Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Sunday

 
I'm trying something new this week.  My friend Brooke has been doing this for awhile now and I have loved her writing.  I'm up for the challenge.  Jaime at Love Jaime hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday or Sunday.  Here's how it goes. 
1. Set a timer for five minutes. (Or keep tabs with your computer’s clock.)
2. Write freely. Any topic. Whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t even have to be completely cohesive.
3. Tag on social media with #SOCSaturday or #SOCSunday and link up below. You have all day Saturday and Sunday to join the link up. It closes Monday morning.
4. Click around and give some comment/blog love.
 

So....what I've learned in the last half hour is that I am going to need some practice in doing this exercise.  I have written three separate posts and erased every one of them. 

Why do I feel like I can't say what I want?  Am I worried about what people will say?  Probably.  I think it's going to take some time and some practice and a little bravery too.

I'm 60 years old and I have spent the last year trying to step out of my box.  Trying to do the things that I was afraid to try or do things that I never considered trying before.  I've had a lot of fun.  So, why is this so hard?

How does that song go?  "Say what you want to say and let the words fall out.  Honestly, I want to see you be brave".  That's my goal for posts to come.  You're going to see me be brave.

My five minutes is up!  Time to go link up with Jaime.  Wish me luck for next time.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Old School Blogging / Reflections

It's time for some old school blogging hosted by Elaine at The Miss Elaine-ous Life.  If you'd like to join in, just follow the link.

Who do you idolize?
I don't really know that I idolize anyone.  I have lots of people I look up to though.  The one that I look up to the most would have to be my mom. 
Here she is in a four generation picture last January at my granddaughter's christening.  Isn't she beautiful?  She just turned 89 last month.  Would you ever guess that?  I don't think I would if I didn't know her.  She is the head of our family of over 30.  She has been widowed twice and just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny.   She still insists on having the holidays at her house.  She's amazing and I love her.  I couldn't be more proud to call her my mom.
What is something you are really proud of that you have accomplished?
Hands down, it has to be the beautiful family that my husband and I have raised.  We have four awesome daughters who all are leading wonderful and productive lives.  They are all through school and the last one will be married this summer.  We are a family of 14 now with I'm guessing more to come.  The fact that my husband and I pulled this off and after 44 years still love each other is definitely an accomplishment to be proud of.
What is something that you are not so proud of?
My math skills.  I feel accomplished when my checkbook balances.
Who was your best friend when you were 5, 6, or 7?  Tell me something about them.
My best friend when I was in 1st grade was Debbie.  We remained good friends and she ended up being the maid of honor at my wedding.  We still keep in touch mostly through Facebook.  We don't see each other in person nearly enough.
What is one thing you wish you could still do but may seem impossible right now?
One thing I know is any kind of tumbling.  I tried to do a backward roll to a pike a few months ago with the grandkids and just about broke my neck.  Maybe if I keep trying I could do it again.  I don't like to think of anything as being impossible.
If you could chose it, what would be your last meal?
Oh, that's a hard one.  There are lots of things I like.  First, I would want a big, tall Bacardi and coke with Lime.
Then, for an appetizer I would want either fried pickles or firecracker shrimp.  Next, I would want the Craft House salad from a local restaurant / bar in town.  It is to die for.
For my entrĂ©e, it would be a toss up between a really good steak or some really good pizza.  Finally, I would want some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for dessert.
What are two or three jobs you’ve had that you liked?
Both have to do with children.  Back when I was a stay at home mom, I did in home childcare and I loved it.  I brought in some money and I was able to stay home with my kids at the same time.  My present job that I have had for 22 years now is working in a preschool.  I love it.  It can get crazy sometimes, but I love these kids and they make me smile all the time.  It's the best job ever.
What is one job that you did not like?
My very first job aside from babysitting was doing filing and sorting at a local camera shop.  I did not like it one little bit.
What is your least favorite chore around the house?
I have two.  Cleaning the bathtub which is just hard to maneuver and putting away laundry which is too many times up and down the stairs.
How tall are you? Do you wish you were taller? Shorter?
I am 5'7', but my husband says I am shrinking.  I've always been happy with my height, but if I'm really shrinking I'd like to be taller.
How old are you?  What is something you have learned in those years that you want to share?
I am 60 and very proud of it.  I know too many people who weren't afforded that privilege.  The one thing I have learned and would like to share is that it is so important to put yourself on your to do list.  It is so easy to let everything and everyone be ahead of you on that list.  Be good to yourself too.  Take time for yourself and try to eat well and exercise.  I came to that realization really late in my life, but I totally embrace it now.
What is one of your favorite quotes on love, life or motherhood (choose one)?
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Thanks, Elaine!  I really enjoyed this one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Knockdown

I have neglected blogging for far too long.  I miss it.  If nobody is around reading this anymore, it's my own fault.  But, I'm going to try to be more regular with my posts and I want to start with some of the fun things I did over the past year before I turned 60. 

I made it my goal to try and do as many "out of my box" types of things that I could, as well as doing some fun things and improving on old things.

One of my biggest adventures was to be a nonspeaking extra in an independent film.  The film is called Knockdown and it is in editing right now.  The opportunity came through my future son-in-law Myles whose degree is in film.  He was a camera man on the film.  Here we are waiting between takes.  Sorry this is your back Myles, but it's the one where I look the best. 
 I was only there about an hour, but it was such a great hour.  One of the actors was from the movie Divergent and several others were from the tv show Chicago Fire.  Some of the other actors were actual Chicago policemen.  My daughter Abby had a speaking role.  It was amazingly awesome.  Knockdown will be entered in film festivals.  Who knows, maybe even Sundance.  I just know that I can't wait to see it. 

There was a really special man I met on this day.  His name is Paul D. Morgan and he was the writer/director/producer of the film.  I knew when I met him that day that he was special, but it wasn't until later that I really found out how special.  He's the man in the middle of the picture below.
Paul and I became Facebook friends and comment back and forth.  Reading how he lives his life and treats his friends and coworkers is inspiring.  His faith in God is uplifting.  He has a work ethic that everyone should have.  He's just a great guy and I'm happy to have met him. 

This really was an amazing day.  I never thought that I would ever be in a movie of any kind beyond our own home videos.  But, I was and it was all because of this guy.....
Myles has been a part of our family for almost nine years now and we will "officially" welcome him in July when he marries our daughter Abby.  To know Myles is to know joy.  He has such a zest for life.  You can't be around Myles and not smile.  He's just one of the best guys you will ever meet and I get to be lucky enough to have him as my son-in-law. 

To Myles and Paul, thank you so much for letting me be a small part of your wonderful film.  You made an old lady really happy.  It is an experience I won't soon forget.  You two are the best!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dear Me

Your happy place!
 
As many of you may know, I am a contributing writer for the website The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.   Every now and again, we have posts that require the reader to do a little homework.  This just happens to be one of those times.

Ann is one of our contributing writers and she has brought back a fun assignment from a few years ago.  She would like us to write a letter to our future self about how 2015 turned out for us.  Our job is to think ahead a whole year and what we would like to have seen happen to ourselves in 2015. 

So here goes.....future self, please make present self really happy.  I think you can do it.

Dear Present Self,
   You are going to be amazed at all the things you accomplished in 2015.  Your 60 year old self was awesome.  You are going to be so proud of yourself.  Check it out.

January
   You started your year out with the 21 Day Fix and found out you loved it.  You started on January 5 and when the 26th came around, you were inches and pounds lighter.  You jumped right back on for another 21 days.  You were without your Fitbit for a week and it was really hard.  You hadn't realized how much you counted on it for motivation, but after a week it was back and all was good.  You made another climb up the 3 Dune Challenge and loved it in the snow.  It was still hard, but so pretty.
February
   It was another Polar Vortex winter in northwest Indiana, so all of your exercise was inside.  You pushed ahead and did your best.  I know how you hate the treadmill, but you still did it.  Your eating was going really well and you kept up with the 21 Day Fix and were still losing pounds and inches.
March
   The weather finally started to break a little and you got to get back to your outside walks that you love so much.  Your first 5k of the year was Runnin with the Irish and you did great.  Spring break took you to Arizona with your daughter Abby and you had a great time.  The highlight was hiking in Sedona and of course, a Cubs spring training game!
April
   The weather was getting nicer and nicer and that took you out to the Dunes State Park more and more.  Your beloved hikes on the beach looking for beach glass and hikes in the dunes with your camera were high on your list of ways to exercise.  You were buckling down more and more on your eating and exercise with your daughter's wedding approaching in July.
May
   The first weekend in May was amazing.  You walked the Indy Mini with your husband and you had a wonderful time together.  You made a weekend out of it and you were so proud of each other.  Bravo!  The warm weather has brought back your self challenge from last year to walk at least a mile a day outside.  You do love your walks.
June
   Well, June brought mother of the bride dress shopping and you were thrilled to find that you were two sizes smaller.  That brought a huge smile to your face.  You tried running once more and it still was too hard on your joints.  With the tendonitis in one foot and the arthritis in the same foot and other knee, it just wasn't going to happen.  With age came wisdom and you knew it was time to stop trying.  You walk faster than you run anyway.  June also brought back the daily five and six mile walks that you loved so much.
July
   July brought the proudest moment of your year as you watched your husband walk the last of your four daughters, your baby down the aisle.  There was no holding back those happy tears as you watched them walk toward the man of her dreams.  With all the wedding pressures over, summer became about relaxing and having fun and you remembered how much you enjoyed exercising in the pool. 
August
   You relished in the last days of summer with play dates with the grandkids and long walks at the beach.  You knew school was starting soon and you enjoyed every last minute you could.  The pounds were still coming off and you were getting a little worried about how you would keep up the walking time and pace once school started again.
September
   You were back in school and things were going okay.  Your plan to walk as soon as you got home from school was perfect. Working out in the pool wasn't happening as often though.  By the time you got home from walking and got dinner on the table, it was getting too cool out. 
October
    You went on a 42nd wedding anniversary trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes to hike and for the first time ever, it didn't rain on you.  It was perfect!  The colors were beautiful.  Your walks at home were equally as pretty.  The colors of fall were breathtaking.  You had to rethink your meal plans now that the weather was beginning to cool off and grilling almost every night wasn't an option anymore.  You figured it out though and stayed with healthy meals.
November
   Last year, you came in first place overall for the lady walkers at  the Run Baby Baby Run 5k.  This year, you did the same thing, but with an even better time.  November brought the start of the holidays and your fears that you'd let them get the best of you with food and drink.  You devised a plan to stay on track.  Your walks had pretty much gone to the treadmill and you tried to do it without whining.  You borrowed T25 with Shaun T from your son-in-law because you really love that work out.  You asked for your own copy for Christmas.
December
   December brought your 61st birthday and you loved it.  You have always loved birthdays, but these days you truly appreciate them.  Too many people don't get to be that age and you know how blessed you are.  You made it through the holidays with no weight gain.  You were really proud of that.  You had lots of other things to be proud of too. 
1.  You made it through a whole year of getting up early and making working out your first priority of the day. 
2.  You gave up caffeine in January and you were still off it. 
3.  You walked just over 1000 miles in 2015.  That was awesome.
4.  You dropped three dress sizes.
5.  You have increased my stamina so much.  The last time you did the 3 Dune Challenge in October, you only had to stop once to rest.
   So there, aren't you proud of yourself?  You had an awesome year and don't show any signs of stopping.  Look out 2016.  Nancy is coming in strong and healthy.   She's ready to take you on and she knows how to do it.  Your 2015 was fantastic and I can't wait to see what happens in 2016.
Love you,
Your Future Self

Keep on climbing girl!  You are definitely going places.



  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Old School Blogging – A Few of My Favorite Things

It's time for another installment of Old School Blogging.  This month, we are doing A Few of My Favorite Things.

Sit down restaurant
Craft House is the new version of one of our former favorite places.  The food is great and if you are a beer drinker (I'm not), they have a ton of craft beers to choose from.

Cookie
I love chocolate chip cookies all warm and gooey from the oven, but my very favorite is the decorated sugar cookies at Christmas.

Bath Product Scent
Olay Age Defying Body Wash is the one that I use all the time.  I don't know that it has an actual scent name.  I just love it.  It doesn't fight my perfume scent.

TV Shows
I'm not a big tv watcher.  The only time I faithfully have the tv on is when I am making dinner or going to bed.  Then I am watching reruns of the Cosby Show or The Golden Girls.  This time of year though, you will always find me watching the Notre Dame football game.
Flowers
My favorite flower is a yellow rose, but I'm not opposed to just about any flower.  They are all beautiful.
 
 
Bad for Me Snack
I'm guessing it would probably be Bacardi and diet coke with lime with chips and salsa.
 
Magazines
I am a magazine whore.  I get way too many.  I would say my favorites are Prevention and Real Simple.
 
Hobby
I love my camera, so definitely photography.  I also love painting, sewing and my new love for making beach glass jewelry.
 
Holiday
Christmas, hands down.  I have always loved the wonder in the kids eyes and how they can't wait for Santa to come, but still know the real reason for the holiday.  I think my very favorite thing is watching one of the grandkids put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning.
 
Girls Night Out Activity
For the past six months or so, there has been a new thing in my town called Wine and Canvas and Canvas Escapes.  The premise is you paint a canvas in about three hours.  Sometimes they are good and sometimes they aren't, but we have a blast doing it.  This is the one we are going to try next month.
 
Date Night
Date night is usually pretty simple.  We go out for dinner and then down to Lake Michigan to watch the sunset.  We love it!  I especially love when it is clear enough to see Chicago.
These are some of my favorite things.  If you'd like to join in, head over to The Miss Elaine-ous Life and link up.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Old School Blogging, Wrapping Up Summer

 
Old school blogging is back and I'm excited. 
I love doing these, so here we go! 
 
What was your favorite thing you did alone this summer?
I absolutely loved walking this summer.  I got up early every morning and just walked.  I have averaged between five and seven miles a day and I haven't missed a day since March 27.  A friend walked with me a few times, but mostly it was just me.  It was so calm and peaceful.  The perfect start to my days.
 
What was your favorite thing you did as a family this summer?
We went on a family vacation to Diamond Lake in Michigan. 


 
What books did you read this summer?
Unfortunately, I read very little.  What I did read was an old Nora Roberts trilogy and Nikon D3000 for Dummies.
 
What do you WISH you had done this summer?
I wish I had taken the time to get more things done around the house.  I work at a school and have my whole summer off.  Every year, I have big plans and rarely do I get them all done.  There is just too much fun to be had.
 
What movies did you see this summer (if any)?
The only movie I have seen in the theatre this summer was Jersey Boys, but I did enjoy it.
 
Where did you travel this summer?
The family vacation in Michigan and then a girls trip for a couple nights to a friends lake house.
 
What was your favorite treat (as in dessert) this summer?
Hands down....Rumchatta pudding pie!
 
What did you celebrate this summer?
We celebrated my best friend's daughters wedding.  It was like marrying off one of our own.
Did you grow anything this summer?
Just my flowers in the yard.  No vegetable garden this year.
What is a favorite post (if you blog) that you wrote this Summer?
It was actually a post I did for a website that I write for, The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  You can find the post here.
 
What is a favorite photograph that you took this summer?
How about three!
 
 
What do you want to do next summer?
I had a big trip planned for next summer and then my daughter got engaged this spring.  The wedding date is July 18, 2015.  We will be having a wedding next summer and I couldn't be happier or more excited.  I would give up any trip for this wedding.  It is going to be wonderful!
 
So, that is my summer wrap up.  If you would like to join in the fun, just head over to The Miss Elaine-ous Life.
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Taking Care of Me

I have found that turning 60 has been one of the most empowering events of my life.  I've gotten braver.  I've gotten a new sense of what's right and wrong for me.  I've learned that I am an important person.  I've learned that I have a core group of people who love me no matter what.  I've also learned that some people I thought were my friends really aren't.  I'm okay with that.  I'm happy to know the difference.  The last eight months have been an amazing learning experience.  I can't wait to see what the last four months before I officially turn 60 are holding.  I'm excited and it's awesome!
 
Below are some things that tell how I'm feeling about things right now.  I swear, it's all good.