Tag Archives: health

Winter Comforts

Faith Tree

“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows

How is it possible to find comfort in a winter that seems to never end?

Here in the Northeast, as in other parts of the country, we have been bombarded by snow, snow, snow and freezing temperatures. We woke up to freezing rain and snow this morning yet again, and it’s only the beginning of February!

As optimistic as I try to be, I can get down in the dumps about all this cold weather. But I do have some secret weapons that help me through a long winter. Here are some of my best strategies:

First, I use pops of color to keep me motivated. I have a set of bright beaded bracelets I bought from a sweet bunch of young girls who were selling them to raise money. I think it was the Girl Scouts. So I bought a handful of them and sport them on bleak dreary days. I also have some bright sweaters- red!- and cheery scarves just perfect for a pick me up.

A Crystal Dove on my Winter Tree!

A Crystal Dove on my Winter Tree!

Second, I made an indoor winter tree. Since I didn’t have the heart to completely dismantle my holiday tree, I adapted it. I put away the obvious Christmas ornaments and left the winter ones on. I have a small pair of mittens, a miniature ice skate, frosted cranberry branches and other red and white decorations amid golden twinkle lights. I admit to lighting this glowing tree every morning while I drink my first coffee of the day and do my spiritual readings. I love the glow and the light infuses hope into my heart and soul.

Third, I spend time with my friends. We go to lunch, hit the mall or my favorite consignment shop. I put on my warmest boots and coat and push myself to get out, as long as the roads are good. Lunch with Amy is one of my favorite things and we went to a place recently with a crackling fire. I love fires!

Fourth, I drink a lot of hot cocoa! I bought some candy cane cocoa at holiday’s end and I’ve been enjoying a mug almost daily. Yes, it is indulgent but tough times call for strategic measures! Cocoa is a must in winter weather and marshmallows make it all the better.

Finally, I try new recipes. I made a delicious navy bean soup twice in the last few weeks. Making my own chicken broth and using a leftover holiday ham bone cranked up the volume on this heart warming soup! Check out the recipe HERE if you’re a bean soup fan!

Don’t you feel warmer and cozier already? Please share your winter weather strategy measures. I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure others would as well!

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What Water Aerobics Class is Really Like

My husband and I are taking a water aerobics class. Lest you immediately picture a group of svelte, toned swimmers doing sleek, calculated aerobic moves in an Olympic size pool, let me clue you in. This class is definitely not a group of Baywatch babes!

There are about a dozen or so participants in our class. I would say the age range is probably anywhere from 50- 70. Nobody is thin. We all complain about aches and pains, which is the main reason we are there. We are trying to get a bit more healthy.

The class is held at a local school, through our township. It is unbelievably cheap. A whole series of nine classes is $48 per person. Sometimes I can’t believe my husband (Jim) was game to take this class with me. He has had some health issues and I thought he’d laugh at the idea when I asked him if he was interested. But to my surprise, he said yes.

Here’s how a typical class goes. All of us warm up by walking around in a large circle in the shallow end of the pool. Occasionally, our instructor (Leslie) shouts “THE OTHER WAY!” which means we turn around and start walking the other way. This causes the water to swirl and creates resistance. It’s a good way to warm up.

After warm up, we usually launch into some kicks and stretches below the water level. Leslie likes to mix it up and we get to work with weights (they float!), noodles and these circular stretchy things that go around our ankles. We do some laps too as part of our hour. The class is definitely a work out. There is however, no pressure to push beyond what we individually are comfortable doing. Thank goodness or I never would have lasted long in this class.

Here’s my challenging part of class. Our instructor is younger than us and has yet to experience the drop in hearing that comes with age 50+. The pool is in a large room that echoes. To complicate matters, Leslie likes to play loud music (upbeat stuff like Flash Dance) via a CD player near the back wall of the pool. As you can well imagine, I spend most of my class time trying to read Leslie’s lips.

This past week, Leslie created “stations” all around the parameter of the shallow end of the pool. Each station had a note card (encased in plastic of course) that gave you a different exercise to do. Leslie is very creative but she is not always a good communicator. So though I tried to get a good grip on the entirety of this exercise, I never really understood exactly how it was to work.

Apparently I was not the only one confused. A bunch of us (slightly deaf ones like me) kept looking at each other and saying “what’s next”? If I asked Leslie, she always helped me figure it out but I hated asking her every time. After a couple turns of the stations, I had a light bulb moment. No one was giving me a hard time, no one really cared that I didn’t get it. Everyone kind of did their own thing. So that is what I did.

At one point I looked around and we were all participating and splashing. It was fun, healthy and ok. It didn’t matter how I did it. It just mattered that I was there, doing it.

Afterward, when we were done with the stations, we did our (ending) cool down stretches. Leslie asked what we thought of the stations. Most of us liked it. One woman said it was not enough of a work out for her. Jim and I discussed this later and decided this woman was just not really digging in. I think this was just our way of siding with Leslie. We really like her.

Did you ever do something you weren’t really good at but you plugged away at it anyway? Because when you were all done, you felt really good about the way it made you feel? And even though you knew you didn’t look all that good while doing it, who cares?  If you’ve ever had a moment like this, share it with me!

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Get ready! Saturday is Jammie Day!

Calvin and Hobbes

Saturdays are for relaxing!

I have been really busy lately. It will be June before my five day work week becomes a four day work week. And as Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes!) would say, the days are just packed. So in order to ward off a winter meltdown, I have invented a new Saturday morning splurge for myself. I fondly call it Jammie Time.

Just in case you think I am talking about grape jam or orange marmalade, let me clarify. I am talking about pajamas. Wonderful, warm and soft pajamas. Last Saturday, I happened to stay in my pajamas until NOON and did not do any form of work. I reveled in the simplicity of an endless pot of coffee, numerous favorite shows in my DVR and a pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove. What luxury! What decadence!

Lest you think I have completely lost my mind, remember I am an over-doer. Sitting around in my jammies until Noon is kind of a no-no. I usually have a line up of things to do, people to meet, goals to reach. But even God took one day off. Why not me too?

I loved my Saturday morning so much, I want to spread the idea of Jammie Time! I want to encourage everyone to have JT at least one morning a week. The catch is, you cannot do something you consider to be work. Maybe your idea of relaxation is baking. Maybe it’s knitting or reading. Whatever it may be, just go for it! Just don’t go and clean out your extra storage room. That is not relaxing!

By the way, I have to mention my new favorite pair of jammies. They are from Soma, a beautiful store at the mall. They are all cotton and oh so soft. The top is a red Henley and the bottoms are decorated with little black and white penguins that have red scarfs around their necks. They are totally silly jammies but I love them.

It is so worth it to set aside time to regroup and recharge our batteries. Join the bandwagon and embrace Jammie Time! Let me know your favorite JT activity(ies). And spread the word!

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