Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turning 60: A Day for Me

So, I wondered what I was going to write about in December with regards to “Turning 60?” As with most of us, December is filled with doing things for others, and that’s as it should be. My job provides me with the knowledge and the opportunity to help those in need, even if I don’t do it myself, I am involved in the process; be it the paperwork, or follow-up.

Not unusually, I have been shopping, wrapping and getting all the things done that need to be done. I didn't send out cards. My plan is to make a “Happy New Year” card with a wedding picture and send it out in January. I did do a Christmas Letter via blog and it is found here. Last year’s letter is here. These are busy times.

I did make the decision to forgo exercise the first week of the month. I had a slight sprain in my knee and I wasn't doing ANYTHING that would keep me from enjoying my son’s wedding on New Year’s Eve. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am perfectly capable of tripping over my own feet and hurting myself, but I am simply not taking chances.

By not going to the gym six days a week, that gave me six or seven hours a week to do something else. Sometimes that was for other people, and sometimes it was just time for me. I read some books. I am working on a women’s Bible study that I downloaded from the Internet. I made wedding favors. And by watching what I ate, I found that it was OK to take this break. I shall return and I know that.

I had lunch with three friends, and had another over to our house for dinner. I gave a party. I attended two parties. I did eat, but I kept track, and incorporated those splurges into the rest of that day or week. Other than that, I really didn't “cook” much.

I got my nails done—twice! I got my hair done once.

While doing for others, I did for me too!

I think the biggest thing that I did for myself only, was take a day off on the day that I gave my Class of 1971 Christmas party. I had cleaned some over the weekend; so all that really needed done was spot-cleaning (bathrooms!) and fixing two dishes, as well as getting things together.

Then, I sat down and just listened to the nothing. It was fabulous! I read some, but did not turn on the television or even the music. Both of the men I live with were out of the house, and I had time for just me. This is really unusual and does not happen often. I work a 9-3 day and my husband is retired, volunteers and substitute teaches. All of those activities pretty much take place within the time frame that I work, so I don’t sit and listen to the quiet very often.

I thought, as I was raising children, that I would have time to myself when this stage of life got here; but I find that I don’t.

So therefore, in 2013, one of my goals is to develop a “Woman Cave” in the basement where my son lives right now. I think that process may spawn at least ONE blog; although I am by no means special when it comes to decorating! The idea is to have a place where I can watch the History Channel or HGTV while someone else is watching March Madness. Perhaps for the first time in thirty six years, I won’t be MAD! (Disclaimer: I always love watching our Ohio teams in the NCAA tournament or Wright State in its tournament. And, I also like Michigan State; and we follow our son-in-law’s team, North Carolina)

Re-doing the basement will be a BIG thing “for me.” Of course, we will use it for family purposes, but it’s going to be my cave, make no mistake about it. Grandma will have a “play corner” for her grandchild(ren).

So that’s really about it for December. There really wasn't anything of great note. I am just another wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and employee doing what we do during the Christmas season. I made it a priority to read a good Advent book, to keep my focus on why I do all of this!

Next up? The Twelve Days of a Wedding! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Fitness Journey: End of Year Report 2012

I am really not on a mission. I kind of get annoyed at all the fitness "gurus" out there. I don't know what I did to deserve a first-born who got her Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Studies and my next child with a Bachelor's Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Ugh, they were always talking about this or that I piled on the weight, became too tired at the end of a day to do anything, and since I hate cooking, indulged in unhealthy eating habits.

As we face a new year, I do not stand in judgment of any person. But as I am out and about; I notice how obese our society in general has become! And like any BIG problem, we as individuals are only ONE person and we can only do so much at a time. But let's remember, although we care about our society and its woes, we really want to live longer, healthier lives OURSELVES! We want to be there for our grandkids and great-grandkids, and we don't want to be a burden on anyone.

One of the things I do in my job as Social Worker for the Fairborn Senior Center is assess our clients, ask them what medications they are taking, with the purpose of helping them get the best and cheapest health and prescription coverage possible. Don't get me wrong; I want to help people and I am beyond helping them fix problems that began decades ago. But when I think of this--I want my remaining years to be DIFFERENT!!!

This is why I encourage my readers to DO WHAT THEY CAN! Every year, my New Year's resolution was to "lose weight." This year it's different.

Let's begin by looking over the last year. I am not going to win any big awards; I am not going to make it on the Biggest Loser, but here are quantitative results.

1. I have lost about 15 pounds in the calendar year 2012. I had begun losing earlier, for a total of about 30.
2. My blood work looks entirely different. While I still take a statin, I have halved the dosage. My sugar is lower by about 20 points (always a concern as I have genetic issues with diabetes).
3. While I still have a bum shoulder and arthritis in my knees, I have gained stamina and strength.
4. Some of my body parts that you aren't allowed to see look different! These are small things, but I can tell it. My bathing suit is too big. I need to get some new bras.
5. My clothes fit differently, and I am in a smaller size than I was last year.

What can you DO besides say "I need to lose weight in 2013!" You KNOW you need to lose weight in 2013; but what are other indicators that you are becoming a healthier individual?

1. You KNOW what to eat and what not to eat! When faced with choices, pick the best one.
2. Eat less salt!
3. Just get moving. I don't care if you join a gym, but get moving. Picking up some weights at Target might not be a bad idea.
4. DO NOT QUIT! You will fall off the wagon; I certainly have, but you get back up ON IT! You can do that!

If we don't take care of ourselves, it becomes a vicious cycle, we gain more weight, we have more health issues and the quality of our life decreases. Some of us have genetic factors, but DO WHAT YOU CAN!

If I just said, "I've lost 15 pounds this year," you aren't impressed because that doesn't seem like a whole lot of weight, but if I showed you my blood work report, showed you the parts of my body that I am NOT going to show you; and had you watch me work through an exercise class, you would know that changes have occurred.

And God knows, if I can do this; so can you!

Onward and upward! 2013 is going to be a great year! I am going to turn 60 in a completely different place than 58! But I must remember, it took 15 years to get this way, it will take some time to correct the situation!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Entitled to Christmas!

This started out as a Facebook status report and we all know that Denise can get wordy; so I decided to expand just a little and see where blogging took me.

I personally am having a little trouble with our society believing that we are all “entitled” to Christmases that look like Currier and Ives cards. While I am certainly in favor of helping the less fortunate, ALL YEAR LONG, none of us, poor and rich alike are “entitled” to a certain “kind” of Christmas.

It doesn't HAVE to look like this!
We are not entitled to a big Christmas meal. We don’t have to have a ham or turkey to celebrate the holiday. There are many who do not have the ability to cook the big roast that has been given to them by some well-meaning group. Another option might have been better.

We are not entitled to a lot of gifts. Christmas is NOT defined by gifts, number or cost. I have memories of "big" Christmases and not so big Christmases. My father worked on commission.We always had something, and our needs were met. It built character; not expecting more than we could afford.

We are not entitled to warm, fuzzy feelings about Christmas. Music transports us in time to other eras, and that is what it is; but there are going to be years and seasons of life that we don’t feel warm and fuzzy, for any number of reasons. We may be ill. We may have family that cannot get to us for some reason. We may be lonely; and we may be able to do something about that. We can get together with friends and neighbors, or volunteer to serve at a community meal.

What we ARE entitled to is the celebration of the Birth of Our Savior. If you do not share those beliefs, you ARE entitled to that also. But Christmas is about ONE THING, and that’s its origin. The Birth of Christ. 

Worship. Awe. Adoration.

If you have that, you have everything you need to celebrate Christmas!

Have a worshipful day!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back To The Future

We can all relate to being transported back to another time and place, when we visit an old home, school or other public building that was part of our childhood. I feel it sometimes when I visit the older buildings in Springfield, such as the Post Office, or Covenant Presbyterian Church, where I worked in 2002-2003 and was the place in my parents were married (ok, I wasn’t there for that!) and where I was baptized as an infant, and went to Sunday school as a child.

This is the lowest level: looking
towards the south. The door on
the right would go into the
auditorium if it were used.
Usually these places seem so small; smaller than we remember them. The simple answer is that we have gotten bigger, some of us more than others.

Upon my recent employment with the Fairborn Senior Center, I found that many of my clients lived in the Fairborn Central Senior Apartments, AKA Central Elementary and Junior High from my youth. I find myself in this building almost once a week for one thing or another.

I have always had an interest in architecture, and it always thrills me to see older buildings “re-purposed” for good uses. In the 1980’s the Fairborn City Schools realized that it was just too costly to keep Central School open and it was closed. It sat empty for a very long time and I don’t know when the sales transaction occurred; but I remember touring it under construction in the time period of 1997-1999, because I remember where I was working when we were invited to take this tour.

After it was finished, there was a public Open House, and Jerry and I attended that, leaving our children, 14 and 9, in the car, because they couldn't have cared less. I, on the other hand, was fascinated.

Some of the apartments actually kept the old blackboards, the windows were all kept intact—as much as for the historical façade as anything—and the lockers were still lining the halls. Each apartment is somewhat different, although there are some that are similar, such as the end units.

I was absolutely amazed at what they did with the gym. I have to admit, I was a little sad too, but it was great design. On the second floor (street level) there is an open lounge/ game room area, and you can see the bottom 5 or 6 rows of bleachers. I believe there is an apartment on the other side of the game room. On the third floor, the ceiling is much higher in the multi-use room, and you can see the TOP 6 or so rows of bleachers. I do know there is an apartment on this level. This third floor room is suspended.

All the halls have carpeting in them, but the marble is visible around the edges, giving the remembrance of the marble floors. The lockers have been kept as décor; I don’t believe they are in use. The area that is at the top of the front entrance steps is a lounge area also, kind of a “hang out” for the residents.

A new entrance is on the rear, with an entry into the old auditorium. This room looks almost exactly as I remember it. You cannot enter it from the lower level, but you would be able to from the second floor. I don’t think anyone does though. Remember, this is for seniors and the word here is flat. They can come down from the elevator, come into the new entrance and into the auditorium that way. The stage is there, the “backstage” has been converted into a much-used kitchen for community meals. This space is used for meals, bingo and lots of other activities.

It is secure in that a visitor has to be buzzed into the main building by a resident; however, anyone can go into the community room. I went to a “garage sale” a few months back and I found a yearbook from Fairborn High School Class of 2002 with a name on it. It was that of a church friend of my daughter’s; I bought it, found her on Facebook, and mailed it to her.

The other day I had to visit a client and we had a wonderful visit. She lives in Ted Hammond’s ninth grade Physical Science classroom. If you recall, it was on the end of the building, and it has so much sunlight. I told her, “You know, I COULD live in this space!” It is one of the largest units and the rent reflects that, but it was gorgeous! She had a paper that I needed to copy so I had to run down to the lowest level to the office. The office was directly below us.

As I walked down two flights of stairs, which seemed very narrow to me, in my mind’s eye and ear, I could hear the din of children’s voices as they changed classes. It was surreal! It was as if the walls could talk.

Whenever I go into that building, I feel like I am in a time warp. Not all of the apartments are as visually lovely as that one; in fact, another day I was in a space that was built around the back of the elevator shaft, using every available inch. That apartment would set me crazy!

It was a thrill to find our ninth grade football trophy still in the trophy case. This almost-60 person can remember those exciting games like it was just a few days ago. Where does the time go?

It is possible that some of our schoolmates will live in this building some day. It will most likely be beyond my working days, but it will be interesting to see that transition happen.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to the Fairborn Central Senior Apartments, do it! Go back to the future, as I am able to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Third Annual Class of 1971 Christmas Party

When we built our home in 2007, I told the hubs that I wanted a place that I could entertain. I didn’t really envision having annual Christmas parties for my classmates. I saw family outings, choir parties, Sunday school class parties, and Girls’ Night Out.

2010-taken by the hubs
In 2010, some of us had been getting together periodically at Giovanni’s restaurant in Fairborn, as well as other places. We decided we wanted to have a Christmas party. That first year we had nine people, although the invitation was open to all. This would be pot-luck: I would clean my house and make sure we had paper products, and make a couple of things and everyone else would bring a dish and maybe some pop. We had a guitarist and we sang goofy Christmas songs. I took movies on the phone and they won’t see the light of day, but we had a great time and lots of laughs.

2011-taken by my next-door neighbor
In 2011, we had a few more people, about thirteen; we had some new folks and a few people from the previous year could not make it. There was plenty of excellent food and we all overate. After dinner we sang Christmas carols, with a pianist this time. Pianist may be stretching it, but he could play the piano! We all joined in heartily and enjoyed singing some “silly” songs, as well as some traditional carols. Several people told me, “It has been years since I have been to a party where we actually sang Christmas carols.” Obviously, you have to have the piano, or other major instrument, and someone to play the carols; but it’s a pleasant memory of years gone by.
2011-taken by across-the-street

This year, we met again and added yet another four people. We seem to have a core, but each year we have added new people. That is what I have hoped for. It was cozy in our living room and dining room with seventeen people; but we look forward to next year when we can also use the basement, now used by my son who still lives at home. Again this year, we sang our Christmas carols. We are certainly not ready to take this show on the road, but we had FUN.

Meeting together with high school friends and celebrate Christmas is special in that we are making memories and creating bonds that will last as we grow older together, and maybe don’t sing as well. We all have families, extended families, and many other friends and neighbors in our lives, but there is something special about people who knew us as a young person. While we have plenty of stories of back-in-the-day to tell on each other; we are just as likely to talk about our kids and grandkids, and our lives today.

And speaking of neighbors, here’s a shout out to two of my neighbors who have come over in 2011 and 2012 to take pictures of us as a group! We include spouses in the pictures!

I plan to host these Christmas parties as long as I am able to. I have to clean the house and that’s about all! After three years, many of these people know their way around my kitchen, and take care of things! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one person refilling the ice bucket, and another replacing the kitchen waste can liner as I took the first bag of garbage out to the garage. Hopefully, people feel comfortable enough to be able to make themselves at home!

To those who have not made it (yet) but have thought about it, we hope to see you next year! Practice your singing!

P.S. I am thinking about a white elephant gift exchange too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Fitness Journey: You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

You just can’t make this stuff up! The other night I sat down at my computer desk to check email (and Facebook) and shut down the computer right before going to bed. I had a shiny, satiny, full-length nightgown on that I have had for fifteen years; when some lady died and her heirs brought all her clothes to the church I was working for at the time. This was the only garment I was interested in, and it was brand new.

So, I sit down at the desk and the chair slides right out from beneath me. Whatever position my legs were going to be in, they were—right on the floor. I felt a little catch in my right knee and I just sat there for a little while—praying, “Please Lord, don’t let this be another ‘derailment,’” right before the wedding.

I managed to get myself up and into bed, none the worse for wear. No one saw this and I was not embarrassed. I fell asleep just fine and I slept well. But, in the morning, all was NOT well! I thought, “Perhaps it will get better as the day goes on, and I can go to boot camp.” This was not to be. I actually took the opportunity to skip boot camp and go to the basketball game that my son was coaching, and then to choir practice.

#1.  Greenon—vote the levy so we don’t have to do those awful steps in the gym! I usually do not sit down low as I know that is where the parents want to be. I became a parent. Heck, I AM a parent! (Actually, as the coach’s mom, it’s kind of interesting!)

#2.  Denise, remember, there are “handicap” parking spots at the church. You didn't have to climb up those steps from the lower parking lot.

By day’s end, I didn't feel any better.

But, I will say—this cloud has a VERY silver lining! First of all, the Coach made me do some things to diagnose the situation, and he said I had nothing to worry about. I listen to him. He was right.

So therefore, in My Fitness Journey, how am I going to handle this? I am going to take a break.  Knowing that I will not be exercising until I have danced at my son’s wedding, I KNOW I have to pay careful attention to what is going in my mouth. This is the highest priority right now.

One thing that I have definitely noticed is the gaining of time. While I don’t regret any of the time spent on exercise and strength building; I was having a little trouble holding it all together. This is not a normal year. I am working more hours at my paid employment, I have wedding “stuff” going on, as well as the usual Christmas traditions of our family, and my choir involvement, which ramps up at Christmas time. Gym activities were on top of that, and I was “coming apart at the seams.”

God must have known I needed to slow down and literally stop!

Oh, I can walk, and I can do the basics just fine. I am doing the laundry, I am cleaning the house for a party on Monday evening (pot-luck, I don’t have to fix an army load of food), and I am able to do my paid job with no issues.

But exercise—no thanks, I am just not running the risk of injury!

So here I am and I find myself with TIME! What am I going to do?

Well, the bride assigned me the very fun task of putting together favors for the wedding. Who doesn't like some mundane, routine chore, designed to give you carpal tunnel syndrome? Well, I got that done. Then I have actually read some material on the iPad! Right now I am reading Advent devotionals and a fiction book. I took a NAP!

Now, not to worry. I will return to the gym in due time. But as I sit here, I realize this is really OK too! Some of the other parts of my body and mind can be working too. I can interact with my family members.

In all things, balance. Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Derges' Digest: 2012 Edition

As I begin writing our Christmas Letter in early December, I am reminded that some big things still have yet to happen in 2012; but I am also reminded of how many blessings we have in our lives this year. This Christmas Season is unusually busy as we prepare for Joel and Lindsey’s wedding on New Year’s Eve, but it’s important to slow down, take time to prepare our hearts for the Advent of Christ’s Birth.

Where to start? I (Denise) broke my foot in May, took a trip to Atlanta in June, and began a new job as a Social Worker at the Fairborn Senior Center in July. I love what I do, helping the senior citizens of our community. It is a wonderful fit.

Jerry, while still substitute teaching some, began volunteering this summer at the Springfield Regional Medical Center. One day he “greets” and another day he drives a golf cart around the parking lot, picking up people who need some assistance. He really enjoys this new venture!

Jessica and Brent both got promotions at Nationwide. She and Brent are doing well balancing work, parenting, basketball coaching, church activities, marathon training and having a social life. Jessica ran the Air Force Marathon in September and the Columbus Marathon in October. Kyah turned one in June and she is a little doll. It has been pure joy watching her grow and change. Grandma and Grandpa love having her visit!
Joel coaching ladies with his former
varsity baseball coach. I love this!

Joel coached ladies basketball at his high school alma mater last winter, took graduate school classes, and substitute taught in the local schools. In the summer, he umpired, and worked in marketing (the web site and Facebook page) of a trophy shop in Xenia, while beginning the football season—and taking summer grad school classes. In August he was hired at a charter school in Trotwood as an intervention specialist to 7th and 8th graders. He was still coaching football; and both school systems worked together to see that he could finish that. In fall he took two grad school classes and has two more classes spring semester; in June 2013 he will have his Masters Degree in Special Education. This November, he began his second year coaching women’s basketball as JV coach.

My five children on Easter Sunday.
Lindsey graduated with her Bachelors in Nursing in June and began her job as an RN in Labor and Delivery at Miami Valley Hospital the day after Joel started teaching in Trotwood! Joel and Lindsey were baptized on Easter Sunday morning, which made that a very special day for us.

Taken somewhere in Alaska!
While they were beginning their careers, Jerry and I were cruising the Inner Passage on our way to Alaska to celebrate our 35th anniversary. That entire trip was 14 days, and we saw fabulous things, had incredible experiences, and got very tired. It was a trip like no other!

After we got home from Alaska, wedding mode moved into high gear. I still participated in choir and taught Sunday school, but felt I should cut back on other things. In March I joined a fitness club, and I have been working hard at losing weight and gaining strength; so work and going to the gym took up most of my time.
Little lady with a new coat.
In October, Lindsey took occupancy of her and (to be) Joel’s apartment; and a few days later my mother moved into her own place. November brought showers and birthday parties and holidays. We spent Thanksgiving at Jerry’s sister Sharon’s home and another meal at the home of our daughter.

In December, we look forward to my Third Annual Class of 1971 Christmas Party on the 10th, and the Church Christmas Musical on the 15th and 16th. Our family Christmas is the 16th. Then we will have a little respite before the activities of the wedding on New Year’s Eve.

We will ring in 2013 with a BIG BANG! We wish your family the happiest and holiest of holidays!
Last year's Derges' Digest can be found here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Turning 60: November, Jersey Boys!

What makes otherwise sane, conservative, longtime married people go and see a traveling Broadway show FIVE times? What makes us overlook language that we would never use in everyday life, watch a story that doesn’t relate to our experience whatsoever and travel all over two states to see this show.

It’s simple. The music.

Music always takes us to another place in life. It takes us to feelings we had; experiences we had, even if there’s no way it can be a part of our life today. It makes us feel young(er). And it’s good stuff!

Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They were from Newark, New Jersey, not Kansas! The language is colorful, and while I personally think some has been added in today's culture, back in the day they didn’t say “golly gosh” either. The story involves their relationship to somewhat (un)organized criminal elements. It involves chemical abuse and relational dysfunction. It’s the stuff all of life is made of; only, for us anyway, to a bigger degree.

But it’s the music that brings you back. The vocals of today are more polished and trained than a bunch of kids from Jersey, the technical equipment that is available at our disposal today is far superior, and the way that the story, while true—although I am sure there is some poetic license taken—weaves the story with the song is fabulous.

The story is developed into four “seasons.” In the spring are the beginning years; just getting someone to listen and play the songs. Although Franki Valli is discovered by Tommy DiVito, the first years are marked with musicians flowing in and out of the penal system of the day. It is Frankie who brings Bob Gaudio into the group, infusing his songwriting into the picture. He isn’t the “performer” and never wanted to be. 

One of the moments of the show that maybe you don’t get the first time you see it is the scene between Frankie and Bob; whereby they strike a deal combining their creative talents 50/50 outside of the other two members: Bob’s songwriting revenue (future) and whatever Frankie MIGHT do outside the group. They settle this matter with no contract, according to the story, other than a “Jersey” handshake. (True? I dunno!) This partnership, however, is still in existence today.

During this scene, Frankie says something like “Could we maybe add a saxophone?” and Bob responds with, “We’ll have a whole SECTION of horns!” as he dreams of the future. This is a very important statement, and the storyline comes back to this later.

The next season really begins with the song “Sherri,” which is thrown together on a napkin or something, and it becomes a huge hit (1961). This song is followed by “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man,” and they have arrived as a group. During this same time, the British Invasion was occurring in our country; but it is noted that the Four Seasons’ music was embraced by more of the blue-collar element. I don’t know; my family was not blue-color, and I was listening to this stuff too! (Along with the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, etc.)

A not-so-subplot is the involvement of Tommy with organized crime. He gets into the hole to the tune of about $750,000—which I am estimating, although I heard the number one million thrown around, which might have been interest added. Frankie decides that, although Tommy is being taken to Vegas to be “watched” by the Mob and is no longer a part of the group per se, he (Frankie) will pay every cent of that debt back, the honorable way, by earning it.

When Nick Massi decides on a whim to leave the group (1965); there are, even in his own mind, many different reasons for his departure. So Frankie and Bob are left. They hire two new “Seasons,” but eventually Bob gets out into songwriting totally, and they hire another two men; putting Frankie out in front, creating Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

At this point in the show (1967), Bob writes two songs, “Marianne” and another one that is "different," that no one wants to take a chance on. The song is not named as he talks to this promoter and that promoter about it. Finally, Bob, believing so much in the song, finances it himself. This is the Fall of the story. Frankie has finally arrived and it is a HUGE hit! (Solving all the financial woes, although that’s probably simplistic)

This is the climax of the story as far as I am concerned, and I have seen it five times. They start the music and there is this collective sigh in the audience. “You’re just too good to be true…” (Song title: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”) And during this song, as the lead is building the natural momentum of the song….in comes the horn section. It’s the moment! He’s arrived! Usually, this song itself gets a standing ovation, although it didn’t in Cincinnati.

However, all of this success doesn’t come without a relational price. Frankie’s first marriage dissolved many years prior, and his daughter overdoses on something –we aren’t told exactly what. After the high of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” we dive into “Fallen Angel,” as Frankie sings about his departed little girl. After five times, I still tear up; and I hear noses blowing all over the auditorium.

The Winter of the story is the Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1990), where the original group is brought together again.  Tommy and Nick had left estranged, but they returned and joined Bob and Frankie onstage for the finale. The last song is “Who Loves You?” and the encore is “Oh! What a Night!” and no one is left sitting in their seat.

Because I write this as I am “turning 60,” you might think that the audience was my peers. While I would say that most were; both my husband and I sat next to young people. I sat next to a 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend, and she knew ALL the music, taught by her parents and grandmother. Jerry sat with a young woman, whose mother was on the other side of her, and sister was on the other side of mother. This was a mother of our age, exposing her daughters to music that was different from what they generally listened to, and passing on the experience to them. Jerry’s young neighbor thought the dancing was wonderful and he pointed out to her that it was authentic for the time period. I don’t think she thought of that, she just thought that someone made it up today to go with the songs.

The entire show was very authentic to the time period, which is what I think is part of why people keep coming back. We are not alone. I know many who have seen it twice—I don’t know anyone who has seen it five times! We are transported back in time to an era that was certainly not without problems; but seems simpler to us today.

Oh! What a Night!

Dates and details are found here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Fitness Journey: Trudging Through the Holidays

This “Fitness Journey” is not going as I had planned. However, that’s not ALL bad. It’s just—different.

I can cut back! No topping!
I have always been the type that wanted quantitative results. So I naturally want to see the scales moving, and they just aren’t! I have been faithful since my return from the vacation to Alaska and I didn’t gain ON that wonderful trip; but the scales haven’t moved since then!

I still exercise 5 or 6 days a week. I admit that I haven’t been watching the calories as I was before; but I also know that I am not overeating. Generally. Now, there was Thanksgiving. There are two kinds of Thanksgivings: bad Thanksgivings and very bad Thanksgivings. I was very bad. But I went to boot camp the night before and the morning after.

I have been faithful to go to boot camp three days a week. On off days I do 30 minutes of cardio. Soon, I will be into some weeks I may not be able to do as well—but there are choices. Wicked Amy is SOOOOO wicked that she offers boot camp five times a week: Monday and Wednesday at 6:00 PM; Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 AM and Saturday morning at 9:30. Surely I can make three of those each week, even though I certainly do NOT prefer those early mornings! I can still do it.

I feel that I am not making progress, and yet I am. I am adding weights at boot camp. I am not taking chances in hurting anything these next 35 days. I will do the best I can, but not beat myself up over not pushing myself during this time. I celebrate the small things. I can see the muscles in various parts of my body changing. I can see my clothes fitting differently.

I just bought a sweater that has horizontal stripes. Do you have any idea how long it has been since I have purchased a garment with horizontal stripes? I may not be ready to take on a whole dress; but the sweater doesn’t look half bad! I had a man who is at least ten years younger than I tell me he thought I looked pretty good for “Turning 60.” I think I love him. Unfortunately for me, he is Wicked Amy’s husband.

As I trudge through this season, I celebrate these small victories, and I know that after the New Year I will be back on track, adding some personal training sessions, continuing boot camp, and most of all, back to eating better.

How am I going to navigate the landmines of the holidays? My goal is to just maintain until after the New Year’s Eve wedding of my son. I will spread out my planned events as much as I can. Tonight the hubs and I went out to eat. I got my salmon dinner and I haven’t had salmon since Alaska (This salmon doesn’t hold a candle to Alaskan salmon, but it’s what it is and it was good). I will make the best choices that I can.

But I WILL have a piece of pumpkin pie once in awhile!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Keeping in Touch With The Next Generation

Thanksgiving—a time for family, friends, and pausing to be grateful for all life’s blessings. If we think we have it bad, there’s someone else worse—and if truth be told, there’s someone else in a better situation. It will always be so.

We have “big” and “little” Thanksgivings with my husband’s family. We all like getting together; but there is the reality of our young adults needing to switch back and forth every other year. We finally have everyone on the same page. This year was our “little” Thanksgiving. We had 16. The big years we have between 40 and 50 and we meet in my nephew’s church social hall (he is the pastor).

There's my Panera bread right
up front!
I was asked by sister-in-law “J” to bring my wonderful mashed potatoes. It was held at sister-in-law “S”s house. J is a purist; makes fabulous pies and does it all the old-fashioned way! We didn’t have the heart to tell her my potatoes are “Hungry Jack.” ©

So Jerry and I plan to arrive about an hour before the meal is served and I plan to make my potatoes with no pomp on the kitchen stove. But shoot, J is there before I am! So I take my ingredients into the small bedroom; eventually boil my water on the stove, add butter and milk and take the pot back to the bedroom and do my stirring in of the potato flakes; then sneakily take them back to the kitchen while everyone else is gabbing. I don’t think anyone suspected a thing. (S, I left the box in the bedroom! Oops!)

I had the opportunity to sit with my nephew “C” and we did let out what I had done. C (the son of J) and his wife have done many similar things, and we had some good laughs over it. C goes over to get a second piece of the “homemade bread” that I brought from Panera, and gave me a look, and I said “Panera, my friend” or something to that effect. I do remember saying, “I know HOW to cook, I just choose NOT to!” Especially with a three hour drive. He knew what I meant.

All this is to say is that all families have their jokes and even “secrets.” J will find out my secret if she reads this blog. Someday, when I am retired; I might do things the old-fashioned way, but for now, with work and with traveling time, this is what I do.

When I go to these gatherings, I love to catch up with the next generation. This time we had a fresh-out-of-bootcamp Marine, two college students, and several high school students, and one junior-high student. The conversation always turns to gadgets, and I have a few. I stand between the “older” generation and the “younger” generation, in that the elders don’t see the need, and I do. The older folks want to have a conversation, and the younger ones text. While I fully admit, the younger need to respect the older, and have those conversations; to rely on them solely, the elder needs to ask him or herself, “How much do I want to remain in contact with them?”

Because if you don’t, you lose the connection! Period.

I always have my iPad with me and I did hook into their wireless. My grand-nephew and I were trying to show his grandfather and my husband how we could iMessage between his phone and my iPad, since I have an Android phone and can’t do that. We had a good laugh as I even used the voice messaging, and he spells his name a little differently and Siri or whoever spelled it the normal way. He says “Who is this person. Lol?” He was 10 feet away from me!

I spent a good bit of time showing my 74-year-old brother-in-law how to use the iPad. He has contemporaries and friends that have these and he is amazed at what all they do with them. We downloaded a piano app (free, of course; I showed him what I felt worthy of payment) and played around with that. The question I always ask is “What do you need?” and “What do you want to do with it?” and he is probably quite fine with his normal phone and laptop computer, as a farmer, who is retired from work in the “real” world, where he might need more skills to use a computer at his job.

That’s a fine discussion. But when discussing relationships, it always comes back to “What do I need to keep up with these kids?” I am NOT talking about helicopter parenting or grandparenting, I AM talking about communication with them on a regular basis.

When we were first married, my mother-in-law wrote us weekly letters on Sunday evenings. I wish I had kept them ALL. They would be a complete diary of her life from age 57 until about 75. That was our only communication; we talked maybe once every three weeks or so. Phone calls cost money.

Every family is different; but when my daughter left home to go to school, I said “Only two calls a week. We are sending you away to be on your own, not to call home every day.” Today she emails us from work each morning; texts as appropriate and calls once a week. She has a family, a home to run and a life to live. My son is the consummate texter. If I want to be in contact with him, I text. Period. He lives with us as I write this and I don’t exactly know what the future holds, but it will probably involve texting and Facebook chatting.

The conclusion to this is that keeping up with the younger folks is important; how you do it is a decision. If you don’t care to, that’s a choice too; but I fear one regretted eventually.

Our kids were with the “in-laws” this year, but on the way home I got two texts: from daughter—“Happy Thanksgiving. Am always thankful for my family.” From son: “Just got home. Where you guys at?”

As a postscript, during the day, my niece-in-law stopped by. She is going to make some adjustments to my mother-of-the-groom dress. She owns a bridal shop. She has "stuff." She learned of my "problem" on Facebook, and connected with me via email. She is going to solve this problem in an AMAZING way, and it would not have happened if we didn't use Facebook. Go Kate!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Next Generation: What Happens Next?

Although my readers know that I am a conservative Christian woman; I don’t use this blog to preach (much). I didn’t want to post this entry during the election time frame because this is not about a candidate. In fact, my “inspiration” for this is from a school levy in the school system my children were raised in.

I do not live in this jurisdiction anymore, but my husband and son have substitute taught there, and my son coaches two sports there. So this is my jumping off point.
One of the most haunting verses in the Bible comes at the end of Isaiah 39. Verse eight says, "Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'There will be peace and security in my days.' ”

King Hezekiah of Judah (715-687 BC) had become ill, and the prophet Isaiah told him to put his house in order. The king repented of his deeds and he was granted an extension of fifteen years to his life.

"Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, 'Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.' Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'There will be peace and security in my days.' ”

We actually have the prophet telling the king that his children and grandchildren will be taken away into captivity, made eunuchs in the palace of another king, which was horrendous to an Israelite, and nothing would be left.

But listen to Hezekiah, "Oh well, it won't happen in my lifetime. Let the kids deal with it."

So, I back off from this verse, haunted by it always, and think about my life, the life of our community (any community, just insert your zip code) and our nation as a whole.

We don't seem to get what we are doing to our children and grandchildren because likely as not, we will not see it.

We are all guilty. Since I have become an adult, we as a society have lived beyond our means; for whatever reason, we have lived with debt. We have not been disciplined, we have not told our children they cannot have something. Therefore debt has become a way of life, and when this or that candidate talks in numbers, our eyes just glaze over. We know it's bad, but we can't do anything about it.

But when we have any opportunity to change what we can, such as a school levy to rebuild crumbling schools, and I do mean crumbling; it will cost us. We must do these things.

Dealing with the national debt would be painful for the rest of our lives. It’s political suicide and no one and no party will take it on fully. We must do what we can do. I don’t like taxes any more than the next person, and I am not totally convinced that those in charge are using my money wisely, but I don’t have a better idea overall. We got ourselves in this mess, we allowed it, and to think we can get out of it without pain is ridiculous.

I am not dealing with any one issue here (other than the one that inspired me, of course); but the basic issues of life, debt, overspending for whatever reason, and just not living within our income.

None of us will have the retirement we dreamed of, but that was somewhat media-driven to begin with. Did we really think we would spend 20 years walking a beach if we earned a middle-income wage? Come on!

I think the thing we all agree on is that we WANT to leave our kids and grandkids with good educations, good libraries, fire and police protection, as our grandparents and parents gave to us. We owe them no less. And if it’s painful, we brought this on ourselves!

There is no simple answer, but the solution will be painful to all; some more than others. There will be cause and effect. Some people will do without.

And it’s not a political “game.” It’s our kids, grandkids and their future. It’s the world we are leaving them.

P.S. The school levy failed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Joy of Grandparenting

Almost everyone has heard the adage, “If I had known how much fun grandchildren were, I would have had them first!”

We are the grandparents of a little girl who is now 16 months old. This is when it really gets to be interesting. Not that we weren’t interested before, but now we can take her places and do stuff.

While caretaking recently, we decided it was time for Baby to get into the swing of Gma and Gpa’s Friday evening activity—that of going to Bob Evans. She did fine. We gave her crayons and she played with them some. What I thought was most interesting was that there was another baby there, a boy about 8-10 months old and she was fascinated by this baby! He, on the other hand, had no concept that she was there—nor did his older (4 years old?) brother. Was this a gender thing or an age-related thing? At any rate, it was interesting to watch her. And him.

She had half a grilled cheese sandwich, a fruit bowl and some of Grandma’s roll before the food came. However, when she was done, she signed “all done” and she was all done! Ready to get down and play! We still had food to eat and tried to keep her going, but eventually we both packed up our salads. We should have just ordered the smaller size and been done with it.

This baby is bi-lingual; she signs American Sign Language. Grandma knows a couple of them, but really wishes she had a reverse look-up every once in awhile. Grandma and baby read and do the flash cards. Grandpa reads and does puzzles with her. Also, we like to sit and “watch” her, learning of her interests, abilities and patterns.

We are so much more relaxed now. We know what is important and what is NOT! Grandma can give her some candy. We try to keep a basic schedule for good behavior as much as anything; but we aren’t strict about it. Tired toddlers are simply NOT fun.

Baby at Bob Evans
One of the best things about grandparenting that is healthy for us as a couple is that it takes us back to a simpler time—you know, that time where nice older ladies told you to enjoy it because it goes by too fast—before life got crazy with work schedules, five different sports, and trying to be everything to everyone. It reminds us that we really CAN do this, and we can do it well. We balance each other and trust each other. We know how the other rolls.

When Mama and Daddy came home; you know the routine, she started whining and fussing! We had nothing of that level going on, and it wasn’t because we catered to every whim! I remember as a young mother I was told what angels my children were and I didn’t believe it; until I took care of two little boys on either side (age-wise) of my daughter. The three of them, ages 1, 2 and 3 were complete angels. Then their mother walked in and those boys changed personalities. It was then I believed!

Now, if we can just get past the “kiddie” shows. I don’t remember them being so stupid before. Grandma needs to get some good videos.

There is so much yet to do in the future. I look forward to taking her to Boonshoft Museum, different shows, and the art museum where I worked. Parents are so busy that it’s good for grandparents to give them some time off and enrich the child’s life too. I look forward to this season of life!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Turning 60: October, The Melting Pot

When I decided to write about “turning 60,” the idea was to do something special for ME each month during the year preceding my 60th birthday. Now, I was brought up well, and taught to share, so sometimes I will be celebrating with someone! In fact, as relational as I am, I would imagine that the majority of the time I will be sharing with someone.

October is the month of birthdays in the Derge family. Our family of origin has three birthdays in nine days. It goes without saying that the eldest person of these three birthdays “lost” his birthday about twenty nine years ago. Oh well….

This year I wanted to do something special and different for Hubby’s birthday. He goes out and buys whatever he wants; and to be honest, I am getting tired of Bob Evans all the time. Being the frugal guru that I am, I purchased a Living Social “deal” for the Melting Pot, a restaurant that my son has taken his fiancée to on several occasions. I have heard others talk about this place, and it seemed like something that was totally different, and something I wanted to try.

I made reservations, and we headed to Centerville in pouring rain; clueless as to where we were going. The Melting Pot does not have big arches announcing its presence, and we almost passed it.  All things considered, we were only five minutes late and I thought we were doing quite well. We were ushered just about as far back in the restaurant as we could get—you know what they say about putting prospective trouble-makers in a place where they are not noticed as much! Hey, I was grateful to be close to the restroom!

We enjoyed being the guinea pigs to help train a new server. She was very nice, and we all learned together. We had to choose our cheese fondue for the appetizer and we agreed on the spicy version. The food was brought to us and the fondue was prepared in front of us. While I mentally made notes of the ingredients, I knew I would never try this at home. Nice idea, not happening. The sauce was delicious, and we put lots of healthy things into the cheese sauce, as I listened quietly to my arteries clogging. Fruit, veggies, and breads were all delicious in the cheese fondue.

Next we were brought salads. Hubby got his “normal” Caesar salad and I tried something new: a spinach and mushroom salad. We ate this as the fondue to cook our entrees was heating up. As we finished our salads, our entrees were brought to us. Yes, we had to cook the meat ourselves, and there were many sauces to sample. I usually order seafood when I am out, and I let it cook plenty long—taking no chances! Hubby usually orders a “sampler” and he did that tonight—beef, shrimp and chicken.

It takes time to cook the food, and figure out which sauces we liked with what. The beauty of this type of dinner is that creativity and exploration is part of the process—and it’s fun!

I actually felt like I had eaten relatively healthy for the most part of the evening—discounting the cheese sauce, of course. I had worked out all week and prepared for this to be the special meal of the week. I felt like I was doing OK.

Then, there was the chocolate desert fondue.

Jerry said he was full. I was full. But desert called our name, as we perused the menu. There was one called “Turtle” something, and for those who know me best, know how MUCH I love turtles! (We used to sell them for the music department in high school—mine never made it home!)

The turtle fondue was fabulous as we dipped strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, rice krispie treats (my personal favorite), cheesecake, pound cake and brownies into the chocolate/caramel concoction. I don’t know when I have tasted anything so wonderful.

I was so full, that I knew it would take some serious work to work these calories off. But special is special, and my husband’s birthday is a special day. He didn’t have to share this with any kids—it was a special treat just for US!

We enjoyed it!

P.S. The Melting Pot has something called “Ladies Night” on the last Thursday of the month. Certainly not for several months; but hey, I’m game!  Who's with me?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Fitness Journey: Eating Out and Loving It!

We all do it. It’s part of our lives. It is unreasonable to have a fitness/diet plan without figuring this into it.

I work at a senior citizen center. What do you think these women like to do? BAKE! We have potlucks, we have monthly birthday parties, and we have staff functions. What is a person to do?

I make sure I have had breakfast before arriving for work, so it’s not as difficult to walk by the zucchini bread that day’s volunteer brought it. Everything has to be “in moderation.” If I know that Jerry has had a big meal at the hospital, then I know neither of us will expect to eat much in the evening. I can indulge more.

If I know I have something planned for the evening, I pass on the social events at work.

My classmates like to meet at Giovanni’s. This is at most four times a year. I can handle this, but again, I plan that particular day accordingly.

My husband likes to eat out. I have familiarized myself with the major chain restaurants we haunt, and I have a choice meal at each one. I have this all figured out and I know I am not going overboard. Do I always make the perfect choice? No, but I know better from best and I choose as well as I can, depending on the rest of the day OR the rest of the week.

I avoid: fried at all costs. I have friends who say, “But Denise, you love that Sweet and Sour Chicken!” and there is that day, once in a blue moon. Hubby doesn’t like Chinese food, so you know it’s seldom.

There is always that chance meeting with an old friend or someone coming through town. I live my life with a “Seize the Day” mentality. Within the guidelines that I know are right and wrong, there is the larger issue of interaction with people, and breaking bread together is one way we do that. I consider it a great blessing to have many friends.

Those days will come! But if I live the rest of my life with “watching it,” keeping track with, and EXERCISING, then we enjoy life together.

I refuse to live life so sparingly that there is nothing left to enjoy. So perhaps I am not making the progress some would think I should. I will get there, and I will stay there.

I will live and love life; and I will love those who are dear to me. Time is going by too fast! On the other hand, I want to live as long as possible!

P.S. We begin the “birthday/shower/holiday/wedding” season, and I am not where I wanted to be. I planned to maintain during this time; but I am still working at losing a little. After the New Year, “After the Ball,” I will seriously get back on track. I pray for good health during all of this.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Fitness Journey: I Don't Like to Cook!

I have often been teased about my cooking ability, or lack thereof.

I want to make one thing clear to my reader. I CAN COOK! I know how to, I was taught well by my mother, my grandmother and my aunts. (My other grandmother, not so much, but I think maybe she was on to something! Read on!)

I have the ability to cook. I read all about cooking. But here’s the thing: I have so much time in the day, and frankly, I would rather be doing something else!

Many of the daily chores cannot be “not done” for long. Laundry piles up, and unless you have more clothing than I do, you must wash it. Cleanliness is defined differently for all of us, and indeed, differently for each of us at different seasons of life, but eventually, for health concerns, you must clean to some extent.

This looks yummy!
And certainly, those who know me well know that I don’t look like I am missing meals! This is one reason the weight is coming off s.l.o.w.l.y, which is fine with me.

So what do I do?

One issue for us at this season of our life is working different schedules. Substitute teachers have different schedules every day. When Jerry volunteers at the hospital, he gets a free meal after the shift, and he takes advantage of it. My schedule varies from day to day, and although we do spend most evenings together, we don’t eat at the same time. So, we solve the problem independently.

Jerry picks up the BOGO deal at the fast food chain, and while I don’t pretend I NEVER eat one of those, they are NOT my staples. I fix easy things. Eggs are good. We have been taught that eggs are terrible for our cholesterol, and then they reversed that finding, but either way, I don’t eat that many eggs in a given week. I eat fruit, I cut up an apple. I like PBJ sandwiches, in moderation, and I don’t slather on the ingredients. I like salads, but that depends on what we have right on hand. I don’t like salads four nights a week. I just don’t!

Soups are good, again in moderation. Unless I make them (there’s that word again!), they have a lot of sodium in them. Honestly, I am good with chips and salsa; I just make sure they are measured.

If some doctor told me I could never eat red meat again, I would not consider it a loss. I am not a vegetarian, but I do like seafood. I can get tired of chicken easily.

I am allergic to any dish that has more than three ingredients, and I attribute that to the fact that I just don’t like to cook! Chopping, prepping, ugh!

So what would I rather do?

If I work six hours a day, then go exercise, come home and clean up, that is an eight hour day. I don’t feel like adding meal prep at the end of the day. I want to sit down, talk with my husband and/or son, watch some TV, read, and do other small chores. I have mentioned hospitality in another blog.  Maybe I want to meet a friend for dinner, and eating out is another installment of this blog. Eating out can also be an extension of hospitality.

Cooking involves meal preparation, the actual eating, and the cleaning up. This really is not how I want to spend my evenings.

When I have company, I do not want to spend my time in the kitchen. I want to be enjoying the visit. For that reason, we do have Dominos on speed-dial, and we welcome drop in company. I have used Bob Evans for holiday meals, when it made sense. We did this last Easter, when the kids were baptized at church, Mom was here visiting, and I don’t know when I would have had time to fix the meal, that would not have taken time away from my mother’s visit! I think got this tendency from my maternal grandmother; who before the advent of fast food would give my Dad some money and he would run down to KFC and feed 6-8 of us!

Every once in awhile I (1) have a craving for something; (2) need to fix something for an event or (3) just feel like I need to prepare a good meal for us. As with all seasons of life, this is changing too. When one of these occasions happens, I rise to meet the need.

But I don’t love it. I love those three little words.

“Let’s eat out.”

More on that next time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Letting Go - A Reprise

This is a second entry in a topic and you can find the first entry here.

If I just didn’t have to blow out that d*** candle!

You know the drill. I, as mother-of-the-groom, am seated in the front row with my husband, and I get to stay seated about 30 seconds as the mother-of-the-bride is escorted down the aisle. Then together, we walk up on the platform and in our case, take a candle and light it from the candelabra and come back to the Unity Candle and light the smaller candles beside it. These are to represent our families, and later our son and their daughter will take those candles and light the one candle and blow out their own.

This is just a representation.
I do not know these people.
I don’t have a problem with the Unity Candle, although my husband and I opted not to use one. The kids are becoming a new family unit and are “leaving and cleaving,” as both sets of parents have raised them to do. This is success.

But before that, I have to blow out my candle that lights my son’s candle. Notice the fathers do not normally do this, it’s the mothers! I don’t think this is fair. For the mother, this is THE END. It is hard for mommies to give up their little boys!

I am the one who carried him nine months, when my husband thinks I just have 30 pounds of flab in my stomach (you should have heard me scream at him when he wanted me to clean the pool skimmer at 8 ½ months, “Jerry! There’s HUMAN BEING between me and that skimmer!”). I am the one that got kicked to smithereens when he broke my water. I am the one who had to have the C-section when the boy just preferred being in there and comfy and cozy rather than the hard work of childbirth. They call it “failure to progress.”

My husband was a true partner in care giving of the babies. He is fabulous with babies. Give him a crying infant and it’s comforted in five minutes! But Mom was the one who watched him grow, watched him think and understood how he was learning. When he was three, and could barely see above the kitchen table, I was making some drawings—rough as they were—of house plan ideas as we thought we might want to build. He looked at them, and I told them they were pictures of a house. He asked what room “this” was, and “that” was. Remember, these are one dimensional drawings; they “look” nothing like a house picture. I was amazed, pondered these things in my heart, and wondered if indeed, my son would be the architect I never could be.

I was the chief-in-spiritual-training. Both of my kids accepted Jesus as their Savior before the age of six. Jessica was the month before, and Joel was four months before the age of six. There are those of you who don’t think children of that age understand this. I NEVER DOUBTED with either of them. Of course, their faith was on a child’s level, and that’s where they were. That’s all Jesus asks of any of us; to come to Him as a child. Both children grew at age-appropriate levels in their faith and knowledge.

Also at the age of six, I was present at a t-ball practice, when Joel completed an unassisted triple play. Now, mind you, this was not a physical feat as the other children were picking dandelions. He mentally knew that when you caught a line drive and ran to this base and that base, you doubled up the runners. I remember us parents looking at each other and saying, “Did we just see what we thought we saw?” We did. Joel just did what he knew to do.

As the years passed, I worked part-time, I worked full-time; and I kept up with what was really going on! I had help, my life partner, my neighbor, teachers and “other moms.” I had facebook before we had Facebook! When we had some hard times, we dealt with it quickly; I never talked about “phases.” I dealt with what needed to be done. I made no excuses for poor behavior, or character. As most of us do, I asked myself if this issue would matter 50 years from now and if the answer was no, I didn’t care much. But character was another thing—we didn’t negotiate those issues.

While he was always independent, he was still MY boy! With other people’s influence, we raised him to be a fine man.

And when I stand up there in church and blow out that candle, I will know that it was a job well done.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Fitness Journey: You've Missed Me!!!

I have had people write me and ask me where I am on My Fitness Journey. Well, there’s a simple answer for this. Stalled.

When I returned from my trip to Alaska on Friday, August 25th, I was carrying an upper respiratory infection. Being one to always work through these things, I went to the gym sometime Saturday—not early—and did some light cardio work, nothing overwhelming.

But things went from bad to worse on Saturday evening and Sunday, and by Monday, although I went to work, I was at the doctor's at 10:30 AM. We started the first round of antibiotics of Z-pack and I already had my trusty codeine cough syrup. I didn’t go to the gym all week; I worked at the Senior Center and came home. Period. I rested. The good thing about illness is, maybe you are not doing anything, but you don’t want to eat anything either. I maintained my pre-trip weight with no issues.

Things seemed to be coming along by the end of the week, so the following week, I began going back to the gym again. I wasn’t killing myself, light day, harder day, alternating. I would like to go to class, but I am not stupid! It wasn’t time for that. I continued to maintain.

By the weekend, it hit me again and again on Monday I was at the doctor's. This time we tried Augmentin© and refilled that cough medicine! But I continued to exercise as I was able, confident that Augmentin© would do the trick. I don’t take lots of antibiotics; I am not one of these people that gets immune to them. I have to admit that before my sinus reconstruction surgery in 1996, I WAS there—I got sinus infections about once a month and I had half a life! I have resolved never to go there again, and without belaboring the point, that surgery was life-altering!

The simple beauty of holding
your grandchild and not being
afraid of giving her your illness.
I continued to exercise that week, the third week of illness and into the next week, but didn’t really add. I was still just trying to get through the things I had to do.  I didn’t get well.

I gave up exercising the 5th week also and by Friday of that week I was back at the doctor requesting Bactrim©. I am not a doctor nor do I play on TV but I know Bactrim© is the CANNON! I am DONE with this!

So I began that course of treatment about 9 days ago and I finally feel that I am on the mend and I can return to the gym this week. The last two weeks I just.stayed.home. This past weekend Jerry and I ran errands together on Saturday and after church, went to see the kids on Sunday. It was exhilarating to feel well enough to do normal weekend things and not lay around all weekend!

During the whole time, I just could not move, but I did get on the scales daily. I know you aren’t supposed to; but it was one way I could keep up with where I was. I may have been getting flabbier, but I weighed the same and I could still get on my clothes the way I had previously.

I actually missed the working out, the camaraderie with my friends, and the knowing I was making progress, but I wanted to get well more!

I will start back to the gym tomorrow. Today, I have a mani/pedi!!! Remember, I wrote about taking care of the total person? Well, I am! J