Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family, friends, and neighbours living south of us in the great USA.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Week 39 – Medicinally Speaking

It has been 39 weeks since I started working out on a regular basis.   I am looking better, feeling better, and doing better than I have been for a long time.  😁

67 Years and counting. 👍

Last week I had my semi-annual appointment with my respiratory specialist.   I have asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis.  I have permanent lung damage from these conditions and from having a fully collapsed lung due to empyema ten years ago.  I use Advair and Spiriva inhalers daily and use a Ventolin rescue inhaler as needed.   Over the years, I have taken oral steroids (Prednisone), antibiotics, and a variety of inhalers – blue and green and orange and purple… Every color in the rainbow.

I have had recurring pneumonia and bronchitis and have been susceptible to every flu and cold bug that made its rounds.  Between the bouts of pneumonia, bronchitis, flu bugs, colds, and asthma attacks… I struggled to ever feel GOOD.  

In  February, I started working out on a daily basis.  I started with half an hour of dancing to hits from the 50’s – 60’s.  As I felt better, I turned to You Tube and started following a channel that posted dance/exercise classes for seniors.   By May, I was doing You Tube Zumba classes every morning.  By July, I was walking our dog 2-4 km  every day  and doing my Zumba lessons.  In September, I started lifting light weights every evening.  I am up to using 5 lb dumbbells now, plus doing Zumba, plus walking the dog (when weather permits).

And I am feeling good!  I am active! I am strong!   I am looking lean(er)  and fit! I am happy!   I have had one ‘bug’ which was come and go for a few days before it went away – with no need for antibiotics, oral steroids, or the like.

So…  Last week I went to see my respiratory specialist.   He checked my lungs, my blood pressure, my heart rate, my oxygen level.  He asked if I was experiencing any shortness of breath, how I was feeling, any current health concerns.  Everything was good!  I told him about my workouts and he said that was good.  😊

Then he renewed my inhaler prescriptions and offered to write me one for an antibiotic.  🤦 WHY? In case I get a lung  infection – bronchitis, pneumonia or the like.    I declined and told him if I needed antibiotics, I would let him know, but I wasn’t anticipating any such need as I am doing great! 

His response was…. “That’s because you are taking your medication”

I have been taking ‘my medication’ for thirty years!  My medication may have kept me alive but it sure as hell didn’t make me feel great!   It didn’t make me healthy and strong and fit! 

Every time I have seen this specialist, I have asked for advice on what I could or should be doing to best manage my asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis.  He could try this drug or that.  He could send me to a cardiologist or an ENT.  He could send me for scans or pulmonary function tests.  I would ask about exercise – specific exercises that he could recommend.  He would make a vague comment about any activity being helpful and remind me to take my medication. 

Ultimately, I started working out on my own and I found a workout program that worked for me.    I worked it for nine months – and his response to my phenomenal results was “That’s because you are taking your medication.”   😤🤯🤬

It doesn’t matter to me.  I take my inhalers to control my chronic lung  conditions and I do my workouts because I know that they are giving me the quality of life that I want and deserve.

But what about all the other people out there with asthma, COPD,  bronchiectasis, or other chronic lung conditions?    It is hard to know what will help or hurt when one is already struggling just to breathe.    It is hard to push oneself when one is  handed a simple fix in the guise of a pill or inhaler.   It is scary to get any diagnosis of a chronic incurable disease and to believe that it will only get worse.     It is just wrong that  people  are not hearing what they need and deserve  to hear from their respiratory specialists and that what they are hearing is only half the answer to living with chronic lung conditions.   😢

Molly and Sasha playdate – healthy, happy, and active! 💞

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Week 38 – Feeling Fine!

It is thirty-eight weeks since I started my health and fitness journey back on February 14th. That was nine months ago yesterday!

Feeling fine!

I have a few things to mention in my weekly update…

1. I am feeling fine, which is really great because I have a semi annual checkup with my respiratory specialist on Friday. He didn’t order any x-rays, scans, or lung function tests so it remains to be seen what he will notice, but in May my blood pressure was on the high side and these days it is holding steady at about 117/71 so I hope that impresses him. 🙂

2. I went to the mall on Sunday and stopped in to see grandson Rory who works at a casual clothing shop. I picked up a pair of fleece lined sweat pants and a pair of light lounging pants. Both were size SMALL and they both fit. YAY!! That would not have been the case in February. 🙄

3. I pumped up my weight workout last night. 5# dumbbells – 4 lifts – 5 reps – 5 sets. Plus 15 wall push-ups. 💪

4. have been nailing my Zumba workouts in the morning and I was trying to walk Molly every couple of days since her surgery. Due to the snow and ice and her uncooperative nature, I had to pull the plug on her walks on Sunday. She is hell bent on going to the dog park and that just cannot happen until next week… 😟 (Have I mentioned that she weighs 90 pounds now?)

5. In lieu of walking, I have been getting outside for some fresh air and snow shoveling. 😏

And finally… I know I have been MIA a lot lately for posting blogs and reading those that I generally follow. I have been keeping busy but mostly Molly has been going through a phase and surgery recovery. High maintenance would be an understatement – and she takes particular issue with me picking up my phone or sitting down at the computer – or sitting ANYWHERE for that matter.

She is usually good when we are eating, when she is eating, or when I am doing my workouts. 💞

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Cleanest walks on the block. 😊

November 11th – Dane Sanders

Today I am highlighting another inspirational teacher that I have discovered.  Dane Sanders is a motivational speaker, business trainer, and professional photographer.   I was just recently introduced to his work by my friend Dwight Hyde at https://www.fadedjeansliving.com

Dane Sanders is one of the co-creators of ‘Men and Women of Discomfort’.   This is a group of men and women who take on 90 day challenges to push themselves physically, mentally, and beyond.   More information on this group can be found on Instagram or at their website https://www.mwod.io/

What inspired me about Dane Sanders was a blog that he shared discussing character roles.    In writing narratives there are three typical character roles – Villain, Victim, and Hero. 

In real life,  we all tend to play these roles.  We switch roles on a continual basis – playing the villain, the victim, and the hero on any given day (or at time of day).    These roles are not  specifically positive or negative – much depends on the circumstances and our intention.  Often, we are not even aware of the role we are playing.

The role of a victim is not one that we typically choose – we just are a victim of circumstances or others.   We have been victimized.   Generally,  our goal will be to work through our victim role to a hero role.  Occasionally, we deliberately or unconsciously choose to remain in the victim role because there is a lack of personal responsibility in playing the helpless victim.   We just are.   We do not realize that this choice  is costing us  our  free will –  the power to create and live our own life on our own terms.

Victims attract heroes.  Those who choose to remain victims attract ‘false heroes’  or villains who are called rescuers.    These rescuers, do not help victims – they are enablers or victimizers, who use their false hero role to empower themselves at the expense of the victim.  

Victims with  a goal  to work their way to being a hero, attract true heroes.   True heroes are guides.   Guides lead by example and provide the information that victims require to become true heroes, so that they may in turn guide others.

Dane Sanders  encourages  us to notice the role(s) we are playing, choose the role we want to play in our lives, and move towards that goal. 

This lesson by Dane Sanders gave me a new perspective in how I see myself and how I live my life.    At times I am  the victim – not choosing to remain the victim for long.  Everyone enjoys the occasional (self) pity party, and I am no exception – but I really do NOT enjoy feeling helpless.    At times, I am  the true hero (the guide).   I have, especially with my family, tried to lead by example and to share that which I felt would be beneficial to them.    But, most often (and again especially with my family),  I have played the villain (the typical ‘rescuer’ villain!).   It makes me feel needed – even if I do not feel wanted or loved.   It is a role I choose to mask my lack of self confidence and self worth.   And worst of all –  It victimizes others, by undermining their own confidence and self worth.  😢

This is a hard lesson to learn – but it is an incredibly powerful lesson in my mind.  It is a lesson that I believe can help me to be a genuinely better person.   For that, I am truly grateful to Dane Sanders for sharing his wisdom.

Take care and have an authentically great day! 💞🌞

Molly Update & More

Molly is coming along nicely following her surgery on Monday.

Our temperature ranged from -25 to -30 Celsius today so we took a pass on our walk. Yesterday, our favourite human Genie came by and we went for a major hike across the ball diamonds through snow 1 – 2 feet high in places. The snow was in hard packed drifts and there were plenty of footprints which made it challenging to get through at places. The trip back, via the pathway through Regent Park was considerably easier. All in all, a good outing.

Today, I figured Molly and I could use a break. I sorted through kitchen cupboards and did an inventory of baking supplies. Despite still being on painkillers and sedatives and wearing that gigantic collar, Molly has kept herself busy all day just being Molly.

And… just because this seems like a day when people could use a smile, here is a picture that granddaughter Maddy did yesterday. For a twelve year old with no professional training, I think her work is amazing – and it is just so darn Maddy. 😊

Keep warm, stay safe, and have a great rest of the day! 💞🌞

Week 37 – Changing up!

Time for another health and fitness update. I finally did it! Last night, I moved up to five pound dumbbells for my evening routine. I did cut back on reps and sets, but I also switched up two of my lifts to dumbbell rows and dumbbell squats. 😁

I missed my Molly walk on Sunday, but I did shovel some HEAVY snow. I did the back landing and steps at about 6 AM when I let Molly out. Dan did most of the sidewalks and front steps, but I did go out and help.

The snow was about 6 inches up the back door and packed solid.

I also missed my Molly walk yesterday because she was at the vets getting spayed and today because she is still fairly medicated.

Molly on painkillers and sedatives. 🥳

Molly is doing fairly well, so we should walk tomorrow. That collar is about two feet across so it’s just a bit awkward for her to move around the house. It is also rather awkward when she tries to herd me around the kitchen. 🙄

We had serious wind and a bit more snow last night, so I have some more shoveling that I can get out to work on. Molly is finally taking a nap so I am just waiting for her to wake up so she can come outside with me – at least for a while.

Other than that I made some cinnamon buns on Friday – kneading the dough was a bit of a workout. 😊 They weren’t my best effort but they were okay if you didn’t actually know they were supposed to be cinnamon buns.

And… There wasn’t any fitness involved, but we did go out on Saturday to help celebrate great granddaughter Alaska Rose’s first birthday.

Alaska did an amazing job of opening her presents – with a bit of help from Mom and a couple of aunties.
She could use some work on her cake eating skills. 💞

That’s it for today. Molly is awake so time to bundle up and go move some snow.

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

November 3rd – Rasa Pura

Still on the topic of mental and emotional well being and those that I turn to for inspiration, today my blog is highlighting Rasa Pura.

Rasa is a life coach and yoga teacher who posts guided meditations on You Tube.   She is  very new age, and I have to admit my personal beliefs do not totally mesh with hers, but her voice is SO soothing and her message is always SO positive, that I love listening to her meditations.

The guided meditation that I have been using regularly for the past few weeks is the positive affirmation   “I Am” video above.     My favourite line in the entire video comes at the end of the introduction “Energy flows where attention goes”. 

I know that line embodies the truth because I have seen it – for better or worse – time and time again!  I have seen it in others and I recognize it in myself.   By repeating a negative thought ten times, I can convince myself that I am cold, tired,  sickly, angry, sad,  or miserable.   By repeating, a positive thought, I can convince myself that I am the total opposite.  Either mindset ultimately determines what I do and how I do it.

I have been listening to this particular video every day  for a few weeks now (and have been working with positive affirmations for years).    Is my life perfect?  No, but my mindset is definitely better and improving all the time.   I am generally more peaceful and happy and when I do have to deal with life’s rough moments, I am able to do so and move on – and back to a better place.  

And my life is improving – my health is definitely better and I am more fit than ever, I am better at managing our finances and they are in better shape than ever – despite retiring and taking a significant cut in income, and overall my relationships are healthier.   It is absolutely worth the time and effort that I have invested in learning to watch where I allow my “attention to go”.

And I am grateful to Rasa Pura for posting her guided meditations.  They  help me to keep my attention on the quality of life that I want and on the path to health and wellness – physically, mentally, and emotionally.   Thank you, Rasa.  😊

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

November 1st – James Clear

Twenty years ago, I discovered the potential empowerment of self-help programs.  For me, finding an aged copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”, was life-changing.  It started me on a  quest to discover the wisdom and inspiration shared by the amazing and insightful individuals who work in this field.

What never fails to amaze me in discovering  a new brilliant concept,  is the total simplicity and truth at  the heart of it.    The ideas that these gurus relate are so obvious!  They shouldn’t be amazing and yet they ARE.

For the past eight and a half months, I have been sharing the progress of my health and wellness journey that I began in  mid February.  Most of what I have shared has been relative to my physical progress and the benefits that I have enjoyed.  This month, I decided to share some of the mental and emotional progress that I have made over the past couple of decades, and which has been accelerated and enhanced by the improvements to my physical health and well-being in the past few months.

My biggest challenge today was choosing the subject of my first blog on this topic.  There are so many and I love them all.  After much consideration, I decided to go with James Clear and his book “Atomic Habits”.

I am sure many people who read this are familiar with his work.  He is well known for his work with professional athletes and  entrepreneurs – helping them to develop good habits that will lead them to success in their field.

The inspiration for his program originated  from a devastating accident that he suffered on a baseball field when he was in highschool.   In working his way through his lengthy, difficult, and ultimately successful recovery, Clear discovered the remarkable results of building healthy habits. 

The concept in ‘Atomic Habits’ that grabbed my attention was Clears idea that habits are compound interest.   He noted that, if you make it a habit to improve 1% every day, you can improve +35% over the course of the year.   Likewise, if you engage in a poor habit and decline 1% every day, you can decline to virtually zero over the course of a year.     This works for virtually anything in life that you may want to improve on,  or anything that is gradually wearing away at the quality of your life.

Practicing one single good habit every day takes very little effort or determination, but over the course of days or months, it makes a huge difference.  Likewise practicing one single poor habit a day, may not have immediate noticeable results and the results may be easy to ignore from one day to the next, but over the course of days or months – the results will be all too obvious! Stacking good habits on good, or bad habits on bad – makes things incrementally better or worse.     

In his book, and through his program, Clear helps others to focus on their habits and  teaches techniques for developing good habits and breaking bad ones. 

From a young age, I was taught the importance of having goals.  From focusing on my habits – I have learned that my potential is beyond  any goal that I might set for myself – any goal, for improvement to my physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual wellbeing. 

Our habits, big or small, good or bad,  make a  major difference in how our lives play out.  We owe it to ourselves to deal with them – and fortunately I found James Clear to help me deal with mine. 

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Week 36 – Beyond the Physical

This will be a health and fitness update but I cannot blog today without mentioning Halloween.

So… Happy Halloween! TBH I am not a fan of holidays and Halloween competes with Christmas for my least favourite of the lot – but my greeting is sincere for all those who are into it. 😊

This year, with our eight and a half month Pyreneese (who has all the social skills of a ginormous rabid squirrel), I thought Dan and I had agreed to forgo the festivities, dim the lights, pull down the shades, and crack open a bottle of wine. It turns out, I was wrong. Last night Dan brought it up and was concerned about the influx of kids in our neighbourhood and how he hated to disappoint them. I was willing risk their disappointment, but okay we will partake.

Our dainty dog, pretending she will be all chill about this.

Since we had no plans until last night, we had no treats to hand out so my mission this morning was to go shopping. Easy, peasy as our Maddy would say.

I headed out at 9, started the Jeep, and was greeted by the dashboard drama queen carrying on about the lack of air in my rear passenger tire. This is a regular occurrence, so whatever. I headed off to Walmart. The last time I was in Walmart was sometime in July and they had shelves overflowing with Halloween treats. Today, nothing! I picked up a few things we didn’t need and made my way to the cashier. There were two women ahead of me. The first was a frazzled young woman trying desperately to stuff her overflowing cart as the cashier rang her groceries through. I felt for her. The woman behind her was an elderly woman with two packages of chicken breasts and a bag of salt. She kept her salt in the cart and set her chicken on the end of the counter. She told the cashier (who was still running through the previous customer) about the salt and then proceeded to push her cart to the end of the aisle, whipped out her bank card, and pushed herself right up against frazzled young woman – who couldn’t even pay for her stuff because elderly lady was blocking her access to the debit machine. WTF? I was so busy watching the drama play out, that I didn’t notice the cashier across the way trying frantically to wave me over to her til. It finally got painfully obvious, so I hustled on over there.

I got out of Walmart and made my way over to Freshco – dashboard queen getting herself into a lather of red lights the entire time (which matched all the red lights that I was hitting). Did I mention, I dislike driving? A lot? So I get to Freshco and surprise they have no Halloween candy. I consider going to our Dollar Store but decide to just whip over to the Wholesale Club on 4th Ave – which OH YEA is closed for construction. After navigating the detour through hell, I get to the Wholesale Club and find that my best option would be a couple of cases of single pack potato chips. Massive cases. I am NOT one of those elegant, sophisticated women at the best of times. Carrying two big ass cases of potato chips through a busy store and across the parking lot to our Jeep, is not happening!

On to Northgate Mall. I did run in and check out Dollarama. They had miniature chocolate Santas and individually wrapped Easter eggs. I headed down to Safeway but took a quick detour (because they’re my thing now) and I went to Shoppers Pharmacy. Hallelujah – they had shelves of Halloween candy.

Score!

I grabbed an assortment of goodies and hustled up to the cashier. FFS! What kind of fresh hell is this. Virtually, every cashout is self serve. (I haven’t been to Shoppers for years). I go up to the sole actual living, breathing cashier and she points across the aisle and offers to help me ‘over there’. Over where? She tells me she is pointing at the self serve counters. Why? You’re here. I’m here. Why would we go over there? I said “No, I would rather help you keep your job”. 🤦 Unbelievable.

So I make my victorious way home, stopping at a dozen red lights, and crawling through three or four school zones. Despite all the ballyhoo about the air in my tire, all is well. I am still driving on four round tires. I should be super pumped about my successful venture, but I am kind of struggling to get past the entire episode. Which brings me to this week’s health and fitness update!

Thirty six weeks in and I am still excited about the health and fitness regime that I started in February. I talk mostly about the physical aspects of what I am doing but health and fitness isn’t only about the physical. We are not just physical beings, but also mental and emotional. It is all so intertwined that what affects one system affects all of our systems.

So yes, I am still excited about doing the physical work – my Zumba lessons, walking Molly, and lifting (light) weights. This week I am finally up to ten sets of ten reps of four lifts and I am adding a few wall push-ups (push-outs). But…

I am also meditating every day, working on developing general coping skills, and I have started (re)reading self-help type books. In my journey to wellness, I have come across a number of authors whose works I find to be particularly inspiring. In the days to come, I am planning to write some blogs highlighting some of these authors and explain what it is about their ideas that I personally relate to and how they have helped me to improve my mindset.

In the meantime, I have to sign off for today. Molly is impatiently awaiting her walk and I really need some fresh air and some quiet time out in nature to re-centre and work off my earlier shopping venture.

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Changeable Seasons

Our snow is pretty much melted, the sun is shining, and our temperature is warm enough to pass for late fall or early spring.

While Dan and I have seen enough of the white stuff for this year, Molly obviously loves it. I didn’t manage a You Tube worthy video, but I did get a short clip of her romping around the dog park. Mostly, she just liked to run around in the snow, which was a good thing. I forgot to bring her ball and all of the sticks were buried. I tried tossing some snowballs for her. She would run after them but kept losing them when they hit the snow covered ground. 🤦

We are keeping busy getting ready for winter these days. Dan finished cleaning up the yard yesterday and went out to get a new set of tires for the Jeep. I have been digging out winter coats and boots, and today I kicked off our fall indoor cleaning, starting with the kitchen. It is so nice being retired and having the time and energy to give each room a thorough cleaning. (I never get tired of appreciating my retirement. 😊)

That is about our life right now. Getting ready for winter in the daytime and relaxing in front of the fireplace at night. Despite Molly’s thick coat, she does enjoy being front row centre when the fireplace comes on. Preferably, as close to Dan as she can get.

That’s about as close as she can get. 😂

That is it for today. I will be back tomorrow for my weekly workout update.

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞