Monday, December 26, 2016

National Thank You Note Day

I'm old enough to remember when there was no text messaging or email to send notes to each other.  We had to make a phone call (and that was usually pretty expensive if the person lived out of town) or write a letter.  Yes, WRITE a letter!

Well, this idea of a personal note is becoming a novelty rather than the norm - and so today I honor National Thank you note day.  



First - Some statistics.  According to a survey done by The Stationary Studio, 93% of us say that a handwritten thank you note is necessary, and yet, according to the same survey, let than half of us do it.  I wonder why that is?  Have we become less thankful?  Are we too lazy?  My personal opinion - and based on my own lack of writing them - we make ourselves so busy it is simply easier to send a quick text or email to say thanks.  


But, how many of you have received that handwritten letter of gratitude?  It feels pretty good doesn't it?  It feels like you and your gift were important enough for someone to take a moment of their time to say thank you.  It simply makes you feel special.

JFK said, "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."  Key word there - STOP.  Slow down.  Take a minute to show you care (and it's good for your body and soul to slow down!).

December 26 heralds in the annualy National Thank You Note day.  It's a day to STOP and take time for those that matter.  Lets all celebrate the day and write some personal notes to our friends and family.

"Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting."  Author Unknown.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wild North West Winter (Before Winter)

Winter is still a week away and here in Oregon we are having some pretty good winter weather.  Last week we had freezing rain - not as bad in some places as expected, but pretty good in others.  This week we got snow.  We had almost 3 inches where I live.  But let me explain to you about Oregon snow.


First of all, we don't usually get it in the upper Willamette Valley.  We are a wet state.  In Portland, the average snow fall is 2 inches for the WHOLE month of December, with just one snow day.  And here we are with almost triple that.  And we're not done yet.  They say this is just the beginning.  Even the squirrels are scrambling!



Now for an old lady, this is a problem.  I had to drive home 30 miles in snow that I am not used to driving in, that most of the other drivers are not used to driving in and that the city is not equipped to properly deal with.  I saw multiple cars slide off the road, a truck going way to fast around the corner slide off the road and roll down a hill.  And I was only half way home!


By the time I got home, I was ready for wine - or vodka - or anything!!  My body had turned to jello and I was exhausted from a simple drive home - the drive that normally takes 40 to 45 minutes and took me almost 2 hours!!

Today was a snow day.  Our child development center (I am the director) was closed.  I sat by the fire warming my creaky joints drinking tea and wandering my yard taking pictures.  Now THAT is how us menopausal ladies should spend our time in inclement weather.


Oh - and today is actually National Wear your Pearls day - So here I am!  



Have a safe and warm winter everyone!


Monday, December 12, 2016

What Masochist Invented Planking?





Lordy where does the time go?  Seems like Thanksgiving was just a few days ago and here it is almost Christmas...

Well as many of you know, I am on my weight loss quest and having a pretty good struggle with it - so when my niece challenged friends and family to the "28 Day Plank Challenge" I was all on board.



Have you ever planked?  First day was 20 seconds - a   V E R Y  long 20 seconds!  Then thirty - then 40 and right now we are at 1 minute.  Who knew 60 seconds be SO long!



Well I am pleased to say that yesterday I did the full minute without grunting!  Today is day 12 - NINETY FREAKING SECONDS!!!  OMG - Well, I'll let you know if I made it, but there WiLL be grunting!

The goal at the end of the 28 days?  240 seconds - that's FOUR MINUTES!!  OMG - OMG - what have I gotten myself into!!

Actually - the bottom picture is me on both accounts!



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's National Hiking Day!

Did you know there is a day to celebrate hiking?  Well, neither did I until now.  I tried to use it as a way to motivate my husband to get out and hike with me.  No can do.  He "doesn't like to hike".  But hiking is great exercise - and there are some beautiful sights to be seen along the way.   And it's good for the soul.


So come along with me on a few hikes I've been on!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Who wants to Hire an Old Lady?

I was working for Head Start in 2007 and was told if I didn't get my degree, I'd lose my job.  So what did I do, I enrolled in a University to complete the BA I had started 30 years ago.

Then in 2010, I lost my job anyway.  Budget cuts.  Since I was so close to completion, I just kept going, racking up those student loans with the idea that I would be able to get a job that was good enough to pay them back.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Studies, a minor in Early Childhood Education and an undergrad certificate in Conflict Resolution and Mediation in 2013; and a 4.0 GPA.



I was advised to keep going - get my Master's degree.  I would be able to find so many opportunities, and so I did.  In 2015 I received an MA in Interdisciplinary studies with a concentration on Leadership and Organizational Communication (with a 3.85 GPA - I got one A-).  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What? Three Months??

I really need to be more diligent in my postings!! It's been three months??  No Way!

Yes way - Well - here is what my life has been -

Work - crazy busy at work!! Budgets, Huge fundraising event, USDA renewals, hiring, losing and hiring again.... and the list goes on!

Home - I got sick with the flu - Hubby got sick, but not the flu - two days in the emergency room!  Thankfully he's on the road to recovery.  His insomnia is my insomnia!

Weight loss - well - I hit a plateau - A huge plateau!  So I decided to join weight watchers online.  After a month I'm starting to drop again.  Last weight, 196.5 - Only 45.5 left to go!!  Oh - and I had to buy a new dress for our event.  Last year's was too big!  And this year's was TWO (count them, 1-2) sizes smaller!! WOO HOO

And the hot flashes!! What the heck?  Those were supposed to be gone!  I'm in full blown menopause now and the hot flashes and night sweats have returned!!  I have doctor's appointment next week and will try to get some answers on that.

And so, I will try to commit to weekly posts - I have three other blogs so I get busy and forget this one.  The one that is my saving grace in dealing with this thing called menopause.  The one where I can vent and share and be me - My therapy.

So thank you to all my dedicated therapists that have stuck with me in spite of my inconsistencies!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Time Flies - At last, Answers!

Wow - time does fly!!  So much has happened since my last post!!  I finally went to the doctor after over a month of trying to lose weight.  Something was just off!!  She did blood work and found I not only had a metabolic disorder, but I was pre-diabetic.  The good news, the medication can help you loose weight.  And it did!

I started taking metformin on June 28.  I weighed 208 pounds.  I weighed myself this morning and I was at 198 - that's 10 pounds.  The only change I made was taking the pills (and I haven't been as diligent counting calories).  Now that's a motivator!!

I'm finding that menopause and aging has it ups and downs - there are good days and great days, but I'm starting to settle into the changes and revel in the ways my body has improved!

Before

Now

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Week 2

I've really worked this.  I've completed all my goals and then some.  Every day I have eaten at least 3, usually 5 or 6, fruits and vegetables.  I walked 30 min 3X last week and 2X so far this week.  I have kept my calories between 1000 and 1300 every day.  So why in the world did I gain weight?  What the Heck??

It is so incredibly discouraging to work so hard only to have the results spin back the wrong way!  Someone asked, "but how do your clothes fit?  Muscle weighs more that fat".  Yeah.  I know that.  And my clothes are tighter than ever!  I wonder if my heart is having a similar reverse of results.

I made an appointment with my doctor to see if she can shed some light on this dilemma.  In the mean time, I'll just keep trying.  Aching joints and all.....


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week I - Health Coach

Yesterday was my first meeting with my coach.  We talked about what I wanted to get out of it and about my overall health and health habits.  Some of my answers were embarrassing, but I was honest.  We'll be meeting every two weeks for six months via email mostly.  So, my overall goals are to lose 50 pounds and to run in a 5K.  But little bits at at time.

The next two weeks my goals are:

Eat AT LEAST 3 fruits and veggies EVERY day!
Walk/Run for 30 minutes AT LEAST 3X a week.

So today I decided I'd start that walking.  It was chilly out, not a typical mid-June morning.  But it felt good. I figured I'd walk for 15 minutes, then turn around and walk home.  Perfect plan.  Then, about 15 minutes into the walk, it started to rain.  Not a summer mist - Rain!


Those aren't rocks you see in the puddle.  Those are drops!


But I trudged on.  As it started to rain harder, I started to run.  But my old out of shape body would only go so far on high speed.  So I walked more.  



And I made it.  I walked for 30 minutes and did just slightly under a mile and a half.  Not bad for the first day out.  And for breakfast - A smoothie made with yogurt and blueberries (one fruit/veggie down).  
Like my glowing aura?  That's actually rain drops on the lens!



Pretty pleased with myself right now.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Health Coach

Well, I went and did it.  I've signed up for a health coach.

I need to lose weight and I need to get more active.  So far, success eludes me.  I did it before (of course I wasn't working then - Got a job and got lazy and now I',m starting all over again...)



 I've tried the diet pills - bajeepers!!  Those things made me feel like I was living in an alternate reality!  Did I lose weight?  Yep.  Was it worth it?  I don't think so.  The risks are too high and I didn't feel like a part of the real world.

I get up early to ride the exercise bike, but other duties seem to call and distract me from the business at hand.  By the time I've cleaned the house, done my blog work, packed my lunch and taken care of the cats, it's time to shower and get the heck out of the door to be at work on time!!  My step goal each day is 6K - and yet I only hit it once or twice a week.

So here I am - Monday is the first call.  I'm going to work with a health coach.

Here I am now -

my happy face
 Can this old, fat lady do it??  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rightness

Been awhile since I've written.  It's been a rough month and it's just started!!  Work has been crazy.  Too many things crammed into one day!  Had a job interview for the job I've been after for more than five years - but it's not looking too good.  I'm thinking people aren't interested in hiring older people because I know I'm qualified.

And a friend I'd had a falling out with died.  It's strange how we are so convinced of our "rightness" until someone dies.  Then we begin questioning it.  Could I have handled this different?  Maybe it was my fault?  Even though you know it just is what it is and people have differences all the time, death has a way of creating questions that would never have otherwise existed.

I suppose it's a wake up call for the living - think carefully before you speak and measure your actions before you take a step.  Life is far to short and unpredictable to always be convinced of your own "rightness".

Black and White, Flying Seagull - 11 X 14 Print

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sneezeleak

I am an aging woman.  I am a member of the group known as "The Baby Boomers".  I am honestly enjoying getting older - telling people my real age.  I also find the changes in my body to be, well, interesting?

Only an older, menopausal woman will understand sneezeleak.  It's that little dose of incontinence that comes when we cough hard or sneeze or even, sometimes, laugh!  Ack!!  What the heck it this??

I'm not ready for depends.  Not by a long shot.  My ego will simply not allow it.  But what do I do here?  I had a bad cough and went to the doctor and found my self in the corner crossing my legs and clamping down as hard as I could to no avail!  You know, that "Sneeze" posture?  Geez.  What do I do now?

I tried those new things that are out that are supposed to put pressure on the urethra to prevent "leakage".  They look like a tampon.  They hurt.  They made it hard to go when I was really going.  And they didn't work. 

Perhaps this is TMI (Too Much Information), but why are we so hesitant, or flat out opposed, to talk about these thing?  Oddly, it happens to most of us!  It's made me acutely aware of just how self-conscious we are about our bodies.  We prefer to pretend we are perfect, with no odd goings on at all, when just about everyone else around us is doing the same thing!

I propose a challenge.  Let's talk!  What is going on with your aging self and what are you doing about it?  Talk here - talk to a friend - But let's get out there!  Am I the only one that finds these new experiences both interesting and frustrating and in some ways, humorous?  Our bodies are amazing, just how they are at this moment.  Our aging issues are badges of honor that we've made it this far!

Life is short.  We are all young, then we all are old.  Old is not a negative thing.  Old is part of the process. Old is beautiful!  I have a sign in my office that says, "Never regret getting older.  It's a privilege denied many".  It's a privilege I embrace.

This is my mom, a few years before she died.  She was not given the privilege of getting older.  She died at 50.
I am thankful for my aging self.  Sneezeleak and all.  I am thankful for the experiences in my life, memories I would not have had I not lived all the years that I have.  I am thankful for today and treasure the moments.  Tomorrow is promised to no one - Today is a treasured gift.  Don't let it slip away.

This is me and my grandson.  If I were not getting older, I would not have this amazing young man in my life.  He is a treasure!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What is your Music?

I drive to work - a long drive.  I'm lucky if it's under 40 minutes.  That's a lot of time to sit and look out the window.  I listen to music - news radio (I really like Tim and Terri on KPAM).  But if time really goes by quicker when you age (and yes, science shows our brains change the way we perceive time), then why am I wasting over six hours a week?

A co-worker shared a free app with me for my phone - Overdrive. It allows you to borrow audio books from your local library.  So I did it.  The first two books I borrowed are by Wayne Dyer (one of my favorite inspirational speakers).  The titles are 10 Secrets to Success and Inner Peace and Appying the 10 Secrets to Success and Inner Peace.

I only started listening yesterday, so I'm on number 4 - But number 2 is the one that really resonated with me -

The 2cnd secret is "Don't die with the music still in you".  He uses music as the analogy of our personal passion and purpose.  His discussion is discovering the passion inside you, that thing that makes you soar and grow - that thing that makes us feel like we are truly reaching our potential and purpose. Our music.



This got me to thinking.  I'm in the final quarter of my life.  Do I even know what my music is?  If I don't know the music, how can I get it out?  I've reflected on my life and the things that make me feel wonderful about doing them.  I love to sing.  I feel in my element when I stand in front a crowd and belt out a song.  Dr. Dyer suggests you can even make a living at doing what you're passionate about.  But I'm not a song writer and no one wants to pay you to continually sing someone else's songs.  I love to take pictures - I love to write - I love to learn.  So what really is my passion and how can I make a living doing it?

I have decided this will be my week of reflection.  To really look inside and find my music.  To really understand how that music defines me and my purpose.

And I challenge you to do the same.  Leave me a comment and tell me how you are reaching inside. Are you in?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hot Flashes



When I first started menopause I had hot flashes – bright red skin turning hot flashes.  And night sweats!  Wow.  How can you sweat when the heater is off and its 28 degrees outside?  Well I did! 

I used HRTs for a while, then tapered off of them.  Heart disease runs in my family and I already have high blood pressure, so I was a little worried about the side effects of the drugs.  Over the course of a year I took them daily, then every other day, to eventually none. 

It’s been about 10 years since I took hormones and I’ve had little to no issues with hot flashes.  Then suddenly one day – They’re back! 

I sat in a meeting yesterday and my face and arms started to turn fiery red!  I felt like someone had turned the heat way up in my office.  I took of my sweater (fortunately is was a cardigan with a tank top under it) and opened the window.  Five minutes later, the window gets closed and the sweater goes back on.  Fifteen minutes later the routine begins again.

I’ve heard it called a woman’s personal summer.  It’s not.  Summer is lazy and breezy and wonderful when the sun soaks your skin and you relax in the beauty of it.  This is not a summer day.

I get why our bodies change as we age.  We don’t bear children anymore so our bodies don’t need all the parts and hormones and other things needed to do that job.  But why must other parts of our bodies rebel against the change?  Like the ol’ thermostat!

So what are my options?  Hormone Replacement again?  No – not worth the risk.  Taking soy supplements?  No – recent studies show that to be equally dangerous. 

I guess my options are to go out and buy lots of tank tops I can layer with shirts and cardigans – and get my workout taking them off and on and off and on…..

Ah – the joys of being an older woman.

Well, time to go shopping……

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Big, Fat, Menopausal Life

Menopause is an interesting phase of life.  I feel like me.  I still like to do fun things.  But when I look in the mirror I see my mother looking back!  When did that happen?

The Big Menopausal me
My body has deceived me!  I was always a tight, little, size 7 body in a 5' 7" frame.  I was athletic and energetic and I could eat - and eat - and eat.  I ran - I loved to run!  Then suddenly I found myself getting hot and sweaty for no reason.  My flat little tummy started to swell and my waist became, well, what waist?  My little size 7 grew into a 14 (twice the woman I used to be!) and a 16 and now, an 18!  And my sex life has changed.  Fortunately my husband's drive has dwindled as much as mine! 

This Friday I will be 60 years old.  I've been in menopause for about ten years.  My boobs droop and so does my belly!  And food has become an obsession - not what to eat, but what NOT to eat!!  My energy is waning and now I find myself not able to run because of arthritis in my food - and plantar fasciitis and bunions and bone spurs - Geez - this is stuff I used to hear grandma talking about!

So why did I start this blog?  Well not to complain and whine.  It is what it is and all us women will face menopause.  So I decided to start this blog for me.  A place to think about the changes that are happening to my body and to celebrate my aging self.

One of the biggest things I've noticed is the weight gain.  It's not healthy and, with diabetes and heart disease in my family, it's something I need to address.  I weigh 207 pound (up from my 115 pound frame in my twenties).  I've tried so many diets and exercises and have succeeded and gained and failed.  So what is up with that?  I was obsessing.  I spent so much time counting and planning that all I thought about was food.  I was unhappy and frustrated.  So two weeks ago I decided to make a change.

I know what I need to eat - and I know how much.  So my focus is simply to eat enough to fill my belly and no more.  Eat lots of veggies and even fruit - and to splurge on the more expensive ones to treat myself for being healthy.  

I do my stretches daily so I can walk - park far from the door and walk - eyes hurting at my desk, I walk.  And I set my goal easy - one pound per week.  That's it.  One pound.

On my weigh day (the only day I get on the scale) this last Saturday morning, I weighed 206.  Goal achieved.  No stress.  No obsessing.  Enjoying each day.  

So now I move into a new week, with new adventures and new challenges (and my birthday!).  I will enjoy each moment of every day on this journey through the rest of my life.   And I will succeed.