RANDOM THOUGHTS ON COMING OUT OF HIBERNATION

As terrible as it is, I realize that I have become lazy and unmotivated during this past winter. I DO NOT like winter and prefer to wrap up in my blanket and read, get on my laptop, watch movies or whatever…anything rather than go somewhere. That is exactly what I said I would never let happen when I retired. But now, hallelujah, spring is officially less than a week away. Time to shake off that lazy personality that I do not admire and spring forward. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I got back on the treadmill this week. I have one of those big milestone birthdays staring me in the face this summer and I intend to meet it head-on. My friend, Fred, used to always quote that TV commercial, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. So, I best get moving again.

When we got back from Texas, I harvested the remainder of the herbs that I had planted at Christmas time, cleaned out the Aero Garden and, last week, replanted with lettuce and kale. It’s up already!! Aren’t you excited? Well, it’s a small amount, I know,  but, hopefully, enough to tide us over until we can plant outside.

Yesterday, I started the vegetables for this year’s garden. So many plants – so little space. Should be interesting. Now, once I replenish my supplies, I can get some flowers started. Can hardly wait until we can get outside and start planting. I know – that will be awhile. But, how uplifting to get the process started anyway.

Still working on my 40 Bags in 40 Days de-cluttering project. Got a little behind but did some catching up today and DEFINITELY WILL catch up and complete by the end of the 40 days. Today is the 15th day and I think I’m at 13 bags right now. Not too bad!

And, here’s a big one. I got back to my writing this week. In fact, this afternoon I even submitted an excerpt from what I have completed so far to a publisher for possible feedback. What are the odds? Probably not great, but better than if I didn’t even try.

Now, if I can just get motivated to finish our tax stuff and get it to the CPA!

Yep…I’ve definitely come out of hibernation and it feels good!

Later.

Turning 60

We have a book on our coffee table that I wrote several years ago. When I was turning 60, I was determined that I would not make it a “dark day” as so many others I know have dIMG_2269one, but a celebration of life. We planned a big get together in northern California and rented a vacation home overlooking the ocean. It was a great time and Ken, Sue and Ron all followed suit in various locations when their time came to “turn 60.” The book is actually a compilation of photos from those trips as well as meaningful quotes, etc. It makes me smile every time I look through it.

Today, I turn 69. Where have those years gone? So much has happened in our lives during those nine years. And, today I celebrate our victory over those things. It is not with a fancy beach vacation but, sometime life’s greatest celebrations are the small ones.

This is probably going to sound silly to many, but, for whatever reason, I have always wished that I were a runner. I’m NOT a runner-never have been, but I admire those who are. The last time I decided to try my hand at running was about 30 years ago. I bought some shoes and went our for a run in our neighborhood. It was cold out and I ended up sucking in so much cold air that I got pneumonia. Yep. I’m not a runner – or any other kind of athlete for that matter. But, I still, to this day, WISH that I were a runner. So, this morning, on my 69th birthday, I laced up my shoes and went out for a run. Now, mind you, I am using that term loosely. It ended up being more of a run/walk, but, the point is, I DID it. I celebrated my 69th birthday by doing something, in my own way, that I really wanted to do. Ken and I both, during these past nine years, have learned that life is a gift. It is something to be cherished, used responsibly and celebrated. Birthdays are something to look forward to – not to be dreaded.

So, that said, I now have a full year to figure out how to celebrate that next big milestone on the horizon. Game on.

 

VIENNA WAITS

My initial post on this blog almost a year ago now, announced my impending retirement. blog quote smallA friend commented by welcoming me to Vienna with the lyrics to the entire Billy Joel song. It’s a great song about slowing down and taking time to live….hence retirement…and my favorite part of the song is

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old”

I bring this up now because that friend, Howard Jones, released his second book today…”Searching for Dunderhead” and that is an inspiration to me to push forward on my own project. It has long been my dream to write a book. In Howard’s case, retirement has allowed him to climb mountains, sail the seas, go on safaris, become an accomplished photographer and write two books. (I think it’s two) He personifies the lyrics, “You can get what you want or you can just get old.”

I follow numerous blogs on the subject of reinventing retirement and, regardless of the names…Encore Voyage, One Mom’s Journey, Out of the Frying Pan, they all seem to have one common thread…the quest to live this new life we’ve been given to its fullest. For many people, that means travel. For others, a second career path, adventure, or following a dream. Regardless, it seems we’re all searching for Vienna via our own path. And that’s pretty exciting.

“And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
… Vienna waits for you”

Later.

Jake Olson

Working on my book this morning, I was reminded of the story of Jake Olson, the then, 12 year old boy who had just had surgery to remove his cancerous right eye. Oddly enough, that was a story I needed to be reminded of right now.

I have been a bit down since my eye appointment last week. It was the 6 month check-up following my cataract surgeries last summer. If you recall, both I and my eye doctor were ecstatic with the results at that time. While not the 20/20, no glasses needed, results that many achieve, he was able to correct my vision to 20/30, with glasses, the best it has been in years. So, I was devastated, last week, to discover in that short time, my vision had deteriorated back to the point where I could read nothing on the chart with my right eye. He took photos of the macula in both eyes and turns out that both have deteriorated again – especially the right. He scheduled me for an appointment with the retina specialist so now I wait. According to my eye doctor, there is a strong chance that I have developed fluid in the right eye. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60 but there are two forms – dry and wet. While Dry Macular Degeneration can definitely affect the quality of your vision, it seldom causes central vision loss. I have been dealing with that form for years. Only about 10% of people with Dry MD advance to the wet form which is when abnormal blood vessels form and leak blood and fluids into the retina. Those abnormal blood vessels eventually form a scar which results in permanent loss of central vision. There are treatment options to slow the progression but no cure. The idea of that possibility has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past week.

So this morning, as I recounted the Jake Olson story in my book, I was reminded of the quote “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”  As I mentioned earlier, Jake Olson was 12 years old in December of 2009 when he had surgery to remove his cancerous right eye. What I didn’t say was that he had lost his left eye to cancer when just an infant. So, at the age of 12, he was completely blind.  Jake wrote a book at the age of 8 to help other children battling cancer. He has met many, many challenges head on and has been featured on countless network news broadcasts and in many documentaries. jake olsonNow 18 years old, he is a motivational speaker, plays on his high school football team, enjoys skiing, surfing and playing guitar and has a personal goal of becoming the first blind golfer to join the PGA. WOW!

I needed that.

Later.

Smoky Bacon Chili

Smoky Bacon Chili – love the stuff. And, I just happened to mention that on Facebook last night. I had actually forgotten the fact that it is a Paleo recipe until my son Matt reminded me.

So while walking on the treadmill this morning, I got thinking about that. My treadmill time is my quiet time. It’s when I think about things I should be doing or writing, etc. I’m kind of weird that way. I don’t work out to music or reading a book or watching TV. I like my quiet time. And, this morning I realized two things. One – right next to the treadmill is an elliptical, which never gets used. I tried it a few times right after we got it and found it very difficult. It has just sat there quietly next to the treadmill ever since. For years! So, I decided that this year I will give it another chance. I may or may not change my opinion of it, but everyone deserves a second chance, right?

And, while I do a pretty good job of preparing healthy meals, I’m sure I can do better. So, that brings me back to the Smoky Bacon Chili. It is a Paleo recipe and I sort of do Paleo but sort of don’t. If you’re not familiar with the Paleo lifestyle, my understanding of it is that it means reverting back to the foods that our bodies were meant to consume and to process. This means, I think, eating seafood, meat from animals that have been properly raised, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy oils and fats. Doesn’t sound too bad. It also means avoiding all grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, refined or hydrogenated oils and processed foods. That’s the part I’m not necessarily crazy about.

But, I want us to enjoy retirement to it’s fullest, so one of my new projects this year will be spending time trying out more of the recipes that support a healthy lifestyle. If a recipe contains wild and crazy ingredients, it won’t make the cut. But, if, like Smoky Bacon Chili, there is nothing about it that is not to love, it will. And, we will still eat grains sometimes and legumes, too, for that matter. I love my yogurt, so dairy stays too. I WILL give the elliptical another shot, but I will never be a workout fanatic nor will I be a diet fanatic. However, a little effort is better than none at all. Right?

So, last night was Smoky Bacon Chili. Tonight, maybe a chopped seafood salad. If you’re interested in the chili recipe, check it out here. You can just scroll down past the crap about the purse if you want. And, if you’re interested in learning more about Paleo, check out Against All Grain. I’m not a big fan of the few baking recipes I’ve tried, but there is a lot of good, healthy eating here. Let me know how it goes.

Next up, oil pulling!! 🙂

Later.

Stephen King

IMG_1698I have just finished reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and found it to be very interesting. Some of his better insights I have shared through my professional Facebook page over the past several weeks. Another, that I read yesterday is the basis for this blog post.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King, On Writing

This is so true. I had a terrible time getting started, in spite of the fact that I have been kicking around the idea of one day telling this story ever since I began my first blog in December of 2009. It is unbelievable how many things can surface to hold you back. For years, it was just that I was working full-time so did not have the time to focus like I would need to if I were to write a book. But, once I retired and, seemingly had the time, it still took me months before I was able to actually get started.

I think that a lot of it was self-doubt. I had great difficulty believing that I could ever have the ability to do this. That is one reason why I have so enjoyed reading books on the writing experience itself, written by several successful authors. They validated all of those doubts I was having and, in a sense, gave their permission to have them…just not to let them stop you.

At the end of his book, Stephen King summarized what he had hoped to get across to readers – to me. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

I am so excited to share that, as of this morning, I am now working on Chapter Four of my book. The hardest part was definitely just getting started. The second hardest part was writing Chapters One, Two and Three, because they deal with events that happened prior to the time that I began my blog. From here on out, I have something to refer to and to fall back on rather than having to rely on gut-wrenching attempts to recall events and emotions that happened six years ago. Most of what happened from that point on is documented. It will be interesting because I am still working on coming up with a format that will allow me to incorporate those posts and comments into the book. And, most interesting, will be re-reading it. I have not gone back and read any of it since it was written. But, piece by piece, it will now be re-read, re-written and transformed into book format. “Onward and upward” as one of the classiest ladies I know always says. Onward and upward!!

Later.

A Bit More Fit

I’m feeling just a BIT more Fit today. Why?

Well, it’s been nearly two years now since I bought my Fitbit and not once, in all that time, have I reached their magical goal of 10,000 steps in one day. OK, OK. I know that many of you are gasping in disbelief since you blow that number out of the water on a daily basis. But I’m embarrassed to say that I never have – until yesterday.

I have come close many times, but have never gone over the top. So, reaching that goal was added to my bucket list. For those who don’t know, when you join Fitbit, the default goal they set for each member is the magical number of 10,000 steps a day. And, apparently that is not a number that they just pulled out of the air. The Japanese first started using the 10,000 steps a day number as part of a marketing campaign to help sell pedometers. Since that initial campaign, however, medical authorities around the world have agreed that 10,000 is a healthy number to aim for.

IMG_1357So when I woke up yesterday, I decided that was the day. And, there it is. For me, this is not necessarily a goal for each and every day. It is more of a symbol… kind of like “This is my fight song – take back my life song.” I had somewhat of a routine when I was working. Not a great routine, but a routine, nonetheless. We had a walking moai at the office which I would try to participate in whenever possible. I made it a point to take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever we had meetings or training upstairs. But, now I’m out of that routine and I need to establish a new one. So, that is what I plan to do. Yesterday, I broke through that 10,000 step mark. Not a big deal for many, but a milestone for me and I’m owning it!

Later.