2011

Anchorage Couple-Moon

Patrick and I had our first trip together without the kids last weekend. I've tried this two times in the past, but volcanos erupting and childhood illnesses got in the way os us escaping sans kids... This time, it worked! We made it off of Kodiak without a hitch in beautiful weather. Upon arriving in Anchorage we went to a great Vietnamese restaurant for some warm soup before skiing at Kincaid park.
For dinner we met up with Julie and Ray at Marx Brothers Cafe. The 4 of us had a lovely time catching up without any interruptions from little ones and enjoying a freshly prepared (tableside) Caesar Salad. YUM YUM YUM! There is nothing better than an authentic caesar salad!! (it was high on the garlic content-my favorite!)
After dinner the 4 of us met up with Brian D. at the top of the Captain Cook hotel for drinks. The view up there is just breathtaking of Anchorage.

The weekend really hit the spot. By Sunday afternoon, I felt like I had been really re-acquanted with Patrick. This trip reminded me how much fun I have traveling with patrick, talking with him, skiing with him, going to meals with him. I have several friends who have done a kid-less couple getaway and talked about how great it was-and now I understand. By the end of Sunday afernoon before we headed back, I was wishing we had another day and night together. Next time we'll go for a little longer.

Today I was running a tad bit slower from such a busy weekend, but it was worth every second. I hit the ground running at work and taught spinning class to finish off my workday.


Brian D. myself, Patrick, Julie and Ray atop the Captain Cook hotel
Julie and Ray
Patrick and myself

Friday, January 21, 2011

Should I add the full moon?

This morning I went to work early so I could take a picture of the full moon setting with the city of Kodiak in the foreground. It was looking good until I got to the high school and suddenly the moon was setting. No moon by the time I got to the Hoser bridge. I missed it by 5 minutes.

Nonetheless, I got to practice taking photos at night and looked for the right camera angles. In late February after another lunar cycle I'll be ready. And by then the sun ought to be up a bit more and the town might be bathed in pink light. Let's hope it is clear!

Anyhow, this is the photo I did get. I actually thought about using photoshop and stitching a full moon into the picture next to the windmills. Patrick

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Sledding

These photos are from a few days ago. It rained the last 2 days so now our lawn is covered with slush and ice, but when it freezes the sledding will be REALLY fast. Sara took the pictures of me sledding with the kids. The kids really like to go sledding. Lately they have gotten into having races against each other. I hold the back ends of both sleds and let them go at the same time. Nora and I even got Roxy the dog to do a run with us in the bigger sled. Patrick

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Toy Time Outs & Sledding

The past 4-5 days with the kids have been easier since I"ve implemented the "loss a toy to goodwill store" for bad behavior. Boy do they care about their trains and toys! The consequence is so solid and unwavering, that the kids really get it. Nora has only lost her pink purse to "the car" (to be driven to goodwill). And Stuey has lost 5 small toys. I came up with an "earn 'em back" program...once they earn 20 stickers on their sticker chart, they can earn a toy back. Its working. I dusted the sticker charts off the top of the fridge.

OInce Stuey sees that we mean business and are really consistent with it-he stops testing boundaries. Its quite a shift. For a while I wasn't cooking much with Nora and Stuey because they would fight over the bowl, stirring, etc... But now, I just say, "Stuey-if you keep grabbing that spoon from Nora, you'll lose a car" and he stops. The dust has settled a bit, Stuey isn't say, "poopy guy mommy" and the kids are playing together for extended periods of time. Phew.

The other day Stuey said, "mom, Toby (the train) misses me. He says, 'Stuey, Stuey..I miss you.'" He told me this in the cutest little guy voice. He really gives his toys little emotions and wants to work hard to earn them back.

I know I say this a lot, but parenting is often like a game of Lets Make a Deal. over and over and over again! I know-its not supposed to be this way. We should be more strict. And they should know exactly whats expected.


Photos are from recent sledding adventures in our back yard. We have a little sled run that has turned into a luge run due to the snow being compressed! Stuey could sled forever and ever!

Sunday Ski

On Sunday I went for a cross country ski with Philip, Adelia, Gregg and Lisa up above Buskin Lake. Last time we all skiied together it was on my birthday last March. Same time, same place but much earlier in the year. On Sunday a 10 o'clock ski meant dawn while last March it meant late morning. Still it was so nice it FELT like my birthday. I guess if you make it so - any day can be your birthday.

At the airport here in Kodiak we now have 17 inches of powder snow , and are enjoying what I fear is the end of another great run of weather. Tonight it is supposed to snow and then rain. Hopefully, it will settle the snowpack, freeze and I'll be back on skate skiis next week. Lately the snow has been so deep that I have only been able to use my classic cross country skiis. Funnily enough, despite all the snow in town we still have relatively little snow up on the mountains.

Pictures, Top to bottom: Pyramid and Bear Mountains reflecting in the dawn alpine glow in the water at the outlet to Buskin Lake. A USGC antenna silhouetted against the dawn sky. Philip and Adelia - I like the color of Adelia's hat. Lisa crosses some THIN ice across a shallow place in the river - it's amazing how little ice will support you when your weight is distributed on skiis (like HUGE snowshoes). Everybody but me crossing Buskin Lake on the way home. Patrick

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Graupel NOT hail

The past few days we've gotten well over a foot and a half of new snow. All of the snow has been due the 'ocean effect' when moist air off of the Gulf of Alaska reaches land. Anchorage, Homer and places north have not gotten any of this snow and there is a huge mass of cold air in place over the interior. If you've been observant you will have noticed that the snow squalls have been proceeded by a hail of snow pellets. I would like to point out that these pellets are GRAUPEL and not HAIL. Everybody I have been talking to has been calling it hail, and I even heard the announcer on KMXT call it hail. So it is time to set the record straight.

Hail is associated with thunderstorms, and is created when strong updrafts take water up to where it is freezing. The water freezes and often goes up and down in the air column creating multiple layers of ice on what become the hail stones. Graupel is usually associated with maritime climates and is created when a snowflake falls through super cooled water droplets. The snowflake acts as a nucleus and the water droplets freeze onto it as rime. Graupel is also known as 'snow pellets', and is basically little balls of snow. Hail is balls of ice.

So there you have it. Enjoy the graupel and I hope it keeps on falling. The pictures are of 'graupel clouds' above Buskin Lake yesterday. Patrick

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow & Swimming

More snow has arrived in Kodiak--we made the starts of two little snow block houses (Stuey has one and Nora and I are going to be roommates in her house!). My sister Anne sent the kids a kit to make snow or sand castles, and we had so much fun today outside with them! It was a perfect use for Stuey's energy.

This past week I got back into the pool for swimming and it felt great. I haven't been in the pool for many, many months and it was much better than I had anticipated.
I was dreading going back for several reasons:
-the cleanliness of the locker rooms.THe last time I was in it it smelled foul and there was build up of hair and stagnant water in the drains in the showers. Ewwww.
-Hoping I would remember how to do the crawl stroke. And not drown...or look like I was drowning.
-Being in a crowded locker room with bizillions of middle schoolers ( i know, silly--but in the interest of full disclosure-had to put it)
-Pool being cold. The last time I swam in it I remembered it being quite cold. (I know this is a good thing, however)

Fortunately, none of the things I was concerned about was an issue (well-aside from the drowning part...more later on that). No middle schoolers were there. The pool is being maintained much better than before...the locker room is clean, no hair balls in the pool, clear crisp water, deck was nice and clean...the whole experience was very positive. Much better than the first 6-9 months after it opened.

I was exhausted after 1/2 hour of laps. I think the life guard had a close eye on me for fear that I would drown. I noticed she moved her "station" over to the deep end--something I"ve never seen a lifeguard do during lap swim. It probably had nothing to do with me...but I couldn't help but notice! I can only do one length of the pool of crawl stroke before i have to revert to breast stroke or back stroke. Gosh swimming is hard. I would look at the people in the other lanes going back and forth, back and forth without any break. I was in awe. Someday I'll be able to do that.


Photos are from today in the snow!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Deer and the Mouse

The past few weeks Stuey has been a handful. He says things like "mommy poopy guy" which may seem funny, but when he says it with his eyebrows furled and his lip stuck out-far--its not a pretty picture. I ask him, "can you stick your lip out any farther?" which usually makes him laugh. I asked him to say, "mommy, I'm mad at you" instead of saying "mommy poopy guy". The good thing about Stuey is he LOVES attention of all sorts so when he is in a rut, if I"m able to make him laugh or pull him aside and tell him firmly what he is allowed and not allowed to do, he can shift back over to a good place.

This "poopy guy" side is in sharp contrast to Stueys lovey sweet side where he holds his chin with his hands, positions my head perfectly and plants a thoughtful kiss on my cheek! I've decided that the past month or so I've been too much of a softie and need to be a little more firm. This comes in the form of not giving them a second chance and putting a toy immediately into time out if they are not listening or fighting.


Parenting is always such a work in progress. Some days (or minutes, or hours) I feel like I"ve got the parenting thing figured out. Last night at dance class was an example of that. Nora was doing so well with her group, listens to the teacher and is able to follow the dance moves better and better each time. I looked at her and thought...she is happy, healthy and so excited to be in dance. And succeeding with it.
Then on other days, I want to speed dial that english supper nanny who is on theTV show who comes and lives with families to help them better discipline their kids. I have to remind myself we're not nearly as bad off as the families on that show, however.


Picture is one that Patrick drew at the holiday time of our Christmas tree, with Nora in her Nutcracker Reindeer outfit and Stuey in his mouse outfit. The dog is curled up on the floor on the right side. I love seeing Patrick's artist side! Patrick draws the outline of the picture and he helped Nora to color it in. The kids like it when Patrick draws a picture and they get to color it in.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abercrombie at dawn

A few days ago I took the dogs into Abercrombie Park at dawn. I brought along our new camera to take artsy shots under the spruce trees. I wanted to see how it did in low light. And it did GREAT.

I loved the silhouettes of the tree trunks against the dawn sky and waters of Mill Bay. In the viewfinder Spruce cape looked like the shore of a pond and the nearby trunks reflections in the water of the pond (bottom 2 photos). Of course when I blew them up at home the trompe d'oeil look was lost and they just looked like nearby tree trunks again. But if you use your imagination you can see what I was imagining. Perhaps I'll have to go back again on another dawn and get it right.

The second photo is the doggie's nemesis squirrel. They've tried to catch him for years, but he always makes it up the tree in time to escape their efforts. Patrick

Monday, January 10, 2011

More Skate Skiing in the Mountains

Funnily enough when I go skate skiing up in the hills no one goes with me. About 8 years ago there was a very good cross country skiier named Shawn Harper who was in town doing seal research over at Fish Tech, and I used to go XC skiing with him up in the hills. But since then whenever I've left the lake and river flats and headed for the slopes on skate ski gear I've always gone by myself. Consequently, I've never had any video or still footage showing what it is like. I've been limited to descriptions and scenic photos with nobody in them.

That is until yesterday. Yesterday, I ran into Brian G at the ski chalet parking lot and he was heading up into the hills on skate ski gear. Just like me. He may be the only other person who does this on a regular basis. It was a blast to share the experience with someone else. And I even made a very short (37 second) video to give readers an idea of what it is like up there on skate skiis.

In town there is no snow, but up there there is several feet of snow with powder on top. When I've described how much fun it is up there on skate gear in the past, I think people generally wink at each other and agree that despite what I say it is terrible. They translate what I report into 'Patrick was probably battling brush and ice.' But now I have video!


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Analyzing Gait

Yesterday I spent 3 hours at the Coast Guard Health fair with Pauline H. analyzing running gaits. This was the first year I have ever done this, and it turned out well! There were around 20 people who had signed up prior to the fair, and they showed up with running shoes in hand. I did the video taping at the back of the gym-people ran down and back across the back wall. I brought our home computer and we downloaded the footage into Imovie--where I could do slo-mo.

People were fascinated by watching themselves run. Pauline and I would look at their arm swing, where they were planting their feet, stride length, vertical rise and lean of their body forward. All but 1 or 2 people took our words of advice to heart--and were appreciative for the chance to improve their gait. Many of the people who came don't currently have any pain or discomfort with running, but wanted to learn how to prevent pain and be more efficient. Its refreshing to work with people who are looking to prevent pain-as often in our society people don't address problems until there is significant pain.

I videotaped Pauline running and she videotaped me running. It is VERY painful to watch myself run...I look so clumsy and clunky. Oh well. Its always a work in progress, right?!

Pauline and I agreed that people run differently in the gym than they would outside after they are warmed up. Next time, to make it more accurate, we decided that doing it outside and after people were really warmed up would be more accurate. People's stride changes as they run.

Doing the analysis with Pauline was so fun--she has such great energy. There were several people who had nearly "perfect" gait...where few or almost no recommendations were made. These folks were pleased as well to see that they should continue doing what they're doing.

I look forward to doing more running clinics in the future...on the coast guard base and at my clinic with Pauline. We decided that we would probably do something on the track and run with folks and give input to people as they run so they can try and feel the changes we are suggesting. That way they can walk (or run) away with practice of what changes to make.

The footage is of Pauline and I on our test runs...You'll notice in Paulines that she has a short stride length and her body lands right over her foot, as opposed to swinging her front leg way far out. This was by far the most common "error" we saw in people (including myself!).


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Backcountry Cruising

Yesterday it was flat calm and I decided to go skate skiing up into the mountains. The climb up was a bit brutal but once on top glorious. There is a couple inches of powder on top of a hard crust with a thin layer of hoar crystals on top of everything. The hoar crystals glinted in the sun. My pictures do not do it justice.

I ripped about on my skate skiis and the powder snow made it easy to keep things under control. I even did a few tele turns on my skate skiis. But mostly when it got a little scary I snow-ploughed to slow down. The powder also dampened the noise of my clattering skiis and it was kind of cool to glide noiselessly along with the mountains all around and the hoar crystals glinting in the sun. Patrick

Friday, January 07, 2011

Magic Bedtime Formula--for now

No, this isn't about Magic infant formula. Its about finally finding some peace during a very frustrating time of day...

As of late, we've finally found some quiet at the Saltonstall house at bed time. Unbelievable, I know-to those of you who know us. Bedtimes are often fraught with crying, yelling, etc. from Nora and Stuey. No matter how much time we've spent with them during the day, or how long we take to put them to bed-it would often end in tears. It was starting to become one of the more stressful parts of our day.

And then I discovered using books-on-tape (on my iphone)... Nora listens to books on tape to go to sleep with headphones on. Part of the problem before was that Stuey makes little noises or talks to himself with his toys while he is going to sleep and that would REALLY bother Nora, so now the books on tape cover up Stuey's noises. Moving them to different rooms isn't an option right now...until Stuey is a little older. He is sometimes a bit afraid of the dark and monsters, and having Nora in there brings him great comfort.

Jake-dog lays on the bed with Stuey. Stuey pets jake until he goes to sleep. It is so wonderful to tip toe in the bedroom and see Jake and Stuey asleep next to each other.

When Stuey gets up in the morning, it is his turn to listen to books on tape on the iphone. Some recent favorites of the kids have been Pippi Longstocking, Charlotte's Web, Frog and Toad, Green Eggs and Ham and Winnie The Pooh. (And in the intererest of full disclosure, I never particularly enjoyed Winnie The Pooh as a kid, but listening to it told by actors on CD is a different experience-I have enjoyed it!)

I"m excited about their love for books on tape, as it exposes them to lots of language and new words in new contexts. And it gives a few quiet moments here and there for them to relax and listen to the story.


-Nora, Jenni F., Patrick and Stuey in our kitchen recently. Jenni is home from college.
-old photo from my iphone):Nora eyeing her green drink in France...a mint soda which tasted like a strong syrup water. The kids didn't like it.
-(another old photo from November)...Patrick and I went up Pyramid on a balmy 40 degree day in November.
-Gregg Patrick and I went to the Old Powerhouse to celebrate Greggs birthday this week.
-I'm back in quilt mode...this is part of the top of a recent project--a quilt for the couch in our kitchen. THe first quilt for our home (aside from the small baby quilt I made Nora).