Choosing to change.

Change is a touchy subject for some people. For me, it depends on the situation. It can be positive when the change is your choice. If it isn’t and you have no control over the change or the change doesn’t make sense to you, it is tougher to swallow.

Sometimes you have to choose between the status quo or drastic change. When this happens, you may need to make a Pros and Cons list. That usually helps me. You can always talk to a trusted friend or family member to get feedback on your thoughts. There is also the option to talk to a professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Sometimes a change is needed to preserve your physical or mental health. These changes are usually ones that cause the most turmoil but end up being life changing.

Don’t be afraid to make changes in your life. Choose your change. Don’t wait for someone to choose it for you.

So, I say to my family and friends, if you ever want to talk about something in your life that needs changing, I’m here

Take care and thanks for reading.

How to exercise when you are not flexible

A lot of exercise programs assume that you are flexible and can get up and down from the floor with no problem. Well, I can’t. Because of this, I have been on the hunt for flexibility exercises and programs to help me improve so I can do the other exercises. I think I have found some good ones.

First of all, Mike and I have started doing Apple Fitness +, which start you off, in my opinion, as an advanced beginner. I am NOT an advanced beginner. I am a beginner. If there was something lower than a beginner, I think I’d be in that category. Ha ha…at least I can laugh at myself.

Here are some of the sources of the exercise that I started today.

Better5 – I can’t remember how I stumbled across this website but it has some excellent programs. There is a small charge for the classes (all prerecorded virtual programs) but once you pay, it is yours. Their website is www.better5.com. I started the 10 day chair Pilates class this morning and I feel fantastic. It took about 10 minutes for me to complete todays exercises. I think that is reasonable. Right now this class is on sale for $17. It is normally $47, so you can save $30 if you sign up while it is still on sale. Two of the other programs I have completed and still use are – Foot Strength for Mobility and Balance as well as Hand and Wrist Flexibility Restoration. So, if you need to get yourself ready to do those harder workouts, Better5 is a great place to start.

DailyOM – I found DailyOM when I was looking for some relaxation exercises to help with my stiff back. They have so many different courses on their website www.dailyOM.com. There is a charge for most of their classes but they give you a choice on how much you pay, usually $15, $35, or $50. The two courses that I have participated in are Chair Yoga for Healing, Strength, and Mobility and Overcoming Body Stiffness. I guess you can see a pattern in my class choices. Over the years, my body has grown extremely stiff for many reasons (car accident, laziness, need to lose weight) and I am trying to remedy that. They have more than just exercise classes. You should go and check them out.

BodyGroove – I generally hate exercise that is labeled as exercise. You know the kind where you are grunting and sweating and just not having fun. What if you could get some great cardio exercise and have fun at the same time??? YOU CAN! Body Groove was started by Misty Tripoli. If you sign up and take the 30 day challenge, you will learn the story of her fight with bulimia and how she ended up starting Body Groove. You can purchase her videos to watch at home or you can join Body Grove On-Demand and get access to 200+ routines. You can also download individual classes. Check out http://www.bodygrove.com. The workouts are fun and they really get you moving. If you are looking for a fun and funky workout that doesn’t feel like a workout, you should try Body Groove.

I hope you all are well and that your New Year is fabulous.

(P.S. I will only recommend programs that I have tried. I am not compensated in any way by these sites. I just believe in them enough to share.)

Prepping for a NEW YEAR

I haven’t stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve in years. Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I have decided to stay up until midnight to make sure that 2020 actually ends. I’m sort of worried that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that the date is December 32, 2020. That would be so 2020!

During the month of December I have been working on plans for 2021.

  1. Health – I’ve started what, so far, is a helpful way to lose weight. NOOM. Someone I know lost 100 pounds using this service so I thought I’d try. So far I am down 6 pounds! It is a very different approach towards weight loss. More info to come in the new year as I chronicle my journey. Mike and I are also starting to exercise more and plan to make it a habit in 2021.
  2. Career – Since work has changed so much this year, I have been feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. I have decided to work on taking my passion for crafting to the next level. I’ve been listening to the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast and have really been inspired to find how I can make the world a better place through my passion of crafting. Things currently in the works:
    • Craft videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting a good enough following to monetize my craft videos.
    • Creating a plan to sell my crafts on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, craft shows, etc. I am making a list of what to make in preparation for upcoming holidays and celebrations.
    • Planning a way to start doing at-home craft parties once we all get Covid-19 under control.
    • Collaborating with two friends on a really cool videography project.
  3. Reading – Increase my reading and book review blog posts by creating a calendar to remind myself to post reviews to my blog twice a month.
  4. Brainstorming on a podcast idea I have.

So, those are my big plans to make 2021 the best year ever.

What are your plans for 2021? Do you plan to stay up until midnight? Do you have a craft you would like me to create a video for? Do you have any book recommendations for me? How about a healthy recipe or an exercise for me to add to our getting healthy plan? Please drop me a note below and I promise to send you a great big thank you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Slow and steady

In my mind, I see the story of the tortoise and the hare. Remember that one? I have always loved that story. The hare thinks he will always win because he is faster, so he laid down and took a nap. While he was napping, the tortoise, who is slow but never gives up, wins. That’s how I’m taking this whole get healthy and lose weight thing. I’m down 3.9 pounds. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of all my friends and family. I am saving all of the recipes and tips that you have sent me and am hoping, with cooler weather, to take some of you up on taking a walk together. My friend, Suzanne, and I have joined 99 Walks, which is a motivational tool to get us walking. I’m looking forward to walking together in person or virtually. Thanks Suzanne!

One thing I have to get better at is planning meals. Some days when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is prep and cook a meal. This past week there were several days where I came home and said “NOPE!!! I’m ordering DoorDash”. This has got to stop. Not only is it more expensive than eating at home, it is harder to find healthier foods for delivery. So, Mike and I will be making up a menu, shopping, and doing some real food prep today. I want to see how much money and time we save doing this. If anyone has any tips, tricks, or recipes for meal planning, I would be grateful if you would share.

See you all next Monday for my weekly weigh-in.

Overwhelmed with your kindness and excited about the future.

Everyone has been so supportive of my weight loss journey. I’ve received so many tips and messages of encouragement the past few days. I love each and every one of you for joining my cheering squad! It was kind of overwhelming to get all the messages. You all lifted my spirits!

So far, things are going well. We’ve found some great recipes that use more Whole Foods and less processed foods. Our two favorites have been the crunchy chicken and black bean tacos and the glazed pork loin with cucumber radish salad.

Breakfast has always been hard for me because it is my favorite meal. I love everything about a good hearty breakfast. Scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, pastries, and most of all – delicious coffee. I can have eggs on Weight Watchers. They are actually a zero points food. (Please don’t ask me to explain why. I don’t care why, I’m just glad they are). Two slices of bacon cooked crispy are 3 points. Pastries – I have to cut them out all together. They are delicious but they are like Pringles to me – I can’t just eat one. LOL.

Then comes coffee. I like mine light and sweet. That means a lot of cream and a lot of sugar. Yesterday I tried having my coffee with 1% milk and Swerve sweetener. BLECH!!!! Today I am using 1 TBSP of Natural Bliss Salted Caramel creamer. It is n to sugar free. It is 2 points for each tablespoon. I did not add any additional sweetener and it is ok.

I am already feeling improvements in how I feel. I slept really well last night after working hard around the house with food prep and laundry. My mood is better and I feel that I can accomplish this task and reach my goal.

Blame in on the…

In July 2019, I bared my soul and admitted, not only my weight but that the doctor told me I had to do something about it.

I did. Joined Weight Watchers online, right after I got home from the doctors appointment. I was actually doing very well. Blood pressure down. Lost 18 pounds. I was moving more and eating healthier.

Then came Covid-19.

I am not putting all the blame on Covid though. I am fully accepting my contributions to my backslide. However, I lay about 49% of the blame on this stupid “new normal”.

Since I don’t have the best immune system, I asked put in for a work from home assignment – but only if someone with more of a reason to stay home (small children, elderly parents living with them, immune compromised themself or a family member at home.). I was given the work at home assignment to help another department handle calls from people who needed financial assistance or were looking for information. While I am grateful for the chance to stay home and healthy, I was now tethered to a computer answering calls 8 hours a day. The ringer on the laptop didn’t work, so I actually had to sit, with headphones on, waiting for a call to come in. So, what did I do – I snacked because I was bored. On top of snacking, I literally sat for 8 hours. Sitting and snacking for 8 hours. In my regular job, I would be on my feet most of the day attending to the needs of the patrons at the library. So….you got it…the weight piled on.

On top of all of the snacking and sitting, I was also an emotional wreck. My visit to my elderly (sorry Mom and Dad – I don’t think of you as elderly. When I close my eyes I see you in your 40s still.) parents was cancelled due to the pandemic. Our other mini vacation to the Flower and Garden show at Epcot in Orlando was also a victim of the pandemic. To make matters worse during this terrible 2020 shit show, we had two relatives die without us being able to celebrate their lives at a funeral or memorial service.

Then, we discovered Door Dash. Now I didn’t have to shop, prep, or cook everyday. We just ordered our food – already cooked – to be delivered. Bad find. That food is NOT healthy. Chilis, Chik-fil-A, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabbas, Metro Diner, Wendy’s, Plaza de Mexico, Buffalo Wings and Rings…all so delicious and so NOT healthy. While it helped to deal with the changing situation of food shortages and also put funneled some money into our local eateries, more pounds packed on.

About two months into working from home, I decided that, in order to stop snacking constantly, I needed to find something to keep my hands occupied. CRAFTS to the rescue.

I painted, I drew, I colored, I sewed, I taught myself to crochet. I spent my time looking for something new to learn. I started to learn Spanish. Being distracted from stress eating, I stopped gaining but didn’t lose any weight. In order to do that, I would have to start moving more.

Fast forward to July 8, 2020. My “triumphant” return to my regular job at the library. After sitting every day for three months, I could barely keep up. Between the extra weight, the lack of exercise while working from home, and the stress of being back out in the germs – I thought I was going to have to quit my job because I couldn’t keep up. I would go home and cry because I was in so much pain. It took me almost two months before I was able to keep up with my job again.

Well, I had my four month follow up with my doctor this past Friday. While it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was not good news. After ballooning up to 321 lbs (oh I have a hard time admitting to that in writing but I’m doing it.) I made the commitment to restart Weight Watchers and get to feeling better. At my doctors appointment, I weighed in at 317.6. By some miracle, I was only up a pound from my previous appointment.

After a long discussion about next steps, the doctor agreed to give me 3 months to make progress in my weight loss. I feel terrible, which is a great motivator. Healthy eating and food prep starts today. I did well enough on Saturday and Sunday to actually lose a pound, so the journey has begun….again.

Please, say prayers, think good thoughts, send encouragement, share helpful tips/recipes and exercises you have tried. I need all the help I can get. Each Monday morning, I weigh in. To keep my honest, the doctor asked me to email him my Monday weight.

So on with my journey….

The great and the wonderful

Wow! What a crazy week!

The library where I work was open as usual on Monday. On Tuesday 3/17 we closed to the public. Staff remained working. We have been checking in returned materials, sanitizing them, and shelving them. We have also been answering phone calls. Most of the calls have been “Are you open?” I am surprised that I haven’t taken any calls asking for information on Covid-19. We are prepared with websites and phone numbers about the illness as well as information on where patrons can go to make photocopies, send faxes, etc. We have begun the enormous task of wiping down all shelving, surfaces, and materials with sanitizer in preparation for the day we can reopen to the public.

On Friday 3/20 we started doing curbside pick-up of reserved materials. We have been calling patrons and letting them know how they can come pick up the materials. The system has gone pretty well and we are still tweaking it. Patron reaction has been amazing.

There have been so many announcements of free online activities, tours, concerts and more. I am going to try to start listing them here. I will also include some links that cost money that I think are worth it. I do NOT get any benefits from referring you there. I just enjoy them and want to share them. I will update the list on a weekly basis. If something really good has been announced, I will try to post it immediately. If you hear of any additional educational, entertaining, or just uplifting websites, please share them in the comments. Anything negative or snarky will not be tolerated.

Field trips

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips – there are some great trips on here

We Are Teachers 25 Amazing Virtual Field Trips for When You Can’t Be There in Person – by teachers for teachers

The Smithsonian – I’ve never made it to the Smithsonian, so I plan on doing this one myself

Activities and Crafts

Easy Peasy and Fun Crafts and Activities – this site has some free activities as well as a subscription. There are some really cute and fun things on here.

Entertainment

Garth Brooks – Garth will be giving a Facebook Live concert on Monday 3/23 at 7pm Eastern. Go follow him on Facebook and make a song request.

Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman’s website has free short stories and other fun stuff. Go to www.neilgaiman.com/Cool_Stuff

Digital Ren Faire – join the Lords and Ladies of the Court for a virtual Renaissance Faire.

Fitness

YMCA 360 – always free for members but they are currently free of charge to the general public.

Stay tuned for more as I find them.

FLATTEN THE CURVE!!! Wash your hands — for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face. Practice social distancing. Call your doctor if you have fever, cough or shortness of breath.

My observations during the Covid-19 pandemic (so far)

Some things I’ve observed as we adjust to our new pandemic reality:

THE BAD

  • Toilet paper apparently cures Covid-19 – NOT!!!  The fact that people were fighting over toilet paper in stores makes me sick.  Remember how we all came together after 9/11?  Shouldn’t we be sharing and helping each other? My heart breaks knowing that children are seeing this type of behavior. It’s bad enough we see it on Black Friday (or Shameful Thursday – when people go shopping after their Thanksgiving feast causing many to have to WORK on Thanksgiving).
  • If we are going to self distance ourselves and follow the direction of the CDC, why do you need ALL of the hand sanitizer???  When you are stuck with hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer and no food, what are you going to do?  Trade hand sanitizer for food?  Selfish.
  • Why do we all of a sudden need hand washing instructions?  What were you doing before Covid-19??? (Ew…I don’t want to know). Want go improve your hand washing and have fun doing it? Create your own 20 second hand washing song at www.washyourlyrics.com.
  • The store being out of toilet paper and ramen noodles is not the fault of the 17-year-old or 77-year-old cashier or bagger at your local grocery store.  Be kind to them for they have to hear the same demands and questions all day long.
  • While we are at it, why don’t we be kind to EVERYONE?!?!?!  Is it really that difficult?  
  • I’m tired of hearing people say things like “I’m not at risk so I’m going out” or “They just want to control us with fear”.  Guess what…just because YOU aren’t at risk doesn’t mean you can’t be a CARRIER and contaminate someone who then goes home to a parent, spouse, or child fighting cancer or asthma. Boom. You just killed someone with your selfishness.
  • People are actually STEALING MASKS AND HAND SANITIZER from hospitals, doctors offices, and public places (at least one library that I know of) that offer it to their patrons to keep them safe.  I’m floored by this.  The masks are needed by healthcare professionals that are taking care of the sick and putting themselves at risk to do so.  How much of an ass do you have be to do that???

THE GOOD

  • Internet companies have been stepping up and offering free internet service to those who can’t afford it so they can home school.
  • Online learning companies have been offering their services for free to help children keep learning during school closings.
  • Can’t go to the movies, the mall, the bars. Can’t watch sports because almost all of them are cancelled.  Guess what you can do:
    • Learn a new language (check your local library. They may have Rosetta Stone or Pronunciator for you to learn for FREE.)
    • Learn to play the guitar/piano/harmonica (check YouTube!)
    • Read a book – physical book or electronic. It doesn’t matter.
    • Write a book
    • Learn to crochet or knit (YouTube it or check out http://www.creativebug.com)
    • Write a letter and send it snail mail (You can even order stamps online to be delivered to your home or print your own label at http://www.usps.com)
    • Clean out your closets and prepare a donation box (thrift shops, goodwill, Salvation Army). They may even pick it up!
    • Check on your neighbors
  • Share a virtual trip or craft project by going online to:

    Monterey Bay Aquarium – https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

    McHarper Manor – https://www.mcharpermanor.com/blog

    Lunch Doodle with Mo Willems – https://tinyurl.com/wfkarpt

Metropolitan Opera – metopera.org

You can also google virtual museum tours, video story time, and many more cool things to keep your kids or yourself from going stir crazy.

Finally – some handy rules:

If you are sick – stay home.

Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.

If you are told to self isolate/quarantine – do it!!!

Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Be kind.

And because it is so important – STAY HOME!!!!!

Happy New (YOU – ATTITUDE) Year!!!!!!!

So 2019 is now a thing of the past. The fireworks are over. The resolutions have been made (or not)! On New Years Day I like to think of a list of words that represent the previous year and my chosen replacement word for 2020. Are you ready for that list?

Move over 2019

Resilience – Normally my first word each year is CHANGE but that one has been over used. I chose resilience for 2019 because was a year of change that I had no control over. I’ve handled all those changes (mostly good changes but some were tough) with resilience. The challenging changes made me a stronger person. The positive changes have made me a kinder, more patient person. For 2020 I will take this resilience and help others to find their own STRENGTH.

RESILIENCE

Divided – I am NOT a big politics fan. I will NOT talk about politics. What I will say is that ALL of our politicians are doing us, and the world a disservice by fighting and not working together. I don’t care which side of the aisle they are on, all of them need to grow up and do their jobs. That’s all! For 2020, I will work hard to be an example to my fellow humans and treat everyone with KINDNESS.

I wish they would GROW UP!

Hate – I was going to use the word anger but there was so much hate this year that I had to use hate, mostly due to the word above. I’ve heard so many people (liberals, conservatives, activists, regular folks, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, socialists, radicals – you get my point —EVERYONE!) say the word HATE this year that it made me sick. It’s hard to not fall into the same trap – and I have. For 2020 I plan to be more LOVING to all.

Haters gonna hate!

Humor – I needed to use my sense of humor a lot in 2019. It was part of my resilience! As long as it isn’t cruel humor, I find that humor gets me through a rough day, week, month, and yes — year. For 2020, I will continue to use HUMOR to make myself and others smile.

The best medicine!

And so…I am ready for 2020!

I wish you a KINDER, LOVING, HUMOROUS 2020 and the STRENGTH to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Please feel free to share your goals for 2020.