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Aging Lite

This is a blog for all women who realize that while we all age, we can move forward and "age lite" with less disability and disease (similar to taking fat and calories out of a recipe) if we just pay attention. My goal is to share my knowledge and start

Updated: 2017-03-08T09:11:28.138-08:00




Wow, it's been forever since I posted here.  Work and life took over the top priority spots in my life after my last post and something had to give, and I wasn't able to post as often as I liked so I had to stop. But now I'm back!  Here we are with our dogs! I really missed talking and listening to all of you.  Looking forward to catching up.

Why do I have time now you might ask?  Well, I'm RETIRED!!!  Yahoo!  December 1 - last day of 29 1/2 years with the same company.  Incredible. I'm still getting used to walking in these new shoes.  Lovin' it though.
I know many of my generation are finishing work at the jobs they've held for many years now - we're a big group so the numbers are probably as big as they have ever been.  The cost of health insurance has been a BIG reason why people I know have put off retirement , but we can only put it off for so long.  Several of my friends from work finished up at the end of this year along with me. Lots of going away parties in December.

Last month was so busy, and my company always shuts down for a week or more at the end of the year, so today (when I should have gone back to work) I'm home and NOT WORKING! I've never missed January 3 at work.  So now it is real.  I'm gone!  But I know I need some kind of schedule. I can't just get up in the morning and wonder what I'll do. I have an art class starting next week for five weeks, I think I'm going to start a step class at the gym, will be volunteering at HOPE Animal Shelter weekly, working on my art and developing a curriculum for a worklife balance series I want to teach.  Does that sound like enough? 

The challenge is to get it all on some kind of schedule so it all gets accomplished. Did I also mention I want to join a women's golf league and my husband and I have taken on caring for the landscaping at my church?  I know - I'm nuts, but that's me. Not sitting around.

So I thought for awhile I'd write here about what I'm learning about being a "retiree." Maybe we can all share what we've learned since some of you have been retired for awhile and have some wisdom to share. And it will be fun to hear from others who have just retired about what they are doing and learning.  I am definitely at the beginning of the learning curve, although I have been planning this for years.  Now that I'm here though....

One of the first things I have learned (and this is why I know I need a schedule) is that a whole day can go by without anything being accomplished! Time goes so fast.  I'll sit down at my computer to check my email in the morning and I look up and it's lunch!  Past lunch!  Will I always feel that I need to accomplish things every day? I don't know, but I can't go from being a major multitasker to nothing.  I want to slow down though because it was too crazy, so I'm paying attention to that.  But I love tasks.  Any suggestions?

We, the People Can Heal America


Poppies blooming in the SouthwestI don't know about you, but I think it's frightening what's going on with this health care bill and the billions and billions of dollars that are being thrown around like chump change. So I've decided to throw out my two cents as Mrs. Average American who is advocating paying attention to a lot of things anyway. This isn't a 4,000 page document; it's pretty simple, requires hard work, will take some time to see the results, but in the end is really a large part of the only answer that makes sense. It isn't a 100% fix, but if we could accomplish at least this, we can have our America back again, the way our founding fathers intended it.So here goes:1. No amount of money is going to fix health care. But what if we, the people, made as much of an effort at getting healthy again as we make at work every day? What if we make it our job to regain good health? Being at a healthy weight, eating only healthy foods, exercising almost every day and just paying attention to how we are doing will, over time, reduce disease, reduce health insurance experience which will in turn reduce premiums. And this, as uncomfortable as it may seem, will also require peer pressure on those around us who aren't taking personal responsibility for their own health in any way.2. What if we the people worked with health insurance companies to lower the cost of maintenance drugs and treatments - the ones that assist us in never getting to that heart attack, stroke, full-blown diabetes, kidney failure, asthma, etc. If they were cheap enough for anyone to afford, most people would take them and vastly reduce the number of expensive medical procedures in this country covered by the same health insurance companies. Instead of paying billions of dollars to treat the symptoms of an expensive health care system, let's use a very small fraction of that to reduce the cost of maintenance medications and treatments? If we actually did this and people really did what they are supposed to do, even the number of maintenance drugs needed will go down over time.3. We, the people can choose to cap medical malpractice liability and lower malpractice insurance premiums so good doctors can practice again. These insurance companies are still run privately, not by the government. They can choose to do this on their own, or someday they may not have the luxury of choosing.4. We, the people need to stop borrowing money and live within our means. That includes us personally as well as our government.5. We, the people need to give our children the quality and quantity time they need. Parents, take back our roles as parents, not friends, buddies or absentee guardians.6. We, the people can vote in legislators who can vote to pay teachers what they deserve so they can teach our future generations how to be smart, productive, upstanding citizens. Pay them well so people who could be great teachers don't choose some other profession over teaching only because they can't afford the low pay.7. We, the people can choose to act ethically and honestly again.8. We, the people can start taking care of our own and stop expecting government to fill the gap. We used to do that fifty years ago before welfare. Let's support the churches and the nonprofits not only financially but by giving of ourselves and our time.9. We, the people can decide that we are responsible for our own lives and stop looking for a handout, expecting others to take care of us. Hard, honest work grows many fruits.So, these are my offerings. You could probably add to them - please feel free! Like I said, it isn't going to fix everything, but if we could make these changes, we might not have to fix everything. Maybe things would start fixing themselves. Can we try?[...]

They Say it Never Rains in Southern... Arizona


Our little tin burro is wondering where all this rain is coming from!Wow, it is raining cats and dogs here on Sunday morning; another long shower in a month of downpours. While it isn't that very unusual to get some rain in January and February in Arizona, this much rain is almost unheard of. In fact, we are now officially out of our drought according to "authorities." Yea! no more bricks in the toilet tank.Our driveway under waterIt even snows here!The saguaro cacti are just as fat as little butterballs and trees are already starting to bloom. My flowers are lovin' it. My dogs and horses aren't. I walked out in the rain to feed Smokey and Hershey this morning and clean up all the doodoo in their stalls (since they don't want to ruin their lovely long coats out in that cold, nasty rain), and my umbrella was something they'd never seen before apparently. They weren't that thrilled with it, so I got wet feeding them and that was fine and dandy with them. Even my dogs barked at my umbrella - even though it has DOGS on it!The Cockers are hoping they can go outside soonThe rodeo finals are supposed to be today and I wonder if they'll be bucking around in the slop or what they'll do. I don't think the little mini cowboys and cowgirls will be out there mutton bustin' or roping goats though. They might be lost in the mud!If you have read bestseller "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan (and you'll want to if you haven't), you might have been left with the feeling like "Wow, there is so much to remember here about how we need to eat! I need to go back to the book and make a list as I reread the chapters!" Well, he has saved you from having to do that with his new book "Food Rules." It might take you a whole half hour to get through it, and you will still want to read "In Defense of Food" to get the whole picture. But "Food Rules" is a perfect tool to remind yourself often how you should eat and help you stay on track. It's a small book and easy to keep with you or keep on the desk, nailed to the refrigerator, etc. One of his rules is "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." I was trying to read it to my husband and laughing so hard trying to read his example, Les couldn't understand what I was saying. Funny example but true!! Check it out!I am also currently listening to Crowley and Lodge's "Younger Next Year" audiobook for the third time. It's another fact-filled, entertaining book that will definitely take way longer than a half hour to get through, but it very worth it. It was originally written for men over 50, but frankly the content is appropriate for women about 95% of the time. The did write one for women, but having read that one, too, I thought they should stick to the gender they know best. Your call. It has helped me change my behavior mainly because I need to know why I should change and I typically won't change just because someone says to. This book gives all the foundational information you need and makes you laugh on top of it. Great book. It's one you will want to read or listen to over and over again just to get all the content.Hope you are staying warm and dry wherever you are today! Last night I made low-fat cream of mushroom and wild rice soup from scratch. Mmmmm. I think we'll curl up and have some more of that today and maybe make something with the fresh blueberries I bought yesterday! Have a great week.[...]

A Lot to be Grateful for!


Grateful for my girlfriends!First, I want to say I'm sorry for being away from my blog for so long. I've just had so much going on between my career, my family and everything else, I have hardly been able to sit down in front of my computer, much less visit your blogs or write my own. And I've really missed seeing what is going on in your lives. It's been like I have been carrying around this empty space inside for a month at least!Well, so I wanted to write about gratitude today. I like to relate whatever I write on in some way to the point of this blog - Aging Lite. Lots of components to being able to do that, age lite, and one of them is having a sense of gratitude in one's life: the ability to see the silver lining in difficult situations, the sense of "wow" about all that you do have no matter how bad things are.Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology and the man who brought to light the influence that optimism and pessimism play in our lives, has a great website that offers a number of self-tests. One of them is on gratitude - your gratitude quotient! It's a great test and well worth taking to see where you are in this area.Mr. LesI have numerous super reasons to talk about this topic today. First, my husband, Les and I celebrated our 7th anniversary this January. That may not seem like any great shakes, but two months after we were married, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Down the road we found out it was stage 4. He lost his left lung and three years later his left adrenal gland and two years after that, his left kidney. We joke with him that if he gets much lighter on the left side, he's going to start folding over that way!! Lots of chemo, biologics, radiation and even experimental drugs that almost killed him were thrown into the mix, but he just kept on truckin'. We have been fortunate that he has had all the things that doctors point to as giving him the best chance for survival and they were definitely all contributors. But he continues to look to the future, is grateful for every day he has and that has been huge. We call him the energizer bunny. Today he is cancer-free and we are praying he stays that way. I'm grateful that God put him in my life and that we have been able to do this journey together. Not easy, but we've grown from it without a doubt.During a particularly difficult therapy time in Les's life, he made this cross for our new church building. It hangs right in front over the main entrance. Amazing.On March 6, a company team that my best friend and I are co-captaining will be walking 100+ strong in the Climb to Conquer Cancer. And Les will be there to help get us started in the morning. We've already raised about $7,000 and still have two weeks to go. How fun is that? I am sooo grateful he will be here to celebrate it and for the many people on our team who committed to raising money and walking for this cause. His story has been up on the Climb homepage for several weeks and that's been kind of fun, too.Besides being grateful every day for God watching over me, a great job, health insurance, my wonderful extended family and friends, my sweet dogs and horses and so much more, I have one very new thing to be grateful for. Yesterday, we found out we're going to be grandparents again!!! Gina and Andrew are going to have their second child late this year - sister or brother to Layla who was born in June of '08. Layla is a little corker and just loves our "neighs." Not one bit afraid of them, already loves to ride and cries when she has to say goodbye to them. She's an angel and now we're looking forward to another!Making sure Layla gets her ride in for the day and one of my Cockers, Dizzy hoping for a belly rub.I have to say that personally, I don't think a day goes by that I don't thank God for even simple things like making a green light or walking my dogs on a beautiful day or laying my head on my pillow at night knowing that there are many who don't have a pillow to la[...]

Desert Critters Around Me


Harris HawkMexican Gray WolfJavelinaBighorn SheepOur resident Bobcat kittenWe are blessed to have plentiful wildlife in and around our state, including this little bobcat kitten posing in my front yard. (Mom is around somewhere close.) Bobcats seem to be having a banner season here this year. The javelina run in herds, smell a lot like skunks and its fun to see them, but not run into them! The Mexican wolf is far up in the mountains towards New Mexico, so we don't see them except at the Desert Museum. The Bighorn Sheep seem not to be that plentiful, but you might see one while you're hiking. We ran into a herd of them while in the Grand Canyon a few years ago. Harris Hawks hang out in families, hunting rodents together, perching on the tops of saguaros to get a good look. Not pictured are the many coyotes, foxes and the occasional mountain lion we see closeby. I hope I never see a mountain lion right in my neighborhood however. Some of my friends have, though. Yeeesh! We also have a multitude of lizards, snakes, toads, insects, hummingbirds, the roadrunner and more.I love living here because I have to pay attention to my environment. Keeps you on your toes. Arizona is a beautiful place to live.[...]

Not Too Old


So last weekend at the end of my nice long vacation, my husband and I met his daughter Jamie and their family at Lake Tahoe. Tahoe is beautiful no matter when you go there, but winter is especially so. Jamie's family was planning to ski the whole time and Les and I were going to sightsee mostly and just relax. I had toyed with the idea of skiing a little but I didn't have any equipment or clothes.But the first full day we were there we drove up to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics to check it out, take the gondola up to the restaurant, share lunch with the fam. I hadn't really planned to ski, but I was shooting pictures outside there and watching everyone having a great time skiing and snowboarding and snowboarding caught my eye.Jamie is just learning how to snowboard and Gary and Ramon were also snowboarding that day. So that little tickle of interest started growing.Jamie getting ready.So many of my friends who knew I was going to Lake Tahoe and had only skied years ago said that they would personally never attempt skiing "at this age" because what if they broke a bone? Some of these women were in their forties! I love them all , but wow! One of my best friends ski races and she's in her mid fifties. I may be 59 but I just don't believe I should start limiting myself like that - I mean maybe when I'm 80 or 90. But common sense does rule. Would I start out on a black diamond hill with a snowboard I've never been on before? Of course not. Deciding I had to snowboard before I left Tahoe was a well calculated risk. But I knew that if I didn't do it, I would regret it for a long time.Was I physically fit? Yes.Am I fairly coordinated? Yes.Did I want to learn how to do this? Yes!Was there an opportunity to do it where I could minimize my risk? Yes, a class.Did I have access to the right equipment? Yes. Thanks, Gary for the pants and to heavenly for the rented stuff.Bingo!So Jamie and I took a beginner's class at the Heavenly ski resort for three hours the next day while the boys went fishing. The snow was great. Our instructor gave us good instruction although I could have used more time on the beginner slope (like weeks). It was fun and it was scary, but scary really only because after I landed on every possible impact point multiple times, it was starting to hurt falling down. So I was motivated to stay upright as much as possible. But in the last hour we went up the regular ski lift on a green run and I made it down the last half of the hill only falling a few times. Yea! I snowboarded! I didn't break anything. And to prove I did it I have pictures. There's me in the blue, Jamie in the pink helmet. Do I look like a cool snowboarder? LOLI don't care if I was 20 years older that the next oldest person in the class - I did it and it was worth it and I so appreciated my stepdaughter Jamie for doing it with me. She did great. It was fun sharing the experience with her. Now that the soreness has worn off, I would do it again in a heartbeat! : )Try new things; don't limit yourself by using someone else's limit. Personal best - remember? Allow yourself the freedom of continuing to LIVE and EXPERIENCE life. Do you have a bucket list? Get on with it.[...]

Personal Best - Time to Take Flight!


If you have ever been involved in competitive sports, you know that a personal best (PB) is the next best thing to a record. It's the best you've ever done whether it is a time achieved, distance, weight lifted, runs batted in ...anything like that. While it is really neat to actually hold a record in something, achieving personal bests are VERY satisfying and move the carrot out a little farther each time for your next PB.I am suggesting that beginning January 1 and ending December 31, 2010 we all work on achieving our own personal best in our health status this year. Let's look at PBs a little deeper first.Typically personal bests are recorded with a beginning and an end point. You start and at the end, you look to see if you have achieved it. But frankly, you often know - barring unforeseen circumstances, when you are on track for it while you're in the middle of it. And that feeling of potential achievement helps you push a little harder. When I was running for many years, I had certain routes I would take so I had visual milestones all along the way. So if I got to the grocery store on a certain corner at a certain time, I could tell if I was on target for or behind a personal best time. Either way, I would push a little harder at the milestone point. Those little points kept me on track and made me better. If I was always running in a new place with no milestones to compare my time to, it would have been really hard to push myself. Where am I?How can we relate this practice to our own health in general? For one thing, most athletes don't decide they are going to be the world's best athletes in general. They pick their sport and often a specialty even within that sport.So I am suggesting that you DON'T make a new year's resolution to "lose weight," "eat better" or "exercise more." These goals are way too general and can be overwhelming as you throw yourself into a lifestyle change that is vastly different than the way you've been living. So you set a big goal of being healthier, defining what that means to you personally and then set much smaller goals you can actually achieve over the course of 2010.Being able to achieve small goals sets you up psychologically to feel successful enough to work on the next goal and the next goal. For instance, if you don't exercise at all and you know you need to, don't start the new year deciding you're going to exercise 5 days a week for an hour a day. From nothing to five is huge. But if you break that goal down to "I'm going to start by working out one day a week for an hour and keep it up for a month," then by the end of the month two days may be in the realm of possibility. If not yet, keep at it for another month and try again. Then maybe the next small goal would be to stick to two days a week for two months, gradually working up to your five days as you ease into it over the year, making it work for your schedule.Keep a "visual milestone" like crossing off days on the calendar that you've exercised. If you post a full-year wall calendar somewhere where you see it all the time, it can keep you motivated. Buddying up with a friend who has similar goals AND motivation to achieve can help you go to the gym or to your class when you sometimes feel like being lazy. Push each other - you have goals! And, BTW, if you don't get to exercise that one or two days one week, don't throw up your hands and say "Well, see, I blew it, I can't do this." You just get back on the horse. Never, ever give up.You can apply this same principal to healthy eating, getting more sleep, taking more time for yourself and more.Set a big goal and then break it down into little goals so you get there. Your personal best is waiting for you to hit it in 2010. You don't need to be the best anybody ever was; you just need to work on being the best you ever were. Start by being better than you were this year next year. Start planning f[...]

Aging Lite - Gifting Idea!


I know this may seem like a shameless attempt to promote my book, but I guess that is exactly what it is! When I originally wrote Aging Lite: A Baby Boomer's Health Planner for Women, it was for my master's project for my degree in gerontology. I was passionate about it then as I am now and was determined to get it out to women everywhere. My advisor laughed when I told him I was going to publish it. He didn't know me very well.

Planning for health in the long term is just not in the conversation yet today. Of course we try to take care of ourselves so we can live as long as possible, but most people don't approach their health like they approach retirement planning, investing, accomplishing projects at work or even going on vacation! Aging Lite is all about "the plan" and sticking to it. Very few of us would have any savings set aside at all if we approached our financials like we do our health. What a difference if we did!!!

Aging Lite is kind of like a thump on the head by your mom saying "where do you want to be, here are the basic rules for getting there, now take them and plan out how you personally will make it." Lots of food for thought in the book. Lots of exercises to get you thinking - long term. Easy read for us busy women.

So I know I will never get rich on this little publication, but if I can make a difference for women out in the world, wherever they are, that is my dream for this book. That's why I wrote it. It's very inexpensive and priced right for a great gift for any women you care about in your life. If you click on the book to the right, it'll take you to my publisher's website where you can purchase it or multiple copies. Enjoy!!!

Green Bean Casserole: De-lite-ful Recipe


Thought all of you calorie counters might want this delicious Weight Watchers recipe for green bean casserole that is not only very tasty, but is very low cal. Fewer casserole calories - more pie! : )

Green Bean Casserole
Makes 12 1/2 cup servings @1 point per serving

30 ounces green beans
10 3/4 ounces reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C nonfat sour cream
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 medium onion - thinly sliced, separated into rings
4 T grated nonfat Parmesan cheese
2 T Italian bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine beans, soup, sour cream and pepper.
Coat a 2-qt. casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place the green bean mixture in the dish, and arrange the onion rings over the top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs over the onions.
Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!



I HAD to show you some pictures from my first ever NASCAR race in Phoenix. I had no idea. We've watched tons of races on TV but have only seen the inside of the track - never what goes on outside. OMGosh! There were sooo many people out there before the race starts - many for days at a time in motorhomes. Take a look at this sea of RVs! I think there was over 100,000 people there.Half of the fans had some NASCAR something on and the other half were carrying logo stuff they just bought in clear plastic bags. I think they ask for clear for security reasons. I felt severly underdressed. I had no NASCAR anything on except a lanyard that held my ticket and stuff.Every driver had a their own trailer selling their logo'd stuff. Had to get a shot of Dale Jr., my husband's favorite and mine, Carl Edwards. Dear Carl, he's usually great, but Sunday he was just out for a Sunday drive. Dale crashed early, so I found myself rooting for the guy who had a picture of a dog on his car. Turns out he's the driver everybody boo's. How do you boo a guy with a dog on his car?The SPEED Channel was there of course and was doing their commentary right outside the track. They'd goof around with the audience in during breaks and commercials.The food was about as unhealthy as it could be. Huge BBQ turkey legs. Giant sausages in buns that would feed a family of four. Aaaargh! I managed to find a marginal grilled chicken breast sandwich and that was about it. I did break down and get a bag of kettle corn.We had great seats thanks to one of my husband's friends in his company and he even lent us his two sets of head phones - a must otherwise you'll go deaf - and a scanner that hooked up to both sets where you could hear the drivers talking all through the race. How cool was that?Four Air Force jets flew over the track as they played the Star Spangled Banner and I got all choked up. A NASCAR race is so about what America is at its heart. America loves racing.Jimmy Johnson in the Lowes car won that day. Great driver, great car. Fabulous job. I want to go again. Next time I'll have my clear plastic bag and my Carl Edwards t-shirt. But I won't have a hat on like this! Gotta be kidding me!!!![...]

Immunity Impunity


Wikipedia definition of impunity: "Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators..." Oh, Anne. What are we talking about here?OK. For the sake of this discussion, I see ourselves as our own little states. While states don't have 100 percent control over what happens within the state, they do have a lot of control. And so do we. We don't have complete control over what happens to us and our bodies, but we have a lot of it. So when it comes to our bodies, how much control do we have over our immune systems? Again - a lot.A great immune system is ALWAYS important, but we especially depend on it now during the flu season (seasonal and H1N1) to get us through without catching anything. We also depend on it to keep us from suffering diseases of many other kinds including cancer. So are we meeting our obligations to our bodies to keep our immune systems as strong as we can or are we failing to pay attention and take appropriate measures to correct?You read so often that exercise and good nutrition help your immune system, but I always wondered exactly how they did that! It wasn't until I went through one of Andrew Weil's online courses on Nutrition and Cancer that I finally found an explanation that filled out the picture. It was an excellent course BTW. Here is the gist of it.Our bodies have many millions of cells that naturally age at different rates depending on where they are in the body. Additionally cells are damaged by various things - oxidants, etc. We have a wonderful system called apoptosis that's in place to get rid of old or damaged cells that if otherwise left alone can cause illness. So we need those killer cells to be plentiful enough to handle the day-to-day workload of old, damaged, out of control cells, etc. When we're in balance, the bad cells aren't too plentiful and we have enough killer cells to take them out.But here's where impunity comes in. A poor diet that is loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar, being sedentary and not exercising regularly, drinking too much and smoking can really amp up the damage to otherwise healthy cells and diminish the number and ability of the killer cells to do their jobs. So you wind up with an overload of nasty cells and a weak army to deal with them. Double whammy. That's when we become more open to disease. It's like a little creek that becomes a river and the walls that held the water back from the city and were never taken care of fell when overwhelmed. Are we allowing that to happen unchecked?This is a very simplistic explanation and there are certainly other factors that cause illness, but this is a biggie. THIS we have much control over in our little state of self. Are we paying attention and turning bad habits around? It's a good question to ask ourselves everyday. Are we meeting our obligations to ourselves or are we failing?So many of us are juggling many responsibilities - maybe more than ever before. Women especially seem to put themselves last on their list of priorities. Just keep our heads down and plow on. Well, I'm here to ask you to figure out how you are going to be a priority in your life. You're like the family car (I love analogies). You carry everyone around every day, day after day, but you need regular maintenance to keep the wheels turning! Maintenance for you is exercise, healthy diet, minimal alcohol intake and no smoking for starters. That is Basic Human Maintenance 101. No maintenance - you're up on blocks sooner or later. Kind of an interesting visual and not at all fun if it happens.I don't want to be up on blocks and of course you don't. Wherever you are in your life today, think about where you might be living with impunity and reverse gears. You are[...]

Happy Halloween!


These glass pumpkins, with the exception of the little one, were blown by artisans of the Sonoran Glass Academy, a nonprofit organization in Tucson, AZ that helps kids learn glass blowing skills. I've collected them over the last few years and I love them. The Academy has a big pumpkin sale every October and there are tons to choose from. I actually got to see the black and orange striped one being blown this year so it's very special.



You might also notice the maple leaf artwork woven in among the pumpkins drawn by my sister, Sarah.

Happy Halloween blogland!

Making Strides Walk Today


I had the privilege to raise money and walk in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk today with family. I don't know how many people walked this morning, but it had to have been several thousand. It was a beautiful morning with a clear blue sky, chilly air but with the promise of warmth later on. And it delivered.One of the principles I teach in Aging Lite is that its very important to your health to be involved in giving of yourself to causes, community, family, etc. Focusing on the needs of others is emotional therapy for you. It's a win-win!Me, my stepdaughter, Gina, my granddaughter Layla (like the song), Gina's fiance's mom, Mary, some of her family and friends all moved along with the crowd for three miles chatting away most of the time. That's one of the fun things about fundraiser walks - you can just yack the whole way if you want to. Layla rode in her stroller and was a happy little girl the whole way. We only had to retrieve her fairy wand and her box of raisins and other than that, all was intact.I thought about bringing my number one dog Lucy, but we had planned to go out for breakfast afterwards and that would have been difficult with her. But some others did and the dogs pretty much had to dodge human feet the whole way. I don't think that would have phased Lucy. She's such a trooper. I took a few shots of dogs who were doing their best to survive the walk!We sent scouts out ahead at the end of the walk to reserve a table for us at Mimi's Cafe. Good thing we did as others must have had the same idea minutes after we did! It was packed because it was Sunday anyway, but pink was the color of the day there. The pumpkin pancakes were awesome. Yummm. If you have a Mimi's Cafe near you.........It was a good morning for all and maybe one of those dollars raised today will be the last dollar needed to find a cure for breast cancer. But in case it wasn't, we'll be back next year![...]

Hiking Havasupai


A few posts ago I told you that some friends and I were going to do a Grand Canyon hike this fall and well, we did it! The last time we hiked the Grand Canyon, we were in the National Park and hiked down the Kaibab trail, camped at Phantom Ranch and came up the Bright Angel Trail. This time, we (Teresa, Laura, Diane and me) were on the Havasupai reservation and hiked the trail named after the tribe. Havasupai means "people of the blue green water." You have undoubtedly seen pictures of the beautiful falls and colorful pools there - they're quite famous.So I was personally interested in two things: the hike itself, what we would see on the way down and the falls. They both promised to be fabulous. I knew we would be hiking into an Indian village, but I had no idea what it would be like and so for me it was more of a peripheral interest. Turned out that my ignorance of the people and their home ended up feeling like disrespect and I wished I had read the book "People of the Blue Green Water" before I had arrived there.The village was fascinating and I found myself wanting more time to sit and talk with some of the people who lived there as I had a million questions. I felt like I should have been more aware of this place over 500 people call home and not just barreled into it ignorant. Live and learn.The Havasupai don't live where any roads go. To get anything in or out requires a trip up the 9-mile trail by foot, horse or a flight on a helicopter. As we hiked from the rim Friday morning, trains of pack horses and mules passed us going up and down carrying peoples' bags, coolers, merchandise and even trash. Dogs trotted effortlessly along with the trains. The pack trains are apparently the main mode of making a living for the tribe now.No cars down in the village naturally, but we did see a few of those four-wheel Polarises. Lots of horses and mules there - seemed like most people had them or herds of them. We stayed at the only lodge there instead of camping this time ( I was glad because I had sock issues on the way down, my feet were killing me by the time we got there and we would have had to hike another couple of miles past town to get to the campground).Anyway, back to horses, the second day we were there, there was a loose horse grazing in the courtyard of the lodge! I guess it was their version of a lawnmower. He was doing a good job of it, too.As I said, the main living there seems to be bringing some people, but mostly their stuff up and down the trail. Then there is the lodge, a couple small grocery stores and a cafe with a few staff people in each. That was about it. I didn't see any crafts or even souvenirs for sale there. The post office did sell postcards that you could have stamped by the post office with the Havasupai postmark when mailed from there. (Proof that you actually made it!)The hike down on Friday took about 5 1/2 hours and we were taking pictures all the way. We met a group of women coming down from Utah on their annual adventure. Really nice ladies. We bumped into each other throughout our trip. Virtually hiked up and down almost on the same schedule, took pictures of each other at Mooney Falls. Really fun people. One of the benefits of doing these kinds of trips.Friday night when we got there, we ate at the cafe, walked around the village a little and crashed. Saturday was our day to hit three of the four falls. The fourth, Beavers Falls, was too far this trip. Three young boys from the village came up to our balcony as we were getting ready to go. Asking us questions, just being social. We told them we were going to the falls and they told us that they could show us where they were - they'd been there a million times. But w[...]

Birthday Trip to the Apple Orchard


I was inspired by my sister Sarah's blog a week ago or so that featured pictures of her, my sister Barb, my mom and I waaaaay back when we were still living at home. We were at a pumpkin festival somewhere in northern NY state. Going "up north" was a favorite trip in the fall when we picked apples, bought cider and picked up a pumpkin or two for Halloween.So since my birthday is this weekend and it's that fall time of the year, I decided to invite my kids to join me on a trip out to Wilcox, AZ which is a big farming community. One of their big claims to fame is Apple Annie's, a giant orchard where you can pick all kinds of apples and at other times of the year, peaches and more. They also have down the road, a huge pumpkin patch surrounded by fields of all kinds of other veggies you can pick yourself - squash, peppers, cucumbers, corn - you name it.My husband wasn't able to go with us yesterday, so it was my daughter, Tamara, my son Jesse and his girlfriend who we love, Rachael who all piled into my Camry and off we went. Well we didn't get too far before Jesse was wondering about eating, so we pulled into a Denny's and ate and yacked it up. It was a little cold yesterday so we all had sweatshirts on - finally after 100+ degree weather all the way through summer and September! We weren't sure fall was ever going to get here this year.Wilcox is a good two hours from home, so we talked, played with Tamara's ipod and enjoyed the ride. It's been four or five years since I'd been out to Wilcox and only Jesse had been there with me before. Apple Annie's has the whole program - the u-pick orchards, a grill where hundreds of big fat burgers get flipped onto customers' waiting buns all day long, a bakery that turns out pies to die for and all kinds of relishes, apple butters, salsas and more. It's incredible. As soon as you walk onto the property you smell the scent of burgers mixed with pies baking and cider vinegar from old apples on the ground. You also see people walking around with plates filled with pie and huge slabs of vanilla ice cream. This is definitely not a Weight Watchers destination, but one worth treating yourself to when you've been very, very good.So armed with buckets and a device that helps you reach up into the trees to get the fruit, we headed off into the orchard. There were Fujis, Romes, Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious ready this weekend. Later on in the fall some other types of apples will be coming on.Of course we picked way more apples that we would ever buy at the store - just because it's so fun to pick 'em. We had a great time. The clouds that threatened rain and hid the sun earlier all cleared away and this bright blue sky opened up on one of the most beautiful days we've had in Arizona in a months.After we paid for and stowed our apple haul in the car we went back for pie. Jesse and Rachael had the apple berry pie a la mode and Tamara and I split an apple dumpling and stole a little chunk of ice cream from them since we didn't need a whole slab. Oh, it was good.The pumpkin picking was 6 miles away, so we jammed down there by about 2 p.m. Of course the plan was to get a pumpkin each, but as soon as we saw the other veggies, they were too hard to resist.Perfect pumpkins were everywhere.The zucchini squash was pretty much picked out, but Tamara and Rachael rescued two giants as you can see. Not sure how good they'll be to eat, but Tamara says she's going to stuff and mount hers anyway!Jess, being the only guy, was the designated hauler of the veggies.Good thing we didn't have more time on our hands! The trunk was packed pretty tight by the time we got done.We had a really great time and can't wait to go back again[...]

Baby Boomers - Turning Sixty Our Way


I was reading an article today about a doctor who treats quite a few patients from the Baby Boomer era - my era - those of us born between 1946 and 1964. He sees many of us for exercise/sports injuries as do many other doctors these days. He calls the syndrome "boomeritis." In fact, he even copyrighted the name. Boomeritis is an affliction of older people who think they can work out like younger people and believe they can hold off aging, according to this doctor, and who injure themselves as a result. The way he describes boomeritis, it sounds like we're just fantasizing and can't own up to the fact that we're middle aged and some of us are even seniors who shouldn't try to keep up! Middle aged? Didn't we remove that term from the dictionary? I'll be 59 in a few days and I don't ever remember becoming middle aged, nor did any of my friends.Seriously though, many older athletes and weekend warriors (men and women) can injure themselves by overusing muscles and tendons that may not be as supple as they used to be. We do have to pay attention, but that doesn't mean we have to stop and drop into the easy chair.None of us Baby Boomers really want to be called "seniors" either. My vision of a senior is more like what my grandparents were like when they were in their sixties and I was just a kid: soft, smiling creased faces, a little plump, aprons, stockings rolled around grandma's ankles, the house smelling like cigar smoke, ashtrays all around, calm but almost never doing anything outside other than gardening. I know. This is blatant stereotyping, but it's my personal picture of yesteryear. Of course, there were people over sixty who were very active back then - I just didn't know them and I suspect there weren't that many of them compared to today except in the farming industry. Our parents' and their parents' generations just didn't know what we know today about exercise, nutrition, mental health. They didn't have the health care technology we do today. They just did what they thought they should - worked hard, supported their families, went to church every Sunday and tried to stay comfortable.But I'll be 60 in another year which I believe is supposed to move me into seniordome and I'll still be riding my bike, going to the gym at oh dark hundred, dreaming of sculling and trying really hard to keep my bones from turning into spider webs and my arteries from clogging up like my sink. And yes, sometimes I have injuries ....just like my twentysomething peers do. Big deal. I am paying attention, doctor.I wear cutoffs and sandals in the summer and jeans and western boots in the winter and unless I have to meet some head of state, I will never put stockings on again the rest of my life. I also refuse to wear polyester. Most of my friends have similar philosophies.So we are a very different generation than our parents or grandparents coming into our sixties. I'm happy to be who I am at this age and delighted to be doing what I'm doing. I'm still working full time which I didn't expect to be thirty years ago, but things change. I make way more than my dad did and I have a pension which my kids will not. I watched my mother die of breast cancer and my dad die of heart disease in their sixties. They didn't know what steps they could have taken to reduce their risk. I have no excuse.So I'm out there exercising more and living differently than I did in my twenties. I'm no doubt in better shape with the exception of a little arthritis. I'm not kidding myself that I'm never going to age - I am aging. But it is damn well going to be my way (to the best of my ability)!They have a centenarian luncheon in my town for every[...]

Fall Fun is Around the Corner


Well, summer seems to be wrapping up - date-wise anyway. School is back in session here in Arizona. But the temperature just doesn't seem to have gotten the news. We're still bumping up against the 100's and the monsoon season really stank this year. And now it seems to be breathing it's last - out with a whimper, not a bang! Hot and dry. Whew! We had the worst electric bill ever.But for me and a couple of my friends, September also means we are only a month (give or take) away from our hike into the Grand Canyon. To be more specific, we will be hiking the Havasupai Trail for the first time which is not in the national park but on the reservation. I am SO looking forward to it. The waterfalls and pools at the bottom are spectacular. We were supposed to have gone last year, but they had some very bad flooding that damaged the trails and little community there. So we're back for another go.Have been doing a lot of long walks with my little furballs. I haven't had a chance to do our local 'hill walk" but I need to get going on that so my legs will get used to the long ups and downs. Can't wait.A few years ago, one of the women I'm hiking with this time - one of my best friends, Teresa, invited a few of us to hike the regular Grand Canyon (how can it ever be regular?) for her birthday and stay for a couple days down at the bottom at Phantom Ranch. It was one of those lifetime experiences you never forget and produces all kinds of vivid memories. The Canyon just leaves you awestruck, turn after turn after turn. I felt so privileged to be in it - like it's sacred ground. Some of my pictures are here, but seeing them just isn't the same as being IN IT. If you ever have a chance......DO IT! You don't have to go all the way down. If you take the Bright Angel Trail, halfway down at Indian Gardens there is a rest area, water, restrooms and it's a good place to turn around for day hikers.We camped down below. It was freezing when we left the south rim and we were all bundled up. But by the time we got to the bottom, about 6 hours later, we'd shed the jackets, sweatshirts, knit caps and were liberally applying sunscreen and downing Motrin! Our tents were wide open all night and we really didn't need blankets. Our group cooked up a smorgasbord of freeze-dried meals on our little gas stoves and they were scrumptious. Teresa's husband, Gary, is a gadget guy and he had all the equipment we needed to be comfortable. So we used mules to pack some of our stuff down so we wouldn't have to carry it all. That probably isn't the purest way, but it worked for us!There is a little store/restaurant at Phantom Ranch and it's perched up on a foundation that requires steps to climb to go in and out. It was so funny to watch hikers come down the steps. Many of them, including us, were so sore the next day, we had to side step coming down! I bought my husband, who didn't go, a Phantom Ranch hat that you can only get there and we all mailed postcards from the store that also doubles as their post office. They have their own Phantom Ranch postmark, sending proof that you indeed made it to the bottom. Fun.One afternoon, we were sitting around at the campsite and we noticed a couple of wild turkeys down by the creek near our site. They were slowly making their way up to the path we were next to. We were all excited and kept shooshing each other lest we scare them away. But they just walked right into our campsite, bold as you please - checked out the table and the ground around it for food like we weren't even there. Turns out they were the "camp turkeys" and they even had names. Later we saw t[...]

Double Good


We're almost into September and fall is one of the two traditional seasons for fundraisers that take shape in runs, walks, bike tours and other fun group events that happen outdoors. Late spring into early summer is the other season depending on where your live. Here in the southwest, March, April and May, October and November seems to be our favorite months. For people who plan these fundraisers, trying to find an open weekend with an open venue is always a challenge. Been there, done that.But for us unencumbered participants, that means LOTS of choices. AND while we are out there running or peddling, we are burning calories, catching some vitamin D, moving our muscles and doing something for the benefit of others. Double good!If you want to really get serious, there are even teams organized for a few health-related causes that help you get in shape to participate in The Day(s). Check with your local hospitals or cancer centers to see if they are sponsoring team training.We have a few breast cancer events coming up where I live and I have been seeing women, many dressed in pink, all walking together early in the mornings. They're moving, pumping their arms, talking, some with dogs on their leashes out in front of them. How fun is that?My son, Jesse, was my walk partner for March of Dimes WalkAmerica for many years. His first walk was when he was four years old, ensconced in a Radio Flyer wagon with a pillow, water, snacks, etc. 11 miles! What was I thinking? But we made it. And he and my dogs walked with me and various friends into his late teenage years. Much to his credit, he wasn't embarrassed to do that with me. It's a great time to chat, bond, enjoy the out of doors. It's a win-win for all.So this fall, I challenge you to find some event for a cause you believe in, raise some money and do it! Form a team, grab a friend, your dog, your kids and enjoy. Maybe even start a tradition.I'm doing American Cancer Society's Making Strides for Breast Cancer this fall thanks to an invite from a friend. What about you?If you can't get out and do a walk or run, how about supporting a fundraiser this fall that just involves your giving? Toys for Tots, your local food bank, women's shelters, ASPCA, you name it - there are hundreds. Our church had a fundraiser for the youth group that involved flamingos! We had the opportunity to make a donation in advance, but if you didn't buy the "insurance policy," teens would come to your home in the middle of the night and place flamingos all over your yard. Then you had to make a donation to get them out of your yard, but you also got to tell the kids whose house they should target next. It was so fun. We wanted the flamingos, so we didn't pay up front and one morning, there they were. We never did find out who sent them! Lots of fun. So while this wasn't a charity event that helped us burn any calories, it was definitely good for the head! Enjoy. Make it fun. It's good for everyone.[...]

A Playtime Reminisce


I was walking the Cockers a while back on a nice sunny morning. Hadn't gotten too hot yet. We strolled down a sidewalk that ran behind a row of fairly new homes that backed up to a wash and a children's park. A ball field and basketball court were nearby.But no little voices came from any of the backyards - none of them. It was very quiet walking down that row and I purposely looked for children - I was intent. I checked my watch - it wasn't too early for kids to out. Where were they?It made me think back to when I was 9, 10, 11 years old or so and how I hit the door after breakfast and only stopped playing outdoors to grab lunch and then back out again. Sometimes I'd be with friends and sometimes I'd be alone, but it was always fun. Playing in the woods, climbing trees, catching frogs and grasshoppers, and picking berries were just a few things that entertained us endlessly. When new homes were being built in our neighborhood, it was great fun to roam around inside (where we weren't supposed to be), trying to figure out which room was which or playing hide and seek. I also had a big collection of Matchbox cars that I would have routinely outside in the dirt. And when it rained, I'd sail clothespins with little sails on them down the street in the muddy streams of water the downpour had created.I remember jelly mud and skunk cabbage in the woods and catching bullfrog tadpoles at the little swamp nearby. Oh, they were a challenge and I'd be very proud of myself if I caught one of those little guys. Of course, you had to let them go right away because they didn't seem to survive as long as the tiny ones. But it was a lot of fun.One winter my mother bought me a plastic winter jacket that looked like cowhide (somewhat). Believe it or not, I picked it out! Well, we quickly discovered that it made a really fast sled if I just laid on my back and slid downhill in it. I don't think I ever used it like that in front of my mother though. But it was slick. Sledding and using our flying saucer at the reservoir was another revered activity, as my sister Barb can attest. Our dad always took us and I think he had fun, too.I had fun outside all the way through high school whether it was ice skating, walking through the woods, riding bikes to a little carryout nearby, playing kickball or playing detective with my best friend, Judy. As I went off to college, I remember looking at a telephone pole and thinking that I hoped I would never get to a point in my life that I would see a telephone pole only as an object to deliver telephone signals. I hoped I would always see all the possibilities in it that I saw then - a fort, lookout, (that was when they had pegs and you could climb them) holder of secret messages.Well, I still look at trees for their climbing potential and I poured over the issue of Sunset magazine that featured livable tree houses. I still love the outdoors and have tried to instill a love for it in my children. I know things are different now. There isn't as much wild space as there was and there are scary people out there, but my hope for all children is that they get to discover the wonders of nature and time to do nothing but watch ants crawl in the grass or minnows swim in the shallows of a lake or a spider weave a web. It is enriching and calming and oh, so necessary in my life.One of these days, I hope to hear little voices in those backyards, kids swinging on the swings in that park and dirty dump trucks in the wash. I know I will.[...]

Strain the Brain


As some of you know who read this blog, paying attention is an area I like to write about. I think it is more important than we may think it is and deeper than hearing what someone is saying when they're talking to you. Our attention can be put on autopilot when we are in familiar places such as in our homes, near our homes or work, in the grocery store, etc. We could all probably think of many places in which we have drawn and fine tuned mental maps. When we are in those places, our minds can get lazy and sharpness dulls. Think of it as slurring our minds.If you think about how you act when you are driving 2 minutes from home as opposed to being in a strange city - what are the differences? Near home you may allow yourself to be thinking about something that happened that day, your schedule for tomorrow or some other issue because you don't need to find your way. You know your way. In a strange place, you are alert, looking around, maybe even turning off the radio so you can concentrate better. Right? We've all been in both those places.Did you know that most accidents happen within five miles of home? I don't know about you but I have a real good mental map of several routes to work which is about 22 miles away. Am I on autopilot the whole way? Or am I present the whole way? It depends on how focused I decide to be.It's hard to be that focused 100% of the time, but if we focus more than we do and strain our brains a little more often - lots of positive things will happen. First of all, you are exercising your brain and many researchers believe that exercising the brain contributes to brain health.Second, you will avoid more accidents and near misses whether you are driving, walking, running, riding your bike or engaging in any other mode of physically moving forward.Third, you will be able to draw a more complete mental picture of whatever you are involved in whether you're looking at something or listening. The art of multi-tasking is often worn as a badge of honor these days, but frankly, when you are multi-tasking you are getting incomplete information about ALL tasks. How many times have you been on a phone call looking at email at the same time and missed something someone said? I know I've been guilty of that. Your creativity will ramp up because you have more input to work withSo what are some strategies we can use to sharpen our minds so we can pay better attention? Here are a few and I'm sure you can add to them:Make it a goal to notice something new every day on one of your well-traveled routes. Look for it.Change up the way you go to work or any other place that you go to routinely. Do that on a regular basis as long as it's safe. Find three or four different ways to go.When you go to the grocery store, start at the opposite end of the store you usually do.Put your shoes on beginning with the "other" foot. You'll be surprised at how you automatically start with the same foot. Change it up.If you wear makeup, shave or blow dry your hair, start with the opposite side you usually start with.Make mental notes about what you see as you go about your day like someone was going to quiz you about it later. As I've done that, I've discovered whole neighborhoods I didn't know were there and I drive by them EVERY DAY. Crazy.Find a way to remind yourself to do this regularly.Paying attention by straining our brains a little bit can help us stay out of trouble, and can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. Who knows how far that can go!You're worth it!Me, trying to walk too many dogs at once. "One w[...]

Quality Time with My No. 1 Daughter


First, I want to say that I"M SO SORRY I haven't posted forever. My computer died (first it was my monitor, and then my computer itself) and my husband's also died so we were computerless for awhile. Withdrawls! But in the middle of it my sister Barbara started her blog! Yea! and I didn't get to make any comment about it on a post like I wanted to until now. Sarah and I have been egging her on to start one because we've enjoyed it so much and she's a better writer than both of us put together. So she finally did it and I am so proud of her. It's funny the three of us started our blogs about seven months apart each. I don't think that means a darn thing, but it was funny. So congratulations to you, Barb. I loved your post about adopting your cats. My first-born daughter, Tamara, 33 and I checked into a resort last weekend to spend our sixth annual summer weekend getaway together. In the past Tamara, Jesse, my son, sometimes one of his friends, Jesse's girlfriend who I love - Rachael, or one of my friends have joined us. We always take advantage of the super-low summer rates in Arizona (they almost pay you to come and stay there!!!) where it's 110 degrees by the pool and you just go back and forth between the lounge (under the shade) and the water. Well, this year, it was just Tamara and I and we made it a Mother-Daughter weekend. We talked and talked, sipped drinks and had a lunch out by the pool, read our books, watched an old western show and just had a good time together. They had a water shuttle that took us to the casino on the property where Tamara won just enough at the two-penny slots to pay for a couple of sodas on our way out. For some reason though, they never offered us any free hotel rooms for the next time!One thing we enjoyed doing was getting out real early in the morning when the light was just right and snapping pictures. Some of them are here. Now that I have a brand new computer and could download them, I can show them to you! If you've ever seen Boat-tailed grackles, you know that they can be real pests and pretty vocal. As we ate outside on the patio one morning we were laughing at these crazy birds that were stealing sugar packets out of the sugar bowls on unoccupied tables. They were so persistent about it, you couldn't leave your food without a guard standing over it until you got back or it would be gone in a flash. They had even learned how to take the lids off the sugar bowls, so the wait staff had to flip the lids over after each party left. I can't imagine how much sugar they went through every season there. Too funny.I love spending time with my kids - my two and my husband's daughters - Gina and Jamie. I wish we had more time to do these kinds of let-your-hair-down activities, but we do the best we can.I can't believe it is already well into August. Where did summer go? I did get a lot of summer reading done. How about you? Did you do something special this summer that really stood out? I'd love to hear about it. [...]

Putting Your Heart into Your Exercise Program


There are studies too numerous to mention that point to the many benefits of exercising. Lots of us already have some kind of an exercise regimen or program that we are actively working. It could be walking or it could be training for triathlon or climbing Everest! For any and all in between, it takes time doesn't it? And we're busy with life, so it does take commitment to exercise or train most days a week. But how do you know if you are making the most of that precious time you've set aside and are working hard enough to make a difference - especially in the area of cardio exercise - exercising your heart and lungs? The best way I know of is to know where your heart rate should be while you are working out. The first thing you need to know about that is - what is your maximum heart rate? That's the rate you don't want to go over at any given age. So the calculation is 220 minus your age. Since I'm 58, my maximum heart rate is 162 beats per minute. 220 - 58 = 162. Obviously, it goes down over time. During exercise, the range you want to stay in to get the most out of your time is your personal target heart rate - 50% - 85% of your maximum heart rate. The low end of my range (50%) is 81 beats per minute. The high end of my range (85%) is about 138. When you are just starting an exercise program, you would want to stay closer to the lower end of your range until you build strength. As time goes on (at least a few months or so if you are just starting) and you are feeling stronger, lasting longer in the exercise, you can push a little harder but staying under 85%. Build slowly. Anywhere in that range provides benefit.At this point I want to emphasize that if you haven't been exercising or have a medical condition, you should always talk to your physician about what you plan to do exercise-wise ahead of time. Don't just jump in without advise.You can monitor your heart rate by taking your pulse, but that isn't as precise as using a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors are battery operated and usually come with a chest strap. I have one that is a watch only and one that has a chest strap and watch, and the chest strap monitor seems to be more accurate and dependable. You can program your monitor to your age so it does the target heart rate calculation for you and alerts you if you are over or under your range if you want it to while you are exercising. Some heart rate monitors store the information so you can see later how you did. Sporting goods stores and bike shops typically carry them, but first talk with someone knowledgeable about the one that would be best for you. The price range is wide but I think you can get a perfectly good heart rate monitor for $70 or so. make sure the one you buy displays the current heart rate without you having to press buttons.Not only is monitoring your heart rate good for maximizing your time exercising, but it also lets you know if you are overdoing it - getting too close or going over your maximum heart rate. And that's important, too! I remember once I was on my bike doing a good, long ride and found myself going up a steep hill and feeling a significant headwind to boot. I looked down at my monitor and I was hitting my maximum heart rate. I stopped, let my heart rate slow some, got back on and pedaled a little slower and kept an eye on it until I reached the top. I was fully prepared to get off and walk if I had to, but I didn't need to.So, this is just a little nugget for you if you'd like to use it. Putting your hear[...]

How Bad Do You Want It?


Tim McGraw has a good song the goes "How bad do you want it? How bad do you need it?...." That's a question I have to ask myself everyday about staying healthy or doing the best I can with where I am. Am I going to choose the easy route or the harder one? I'm really convinced that success in this and a lot of other things is about two things: paying attention and commitment.I listen to the Dave Ramsey show all the time. His advice to people about how to run their personal finances, get out of debt and stay out of debt is awesome. One of the things I have noticed that seems to be the common theme that runs through the reasons people who call in say they have some incredible credit card debt or student loan debt, etc. are:I just wasn't paying attentionI don't know how it happenedIt slipped by meI took my eye off the ballIt's easy to do, isn't it? All of a sudden one day we wake up and we're in a pickle! How did it happen? Well, it turns out it happens in plain sight. Just not in our line of sight because we either forgot to pay attention to the relevant facts or just ignored them! You know how your mom always told you to look both ways before you cross the road? Are we still looking? I've gained five pounds recently and I realized I've allowed some old bad habits to slip back into my life. Old pre-Weight Watchers habits. So I have to become more alert to what I'm thinking about eating and re-commit to myself to get rid of that stupid five pounds. And I will.We're all so incredibly busy these days. I talk to colleagues all over the country and they agree that the rpm's on the old hamster wheel have definitely increased. So there is so much to have to pay attention to. But if we want to continue to do all the things we want and need to do, first we have to stay healthy or get as healthy as we can. I know I have readers/followers with cancer and other health conditions and you are dealing the best you can with them. Huge hugs to you and I pray you are blessed with recovery. You know what commitment is!As you may have read in a past blog, my husband has Stage IV lung cancer. So I'm of course of real advocate of smoke cessation. And we don't know if smoking was what got him or the chemicals he lived around on the farm when he was a kid or what, but we know smoking greatly increases risk for all sorts of things - especially lung cancer. He has been cancer-free for six months, but as all of you know who are struggling with cancer, it's three months at a time. But he feels really good right now. Well, we played golf this weekend with his brother and we only had a threesome so they teamed us up with a young guy in his early thirties. Nice guy, good player. Had a nice girlfriend along for the ride. But he chain smoked the whole 18 holes! Oh, I went back and forth with myself about saying anything. I believe there are no coincidences and I finally thought maybe I was supposed to talk to him. Turns out he had done some landscaping for us and he recognized Les so there was a connection.So as we wrapped up and were headed for our cars I stopped him and told him about Les and all that we'd been through and that I didn't want him to have to go through that himself. We talked about it for a few minutes and he was very open to talking about how he's tried to quit. Maybe he will. But it will be paying attention to when he gets the urge to smoke and commitment to gutting out those times using a different behavior that will get him through. Wanting healt[...]

Premio Meme Award


Thanks to Diantha, for this very nice award. I love her positive attitude and her enthusiasm in sharing what she learns with us out here in blogland. So for this award I was asked to share seven thing about myself and then share the award with seven other people. So here goes! Hope it's interesting!1. I attended a private women's college my first year of college. Lived in NY at the time and it was in Virginia. What a culture shock. Anytime you left campus you were supposed to wear a dress or skirt - no pants. Well, you can't skateboard very well in a skirt, you know? After about seven times getting caught they campused me for a week. What a trouble maker!2. I have two wonderful kids - Tamara who is 33 and Jesse who is 24. I love them dearly and get to see them often. My husband Les, has three daughters, two of whom I see as much as possible and they're terrific - Gina and Jamie. Cinnamon I get to see once in awhile and she's special, too.3. My husband, Les and I have been married for six years. We met on January 25, 2002 and married on January 25, 2003. Today, I was in the dentist office (on my vacation no less) getting a root canal and he tucked a note into my car door handle telling me a was special and he was thinking about me . Awww. What a sweetie.4. I served on a Search & Rescue team in the mountains quite a few years ago. Loved it, learned a lot. Little known fact - I was the first woman to be certified to rappel from a helicopter in that county's sheriff's department. Whoohoo. Pretty fun.5. I'm a bird watcher from way back. My mom taught me that love for birds. This weekend I was in Minnesota and was thrilled to see an Indigo Bunting. Beautiful.6. I'm an artist. Pen & ink, pencil and pastel are my mediums. One day I hope to paint. Thought that was going to be my career all the years I was growing up, but life took me in another direction. I used to illustrate for the LA Times pet column, Kal Kan and for a number of realtors when I had time more time. My sister Sarah is encouraging me to get back into it and maybe have an Etsy site. I'd love that. Hopefully soon.7. I've always seen my career as my own personal ministry. I think it is what I was meant to do.So here are seven super women I am sending this award to:Renee I love her courage and many words of wisdomKaren Love her wool animals - amazingBridget Her jewelry has been all over the US with me! Love it. I want more.Audrey Courage like no other and attitude to back it up. Awesome.Sarah My sister who I truly admire for all the things she is and is yet to be.Alicia For her beautiful jewelry and her beautiful soul.KacyK For all the virtual rides we've been able to go on with her. Keep riding![...]