Talking to Yourself

talking to yourselfLast week, half of the sisters were out of town, so Lisa and I met one on one. These are rare occasions since we both have commitments that keep us very busy and out of trouble.  I was thinking about how pleasant our visit was and then I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise).

I realized as I thought back, that during our visit, I was sending myself very negative messages about guess who?  ME.  I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, my son, my sister and her husband, my nieces and their families, and my stepdaughter and her family.  Sadly, the worst relationship I have seems to be with myself.  Continue reading

My “Hot Tub Rules” for Underwear

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

Faith

Where do you do church?

How should a church look?

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

Walking, Walking, Walking – Keep it Moving

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).  

walkingGood 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.  

Vacation

walking

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.

Who is 'Chelle

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Update–8 Weeks Later

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,

or a positive defeat,

or maybe a flop with a silver lining.


Who is Lisa

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My Dog is Family

What is it with dogs? Are you one of the people that celebrated National Pet Day earlier this month? Do you love a furry friend?

Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend…obviously never had a dog!

Do you need unconditional love, something to love you forever and ever (sounds great, right!)?  

furry friendsDo you love having something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with, share a bed with?

When Mollie, a liver/white tri English Springer Spaniel that was with us for fourteen years died, I said it would be my last.  

I just couldn’t put my heart through another heartbreak.  

Well, six months passed, and guess what?  We broke down and got another fuzzy creature. She is a black/white tri-colored springer spaniel named Emma.  What a sweetheart, a pain in the ass, a total companion, a bed hog, has her own opinion and needs, and we wouldn’t give her up for anything.  

Furry Friends – The PROS…

I have read that owning a pet has several benefits for older adults.  This includes higher levels of physical activity…which results in better health.  Having a dog forces us to create daily routines or to have a  purpose to get out and MOVE. 

furry friendsDogs offer emotional support and give us something to talk about with other people (other than how upset we are with the latest political announcement or our upcoming knee surgery).

With a dog, you get constant love and affection, unconditional adoration (we all can use a little of that), lots and lots of wet sloppy kisses, and let’s not forget the lack of bed space.  Is this a pro? Well, some of us might think so.  

…and the CONS

The case against owning a canine fur baby is as follows (but not limited to):  Constant dog hair on your pants, brown spots in a once lush green lawn, ongoing poop duty, and the frustration when they are trying to communicate, but you don’t agree (time to go to bed or wanting to stay outside).

furry friends

Dogs also need exercise, rain or shine, cold or warm.  If you are sick, or well, you need to suck it up and get out there with a potty bag and treats in your pocket.  How about the grooming duties, brushing, and teeth brushing (yes, we are supposed to actually brush a dog’s teeth). 

I could do without the muddy paws prints on my white kitchen floor and cream living room carpet in the spring and rainy weather. 

It is also a pain in the ass standing outside in the freezing cold, in the middle of the night,  (even when Fido doesn’t really have to do anything) because he just wants you to be awake with him.  

I, personally, have had a lot of pets including, birds of all shapes and sizes, chameleons, fish, hamsters, turtles. But my nine dogs (over the years) are in a special category that is unique and exclusive…

Companion

Confidant

Family

I have read or heard it from somewhere that the best compliment to a deceased pet is to replace it with another. I totally agree. Or, to quote American novelist, satirist, and poet, Erica Jong…

 ” Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”

Who Is Sandy
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What to Do When Your Body is Falling Apart

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….

body

Midlife: That time in your life when you finally get your head together and your body starts to fall apart!

WOW!

HELLO?

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.  

body

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. 

Life is too short to waste.

Pain sucks.

Let’s fix this old body and get on with living!

Who Is Sandy

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Be True To Yourself

love youselfWhile we are all trying to improve ourselves and make the most out of our lives, one thing that we must keep in mind is to be true to yourself.  Following what society expects or desires you to be or to look like or to accomplish does nothing for you if you don’t agree with those expectations.  All you end up doing is frustrating yourself.  Here are 5 things to consider when trying to fit into society’s expectations and also be true to yourself.

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Helping Your College Student with Homesickness

Homesickness

When my youngest kid left for college this past fall, we went through some significant homesickness.  She has always been my “velcro” kid and loves to be home and a part of things.  There were a lot of tears and feelings of “I don’t want to go” happening.  As a parent that likes to always see her kids happy – this broke my heart.  I didn’t know how to help – so I resorted to the Internet to guide me in what to do.  After reading a few posts – I decided on my own methods.

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The Emotional Bank Account

When I was growing up, I always thought relationships had to be 50/50. Give and take needed to be equal or the relationship would not succeed. 

In reality, what I discovered was that relationships almost always consist of an unequal number of contributions. If one person is having a great day, they might contribute 80%. If the other person was having a bad day or a troublesome day, their contribution might only be 20% or less. The goal was to have the total equal to 100%. Unfortunately, that didn’t always happen. 

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Developing Relationships with Your Mother-in-Law

Mother-in-lawHere are six tips for having a good relationship with your mother-in-law.

Doris wasn’t just a mother-in-law, but a fabulous friend.  Personally, I feel she had quite a bit more to overlook in me in the beginning as I was selfish, opinionated, and just plain stupid. Example – I had my second child and was not up to par.  It was spring and, of course, flower planting time.  I being the perfectionist (and this is where stupid and selfish comes in) did the unthinkable…  To be nice she planted a peachy/pink bed of petunias in an area where I would usually put, I think, red.  Would you believe that when I felt up to it, I actually replaced her petunias with my preferred color?  When I think of that today I just cringe.  She never said a word, but I’ll bet she was not impressed with me.  

Tip 1 – Be thankful for the little things they do for you and be gracious

When my husband and I started going together we were of different religions.  I was with a girlfriend that was Lutheran, the same as my mother-in-law, and she said to me.  “Why doesn’t Art find a nice Lutheran girl to date?”  At the time I was appalled.  Today I think it is pretty funny as later in life I turned to Lutheran and she turned to the religion that I had been for her second husband.

Tip 2 – Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There is always tomorrow and things change

The two of us came from entirely different backgrounds.  She was a farm girl and I was a city brat.  Her taste was totally different than mine and we had a good time teasing about my exotic, or just plain different taste than hers.  One time after putting up a half-moon mirror in my family room I asked her what she thought and she replied, “I think it looks totally stupid.”  O.K. then!!!  I had grown up enough by this time to actually laugh it off and I still have that totally stupid mirror still hanging in my family room.

Tip 3 – Appreciate true honesty and don’t take it personally

She was always there when I needed her, or just a phone call away.  She actually got a warning ticket for speeding on Center Street to come and wash my kitchen floor.  I was getting ready for one of the girl’s weddings and she thought I could use some help.  The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, 50 in a 25-speed zone, and she said to wash my daughter-in-law’s floor. He gave her a warning, but I’ll bet there were a few laughs down at the station after that. I hope none of them knew me so as to judge me, expecting this poor older lady to wash my kitchen floor?.  

Tip 4 – Appreciate the things they do for you even if it is not necessary

When I planted my perennial garden I worked during the day and had to get my plants in after dark for some reason.  My mother and mother-in-law sat on logs in my backyard with flashlights to help me see what I was doing.  My backyard neighbor had to hang over the fence in the morning to see what the hell was going on. 

Tip 5 –  Appreciate the big things they do for you

I could go on and on.  She has since passed on and I miss her terribly.  I miss our late evening gab sessions on the phone.  Her stories that went on and on, and her being there for me was so enjoyable.  Sure, she made me a little crazy sometimes, but I learned to overlook her differences and she overlooked mine.  When she told me that I was more like a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law that was the ultimate compliment.  

Tip 6 –  Enjoy their differences and learn from them

They seem to have a book of knowledge that they love to share.  Remember that they also compete with your own mother on most occasions and also learn how not to tread on toes.

Who Is Sandy
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The Innocence of Youth

Mom and I went out the door hand in hand and headed to the bus stop.  Mom didn’t drive when we were little so the two of us did our weekly trek to catch the bus for downtown.  We would do our errands and then do our grocery shopping and finally take a taxi home with our treasures and groceries. 

InnocenceThree-year-old me ran up the steps and found a seat for us near the front of the bus.  Most of the people that rode the bus back in the day knew each other.  This day there was a man that was unfamiliar.  Something was a bit different about him.  I tried to whisper to Mom but my voice came out a bit loud.  I asked how come that man had such a dirty face.  She shushed me but too late.  The man had heard my question.  He told me that his skin was a different color than mine. I asked him why and he answered that he was born that way.  He asked Mom if I wanted to touch his skin.  She quietly declined and I climbed up in her lap. Continue reading