Health

Gotta Have More Cushie for my Tushie

I don’t believe the good lord intended for my 67-year old ass to ride on a narrow mountain bike seat for any extended period of time.  If such were His intentions, He would have made my ass smaller or the seat bigger.

bike1As we all know, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and I intend to live a healthier lifestyle by riding my bike for any errand within a 3-mile radius of my home.  Today was the first day of the rest of my life (do you like my aphorisms?) with a 3-mile ride to return library books and pick up a few audio books for my car trip next week.  Mission accomplished in 40 minutes, including 10 minutes to choose my audio books.

Pros:  feel good & energetic, proud of myself, felt safe & secure on my smaller bike, no accidents

Cons:  my ass bones hurt.  I didn’t know there were bones in your ass.  Temporarily solved the problem by alternating butt cheeks on the saddle.

So, there is definitely a larger, cushier bike seat in my future as I continue to peddle my ass around town.

bike2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Health, Humor, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Nobel Award-Winning Idea – Instant Face Lift

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Brainwave.”What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Regale us with every detail of the idea — the idea itself, where it came to you, and the problem it solved.

OK – tell me this isn’t the best idea ever.

Remember the old-fashioned way to open sardine cans?

sardines

So, let’s suppose you could have a miniature sardine can key implanted behind each ear and every birthday you could twist the key 1/4 turn to tighten your facial and neck skin. You could control the amount of tension to turn back the clock a year or ten.   We could put the Hollywood plastic surgeons out of business in no time and save a ton of money on lotions, potions & gimmicks for aging skin.

Possibly a larger key could be implanted somewhere discrete to haul up sagging butts and boobs.  I’m still working on that one.

key

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Daily Prompt, Health, Humor, Life | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Constipation – Girls vs Boys

restroom

My husband doesn’t understand constipation and why women complain.  His theory:

Girls get constipated when they travel, when they won’t use a public restroom, when they are too embarassed to ask directions to a restroom, when they need to be excused to use a restroom, when they change their diet, when they’re stressed, when they excercise too much, when they exercise too little, when they can’t sleep, when they’re in love, when they have a baby, when they get old.

Boys get constipated and they say, “I’ll crap when I crap” and go play football.

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Breast Cancer … Attitudes, Gratitudes and Platitudes

Arriving at the hospital

 

Pre-op

Pre-op

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My little action hero had breast cancer.  Last week she had a double mastectomy by choice and no longer has breast cancer.  All mothers must know how I felt … fear, anger, depression, helpless, sleepless.  Now I feel:

  • Grateful that she had the best breast surgeon and plastic surgeon in Atlanta
  • Grateful that she was at Northside Womens’ Center, the best facility for women in the southeast US and possibly the entire country
  • Grateful that I did not let the platitudes from well-intentioned people make me crazy
  • Grateful that she is a marathoner; strong and in excellent physical condition
  • Grateful that my daughter was surrounded by positive spiritual, emotional and psychological supporters
  • Grateful that she has a powerful intelligence and a positive attitude
  • Grateful for the phenomenal cafeteria and delicious meals at Northside Hospital, the in-house Starbucks and the comfortable bed I had in her room.  This is truly a five-star facility.  The Bellagio of hospitals.
  • Grateful that the sentinel lymph node was clear of cancer cells
  •  Grateful that I didn’t vomit or faint when the nurse showed me how to maintain her surgical drains, measure and log the outflow
  • Grateful for the caring staff throughout the hospital – the physicians, nurses, technicians & environmental staff
  • Grateful for a loving and supportive family; fabulous friends and wonderful neighbors
  • Grateful for the delicious meals her neighbors organized so I didn’t have to shop or cook
  • Grateful that I am physically able to take care of my daughter, her son and her husband
  • Grateful that I’m retired and can travel and stay with my daughter as long as she needs me
  • Grateful that my son-in-law hasn’t gotten sick and tired of me (yet)
  • Grateful for Percocet and muscle relaxers (for my daughter, not me)
  • Grateful that she has a large husband so she didn’t need to buy anything that buttons down the front – his shirts work great as pj’s or dresses
  • Grateful for the early detection of the tumor; that it was slow growing and treatable
  • Grateful for a sweet and loving 5-year old grandson who will do anything to make his mommy happy and comfortable
  • Grateful that my beautiful daughter has considered herself a cancer survivor from the moment she was diagnosed
  • Grateful for neighbors who babysat my grandson when necessary
  • Grateful that it appears that she made all the right decisions for her surgeries and reconstruction.
One day post-op

One day post-op

Home

Home

And you know what?  She never stopped smiling.  Her breasts look beautiful already and there will be almost no scarring.  Yes, she’s in pain but it’s temporary and we’re looking forward to her next adventure – renewing her marriage vows wearing her original wedding dress.

LADIES – PLEASE PERFORM YOUR SELF-EXAMS AND GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!!

HEIDI7

Next adventure? Renewing marriage vows!

Categories: Family, Health, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

To My Little Action Hero: We’ll Take This Journey Together

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.” Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

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From one breath to the next, my heart stopped beating and I had to consciously draw my next breath.  When I answered the phone and heard my daughter say hello, I knew something was desperately wrong.

“Mom, the biopsy was positive.”

The diagnosis is infiltrating mammary carcinoma with lobular features. I was in Michigan and she was in Georgia on April 22 when she received the news on her son’s fifth birthday.  I wasn’t able to hold her or kiss her – we could only cry together over the phone.  But, my girl is an action hero not a cry-baby.

Within 24 hours she met with her surgeon and was told that the cancer is very treatable and slow growing with a proliferation rate of 5%. Something about hormone receptors, estrogen and progesterone. The cancer grows through hormone involvement so she immediately made an appointment with her OB-Gyn doctor to have her IUD removed.

Forty-eight hours after that she’d been in touch with her Georgia Corps Nurse Navigator who is available to answer all her questions and help her through the process of surgery, reconstruction, therapy, insurance, etc. and made an appointment with the oncologist pre-surgery so she would be clear headed and understand treatment options.

By April 25th she had studied all her options and eliminated a lumpectomy followed by five weeks of radiation in favor of a double mastectomy.  She wants the cancer out of her body with no breast tissue left for it to attack in the future.  It sounds radical but you have to know my girl.  She is intelligent, objective, and positive.  She’s extremely proactive and confident.  She talked to all her health care professionals and made an informed, unemotional decision.

Although only 4’10” tall and a size 3, my daughter is a marathoner and is in excellent physical condition.  The downside to that is that she does not have enough tummy fat to be used for immediate reconstruction following the mastectomy surgery.  I volunteered mine but instead she will have tissue expanders inserted until the skin of her breasts until the skin is eventually stretched enough to accept the implants.

She has an adoring, supportive husband and an adorable son.  She will do anything necessary to stay with them and is determined to maintain their active, fun-loving lifestyle. On April 25, she and her friends ran the Dirty Girl Mud Race. I arrived in Atlanta in time to run (walk) the Susan G. Komen 5K with her and her friends on May 9 and we drank margaritas to stupification on Mothers Day.

So, all those who love her will take this journey with her step by loving step.

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Don’t Worry … It Was Only a Little Tumble Down the Basement Stairs

I'm the one on the right!

I’m the one on the right!

When I grow up I want to be Marilyn.  No silly, not Marilyn Monroe … my 88 year old cousin Marilyn.

I am staggered by her tragedies and heartache; the loss of three children and her husband of  60 years who she adored from the age of 14.  How many women not only survive such losses but continue life with grace and love and beauty?

I admire her stamina and attitude, her zest for life, and her personality. She is smart, clever, funny, interested and interesting. Her angels, ghosts and demons are reserved for her solitary nights; crocheting, listening to her audio books, Michael Buble, or watching the Food Channel until she can sleep.

She has crocheted hundreds of  small afghans for the terminally ill children at Give Kids the World.  Did I mention she is legally blind?  Macular degeneration stole her sight slowly so she was able to learn to use her peripheral vision to “see”.  She puts on her makeup, takes senior transportation to have her hair and nails done, goes to the liquor store and grocery shops by herself if necessary.  She is greeted with smiles and loving kindness everywhere.  She acquires new friends wherever she travels making lady-like, smart-ass comments and telling slightly suggestive jokes.  She’s a clown and a flirt who loves to make people laugh.

So, when we got the call that she was hospitalized with a broken pelvis we were in a panic.  My sister and I have attempted to take care of her long distance since her husband died.  Marilyn was visiting her daughter out of state when she decided to do the laundry in the basement and fell down the stairs. She was  83.

After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a rehab center where she enjoyed herself tremendously.  She joked round the clock with the nurses, the aides, the therapists and she enjoyed the social activities.  She was determined not to become an old lady with a walker.  When she was released from rehab, she stayed with her daughter for a short while before deciding that she wanted to go home to her own apartment.  She arranged with Delta for wheelchair service and flew home by herself.  She and her friends then went to work setting up everything she needed for her home recovery.

We phoned every day and she would say, “Don’t worry.  It was only a little tumble down the basement stairs.” And, then she’d laugh, “What’s a broken pelvis among friends?”

marilyn1Last week was her 88th birthday.  My sister and I visited to arrange a gala celebration.  She went to the Hard Rock Casino for a little gambling, we took her to her favorite restaurant where she wanted to sit at the bar to drink wine and eat a rib eye steak; we shopped and cooked and had a small dinner party for her with balloons and gifts, linguine with clam sauce and a birthday cheesecake.  We enjoyed a two mile walk , sans walker, with her each morning and had trouble keeping up with her pace.

marilyn3Leaving, we got plenty of hugs and kisses and thank yous for making her feel so special.  She joked that she can’t wait to see what we are going to do for her 90th birthday to top this one.

Zip-lining? Any other suggestions?

 

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Eat Buttered Popcorn in the Dark and You Won’t Get Fat

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Show Must Go On.”  If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

popcorn3

I would never have the chutzpah to attempt to direct a film … Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Orson Welles … yes.  Me? No.  Forget about producing a movie.  Think Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, David O. Selznick, Robert Redford and don’t forget Walt Disney.  I wouldn’t even attempt it.

psychoActing.  Naw, I’m too self-conscious and too introverted.

So, if I had to be involved in a movie and can’t be the writer I would choose to do what I do best … sit in the audience and eat buttered popcorn.  In my world, buttered popcorn is the best part of filmdom. Add it to your diet and exercise regimen as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle.

Sit in the first row of the second tier so you can put your feet up on the rail without disturbing anyone in front of you. Raise and lower your legs several times to get comfortable thereby working your lower back, thighs and hips.  Do 6-8 repetitions.  Lean back in your seat then slowly lean forward straightening your back to take a sip of your Sprite. You can do multiple sets of this exercise and may want to super-size your drink for maximum benefit.

Get to the show early enough to grab the perfect seat and buy a large buttered popcorn.  These are refillable so if you’re a popcorn slut like me, you can eat almost a whole bucket of popcorn while watching the ads, previews, trailers, etc. (or reading your Kindle) and still have time to get a refill before the feature begins.   Walking down the stairs and out to the concession stand should add another several hundred steps toward your daily goal of 10,000.

No one can see or judge you if you’re sitting in a dark theatre eating a second bucket of popcorn.  Take several deep cleansing breaths and set your mind free.  Remember – if you set your mind free, your ass will follow, so relax and enjoy.

When the movie is over and you’ve gorged yourself on buttered popcorn, you will want to skip dinner. There … you’ve saved yourself at least 700 calories.

Ergo, eat buttered popcorn in the dark and you won’t get fat!

popcorn2

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Grandma Bernstein’s Chicken Noodle Soup

 I wish I’d known my Grandma Bernstein, I would have loved her.  She was from Russia and raised four children alone on Miami Beach by opening and running Jewish restaurants and delis on South Beach in the 1930s and 1940s.  Three generations of Bernstein women lived and worked together providing some of the most popular meals served in Miami Beach during those decades.  My grandma, her daughter Eva, my mother Rose and Eva’s daughter Marilyn.  Rose met and fell in love with my Russian father and the whole group pitched in to teach him the restaurant business as well as how to speak and write in English.  He became a successful and popular restauranteur opening several restaurants of his own, Al’s Sandwich Shop, Al Nemets’ Restaurant and Grill in Miami Beach and Chicago.

chicken soup

OK – back to the chicken soup.  When I got sick as a kid we always had Grandma’s legendary chicken noodle soup or Jewish penicillin.  It never failed!  When I had my own family, who had time to make home-made soup when you could open a can of  Campbells or Mrs. Grass’ chicken soup?  Then when my mother was dying and I had pneumonia, my brother made a pot of Grandma’s soup and I learned how incredibly easy it is to make this wonderful, golden, magic elixir.

 

Find a nice plump, fatty chicken.  You’ll also need an onion, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery and egg noodles and most important, a bunch of fresh dill.  You can actually use any type of pasta but I love broad egg noodles. USE ONLY FRESH INGREDIENTS! Adjust the vegetables, if you like more carrots then celery or more onion than celery, go ahead.  No one cares.  But don’t take any shortcuts or the magic won’t work.

 

Get out your soup pot and lay the whole rinsed chicken in the bottom and add water to about an inch above the chicken.  Let the bird simmer for about an hour, depending on the size of the chicken.  You don’t want to overcook it or the meat will be dry.  It is done when you poke it with a fork and the juice runs clear.  It will also be almost falling off the bone.   While the chicken cooks, clean and cut up your carrots and celery.  I French slice nice big chunks and just quarter the onion.  Rinse the dill, get rid of the stems and chop the rest.

 

When the chicken is done remove it from the broth and let it cool in a bowl or platter.  De-bone it when it cools.  You may want to add some bouillion cubes to the broth if it doesn’t taste “chickeny” enough.  Now add the carrots, celery, onion and dill to the broth and simmer until the veggies are done — firm, not mushy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t skimp on the salt. The noodles can be added to the broth during the last 10 minutes of cooking or you can cook them separately and add them to the individual bowls as you serve.  Some (crazy) people don’t like noodles or they’re gluten-free or carbohydrate intolerant.  Did I get all the buzz words in there?  Ladle out a bowl of broth, vegetables & noodles and put a nice piece of chicken on top.

 

Don’t worry about fat, calories or carbohydrates, just enjoy and feel well!

 

p.s. The magic ingredients are the chicken fat and the dill!

p.p.s.  Wait til I tell you about Grandma’s Russian Cabbage Soup, it’s to die for!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Food, Health, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Flip Flops, Snowboots and Mucinex – These are a Few of My Favorite Things

When we left our home in Florida the day before Thanksgiving it was 89 degrees and sunny. We closed up the house, turned the air-conditioner to 80 and made sure the pool was clean & shocked then jumped in the car and drove 550 miles to Atlanta to have Thanksgiving with our daughter’s family where we picked up the flu before jumping in the car to drive the last 750 miles to our cottage in Tawas, Michigan.

 

Flip flops and Go Walks

Flip flops and Go Walks

So I wore my flip flops from Florida to Atlanta, then as my feet got cold, I switched to my enclosed Go Walks by Skechers.  If you don’t have a pair of Go Walks for everyday use, do yourself a favor and buy some. They’re like walking on air.  As we got farther north I added a pair of socks with my Go Walks and started coughing & sneezing.  We stopped early in Kentucky because I was such a hot mess and was begging for Mucinex and Delsym cough medicine.  So,there’s three recommendations in one paragraph — Go Walks for your feet, Mucinex for your nose and Delsym for your cough.  Isn’t there an old joke about being built backwards, “my feet smell and my nose runs”?

By the time we got to our cottage in Tawas, Michigan we were both hacking & snorting & shivering & feverish and spent the first two days doing the flu shuffle …. from the bed to the chair in front of the fireplace to the sofa to the bathroom & back to bed.  My ensemble was flannel pajamas and woolen socks.

 

Water proof snow boots and leather hiking boots

Water proof snow boots and leather hiking boots

Today I finally was well enough to go outside and walk down to our little beach on Tawas Bay on Lake Huron.  I wore my waterproof boots because it snowed yesterday.  I saw raccoon and deer tracks in the snow and the frozen sand, the sun was shining in a blue sky and you’d never know it was 19 degrees.

So that’s my 1,300 mile footwear travelogue. I enjoyed every step.

Our little beach on Tawas Bay, Lake Huron

Our little beach on Tawas Bay, Lake Huron

 

The dock next to the beach

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A Two Mile Walk in Paradise vs An Hour at the Gym

I can’t tell you how much $$ I’ve spent on gym memberships.  I hated every minute I spent in them after being cooped up in an office for 8-10 hours.  I am grateful that I can now walk or hike whenever and wherever I want in order to strengthen my body, mind and spirit.  This is my little piece of Paradise where I walk for two miles, listen to music, Hay House Radio or just meditate on the beauty of the setting.  The Peace River – how appropriate.

The Peace River, Charlotte Harbor, Florida

The Peace River, Charlotte Harbor, Florida

On the walking path to the first pier

On the walking path to the first pier

 

Careful not to disturb the herons

Careful not to disturb the herons

Walking out to the second pier

Walking out to the second pier

Past the playground

Past the playground

It looked like rain for a few minutes

It looked like rain for a few minutes

After my 2 mile walk I like to sit at a picnic bench with my morning smoothie and my book. Paradise!

After my 2 mile walk I like to sit at a picnic bench with my morning smoothie and my book. Paradise!

For me there is something cathartic about walking near the water; the sound, the motion, the smell.  This is just one of many paths I enjoy along the Peace River.  I know how lucky I am to live in a climate where I can exercise outdoors almost year round.   When we visit our cottage in Michigan I attempt to exercise outside — hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  Last Christmas I tried walking from our cottage to Lake Huron, about 100 yards, and almost wheezed up my brittle frozen sinuses and lungs – oops, it was minus 11 degrees, dumb Florida girl.   So, how many calories are burned from shivering?

I took my 3-year old grandson snowshoeing last Christmas in a different sort of Paradise – the northern woods of Michigan.

 

 

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