Eighteen Weeks

Anyone close to me in real life or online knows that in mid-February I went on a mission to improve my fitness.  My initial ‘program’ has evolved considerably as have my health and fitness and my ultimate goal.

I think this evolution can best be explained by posting the  TOP 10 benefits I have experienced in these past eighteen weeks. (Not in any particular order)…

#1 – I am stronger – I can easily  lift weights that I have not lifted for years.    I mean full, heavy garbage bags, rocks, BIG solid fry pans – on Saturday I even lifted our big dog  Molly into our pool!  Every part of me is stronger.  I opened a new pickle jar with my bare hands yesterday.   Seriously!  This is real life, everyday strength that makes my life easier.

#2 – My balance and flexibility has improved.  – Again, this is life changing especially when navigating around our garden or Molly and her toys. (Or Molly and our shoes, sofa cushions and anything else that she makes off with).

#3 – My husband has noticed and remarked on the noticeable improvement in my physical shape. That is great because I want to look good for my husband, even after 25 years, and because it isn’t just about how I look. He respects the effort and dedication that I have put into improving my health and fitness. Respect is huge in any relationship.

#4 – I breathe easier. I still have asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. I always will, but getting fit has improved my lung function despite asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. I breathe easier and in turn I sleep better!

#5 – My collagen levels have improved. I know this because I have a genetic collagen disorder and because collagen levels drop for everyone as they as age – making things even more noticeable for anyone with pre-existing collagen issues. For me, an improvement in collagen has meant healthier skin. It has meant muscle strength and joint stability. I can crouch/squat down AND get back up. And it is so noticeable in the connective tissue between all of the multiple little boney areas in my body. My hands are virtually pain free, the little bones in my middle ears no longer wobble around causing vertigo, AND when I get up in the morning my feet do not feel like I am walking on bags of marbles.

#6 – My mental health is stronger. My mind is sharper. My memory is better. Overall I am functioning better and it is just easier to perform any mental task.

#7 – My emotional health is better. My life isn’t perfect. Lately there have been some seriously stressful family situations. Sometimes I struggle to meet the challenges. But I do meet them! I laugh, I cry, and I function in a healthy way.

#8 – My clothes fit better. That isn’t the be all, end all of any fitness program but it feels so good to just feel good in ones clothes. For the past ten years it has been hard to get anything to fit right because nothing about me was proportional.

#9 – I am excited about my future health and fitness levels. That is a big one for me because I am turning 67 years old next month. But for me, I know my best fitness years are not behind me. I am in better shape now than I have ever been in my life and I know that I can and will keep getting better. I don’t know how much better and I am not looking for immortality, but I know that unless I get hit by a bus or stricken by some major disease, I will get better. I have found a system that works for me and I know I can adapt as I go to make it better.

#10 – I have inspired others to work on their fitness and well-being. I am not saying that to brag or anything, but people have mentioned it. I had a long talk with my sister-in-law yesterday and we got on this subject. She moved from Costa Rica to Canada last year and has been struggling with the same type of health issues that I have struggled with for years and we are the same age. I started telling her how well I was doing and it turned into such a good conversation. She was so excited about starting her own fitness program when she gets moved into her new house next week and I am so excited for her! Never in my life have I ever inspired or imagined that I could inspire anyone to improve their level of fitness. 🤗🤗🤗

Inspiration from my sister Elaine. 😉

Anyway that is it for today, and for how my life has been going for the last eighteen weeks. Take care and have a great day!

Fifteen Weeks

It has been fifteen weeks plus a couple of days since I decided to GET FIT! Do or die! (That may be a bit overly dramatic, but my quality of life was drifting downward and I wasn’t going down without a fight).

Three and a half months later, now into daily Zumba, spring yard work, and raising Molly (our Pyrenees pup), I am still seeing positive results – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yay!

One issue that I have struggled with lately has been my blood pressure. It has been running high and last week when we went to spend a few days up north with son Dan and family it was way too high. When we came home, I started reading up on controlling blood pressure and read that beet juice was particularly helpful. I decided it was worth a try. 🤷

Dan bought me the liquid beet juice. After more reading (and seeing the price of the liquid), I decided to try the crystals.

I have been drinking six ounces of beet juice a day for six days. After the first day, I started adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to each glass. (Pure beetroot juice is VERY sweet). In the matter of a few days my blood pressure has dropped to normal, healthy levels. Not only is my blood pressure better but my lungs and sinuses are better than they have been in ages. Because I am breathing so much easier, I am sleeping much better (which is no doubt helping my blood pressure). At this point, I have no idea if any of this is due to the beetroot juice or coincidence but I am going to try using it for a while and see how it goes!

Molly – Fifteen and a half weeks – 36 lbs.

Meanwhile, I was back to the vets with Molly yesterday for her first Parvo booster. She checked out great, was exceptionally well behaved, and won the hearts of every vet, vet tech, and receptionist who fussed over her and her fluffy white fur coat. One more booster in three weeks and a week for it to take and YAY we can start daily public walks.

At home, Molly is less than exceptionally well behaved on a regular basis. This week she is in a battle with a clay flower pot that keeps stealing her collection of small rocks. It is too funny and worth the trouble of collecting the rocks and moving the pot each day to keep the battle going. Usually, Molly dumps the pot and carries the rocks into the porch. Last night, she came zooming through the house carrying the pot. 😂

Other than that, the biggest excitement we have had this week was having a Finch fly into the house yesterday. I tried catching it with a butterfly net. All the while, Molly tried her best to stay between me and our unwelcome guest. Eventually, the Finch got tired of our futile efforts and made its way out the back door.

That’s it for today! Take care and have a great day. 💞

February 20th – Another Week of Retirement

I never get tired of appreciating my relatively recent retirement. It has been almost two years now but I don’t think it will ever get old! A year ago I was celebrating my first year of retirement, when I wrote this blog post…

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2021/03/04/another-week-of-retirement/

Amazingly, there is still not a day that I am not thrilled to be reminded (several times) how fortunate I am to be retired.

  • When I get up in the morning, pour my first cup of coffee, I am reminded that I have nowhere to be but home. 😊
  • When I look out the window and see the snow and ice. “Sorry all you people heading to work!” Not me. 😊
  • When I turn on my computer, go to Facebook and see on Messenger that my ‘workmate’ is signed on – at work. “Have a good day, Kori!”. I will not be in the office today – or ever. 😊
  • When I vacuum or dust or do the laundry or clean the kitchen or the bathroom. Yay! So nice to have the time and energy to keep our home neat and tidy. 😊
  • When I get up feeling sick or exhausted because I had a tough night with little sleep. Yay! I do not have to drag my weary old butt to work. 😊
  • When my husband has days off – on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. YAY I am home to spend time with him. 😊
  • When I make a special meal or bake cookies or a cake. Yay! I have time to be a homemaker. 😊
  • When I have an appointment to see my doctor or dentist or hairdresser or Kat’s vet. Yay! I have time to take care of myself (and my little dog) 😊.
  • When I am getting ready for bed. Yay! I do not have to get up in the morning to go to work. I can just look forward to another day of retirement. 😊

I have so many reasons to be grateful, and it comes so easily! That is one of the best things for me in retirement. I have the time and the mindset to appreciate all of the blessings in my life – versus being crushed by all of the responsibilities and stresses and drama of being gainfully employed. (I loved the work that I did. I just didn’t love everything it took out of me – especially for the last couple of years that I worked.)

Spending time with Kat – today and everyday 💞😊💞

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day!

February 2nd Update – 10 Things Anyone Under 40 Should Never Do

For the second day of February, I am looking back at a blog that I posted while I was still gainfully employed and before I allowed my hair to turn a natural shade of grey. Then as now, I was aware of ageism in our society.

I stand behind everything that I noted in my original post but I do have a couple of things to add.

Number 1 – While I still take exception to much of how aging is portrayed via the youthful  ‘internet experts‘,  this agism thing has become personal for me in the past two years.   I  am regularly treated with less  respect and consideration than I had come to expect from family,  strangers, and acquaintances.   My age has become a determining factor in my worthiness. FYI – I refuse to accept that or buy into it at any age.

Number 2 –  I have one more rule to add.   Regardless of your age, do not compare yourself to anyone who is years or decades your senior.  We may not have your youthful beauty, or stamina, quick wit or nimble fingers – but we do have  qualities that you will not recognize or understand until you become one of us. 

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2019/09/26/10-things-anyone-under-40-should-never-do/

Aging gracefully and gratefully for all of my life’s experiences
My father-in-law… living out his final years cherishing the memories of a life well lived, the family and friends he loved, and the community he supported.
My mother living her final years in a nursing home – Mothering, grand-mothering, and great-grandmothering. Regardless of parenting fads and fashions through the generations, it always came down to common sense and caring.
My Dad – 83 years old, living with cancer and dying with dignity. Still kind, still strong, still aware and interested in everything happening in his family and his community.

That’s it for today. For those of all ages – take care and have a great day!

February 1st – Updates

Here we are starting a new month – YAY February!  Soon the days will be noticeably longer, hopefully warmer, and much calmer than the last day of January – which brought us a rather noteworthy blizzard. 

Time to shovel our front steps! 😳

A new month means a new theme for my blog here on WordPress. I generally prefer looking more forward rather than back, but this month I have decided to indeed look back. Recently, I have had a few visitors post likes or comments on some of my earlier posts. I click back to my original post to check it out, only to discover that I have more to add, changes to make, or just something that is worth repeating. So… that is my theme for February 2022. A review of previous blogs.

One might as well start at the beginning, so today a quick look at my very first blog. This blog was written mid 2019 when I was still gainfully employed in the Saskatchewan construction industry.

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2019/08/18/my-very-first-blog/

  • Update of “My Very First Blog”
  • Contrary to my earlier thoughts on retirement, I have not consumed any impressive amount of tea, read many books, or done a significant amount of needlework.
  • I have spent a lot of quality time with my husband and I am happily anticipating the day when Dan will join me in retirement. 💞
  • I do not miss working – AT ALL. I loved my job, I did it well and I am proud of all that I accomplished. I cared for most of the people I worked with and for. I do not regret or resent a minute of it… But, I do not miss it!
  • The most significant thing about my life now, compared to then, is that now for the first time in my life as an adult, I put myself first. There were forty some years when, I put myself last (if at all). It was how I lived my life and I would do it again. I do not regret the years that I spent being a wife and home maker, raising a family, catering to grandchildren. I do not regret being there for my aging, ailing parents. I do not regret the dedication I put into my career. But, it left nothing for me. Now I have time to put myself first. I have time to focus on my health and my all around well-being. I would never have guessed that would be the best thing about retirement. (It never occurred to me that it even was a thing 🙄)
Life before retirement. 💻

If you care to comment, I would love to hear your thoughts on retirement. 🤗😧🥳

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

September 19th – Birthday Celebrations

September is a busy birthday month for our family with both sons and my sister Elaine celebrating their auspicious arrivals on this planet.  In fact, today is Elaine’s birthday so Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Elaine 💞

With all of these birthdays happening, I started wondering who and how these celebrations began.   As, usual I turned to Google for some possibly questionable answers to fill that little ‘piece of my mind’ that torments me when I get plagued by such all-consuming wonderings. 

Google hooked me up with Huffington Post and this is what their inquisitive minds had dug up on the subject.

Ancient Egyptians began the birthday celebrations in the 1300 BCs as an annual means of  honoring their Pharaohs.  

The Greeks added moon-shaped cakes, decorated with lit candles for a glowing effect. 🕯️🕯️🕯️ Awwww….

At some point, Ancient Romans started celebrating birthdays for the common man.   Christians found the practice rather pagan but eventually joined the party when they started celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in the forth century. It was not until the twelfth century that women were deemed worthy of such celebrations. 🥺

Finally, in the late eighteenth century, Germans created the birthday cake as we know it today and began decorating it with a specific number of candles to honor the age of the celebrant.

So there you have it! The thirty-one century origin of birthdays.

Take care and have a great day. (Even if it isn’t your birthday, it is never a bad day for cake!)

September 7th – Bloody Hell

I wrote a blog last night that I was going to post this morning. After this morning, I decided to cycle around to a different ‘piece of my mind’ that needs sharing.

I am waiting for surgery for a hernia(s). My surgeon wants to get this done ASAP but his office arranged for me to have a catscan because the ultrasound I had in May was inconclusive about some problem areas. I have my catscan booked for next week but I needed to get a routine blood test done before I could have the catscan – or the surgery.

My surgeon’s office sent a requisition over to our local lab for the blood test. All I had to do was go to have it done. Which I did, this morning.

I have no idea how the seriously ill or aged survive ‘health’ care. It is not a place or process for wimps. None of it!

My first step was to make an appointment for my test at the lab. Good freaking luck with that. Dan and I used to have an account with our lab to book appointments. After their system was hacked a couple of years ago we were locked out. There is no option for a reset unless one calls to speak to a real person. Hahahaha… After spending an hour on hold at 1-800-welcome to hell, I figure no such person exists. I decide to call the local clinic to make sure that they had received my requisition before heading down to stand in the walk-in line. The local clinic phone number is a recording advising you to call 1-800-welcome to hell.

So, I head down to the local clinic. I get into line (outside the clinic) behind maybe five people. A lab assistant came and asks the routine Covid questions. I ask if she could check to see if they have my requisition. That was a hard no. It would be in contravention of our healthcare ‘privacy act’. PHFTT!

So I stand in line – for an hour. While the line grows much longer behind me – growing past the lab and wrapping around Giant Tiger. Oddly enough, I am like the pick of the litter in this line. There are at least two women old enough to be my grandmother, one elderly man who was there to pick up a sample container for his wife, several people who are obviously seriously ill, one woman who is suffering from a possible miscarriage, and one very pregnant woman who is probably still in line and no longer pregnant. In the shade of the strip mall it is miserably cold and we are obviously in the company of a colony of wasps. I myself am not that uncomfortable, but I am seriously concerned that some of us are not going to make it through this sh*t show.

After hearing the lab assistant tell several people, that things are abnormally backed up because this is the first day after a long weekend, I watch as a number of lab techs drift in – hours after the lab was scheduled to open. 😒 Finally, I am at the front of the line and I am called in. I feel horrid taking my turn when there are so many who obviously need the relief of getting this over and done with more than I did. But, I need this blood test and will obviously throw the entire system into a tizzy if I let anyone step in front of me, so in I go. To stand in line inside. 🤦

I get to the counter and find that they have never received, or quite possibly have lost, my requisition. I am advised that I should call my doctor’s office and get it sent over. I ask if I should sit down in the office to make the call. I assume the receptionist says yes. Her head sort of nods. If she is speaking English, I did not recognize it as such. I sit down under the ‘No Cell Phones Allowed’ sign and pull out my cell phone, while the receptionist guns me down with dirty looks. What?? I am pretty sure she didn’t expect me to use their 🤣🤣🤣 phone.

I call my surgeon’s office and the requisition is sent over immediately. I hear the fax. I sit and wait while half a dozen other people are directed off to the various lab booths as they open up. The receptionist shoots me dirty looks until I step up to the counter and ask if they have my requisition. She asks for my health card. I hand it over. She hands it back and has me write my name on a paper so she can check the requisitions they have on hand. My name is on the health card she was just holding. The clerk next to her advises that he has my requisition.

Within a couple of minutes, I am directed to booth number one. It takes 30 seconds for the lab tech to verify my identity, draw my blood, and put a bandaid on my arm.

I am out of there! I stop at Petrocan to grab a coffee and a lottery ticket (because this is obviously my lucky day).

I am now home and one step closer to surgery.

I cannot imagine how our health system can possibly make things more difficult and uncomfortable for those who need their services. This is not a third world country. This is Canada. Surely to God we can afford to do a more humane job of taking care of the sick and elderly amongst us. It just boggles my mind every time I experience our health system.

That’s my ‘piece of mind’ for the day. 😁

Take care! Have a nice rest of the day and see you tomorrow.💞

Day 23 – Memories

It is Day 23 of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and I have decided to pay tribute to memories. This one is a bit of a trip down the rabbit hole for me, so hopefully it will be a positive experience for anyone who chooses to join me today.  🙃

I have never been one to dwell on the past.  At first,  it was not a conscious decision.  I was focussed on dealing with the present and looking forward to the future. 🌞   After a brutally painful period in my life, I did make a very conscious decision to shut the door on my memory banks and slap a big old lock on them.   If a moment from the past happened to sneak through, it was nothing more than a snapshot in someone else’s photo  album.  I would not relate to it personally.

I was perfectly happy to live in this delusional little headspace, where my past did not exist.   I had no desire to relive my past through  painful memories, and bizarrely,  the best  memories from my past were the ones that were most painful for me to face.

Ultimately, this decision to block my past became problematic.   I had a tendency to react to triggers that  seemingly came out of nowhere – like the time a business consultant snapped his fingers in my face.   He was lucky that he got out of my office while he still had fingers!   There were other times, many times,  when I just drew a blank when someone mentioned the past, even the recent past –  like the day Dan and I ran into his boss.  They started talking about the time they had been at one of our local hospitals.   I could not remember when or why Dan would have been at the hospital.  It was only when Dan’s boss turned to me and asked how I was doing now, that I realized that Dan had been at the hospital to be with me.   I had been in the hospital with pneumonia/empyema for a solid month  a couple of years earlier and  I had totally forgotten! 

In the security of my relationship with Dan, and the relative well-being of my life in general, I decided it was time to crack the locks on my memory banks and have a peek around.   At first, there was a whole lot of ugly memories that burst out.  I wasn’t surprised, and I wasn’t that bothered by this.   I was expecting them.    I did not find a lot of warm and fuzzy memories.   I was not expecting to and quite frankly, I was terrified of finding any. 

Lately, I have been sorting through our basement and closets.   I found a couple of boxes of older photos.  I started to go through them and discovered that I have finally reached a point in my life where I am ready to look for the positive anywhere and everywhere – even in my past.

So, without further ado, or rambling on as the case may be, I invite you to browse through a few positively good memories with me. 💞

Lunching out with Jen.
For years, we went shopping on Saturday morning. And we went for lunch. And we went walking at Wascana Park or took the kids tobogganing or swimming or to any number of places. We took trips to Gravelbourg and Saskatoon and one memorable trip to Winnipeg.  $$$😂
First there was one – Genie, back in the day when grandbabies were all sweet little  innocents – happy to chase ladybugs and steal Pipsi. 🤗
Back in the day with Casey and Susie.  Casey was a beautiful American Eskimo/Pomeranian.  She was with us for sixteen years before she passed away.   Suzie was a tiny  blind kitten that Jennifer gave Dan.  She lost her owner and all of her siblings in a house fire.  The owners family took her mother but could not provide a home for Suzie. We had her for about thirteen years before we lost her to cancer.
My first Christmas with Dan and his dad, Nick.
Danny, getting ready to head out on his own with his very first vehicle – bought and paid for by his truly. 👍
The first home where my ex and I lived in Regina.  It couldn’t have been uglier!
Until we added our ugly sofa and mirror and fugly lamps!  (I spared you the wall of mirror tiles and the one covered with metallic butterfly wallpaper – and the glass and brass orange lamps!)
Family visit at our home up north.  Without a doubt the best years with my ex. 
Back in the day with my ex. (Mark Sr.) and our three little ones (Danny, Jennifer and Mark B.)
And way back, with my sister Lorraine and our niece Brigette. 💞

Twenty-three days down and seven to go.

Now that I am caught up with my life, I had better get busy with my here and now. That lawn isn’t going to water itself.

Have fun today and I hope to see you tomorrow! 💝

Day 21 – Retirement!

Since I have retired, the positives in my life are ubiquitous! Today for the twenty-first day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I have chosen to express my appreciation for this wonderful time of my life – RETIREMENT 🥳

Time to bloom. 💐

I appreciate that my retirement provides the time for doing what I please, when I please! I particularly appreciate this in the morning. I love having the time to enjoy my coffee, while reading my online newspaper and playing my morning internet game. 💝

My happy morning place.

I appreciate having time to take care of myself and run errands that I need to deal with. I never have to stress about making doctor or dentist or optometrist or hairdresser appointments – I am free – anytime! I can even take Kat to the vet or groomers any day of the week!

Going to the groomers on Thursday 🙂

I appreciate that in retirement the weather is always perfect! If it is warm and sunny, I can spend the day outside enjoying the beautiful day. If it is rainy, snowy, cold, or windy, I can stay inside and look out the window and appreciate what I have the option of avoiding!

Rain, shine, or in-between, every day is lovely!

I appreciate that I SAVE so much money that it is not terribly painful to take a significant drop in income since I retired . I save on taxes, on clothes, on vehicle expenses, on take-out food, and on spending money – just because it was my payday reward for working. 🤦

Money I haven’t spent! 😂

When the weather is lovely, I appreciate that I can spend my time outside – during the best parts of the day. I check up on my flowers and vegetables, do a bit of clean-up, water and take care of my plants. I have even been working on our front lawn this year. Still a ways to go, but at least it is green!

Mostly green 👍

I appreciate that shopping is so much easier! My husband has always, and still does, the bulk of our shopping. However, there are times when I go with him, or without him, for whatever reason. Shopping is so much easier mid-week, when most people are at work!

Wednesday afternoon shopping – far from the Saturday crowds 🤭

The biggest positive of retirement is the time I get to spend with my husband. Although he still works 24/7 shifts, at least when he has time off, I have time off! Time we can actually spend together! 👫

Spending time together, enjoying Dan’s yard projects. 💞

Whether you are working towards it, or already living yours, I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I enjoy mine. 🤗

Twenty-one days down and only nine more to go! Thank you for dropping in today and I hope to see you tomorrow.

Daily Reminders

When Dan was running errands a few mornings ago, he found this metal plaque to put in one of our flower beds.

We are getting to an age where life is becoming more precious and fleeting. Regardless of what is happening, how we are feeling, or who is or is not physically with us, we try to make the most of each and every day. This little sign will be a reminder to help us do just that.

We have other such reminders around our house. They may be a bit corny but they work for us. 🙂 They help us to appreciate each other and our life together.

A little bowl of stones from my mother.
Dan bought these to dress up the kid’s playhouse
I picked this one up at a garden centre.

Not every day is the best, but try to make the best of every day💞