Sunday Evening in May

IMG_2179.JPG

Clematis apparently thrive on hail, freezing temperatures, and snow.

It’s Sunday night, which is one of my favorites in retired life.  I take Mondays off.  I don’t need to get up early in the morning even though I do it anyway.  But I always know I have one day a week that I could sleep in if I ever wanted to.

I’ve now had a week to “process” my osteoporosis diagnosis.  I am no further along in the process of the processing.  I’m a bit angry about it.  In my life whenever I am facing a problem, I do research.  I study.  I read.  In the days of the internet, I look for others’ experiences.

So, I have found out that osteoporosis is caused by a bunch of things that are N/A for me.  I am not thin.  I am not a smoker.  I do not drink.  I get TONS of exercise.  I eat well.  I calculated my normal calcium intake, and it is very high, as well as other nutrients that the research would tell me I am short of.  My vitamin D level came back fine.

I have found that I should be doing weight bearing exercise.  I have searched for a definition of weight bearing.  The jury is apparently out on that.  One thing they all seem to agree on is walking being good.  And the rest is all up for debate.  One study says swimming is good, others say that research has shown that competitive swimmers suffer bone loss.  The same thing for biking.  Weight training is supposed to be good, but some say it isn’t really good.  Trampoline sales companies work hard to convince that jumping on a trampoline is the answer.  The cite NASA astronauts having used them.  But when you really look into that, it appears the astronauts used tramps to simulate weightlessness before they went into space, not to rebuild bone mass after returning from weightlessness.

I am absolutely dumbfounded by the dearth of information and the fact that almost all of it contradicts each other.

I am becoming convinced that it is because of the demographic.  Old White Women? Who cares?  Seriously, who the hell cares?

My doctor, who I once adored, is doing things that are not indicative of competence. I had to go to the pharmacy three times after she said she’d order the medication.  Each time, she said she was ordering it, but it didn’t get ordered.  She gave me NO information on this thing other than telling me I have it and suggesting I start fosamax.  Amazing since she has never prescribed a drug for me – ever.   She also noted in my chart that I have significant bone loss.  OK.

You do know that I will get there.  I will process this.  I will figure out what to do.  It may just be to accept that this is my lot in life.  I can do that, but probably not today.

Thankfully, I take the Eucharist to the homebound on Sunday Mornings.  Oh, how I love those old people!  They seem to like me too.  And when I am with them, I am not thinking about myself.

I can be grateful for so many wonderful things in my life:

  • I belong to a church where I really truly belong.
  • Yesterday I attended the 34th AA birthday of one of my dearest friends at my old homegroup.  Sitting in that room with my peers in AA is an assurance that all is well.
  • It’s easy enough to say “that’s my new homegroup, because that is where I belong.”
  • The extreme and severe weather may be over for now.  I can plant my vegetable garden this week.
  • My home is my home.  It is mine.
  • When my furnace stopped working last week, I got on the phone and got a new one.  I just wrote the check to pay for it because I actually had the money.
  • I do not have to drive across town to go to a job tomorrow.  YIPPEEE!
  • My sponsor is coming to town tomorrow.  YIPPEEEE!
  • And I get to see a former blogger on Saturday.  YIPPEEEE!

See?  Life really is good.

Posted in Aging, Gratitude, Health, Osteoporosis | 12 Comments

Mothers Day, Rocking Chair, Osteoporosis

IMG_2107IMG_2172

Before and After painting the rocking chair on my front porch.  It’s pretty now.  And it wasn’t before.   It is a lovely place to sit and knit.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day.  So difficult for so many people.  My friend’s mom died two years ago and this is just sheer torture for her.  My daughter is also struggling because her kids are not with her.  And of course, I miss my mom, dead since 1971, and I miss my kids being little, and I miss my grandkids.   I miss so much and so many.  I spent this afternoon with one of my daughters and will have the other over for dinner tomorrow.  It is to the point where it is too uncomfortable to be in the same room with them, so I have finally given up and stopped trying.

I had a couple of medical tests last week.  No big deal.  Once you are 65, there are new routine tests to take.  I had a bone density test for the first time.  Shock of shocks (no I am not kidding) I got an e-mail from my doc last night saying that I do have osteoporosis and she recommends starting fosamax for the next 5 years.  She who doesn’t prescribe medications.  That’s why I go to her.  I am just shocked and a bit upset.  I thought osteoporosis was for skinny old women who smoke and drink and are frail.  Not me!  I am big and strong and active and healthy!  It will take me a minute or two to reconcile those things.

I wrote back to my doc immediately, which I shouldn’t have done because I have a whole set of other, more well-thought-out questions now.  I asked her if I needed to stop riding a bike!  Well, I don’t think I am going to no matter what she says.

My sister dropped dead at her desk just about 11 months ago.  She thought she was going to live to be 95.  Well, she was short by 25 years.  My mother died at 58.  I thought I was going to live a long life too, but I think I am revising that.  I want to live while I am alive, and it doesn’t seem like it is going to be a long, long time.  I don’t mean a big long “bucket list” of stupid crap like jumping out of airplanes.  I mean going to church in the morning, cooking healthy meals, training for triathlons.  Riding my bike in the Colorado sunshine.  Swimming in the sparkling cold summer morning water.  Limping along doing this thing I call “running.”  Going out for lunch a couple of times a week.  Doing all the stuff my church now has me involved in.   Planning what may turn out to be a camping trip this summer!  Camping?  Yeah!  All by myself to top it all off!

This isn’t well-thought-out either.  I am shocked and upset.  I am certain I will come to terms with this, just as I do everything else that comes up.  Of all the conditions or diseases to get, I would have put this one really really low on the list of possibilities.  Life is full of surprises like that.

Happy Mothers Day to those for whom this is a happy day.  And the rest of us?  It will be over on Monday.  I am going to try to keep my nose out of Facebook tomorrow.  It is the most graphic example to me of how we compare our insides to other’s outsides.   And it is painful when everyone else’s family looks so happy!  And mine feels so fractured.   Theirs, I am sure, have their own challenges, but we don’t put that out there.  I don’t either.

But I sure put it here, don’t I?

Posted in Aging, Family, Health | 10 Comments

Moving On…

fullsizeoutput_815.jpeg

Yesterday I wrote about other people.  I thought about it all night.  I don’t want to write negative things about people, so I deleted the post.  I don’t believe I have ever done that before, but I feel it is the right thing to do.

Essentially, it is none of my beeswax what other people are doing.  It is my business to put myself into healthy places where I can be helpful.  Sometimes it is my business to go to unhealthy places if I can be helpful and being helpful is my intention.  Going to unhealthy (and unpleasant) places where there is no possibility of me being helpful is just not a good thing to do.  ‘Nuff Said.

Today I am finally getting around to painting an old rocking chair I have written about here.  I need to be doing things that are visible, have a beginning and an end, and are enjoyable.  So, today I shall paint a chair.

Then off on a church job tonight.  I have no idea what this will be, but likely I will be telling you all about.

Posted in Junk-blogging, Truth | 1 Comment

April Wednesday

IMG_2057.JPG

Little Geranium seedlings, grown from seeds from the geranium I grew from seeds 2 years ago.  Oh, it is fun to watch these grow.

I am now four months into retirement.  It is far more challenging than I had anticipated.  Some days are awesome (like today) and some are pretty horrid.

There are things I have realized about myself that I really didn’t know before.  I think I am just hard wired to have good days and bad.  Regardless of what’s going on.  I don’t always feel great.  But I am always trying to find a way to.  Gratitude is my No. 1 tool.

I need at least a scintilla of structure.  Mass daily keeps me busy in the morning, but some mornings upon arrival home, I feel incredibly disheartened.  Because I need something to do.  Something concrete, with a beginning and an end (definitely NOT housework, because I have NOT developed a taste for it).  I sewed a blouse over the weekend.  It was good to be busy, but it is my idea of a colossal waste of money because patterns and fabric are not cheap.  For about $50 and two days of labor, I have a blouse that is primitive at best.  It is comfortable so I may actually wear it around the house but believe me when I tell you that $50 is not a reasonable price for a “house blouse.”  Knitting is also relatively expensive, but I do really enjoy it and most of the time I really like the finished product.

Today I am having lunch with my old boss – THAT boss from my 17 months in the job “downtown” where I mostly lost my mind.  I do really like her even though she was undoubtedly the worst boss I ever had.  She was new to management and frequently tells me I taught her a lot.  The price I paid for that was very high, but those years are now over, and I can’t wait to see her at lunch today.

My AA life is an entirely different story.  I don’t have enough time or energy to write about it this morning.  But I do need to do so soon.  And hope to God no one from my home group still reads this.

Love you all… thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Posted in Garden, Gratitude, Knitting, Mass, Retirement | 2 Comments

New Bike

IMG_2024

There’s my beautiful new bike.  It has a carbon fiber frame and is very light.  It is also just all around very nice.  I took it out for 10 miles yesterday and it was like an entirely different sport than riding the bikes I own.  I blasted up hills like I was rocket propelled!  A good bike really does make a difference!  If you have anything negative to say about the bike, please don’t share with me because I spent WAY more money than I ever intended on this thing and I am in love.  Don’t rain on my parade, please.

I wrote to the race director of the olympic distance tri I wanted to register for.  I was looking for their course limit.  He suggested I try a sprint distance.  Well, yeah, I am going to do that too.  I will look for another olympic distance in the meantime.

I weigh less than I have since 1994, and I am probably in the best shape I have been in since my late 30s.  Yes, I am 65, but I really believe I am going to be able to do awesome things this summer.  And I actually have the time to train!  Imagine that!

I really do fluctuate between utter joy – like yesterday when I was out in the sunshine riding this beautiful bike around a beautiful place.  And today, the worry came back to get me with a bit of a vengeance.  I hit my head on my front door with quite a bit of force (very long story about a deadbolt that sticks) and started crying about that.  And then – when I was leaving the house and backed my car out of the garage, an extension ladder I have been MEANING to move just crashed down upon my brand new automobile.  It made the most ungodly noise.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounded, but my car is definitely worse for that little incident.   It had already sustained its first dent in a grocery store parking lot, but this is a bit worse than that.

It all feels too much from time to time.  Having extremely limited resources can cause all sorts of fear.  But there is ENOUGH.  There is always ENOUGH.  I just have to remember that.  God has always cared for me, I have never gone hungry or gone without much of anything.

Even when I smoked cigarettes, I never went without my requisite cigarettes.  And they are so expensive!

On Monday when I was debating the merits of buying the bike, I sat down and calculated the expense of smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day (which I used to do) and then I added a 12 pack of beer a day.  I could pay for my bike in 75 days of the savings from not doing that!  Which doesn’t make sense really, but it does to me.

I have a lifestyle that does not involve packs and bottles per day.  I am spending the money for my healthy lifestyle.  That makes sense to me!

Thanks for listening….

Posted in Bicycle | 10 Comments

Pay Day

fullsizeoutput_7d0

So excited about being able to scoop my hair into a ponytail.  Small thing, sure.  But it sure is nice.

A lifelong dream of mine was to wear my hair in a bun when I got “old.”  I think I am probably that age now, though I don’t think of myself as old – it is all relative, isn’t it?  When I left State employment in 2015, my hair was so short, the back of it was actually shaved!  SHAVED!

2016 was my year of paying dues.  Suffering in anticipation of some future pay day.

I had a job, the job was sheer torture in so many ways.   I live about as far west as you can and still be considered in the Denver metro.  The job was about as far east as can still be considered the Denver metro.  The commute was a slog across the city.  I tried going north, I tried going south.  I tried going south and east on toll roads.  In the end, I drove straight through the hell that is Denver traffic.  Twice a day.  Some days I spent over 3 hours in the car.  It drove me CRAZY.  I tried to accept it, I tried audio books, I tried praying.  I even tried knitting while stopped – which was a lot.  I tried public transportation.  It just was no fun no matter what I did.

The days were spent in a small windowless office which felt like a coffin most of the time.  I essentially had nothing to do.  There were times I saved all my work for one day a week, and it still didn’t take all day.  It might have been 4 hours of work per 40 hours.  I had endless time with nothing to do.  My boss was aware of this and assured me that it would change in time.  I didn’t stay long enough for the change.  I found the end of the internet.  I had always thought it was endless.  I never thought you could find the end of the rabbit hole… but I did.  Every single day.  I read every single thing that I could even be remotely in.

There were positives to the job.

  • I worked with a great group of people.  I liked them and they liked me.  After the end of my State career, it was so refreshing to be with people who weren’t involved in palace intrigue, and strange dishonest strategies to destroy people and gain power.  They were just nice, competent, intelligent, hard-working people.  We all got along and had fun occasionally.
  • I had time and space to grieve the loss of my sister.  I spent hours and days in my office looking through every single e-mail, every photograph, and every text.  I cried and cried and cried.
  • There was a trail across the street from the office and I took a walk nearly every day.
  • I got a paycheck every other Friday!!!  In addition to my pension!!!  I spent hours in my office budgeting and strategizing.  I made all sorts of graphics of my debt and the progress towards eliminating it.

I just put my nose down and spent that year getting my life ready for retirement.  Oh!  And I grew my shaved hair out to the point where it actually goes in a pony tail now!  Some day it will go in a bun!  (then I will probably cut it off!)

Now I wake up in the morning and thank God I don’t have to go to work.  I get up and go to an AA meeting and thank God that I am and have been sober.  I get to go to Mass after that.  The rest of the day is usually free for me to fill up as I please.  I work out for a minimum of 70 minutes a day.  Usually on the treadmill, because I am a freak of nature and actually LOVE the treadmill.  As the weather turns to spring, I am sure I will head outside more – particularly if I am training for a tri!  I knit – a lot.

I get to meet friends for lunches and dinners.  When a sponsee wants to meet with me, I ask what time works for HER!  And I can work around that.  It turns out I have a lot more friends than I ever realized.  I never had time for them before.  It is so delightful to sit over a cup of coffee or a meal and not be in a hurry for any reason.  When the folks at church ask me to do something (which is happening more and more), I say the magic word – YES.

I am so very grateful.  I really never saw my life as paying dues for a later date – except last year.  But it turns out it really was.

It is now payday.  And I am loving it.  Thank you God.

Posted in Aging, Friends, Gratitude, Hair, Retirement, Sobriety, sponsee, Work | 4 Comments

Snowy Tuesday Morning

fullsizeoutput_7f7

There’s a little mouse I knit for my cat, with a little bit of organic catnip placed strategically inside.  I hid it from her for a half a day because I knew she would “ruin” it, and I thought it was so freaking cute.  But I did give it to her, and she has indeed loved it into a state of ruin.

I just read one of my favorite blogs, my friend is starting his triathlon training in earnest.  Inspired, I immediately wanted to jump on my bike and ride to the pool (in a blizzard) and get going on my training.  I love triathlon training and events.

There are several triathlons I want to do this summer.  There is an olympic distance in July, and the women’s sprint triathlon in August.  There is another sprint that is very near home that I would love to do in September.

There is a problem this year:  I need a new bike.  When I got my bike tuned up last summer, I was told it was not going to last much longer.  In fact, the technician was worried it wouldn’t get me through my race in August.  Thankfully she was wrong, and the bike made it through the year.  I have no such dreams for this year.  I need a new bike.

Bikes are expensive.  My income is now small.  I can buy one, but I wonder if this is really good use of my money.  (Just writing that makes me feel sick.)

At the age of 65 and forward, fitness is everything.

A nearby shop has a 2016 model bike reduced from $1500. to $1000.  I looked at it and walked away, which took all the self-control I had.  I have now been thinking about it for 8 days.  I really want that bike.  I really want to be a triathlete.  I want to train for triathlons.  I need a decent bike.

I still don’t know what I should do.  I will pray some more.

Meanwhile, the snow is piling up outside.  The trees are bending low, but none have broken – yet.  The lilac bush in the backyard is nearly laying flat on the ground.  I am so tired of agonizing over that thing every year.  Though I love it, if Mother Nature wants to break it, kill it, or just kill all the buds as it does most years, I will just accept it!

Thanks for reading this random thing…

Posted in Bicycle, Cat, Spring | 6 Comments