February goal recap

It’s easy to make goals, but harder to reach them. In an effort to keep myself on track and be accountable, here’s my report card for February.

Write 1000 words per week: I didn’t write 1000 words per week, but did make progress.

Post blogs three days a week:  Again, I fell short of that goal, so I’m revising my goal. (more on that topic below)

Health Goals – C

Research and try migraine treatments: I have been trying a new over-the-counter treatment for migraines. It doesn’t appear to be working, but I’ll give it a little longer.

Consistent exercise: Epic FAIL…

PT for tennis elbow: Improved!

Household Goals – A
Organize every room and closet in the house: I’m a little behind on this, but not too far off schedule.

Personal Goals – B+
Read two books: So sad – no progress on this item.

Document family history: I haven’t spent a lot of time on this, BUT with the help of a cousin or two, we solved a mystery!

Plan 34th anniversary trip: Nothing done this month, but still on track

Spiritual growth: This is difficult to measure, but I am being consistent with my quiet time.

So, for the month of February, I have a 3.0 GPA, which was where I wanted to be. However, I am seeing a trend with my writing goal that has caused me to make a revision.

booksMy priority is to write books. I have two started, one of which came together in a very amazing way. Every author who is unknown needs a blog and a social media presence to market their books, so I’ve been trying to build an audience while writing the books. Unfortunately, I’ve been writing posts for the blog, commenting on other blogs, commenting on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of other blogs; basically writing everything but a book.

I spoke with a coach who pointed out that unless I actually get the book finished and published, the purpose for the blog becomes purely social rather than entrepreneurial. She gave me “permission” to take a break from being social and encouraged me to post to my blog just once week (I may do twice if one post is on Wordless Wednesday). So, you’ll be seeing a little less of me for a while, but I hope to be back with a book under my belt!

The “miracle” of water


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I really enjoy reading health tips, and Facebook has made that very easy. However, I have a thing for accuracy, so I *Google anything I’m interested in trying.

I did just that after reading information supposedly from the Mayo Clinic regarding drinking a glass of water before bedtime to reduce the risk of heart attack or stoke and drinking two glasses when you get out of bed in the morning to jump start your internal organs.

According to articles on Google, yes, the information is absolutely true and no, it’s absolutely false. Isn’t the internet a great tool?!

The best way to discover the truth was to go directly to the Mayo Clinic website. My search for “best time to drink water” and “water heart attack stroke” didn’t yield specific results. However, I did find a nice, concise article, Water: How much should you drink every day, which provides some good common sense information.

We should all know the basics shared in the article, such as “every system in your body depends on water” and “water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.” On the other hand, the “lack of water can lead to dehydration,” robbing your body of the ability “to carry out normal functions” and draining your energy and making you tired.mayo_logo

Pretty fundamental information, however, I did read a challenge to the conventional thought of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Eight 8-ounce glasses of water is “about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations.” (roughly 3 liters or about 13 cups for men and 2.2 liters or about 9 cups for women)

The article goes on to say that the rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, but remains popular because it’s easy to remember. To be more accurate, the author believes we should exchange the word fluid for water, “because all fluids count toward the daily total.”

The thought of water not being our only source of hydration is further explored in an article in Parade Magazine, The truth behind the myths parents tell kids, by Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame).

KenJennings“In 2002, a kidney specialist named Heinz Valtin, M.D., concluded this rule was an accident. Back in the 1940s, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommended ‘one milliliter of water for each calorie of food.’ A 1,900-calorie diet would indeed work out to about 64 ounces of water a day. But everyone seems to have forgotten the next sentence: ‘Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.’ Most of our water gets to us in non-water form. In fact, a National Institutes of Health doctor told the Los Angeles Times that a healthy adult in a temperate climate could replace his body’s daily water loss with food alone! The Center for Nutrition found that even supposedly ‘diuretic’ beverages (like coffee, tea, and soda) provide almost all the hydration that water does.”

O.K., I’m not ready to give up drinking water or any other beverage to meet my hydration needs, but it is important to separate fact from assumption.


Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The bottom line is that we need to listen to our bodies and drink when we’re thirsty. Hydrate when you exercise. Hydrate in hot or humid weather. Hydrate when you’re breast-feeding. Hydrate when you have an illness accompanied by fever, vomiting or diarrhea (although I’d drink Gatorade rather than water in this case).

Water might not be a miracle cure for what ails you, but it can’t hurt. It has zero calories, is inexpensive and is easily accessible (at least in most locations), so go to grab some water and let’s toast to a life filled with more **finesse!

*(yes, Google is now a verb – at least in my world)

**finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Outrun the flu

Last week we were inundated with news of the flu. Every night it seemed the lead story on the national news was about the flu. Facebook friends related the misery of dealing with flu symptoms. Clearly I needed to outrun this evil virus, so I turned to the internet and found FLUF.A.C.T.S (F.A.C.T.S stands for the five symptoms of the flu; Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, and Sudden onset).

wash handsNumber one on the list of prevention is hand washing. According to the website, the influenza virus can live for two to eight hours on surfaces. How many things do you touch that are touched by numerous others who may be infected? Elevator buttons, handrails on stairs and escalators, the appliance handles in your lunch room at work, menus in restaurants and the remote you share with your family are just a few of the things that come to mind. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with SOAP and water. When soap and water aren’t convenient, use hand sanitizer to kill those germs. I always carry a small bottle in my purse.

Second, cover your sneezes and cough, but not with your hand. Use a tissue, or as one of my favorite little people reminded me, use your “wing” (inner elbow). If you use a tissue, throw it away. They aren’t expensive, and they were invented to be disposable.

K_face covered

My youngest granddaughter likes to sleep with her face covered.

And then there’s the flu vaccine. I’m a weenie when it comes to shots, possibly because I have to occasionally give myself injections for relief from migraines, so I try to avoid being poked by additional needles. However, I did get the vaccine this year, and for one very good reason – my granddaughter! I don’t want to be sick and miss interacting with this precious little girl, and I certainly don’t want to unknowingly pass the virus to her.

Maintaining ones health on a daily basis is the best way to not only outrun the flu, but stay well in general. Provide your body with the proper rest, exercise and nutrition it requires. I’m also a big believer in taking Vitamin C, as mentioned in a previous post.

Stay well, my friends!

My flu fighting *finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your flu fighting finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)


2013 goals

I learned quite a bit reviewing 2012, and used that information to make a plan for 2013. However, it’s time to stop looking back and start moving forward!

Writing Goals
Post blogs three days a week:  I realize that blogging five days a week is not realistic for me, and trying to do so was causing more stress than pleasure.
Write 1000 words per week: I want to finish a writing project this year, but it’s a little overwhelming. I’ve decided to tackle it chunk by chunk.

Health Goals
Research and try migraine treatments: I saw my neurologist in November and there is nothing new on the horizon for the treatment of migraines. However, I am always receiving kind messages from caring friends who have heard that this or that worked for someone. I’m open to trying anything with the approval of my doctor.
pilatesConsistent exercise: I enjoy my treadmill and Zumba, but both tend to bother my tennis elbow. Yoga is challenging and I usually feel like a complete klutz, so I stopped exercising for a few months. An acquaintance mentioned her love of Pilates and gave me a couple of DVDs to try. So far I’m liking it!
PT for tennis elbow: Speaking of tennis elbow, I need to get back to doing the physical therapy. No excuses!

Household Goals
Organize every room and closet in the house: This shouldn’t be too difficult since there are just two of us living in our home. It’s really not too bad, but there are a few things in every area that are driving me a little nuts. There are 12 rooms and closets, so organizing one per month seems very doable!

Personal Goals
Read two books: For those who are voracious readers, this may seem like a very small and silly goal. I love to read, but it’s always something that gets shoved to the end of my priority list. I love history and set out to read a biography of every president before I leave this world. I’ve only read two so far, so I need to pick up the pace. The husband and I have chosen to eliminate some television so we can both spend more time reading.
Document family history: Again, I love history and what better way to explore it than by discovering the roles my ancestors played. I hope to keep scanning photos and documents my mom and I uncover while organizing her house (that’s another goal!) I’m limiting this to one day per week as it can burn a LOT of time.
Plan 34th anniversary trip: The husband and I take turns planning long weekends to celebrate our anniversary. It’s my year and I have some great ideas for a memorable getaway!


Spiritual growth: This is an ongoing goal. Truthfully, nothing else is very successful and I’m out of balance if I neglect to nurture spiritual growth.

I have a few other goals I’m considering, but for now, these seem realistic. And as always, I plan to accomplish them with *finesse!

What are your goals?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Looking back – Part 2

Yesterday I shared about the process my colleagues and I went through after finishing a major project, reviewing what went well and what didn’t. Having just finished 2012, it’s a good time to do the same on a personal level. Yesterday I reviewed what didn’t go well or as planned, so today I’ll focus on the positive side of 2012.

I started a blog! As stated in the previous post, I wasn’t as consistent as I’d hoped, but I took the plunge. Fortunately, some of you joined me and have stuck around. You are much appreciated! I’ve enjoyed the interaction and feedback and hope to receive more of that in 2013.

I began a writing project! No, I’m not as far along in the project as I’d hoped, but it has been an amazing experience just doing the research. So many things have just fallen into place that I KNOW I’m supposed to continue and am looking forward to sharing my progress with you.

I tried two homeopathic remedies for the treatment of migraines. Neither was successful, but I’m actively doing all I can to reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches.

I was consistent enough with my exercise routine in 2012 that it hasn’t been difficult to pick up the pace this year. That’s a huge plus!

On a much more personal level, I was blest with a new granddaughter thanks to my son and daughter-in-love.  In addition, I have a renewed relationship with my daughter and 18-month-old granddaughter.  To top it all off, the husband and I celebrated 33 years of marriage!

Having spent some time thinking about the things that either exceeded or failed to meet my expectations in 2012, I realize that I need to make some changes in the way I approach projects so there are more successes to celebrate. I’ll keep brainstorming ways to make that happen – with *finesse.

Tomorrow: Goals for 2013!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Looking back

When I worked on major projects with a team, we always sat down a few weeks after the project was completed to recap. It was important to learn what went well and what didn’t. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do think the beginning of the year is a good time to look back and take stock of what went well and what didn’t.

I’ve been reviewing what didn’t go well or as planned, and to be honest, 2012 did not finish with all the *finesse I’d hoped. The first thing that popped into my head is this blog. When I began, I was advised to write every day and include pictures. I did fairly well for about six months and then I seemed to lose steam. I need to think about why that happened. Is posting daily realistic? Do I need to include photos or illustrations with every post? Do I even want to continue?

The answer to the last question is yes, and for three reasons. First, I need to be creative and writing has always been a creative outlet for me. Second, I need to feel connected to other women. I LOVE your feedback. Third, I am working on a much more involved writing project and the blog will be a great way to share it.

Speaking of that writing project, I had hoped to be much further along. That’s another thing that didn’t go as planned. I am committed to the project, so I need to explore ways to keep it moving.

On the health front, I would have liked to see my tennis elbow completely healed, a reduction in the frequency of migraines, a five pound weight loss and a more consistent exercise routine.

I’m going to spend some time thinking about each of these items and others that failed to meet my expectations in 2012. I need to decide if they are something I want to accomplish and are these goals realistic. If so, what do I need to do differently to see some progress?

Tomorrow: What went well in 2012!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Elbow PT

I’ve begun physical therapy for my tennis elbow, which I posted about in early June. The pain had subsided with the use of ice, heat and anti-inflammatory meds, but was still present. I’m not one to be content with healing halfway, so I advocated for physical therapy.

I’ve had two sessions, and while I haven’t seen any major improvement, I do feel like I have a better understanding of how long this may last and what I need to do to move toward being 100 percent.

I’m still using ice and heat and the occasional anti-inflammatory and have added stretching exercises. These simple movements, when done correctly, are allowing me to move my elbow and arm with less pain.

I’m also wearing a brace which limits the way I move the tendons between my elbow and wrist. I’m much more aware of what I was do that hinders healing. It’s a little uncomfortable to wear while sleeping, but I try to keep it on as much as possible.

According the my therapist, tennis elbow can take six months to a year to heal – so much for a quick fix. I’m not the most patient patient or the most disciplined, but I want to have the pain-free movement I had pre-injury so I’ll do my best to follow the treatment plan with *finesse.

Lesson learned is to listen to my body. When it’s giving me a “this is uncomfortable” signal I can push through, but when it’s giving me an “OUCH! That hurts” signal, it’s time to stop. Are you a good listener?

My wellness finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your wellness finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Vacation exercise

Me and the husband at Crater Lake

My former manager Jane is a creative spirit who is constantly on the move. She often regaled us with tales of her extreme vacations backpacking, hiking, and canoeing in remote locations. I was thoroughly exhausted just listening to all the activity and exercise she packed into her time off. I admire her in many ways and wish I had some of her talents. However, I’m really glad we have different vacation styles.

Crater Lake

My vacations are much more laid-back. A tent pitched on the hard, uneven ground of the Mt. Hood National Forest was a one-time experience with the husband and our puppy shortly after we married. We moved up to camping in State Parks with a camper that was so old, it had an ice box, but I was grateful for the softer bed. When our kids came along we went the motel route once, and then bought our timeshare. I love driving just a little more than two hours to the high dessert of Central Oregon, unloading the MDX and just relaxing in our second home.

It’s a long way down from the rim to Crater Lake

That’s not to say we don’t fit in some exercise while we are enjoying our time away from the day-to-day routine. There is a very scenic 3.5 mile walk along the Deschutes River we try to do every morning. The walk down to and along the river is pretty easy, but climbing back up can really elevate your heart rate. We also leisurely walk the paved paths after dinner, which makes indulging in ice cream on our deck seem acceptable.

A view of Wizard Island in Crater Lake

This year we also drove about 2 hours south to Crater Lake National Park. Amazingly beautiful! The best views involved hiking up along trails, using tree roots and rocks as foot-holds. I could feel the muscles in my “posterior” getting a workout. I was feeling pretty good about our activity level until I overheard a man talking about how he pedaled his way to the park and hoped to make it to the Oregon Caves before nightfall.

Whatever your vacation style, be sure to get out and explore. Get a little exercise and enjoy nature with *finesse!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Just hangin’

The husband has had back problems since his mid-twenties. He’s been pretty good about strengthening the muscles in his lower back to provide some protection, but sometimes it can still cause him pain. I can tell when he’s experiencing discomfort because he walks a little hunched over.

He doesn’t go the doctor or chiropractor when it’s bothering him, as it usually works itself out. However, a few weeks ago his back started acting up for no apparent reason. The pain and hunched over walking continued for two weeks with only minimal improvement, then we stumbled upon a miracle. Okay, maybe not a miracle, but certainly a way to relieve his aching back.

We were running errands and around lunch time decided to split a burrito at Qdoba Mexican Grill. There weren’t any parking spots in front of the restaurant, so we parked in front of a store called, Relax the Back. I said, “We’re going in there after lunch!”

The sales lady took one look at the husband and suggested he try the Contour L-3 Inversion Table. After just a few moments hanging upside down, his back pain was gone! He knows several people who swear by their inversion tables, so we made the purchase.

His back is pain-free, which is priceless, but since the purchase is covered by his employer’s wellness plan it was truly without cost. The best benefit is to know he feels well.  A totally unrelated, but fun side benefit is how flat my stomach is when I hang upside down!

Are gray skies making me fat?

I heard a report on the news last night about a study linking insufficient levels of vitamin D to weight gain. I have to admit that my ears perk up anytime I hear of anything that might cause weight gain other than poor choices. Hey, it’s not the chocolate and lack of exercise – it’s the lack of sunshine!

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found those with insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood gained about two pounds more than those with adequate levels of the vitamin. Two pounds?  At this point I’m thinking this isn’t really news. I can fluctuate up and down two pounds in a week easily.

According to an online article, the study involved more than 4,600 women age 65 over nearly five years. “In the group of 571 women who gained weight, those with insufficient vitamin D levels gained more — 18.5 pounds over five years — than women who had sufficient vitamin D,” said study author Dr. Erin LeBlanc, an endocrinologist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. “The latter group gained 16.4 pounds over the same period.” LeBlanc went on to say that although it was only 2 pounds, over time that can add up.

I’m always skeptical of studies, so I did a little math. According to the article, 78 percent (or 3588) of the 4600 study participants had a vitamin D deficiency, yet only 571 (or 12.4 percent) gained weight. If a lack of vitamin D is the reason for weight gain, then why didn’t a higher percentage of those with the deficiency gain weight? And why did a percentage of the 571 who gained weight do so in spite of having sufficient levels of vitamin D?

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a researcher, doctor or scientist, but this study doesn’t appear to prove any solid link between vitamin D deficiency and weight gain. Am I missing something? I don’t think so, but just in case I am, I think I’ll go outside and enjoy some natural vitamin D!

My wellness *finesse level: 
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert             

What’s your wellness finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)