Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cabin Fever

One of the things that I have a greater problem with since I'm older is SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a real problem for some people if you read the literature on depression. The winter months take a toll on folks by making the sun hard to come by and making the time spent outside uncomfortable. So we don't get enough vitamin D. According to's article on longevity, just going outside is a good thing and we should consider it a part of out good health regime.

Here is what they say:

Life expectancy can be increased simply by going outside. See, what happens when you go outside is that your skin gets exposed to sunlight. That exposure triggers cells in your skin to produce Vitamin D. This vitamin (really a prohormone, but let's not worry about that here) is essential for bone health and is turning out to be important in depression, heart disease, diabetes and just about everything.

Some estimate that 50% of adults have low levels of vitamin D, because we simply don't get outside that much (sitting by a window doesn't count, the glass filters too much of the sunlight). This is a shame, because maintaining vitamin D levels has to be the easiest and cheapest way to improve your health and increase your life expectancy. Getting outside for just 15 minutes a day and exposing your hands and face to sunlight is enough to maintain vitamin D levels in most cases.

I have promised the blog and myself to find some exercises to do at home. I have to keep them simple because anything elaborate and I'll quit. I think I can, for a while, do something outside for 15 minutes a day. When the heavy heat of summer comes I may have to rethink. But for now, outside is a good thing. Of course the time outside doesn't have to be all at once. Walking through a mall parking lot to go shopping can count for a few of those minutes. Just think, a new excuse to shop!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not graceful, but trying

When I was in college I got an A in weight training. At the time it meant lifting weights. Not training my pounds. Anyway I got an A. Now that I am 65 there are so many options for exercise available that the only thing I am sure of is that I might do well at weight training. The aerobic versus the anaerobic is a discussion of many people as well as many years. Both seem to do good things and have many advocates. So what to do? I went to aarp for an answer.

| For older women, the type of exercise you do may be more important than how often you do it.

That's the message of a surprising new study by Canadian researchers that found that women who started a once-a-week strength-training program were more likely to stick with it — and reap the physical and mental benefits — than those who started a twice-a-week program.

— Charriau Pierre/Getty Images
More importantly, older women who built muscle strength through biceps curls, leg lifts, squats and the like showed much greater improvement in mental focus and ability to make decisions and resolve conflicts than women who did only balance and toning exercises.

Published this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the study is a one-year follow-up of 155 women ages 65 to 75 who participated in an earlier strength-training exercise program in 2007-2008.

I want to lose weight. I want to be smart. I want to be healthy. I think I can do once a week. And I have a membership to a gym(which I don't currently use). For now I have an answer.

But, I know that there are things to do at home to enhance strength and stamina. And I plan on researching and sharing them. I am working with spinal stenosis and a torn miniscus in the left knee. And my right hip talks to me sometimes.(I don't answer) I well attempt to come up with some well rounded exercises for the well rounded like me. And some things to do to maybe make walking fun. And I'll share what I've learned and also include some pics. I am willing at this point to do anything to change my health and looks. I started to monitor my fashions and I have had great fun with that. I have also learned to consider options I had previously ignored without spending any more money. One of the best things for me has been to take pics of myself and post them. I can no longer pretend when looking at the pics that I am not fat.

So this blog will document struggles with weight, aging, injuries, and self knowledge. I hope it will help me and you too.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How do you know?

I have been reading about aging on some of the internet sites. These sites mostly involve illness and whether or not you have it. Here is one I thought was interesting.
How Do I Know If It's Depression?
Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience–

•Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
•Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
•Irritability, restlessness
•Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
•Fatigue and decreased energy
•Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
•Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
•Overeating or appetite loss
•Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
•Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
This is from the centers for disease control. And I have thoughts about the individual questions.
1.Feelings of hopelessness,etc.---Yep, I've been there. After all, I was married for about 22 years, I've been fat for many years, I have spinal stenosis and a torn meniscus, and I'm 65. Arriving at this point in my life without feelings of hopelessness would be a miracle. I have lost all of my family except the kids who went and moved away and there is no hope they will be back living here. But amazingly enough, I can't say I am pessimistic. I have been way down down in my life and it always gotten better.
2.I am guilty, worthless, and helpless. Just ask my mom(deceased but still around in my mind) and my ex.
3.Irritability, restlessness. I am a woman, hormones and all. And we have had the hottest summer and the coldest winter in years. Can anyone say cabin fever?
4.Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable. I definitely fit here. But I wonder if the huge mess in my hobbie room which must be cleaned up has anything to do with it.
5.Fatigue and decreased energy. I am 65, 100 pounds overweight with a bad knee and back, Nuff said.
6.Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions. Yes, No, Yes
Sometimes I have difficulty concentrating, especially when moving from one task to another. I always remember details if I remember anything at all. I still haven't chosen the paint colors for the den.
7.Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping. No problem with insomnia. Early morning wakefulness is something I'll have to take up with the puppy. And excessive sleeping- not with my bladder.
8.Overeating or appetite loss. I got the first one. Had it for years. Would rather have been plagued with the second.
9.Persistent thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts. Nope and nope. I have, however thought of killing people I don't like, but I couldn't do it.
10.Persistent aches, pains, headaches, etc. I am 65. I have back problems, a puppy, and a significant other. That should explain everything.

I have had problems with depression. If I start wanting to cry for no reason and it doesn't go away or improve I may take meds. I have taken meds for depression for years. I went through therapy with a truly loving and brilliant person. Some of the messages that had me down early in life are still with me. But I have learned to deal. I actually am off the meds right now and I notice no difference.

I've put a lot of thought into what might make me prone to depression. And I decided that I am not so much prone to depression as I am not able to tolerate intense psychological pain. Physical pain I can handle no sweat but the emotional stuff kills. So Now I am going to work on that and see where it gets me.

This is me, yesterday

Today, I have a sour look on my face, a sore throat, red rimmed eyes, a headache, body aches, a stopped up nose, and I am in my bathrobe. I am going to stay in my bathrobe. I am glad no one can see me but the sweetheart who gave me this cold to start with.

Sometimes I wonder if the weather affects us more than I used to think. Brian says one fellow he works with comes to work saying when it will snow or rain. It seems his knee bothers him when the weather turns ugly. And I know this heavy duty winter we have had this year has coincided with my back and knee hurting worse than usual. I really don't understand either. If I stay in the house where it's warm I still react to the weather almost as if I were outside a lot. I wonder how my body knows about the barometer when I am in an artificial environment.

I have discovered some things that do help me. And I am pursuing them. I take vitamins every day. And I am trying to do more things that are good for me. I had an epiphany the other day. I have read it, and heard it, and not registered it. But God gave me one body. This one. It's the most important thing I own. When it ceases, so do I. I could have been taking care of myself all of these years but I wasn't. Ok, so I flubbed. Now I am trying to make up for some of the stuff I did to myself and didn't do for myself. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lists Wednesday Favorite Artists

I have long considered myself an artist. But I would be hard put to come up with the favorite artist's name because I don't have one. At least not one of the type that sets up an easel and paints. So here are my favorite artists.

Jodi Creager and her husband create dolls and the worlds that they inhabit. They are able to just about make anything. And they have created a beautiful life together.

Marilyn Radzat is also a doll creator and takes my vision into a world of color and design that I could never imagine on my own.

Michelle Obama is a favorite of mine for her ability to see the most important tasks in the world and to point the way to their being done.

James Cameron takes me to worlds that I need to keep my life on track.

Cate Blanchett also takes me to other worlds and lives in them for my understanding.

My children create lives that I am in awe of. I often wonder where they have gotten their ability to see the world and to interpret it.

I believe that everyone is an artist in their own way. The blogs I read show me new artists every day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Please to all the powers in the Universe don't let me get old enough to think this is OK. Iknow I don't like looking at my back end but this is proof that I should.

Darkness and light

I'm going to see the Black Swan today. I was told that it was a dark movie so I plan to do something fun this evening... I don't know what. I am thinking that life is less about aging and more about balance. I am prone to stay away from things that make me nervous. Psychological thrillers, etc. I think I may be missing something.