Friday, June 27, 2014

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk!

As I channel my inner Olivia Newton-John, I had an experience the other day, and I would like to share this with my fellow fitness friends.

We go to the gym and we love our classes and we talk and we move to music and meet physical and social and mental needs all at once. It is wonderful.

But last week, I got another cortisone shot for my knee and the dr. wanted to send me to Physical Therapy and I said “Why do that when I go to the gym and it’s paid for already? Just tell me what to do and what NOT to do for the next few weeks!”

So I was given some specialty exercises that I can do at home, and told not to do squats and planks and pushups whatsoever, unless I could do them from my feet.


So I try to do most of my exercises at home, and when they start doing any of the above, I just do free weights in some shape or form. My arms are going to be awesome! Haha!

As I lay on the floor at home and do the leg exercises she gave me, I don’t have any music going on and I can give the task at hand my full attention. What I have come to find out is that it is very interesting to listen to my body.

We all know that we talk about the creaking of our bones and joints as we age. I am nowhere near a knee replacement although there may be arthroscopic surgery in my future, but not today. But, it’s not really the knees that I am talking about. As I quietly lay on the floor, I can listen to the pops and cracks of my pelvic bones, my lower back and to a small extent, my hips. It is interesting to focus on exactly what is going on and where.

I want to strengthen these areas for what I can, but I also am aware of where the weaknesses are, in a way I can’t hear when I've got the TV on, or listening to the upbeat music at the gym. I mean, whoever heard of a silent gym???

This may be an experiment for you to try, and it doesn't matter how “fit” you are, because this is about bones. It is not about how much meat I have on those bones. Give it a try some quiet evening, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Exercises to do? Nothing major. Slow leg lifts. Crunches. The keyword is SLOW so you CAN hear your body talk!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How Medicines Affect Weight Gain/Loss

Yesterday’s blog was a hard one to write because it’s about people. This one is hard to write because it’s just plain depressing.

I am working like a dog. I am doing an “ab challenge” to work on The Last Frontier. I am usually at the gym five days a week.

…..and the weight is creeping up, or at the very best, staying the same.

This is about the medicines that post-menopausal women have to take to keep the breast cancer AWAY! I take Arimidex because I am post-menopausal. It is my understanding that the other drug, the pre-menopausal Tamoxifin, does the same thing. So pre or post, is not really the issue.

I am eating the things I need to eat to fight cancer and I am working out and I AM getting stronger! But the scales do nothing and the clothes are tight.

This past week, I bought three pairs of capris in a larger size so that I would not look like so many people who think it is cool to be poured into their clothes. I am going to talk about clothing in another blog as it has been asked for, but for today—it’s hard to work so hard, and NOT see results.

I have to take the medicine for three to five years with one year down (!!) and I will continue to work and build strength and endurance and SURELY, when I go OFF the medicine, something will start to happen!

Seven pounds, seven ounces is more accurate.
Now, I will add this, since we are talking about the Fitness Journey and it’s a recommendation I would make that you probably are not going to see anywhere else, because it’s politically incorrect among fitness people. When I lost a full size, I dutifully got rid of clothes, except some pants that I kept because I knew that I would need a larger size to wear leggings under for football games.

I am extremely glad that I kept a few things. Now, I am not talking trendy garments, but solid staples that do not go in or out of style.

My point is this: NONE of us know when we are going to get an illness which requires medication that will put weight on! It could happen any year to any of us. Take the clothes, the good ones, and put them in a box in the basement and don’t think about them. Hopefully you never will!

I have gained 10 lbs. since my diagnosis. That is NOT horrible. I have heard ladies talk in the neighborhood of 30 lbs. gain. I am NOT there and I am going to work my a$$ off not to BE there!

And I may need to accept some things.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Changes At The Fitness Center

This is a hard blog to write. Whether we are talking about fitness, or any other subject—to a very large extent, it’s the people that make it work.

When I joined the fitness club three years ago, it just came in to work out and I knew that I needed to work a “hard” day and a “not so hard” day. I did this alone and I had results. It was only after a few months that I dared to go to a daily class which was kind of a “circuit training” within the class setting. It was Tuesday mornings and I think we had about 8-10 women there. Usually that’s about how many circuits we had too.

After a couple months of that, I tried boot camp. That kicked it up a notch; but I have never done everything like the teacher, and that was OK. My left shoulder could never hold my weight.

All was going swell until I broke my foot. I was in the middle of personal training and the club worked with me as far as my payment. They were great. After healing, I got back into things as I was able. The last thing I wanted to do was break another bone. All the ladies in boot camp and the other classes I tried were very supportive of me. I adjusted.

Then, I got cancer. Again, I received lots of support from my Facebook “friends” and the private group we had on Facebook. Again, the gym froze my membership for as long as needed. We actually had to do that twice as I really did not know what radiation was going to do to me.

In the interim period while I was busy resting and getting ready to retire, one of the trainers left the employment of the gym. As sad as I was to see her go, I realize that people have to go after a better opportunity in life. It’s part of life. I wished her well.

However, she took a BUNCH of people with her. Now, we’re all still friends, but I am staying put, because it’s so close to home and this is not a time in life I want another change going on. There was enough left that I could do, and I even started Zumba for a change! I like Zumba. It just goes too fast for my knees.

*humorous Zumba story: the teacher worked the old dance “the monkey” into the routine and of course, I could do that! She said, “You pick that up pretty good,” and I replied, “I was doing this dance before you were born!” and she’s 42!

We love our sticks!
We started another new thing called “PoundFit©” which is ONLY 45 minutes long and for that you are grateful. While it seems simple, playing with weighted drum sticks, it is work! Google it. I found one source that said if you did everything perfectly—which of course I was not—you were doing 15,000 repetitions! No.wonder.we.were.all.tired.

However, the only trainer that was trained in this program also decided to leave. There was no angst, but she couldn't make a living under the business model that was being used. Classes were being cut and she made money with her classes.

Now, people are really getting upset. We like the classes. Women LIKE companionship. While certainly there is comparison (at least there is for me), there is also support and people watching out for each other.

So right now, everything is up in the air and women are unhappy because they like their schedules. We NEED our schedules, because even as a non-working woman, there are things I do on certain days. My kids are GONE, for heaven’s sake. These other women need structure! We want our classes.

I continue to go almost every day and do something, but there is another problem I am having right now and we’ll discuss that tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When Brand Loyalty is NOT Important!

Since my last blog was about my loyalty to LLBean for several reasons, but the topic discussed was that they stand behind everything they sell and their customer service is absolutely stellar. As a postscript, I will say that I received the new order, I mailed back the wrong items, postage-free, got an email when they were received, and will get another email when the order is fully processed. (To me, that means seeing the credit on my credit card!)

As an aside, I have seen in some other blogs about being some kind of clothes-horse when you buy one item in every color. I have a little bit to say about that with LLBean. I have made their pima cotton tops my “statement pieces” if you will. I have them in many colors, and lengths. I am grateful that there are different necklines and some other style changes, which are minor and do not keep me from being able to mix and match my items. I buy on sale (usually) and I can dress up or dress down with them, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the pima cotton feels WONDERFUL against the skin, and I DESERVE IT! I don’t spend that much for nightwear, but if I did it would be heavenly!

I use scarves and jewelry to change things up, as well as the “top piece,” whether it be sweater, jacket or yet another pima cotton “cardigan” in the summer. My bottoms are classic pieces, and now that I’m retired, I do NOT need as many. As we have noted, my biggest problem is what size I am, but I am working on that.

Something to think about!
So, having said all of this about brand loyalty, and I know my readers have their own stories, it’s time to talk about losing brand loyalty. I know that I will not talk my mother out of her Tide©, but honestly, I just don’t spend money on specialty detergents.  I have mentioned this before, but I buy dollar store brands of Tilex©, Softscrub©, dish detergent, bubble bath, crackers, bread (sometimes), salsa, many canned goods (not all), soups (which I use in other dishes), toilet paper, and the list does go on with cards and wrapping items. And this family recycles gift bags, I assure you!

Never buy anything but "store brand."
It took me a long time to lose my loyalty to Charmin©. In good taste, I am not going to elaborate, but I think you get the idea. I still buy my Jif peanut butter, and I like Special K, and there’ll probably always be something. Sometimes, it just matters.

It IS different when it’s just the two of you. As I write this, my husband is eating a frozen pizza, and to be honest, I can barely stand the smell of it. So it’s wasteful, but I am not choosing that argument. Some things are not worth it.

I don't buy often, but they're cheap!
And we buy less of everything! We do not stock up as much as we used to. I buy a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, and that just has to be….fresh. Brand does not matter. I am thankful that the roadside stands are not far away. We did set up some tomato stands this year. One of my favorite summer meals is an all fruit and vegetable dinner; for example tomatoes and cottage cheese, cantaloupe and green beans.

Winter in the Midwest does bring other thinking of stocking up, but it’s just OTHER things! All previous comments apply.

What MUST you have and what CAN you lose?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brand Loyalty

Today's lesson is about being loyal to a company.

Right now, I am a little frustrated. Although working out and doing everything I can possibly think of to lose weight and tone up as much as a 60-year-old who has neglected her body for thirty years can possibly do—I needed to buy some new capris for like, right now. I have some that are in one size smaller and I look like a sausage in them. I refuse to look like a sausage in anything. So, I bought three pairs of capris from LLBean to get me through the summer and hopefully be put away this fall for good.

I have an LLBean charge account and there are perks in terms of clothing, but I didn't have any to use this time. I know what my size is and feel very comfortable ordering online with them.

However, I can screw up that too.

I received the capris in less time than expected, but a very quick check and I realized that these were the right size, but they were not petite! This fundamentally means that they were “high water” slacks. They fit fine, but they weren't summer attire. I HAVE winter attire; don’t need more.

It was one phone call to a nice gal in Maine. I gave her the invoice number and she brought up the order and I told her my story. Everything I wanted was in the petite sizes—and they could ship them out immediately. Return shipment is free (as well as initial shipment) for the credit card customers, and all I have to do is box the non-fitting pants up and use the return label and take it to UPS next to my gas station. The customer service representative did make the suggestion that I wait until I receive the new merchandise to send the other back.

I will do that, but to be honest, I know this company will do what it says. It keeps me informed with emails when things are shipped, and in this case received back, and the credit card entries have never been wrong.

So I place my order and I relax.

These products are not cheap, but I know they will last forever (!), not go out of style, flatter me as much as able, and the company stands behind the product 100%. All the time.

Some things are worth the money. Customer service, immediate response (I WAS lucky this time!) and knowing all will either go well, or be made well.

And mental health.

The Summer (Fall, Winter, Spring) of Our Discontent

I've never had a blog post inspired by a comic strip, but I guess there’s a first time for everything! Right at this present moment, I haven’t been spending much because we don’t need anything, and as I mentioned before, we are in graduation season. If you thought this would end when your kids graduated, think again. It goes on forever in families that have overlapping generations. I am full of gratitude that we have these rich relationships with which to celebrate the milestones!

So today’s topic is how we are bombarded with advertisements telling us how we should be, look, act and how our houses should look. We need to do more of whatever it is, and we need to buy THEIR product! More, more, more! I think Calvin’s dad says it best:

“Why do I get the feeling that society is trying to make us feel discontented with everything we do and insecure about who we are?”

Every day I get two or three catalogs to stores I would shop online if I were purchasing. And of course, I get the emails too. I don’t mind the emails. I do shop these stores, when I shop—and yes, I combine deals, etc. etc. I can opt out of the emails and I DO NOT do that, because at some level I am interested in their products. Also, these stores sell my name to other stores. Actually, sometimes they are interesting and basic awareness of something is not a sin. You never know when you need to recall that information.

I was a part of fundraising and I understand the Annual Fund campaigns. I know what they do and am fully aware that many organizations would go under without donations. It is up to us as a couple to decide how we want to give our money away. I’m glad I have my husband. I would give to everyone! That is another situation where we have to look at the whole picture and decide where we want to give. This past April we gave to environmental causes from our tax refund. Next year, it’s MY turn and we donate to history causes.

But we have chosen simplicity and we are not ashamed of that. I like to look my best, but I don’t need people telling me about every new thing. Some of my favorite products are Noxzema and Aqua Net! Helloooooo, Grandma!!!! I manage on very little, but I assure you I am not into mixing my own concoctions.

I am really thankful that we can tape shows and fast forward through the commercials. At least we can remove THAT from our lives. Really, though; advertisement is all around us and it bombards us every day. We have to conscientiously CHOOSE to say to ourselves, “We don’t need that.” Or perhaps, “Maybe someday we will, file that idea for future reference.”

Our kids are out of the house, but I still like Calvin in the last frame. Ten minutes ago I didn't even KNOW I needed that!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finding Out Who I Really Am!

I follow some of my favorite vocalists on Facebook and one day I saw a photo that was taken the same day as a photo many of you are familiar with. This photo was taken with the artist and her two daughters and was just adorable, but it didn't make the album cover.

And it was then I thought, yeah….that’s me. Earthy, above all, a mom, a natural woman.

I do like my jeans and t-shirts (or sweatshirts). While I do like sandals, my feet are better suited to gym shoes and always have been, since wearing corrective shoes at age 5-6. I’ll be honest, as I've aged, makeup is more important to me, and I like having my hair a COLOR that is not gray. Only my hairdresser knows for sure, she mixes the concoction and if anything happens to her, I’m in deep trouble!

As I've aged, I have learned to like accessories with my basics. I’m not a jewelry collector, but I do like a little jewelry. I like scarves, but even in those, I am pretty simple. Most importantly, I do like to look appropriate for an occasion, but for me and my house, it’s the jeans and t-shirts.

At sixty years of age.

"Tapestry" debuted in April 1971.
Like many of my contemporaries, I came of age when Carole King released her album “Tapestry.” Although I never pretended to BE Carole King, her impact on me was much bigger than I ever knew. I never played the piano well, but her “style” fit me. I was a natural woman and I wanted a man who made me FEEL like a “natural woman.”

I also came of age during the Mary Tyler Moore Show and knew that as a “liberated woman” I would work and have a professional life. At least I believed that. Later, as I came to mature, I realized that was NOT me, and I was the most homebody of homebodies, once again counter-cultural. While my children were not everything in my life, I enjoyed raising them. I enjoyed music in our home. I enjoyed reading and I enjoyed history. (Actually, very little of that was passed on as I raised two athletes. I enjoyed sporting events!)

When my daughter was 15, I bought my first “CD.” It was "Tapestry." I was in the kitchen with my daughter and her BFF from church, and I was dancing the way we used to dance to “I Feel the Earth Move” and I had two girls doubled over in laughter! It was pretty funny, but I still had it.

So I have marched through all these stages of life referenced in the previous blog entry and here I am, back to jeans and t-shirts. And exercise clothes. I assure you, I attend church, weddings and funerals in appropriate dress. After all, I am “mature.”

I am still frustrated with losing weight, but once I lose another size, I will have four pairs of jeans and several corduroy pants also. And I’ll finally be “me.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What is "My Style?"

The other day I got to thinking about what my (fashion) “style” would be. Now, at sixty years of age, I can pretty much wear what I want to. But, what is that?

I can remember my grandmother in her 60’s. She wore the typical housedresses and “grandma” shoes that laced up and they needed to be sturdy to carry her frame. As a child, did I think that’s what grandmas wore? My other grandmother was a bit more stylish, but it was still mostly dresses, unless she was cleaning. She lived longer and slacks came later. She never owned a pair of jeans.

My own mother and her peers, as they moved through the years, reflected the styles of the day (decade) and wore whatever they looked nice in and could afford.

When I was a teen, my favorite outfit—depending on the season was a t-shirt/sweatshirt and shorts (usually cut-off jeans) and long jeans. Period.

Sixth grade. Ben must have just gone
through a growth spurt!
From the time I started school, we wore dresses to school. I think there were a few jumpers thrown in there, but that’s what the “code” was. No one really questioned it. When I was in 7th grade, my mother would not let me wear hose to school and EVERYONE, and I do mean EVERYONE was doing that! One of my best friend's parents also would not allow her to wear hose. So, both of us went to school very early and changed in the bathrooms.

Finally, my parents relented and I wore dresses, skirts, various tops and hose until I was in the tenth grade. I walked to school, about 6 blocks and it was not uphill or anything. But I was a basketball cheerleader and I was to wear my uniform on game days. December, January, February—nothing on my legs but my little socks. Well, once again, I rebelled and wore pants under my skirt and made sure I got there and snuck into the bathroom before any adult would see me, and take the slacks off.

Really? After living with a veteran teacher for 36 years, and seen the changes in education over all the years, would I have gotten a detention for doing something that was COMMON SENSE? I highly doubt it, but nevertheless, I kept my sins hidden.

So, my “style” was determined by those in authority over me. Period. It was only when “off,” that I could wear my jeans and t-shirts.

When I was a junior in high school, they allowed us to wear slacks. Maybe it was that awful sophomore winter that caused people in high places to look at things differently. (Maybe, without knowing it, I was an agent of change…….) No jeans; those were for the weekend, athletic events, stuff like that.

But when I was a senior, the year 1970-1971, we were allowed to wear jeans and that’s when the world went to hell in a hand basket! That’s when the decline began, and now we have God knows what in our schools.
This would pretty much be me.

During my college years, for the most part I could just be me. The weather contributed to my choices, and there were some dress-up affairs within the Greek community, but day-to-day I wore pretty much what I chose. I did have a job for four months (that would be completely another blog!) that the manager insisted I wear skirts or dresses.

Upon graduation, again my career path guided me in what to wear. My first job involved me walking from my desk (paperwork and phone duties) to a warehouse to check on our customers’ orders. Because of that, I wore slacks most of the time, perhaps casual dresses in the summer.

After living in a larger city for a year, I moved back home and took a job in a bank. I was a teller and my boss was old school. We stood all day and we were expected to wear either dresses or pant suits in that the jacket and the slacks MATCHED. I put my sewing skills to work and made several of these, because I could wear them with my negative heel shoes (remember “earth shoes”?) which made standing all day tolerable. I tried to use colors and styles that I liked, but I would have never chosen those outfits myself. However, I was a professional and had to look the part.

Later on, I worked in the kids’ preschool and we were big into jumpers. I liked jumpers. They gave me freedom, but still looked “adult,” at least adult for a preschool. After that job, I worked in a church as an office administrator, but that was a very casual situation. I wanted to appear somewhat professional to our parishioners, but I could do that in a business casual way.

Again I worked in a bank, this time in the “Business Banking Department” and yeah, I had to dress that part! It wasn't me at all. I remember making it work though. I had two “culottes” that I wore on days that I had to head to an athletic event after work. I was transferred to retail banking in the branch closest to my home and that was by far a more relaxed environment, but we still had a dress code. No denim or open-toed shoes.

I then worked at a large church as an “executive secretary” and I needed to step it up a little, but I didn't have to have suits that matched. My jumpers were fine in this setting, especially after I established myself as a competent and professional worker. People accepted me in casual clothes, especially during the summer.

Strangely, as a social worker, I wanted to appear professional, but to dress too fancy was intimidating to the clients. Skirts, slacks and tops and sweaters became my staple there. On wet or snowy days, I wore gym shoes and made no apologies. When you work with the elderly, safety is a big word and it applies to all of us.

So now that I’m retired, who am I? Stop back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Cancer Journey: One Year Later!

Well, it’s been one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my world was turned upside down. Am I surprised at where I am today? No, but I didn't anticipate all the ups and downs of the past year, either.

The first thing that hits me when I think about cancer is the uniqueness of the individual—and for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll just use breast cancer. Other cancers just widen the content of what I am about to say, and it’s not achievable in a blog of this size and scope. The newly diagnosed patients hears lots of stories, from “it’s a snap” to “this is really going to take a lot out of you.”

In reality, it’s somewhere in between, and you don’t know until you get there.

Age is a HUGE factor! Genetics is a factor. Gender is a factor (yes, men get breast cancer, but this is a broader scope of discussion). Physical fitness is a factor. Responsibilities—and by that, I only consider employment part of that discussion—have to be brought in line with energy, and that alone is very individual.

First of all, the cancer diagnosis should not be received alone. We blew that because we were in denial. Having said that, that was the only time I was alone. I have a supportive partner in every sense of the word.

I was scheduled for surgery in a week, and we had every reason to be optimistic: clear margins, clear nodes, we got in all. The only downside is that the cancer was not “in situ” which in layman’s terms is contained within a duct. I had invasive ductal carcinoma. So the state is considered 0-1, zero because of the size of the tumor (.08 cm) and one because of the word “invasive.” I had every reason to be hopeful. We were going to follow up with radiation and medication and I had a large percentage of non-recurrence.

Then we did a test called Oncotype DX. They send all my pathology reports to California and I get a “score” which will determine treatment. Meanwhile I am recuperating from surgery and I have returned to work, and am managing my time so we’ll call it “light duty.” My doctors (BOTH) go on vacation and it takes three weeks to get my score—the longest three weeks of my life.

Here’s what I knew. A score of 0-18 required no treatment, a score of 19-32 required a discussion, and over 32 was chemo and the whole nine yards. I pestered the nurses at the cancer center while those doctors were gone and of course, I wanted a “score” of 12-15 or something like that.

I was a 23.

Knowing the conversation would be happening, I waited for my oncologist to return from vacation. With radiation alone, I had an 85% change of non-recurrence. If I decided to do chemo, I would gain 3%. Remember, one in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lives. That’s 87.5% who will not. We decided that the damage done by chemotherapy was not worth just 3%.

I had done my reading and I knew that chemo damaged a lot of things; but I didn't realize what all radiation would do to me. Because, as I said, that’s an individual thing. All I knew is what might happen if I didn't do it.

There is much discussion on this, because every person at some point (8-10 times in a lifetime, I am told) has cancer in their bodies and the problems arise when the cells get together and start multiplying. Much prevention is in our nutrition and what choices we make to eat. So some would not do the radiation, and radically change their diet. I chose to do both, although I am not 100% on the diet part. I was still exercising as I could in recovery from surgery, and working 5 hours less a week.

My treatment began August 5th and ended September 19th. I was doing fine until about September 9th or 10th when I hit a wall, energy-wise. My husband only had to take me to treatment one day though, so I managed.

I continued to work, and we planned a short vacation the first part of October. I was sick with an upper respiratory infection the entire time. I went back to work, and finally requested unpaid leave for the last two weeks of October. I simply could not function. In November, I moved forward as I was able; but I had an AHA moment on Thanksgiving night. I am not going to describe that, because it involves personal information of a family member, but suffice to say, my thought was “WHY AM I DOING THIS for this amount of money?” It was just plain stupid. I had to be in sick people's homes, and I was subjecting myself to all kinds of possible illness.

Hubby and I talked and I told him that I had to stay until Medicare Open Enrollment was over (Dec. 7) and by that time, I might as well enjoy all the holidays. I also wanted time to check in on all clients and say goodbye. So we decided that on January 31, 2014, I would quit work.

I was blessed with good health for my holidays and they went well. The first part of January went well, but the last two weeks of my employment, I had another terrible upper respiratory infection, as I had in October, and could barely finish out my days. I did not leave one minute of sick leave on the table.

I was ill the first two weeks of my “retirement” and in the midst of winter, I was thankful not to have to go anywhere. The Olympics were on and we enjoyed those and I napped a good bit, just trying to gain strength. I had never felt this weak in my life—and I've had several surgeries, natural childbirth and a c-section birth.

By March I started back at the gym, but I took it VERY slowly. I am so grateful for the friends I made at the gym. I loved the classes and we had some issues. I had to eat and take medications at a certain time of day, and it had to be at least two hours before exercise of any kind. We worked through this. Yes, I threw up in exercise class, but the support of others kept me going even when I wasn't feeling so hot. I knew deep in my heart that if I waited until everything was perfect, it would be too late. I needed to do my best to balance all the issues.

Things did improve in April. I won’t go into detail, but we discovered I was overmedicated on one med, and the side effects were a real problem. So we had to work with that. Maybe it was the weather improving, maybe it was the meds working themselves out, I don’t know. I had my yearly mammogram and all is well.

In May I got stronger (not faster or harder!) and I was able to add more to my day. Up until then, it was maybe one thing a day. May improved my strength, but I am far from 100%. I begin to realize that my new 100% may not be my old 100%; but I’m going to be the best I can be.

I am sleeping well for the first time in about 15 years, so that contributes to good health. I am doing my best to make good choices in food, and I exercise regularly.

We are planning for the future. My son and his wife moves into their new home within two weeks, and my daughter is expecting her second child in October. My husband and I are planning a cruise. There are things to look forward to. I hope to sing in church choir this fall, as well as the Symphony Chorus. I am still involved in our Bible study, although we are on summer hiatus. I hope to get involved in some historical organizations.

I guess we don’t say I’m cancer free for a year until the surgery date, which is next week. That’s technical. I am just grateful to God to be alive and have time to do things I want to do!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Not a Good Month!

May was not a good month.

First of all, I made a mistake in my checkbook to the tune of about $45.00 which in itself will not break the bank—but I would have made some different choices at the end of the month had I known I made the mistake earlier.

It was graduation month, as is June. Most of this (as well as Mother’s Day) is planned for, but it the big picture it tightens things. I buy my cards at Dollar General. I had two children, and they didn't read the cards either, and I get that, so my money never goes to fancy cards.

I got a parking ticket. This really ticked me off. I was not parked illegally, but when I closed my car door, the airflow somehow—I didn't notice this—turned the ticket over and it could not be seen. Lesson: write a letter, enclose your check, in this case $20, and explain your situation. Include receipt and citation. Make your case, and allow the (small business) parking lot people to make the call. It’s a matter of being nice or not-so-nice. My check was returned to me. I may keep some scotch tape in my car from now on.

So by the end of the month, according to my BUDGET, it was really tight. Now make no mistake about this, I have funds to draw from, and I did a little robbing Peter to pay Paul, but at the end of the month I had $1.56 in my checking account.

So, didn't make that last trip to the grocery, we made do with what we had. Read: we had food but no fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. No one starved.

It’s important to me to keep my spending within my budget, just to prove I can do it. I know there is money to draw from, but I don’t want to do that for normal spending. Should an emergency arise, that's what it's there for.

Windfall: $34 check for reimbursement of mileage to a meeting.

I also used an old gas card from Speedway.