Category Archives: Health and Fitness

A Time to Celebrate

It’s 4:08am. I’ve been awake for almost two hours. It seems to be my new routine. As I lay here with a million things running through my mind, I suddenly remembered something I’ve been quietly excited about for months:

Yesterday marked one year since my last “monthly visit”, “that time”, or as I came to refer to it as “my monthly hell”.  

It was never an easy road. I started when I was 12. I remember waking up one morning, seeing the evidence, and being angry. This was not something I ever wanted to deal with. I certainly had never looked forward to it. I had awful cramps all day, and I had to go to school and suck it up. I remember being so nauseous and in so much pain I could barely concentrate. I was miserable. 

When I get home, the mother had called EVERYONE she knew to tell them “the exciting news” – I was woman!

Actually, I was humiliate.  She became irate. She told me I was being stupid, that I should be proud of “becoming a woman”.

H U M I L I A T E D. 

I told her that it was nobodies business and she had no right to announce it to the world. It was my personal. It was embarrassing and I was miserable. She told me to grow up. She told me I was a child and had no rights. I told her I was supposedly a woman. She told me to shut up before she slapped that look off my face. Oh the warm memories…

The next 39 years were mostly hell where this was concerned. Severe PMS hat dragged on for two weeks. Extreme cramps that often left me sick for two days every month. Heavy flow that left me exhausted and wondering how people ever survive such blood loss. 

In high school, the cramps were so bad my doctor prescribed Vicodin. Yes, I said Vicodin! WTH??  Who does that??? 

I was never allowed to stay home with a migraine or cramps. I was told at an early age that I had to learn how to live in the world with these things, and that I was never to use them as an excuse. I won’t say as an adult that I followed that advise. Rarely did I call in sick, and if the mother got wind of it, she gave me hell. 

I had an abnormal pap about 19 years ago. Precancerous cells were caught early and dealt with. I asked for a hysterectomy, and was told no. I was serious, but the doc didn’t take me seriously. 

At this point I will mention that I am the only female on the mother’s side of the family to have a uterus after the age of 30. There was no family history to compare me to. There was a lot of cervical cancer, cysts, hardening of the uterus, and generally not healthy female parts. 

In my late 30’s/early 40’s I asked again for a hysterectomy. I was told that would be “elective surgery” and insurance doesn’t cover that. Instead she put me on the Depo Provera shot and for four glorious years I had no “time of the month”. 

H E A V E N. 

The PMS was gone. The severe nausea and other symptoms that arrived on day one were gone. It was amazing. Then my job situation changed and my insurance changed and they were no longer covered. Heavy sigh. 

Then they got sporadic for several years. Every two weeks…every six weeks…every few months…every two weeks…you get the picture. 

Finally, I skipped several months. I started keeping count. On month six? Surprise. Mother Nature did that to me three times. 

This time, I wrote the start date down and forgot about it. A couple months ago I checked to see what it had been. June 19, 2016. It had been heavy, ugly, made me sick as a dog, and lasted a full seven days. Then nothing. 

It is now 4:45am on June 29, 2017. One year has officially gone by. One year, which marks the official start to menopause. 

Perimenopause has been here for several years, as have hot flashes, night sweats, and the like. I can live with that. 

I will make a doctor appointment to get checked out and make sure all is well. Then I may call my friends and suggest a celebratory drink. 

This bears celebrating. The horror that began 39 years ago is no more. 

Welcome menopause!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival!! 

Hello June!

Half a year has whizzed by in the blink of an eye! Where did January go? February? March? Winter?? 

June. Officially summer. Hot days, warm nights. In Florida, it’s not even the hottest time (we’ll revisit that in August/September!)  when we were kids it meant pool time, motor home vacations, reading a LOT of books and vegetating until the school year began. 

I woke this morning feeling like time has swept past me and I’ve not moved. Ever feel like that? 

I have a problem you see, a very big problem. I live as I was trained to live. I wake up, I go to work, I work hard, I come home, I eat dinner, I go to bed. 

Trained since birth!

Now, that’s not to say I don’t socialize. I go out to dinner, meet up with friends, all the fun things. I don’t do that as often as I probably should. You know, the balance thing and all. Balance? Yes, it’s a thing. I’m told it’s an important thing. 

I find myself in a rut this first day of June. I just don’t make enough time for me. There, I said it. It’s out in the universe. 

I need more me time. 

Sounds simple, yes? No. It’s my age old struggle. 

What to DO? 

I declare today the first day that I purposefully  spend a little more time on me. This month I will do more things that benefit me, my life, my future. Wow, that sounds incredibly selfish! How DARE I think such a thing? Another part of the training. Oh, that damn training to be content with nothing, to not over reach, to not dream of a better future, to not be selfish. I may need a detox of some kind…

I want to better serve the people around me. Friends. Strangers. I want to make a difference. I want to be someone who can make someone smile, even if they don’t realize it. I want to bring forth joy. 

I don’t need pomp and circumstance. I just want to give back to this world of ours, and be a brighter spot, a positive spot, a good person. 

I will work on me, body and soul. A healthier me is better for everyone. 

I think it’s doable. I just need to start. 

Summer Means…More Water

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Summer has hit Florida. Not, you know, like August Summer…I’d call this May Summer.  In April. August summer is hell on earth.  May summer is warm enough to be uncomfortable, but nice in the evenings.

I have put away the leggings and taken out the skirts. The fans are dusted and going. My home and wardrobe are switched over to summer mode. My water consumption is increasing.

Water consumption? Yes! The warmer it gets, the more water I drink.  

My grandfather (who I always called Papa) used to drink ice tea in the winter and hot coffee in the summer. He reasoned that the liquids helped maintain his body temperature and keep him from becoming too hot or too cold. I remember telling him that was crazy. It was a blistering hot 110+ day in July, and he had stopped by the house for lunch. He ate his sandwich, drank steaming hot coffee from his thermos, and tried to explain to my why it worked for him. I’m still not sold on that one.

What I can tell you, now that I’m a grown up and all, is that when it’s warmer, I feel more thirsty. My water consumption jumps about a third. A THIRD! And maybe it’s my Papa’s influence on me, or maybe it’s in the genes, but…I don’t drink ice water. I like my water room temperature…even if that room is 90 degrees. I don’t care much for cold drinks or drinks that are overly hot.  Call me Goldilocks, I like the liquid temperature just right. Unless it’s white wine. Wine should always be chilled. And Moscow Mules. And Bloody Marys…

Now, let’s talk about my water habit.  I drink a lot of water.  Still water, sparkling water with no sodium or calories, and herbal tea. I shoot for half my body weight in ounces each day. Yes, I said half. Yes, depending on how things are going in my life, that is often a lot of water.

(Side note: when you drink that much water, you need to pace yourself. If you don’t, you will be up every half hour all night long. Find your cutoff time and stick to it. Trust me. Learn from me. )

During the winter, I hit about 40-60% of that goal. Now that it’s warmer? I’m getting closer. Every day I drink a little bit more. Yes, I count. I have an app that I track it in. I can look at a glass and guess pretty darn close how many ounces it will hold. I have cups and glasses that I drink from daily so I don’t have to guess. Obsessed? No. Accurate!

Water is good for the body. It makes our skin look and feel better. It washes our insides. It gives toxins a way to exit the body. It helps with the poops. Water is a good thing.

Now that the days are longer, I will begin walking again. That means even more water. Water helps maintain your weight, it helps keep you from dehydrating, it’s just plain good for you.

My general rule is, IF I have something with caffeine or alcohol, I drink that much more water to counteract it. OK, I have caffeine once or twice a month. I have alcohol once or twice a week. I always have extra water when I indulge. Which I do. On occasion.

I am working on getting my water consumption back up to par before I begin using my new beauty regimen. Water will only help! Let’s face it, I lack any kind of regimen right now, so ANYTHING will help, right?

Drink your water.  It’s good for you!

Happy Mail

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2,000 new Beauty Advisors are being processed today (I’m number 2,086 when last I saw the number.) I should be processed in the next few weeks, and rumor has it my kit will ship today or tomorrow.

Having stalked my bank account all morning, watched a movie, and partook in some quality time with the kitties, I decided I should leave the house and find something worthwhile to do.  Like get a cup of tea, put gas in the car, pay a couple bills, write a blog post…When I got outside, something caught my eye.  My mailbox was exploding with Happy Mail.

What is Happy Mail?  Mail that makes you happy, of course!  Today’s mail brought me a skirt I bought from a direct sales gal I know (it’s blue, and it’s fabulous,) new business cards, nail wraps, and a lovely gift from a fabulous friend.  I couldn’t wait, I had to open it all IN MY CAR!  I found the overflowing mailbox when I was leaving the house, so that kinda made sense.

All these envelopes of happiness made me smile really big, and it really did brighten my day. You could say, it made me happy!

Who doesn’t like new, shiny things that make them happy?

 

My Skin Care Regimen – Part 1

Wise words from a dear friend. Once upon a time my friend and I went to a New Year’s Eve party. We had some tasty beverages, toasted the new year with our friends, and then went back to her place, as it was close and we had a sober ride. I decided to spend the rest of the night on her sofa rather than drive home in a slightly intoxicated condition (always a good decision!)

That was the night I learned the joys of the DVR and was introduced to a great new show called Sex in the City. I’ve had a DVR ever since, and lived vicariously through Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte for many seasons. Those gals had great skin.

My friend and I sat up for a bit chatting, laughing, catching me up on SITC, enjoying another tasty beverage, having some water. We solved the worlds problems and then called it a night.

As my friend headed to bed she mentioned that she needed to wash her face. What? I could barely get off the sofa, and she was determined to wash her face? I asked about this and she said she washed her face every night, no matter what. It was the main part of her skin care regimen. Well, she did have fabulous skin (and still does!)

Looking back, I should have paid attention. 

I’ve never had a skin care regimen. I’ve tried many, many products over the years, but never consistently. I’ve spent thousands on this system or that, only to try it for a week or two and give up. I was young, impatient, I had plenty of time…

I began worshipping the sun as a pre-teen, using cooking oil as my tanning blend. I am fair skinned with blue eyes. I wasn’t allowed suntan oil, so Wesson worked in a pinch. If I’d known then what I know now.

By my 20’s, I was covered in freckles. Nor the cute kind. The sun-damage kind. I continued to work on my tan. In my 30’s, the lines began forming around my eyes, but my tan was awesome. In my 40’s, I began avoiding the sun and drinking water. Water? Turns out that one is as important as washing your face every night!

Drinking water instead of soda has done wonders. My lips are less chapped. My dry skin requires less lotion. Overall, I feel better when I drink my weight (in ounces) in water each day…or darn close.

My current regemin is embarrassing.

It truly is. Now that I’m in my 50’s (barely) I am concerned about my previous choices. I want to get it right. I want to make improvements to my skin.

Look for the details of the embarrassing regimen and what I’m doing to remedy it in Part 2…

Hello April! 

New month. New business. New Opportunities. Spring is in full swing, unless you’re in Florida. If you’re in Florida, summer has begun! Mid-high 80’s this week. I am not mentally prepared for summer, but it’s here.

April is usually the time I change the color on my toes to something springier. When I take up walking…again. When I enjoy the long days and cool evenings. The cool evenings will be gone soon enough. New beginnings.

April it always a transition month for me. As a child, April often meant an Easter week trip to camp on a beach near Mendocino. Last April my mother passed away. One April, a thousand years ago, I walked out on an abusive relationship. See? Transition.

This April brings new adventures. 

I WILL begin walking again. It’s time. I have a brace for my ankle, and I may even have a couple pair of good socks.

I WILL give yoga another try.

I WILL begin my Willing Beauty adventure.

I WILL take better care of myself, and my skin.

That’s a whole lot of adventure kinda stuff I’ve thrown out into the universe!

– Penny

Osprey and Heartache


I drive past 12 osprey nests on the way to and from work. Most are within a one mile stretch of road. Every day o see the nests, and often times I see the birds, beautiful, magnificent creatures that amaze me. 

I wish them good morning each day. I count how many I see. They make me smile. I know it will be a good day when I see them. How can it not be?

Friday night I happened upon an Osprey Cam for one of the nests. According to the blog, there were two babies and a third egg waiting to hatch. My bank has adopted these osprey and had ensured them a safe home. The story of this family is heartwarming. 

Saturday I tuned in periodically throughout the day. I saw the mama and the babies, the papa bird bringing them a fish, the feeding. It was magical. 

When I got news that a wonderful person I know received a devastating cancer diagnosis, I pulled up the osprey. When the work day ended and I was tired and overwhelmed, I pulled up the osprey. It was then I noticed one baby was motionless. I cried. The other baby was active and I clung to the idea that it was the bright spot of the day. New life, so cute, so sweet. Hope in a nest. 

Over dinner I learned that a second wonderful person’s husband received a devastating cancer diagnosis. No way! Back to the osprey. As the sun began to set, mama and baby were settled in, and again, the adorable life in that nest was a bright shiny spot as I thought of my friends. 

Sunday morning I tuned in. I couldn’t see the baby. My heart dropped and I became concerned. An hour later I saw the Facebook post: both babies had passed. 

Mother Nature let me down. 

I cried for an hour. I assumed the fetal position, snuggles with my cat and cried the loud, ugly cry. I cried off and on the rest of the day. I have tears now, even as I type this. What happened? Why? How do the parents feel? How will we go on?

Mother Nature had other plans for those sweet babies. Mother Nature can bite me…letting me fall in love then ripping my heart out. Heavy sigh. 

Some days you need more baby osprey and less real life. 

I checked the Osprey Cam yesterday evening and the mama was eating a fish. The nest looked so…quiet. Sadness washed over me again. 

Today I will see the 12 nests I’ve become an expert at spotting. If I time my commute right I will see 4-8 osprey hanging out watching commuters go by. Eleven is the record. 

I’m not sure my heart can take more bad news right now. May today be free of death and disease. 

If you’d like to see my friends the osprey, you can tune into the live feed anytime. They are fascinating creatures that will continue to enchant me. 

Radio Silent

I’ve been “radio silent” for a bit (according to a few friends.) It’s been rather nice! What happened? I achieved an amazing sense of overwhelm that allowed me to step back, breath, and regroup. I’ve never in my life disengaged and taken time to take care of me like I have the last several weeks. 

I gave myself permission to stop and simply BE. 

My day job required everything I had in me from November through   a good part of March. Things ramped up like I never thought possible at the beginning of February. It became grueling, day in and day out. Not the job itself, but the people. I rarely speak of the day job, but I will here to help paint the picture. 

We made a change in January that upset many who frequented one location. I can only describe the daily interactions with angry people as often bordering on abuse. Every. Single. Day. Soul sucking. 

I was filled with dread when I woke up and had to go there, and beaten down when the day was over. Then I tried to do everything else in the evenings and on my days off. I wasn’t doing anything well, and I couldn’t get ahead of anything. Worst of all, I was changing. I didn’t like the “me” that all this was creating. I stopped recognizing myself. 

At that point, I realized that I had nothing left to give. Once I made peace with that, I stopped trying to do it all. Some interesting changes have taken place as a result. 

Sleep. I’ve begun sleeping better. To know me is to know I’m sleep in snippets, and am tired a lot of the time.  Now? I’m in bed between 9pm and 10pm most nights, and falling asleep. I wake less, and am sleeping more. Most days I feel refreshed when I wake. That’s new!

Friends. I am socializing a bit less, but it’s more fun. My head is in the experience, rather than in 100 different places. It’s quality time, and I’m enjoying “being fully present” for the first time in ages. 

Work. Things at the day job are calm again, and I’m happy again. I’m managing my time better, and am more productive. I’m not tired all the time, and I can focus. 

Direct Sales. I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I’m reminding myself that I need to maintain balance. I’m also evaluating and trying to decide exactly what I want from a direct sales business and how to get it. With a clear head, I can do that. 

Entertainment. My DVR is empty for the first time in years. I’m listening to podcasts I enjoy, and reading. There is TIME to unplug and just BE. 

Kitties. My cats have loved the extra time they have with me. We have more quality time than we did. Happy kitties are a good thing! 

I’m reminding myself to…

Herman’s Return from Vacation

(If you’re new here, I first introduced Herman in Derailed on May 31. I talked about him again a few times, including in Yearly Doctor Visit on January 27, 2017.  Herman is the area of my head that began as a concussion, but I now know is a skull fracture. It’s fascinating to me how the brain and body works. Making him a person in my life has helped me cope with much better than when he was simply “the lump”.  Don’t fall of a ladder and you won’t have to worry about having a Herman in your life!)

Herman has been quiet for a while.  He behaved, he let me sleep at night (with my head on a pillow sometimes!) he didn’t bother me during the day, in fact, I kind of forgot about him…I figure he was on vacation.  Maybe a cruise, or a trip abroad.  Wherever he was, I was happy for the solitude…

…He’s back.  He’s back and he obviously doesn’t like what I’ve been up to!  Herman needs a new hobby. It began on Friday when things got really crazy and hectic at work.  I was working the register, ringing up people who had just finished their fabulous experience at our shop. The rest of the staff was working on helping them get packed up and re-configuring our space to accommodate a class of 18 people the next day.  It was a huge undertaking.

As luck would have it, I got too many questions from too many people, plus the phone began ringing and customers needed attention.  Suddenly, it was as if I was moving in slow motion.  Everything around me was moving at super speed and I was unable to do anything but observe.  I quickly realized that this was not good, and removed myself from the chaos.  I went back to the register, ignored the phone and focused on one customer at a time.

Within about twenty minutes, the store was cleared out, the area re-set, and Herman was bothering me.  The tingly sensation was back, and the dull throb began.  He’s been with me for four days now.  He doesn’t want me putting my head on a pillow, he’s a bit sore, and he’s reminding me to slow the heck down!

Herman really amazes me.  This fellow who lives in my head and reminds me to step back, slow down, and behave.  I had a hectic week last week, and he stepped in.  It’s a love/hate relationship I have with Herman.  Most of the time his timing stinks.  I have a lot on my plate right now and need to keep a pace. He loves me enough to make me slow down and not keep a pace.

Oh Herman.  Whatever will I do with you?

A Yummy Lunch!

I can’t help myself.  I love to take pictures of my food.  I love to write about my food.  Perhaps I missed my calling.  Perhaps I should be a food critic!

Today was all about what to do with the organic avocado that looked SOOOO tasty at the market this morning.  I had to have it!  I bought an organic potato to go with it.  My rationale?  An avocado MUST be healthier than butter and sour creme, right?  Then I knew I’d need a little more umph with my lunch, so I grabbed a can of Amy’s Organic Medium Chili.

(Note, I don’t always do organic, but I was at the healthy food market and that’s all they had!)

I cooked the potato in a handmade potato bag in the microwave.  Yes, you can make these, and they steam up a potato really well!  Mine has been used and abused, and is not very pretty, so no photo.

Next I mashed up the avocado with my potato.  Mmmm.  Then I topped it with half a can of chili and heated it up a bit more.  That was my lunch.  That and my water with lemon and I was a happy girl.  (By the way, the avocado was WAY better than butter and sour creme!)

For my birthday, one of my besties gave me a neat gizmo that holds my water.  The lid has two parts – one side is a juicer, and the other a sealing lid!  I grabbed a jug of alkaline water and an organic lemon, and had me some yummy water!   I need to up my water intake, so this will help a lot.

So there you have it.  One simple, tasty, delightful lunch.  Bon appetite!

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