Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Never say never! The Y.

No matter what the topic ... never say never!

This past January I joined a gym!  In the past I firmly believed that I would never ever get involved in a gym membership.  The reasons are many:  dislike contracts, no interest in body building,  can't stand the gym culture that glamorizes the perfect body, not sure I would stay committed.  Nope! Not for me.

And yet ... this year I joined a gym.

After the effort of moving had died down, I noticed that my personal strength was dying down too. Condo living definitely takes less effort - 55+ communities are specifically designed to make life  easier.  Great and yet, not great!  'Easier' doesn't keep you strong.  And walking alone was not going to be enough.


About 10 minutes from the condo is a new Y.  I was curious.

In January I took a tour of this facility!  I found only good things there.  First off, no contracts, just a monthly fee.  Because it was a new year the 'joining fee' was waived.  The offerings were many:  swimming, basketball courts, cycling studios, martial arts classes, flexibility sessions, yoga studios, rock/wall climbing, circuit weight training - something for every interest.  The population, however,  was the biggest draw for me: all ages, abilities, and body types.  Many seniors, people with disabilities, and family groups.  I saw only a few serious body builders.  The rest were regular folks looking to improve health.  I felt totally comfortable.  I joined.

My own focus is strength training.  I need to maintain the muscles I have - and maybe build them back to a normal level.  I began with circuit weights - the machines.


Easy equipment to use.


Thankfully all the cardio equipment has TV.


The center provided 4 free sessions with a personal trainer to orient you to the equipment and to set the base line.  They set my base line fairly low at my request.  I needed only one orientation session - the equipment is easy to understand, adjust and use.  I never feel sore afterwards - only tired.


The center offers various cardio equipment - treadmills, stationery bikes, recumbent bikes, step climbers, etc.  Although my preference is to walk outside, my neighborhood is not walker friendly.  Having use of this cardio equipment has been helpful.





It has been 3 1/2 months since I started this membership and I can feel a difference already.  I have increased my lift weight slowly.  Small but steady progress.  I sometimes struggled with finding the time to go, but I always feel great after the workout.

Guess this is a successful start.  Best outcome??  Still doing this in April 2018!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

70

Today I am 70.

70!


A big number.

Of course, I can't help wondering how big that number will finally be.  Guess everyone thinks about how long they will live at some time or another.

For some reason my 60s weren't a big deal.  I seldom thought about just how long I would live while marking each birthday anniversary in my 60s.  Maybe the 60s were a big deal for our parents or grandparents, but with the state of medical care and improved longevity today, the 60s were just a bump in the road for me.  Looking at my family history - my mother and her relatives lived well into their 80s - some into their 90s.  I am my mother's clone.  But there are no guarantees in this aging path for any of us.

No matter how I wrap my mind around it, 70 is different.  To my ear, it sounds like I am talking about someone else's age - not mine.

It is right about here ... when well meaning people (usually younger people) whip out the common platitudes about aging.  You know the ones ... age is just a number, you are only as old as you feel, age brings wisdom, you should be grateful for the years you have, etc. etc. etc.

Make no mistake!  I am grateful for this 70th birthday.  Really!  Many people never get the opportunity to age - a few of those unfortunate folks were my peers.  So my feelings on this day are are filled with gratitude.

Regardless ...  sweep all those typical feel good statements aside ... 70 is a big number to me.  I really really want it to sound like a smaller number.

My guess is when I am facing 85 ... 70 will sound like a smaller number!  Ha!

I noticed recently on CNN that the oldest person in the world just died at the age of 117.  How anyone knows out of the billions of people on this earth exactly who is "the oldest person in the world" - is beyond me.  But 117 years of age is a HUGE number.  I wouldn't aspire to that age - unless I could be sure to be mobile and of sound mind.  Since I am not sure I am of sound mind now (ha!), I guess that knocks me out of the running to beat her record.  I bet this lady would think that 70 is a small number.  But 117 years of age would be too big a number for me.  My world presently would look entirely different at the age of 117.  For example: the age of my oldest child if he survived would be 91 years of age.  Gads!!  Worse yet - if he didn't survive and I had to live through that loss.  No, no, no.  I most certainly do not want to live that long.

That leaves me wondering which advanced age number would satisfy a desire to have lived a full life.  I couldn't begin to guess that number.  But I can confidently say that 70 is too young to say "I have lived a full life."
Hmm ... 70 .... too young.  I think I can live with that!!😛

Happy Birthday to me.


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Master Bedroom - Condo Tour

 A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it."

Many months ago I began a short series of posts introducing the condo we purchased in August 2016.  This post continues that series with pictures and comments of the master bedroom.

Our master bedroom is about two thirds the size of our townhouse master bedroom.  But it is entirely adequate for our use - and in some regards, a great improvement.


To begin with this room has 3 windows creating a great deal of natural light to off set the smaller size.  Our town house master bedroom had only 2 windows.  In fact this condo has SO MUCH natural light that special window treatments are needed to block the light for sleeping or to reflect the heat of the day during the summer months.  The window treatments have room darkening shades with additional temperature controlling features.

The master bathroom is located down a short hall past and closets and is larger than our last master bathroom allowing for wheel chair access if that is ever needed.  It has a walk in shower stall with a built in seat.  Obviously this is designed for older adults who may at some point have special needs. Having taken care of an elder relative in my town home, I know just how important that walk in shower may be for us.  It also has double sinks and its own large linen closet which our townhouse master bathroom never had.

And the both closets are bigger than our last master bedroom closets.  I used to have a separate closet aside from the master bedroom closets for off season clothes which involved switching clothes twice a year.  Not so here. Everything thing fits in my walk in closet with room to spare.

So reduced bedroom floor space is a non-issue when other issues are considered.


Finally, as the pictures suggest, this room serves as a 'safe place' for my dear elderly cats, Max and Wally. Their litter is in our bathroom and their food bowls are in a corner.  Their my bed is their throne - and there are two sunny 'perches' - one for each cat, to watch the world outside.  This safe space is barred from all visiting dogs.  The cats are totally adjusted to their new home which has been a bit of a surprise to us at their senior age.   In fact, they have become more friendly and attached to us over these last few months - I guess the townhouse was an easy place to lead a solitary life and the condo, being smaller, makes them more connected to us.


We also LOVE the fact this room is located so close to our kitchen where the washer and drier is.  Doing laundry no longer involves climbing two flights of steps with loads of clothes.

All in all ... this bedroom arrangement has provided a much improved style of living.

Next up ... the living room and den!



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hello again!

Looks like I took another blog break.  I am not good at 'planning' the schedule of these posts!  They just seem to organically happen.

But to say nothing has happened in this period would be a stretch of the truth.  It has been and continues to be a soul searching time for me.  I think moving into a true retirement, moving away from caregiving, adjusting to my husband's growing disabilities, moving from our home to a condo, and facing my 70th birthday this month ... well, let's just say I haven't given all that stuff enough importance in its impact on my life.  Those transitions have not fully settled in my brain and soul.

One theme in my thinking that kept popping up was the future of my blog.  Did I still want to do this?  I guess I do off and on.  I can't seem to permanently pull the plug on this activity.   Although I don't feel the need to write like in more difficult days, I just can't hit the 'delete button' on the written record I have created in this space.  So I won't.  This blog will be my space for when the spirit moves me.  I guess it moved me today.

Another theme that kept annoying me (really annoying me) was the time I seem to need to get from one place in life to another.  I have always been a 'get to it' kind of person, with little to no patience for those who don't adapt well to change.  This is not an element of my personality I am proud of but it is the practice of my life and thinking.  Now that 'get to it' attitude seems to have failed me.  I am still adjusting and adapting to the changes in my life over the last few years.  This time has been filled with a number losses and grief.  I have read over and over again .. time to recover from grief takes as long as it takes.  I know it is all normal - but it is still annoying.

The final theme that has risen to the surface is that actions speak volumes - talk really says nothing at all.  So my actions have lead me to believe that I still am adjusting and grieving some, and still thinking about what is next ... now that all other avenues of my life responsibilities have reached an end.  I guess my actions say that I am great at completing the big tasks/stages of life, but I am not so good at moving into others.

My actions?  Exercise - not to look better but to feel better.  It is taking way longer to see results than any other time in my life.  Ha!  Everything takes longer now!  I am still working on getting settled in the condo and getting the space adapted to our needs.  I knit. Despite my desire and talk about spinning and weaving (and buying equipment and supplies, etc. etc. etc.), knitting is what I do.  I have regular contact with my grand dogs and my cats.  Pets provide a balance through example that life can be really simple!  And I read.  Although the days are full something seems lacking.

Beyond that ... I think and think and think.

Will I be back?  Only my actions will tell.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016 and 2017


GOODREADS
It's that time of the year again - how many books will you read this year? 
Can you beat last year's goal?


Last January I joined the GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016.   It is simple, really.  Just pick a number of books you want to read in a given year, plug it into the Good Reads website, log your completed books, and see if you reach goal.

I had no idea how many book I read in a year.  Last year I picked a random number - 25!  Silly me.  I passed that number very early on.  The final 2016 total was 43 books.  The total was probably more since I don't think I logged every book.  And I know I started about 10 others that I lost interest in and abandoned without finishing.  My reading is a mix of Kindle and Audio.  It has been a few years since I have read an actual book.  I should give that a try once again.  I used to adore reading non-electronic books.

My total of 43 for 2016 is really pretty low compared to some readers on GoodReads.  It is not unusual to see a goal of 75 or 100 books for the year.  I find that reading level pretty amazing.  That is about 2 books a week!!

GoodReads sent out invitations again for 2017 and I signed up.  I think I picked a total a little closer to my reading history. This year -  45 books.  I probably should have picked a higher number because last year I had a gap in time (summer moving) when I wasn't reading much.  But I will go with 45 - you never know what the future may hold - and I do love reaching a goal!

Have you ever joined a reading challenge?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflections on 2016

Hello all and Happy New Year.

I know - gone again from blogging.  Not going to make excuses.  The spirit just didn't move me to sit in front of the computer and type.  But I still follow several blogs - one by my blog friend Paula inspired me to check in once again.  She reflected on the year 2016 - and I got to thinking - yep! 2016 is worth summarizing.




1. What did you do in 2016 that you have never done before?

My husband and I moved this year.  I orchestrated the entire process (downsizing 30 years of stuff, purchase of the condo, contracting the move, packing and unpacking, townhouse sale).  My husband's disability has severely limited his ability to assist.  There were times during those months when I thought the effort would kill me - but just like with previous challenges, I put one foot in front of the other and came out on the other side reaching the goal.  I kept reminding myself, if I was single I would be doing this same thing anyway.  I did have the support of family and friends towards the end when my health took a hit, but I survived the experience on pure stubborn-ness for sure!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions? Will you make more for 2017?

I don't think I had a New Year's Resolution.  Obviously if I did the answer to this question would be No - I didn't keep it if I can't remember it.  I did have a word for 2016.  It was MOVE.  Ha!  I meant for that word to reflect more physical movement and improved health.  I didn't achieve that - but I certainly did MOVE this year.

For 2017 I have picked another word.  I wanted it to reflect what was lacking in 2016.  My new word for 2017 is CONSISTENCY.  I want better consistency in the key areas of my life:  exercise, improved diet/health, and, alas, blogging.  At times this past year I have considered closing down this blog.  I never seemed to do it.  So I am hoping to be more consistent in posting.

These are not Resolutions, however.  I think the word 'resolution' dooms the effort for me!  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.  But we certainly would welcome new life in our family. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.  Sadly, my dear dear grand-dog Grimace died early in the year.  No pet (including all the other cats and dogs that have graced our lives) has found such a deep caring place in my heart as that sweet Pug, Grimace.  He is so so missed.

5. What countries or cities did you visit?

None. We don't travel much any more and I do miss doing that.  Maybe someday but it is doubtful I will travel out of the country. There are too many places in this country I would like to see first.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Consistency.  Really.  2016 was consistently inconsistent.  In fact, the pattern of inconsistency started back in 2014.  In 2014 mom's health was failing.  Every week was a struggle and a sadness - and she died just after Christmas.  2015 was not much better.  The stability of my role as caregiver was gone and I didn't feel like I had another focus to anchor my life.  2016 was the height of inconsistency!  Uprooting our lives to improve them was extremely difficult and filled with many misgivings.  We are passed all that now.  2017 - looking for consistency.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

We moved after 30 years in one place.  Nothing else comes close.

8. What was your biggest failure?

I didn't move - at least not the way I intended to move.  Striving for exercise activity in 2017.

9. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Generally my health is pretty good - although I do feel that as I approach 70 years of age (April of this year), my strength is lagging.  I did fall ill with a few colds and GI complaints - and I did spend one night slumped over the kitchen table because that was the only comfortable position my spasmed back would allow.  But all in all - I can't complain.  

That said - I think it is time to focus on boosting my health with better food choices and exercise.  You can't keep leaning on generally good health without putting in some effort - at some point that naturally God-given luck will give out and you better have put some effort into staying strong on your own.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

The condo.  Hands down - this was the best purchase we have made in years.  Although we lost about 1000 square feet of living space, we gained a hugh amount of convenience and freed up a decent amount of cash and time. I will finish the blog 'tour' of our condo in January.

11. Where did most of your money go?

This year the greatest expenditures were related to moving.  When the dust settled our bottom line financially had improved.  But money was spent and shifted at a enormous rate - all of it related to moving.   

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about in 2016?

It has been a long time since I got really really excited about anything.  I think I lost that ability during my caregiving years.  I worry that the experience may have altered my normally outgoing sunny outlook on life.  It certainly changed me.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a)happier or sadder b)thinner or fatter c)richer or poorer?

I guess I am a bit richer.  I am pretty much the same with regards to emotion and weight.

14. What do you wish you had done more of?

Exercise.  And I have to stop thinking in terms of 'wishing' when it comes to exercise!  Wishing gets you no where.

15. What do you wish you had done less of?

Worry.  Second guessing.  Doubting.  The last few years have been filled with too much of that.

16. What is the best book you read?

Well, I read (or listened to) 43 books this year (thank you Goodreads for keeping track).  The count is actually higher if you count the books I started and quit because they just weren't worth my time. I can honestly say that none of them would be described as 'best.'  I look for escapism in reading.  So I pick books that are pretty similar (apocalypse, zombies, weird themed mysteries, unusual life styles.)  My current book is about a female doctorate level psychopath who is an expert in medieval torture devices who works for a special CIA/FBI unit to hunt down criminal psychopaths. See what I mean?  Odd stuff.  None of it would count as 'best.'

17. What did you want and get?

I wanted to find a condo that would make our lives easier and safer.  Got that.

18. What did you want and not get?

I wanted a more flexible and energetic body.  I didn't get that because all I did was wish for it.  Nothing is ever gotten by wishing.

19. What kept you sane?

Knitting is my sanity pill.  Something about the repetitive and creative nature of this activity feeds my soul. 

20. Who did you miss?

My mom and my grand-dog, Grimace.


Happy New Year Blog Friends!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Safety Pin



I think it can be said without stepping on too many toes, that half the population of the United States is bitterly disappointed in the outcome of the election for President.  Actually a better description of my reaction is shock.  But this is the way of democracy.  Mr. Trump will be our President for the next 4 years.

I wish him well.  I want him to succeed because as President Obama stated, Mr. Trump's success will be our success.  I won't do anything in this blog, in person or on social media to tear down our President - now or in the future.  Respect for the opinions of a significant portion of our population must be allowed in a civilized democratic society.

In the wake of this election, however, we are left with a lot of uncertainty - and for many fear.   In a very divided nation as we appear to be, there must be a place where we can reach a common ground.  I am not talking about policy or politics, nationally or regionally or even locally.  The common ground I speak of must be found individually between people - one relationship at a time.

That is where the safety pin movement comes into play.

I got this flag safety pin in the wake of 911.
The safety pin movement is based on just a single undecorated safety pin.
But I couldn't help bringing out my 911 pin for this effort.
A plain safety pin visibly worn on the clothing is a symbol and a silent message to all of your support of anti-violence and anti-bigotry.  No words are needed.  Like a secret handshake - we can identify those who support the rights of all people - who are interested in providing a safe and respectful environment wherever you may be.


Please take the time to read the article about this movement and its origins.  Participate - show your support for the rights of all people.

One paragraph in this article pretty much sums up the focus:

"Now there's a burgeoning effort in the United States for people to start wearing the safety pin ... in the face of post-election attacks and harassment.  Having to adopt a symbol of anti-violence and anti-bigotry is not exactly what any of us thought we'd be doing in the wake of a presidential election taking place in 2016, but it could be one small way to signal that you're an ally (regardless of who you voted for) to someone who probably didn't think they'd be in this vitriolic and volatile situation either."

I am still upset about the result of this election - but this one small step forward makes me feel better.  And looking for other ways to make things better ... not matter how small ... it is worth the effort.