The Journey of Total Knee Replacement

I realized this past Friday, April 15th, marked one year since I had a total knee replacement (TKR). The weekend was kinda busy and whatnot….hello Easter…..so I thought I’d take some time now to reflect on my journey this past year. This may be more of a “story”  than a blog post.  My hope is that maybe my journey may help or encourage someone facing this surgery.

How did I get to the point of TKR?

A good question.  I was in the final weeks of training for a duathlon in 2018. As I was in the last few miles of a training run my knee started bothering me. Of course my thought was “nooooo nothing better get in my way for the race “.  It settled down and weeks later, I did my second duathlon coming in again first in my age group. That didn’t impress me as much as seeing my finish time against some of the 20something guys. That was satisfying ๐Ÿ˜œ

The finish line of a race listed as the toughest in Texas. A 5k hilly run, 16 miles of nothing but lots of big hills on the bike, and then a 2 mile run. The photo doesn’t show how cold and sweaty I am or reflect a quad and hip that cramped up coming in on the bike ride as I finish the final run.
That finish line never felt sweeter.

I wish I knew it was potentially my last duathlon or I would’ve savored every aspect of it more.

The final piece after months of training,  standing on that podium.

As things go, after I finished a race, I dialed back my training for a few weeks. On my first run back out ( weeks later) I felt almost crippled afterwards. I cut out running and focused on cycling but my knee continued to bother me.  I finally gave in and headed to my sports doctor ( ahem…. months later) fully expecting to hear I had torn something and would need surgery. After the x ray he came back in and announced,  ” you’ve got a good old fashioned case of arthritis going on” this was certainly not what I expected to hear.

He said listen “You’re out there kicking ass and taking names.  You are certainly not my usual middle age woman patient. Between life, genetics, and all you’ve been doing, that’s what we’re dealing with. ” We discussed some options, one of which was eventually getting a shot in my knee that could help.

Essentially a band aid, a costly one, only prolonging the inevitable, knee replacement surgery.

I left his office and pretty much dealt with it over the next couple years. The pain in my knee got progressively worse as it was bone on bone. I did go in for the set of two shots ( 600.00 my part with insurance) in the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, I never noticed any change. He told me  “ok we’ve tried all the options and the next step is total knee replacement”

Yeah ok…obviously I wasn’t super excited at this prospect.  I had never had any surgeries and this one sounded a bit, intense,  to put it mildly.

He handed me a referral for an ortho dr, one he assured me, would be focused on getting me back at my athletic endeavors and sent me off.

The next few months involved meeting with the doctor, getting an MRI, another appointment with the surgeon and then finally at that January visit we scheduled the surgery for April 15.

Gosh. I tried several times to work myself out of it as it got closer.   But on the other hand I had a knee that hurt enough to keep me awake at night so I was kinda hoping to ditch that problem, among others.

As it got closer there were the usual pre surgical things to do, like labs, a chest x ray and meeting with the surgical nurse who went over all the details for before, during and after surgery.

Over and over I heard “you’ve picked a rough first surgery but you’ll get through it”

Eek.

I requested to be his first surgery.  It was out patient and I would go home that day so I figured being first in meant I’d get out sooner.

My surgery would also be robotic assisted surgery which is super high tech. It allows the surgeon to operate and make cuts and incisions with exact precise cuts in the bone and tissue. This is done in real time with a computer and a very recent CT of my knee. You can learn more reading about Mako Robotic Knee surgery.

Show time

This is what it looks like when your surgeon signs off on your knee ๐Ÿ˜… that big line? The slice and dice line.

I arrived at 5 a.m. trying to act cool but I had to laugh when the nurse asked if I ever had anxiety….I was like…. I mean right now, kinda yeah….she assured me they expected that and not to worry.

Whew! I was normal! ๐Ÿ˜…

All the final things were done, the surgeon last to appear asking if I was ready for the show.  I asked him if he had enough of whatever he needed to be on his A game. He assured me he was good and he was ready to fix my knee up, and then it was off to the OR.

Listen, as I mentioned earlier,  this was my first surgery so I was really calculating everything that was going on. I was struck by how bright the OR was, how alert, busy and full on active everyone was greeting me. I asked them if they wanted me to hop over to the other table, and after I got settled a mask was immediately placed over my nose and mouth that felt a little to snug. The guy lifted to adjust it and said ” we’re just giving you some pure oxygen “

And that my friends, was it till I heard two girls talking close to me saying what pretty pink hair I had ( which I did) and did I want a cracker?

Say what?

Me…. mumbling….are we done?! They assured me we were and if I woke up I could have a cracker.  In my head, I was giggling thinking how you offer parrots crackers… ๐Ÿคฃ in reality I was trying to peel my eyes open.

Seriously.  Y’all that sleep after surgery is the bomb. I was so cozy. I was hearing the convo in room, the nurses talking to my husband, how things went etc but gosh, I was sooooo good where I was at….like my eyes just didn’t want to be open.  I got prompted again…. whyyy are they making me talk??

After accepting ( rather blindly) the crackers and Sprite given to me, I was asked if I wanted to get up and walk.

Me….you know I’m still asleep right? And my leg feels like….nothing…..

Them…. you get to go home if you walk. Ah yes,  I remembered now. I got to head home if I did the “required things”.

Eat.  Go to bathroom.  Walk.

I got up on edge of bed, grabbed the walker and hustled myself out to the hallway when they called me back.  One thing my surgeon does is to make sure his patients have a nerve block ” we want you to wake up comfortable”.  I thought of it as an epidural in my knee. I had a full leg brace on immobilizing my leg. My foot felt like a thick foam block. Think how your face feels after a dentist visit and novocain.

With a numb leg, a foggy head ( those are good drugs) and zero pain,  I crawled into the athletic clothes I had worn. My surgery had been at 7 a.m. and by 1 p.m.  I was loaded up heading home ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Ya know what’s really trippy? Being in a car sailing down the highway while you’re still looped out from anesthesia. 

I kept my eyes closed the ride home ’cause the world was really spinny.

Home and recovery

This was how my leg was neatly packaged after surgery. Thankfully that came off next day. This was to protect my leg till all the meds had worn off and I could feel again

My surgeon ordered PT ( physical therapy) for 2 weeks at home that started the day after I got home. I was ready to work and do what was needed to get back to doing life. I faithfully did exercises  they left for me making them my “job”. I did them 3 times a day and walked as much as I could. I made my leg bend and flex just like I would have before surgery. 

More nice packaging
This is where the satellite went.

A look inside at my fancy new joints the top gadget is a satellite that communicates with computer that didn’t stay ๐Ÿ˜œ
My surgeon grabbed his handy fake joint model to show me what mine looked like, except as he said, yours is metal, this is plastic
The silver and gray parts are the new joints

Days after….

It was so amazing to have that awful pain gone in my knee that walking felt great even if I had major surgery two days prior. By day 3 I tossed the walker cause I was walking fine without it and my PT guy said it was more of a hazard to use it if I was walking ok.

Physically, I hadn’t been sure what to expect but I had minimal swelling and no bruising. Of course I lived with my ice pack so I’m sure that helped quite a bit. My PT guy was encouraging telling me I was far ahead of what they expected patients to do a few days out so that built my confidence. And not to mention I was horribly motivated to make things happen. I had goals.

This gadget was a nice lazy form of exercise ๐Ÿ˜… you set machine and it bends your leg for you. I’d get it set and take a nap.

Pain

Ok I’m almost embarrassed to say this but I really had minimal pain, and at that I didn’t consider it bad. One thing I paid attention to were all the people who told me to be diligent about staying on track with my pain meds. I’m stubborn but not dumb and certainly wasn’t interested in hurting if it could be avoided. I took them every 6 hours as prescribed even setting a 4 a.m. alarm to stay on track. My goal was to get off of them as soon as possible. Within the week I started spacing them out farther testing it. Gradually I was down to just a night one ( cause I like my sleep ๐Ÿ˜…) listen to what they tell you about pain meds!

2 weeks post op

2 weeks out I checked in with surgeon and had bandage removed. His stitching skills were impressive

It honestly didn’t look as bad as I was expecting. As you can see there was minimal after surgery bleeding.

After assessing all of my bending and flexing he cleared me to drive since I wasn’t on the pain meds.

Freedom! My first drive out, 16 days post op. This is when I realized how much you really use your leg to drive! A short trip, my leg was tired.

Another thing we discussed was exercise. He knew my goals were to get back on road cycling and at least walking again. I told him I wanted to do a bike race that was 10 weeks post op. What did he think? He said let’s do it! All he asked was that I ride not clipped in so if I had to get off bike fast I wouldn’t wrench my knee.

2 1/2 weeks out on my first walk….a half mile. It was a start
The road under my feet again

Of course, I focused a lot on my upper body since I could work that how I wanted

Nothing like some metal on my hand

Meanwhile

The leg is healing up well. The stitching will flatten out hopefully leaving a slim scar

As my leg healed I had moved over to 6 weeks of PT at a place in town. As my therapist told me a lot I wasn’t their “normal” patient. Being fairly strong and fit going into this surgery had definitely given me an advantage. Since I exercised before surgery the moves were work but doable work. He would put me on bike at the end of our sessions.

My first time on was my first slap in the face with my surgery.

I couldn’t do a full spin rotation.

How could this be? Riding a bike was well, riding a bike. I gingerly tried to press forward when my foot slipped causing it to go farther than planned.

That was the first genuine pain I had felt. I saw stars. Not cool.

I was in tears, literally crying thankful my back was to the room so no one would see a grown woman crying.

I felt all my goals shifting. How could I do a race in 7 weeks if I couldn’t pedal fully? I was crushed when I left PT that day.

I came home and started reading and there was a suggestion of pedaling backwards first. Then gradually ease into going forward. Next time I went I tried that. And I did it the following time…each time pressing into it a bit more…..then finally a full spin. I held my breath easing into another round and another. Tears came again this time but they were of joy. It was all I could do not to whoop out loud ๐Ÿ˜…

As I kept practicing on the bike at PT and on my trainer at home, race day loomed closer and I was pressed deciding if I’d be ready to do a 18 mile race in a few weeks. Being on the bike I still hadn’t gotten any serious miles on me. I finally felt confident enough to hit the road, this was about 8 weeks post op. I did 9 miles for my first ride.

Unfortunately by the time I felt I could do the race, no matter what my speed, the race had sold out. I was a bit crushed and then decided I would simply do my own “race”. Really it was about me and my goals anyway, right? I determined I would get up the same day as race, leave out in the morning and do that 18 mile ride making it a celebration of my body and what it could do.

And I did it.

The morning was gorgeous and I had never felt more alive. Although riding not clipped in felt awkward, I managed to get it done. And not just 18 miles, but a little more with gravy on top ๐Ÿ˜‰

It turned into a nearly 20 mile ride. ๐Ÿ˜Š

My speed certainly wasn’t what I was used to but gosh it felt amazing.

Needless to say when I saw my surgeon a couple weeks later he immediately asked if I did it. Ha he was honestly like a proud parent.

Lots of activities after my knee surgery. Rowing was great for continuing bending and flexing. Those weights don’t hurt either.

Where am I now?

The knee healed up pretty nice…..and I really don’t mind my battle wound.

A tidy scar ๐Ÿ–ค

I make jokes that I may be the old person who tells the weather by my knee ๐Ÿคฃ it does feel tighter when the weather changes. My surgeon said its the barometric pressure.

Other things: when I’m on my feet all day or it’s hot my leg can feel like it’s ” fuller” or tight. My bending, and straightening of my leg is as good as it was before surgery. I’m able to do things I could prior. My knee itself can still feel tight around the surgical area but my surgeon said it can be a solid year or longer for things to settle down. A small area is still numb. That may or may not go away. Being on my hands and knees is doable, but I have to position my weight right as it can be uncomfortable, like in the surgical area.

Strength wise I think my right leg is lots stronger now than my left. My legs are strong but I find myself doing a little extra with the left to make it keep up. I am always mindful that I can and should always be pushing my new knee a little more to continue to get the maximum from it.

Final thoughts

Since I had this surgery at least 6 people I know have had it. They have reached out and asked questions. I have answered based on my experience and journey but they will be different for all of us. Our experience will be based on many factors from our overall health, fitness, physical limitations and our mental determination (which I believe is the biggest factor for success) ask questions and make sure you educate yourself on all things associated with it. Oh yeah, and do everything you’re told, including managing your pain meds.

Tell me, have you had a TKR or are you seeing one in your future?

Monday Musings

Hey kids! Happy Monday and the start of a new week. Honestly, with this past year, on any given day I’m thinking ” where are we in this week?!”

Please tell me I’m not alone in this….

I’d say Monday’s are for coffee but really, every day is for coffee.

We’ve been enjoying a milder than usual summer here in south Texas. When I say milder I mean we’ve not had any 100 degree days. And to make things even better we’ve had more rain than we ever see in a Texas summer. Like things are still green! And not crunching under your feet….amazing.

Oh it’s still hot enough and we’ve also got that wonderful humidity to go with it too.

Which makes morning workouts awesome

I had to forfeit my morning walk the other day when unexpected thunderstorms showed up. So I went to my plan b, heading into my own little gym in my garage. But gosh by the time I finished, I looked like I had been out in the rain. Serious sweat fest.

I opted to start with 20 minutes on the elliptical and followed up with 40 minutes strength training. I love mixing up my workouts. Sometimes I start and end with cardio and sandwich strength training in the middle.

My version of hitting the bar

I did get out for my power walk the next day. I’ve been increasing my miles and wanted to incorporate these huge hills into those miles. I planned to do a couple sets of them when I got down there, which I did.

When you take your heart rate from one extreme to the other. ๐Ÿ˜…

The large number on top is what I watch while I’m cooling down. The rate at which it drops back to normal gives me a good idea of my recovery heart rate. Minutes after I took this pic, it had dropped to the 70.

I think when people start an exercise program they aren’t really thinking about how it builds their heart and lungs, which are obviously muscles. Your recovery heart rate gives you a good idea of how your exercise is helping your heart

It is recommended to get a 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. Are you getting yours?

Exercise goals

I believe everyone should have some kind of exercise goals. We all have a starting place from where we can begin working to build our strength and fitness. Recently, I personally found this so true and was so grateful to fall back on a foundation of strength and fitness.

Why you may ask?

Well kids, April 15th I had total knee replacement surgery. I fully plan to write a specific post on my experience with the process, my recovery, and how cool high tech surgery is now days. More than ever was I grateful for all the days I had spent training my body working out and building strength as I leaned into that while my other leg got back on track.

I won’t spend a lot of time on it in this post, yes I’m doing great. I will say I set a goal to do a 18 mile race on my bike, 10 weeks post op, and I did. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Actually I did a little over 19 miles ๐Ÿ˜‰

So that has been one of the um… more interesting….things I’ve been up to

Then there’s my vintage business

If you’ve followed me awhile, you know I have a business where I flip vintage furniture, among other things. That has grown quite a bit this past year and I’m grateful!

Not a bad transformation eh?

Just one of the many projects I’ve been working on. *** so…many.. projects… ****

Then there’s food

I do have fun exploring new recipes. I made this recently, it always goes over well.

https://pin.it/7HO3EOA

The mixture of chicken, rice and peppers and pineapple makes for a savory meal.

And one more….I’m on a chicken kick

https://pin.it/yYOAQpO

I’ll leave you with this

I hope no matter how your day is going, that you will find the good in your day and be grateful. Grateful for the life you have and literally the next breath you take. I hope that you see the good in life and embrace it and you find joy in ordinary moments โค

This.

Fruit or Vegetable?

I recently did a random post on my Facebook page ( oh heck most of them are random) showing off my breakfast ( food pics,novel, I know)

I had come in from a longer bike ride, hungry, with food on my mind. Not just any food, I wanted avocado, fresh tomatoes and a piece of whole grain bread.

Good carbs…healthy fats….perfect.

As I bantered back and forth with comments from my post one of them said something about loving fruits and veggies for breakfast.

Ah! Rats. In my casual post I really didn’t get technical as to if these items were….fruits? Or vegetables? The comment was later indicated that he just enjoyed both at breakfast, not getting technical. Well by then my mind had already started crafting this post.

So….what are they?

Like many of you, I never deeply pondered what they are, I just enjoy them. But are tomatoes and avocados a fruit or veggie?

So delicious. But what are they?

Let’s talk about avocados

Not particularly beautiful, but very tasty…….

Avocados are one of the few fruits (yes, technically they’re a fruit, not a veggie) that contain healthy unsaturated fats. These fats help lower undesirable LDL cholesterol when eaten in place of saturated fat. The avocado is considered a fruit because they fit all of the botanical criteria for a berry. They have fleshy pulp and a seed.

Avocados ripen or “soften” after they have been harvested. To speed up the process, place the avocado in a paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days. The fruit is ready to eat when the stem comes out easily (or, if the stem is gone, when the fruit yields slightly to gentle pressure).

Nutritional info: One serving (about one-third of a medium Haas avocado) provides about 80 calories and nearly 20 different nutrients, many of which are considered heart-healthy, including unsaturated fat, fiber, vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium.

Now….. on to the tomatoes…

The botanical classification: Tomatoes are fruits.A botanical fruit would have at least one seed and grow from the flower of the plant. With this definition in mind, tomatoes are classified as fruit because they contain seeds and grow from the flower of the tomato.

But wait….there’s more

It’s also a vegetable because someone said it is.

Say what?!

Botanically it’s a fruit. Legally, it’s not. Legally it’s classified a vegetable.

And the origins of that discrepancy lie in a 19th-century Supreme Court case so obscure, many tomato experts arenโ€™t even aware of it.

โ€œTomatoes have such an outlandish history,โ€ said George Ball, the chief executive at the seed company Burpee. โ€œMost people hear it and are bewildered for life.โ€

As Ball explains it, fruits and vegetables differ in one major botanical way. A fruit is technically the seed-bearing structure of a plant โ€” and a vegetable can be virtually any part of the plant we eat.

At the time of the court case in question, Nix v. Hedden, fruits and vegetables differed in another big way, as well: Imported vegetables were slapped with a 10-percent tariff upon their arrival in the United States, and imported fruits were not.

When one Manhattan wholesaler โ€” John Nix & Co., owned by John Nix and his four sons โ€” got hit with the tariff on a shipment of Caribbean tomatoes, he disputed the tax on the grounds that tomatoes were not technically vegetables.

The case, filed in 1887, made its way to the Supreme Court in 1893. There, the court disagreed with the Nixes, ruling that people neither prepare nor eat tomatoes like fruits โ€” and that they should be taxed accordingly.

โ€œBotanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas,โ€ wrote Justice Horace Gray in his 1893 opinion. โ€œBut in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables.โ€

So there you go. The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled them as a vegetable….long ago…..

Bet you learned something new, didn’t you?

About my breakfast….

Admit it….it looks delicious

I’ll leave you with a refreshing summer tomato salad to try.

https://pin.it/4DTTYOB

Your turn

Do you like tomatoes and avocados? What would you say they are? Fruit or veggie?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday kids. Let’s do this thing.

A new week, new goals to crush, more coffee to drink.

One of the things I’m seeing tonight as I write this is one of my posts from 2 years ago is trending in the top two spots on Google search…..go. me.

Single Ingredient Diet

Yeah so that’s kinda nice. People wanna read me and I like to think I have positive words to offer up, along with a dose of sassy humor. ๐Ÿ˜‰ you can check this post out later.

Speaking of humor…..

You may have seen the Target dress challenge on social media. Basically Target launched this line of dresses they were like, apparently serious about.

They look like left over Little House on the Prairie wardrobe pieces. Ankle length frocks, quite lovely.

Ugly? Yes.

Frumpy? Oh yes.

Man repellant? Most definitely.

Wearing these dresses makes you look like you’re ready for a long day on the farm preparing for a locust invasion.

But wait… I was eating at a local restaurant the other day and they have a gift shop with all kinds of goodies in it. Imagine my horror when I saw this…..is everyone getting on board with this??

๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

And the ones behind it weren’t much better…trust me.

When it comes to fashion like this, I’m always glad that I’m out here doing my own thing.

Oh yeah..my own thing. Wanna see?

Decided to start my new year with a fun flare. ๐Ÿ–ค

Shades of pink, but most rose gold, I love the mix of it all and nicknamed it my Neapolitan hair.

The main factor is that I love it, but after that, the fact others like it is cool too.

A girl checking me in at my dr appt commented on it….

“Love your hair! Kudos to you for being so bold and doing it”

I thanked her, but here’s the deal.

It doesn’t take much for me to be bold and adventurous. But really, I love doing things that please me, and that is usually something outside the box.

Can I suggest that if you’ve pondered doing something, why not do it? What’s holding you back?

If this past year has taught me anything, live life, even if it is diving into rosegold hair.

Do what makes you happy and brings you joy.

Ever notice how life can randomly point things out to you? ๐Ÿ˜…

The truth of this hits deep

Teasing aside, I am thankful and grateful for every year I’ve lived, even if there are days that are harder or a body that wants to go rogue, I am thankful for the years I’ve lived.

In other news..

The month is almost over and there has been of course, the push for people wanting to get back to exercise and “get in shape”.

If you’re in that boat, you aren’t alone! I think during this past year so many have gotten out of a normal routine or have been sidetracked by the weird turns of life.

My simple suggestion to get back in the groove? Get out for 30 minutes.

Take 30 minutes to do something that moves you, that makes you feel alive and refreshed. Can’t do 30? Make it 20, but make it count.

If I’m short on time and decide to do 20 minutes on the rower or elliptical, I pedal down and go all out in those 20 minutes and believe me, it’s a solid workout that works me.

Life is hard. Exercise helps.

Food. Food helps too.

I thought I’d share a salad I made with you during the holidays. I used greek yogurt in place of the sour cream for a lighter healthy swap.

https://pin.it/5nfOFBT

And cold weather is often perfect soup weather. Try this Stuffed Pepper soup, it’s a family favorite!

https://pin.it/63Ik60t

Alright kids, that’s a wrap in my ramblings. Do something good for yourself this week and while you’re at it, do something for someone else too.

Tell me, how’s the week gone? Have you done something for yourself a little different or fun?

Tips For A Healthy 2021

Happy New Year! Here we are in 2021, poised on the threshold of so many new possibilities and adventures. Like my new empty planner, the year waits to be filled with the ordinary and extraordinary.

I promise not to wax all nostalgic on you or proclaim “new year, new me!”

About the only thing new happening is getting a new haircut, with some color adjustments coming soon too ๐Ÿ˜

Is this sassy enough for you?

Let’s face it though, before the candy and wrapping paper are out of the store aisles the focus turns to weight loss products. The snake oil people rise up in full force ready to capitalize on those bemoaning their excess weight.

Shakes, supplements, pills and cleanses abound.

All promise fast, unrealistic results, yet sadly none will work and the individual will be back where they started.

If you make any goal or resolution for yourself, don’t give in to diets or gimmicks that won’t help you in the long run.

What can you do?

I get it. 2020 was, well, intense for most of us. Quarantine had so many at home for longer periods of time, this equaled more sedentary time, out of our usual rhythm, eating more and more foods that we may not usually eat.

Enter, a few extra pounds.

This has many looking for ways to quickly get rid of it.

The reality is, there is no “fast ” sustainable way. We have to methodically work our way backwards to our goals in a slow and steady manner.

May I offer a few suggestions?

So what will work to get back on track and be sustainable?

Forget about pointless things like 21 day juice cleanses, detox teas, and pills, weight loss shakes and replacement “meals”. Don’t cut all your carbs or withhold treats or resort to the lastest diet craze.

Detoxes and cleanses do a good job of cleaning your pockets.

Besides your liver and kidneys do a great job detoxifying your body. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do however……get plenty of rest, drink 2 liters of water, get in 10k steps a day, and use a 80/20 approach to eating ( 80% of the time you eat healthy balanced food, 20%, hey have some fries ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Balance is key to long term sustainable success. No one wants to feel restricted or deprived. Allowing for some treats gives us freedom and thus keeps us from giving up.

Some basic 101 food suggestions

This can work for all of us…

Eat at least two fruits a day, load up on veggies at every meal, choose complex carbs, eat lean proteins and healthy fats and make water your drink of choice. Eating a good variety keeps us satisfied and reduces the chances of binging on less healthy food later.

Finally, a few reminder notes for 2021

Focus on nutritious and healthy foods. Think of how good you’ll feel fueling your body with good food.

Focus on progress, not perfection. Slow steady progress wins over a fast quick ( temporary) fix.

Get in some purposeful exercise that you like and makes you feel good.

Track your water, exercise and food if it helps get you on track.

Set realistic weight loss goals and celebrate the big and small goals.

With some careful adjustments, 2021 will be a year of positive progress for you!

Tell me, what strategies do you use to lose a few pounds and keep your eating healthy? Do you have some goals for this year?

Monday Musings

Another Monday, another spin around the sun, and the first Monday in November.

This year is just blurring on by, isn’t it? You know what this means right?

Full on Christmas coming at us now.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and I go all out for it.

I just want my turkey first….. and pie.

I want those tasty dishes that seem to be extra delicious on Thanksgiving. I want to smell those amazing smells of the day as my often, loud and wonderfully goofy family shows up to eat, watch football and celebrate a day of giving thanks for all we have.

I want that before I’m propelled into the Christmas whirlwind.

I want that set aside day of focusing on thankfulness.

Reasons to be thankful

Do we need to be reminded? I think, sometimes, we get so set in our lives we don’t really take time to focus on all we’ve been blessed with.

I was at the stop sign the other day and a local homeless woman was in her chair as she usually is. She is often just down the street at Starbucks sitting by the drive way but has changed up her location again ( she moves between both areas) it is known she has mental issues. It is also known she supposedly chooses this life.

I don’t know much except she’s a staple in that area. I greet her when I walk up to get my coffee, I will not look through her and pretend she isn’t there as many do.

But on this day, she was seated at the stop sign.

As I waited for the car in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice her, really see her.

Head in her hand holding her sign, her face red from days of sitting in the sun, a cigarette loosely held, her worldly possessions around her, it was her face that caught me.

The look of someone holding back emotion or trying not to cry.

It took everything in me to not turn around and go back and ask, are you ok? Except, with her mental instability, you just don’t know what you will get.

In those moments so much was impressed on me.

You think you’ve had a hard year, but you’ve not had hard like that homeless woman on the corner hard.

I thought about the nice car I was driving, wearing nice clothes. I thought about my beautiful home that protected and sheltered me. The abundance of food we had, the things that made my life comfortable, my family that surrounded me, and the simple luxuries I had. I thought about my husband and how much he has been brought through and how our needs are always met.

I felt humbled in that moment. And thankful

The thoughts continued to flow….

Your hard isn’t the family divorcing, ending what they have known. Your hard isn’t the young mother who lost a twin, or a parent watching their child continue the path of addiction or a family member dealing with alcohol addiction, or a widow grieving their partner

All situations I’m personally aware of.

We all have our levels of hard to deal with, right?

November marks a year since my husband was told he had two types of cancer. To say this year has been a new level of “hard” is putting it mildly. There have been ups and downs and moments that have overwhelmed me leaving me feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Throw in a virus, him being unable to work right now, Dr appointments, chemo treatments, constant dancing around with insurance and the daily shifting of life, it can make the strongest person feel weak at any given moment.

Yet, that thought bounced through my head.

Your hard isn’t like hers. Your life, while it has been difficult, painful even, is good.

We all have our own version of hard

We do right? Struggles, pain, suffering, hardships. They may look different but we all have that road to walk on some level.

I firmly believe how we approach it has a huge impact on the rest of our lives. Has this year been easy?

Not even.

Have I been amazingly blessed? Absolutely.

Do I choose, look for all the good I have in my life even if it is hard? I do.

As we go into November, a month in which we have a day set aside to think of all we’ve been blessed with and give thanks for those blessings, I choose to set my sights there.

So stand down Christmas.

I want my turkey and pie. I want more mashed potatoes than I should eat. I want breakfast with my family still in jammies with messy hair crammed around the table eating the pastries I made. I want to enjoy the food, the laughter, the controlled chaos, and most importantly, my tribe. The beautiful people I’ve been given to share this life with.

Life is hard. If there weren’t hard times we wouldn’t deeply embrace the good. Life is made of both.

I am thankful and abundantly blessed. I hope you too, even as you may deal with difficulties or uncertainty will also celebrate the good and the blessings you have as well.

And hey, go ahead and have another piece of pie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Monday Musings

Hello Monday my little pretty…….

Did you just hear that in the voice of the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz?Well Monday is here kids, however you got started in it. Honestly this year, the days have just kinda blurred into one another.One of the first things my conscious mind does waking up is reeling in the day of the week that is starting.It gives me an early sense of accomplishment when I get it right ๐Ÿ˜‰Speaking of starting the day…

Did you participate in National Coffee Day last week?

Yep, September 29 is designated National Coffee Day, but really in my opinion every day is. Anyone else agree on that?

There is something soothing to my soul and spirit with that dark delicious brew. The aroma and anticipation make waking up early all worth while. Of course, let’s not forget the midday enjoyment. For me however, the afternoon beverage usually takes a cold form during warmer months.If you drink coffee, do you enjoy it through day or morning only?

October and things that go squeak…

So it begins.

I opened my cabinet late in the evening a few nights ago and nearly passed out.The creatures beady red eyes almost level with mine…it was all I could do not to squeak.

Ironically, my granddaughter has named it “Squeak”.

I may have, however, brought this on myself.

Several years ago I started.. as a bit of um…fall festivities? ๐Ÿค” I would leave various creatures around the house in places where my unsuspecting kids may or may not be startled by plastic mice, rats or a snake.The times I heard screams from my daughter in laws in the bathroom….. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, I immediately texted one of them expecting it was pay back for toad pics I sent or her thinking I had taped a real tarantula over the front door…. I mean….I get that I would deserve it.She laughed and said it wasn’t her.. so I sent the pic to youngest son who was surprised then mildly suggested my older sonMy quiet, low key, laid back and chill son ?? After some convo back and forth with her she said well its always the quiet ones you have to worry about….

Days later….he quietly revealed his wicked deed on his poor old mother. He reminded me of the time he left one wrapped in my bath towel. When I pulled it off shower door, the thing just came flying out at me. ๐Ÿ˜ฑUh… I kinda did scream then.I guess pay back can be kinda rough huh?Beware if you come to my house.

In other creepy things….

Evidently Spam fries are a thing.

Uh, that’s a no for me dawg.

If you tell me you eat Spam fries, I’m not sure we can still be friends.Would you try them?

Since we are discussing food…

How about something a little tastier? With the approach of fall, who won’t be considering those cozy comfort meals? And what is better than roast with veggies? And what is better than dropping it in the crock pot so it’s ready for you in the evening after a long day?I tried this recipe last week, easy and tasty. You can find other crock pot recipes, among others, on my pinterest site

https://pin.it/655w7bn

In other life stuff….

I’ve shared with you before about my vintage and antique business. What started off as a fun hobby two years ago has slowly and steadily increased to a fledgling business that I love. Not only can I flip furniture once left for dead, I also adore finding vintage kitchen and home goods for my customers.A few months ago I also started selling Dixie Belle chalk and mineral paint. That has not only been fun for me, but I love offering awesome products to my customers for their diy projects

Wow. I’m not in athletic clothes. ๐Ÿ˜

And of course I’ve gotta show you a few recent flips…..

I love all the vintage Mersman tables with those little claw feet. For some reason most people aren’t into that mahogany look anymore ๐Ÿ˜‰ I gave this one a French country look in a warm yellow ( Dixie Belle of course, Rebel Yellow)and did some hand stenciling on it for a fresh look.

Next up…. a vintage suitcase that had seen better days. I gutted it, relined inside, painted and stenciled on outside and wow, she is stunning now ๐Ÿฅฐ

Of course you know, I have quite a few projects still in the works….that means job security. ๐Ÿ˜ I promise to share more.

Ok your turn! What’s new in your week? Any adventures or did you try a new recipe? Get in a different work out? What ever you’re up to, be safe out there and love each other!

The Joy Of Exercise

I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now.ย  With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters.  ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions.ย ย  Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear andย  be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight.ย Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself.ย  I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train.ย  Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it.ย Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully,ย  I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen.ย  I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment,ย  something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”.ย To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspectiveย  During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly,ย  the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. ๐Ÿ˜
Boxing is just one of many activities I enjoy
The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) ๐Ÿ˜€ found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. Theย  next day do it twice.ย  Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movementย  of being outside.ย *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to
train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating.ย  Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity.ย  My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling,ย  rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical.ย  Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?