This Magic Moment

This magic moment
So different and so new
Was like any other
Until I kissed you
~The Drifters

IMG_8110

A Yarn Story!

What’s a magical moment? Possibly a special feeling that you experienced. Sometimes these can be shared with others, but most often touch your inner spirit and are hard to articulate. It’s a connection of the human spirit and of pure happiness: a kiss, experiencing a sunset, a trail run, a first, an unexpected gift. It’s often something very simple and unexpected.

I had a great magical experience last December when the door bell rang announcing a package. A friend read my blog post (Fires Everywhere!)  about my knitting needles being stolen from my car during our horrendous fire experience and went to a community yarn store and with their help curated a package of “yarny” goodness just for me and sent it anonymously. I was overwhelmed by the generosity when I opened this picture perfect package. For a fleeting moment it was really all about me. I usually find when a person uses  the phrase, “it’s all about me” with someone it implies the scale  has tipped and it is no longer all about the other person! For this fleeting instant, time stood still and it was just me! me! me! and I was loving every minute anIMG_8244d every single item in this fabulous package. My creative magic was about to begin; the planning and decisions of what to make; almost as enjoyable as actually making the item. There is no instant gratification in this process, unfortunately. I finally decided to make a sweater, a scarf and a hat! The fun of knitting them was about  to begin! Yes, I did finish all of the projects – WOOT! WOOT!

Share some magic – it might not be that magic moment – those are spontaneous and touches something deep within you, but a little shared magic can be good for the soul. I feel so fortunate – I get a hug (on many levels) from the person who sent my package every time I wear one of my hand knitted items. And, who doesn’t like hugs!  Celebrate the accomplishment! #becreative #handknit #grateful

LIFE IS ABOUT
MOMENTS.

Create them.
Don’t wait
for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pondering – Favourite things from Summer 2018

As Summer 2018 comes to an end, I wanted to share some things with you that I enjoyed in hopes that you, too, will enjoy them.  Do click on the many links and have a good time exploring.  Have fun!  Share some of your favourites.

keep moving…….

IMG_7926
New growth / redwood trees

 

All the trails have been opened in Annadel State Park.  There is still a lot of fire damage that will take a long time to heal, but new growth is evident. It is sometimes difficult to look at, but I am thankful to be able to hike all these trails again.

Jenner Headlands Preserve just opened and I can’t wait to explore it.  If you have been there, do tell all!

shopping……

It’s all about the colour yellow this year for me and what a perfect way to accessorize but with nail polish!  This is a great shade from OPI.

Converse shoes have always been a favourite of mine; more so now with  healing the broken patella.  I have added some new colours to my classics (Yes! they have yellow); the website often has good prices, too.

diy……

Sweater patterns by knitwear designer, Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio.  I have knit three this summer and I am finishing up a fourth.  Knitters, if you haven’t experienced one of her patterns, I highly recommend doing so.  They are thoughtfully written and very easy to follow; she is a great teacher!

food…..

Favourite food truck eats: Tacos / Adobos N’ More, Green Tomato BLT / Fig Rig  and Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich / The Bodega.

IMG_7915.jpg

Y’all know I love to cook and bake so I must share a couple of baking recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  She always has great tips and her recipe blogs are always of interest.  The first is Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies – my version used white chocolate chips in lieu of the nuts and I added some sprinkles for a bit of fun. Secondly, her Very Berry Muffins – I make traditional size muffins using buttermilk  with tons of frozen mixed berries, peaches, cherries and mango (whatever I have in the freezer for green drinks); mix it up!  You can freeze both and always have a quick breakfast or a cooky tea time treat!

media…….

For those of you who missed Senator John McCain’s final letter or Nike’s controversial ad.

An interesting article on travel.  Take a minute to read the statistics on Norway’s tourism; just amazing. 

Here’s the Thing, Alec Baldwin’s podcast was recommended to me and I thoroughly enjoyed his interview with Spike Lee.

I typically read library books and did a terrible job of managing my account this summer which meant I had a plethora of books to read. The popular genre seemed to be thrillers (certainly in my queue) and those plots all run together for me after reading a few.  I use Goodreads to organise my selections and I highly recommend my summer favourites: The Air You Breathe  (Peebles),   Varina  (Frazier)An American Marriage  (Jones),  Tangerine  (Mangan), and Warlight  (Ondaatje).

I am enjoying following the artist on Instagram: bymariandrew.  This is a most interesting post.  I find it utterly mind boggling that folks are communicating strictly by emoji and that your colour choice of a heart can make or break your relationship.  so.sad.

pondering……

A gentle soul and long time friend died this summer of lung cancer.  It is once again a wake up call to take a deep breath and live in the present.  Don’t forget to say, I love you and mean it! 

Remember you aren’t being negative if you don’t agree with someone or if you know your own limitations.  Honor yourself and your beliefs.  Be kind!  #keepmoving #bethebestyoucanbe

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

~Buddha’s Little Instruction Book

BELIEVE     EXPLORE    DESIGN

Keep Moving: Toss the Training Plan

IMG_7115

I keep thinking about my goal of entering a race next year  and the first thing that comes to mind is that I need a training plan.  I am so used to thinking this way with my past running life: goals, weekly mileage increases, hill repeats, speed and distance goals. I have been using step count of late with 10K steps as my daily goal.  No idea why or even why that was a goal, but I immediately thought I needed to increase it yet didn’t even understand the basis of the 10K model.

Well, it seems that the concept of “10k steps a day” originated in Japan prior to the 1964 Olympics as a marketing campaign.  An early prototype of a pedometer was created that was marketed to  health conscious folks in hopes that they would become more active, healthier and thinner. Not a lot of science behind it, but obviously a huge marketing success. 

Decades later, better pedometers, backing by WHO and other international organizations, the 10k steps per day has become a benchmark of daily movement.  It converts to 4.5 – 5 miles dependent on your stride and you burn around 500 calories.

I am not seeing a ton of consistency behind this routine which prompted me to toss the idea of any formal plans for the foreseeable future.  Join me in the ‘keep moving’ mode as I am going to use the 10k steps model as an informal guide.  Do what works for you; 4k-6k steps might be just right.  I am referring to actual steps (walking, hiking, running) for the bulk of daily exercise. Make the majority of them in the aerobic / high intensity category; add some hills.  Mix it up!

IMG_7972

You’ve seen lists like this a zillion times, but if you want to add some extra steps every day here are a few suggestions: always take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk to get your coffee, always take the scenic route not the shortest distance, get up and move every 15 minutes (your body will thank you) – the list goes on. Want some icing on the cake?  Extra movement counts; there are charts which convert various activities into steps.  You may reach 10K or beyond every day quickly; it will become routine. What do you do daily to keep moving?

IMG_7997

You might not need a formal training plan, but you do need commitment and accountability.  I do recommend getting a pedometer; it does keep you accountable and for me that is the majority of the battle. There are so many options from the simplest pedometer to high tech watches. I’ve tried several free apps with varying success and have found the built-in health app on the iPhone works well.  The big picture is what I am aiming for – you know if you’ve walked closer to one mile or five miles. 

A few final thoughts.  Don’t forget to complete your medical data on your phone’s health app (it’s the one with the heart on the IPhone). This program is not a panacea for losing weight; still calories in/ calories out on that front.  If you haven’t done much exercise start slowly and increase gradually.  Always, always seek advise from your medical professionals in regards to your health and what exercise program is best for you. Don’t forget to stretch; touch your toes daily. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Celebrate every step and every victory! You will feel empowered; enjoy the journey.  #bethebestyoucanbe #keepmoving

Celebrating making it to Lake Ilsanjo via the Cobblestone and Rough Go Trails – their
names say it all! #kneerehab #brokenpatella

 

Mr. Rogers: The Personification of Good

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”   C.S. Lewis

Mr Rogers

I recently saw the documentary on Mr. Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”. I refuse to believe the force of innate goodness that he represented is a thing of the past. There is still a lot of good going on; we just might need to search a bit longer and harder these days. One has to admit that Mr. Rogers’ epitomized everything good: respect and dignity for all people, tolerance, he was an ordained Presbyterian minister, a vegetarian, exercised daily, champion of children and my favorite thing of all was that the sweaters he wore on his TV show were hand knit by his mother. How cool is that? He even chose to wear sneakers on the set because they were quieter – who considers this?

It made me think about individuals in my life who are genuine (the real deal) and those that do things for ulterior motives. It can summed up by those with heart vs. those with no heart. None of us are perfect nor do we want to be, but once you see a Gestalt pattern developing in your behavior and most importantly in those you choose to surround yourself with it is then you can understand the total picture and act accordingly.

It, however, is not black and white or as simple a discovery that you think it should be. So many people are just not genuine in today’s more complex world and more often than not do things to make themselves look good or to ingratiate others to them rather than by  really being kind or genuine in their motivation. They need an audience and often the front they present is very impressive. They have NO heart but want others to think they do; this is extremely important for this type of personality. Proceed cautiously.

It’s a choice; always a choice.

The examples are endless, but here are a few that ‘may’ seem obvious, but may get you thinking as to the real motivation behind the action (it will bust the thin veneer every time):

  • The parent that cheers a bit too loudly at their child’s graduation
  • The friend that says they will be there for you & have your back, but is always MIA
  • Unfilled promises by others and their not understanding or appreciating the meaning of commitment
  • Is the person you are talking to really listening to you?
  • The individual that over pays and over tips or is always picking up the tab
  • Someone who is giving gifts or sending greeting cards to excess yet with no thought
  • The colleague that donates to charities to have their name in lights not anonymously and then proceeds to brag about it
  • One who is designer label driven
  • Or a new favourite of mine is the seemingly ‘nice’ individual who is so wrapped up in their politics that they are just downright mean, rude and inconsiderate of everyone

Though we cannot always be the personification of good, remember as you choose the course and navigate the pathways of your life that there is one certainty: a fake is always uncovered! It’s often not a pretty ending.  It is just the way it is….. Always! 

ETA:   RIP Kelly Blair – a man with a truly kind heart! 8.30.18

 

Broken Patella

I’ve resisted writing about the broken knee experience because I simply didn’t know where to begin and it is a complex recovery.

The accident occurred on a Saturday in December 2017 as I tripped over a bag in the garage and landed on my knee on the concrete.  I could feel right away that it was broken.  I was taken by ambulance to the local ER where the x-ray confirmed a comminuted displaced fracture (right in half).  They put an ace bandage and locking brace on my leg, gave me some crutches and sent me home with instructions to call Kaiser, my provider on Monday. Thankfully, I experienced little pain and didn’t need drugs.

My surgery was scheduled for Friday and the long roller coaster ride was to begin.  I had Total Hip Replacement the year before and sailed through it  as it was a routine surgery with a standardised recovery.  A fractured patella is totally different as there are so many variables.  The anesthetic was not the same as before and I felt like I was in a boat upside down in the Perfect Storm.  Brutal.  I could weight bear immediately, but  could literally do nothing else.  Yes, part of it was fear, but I literally could do nothing with one leg being totally immobilised.

I was told this was not a specialised surgery and any surgeon could perform it successfully. Though that might be true, you really do need to have a doctor that understands the recovery process.  I had the ‘best’ doctor (did I say best loud enough?).  Though his specialty is a hand surgeon, he had recent experience in a sports clinic and clearly knew the ropes.  He gave me exercises to do (apart from PT) and encouraged pushing it and set goals for me.

Even though my leg was immobilised for six weeks, I did begin PT at 2 weeks.  I gave a new meaning to the word fearful.  I religiously did my exercises several times a day pushing it constantly to get my range of motion (ROM) back to normal.  I went back to work quickly erroneously thinking I was needed and would be missed (a boring tale) and I do not recommend this course.  Take the disability insurance; your body needs to rest.  Friends commented that they didn’t imagine me as emotional as I was or as fearful/timid. One friend even commented that my texts used to be fun. I felt catatonic, but I was simply tired and when my employment situation changed 4 months later all I wanted to do for a few weeks was sleep and then concentrate on getting my knee back to normal.I discovered early on that there is a Facebook Group (Fracture Patella Support Group) and I developed a love/hate relationship with it.  I will be eternally grateful to all of those who have posted and  who taught me so much. I was feeling so overwhelmed that I was often on the verge of tears reading posts.  But I learned my fears were real and that others were experiencing similar emotions. I highly recommend finding a group like this if you are going through anything that is new to you.

I felt like I fell into a dark hole at the beginning.  I literally could do nothing: read, watch TV, knit – nothing was appealing. Doctors were prescribing anti-depressants to those who had never used them before.  I didn’t feel I had crossed that line, but I was terribly close.  It is a form of PTSD, I learned.  You are literally a prisoner in your own body, mind and surroundings and you need to learn how to cope and to do it quickly without complaint.  The struggle is real; it isn’t easy.

Friends  and family were a blessing and I am so thankful for all who reached out.  I needed rides everywhere initially.  All encouragement and help was so appreciated.  It was fascinating that you immediately discovered who was acting via their heart and those that were just giving lip service in asking how you were doing.  It was also interesting noticing those that were totally MIA – physically and emotionally. It quickly put a lot of things into perspective for me  – both in my relationships with these people going forward as well as self insight into my own behaviour.

I am now 7 weeks post second surgery (hardware removal) and in some ways physically it is like starting over again.  My doctor didn’t want me to go to the gym for two weeks post surgery for fear of infection – it is amazing how quickly muscles disappear.  This injury definitely helps one gain patience.  I am told it will take at least a year for the knee to feel somewhat normal and up to two to regain full mobility.  I tried running a few steps recently without a ton of success, but my goal is to enter a race next year.  Stay tuned on that front.

What I learned: patience, being thankful for those genuine people in my life, exercise is extremely important, you can’t live without a handicap sticker, showers are a wonderful thing, self indulgence is  good,  Vitamin D is essential, clearing ‘all the clutter’ from your life is vital, you need to put in the work, one step at a time has a new meaning, there is light at the end of the tunnel and you must keep laughing (even at yourself)!

There is a reason that breaking knee caps (or shooting one in the knee cap) is a popular form of torture:  IT  IS TRAUMATIC AND IT HURTS!

Timeline Post Surgery:
2 Weeks: Started PT; went back to work
6 Weeks: ROM/85; no brace; first shower; started driving; pedicure
8 Weeks: ROM/107
9 Weeks: Drove to SF
11 Weeks: ROM/128
13 Weeks: Last PT appt; started with trainer at gym; ROM/134
6 Months: Second surgery/hardware removal
8 Months: Longest hike (7+ miles), first bath

 

Back to Basics

back to basics

I have a love / hate relationship with my cell phone.  After the accident, I was focused on having it with me at all times – just in case!  Yet, the constant use of the phone is overwhelming.  And, I am not talking about what others are doing, but my own use.  I have less than the minimal amount of apps on my phone, but I have found that texting has gotten out of control.

Remember, the simple days when you could actually think about what you wanted to say and write a letter.  I learned never to write in anger or frustration (yet it is those emotions that texting seems to bring out) and to sleep on that sort of communication before mailing it.  It was often torn up the next day and the relationship was miraculously saved!  Today everything is about instant gratification which can be totally irreparable.  And, I haven’t even mentioned the auto correct feature which is another mind boggling experience which involves yet another text saying you didn’t mean that.  I find texting exhausting and tedious; even voice texting which results in an inordinate amount of time correcting the message.  There is no margin for error since no nuance of emotion is being exchanged; the simple raising of an eyebrow, giggle or shoulder shrug that gives the message a completely different tone is not there.

I know of relationships that have ended with a text – goodbye ‘Dear John’ letter. It seems to me that a lot of integrity was lost in that particular kind of text as well. I think the recipient could breathe a big sigh of relief (after the shock has worn off) that this person is no longer in their lives – unable to call?  Really?  I wonder if marriage proposals are done by text as well. 

I have read about ‘internet relationships’; I think this is called make believe at its worst; those days are best spent by children in their fantasy stage.  Digital interactions are not real; relationships that don’t progress to an eventual getting together are simply not normal and resisting the meet up is a sure sign of something amiss.

I recently received for my birthday the most beautiful hand crafted fountain pen from a life long friend and my intention is to put it to good use this year.  Please don’t be surprised if you receive a missive in the mail from me or better yet, a phone call! 

Elderberry Syrup

IMG_6659

Cold and flu season is here and it is time for Elderberry Syrup.  I have always taken it in the fall and winter months and was so surprised when I learned how easy it is to make.  Since I have been waxing eloquent about it,  I thought it might be time to share the recipe.

The elderberry plant  (Sambucus Nigra) is one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world dating back to 400 BC when Hippocrates referred to it as his “Great Medicine Chest”.  Of late, clinical trials have shown that elderberry syrup can shorten the length of time for cold or flu symptoms.  Positive results from lab tests also show that black elderberry boosts the immune system and is a good source of antioxidants.

This is a very basic recipe and so simple to make.  If you want to add more spices or herbs do look at this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs.  You will be able to customise your own recipe to your needs.  The possibilities seem endless and you can order directly from them.

1/2 C dried black elderberries
3 C water
1 cinnamon stick
a few whole cloves
2 t fresh ginger (or to taste; you can use powdered)

1 C raw honey

Put the berries, water and spices in a sauce pan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (liquid will be reduced by about half).  Smash berries to release all juice and strain the mixture using a fine strainer (I use cheesecloth) into a glass bowl.  Smash berries once again in strainer.  Allow to cool and add the honey stirring until incorporated.  It is important that it cools or the honey will lose its antibacterial benefits.  Put in a mason jar or smaller amber bottles (I use 2 oz ones) in refrigerator.  Shelf life is about 3 months. 

If you don’t want to make the syrup there are a few reliable companies that sell it; just check with your local health food source.

Enjoy the process and stay healthy.  Let me know what you add to your recipe.

Disclaimer:  Everybody reacts differently to foods so it is important to consult your health practitioner for advise before using any food that you are not familiar with.  You must not eat raw or unripe elderberries  as they will make you ill.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!

It’s that time of year again – reflecting back and looking forward to new beginnings!  I am grateful for all the lessons I learned in 2017; the most important being living in the moment.  My world shifted while I was waiting for the ambulance last month.  I finally realised I was no longer invincible (I kept hoping!) and just how quickly everything can change.  I was lucky; it could have been much worse. 

No resolutions for me this year.  Just a one word mantra: BALANCE!  Achieving this balance is the key – you can’t be driven in any one direction by your heart or mind.  Obsession (be it work related or simply being fixated on a hobby) cannot take over.  So often you hear “the project will end in a few weeks”.  Those weeks often turn into months and years and everything spirals out of control.  One needs to feel grounded, calm and motivated daily to achieve the balance I strive for this year.

Draw a circle; divide it into sections and label each section with what is important in your achievement of balance.  Some examples might include: Health, Physical Activity, Relationships, Spirituality, Creativity, Career- you get the idea.  This helps me have a clear visual of areas that need attention.  You can become too self reflective and life’s experiences will pass you by or you can focus too heavily on the external side like work and not listen to your heart.  Too many opportunities for happiness can be lost unless that internal/external balance is achieved.  Don’t push the envelope too hard with career objectives without including those who mean something to you.  Enjoy the ride!

Be grateful!
Be mindful!
Be YOU!

To new beginnings……..HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

What I learned from the EMT

snoopy_with_her_foot_bandaged_by_bradsnoopy97-d9tjy3sOn December 9th, my friend Julia visited me in Sonoma and we had a lovely hike and lunch.  I got home, parked the car in the garage and got out deciding to arrange some boxes (I am finally! cleaning it out) and within seconds was on the ground.  It appears I tripped over a bag and landed on my knee cap.  My leg swelled to amazing proportions within seconds and when I touched my knee I knew it was broken.  I couldn’t move, the phone was in the car; thankfully the garage door was still open and a neighbor arrived within minutes and an ambulance was on its way.  Good thing I was wearing some older athletic pants as they were immediately cut off. 

I was totally coherent and in no pain which was bizarre in its own way when the ambulance arrived.  The EMT asked all the standard questions including what drugs I was taking.  For years I had a membership to RoadiD (which I highly recommend) since I never carried ID when I went running.  Recently I switched to the Health App (the one with the red heart) that is auto-installed on iPhones and set up my Medical ID.  Most of the information he needed was easily accessible.   He finds that the greater majority of folks do not complete this information and it is very, very helpful to First Responders (it actually can be life saving). This information can be accessed through the emergency feature on your phone even if it locked.   If your phone doesn’t have an App, go to the App Store and download the appropriate one for your phone, but it has to have the feature to access via the locked screen. Please take a few minutes to complete all the information and be sure to include your health provider and policy number.  I added my home address (add second homes too) and when traveling I add my hotel and the name/phone number of my traveling companion with the date.  If you have entered an athletic event add your bib number as this could be helpful.  Less isn’t more in this scenario.

Please do this!

Follow me on Instagram!

Quiet Resolve

A strong women will automatically stop trying if she feels unwanted.  She won’t fix it or beg; she’ll just walk away.
~Chocolate Socrates

time Magazine
2017

Since Time Magazine published their recent Person of the Year cover I have been thinking about Silence Breakers and what a strong woman means to me. I have admired many women in my life for their awesome strength and they have become role models.  Some I have known individually and they have personally influenced me and others I have admired from afar.  I find that most of these women are unassuming, confident, display humility, listen to their intuition, have strong beliefs, feel empathy and are extremely compassionate.  They are not loud, boisterous or in-your-face activists nor are they man haters.  They are authentic, possess immense integrity and are not afraid to show their feelings.  They are not to be reckoned with, however!  From my way of thinking these women share several traits.

Humility– Today’s world is full of arrogance; you see it everywhere and it seems to be most rampant in the sports world. It is not the same thing as strength. I’ve always stressed the need for humility in one’s life and cautioned kids at an early age to display it. I believe it is a ticket to success. A strong woman possesses confidence yet is humble and manifests minimal arrogance. She is grounded and knows what she wants. This often takes great courage as she is willing to walk away from a situation that is no longer in her best interest, to stand up for her beliefs as well as face the challenge of being independent. This by no means indicates that she is not involved actively in a healthy romantic relationship.

Keep Moving -I can’t seem to get away from this mantra.  Yes, she is always moving and is very active both mentally and physically.  She makes her own happiness and isn’t dependent on others for it; she possesses a great sense of balance as she juggles all the balls in the air. 

Intuition– She listens to her own voice yet does not act on impulse.  She has a strong belief that her feelings and concerns are valid and follows her own path.

Believe – A strong woman is kind and compassionate and has no need to use ego in a negative way.  She is vulnerable and not afraid of emotions or sharing them.  She is true to her own feelings.  She loves, respects and accepts herself.  She is a believer!!  In herself and in others.  She is the ‘real thing’ – authentic, genuine, generous, kind with unlimited integrity.  She isn’t afraid of voicing her opinions, but then is able to move on.  She isn’t one to wallow in negativity.  She will show you unlimited and unconditional love and support and is extremely loyal and faithful, but will readily walk away if rejected. She continues life’s beautiful journey with quiet resolve.

The Time Magazine article only touched on sexual harassment. But how many of you women reading this have been emotionally abused, harassed or bullied in your everyday life into doing something you really didn’t want to do or weren’t able to do at that time? “No means no” in all aspects of life; one doesn’t need to give a reason nor made to feel guilty for not responding in a positive way. I don’t want dessert, to join you for dinner tonight or have my picture taken today – all of these examples should just be accepted and not judged; tomorrow is a new day.  It is not a reflection of any personal dynamic just how you might feel at any given moment. It gives one pause when dealing with relationships, family, friends or colleagues as you should not have to do anything that is not comfortable for you. Take a minute to think about this and don’t inadvertently put anybody in this position and if you are placed in it think about how you plan on reacting.

I am in total awe and admiration of strong women and only hope that someday I can join their ranks. We all have different life stories and experiences; what are traits you find strong women share?