Eleven Months🎉

Molly and I are both celebrating milestones!    I began my current health and fitness journey on  February 14th, 2022.  This past Friday marked eleven months since I got up, got active, and made a commitment to get healthier, stronger, and fitter.   Coincidentally, our Molly was born on February 16th, 2022 which makes her eleven months old today.  🎂

This has been a productive eleven months for both of us.  Molly came to live with us in April, when she was two months old.   Her first ‘outing’ was a visit to the vet with me and her immediate favourite human, Genie.

Molly’s First Outing

Over the past nine months, Molly has chosen a few more favourite humans – and she has grown! 

Molly and her favourite Dan.
Molly at the dog park with Alec
Molly watching tv with Cason, Lucas, Bacardi & Cornelius – favourite humans and favourite doggos.

Through my health and fitness efforts, I have also grown – in many ways. Fortunately, size wise wasn’t one of them.

Fitness wise, I have definitely grown.  I started out struggling to dance to 60’s tunes for a few minutes each day.  Through determination and perseverance, I was able to follow some beginner dancercise classes on You Tube.

The first classes were a challenge for me and  I had to take more than a few breaks to make it through an entire session.   But quitting was not an option, so I pressed on and graduated to You Tube Zumba classes.

This was the class I did this morning – spot on and NO breaks.

I am also spending a half, to an hour and a half, outside every day – walking Molly, playing fetch, or shoveling snow. And.. I am exercising with light weights (dumbbells) six evenings a week.

Eleven months in, Molly and I are both doing well, working on making the most of the final month of our first year, and happy with our progress.

Molly & Me 💞

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

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Five Weeks To Go 🖐️

Five Weeks to go until I have completed YEAR ONE of my health and fitness program.   The year has not been without its setbacks, but I have stayed committed.    I remind myself daily that to feel better, do better, and be better in the future, I have to take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally today.  So, I do it!

This past week, I worked out every morning.  It felt really good to get in some relatively intense Zumba workouts.   The days when I opted for some freestyle dancing were fun as well.  It just feels good to move.

I checked in every day with my Volley workout accountability group, as I have been doing for months now (even when I had no voice and not much to say).  We share our struggles, our triumphs, and our triumphs in spite of our struggles!  It  is  more helpful than I could have imagined.  My Volley partners and friends, Dwight and Jackie, are so encouraging, supportive, inspiring, and upbeat!  Volley sharing has consistently become one of my favourite  parts of  my  day.

I have been getting outside more often.  Just getting a bit of fresh air is a bonus at this time of year.   Obviously it is a bigger and better  bonus, fitness wise,  when I can shovel some snow or take Molly for a walk as well.

I have been working on my diet.  Avoiding sweet and salty snacks hasn’t been easy, especially over the holidays, but I have tried to focus on healthy meals.  We have had my full repertoire of salad meals in the past few days.  We also celebrated with our belated New Year’s Eve supper on Friday evening.  That was a bit indulgent but we did share one steak, one baked potato, and one bottle of champagne. 👍

Yesterday, Dan and I took Molly over to the dog park.  She had a great run with half a dozen other dogs, we had a nice visit with their humans, and we were joined by granddaughter Genie.   Once we were all sufficiently chilled, I coaxed Genie over to the house for a  cup of hot tea and we plied her with leftover Christmas chocolates.  🤗

Speaking of Genie, she has been keeping herself occupied while on break from the midway.    This week she, and her fiance Alec, built a full-on sanctuary for their miniature parrots – George and Nova.

They added a sleeping tent and they still have a few exterior trim boards to install, but George and Nova are moved in and enjoying their bigger and better home. 

That is it for this week’s update.  Only five more weeks to go for YEAR ONE and I am pushing hard to make the most of them.  This week I am going to make more of an effort with my evening light weight workouts.  I have been struggling to get back up to speed on them, but I am determined to do it, so it is as good as done.

Take Care and Have A Great Day!💞🌞

Ten Seconds of Molly While Dan Was Vacuuming the Rug.

December 17th

Still here, still voiceless and still dealing with the lingering effects of the flu from hell. I am not that sick but my days revolve around inhalers, hot drinks, and trying to keep active enough to keep my lungs clear and as strong as possible. Not exactly the lifestyle that inspires read worthy blogs. On the bright side, I have hacked off a few pounds in the past month so – YAY ME!

Anyway, today is December 17th and that means it is a day that holds special meaning for me. It seems impossible, but it has been twenty-nine years today since my father passed away.

My father and I were always close. He was quiet and peaceful with a quirky sense of humor that never failed to amuse me. He was extremely intelligent with a keen interest in anything mechanical or technical. But mostly, he was just a really good man and a really good father. I was always fortunate to have him in my life, but especially so in the last five years of his. They were difficult years but I learned so much the value of dignity and compassion and strength and unwavering faith from my father in those years.

My father lived with sinus cancer for the last five years of his life. Cancer is merciless at the best of times, sinus cancer particularly so. It was heart wrenching to watch my father go through all that he dealt with. But it was inspiring and amazing to see how he never wavered. When there was virtually nothing physically left of him, he was stronger than most of us ever are.

During those last five years with Dad, my own life was on rocky ground. My first marriage, which had always been dysfunctional, had reached its breaking point. It was bad enough that my father, who seldom if ever told us what to do as adults, took me aside one day and told me that I had to get myself and my children out of that situation. I knew he was right.

Having seen someone you love suffer for five years, you think you are ready. On December 17th, 1993 – I wasn’t ready. I got the call from my mother and I was in shock that it was over. I fumbled through the motions and headed to their home two hours away to be with my mother until the rest of the family could join us.

The next morning, I went to the hospital to pick up my father’s personal effects. As I got out of the car, the cathedral bells were ringing out joyful Christmas carols. As I stepped into the hospital, I was surrounded by Christmas greenery, poinsettias, and glittery and glowing Christmas decorations. As I began climbing the stairs to Dad’s room, the carols suddenly stopped and the cathedral bells tolled out the sombre notes to mark my father’s passing. It was one of those moments in life that one never forgets. My soul shattered. It was over.

And with every step upward and forward, I began to heal. I made it through the arrangements, the wake, and the funeral. A few days later I went home to set up our Christmas tree, wrap presents, and finish the meal preparations – to provide the best Christmas that I could for my children. After Christmas, I focussed on wrapping up my marriage and moving on. In July, I took my children, my dog, and my plant and I moved us out. I was run down and starting off on a wish and a prayer but I knew we would be fine. And whenever I faltered, I knew that Dad was there with us. His faith and strength carried us through, as it always had.

Dad & I
Dad & my son Dan
Jennifer and I visiting Dad in early December 1993
RIP Dad & Mom. You will always both have a place in my heart and in my home. 💞

Weeks  40 & 41 – Third Time’s a Charm!

Just when I thought that I had built up my health and wellness levels as to be bullet-proof, Dan and I went for a third round of the 2022 flu season.  This time we both went down hard, and I am still struggling to get back up.  I have no voice and if a dishrag could feel, I am pretty sure this is what it would feel like.

This flu is brutal – everything a flu can throw at us and then some and it doesn’t spare anyone.  Granddaughter Genie, her fiance Alec, and her brother Rory were all taken down hard these past couple of weeks as well.  

But, everything has an upside and this little episode has been no exception.   December, my famously least favourite month of the year,  managed to arrive with much less todo than  usual.  I caught a few strains of some holiday carol, was pretty much able to ignore that, and let it go.  I tried to find anything unholiday related on television on Sunday night.  There was one non-seasonal Willy Nelson special on, but that turned out to be more depressing than the ubiquitous Christmas specials.  I ended up watching a marathon of ‘King of the Hill’ episodes. 

It never fails to amaze me how there is not one television channel that has not clued into the seasonal angst of so many in December.  I would think now more than ever!

How many people in North America no longer embrace the holidays?

  • People from different countries,  cultures, and religions who have never celebrated Christmas
  • People who have been force fed tales of Christmas Miracles, Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All for decades and know it is nonsense or at least non-existent in December?
  • People who are beyond dealing with the commercialization of Christmas – and the greed and garbage that it entails from September to January.
  • People who have lost loved ones during the holiday season and walk a field of landmines –   PTSD triggers during December –  EVERY December – every friggin Holly Jolly holiday display, every Christmas Carol, every holiday movie.
  • People who’s families are, or have been, torn asunder for whatever reason. 

It is so ridiculous.   So much is ‘said’ about mental health and well-being these days – but what is actually done to support those who mentally or emotionally struggle through the holidays?   A ‘King of the Hill’ marathon, SERIOUSLY!

Anyway, on a true upside – I have had the time to do some meditating and some You Tube browsing in anticipation of my health comeback. If you are looking for some motivation for the week, I hope this Goggins helps to inspire you!

If you are not into Goggins, my Volley friends have made this a ‘Rocky’ Monday to help get me back in fighting form…

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

Last but not least… A Prim smile from the archives. 💞🌞

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! 💞🌞

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! 💞🌞

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! 💞🌞

Week 35 – I’m Back!

After a week or so of questionable health issues, I have finally shaken off whatever was bothering me. The timing could not be better as yesterday we had our first blast of Saskatchewan winter. It was wet. It was windy. Fortunately, it was not terribly cold, with the temperature hovering at about the freezing point.

It was a perfect day to get out and practice some serious snow removal and to watch Molly zig, zag, and zoom through her first snow of the year. Unlike our little Kat who was not a fan of the white stuff, Molly loves the snow. She loves to slide around on our icy patios. ANDShe loves to race into the house soaking wet and grinning ear to ear from her adventure.

As for my thirty five week update – I am back to my full workout, my meditation, and my weights (starting with the nine sets – again!). I didn’t walk Molly yesterday and today may be the same. We did get lots of outdoor exercise yesterday and there is more snow to move today, as it snowed off and on during the night. I am not sure how icy the streets and sidewalks to the park are, so we will have to see before I decide on a walk. By tomorrow, it should be safe enough, as we are due to see some sun and warmer temperatures that should clean things up to a safe level.

Genie and I did take Molly for a walk a few days ago, and for a run in the park. Genie put together a short video of our outing. It is a first effort, but she did catch a few of Molly’s runs!

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