Yikes. Maybe this was written for me?

view of saguaro against the sky
A majestic saguaro I stopped to admire during a hike on Sunday.

I saw a headline in the Wall Street Journal: “Six Exercises to Help Seniors Build Strength, Improve Balance and Prevent Falls” by Jen Murphy. My first thought was my 89-year-old dad. He’s active and does physical therapy to improve balance and strength. He’s always working on getting stronger — especially post shoulder and ankle surgery. He’s worked hard to be where he is today, golfing several days a week, remote yacht racing, and taking ukulele lessons.

I clicked on the headline with the plan to forward him the article, without reading it myself. The photo of a fit woman who was approaching middle age stopped me. Wait a minute! I might benefit from this, too! In fact, maybe I’m considered a senior now? Maybe I’m the intended audience. YIKES. Hold that thought.

It turns out the photo of the woman was of the fitness instructor who works with seniors, not a “senior” herself. Here’s the opening of the article:

Exercises that help us perform everyday activities become increasingly important as we get older.

Our balance declines and we lose muscle, making ordinary activities like climbing stairs more difficult, and increasing the risk of injury and falls, says Rachael Holden, a fitness educator who specializes in older people. She recommends “functional exercises,” which replicate the movements people make in daily activities.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/six-exercises-to-help-seniors-build-strength-improve-balance-and-prevent-falls-11634378400?mod=hp_listc_pos4

I read the article and realized I can incorporate these six exercises into my daily routine. The first one was “Sit to Stand.”

Why: As we age, weak legs, poor balance and stiffness in the back and ankles can make sitting down into a chair and standing up again challenging, says Ms. Holden. The sit-to-stand exercise is a beginner-friendly alternative to a squat and will build lower-body strength and stability.

How: Sit in a chair or on a couch. Keep your spine tall and arms long by your sides. Push down through your feet to stand tall. Slowly lower back down to a seated position. Perform 10 repetitions. “You can do these during commercial breaks when you watch TV,” says Ms. Holden.

Okay. I can do that. Another exercise was “Step Ups.” That was something I did in PT after my knee surgery. The six exercises were simple but should help with functionality. I am not as fit as I was pre ski accident. My balance isn’t great and I could benefit from these “senior” exercises. I’ll admit it. I was believing that because I walk at least 10,000 steps a day, hike on weekends, do my stretches and crunches that I didn’t need “senior” exercises. But they sure can’t hurt. After I’m done, I’ll forward the article to my dad.

What do you do for your balance and strength? Or is it something you’re concerned with? What age do you think is considered a senior?

hiking trail at McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The Stagecoach Trail at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Life in the desert

The nature preserve across the street with 130 miles of trails

Here are a few photos from my morning walks this week. The weather is so much cooler. We went from too hot to walk to 48 degrees in the mornings. Unfortunately, my pool is too cold to use now. I was enjoying it until a week ago. I asked the pool man how to turn on the heater. He looked and couldn’t find a pool heater. Oh well. We didn’t heat our pool in Palm Springs, either, but we lived one mile from the city pool. I need to get in the car and drive 30 minutes to a pool to swim laps here. I’m spoiled and it’s tough to get motivated to drive that far to swim.

yucca flower stalk
This is the stalk of a yucca in a neighbor’s yard. It once had gorgeous flowers
Did you know that yuccas are in the lily family?
yucca plant
I thought this was another yucca. But after some research I think it’s called a sotol.
skeleton of saguaro
This is a skeleton of a saguaro cactus. Indians used them for building structures and tools.
 Silhouette of saguaro
A  silhouette of a saguaro cactus in the morning sun.

I mentioned that I was interviewed for a survey of American Families recently by writer Jennifer Graham. Here are links to two articles where I have a quote. Click on the headlines to read:

What worries families the most in 2021

Only about 1 in 10 Democrats worry about cultural issues, but there’s widespread concern about the costs of having a family By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

Did the pandemic restore our faith in government?

Trust in institutions has been declining for years, but Americans generally give them high marks for their response to COVID-19 By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

What do you think are some of the biggest problems facing families in 2021?

I answered: the cost to raise a family, too much social media and screen times leading to depression and anxiety — and political divides within families.

To juice or blend?

I talked to one of my friends who is a former nutritionist from Loma Linda hospital about plant-based diets. She said she and her husband decided to try it and one of the helpful things she found is juicing. It’s interesting that they are going mainly plant-based because her husband is a big hunter and their freezer (and mine) are stocked with venison and other game. He also free dives for lobster and fish. (Somehow when they’ve given me lobster, it never makes it to the freezer!)

I’m not 100% plant-based. I’m hypoglycemic and my body craves protein — in the form of chicken, beef and fish. But I’m trying to cut down on meat, so I thought juicing would be a good way to get more fruits and vegetables into my body.

Then my son said juicing removes fiber. He recommended blending. I googled the pros and cons of each and decided to try a blender, too. After a little bit more research I settled on a Ninja blender.

Ninja blender for smoothies.
My Ninja.

After my morning walks, I am now making fruit smoothies. I haven’t gotten into the green drinks — yet.

Here’s the recipe I threw together for a start. It’s delicious! Normally I don’t measure, but my husband is using an app to track calories so he asked me to.

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup cran raspberry juice

1/4 cup Vanilla yogurt

1 banana

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

BLEND!

It is so refreshing but not filling enough for me for breakfast. So, it’s more a pre-breakfast snack.

I almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product, sorry for the half full pic.

peach strawberry smoothie
Peach strawberry banana smoothie.


Do you prefer blending or juicing? Or neither? If you do like smoothies, can you suggest some recipes or your favorite drinks to try? What is your favorite breakfast?

Is 2020 a distant memory?

I looked back in my blog to what I was feeling a year ago. It was the fall of 2020 and I was anxious to say the least. We had decided to put our house of 28 years on the market and leave California for Arizona. My kids were in the Bay Area and furious with us. My daughter was unemployed, having been laid off from her job due to COVID. My son was working remotely. My husband was working remotely from our master bedroom. There was a lot of emotions going on although not much else.

Here’s what I wrote last October:

Palm trees in Palm Springs
View from my neighborhood park in Palm Springs

I ran across a poem in an email from a club I belong to. It hit a nerve with how I’m feeling lately. I’m not able to sleep through the night. I’m worried for my children’s health and lives. It’s been a strange year to say the least for everyone around the world. I can’t wait for 2020 to be a distant memory.

It may seem odd to belong to a “woman’s club.” It sounds downright archaic. But it’s an interesting group of about 150 women. We are mostly empty nesters and range in age from mid 40s to early 100’s. We have a clubhouse that we maintain and rent out to various people and organizations for things like weddings to theater. The main purpose of our club is to raise funds for scholarships from graduating high school seniors. We give them four-year scholarships for college.

The club website states our purpose:

Intellectual Improvement – Social Enjoyment – Helpfulness in the Community
​​​Serving the Community since 1938

It’s a great club because you aren’t expected to do anything. Or, you can be as involved as you wish and head a committee or project. I know many of the women from my years as a mom of school-aged children. When I joined the club, I saw many familiar faces of women who were always the ones active and involved in their children’s activities and schools. They are the ones to count on to get things done.

Then there are the older women, generations older than me. I value their perspectives and interesting histories. I don’t think I’d have built friendships with these women unless they lived next door. But thanks to our club, we all sit together for lunch or tea, and learn from guest speakers about our town’s history or other topics. I’m sorry we won’t be meeting this year in person, but I look forward to the day when 2020 and the global pandemic is behind us.

Here’s the poem I received today from the Palm Springs Woman’s Club:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

And I wake in the night at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

 I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                   Wendell Berry

picture of woman's club meeting place
Exterior of the clubhouse.

I think this year the club will begin meeting in person. I got an invitation to their opening party. But, of course, I’m not there. Maybe I’ll pop in someday and say hi to my old friends.

Do you belong to any groups or clubs? Are they meeting in person this year? Did they meet at all in 2020?

Mourning the good old days

Coit Tower with kids
Last year we were climbing Coit Tower together on a trip to visit our kids.

I’ve learned that our adult children no longer hold things of value that we do. It’s distressed me to learn that the years I spent raising my kids that I view as some of the best — they don’t view the same way.

The values I worked to instill in my kids — they don’t value.

I’m talking Family. Marriage. Home ownership. Religion.

How did we go wrong? Did I spoil them? Was I too strict? Was I too lenient? Did we empathize the wrong things?

Should I be thankful they have separated from us and are their own people with their own ideals? That they are adults with their own opinions? Or, should I be hurt that they find our traditional values to be worthless. Right now I’m feeling a mix of emotions.

All I want for them is to be happy and hopeful.They do believe in some of the things we tried to teach them. Honesty. Hard work. Perseverance. Those things stuck. Don’t get me wrong. We still can spend time together, talk and have good conversations. I’m just feeling sad that everything I want for them they don’t care about.

Do your kids value the same things you do? What do you want for your children’s futures? At what point did your kids break away from you politically, religiously or in other ways?

Life goes on… fitbit or not

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert.
Sunset view in our neighborhood the other night.

It’s been over a week without checking my steps and sleep on my fitbit. It went kaput and I wrote about that HERE. How have I survived? Well, the only complaint I have has nothing to do with fitness tracking, but the lack of toilet paper in the grocery store.

In fact, things are better than alright. When I’m on my morning walks or after a night’s sleep, I don’t focus on the device tracking my every move. I know if I slept well or not. I feel I’m more in touch with how I feel physically rather than being dependent on an arbitrary number. I don’t need to know how many steps I take each day. I get plenty. Although my husband still wants to compete. He’ll interrupt my writing to tell me how many steps he has. I look back at him with a blank stare.

Although the fitbit has it’s advantages, I’m not in a rush to get a new one. I feel I’m more in the moment watching the sunset, enjoying my wildlife, swimming, walking. I’m more focused on my surroundings. I also don’t need to know what time it is every few minutes.

I wonder If I’d feel even better if I point down the iphone? Not checking on electronics has its benefits.

We had javelinas at sunset at our front door!

Have you ever taken a break from your devices? How did it go?

How long do you think you’d last without a fitness tracker or a smart phone?

It’s happening — again!

empty shelves at grocery stores
I took this picture in March 2020 during the TP shortage. Our grocery store was almost completely out of TP today. The only difference from this photo to what the store looked today was this year’s much higher price tags.

It was a weird feeling today going to a large grocery store and discovering empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle. There wasn’t any name brand TP. The few packages left were brands I’d never heard of.

Do you remember hunting for TP in 2020? I do. I resorted to ordering it from Amazon and it was some very bizarre stuff with Chinese writing that took a month to arrive. At the time, I was shopping for my dad’s groceries and delivering them to him each week since he was 88 years old. He was asking if we could spare a few rolls, since there wasn’t any at the stores.

Bizarre to see that again today. What is up?

The other weird thing I noticed was almost everyone was wearing masks. In Arizona, we have a high vaccination rate, but you don’t have to wear masks anywhere. Well, mostly not anywhere. The exceptions are doctor’s offices and government buildings. I normally see a few elderly people wearing masks and that is all. Today there were only a handful of people NOT wearing masks.

I asked the checker what was up with the toilet paper. She said she’d heard a few things, but wasn’t sure what was true. First, they couldn’t get people to work to make the toilet paper. The other excuse was supply chain issues. How many times have I heard that since 2020? The checker said we’d all be fine if people don’t buy nine packages of toilet paper and just buy what they need. I honestly don’t think I have patience for this again. Do you?

I’m wondering if I’m missing something going on in the news? Is there something happening in Arizona? Are you seeing TP shortages, too? Do your stores have other items out of stock? Does everyone wear masks inside? How do your grocery prices compare to a year ago?

empty shelves at Target March 2020
We were looking for bleach at Target March of 2020.