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Category: Fire Breathing Beaver Squad

Beginning of the Next Chapter  May 24th, 2010

I do promise to write more after my midterm tomorrow afternoon. This past week I’ve been thinking of what I want to say about my accomplishments in  the Power Up Challenge. Power Up has helped me in so many ways to get my thoughts and mind back into place…and bring that sense of balance and general well being back into my life. We all found a support system that we never really expected to find. We surpassed all our beliefs about our comfort zone and limits after we jumped into thin air from a 40 ft platform, hoping that the zip line would catch us and carry us another 100 feet down. Power Up has been a great experience…one that I am very lucky to have been part of. I can’t wait to explain more about my experience later on tomorrow. 🙂

Time flies!  May 24th, 2010

This challenge has been such a wonderful experience; I really can’t believe that the time has gone by so quickly!  I can honestly say that I was able to meet all of my goals and have gotten into a nice, healthy routine of exercise, mindfulness, and better nutrition.

  1. I am back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!!  I would still like to lose about 5 more pounds but I feel great!
  2. I have completed a bucketful of blood work and met with some great specialist that have provided my husband and I will all of the information needed to finally make a well-informed decision on whether or not to have another baby… not to say that the decision has been made but we now have all of our questions and concerns addressed
  3. I have also talked with some amazing counselors at Holt International down in Eugene and feel good about having some adoption options available to us as well

I absolutely will continue on with my daily Dixon routine – I have grown to love my afternoon break and so appreciate that this challenge has allowed me to finally get over there and find out what all Dixon has to offer!!  And I have found that being mindful of what I eat has really changed my food preferences overall – I don’t crave the greasy or overly sweet items any longer and I just feel so much better about myself at the end of the day when I know I have had my servings of fruits and veggies.

The people who have done this challenge with me are all amazing!  I feel very fortunate to have met and been able to work with each and every one of them… I have no double that we will all keep in touch and be there to support each other as we continue on in our wellness journeys.

Take care!


This isn’t the end. No, seriously, it’s not over…  May 23rd, 2010

Although the Power Up Challenge is coming to a close, it’s been impossible for me to get into the ‘Power Down’ mindset since, from the beginning, my personal goal date has been June 20th

But as a not-quite-endpoint report I will share how this journey has been for me.

Going into this back in January I had several goals, among them:

1) Make it to the top of Valley Library without stopping and without needing a paramedic with an oxygen tank at the top!

2) Learn to cook healthy ethnic foods- something beyond the standard comfort foods that I enjoy.

3) Get a handle on stress

4) Lose weight and gain strength/endurance

I’ve been preparing for the library climb and have successfully tromped from the main floor to the top without stopping but there’s still that basement level so tomorrow (Monday) that’s on my list of things to do.  I’ll have my Rocky Balboa attitude on for sure.

Spicing up mealtimes with healthy ethnic foods has been a fun challenge and one I will enjoy for the rest of my life.  I picked up a thick, hardbound book of Chinese recipes that will take me a couple of years to get through (think Julie & Julia- only in slow motion…) and I’m looking forward to THAT journey, for sure!

Making time for ‘balance’ in my daily life is something I have never focused on, or if I did it wasn’t for very long!  Having this be a weekly challenge has gotten me into the habit of looking for that balance and as a result I feel it immediately when things are off kilter and need to be centered again.

One goal that I didn’t know I needed to focus on was getting adequate sleep.  Keeping track of the days I did, and did not, get enough sleep gave me a surprising reality check on just how crucial those 7 hours really are for me and how much it really affects my performance and mood during the day.

Now, for losing weight- this has frustrated me more than anything else.  I walked, rode my (stationary) bike like a madwoman, did pushups, situps, physioball exercises, tried to eat right…but the pounds just weren’t coming off like I thought they should.

Here’s the kicker, though.  In January I took a full set of measurements and yesterday, after four months, took those same measurements again.  In spite of only losing a handful of pounds I actually got rid of 1.75 inches in my waist, 2.25 inches off my abdomen, 1/2” from my upper arm, and 1/2” from my thigh.  Not huge numbers to be sure, but this is where the difference I was looking for came through!  I’ve definitely got the ‘stronger’ part of my goal down pat!  Unfortunately, I actually gained a 1/2” in my calves from all the walking and keeping the tension on the bike up high, but I’ll take toned over flabby any day of the week, even if it means gaining a little size.

So, the scale?  It’s going back out in the garage where it belongs.  I actually considered going all “Office Space” on it but didn’t want to frighten the neighbors…

And this journey?  Far, FAR from over.  I feel healthier and stronger both physically and mentally and this challenge has given me the leg-up I needed to get this life-long party started!

Thanks to *everyone* that has helped and encouraged me along the way: my family, The Fire Breathing Beaver Squad, Kerry, Tiari, Theresa and Teresa, and the whole Power Up Challenge team.  This has been FUN!

Off week…  May 17th, 2010

Just a quick note… had an off week last week; was home sick with a stomach bug on Monday and Tuesday and then had a large collaborative proposal due on Friday so didn’t make it over to Dixon all week =(.

But… it was a beautiful weekend; we worked in the yard or with our honey bees all weekend long soaking up as much sunshine as possible and I was back over to Dixon today.

So, here’s to a better week!


Movers ‘n Shakers  May 16th, 2010

Plank. Image source:

Thursday’s activity, Discovering Your Inner Core!, was a great event that I’m so glad I didn’t miss. 

We started off by learning about the different muscle groups in our bodies and I found out something amazing!  There are layers of muscles UNDER our muscles!  Somehow I just missed that information along the way but Thursday I found out just how important these muscles really are.   

The muscles I always think of first, like biceps and the elusive six-pack, are called the ‘movers’ and the muscles that are part of our trunks, including underneath those abs, are called ‘stabilizers’ (or what I will forever refer to as the ‘SHAKERS!’ since using them makes me jiggle like an angry Jell-o salad!).  😉

Overly Simplified Bare Bones Explanation: stabilizers are what we use for balance AND for supporting our joints and mover muscles.

We learned how important it is to let the muscles rest for 48 hours (not that I could have done those exercises two days in a row, anyway! Yowch!) so yesterday I was at it again, pushing through a very light workout just to try and ease up some of the stiffness.  I’m excited about working a little harder at it tomorrow when I’m no longer eating ibuprofen like breath mints…

One thing that struck me is how, once again, I have been surprised to learn just how incredibly important fixing what’s on the *inside* is. 

Whether it’s managing stress, getting adequate sleep, being mindful of the foods I eat, or working those stabilizing muscles- all of these layers of WHOLE BODY fitness are just as important, if not more so, than the finished externally ‘fit’ package and I am grateful for this new understanding. 

I think this is what makes any change a lifelong change and one of continued growth with new peaks and challenges- not just a “Biggest Loser” episode repeat where we are excited to shed the same 30 pounds over and over and over again… 

On another note: Over the past few months two goals I have worked on week after week are 1) making sure I eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables and 2) replacing white bread with whole grains.  By doing this consistently not only has it become a ‘habit’ but I found out that I really enjoy whole grain toast withOUT butter or margerine!  Don’t get me wrong- I still enjoy the occasional white bread sweet roll but in my ‘past life’ bread ‘n butter was pretty much all one word… no more.  These seemingly little milestones or revelations are the ones that will stick with me and the ones that will, ultimately, make the biggest difference in my overall health. 

But back to Core fitness: if you want better and much more complete information then contact Erika Hanselman Green, the Fitness Coordinator at Dixon Rec, OR you can check out one of the daily FitPass Core classes! :

Core Conditioning M/W/F from 1-1:30pm

Ab Blaster M/W 6:30-7pm

Ab Blaster T/R 1-1:30pm

~Cammila  =)

No title…  May 10th, 2010

I love reading the blogs that everyone’s been posting.  They’re all so upbeat, supportive and uplifting.  And so well written.

I’m having a tough go of it right now.  Between camp 2 weeks ago and being sick most of last week, my diet has gone to h*** in a handbasket (an old saying of my grandmother’s).  Camp food was, well, camp food. <G>  And I guess I’ve been babying myself the past week or so, feeling sorry for myself that I’ve been sick, and eating comfort food.  No emphasis on fruits and veggies, no high fiber, no whole grain anything.  And I can feel how much better I was doing when I was consciously trying to eat healthy.

My diet isn’t the only thing taking a beating right now.  My incentive and determination are so low.  It’s been a long time to sustain that “CHALLENGE, YES” high, especially with so many work interruptions and illness.  I need a good team talking to to help me get back on track.  Or maybe I just need to have a long serious discussion with that person in the mirror that I see every morning.  Tell her to straighten up, fly right.  Remind her how much better she was feeling when she was paying attention to getting enough fruits, veggies, fiber, vitamins.  You heard me, lady in the mirror — eat a carrot for the team!  (Take 2, they’re small. <G> )

SUHWEET!  May 8th, 2010

Summer solstice may be many weeks away but this is what hollers “SUMMER TIME” at me the most!  Sweet, SWEET strawberries from Gathering Together Farm!

Sweet strawberries from GTF @ Corvallis Farmer's Market

It was a beautiful morning to be strolling along the riverfront at the Corvallis Farmer’s Market with blues guitar at one end of the street and folk guitar at the other.  Everyone looks relaxed and happy at the Farmer’s Market and that’s just one of the reasons I love going.  The *only* disappointment was that we couldn’t find the snow cone cart that was there last year but maybe we just missed it.  We’ll be back many times over the next few months to check!


On another note: Congratulations to the Orange Power team for winning the Cinco de Mayo cookoff contest on Wednesday evening!  Their sauteed spinach & garlic was especially delicious and their plating was beautiful!  They truly deserved to win.  🙂  

For my own team- the Fire Breathing Beaver Squad- our food was equally delicious and that guacamole was a major hit with EVERYONE that tried it plus the tofu tacos were amazing!  So congratulations on a delicious meal that I was proud to share with you and will actually attempt to recreate here at home.  Now that I know what Quinoa tastes like (KEEN-wah for those of you that are like me and never knew how to pronounce that before!  I was always saying Kwin-NO-uh) I will *definitely* be making that in the near future!

It was a fun challenge and I am eagerly looking forward to the next one. 🙂

Corvallis Farmer's Market Produce

 ~Cammila   =)

Cooking Up Change  May 3rd, 2010

I’m very excited for our Power Up Challenge Iron Chef competition this upcoming Wednesday. It’s sure to be very very fun! My boyfriend and I will be heading up to Portland on 6/6 to watch the Vegan Iron Chef competition. That will definitely be something to look forward to as well.

We’ve made it through three days of raw food so far. This week hasn’t been too eventful though…just working my way through midterms. I’ll be leaving for Taipei, Taiwan for my research on the 8th of June, then off to Bangkok, Thailand from the 21st through the beginning of July. Starting this week, there will be MANY changes to my life…housing/living situation, school, projects, …and soon what country/culture I’m immersed in!

This week’s theme was Sexual Assault Awareness. I learned from RAINN that 1 sexual assault occurs every 127 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes. The good news is that these forms of violence have been decreasing since 1993.

P.S. I have good news…but that I’ll share next week. 😉

What a glorious weekend!  May 3rd, 2010

What a glorious weekend – we really took advantage of the nice weather!  It all started with a trip to the Saturday market downtown.  I adore the Corvallis Saturday market and was looking forward to some yummy baked goodies for breakfast and fresh, Oregon grown, strawberries (nothing tastes the same so I don’t even bother buying others which makes strawberries a very special spring treat)!  We purchased 2 pints that were almost gone before we even got home!!  My daughter, Akila, and I also decided it was the perfect time to make the first rhubarb cake of the season… and you can’t leave the market without salad greens; isn’t spring wonderful!! 

They always have great activities for the kiddos too – Akila got to build a birdhouse that was inspected by one of our very own city inspectors (too cute – she built her 1st one last year). 

I year or so ago I read the book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and was amazed.  For one year, their family lived solely on local foods and foods grown by themselves… if it couldn’t be produced in the neighborhood or in their own garden, they went without.  I have always wanted to live that lifestyle but like most everyone else, I have become too accustom to eating what I want, when I want regardless of the season, where and how it was raised and how far it had to travel to get to me.

This week, take some time to hit one of the local markets and enjoy all that the Willamette Valley has to offer us – especially this time of year.  We live in a beautiful place surrounded by a lot of amazing people.


Help them find their BLIS  May 1st, 2010

Thursday of this last week I visited the Expressions of Strength art exhibit in the MU.  I wasn’t sure what to expect other than an initial impression simply from the title of the exhibit. 

It was moving…encouraging…and terribly, terribly sad.

I am in awe of the people who created such thought provoking pieces.  The most difficult part was knowing there was a sad story behind each one…but at the same time that’s what made the exhibit so powerful since the sadness had been channeled into ‘expressions of strength’ and survival!

Reading through the brochures they had available I came across some great tips for people who want to help someone who has been through the trauma of sexual assault:

BELIEVE the survivor, and never ask questions that may blame them (such as “Why did you go back to his room?” or “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”).

LISTEN to the survivor, reassuring that it was not her/his fault.

INFORM the survivor about options and resources that are available.

SUPPORT the survivor.  Do not give advice, but help her/him regain control by supporting her/his choices about whether or not to report or seek help.

It was an honor to be able to attend the exhibit.