Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ommm....

I've been feeling pretty good about the spin I've been able to put on recent personal events.

The recent physical challenges have helped me to refocus on how precious my life is, and how making some simple changes can help safeguard what really matters to me.

There are bumps in the road, make no mistake. I recently lost about 6 - 7 pounds, and had (I thought) shaken my hardcore coffee habit. I responded to some recent stressors by relapsing, and so I'm back with the program.

Emotional stress, my nemesis...the times when I get irritable, and think, "Dammit, it's been a crappy day. I deserve that (fill in the blank with a current craving)." The problem isn't solved, and I then hate myself for using something high caloric as an oral fix.

The other day, after my latest physical therapy session, I got to thinking about how it might benefit me to take up yoga. I began a couple of basic classes in 2005, a few days before pericarditis and pneumonia put me in the hospital for five days. Then I never returned to the yoga studio. I'm ashamed to confess that "stress management" has not been a consistent practice in my life. I "know" the basic practices, and even preach it to my clients, but it's something that I run hot and cold about.

And yet, it's not a coincidence that my body is feeling the effects of my mind-overdrive. I weigh more than I ever have in my life, and it's not helping the other conditions to heal. So I can no longer afford to be careless; the consequences have already begun to show themselves.

YouTube has a number of "senior yoga" videos, and I was doing some of the chair exercises before I started this post. Here's one: javascript:void(0);



Hey, it's a start. Provided I take it easy, and run this by my doctor and physical therapist, I hope that it will help my flexibility. Flexibility could combat stiffness, and make me feel less like "a cripple."

Stay tuned.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Straight ahead, and NOT side-to-side

I figure, so far, I've learned how to walk three different times in my life.

Of course, there was that first launch before my earliest memory. Apparently, I mastered that pretty well.

Then, at about 21, following the break-up of my first engagement, I decided to reinvent myself in order to get back into the dating pool. At John Robert Powers, I was taught how "to float" with model-like graceful posture. Again, there was good-enough success.

The third walking lessons have been recently, at the hands of my physical therapist. Without being fully aware of it, I developed quite a full-on limp following my March 28th knee injury. Not only did I favor my right knee, I also began to do a sideways wobble with each step. Not pretty.

Two weeks ago, my physical therapist had me walk up and down in front of a full-length mirror. Clad in my shorts and warm-weather top, I saw an unflattering view of all *** pounds of me, with the florescent lighting accenting every bit of evidence of my post-injury-inactivity flab. This session was painful in many senses of the word.

Heather showed me how to purposefully step out onto my full foot, not tip-toeing as I had been doing. During the same office visit, Heather showed me how to begin walking confidently again up and down stairs--alternating the steps, rather than doing the tentative two-feet-to-a-step maneuver of many older folks.

And so it goes. I've been without my companion The Cane for almost three months, and now I'm beginning to imagine my life as it was at the beginning of the year.

Since my onset of rheumatoid arthritis seems concurrent with my knee injury, I've been seriously pursuing a more thoughtful lifestyle. In order to both lose this extra weight AND combat inflammation which would interfere with my plan to live past 100, I have been doing much online research regarding a diet which would help with this inflammation. As it turns out, many of the recommended foods are also favorites of mine, including Greek yogurt, nuts, broccoli, and berries. So eating right shouldn't be too hard. I tried my hand at cooking kale the other day, and found it a bit too bitter for my taste. Shortly thereafter, I found some smoothie recipes using kale and various kinds of fruit, and found this much more tasty.

Until very recently, I used to scoff at people who rested during the day, but have now joined the ranks of those who "power-nap." I just make sure I set the alarm on my phone, and voila! A respite of 20- 30 minutes does wonders to de-stress me and clear my mind. I feel like a new woman.

Like a vintage automobile, I just need to make sure I get the right maintenance to keep on running.

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Another bit of fun as I sign off:



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reminders of Lives and Families Past


Here it is: my family home of nearly 50 years. Since we moved in on January 1, 1964, this structure has seen the comings and goings of four generations of Cooks, McKales, and Cascaddens. And...God willing, I have every intention of keeping it in the family, even into my son's (and any progeny of his) lifetime.

I want to pose two questions to my readers and FB followers: how many of you grew up in homes like this, and feel as if the house is not merely a structure, but part of your family's history? And how many of you want to remain in your long-time family homes, or gift them to your children, with the understanding that they, too, will love them as much as you have?

Although many of these structures fall to the wrecking ball to make way for more modern dwellings, I'm always gladdened by the sight of those that remain. I've also noticed neighborhoods in which people will actually restore homes of this vintage, so a precious part of Southern California history isn't lost. As a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, historical architecture is a passion of mine.

Yes, my house is currently in need of a massive paint job, inside and out. And work on the cracked tile walkway. And senior-living-friendly upgrades (for moi) in the kitchen and main bathroom. And, and, and....but it's my home and a big part of my heart. I'd like to take "before" and "after" pictures, and, as I'm able to fund my own restoration, proudly post them for you to see.

After all, I want to continue to grow old with my home!

Soon, I want to treat myself to the following book. It will be a fitting companion for all the others I have on local history:




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Coming Up: The "New-and-Improved" (?) Turbo-Charged Rocking Chair

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Following up on my previous post, I need to rethink my order of business.

Due to the demands of my current family life, and recent developments in my health, I need to reconfigure my social media presence into something leaner and more focused.

I will be shutting down my website to expand my efforts on this blog and my Facebook page. Writing is my passion, and competing life demands have interfered with my pursuit of it. I want to expand it from being more of a hobby to being one of my serious contributions to my generation and the future.

Aside from my therapy practice, my main goal has been to optimize the pace at which I work from home. The wish to become "rich and famous" has been adjusted to "comfortable and solvent."

In the days ahead, I will be seeking more social media followers, and hope to gather more than just "lookers." Among other things, I want to pose survey questions, and generate real dialogue among boomers. Monologues are tiresome over time; I want this to become a chorus. As a cohort, we have a wealth of experience and opinions, so let's use it.

Stay tuned, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The 4th of July -- Thoughts on Another Day of Thanksgiving

I guess I'm getting more sentimental as I get older, but I'm really getting into this annual celebration.

The U.S.A. is a work in progress -- so mind-bloggingly flawed, but also daily presenting us with kaleidoscopic possibilities, on the individual and collective levels.

My gentleman friend and I will be taking in the Josh Groban concert at the Hollywood Bowl Fireworks celebration this evening. Till then, I want to shift the focus of my recent reflection. What better way to spend the morning than to think of how I will foster my personal independence, now and each day going forward?

Lately, I've been re-reading my copy of Chris Guillebeau's The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. What better source of inspiration for baby-boomers who want to redefine their lives as they head toward the future? Speaking for myself, my 59th birthday is five months from today, and it's like Father Time and I are having a stand-off. To hell with aging--I'm just getting warmed up.

Here's a wonderful quote someone shared with me the other day, and it's just the thing for Independence Day:

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison, The Doors

So let's do that. Enjoy the day, however you choose, and go forward with more energy.