OK.  I’ve alluded to this before in another post and it’s only DAY ONE.  However….

This is it.  I’m pumped, I’m motivated, I’m going to do it this time!

I joined Lifetime Fitness today and swam laps for the first time in just ages.  It felt incredible!  When we were kids the six of us girls were regulars almost everyday at our local pool and we loved it.  So swimming this afternoon brought back a flood of good memories of those sun-drenched days!

The facility is just a few months old and it is simply amazing.  There are two laps pools, an open swim area for the little ones and a huge outdoor pool.  I swam that first lap and my heart was racing.  I’m small and petite but apparently quite out of shape!  I’m already formulating fitness goals vis a vis swimming targets to help me firm and tone this old bod of mine.  (Goal # 1:  Complete one lap without having to rest!)

The saunas (both dry heat and steam) are sweet and so is the hot tub — all of which are located in the women’s locker room.  (Assume the men’s locker room is similarly appointed — I didn’t check!)  Hot tubs are also situated poolside both indoors and out.  The outdoor pool is surrounded by dozens and dozens of chaise lounges for sunbathing. The locker rooms boast beautiful wood-grain lockers and there is a steady supply of fresh towels, toiletries and hair dryers. 

I’m excited about taking advantage of my new membership: the lap lanes, the saunas and hot tubs, the wide assortment of exercise equipment and a variety of free classes.  Another bonus will be meeting new, fitness-minded friends.  Maybe I’ll even convince my husband to join as well!

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It’s here!  The longest day of the year and the official opening day of summer – June 21st.  The year thus far has been a head-scratcher in the weather department and many of our trees and shrubs bear witness to the relentless cold, harsh winter that we endured — and endured — and endured.  There are far too many bare spots and dead branches and don’t get me started on our Knock-out Roses!  Not only was Mother Nature challenging to our psyches this winter but to the revival efforts of our prized garden possessions with the advent of spring.

Today however that is all behind us, here in the Midwest anyway, where blue skies and a beautiful sun lures us outdoors to tend to our gardens, stroll a shady path or curl up on the patio with a good book.  Sadly it’s all downhill from here as the days slowly become shorter and shorter but now is no time for negativity.  Celebrate the ample daylight we’re given TODAY for today is all that truly matters.

Books

  • Middlesex
  • True Crime
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • The Book Thief

Films

  • The Godfather
  • Oh Brother Where Art Thou
  • Dogma
  • Pulp Fiction

Autumn is my favorite season and I very much enjoy decorating for all the holidays especially Halloween and Christmas.  I love peaches, a good cheeseburger, chai tea, turkey sandwiches and a glass of Cabernet.   If I could eat anything without having to worry about calories or cholesterol it would be potato chips and Crunchy Cheetos.   My favorite vacation destination is Mackinac Island in the fall.

As for music I’m of the stubborn opinion that the only decade that really matters is the 70’s.  Classic rock and blues inhabit my playlists.  Favorite artists include Joe Bonamassa, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Dire Straits and The Eagles.

When it comes to television there can be only one choice:  Breaking Bad.  Survivor, The Amazing Race and 24 also deliver.

How about you?  Are there some books, films, music genres or travel destinations not to be missed?  Tell me.  I love new experiences!

I love days like this.  Reclining in my gravity chair on the patio with the sun on my face enjoying the warm breeze, I close my eyes to listen to the birds singing.  I’m reminded of summers when we were kids when I’d lay in the tall grass next to the old wooden bridge not far from our house.  Day-dreaming, watching the clouds, not a care in the world. 

There are chores to be done, for sure. We’ll get to them yet.  However, we don’t get many days like this and after all enjoying life and relaxing — this is why we work.  This is what it’s all about or should be. 

Repeatedly and consistently I make that solemn vow every woman living on this planet has probably uttered at one time or another:  This is it.  NOW is the moment.  Because this time I’m really serious.  No excuses.  I’m finally ready to start eating better.  Exercising  more.  Getting in shape.  I stock up on healthy foods, read about nutrition, dutifully walk every day, run through my stretches and congratulate myself for the effort.  It feels good.  It feels right.  Eye of the tiger baby!

Until.

You know there’s always an ‘until’.  Until you’re just too tired so you tell yourself you’ll take a little break tonight.  Or until you have a (cough cough) bit of a sore throat and didn’t you read somewhere how you shouldn’t exercise if you’re sick.  Or the new guy at work brings in bagels or maybe your favorite dessert and you don’t want to offend.   Or you drive by your favorite burger joint and man it just smells so delicious!  And you’ve been such a good girl.  Just.  This.  Once.  It won’t hurt because you’ll jump back into Healthy Living Mode tomorrow.

Except tomorrow never comes.  There’s always another ‘until’.  (Hint:  It’s called Life).

I’m built fairly small and truth be known I don’t have that much of a weight problem.  I do, however, for the first time in my adult life have to start eating better and exercising to lower my cholesterol.  When I learned my numbers were a little high I was embarrassed.  Ashamed.  And I resolved to do what it took to turn things around.  And within seven or eight months I did just that.  Until.

Until I start to let up (just a bit) and allow the occasional pizza or cheeseburger and indulge once again in my daily Starbucks habit.  One thing leads to another and when it comes time for my annual cholesterol screening I begin to feel uneasy.  When the results come in I just know it’s not going to be good.

And so it begins again.  This time is different.  NOW is the time I’m going to start living healthily because, you know.  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Forward momentum, right?  Yep, this time I’m really going to do it!

How do you stay motivated?  Are you winning the battle and keeping ‘until’ at bay?  What works for you?   I’d love to hear your recommendations for healthy living!

 

In many ways I have always been late to the party: Slow to pick up on fashion trends and clueless when it came to knowing how to style my hair or apply makeup. For several years I wore the same pair of earrings everyday. I can recall observing the popular girls in my class as early as the 6th grade and making mental notes of what they were wearing; however, I had no idea how to replicate that look for myself. None whatsoever. Coming from a family of limited means with six girls meant we shopped for clothing and shoes at second-hand stores. Occasionally we were allowed to purchase something new but even then being small and skinny I just wasn’t able to pull it off. When it came to how I presented myself to the world I always fell short. Now that I’ve got the means my clothes closet runneth over. And while I’m still relatively small and petite I’m better able now to pull together a look that tends to flatter rather than detract.

While all my friends were excitedly waiting to get their learner’s permits and driver’s licenses I was reticent and fearful.

During my junior and senior year of high school I was surprised to hear my classmates discussing college. College? They may as well have been talking in excruciating detail about the lunar orbit or analyzing Greek mythology or explaining the social structure of the ancient Mayans. I dutifully registered for classes at the local community college but chickened out and cancelled prior to the fall semester. At the age of 34 years I decided to quit my job and go to college. It was the best decision of my life. Being a non-traditional student attending the state university with my soon-to-be husband (who I met at college) was an amazing experience.

When it came to drinking and carousing I was also a late bloomer. I was stunned to learn of my classmates (and even — horrors! — my younger sisters) drinking in high school. Pregnant, married and divorced by the time I was 21 I managed to make up for lost time. But I was woefully naïve and stupid about the whole thing.

As a child I was a very picky eater. Sweet corn. I’ll pass. Strawberries? Yuck. Those seeds! Onions? Are you kidding me? Stuffing at Thanksgiving? No way. I didn’t eat cheese until I was in my early 20’s (it was a great accompaniment to the Malt Duck my girlfriends and I liked to drink).

Before I met my husband I dated a guy who detested my reluctance to eat certain foods. So shortly after I met Bill he offered to run and get us burgers. I was hesitant to tell him I wanted mine plain with NOTHING on it. I cringed a little, waiting for the backlash. To my utter surprise I learned that he was just as picky an eater as I was. (I knew then it was meant to be).

In the twenty-three years we’ve been together we’ve both become bolder and more adventurous with our appetites. Strawberries, onions (caramelized even!), stuffing, cheese (glorious cheese!), sweet corn on the cob slathered with butter and coated with salt & pepper — yes, yes, yes — and more! While I draw the line at tomatoes — yes, some things never change — I’m more willing now to experiment with a larger and larger variety of foods.

The upside to all of this of course is while others have had many more years enjoying all of these things, for me it’s relatively new and therefore exciting and awesome and delicious. Late to the party? Perhaps. But it’s still a party nonetheless and I welcome it all with open arms.

Popcorn please!!!

Spring Storms

With our wide open view to the west we’re the fortunate recipients of some beautiful sunsets. On the flip side of that are the incredible storm clouds, wind and rain that we’ve been privy to witness over the years.

I’m one of those folks who loves thunderstorms. Driving rain, gale force winds, lightning and the sheer delight and theater of hearing those angels in the skies overhead bowling with a vengeance. I love it all!

Rainy, stormy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book or playing a game of cribbage or cooking up a pot of chicken & wild rice or even getting caught up with the ironing if that’s your thing which actually for me it is — I think ironing is sort of relaxing. Go figure.

I know there are some who are terrified of storms and perhaps rightly so. Common sense is important — safety first! But firmly ensconced in the comfort of my own home while the tornado sirens gather cobwebs, all is well in my little world while I watch Mother Nature acting out in her magnificent fashion!

To describe something as ferocious conjures up a jungle image of a lion, doesn’t it?  Perhaps a tiger.  Maybe even a bear.  It’s a word you might use in discussing one’s appetite, sexual desire, ambition, a bad case of chiggers or the Santa Ana winds.

It’s often associated with the young.  As in those for whom youth is wasted.  Or a brave soldier in battle surviving against all odds.  Cancer that ravages a body is said to be ferocious in its assault.  It is lean.  It is strong.  It is determined.

Ferocity is a characteristic that’s hard to maintain but when its how I live my life in regard to the love I feel for my husband and my son (and truth be told the loving care that I should apply toward myself as well) it is these moments when I feel incredible, heady, alive.  To observe a robin angling for a worm in the grass or the breeze playing through the leaves or the laughter of children or the awe-inspiring human achievement of lift off at Cape Canaveral or the indescribable taste of a perfect peach — these are the moments for me that speak:  ferocious.  No holds barred.  Bam!  Life is amazing and good and delicious.

I want me some more of that!

Capturing the Moment of Sunset

Have you ever watched the sun setting? Which as I understand it is actually the earth turning away so that our glorious sun appears to sink down below the horizon. Some folks love a good sunrise but for my money it is so gratifying, beautiful and almost playful to watch the setting sun. You can see it slip lower and lower – by degrees – and it is an amazing sight to behold. Factor in the incredible colors of the sky — the pinks and reds and golden shimmer, the varying shades of blue and that fabulous hint of turquoise. There’s nothing quite like it.