Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Reflections

I can seldom remember a four-day weekend where I've experienced as much NEEDED relaxation, comfort and reflection as this one.  Ironically, we didn't leave town, but elected to have a very quiet and small, almost tiny, celebration here at home with just the three of us.  Bob, Emmy and myself.  We thought about just going out to dinner at a restaurant, but decided to go ahead and cook the whole traditional dinner, though in lesser quantities than usual.  It worked out very well, but it led me to reflect on Thanksgivings past where we had many more family members present, and more family dysfunction, but also more of a feeling of being part of an extended family that we all really miss.

When I was growing up, we went to my maternal Great Grandma's house - it was a large house FULL to the brim with my two brothers, our parents, grandparents, many cousins, aunts and uncles . . . . many of them probably inwardly feuding, but still present, which was the most important thing.  Though I often look upon my past with nostalgia, I am also a realist enough to know that my family, like most were really dysfunctional in many ways and weren't anything like the old 1970's Walton's TV show.  Even from afar, I can recall that there was a lot of family tension, brooding hurt feelings, resentments, disappointments as well as joy, bonding, family ties  . . . . but most of all there was a part of belonging to a family in a way that I haven't experienced in a long, long time.  Part of the new reality is that many of our relatives have moved to far-flung places, and many have passed away  . . . . even one of my brothers died five years ago at a very young age and the other, lost to me in a way that gives me twinges of regret . . . . but helplessness.  Very sad.  This feeling of disconnect is probably largely because we've gone into our own little "family unit" and haven't kept up with the cousins and close family friends who we've managed to lose touch with.    Part of the problem, too, though is from smaller families. As the older ones pass away, the middle aged and young ones don't have as many loved ones to hold onto.

Bob and I have both said, in retrospect, that we wished we could have had more than just one child so that Emmy wouldn't feel as alone and would have brothers and sisters to give her a sense of family.  With only children, no matter who well-intentioned you try to be, there's a triangle relationship that always feels a bit "off kilter." 

But at any rate, this looking back hasn't been all maudlin as I'm painting it. As I said, the weekend was relaxing and gave me a chance to veg out, sleep, read and get my energy level back and my head on straight. 

A few weeks ago, we went to St. Louis and visited Bob's Aunt Eve whom we just love so much and admire the way that she has kept up with her own large family and kept them all together with that sense of HOMEPLACE no matter how far her four children travel or move.  They still are close and part of her.  The photo at the top of the blog entry is a photo of one of the dressers in the guest room where we stay when we go there.  The whole top of the two dressers in that room and just covered with family photos of all her kids, grandkids, friends and extended family.  It warms my heart every single time we come there.  I feel warmth and love, and it radiates onto us. 

Someday, even though I have only one grown child . . . . . . is she really going to be 22 in a couple of weeks?  Shesh, but I do hope that she manages to find a life partner who is part of a BIG, happy or unhappy, but thriving and growing family that manages to get together each year for Thanksgiving no matter what else is going on.  And if she manages to have that family, in whatever way she accomplishes it, I will BE THERE, cooking, cleaning up, and experiencing that family in whatever way I can.  Not from afar, but across the table.

And if I still have a house myself when that happens, I hope to have a place on my own dresser to place many photos that other generations can remember and enjoy. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It Took 14 Months of Patience

But I've finally grown all the old haircolor out and am in my natural gray state.  So over time I've gone from this:

All reddish colored hair:

To This:

To This:

To This:


To This:

And finally this  . . . . all gray or pewter or whatever shade one chooses to call it . . . it's me at 53

Monday, September 02, 2013

Maybe It's As Simple As Salad?

I've been trying lately to do as much as possible with as little resources as possible.  Though I started a job as a headhunter four months ago (and I love it) . . . . things for me, as for so many other people, are still really financially challenging. 

Times seem hard for everyone (or certainly for most), and nothing is making me more aware of the financial pinch than the fact that I work, every day, with job candidates who are either out of work and desperately looking for a job . . . . or with those who already have a job, but perhaps have been underemployed or unhappily employed for a long time, but are either unable to find a better, more stable position, or afraid to leave a job they dislike becausee of the tight economy.  So I totally get the financial squeeze situation, and am trying to reign in my spending too. 

I am also, as the blog will attest, constantly trying to lose weight!  That middle age spread is not easing up.  In fact, I was hoping that with the hysterectemy I had last winter that my body would settle into some kind of new (but better?) normal?  Ahhhhhh   . . . . . . it's settled, but mainly on my stomach and behind.  So I'm trying really hard to diet and keep a journal of my food, but am trying to save money by not spending it on a weight loss plan such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or the slew of other plans that I've invested in the past.  The thing is . . . . I know what I should eat, I really do.  And for the most part, I DO eat that way, with occasional emotional eating binges.  But even so, my weight just seems to gradually creep and creep upwards on the scale and I'm traveling to my largest size in the closet, and finding even that size too tight.  Eeeks, what's a middle aged girl to do?  It's very frustrating, but I'm not giving up.

But here recently, I found this book Joy's Life Diet: 4 Steps to Stay Thin Forever, at a thrift store and it is a wonderful compilation of nearly ALL the best dieting foods and methods that I've participated in over the past twenty years.  Joy is featured on the Today show a lot, and her eating plan is very practical, easy and brings together all the healthy foods we've known all along help us to maintain our weight and improve our health.  It includes a soup that is very similar to the old WW Vegetable Soup recipe that is an "oldie but goodie" that I have made and turned to for many years as one of the easiest and tasiest of the low-cal soups. 

At any rate, another thing I've been doing lately is making these wonderful mason jar salads  . . . . with homemade honey lime dressing.  Yum!  You go out and buy a 1 quart set of about 12 mason jars for around $10 at your local farm supply store, and yes most cities and towns have that type of store, though city folks like me probably haven't been in them often lately.  You buy a set of those jars and you stack your salad ingredients, with dressing on the bottom, and the lettuce or green elements on top. Then you prepare them all at once.   I make 6 salads at a time, and keep them in your refrigerator until you are ready to eat.  They are wonderful to pack as my go-to work lunches.  Once you're ready to eat lunch or dinner, you just shake the mason jar to mix all the ingredients and dive in to a very tasty and healhty meal.  Yum!

As far as crafts go, I haven't been buying yarn, fiber or spinning, knitting or weaving equipment for so long now.  I'm rather proud of myself for not indulging constantly in craft purchases.  I've been, again, making do with what I have and being grateful with the wonderful equipment and supplies I was able to buy in better financial times.  It's wonderful to appreciate what you have and make use of those things.  Probably really hard on the yarn shops in town, because I suspect that many other crafters are doing the same thing.  But I just can't and don't need to buy anything right now.

In fact, I am going through my whole house and getting rid of stuff.  Last week, I finally decided that it wasn't practical to keep a beloved and cherished piano that Bob bought (used) for me for me 20+ years ago.  We decided that we could use the living room space and that the piano could go to a home that needed it more and it would be played.  In spite of wanting to play it ourselves, we've never really learned and hardly touch it anymore.  So now two little girls who are actively playing now have a piano in their home and it will be put to good use.

Finally, I am off today, it is Labor Day, and I'm lucky to have been able to relax and enjoy a three day weekend at home.  I haven't done much, just relaxed and reflected on these and many other things.

I miss blogging, and though many people now prefer Facebook, this old girl will always love to blog and hope it never goes away!  I'm still here, hanging in . . . . as the blog says, sometimes hanging by a thin thread, but still hanging in there . . . .  and hoping you are too. 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hate to Tempt Fate . . . . But . . . .

Everything is actually pretty terrific right now.  Wow, it's been a long time since I was able to say that. Sure, I still have everyday problems like everyone else, but overall, compared to how I've been in the past, things are pretty darned good.

For starters, I LOVE my new job.  Been there two months now and it is really fun, exciting, uses my talents, makes me eager to get up and go in everyday and hard to leave at the end of the day . . . . not just because I have a lot to do, but because I love doing it.  Yay!!!  

And I never would have guessed that being a recruiter was so rewarding.  Though I haven't made any placements yet, I believe I'm very close to making a couple of placements.  And yesterday I got my first "thank you" note from a lady who I couldn't place directly myself, because we didn't have any active jobs in her field, but I helped her redo her resume, write a great eye-catching cover letter, and practice interviewing techniques.  She landed a job two weeks after my coaching session with her.  She's thrilled and it really warms my heart.  She'd been unemployed for several months.  To see someone go from feeling frustrated to being excited about her new position makes me feel like I'm doing something meaningful, not just earning a living but more important, to help someone else's life be better in the process.  

The people I work with are really fantastic.  I've worked in so many offices, but never in one where we are such a team, pulling together.  Last week, we all went to a networking and lunch and learn event.  The speakers were from Mind in Motion.  There were two speakers from there who were terrific in talking about how to deal with stress and burn out.  How to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you are stressed.  They talked about the importance of maintaining balanced blood sugar.  They said that sugar is nealy as addictive as cocaine and causes drastic spikes and later plunges in your blood sugar that leaves you feeling cranky and irritable. 

They pointed out that just because you may have stressors in your life does not mean you have to be stressed. 

They talked about the importance of finishing things that are started and important to you.  When you run from one project to another and leave eveything undone as we typically do when we try to "multi-task" we end up leaving mental loops open that cause our brains to spin like a computer that can't finish a task when too many windows are left open on your desktop or laptop computer.  So the way to be more efficent and cause yourself less stress is to FINISH the important tasks before moving on to another.  Or at least go back to the important things you've left undone and not leave them out there hanging because it leaves you feeling overwhelmed and unfocused.  

The speaker said that when you intend to get something done but don't write it down, you are only 10% likely to do it.  If you write it down and set a deadline, you are 40% likely to do it.  And if you set out a plan of when and how to do it, you are 50% likely to do it.  If you commit to doing it with yourself, you are 65% likely to finish it.  And if you set a specific appointment and make yourself accountable for doing it with someone else as a partner, you are 95% likely to do it.  

So this weekend, I committed to getting my car tags renewed, getting the inspection, and getting it all wrapped up. I did it!  But now I found out I need a car repair . .. oops . . . oh well, at least I found out before my car broke down on the highway, right?

So on the topic of "to do" lists and the importance of having such a task list, I have both a weekly list (broken down by areas of my life such as work, personal, fitness and health, and crafts and hobbies) and then I have a daily task list with only about 5-8 things on it so that the projects and tasks are doable in one day. That helps me feel accomplished as I check them off.  Feeling you are getitng somewhere and making headway, and not leaving things hanging is a major part of feeling more satisfied and less frazzled.

Another thing I am really starting to stick with is regular 20 minute  day pray and meditation.  That 20 minutes in the morning, with the sound of Gregorian chants in the air and the aroma of my eucalyptus, thyme, mint & lime candle burning each morning sets a quiet, reflective tone to my day that gives me a feeling of peace as I face a new day. 

So what are you going to do today to make yourself more peacful and less stressed? 

Lastly, I am including a photo of my dear friend Luann and I, lunching together a couple of years ago.  She's been there some very painful back surgery last week and is having a rough recovery.  My prayers and thoughts of healing go out to her.  God bless you Luann, I see you as healthy and we'll be spinning together again real soon. 


Friday, May 31, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

I hate to complain about nonstop rain when so many other areas, especially those folks in Oklahoma, have to face nonstop tornadoes and devastation.  But let me tell you, we've had enough rain to float a boat and it's making me pretty cranky.  Hopefully it's over for a while.  We're supposed to have at least a couple of days clear before more rain maybe next week.  I hate to even check the forecast. 

Anyway, it's been so long  . . . I wanted to check in for the few readers I have left to let you know what's been going on lately.  In spite of joining Facebook (finally) I must tell you that I really am not impressed and still prefer my blog.  So I will continue to post here whenever I have any news.  I like the chance to ramble on and expound a bit about whatever theme has pulled me to the keyboard.

Right now it's just an update on my new job as an executive recruiter - a headhunter, whatever you call it.  I love the new job.  It's really fun and has enough variety to keep me really excited about it.  I've only been there just over a month so far, am enjoying it.  The people I work with are fantastic.  Very kind and helpful to a newbie like me.  It's weird being a fifty-something newbie, but that's what I am in this business.  In spite of the gray hair, I am learning a whole new industry.  Fortunately I am good at approaching businesses and getting the business, so that part isn't new to me, but working in the employment field really is.  I get to meet so many interesting people.

Doing this job has already shown me the importance of one's career path.  Mine has been a very disjointed and rocky journey   . . . . and I must tell you, most employer's are looking for a stable work history, and your resume really tells a story.   So I'm now advising job candidates to think carefully about each job change and to make each one as meaningful and directed and well-thought out as possible, even though there are many changes that are brought "on" us without our control.  But still, planning a path for oneself and finding a way to make sense out of it and explain it like a well-plotted novel to a potential reader, errr I mean prospective new boss, is really an essential part of building a solid career these days.  So I'm really getting a kick out of teaching job hunting skills to the candidates I interview, and hopefully I can be of help to them, even while I learn a new set of skills myself.  I am surrounded there by people with a lot of experience in this industry, and I'm really impressed with the integrity of this agency. 

My diet and exercise plans are suffering though.  I've been so absorbed in learning and doing this new job that everything else has fallen by the wayside, including my concentration on eating right and exercising regularly.  Boy, at this age, if I don't keep a constant watch on it, the pounds really jump on fast.  So needs to be more of a focus than it has been. 

I'm preparing soon to go back to the monastery for a two-day retreat and I can't wait.  The peace, calm and serenity of that place calls me back.  I could and should practice more quiet prayer and meditation time at home, but somehow being in that chapel and later returning to my Spartan bare room there at the visitor's center just affects me in a positive way like no where else I've ever been.   Here at home I have to purposely step away from the busy-ness just to find a few moments to turn within, but there, the sacredness is the most natural thing in the world and surrounds everyone and everything. 

Being there reminds me that there's divine order in everything . . . even endless rain.  But since the monastery is very near a river, I'm hoping the endless storms ease off enough to let me enjoy a few quiet days with the nuns. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Eagle Has Landed

Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 fame in 1969 said it best.  "The eagle has landed."  Though he was referring to the famous first moon landing, I am using it in a much more frivolous way to refer to my recent landing of a job.  Yay!

Finally, finally . .  . . . I have a new job and I'm really excited about it.  I'm going to be a personnel employment counselor - a "headhunter."  It was weird because I had gone to this employment agency several weeks ago in the midst of my job search.  The recruiter interviewing me stopped mid-stream in telling me about one of her available positions to say, "You know, I really think you'd be terrific at doing what I do.  Have you ever thought of working as an employment counselor?"  Well, no not really, I hadn't.

But some of my best positions throughout the years have come about due to recruiters.  So I initially dismissed the idea and continued to interview at other places.  I really want this time to be a longer term job, since I've been jumping from one position to another for several years now and feeling really worried about job stability.  How can I be over 50 and never really felt like I found the right career?  So I thought deeply about it, continued coming back to that agency and talking to them more about it.

None of the other positions that I've interviewed with over the past few weeks have seemed exactly right.  My mind kept drifting back to her question, "Would I like to do what she did?"  I thought about the fact that I am good an interviewing and finding jobs for myself, which might be one reason why I've had so many positions. It's never hard for me to find another one, and often a better one.  Plus, I've been in several different fields and find it easy to go into a new job, learn the job quickly and become a valuable part of the team and then move on.  I am not afraid of change, not afraid of learning new things... in fact, the yearning for challenge, for learning new things and meeting new people has always been a strong impetus for me switching positions when I become bored and my duties are stagnant or when I run into a wall and don't feel there's a chance to advance within the company.

So today, after doing a whole LOT of soul searching, I accepted the recruiting position.  Now that I've accepted and things are in place, I am so psyched!  It feels right.  Absolutely right.  The eagle has indeed
landed.  With this job, I'll be able to use my hard-won skills to help others conquer a very difficult job market while at the same time, helping employers find just the right employee to fill available positions.  I'm thrilled.

I start next week.  Yay!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Finding My Own Career and Fitness Path

Here lately, I've been going through so many levels of transformation . . . . you can sure tell it is 2013 because with that number 13 comes the death of the old self and the birth of the new.  Kind of like when I was 13 years old, come to think of it, only on the menopause side of things instead of the teen side.  But this side of the hill feels more like a gentle climb  . . . instead of going downhill, I'm hiking upwards and finding myself more sure footed, in spite of the unknown summit ahead.

In my life, I've changed jobs MANY times, and am frankly, at this age, am getting sick of it.  I'm currently in the job search yet again and this time, really hope to find something more permanent and long lasting.  Maybe it's a part of my personality, or maybe it's the fact that the sales field tends to have high turnover and many ups and downs, but I'm not working right now and even though I'm broker than broke, that feels okay for the time being.    I've got a few irons on the fire career wise and we'll see what happens.  Don't want to jinx anything right now by talking about it, but I have some ideas and possibilities in the works. 

Because of being unemployed, and just because also I've been trying to declutter my house and simplify my life by buying less STUFF, I am on a really really tight budget.  That has felt okay and in fact, is pretty gratifying.  I've gotten rid of a lot of old clothes since I've been slimming down.  The one "splurge" I still indulge in is to shop for replacement clothing at thrift stores for my new spring wardrobe.  Since I discovered I'm a Type 1 in the Dressing Your Truth program, I am buying clothes that are in coordinating colors/styles to fit that style profile.  It's been really fun seeking those perfect styles and colors that fit both my new style AND budget.  And it motivates my fitness goals as I see myself going down in sizes, not dramatically but slowly. 

Since my surgery at the tail end of last year, I've increasingly felt better physically.  I'm using this brief time off between jobs to get back into my fitness routine.  Two years ago, I bought a Wii Fitness program and it is a really good as far as having exercises I can actually do.  It has a good balance of aerobic, strength training, yoga and balance exercises in its program.  There's enough variety in it to keep me interested and motivated.  It's like a game, and so it's really fun.  I also still do my treadmill and have been working on some abdominal strengthening exercises.  One of my favorite exercise videos that my friend Phyllis introduced me to is the Tami Lee Webb series
I like her videos because they are easy enough to do but they really make me feel more in shape when I do them, a good balance between getting fit but not overstraining yourself in the process. 

In years past, I've been a member of many dieting routines including low carb, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and on and on.  But about a year or so ago, I went to my general family doctor and asked how he had managed to lose nearly 70 pounds.  I told him I've been suffering from the middle age weight gain and it's a constant struggle to keep the pounds at bay.  He suggested that instead of spending money and meeting time at weight loss groups that I instead just do what he did, make the weight loss an internal/individual process for my own body.  He urged me to go out and get a little journal that I could keep my purse  and write down my meals, their calorie count, or point count, or whatever method I wanted to use to track my meals and snacks.  Then also to write down the daily exercise I do and water I drink.  Any details that I want to track as far as my nutrition and fitness.  He also suggested that at the top of the page each day, right under the date, that I write my first of the morning weight every day.  I've been doing this now since last May and it has been working out very well for me.  I generally follow the Weight Watchers Points system and use their little points calculator, that way I am assured of getting a good balance of protein, carbs, fats and fiber.  And I also try to keep the sodium under 1700 grams a day.  But I've found this method has been really effective if you are a person like me who is ready to be accountable to yourself.  If I forget to track some meals, that's okay too, I just move on and try to write down what I eat the next day, but increasingly, I'm writing down the foods because I've already figured out the points for most foods and it is now really easy to look up new foods and even restaurant meals on the internet.

Speaking of restaurants, with all of our budget tightening, I've been eating out at restaurants very little.  That's a BIG change for me, because my husband and I used to eat out almost daily.  No more. I've been cooking really healthy meals at home and cutting way back on fat, sugar and sodium in the process. 

Also, I've been increasingly loving my silver hair.  It's progressing in it's grow out. 

What I've learned from the recent changes in my life is that though I'm naturally a driven person who likes to shape my own destiny, sometimes the greatest changes come about S-L-O-W-L-Y, softly . . .  quietly . . .  gently and profoundly. 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Almost Finished With Growing Out Gray

As some of you know, I started trying to grow out my colored hair and let the silver shine through.  Last colored my hair auburn/red at the end of July 2012 so I now have been growing it out for 7 months.  With yesterday's haircut, I have mostly my natural brown/silver hair and the only thing left colored are the very ends.

Here is what it looks like as of last night:

That's the front view and now the side:

and finally the back:

Well, I'm finally almost there.  hair is shorter than I usually wear it, but I think the silver color is growing on me.  Not sure, but I think I like it. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dressing My Truth

Most people know that I love a good deal and that I often shop at thrift and consignment stores.  Well, one day recently, I was in one of those upscale consignment shops and overhead a very attractive and well-dressed woman turn in a huge amount of clothes for the clerk to consider buying from her.  The clerk said, "Well, these are really nice  . . .  cleaning out your closet or what?"  The girl proceeded to tell her that while the clothes were nice and stylish, and many of them were designer items, she was wanting to get rid of them and build a new wardrobe.

After a few moments, she said, "See these clothes are mostly just all kinds of colors and a bunch of different styles that I liked while shopping, but they aren't one image and style that reflects who I really am as a person.  But I've recently started an online program called Dressing Your Truth and since taking it, I've come to realize that I'm a Type 1 and need to do a wardrobe revamp. I'm hoping to sell these clothes to start a new wardrobe fund for myself." 

This really intrigued me so I walked up to her and starting asking all about it. 

She proceed to explain that in the Dressing Your Truth system by Carol Tuttle, there are four basic types of people - and the material helps you learn more about your personality - your inner as well as figuring out how to dress yout outer self (in terms of makeup, clothing, hairstyle and jewelry) to better reflect your inner self.

After leaving that store, I immediately searched the internet and found the Dressing Your Truth book on Amazon and soon realized the program also has a website, and the web-based course goes pretty in-depth, but there is a free 7 day intro  . . . .a series of 7 introductory lessons that are free to anyone who wishes to sign up by email and subscribe.  After watching the intro videos and reading both of Carol's books, I got really interested and drawn into the whole program, enough that I signed up for the course.

I found out, ironically, that like the lady I met in the store, I am a Type 1 woman.  The basic types are:

Type 1 - bright animated woman (high energy and very upbeat - full of ideas but who sometimes has more energy than follow through - they are fun-focused and sometimes drop projects if they get too boring). 
Type 2 -  the soft subtle woman (calm and detail oriented, often introverted  - very relationsip oriented and caring and concerned about other people - downfall is that they can sometimes be more focused on other people's needs than their own and aren't always "heard"). 
Type 3 - the rich dynamic woman (very goal oriented and practical - focused getting things done quickly and efficiently - they are great leaders, but sometimes seen as "bossy")
Type 4 - the bold confident woman (low and calm on the energy scale - they are elegant and classic in their features.  They believe they are right and often are!  Can function well on thier own, but can speak up when they see that things could function better.  Downfall is that they can be seen as "picky" and "critical.")

That is a very short summary of what is an in-depth and very interesting study in personality, appearance, body language and many many facets, including face profiling, where you analyze the features of your face and body language.  If you are at all interested, you can go to the website and either learn more or sign up for the free email sessions.

I started into this at the end of January, and in the four weeks since, I've been in a frenzy to clean out my closet and replace items with ones that fit better for both my coloring and Type 1 personality.  Even after taking the course, there is some confusion among some people as to what type they are, so it's not one of those things where you just take a quick test and figure out what you are.  It's more of an intuitive understanding that you come to after going through the material. 

This system vaguely reminds me of the Color Me Beautiful system that came about sometime in the 1980's when my Mom and I were off trying to find our "colors."  I was an Autumn back then, but that system was based on the color of your hair and eyes and skin tone.  This other system (Dressing Your Truth) isn't affiliated or connected with that other system in any way, and it is more multi-dimensional because it is based on your inner nature and energy levels, as well as many factors that are more complex to figure out - and it's left for you to figure out on your own, because while Dressing Your Truth provides guidance, no external person tells you what type you are, so it's up to you to explore, study the material and let your higher power tell you what you are!  But it's more than a system of dressing, much more.  Doing this program is making me delve deeper into an understanding of myself and others. 

One interesting thing, though, is that if I am a Type 1, and I am fairly certain that I am, then my decision to grow my hair out gray won't mesh well with my Type 1 "light and airy" appearance I'm working on building, so I am considering coloring my hair again.  I'm not sure yet  . . . but am thinking about it and trying to figure out where my hair should be and what it should look like.  I've cut it quite a bit recently trying to grow it out gray and the style seems to translate well with my Type 1 look, just not the gray.  Still thinking about that.

I'm learning a lot from it and have been having fun!  Lots of fun with it. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Favorite Things

Okay, it's been a long long time since I talked about "favorite things" that I've been using, finding and that may perhaps make your life better too. 

Here are a few that have been a big help to me lately:

Electric Heating Pad  - until my recent surgery, I'd nearly forgotten how an electric heating pad can naturally relieve pain and provide comfort.  Some people still prefer the old fashioned hot water bottle, but I'd be afraid it would grow cold too quickly.  With the electric version, I just keep it on "low" setting and it automatically turns off after several hours. 

Toastmaster 1.7 Liter Cordless Kettle.   I bought this at Tuesday Morning for only $19.95 recently and what a bargain that gizmo is!   Instead of boiling water for tea, I fill the kettle with water, then push down on the brewing pedal and it brews up a piping pot of water in no time.  Keeps the water warm for a while, and then automatically turns off.  It's great for boiling water for tea, soup, oatmeal, hot chocolate, instant coffee and even pasta.  The primary thing we've been using it for is hot tea, but it is a wonderful new addition to our kitchen and we are all raving about how handy and indispensible it has become.  So if you don't have one, find your nearest Tuesday Morning store and get one.  Makes a wonderful inexpensive gift to yourself or others.

Malva Shampoo and Conditioner.  I bought this at an Avena spa store.  It's a type of shampoo that brightens gray hair and brings down the brassiness of colored hair.  It's been a wonderful help to me in growing out my auburn dyed hair into the natural gray that its becoming.  This shampoo does not add color or highlights to the hair, but rather brings out the silver and makes it look  glamorous and less drab.  It also makes gray hair look less "yellow" if it is prone to that. 

Blender Bottle - I'm pretty sure you can get these most anywhere - but it is a plastic 20 oz plastic container with a metal blender ball inside that helps shake up a morning smoothie so you can just mix it up early in the morning and then shake it to mix throughly when you get to work.  My current favorite morning green smoothie is:  1 cup almond milk; frozen berrries (usually frozen blueberries, strawberries etc); 1 or 2 kale or spinach leaves; 1 small to medium banana for natural sweetness; and 1 heaping tablespoon of NutriBiotic Rice Protein in Vanilla (purchased from Amazon).  Total calories: nearly 250 but it keeps you full for hours and gives you lots of nutrients.  It sounds gross, but you really cannot taste the spinach/kale in there because the fruit masks the taste but it is a great way to bring in extra nutrients that still tastes great and satisfying.   I just blend the above ingredients in a regular blender, then pour it into the blender bottle and take it to work for breakfast on the go. 

Vision Board - Cut out photos from magazines that illustrate a quality or goal you'd like to accomplish in your life.  Collect the photos, words, phrases and printed images and representations of your life goals, then paste them onto a foam posterboard.  It's more dynamic and visual than just writing out a list of resolutions.  After making your board, hang it on a wall where you will see it every day.  Then spend a few minutes a day transferring those images from the poster board into a visual picture in your mind's eye.  Close your eyes and imagine what your success will look like, feel the emotions of how satisfied you will feel once you reach the goal.  Someday soon, the visions you pasted up on that foam board will become reality.        

Monday, January 07, 2013

Finally On the Road to Recovery

A while back, I posted information about my ongoing health challenge with my female problems.  I had one surgery right around Thanksgiving and then had continuing problems with my fibroids that unfortunately weren't totally resolved with the first surgery.  So I took a big leap, at the advice of my physician, and had a total abdominal hysterectomy right after Christmas.  There are other hysterectomy methods that are much less involved and less recovery time, but unfortunately since I have been avoiding having this surgery for over ten years, my surgery had to be done this way.   In short, if you are a woman who is having issues similar to what I have had, they probably AREN'T going to magically go away and getting it all taken care of earlier rather than later is easier for all concerned.     

The surgery itself was harder than I expected and let me tell you, I have a high pain tolerance, but this one knocked me for a loop.  Right after it I woke up, I felt like a truck had run over me, then backed up and did it again!  My stomach area was pooched out like I was 7 months pregnant (they have a term for that called "swelly belly").  Right away, that first night, even while my IV was still in, the nurses had me sit up in a chair.  Then over the next few days, after the IV was removed, they urged me to drink water incessantly, walk down the hall with my husband holding onto my arm and do breathing exercises so my lungs would stay clear.  Being in the hospital, far from being restful was hard work.  But they are right in that approach, because it really does help you heal.    

I was in the hospital for 2 nights and then sent home to let my husband and mother take over.  They did a great job.   As we left, we were told that I shouldn't lift, reach, stretch or bend and should concentrate on drinking lots of water and resting.   The hardest thing was the ongoing soreness, pain and trouble getting up and down out of one position into another.  Also coughing.  Oh my gosh, that hurt like the dickens the first week. 

Now as I approach Week 2 of recovery, I can tell you I am feeling like a new person.  Yes, some pain and soreness remains as the incision site continues to heal, and I can't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for the first 6 weeks, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  I can see how each day, I feel a bit better, and I'm free of all the medical things that were bothering me before.  Also, now that my female parts are no longer in danger of posing a future cancer threat, I can take hormones.  Yay!  I have a patch that has made me mentally and physically feel so much better.  Even the "swelly belly" is going down a BIT.  Now that is something I've been told won't totally resolve for a while, maybe even a few months, but once I get cleared to do real exercise again, I'm going to work on getting my mid-section in shape too. 

Ah!  I am healing and am determined to make 2013 a better year.