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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Getting there.

I guess it had to happen sometime ... I am finally settling into this condo.

After 8 months, I feel like I am now living in my own space ... not someone else's place.  Oh, we have been settled physically for several months but furniture placement and pictures on the wall do not dictate how one feels about where you live.  The condo may never achieve the level of 'home' for me, but it has gained the status of 'mine.'

We upgraded and replaced a number of items to make it more comfortable and functional.  And our life experiences are starting to imprint on the 'condo ether' in a way that makes this more than just a place to warehouse my stuff.

Over time I have met a number of wonderful neighbors.  They are all welcoming.   In fact several weeks ago one neighbor was out taking measurements of the dumpster space for an upcoming project and I was out walking my grand dog.  He asked for my assistance holding the tape measure.  I was happy to help.  We got to talking.  One thing let to another, and this month I attended my first board meeting (annual owner meeting) of the community and was voted onto the board of directors.  Yikes!

Having served in this capacity previously, I know the frustrations and satisfactions of this position.  This board is friendly, welcoming and totally engaged in making this community a good place to live.   All are original owners (12+ years), and have a wealth of knowledge regarding the community.  I am grateful I was encouraged to run for a position.  I am honored to be elected.

All and all I think my personal adjustment is progressing.  I still feel a small sadness when I think for any amount of time on my old neighborhood and townhome.  Guess that will always be so.  But I am growing in a different direction now ... and looking forward.  No more checking my rear view mirror.  That view has changed greatly and is forever just a memory.

Next post - last entry of the condo tour!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A small life so dearly loved ...



Today we thought this dear little soul was going to pass from our lives.  He didn't.  We know his time is very near.  But today is not the day.

This beautiful face belongs to our cat, Max.  He is 11 years old and for 8 of those years he has lived with degenerative kidney disease.  Obviously being diagnosed at age 3 with this condition is not a good thing.  We sincerely thought he would only have a few years left.  We never thought he will live another 8 years.

During that time we fed him special prescription food and treated him with subq fluids every other day.  And every year we got his blood checked and he was always abnormal but stable.  In fact, during these 8 years the vets ALWAYS remarked on how well he was doing.  Typically degenerative kidney disease in a cat progresses a very fast toward the end of life.

About a month ago he started to lose weight.  A vet visit revealed that his previously stable lab values were starting to fall.  It was a warning alarm for us.  His unusual robust appetite began to fail.  Normally he would eat anything all the time.  Now he eats  infrequently and only small amounts.

Two days ago we noticed a total disinterest in eating.  He had gotten more thin.  We thought we had reached the time that all loving and responsible owners reach at some point - help your loved pet out of life peacefully.  We made the appointment for this morning.

Late last night he decided to eat a little.  And he was out and about this morning looking for more.  He did not seem in pain.  We cancelled the appointment.  I guess he still has a handful of kidney cells that are working.

Tomorrow we may face this same decision, or maybe next week - but today he is sleeping peacefully in my chair and I'll take every single minute we have left.

Today is not the day.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Never say never! The Y.

No matter what the topic ... never say never!

This past January I joined a gym!  In the past I firmly believed that I would never ever get involved in a gym membership.  The reasons are many:  dislike contracts, no interest in body building,  can't stand the gym culture that glamorizes the perfect body, not sure I would stay committed.  Nope! Not for me.

And yet ... this year I joined a gym.

After the effort of moving had died down, I noticed that my personal strength was dying down too. Condo living definitely takes less effort - 55+ communities are specifically designed to make life  easier.  Great and yet, not great!  'Easier' doesn't keep you strong.  And walking alone was not going to be enough.


About 10 minutes from the condo is a new Y.  I was curious.

In January I took a tour of this facility!  I found only good things there.  First off, no contracts, just a monthly fee.  Because it was a new year the 'joining fee' was waived.  The offerings were many:  swimming, basketball courts, cycling studios, martial arts classes, flexibility sessions, yoga studios, rock/wall climbing, circuit weight training - something for every interest.  The population, however,  was the biggest draw for me: all ages, abilities, and body types.  Many seniors, people with disabilities, and family groups.  I saw only a few serious body builders.  The rest were regular folks looking to improve health.  I felt totally comfortable.  I joined.

My own focus is strength training.  I need to maintain the muscles I have - and maybe build them back to a normal level.  I began with circuit weights - the machines.


Easy equipment to use.


Thankfully all the cardio equipment has TV.


The center provided 4 free sessions with a personal trainer to orient you to the equipment and to set the base line.  They set my base line fairly low at my request.  I needed only one orientation session - the equipment is easy to understand, adjust and use.  I never feel sore afterwards - only tired.


The center offers various cardio equipment - treadmills, stationery bikes, recumbent bikes, step climbers, etc.  Although my preference is to walk outside, my neighborhood is not walker friendly.  Having use of this cardio equipment has been helpful.





It has been 3 1/2 months since I started this membership and I can feel a difference already.  I have increased my lift weight slowly.  Small but steady progress.  I sometimes struggled with finding the time to go, but I always feel great after the workout.

Guess this is a successful start.  Best outcome??  Still doing this in April 2018!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

70

Today I am 70.

70!


A big number.

Of course, I can't help wondering how big that number will finally be.  Guess everyone thinks about how long they will live at some time or another.

For some reason my 60s weren't a big deal.  I seldom thought about just how long I would live while marking each birthday anniversary in my 60s.  Maybe the 60s were a big deal for our parents or grandparents, but with the state of medical care and improved longevity today, the 60s were just a bump in the road for me.  Looking at my family history - my mother and her relatives lived well into their 80s - some into their 90s.  I am my mother's clone.  But there are no guarantees in this aging path for any of us.

No matter how I wrap my mind around it, 70 is different.  To my ear, it sounds like I am talking about someone else's age - not mine.

It is right about here ... when well meaning people (usually younger people) whip out the common platitudes about aging.  You know the ones ... age is just a number, you are only as old as you feel, age brings wisdom, you should be grateful for the years you have, etc. etc. etc.

Make no mistake!  I am grateful for this 70th birthday.  Really!  Many people never get the opportunity to age - a few of those unfortunate folks were my peers.  So my feelings on this day are are filled with gratitude.

Regardless ...  sweep all those typical feel good statements aside ... 70 is a big number to me.  I really really want it to sound like a smaller number.

My guess is when I am facing 85 ... 70 will sound like a smaller number!  Ha!

I noticed recently on CNN that the oldest person in the world just died at the age of 117.  How anyone knows out of the billions of people on this earth exactly who is "the oldest person in the world" - is beyond me.  But 117 years of age is a HUGE number.  I wouldn't aspire to that age - unless I could be sure to be mobile and of sound mind.  Since I am not sure I am of sound mind now (ha!), I guess that knocks me out of the running to beat her record.  I bet this lady would think that 70 is a small number.  But 117 years of age would be too big a number for me.  My world presently would look entirely different at the age of 117.  For example: the age of my oldest child if he survived would be 91 years of age.  Gads!!  Worse yet - if he didn't survive and I had to live through that loss.  No, no, no.  I most certainly do not want to live that long.

That leaves me wondering which advanced age number would satisfy a desire to have lived a full life.  I couldn't begin to guess that number.  But I can confidently say that 70 is too young to say "I have lived a full life."
Hmm ... 70 .... too young.  I think I can live with that!!😛

Happy Birthday to me.


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Master Bedroom - Condo Tour

 A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it."

Many months ago I began a short series of posts introducing the condo we purchased in August 2016.  This post continues that series with pictures and comments of the master bedroom.

Our master bedroom is about two thirds the size of our townhouse master bedroom.  But it is entirely adequate for our use - and in some regards, a great improvement.


To begin with this room has 3 windows creating a great deal of natural light to off set the smaller size.  Our town house master bedroom had only 2 windows.  In fact this condo has SO MUCH natural light that special window treatments are needed to block the light for sleeping or to reflect the heat of the day during the summer months.  The window treatments have room darkening shades with additional temperature controlling features.

The master bathroom is located down a short hall past and closets and is larger than our last master bathroom allowing for wheel chair access if that is ever needed.  It has a walk in shower stall with a built in seat.  Obviously this is designed for older adults who may at some point have special needs. Having taken care of an elder relative in my town home, I know just how important that walk in shower may be for us.  It also has double sinks and its own large linen closet which our townhouse master bathroom never had.

And the both closets are bigger than our last master bedroom closets.  I used to have a separate closet aside from the master bedroom closets for off season clothes which involved switching clothes twice a year.  Not so here. Everything thing fits in my walk in closet with room to spare.

So reduced bedroom floor space is a non-issue when other issues are considered.


Finally, as the pictures suggest, this room serves as a 'safe place' for my dear elderly cats, Max and Wally. Their litter is in our bathroom and their food bowls are in a corner.  Their my bed is their throne - and there are two sunny 'perches' - one for each cat, to watch the world outside.  This safe space is barred from all visiting dogs.  The cats are totally adjusted to their new home which has been a bit of a surprise to us at their senior age.   In fact, they have become more friendly and attached to us over these last few months - I guess the townhouse was an easy place to lead a solitary life and the condo, being smaller, makes them more connected to us.


We also LOVE the fact this room is located so close to our kitchen where the washer and drier is.  Doing laundry no longer involves climbing two flights of steps with loads of clothes.

All in all ... this bedroom arrangement has provided a much improved style of living.

Next up ... the living room and den!



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hello again!

Looks like I took another blog break.  I am not good at 'planning' the schedule of these posts!  They just seem to organically happen.

But to say nothing has happened in this period would be a stretch of the truth.  It has been and continues to be a soul searching time for me.  I think moving into a true retirement, moving away from caregiving, adjusting to my husband's growing disabilities, moving from our home to a condo, and facing my 70th birthday this month ... well, let's just say I haven't given all that stuff enough importance in its impact on my life.  Those transitions have not fully settled in my brain and soul.

One theme in my thinking that kept popping up was the future of my blog.  Did I still want to do this?  I guess I do off and on.  I can't seem to permanently pull the plug on this activity.   Although I don't feel the need to write like in more difficult days, I just can't hit the 'delete button' on the written record I have created in this space.  So I won't.  This blog will be my space for when the spirit moves me.  I guess it moved me today.

Another theme that kept annoying me (really annoying me) was the time I seem to need to get from one place in life to another.  I have always been a 'get to it' kind of person, with little to no patience for those who don't adapt well to change.  This is not an element of my personality I am proud of but it is the practice of my life and thinking.  Now that 'get to it' attitude seems to have failed me.  I am still adjusting and adapting to the changes in my life over the last few years.  This time has been filled with a number losses and grief.  I have read over and over again .. time to recover from grief takes as long as it takes.  I know it is all normal - but it is still annoying.

The final theme that has risen to the surface is that actions speak volumes - talk really says nothing at all.  So my actions have lead me to believe that I still am adjusting and grieving some, and still thinking about what is next ... now that all other avenues of my life responsibilities have reached an end.  I guess my actions say that I am great at completing the big tasks/stages of life, but I am not so good at moving into others.

My actions?  Exercise - not to look better but to feel better.  It is taking way longer to see results than any other time in my life.  Ha!  Everything takes longer now!  I am still working on getting settled in the condo and getting the space adapted to our needs.  I knit. Despite my desire and talk about spinning and weaving (and buying equipment and supplies, etc. etc. etc.), knitting is what I do.  I have regular contact with my grand dogs and my cats.  Pets provide a balance through example that life can be really simple!  And I read.  Although the days are full something seems lacking.

Beyond that ... I think and think and think.

Will I be back?  Only my actions will tell.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016 and 2017


GOODREADS
It's that time of the year again - how many books will you read this year? 
Can you beat last year's goal?


Last January I joined the GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016.   It is simple, really.  Just pick a number of books you want to read in a given year, plug it into the Good Reads website, log your completed books, and see if you reach goal.

I had no idea how many book I read in a year.  Last year I picked a random number - 25!  Silly me.  I passed that number very early on.  The final 2016 total was 43 books.  The total was probably more since I don't think I logged every book.  And I know I started about 10 others that I lost interest in and abandoned without finishing.  My reading is a mix of Kindle and Audio.  It has been a few years since I have read an actual book.  I should give that a try once again.  I used to adore reading non-electronic books.

My total of 43 for 2016 is really pretty low compared to some readers on GoodReads.  It is not unusual to see a goal of 75 or 100 books for the year.  I find that reading level pretty amazing.  That is about 2 books a week!!

GoodReads sent out invitations again for 2017 and I signed up.  I think I picked a total a little closer to my reading history. This year -  45 books.  I probably should have picked a higher number because last year I had a gap in time (summer moving) when I wasn't reading much.  But I will go with 45 - you never know what the future may hold - and I do love reaching a goal!

Have you ever joined a reading challenge?