Opening the top left drawer of my dresser in the bedroom, I need a fresh pair of underwear. However, the drawer is filled with so many items besides the needed unders. This is where I store 1/2 ream of printed emails that my husband sent to me in the year before we got married. It holds 18 old mother’s day cards from my three children, 8 bibs from races that I’ve run and 4 metals from three half-marathons and one full marathon that I ran, and 12 multi-colored headbands.
At first glance, it holds everything EXCEPT underwear. Do I not own underwear? Do I even wear underwear?
Have you ever given any thought to the idea that underwear should be considered when making a commitment to yourself about self-care? Well, let me tell you a story… Continue reading →
These seem to be two very controversial questions lately. Especially after COVID, where we have all been confined to our homes, apartments, (or wherever we might have the fortune or misfortune to find ourselves)…spiritual practice rules are up for debate. Continue reading →
For the past 3 months, my sister and I have been walking the dogs every morning. We are becoming known around the neighborhood as the crazy dog ladies (at least that’s what I think we must look like while walking 4-5 dogs).
Good Morning Sunshine!
You’d think that after 3 months of doing this, I would be getting used to it! But each morning I feel like I have to drag my butt out of bed. Luckily, my sister is patient enough with me to continue to drive into town to make me do this. This activity is a much smaller version of what we do while on vacation.
When we go on vacation each summer, she and I will get up at the ass-crack of dawn to walk all the family dogs (5-6 of them). We will go on a 6-mile walk (or “death march” as I lovingly call it). Usually, Lisa is bright-eyed and refreshed when we come back from the walk, but I’m a purple-faced sweaty mess!! We don’t go fast at all, but it gives the dogs a chance to run on the beach and play in the water, thereby making them tired dogs upon returning to our cabin. (Tired dogs are happy dogs – and happy owners!)
“Hey, how much do you charge?”
On our walk during vacation, people frequently look at us like we are crazy because we are walking so many dogs. We’ve even been asked if we are professional dog walkers. People are surprised when we tell them that these are just the family’s dogs. LOL!
I need to keep moving before vacation to get in shape for our death marches. But right now, my knees are aching just with the thought of having to get up and walk tomorrow morning. Some mornings I just want to sleep and say forget it to walking, but I know if I don’t go, I’ll disappoint not only my dogs but my sister as well… and that just doesn’t sit well in my mind.
Then, I went to the pharmacy yesterday to get a prescription for my dad. It wasn’t ready yet, so I had about 10 minutes to shop while I waited.
I grabbed a watermelon and some boxes of Kraft Mac&Cheese that were on sale. I was investigating the spices when someone said my name. It didn’t register that they were talking to me until they said my name again, “Lisa?”
I glanced up to recognize an elder version of a guy I used to drool over when I was 14. Eric was still about 6’5″ and his blond athletic self. He is/was 3 years older than I. (In High School, this seemed soooo important). Now, I noticed that he looked somewhat….faded…but he was still tall, and still blond, and…HE noticed me.
“Hey, how are you?” he began. “I thought that was you…”
“What are you doing here in Smallville?” I asked. “Oh, you live here? What brought you back?”
“I saw you a while back, but you were all bundled up…you seemed in a hurry…I’m divorced…”
We will see each other again at an event this summer that we are both invited to.
But you want to know what I was thinking about when we parted and went our separate ways?
Let me explain. I like to look nice. I recognize that how I dress affects how I feel. When I am “put together” I feel good about myself. What I see in the mirror impacts my self-esteem, my expectations for myself, and my energy.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do look grungy sometimes…
Exercising in the morning is my jam. Pulling my hair back, I put on my Saucony running shoes and sports bra, and head out. I’m focused on moving, breathing, leaning into the work.
I also garden in the morning. Planting and weeding is dirty work. I sit in the grass or on the dirt. As the day warms, I sweat! I am not a pretty sight, but the tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, and marigolds are happy.
Getting showered and dressed for the day are next on my agenda. Then, putting myself together for the day has four important components.
Make-up and hair
It takes me less than 5 minutes to moisturize, add a touch of foundation, and brush blush onto my cheeks. I slap a bit of eyeliner and a neutral shade of eyeshadow on each eyelid. I stroke on a couple of passes of mascara to my lashes before adding a touch of tinted lip gloss to finish my daily look.
As my hair is longer these days, it does take more time than usual. Since I wash my hair daily, it takes about 10 minutes to dry and straighten out the frizzles.
Grubbies Aren’t Allowed
I remember as a kid going to my grandma’s house in the summer. She would often wear culotte shorts with a sleeveless v-neck cotton tank. But it always bothered me that she had grease spots on her boob shelf. They weren’t fresh spots. But the stained clothing wasn’t a problem for her because the thought was “who needs to dress up if you’re not having company over or going someplace”. She was just doing her thing at her house. No one would see her. But I saw her. Her granddaughter saw and felt bad for her. I thought she was poor. But she had many “nice” clothes. But she just didn’t wear them because…they were “for good”.
I actually made a commitment to wearing my “for good” clothes when I was about 5 or 6. A relative went to Hawaii and brought me a green summer sundress. I wore it once. Then it hung in my closet.
I remember looking at the tropical leaves and coconut buttons and thinking what a waste it was that it never got worn again. I’m sure it gathered dust and was eventually donated to Goodwill or St. Vinnies.
It didn’t make sense to my mind. It was supposedly “for good”. You didn’t wear it every day, because you might spoil it and then it wouldn’t be available when you needed it. good”.
So now, I get dressed for life… every day. I don’t mean shorts and a worn-out tank, but a tunic and leggings or a skort and crisp shirt on most summer days. You might call my look casual or informal teacher attire. But the important thing is that I look and feel put together. I’m ready to head out on an errand. Someone could knock at the door and I would feel confident answering.
I love jewelry and scarves. I don’t think you need a lot of either. But a pair of dangly mandala earrings or a fresh scarf can perk an outfit right up. Spruce up any ensemble that has begun to grow tired. Think Marie Kondo in your wardrobe…any item should “spark joy” or get rid of it.
When I’m barefoot or just wearing socks around the house, I feel unfinished. It makes me feel guilty about the state of my home’s cleanliness when I see my black soiled feet at the end of the day. Sometimes it even hurts to go barefoot. Plantar fasciitis is a real problem that can be remedied by wearing GOOD shoes (and maybe rolling an icy bottle with your insole).
Then there are slippers. ARRRRRgh! They make me feel sloppy and sleepy. As I skuff around the house there is no spring to my step. The sh, sh, sh sound is like a lul-a-bye that sucks my energy. Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE snuggly slippers in the evening when I’m wrapping up the day while reading a good book on the couch.
But NOT during the day. Daytime is for casual, comfortable sandals, flats, or slides (spring and summer) or booties, clogs, mules, or other casual shoes (fall and winter). Casual shoes may include comfortable athletic-inspired shoes, but not cross-trainers or running shoes.
I do NOT keep old sneakers for “around the house” or for when I’m working in the garden.
This brings me back to Eric again.
When I was pushing my cart through the Food Pride, it was 9:30 am. I was ready for the day. I had taken a shower that morning. Face and hair were done. I was wearing a sleeveless silk dress with knee-length leggings and…grungy cross-trainers with mismatched ankle socks. (I had gone for a walk with my sister earlier and had forgotten to bring along my sandals to change into after…)
Do I think Eric noticed my ugly, skunky, aged footwear–that my pup had recently chewed a small chunk out of the left heel? No.
But when you see that hunky guy from high school, who barely gave you the time of day, and now HE is initiating conversation 40 years later….don’t you want to look and feel your best?
I do. Not only for Eric but for me too. When I have the bandwidth to live my best life, one of the indicators is how I express myself with my clothing.
It might be the old chick/egg thing all over again…Do I feel extra good that day because I look good? Or do I dress up on a given day and that leads to a day that I feel like my best self?
Whenever I’ve done one of those life evaluation surveys or goal setting or tried to start a new habit, it always feels so good to begin on a Monday or on the first day of the month. I’m not a big fan of January 1 resolutions. But I do like re-evaluations and starting new habits at the beginning of seasons–fall and summer both coincide with the beginning/end of a school year. But this time I’ve gone rogue and set myself up with a public weight loss challenge.
I posted 8 weeks ago that I planned to drop 8 pounds because bulge had crept to my middle and set up housekeeping. Now it was time to lose those 8 pounds. I stated that I would provide an update on June 1st…
Well, in the time between then and now, life has been crazy. You know how CRAZY eats up the emotional bandwidth needed to fuel action. The crazy can be seen by the way the skin under my eyes has “bags”. I googled remedies for this unattractive look and came up with using hemorrhoid cream (Preparation H to be exact) as a spot night cream.
Fail. There was no noticeable difference.
Then one morning I realized that I had yet again forgotten to buy facial cream while out shopping. Did you know that Aveeno body lotion isn’t the best face moisturizer out there? Huh. Who’d have thunk?
But I think I reached a new low when I confess that I used Gold Bond Medicated foot powder on my face after the moisturizer and before putting on a little blush.
It has a bit of a weird odor that you don’t really notice when you are using it appropriately.
I have absolutely no good excuse for this period of craziness other than…life! My life is full and crazy. But here are a few clues that life is also, at the same time, good and happy and sane:
First Things First
My bed is made in the morning. This is huge. The room can be a catastrophe, dusty, underwear on the floor and laundry heaping over the basket…but if the bed is made and pillows fluffed each day, all is good.
A Little Vase of Something
My nightstand is dusted and organized with a small stack of books, reading glasses, and a little vase filled with something. this is the ultimate litmus test. when things in life are really going well, I change out the items in the vase regularly. There are curly sticks in January, Lily of the Valley in April, Lilacs in May, various garden flowers throughout the summer, and pretty leaves in the fall.
All That Ends Well
The sink is shined and dishes are done before bed. There is something about being able to walk into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water and see that the dishes are done, the stove is clean and the sink is shined. It makes me feel in control.
Does Anyone Know Where My Phone Is?
Sometimes I add the category of purse location. When all is going smoothly in life, I have a clear habit of bringing my purse and phone into the house and putting them in my cubby in the mudroom. When I’m off, it’s a crapshoot and I will have to often use our landline to call my cell to aid in locating it.
This brings me to the question…Did I achieve my goal!
No…I dropped exactly 6 pounds.
Yes. I’ve gotten back on track.
I’ve gone through many many cycles of mindless eating in the past. As a teacher, I would get into the habit of eating school lunches (what we called the “Red Tray” diet) and put on weight every fall. Then, in January, feeling frustrated, I would annually switch to packing my own soup, veggies, and fruit. Sometimes I’d bring some string cheese or a baggie of nuts. I didn’t focus on carbs or food types, just simplicity and quantity.
But the big secret was that I also began exercising on a treadmill daily in the morning. I wouldn’t change anything else. The result was never dramatic, but I was always able to wear my favorite spring capris and summer skorts.
That being said, I am back to being MINDFUL about my body and my eating and exercising habits. It took this little challenge to get myself to stop and change back to the habits that make me feel good about my body. These habits also make me feel healthy and happy.
As I mentioned in that post 8 weeks ago, I like the feeling of a strong and flexible body when I am walking and doing yoga.
Carbs make me feel sluggish and blah.
Alcohol doesn’t work for me anymore. My 50+-year-old body gets sleepy instead of relaxed. Then, the next morning I’m fuzzy instead of energized.
I’m good with honoring my body in a way that is sustainable and easy. So I guess I’ll call this a successful fail,
The day that I’m writing this is exactly 8 weeks until June 1st.
June always feels like the beginning of summer to me. Summer..sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals (read no more covering up with turtlenecks, sweaters, or fleecy leggings). I’ve used these items to camouflage my fluffy body for a few months. Putting on weight happens soooooo effortlessly. I weigh myself every Monday (mostly) and watched the numbers creep up, pound by pound, each week. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, just trying to stay the same. But I was struggling.
You know when you’re struggling.
Slogging along in life.
You can smile at your neighbors. You take out the trash on Fridays and make sure your family is fed. Brushing your teeth happens. But you lose touch with yourself. There is no bandwidth, no energy to do what makes you feel good and be healthy. I was in this place for about 8 weeks after Christmas and through February. Here is what I’ve learned if you want to gain 8 pounds in 8 weeks:
Livin’ the Couch Potato Life
Don’t exercise! In so many magazines and blogs I’ve read recently, I’ve heard about how you can’t easily lose weight by exercising. But let me tell you, you sure can gain weight if you don’t. I regularly walk each morning with Stella, and now our puppy Evie. But have you tried to exercise or do yoga with a puppy? I wrote about my daily routine here. But sometimes you just don’t FEEL like exercising. So I’ve been walking and when I get home, there is just so much to do. Breakfast, writing, homeschooling, making the bed, cleaning the grout on the kitchen floor…
Carbs are Your Friends
Eat carbs like a teenage boy. I have a husband, two teenage sons, and a daughter who dances 8+ hours a week. Carbs are staples in our kitchen. When I’m feeling tired, meals are served with pasta, rice or bread. (Last night, we had spaghetti for dinner and I not only ate several slices of warm, soft, chewy Italian bread, but I slathered sweet butter on each slice…yum!)
Drink alcohol daily. I love going to my parent’s house. Dad makes the best Brandy Old Fashioneds–sour, not sweet. (I got him this gift last Father’s Day and I have really enjoyed it!) Since my one son just got his driver’s license and needs practice, we go over and I have a couple of drinks EVERY night…I’m not driving…right?
I’m even having a hard time writing this. I think I may be having an anxiety attack at this very moment. I am serious about how I put on the weight, but I’m not genuine about having neutral feelings about the gain.
You see, no one but me knows that I’ve put on a few pounds. I don’t look a lot different, but I FEEL different (and not in a good way). I’m stiff, my arms feel weak. There is a bike tire around my middle. I notice that it’s harder to cross my legs when I’m sitting in a chair.
Just 8 little pounds and all this fuss?!? It’s just a symptom of a larger problem, really. I’ve lost sight of myself, not taking care of ME. I’ve gotten wrapped up in the day-to-day and everyone else’s needs. Can you relate?
I’m wearing yoga pants and athletic shoes so I must be burning calories, right?
Well, we have exactly 8 weeks until the “beginning” of summer. Let’s walk a little more, ditch the sugar, and say no to flour.
Are you still with me?
Let’s drink lots of water and have some “come to Jesus” time with veggies and leafy greens!
That’s my plan. Check back on June 1st to see how well I fared.
What do you do when your an active woman with a full life and your body starts to fall apart? Well, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician…
At the office visit, my doctor informed me that that I no longer needed a mammogram, pap smear, or colonoscopy. I found this interesting so I asked, “Why is that?” He skirted around the question, but I guessed, “You mean I am just too old?”
Well, the fact is, say…if cancer is detected, I am actually too old to go through the process of working on a cure or whatever….
Midlife: That time in your life when you finally get your head together and your body starts to fall apart!
Let that sink in a moment.
That made me feel, kind of, sort of WEIRD.
I never thought that when you got older you kind of just let things go since they are going to go to hell anyway. I guess I’m just not quite ready for that mindset.
So are we just supposed to die young? It seems to me that our bodies are set to work until a certain age and then they seem to fall apart. (I seem to have gone past the life expectancy of my right knee!)
I have come to the conclusion that the reason the life expectancy of people years ago was much younger was that the body parts are for a certain age. If you have to deal with worn-out knees, painful hips, or other decrepit joints, it just really takes the life right out of you.
I had been doing really well–physically, that is. (We won’t talk about mentally.) I love to exercise–mostly walking with my dog, Emma. Well, I loved to when I had a knee that actually worked.
But you want to know what is so hard about this whole situation? I don’t want to be “layed up” for weeks and weeks! I have always prided myself on being in fair shape. But now that I have reached the ripe old age of xx, o.k. 76, I am really bummed out about this because I don’t have the time or the patience to have downtime or a recoup time. My life has to go on. as. it. is.
If you look around, you will see people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs. That is because their longevity has run out and they are spending a lot of time and money just trying to keep their muscles, joints, and bodies working.
I now understand, but don’t want to believe it.
So, here is to one knee replacement, with another one to follow. Onward you old body. You need to keep up with my wants and my desire to keep active and enjoy life.
So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position, your body seems to be ready to leave the party (and way too soon for the rest of you)…suck it up! Do whatever it takes to make your body do what it takes to keep up with your active lifestyle.
Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus, blah, blah, blah.
Well, you know what? I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time. I have tried, really, I have tried!
Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!
(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)
My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago. I went to a meditation workshop with my sister. Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you).. We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that. To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate. This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!
So…I have a hard time meditating. It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a gorgeous winter day.
We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night! I just couldn’t do it. Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown. My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.
Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind.
Give me a book, that would work.
Paint a wall, that would work.
Weed a garden, yes, that would work.
I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.
As I sit here with my white legs, white arms, white face, white body, white everything looking like a newly plucked chicken, next to my Hispanic granddaughter with beautiful caramel skin. I love caramel skin and in my next life perhaps I will have that gorgeous, flawless skin, caramel in color. But, today I am reflecting back to the days when we actually tried to achieve, and did, but not without a little (a lot) discomfort and pain. Continue reading →