Category Archives: Health

Day 236: Facebooking and Dreaming

I’ve decided that since Facebook isn’t actually showing my posts anymore – one has to click at least twice to dig down through the menus —  I’m going to make my pithy remarks here. After all, you guys are the only ones actually reading this blog and I love you for it.

Life in general is wonderful, and I’m not sure that’s entirely due to the anti-anxiety herbs my chiro is giving me for my freeway claustrophobia. Every day away from the June day on which I freed myself from anger and frustration is another day of happiness. Sometimes I wish I were more regretful about leaving teaching, but then I have to slap myself into a reality check.

One of the things that is wonderful but also scary is that I’m dreaming again. For some reason, my Darth Vader CPAP mask keeps me from remembering my dreams. I just wake up refreshed with deep indents on my face where the straps were, and that’s a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep. The experts say that remembering dreams is a sign of good sleep, but I know I sleep very soundly with the CPAP.

Now I’m trying out the dental appliance, and I can remember my dreams. The first night I wore the appliance, I had a nightmare and woke up screaming that someone was breaking into the house. I will assume that was claustrophobia-driven, since I had this alien thing in my mouth. Recently, I’ve had dreams about wedding showers and being in a movie, which is not surprising since I’ve got my son’s wedding coming up and have been trying to see the Academy Award nominated movies. Growing up, I had a recurring nightmare about being followed that I recently had again. I’m not sure that I like having these dreams — I’ve gotten used to not having them. It will be interesting when I have the sleep study in March with the appliance and find out how many sleep disturbances I actually have.

I hope that you are also following the trajectory of Got My Reservations. I’ve been trying out new ideas to see what people really want to read. It’s fun and makes my brain work, which is good for me at my advanced age. 🙂

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Day 216: Which Way Is Up?

There’s a lot going on at The Farm these days.

I’ve been following a Weight Watchers’ regimen for 14 days and I’ve lost six pounds, give or take a couple of ounces. Yay me! I’ve found that banning the idea of “cheating” and replacing it with “choice” has possibly been a turning point for me. If I decide — make the choice — to eat something with lots of points, I have to make up for it somewhere else. It’s as simple as that, and it’s working for me. Yay me, again.

Just when I thought I’d established a workout routine that would work for me, I lost Cooking Channel at my gym. There is a wonderful program on at 11:30 C called French Food at Home with Laura Calder that I really liked. I would stake out the reclining bike and happily pedal for 30 minutes while charming Laura made something beautiful. I don’t get the Cooking Channel at home, but that’s not really the point. This program made the 11:30 time slot at the gym a destination for me and I’m bummed. I’m going to have to pursue this tomorrow with the guys at the front desk…

Mount ToBeRead

Mount ToBeRead

I’ve been reworking some things on my blog and taking advantage of the built-in programming in Goodreads rather than reinventing the wheel in WordPress. My Mt. TBR is getting higher and higher, though. 🙂

IMG_1107We’re also getting ready for Big Band Sunday, Music Man’s annual tour de force at our church. He gathers together a group of rockin’ musicians and we play the entire worship service “big band style” — and I have to admit it’s the highlight of my church year. This year, we’ll swing for God on February 10, 2013 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mt. Prospect. Come and join us!

Day 211: New Year’s Resolutions

I resolve to shower and dress before I go downstairs. 2012 found me in my pajamas at 4:00 in the afternoon too many days.

I resolve to wait to weigh myself until I’ve had my moment with the porcelain bowl. It makes a difference in my weight loss charting but might have been TMI to share here. I promised you honesty, though.

I resolve to use Goodreads with intention and actually write reviews. Usually I’m too eager to start the next book to take time to review the one I just finished. You can find me using the name GotMyReservations if you’re interested in what I’m reading and writing.

Seriously, folks, there are some resolutions out there on my horizon, but they’re not much different from when I started writing about retirement in June. I’m serious about weight loss and getting healthier and have two goal timelines — the trip to France in April and the wedding of my son in September. I’m still sorting and purging our stuff, even though at this point it seems as though it will take more than a year to even make a dent. On the other side of the ledger are my growth as a photographer and a writer. I’m really pleased with the changes I’ve made to Got My Reservations and the direction I’m taking with it — I hope that you are following Reservations along with Retirement 365.

I’ll leave you with a January 1 photo taken at Dawes Park in Evanston. I love the contrast between the light and dark in this photo. Happy New Year!

IMG_6432 Copyright

Day 166: Conferences — NOT!

If I were not retired, I would be participating in the marathon of conferences right now.

But I am retired and I’m responsible for no one but myself, so I guess it’s time for my retirement conference.

The first thing I said I was going to do was to build the Retirement 365 blog format. Check! I like the retro housewife theme and have gotten good reactions to it. A friend even gave me matching pot holders!

I said I was going to cook more thoughtfully. Check! With the exception of the two-ish weeks I spent being a full-time travel agent, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home and cooking a lot more carefully. I’ve worked with portion size and how to cook for just the two of us in our empty nest — I only want one meal of leftovers from anything I cook.

I said I was going to get rid of stuff. I can only give myself a C on this one, because although I’ve gotten rid of masses of stuff already, I still have masses to go. Yet, in school we rewarded progress toward a goal and individual achievement, so maybe I get more than a C on this one.

I said I was going to learn how to use my new DSLR camera. Check! I’ve made great progress toward understanding and using the manual settings of my camera. I’ve got a ways to go, but I even have one of my photos published on a friend’s web page and I photographed her recent glass show. I joined the local camera club and even submitted four of my photos for critique by the club.I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and look forward to learning a lot more.

I said I was going to get healthy, and I’ve been going faithfully to strength training twice a week and have had good success with the chiropractic care of my neck and lower back problems. Check! Next stop, more weight loss.

Although not in my goals, I have spent the last month revamping my main blog, Got My Reservations. If you have not signed up to follow me there, please do. I control everything on the blog — it’s self-hosted — so I don’t have the support of WordPress to send me new followers. Please visit me; it’s kind of sad that no one even knows it’s there and I can tell that through my addiction to watching my statistics. 🙂

There are a lot more goals buried in the fifty-nine posts over the last 166 days, but these are the beginnings of my new normal. Since my mom and dad aren’t around for me to show them my portfolio, I’m showing you.

I appreciate your love and support as I figure out who the new me is.

Day 126: Chomping at the Bit

I came home from our glorious weekend taking trains to Greenfield Village with just one thing in mind.

I have to figure out a way to stop carrying around my sleep apnea machine. I was determined to use my smaller carry-on suitcase on the train, but still take three pairs of shoes, my baby computer, my full camera bag, and my CPAP. Oh, and I needed clothing, too. It was almost an epic fail.

As you can see from this photo, the CPAP bag takes up half the suitcase, and the baby computer is tucked away between clothing packing bags. I carried the camera in my tote bag. If we were traveling by air, I wouldn’t be able to put the CPAP machine in the checked bag because it has to be hand scanned by TSA.  In order to get by with just one suitcase and one carry-on, then I would have to trust my camera bag to the airport baggage people. It’s not the fanciest camera in the world, but it’s my baby, and I don’t want to “lose it” in baggage hell.

I have been researching the use of dental appliances for sleep apnea. Remember when you had to wear a retainer for straightening your teeth? This is the grown-up version of a retainer — it forces your chin forward to clear the airway. I even went to see a doctor who charges $3500 up front for the privilege of making me an instrument of torture and somehow wasn’t able to get it approved by my insurance companies. After that, I was so disappointed I gave up on the idea.

But after this weekend, I’m back on the track. I’m determined to fix this problem before the next trip so that I don’t have to carry this enormous machine around with me. It has to be better to use the dental appliance. I got a referral from a friend for a doctor that seems to be more interested in my business.

All I have to figure out now is whether I’m going to the Lincoln Avenue location (more fun) or the Westmont location (probably easier to drive to). Wish me luck.

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Day 107: Revelations

I’ve been doing the happy dance a lot this week.

I finished my first eight sessions of personal training and signed up for forty more. I have never worked out this well and this hard. It’s true what they say about exercise-based euphoria, because I experience it every Tuesday and Friday. It’s a revelation.

I’ve completed four weeks of eating like a thin person and have lost eight pounds. I’m right on target at two pounds a week. I’ve also found that having protein shakes made with fruit helps me to get through the witching hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. I no longer feel as though I could eat my arm, and a result, I’m not snacking on bad stuff while driving home or preparing dinner. I feel victorious over a demon that has ruled my life for many years.

I went through all of my clothing and separated out the “fits” from the “doesn’t fits.” I made a stack of “I never wear this” stuff to give to Amvets next week, and then I put only those pieces of clothing that actually fit back into my closet. I’ll save the “doesn’t fits” for later this fall and winter as I reduce back into them. Or I’ll give them away when I find that they don’t fit my new lifestyle or outlook on life!

I’ve made some positive steps forward toward a new career in travel. I’m feeling (almost) capable of reserving and ticketing an airline ticket and I’m signed up for the Incentive Travel Show in October, where I’ll make some connections with people who want me to use their services or book their hotels in England. With the exception of the current issues with American Airlines, which worry me, I’m feeling really pumped about my future as a custom tours travel agent.

There’s also something I’m happy about that’s not such as clear-cut as losing weight and learning a new trade.

It all started at happy hour last week with my former colleagues when I found out that my work nemesis not only “quit,” she was escorted out of the building. Although I’m not usually one to dwell on the past, lingering resentment over unfair treatment and a tarnishing of what was previously a good reputation has followed me for six years. I have to admit it made me happy to know that there is karma in the world.

I’ve been listening to a good book in the car, and yesterday, the climax of the book was really relatable to my situation. The main character finds that the anger she’s been carrying around for twenty years is corrosive and it is time to let it go. Even though I’m retired and no longer in the toxic situation, I’ve continued to carry my own resentment about my former boss and it hasn’t been good for me. Since I’m not with my work friends every day, the resentment has been under the surface, but it was still there, eating away at my soul. Just the act of writing this down is freeing — I’m done with all that and I don’t need to think about it again.

And now it’s time for me to move on too. I’m a blank slate and a clean book ready for a new story.

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Day 99: Contentment

They say it takes three weeks to break a habit and apparently I’m living proof of that.

I’ve lost the I’m-crabby-about-work mentality that has driven my every waking moment for years. I’m not angry anymore — and unless provoked by someone who wants to disrespect the teaching profession,  I’m ready to move on to something that interests me more. I’m cured, and apparently it shows in my face. Several people this week have commented on the fact that my whole demeanor is less stressed and more calm. I’ve broken my crabby habit.

On the surface life now seems pretty boring.

As I’m sitting down to write and eat my leftover squash casserole from last night, I’m realizing that my days are starting to have a pattern. I get up at a reasonable 7:00 ish, check my social media sources, make a healthy breakfast, and then embark on the project of the day. I market almost daily for fresh food and household essentials, go to various appointments, and exercise. Two days a week I train at the travel agency for a few hours. I watch some tube and read for a while every day. I cook and make protein shakes. I go out with my friends. I listen to Music Man’s stories of work and share the need-to-know pieces of my day. I attend rehearsals of my musical groups and go to club meetings in the evenings. I’ve become a stay-at-home-wife and I like it.

 Change seems to have become the new normal, at least where it comes to food.

I’ve also broken the unhealthy food chain. I’ve been able to go out to restaurants and only order one glass of wine and yes, even decaf coffee. I didn’t order the chips with the fabulous fish and chips at Duke of Perth, and yesterday I didn’t have raisin toast or hash browns with my omelette at Buffalo. I haven’t cracked open a bottle of wine at my house for two weeks — what will the recycling men think today when my bin is not full of empty wine bottles? I’ve been having fun trying new recipes, and I don’t think that either Music Man or I have felt deprived in any way. And I’m continuing to lose weight, bit by bit, which is all I’m trying to do. It took me a long time to put this weight on, and it will take a long time to take it off as well. I’m okay with that.

Yet the essential me is still in there.

I’m devouring books and movies. I’m researching the city tote bag that I am going to create to carry camera equipment, one that won’t scream “I’m carrying thousands of dollars of camera equipment!” to pickpockets. I’m thinking about how I can turn my love of travel into a custom travel service for busy people who don’t have time to do the research themselves. The agile mind that has served me well as an academic is now enjoying the opportunity to be creative in a different way.

Friday, Friday has a new meaning to me now.

When we played Rebecca Black’s anthem to the weekend in my homeroom, it was as heartfelt for me as it was for the students (unless, of course, I had papers to grade over the weekend). But then, the weekend meant errands, projects, craziness around the house trying to catch up with the things we didn’t get done during the week. My being at home has taken some of the stress off of our household and we have the freedom to choose whether or not we can take the time to spend a day playing in the city.

There’s still a lot to be done, but progress is also habit-forming.

Every day I take a step toward establishing order in my home and my personal life. I’m breaking some life-long habits of ignoring what’s in front of me and hoping that somehow the hard stuff will just go away. I know that I’ve made the right decision for Music Man and for me, and we’re happy. I get some flack from people who question my choice to retire at age sixty, but thank goodness we live in a world where I have that choice.

Have a wonderful weekend. You deserve it!

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Day 92: Eating Organic(ally)*

A friend of mine told me that I’d spend more money in the first year of retirement than I did while teaching.

If this summer has been any indication of that, I am thinking he’s right. Every day I have a list of stuff — little stuff, mind you — to pick up. Most of these things are pent-up items that just needed to be done, but there are also some big-ticket items on my lists. And since I started entering the purchases on Quicken instead of Music Man doing it, I can see the daily totals with clarity. Scary.

That being said, I’m really happy with this week’s purchases.

I’ve been unsure about whether I wanted to talk about this on the blog, but here goes. In my retirement plan to get healthy, I included a 21 day purification program. It’s not a fast and there’s nothing unsafe about it, but the requirements are somewhat stringent. First on the list is that all fruits and veggies must be organic. Did you know that organics spoil rapidly? I guess I knew that intellectually; it makes sense, of course. I didn’t quite get it in practice, though. The first time I let a box of organic raspberries mold, it was soul-wrenching, not to mention a waste of good money.

So I’m at the grocery store pretty often. I think I’ve been there every day this week.

Image Credit

The good news is that after five days, I’m getting a handle on how to manage the fruit and veg issue. I’ve also come up with some new recipes — the beet and carrot slaw was quite tasty. The bad news is that I found out my store doesn’t stock its organic shelves as often as I am at the store, so there were days that I saw entire shelves of wiped out stock. And then there was the day that I bought arugula instead of spinach. It was on the spinach shelf and I didn’t look at the tag. It kind of looks like spinach, doesn’t it? We’re eating arugula and kale in our salads, scrambled eggs, and I even put some in last night’s meatloaf. Hopefully these greens will become an acquired taste, because they’re very good for us!

The other side effect of eating nothing but fruits, vegetables, and lean meat is weight loss.

I’m down four pounds at the end of five days. Since I put on two pounds over Labor Day weekend, that’s a net of two pounds for the week so far, and that’s all I’m aiming for. I’m trying to do the turtle weight loss program; slow and steady will win this race.

* Even though the title would be more catchy without the adverb ending, I just couldn’t do it.