Valentine Month thoughts from a Valentine Girl

Happy February!  It is a beautiful month that teases us with a few nice warm days to wash our cars and open windows to air out the winter musties, then the next day slams us with cold wind, snow and ice.  As Nebraska natives, we should be so used to it, but even though I have gone through many Nebraska Februaries, I always fall for the teasing and then become frustrated with the scrapping of windows and advanced warming the car the next day.

Well, it is now April and not much has changed!! Still warm and cold days and I heard there was even a wanted poster out for Punxsutawney Phil!  Some folks take that spring news pretty seriously!

I am bringing a couple different topics to this blog! One is that I am still working at my new job with J Brasch Co. and I still love it.  To be in on a beginner company is amazing and a huge learning curve but I am finding that even at this ripe old age, I am still able to learn — not just new stuff but stuff that I had not even known existed!  Suddenly I am beginning to understand crazy things like the difference between internet and WiFi and how a mesh network works!  John (the J in J Brasch Co) assures me that soon I will be able to comfortably talk this talk, so I am working in that direction.  Someday soon, I may be able to talk to my BoBo about cool stuff and really know what I am saying!! Hopefully that will be prior to his turning 10!  (He is 8 now)! I have developed a new title that I am also very proud of and that is Director of Customer Support and Training.  I also have a crew member in my division now who is pretty computer technology savvy and we seem to make a pretty strong pair— he is kind of the zing to my zang! Young and very patient in the explanation department which is vital and his mom is a nurse so he has an understanding of what weird sense of humor nurses may display at various times–  hum! My friend Marcia and I still seem to require quite a bit of patience and training and he fits in well with the other young folks in our organization. Truly wonderful and extremely wise youngun’s.

On another different (but kind of the same) note, this year is bloomin’ with something that makes my heart nearly burst with pride!! Three of my favorite LPNs have made that giant step into the world of RNs!  Through the last few years, I have watched these awesome young ladies and their wonderful journeys –not just their scholastic journeys but their maturation and their developing into not just wonderful nurses but wonderful, kind, loving people who make this world a better place! So very proud of each of them!!

Last but certainly not least!! I want to share a hiccup in my own journey of weight loss. My last blog reported I had finally hit the 50# mark and was ready to start on the second phase of my journey. I am rather disappointed to report that I slowed to a snails pace these last three months BUT April 1 seemed to be a turning point!! (At least I think it is!) I only lost 7 # in all three months, so really need to kick it in this next 3 months to keep on any kind of progress that I had set as my goal!   I am back to walking (on a treadmill) 2 X a day. Now those of you who know me will realize this is a big step forward because #1. I really do not like to walk and #2. I have always felt that if you lift up a treadmill, there will be the remains of folks that it has eaten!!. I also have joined the Y with a plan to do water aerobics several times a week. Now I have packed my bag to go to the gym and have driven by the Y to make sure I know where I need to go so only thing left to do is TO GO!!

Hopefully, next blog will be one full of progress (made it from the car to the pool) and pride (for conquering my fear of that dreaded treadmill!!)  Guess we will find out so till next time– —

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Good-by 2017 and HELLO 2018!

Well, happy New Year to all of you! First week of 2018 is already under our belts! and I am truly looking forward to this wonderful upcoming year and all it will bring!  I have been at my new job for going on 3 months now and every day is a learning experience on a gargantuan (is that a real word– well it is my word!) scale and have a very patient set of teachers who smile and repeat things when they get that ‘deer in the headlight’ look from me– and my wonderful co-worker (Marcia) who is in “Kindergarten Technology” class with me!! Then we hear from these same incredible folks how smart we are and how much we teach them about the health care world– Great team work!!

I am realizing that God continues to lead me in the best pathways– letting me draw on my previous life experiences to add substance to the things I am doing!!  For instance, after high school, I worked at a manufacturing plant in Sioux City where we created Zenith radios. For a while, I soldered up to 18 points on one style of the radios as they came down my line! and needless to say it was not happy day(s) in my life as a line person!  Every pair of pants I owned had a series of burn spots on them and my legs underneath were covered in burn spots also.  Finally they gave me a new job and life on the line was much better — but now when the techs show us the board that is the life’s blood of our monitors, I kind of understand how they are created– not at all the fine tuning that makes them work but at least how they begin!! Who would have ever guessed that a job I was NOT FOND OF at the beginning of my employment journey would have given me some basic knowledge that I can draw on at the other end of my journey!!

Something I wanted to share with you all is my new catch phase–Daily Data Does Due Diligence!  I am learning about data and all of the incredible things it can tell us about the life and times in the resident’s day, even if they can’t. It substantiates assessments, helps to keep them safe, and tells us how we can improve their nursing home stays. It helps us to tune into some of the things their bodies are trying to tell us –sometimes even before they can identify and verbalize it — such as pain or possible infections.  Graphs and the such were never my favorite things (kind of right up there with Home Ec) but suddenly they are showing me fascinating facts! Who would have guessed that Math could improve resident care!  Crazy. Who Knows– Next I will be telling you that the culinary skills I learned in Home Ec are surfacing!!

One last thing today, — progress in my Weight Watcher journey.  On my July 17,2017 blog titled “Finding Me, Starting the Journey”  I talked about a project I was gonna title –CHARLISS– I completed the first part on January 3, and prepared to begin on phase 2.  I have lost 50 pounds and though it was not as fast as I had hoped, it was fairly consistent. I am now beginning phase 2 and plan to run this phase for another 6 months and hope for another 50 pounds!  I have made some good changes but still have a few bad habits!  but will continue to work on them.  I made a plan–complete with goals when I started and then updated those goals on the 3rd of Jan when I started phase 2.  One of my BIGGEST was no more shopping carts– you know the riding kind. I love them and find them way to convenient when I go to WalMart or HyVee — even our little IGA in Airpark has one, that I jump on right inside the front door. Yesterday was my first attempt to complete my shopping list through WalMart and my Granddaughter Jozlyn went with me. She giggled as I said when we walked in, “Oh No, Joz, there is a cart there just calling my name.  Don’t let me go!!” so we rushed right by! I have a fitbit that monitors my steps so we checked and found I logged over 1,000 extra steps. Good thing she was patient, however, as it took us a couple of hours but with not much issue except I was SO stiff when I got home. A couple of Ibprophen though and I was fine!! A new habit developing!

Well, I am going to sign off now, but (I MAY have said this before) I plan to try to do one off these every month at least and maybe a bit more often.



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And I am Thankful for…….

Sitting here in a food coma, but think I did pretty good in the diet arena.  It took a bit of planning, but since I did the cooking, it was up to me to make it low points and taste good!  I am such a cook too ( not so much), but I wanted to see if a good Thanksgiving could be done in moderation. (Had to look that word up as it doesn’t hang around much in my vocabulary!) I need to be watchful because my trip I just took to Palm Springs, (thanks to J Brasch Group– my new job) gave me a souvenir that I wasn’t overly pleased with– 4 pounds!!! That has to go –so back in the saddle!!

My blog that is dated July 17, started me on my latest project– ME and like most projects, I find it is at best, a work in progress with ups and downs and slow progress at times– even needing to make a mark in the proverbial sand to see any progress at all!  At least, so far I have not marked any big regressions– just a tiny slip or two. Well, the 4 pounds are a pretty significant regression!!  

Thanksgiving seems to be an excellent time to segueway into the last of the divisions I planned to explore as I work on my project> the psychosocial.  The psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function. This concept of psychosocial health, a state of mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being, deserves a better look and there’s plenty of proof that a healthy mind and a content heart are very important for the prevention of diseases and their treatment. Now individuals who are deemed to be psychosocially healthy aren’t completely devoid of problems. Actually, it’s not the quantity or quality of a problem, or lack thereof, which makes someone sound in this respect. It’s the way people view themselves and how they deal with stressful situations that sets psychosocially healthy people apart from those who are not. Here are just a few traits shared by these robust individuals. They:

  • Like themselves
  • Accept their mistakes
  • Take care of themselves
  • Have empathy for others
  • Control their anger, hate, tension, and anxiety
  • Are optimistic
  • Can work alone and with others equally well

The thinking portion of psychosocial health is known as mental health. Your beliefs and values in life, as well as how you relate to others and respond to situations in your life, are a reflection of mental health, which overlaps with the other aspect of health we’re going to talk about. When something happens to you that you don’t like and you respond in a positive manner by accepting your mistake and looking forward to its correction, then that’s good. But if you show up late for work yet again, get fired, and then blame anyone but yourself, then that may be an indicator of less than ideal mental health.

The feeling part of psychosocial health is called emotional health. This includes things like anger, love, hate, and happiness. Oftentimes, emotional and mental health overlap a great deal in some situations. Going back to the example of getting fired from work because you came in late for the umpteenth time, if you feel a bit down, but still have high hopes for the future, that’s a positive thing. But if you lash out in a blinding rage against your boss, sulk when you go home, and avoid everyone thereafter, then that may point to improper emotional health. Furthermore, it’s not unexpected even for an emotionally healthy person to experience some sadness after getting fired; that by itself isn’t conclusive of poor emotional health. Everyone, even the most optimistic people, have their ups and downs. But an emotionally unhealthy person is one that responds to a situation in a manner that is uncontrollable, out of proportion, and extreme.

Emotional intelligence is also an important thing to note here. It is an ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others. It can be broken up into five main parts:

  • Know your emotions: Are you able to quickly recognize your feelings?
  • Manage your emotions: Can you express those feelings appropriately? Are you able to cope with them well?
  • Motivate yourself: The more you can do this independently in order to achieve more in your life, the higher your emotional intelligence.
  • Recognize the emotions of others: The more you can empathize with others, the better.
  • Handle your relationships: The better you are at navigating conflict in life and building a good social network, the higher your emotional intelligence.

That last part, relationships, is a good way to also introduce social health, the ability to create and maintain healthy relationships with others. This is strongly  related to the concepts in emotional health. Everything here is related because they are all part of the one overarching concept psychosocial health.

Social health goes beyond having appropriate emotional health and intelligence. A person with good social health:

  • Recognizes the importance of social engagement. We’re pack animals after all! We’re not supposed to live alone!
  • A person with good social health is able to support their friends in a time of need and ask for their help when they need it themselves.
  • They aren’t biased, prejudiced, racist, or sexist.
  • Listens to others well, expresses their feelings just as well, and acts in a responsible manner around others.

An example of a person with good social health is someone who has close friends that they enjoy listening to and feels close enough to share important feelings with. The flipside is a grouch who lives alone and shoos people away from his territory with a shotgun.

Although I would like to take full credit for all of this “wisdom”, I have taken exerpts from a web site: entitled What is Psychosocial Health?– Definition, Components & Traits.

As I bring this to a close, I decided to take a good look at my blessings and found them bountiful– good health, great family, good relationship with my X and his family, terrific friends, exciting new job, and the list continues. I do recognize some areas that I need to work on and will continue to do so as I progress through my journey working on my project. Hope your holiday was wonderful!!

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One year later!!

And what a year it has been!!  It has been a time of ups and downs, of laughter and tears, a year of welcoming new folks into our lives and sadly saying good by to my dad. It was a time I really tried to “get into” being retired and to fully enjoy it but in the end — I just couldn’t get it done. I developed some good habits and I developed (or enhanced) some not so good habits. I started doing some serious sleeping!  I have never needed or gotten more than 5 hours or so a night, and suddenly 8 hours was a routine and still found time for a nap in the afternoons!

Luckily I was invited by my friend Marcia, to come to where she works and introduced to a new product a friend of hers was developing.  I fell in love with it, and when he offered me a position with his company, I jumped at the chance. I am learning a new profession–sales and seem to really like it. Consequently I am writing this from PALM SPRINGS California!!! and it is awesome!  I am at the California trade show and even though I have been to a bunch of them, this is the first time I have been on this side of the booths! It was so beautiful there and the weather was awesome.  And I found out I love to fly — running through the airports presents its own type of challenge, however, but once I get in the plane I am fine!

My weight watcher journey is continuing and even though it isn’t going as fast as I would like, I am down 45 pounds and hope to hit 50 before the end of the year. I have changed a lot of my habits and it has been pretty painless. I am eating humus for dip with green peppers, and drinking water like it is laced with Windsor.

Well, this is short but hopefully I will get back on track doing this a lot more routine as I travel down this NEW trip in my life.  Looking forward with excitement and no tears as I wave goodby to retirement!

Hope all of you have a happy holiday season!!

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You can never go home!

Still struggling with my computer so another short and sweet post about something really special that happened this weekend and still on hold with the last division of my project — the psycho-social!  

Most of you don’t know that I grew up in a fairy tale type world– 35 miles to the closest town and months and months of not going to town because my parents went to town for groceries and supplies while we were at school. And we never felt deprived or left out!! I was about 9 or 10 before we had a TV and it was black and white and got 1 or 2 channels!!

My ‘school bus’ was a feisty fun little pony named Flash who was incredible and we went– rain, snow or sleet.  Sometimes the snow was belly high to him, but we never though about calling off school!  Only a blizzard would cause such a special day and it was announced by a long ring on our phone. See, we turned a crank on the side of the phone to “call” our neighbors and each of us had our own “ring” such as a long and a short, or 2 shorts and on and on, till each family on the party line had their own signal. One long constant ring was notice for everyone within hearing to jump on and hear the news meant for the community– such as, “Teacher can’t make it in to school,”  or “John broke his leg and his family needs help with harvest” and so all the neighbors rallied about to lend a hand!

School was a one-room building with students from 1st to 8th grade, and while one grade was reciting or having spelling, the rest of us were studying. Recess and lunch breaks were time for all ages to run and play and the big kids played with the little kids and you were so glad to have ‘friends’ to play with, you never cared that there were no age limits to the games!  Bathroom breaks were to a cold outdoor toilet so they were usually short and to the point!

Eventually we had to move closer to Valentine and my fairy tale world was only available to me for short visits in the summer time to my best friend and her family’s farm. Now the purpose of this little snipet into my past memory bank is so that I can share with you a wonderful weekend I just completed.

The Harkins family was a wonderful family that had 7 children (2 boys and 5 girls)  and a three bedroom- one bathroom house that was ALWAYS warm and fun and friendly and had room for one more person!! We gathered eggs and rode horses and helped with chores and played house in the grove with no thought of anywhere in the world that could be better!! Through the years, all of them have scattered throughout the country, living a variety of adult lives, but once a year the two boys who still work the farm have a big Bar-B-Q and friends,family and neighbors from near and far come for a fun day of re-acquainting, and catching up and this past weekend was that weekend!

I hadn’t been able to attend for several years, but this year worked out so that part of us (sister Nancy and our Mom) could make the weekend so we jumped into Nan’s car on Saturday and went on a trip back to a different time and place.  Now the home place has GROWN and is beautiful, but even without our playhouse in the grove and the tire swing in the back yard, it still was full of wonderful fun memories!  We saw all of the family (the kids– Jerome and Louise– parents– were there in spirit) including some of their kids and grandkids!!, plus lots of old neighbors and friends.  The stories were endless and laughter rang throughout the large shed where the endless tables and chairs were located.  Food was lined along all the walls and last count was over 100 people had come to join in the fun. Finally it was getting dark and everyone had pretty much left so we gathered ourselves, gave tons of hugs and promises to return next year and headed to the car. As we headed to the car, Joanne (between sisters Corliss and Nancy’s age) summarized things perfectly when she said. ” We were so blessed to grow up here.”

Our old home place was about a mile away and on the way back to Valentine so we pulled into the long driveway but could only get about 2/3 of the way to the house, stopped by a fence and gate because it is now a pasture full of cows and baby calves. Through the trees we could still see a bit of our old house that was still standing. Strange feelings flooded through me– memories of picking (and eating while picking) buckets of mulberries, of my sisters and brother as babies, of going with my Dad to care for the animals– driving the tractor while he threw hay to the cows, checking our cows for new babies and occasionally having to help with pulling them, of mean momma sows and sweet cute baby piglets, of the smell of the warm barn and the cats that waited patiently for a squirt of milk as we were milking the cows– and on and on and on.  Yes it is true you can never REALLY go home again, but for a day I did and it was wonderful! Now occasionally my family accuses me of remembering things a bit different that the rest of them, but I will tell you that I don’t care because these memories ARE MINE and they are so special and so wonderful and I am so proud and pleased to share them with you!!

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I am back– finally!

I have been waylaid by my computer and this has only deepened my convictions that it (computer) has a mind and a mission of it’s own!!

My last entry was about a month ago and since then I have been fighting and fussing with the computer world.  First I had an issue with my computer not wanting to turn on!! and then my son-in-law, Dr. Michael came to do a house visit and declared it DOA– the mother board went kapoot!! Now I am not sure the real reason it is called a mother board but I can tell you that, were I inclined to use THAT type of language I would have definitely called it the ‘mother’ board!! Well, I am not dead in the water yet– I have my handy dandy laptop!!

NOW! It is a bit obstinate also so it needed time with Dr. Michael– ( I think it was just jealous!) SO sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!  Since it wants to work today, I am going to try to get this put together and out— we will see!

Since I am not sure of the length of time that I can make this machine cooperate, this will be short and sweet and I am saving the psycho-social division for next week and this will just kind of be an update on things so far and then back to the doctor for this poor baby!

My division that I am talking about today will be my continued journey with Weight Watchers and the discovery of things about my body and my metabolism.  I have lost 33 pounds so far which is ok and keeps with my original goal of 10 # a month. (I started on June 3rd,)  but there are ups and downs each week and I continue to learn new things about my silly body!! Weight Watchers talks about Beyond-the-scales goals and progress and those are also amazing. They strengthen the realization that this is a total and complete journey!! I have improved immensely from running down little ole ladies at the grocery store so I can park closer, to biking (stationary) 30 minutes twice a day!! and I still try to walk (for walk’s sake) daily.  Exercise is one of the things that can be tracked weekly and shows visual progress. The WW app  sets a goal of 44 fit points in a week and when I started, I was only able to knock out 3 of 44 points. Last week I was able to log 102 points —  Not quite ready for a marathon yet, but at least it is going up!!

Well, folks– hopefully will be back to weekly entries by next week!  Hope your looking forward to fall and GO BIG RED!!

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Division Three— Spiritual

First let me say loud and clear: I Love God!  I believe firmly in his being real and active in my life!  I have never understood how even those who staunchly declare themselves hard core atheist could hold their own child and not believe in a supreme being.  I know that I have never done anything awesome enough to be able to create such a marvelous creature — (in my case 3 awesome creatures!!), so there has to be supreme intervention.  Also, science is wonderful and all  but a bit boring and I don’t think you can look around you and see all the beauty that is everywhere and not think that it took someone pretty marvelous to create it all. Now having made my point about that, I want to add that I find spirituality a bit separate from religion– connected of course but not totally inclusive.

I hit the internet to assist me in defining spirituality the way I believe it to be. Some one told me once that if you look long enough on the internet, you will find someone who agrees with your ideas!! I found one from the University of Minnesota titled Taking Charge of Your Health and Well-Being and because it agrees with me, I liked it!! This is part of that entry:

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experienceas sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.

Relationship between religion and spirituality

While spirituality may incorporate elements of religion, it is generally a broader concept. Religion and spirituality are not the same thing, nor are they entirely distinct from one another. The best way to understand this is to think of two overlapping circles like this:

Venn diagram of religion and spirituality

  • In spirituality, the questions are: where do I personally find meaning, connection, and value?
  • In religion, the questions are: what is true and right?

Where the circles overlap is the individual experience, which affects the way you think, feel, and behave.

Spirituality versus emotional health

You will notice as you read on that many practices recommended for cultivating spirituality are similar to those recommended for improving emotional wellbeing. This is because there is a connection between the two—emotional and spiritual wellbeing influence one another and overlap, as do all aspects of wellbeing.

  1. Spirituality is about seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself, which can result in positive emotions, such as peace, awe, contentment, gratitude, and acceptance.
  2. Emotional health is about cultivating a positive state of mind, which can broaden your outlook to recognize and incorporate a connection to something larger than yourself.

Thus, emotions and spirituality are distinct but linked, deeply integrated with one another.

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
Thomas Merton

This is a bit wordy, but those of you who know me, know that I can get a bit wordy! but I think it defines nicely why spiritual is one of the areas that need to be addressed in my journey of my latest project (ME).  The final goal of this project is to be the healthiest ME I can be and I think when completed, it will be evident that pursuing goals in all areas will combine to make me the best I can be. So spirituality is definitely a division that needs to be incorporated into this project  I want to embrace those positive emotions listed above while cultivating a strong, positive state of mind. Even though I have always tried to be a positive person, I realize it is an area that I can always strengthen and I am excited to work on this area also as I continue down this path of finding me.

Now a quick update on the weight watcher progress! And it is progress — not as much as I always hope for but steady wins the race they tell me and I am at a solid 26 pounds down. I really like my group and I love having it on Saturday morning.  It is a great way to end one week and incentive to start the next.  This week I added to my exercise routine and need to share it with you so you can have a bit of a giggle. A few years ago I was at a garage sale at the end of the day and there was a tall exercise bike. In in it’s day it was a fancy one, but now it’s best features are that it still has a spot for a water bottle, a place for my I-pad or a book, and the bike part worked- not all the recording and speeds and all of that but the main part– seat and pedals were in good shape. The down side was it was tall! Even on the lowest setting, the seat is about up to my waist or above so getting on it was far above my athletic ability. However, through the years it has done an excellent job of holding clothes and looking impressive when people come to the house. Now I have decided this needs to become a part of my exercise routine and the ww app that is on my phone has a spot I can record stationary bike time (I started with 15 minutes).  The bike currently lives in Will’s bedroom in front of a window that faces our back yard. Not only are there the cutest family of rabbits playing around back there, the window sill provides a spot to put my phone to time this adventure. The areas for my I-pad and my bottle of water are put into service.   What more can I ask for! Once the phone is set on timer, water bottle full of cold water and the I-pad set to my favorite netflex show, there was only one thing left before I was off to being a bike riding demon!! —NOW it is time to mount this beast. In my kitchen I have a 3-step stool which I brought to the side of the bike. Precariously perched on the second step of the stool, I sat on the seat of the bike, swung my leg over the center bar, found the pedal and I was set. The first time Will came to assist and monitor, but he couldn’t quit laughing so I dismissed him from the area, assuring him I would call if I needed help with the dismount. Since that first time, I have conquered the mounting challenge alone!! Both children are quite sure I am going to catapult out the window (OH they of little faith!) and when I ride and Will is not home, I have to call Amanda to tell her I am getting on and the when I get off so she knows I am not laying broken and bleeding in the back yard. (I do think I should get some credit for the mounting and dismounting but no area on the app for that!)

Well guess I will leave you all with that incredible vision and touch base next week with the final division of the project– physio- social and hopefully another positive blurb in the ‘Down the weight-hill’ division.  Have a positive week!!


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Division Two— Mental

The next part of my journey I want to share with you is the mental part. Mental health has such a negative connotation in our country, and is often an area that people try to skirt around. According to Mental , “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Being OK with yourself seems to cover a lot of the basics for good mental health, so I kind of did an inventory from some of the warning signs that the article listed as early warning signs.

Early Warning Signs

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Well, think I can pretty well rule out most of these — I don’t smoke or take drugs and now that I am on a Weight Watcher journey, my drinking has dropped to nearly nothing instead of going the other way so I am OK there, I guess. I am forgetful but I blame that on my impending dementia, and not a mental health issue. (wait, isn’t dementia a mental illness? says there are distinctions that should be made between dementia and mental illness in order to properly diagnose the individual. While dementia does affect mental health, it is not a mental illness, but a disorder of the brain that causes memory loss and trouble with communicating.Feb 19, 2015)  Not sure if that made me feel better but I think I will have a bit of time yet. 

Mental continues to say that positive mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

and ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Getting professional help if you need it
  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills

Well, all told, I am OK with my mental health.  There may be some folks who would question parts of it, but this is my blog so I get to do the evaluation!!

Now I would like to give you all an update on the physical part of this journey.  I weigh in on Saturdays so about Thursday I start to get a little nervous.  Even though I feel I have followed the program pretty well, it almost seems too easy some days and that scares me!  I am journaling every day, but will just hit some of the highlights here. This week I increased my steps by 500 and hit that goal every day but one and I am blaming that one on my tracker screwing up (is that a trigger for mental health checklist???) I increased my water to at least 64 ounces each day– tea and diet pop were over that.  I took a lazy morning and drove the cart (well, can’t be good all of the time!!), around the grocery part of WalMart, and scanned a lot of the things I wondered about.  It gave me some good ideas AND spending a few hours at WalMart is always a great way to be entertained!  I did purchase a few things and when I got home, I realized I forgot the cookies and donuts— see told you I was getting forgetful!! Saturday at 9 AM is the hour of truth, and this week I dropped 5#!.  I am so excited— this brings my total to 24.2! Now THAT is good for my mental health.

Well, guess this is enough babbling for a week, and I will feature the spiritual portion of this journey next week. Hope you all are staying cool this week and are planning a wonderful week coming up.


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Finding ME– Starting the New Journey

It is Sunday morning— beautiful sunny day— and I am working to find me!  If you have read my previous blogs, you know I have mixed  feelings about retirement running the gamut from being excited to being confused to being lost so I sat myself down and had a good talk with me and decided that I am a “project person” and now I have the time to make ME a project!!  Through the years, I have had a lot of projects– school, family, Sunrise— usually multiple projects associated with each of these, but as I walked myself through my crazy past I did realize that no where was I one of the projects?! Oh I was a part of all of them of course, but never could I really title one of them:


so I believe that I will now make me a project and that I will use this blog as part of my journey.  It may be rather boring to many of you so I will apologize ahead of time and suggest that you save this for bedtime reading!!  I will still put on some of my short stories and poems and I will probably have a rant or two about something. I have joined weight watchers (for about the 100th time!) and would also like to share my journey about that.

 In the Beginning:

Well, first I needed to make some divisions so I can set goals for different parts and show progress in those areas.  I will try to address an area in my weekly blogs (so the first thing was to set a day to blog and make it routine!)  I am starting on Sundays and hopefully that will help me to set myself up for a week of success!

I have labeled my divisions: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Psycho-social. (Ever heard of these before, nursing facility folks???) In fact, this will probably have a bit of a “care plan” feel to it, but it will make Amanda’s job of admitting me to the nursing home — when the time is right-— a lot easier. She will just give them my “care plan”.

For this  beginning I have labeled each of these but I plan to go into depth with the individual divisions each week and share with you any special progress with the other divisions should it develop! I will start with the Physical.

For the most part, I feel I am in pretty good shape physically if you count any diseases or complaints but in pretty “not so good” shape if you count restricting my activities because of my weight!  (Whew– there I have said it. Crazy that I feel like I am sharing a secret when the evidence is there for all the world to see!)

Now trying to lose weight has kind of been a hobby of mine for years starting with belonging to clubs like TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) in high school and several trips to Weight Watchers through the years. 10 years ago I even had surgery with a lap band put into place and at that time, did lose about 80 pounds, but have put several of them back on. I had to even have that band redone a few months ago with the suggestion from my physician that if it didn’t work, he would consider another option of surgery which is a sleeve. When I realized that the update of the band hadn’t worked, I did think about the sleeve but wanted to try Weight Watchers ONE MORE TIME!!!

June 3rd was my first official day of this journey. I started with buying the program on line and paid extra to go to meetings because I felt I NEEDED those meetings to keep me focused and I liked the tips I got from the other members.  Still I didn’t actually pick a meeting until June 24th which was a Saturday morning.  Stepping on the WW scales showed that I had lost 13.8 and I was quite excited. However– it is a drop in the bucket for what I hope to lose and I have just begun a long journey and the light at the end of the tunnel is pretty dim– not dark but dim!

I am learning things every week and my progress has slowed down a  bit but for the first time in my life! I feel I have truly committed myself to this project.  One of the first things I realized was that I have always felt like the things I put in place such as being a member of one of these meetings or having that surgery was all it should take and the pounds should just melt off but I never truly committed to the other part that was vital and that is: me buying in— it is me realizing that these are tools but without me using the tools, that is all they are! Just tools.

Now it helps that the plan is so easy that I can follow it on my IPhone so it stays in front of me daily.  I have also added a very despised word to my vocabulary: WALK!  Those who know me know that I will run (in my car) over a little ole lady at the grocery store to park close to the front door and limit, when possible, shopping trips to those stores that have the riding carts! and it is now time to change a bit of the mindset!!

I live on a hill about half way up the hill, so now I have Will take me to the top on his way to work, and I walk back.  It is downhill so not so tough yet but starting tomorrow, I will increase it by about half a block by walking around a circle at the top of the hill before I start back down.  It really isn’t a lot, but making myself do it each morning is a bit of a stretch! I get credit on my WW app for exercise, so I wear this little ditty on my hip that counts the steps and my weekly goal is to increase my daily steps by 500 every day.  I heard that you are supposed to shoot for 10,000 steps a day BUT at this point, this seems a long way out there!!

I also am changing my food selections from the store– the frig contains lots of fruits now– washed and ready for me to grab when I want something quick and legal, and if I eat fast food (which used to be my staple), I figure my points prior to ordering.  This app lists a ton of restaurants and the points for each of their selections.  I have found that if the local restaurants aren’t listed here, I can get on the internet and google them and most have already calculated the points but if they haven’t, there is a calculator that will let me put the nutrition information in and walla…your points are there before you know it!!

This also includes beginning to cook again and plan meals and buy groceries that aren’t just microwave ready– another re-learning curve for me.  When my hips were bad, I lived with Amanda and family and she is an awesome cook, so popcorn was about all I had to master. Then when I moved out and Will (my son) and I shared a house, and we had really different schedules so fast food became our mainstay.  Well lots of learning and planning ahead and I think I am going to welcome this change of focus but it remains to be seen!! If I find something especially yummy, I will share them with you and of course, I will also share the flubs cause there will be plenty!!

Well, think I will close this out for now and next Sunday will update you on the progress.  Have a blessed and wonderful week!




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On the Road Again

Hello again!! Wow!! It has been a while since I have been here and my life has taken a big twirl on the merry-go-round of life but has re-deposited me back on my front step and this time I am a lot more content to open the door and go in!  I am home and glad of it! Many things have happened since my last entry and I would like to share them with you.

First, I consulted for a nursing facility that I had worked at several (50) years ago!!  It was a great experience and I met some wonderful people. It never seems to fail that there are wonderful people no matter where you go! I had considered working there for a couple of years and re-retiring.  However, the owner is contemplating selling it and I don’t want to go through that and guess what…. I am retired so I don’t have to! I did have mixed feelings about leaving as it was close to part of my family– my oldest son and family were only about 21 miles away and I got to see several of my grandson’s football and baseball games. My sister lived 28 miles away and my parents were 27 miles away so it was wonderful placement. I did hang out there for a few months so it was wonderful.  It turned out to be even more wonderful because I spent several hours with my parents and this became very precious because on April 30th, my father passed away. Alert and busy until the end, our time was so enjoyable!

I am going to attempt a new adventure with my blog and will truly appreciate any input from any of you who are reading this.  My family has for, quite a while, told me that I should put some of my stories on paper.  Now I will tell you that I seldom embellish when I tell stories from my past, but perhaps I do remember some of the events a bit different than other folks do. Consequently, my baby sister (who has published several children’s books) tells me to be sure that I let everyone know that I write fiction!  Now in my mind, I am quite sure this is the way that things really happened; others tell me that I occasionally put my own slant on things— who knows!!  Anyway, I have a few short stories that I have written in the past, and I occasionally write one now, so would like to share them with you to critique and please be honest.  Not all are from my past, some are just from the little strings of thoughts that occasionally wisp through my mind. However, if possible, I may put them together in a collection of short stories, so want to know if it is worth my time.

So-o-o-o-o here we go, attempting a new path down this retirement road!  Anyone on board?


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