Saturday, November 16, 2019

best life...

Staring into the mirror the other morning while drying my hair, looking at how light it has become.  Yes, that was a nice way of saying how gray.  The silver strands were dancing in the warm air, seeming to catch all the light from over head.  It caused me to pause for a moment.  And the thoughts of that moment have been lingering for days.  I guess I need to write them down to make them leave.

Do you remember when you were small.  Think back as far as you can.  I remember my grandma always having white hair.  For as far back as I can remember she was the stereotypical Grammie. I remember hearing that someone was a Grandma or that they were in their 50's and thinking wow... that is ancient. When you are little, that seems too far away to comprehend.

I remember hating turning 25, I mean a quarter of a century old.  Man, it felt like a death sentence. 

The 30's didn't bother me much.  They simply were.  There was trauma and sadness and immense joy.  They were years of great transition and change, but age had stopped being something I thought about.  For a moment - I mourned that there would be no more babies, I'd always dreamed of having more.  But that was simply for a moment, I rapidly fell in love with grown up life. And after all fifty seemed forever away.

I mean wasn't fifty supposed to be when the world shifted and changed? 

The forties flew past in a blur.  Hubs and I were busy raising our family, working our jobs and living life.  Age never occurred.

Well at least not to me.  Hubs has been telling me how old he is since we first met. I have always basically considered it a number assigned to us by the calendar.  And that you are only as old as you believe you are... well at least since I survived that dreaded 25th year.

My health has been up and down over the years.  I've had years that I've hated, pain that felt it was never going to end.  During those times, I truly did feel older than my calendar assigned years.

But standing there drying my hair, marveling at the beauty of the silver in it, it struck me that the 50's have been pretty darn decent, and as I move to the half way point of this decade, I realize... I'm not even close to being that "old Grammie" that I thought for sure my sweet Grammie was.

I cherish being a Grandma.  One of the greatest things to happen to me.  I simply don't feel old.

When I am challenging myself to walk the long miles that I am, I find myself wondering if my Grammie ever walked just for the joy of having time that belonged only to her. 

Here, smack dab in the middle of this glorious decade.  I feel like I have finally found me.  Age is just a number.  It doesn't matter.

Today, Hubs and I took Neeko for a walk at his favorite park.  We are trying to make it a Saturday morning ritual to brighten his last months or years, whatever we get with him.  We hadn't gotten Hubs his new walking shoes yet and his old ones hurt his feet. So he was walking just as slowly as our sweet old boy. The deer were hiding in the woods, peeking out at us and watching Neeko with some concern on their little adorable faces. Neek's missed them or he would have considered rushing after them. Unlike last week, when he said I could walk without them, the guilt was gone.  I was ready to stretch out my legs and go.

So much so that I walked the 3-ish miles home from the park, while Hubs drove Neeko home. I definitely did not remember that hill being as steep as it is when you first start up it! I'm working on my second "race" against myself.  No one else is needed for me to push myself hard!

Last Monday I finished my first 50.6 miles with Yes.Fit.  I need those rewards I decided.  Because all week I have been checking to see when am I going to get my shirt, fyi - it arrived today!!  The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming for me.

Ignore the smile... was humoring Hubs

I might have tricked Hubs a bit to get him walking.  I took him to get his new walking shoes today, I think we've found some he will truly love.  And that will help his feet, legs and hips as we clock to the miles together.  He has to work up to where I am, but he's working on it. After we hit the last farmer's market of the season outside at Tower Grove Park, I suggested it was a beautiful day to hit the zoo. I mean it's hard to not have a great walk there!

We have a breathtakingly beautiful zoo.  I'm always torn between the thoughts of what's it's like to live in captivity and the fact that our zoo does so much to help keep so many species from going extinct. It's beautiful, the habitats are well thought out, and just the walking paths alone make it incredible! It's full of rolling hills, twists and turns.  So much to see and do.  Enough places to stop and rest.  It's perfect. Hard to believe it lives right in the middle of this vast urban landscape that is St. Louis.

We both love the zoo, so it was perfect.  It was just warm enough to ward off the need to have heavy coats and mittens. But cool enough that you were not miserable and it was not crowded. It was the perfect afternoon.

I'm sitting here now, more convinced than ever that age is simply a number.  If I didn't see the silver in my hair (mind you it's been there since I was 17 - it has just brought friends) and the slight wrinkles starting to form at my eyes.  I am still the young woman at heart that didn't want to be 25.  I still wear my vans in fun designs.  My heart still longs to turn the occasional cartwheel, but my mind is smart enough to remind it, that I am not as coordinated as I once was and that could lead to broken bones - for myself or the person that I land on.

The only difference I am finding is that here in this decade of time.  I am filled with peace and contentment.  I love most everything about my life. I have a husband that reminds me daily that I am loved and who accepts me as I am.  And anyone that knows me, knows that I am quirky and unique at the best of times.  I am unconventional, yes that was me in a dress on the treadmill yesterday, and I am pretty sure that my drummer has given up and is simply letting me march to the offbeat tunes that rattle through my brain. 

I'm enjoying life.  I feel like I am finally trying to live my best life.  And nope... 54 is definitely not old... in fact... it feels pretty darn young most days!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

this moment...

I'm not sure I've mentioned it, but this is my favorite time of the year!  I feel so energized and connected to the earth during this time of letting go.  Kind of ironic I guess.  I still love winter and spring, they fill my soul in a different way.  But autumn.  I cherish autumn.

I have been working on completing some walks through Yes.Fit, this journey I began in earnest back in July is pushing me forward. I'm not rushing it.  I am letting my body and mind guide me.  Which is a very strange place for me.  I usually want to control situations regarding me.  I don't usually have patience.

Yesterday roaming the streets of my adopted home town, I realized that for the first time in my life, the only one I need to really be responsible for is me.  It was a shocking realization.  I want to bring Hubs along, But his journey is his and I need to understand that.  I would love to engage all of my loved ones on my health quest.  The realization in the bright sunshine had been bubbling up for a long moment or two.  I'd seen glimpses of it the past few months.  I just hadn't finished processing it.

Sure when my babies were young, I was responsible for them.  But my babies are grown.  My youngest baby will start his 29th year this coming year.  They are grown.

As I am working through my own 54th year, many things are becoming clear.  This morning Hubs and I took our sweet old man up his favorite park for a walk and some sniffs.  Probably more sniffs than walks, Hubs told me he wouldn't mind if I did a faster, longer walk than they were doing. I was longing to stretch my legs and stride - if a shorty like me can stride.  Shuffling along was making me antsy.

But I felt guilty.  Yesterday I walked over 8 miles, it's been a few years since I have done that.  It felt incredible!  I felt I should stay with them.  I love my time walking with Hubs and Neeko, but this morning, I felt a powerful need to walk and think. To clear my thoughts and absorb my surroundings.  My sweet Hubs understood that need.

So guilty or not, I decided to go.  I stopped periodically to snap some pictures.  For the time being it is about distance, not time.  I am taking baby steps metaphorically.  And I know that Hubs is not really ready to walk too many long distances with me yet. I needed to be okay to take those steps on my own.  I love my sweet Hubs, I spend as much time with him as I can, I rarely do things solo, I enjoy doing them with my best friend.  I do need to respect that he needs to be ready to do things on his own.

This year has led to several doctors appointments, tests, needles, ultrasounds, etc.  No solid answers - I will honestly say my disappointment in the state of our medical system knows no end right now.  They gave me random statements, with no solutions.  My liver is damaged and swollen, my gallbladder was "acting up", maybe it's your heart - no it's not your heart - it's in great shape.  Maybe, maybe, maybe... As much as this year of indecision has cost me, you would have thought they could do better than prescribing a daily antacid and Tylenol. 

If you know me well, you know that is not an acceptable answer from a "professional" - in a profession that I do not trust.

I dove head and heart first into research.  I needed to know how to cure myself, since the doctors are not any help.  I was tired of being doubled over in pain.  I was tired of feeling stabbed while trying to live my life.  The exhaustion and inability to sleep were more than I could deal with.

Based on the little information provided, I decided it was time to go whole food, plant based.  It was time to leave all that processed crap behind.  And to walk away from all dairy, meats and processed oils. 

My sweet Hubs has had a few health issues of his own.  He's been struggling with many of the same responses or lack thereof and issues with the "professionals" that I have.  I need him to be healthy and happy.  I need to take care of him.

Hubs has done well, although he gives in to little things more than I do.  If it has any of those items I will not eat it and go hungry.  He isn't as stubborn. I've learned to always pack my own meals when I have a function to attend.  I am never going to put myself in the position of going backwards. 

I can't. 

I've come too far.

We were at an event last night, that literally had no food we could eat. Nothing.  We had snacked before, so it wasn't an issue.  Yet as I watched the people around me all struggling with health issues, it made me sad.  I wanted to scream out loud the difference it's made for us, but... each of us has our own journey.  The woman sitting at the table with us was mocking me for not wanting a plate of food that would make my body hurt.  Asking what do you eat?  Lettuce.  How stupid. That went on for quite a bit.  I finally started to ignore her, not mature, but you can't have a discussion with someone that can only see one side.

I don't hurt anymore.  So many things that were wrong, four months later are better.  Four months ago, just walking the boys was a chore.  Yesterday was an 8 mile day that didn't even remotely make me tired. It gave me energy.

Today, we came home from Sugar Creek Park Hubs and Neeko went up for a nap.  He'd been up since 330 am - I know, I was awake then too, but I went back to sleep for hours.  He was exhausted.

Me?  Well I am only 16 miles from completing my first race.  I went walking!  Race is an odd term, because the only one I am racing is myself. My original goal for the first 50 miles was a moderate 20 days, each time I log in and it tells me I will finish in x number of days faster than my goal, I simply want to challenge it.  I want to prove to myself that I can do better. 

I walked to my favorite park, it's tiny and tucked away down a steep hill.  It's worth the walk.  I soaked up the beauty of the trees, walked under a juniper tree that was shedding it's berries, enjoyed the scent of wood fires and just absorbed the gifts that nature was giving to us.  I was lost in my thoughts for an hour.

Hard to believe that an hour can give so much, when you choose to do so.  I think of all the hours I have spent killing time, well it's never too late to start!

This journey... I am loving this journey!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

a hero returns...

My sweet Hubs was riding his Harley in the vet's parade today... this wimp, she drove there and enjoyed the beautiful day without freezing her bum off. My sweet Hubs is a Vietnam Vet, ya know the ones that weren't welcomed home with a parade or well even a thank you.  They did what their country asked and got treated horribly when they came home.  I'm not even going to dig into how I feel about that.  I'm also not going to address how I feel this country treats not only it's veterans, but their dependents.  I'm gonna leave that sleeping dog lie.  I am going to say that today was seriously heart wrenching for me and impacted me on a level I was not expecting.

I am used to seeing Hubs walk up to strangers and welcome them home, I am used to the shocked looks, the gratitude that immediately follows.  I am even more used to the uncomfortable moment of... what to say next.  Hubs usually says thanks for your gratitude. It touches my heart and tears it up just the same.  I know they weren't welcomed home.  I've heard them.

I didn't go with him to the ride out and set up.  I am not a veteran, not in the traditional sense, but I have given this country 38 years of my life... different story.  And frankly nothing needed to detract from the special air of this day. It struck me deeply when he said in passing last night, that he'd decided to ride, it was his chance to have the welcome home parade he never got.

Boom... there is the reality.  So many young men and a few women, served our country, did what they were asked and no one said so much as a small thank you.   He was right, it was his chance to finally feel appreciated for giving time out of his life.  For first hand knowledge of nightmares that we only see in movies or books.

I decided to hit the farmer's market first.  I usually do not go anywhere like that alone.  Hubs and I have so little time that we spend together that I do not want to miss a moment. Today, I went alone. 

We're nearing the last weekend.  Fewer and fewer vendors are out there. The veg selection is waning. But so beautiful just the same.  Today I picked up a couple of loaves of our favorite Misch bread.  It so reminds me of Germany, it takes me back in time.  It's perfect with a hot bowl of soup or served as a yummy toast for breakfast.

I found Neeko his treats that he loves so much.  Each day we have him is a blessing, he needs lots of spoiling. He was waiting when I finally arrived home.

The fig stand had one box of yumminess left, yep, had to purchase that! The local farmer with the incredible garlic and radishes got a few more of my precious dollars.  The quality is unreal. I love supporting a local family.  It fills my heart to overflowing.

I wrapped up the trip with some of the perfect broccoli, that sweet man helped me convince the sweet little bee that I'd been gently allowing to travel my hand to leave.  I am terribly allergic to bees, I have to admit, my terror was definitely mounting.  I think he wanted some of my bourbon spiced cider.

One final stop to the Tamale Man, I picked up a couple for me and three more for Hubs wrapped in a bag to keep them warm - I was on a mission!  I figured he'd be waiting a while, and would need nourishment.  I am working very hard to insure he always has yummy plant based food to sustain him.  No reason for him to give in to a SAD meal that will hurt him in the long run.

The bitter cool 40 degrees had shifted while I was at the market and it warmed up considerably.  I will admit to being thankful for wearing layers and dropping them as the day progressed.  By the time I arrived in our beautiful downtown it was over 55 degrees. 

I delivered lunch and headed off, I was going to look for a spot to watch the parade.  And their staging area was many blocks from where it started.  Heading east my path took me past my old Y.  It's long since been sold and is in the middle of a remodel.  I won't lie, a few tears filled my eyes, full of love and memories.  Some great, some horrible.  All life altering.  So many friends, so many memories, so much.  That sums it up... So much...

The parade was happening in my old playground.  The part of St. Louis where I spent 11 years.  Wandering around I was torn between nostalgia and a sense of loss.  It's changed, but the key parts remained.  I was still encountering drug addled homeless people, the trash laying around a sign of the lack of respect that St. Louis seems to be bent on continuing. 

I hate to just wait.  I can't stand it.  So I wandered.  I walked the entire parade route, zig zagged through the familiar sidewalks and streets.  Wandering aimlessly, lost in a million thoughts and memories.  I went to the parade, it didn't need to come to me.

Finally I heard the roar of Harley's.  They were starting to move.  I wandered over and was handed a flag.  Searching an ocean of Harley's I finally found my sweet Hubs waving to me.  I don't know if he's had time to process it all. I don't know if his heart is overflowing yet, it will be.  My sweet hero got his welcome home.  It was beautiful!  I followed them for a long distance, waving my flag and snapping pictures.  As they passed the Soldiers Memorial I decided it was time to head home myself.  I am so proud of that dear man.  He was the one stopping to shake the hand of every veteran on the side of the path, thanking them for their service.  Welcoming them home. 

He's a hero.

Me... I'm just the wife, but I am proud to be that.

The squash that I am cooking for dinner is done, it's time to walk my sweet old dog and get ready to head out again.  We are going south to celebrate a birthday of another veteran. The day didn't go as planned. 

Nope, not even close.  But it went perfectly!

best life...

Staring into the mirror the other morning while drying my hair, looking at how light it has become.  Yes, that was a nice way of saying ...