🎶 Time passes by, people get old 🎶

If we were still living in our camper we’d be very busy packing up getting ready to head South. There was always a bit of excitement preceding the travels. Instead, we are trying to figure out how it’s possible that on this date two years ago we had College Hunks help us move all our possessions into this apartment. I think there is some truth to that idea that time seems to pass more quickly the older one gets.

I still miss the camping life somewhat. Mostly it’s the people I miss. Camping folks are, for the most part, very friendly, welcoming, and like to chat. And folks we live amongst in this apartment complex are pretty much the opposite. I’ve written about this before, I know.

I think there are 154 apartments here. Dave and I came up with about 4 people who actually say hello to us – and we don’t know their names, with the exception of one person. For the most part, we just know them because of their friendly dogs… we DO know some of the dogs names though! 😊

It’s almost eerie how people move in and out of here but we hardly ever see the moves in progress. I check the website every once in a while to see which apartments are coming up as available, just to see if we’ll have new neighbors. We ran into one of our new next door neighbors in the hallway recently and I said, “Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m Kathi and this is my husband, Dave.” The guy quickly said hi and went on his merry way – no idea what the heck his name is.

We did happen to meet a couple of folks while we were grilling recently – they were talking to another resident and I mentioned how nice it was to see that some people actually do have conversations with their neighbors. They asked if we were new here and were shocked to learn we’ve lived here for almost 2 years. They laughed and just said, “Yeah, there are some pretty pretentious people living here.” We haven’t seen them again! LOL

But life is still good. We enjoy weekends at Paul’s house, game times with Laura (and sometimes Emma and/or Matt), watching some of Emma’s basketball games. We have friends here we gather with at times. COVID, assorted medical issues amongst us all, etc. have made those gatherings few and far between. But I think we’ve all been vaccinated/boosted and most of those health issues have been taken care of for now, so hopeful we can get together more often.

And, truth be told, Dave and I are really quite okay spending most days just us. We enjoy each other’s company. We enjoy playing games – Mexican Train, Gin, Backgammon, Phase 10, SkipBo, etc. We enjoy reading, short walks, and sightseeing drives. We are really quite content. Good thing since we’ll celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary on October 24th! Here’s to the next however many years the Universe decides to bless us with 🥂

🥳 Happy Anniversary 🥳

Oops, I missed it! April 2nd was the 2 year anniversary of this blog. I don’t have a lot of readers, but I sure have enjoyed writing. One of the reasons I started this blog was to help me get over the intense fear I have of other people reading the thoughts I put down “on paper.” My school years, with all those essays and speeches and reports, were full of anxiety! And OMG – having to get up in front of the class??!! Glad that’s all behind me now. Even though I’m so much better at handling those situations these days. I got to that “I don’t give a darn what others think” stage (for the most part) sometime around my 50th birthday, but only recently could I apply that feeling to my writing. So freeing!

Another reason I started this blog (besides the fact that my friend, Betty, made it look so darned easy!) is that it was a way for me to share our adventures. Back then we were living in our camper full time and traveling between Florida and Rhode Island every year. We had some great adventures, met a lot of wonderful people – many of whom became good friends. Now, we live in an apartment not too far from either of our adult children and we enjoy a very quiet life. But I’m hoping to start expanding our horizons a bit as the weather improves, and as long as COVID doesn’t go crazy again. I look forward to sharing our adventures once again!

Last month I shared how I had given up eating meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy. I suppose vegan is a label often attached to that, but I’m not so sure I can claim to be vegan – it’s a lot of work trying to figure out if ALL the products we use were made by companies that don’t do horrible tests on animals, though I’d sure like to find out and avoid those. And the vegetarian label doesn’t quite fit either: A vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs), whereas a vegetarian diet excludes just meat, poultry, fish and seafood. So, I’d say I’m somewhere between vegan and the very popular Whole Foods/plant based category.

Whatever the label, let me just say that I’m really having a lot of fun reading cookbooks, recipes that show up in my inbox, and blogs… LOTS of blogs! And I’m having even more fun trying many of those recipes! Although, quite honestly, I’m still happy with the simpler meals: oatmeal or granola with fruit for breakfast, salad of some sort for lunch, potato or quinoa or some variety of pasta or grain with roasted veggies for supper.

Arugula, cranberry, pecan, and roasted acorn squash

As I shared last month, I’ve tried some of the faux meats, though for the most part I would gladly do without those. I did like Gardein’s meatballs, and Trader Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef worked really well in the taco meat recipe we’ve used for years. I found a recipe for bacon bits that is quite good also. Other than that, I’m quite happy to stick with beans, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Nachos containing taco meat made with Trader Joe’s beefless ground beef

Tofu is my latest experiment. It’s interesting, a blank slate of sorts, and used as a substitute for so many different types of foods. So far I’ve only attempted 2 of the many tofu recipes I’ve collected: I drained and pressed some firm tofu last week, then marinated it and air fried. It was delicious – even Dave enjoyed it, saying it reminded him of fried popcorn chicken (Although, to be honest it’s all about the visual and the texture for Dave. He lost his sense of smell, and therefore taste, decades ago); This morning I attempted a frittata made from silken tofu (in place of eggs) and veggies. It tasted good, but definitely didn’t come out as the recipe indicated it should. I think the leftover veggies I used were just a bit too soggy and/or I just didn’t drain the tofu enough, so it caused the frittata to not firm up as much as expected. I’ll eat the leftovers and will try again – but with a better selection of vegetables and better draining.

Air fried tofu and veggie tofu frittata

With the temperatures warming a bit, I’ve returned to walking outside. Perfect for spending time with the grand-dogs! On weekends, Samson walks with me… not too fast and not too far though. His limit seems to be about 1.5 miles these days, but there are lots of different routes we can explore within that distance. And he loves to go for walks! Last week we took Penny for a walk on the bike path near the library. She did quite well, so tomorrow I’m going to take her to another section of that bike path and spend some time alternating walking/running with her. Expend of some of that 7 month old puppy energy! 🤪

Scenes from our walk this past weekend

Shows on Netflix have provided some entertainment lately: “Queen’s Gambit” and “Tender Bar” are two that come to mind. And we both continue to enjoy books from our local library (which provides a receipt letting us know how much money we save by borrowing vs purchasing each book!) And then there is Wordle, Quordle, and canucklegame! LOL Those have become a daily challenge. Lately I’ve told Paul that I must be part Canadian, since canucklegame is the one I seem to consistently solve rather quickly. 😉

This evening we’re enjoying the Ken Burns documentary about Ben Franklin. So much we didn’t know! Looking forward to the rest of the series.

And I look forward to hearing from you… Make a comment, like the post – let me know you’re out there!

Wishing you all health, happiness, and peace!

Our Easter Tree

With love –

Kathi

Never say never!

So I did a thing. A huge life changing thing.

A thing I NEVER ever thought I would do! I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’m pretty sure I’ve said something along the lines of totally not understanding how anyone would/could do this thing many times in my life. But now? Now I totally understand!

As I said in my last post, I often read something and figure I might as well try it. Well just over a month ago, I read something that led me to more than that. It led me to instantly give up eating animal products. No meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or dairy. And also, to search for more info… there were many trips to the library for books (that came from libraries all over RI), I spent many hours/days reading those books, many blogs and other online info, as well as watching documentaries. I wondered how the hell I could be so unaware, and angry that I was contributing to a system that inflicts such cruelty and suffering – on animals and humans and the Earth. Factory farming. How do we allow this?!

This decision was one of the best in my life, so far. My health has already improved to the point where my doctor told me to stop taking blood pressure medicine. I feel great physically, and mentally – I’m much relieved to no longer be a part of a system that treats animals so cruelly, causes so much pollution, and causes devastating illness for humans. Praying this decision of mine will have some further positive impact, no matter how small.

And it really wasn’t a difficult adjustment, since I always ate a lot of fruits and veggies anyway. And, though I do eat mostly healthy fruits, veggies and whole grains, there is much “junk food” that falls under the vegan umbrella too! So, if I so choose, I can still have my tea and cookies at night.

I’m having great fun searching out recipes and trying new things. I’ve tried some of those “fake” meats and found some to be quite good (meatballs!) and some to be just ok. I would put the faux “beef tips” used in the corned “beefless” and cabbage recipe last night in the latter category, though they were much better tasting tonight. I guess one of those foods that always taste better a day or more later? The cabbage, carrots, and potatoes cooked in a broth with pickling spices and Bragg’s aminos were delicious, however!

I’ve also made some “bacon” bits that are really good, and I’ve made a few sauces with a raw cashew base. Amazing! I think the smoked carrots I make and put on my avocado, tomato and lettuce (or spinach or whatever) sandwich is one of my favorite recipes. All that and a spicy cashew based sauce – YUM!

And those items noted above that try to replicate animal products – that was something I didn’t understand before. If you don’t want to eat animal products, why do you want to make things that taste like those animal products? I’m feeling rather stupid not having understood this before, but from what I’ve gathered, it’s much like why I stopped eating animal products – it’s not that I didn’t like the taste of that food, because I definitely did! – it’s just that I became aware of how horribly abused and mistreated those animals are and chose to not support that industry any longer.

So, my life has changed – for the better! We’re not going to live forever, I know that. But while I’m alive, I might as well live well. By choosing to eat a (mostly) plant based diet I’m choosing not to destroy my health, I’m choosing not to promote cruelty, I’m choosing not to support an industry that is causing so much suffering to communities, families, animals, and all life on this planet.

And to those who know us, let me confirm that only I have made this decision. While Dave supports my decision, he chooses to continue to eat as he always has. And that’s fine. We all need to live the life we feel is best for us. And a life with all those veggies is SO NOT Dave! 😉

“Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!”

Wishing you much peace, love, and good health!

Kathi

And so it goes…

January brought a blizzard, then February added to the fun with a bit of sleet and ice yesterday. And the silly groundhog saw its shadow, so supposedly 6 more weeks of Winter.

I suspect Spring will show up eventually, but for now I’m kind of enjoying the long pants, turtlenecks, sweatshirts, and sweaters. My old winter coat is still sufficient, but I do need to find a warm pair of gloves. I have 3 or 4 pair, but none of them keep my hands warm! Maybe I’ll just have to double up.

Samson is ready to play in the snow!

In the meantime, we decided we weren’t ready to say goodbye to the cheerfulness some of the Christmas decorations brought to our surroundings. Paul brought his ladder over and hung the white lights around the frame of the windows. We exchanged the colored lights for white lights around the fireplace and changed the tree from Christmas to Valentines Day.

Valentines Day Tree

Dave’s pretty much all recuperated and happy to be walking again. I think that time went by rather quickly, but there seems to be some disagreement on that. Now Dave just has about a months worth of PT to get through and he should be all set! Woohoo!!

Some people give things up for Lent – me, I give things up because I read something and say, “Hey, maybe I’ll give that a try.” And that’s exactly what happened about a week before Christmas – I gave up alcoholic beverages just because I read something (absolutely no idea now what it was, but probably health related) that made me decide it might be something to try for a while – figured I had a doctors appointment mid-March and that would be 88 days of no drinking. Now that I’m more than halfway through those 88 days and not missing the alcohol at all (Dave’s wine even smelled not very good when he set it down nearby the other night), I figure I’ll probably just keep on keeping on… at least for a while.

It was just about a year ago that I was diagnosed with early stage COPD. Recently, I was reading something online about COPD and there was mention of sleeping on an incline to help with breathing. So I said, “Hey, maybe I’ll give that a try!”… And ordered a foam 12” high wedge pillow! Dave says it looks like I’m sleeping on a ski slope, but it’s resulted in the best sleep I’ve had in years!

And the last item under “Hey, maybe I’ll give that a try!” ….

I bought a rebounder (aka mini trampoline) and have been enjoying exercising on it. I am amazed – jumping jacks are a cinch!! Walking/running in place, bouncing and dancing are pretty fun too. There are lots of good workout videos for rebounding on YouTube to follow along with. The best part is that it is SO much easier on the joints to exercise on the rebounder than on solid ground. (I tried jumping jacks on the solid floor the other day – N O P E!! But I can do at between 50-100 of them on the rebounder!)

Our main form of entertainment so far this year has been reading. Dave has been enjoying books by John Grisham and David Baldacci. I reread “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande, and then read “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah, “Block Island Mystery” and “Argentine Mist” by Christopher Dacey (a local writer), “Watership Down” by Richard Adams, and a few others. We watched the “Watership Down” movie after I read the book. (I still can’t imagine 6 year old and 8 year old girls enjoying this, but apparently the author told these stories to his daughters at those ages.)

We don’t really watch much on TV any more. Dave likes to watch “The Price is Right” some mornings and we watch the news, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” most evenings. Friday is Dave’s night for “Diners, DriveIns and Dives” marathon, and he does like to watch some football and baseball during those seasons. That’s about it these days. But we are recording the Olympics (nice to record only the events we are interested in watching!) This evening we watch some Luge runs.

We also started watching the Reacher series on Amazon Prime today. And I watched “Under The Tuscan Sun” yesterday and enjoyed it. And as I type this, we are watching “The Martian.” Probably the most we have watched on Amazon Prime in ages!

Of course, all this reading, tv and movie watching means we’ve taken a break from playing Mexican Train – and just when Dave started winning again! 😉

Well folks, enjoy life and be well!

Kathi & Dave

Farewell 2021!

2021 began with COVID restrictions still in place, bursitis in my right hip causing pain and keeping me from doing all I wished to do, the (not so surprising) diagnosis of COPD, Dave’s ankle causing pain again, and both of us looking to get a bit healthier.

We are ending 2021 with some COVID restrictions starting up again, stretching exercises are keeping bursitis from bothering me too much, COPD is pretty much under control with inhaler use before exercising, we are both many pounds lighter than we were a year ago, and Dave is 3+ weeks into recovery after ankle surgery. Life is really good!

Stage 1 Post Op

In between all that, it’s been a year of so many experiences we are grateful for: celebrations, reunions, the times of sadness and those of happiness.

 

Dave and Paul enjoyed some father/son time camping and watching the car races at Limerock and Watkins Glen.

Rainy & cold in Limerock!

Dave’s sister, Linda, came to visit for several days in July. The last overnight guest in our camper, I think!  Was good to spend time together again. 2020 visit was cancelled due to COVID.

Sadly, we lost 2 friends within 5 days of each other in July: Elaine DeSilva and Margaret Weaver. I noted in my journal that it was interesting how they both were “tell it like it is” people, kind, loving, give you the shirt off their back people… and they were both relatively young. They were loved and are missed. We are thankful to have shared this lifetime with them.

 

I spent a “Girls Weekend” with my friend Colleen, her sister Lisa, and Colleen’s friend Cathi. What a beautiful cabin in a beautiful spot in White Lake, NY! It was so nice to spend such a relaxing weekend together. Hoping to do it again.

White Lake, NY

We also drove down to Maryland in August and enjoyed a visit with my sisters, brother-in-law, niece, nephews, son, daughter, and granddaughter! It had been 2 years since we had all been together, once again due to COVID.

 

FAMILY!!

 

August also brought news that Camp Westwood seasonal camping area was being closed after the season. So, we sold the camper and most of the camping related stuff. Dave was more ready for this than I. I still miss it sometimes, but do agree we made the right decision in selling the camper. It was a wonderful almost 4 years, but we are quite comfortable where we are now and very much enjoying time with our family. 

September found us taking the ferry to Orient Point, something we had not done in many years. We spent a weekend in a little apartment we found on Air BnB, got to visit with Colleen again (twice in just 2 months!!), enjoyed a little time on the beach at Robert Moses, had a great time at my 45th high school reunion, had brunch with childhood neighbor and friend Sharon and her mom (so very nice to spend time with both!!), and enjoyed all the food one has to eat when in NY that I’ve been missing (pizza, Chinese, bagels, etc., etc.)

 

October brought us to a celebration of our 41st wedding anniversary. We spent a fabulous weekend on Block Island. We stayed at the Avonlea and enjoyed the few restaurants and bars that were open. We also got to meet up with Lisa Sprague – Dave hadn’t seen her in many years and this was my first time meeting Lisa. Hope we can spend some time together on our next visit to the island.

 

We’ve enjoyed watching Emma play softball and basketball over the past several months. She plays both quite well; her athletic abilities definitely do NOT come from her Nana! LOL😉

Paula and Frank came to visit us for a couple of nights just before Thanksgiving. We camped out in our little apartment one night, then we all went to visit Paul for the next night. Fun times!

The holidays were pretty much back to normal this year – yippee! We spent Thanksgiving with Paul. On Christmas Day we were able to spend time with all – including Matt’s parents and brother. Was so very nice to spend the holidays together once again. 

New Year’s Eve finds us enjoying a quiet evening at home. Pretty sure we’ll be sound asleep well before midnight and will wish each other a Happy New Year when we wake up to pee in the middle of the night! (The joys of getting older, huh?)

We wish you all a happy, healthy 2022 filled with peace, love, and much joy!

Dave and Kathi

Happy New Year!

Happiness is…

What fun to reconnect with people from my youth! End of September Dave and I spent a long weekend in Babylon, NY and had a blast at my 45th High School Reunion. We so enjoyed our time reconnecting with old friends! I don’t know about you, but a huge part of my memories is food!! We covered all the necessities: pizza, Chinese, bagels and bacon & egg sandwiches on kaiser rolls.

And then I’m thinking back to my March Madness post these days. I’m still a lifetime WW member, but went several months without logging my meals or activity. Somehow 3 months later, my weight was exactly the same!

As I said back in March, my goal is not really weight loss but healthier eating and exercise. This is a bit more difficult when bursitis flares up, but I’m still doing my best. And I feel a lot better than I did at the beginning of the year.

Dave has kind of joined me in this journey and is doing his best each day also. He broke a tooth Saturday night and will have that (and a few other dental issues) taken care of in two weeks. Ankle surgery is now scheduled for December 9th and dealing with the post-op picture is our current focus. Non weight-bearing for 6 weeks!! That is going to take a lot of upper body strength and coordination. We are looking into pre-op PT to help with that and are also making a list of things we’ll need to buy to make it easier at home. Prayers are most welcome!

I have been enjoying fitness sessions available at seniorplanet.org The morning and afternoon stretches (as well as other offerings) are wonderful! I have experienced VERY little bursitis pain since I started these sessions a few weeks ago. Yesterday I walked about 2.5 miles and today 2.6 miles pain free!! I haven’t been able to do that in a very long time. And today I was even able to jog for about 45 steps 4 or 5 times during my walk. My goal is to walk 50 miles in November.

While not aiming for vegan or vegetarian diet, I am trying to include many more plant foods into my diet. I’ve aimed for 30 different plants per week and have been doing really well for these past 4 or 5 months. It’s definitely not as difficult as I thought it would be, though I am trying to diversify a bit more.

Dave and I celebrated our 41st Anniversary last month! We spent a long weekend on Block Island at the Avonlea. Sabrina was a wonderful host and we look forward to staying there again in the near future. We enjoyed meals at the Poor People’s Pub and McAloon’s during our stay on the island. Highly recommend! And buy a calendar from Blue Moon Creations of Block Island if you have the chance… beautiful pictures and quotes! https://www.facebook.com/blue.moon.353 or mamasprague1120 on Instagram.

Dave wanted to make sure I included the addition of our newest grand puppy – Penny! She is so cuddly and adorable, though Samson (our other grand dog) hopes she calms down very soon! LOL

Taco Penny!

For everything there is a season

It’s been almost 4 months since I last wrote. Back then we were quite content being at Camp Westwood once again.

Then on August 8th we received news that the YMCA Board of Directors had voted to discontinue seasonal camping and close its seasonal campground at the end of the season – October 15th. Very surprising and sad news indeed.

After talking it over for a bit we decided it was probably the push we needed to move on. We really enjoyed our time camping, but much had changed this past year that brought stress instead of peace… especially the mice issues. They just weren’t going away and the thought of them partying in the camper again over the winter was not a something we looked forward to dealing with. Also, we thought maybe COVID had eased enough to begin traveling again.

We drove down to Maryland in August and enjoyed a visit with family: sisters, brother in law, niece, nephews, daughter, son, and granddaughter. First time we’d all been together in well over a year, so was really a very nice visit.

In September we enjoyed a long weekend in my hometown of Babylon, NY. First time staying in an AirBnB and first Uber rides. Both good first experiences. We had a great time at my 45th high school reunion and it was nice to spend some time with childhood friends/neighbors/classmates over the weekend. The weather was perfect and we got to spend a few hours at the beach Sunday afternoon. As with every place we’ve ever lived, what I miss most is food. My list for this visit included things that are never as good as they are in NY: pizza, bagels, kaiser rolls (bacon, egg and cheese sandwich!) and Chinese food. And all were as delicious as I remembered them to be, if not better. On our way to the Orient Point Ferry we stopped at Hero Express in Bohemia, NY to get a roast beef hero. We enjoyed that bit of deliciousness with a Bloody Mary for lunch on the ferry. YUM!

So here we are in October. The camper has been sold. We sold some things on Facebook Marketplace. Some stuff ended up in the dumpster, some given away or stored in our sons basement. And then there are all the belongings we moved into the apartment with us. Storage space here is extremely limited, so a few new shelving units were purchased and assembled over the past couple of months to help get us organized. We’re getting there.

As we venture into this next season of our lives, we’ll continue to travel and look forward to sharing our adventures with you all.

May your life be filled with peace, love, and laughter. Be well.

The joys and challenges of camp life

Joy:

We’ve been back at Camp Westwood for about a month now and it’s been nice spending so much time outside again. We’ve enjoyed sunny days at the lake – the water is just barely near swimmable temperature… for us old folks, anyway. The kids have been swimming for weeks now.

Challenge:

The mice continue to be a challenge this year, although thankfully they are confining their visits to the storage areas and underbelly of the camper now. But that still presents a problem because mice are known to cause major damage to campers, so we have multiple traps below and they are proving to be quite effective.

Challenge:

We’ve also been under a boil water order from the RI Department of Health since just after Memorial Day weekend due to possible E. coli found in a water sample. Hoping that is lifted once the latest test results are provided later today. I don’t normally drink/cook with the water straight from the faucet at any campground, but Dave does. He might have changed his mind about that now, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. We know some people here are still drinking and cooking with the tap water and they haven’t gotten sick.

Joy:

We are enjoying the convenience of camper and apartment within 20 minutes of each other. We go home to do laundry and fill bags with regular size ice cubes from the ice maker in the freezer once or twice a week. Also refilling jugs with filtered water from the fridge.

Joy:

Gemma has been a fun addition to camp life this year also. Emma enjoys sitting in the back to be our mirror, letting us know if there is a car behind us. We won’t tell her about the rear view mirror we’ve ordered. 😉

Joy:

Campfires! Whether with friends or just us two, we love to sit around a campfire at night. S’mores of different varieties are on the menu, of course! And if just us two, we might be listening to a baseball game on the radio.

As usual, our challenges are outnumbered by the joy of life. Hope yours are too!

EEK!

Well, evidently Rhode Island mice are quite the party animals! We stored our camper in Georgia for 5 months and had no issues. We stored our camper in our campsite at Camp Westwood over the winter and those mice sure had fun!! YIKES – what a mess! Evidently, all the preventative measures we took (and spent lots of $ on) didn’t work for the 7 month storage duration. We’ve spent the past 2 days vacuuming up mouse feces and acorns… spraying cloth surfaces with bleach/water solution, scrubbing all other surfaces with bleach solution. Had to remove the screws/brackets holding the loveseat and theater seating so we could move them to clean the mouse feces behind/under them. Many loads of laundry and hand washing of stuff in drawers/closets. What fun!

Lesson learned. We’re figuring that next year we will have to just set mouse traps and visit the camper at least weekly to make sure no party activity is occurring. We live close enough to make that happen.

We are thankful that at least this was something we were able to clean up after. We got lots of exercise too!

Still not 100% sure it was all from mice. The feces – definitely mice! But perhaps the acorns, etc. were from chipmunks? We’ll probably never know. We haven’t seen squirrels in camp, but have seen chipmunks and mice. Other campers have reported dead mice in their campers, so I’m thinking we are lucky to not find them in ours. We’ve set traps since our initial discovery, but so far looks like ours was the party site and they moved on.

We’ll visit a couple more times this week to make sure everything is clean and stocked up for opening day next weekend. We’ve been told we are the party site opening day on the 15th. Firewood is set to be delivered that day, and we’ll be ready for whomever shows up to party. BYOB!!

Let the camping season begin : )

March Madness

My sister-in-law Linda once told me that she has never known a person whose weight yo-yos as much as mine does. And she was so right! I used to focus just on losing weight. Didn’t matter if I was actually healthy, just that I was no longer fat… until the next time I got tired of not eating and partying like everyone else I hung out with and gained weight again. And then after a while I’d feel uncomfortable enough to lose weight once again. Weight Watchers was a part of my life many times. But apparently I just wanted to figure out how to continue to eat junk food while staying within my allotted points because I had notes telling me the point values for Funny Bones and various other junk food.

My friend Cathy and I joined a gym on Long Island. We used to laugh our way through aerobics class and then stop at McDonald’s on our way home!

Last time we lived in Coventry I joined a gym with Laura, who used to have to move to the other side of the room to avoid spending the entire step aerobics class laughing as her mother tried to follow along. Oh well, I laughed myself silly during that class – and laughing burns calories too, right?

I also found Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Away The Pounds” videos back then. Sometimes Dave, Laura, and I would manage to find enough room for all of us to try to follow along – I remember lots of laughter with that also. But at least we doing something as a family, right?

But exercise was never really a part of my life. We were outside a lot, rode our bicycles or walked everywhere, but I never “exercised.” I think growing up feeling that I was totally uncoordinated and not good at sports played a huge role in that. I never really felt confident in myself growing up. And those feelings followed me through most of my adult life.

It wasn’t until we moved to Jacksonville, FL that I really started to enjoy walking as a form of exercise. I laugh when I think about the first time Dave and I took a walk “around the neighborhood.” We didn’t really know our way around the neighborhood and ended up on a 4-mile route back home! It was hot and humid and we thought we might die before we made it home! LOL

I’ve come a long way since then. I was walking up to 5 miles many days of the week. Then maybe about a year ago, I read a Jeff Galloway book and I decided it would be ok if I ran, maybe just a little. And then my friend Betty helped me find my comfort zone. And now I have come to really enjoy alternating walking and running… and pushing myself a little beyond that comfort zone sometimes.

I have an hour in the Fitness Room reserved usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. I walk on the treadmill for a while, and then I bump up the speed and run for a little while. Sometimes I can run for 1-minute spurts, sometimes only 15 or 30 seconds. But it all feels so good! More recently, I started “warming up” on the elliptical. That seems to be a bit more of a challenge for me and requires me to find some coordination!  At first I could only handle a couple of minutes and I’ve now worked myself up to about 8 – 10 minutes.

I signed up for WW (formerly Weight Watchers) at the end of last year, just to give me some structure. This time I’m not so much about losing the weight as I am about healthier food choices. I am not trying to lose weight as fast as I can, I am trying to see what healthy changes I can make and stick with long term…. stop the yo-yo dieting nonsense and keep my blood pressure in check. That’s what really led me in this direction – my blood pressure. Things I have noticed that raise my blood pressure: pain, lack of good sleep, lack of abundant fruits and veggies in my diet. So I am working to stay out of pain, sleep well and eat lots of fruits and veggies. No Funny Bones, though I do enjoy some air popped popcorn at times, and maybe the occasional splurge on guacamole and tortilla chips. I’m still working on the bag of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses that Paul gave me for Christmas!

I’m looking forward to being outside more. I look forward to meeting Laura in the early mornings for a walk/run on the high school track. I also look forward to walking around Camp Westwood… not too much running goes on there because I’m busy chatting with neighbors I meet along the way!

I’m not sure why I am sharing all this with you. March Madness? Or maybe by sharing with you all I will be more apt to stick with it. Having support is always good! And, as I’ve told my doctors, I don’t want to take medicine unless absolutely necessary. I’d much rather change my diet and exercise habits instead, so I’m working to find what works best to keep my blood pressure in check and keep me healthy.

And I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to do just that!

Best 6 Doctors: Sunshine, Water, Air, Exercise, Diet, Rest