Wednesday, January 07, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 31

Big (or small) goals: What’s on tap for next year?  Share your big (or small) goals with us.  Why did you pick those goals?  Are these things you’ve always wanted to do?  How are you going to get them done?

Job one is recovering from hardware removal surgery from a triple arthrodesis I had two years ago. I am hoping for physical therapy as I haven't walked with a decent gait for at least three years, and I am tired of feeling off balance and like Lurch. Everything in my body is a little 'off' -- and I want balance.

Actually, balance is pretty much the goal for 2015 in all things. 

I did not like the 'obese' code in my doctor's pre-op instructions, not ONE bit. I don't think of myself as 'obese,' but according to the BMI charts, I suppose I have been either there or in the overweight category for years. Even when I lost 50 lbs back in 2002-3, according to those charts I was still overweight. But I didn't look it -- I looked slim and healthy in the photos from that time.

So we are both on a quest to lose weight and ramp up exercise, not to look buff and skinny, but to look and feel healthier and not so achy-breaky. We both need to gain strength in our arms and legs, we both need to increase core strength. I need always to work on balance (which I have never had, really, even as a young person). 

Yoga will help me do a lot of that, and so will some strength training at the gym. Like I said, it's about balance: feeling and looking healthier and stronger, with more stamina and strength. 

That also means putting my head in the right space to do this, not feeling deprived and anxious, but knowing that spirit will guide me to the right place for me. My mantra is "I am here." Right here, right now. One day at a time, one bite at a time, one workout at a time. We can do this.

Commitment to that is the only goal for 2015. The rest will follow. 


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 30

In and out list: Each year the Washington Post (and various other media) pens an “in and out” list comprised of pop culture people/items that are in and out.  What’s on your in and out list?

Bluetooth iPod speaker
Love Grown Power O's
Magnesium Oil
Rescue Remedy Sleep Spray
Alegria shoes
Local beef
Zevia Zero soda

Earbuds (except in the dentist's chair)
Supermarket pink slime beef
Diet sodas with Spenda or aspartame

I suppose I'm woefully behind the times regarding pop culture. Most of what I know I've learned either from Entertainment magazine or one of the television Insider-type shows. 

I'm retired! I wear jeans and yoga pants and tees and sweatshirts and hoodies and sweaters. I listen to what most would call moldy oldies, abeit I have an eclectic mix of classical, high church choral, Broadway musicals, Celtic, and classic rock groups on my iPod. I sort of feel like Ouiser in "Steel Magnolias": "I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries"

That, of course, isn't really true about me -- I do see plays, I do go to movies, and I do read books. But I'm picky.


Sunday, January 04, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 29

Day in the life: Describe a typical day-in-the-life.  Give us details!  Give us pictures!  Sometimes our days can seem boring.  Is that okay?  What do you do to make your days feel a bit special?

 Oh, how retirement changes day-to-day life!

Tony almost always gets up before I do. I snuggle back down in the covers and snooze, awakening usually between 8 and 8:30 (unless I didn't sleep well, in which case it could be an hour later). Sweats and slippers on. Flip on lights on the plant shelf (where my angels sit); open great room blinds,  and I'm ready for a cup of tea (sometimes decaf coffee). Teabag in the tall St. Elizabeth Hospital cup, cup under the Keurig dispenser (hot water). Sit in my green leather chair with my iPad. McMurphy leaps to the arm of the chair, his butt barely missing the cup of hot tea, and into my lap, where he insists on snuggling, stretching out long paws to push away the iPad. I comply. Sort of, anyway, holding the iPad at an awkward angle so I can cuddle the cat too.

Tony is in the office and comes into the kitchen anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes later, always coming over to my chair, leaning down, and giving me a kiss or three. (*lucky girl* aren't I) And then he goes to the kitchen to fix breakfast -- alternating cereal (hot or cold, depending on the season) or eggs. (ditto that *lucky girl* thing)

"It's ready," he'll say. I put down the iPad and come to the table, where I dispense vitamins, we enjoy breakfast and bird watching since he's already replenished the feeders tjhat hang outside the sliding door by the table. We clear the dishes; then sit back down and read aloud, taking turns with each book, from the two books we've chosen for the year's morning readings. 

From there, depending on what's on the calendar for that day, I may go back to my chair with a second cup and browse through email and Facebook and blogs for another hour. Or I may go back to the bathroom, pausing to make the bed, and get showered and ready for what's on the agenda.

{{{Day goes along -- maybe a trip to town, to an appointment, to lunch -- maybe a movie together or a day trip or errands or grocery store. Maybe some laundry. Or cleaning. Or writing. Or reading. Lunch happens, usually together, unless I've got a lunch date. Or we decide to combine errands and lunch. Or I bring home a sandwich. We will be adding regular exercise to this timeline in 2015, either at home or at the gym. }}

Around 5 p.m., the TV news usually goes on and I begin puttering in the kitchen in preparation for supper. We generally eat between 6:30 and 7, sometimes lingering for half an hour if we're deep into a conversation. I clear the table, he does the dishes, I feed the cats, and we're ready for an evening of TV -- unless I still need to do the daily email I write to a small group of family and friends (a bit of nothing much -- what I did, what's going on with the weather, maybe a commentary about the state of life or something newsworthy, and a quotation that either reflects how I'm feeling or is something I think one of the recipients should hear), which takes maybe 20 minutes. 

We are such creatures of habit. We record a number of TV series and movies, and most always have a discussion that goes something like: "What do you feel like?" "I dunno. What do you want to watch?" "Oh, I could be up for most anything." (or, alternatively, "I don't feel much like a movie...I want something light and fluffy....I dunno.") Eventually we either take turns narrowing the choices ("Uh, Person of Interest, Agents of Shield, or Divergent.") or I just click on something (I nearly always am the mighty ruler of the TV control.)

Unless it is a movie, we do that again in the hour it takes to watch a series. I know. It's SO co-dependent. We know it too.

The exceptions are when we have both Showtime and HBO favorite Sunday night series to choose from, and we know we'll get to at least two of them, so it rarely makes a difference which we do first. And  Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, in that order, don't need conversation to choose either. 

News at 10, and it's off. Tony goes back to the office for a last bit of computering; I usually play a game or two on the iPad, and then I'm off to get ready for bed and reading my Kindle. He'll come in, both cats leading the way, in half an hour, snuggle down, and is usually asleep quickly. I read for maybe an hour, and then it's lights out for me too, and hopefully to sleep (perchance to dream....)

I suppose it could seem that way. It doesn't feel boring, however.

We prefer to think of our days as drama-free. We like our little routines and rituals, and even when we're traveling in Sallie Forth (our travel trailer), we follow pretty much this process.

I like waking to the same routine every day. It puts a structure, a beginning that is predictable and comforting, to another lovely day. 

Every day that we are together and feeling good, every day that allows us to control what we do and when we do it is a special day. We don't need excitement and drama and lots of socialization to feel satisfied and happy with our days, and neither of us needs to be entertained or kept busy, since we are both exceptionally self-directed with our activities and interests. If there is a downside to this, it is that we ARE such compatible creatures and enjoy our routines, and sometimes need to shake things up a bit, to change what we are doing to promote better, healthier habits. 

Life is so good, folks. We are so, so blessed. 



Saturday, January 03, 2015

#Reverb 14, Day 28

Creativity: What does being creative mean to you?  How do you express your creativity?

I have always regarded myself as a creative person, pretty much centered around the various fine arts, although I learned long ago that I am more of a dabbler than a perfectionist. 

And yet when I was working, I often found new ways to look at old problems or different paths to complete a project or changing up a long-established process to make it easier and more effective. I was often self-directed, especially in the non-profit positions, which usually makes such creativity easier to implement, and I also learned how to be creative with a very small budget. When I worked for the larger corporations I was part of marketing communications, the 'creatives' part of the business, and change wasn't always as easy to do or as accepted by management. 

I learned to work with a group or a committee, but that is not an easy road, especially if personalities are strong. And sometimes I didn't work very well with a group, preferring to be solo or with only one other person. Management doesn't like that much, though.

I think creativity is the ability to see/hear/perceive something in at least a slightly different way and then to express that through whatever means is appropriate to the medium. Being a creative has been a big part of who I am throughout all my life, and I find my greatest satisfaction and joy comes from that ability to see differently -- as well as the same. 

My creative nature shows in what I wear, my jewelry, my shoes, what my house looks like, what I read, what I listen to, what I like to watch and do, even (when possible) in what I like to drive. I like being a little different, a little quirky, although it took years to embrace that. 

I'm not singing or taking photos or painting or sewing right now (all the dabbley stuff): the constant creative outlet in my life has always and continues to be writing, even if it isn't polished and perfected. I write only for me these days: while I love that people enjoy my blog or find wisdom in my writing, what I say is truly from my heart and mind, and not to please an editor or an audience. It is who I am, if you care to read it. 


#Reverb 14, Day 27

Creature of Habit: Did you form a new habit this year?  Or continue with an old one?  Is it a good habit?  Or one you’d like to break?

Bad habits: Sleeping past 8 a.m., sometimes way past, because I read too late or don't go to sleep easily at night; indulging too readily in candy or milkshakes or cookies that I know are going to pack on the pounds (and which have) and do not contribute to good health; putzing too much on the iPad and/or computer during the day in lieu of getting some long overdue cleaning tasks done; not climbing on the exercise bike at least three times a week NO MATTER WHAT, or going regularly to yoga. 

Good habits:  Continuing to cook most of our food from scratch, thereby controlling salt intake and other not-good ingredients; carefully regulating carb intake for most meals; practicing gratitude every day; being intentionally kinder to myself and to others. 

Lots of room for improvement. But progress continues.

#Reverb 14, Day 26

Energy: What gave you energy this year?  What took away your energy?

Energy. I have never been so aware of energy and how it comes to us, what we give ours to, whether it is positive or negative. That's thanks to my reiki group which began meeting slightly less than a year ago, and which is so focused on our energies and how they manifest. 

Two years ago I was slated for foot surgery in late December,  involved in a group that had a lot of chaotic energy, and acting as payee for my daughter who was in a basically negative living situation but seemed unable to get herself out of it (for a lot of reasons). My own energy was afraid and angry a lot of the time, and the foot that was getting cut on felt like a piece of wood, which also was concerning. I felt pulled in so many directions and none of them positive. 

And I knew that prescriptions and Western medicine were not going to help me with this. So I went in desperation to a woman I knew slightly who did energy work and asked -- almost begged-- her for help. 

WOW. Everything changed. With her help and counsel, I went into that surgery unafraid, positive about the outcome, and feeling so much more peaceful about where I was. 

That work has carried me to today, facing surgery again (this time to take out the hardware that was put into my ankle two years ago), and blessed with a supportive group who believe in the power of energy to heal and to change lives. 

I have actively worked on keeping my energy charged and healing as well, and try hard to avoid getting enmeshed in people, places or events that sap it, releasing relationships and memberships when necessary, or changing how I react to others. 

It is intentional, this good energy, and takes the realization that all is temporary -- good, bad, ugly, hard, easy. It all changes eventually. What I can control is my own reaction, and I try to keep that focused on the positive, the good healing energy, by deliberately meditating on it, praying, practicing reiki, and being kind both to me and to others. 

Yes, there are not so good days. But I have control over how that affects me. And I choose positive energy. 

#Reverb 14, Day 25

Thanks and Gratitude: What are you so grateful for?  How did you count your blessings in 2014?

I don't even know where to begin on this one. I have practiced active gratitude every day this year, with prayers morning and night (and often in between).  Actually, I have intentionally practiced gratitude for more than 30 years...the "attitude of gratitude" was drilled into me at one point, and it has become a way of living.

But especially as I grow older, there are so many itty bitty things, alongside the big huge ones, that I am grateful for -- hot water in my shower, a good parking place at a store, a meal where everything came together just right, a day without afib, a phone call from a friend, a reiki session that really hit home....

 I am so grateful for my husband, my home, my kitties. For no afib, at least right now. For enough of everything. I am grateful for our relatively drama-free life. 

So. Many. So. Much.

I try to give back to others through donations, through being kind or helpful, by trying to be thoughtful and accommodating (but not to the point of people-pleasing, something I have worked on for years now). Kindness is such an important quality, and one we have not always been taught. So I work on being kind and not so judgmental, either of others or myself.