Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, August 9, 2019

Picture a Prairie Dog

I seem to have fallen into another blogging slump.  
I guess my writing mojo just becomes dormant with some regularity.  
I have come to see this behavior as "learning" and "accepting" things about myself
 rather than a fault or lack of consistency!

Ha!  
How's that for talking my way out of something
 I characterized as a failure
in the past!

The slump is not over, but as I trek a round reading and commenting on the blogs I follow, I realize that connecting occasionally with my own blog is probably a good idea.

Like the Praire Dog that pokes his head out of his hole to take a look around ... this post is my head poking out.  Consider it a mini update and an indication that I still live!
  1. I am fine.  Not moody or depressed or over busy.  Just not blog inspired.
  2. I am still knitting like a banshie.  Christmas is coming and my gifts need to be completed.  Next year - if I am crazy enough to insist on knitting for Christmas - I am NOT going to use those fingering weight yarns no matter how alluring or temping the project appears - sport or worsted weight knits up so much faster.  Pictures of finished projects will take their place in their own blog posts at some point in the future.
  3. I made another trip up to Long Island with my sister to visit my mom's friend who is 94 years old.  She is still mentally pretty good and the trip was great fun.  She is plagued with some medical issues, but her brain still seems to be working just fine.  This trip left me pondering if I could choose only one life status in my very senior old age which would be better: mental alertness or physical well being.  A remarkably few people have both in their 90s so it stands to reason I won't be one of the "very few."  In fact, if personal family history is any kind of predictor, I won't have either one.  Could it be a kindness to one's self to not mentally know your are physically failing - rather than witnessing the total disintegration of your physical self - while your alert mental self watches?  Ugh! That is pretty depressing now that I think on it.  Better start pondering something else - like when does "Dancing With The Stars" return to TV.  I feel better all ready!  
  4. My grand daughter continues to grow in leaps and bounds.  A joy to all my senses!  These first two years in a child's life are just miraculous.  Looking back one year ago - the changes are amazing.  It may be time for another grand daughter post.
  5. My exercise mojo has its ups and downs as well.  My left knee (surgery 2017) gets cranky at times.  The heat here is brutal - thank you Climate Change.  And my very expensive (but old) walking shoes don't seem to be giving me the support I need anymore - resulting in sore feet if I am standing too long.  I can fix the shoes and will do so this month.  Just wish they didn't cost $150.   The weather should break positively starting next month - and if I ice my knee before and after walking, it is manageable.  I even re-joined the senior gym so I could use the treadmill (which I hate with a passion.). The facility is air conditioned, new and cheap by gym standards so my excuses are pretty few for not going.  So "struggle" is the right word to describe my efforts to stay reasonably fit.
  6. Eating wise - this is my absolutely favorite time of year.  Produce is flavorful and abundant.  Some meals I just eat vegetables.  So good.  And my very favorite is corn on the cob and tomatoes.  I think I could live on just those two things alone.  Throw in a few garbanzo or kidney beans and it would probably be pretty healthy as well.  And coffee.  Need my coffee.
So ... there you go!  All caught up on my boring life!  And just to clarify ... boring is A-OK for me.  I have lived a long enough to have had my share of "events."  I discovered that is better to figuratively live in the middle path of life rather than to soar high and sink low.

Back again when my mojo returns or a "prairie dog poke out" seems appropriate.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Time to look Up rather than Down

Why is it that looking "Down" is so much easier than looking "Up?" 

Is it a matter of habit or is it just human nature?  I find its too easy to look 'Down' into the daily frustrations of the current political scene, into the daily challenges of caregiving (for the third time in my life), into the realization that the plans I had for my own retirement are far from the life I live now.

It is crazy thinking to look Down when Up is so much better.  I am SO really blessed at this stage of life.  Time to make a list and post it somewhere (oh, yes ...  that's right - I have a blog!!) where I can page back and remind myself of one simple constant truth:

My blessings are someone else's strongest desire!

So here goes my Up - (in no particular order.)

  • I am 72!  Yes, I am grateful for that.  The other option doesn't appeal!
  • I am retired!  That condition is not a given for everyone.  I would enjoy being completely retired (retired from cooking, house cleaning, laundry - opps - look up, up up!  Looking up ... I don't work!)
  • I am comfortable in retirement.  No need to baby sit every penny or eat hotdogs instead of steak.  (Of course I prefer chicken and fish ... but you get the idea.)
  • I have a close immediate family that is a regular part of my life - not geographically or emotionally distant.
  • I wear the title of Grandmother proudly!!  An Alpine-level size Up.  
  • A husband.  A life partner - of 52 years duration.  While he adds to my stress at times (like all spouses can do) he is in relatively good health and still standing by my side.
  • I am healthy.  God knows ... No serious life threatening illnesses.  For my age and my "on-again off-again" focus on health - it is remarkable that the expiration date on something in this body hasn't come due.  (Excuse me while I find some wood to knock on.)
  • I have friends of long and short duration.  I must not be too much a drag on them - as they keep coming back!! 😀
  • Hobbies and interests abound.  I'd be lost without knitting and reading. Thank God for my hands and my eyes. 
  • My blog ... where I can dump thoughts that rattle in my brain and then pop out like a "Jack in the Box" explosion of angst (like my Democratic Debate Post - opps - looking down again - look up, look up!) 
  • Death and loss has been a rare visitor in my life.  
  • My husband's disability has prepared me to stand independently if I should be left widowed.  No excuses like 'my spouse handled that.'  (How's that for making lemonade out of lemons.)
  • Downsizing a life is in my rear view mirror!  My condo doesn't require a large expenditure of cash or life energy to maintain.
  • Finally, I have my brain ... a major plus, having watched my mom's brain slowly and painfully disintegrate into nothingness ... until it finally snuffed out her life.  Dementia runs in my family.  That is a genetic pre-disposition bullet I hope to miss.
Sure, I fret about not being able to travel, or participate as a couple in some activities we used to take joy in, or even go to the movies without feeling guilt about my husband left at home.  But would I change any of the above pluses for yearly vacations, broadway shows,  beach trips or hiking adventures?  No ... I really do have more than my fair way share of good things. 

AND I am ever so grateful that while looking 'Down,' in the past ... nothing on my 'Up' list disappeared yet.  I know that at my age, big changes can naturally be expected on that list ... but for today ... which is all any of us have ... it is all good!

Do you ever do that?  
Look Down too much rather than Up.  
Or am I the only one who has to make a list and post it somewhere
 so that my aging brain doesn't get stuck
 in Down mode rather than Up mode?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Anonymous - PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE

Hello blog readers.

I think I need to alert some visitors to my blog about my personal practice of handling "Anonymous" comments.

In the near future, I will stop accepting Anonymous comments. I think I have 2 "real flesh and bone" readers who comment that way.  But because of the bad behavior of a "few" - I will be ending that option in the next month or so.  In April, while I was participating in the A-to-Z Blog Challenge, the number of Anonymous comments jumped dramatically.  I guess that level of exposure to the internet opened me up to more JUNK comments.

Since the Challenge - I checked out the Anonymous comments regularly - deleting almost all.
Unfortunately the Anonymous comments have continued to grow in number and as a result, they eat up more time to sift through.  I don't regularly review them now.  I just delete them without opening them.  Sometimes when the onslaught of Anonymous comments are fewer - I will open them - but generally I don't - they go right to Trash.  So if you are an Anonymous commenter and your comments didn't show up - sorry - it is becoming just to hard to find the real visitors from the "fake" ones.

Anonymous commenters - please find a way to set up a google account that will allow you to comment with an identity.

If you do comment and do not use Google as your platform - and your comments typically get through to my blog - because you identify yourself in some manner - please share your method with others in your comments today.  I hate to block regular readers (and sometimes commenters) by taking away the Anonymous option, but it will come to that at some point.

Thanks.









Saturday, June 29, 2019

Democratic Debates

I generally keep to the premise that my blog should be politics free.  Politics like religion has a tendency to polarize people.  When these topics are discussed, it often leads to "I am right and You are wrong" black and white kind of thinking.  So I have opted to keep my personal opinions about religion between me and God - where they should be, and maintain a mostly a-polictical stance by registering as an Independent and stepping out of the loop of political discussions in all settings.

Oh, make no mistake, I have very strong opinions about both - but until recently I felt my own peace-of-mind was more important than trying to sway others to my way of thinking on either of these topics.

Now ...  here I am - talking politics with these questions.

Did you watch the first two Democratic Debates this past week?
What did you think?
Is there a candidate that can challenge our current wreck of a president
 and bring our country back to sanity? 

I watched both nights.  I know these are 'early days' in the election process.  But the issues facing us are gravely important.  An attack on our democracy from the inside out is happening every single day.  We must right our course as soon as possible.  Another four years on this self destructive path may damage us permanently.

My goal in watching the debates was two-fold:  Who the heck are all these people AND, most importantly, is there a candidate among them that can confront and stop the re-election of the worst President in our history?

You will notice that I said nothing about their policies.  Sadly, we have moved away from that kind of intelligent discussion.  It isn't about the issues any more for most of us.  It is about selecting a leader who will not be an embarrassment on the world stage, who will recognize our international friends and enemies without Cliff Notes, who can speak with intelligence and in complete understandable sentences, who gives thought and research to issues before Tweeting his mouth off, who will respect our democracy, our constitution, our laws, our institutions, and ALL human beings.  We have none of that now.

That was what I was looking for.  Was there someone like that on the debate stage?

There were several candidates I thought could do the job, had great ideas and could be groomed to demonstrate the qualities I listed!  But there was only one who I believe would remain cool under the sizzling glare and auditory assault of Trump that would shower down on them in the campaign ... only one who might be able to turn the tables and make Trump look even more foolish than he is now.

My pick is not the front runner - Joe Biden.

Joe Biden - is a likable, well known, knowledgeable and a courteous gentleman.  We hunger for those qualities in our leader - after 3 1/2 years of Trump.  However, Trump will walk all over Biden in the campagin.  Our electorate has become more combative and argumentative under Trump and would probably see Biden's positive qualities as weaknesses!  I guarantee Trump would hammer that assessment over and over again into the electorate's psyche until voting day (and after, remember "Crooked Hillary?"  We will ever get passed that!!)  Don't get me wrong.  I would be thrilled to see Biden win a general election but I don't think he could win against Trump.  I also believe that although Biden looks good for his age, we need the energy and focus of a younger leader.  As one debater repeated several times - It is time to pass the torch!  I agree.

My pick is Kamala Harris.

I think Kamala Harris has the steel spine needed to beat Trump.  She is direct, focused, and intelligent.  I watched her question Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the hearings. She is like a laser beam that cannot be distracted or deflected.  During the debates Harris was more likely to speak calmly and deliberately - something Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren can't seem to do when expressing a point of view.  Both of them seem to slip toward the unfortunate stereo types of 'older man bonbastically talking' and 'excitable female.'  Kamala Harris appears to have no 'skeletons in her closet' to trip her up during the campaign. And she is not an 'old white man!'

Does it seem like I am focusing on cosmetic qualities rather than the real substance of a candidates' message?  Yes ... I am.  After 3 1/2 years of a President who is filled with warts and puss-festering talk and actions - we could do with a little polish in our leader.  The quality of anyone's 'message' won't beat Donald Trump.  What will beat this President is someone who can 'give as well as they get,' who can turn Trump's snappy slogans back on him to demonstrate his empty promises, and someone who can remain steady as a rock (and Presidential) while doing it!  So far ... Kamala Harris seems to be that woman.

While I typically don't care about age, race or gender in picking a leader,
wouldn't it be just the MOST delicious situation EVER
 to see Trump taken down by a strong qualified mature Black Woman!

I think she could do it.
I'd like to see her do it!!

What do you think?

Friday, June 28, 2019

Apparently ...

Self discoveries are always interesting.

I am a person of 'routines' ... apparently.


When one routine 'hits the skids,' it avalanches into other routines and then I am doing pretty much nothing ... apparently.

And then when I notice that nothing is happening, despite a long to-do list, it leads to a lot more nothing getting done since the world didn't fall apart when I did nothing ... apparently.

Oh yes, I am still feeding myself (and my husband) but meals could not be called 'cooking.'  Soup, sandwiches, salads, pan frying, left overs ... easy stuff.  I am still knitting - three projects are in the works.  Since knitting has not dropped off my radar - I know I am healthy and emotionally fine.  The house gets marginally cleaned of dirt and clutter.  I could probably do "clutter," but my husband couldn't because he is legally blind.  He could probably do "dirt" because he is legally blind, but I couldn't because I can see.  Ha!

But things like exercise and blogging and dieting - things that require a routine to build on - those routines seemed linked together some how and when one of them falls - they all fall!  As a result, there are fewer blog posts, Hersey's Chocolate Bars with Almonds are a viable food group and walking to the lounge chair from the bedroom comprises almost all of my exercise ... apparently.

*sigh*

I have been reading my Kindle, listening to my Audible library and binging on Netflix and Amazon Prime TV shows.

My latest binge TV is The Sopranos.  It is pretty good.  Like The Godfather series of movies, I find myself hoping that the Soprano family (at least the wife and kids) does well and that no harm comes to them.

My latest Kindle completions are:

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller
and
Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake Book #3) by Rachel Caine

Both books are excellent.  Check out the story summary on Amazon if you are interested.

My current Kindle read is:

Cold Waters by Debbie Herbert.  

Too soon to tell if this will be good but I have passed my "80 page" mark which means I care about something in the story enough to finish.

Then my Audible library (which was over 60 titles and now is down to about 7) is currently filling my ears with the following:

Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

This is the second in a 20 book series that can be called archaeology adventure and romantic mystery with Amelia Peabody.  This is an older series of books that were hugely popular maybe 15 years or more ago and continues to have a dedicated fan base even to this day.  The stories are fun and the 'clean' romance story line adds grace and enjoyment to the story.  But the real star of the Audio versions is the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat.  She handles all the accents, genders and ages of the characters with Oscar level performances. Years ago I read or listened to this series - and I have decided to do it again (rare for me to re-read anything.). I highly recommend this series.

But the wagon train of exercise, blogging and healthy eating have been pretty much stalled.

I am here now hoping with baby steps to get back on all those wagons again!!


Friday, June 14, 2019

50 years ago today


Life Partner!

Glad I have one.
Hard to remember life before this day 50 years ago.
So many happy, sad, difficult experiences ahead for the couple in this picture.

How many more joys and sorrows are ahead for them?
How many changes?
How many anniversaries?


A reflective day.



Sunday, May 26, 2019

Walking, Watching, Weight Watchers



Walking

My walking life took a hit last week.  All the Game of Thrones binge TV watching and all that knitting time resulted in low step counts (about 8,000 on average - so I guess not so low.)  Yes, I could have watched TV and walked in place at the same time.  But what doesn't work is walking in place and watching TV and knitting - all at the same time.  Last week wasn't a total 'slug fest' as I did get out for a few walks, and I did my Leslie Sansone Walking Indoors DVD about 3 times (my grand dogs thought that was pretty funny to watch), but reaching 10,000 steps each day just didn't happen.

However, I am now off the couch!

Time to get back on that walking wagon - hmm - wagons are for sitting ... time to strap on those walking shoes and get stepping again.

And I am doing that - but carefully!  My left knee (2017 surgery knee) has been complaining a bit.  The answer to that problem is simple - continued walking and the return of the PT strengthening exercises  Thankfully my knee seems to warm up to the exercise if I slowly push through and step carefully.  It almost feels normal after 15 minutes so I know nothing serious is going on.  For now ice packs after walking, Advil and a knee brace are 'my friends.'  (And, let's not forget the PT leg exercises to strengthen.)

On the plus side - (a very BIG PLUS),  I have discovered the many of my 'age related' complaints are minimized with all the extra movement.  I can get up in the morning with little stiffness in my legs. Even my knee feels normal again.  I don't seem to need that early morning 'adjustment' period of letting all my body parts 'wake up.'  My leg cramping problems are much reduced.  My energy levels are so much better.  And when I feel down - going out and taking a walk fixes that problem.

Watching

I don't think I ever sat and watched so much back-to-back TV as I did this past week.  Game of Thrones episodes is like eating potato chips - you can't watch just one!  Although I did read the books years ago and saw most of the seasons when they first aired - that was a long ago - 8 years to be exact.  I forgot a lot of the details.  It is fun to catch up and watch them again.  But all that sitting is just too much after a bit.

But I am not done with Game of Thrones.  I am still watching the back seasons of Game of Thrones through the library loan system.  Once that is finished I will be done.  I will really really miss this series.  Amazing production values, great story, total escapist type experience!  It will be hard to replace that series with something else.  After 8 years it is like saying goodbye to old friends (good guys and bad guys).

Weight Watchers

I started Weight Watchers in July 2018 and I went on a Weight Watcher break in December!  I was within 3 pounds of my goal weight.  That break was supposed to be a few weeks - ended up being a few months.   I guess you don't really call it a 'break.'  It is more of a stop!  Thankfully I haven't regained more than 3 pounds.  Guess my eating habits have changed for the better.  Thank you Weight Watchers.

I have tried to get back on the Weight Watcher Wagon twice since December - getting on that wagon involves actually tracking what I eat and sticking to the program limitations.  The limitations aren't the problem.  I can't seem to consistently track any more - I never really enjoyed that part of it.  But I know it is an important part of the plan for success.

Since I am paying a monthly fee - and not really using the program, I am sorting out if I want to just stop paying for now.  To stop paying means that I will lose access to the online features that make tracking easy.  But if I am not tracking ... *sigh* ... I guess those online features aren't as important right now.

Struggling with this idea.

In truth, I don't see myself tracking what I eat forever regardless of my decisions right now!  But the diet is a healthy one and very user friendly - so it is hard to just let go.  Except - I think I have already let go ... by default!  *sigh*.

My enthusiasm now is walking.  The positive feedback I get from that activity is massive.  I think walking (and keeping generally to the Weight Watcher program without tracking) - if kept up will be the answer to holding my weight stable for now.

So ... I have talked myself out of this monthly charge and moving away from formal adherence to the program.  We will see how it goes.

I can return at any time - the time is just not right now!