Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sadie Dog

My beautiful girl has crossed the rainbow bridge. She did it on her own, peacefully in her sleep and relieved me from the burden of making that decision. I already miss her so much. I have no idea of her exact age. She came to us twelve years ago, half starved with a puppy in tow. I fed her and she gently pushed the puppy toward the food before she would eat herself. They left us and then she returned two days later without the puppy in the middle of an awful storm and very sad. She decided to stay that time and make this her home and us her family. Fred claimed her as his own. They were a pack of two. She had the most beautiful eyes and it wasn't just their unique golden color but the sweetness and love that shone through them. I am heartbroken not only over empty spot in my life but that she had to suffer so much before she passed. I tried to make her as comfortable and happy as possible. I hope I made the right decision. I love you Sadie girl. I know you are running again now with free and joyful abandon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Miracles in the Every Day

I have a friend who has been struggling. Her husband left her this time last year and her job at a fitness center was only part time so she lost her house. She had been an ophthalmologist years ago but had quit when she had children. So, she began working part time at that trying to get enough hours in to regain her license. The fuel to make the drive from where she was living to where she worked took most of her check and again, she was finding herself without anywhere to live. 

We were baling our last hay cutting this past weekend. All of the hay was supposed to have been sold but two of the men who came after it said that they could only haul a portion of what they'd first said they wanted. My husband called a lady who lives about a mile away who'd told him she wanted any hay that he might have. When she came to pick the hay up, she started telling my husband that she was totally overwhelmed because she was caring for her elderly mother with dementia and that she could no longer leave her alone to even leave the house for long much less get any work done. She asked him if he knew of anyone who would be willing to stay with them for room and board. At the time she asked, he couldn't but later that night, he came to me so excited and said that he'd just realized that our friend Jane would be perfect. She loves living in the country, she is just like our neighbor Jeannie in so many ways including their love for natural, organic living, and they both desperately needed a prayer answered. 

That was Sunday night. My husband needed an appointment with the dentist to get a cap replaced. I called and they said Wednesday morning. As soon as he came back from his appointment, he told me that I needed to call Jeannie, find out the details of what she was wanting and then call Jane. I did and I not only discovered that this would be the perfect fit for Jane but I discovered a new friend. Jeannie told me that she'd lived on her farm for twelve years and that people had constantly told her that she needed to meet me because we had so much in common. 

I tried calling Jane but the line was busy so I sent her a text saying that I had an exciting proposition and she should call me asap. What I didn't know until later was that Jane was talking to her daughter at the time and she was telling her that she was going to take the day to pray for God to send her an answer because she was scheduled to sign a years lease on a government subsidized apartment. Not only was it still very expensive but it was year's commitment for someplace she didn't want to be. When she called me back, I hadn't even finished telling her about Jeannie before she said, I want her number. An hour later, Jeannie calls me and she is so excited. She said that Jane was coming that afternoon to meet her and see the farm. Later that day, Jane called to say she was going to be my neighbor next week! Both ladies said that this was an answer to their prayer and I realized I'd been part of a little miracle. You could call it coincidence that the first buyers didn't take as much hay as they'd first said they would so that Steve had to call Jeannie or that Steve lost a cap which caused him to be home on a Wednesday morning when it seemed that both ladies were waiting on my call or even that Jane was praying and struggling with that lease she didn't want to sign or even that this was a perfect fit for both of these women and they both had their prayers answered so completely........but I don't believe in coincidence. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Purpose of Exercise

I read an article a few days ago that was about things most of us do wrong with diet and exercise. One item really struck home with me and oddly it was directed at a much younger reader, someone in their thirties at most. It said to avoid setting your sites too far in the future. It said so many in their thirties saw exercise as a preventative measure hoping when they reached the fine, ripe age of 58, they would not only be slim and fit but have arms that looked more like Madonna's guns than the large, flabby masses I'm sporting. That part wasn't very inspiring to me but what they said next was. The article said that the most successful and long lasting exercise programs were those that concentrated on the positive effects of exercise in the now. You know what I mean, once you reach the point where your body is releasing those feel good endorphins with each workout. That's what makes you keep going back to the trail, the gym, the track. I may not have been aiming to look like Madonna in twenty years, when we'll both be 79 and I'm almost certain even Madonna won't look like Madonna, but I was disappointed when my weight loss seemed to stall out quickly. I don't think that was the main reason why I stopped exercising but it was a major contributor. So, I plan on hitting the trail again tomorrow and logging at least two miles for the first time in nearly a month and I will try my best to concentrate on how I'm feeling at the time, how alive my body feels when the blood starts pumping, how my mood is lifted afterwards. I will try my darnedest not to spend my walking thoughts calculating how much I think I can lose if I walk so much each day, eat just right. I will make a promise to myself not to weigh myself for at least two weeks after that first morning so that I'm not made overly anxious by the scales fickle fluctuations. And, if at the end of that two weeks, the scale has not gone down or even, heaven forbid, gone up, I will try to count all the benefits exercise has brought to my life instead of the pounds not lost.
I'm going to talk about something very private today. My doctor just prescribed an anti-depressant for me . I felt like I was doing so well using exercise to lift my mood and make me more energetic. I was not only losing weight and becoming steadily fitter but I was starting to accomplish long put off projects around my house and with my work that I was hoping would get me back on track. The last time I saw my doctor  on August 18th, I had just lost my dear friend Huston and Dr. Mistry asked if I would like to try medication to help with my depression. I told her at the time, "No, I think I can handle it on my own. The exercise is helping tremendously." Those were my famous last words because the depression did not get better. It got worse day by day until I was no longer working out. Then I stopped making any extra progress on my life projects and was only getting done what had to be done. Eventually, I started sleeping later and later each day. I'd get up, take hours to get going, finally feed my horses, come back to the house to eat for the third or fourth time that day and then lie down and sleep until Steve came home from work. A dear friend who had battled depression himself finally came out and told me that I had to call the doctor. I did that on Tuesday and found that it was actually easy to explain my problem to my doctor's receptionist, Margarite, once I got past my initial embarrassment and reluctance. I picked up the pills yesterday. I am taking Citalopram which is a serotonin inhibitor. There are lots of possible side effects so I will be letting you know how I do with this. I have such a hard time taking so many medications because I'm either allergic or sensitive to it. I've already experienced one side effect, can make you drowsy. Drowsy does not adequately describe what happened when I took my first pill at lunch yesterday. It knocked me out. I slept sounder than I have in months and surprisingly, was able to sleep again last night. I did not wake up until 9:30 this morning! So, today, I will take my dose at bedtime and hope that, without interruption, I will wake earlier and refreshed. I am feeling a bit jittery, as if I've drank too much coffee, but I'm hoping that will pass. I will keep an eye on that. I asked my friend when I will get "happy" again. He told me to be patient because it can take up to three weeks to see full effects of the medication. He said that so many people quit anti-depressants because they don't see immediate results. So, I will try to keep everyone posted on my progress with the medication as well as what I hope soon will be renewed effort with my exercise and diet.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life, Death and All That Falls Between

This isn't the usual Throwback Thursday photo. The only reason I'm posting it today is because tomorrow, I'll be helping a friend most of the day and won't be anywhere near the computer. I wanted to put this photo up, from her sophomore year in high school, as a tribute to my friend Candis since tomorrow is the one year anniversary of her death. The world still doesn't seem right without her. She was always a force of nature, filling the world with beauty, love, compassion and a smile that brightened any room and lifted your spirits on the darkest day. I don't feel that I handled her death well. I know that sounds such a ridiculous statement, how do you handle any death especially of someone you care about, well? It was the process of dying that I couldn't get a handle on. I felt so helpless, so hopeless in the face of her illness and pain. I've always been a fixer and I wanted to fix this for her. I wanted to help in some way but there was nothing to do, no help to be had. I was left without words or else would end up saying something totally useless and often inappropriate when I tried to comfort her or even cope myself. I will forever regret my ignorance during that trying time but I did learn a valuable lesson and I will pass it on in case someone else is facing a situation where there is nothing left to say or do, say nothing but, "I love you." Do nothing but hold them gently close for as long as you can. It is true that sometimes, you say the most when you say nothing at all and sometimes there is nothing left to say anyway but, I love you. I still miss you my friend. I still reach for the phone wanting to call just to hear your voice again, to laugh again with you. You brought so much to the world in your too short time here and you left us all with such wonderful memories and those sweet grand babies who will be forever formed by your enduring love for them. Love you always, Candis Snow Nicely, you are my bff and one day I know we will sit together again and share the laughter and joy only chosen sisters can.

After I posted this photo and text on Facebook, I received many kind notes from my friends. My friend, Allysa Gray wrote, "You've probably read this before 
I wrote it and I have read it a thousand times. I didn't know Frank long but he was just that sort of friend with the impact that a day was a lifetime. I've never met you but I hold you in that category too. I hope this helps you cope in the lonely wee hours {{{   }}}"


I sit beside him
just sitting
There are no words
he cannot speak them I cannot think them
“Write them for me” …. softly his wife pleads
From what I’ve gleaned he’s a man of worth
Good mate great partner
Creative expressive jovial fun
He will be missed
But will I truly miss him?
I look at myself as this dictates I must
He liked me dopey as I am but do I?
and I wonder what I can improve upon
What is that?
When I didn’t know I didn’t think
of him, so wrapped up in myself
Does friendship bound us like a duty
to think of them even when we have so much else to?
I always thought it was a feeling
To know that even when I hate myself most
that someone else
- not duty bound by love or use -
So now as he dies
- Convicted victim by his own hand to mouth disease
He must hate himself most
But I don’t
I will miss him
~ adgray © 2007
Allysa's words are so very insightful, honest and heart touching. A friend recently said to me that it seemed I knew him and he knew me better than those people he actually sees in person every day. We have met in person before and like old friends we were chattering at the same time and yet understanding each other but the true understanding seems to come from the written word. Those are words that aren't concerned with how we appear to the reader, words that take the time to find their truth and meaning and yes, words that reveal so much more of who we really are beneath the superficial surface. I think it was the honesty of the moment that scared me most with Candis. In the face of inevitable death, all pretense in swept away and our truths laid bare. The problem was, I fought against that. Like that famous movie like, I couldn't handle the truth. I ended up stumbling over my own words with awkward attempts to lighten the moment because I myself could not bear the weight of the truth. The same friend who spoke of how well we know each other gave me the best advice even though I didn't understand it completely at the time. He said, once you push aside all of the fear and insecurity and become your authentic self, then you'll know what to say. I don't think I really reached that point in time. As your beautiful poem says, I was too wrapped up in myself.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Anniversary to US!

Tomorrow will be Steve's and my 39th anniversary! It almost slipped up on me. We haven't decided yet what we will do this weekend to celebrate but I'm sure we'll come up with something. Just taking a weekend off will be nice. A funny thing just happened though, I was working on my class's high school reunion and grabbed an annual off the shelf to check out some names I thought I might have forgotten. I pulled off Steve's senior yearbook instead of mine. I was leafing through, reading what people had written....which can be dangerous even after all these years, lol. Even though we had been going to the same school for nearly two years, I hadn't actually met Steve until the end of my Sophomore year and his Senior year. I wasn't expecting to see something I'd written in his annual but there it was in bright blue ink, "Steve, I never really knew you before this year but I'm glad I met you. You're a really sweet guy and I hope we'll be friends even after this year. Best of luck in everything you do. God bless, Sandy Jones." Aaaah, little did I know :) 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I've had a set back on that new healthy lifestyle this week. I lost a dear, dear friend who is irreplaceable. Exercise would probably have helped my grief and depression but instead I found myself just wanting to sleep and forget. This too shall pass. I'm already getting better, ready to head out in a few minutes to feed the horses and go for my walk/hike (since it is cross country and over some hilly, rough ground.) With the sadness I've had over my friend's passing and also beloved entertainer, Robin William's death, I've been thinking a lot about depression this week. I've had bouts of depression in my life and panic and anxiety attacks as well. I woke last night with a thought. It's odd how that happens. I woke thinking about how I've felt this week, how it was beyond grief. In my humble opinion, depression is not caused by sad and tragic events in our life; no, it is a predator that feeds on our dispair. I thought last night about how I've been feeling lately, not just extremely sad about losing Huston but extremely critical of my entire life and how I live it. I realized that the depression was acting as a magnifying glass, making the bad things in my life, the areas where I feel both my life and myself are lacking look even worse, larger, more dominant. I was feeling like a failure which isn't very motivating to exercise and eat better and improve your life because you think, what's the use? And then, my friend spoke to me. I didn't hear him with my ears but with my heart and it was something he said to me once after I'd conquered one of those dark spots in my life that were keeping me tethered and it mirrored the encouragement and love he showed me on my less triumphant days. He said, "I've always known you could do it. I believed in you even when you didn't believe in yourself." I still cry remembering him speaking those words but I also know, because of his friendship and love, that I am not a failure. And I'm going to set out to prove that because I will not let him down. The voices that tell me I'm a failure, that I'm bound to fail and I will never succeed in my goals, well I know who they belong to also but they don't belong to me any longer. The only voice I'm going to hear in my head from now on is my own and Huston's and they both only have positive, encouraging things to say.
Huston was the most wonderful person. I was truly blessed by his friendship. He was a father figure to me, a mentor and teacher but most of all, my friend. A short story about something odd that happened on the day they laid him to rest: He lives a fifteen hour drive away so we didn't get to see each other in person very often but up until his stroke, which occurred exactly a week after he said what I quoted above, we spoke on the phone at least once a day. After his stroke, two and a half years ago, the doctors didn't think he would survive and then they said he'd never be able to communicate again. Two months later, I called his home to check on him and his daughter asked if I wanted to speak to him. His voice was the most beautiful thing, hearing it made me cry. Because of his failing health, our phone calls weren't so frequent after that but we still kept in touch. I would call him whenever I knew he was doing well and felt like a conversation. A little less than a month ago, he lost his great grandson in a car accident. I wanted to call but I didn't know what to say and I kept putting it off. Now, I regret that I didn't get to hear him say, "Well, hello, neighbor!" one more time. It was a little joke we had about the distance between us but how close we were despite it. Anyway....I said short story, right? ;-) ........ His daughter called me on Monday to tell me that he'd just passed. I didn't ask about when the services would be because I knew I couldn't attend. Thursday morning, I woke up sadder than I'd been, a deep, heavy pain on my heart. I went about my morning chores and even took my first walk in nearly a week, hoping to chase away some of the blues. I was just coming in from my walk. I'd dropped my phone down in the basket that I use to carry feed to the horses. I hear a phone ringing distantly. I start trying to get into the house quickly before realizing that it wasn't my ring and then I hear a voice, "Hello? Hello?" I pick up my phone and say, hello and Huston's daughter answers me back, "Well, hello, Sande!" I ask her if I called her or she called me and she tells me that I placed the call.....but I didn't. She starts telling me about the service planned for her dad later that day and how the response from his church and community has been so wonderful for this amazing man. I told her that I wish so I could be there to comfort them and she told me, "If you were here, you know it would be us comforting you." We cried and laughed as we remembered Huston. She said that cell phones could be spooky but as a friend later said to me, there are no coincidences. I think someone knew that I needed to touch base with Huston's family that day. I think he wanted to include me in the celebration of his life.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

           Huston Forest Jenkins, son of the late Isaac and Sarah (Evans) Jenkins, was born on April 3, 1924 in Bennett Spring, Missouri and passed away on August 11, 2014 at 12:40 p.m. at his home in Tunas, Missouri. At the time of his passing he was 90 years, 4 months, and 8 days of age.
   Huston was reared and did his schooling in the Bennett Spring area. After he finished his schooling he returned to work on the family farm until being drafted into the US Army to fight in WWII. After being discharged, he married Patty Smith on August 14, 1946 and to this union 3 children were born, who all survive him. Huston later moved to Kansas City, Kansas and worked at the Colgate and Palmolive factory. After 14 years they moved back to Dallas County to once again have a farm where he “milked cows and kissed horses.” He sold Fox Trotters throughout the nation and was a member of the Missouri Fox Trotters Association. He was also a member of the New Hope Baptist Church where he was a Deacon. He loved reading westerns, and in his younger years he enjoyed coon hunting, elk hunting, and fishing. 
   Huston was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Patty; four sisters, Pauline, Luvina, Ennone, and Myrtle; five brothers, Elvin, Ethan, Barse, Donald and Elmer; and one great-grandson, Christian Helm. He is survived by his son, Larry Jenkins; his two daughters, Wanda Jenkins and Nancy Jenkins-Braham; one brother, Cecil Jenkins; three sisters, Bernice Moore, Annie Cheek and Emma Frantz; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind many friends, family, nieces and nephews that will all truly miss him.
   Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at New Hope Baptist Church with Rev. Richard Prater officiating.  Escorts will be Ronnie Blecher, Henry Glass, Daryl Mabary, Billy Ankrom, Chester Hill, and Eugene Phillips. Interment will be in Pleasant Hill Cemetery under the direction of the Cantlon Otterness Funeral Home of Buffalo. Visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. Thursday at New Hope Baptist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and left with the funeral home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

There is a BMI calculator on this site which is very easy to use. You put in your height and then there is a sliding scale for your weight which makes it easy not only to see your current BMI but helped me to see what weight I need to lose to in order to be "normal"....no jokes about the normal part. ;-) My high normal is 144 and low normal is 109. I still have a long way to go!

BMI Calculator for Adults

BMI is a number calculated using your height and weight. It is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat for most adults, with athletes and the elderly being two exceptions. BMI can be used as a screening tool to identify potential health problems.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Huston Jenkins, April 3, 1923 - August 11, 2014

Huston Jenkins and Mouse
The finest man and horseman I've ever known has passed over but I know he isn't in pain any longer and I know he's reunited with his beloved, Patty, and his great grandson, Bobo. I also like to think of him doing what he loved to do most and hasn't been able to do for over two years, ride his horses. He gave me so much in the short time we knew each other, he was a father figure, my mentor, my encourager, my teacher but mostly, he was my friend. He told me that he believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He gave me the best advice I've ever gotten, "Whatever happens, stay in the saddle!" That has applied to a lot more than just riding in my life. He always said when one of us was leaving, "I'll see you here, I'll see you there or I'll see you in the air." I use to fuss at him for that and tell him not to say it but I know it's true and I know I'll see him again one day. I love you Huston; I always will. I'll see you in the air my dear, dear friend. 

A friend commented that she was so glad that he left me with such wonderful memories and Mouse. She added that he must really love me to let me have one of his precious horses. Actually, he let me have three of them and that was nothing short of a miracle, lol. The first time I heard his name, my friend Fran was helping me to find a horse and she said, "The finest horses you will find in the entire state of Missouri are raised by one man but unfortunately, you can't get one of his horses because he never, never sells them." lol When I called to tell him that I was coming to pick up my horse, he actually sounded disappointed, "You mean you're taking her?" he asked. I told him once though that he had no idea when he sold me Mouse that he was taking on a fifty year old to raise. Five years later, the year after he lost Patty, I took Mouse back to Missouri to visit him. He had been begging me to breed her again and so Steve and I decided to leave her with him for the next six months with the excuse that he could get her bred for us but really so Huston could enjoy her. We didn't leave empty handed or with an empty trailer since we took home Mouse's first born, Django (which Huston practically gave to me because he wanted me to have him) and Riley (because he'd saved Steve on the trail and Steve immediately said he wanted that horse). After Danny was born, Huston always claimed part of him. We'd planned on Huston training him but he had that first stroke just weeks before we were planning on taking Danny to him. I'm hoping Huston can look down from above and give me some guidance on working with my little sweet but wild (or rather spoiled) Dan

Another story about Huston and Mouse. I found out from his niece that someone in Europe had offered him many, many times over what I paid for her and he refused to sell her. He told them that he'd already promised her to me. We were sitting at his kitchen table sipping coffee after breakfast many years after that and I asked him, "You wouldn't have sold Mouse to them even if I hadn't been in the picture would you?" He dropped his head and said quietly, "They would have mistreated her." That's the kind of man and horseman he was.

Stumbles and Progress

The past week was a stressful one for me. I was a bit overwhelmed by work, projects, the illness of family and friends and the worry that provoked. My exercise and even my diet (or rather healthy eating changes to my diet) fell to the wayside because I was too tired, too rushed. I could look at the entire week as a failure but I'm not. It was not only a learning experience but despite the fact that I reverted back to a few bad habits, I found that I missed the exercise and the way it made me feel and I missed the healthy diet and the way it made me NOT feel....sluggish, nervous, bloated, foggy brained. So, in my mind, that is a major win. Now, I'm just waiting for the day when the diet is as natural and the exercise as essential as breathing in my life. That day is coming. :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Ridiculously Easy New 9-Switch Plan To Build Muscle, Not Belly Fat

New science has made it almost too simple to believe. But believe it: Trade the saturated stuff for the right unsaturated fats, and you'll get superior taste, crave less sugar, and actually build muscle rather than belly fat.

Friday, August 1, 2014

More from Prevention magazine....

Exercises To Tone Up And Lose Weight

9 Toning Moves To Slim You Down All Over

This Pilates-based workout, developed by Miami-based Pilates instructor Kris Belding, targets your midsection, arms, shoulders, legs, and butt for a total-body shape-up. Try to do the routine 3 or 4 days a week to start seeing the flat belly, full-body toning benefits.
1. SPINAL ARCH AND CURL Strengthens and stretches back, increases flexibility, and helps improve posture
Photos by Buff Strickland
START POSITION Sit straight on edge of seat, feet hip-width apart, knees in line with ankles, and palms flat on thighs.
MAIN MOVE Press heels into ground and contract butt muscles, sliding hands up toward hips. Gently arch back and look up while tightening ab muscles. Continuing to hold ab muscles in, round back, slide hands toward knees, and look down at ground. Return to start position.
TIP Do this exercise in one fluid motion. 

2. SPINAL DIVE Strengthens and stretches upper back muscles and chest muscles 

START POSITION Sit straight on edge of seat, feet hip-width apart, knees in line with ankles, and palms on thighs.

MAIN MOVE Round back and roll forward, dropping head between knees (pictured, inset). Tighten ab muscles and slowly raise head, arching spine so chest and stomach are pushed out slightly. Return to start position.
TIP Focus on moving slowly to help feel your back muscles working. 

3. SPINAL TWIST Improves back flexibility

START POSITION Sit straight on edge of seat, feet hip-width apart, knees in line with ankles, and palms flat on thighs.
MAIN MOVE Slowly pull in ab muscles. Twist from waist as you turn to left, while sliding right hand down right thigh and left hand up left thigh. Keep feet and legs still. Then, twist from waist as you turn to right, sliding left hand down left thigh and right hand up right thigh.
TIP Do the twists in one fluid motion. Twisting once to the left and once to the right is 1 rep. 

4. LEG FLUTTER Tightens midsection and strengthens quads

START POSITION Sit straight on edge of seat, abs in, and feet and knees together. Grip seat with both hands.
MAIN MOVE Lean back slightly (keeping knees together and back relaxed) and lift both feet 4 to 6 inches off ground. In a slow, controlled move, kick left leg out and back; then kick right leg out and back. Keep abs tight throughout exercise. This is 1 rep; don't stop between reps.
TIP If you have a weak back, put your hands under your hips and butt for extra support. 

5. LEG CIRCLE Strengthens lower ab muscle and quads

START POSITION Sit straight on edge of seat, abs pulled in, and feet and knees together. Grip seat with both hands.
MAIN MOVE Lean back slightly (keeping knees together and back relaxed) and lift both feet 4 to 6 inches off ground. Circle both legs to right 4 times and immediately left 4 times.
TIP Pretend your legs are stirring a tall drink.

6. SALSA SHOULDERS Increases flexibility and decreases pain in neck and shoulders

START POSITION Stand with feet hip-width apart, heels pressed into ground.
MAIN MOVE Hold arms out to sides with elbows bent at 90-degree angles, palms facing forward. Circle shoulders forward 4 times, then immediately backward 4 times.
TIP Keep butt muscles contracted.

7. BIKINI SWIRL Strengthens and stretches back

START POSITION Stand straight with feet hip-width apart and hands on top of head. Pull elbows back and abs in, press heels into ground, and contract butt muscles.
MAIN MOVE Without moving hips, circle rib cage 4 times to left, then 4 times to right.
TIP Pretend you're drawing a circle on the ceiling with the top of your head.

8. ROLL DOWN Firms abs

START POSITION Sit on ground with knees bent, feet hip-width apart, hands resting below knees. Press feet firmly into floor and contract thigh muscles.
MAIN MOVE Contract ab muscles, and slowly roll down to ground one vertebra at a time. Keep abs tight and roll back up, one vertebra at a time, to start position. Begin with 1 set of 8 reps; work up to 3 sets over the course of 2 to 3 weeks.
TIP Squeeze a rolled-up towel between your knees to help lift yourself up until you get strong enough to do the move unaided.

9. CAT 'N' HAMMOCK BACK STRETCH Strengthens and stretches abs and back

START POSITION Get on hands and knees, wrists in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips. Keep back flat, like a tabletop, and abs tight.
MAIN MOVE: Contracting butt muscles, round back, tuck hips under, pull chin toward chest—like a cat—and hold position for 10 seconds.

NEXT pull shoulders down and away from ears and slowly raise head. Keeping ab muscles tight, drop belly toward ground and arch back—like you're a human hammock. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to start position. Do 3 to 5 reps.
TIP Focus on "squeezing" the area under your shoulder blades when you arch your back to help do the move more effectively.

4 Weight Loss Rules from Prevention Magazine....

4 Weight Loss Rules To Lose Belly Fat

The Only 4 Weight Loss Rules You'll Ever Need

Low-fat foods are dead to us. Here’s how you should be eating.

Photo by Thinkstock
In the '80s and '90s, as Americans embraced "I Can’t Believe It's Not Butter" and sugary low-fat snack packs, obesity doubled. (As David Katz, founder of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, says, "There is more than one way to eat badly, and our culture is committed to exploring them all.") If you haven't already, go ahead and stop buying foods labeled "fat-free." Some more wisdom from the top nutritional experts in the US:
Photo by Thinkstock
Throw out the low-fat foods in your kitchen.
You can go back to eating full-fat peanut butter (the low-fat variety swaps some of the fat for sugar—a trade-off we now know may be worse) and topping your salad with olive oil and vinegar. (Too much sugar's no good; this is your body on the sweet stuffsr.)
Photo by Thinkstock
…with the exception of dairy.
Ditch fat-free dairy (especially yogurts that trade fat for sugar—some brands have as much as ice cream). Low-fat dairy is still a good bet, delivering the same calcium and protein for dramatically less saturated fat and fewer calories than the full-fat stuff.
Photo by Thinkstock
Make like the Greeks
And eat plenty of foods loaded with polyunsaturated fats. Research shows that eating polyunsaturated fats leads to gaining less fat and more muscle, compared to eating saturated fats. You know the deal: polyunsaturated fats are the ones in nuts, seeds, and fish.
Photo by Thinkstock
Go for balance
"It's all about making informed choices based on your personal preferences," says Gretchen Vannice, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the author of Omega-3 Handbook. "If you eat bacon a lot, you might choose low-fat yogurt for balance. What you don’t want to do is eat bacon and cheese and butter and ice cream and sausage and mayonnaise all in one day."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

this was a walk not a run....need to change the settings on the app. I wore my new low hikers and they were pretty comfortable for new shoes if a little stiff but they kept my feet dry which was the purpose in getting them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A View of My World

A few shots taken with my phone of the fields where I walk, around the perimeter, and my best buddy, Django, who greeted me after I'd finished my first mile. :)

Saw my GI doc yesterday and not only was my weight down five pounds since I saw Dr. Mistry ten days ago but my bp was perfect! Blood pressure 120/80....YAY!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I get all sorts of "healthy" newsletters in my email box each day. Today, one of the announced that they could tell you how to make healthy chips and fries. Well, I love both so I jumped on that email. And then......I saw the recipe..... Parsnips!!! I hate parsnips and I mean really hate parsnips. There are one or two veggies that I'm not crazy about, like asparagus, but I can still eat them on occasion with enough camouflage but those Duck D. people don't own enough camo to disguise that nasty vegetable. Sorry to all of the parsnip lovers out there....I know there have to be one or two of you with odd taste buds..... but I think they taste like soap. I'd never tried them until lifestyle maven Martha Stewart recommended them saying that, "Roasted with other root vegetables, they are the perfect Autumn side dish." I generally love roasted root veggies but those darn parsnips ruined the entire dish. Never, never, never going to give them a second try....even if they are fried to a crisp and covered in sea salt!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yes, the ravages of time but I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't some truth in that last statement on this photo. Did I become who I thought I was all along? Do I look now the way I imagined myself years ago? I think I did and I do.
I also think it's time for a new vision of myself. Maybe this mental imaging thing can work in reverse. I know I will never be twenty again and I'll never have the tight, toned body that I had then....but didn't appreciate or even see. But I can begin to see myself as a fit, capable and successful woman and maybe, just maybe, I'll grow into that image as well. 

Speaking of Muffins.....

That won't work but this will.................
That won't work but this will............ Okay, weight still not coming down. In fact I'm up 4/10s of a pound from last week....although Monday is my new weigh-in day so I'll wait until then to see if I've lost any pounds. The good news is, I noticed a change in my body this morning. Something I've been worried about is that my skin might sag once I lose my puffy stomach. This morning, I noticed two things: my tummy is significantly flatter and that little pooch at the bottom that was bothering me...the muffin top.....was flattening out! I went straight to the mirror to confirm and yes, indeed, the little Buddha belly is disappearing! So, I measured again....last measuring was on Monday and I'd lost over six inches overall then........and joy of joy's I've lost an additional 2.5 inches in the tummy and waist. :))  since Monday. Happy days and a happy dance to burn a few more calories! Oh, an additional thing I've been doing is holding my tummy in whenever I think about it. I heard a trainer on TV say that this was more effective than sit ups so I'm all for that. Just tighten up those abs when you are walking, standing in line, cooking, any daily task....even sitting in front of the computer. It will help tone your middle and improve your posture!

Cut the Fat

For once, I'm not talking about my diet. No, this time I refer to revolving debt. There is a reason they call it that because it is constantly growing even if you haven't made a charge in years. I hate credit cards. Remember that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song, 16 tons? "St Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store." That's kind of how I feel. Once they get their claws into you, you can't get away from them. If I ever get mine paid off, I vow to never use them again...... she says now. I got deeply in debt to two of them buying supplies for a new business venture which didn't pay off. Next time, I'll listen to my own instincts instead of every friend's advice and opinion. I would never have charged any of it if I hadn't thought, oh, I'll make enough in the next year to pay all of this off....didn't happen and now, five years later, thanks to interests rates raised to astronomical heights, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever pay it off. :( Oh, well. Live and learn or lesson learned too late. If any of you find yourself in the same situation, I can serve as a warning anyway. Go to the bank, get a loan, cut up the cards!
I have to keep reminding myself that changing my diet is an ongoing process. It's been more than a little discouraging when I stay under the recommended daily calorie and fat intake and still don't lose an ounce but I know that the best effect is feeling healthier and more energetic. Yesterday, I actually went over the calories suggested. That happened because I went to the grocery store hungry and I went in the afternoon. If I'd gone as planned in the morning, I could have picked up something both filling and healthy for lunch. Instead, I grabbed what I could for lunch and then grabbed a bag of baked green peas to ease my hunger after shopping. It didn't help that Thursday afternoon seems to be the shopping time for every rude person in East Tennessee because I eat more when I'm upset, angry or frustrated. I need to work on that or else take my frustration out on the rude instead of my body, lol. Anyway, I went over my suggested caloric intake by about 120 calories thanks to wolfing down the entire bag of crunchy peas on the way home. I know it could have been worse and there is absolutely nothing I can do about that now but promise to do better today...................now, I'm off to have my bakery muffin for breakfast. ;-) Seriously, it's cranberry-orange, my fave, and one muffin a month is not gonna kill me. 
My trekking poles arrived yesterday from Sierra Trading Post and I had my first walk with them last night. I know I had to look so strange and awkward trying to get some sort of rhythm while using them. At my age though, I'm learning to forgo the embarrassment and just let people wonder what on earth I'm doing. Using the poles is supposed to burn 40% more calories and I can believe it. They totally wore me out. The only problem, I was only able to do half of what I usually do! Guess I'm going to have to work myself back up to where I was. Oh well, just think of all the pounds I'll be burning off as I adjust to walking with these and then start burning up the trail again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Put on Your Dancin' Shoes....

Today's DHC challenge was to do a ballet move which wasn't a difficult one at all but thinking about it brought back a memory. In the present, my friends are wanting me to take Zuma classes with them. They assure me that they are no better dancers than I am but I really doubt that. When I was in college....back in the stone age, physical education classes were required. I don't know about other places but I think that requirement has been lifted in Tenn. I don't think that is a good idea. Despite my total lack of coordination and grace, I did enjoy and get so much out of every PE class I took. BUT the ballet class presented some obstacles, I did not expect. I've always wanted to dance like a prima ballerina. So, when the opportunity arose to take ballet, I jumped at it. I'm not built or have I ever been built to be a dancer even in my skinny young days. And I was in the class with someone who'd taken dance their entire life  and someone who had been in the American Ballet company. I felt like a frog amongst princesses. There were others in the class who did not fit in but they stayed in the background and remained silent. I once had a therapist tell me that I've always been an introvert pretending to be an extrovert. The problem with playing at being something you are not, you tend to over act. So, the background and silent were never states you would find me in. I was never secretary of a club, I was president. I was never the last to volunteer, I was the first. Getting less than an A in any class was not an option and I always had an opinion. I was the classic over achiever and I like to think I've changed but probably not as much as I'd like. The thing is, all of that pep and enthusiasm came out of my own insecurity. I had terrible stage fright and surprisingly, since I seemed to crave it, hated being the center of attention. But my longing for acceptance had me not on the back row at my ballet class like the rest of the people with two left feet but right there front and center. So, the school decided to redo the floors in the room the class was originally held in so they told us we could use the gym. The only problem with this was that at lunchtime, when the class took place, the gym turned into a gathering place. Both students and faculty would be there for pick up basketball games. They were concentrating on their game so I wasn't worried about them. The ones who did bother me were all the ones who brought their lunch into the bleachers so they could watch the games or just socialize with friends.The class starts and there I am right up front and sticking out like a sore thumb. The instructor demonstrates what she wants us to do and my mind froze, I started to panic, I seemed to suddenly have a stroke or amnesia because she made no sense to me what so ever and I couldn't remember the first move. So, we began. At first, I was able to keep up with what the others were doing and then it all just fell apart like an intricate stack of cards tumbling to the ground in slow motion. And in the midst of my clumsy flailing and embarrassment, I hear a loud and familiar laugh coming from the stands. Obviously everyone wasn't watching the basketball games. Later that afternoon, I ran into the owner of that bullhorn laugh in a hallway on my way to class. He runs to catch up with me and with a very serious expression he said that he just wanted to compliment me on my dancing ability. I tell him to please just hush and go on. I'm still stinging from my humiliation enough without him adding to it. Then he says something that made me stop in my tracks and literally laugh out loud even if it was at myself. He said, "No, I'm being honest here. You amazed me because you were obviously the only one in the class who knew what they were doing because EVERYONE else was going the wrong way." The embarrassment faded long ago but that still makes me chuckle every time I think about it. That experience though makes me a bit apprehensive about taking another dance class especially since that wasn't my first humiliation with public dance....but I won't even go into that because it does still sting a bit. But, I'm old enough now to say, "It's now or never!" about a lot of things and dance is one of them. So, next week, I plan to put on my dancing shoes....or at least my repurposed running shoes....and join my friends at Zuma. If I lose my place, I'll just let loose and do my own thing. That's the wisdom of age. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tonight's walk:

 I've got a blister on my toe....and I keep hearing the Dire Straits song ;).....maybe get a blister on your little finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb ....... For me it's the toe next to the littlest toe so I don't know how I'll fare tomorrow morning. The grass stayed wet all day today. I didn't make the three miles I intended because I had errands to run this afternoon and I was late getting started. Then Steve came home and I cut the walk short just shy of three miles by a smidgen. Actually, I was ready to quit. Between my sore feet and my back starting to twinge, I was really feeling that last quarter mile. You can look at the graph and see how I slowed down. But you can also see the times I was doing a 12 minute mile or better. Each day I'm improving and that's motivation to keep going. Now, I'm going to bed. Night all. Sweet dreams.

Me post workout this morning. I'm looking flushed and sweaty and covered with hay from dovetailing chores and workout but I do look happy. And I'm sans makeup, too! That is like a minor miracle in confidence. You know how many people have seen me without makeup between 15 and 58? Exactly two, my husband and my mom..... and now all of you! That's a major step forward in confidence....or an example of getting over oneself post 55, hahaha.

Since I walk and run cross country, I really need this tip. I have two pairs of shoes and both are soaked after walking in the wet grass following the rains of the past few days. So this is what I should have done as soon as I got in yesterday morning and maybe I wouldn't be putting on soggy shoes for this morning's walk. 
There's my problem...I've been doing it wrong!
Oh, one more note on the images below....those 15 and 16 minutes per mile pace put me in the top 25%!!!! Yay, me! :)

My three walks from yesterday, July 21,2014. Note that there was only a short break between the two later in the day. I was releasing the horses back into the pasture and took Sadie back to the house so that I didn't use up all of the gas in my truck keeping her under ac while I walked, lol. I had intended to walk in between hauling water to the horses. The 35 gallon tank takes about ten minutes to fill so I thought that would be a nice break between two mile sets. But Steve called to say he was coming home early so I cut it off after the first two miles and then decided that I could fit in at least one more mile before he got home. I timed it perfectly....okay, it was serendipity but it worked out well....because I was finished and gathering tomatoes out of the garden for dinner when he pulled into the drive. 

Progress Recorded!

Yipee te yiyo!!! The scale has not been my friend since I started changing my diet and adding exercise to my day. I felt as if my clothes were getting loser but that darn scale kept showing me gaining weight instead of losing no matter how little I ate or how intensely and long I worked out. So last week I took my measurements. I wasn't smiling when I finished. After the first measurement revealed that my thigh was the size my waist use to be....sigh, those were the days..... I considered forgetting about it but all my friends were telling me that this was the true measure, no pun intended, of my progress. So, with many winces and grimaces, I recorded each number. That was six days ago. The scale today actually showed me up a pound from this time last week but down two pounds from the weigh-ins in between. And then I decided to measure again and....................wait for it..................it's worth the wait........................okay, I'll tell you already! I've lost six inches in the last six days!!! Yay!!!! And the best part is, the loss is evenly distributed. So, I'm doing a happy dance and I'm encouraged to keep going despite the lack of success I'm having with that darn scale. :)