Change of Season

Despite our pool weather temperatures this week, it is obvious that our seasons are changing from summer to fall.

With my natural instinct to hibernate come mid-September, the pitch darkness when I let Molly out at 5:30 A.M. is less than optimal. My efforts to rearrange my schedule to optimize the sunlight that we do have is also proving to be a challenge. And… With everything falling,drying, decaying and generally turning to dust, my lung and sinus issues have been causing me grief. Autumn is not my favourite time of year!

Fortunately, even autumn has it’s redeeming features. Just as I am getting a bit tired of salads and barbecued suppers, we find ourselves in the season of comfort foods. Since we had a steak leftover from Sunday supper (Dan and I decided to share one) and a container of homemade beef broth in the freezer, I whipped up a pot of beef barley soup for supper on Tuesday. So good! I used the regular onions, garden carrots, parsnips, celery and cabbage and even tossed in a few (peeled) fresh San Marzano tomatoes and a couple of fresh hot peppers. 😯

And made a tray of homemade cheese biscuits to go with it!

With any number of soups and stews and casseroles reminiscent of my mother’s kitchen to choose from, I can work up a little enthusiasm for autumn and even for our up and coming Saskatchewan winter. Not a lot, but enough to keep me going on my health and fitness journey. 🙂

I finished my Zumba workout so it’s time to head out with Molly. This could be another dog park day. We have been there three times and Molly does enjoy it. Yesterday we played fetch for a while, but I got tired of going to retrieve the ball so that didn’t last long. 🙄

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

31 Weeks From Feeble to Fit!

It is hard to believe that I have been working out and getting in shape for THIRTY-ONE weeks.

It is even harder to believe how far I have come in only thirty-one weeks.    In Mid-February I was exhausted, cold, sore, sickly, flabby, and feeble.    My mind was sluggish and I just felt blah

With spring coming up in two or three months, I decided I had to do something to regain some strength and improve my health.    I started gradually,  and have worked up to an hour of  dancing/Zumba every day (except Sunday), daily walks,  and working out with dumbbells each evening (except Sunday).    I drink six ounces of beet juice a day and take cold showers on a regular basis.  I have also joined an online Volley group for support and motivation.  Nothing I do is much of a time commitment and the only cost has been  in maintaining my Daily Walk companion Molly.

High maintenance Molly. 💞

The difference in my health and fitness has been amazing!  I feel good – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I look better than I have for years.  I keep active all day  and embrace new challenges!

This morning, Thirty-One  Weeks from spending my days in my rocking chair in front of our electric fireplace, I strapped a harness on Molly (our now +/- 70 pound Pyrenees), set off for a walk, met up with a stranger in one of our neighbourhood parks and WE DID IT!    Molly and I went to our first offleash dog park.

If anybody had told me seven months ago that I would be heading into an offleash park to hang with a group of strangers and a pack of BIG dogs, there is no way I would have believed it.   But there, I was, hanging with the other dog owners, while watching our pups race around an open field, having the time of their lives.  Occasionally, they would come back to check on their human, before racing off again tails flying and grinning eat to ear.  It was just one of those moments that make it all so worth while!

It was just one moment of many, when I am so glad that I decided to make this health and fitness change. Every day, I have reason to appreciate the choice I made, reason to appreciate ALL of the people who have supported and encouraged me, and reason to marvel at all of those random moments that have brought me to this place – be it a random meeting, a chance advertisement on Kijiji for a perfect walking partner, or coming across the right article at the right time. That first step has led to so many more – and in only thirty-one weeks.

That is it for today. It’s time to go finish prepping the porch so I can get it painted this week. Just one more thing that I couldn’t have imagined doing back in February. 😊

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Week 28

It has been 28 weeks since I started living my ‘better’ life. I am pretty sure I haven’t peaked yet so I am still working up to my ‘best life’.  ☺️

There isn’t a lot to report this week but I did drop a pound YAY and having added a dumbbell workout in the evening, I think I am ready to move up a size this week.  Three pound weights it is!  My next biggest size are five pounds so that might take a bit.

Since I started getting more active and eating better, I have been feeling progressively better.  I am also trimming down and looking healthier.  All of this is good, and it is nice that others are noticing, BUT…  The most frequent ‘compliment’ I get – and have received often in my life is “You look too young – to be, to have, to do…whatever” or “You don’t look that old”. 

Seriously!  Why are  people so surprised if anyone is healthy or in relatively good shape AT MY AGE.   At any age?  Why is age a factor to be judged by?

How am I supposed to look?

I even did an internet search for “women who are 67 years old”, just to see what a typical 67 year old woman was supposed to look like.  There were dozens of photos of women  and the only thing they had in common was that none of them looked ‘typical‘. 

What’s more, each photo had a headline  and none of those were what many people would consider typical for a sixty seven year old woman – one had just given birth (having conceived naturally), one had just been sentenced for a DUI hit and run, one had a black belt in martial arts and had  taken down an intruder with her bare hands, and one had been found after wandering away from her home.    If the photos and headlines had been separated and I had to guess which woman did what, I never would have guessed any of them.

There are so many memes and posts around about seniors – and so many of them normalize negative aspects of aging.   This is one I  received recently…

I get this is supposed to be funny,  but why? Why do we portray ourselves like this at any age?
 

And this gem…

Apparently 75 is our expiration date 🤣🤣🤣

I don’t know anyone who is  seventy five.   I do  have a sister who is seventy eight.   She is not sitting around worrying about whether she ever “embraced the sun on the beach” (Nor did she ever sit around thinking about whether her thighs jiggled 😂😂😂 –  although  I doubt that her thighs ever jiggled).  At seventy eight, she is still running circles around me, living her life, taking care of her home, taking care of the people she loves,  and no doubt anyone else who needs her.  She is driving herself and her loved ones anywhere they need to be on any given day.   And she is as perfect now as she ever was.  

What’s more – I know any number of people even older than my sister who are happy, healthy, strong, capable, intelligent and perfect who are living life to the fullest. I have met many of them here on WordPress. Age defines nothing.

I have no desire to look or be younger. I have no desire to live indefinitely. I just want to live the best life that I can, regardless of my age. That is why I make health and fitness a priority – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Quality of life matters – at any age. I realized that 28 weeks ago and I am committed to that 28 weeks in.

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

Week 27 💪

Twenty seven weeks in and I am still working it, getting fit and staying healthy. Things were getting a bit ‘routine’ for a bit, but with some encouragement, support, and solid advice from my Volly workout friends I am back on track. I have gone from my Zumba routines back to my freestyle dancing after my morning walk and I am doing some meditating and a bit of work with light weights and it is going good. Between that and the beet juice, sauerkraut, and cold showers, I am feeling pretty good these days.

Molly and I had a pretty good walk this morning. (Molly was good but I did accidentally swallow a bug) We are averaging about 2.5 k (1.5 miles) which isn’t where I would like to be, but it is what Molly can handle right now. In a few weeks, our temps will be cooler, the mosquitoes will hopefully be gone, and Molly will be a little more mature. And 2.5k is a LOT further than I would be going if I had never taken that first step on this journey back in February. I think about that quite a bit lately. I am so grateful to my old flabby, tired, sickly self that made the effort to get up and get moving. 💗

I have a few photos that I took, to share today…

I loved the sky when Molly and I set out this morning. It was so steel grey and silver! My photo doesn’t do it justice.
I picked a bowl of little salad tomatoes when we got home. They taste so amazing!
There are some Hungarian hot peppers ready to pick.
We still have a few petunias that have survived Molly and Dan cleaned the pond (again) this weekend. 💞
My special red petunias are not as dark as they were in the spring but they still look nice with those little white flowers.
Official annual tree shot. It is getting harder to get a somewhat full shot of it. 😯
Obligatory dog shot. 🙄
Jalapenos

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

Here & There

I just got a notice that it has been three years today since I joined WordPress. I didn’t have a plan when I joined. If anything, I thought it would keep my brain from turning to mush if I started writing on a regular basis after I retired, but it has become so much more than that for me.

I have met and ‘connected’ with so many people that I would never have met otherwise – often people that I would never have expected to find any common ground with. Yet I do! I have had my eyes opened to so many different interests, opinions, and just general knowledge. I find it fascinating that in some ways our lives are so similar, regardless of where we live in the world. Yet, in other ways, we do things so differently, that it is equally fascinating for the opposite reason.

I also find it amazing how my life has CHANGED in the past three years. I don’t think anyone was seriously planning a pandemic or could have imagined how that would play out, but here we are three years later and life has changed.

Anyway, I am so glad that I happened upon blogging and WordPress. I have enjoyed my time here and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. Thank you to all who read my blog, regularly or occasionally and thank you to all who provide me with blogs to follow. I appreciate you sharing your lives and interests and photos. 💞😊

On to Genie news… The girls made it to Toronto yesterday. Genie and Chelsea switched off driving so they only made one overnight stop. They stayed at a hotel in Sault St. Marie on Tuesday night, where they met up with others from the exhibition group who were travelling from Saskatoon to the CNE in Toronto. Genie sent me photos from the last couple of days that I will share in the coming days. Today, I will just post a couple that cracked me up.

Dan and I occasionally watch a show on TV about border crossings. One situation that I could never quite grasp was how people could ‘accidentally’ cross borders (at major controlled crossings). They are pretty obvious with all the lights, signs, border guards and the like.

Apparently it can happen to anyone… 😂

In their defense, I did check things out on Google Maps and I can see how that could happen in Sault St. Marie. Still funny tho 🤣

And back here… So, it has been six months since I started my mission to get fit. I have come a long ways and most of it has been really good and I have had a lot of positive results from this experience. This last little bit, things have been less inspired. It happens. With a little help from my friends, I am in a better headspace today. After I walked Molly this morning, I came home and instead of doing one of my regular You Tube Zumba workouts, I went back to the days of putting in my earbuds and dancing to my own dance mix. I just freestyle danced my butt off for an hour and it felt great!

This is one of the new (old) songs in my mix. It was shared with me this morning. I just had to share it with anyone out there who needs a good reason to get up and dance today. 💗💗💗

“It’s my life, it’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just wana live while I’m alive! 🎶 Bon Jovi

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

Week Twenty Six!

It has been 26 weeks since I started my fitness plan.    It was exactly six months yesterday.    I am halfway to a full year of working to get and stay as fit and as healthy as possible.  With all of the benefits I have discovered and all of the encouragement that I have received, I have no intention whatsoever of slacking off. I have no doubt that I will be celebrating a full year of fitness  six months from now. 😊

This morning, Molly and I started our day with  a 3 km walk.  We began going on daily walks on July 1st – two and a half months ago.

Molly’s 1st Official Walk

Molly was a big, rambunctious puppy,  so I was concerned about what would happen if I failed to control her.   I decided THAT would never happen.  In my infinite wisdom, I decided to take the easy way out.   As we set out on our first official walk, Molly was securely strapped into her harness and I had a death grip on her leash.

Needless to say, that did not go well for either of us.   Molly did everything in her power to make our walks a daily battle.   I tried a clicker, I tried treats to reward (and occasionally bribe) her.  I finally resorted to a special training harness.  All had limited success.  Finally a few days ago, I was watching a video of a dog trainer working with people who had dogs with particular issues.  One woman came out with a little dog that was always straining at her leash and trying to attack other dogs.  The dog trainer looked at the woman and told her to stop engaging her dog in a game of Tug of War.   The woman  looked so much like me.   She had the leash wrapped around her arm six times  AND had a death grip on it to boot.  I was embarrassed for her – and for me!  The next day I loosened my grip on Molly’s leash and she was WAY better.  This morning, I extended her leash about three feet (it has different metal rings that I can clip on to).   That made ALL the difference.     Molly and I walked along at a comfortable pace without a single incident.

As we were trucking along, it occurred to me how often we try to take the ‘easy’ way when dealing with challenging situations.  I don’t know if everyone does, but I am sure it is pretty common for people in my age group (baby boomers).   We watched our parents work SO hard that it just didn’t seem right.  We decided we would have easier ‘better’  lives ( and that our children and grandchildren should be equally blessed).   Except life does not  work that way.  We are challenged in order to grow stronger and healthier –  mentally, emotionally, and physically.   Taking the easy way out just doesn’t cut it.  (Nor does trying to pave the path for our children and grandchildren,  but that is a whole other chapter in my book on questionable infinite wisdom. 🙄)

The easy way, is particularly counterproductive when it comes to getting or keeping fit and healthy, especially as we age.   Collagen which is vitally important to every part of our bodies begins to decline in our thirties. (Unless we are born with a genetic collagen disorder – then it begins before we are born 😧) By the time we hit our sixties – and looking to retire and ‘take it easy’, it is a serious issue for many of us. At our age, even those who are healthy and strong can lose collagen in a matter of weeks if we do not keep active and maintain a healthy diet.

I found this article online and it explains in a better way than I could, what collagen is, what it does, and ways we can maintain and improve our levels of it even as we age. It does not mention how important physical activity is to maintaining and increasing our levels of collagen, but that is definitely an important part of the equation!

https://vibrancemedspa.com/what-happens-to-collagen-as-we-age/#:~:text=Your%20body%20begins%20to%20lose,habits%2C%20and%20poor%20diet%20choices.&text=While%20it’s%20possible%20to%20accelerate,possible%20to%20slow%20it%20down.

The great news is, we absolutely can maintain and improve our levels of collagen as we age, but there is no easy way to do this. We have to do the work and maintain a proper diet. The ‘work’ does not have to be unpleasant – walk, run, dance, swim, lift, hop, skip, and or jump. Find and do what works best for you. And the diet does not have to be bland or unpalatable. It has to be nutritious, although there are specific foods that are better at supporting collagen levels.

I walk less than one hour every morning, I do one thirty to forty five minute You Tube Zumba class when I get home. Other than that I do my housework and cooking, spend time in our garden, brush Molly and clean up after her. That is pretty much it. And I have never felt better and stronger. It is amazing. I am so glad that I am not still trying to take the easy way out, sitting around and hoping I feel better tomorrow so I am up to doing something. I know I would never have felt better going that route.

That is it for today. It is beautiful out and I am ready to get out there to enjoy this weather while it lasts. Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Ps.. the new header image on the website version of my blog is a modified version of a picture Prim sent me last night. 💞

Would You Buy This?

Since I started working on my health and fitness in February,  I have searched You Tube for fitness videos, Amazon for workout clothes, and Googled low calorie healthy meals, nutritional facts,  and the like.  Naturally, I have been bombarded with advertisements for related products – most often diet pills.

This one has became a regular!

I do not take diet pills.  In fact, I don’t take ANY pills that I can avoid,  and most of the one’s that I cannot avoid disagree with me one way or another.  

My ‘stash’ and the Claritin doesn’t agree with me. 🙄 I have been taking prescription Siv-Rabeprazole (for excess stomachs acid) and I am occasionally prescribed Prednisone and/or antibiotics for my lungs. None of the prescription drugs agree with me. 😢

I find the claims made by this company (Keto Max Science) to be  particularly questionable.  How does anyone lose 79 pounds in three weeks and not have loose skin hanging off their body?  Do these pills automatically suck up excess skin?  Do these pills build muscle? Do these pills make one feel better – physically, mentally, and emotionally?  Do these pills lower one’s blood pressure or strengthen one’s heart? Do these pills lower cholesterol or blood sugar?   Do these pills improve one’s lung function?  Do these, or any diet pills actually make, or help, anyone lose weight?

It would seem unrealistic to think there is a pill out there that provides any of the benefits of physical activity and a reasonable, nutritious diet. The market is flooded with diet pills so they must sell. But do they work?

Just wondering. Take care and have a great rest of your day!

Week 21

It has been twenty-one weeks since I began my fitness journey. In those weeks, there has been a lot to celebrate. Every week there has been some notable improvement to my health and fitness. That is pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, I am in a place where the improvements are becoming harder to come by and less notable. That is not terribly surprising. Regardless of what you do, how you do it, or how well you do it, there are challenges along the way.

So… My thoughts on week 21

#1. Humidity – Our temperature has finally begun to rise, we have had frequent short spells of rain and our humidity has risen accordingly. That may be great for something, but not so good for my lungs. Activity indoors or out is a struggle. I have kept up with my Zumba every day (except Sunday, which is my ‘rest and recover day) – but the struggle is real!

#2. Walking – I cannot believe that Molly and I have been walking daily for two weeks. It seems SO MUCH LONGER. I was so excited about walking our new pup. It was such a long wait until she was fully vaccinated and cleared to go. Now we are walking and it gets worse every day! Molly is getting somewhat better at dealing with the traffic, but…. The warmer weather has brought out the people in our neighborhood. These people seem to be worse than ever for tossing their litter on roads and sidewalks. Molly is distracted by each and every piece. Walking the walks is one ongoing chorus of “Molly come on!” And “Molly drop it!”. Walking in the park is somewhat less distracting but the mosquitoes are brutal and Molly stops regularly to roll in the grass or….

… strike a pose. 💞

#3. Cold showers – I think that I have had three cold shower experiences. When I decided to add these to my fitness routine, the main draw for me was the possibility that cold showers could help me to develop some brown fat on my body. Brown fat is the fat that insulates one body and burns calories to keep a body warm. Living in Saskatchewan and facing the prospect of walking Molly this winter, brown fat sounds like a pretty good idea, well worth the effort it takes to produce it. So, how have the cold showers been going? The first one started as a regular hot shower until I felt ready to go for it . I turned off the hot water and the blast of ice cold water was more than I was prepared for. I got out as fast as I got in. I approached my second cold shower a bit more cautiously. I got into a hot shower and gradually turned back the hot water a notch at a time, until I was hit by the blast of ice cold water. Then, once again, I beat a hasty retreat. Last night, I tried another route. I got into a cool to lukewarm shower. Every few minutes I went a little cooler. When it was cold – but not ice cold – I settled in for a two or three minute chilly dousing. I don’t know that it was enough to start producing brown fat cells but there were a couple of things that I did notice. After exiting my chilly shower, my skin felt smooth and there was none of the typical hot shower, or hot bath, dry itch. Also, my hair was smooth and soft. I have spent a lot on hair products in recent years, some with better results than others, but my hair always seemed dried and fried. Last night, not so much. Obviously, it is too soon to tell if I am sold on cold showers, but I am definitely not ready to throw in the towel.

#4. Sleep – For some reason I am struggling to get any decent sleep – even now that Molly has become a solid sleeper. I sleep for an hour, then I am awake for two, trying to figure out why my sleep is so filled with disturbing dreams. It’s not even nightmares as such. I dream that I am back at work and freaking out because I can’t remember when I last paid the company’s payroll taxes, or some other such nonsense. It is annoying, exhausting, and frustrating.

That is it for this week. I sure that things will turn around and that I will find I have made a big leap in progress one of these days. In the meantime – it is about the journey, not the destination. 😉

Take care and have a great day!💞

Cooling off after a walk in the park.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Yesterday was a rather challenging day for me.  I was just off, and while there were some bright moments along the way, there were some that were less than brilliant.

The Good! I received a few items that I ordered from Amazon.   This isn’t something that we do often, but for some odd reason there is a shortage of squirrel peanuts in our stores these days, so I put together a small order.

If you haven’t tried these crackers or salted nuts, they are both amazing.  I don’t know how Amazon sells Costco products.   Since I cannot handle Costco’s bare cement floors (or their location here), I really appreciate it.

I also got a sundress for myself, which is super comfortable and fits quite well. 

More Good!  I cleaned out my dresser drawers, tossed a number of items, and sorted and folded the rest.  I noticed that somehow, something had slid under the bottom drawer so with some finagling and some help from Molly, a ruler, and a small flashlight, I found a favourite pair of socks, a couple of bras, and SEVERAL unopened packages of pantyhose from my office days.  Weird – I always wondered where they went.  

The Bad! While my morning walk with Molly was pretty good yesterday (as our morning walks generally are), the evening one was bad.  I had a bruised toe that was very painful, the mosquitos were terrible, and Molly was distracted and disturbed by every  barking dog we passed – and we passed a lot of barking dogs!

Also Bad! Since I started my mission to get fitter back in February, I have shaken things up every few weeks by adding new healthful activities (like walking Molly), improving my diet, and the like.    Yesterday I needed a shake up so I turned to something a few fellow bloggers, most recently Dwight from Faded Jeans Living , have tried.   I decided to give cold showers a go.  This was a stretch for me because I do not enjoy showering at the best of times (bubble baths thank you) and apparently our cold water is piped in straight from the North Pole.    But, I have been reading up on this practice, there are a number of benefits that do sound reasonable, and I am no quitter.  So,  as much as that was one unpleasant split second after I turned the hot water off, I am not done.   I will definitely giving this another – and several more tries before I throw in the towel, so to speak.

The Ugly! Molly is not the first dog I have had.  She is not even the first BIG dog I have had.  Up north, we had a sizeable Springer Spaniel who was aptly named Sprocket.   But, yesterday, I had a big dog moment that I was NOT prepared for.

Major Puddle
Molly’s water dish
Molly

I don’t know exactly what happened, but Molly came crashing into the porch, holding up one injured paw, and despite my best efforts, swallowed an entire sparrow before I could figure out how to get it out of her mouth or bribe her with something that would be less disgusting than eating an entire bird.   🤢

I can’t believe our veterinarian gives me regular diet advice like, “you can start giving Molly an additional 1/2 cup of dry food a day” or “Molly is too young to have bones or bully sticks”.   Molly eats wood (in fact she eats trees), she chew on rocks, she eats anything out of the recycling bin, and now she eats entire birds – beak, feathers and all!  (I am not even sure it was dead).  

Today is looking up to be a less intense day all around. It is cool and raining out. Molly is relatively mellow and it is time for me to get something productive done around here.

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Perfection

This came up on my Facebook feed this morning. It has probably been around forever but I do not remember seeing it before. This relates to everything that is wrong with the world today compared to when I was growing up.

Things are never black or white – they weren’t when I was young and they are not now, but generally speaking, we grew up learning to make the best of what we had – as our parents did, and their parents did before them.

Nowadays, people are so often the opposite. If it isn’t perfect, if it isn’t the best – it is worthless. Waste it, destroy it, and throw it away. ‘IT’ is everything – homes, vehicles, food, clothes, people (parents, siblings, partners, friends, anyone). As a society, ‘IT’ is healthcare, roads, education, the environment, natural resources. EVERYTHING. Waste it, destroy it, and throw it away.

And so many people are miserable – struggling with their health – mental, emotional, and physical AND finding themselves with less and less. Still they are demanding more and more – AND ‘the more’ has to be perfect or they waste it, destroy it, and throw it away.

It is an unsustainable obsession that we have these days, this desire for perfection or having only ‘the best’.

It is kind of funny that this came up for me this morning. This week wasn’t going well for me. My lungs are not liking our weather, I am feeling blah and bloated, I put on a couple of the pounds that I have worked so hard to take off. 😢 So, I decided it was time to change directions. I am not giving up on my health and fitness. It is just time to quit moping and start cleaning cupboards and closets, polishing up the Jeep, maybe give my dog a bath. Just make the best of what I have, instead of being so focused on what’s not working for me this week. This post came up at the perfect time to give me the boost I needed to get on with it. 🥰

Feeling grateful for what I have.🤗

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