Monday, August 31, 2009

I Love Mondays

Monday--When I was working, I hated Mondays. In fact the hating started on Sunday. Sunday morning wasn't too bad but by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around that feeling of dread was starting to invade my house, my head, my body. Well all of that's over now. Now I get to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Since I expect to have a long one (good Lord willing), I'd better get started.

This Monday morning started out in an unusual way for Huntersville, North Carolina in August. Pouring down rain. I love the rain, so I was happy. I'm so sick and tired of the sun and humidity I could throw up (I know, a bit harsh, huh?). Anyhow, I logged onto my computer and started looking through my email.

There in my email was a message from someone I'd known from work. She and her family were leaving Angola and moving back to California. I believe she had been living in Angola for 3 years. She was announcing her repatriation to all of her friends and did so with a musical slideshow from She had some pictures of her children and a beautiful Angolan sunset and the music was ColdPlay's Viva La Vida. Just beautiful...

So, you guessed it. I logged onto Smilebox and put together my own musical scrapbook of our weekend trip to Asheville. I sent the scrapbook to my son and daughter-in-law so that they could show it to our grandchildren.

The heck with the gym...I love Mondays and there's always tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not What I Was Expecting

We were up at the crack of dark this morning to drive to Asheville, North Carolina to attend the Goombay Festival. The Goombay Festival is a celebration of African & Caribbean Heritage and Asheville is a very artsy community of 78,000 people about 1.5 hours north of us.

I found out about the festival on the internet. We've wanted to visit Asheville since we moved to North Carolina and so decided to invite a couple of our friends and spend the day up north. Asheville was described to us as the Berkeley of North Carolina. Those of you who know Berkeley, California know that it is a very liberal city devoted to the arts, education and protests of all kinds! I love Berkeley so I thought I'd probabaly love Asheville. It was voted the #1 place to live on's 2007 list of the top 100 places to live in 2007.

The festival was much smaller than I'd expected and after attending festivals in New York and San Francisco perhaps my expectations were too high. I was expecting some awesome crafts but didn't see anything I don't already have too much of in my house already. I was not impressed, but I absolutely loved Asheville.

There were loads of art galleries and great boutiques. Fancy restaurants and plain ones and an old F.W. Woolworth that had been converted to a who's who of art vendors except for the soda fountain, which had been kept intact. I got a Vanilla Egg Cream in the memory of the many I had imbibed during my youth in New York. Ted tried to get a hot dog for 15 cents (as a sign advertised) but when that didn't work, he went ahead and paid $1.50 for it. There were beautiful art deco buildings and old buildings with gargoyles standing at the ready. There was, of course, the Biltmore estate that resembled the Hearst Castle in Southern California and as far as the eye could see, were the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. What a beautiful place.

The best part of the day, though took place in this little park in the middle of downtown. When we arrived in the early morning, there was a pro-healthcare meeting going on. Nothing like the crazy yelling matches that have been going on in various places around the US. We hung around for that and took some pictures. When that meeting finished, the marching band for the Goombay Festival started assembling in the park. The parade consisted of one man and woman on stilts, 4 drummers, a marching band from a Winston Salem high school and 3 cars. That was it. We watched that progression until it was gone. Next, a group of people set up chess games in the park and we watched as some serious games of chess got started. Next, a band started setting up for live music. When I looked, I noticed that all of the band members were children (except for the drummer who was an adult). There were 5 boys and 1 girl and I was thinking to myself ("guess it's about time to go home"). When they started playing, I could not believe it. The young boy who was singing vocals was a little shy and quiet on the mike but his voice was beautiful. When they started playing the opening chords for Santana's Black Magic Woman, the crowd roared. They did a fabulous job. They couldn't have been more than 12-13 years old, if that. Santana could be their grandfather!People were clapping and swaying. It was a joy to watch.

We would have stayed for a few more numbers, but the cigarette smoke was getting to be too much for us, so we decided to head out. What a wonderful day. We spent a great day in a new place with friends we enjoy being with. We came for one thing and found so much more. Isn't that what serendipity is?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Helping The Little Guy

I spent all of yesterday running around trying to match the granite in my kitchen for a couple of projects I'm planning.

I want a desk built into the kitchen and some cubbie holes built into this ridiculous hunk of wall that separates my kitchen from my family room. This wall is so annoying. It's a low wall so that you can see into each room from the other, but the counter is a catch all for all of Ted's electronics and the actual wall is just a huge piece of plaster in the middle of the room--no purpose whatsever. So I came up with an idea of building cubbie holes into the side of the wall that faces the kitchen to hold cook books, pottery, etc. I want to add granite to the top of the counter to match what's already in the kitchen. Maybe if it looks pretty, I can keep it clear of Ted's "stuff".

I hired a carpenter who could do the work and he proceeded to order the desk that would match my cabinets from the cabinet maker. When he came back with the price for the desk I almost fainted. $1700!!! Plus $400 if we wanted the cabinet makers to install the desk. I was flabbergasted. I had looked the cabinets up on the internet and this cabinet store (a small mom and pop store in a neighboring town) was the only distributor that I found. I asked the carpenter if he had any other ideas. He thought of building the desk himself and getting the cabinet fronts from the cabinet store so that from the outside all would match. This should cost me less money. When he took this idea back to the cabinet store, the owner was not too enthused.

In desperation, I went back to the internet and lo and behold, I must have missed it the first time but I found that Loew's carried my cabinets. I went to Loew's, told them what I needed and the cabinet specialist entered a few bits of information into the computer and out came a drawing of the desk and a price. The price was $890. Again, I was flabbergasted. Of course, I ordered the desk from Loews.

I've talked to a few cabinet store owners since and from what I can understand, this particular store is way out of line. A 20% markup is understandable but 50%?

I'm always torn between doing business with the small stores versus the big box stores. For a time I would not do business with WalMart because I thought they put small stores out of business. Living on a fixed income and a deep recession has changed my ways as I need the best price I can get, but I still feel badly when I see small enterprises go out of business. Had this cabinet store owner's price been under $1000, he would have had my business but an exorbitant price made me go looking for other options.

Is it greed or is he just compensating for slow sales by marking up what he does sell? No matter, at the end of the day, I felt good that I'd done my homework and saved some money for another project.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where Did My Day Go?

I had to write tonight so I'm here, but just barely. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life.

I went to the gym this morning and did 30 minutes on the treadmill and 1 hr with the Hydro tone equipment. That's right, I am totally hooked on this mode of water fitness.

Raced home, took a shower, washed my hair and got ready to go to get my hair done. I really never look forward to getting my hair done because it always takes so long. I have sisterlocks (which are very small dred locs) and my daughter usually grooms them for me. Grooming is the process of weaving the new growth into the existing loc. I must be really spoiled because Rashida is very quick and it never takes her more than 4 hours to complete my hair.

Since I moved to Charlotte, I had to find a new loctician. She's a wonderful person and does great work but she's about the slowest loctician I have ever met. Today I got to her home at 1:15 pm and left at 8:30 pm. I could not believe it. What would take Rashida 4 hours max took Ms. C. 8 hours. So, 8 hours of my time and $185 later, I stumbled out of her house and headed home.

I am contemplating flying to New York every couple of months and having Rashida do my hair. She charges me the "mommy rate" (free) and the airfare would be less than I spend with Ms. C. In addition, we could have some bonding time.

Being retired makes me value my time and my limited money so much more.

Stumbling off to bed now - More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Face The Fear And Do It Anyway

I came face to face with my fear today. I enjoyed the Hydro Tone water fitness class so much yesterday, I decided to attend another one tonight.

When I entered the gym and walked past the "baby" pool to the locker room I thought something was strange. There was not one person in the pool. I looked at my watch and noticed that it was a couple of minutes before 6:00 pm. "Oh well", I thought. "Maybe everyone's running late". I proceeded to the locker room, changed into my suit and made my way to the pool. As I entered, the lifeguard said "Pool's closed tonight. Someone threw up in it and we have to clean it". Believe me, that was really ok with me.

I went back to the locker room and got dressed in my street clothes to go home, a bit disappointed. Just then a woman comes rushing in and starts changing into her swimsuit. I asked her if she was taking the swimming class. "Yes, I am", she said. "They're having it in the big pool since they're cleaning the little pool". The big pool would be the 50M pool. The one with 1 million gallons of water in it. The pool where swim meets and scuba lessons were held. My heart sank. I have never been in the big pool. I'm really not a swimmer. I used to laugh at myself and say that I could drown in a wading pool.

I used to know how to swim but something happened when I was a teenager. I jumped into what I thought was a shallow end of a pool that turned out to be the deep end. I sucked up what seemed like buckets of water as I catapulted to the bottom. As I remember it, I had to go to the hospital to have my stomach pumped. I was sick and frightened and have never been comfortable around water since.

Fast forward to today. Here I am, 62 years old and really scared of going into the big pool. I said to myself, "Self, you need to be a big girl. You can do this". So I changed and joined the rest of my class in the big pool.

As I walked into the pool, the instructor must have seen the fear in my eyes. "Will you be all right?", he asked. "I don't swim", I said. "Well, we have these belts that you strap on and they will make you float in the water". I looked unsure. "It's entirely up to you", he said. All kinds of thoughts went though my head but the loudest was: "I'm really not going to walk away from this challenge".

I asked him where the shallow end was. "It's all deep water he said". "Oh, oh", I thought to myself. As he helped me strap my belt on first followed by my transformer boots, I just kept talking to myself. "You can do this". "Just breathe".

As I descended into the water and realized that my feet were nowhere near touching the bottom, the fear started to rise in my throat. I held onto the bells and started making circles in the water and kicking my feet. As I inhaled and exhaled slowly, I started to calm down. Maybe I could do this.

Many of the exercises were too scary for me to do because my face kept coming too close to the water. When the fear started moving in, I just went back to my breathing and making circles with the bells. Worked like a charm. This was about baby steps for me.

Many of the exercises weren't as effective in the big pool because you really needed your feet on the bottom to help achieve more drag on your legs. No one was especially happy with the level of the exercise, but we were all being good sports about it. I know at least one of us was fighting unknown demons in the process.

At the end of the class I tadpoled over to the stairs and hung on as I removed my boots and the buoyancy belt. I climbed up the ladder and onto the deck of the pool. I felt really good. I was glad that the class was over and I was glad that I had managed to rise above my fear.

I'm working on the next 25 things to do when I retire: Learn to swim

Monday, August 24, 2009

If Two Days Are Good, Four Days Must Be Better.

I went to the gym twice today. Once this morning and then again in the evening. It just occurred to me that it might be impossible for me to get on top of this weight gain thing unless I pump up the volume a bit.

I mean, let's face it. Even though I worked a desk job, I can't tell you how many times I would get up to go to the printer, make a copy, visit someone's office, etc. Well, a lot of that movement is not happening now. Even though this is a big house, and I do have bursts of activity (like when I prune the shrubs and trees), that activity is far from consistent. There are some days that I work on my scrapbooks, read a book, watch TV. You get the picture. None of these activities use very much energy. I do, however, still eat my 3 squares plus snacks. So the input is the same but the output has been reduced drastically. You know what that means.

This morning I decided that I would increase the amount of time I spend in the gym. Why not? We spend $79 a month for our membership. There are classes around the clock. So why should I just go twice a week? I should go to the gym at least 4 times a week.

While looking over the schedule, I found that there was a 6:00 pm Hydro Tone class being held in the 25-yard pool. I decided I'd go. I'd taken a water fitness class using this equipment last week and it was an excellent workout. Actually I only used the hand weights (called bells) last week so I decided I'd take the plunge and use the boots as well as the bells for this class.

I walked into the gym and the first thing I noticed was that it was packed. Not at all like it is in the morning. Must be most of the working folk. Anyhow, I joined the class in the pool and started the process of getting geared up.

The bells are easy--you just hold them in your hands and as you perform exercises in the water, resistance is increased as the water pours through the holes in the bells. The boots were a different story. Just getting the boots on took a major effort. They have 3 velcro straps and once you have them sufficiently tightened, you feel like a monster. The boots cause extra drag when you're walking in the pool and the combination of the bells and the boots make you feel like you're walking through quicksand. It's hard enough to do exercises like bicep curls but when you attempt to do jumping jacks with these contraptions, the intensity level is amazing. If you add to the drag on your legs, the need to keep the boots from hooking onto one another and the fact that you need to do a minimum of 30 jumping jacks in 1 minute, you can see what level of exercise this is. At least twice, I fell face forward into the water because my boots hooked onto one another. Embarrassing to say the least.

The class lasted one hour and I will admit that I was watching the clock. When we started the cool down I was one happy camper. I took the boots off and put the bells up. As I climbed out of the pool, I realized that my legs felt so tired I could hardly lift them. I knew that I would have to take a Epsom salt soak tonight. As I was toweling off in the locker room I looked at my arms. Hey, is that more definition I see there?

Watch out Michelle...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday Night in Small Town USA

What does one do on a Friday night in a small town?

Not like I'm used to doing much on Friday night anyhow. Our big date on Friday night in Walnut Creek was Barnes and Nobles where Ted and I browsed the magazines and books, then met up in the cafe for a latte or tea while we reviewed our treasures. Sometimes we got out of the store spending no more than the price of our coffee--other times it could be a $50 or $60 night. Believe me, Barnes and Nobles is not losing any money on us.

Anyhow, my water fitness teacher performs in a band and she notified us by email that they would be playing in Birkdale (a retail/residental community not far from us) on Friday evening. We decided that it would be a nice evening out so we went.

Birkdale Village is a great place. It's one of the reasons we landed in Huntersville. Just before we started looking for homes, someone told us about Birkdale. It sounded just like the downtown shopping area on North Main Street in Walnut Creek, except that in addition to shopping, Birkdale has apartments over the stores. We visited Birkdale and fell in love with it. It had Barnes and Nobles (yahoo!!), Starbucks, Ann Taylor Loft, Gap, Pier 1, Aveda, Chico's, various small boutiques and restaurants and a huge movie complex. In addition, it has an enclosed area with benches and water fountains that kids can run through. Birkdale gets a lot of foot traffic, both day and night and they have free concerts on Friday nights in the summer. Anyhow, we found Birkdale before we realized that we wanted to live in Huntersville. We just kept coming back to Birkdale at the end of our day. We'd go to Starbucks for coffee or to Barnes and Nobles to browse the books. It made sense that we'd settle in Huntersville, very close to Birkdale village.

Anyhow, on this Friday night, we decided to go hear Cindy's band. What a great evening it was. The streets were packed with people, families complete with kids and dogs, couples, singles, old and young. It was a balmy evening, probably in the 80's. The stars were out and there was a gentle breeze. The delicious smells from the restaurants floated by and if you'd made the mistake of not eating before you came out, you were hooked. You'd have to grab a bite to eat. Kids frolicked through the fountain while their parents watched. Car enthusiasts displayed their beautiful classic cars for all to see.

The band was great. They are a family friendly band and play gospel, R&B, pop, country. The vocals were good and the music had folks up and dancing in the street. We found a bench and listened to the tunes while watching people stroll by. As we sat, watched and listened, I found myself relaxing more and more. It was really nice to be out with nothing to do but sit and nowhere to be but here.

At intermission, we went into Starbucks to get an iced frappicino. Ted bought a trivia card game about Africa. We took our seats on the bench and started working our way through the trivia game. The deck said that it was for ages 8+ but I doubt that any 8 year old (or 9, 10, or 11 year old, for that matter) would know the answers to some of those questions. We did know some answers, though. I knew that Ja and Nee mean "yes" and "no" in Afrikaans. I did not know that Shukran means "thank you" in Arabic.

We stayed for a couple more songs after intermission, then decided to make our way back to the car. It was a little after 9 pm. We thought about stopping at Barnes and Nobles but thought better of it. I was tired.

What a nice way to spend a Friday evening.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'd Rather Be Doing This Than The Wash!

Do you know what a mondegreen is? Wikipedia says it's the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, in a way that yields a new meaning to the phrase.

As I've said in a previous post, I love words and I get a really big kick out of mispronunciations, especially of mispronunciations in the words of songs. It just tickles my funny bone.

Well, this morning I was talking to my daughter. She just loves music and was telling me that I should follow John Mayer on twitter. He was in the studio working on his new album and some of the tweets were very interesting. For some reason we got onto a conversation of artists slurring the lyrics of their songs so badly as to make them unintelligible. She had been watching a VH1 retrospective and asked me if I knew of the 60's group Iron Butterfly. I did not, so she went on to tell me about a song that they had recorded entitled "In A Gadda Da Vida" which really should have been entitled "In The Garden of Eden", but the soloist was so drunk he completely slurred the words and the group liked it so much they kept that as the title. I laughed so hard I cried. I could not believe it, so I went to YouTube to see for myself and, there it was, in all it's glory. It was the 60's after all, wasn't everyone high?

That led me to do some more internet research and I found that there was really a word associated with these mispronunciations (mondegreen). I was blown away. When I was younger, there were days when I spent hours pouring over the phone book to find funny names, like "Mary Christmas", so these types of things really get my attention.

Sometimes people don't enunciate well, leading to these funny mondegreens and sometimes I think people are just not listening. Anyhow, I'm including a few funnies I found on the internet.

Some singers are worse than others but here are some funny ones I found on

Sounded Like: You left, you picked your behind, and I kissed it a thousand times - (Four Tops - I Can't Help Myself)
Should Be: You left your picture behind and I've kissed it a thousand times

Sounded Like: There's a bathroom on the right" - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising
Should Be: There's a bad moon on the rise"

Sounded Like: "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" - Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze
Should Be: Excuse me while I kiss the sky"

Sounded Like: "Play that f__king music right boy - Wild Cherry
Should Be: "Play that funky music white boy".

Sounded Like: I get knocked out..." Chumbawumba - Tubthumping
Should be: "I get knocked down..."

From the Bible:

Sounded Like: Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life - Psalm 23
Should Be: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all of the days of my life

From an interview:

In a 1992 interview, Bill Clinton was asked who his favorite musician was. He answered Thelonius Monk. The interviewer asked him "Who's the lonliest monk?

There are even books written about mondegreens. If you're interested, look up books by Gavin Edwards (Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy, When A Man Loves a Walnut and He's Got The Whole World in His Pants).

You know, I really should be doing the laundry but this is much more fun and....that's right, there's always tomorrow!

Happy laughing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Something to Help Start Your Day

I don't usually open emails that have "FW" in the subject line. Today, though I looked at the sender of this particular email and decided to open it because this person almost never forwards emails. I was pleasantly surprised.

I needed something special today. We're having some family struggles the last few days and I have been feeling sad. I opened this email and as I clicked through the slides my sadness lifted little by little. Each slide has a background of beautiful azaleas and the slide presentation was accompanied by beautiful japanese music. Each slide had a saying on the top--and the sayings were what captivated me.

I would like to share them with you. They are proported to come from Andy Rooney.

Here they are - enjoy!

I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned that when you are in love, it shows.

I've learned that one person telling me that I've made their day, makes my day.

I've learned that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned that being kind is better than being right.

I've learned that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in any other way.

I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to goof around with.

I've learned that all someone needs sometimes is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned that simple walks around the block with my father on a summer's evening did wonders for me when I was an adult.

I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned that money doesn't buy class.

I've learned that we should be glad that God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned that it's those small, daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned that when you plan to get even with someone you are only allowing that person to continue hurting you.

I've learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.

I've learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned that life is tough but that I'm tougher.

I've learned that opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned that I wish I could have told my Mom that I loved her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender for tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned that when your newly born grandchild holds your finger in his little fist, you're hooked for life.

I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while climbing it.

I've learned that the less time I have to work with, the more I get done.

Wow - I need to read these every day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Hot Day In The Life of a Retired Woman

I ate breakfast this morning. I know, big whup! I thought it really important after reading my Real Age report to tackle something that I really could handle, so I started my day off with a bowl of Kashi (Ted calls my delicious cereal, twigs), a bannana and soy milk. Then I had my obligatory 2 cups of coffee.

Quite frankly, I didn't feel any different, but I'm doing what I know is right for my body and sometimes you don't see a change right away. Sometimes it takes a week or two, so I'll just have to keep it up. If I keep it up and it becomes a habit, at least when I retake the test in 90 days, that will be one question that I can answer differently.

I ran some errands today and tried to get back into the house as quickly as possible. It was at least 90 degrees today with 90 percent humidity. Absolutely awful. This afternoon I've been cloistered in my scrapbooking room getting ready for a scrapbooking class tonight. I finally found a person who conducts classes and lives about 5 minutes away from me. If it wasn't for the scrapbooking paraphernalia that I have to lug, I could walk it.

I'm really looking foward to getting some new ideas. I have no problem scrapbooking alone but you get all sorts of inspiration and new ideas from others, so I really like to go to a class every once in a while.

I've found the local scrapbooking store and I'm on their mailing list. I notice that they do all day crops (that's what we call a day of scrapbooking) and they also do weekends away devoted to scrapbooking. Be still my heart!!! Just think, a full weekend where, if you want, you can stay in your pajamas and just work on your scrapbooks for hours uninterrupted. Sounds like heaven to me.

I started scrapbooking in 1998 after Ted and I went on a cruise to Jamaica. Since then I've completed 20 scrapbooks. I still haven't caught up with all of the pictures that Ted takes but I'm making good progress. With more time on my hands, completing my remaining projects should not be an issue.

I love to look through my scrapbooks. I have 5 volumes of our travels, 2 volumes all about me, 3 volumes of our grandchildren, 1 volume for each of our 2 children, 1 volume of my son's wedding, 1 Christmas album, 3 volumes of New York pictures, 1 volume of all my scrapbooking trips and events, 1 volume of our trip from California to North Carolina, and 1 volume on work. I remember saying to Ted one day "These scrapbooks will come in handy one day, Ted, when we've lost most of our memories, we can just open these books and see what we've done in our lives".

So, I continue to document our lives so that generations to come will know who we were and what was important to us.

By the way the "hot day" in the title of this post refers to the weather.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Old Am I, Really?

I took the Real Age test today on Have you ever taken it? It's an interesting test and it takes a very long time to take, so if you decide to take this test, be forewarned. Allow at least an hour. The Real Age website is great. Drs. Oz and Roizen (the YOU doctors--You On A Diet, You, An Owner's Manual, etc.) are affiliated with this website and there's a ton of information on health, nutrition, and exercise.

Anyhow, I took it and here's how it came out. I am 62.3 years old and according to the test, my real age is 56.2 years. I tested out 6.1 years younger than I am. I was really not that happy with the results. I am a big numbers girl and consider myself pretty healthy, so I expected less than 56.2. I wanted to be at least ten years younger than my biological age. Why 10 years? I don't know. Just feels right to me.

The test asks you questions about medication, diseases, and life style (do you wear a seat belt, how many miles do you spend in a car per year, how often do you eat breakfast in a week, etc.). I believe that I answered the questions pretty well so I was eager to see the report so I could get cracking on what I needed to do to test at 52.3 years or less. I know the test is probably not very scientific, but at least it's an indicator of things you can improve in your life. Couldn't hurt. It's not like they suggest that you go on a stupid diet like the grapefruit diet and they are not selling anything.

After about an hour of putting in a load of data, I got this 19 page report with all the details about what things I'm doing right and things I could improve on.

For example, I could eat breakfast every morning. I'm really not good at that. I'd rather have a couple cups of coffee and call it a morning. My mother always told me how important breakfast was. It starts your engines, and stablizes your blood sugar. I know that, I just don't do it consistently. Also, I could eat more fruit. I don't know why I stopped eating fruit. When I was working, I ate 2-3 pieces of fruit per day. I always had a fruit bowl on my counter (as I do now). The big difference was that then I actually ate the fruit rather than watched it go bad. The test results also reported that it would be better for me to control my acid reflux through diet rather than medication. I'm taking the lazy way out. Eating absolutely whatever I want and popping a pill. when the acid comes crawling up my throat. Crazy!! Also, I can drop some weight. That is no surprise. I am already working on that one.

The report suggested some things I will not do. Like get a dog. The report states that having a pet can reduce stress. In my case, it would only increase my stress. Having had two children, I have cleaned up as much poop as I'm ever going to. I can improve my numbers in other areas. It also suggested that I increase my Omega-3 intake by eating fish. I used to love fish but something happened and I now hate it. The only way I like fish now is fried, and since I know that's not a good way to have it, I've all but eliminated it from my diet. Omega-3s keep arteries healthy and lower triglycerides. Good thing I can find Omega-3s in soy products and nuts (not too many, though--high in fat). So perhaps that's an option.

People always tell me that I don't look my age. It used to be really cool to hear that because when they said those things, I never felt my age either. After I turned 55, though things started changing. Even though I still didn't look my age outside, all kinds of aches and pains were starting to show up inside. So, I'm really into making my insides match my outsides and am on a quest to get healthier. I used to be so much more discliplined when I was working. It's kind of like I retired and lost all of my resolve to be healthy. Well, I can't go for that (sounds like a Hall & Oates song) anymore.

I'll keep you posted as to how things are going. I will retake that test in 90 days and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What A Day!

Today was a difficult day. I woke up early with a plan for the day and had it absolutely upended by a crisis that had been waiting to happen forever.

What the crisis was is not important. What is important is how it absolutely turned everything topsy turvy. It's funny how things can change in the blink of an eye.

I woke up at 7:00 am, got out of bed, made coffee, opened the blinds in my bedroom and got back under the covers. I contemplated the beauty of the back yard and the pruning that Ted and I had completed last week and waited for the beep of the coffee maker. When it did so, I hopped out of bed and rushed for that first delicious cup of coffee.

Two cups of coffee later and I'd decided how I'd start my day. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and got out my new book "Strength Training Over 50--Stay Fit And Fabulous". Today I would start training with weights. For weeks I've been threatening to start weight training so that my arms could look like Michelle Obama's. Today was the day!

Out in the garage I found my hand weights against the back wall. I picked the 3 and 5 lb. weights for a beginning. Leave the 5 and 10 lb. weights for next week. I lugged the weights into my scrapbooking/yoga room, set them down on the floor and reached for my yoga mat.

At that moment, the phone rang and my day changed in an instant. Sometimes it happens that way. Someone else's crisis becomes your crisis. Someone else's dream gets slammed up against reality and you have to help pick up the pieces. Someone tries to help another and inadvertently hurts that person and you have to help pick up the pieces. Someone just needs someone to talk to.

So, my day changed. So what? That's what family is for. Michelle Obama can sigh a sigh of relief. I will not be chasing those gorgeous arms today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Does That Mean?

I've been a fan of so-called "vanity plates" ever since I can remember. I have always loved words and my favorite past time is doing the word jumbles in the newspaper.

I love to try to figure out people's license plates as I go down the road. If I can't figure it out pretty quickly, I get mad because what good is a vanity plate if no one can figure it out? If you have something to say, to my mind, you can be clever about it but if no one can figure it out what good is it? They'll never know what you're trying to say!

I like having a vanity plate that has a positive saying. It gives me a sense of calm when I see the plate and it keeps me from acting like an idiot on the road. I mean how would it look for a person to give you the finger while driving a car with a license plate that says "PEACE"? In addition, I always know my license plate when filling out any paperwork that asks you for your license plate number.

My first vanity plate was "GITNBTR". I had just passed 40 years of age and life was, indeed, getting better. I thought that plate was pretty easy to figure out until a couple of teenagers asked me one day "Miss, does your license plate mean getting butter?" Made me wonder what they were teaching in school.

The next plate I got was a little more challenging. I wanted my plate to say "peace" but all of the different variations were already taken. I ended up with two choices: "PEESE" and "VSIGN". The first one was pretty easy because it sounded like peace but the second one, I thought was pretty creative. You had to figure out that the "VSIGN" stood for the peace sign that you make with your 2 fingers. I went for the second one. I can't tell you how excited I would be when someone would cut in front of me, then flash the peace sign. They got it.

When I moved to North Carolina, I found that this state gives you a little more liberty with vanity plates. I had 8 letters to play with. I thought long and hard about what my plate would say. I wanted it to portray where I am in life. I chose "ONAJERNY". I felt that was a fair depiction of my life. I definitely was on a journey from California to North Carolina and, even more importantly, I'm on a journey finding out who I am.

Here are a few vanity plates I think are interesting:

1. NVERLA8 (California)
2. NA HE DNT (Ohio)
3. L8ASUSL (Vermont)
4. F-IT (Oklahoma)
5. SSABMUD (California) Somehow got by the DMV
6. LOL WTF (Virginia) Somehow got by the DMV
7. TI EVOM (California)
8. FSTR N U (California)
9. KIDINME (Michigan)
10. GLBL WMR (Nebraska)

Not that you probably need it, but here's some help on the plates above:
1. Never Late, 2. No He Didn't, 3. Late As Usual, 4. You got that one, 5. Dumb Ass (backwards) 6. You got that one, 7. Move It (backwards), 8. Faster Than You, 9. Kid In Me, 10. Global Warmer (the vehicle was a camper) Check out for more

For me? I'm sticking with the plate I have. After all, life's a journey, not a destination.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bicycle or Motorcycle?

A sleepy Sunday started out as a beautiful morning. We woke up late and just lazed around a bit. Nothing much planned for the day. We clipped and trimmed our way through the front yard yesterday, so I felt like resting on my laurels today.

As I was working on the computer, I noticed that my next door neighbors were preparing to go for a ride. The garage door opened, and out backed the Harley with my neighbor at the helm. A few seconds later, his wife came running out, jumped on the back and they were off. Hmm, that looks like fun.

I remember once, Ted and I were thinking about buying Harley's. We went up to Sonoma for a day trip and stumbled onto a group of the most beautiful Harley's we'd ever seen. We talked about it and even worried the kids some, but decided in the end not to chance it.

So, as I watched my neighbors (who are at least 10 years younger than us), take off, I thought, we need to do something fun today too.

About an hour later the heaven's opened up and I was glad that we were not outside and wondered about the neighbors. Knowing North Carolina's weather, though it was almost certain that the rain would not last, and it did not.

I was sitting on the couch when the sun came out--just relaxing. Ted said "Do you want to take our bikes out?" "Sure", I said.

I slathered sunscreen on, put on my helmet and hopped on my bicycle. I hadn't been on my bike for at least 2 years, but, as they say, you never forget. As we started pedaling away, I remembered why I loved cycling so much. It's such a freeing feeling.

Ted said, "Not bad for 60 year olds, huh?" "Even some 50 year olds wouldn't think about getting on a bicycle". That made me feel better. For me, a bicycle is more age appropriate than a motorcycle. And loads of fun.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When I Grow Old I Shall Wear Red

What does it mean to age gracefully? You’ve seen some of those older ladies who do not age gracefully, haven’t you? You know, the ones I mean. The one’s with gobs of makeup stuck in the crevices of their life-worn faces, too much bright read lipstick, jet black hair (real or synthetic), huge, expensive rings on their gnarled fingers. Those ladies.

Well, I’ve seen them too and I promised myself that I would not become them. I promised myself that I would grow old gracefully, wear age appropriate make up, clothes and hair. I want to be one of those ladies that are thought of as “handsome”. You know the type. The ladies that wear beautifully tailored clothing, quiet make up and jewelry. The ladies who get a second look because of their regal carriage and quality clothing. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

I have always leaned more towards the classic style of clothing. I like to wear things that don’t go out of style because I don’t like to throw my money away by having to repurchase items every year on the whim of the designers. I had my colors done back in the 1980’s and though I don’t have the palette anymore, I still remember some of the colors. I almost always get compliments when I wear those colors, so I keep wearing them.

Black and white are my fashion staples and I punch those colors up with brights: Red (my favorite), orange, salmon, periwinkle. If I remember to stay in that palette, things work really well for me. I like flowing clothes like those you find at Chico’s or Eileen Fisher. They look elegant and make me feel good. No need to change that as I grow older.

I wear foundation in a becoming shade and have softened my lipstick from bright red to cranberry or plum. No more stilettos for me. I love shoes but wear either flats or wedge-heels. My favorite shoes in my closet are a pair of fire engine red peep-toe Stuart Weitzman's with a finish that looks like the paint job of a luxury car. Wow!!

My grey hair is finally starting to come in. I’ve been waiting patiently for it. I love grey hair and have always thought that it looks sophisticated. I remember that my mother always felt the same way. She always said “I’ve earned every one of these grey hairs”. I feel the same way. I wear my hair naturally, in sisterlocks either up in a bun or tied back in a pony tail.

What a testament to the resilience of the human spirit to live long enough to “age gracefully”. You really don’t get to that place without having shed some tears and felt some pain and joy. And the tears, pain and joy of a life well lived will show on your face and in your carriage.

I don’t mind wearing age on my face, I just want to wear it gracefully. I’m adjusting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Will I Be When I Grow Up?

I drove into Charlotte today and spent the day participating in a workshop given by a good friend of mine, Pam Slim. Pam is an excellent life coach, has a very popular blog Escape From Cubicle Nation
and has also written a book with the same name. I worked with Pam in corporate america and she was instrumental in helping me see that I could move from the Information Technology world (even after spending 29 years there) into Human Resources where I worked for the last 2 years of my 31 years spent at Chevron.

Even though I escaped from "Cubicle Nation" in 2006, the entrepreneurial siren is calling me. There is more to do, I just know it. I have had a gift basket business and been a scrapbook consultant. I enjoyed each of those pursuits but neither of them was "it" for me. So I decided to join some like minded folks. Perhaps I could pick up some ideas and inspiration.
It was a wonderful day, full of great ideas and people with positive attitudes and urges to become entrepreneurs. Very invigorating. The workshop was held at the McColl Innovation Institute, a beautiful old gothic church built in 1923 which now houses artist's studios and provides creativity and art classes to the public. A great venue for a wonderful, creative workshop. I came away from that workshop with a list of supportive friends and many ideas that need time to percolate.

The good news is that, even at 62 years old, I'm far from finished. I have at least 1, perhaps 2, more careers in me--just have to figure out what they are. As you can see in my list of things to do when I retire (previous post), there are many things I'm interested in. Pam's workshop will help me narrow the list down to one or two items that may be of use to others.

When I retired, I talked to my son a little bit about some of the things I wanted to do. He said, "Mom, why don't you just sit down in a chair?". What I know about that is that, retirement is very different for the baby boomers than it was for my mother's generation. No chairs for us because there is still so much to do and, in general, we are a vibrant lot. After all, aren't we the people who put jogging on the map in the 70's/80's?

When I ran the New York marathon in 1983, my mother could not understand why I was running around in "those skimpy shorts" instead of taking care of my family. "You are 36 years old", she said. "Time to settle down--really way past time to settle down." That kind of behavior was unheard of in her day. I tried to explain to her that I could run a marathon and take care of a family but she just shook her head. She didn't understand that I had a lot of living to do and that the context of motherhood/wifehood was changing.

I like this saying by Abe Lincoln: "It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Didn't Take The Bait!

Whew! We got through the day without purchasing a new car! Don't think we weren't tempted, because we were, but reality won out. It really didn't make sense to indebt ourselves for 5 years and then perhaps not be able to do things like complete the bonus room upstairs, travel, etc. So we did the adult thing, returned the loaner and picked up our repaired as good as new, fully paid for Lexus. There might have been a time in our younger days that we might have fallen for the bait but we’re all grown up now and can now see the big picture. We’ve lalready done enough stimulating of the economy to last several more years.

Today was a good day. Treadmill and water fitness at the gym followed by lunch at Panera with my good friend, Carroll. Later in the day, Ted and I went to see the movie Julie & Julia. I just love Meryl Streep. She is a class act all the way. There was a man and woman standing behind us at the popcorn counter. The man mentioned that he was glad to see some men coming out to see the movie. I told him that I had heard that the movie was great for both men and women and that he’d probably like it. He didn’t look convinced. Guess who was laughing the loudest at some of the funniest parts of the movie? That’s right, Mr. “My wife made me come to this @!%! movie”.

I always thought Julia Child was a hoot. I still remember her slapping a chicken..still makes me laugh. Anyway, if you haven’t seen this movie, go see it. It says a lot about perseverance and the impact that loving relationships can have on people. Yes, I know it’s about food, but also about so much more.

Yoga, aromatherapy and spiritual reading will round out my evening and then to bed early tonight. I will be attending an all day conference in Charlotte tomorrow. More about that tomorrow.

Hope your day was a good one and if it wasn’t, you can start it all over tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Do Not Need A New Car!!

The Lexus blew up on us today. I knew it was coming and I will not say "I told you so", but???

This car is the workhorse of the family. It has driven across country a couple of times and does all the errand running each and every day and for that it doesn't even get a spot in the garage but that's a different rant. Whatever!! It is 9 years old and in great condition and we have had precious little problem with it until today.

So this morning, on the way to get some badly needed service, it just shuddered and quit. One tow ride to the dealer later, we're looking at a $1000 bill for a battery, timing belt, yada, yada, yada.

As I talked to Ted about the bill, he let me know that they would be giving him a loaner car to drive home. We both said to each other "We are not buying a new car!" 'Cause we know their tricks and we have been car payment free for at least 5 years.

I get back home from my errands and what do I see parked in the driveway? A brand new Lexus RX350 loaner car sparkling in the hot, North Carolina sun. As I got out of my daughter's car, and walked towards it all I could say was "Ooooh!" Same color (gold) but sleeker, smaller than our old Lexus and a dashboard to die for. I walked around it a couple of times, shook my head, steadied my resolve and went inside.

I asked Ted how it was to drive the new car. He said, "You don't even want to know." He went on to say, "When you back up, there's a camera that shows you what's behind you". "Really?", I said. "That would help me when I'm backing out of the driveway". "It also tells you what direction you're traveling in." "Really?" "Is there a built-in GPS in it", I asked. "You bet", was the reply.

I looked at him and I said "We are not buying a new car". "That's right", he said.

"Can we afford it", I asked. The answer: "No".

"OK - Let's just go for a spin in it later this evening, OK?" "Yup", said Ted, "What harm can that do?"

There's A Place For Everything

This is crazy! I organized both of my linen closets last night and I am in heaven. All of the towels, hand towels and washcloths are folded neatly, with folded sides facing out. Blankets and comforters are on the top shelf. It looks like a United Colors of Benetton store. There is something about an organized space. It allows the chi to flow.

Thinking of Benetton reminds me of what my daughter, Rashida used to say. Whenever we passed a Benetton store she’d say, “I just want to run in there and mess everything up.” She’s definitely not as anal about organization as I am, but she’s beginning to come along. I think it takes awhile to morph into your mother.

My organizing the linen closet is something like Ted’s cleaning the garage, only it really happens (smile). So after I did that and stood back and looked and said “This is good”, I was somehow motivated to replace some towels that felt like sandpaper and buy more washcloths (I didn't have enough). Also needed to buy a spice rack to organize my spices and an expanding 3-tier pantry shelf to organize my pantry. Help me, I’m out of control! Once I get organizing, the activity takes on a life of its own.

I once was wondering where I got my penchant for organizing from. I couldn’t figure it out. Then one day I was visiting my mother and she needed a pair of shoes from her closet. She asked me to go get them, and I did. There on her closet shelf was a neat stack of shoe boxes. Each box had written on it the color of the shoe and whether it was a pump, sandal, sneaker, etc. That’s when I got it. Somehow or other I had never noticed that my mother was organized but that brought it all home to me. I probably would have noticed it if she wasn’t organized, I’ll bet. So, I get this naturally. I have to work really hard, though not to take it to an obsessive level. I can easily go there.

After the yoga, chiropractic and massage appointments of the last few days, and after restarting my workout program, I am feeling 100% better. My blood pressure this morning was 116/73. Great and I’d like to keep it that way.

Everything’s in its place (even my blood pressure and my back) and a place for everything.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Know Your Numbers

When you're older something happens and you're more interested in "the numbers". Things like, LDL, HDL, blood know the drill.

I don't want to be like the older people who talk about nothing but what's wrong with them. Au contraire, I want to be one of those proactive baby boomers who research health issues on the internet and work with their doctors to take whatever action is necessary to stay healthy.

One of the ways to do this is to know your numbers. Here are mine taken last week:

Blood pressure - 117/69 (optimal is below 120/80)
Glucose (fasting) - 88 (norm is 60-110)
Cholosterol - 195 (optimal is below 200)
Triglyceride - 97 (normal is less than 150)
HDL - 58 (normal levels for women are 35-70)
LDL - 118( normal is 100-255
Vitamin D - 35 ( optimal levels is 20-60)

OK - Not bad but my cholosterol has been inching up every couple of years, so I'm going to start watching the saturated fat (I'm still going to have my Baskin Robbins ice cream tonight---but I'd better watch out for that stuff over time). The doctor said that I should take a vitamin D supplement so I'm doing that. I've never been much for the sun and only drink soy milk (and not much of that) so I'll augment with synthetic Vitamin D for now. I'll look into what I can add to my diet to replace the synthetic Vitamin D later.

Knowing the numbers is just the first step. I always compare the current numbers to what they were a year ago, and sometimes several years ago. I keep in mind that as you get older, some things just change, but if I see too much of a progression in the wrong direction, I come up for air and try to do something about it.

I know that if I don't address these issues, what starts out as a small thing could explode into a crisis. And, believe me....I don't want any trouble.

Are you happy with your numbers?

25 Things To Do When I Retire

Several years before I retired, my mother asked me, "What will you do when you retire?" I was so looking forward to retiring and talked to her a lot about it. I could hear the rest of her question though unuttered. "Won't you be bored?--What will you do with your time?"

"Mom, I have so many things I have not been able to do", I answered. "There probably aren't enough hours in even a retired day to do all of the things I want to do". Here's a start in no particular order:

1. Take piano lessons
2. Travel
3. Spend uninterrupted quality time with my husband
4. Work on my scrapbooks
5. Volunteer to help adults learn to read
6. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
7. Teach free yoga classes
8. Learn to make ceramics
9. Take an anatomy class
10. Read a book a week
11. Take dancing lessons
12. Ride a bicycle century (100 miles)
13. Get certified at the 500-hour yoga teacher level
14. Write a book
15. Research our family geneology
16. Learn quilting
17. Take a photography class
18. Walk a marathon for a good cause (breast cancer, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, etc)
19. Play with my grandkids
20.Take an art class
21. Get really, really good at Scrabble
22. Learn to do crosswords
23. Take Spanish classes
24. Take cooking classes
25. Get certified as a professional organizer.

Of course, I didn't give her this long list. I only mentioned a few. She was flabbergasted. My mother has always been one to focus on the family. I noticed that growing up and also noticed how our growing up left her rather empty--with not a lot of purpose left. I always said that I would not let that happen to me. I would have a life, while being a good mom and wife. And so it is, I have been blessed with a life that has been busy and full beyond measure. And now, God willing, I have the time to do more of the things I have not yet had a chance to do.

I believe the list will grow with time and who knows, some things may fall off as I move along this continuum called retirement. If an item falls off, I have a feeling it will be replaced with something more meaningful to me.

What's calling you?

It Was A Good Day

Up this morning at 6:30 am. 1/2 hour of yoga followed by coffee and breakfast on the back porch. At 8:00 am, Ted and I set out for the gym. I walked 30 minutes on the treadmill and then took an hour water fitness class. Whew!!! That's a lot for one morning. My blood pressure this morning was 126/80--going in the right direction. I was happy.

I feel better and more alive. Of course I'll probably feel a bit sore tomorrow, but that comes with the territory.

An appointment with the chiropractor at 3:00 pm this afternoon, followed by making a Chinese chicken salad for dinner. Ted and I will either take a walk in the evening or a bike ride around the development.

There, that's how you do it!!!!

I liked being able to witness the sun rising. It is a beautiful time of the day. Even though I like this part of the day, I am definitely a night owl. I like staying up late puttering and getting up late in the morning. I remember saying that when I retired I was going to revert to who I really was (late to bed/late to rise), but somehow you lose the essence of the day when that happens so I'm struggling with this issue. When I get up late, I've missed a good opportunity to work out because it is so flaming hot here in the summer you can barely breathe, much less walk outside after 10:00 am.

Oh, meant to add that I will be enjoying a double scoop of Baskin Robbin's Cherries Jubilee (my alltime favorite flavor). After all, I promised myself that I would not get crazy about this healthy thing. One day at a time, that's my motto

Oh well, I guess life is full of compromises.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Feel Good

All right it's Sunday evening. I've had a good day. I had a two-hour massage this afternoon and I really needed that. Massages are no longer a luxury--they are therapuetic for me. They help my achy back and neck.

I also hoped that it would lower my blood pressure to within the normal range. Drum roll please!!! 131/77. Not my usual but better than this morning. So perhaps it's not possible to change what's been happening for 3 weeks, in one day. Fancy that!!

Well, I'll keep working on it, doing what I know are the right things and the numbers will come down. I know they will.

The massage was just wonderful - I was carrying so much stress in so many areas of my body. I feel so much better, it's amazing. The massage therapist thought that the tightness in my neck could be contributing to the increased blood pressure readings. You never know--Everything's connected.

I will end the day by doing some gentle yoga, aromatherapy and spiritual reading. That should be a great preface to a good night's sleep.

Begin with the end in mind: A healthier life.

What's Up With My Blood Pressure?

I was so looking forward to taking my sister on a cruise to Barbados. Though I cannot pay her for all that she does to take care of our aging mother (who is 96 years old and suffering from Alzheimer's), I thought that this would be a nice gesture...She always does things for others--never anything for herself.

Well, as luck would have it, my mother took a very bad fall the day before I was due to fly to New York, so---All bets off--Cruise cancelled.

OK, so dealing with doctors, nurses, hospital administration, in-home aides, etc. shot my blood pressure up to 144/85. Though I have hypertension, it is controlled with medication which I take religiously and the week before I went to New York I had a physical. Everything checked out well and my bp was 117/69. Great!!! So, now I know why my sister's blood pressure is 155/85. Dealing with all of this stuff would make anybody's head explode.

Okay, so I figure, when I get home my bp will go back to normal. First day home, it's 138/70. Better. The next day I wake up with a raging headache, take my blood pressure and it's 145/80. What in the world is going on?

OK, I remember something from yoga and I lay down on the floor, put the heels of my hands on my eyes (fingers pointing towards my hairline) and breathe deeply. Several minutes of this makes me feel better. Then I get my aromatherapy oils (Peace & Calming). Rub some on my pulse points and underneath my nose and breathe deeply while sitting on the porch watching the birds flit around. Ahh - after 10 minutes of this, the headache has subsided. I have a 2-hour massage scheduled for 3 pm this afternoon. I will take my blood pressure when I come home and report in.

I do believe there is much that we can do ourselves to keep ourselves healthy. It's just important to stay in tune with your body so that you know when something's going haywire.


Come With Me, My Love

Ted's not much for "foo-foo" stuff as he calls it. He'd rather clean the garage then join me for a yoga class but since we both want to get healthier, I thought I'd try this out.

"Would you like to join me on a 5-day retreat to Kripalu (a yoga retreat facility in upstate New York)? The retreat is entitled "Health and Vitality in Midlife" and covers things like enhancing physical energy,mental clarity and emotional balance, lowering blood pressure through nutrition, exercise and stress management, incorporating the benefits of yoga into your life, etc. " Right up my alley.

From Ted "How much does it cost?" I answered, "You don't get to know that, because it's on me". I said this because, of course, if he knew how much it cost, he would use that as an excuse not to go. I, however, know the value of these workshops since I'm still benefitting from a similar one that I took at Canyon Ranch back in 2000. So I continue to push. "It's in October". "Aren't we busy in October", says he. "Yes, but this is at the beginning of October, we have something booked at the end of October. October would be great because we could see the leaves change--something we've never done in upstate New York". "Well, we can just drive to the mountains here to see beautiful foliage", Ted says.

In my head, I know this is one of those "clean the garage" times, but I push on anyhow. Finally, a breakthrough. "This will be a way to get ahead of the "start the year off right" crowd of 2010". Bulls eye!! He will go. If not in October, then in the spring. YAHOO!!!!!

If there's something you are passionate about (assuming it's healthy, not like 3 scoops of ice cream) -keep pushing for it until you find a way to make it happen.

There's Always Tomorrow

I spent 3 hours in the hot, blazing North Carolina sun pruning, snipping and generally getting the backyard in shape. Ted likes working together and so do I, but I'm telling you you have to be crazy to go out in the backyard pruning at 11:00 am. Just didn't want to get up early (a resounding theme with me). So I paid the price.

By the end of the 3 hours, we were both maxed out. I ended up with a blazing headache. Took a shower and an epsom salt soak (to ward off the soreness I knew would come tomorrow). But oh boy, did the back yard look good. Just how long will we do this before we realize that it's makes more sense to pay someone?

Walking past the front yard later that day I said to Ted "I just don't want to do this tomorrow". His answer? "There's always tomorrow". My sentiments exactly.

Getting Healthy

OK - this is it! I retired in June of 2007, moved across country from the San Francisco Bay area to North Carolina, with my husband, Ted, bought a new home and almost finished opening boxes, visited with my grandchildren, embarked on several trips with my husband, and gained 10 pounds!

When I was working it seemed easier to maintain a schedule of working out (walking and yoga) which kept my weight in check for the most part. Now that I'm retired, it's as if I have lost all disclipine. I don't want to get up at the crack of dark anymore--I'll do it later in the day. Well, later never comes and I'm now what I call "lazy", loving nothing more than sitting on the screened-in back porch with my morning coffe instead of starting the day with yoga or the treadmill at the gym.

The scale is showing the result and at this rate, I will be 200 pounds by 2013 (I did the math). I cannot let that happen. My health is too important to me. If I want to live to be a "vibrant" 100 years old--This is not the way to do it.

So tomorrow starts a new lease on life - fitness, hobbies, spiritual growth, the nurturing of my 36-year relationship with my life partner--all of the items that make a person whole. Don't worry self, it will be a day at a time--no more of this blasting out of the box and then crashing and burning--I promise.