All posts for the month April, 2013

Altared Perceptions: April 2013- “Yearning”

Published April 21, 2013 by Susan Woodward

What do I yearn for?  Wow… I would think that would be an easy one: love, financial security, career satisfaction; however, when I think about the diction, I wonder if “yearning” is the correct term for those things on my list.  I know that they are things I really want to have, but wouldn’t those fall on everyone’s list?  So then would that mean we all yearn for the same things?

I don’t think that’s what the spiritual assignment is.  So I have to ask myself again: “Susan, what do you yearn for?”

Yearning 1

As I studied this month’s church decor that reflects the monthly theme, I actually didn’t see what other people said they saw.   When I met with the Creative Team Soul Matters group and we talked about the decor, everyone else talked about the flowers they’d made.  Now I have been away from the Creative Team for three months because of the Cirque du Rochester Challenge, so I didn’t have a part in making these; however, I didn’t see flowers when I looked at the wall.

I saw explosions of color, like fireworks.

After all the dreariness of winter with its grey skies, early darkness, sloshy mud (since we had very little snow), it was the plethora of color that leapt off the wall at me.  Ohhh… I cannot WAIT for color to appear!   I actually yearn for it…

WAIT!  That’s what I yearn for!!  I yearn for more color in my life!   Doldrums and dreariness, be gone!   Bring on the colors of spring and lead me into summer (oh, please lead me into summer…)!   I am tired of the drab I have been experiencing with the weather, but I also want to pluck out the 50 shades of grey from my heart (and not THOSE 50 Shades of Grey!).

I have been working toward that end with the whole Challenge… coloring my life by getting outside my own four walls and doing something new.  I have more color in my cheeks from exercise.   I’ll bet I have more color in my lungs now that they are not sooty and black from smoking!  And at times, pushing myself beyond my former limits led to a bit of colorful language.

Anyone who really knows me and sees me on a regular basis can tell you what is the main staple of my wardrobe.   Basic black.  I wear black all the time.  I guess it’s easier to mix and match other pieces with black pants… but more often than not, it’s also a black top as well.   I think I chose black because it is more “slimming”… well with my coloring, I think it also makes me even more washed out, especially in the winter.

I am trying to wear more colors.  A few months ago, I bought some little jackets in bright colors that I do like to wear… with black pants.  I think I am afraid to wear other-than-black pants… that is something I will definitely have to work on.

So back to yearning and how I long for more color in my life.  What KIND of color do I want?  Colorful foods?  Colorful visions?  Colorful friendships?  A colorful relationship?  I guess I’d like a sampling of all of the above, please!  I want to open that Crayola box and start digging around!

Well, it is very true that the idea of doing the Color Run is appealing because of the color-shots one will get along the way (huh..ironically, the Dirty Girl also appeals to me… with the stand-out color being brown mud…).  There was one held in Louisiana just yesterday, and I was looking at the pictures online… what LIFE is in those faces!  And I want to be a part of that!!

Color Run banner

I yearn to be more lively, more energetic, more outgoing… to be more colorful!  Colors make people smile… and I don’t do enough of that.  Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly sad, right out of the blue (pun intended).   I think that happens when I allow the dreariness of the season to creep in on my heart… and in April, it’s a time to yearn for green trees, green grass, blue skies, yellow daffodils, red and pink tulips.  But when it SNOWS on April 20th, there’s acolor problem!!!

I am making those changes in my life… I will ditch some of my black wardrobe.  Heck, the last exercise outfit I bought was bright orange (well, not the pants… they were black…).  But at least the top was neon colored!

I am juicing with brightly colored fruits and vegetables every morning.

I am carrying a lovely purple bag filled with my exercise clothes to the YMCA on a regular basis.

And I just dyed that grey right outta my hair!

So… what do I yearn for?  I yearn for a more colorful existence!   And one thing that will help bring that about will be my participation in the Buffalo Color Run on August 17.

I yearn to color me happy!

Homeopathy Gone Haywire

Published April 16, 2013 by Susan Woodward

WARNING:  for those obstinately opposed to the ample application of alliteration, please stop here.  I happen to like alliteration–even though there are those who believe that it is not a viable literary device because they don’t think it serves much purpose –because of the musicality it adds to the language.  And if it’s good enough for Dr. Seuss, it’s good enough for me…and he has Dr. in his name.  For those whose curiosity I have piqued in my sleep-deprived delirium, read on.   I figure since misery loves company, *clink*, welcome to my nightmare.   And I’m feeling all self-deprecating Erma Bombeck-ish, so come on…commiserate.  Please.


It’s now 5:44 AM (adjusted from when I began typing this), and when I went to bed last night, I had every intention of going to work.  I was actually beginning to feel better.

2:18 AM told a different story.

Now considering that I could probably be called an expert on the 2012-2013 flu season because I have dealt with four strains of it and had four bouts of fun, I’d like to think that I know when I was finally on the mend for good.   One thing that these gems have all had in common is the sneak attack.  Not the Ninja variety of attack either…that’s too graceful to describe the sudden barrage on every muscle in the human body that’s much akin to guerrilla warfare.  Slam surprise attack and then left to suffer the after effects.  However, once the effects begin to subside, healing begins.  It’s not like the truck comes back around the block and hits you again once you’re on your feet.

Well, not this time.  At the point of being on the mend, a new symptom suddenly popped up out of nowhere (more guerrilla tactics, grrrrr).    I also know that it is most probable that for a very long time, the smell of garlic will bring that salivating sensation which precludes projectile puking.  (Hey…you kept reading!  Did I not warn you of the alliteration?  And did I not mention that misery loves company?)    As I sit here three hours later wide awake from fear of falling asleep and NOT making it to the other room in time, I am wondering… is this really from the flu?  Or did I do something wrong in trying to cure it?

During this round of flu, I was told of a sure remedy that would make me feel like a million bucks in no time.  I mentioned in an earlier post about the “tea” that Joe’s friend mentioned to me.  The one with the ginger, lemon, garlic and cayenne?  I even looked it up on the internet and found it…so since others have used it, it must work, right?

I made some of it and forced it down on Sunday night.  Considering that I was starting to feel a little better on Monday, I figured that more would make me even better even faster.   This time I think I overdid it.

ginger lemon garlic

Eight cloves of garlic, two lemons, a whole finger-length piece of ginger, and two tablespoons of cayenne later, I brewed up a concoction that would have knocked the flu out of Thor.   I drank that all day long.  ALL of it.  (This is a pic from the internet…I didn’t take a picture of the stock pot brew I made and drank).

Another thing… that’s all I put into my body with the exception of a bowl of chicken soup with rice.  “Merry once, Merry twice, Merry chicken soup with rice!”  That book was a favorite of mine with I was a kid… ok, now the ADD is kicking in… where was I?

Around 2 in the afternoon, I really started to sweat.  I thought to myself, “C’mon cayenne, kick the crap out of this cold…err…flu!” (alliteration out of control there…sleep deprivation definitely kicking in).   It got so bad that I didn’t know what to do.  I took a shower.  Ten minutes later, I was drenched again.  I thought about going on the porch into the air, but you know Spring in Rochester…it was freezing out (at least that’s what my son said… I haven’t seen the outdoors since Saturday morning).   It was like hot flashes on steroids!  (I was going to say hormones, but they already ARE on hormones!)  So I turned on the air conditioning for awhile.  And I showered twice more.  And I also wrote quite a bit to keep my mind off it (this is my fourth post in the past 24 hours!).   And finally the sweating stopped…just in time to go to bed.

Like I said, when I went to bed, I had every intention of going to work.  At 2:18 AM, the concoction came back to call.  And it wasn’t cordial.  And I REEKED of garlic!  And now my abs are killing me, and it ain’t from sit ups.

So enough about my night.  I was forced to write lesson plans at 2:30 AM and pray that the district can find an early morning sub.   Homeopathy gone haywire, huh?

Still with me?  Ready for another tale of terror?  Good, because I can’t trust my tummy to let me get any sleep just yet.

I’m not the only one in this house with a homeopathic horror story.  Joe’s story rivals mine.  Stick around.

Joe has been sick with a cold for a few days now (and it doesn’t help that he is a smoker).   Sunday night he called me from work to tell me that he was having a hard time breathing because whenever he took a breath, he got a stabbing pain in his back.  I told him to come home and I would take him to urgent care, or to go to urgent care and I would call in the numbers on my insurance and benefits card for him.  He said that he didn’t want to do to the doctor and that he’d be alright.  I told him to call if he got worse.  Well, I didn’t hear from him, so I figured he stayed at work.

When he came home at 12:30, he woke me up to let me know he was home, and then turned on a light to show me this:

Joe bruised backHe, too, opted for a home remedy.  His friend told him about this old treatment that his mom does for muscle spasms like what he described.  It involved rubbing peppermint oil on the back and then taking a spoon and SCRAPING it against the muscles!  I’m all for aromatheraphy and deep-tissue massage, but this is over kill!

According to his friend’s mom, this is how it’s supposed to look.  Ummm… that looks like torn muscle tissue to me!

But he swears it feels better and his cough is no longer a stabbing pain in his back.

Tomorrow we BOTH see somebody with Dr. in his/her name, and it won’t be Dr. Seuss!

Ombis Alien Invasion Premiers May 18!

Published April 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Ombis posterMy big screen debut!

Well, I WAS in the huge zombie apocalypse scene in The Final Night and Day, but I only made it into one frame!  But I know that I was there!  And when we were all in line for “make-up” (being squirted with super-soakers filled with red-dyed water), I was once of the folks yelling, “More blood!!”  And I am not even a horror fan… I get all  squeamish.

But I am very grateful to director Adam Steigert of Deftone Pictures Studios for giving me the opportunity!

However, in OmbOmbis make upis Alien Invasion (click poster for more info, including cast), I even got a bit speaking part!!  Woo hoo!  AND a whole scene all to myself as I awakened from the dead, prepared to attack!  Three and a half hours in make-up, designed by students of the Tom Savini FX School (Living Dead films, anyone?), and I was ready for my close up!  (Click the picture for a link to Tom Savini’s site)  The ONLY picture I have is the one of the beginning process…I was forbidden to have a pic in full make-up until after the film is released.

It was a great experience, and I loved being covered in slime!  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

PLEASE Adam, can I get a picture in make-up after May 18th?? I am dying here!  😦

May 18th cannot come fast enough for me!  I already have my tickets for me and my kids and a special friend, so yippy skippy, bring on the popcorn!  Premiering at the historic Hamburg Palace Theatre, Ombis is sure to be a treat to all involved!!

Ombis logo





Here’s the trailer:


Richard Satterwhite as Sheriff Thomas Bracket

Jason John Beebe as Mark

Sara Manzella as Lucy

Michael Sciabarrasi as Mayor Logan


Brenda Rickert as Sarah

Kathy Murphy as Daisy

(with a guest appearance by Susan Woodward as Donna!)


Oh, yeah… I also threw my hat into the extras pool for the new Spiderman movie that is going to be filmed here in Rochester!  😛   Here’s hoping!  I wonder if my aerial arts “skills” might be called upon…. (forefinger to chin, pondering)


Time For a Make-Over!

Published April 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Given that this page was originally created when I was in a more somber place in my life, the theme seemed to reflect that.  Now that I feel I have more “color” and energy to me, it’s time my blog reflected that!

And in honoring “coloring” my life by getting out and LIVING it, I am going to enter the Color Run in Buffalo this August.

Color run

I may not be able to run the entire 5K, but I can certainly jog and walk it!  I have never, ever done anything like that in my life, and quite honestly, I never thought 5K would ever be part of my vocabulary…but I am going to get out there and try!  Even if I come in dead last, I will still be miles ahead of all those who never leave the finish line.

With a little color comes some grime along the way, so while I am at it, I am also planning on entering the Dirty Girl 5K in Buffalo in September!   And I love the tag line here!  I already have one of my three daughters (Robin) ready to get dirty with Mom… and it looks like my Marine (Sarah) might be home for a visit right about that time, so I can get her on our team, too!  And that would be quite a boon to the team given that this is not just a running 5K… it’s got an obstacle course built in!  It’ll be like a day in the park for her!  I have one more daughter to convince (Illy!!).  I also want to enlist the ALL ladies from the 12 Week Challenge (Patty included!!… sorry, Will… you can’t be a Dirty Girl).


It DEFINITELY is Make-Over time!!!



Still Continuing to Challenge Myself Beyond My Comfort Zone!

Published April 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I actually have not posted lately for two reasons: one- for the past three days I have been down for the count with a really nasty virus and and have done nothing but sleep, and two- I have been keeping myself busy!  However, based on the past couple of days, I can see how it would be sooo easy to return to that sedentary lifestyle, and that realization scares me.  I am determined to NOT return to that pre-Challenge life.   I have to get better and then fight the temptation to slip backwards.  And I look for things to keep me moving, keep me healthy, and keep me happy.

As for keeping me moving:

While I am waiting for my tendonitis to heal, I am still keeping up with my cardio work and my strength training.   I’ve been taking it easy on the arms, but have been trying to ease a bit of work on them from time to time.  I thought I might be ready for five push-ups the other day… nope!  So I am listening to the body and working around it.

Sadly, I had to postpone my silks class till next session.  I have five more weeks to get this arm back into working order!  While I may not be able to work my arms as much as I need to, my core should be in MUCH better shape by the time I start up again!  I need that core strength to get me to finally flip into the ball, so here’s hoping!

As for keeping me healthy:

Grocery shopping is a new experience as I stay out of the aisles full of pre-packaged and processed “foods” and stick more to the outer realms of the store (the produce section, bulk, meats) and the Nature’s Marketplace section of Wegmans.   I still have not bought a single package of cookies since January, and there’s not a box of macaroni and cheese in the house (much to my son’s chagrin).

Going out to eat is different for me, too.  Because I am more aware of fried and high fat and high sodium foods, I try to make better choices while still feeling like I am treating myself to dinner out.

RohrbachsFor example, last week I took myself to Rohrbach’s on Buffalo Ave.    I enjoy going there, especially for their Scotch Ale.  While I know that Scotch Ale would be frowned upon by our health coach as a no-no, giving it up would make me feel deprived.  Deprivation is the key factor in making folks turn away from health changes… it’s moderation that will keep me on track.  So, yes! I ordered my glass of Scotch Ale and savored every single delicious drop!

As for my meal, I originally had my taste buds set for their sauerbraten, but sadly, it is only available on Saturdays.   The young man who served me suggested the specials of the evening after I voiced my disappointment about no-sauerbraten Wednesdays, one of which was a tropical salad.   When he listed the ingredients, I was enticed: pineapple, mango, avocado, star fruit, papaya, plantains, and chicken on a bed of greens with a fruity vinegarette dressing.    It seemed like getting dinner and a dessert all in one!  The blend was delicious, except that I really would have liked more avocado in it.  And I still had my Scotch Ale!  I have to admit that I am not one who usually turns to the “Salads” portion of the menu when ordering dinner, but I am glad he mentioned this special.  Since I had just come from a workout, the meal was light, yet still satisfying as a treat.   And so was my Scotch Ale!  😉

As part of my new way to continue challenging myself after all the work I have done for the past three months, I think that I will make it a point to visit different restaurants in my area to find out what other lighter-fare treats might be available.   Then I’ll share them here!

You know what I will be on the hunt for?  A juice bar!  I have to see if there is one in the Rochester area.  If there is, I will definitely haunt it for blending ideas!

Except for the days when I have been too sick and in pain to even move off the couch, I have been juicing daily.  I make a large batch in the mornings and take it to work with me.  The kids see me drinking it and ask, “What’s in it today?”   I usually list the fruits for them first, but as soon as I say spinach, beets, or kale, they scrunch up their noses and say, “Yuck!”   But it doesn’t stop them from asking me what I am drinking the next day!

I do see a difference in my skin from the juicing– even on my feet!   And while many of my students who have had this nasty flu have been out for about a week, today is day three and I am beginning to feel better already.  Maybe the vitamins from the juice helped with the quick healing?  Or maybe it was the tea I drank yesterday?

One of my son, Joe’s, friends came over yesterday.  When he saw how sick I was, he mentioned that he’d once had a tea made from lemon, ginger, garlic, and cayenne and that it made him feel better almost immediately.  Well, I had been trying the cinnamon and honey tea, and that wasn’t working for this, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  I already had the ingredients because I use lemon and ginger in my juices, and garlic and cayenne are just a staples I cook with, so there was nothing to stop me from trying it… I was actually desperate.  I chunked up a whole lemon, peeled a knuckle of ginger, chopped two cloves of garlic and went a bit heavy handed with the cayenne, putting it all in four cups of water to boil.  Once it boiled, I let it simmer for a bit.   Delicious is NOT a word I would use to describe it.  I managed to drink it all that evening, but it took some doing.

Well…. I DO feel a bit better today.  Do I feel well enough to go to the Y to work out? No…I didn’t even feel well enough to go to work at all.   I am not even up to going to the mailbox yet.  But at least I am no longer calling on the Angel of Death to take me away to put me out of my misery.

And now that it seems that Spring has finally arrived in Rochester, NY (late, as usual), I have plans to take my camera for a hike.  While I had hoped to get to Wales this summer, Uncle Sam slapped a hearty “no” on that one.  However, I will make use of my now-fully-paid-for car to hit the road and see where I end up.

And I am still not smoking!!

As for keeping me happy:

Not giving up on myself and having the courage to stick with my new lifestyle will be what keeps me happy!

Life After the 12 Week Challenge: Challenging Myself!

Published April 1, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Well the Cirque du Rochester Aerial Arts Challenge has officially come to an end… but this has only been a beginning for me!   I am making drastic changes in my lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, eating healthy (and even a bit more vegetarian due to the rising price of meat), and generally experiencing more in life than I have in a long time!

This week is my spring break from work, so I am working out my new plan.  It works best for me if I write things in my pocket calendar, so I am going through the YMCA schedule and putting in classes that I want to take for the next month, as well as times when the pool is available.   I have my weight and cardio routines already set up, so I just have to plug them into the schedule as well.

Today I worked on the cross trainer for 18 minutes before riding the recumbent bike for another ten.  I managed to reach and maintain my target heart rate for twenty of those minutes… not too bad for someone who quit smoking a pack a day only three months ago!  Because I am still nursing an arm injury before returning to silks next week, I passed on the arm weight machines; however, I did do all the leg, back, and ab machines.   After resting in the hot tub for 15 minutes, I was ready to head out and do today’s errands.

Tomorrow I go through my closet and get rid of clothes that I no longer want or need…especially anything that is now too baggy to wear.   Out it goes!

spice jars

My clothes closet isn’t the only overhaul I am making.  I went through my cupboards as well and got rid of a lot of pre-packaged, processed foods, and replaced them with grains and lentils and a whole bunch of new spices and seeds to experiment with.  My fridge also got a make-over, and it is packed with produce for juicing and cooking.

I bought pretty glass jars so that I could take everything out of the plastic bags and make everything easier to store and identify.  I wished that I hadn’t gotten rid of all those canning jars I’d had when I moved!  But some of these came with pretty pastel colored lids, so I’m okay with them!   These will become new staples in my house, and my daughter is sharing many of her favorite vegetarian recipes so that I can make them at my house.

Planning meals in advance and cooking more in bulk so that they last for several days will help with my busy schedule.  Today I made stuffed colored peppers:

peppers more peppers

Don’t these just scream “Spring!” … and “Eat me!!!”

These colored peppers are stuffed with quinoa, red lentils, veggie “burger”, chopped beet greens, red pepper/eggplant paste, and mashed avocado.  When I put them in the pan, I poured spicy vegetable juice over them.

I dirtied two plates just for these pictures before I baked them!



I had originally planned on doing a ten-day juice fast, but I think that it might be too much at once on my body… so I am going to do a three day cleanse Wednesday-Friday instead.  I am already juicing once a day, so I have been easing myself into it.  The ten day fast might be better for me once the school year ends in June instead.  That will give my body more time to acclimate to the changes I am already making.

Aerial Silks will continue beginning next week (here’s hoping that my arm will be in good enough shape to handle it), so that will become part of my permanent routine as well.  I do not know how long it will take me to get strong enough to last for a whole performance routine, but I am aiming for some point in this next year!  All the exercise will give me strength, the changes in eating will help with weight loss, and determination will get me to that silks routine!!


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