A Moment of Joy in a day of Uncertainty

No one can deny it; we are in a very uncharted waters with the Corona -19 Virus and Sunday morning was no exception.  I did get up as normal and took my dog on her morning walk knowing that the rest of my day was going to be anything but normal.

I love my morning walks with my fluffy girl Sunny.  It is “our” time.  Sunday we walked our full normal walk route about 2.25 miles.   About half way on our route goes right past where I used to live for almost 18 years.  There was a frequent visitor who slept in the tree outside my back door.  I even named him “Percy.”  Percy is a peacock that has been a “regular” on my old street ever since I moved there.  In fact, there was a trio of peacocks when I moved in.  One pure white and two “regular” blue/green made up the trio who squawked outside my back door.  While I will admit they were annoying, I quickly grew to appreciate their presence.  The pure white one was the first to disappear.  There were now only two left.  I do not know what happened to the pure white peacock but I often thought with Busch Gardens was about 2 miles down the road that they had maybe escaped.   A year or two went by and one of the two left disappeared.  I heard that someone had hit and killed the peacock a few streets over from my neighborhood.  Now, there was only one.  I decided to name him “Percy the Peacock” and he gifted me when moulting with many beautiful feathers throughout the years and even scared me a few times when I woke up to see him sitting on my fence staring at me from my patio.

If you have never seen a peacock in person, they are quite large!  One day I was out in the yard and Percy came swooping over my head.   So close, I could hear the feathers beating the air.  They do not fly far but they do fly as I found out.  My first thought I was being attacked by some prehistoric bird but realized later it was just Percy doing a low fly over!

I moved from that street about three years ago but during my morning walks when I passed by the street, I could hear Percy squawking and I would say “Good Morning Percy” as I passed.  A few months after I moved, I stopped hearing Percy’s familiar squawks.  But I heard him from another area of the neighborhood.  He seemed to move around a bit.  About a year ago, I stopped hearing his squawks.  I had wondered what had happened to this familiar friend.  I assumed since I knew he was there almost 20 years, he probably passed of old age and grew sad with the thought.

My daily walks continued but missed the sound.  Yesterday, I was on my walk as normal in abnormal times, when I heard a familiar squawk coming from the area where I used to live.  It brought a smile to my face, I forgot all about the Corona Virus what has forced on us a new normal that changes by the hour.  I was thrilled that my old squawking friend was back “home” and sounding pretty loud at 6am.   There was comfort in that squawk knowing that not all things have changed but just maybe were delayed.   This how I view the Corona Pandemic; some things have forever changed and some things are being delayed.   For now, I am happy, happy that Percy was back even if only for a day things were normal again.

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Reality Check Time!

Today I checked my weight since I did not do an official weigh in on Saturday. I weighed at home so today was my “comparison” day to see how the week is going numbers wise. I reluctantly climbed on the scale (was planning on doing it yesterday but ‘forgot.’) I saw the number, winced and “hated” what I saw. I was feeling very disgusted and defeated. Then, I went out on a walk with my dog and a “light bulb” came on. When I compare it to the number I saw Saturday morning it was LESS not MORE. (I was disgusted on Saturday too) But the issue was that it was not the number that I WANTED to see! Reality check inserted here! If I had saw the number that I wanted to see this morning; a trip to the doctor would have been in order! It would have been far too much for me at this stage in my journey; it would have meant that something was WRONG not RIGHT! My thinking was all WRONG and the number though not what I wanted to see was LESS than Saturday’s number. After seeing the “big picture” and realizing that I was down from Saturday morning, I actually felt happy and not down and disgusted. We have to often pull back and see the big picture to keep those numbers from reaping havoc with our self-esteem and self-talk!


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Preparing for the Storm

A year later and the state of Florida is bracing for another storm.  This time it is Hurricane Dorian.  Last year it was Michael and the year before Irma.  I remember 2004 here very well.  We had three hurricanes in six weeks.  We were all exhausted at the end of those six weeks! I hope no one has to experience a six-week period like we did.  Fast forward to 2019 and the whole state of Florida is in the “cone of uncertainty.”  I saw a meme that really stated how it feels waiting to know what is coming.  “Waiting on a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle.”  That is truth big time!

Here in Tampa Bay, we had lots of rain earlier this month and our ground is saturated, many areas are getting depressions and sinkholes appear.  Now, to add the potential effects of Dorian, it is almost unimaginable what devastation could happen in this area.

We sit and we wait, no we do not! We go out and buy bottled water, hurricane snacks  and fill our gas tanks, because these are the things to do!  We have to remember to get some cash in hand.  ATMs will not work if the power is out.

Buckets of water or a bathtub full of tap water for flushing toilets if the power goes out (eventually water pumps will not work and you will not be able to “flush” and have it refill)

Packing extra ice around items in your freezer to keep things frozen in case of a power outage is a good idea.  Freeze bottles of tap water or fill bags with extra ice from your ice maker.  The more solidly your freezer if filled, the longer it will be able to last without power.

Do not forget your pets, they need water and food too.  A couple extra containers of water for them, extra food/treats and maybe even some new toys to keep them occupied during and after the storm passes.

Charge up your phones and electronics and charge any extra batteries for them that you might have.  Most of us have phone lines that are dependant on power in some form.  This is when I miss the analog phone days!

So many things to do and enough time to do them all!

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Congratulations, you have cataracts!

A week ago I had my annual eye examination and was told I have the very early beginning of cataracts.  I laughed at first thinking that he was kidding and I asked just on the one eye?  He said, “No both.”  The upside is that it could be 20 years before they grow and cause any issues.  Sigh.  I felt I just had entered for the first time the “old” zone.  My mother had both her cataracts removed last year and the surgeries went very well and she is thrilled with the results.  So that part does not scare me so much but it brings more reality to the stage I am in my life.

Since early February, there have been five, yes I said five people in my very small neighborhood to pass away.  I have two memorial services this week.  The first was Tuesday night and it was a very uplifting service.  The day was bittersweet as it was 12 years ago to the day that my own father had passed away.  This man whose memorial I was attending had conducted my father’s memorial service just twelve years ago.  Now, it was his turn and his son conducted his own father’s memorial service.  He told some wonderful stories about his father and his sister’s husband also shared some stories as well. This man’s two children had grown up, married and had families of their own.  I so remember them when they were much younger!

I saw so many people who I had not seen in a very long time and the most unusual was seeing one of my former students from my early teaching days.  He and his brother (twins) were in two of my 7th classes, science and geography back in…oh…..soooo many years ago now!  He had grown up, way up as he was shorter than me back then!  He and his family live in Atlanta and is now a CPA.  He and his brother were ‘energetic’ kids back in the day and to hear one of them now has to sit and focus on details and numbers is amazing!  So proud of him!  When this man realized who I was, the look on his face was priceless.  He instantly wanted to offer an apology about how he had acted in my classes.  I waved that off but then he proceeded to tell me how amazing I looked considering what all they had put me through.  That made me smile.  Then, I remembered, I had cataracts.

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Happy New Year, My First Five Reality Checks of 2019

A new year has begun and it is time to reevaluate many things from the last year to make sure I accomplish my goals for this year. I have to remind myself of some basic facts as I begin the new year. This statement resonates with me from the Hallmark Movie “The Winter Castle”, “It is not the circumstances that creates the joy, it is you!” Undoubtedly that quote is a restatement of a quote from Benjamin Franklin (yes THAT one!) who said, ” Joy doesn’t exist in the world, it exists in us.” 

  • Exercise shows me what I can do and is not a punishment for what I eat. This is  true for me in this new year as I have begun trying to bench press and increase my upper body strength. I am making slow progress but progress nevertheless.  I began with a twenty-five pound bar back in mid-September and ended the year with using the regular chess press bar which weighs in at forty-five pounds.  
  • I have to work harder to maintain my weight than others as my same-sex, weight, age, and height. Research shows that once you have been either obese (which I was) or extremely overweight you have to work harder to maintain your healthy weight than those who have always been a certain weight. Another woman who is similar to me in age, weight and height might not need to workout regularly at the gym and eat over twenty-five hundred calories a day. But I will need to work out three times a week and take long daily walks and be only able to eat two-thousand calories a day to maintain my weight loss. Yes I have to work harder than those who have never been overweight. This very fact, is the reason why so many regain all the weight within five years as they do not know to work harder or do not want to work harder to maintain their loss.  
  • Research says that most people regain their weight within five years. I am in my fifth year and feel the pressure to maintain my weight loss. Last year my mindset got off and I gained about 8 pounds and put myself out of the “free” WW Lifetime range. I struggled (and paid) for five months mainly because my mindset was not right and therefore I was above my goal range. One of my goals was to end the year weighing less than I ended 2017 and to begin 2019 less than I began 2018. I was able to do both. Now to steadily (and healthily) lose an additional 7 to 10 pounds to regain my personal “happy” weight. I have been “free” now for four months after not having to pay for over four years. I will complete my fifth year in early July of 2019.
  • As you get older, your body requires less food to function. Couple this fact with already having to work harder and eat less than others it makes for a trickier and more complicated equation. I feel many get the “middle age spread” because their bodies require less food but they have not reduced their food intake. Often, appetites do not change so you have to mindfully make these adjustments to ward off the “spread.” The work required s more but the benefits of better health outweigh the effort.
  • If the Mind is right, the body will follow. The quote I mentioned at the beginning is exactly a reflection of what I had to learn once again this year. Mindset is not only important in being healthy but staying happy as well. I had allowed some circumstances to move somethings about in my head which caused some dominoes to topple one by one.  I ended 2018 feeling much better about myself and my life and have begun 2019 with a realistic positive mindset.  I am working on accomplishing lots of small goals and some larger ones in this coming year! 
Image result for Ben Franklin quote Joy does not exist in this world but exists in you.

The Post-Hurricane Irma Frustration – 2017

I wrote this over a year ago and never got around to sending it.

I think the hardest thing at this stage is wanting my “regular” routine back.  I want to get back to “normal” and that is hard as so many  I know do not have power, water or plumbing!  And the biggie in FL is power as we need the AC in 90 degree plus heat!

To relieve my stress during the storm I did what I could and posted weather updates online and power outage updates.  This kept me busy and appealed to my “geek/nerd” side.  I have always liked learning and knowing about “weather” so I had to let this side take over along with my spiritual side to keep me mostly at peace.

I was stressed out though.  So I did what probably the whole state of Florida was doing at some point during the storm.  I stress ate lots of salty snacks!  I thought I would have it under control and not end up stress eating but I did.  I went back to work on Wednesday and my pants are a little snugger so I know I did some damage.  Yesterday and today it is back to drinking lost more water, eating good fruits and vegetables and trying to avoid anything salty!  Salty was my downfall.  Pretzels and oven-baked Cheetos, almonds and pecans.  That I will remember as hurricane Irma Stress Mix! The only thing missing was M&Ms but thankfully I had none in the house or I am sure I would have eaten those too!

My weigh in day is on Saturday mornings and I am not looking forward to seeing the scale at all!

I survived the weigh in and life did return to normal.  But now sitting in Florida over a year later and knowing in contract the devastation that Hurricane Michael did to the Panhandle of Florida and Georgia, my ramblings from a year ago seems so whiny in retrospect.  At least I had a house to live in, a roof over my head and I was still living.  I cannot imagine coping with the total devastation such as in Mexico Beach, FL.  We all need to do whatever we can to assist/help, etc.