I Can’t Win!!!

Well, I’m back! It’s been several months since I last posted. I have no excuse because I have most certainly had the time, but this damn Covid sucked the motivation right out of me. In my last blog post, I talked about my plan to hopefully lose some weight. I made NO promises to either myself or to anyone else for that matter; that way there would be no guilt. Most people would probably say I was setting myself up to fail, but at my age, I had been down this road many times, and I knew pressure to be accountable does not work for me.

I am pleased to say that to date, I have lost 30 pounds. Honestly, no one is more surprised than I am. It was a very gradual process, and all I really did was count my daily calorie intake. When I reached my limit each day, I stopped eating. Simple! Every morning, before I started my day, I stepped on those new scales that I purchased online during my Covid shopping spree. Apparently, that was the only motivation that I needed. As I watched the numbers come down, I had a lovely feeling of accomplishment.

So, I am sure you are wondering why the title of this post seems so negative. I can explain in one word…. WRINKLES!

When I went on my weight loss journey, I did not take this into consideration. Old skin has no elasticity. My body looks like a wrinkled jumpsuit that I have slept in and not ironed ever. I am not impressed! Yes, I am pleased that my clothes are fitting better, but at this rate, I may resort to wearing a long sleeved, floor-length sack.

My knees sag, my belly hangs, and my arms flap in the breeze like flags. And don’t even get me started on my face! I honestly think the only solution is a full body lift and a few gallons of Botox or perhaps I could bathe in anti-wrinkle cream.

I considered the idea of exercise as a viable solution to my problem, but let’s be real, I don’t have a snowflakes hope in hell of that happening.

Well, I am temporarily out of possible solutions, except perhaps ……..

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

No Weigh!!!

Before you begin to question my grammar skills, I have not spelled “weigh” incorrectly. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my covid purchases was a new scale. I have not owned a set of scales for many, many years because their reality is depressing. I actually do not know a soul who likes to step on the scales. The last time that I had to do it was in my doctor’s office during a physical, and I couldn’t even bring myself to look. But like many others, staying home during quarantine made me think. Was I eating more? Had I gained much weight? I was definitely a little more sedentary during this time and some pants were feeling a bit snug. Snacks had become a way of life, a coping skill so to speak. I decided that I needed a reality check, hence, the new scales.

My purchase arrived within days. It was sleek and looked like frosted glass. Very fashionable! The idea of stepping on a glass tile made me nervous. What if I broke it? That would be embarrassing! I set it in the bathroom behind the door and decided that I would take my chances and step on it first thing in the morning before I had had anything to eat.

The next morning, I summoned all my courage and took that first step. My worst nightmare was confirmed… I was fat! Once the shock of the numbers wore off, I knew I now had to take action. I hate diets and complicated rules, so how to proceed? The concept of weight is actually very simple; it is a balance of calories in and calories out. I knew that I needed to keep things simple or I would quit. I recalled a health app on my phone and decided to have a look at it. I could record daily weight and track my daily calories easily. I discovered that by monitoring my calorie intake, I could eat what I wanted (within reason of course) as long as I stayed under 1200 calories per day. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the graph line recording my weight head in a downward path.

I am delighted to report that in about 2 months, I have lost 15 pounds. Since beginning my personal program, I have also started some simple daily exercises (only about 15 minutes) and walking more. I do not deprive myself. I love my wine, but include it in my calorie count. I feel like I am making healthier choices, but now that my city has opened up more regarding covid restrictions, my friends and I have started meeting on Wednesdays again for dinner at our new pub. I am pleased that I have not erased my progress because I allot my food intake accordingly and eat whatever I want.

Had it not been for this damn pandemic, I may not have been motivated to make changes in my habits. I mean, I have promised myself for 40 years that I would lose the pounds that I had gained during pregnancy with two ten-pound babies and that didn’t happen. I have no specific goal in mind, and perhaps that is what keeps me on track. I would like to say this has become my new life-style, but these kinds of commitments often get derailed. At the moment, I am enjoying this challenge, and it is most definitely having a positive result.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Covid Made Me Do It!

This damn virus has turned me into a shopaholic! Now to be fair, I have always enjoyed browsing through stores, but I can look and not buy a thing. In general, I live on a pension and usually watch what I spend and like most people, I love to find a bargain. Covid has been my undoing.

When the initial quarantine first started last March, I came to terms with the situation. I was retired, lived alone, and life wasn’t that bad. Grocery stores and the liquor stores were open, but you had to stand in line. Life went on. In the early spring, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to paint my living room and dining room, since no one could visit. I was quite pleased with my efforts and decided I might as well make a few other updates. This led to my first flurry of purchases which included a new dining room fixture, two new, comfy chairs from IKEA, and a new white, cowhide rug to match the freshly painted walls. I had done a bit of online shopping in the past, but I am one of those people who likes to see things in person before making a decision. So much for that!

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My weekly trip to the grocery store and liquor store were my only outings, and then, I discovered a winery in Niagara that was advertising on Facebook. I checked it out and ordered my first case. Delivery was free in my province and I really enjoyed the wine. I am currently on case number seven.

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Spring turned to summer and restaurants were able to open their patios. It was very exciting! But alas, as we moved into fall, infections rose and shutdowns were imminent. I started doing more walking in my neighborhood and that led to the purchase of new red running shoes and some comfy hiking boots. I needed neither pair, but the red made me smile. Since then, I recently bought a pair of Croc sandals. Yes, I know it is winter, but summer will get here eventually, and I will be ready. I also purchased jeans, a winter pea coat, a woolly toque, and a pair of silver earrings just because.

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As Christmas approached, I shopped for gifts using “porch pick-up”, but then my coffee maker started acting up and I knew its days were numbered. I had admired the beautiful design of the SMEG appliances, but the price always deterred me. Well, I now own a sleek, black, Smeg coffee maker. I decided that I deserved it. The gift giving season must have really gotten to me because for no apparent reason, I bought myself a Cricut machine. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is for doing DIY projects. I justified the purchase by telling myself it would be something to do during the winter quarantine. Learning how to use it was another matter entirely. I almost returned it out of frustration. To date, I have made several tee shirts and some pillow covers.

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Oh, during the Christmas season, I also ordered a portable dog ramp for my Saint Bernard with the wonky hips. It still has not arrived and I have asked Paypal to get me a refund.

After the holiday season, I came to the decision that the Covid 19 had caught up with me. My clothes were feeling snug. So, I ordered a set of exercise bands and a weigh scale. I have never owned scales because they simply depress the hell out of me. The exercise bands are currently hanging on the doorknob of my office. They did make it out of the box. The scale was scary at first, but I am now using it every day. It still upsets me sometimes, but I am determined to lose even a little.

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There have been a myriad of other smaller things that I have ordered online like magnetic eyelashes, make-up, candles, soaps, stickers, books and so on. I didn’t need any of these things. I am beginning to think that I may have a problem, but I prefer to think that I am doing my part for the economy. Don’t judge!

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Well, so far this week, I have bought a new curling iron and flat iron ( Hairdressers should be an essential service!) and I ordered two new pillows and a set of sheets. I can’t wait for the delivery man! Was that the doorbell???

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

2021 Finally

Well, we made it! I waited to post anything just in case 2020 refused to leave like someone south of the border. I have never been so happy to see a year end. I even sat up until midnight to make sure it left peacefully.

Each year that passes, emphasizes for me just how precious our time on earth actually is. Of course, it doesn’t help that I have also turned a year older since we rang in 2021. A friend suggested to me that we not celebrate birthdays until this damn pandemic is over. She reasoned that if everything else is on hold, birthdays should be as well. She may have a good argument. I sometimes reflect back to my youth when I wanted time to move faster because with age came the freedom and privileges of adulthood. Oh, how I now wish that I could make time stand still. 2020 has taken so much from each and every one of us, but it is time to gradually reclaim our lives…. ever so carefully.

So, instead of focusing on what we have lost, let’s look forward to what is hopefully ahead this year. I am pinning my hope and optimism on the vaccines. Yes, there are concerns out there about its safety, but I am confident that the scientists and doctors involved in its development and testing won’t steer us wrong. As a person who is afraid of needles, at this point in time, I would happily muster up all my courage and administer the damn covid vaccine to myself if I needed to in order to gain immunity.

Ready for the vaccine

I don’t know about you, but I am sick to death of hearing the ridiculous conspiracy theories being spread by so many idiots out there. I am all about free expression, but I draw the line when I hear things like the vaccine is just the governments way of injecting everyone with chips to enable “them” to control us. Give your head a shake! It is the government’s job to set rules and laws which ultimately control our lives. We elected them to make these decisions for the good of our country. They don’t need to “chip” us to control us. Do you wear a seat belt? Who said you had to wear it? Right, the government. Does it affect your life negatively? No! Wear the damn mask or stay inside your home; the rest of us would like to put this pandemic behind us sooner than later. I am not getting any younger!

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Coping With Covid

First Death From COVID-19 Reported | coronavirus

Ten months into this bloody pandemic and life has definitely changed. Looking back to March of 2020, I honestly think that I was in some kind of denial about the seriousness of the situation and how long it would impact my life.

In the beginning, I stayed home. My daughter shopped for me and dropped things off on the porch. I talked to friends and family on the phone and on Zoom calls. Living alone, I most definitely felt loneliness set in. I had been use to doing everything for myself and had enjoyed a busy social life. That all came to a screeching halt!

Weeks turned to months and the warmer weather finally arrived. This gave new meaning to my days. I could spend time in the garden, sit on my porch and chat with neighbors, or go for a lovely walk in the sunshine. Life looked brighter and I felt more optimistic now, but I missed my friends and family.

With the warmer weather came the announcement that restaurants would be permitted to open their patios with dozens of restrictions. My close girlfriends and I were elated and we wasted no time in reserving places to eat and drink. We, of course, took all necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe. We were especially excited when our local pub finally reopened for service. Seeing all our old friends and the wait staff renewed my optimism that we would get through this nightmare. However, even this came to an abrupt halt when our beloved Tartan Tavern announced it would be closing permanently. Another victim of the virus!

2020 had no sense of humor and its bad news spared no one. As we started into the second phase of the pandemic, I was convinced that I might never have fun again, but a simple trip to a local country market restored my optimism.

I am not a regular customer at White Feather Country Market, but I have really been trying to support small businesses. Our area had just moved into the “red zone” which meant stores had to limit the number of customers permitted inside. When I arrived at the store, I was dismayed to find a lengthy line-up waiting to get in. As I made my way to the end of the line, I noticed a man emerge from his car in the handicapped parking and shuffle his way toward the entrance. The store employee told him he would have to wait like everyone else in line. I must admit that I felt badly for him as he leaned against the hood of his car hoping for the line to end.

After crawling along for about 15 minutes, I was almost at the door. The gentleman still waited patiently. Then, out-of-the-blue, he started to walk towards me. He leaned in and said, “Could I be your partner?” I was a little taken aback, but without a thought, I said,”Of course you can.” He then asked the ladies behind me if they minded that he got in line beside his “partner”. They assured him it was fine.

Once we reached the door, he announced to the employee that we were indeed a couple and linked his arm in mine. She laughed and said she could see that and motioned us inside. As we walked through the door, I asked him why he had waited so long to ask someone else to be his partner. His reply made my day. “Well, I looked at the other ladies ahead of you, but they didn’t seem like they would be receptive to my request.”

“But we’re all wearing masks,” I responded, “so how could you tell?”

“You smile with your eyes,” he said. “I just knew you wouldn’t turn me down.”

“Well, you made my day,” I replied. He looked puzzled. “You’re the first man that I’ve picked up in a covid line.”

“Do you come here often?” he asked. I laughed out loud. He made me feel like a million bucks!

Hang in there everyone! We will get through this. Just keep finding the humor wherever you can.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Mask Up!

What's Driving the Rise in Suicide Among Middle-Aged Men ...

When I heard the President of the United States complain that wearing a mask made him feel like the Lone Ranger, I knew there were problems brewing. (Can one of his aides explain how the mask works, please?)

At the start of this pandemic, everyone was was cautioned not to use medical masks because there was a shortage, and they needed to be available for front line workers. That situation created an immediate market for home sewers and since then fledgling businesses have sprung up in the most unlikely places. A large, vacant factory in my town sprung to life after being retooled to produce masks. Thousands began rolling off the lines. Companies who formerly made sports jerseys converted to these face coverings and you can now promote your favorite team by wearing their colours. I myself, got into the action. I was a sewer, I had lots of spare fabric, and plenty of time on my hands. I made them available for free to anyone who asked, but after making about 300, I was over my enthusiasm.

People started out wearing them cautiously not really certain they would protect them from the virus, but as more has been learned about covid-19, we now recognize that masks do indeed help keep infections down. As communities try to reopen their businesses, masks are increasingly being mandated. Some people have come up with creative solutions to the mask requirements.

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Masks definitely come with their own set of responsibilities. Don’t leave home without one; wash or change them after each wearing (yes, this is extra laundry; you’ll manage), and for goodness sakes wear it properly. It should cover your nose and mouth, not one or the other, not hanging from one ear, or slung under your chin.

If you are someone who enjoys a snack as you go about your business, then a mask may just be the ticket.

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For many of us, it is summertime and we enjoy spending time (which many of us have plenty of at the moment) out in the sunshine. Please remember your sunscreen.

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I know this virus is scary, but please don’t do this. This is more frightening than covid.

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Listen, we all have to do our part to contain this pandemic and get back to our lives. If everyone would just comply with the science, we will soon be able to enjoy going out socially again. mask#6

In the meantime, I need to get groceries. mask#8

Be safe. Wear your mask! Everyone needs to do their part.

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Quarantined!!!

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When the virus first arrived, I must admit that I was concerned. I am a senior and have been diagnosed with COPD, so there are a couple of strikes against me to be sure. As the pandemic gradually took hold, and we were asked to quarantine inside our homes, I wondered how I would manage this new reality.

Living alone had prepared me well for the “no contact” rule, but how would I get groceries and pet food and the one prescription that I take? Not to worry! My daughter insisted on getting these things for me, but she lives about a 45 minute drive away, so deliveries had to be co-ordinated. She would arrive with my shopping, leave it on the porch and stand well back for a brief visit. Our system worked fine, but it left me feeling sad (because I couldn’t touch her) and more isolated than I had ever imagined. I had never realized how much my social contacts meant to me; even those brief conversations with grocery store clerks, strangers on the street that say “hello”, weekly dinners with friends, the barmaids at my local pub, and acquaintances from classes that I take, I missed them all.

My friends and family are only a phone call away and in the beginning the calls were frequent, but when no one is going anywhere or doing anything, there becomes less and less to talk about. On a recent Saturday night, a friend decided to set-up a group video call for all of the regulars of karaoke. It was wonderful to see everyone and enjoy a virtual drink together.

The truth is I missed those people even more when the call ended.  It made me sad to think that this damn virus was stealing precious time from me. The reality is that the longest part of my life is behind me not ahead of me. There are so many things I still want to do and time does not stand still, even for Covid-19.

I am also blaming this bloody infection for turning me into an eating machine. I must finally admit that  unhealthy eating is my coping mechanism for depression. The strangest things have become my cravings. Items such as licorice all-sorts, cinnamon buns, and marshmallows to name but a few. quarantine pic #1

My cravings led me to take the chance on a trip to the grocery store. I did not want to add junk food and wine to my shopping list because my daughter thinks I am a responsible person, and I did not want to dispel that myth.

The grocery store venture gave me the courage to join the line at a local liquor store. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Even the lengthy, socially-distanced line could not deter me. It was my chance to interact socially with strangers, and it filled that void albeit temporarily.

Well, weeks turned into months. I missed my life, my hair was a mess, my feet looked like they belonged to an unidentifiable creature, and I followed our infection numbers like the stock market. We were indeed “flattening the curve”, but what next?

Several weeks ago, we moved into Phase 1 of opening our area. It didn’t really mean much to me because the places included in this phase were of little interest, but then we reached Phase 2. I was ecstatic! That first week, I went to the dentist, the hairdresser, had drinks on a patio, had a pedicure, and dinner with friends, all maintaining proper protocol and safety rules. It was better than winning the lottery.

This virus has reiterated what I already knew. It is the little things in life that bring me joy, and most importantly, it is the people in my life that matter most. We are not out of the woods yet, so keep following the rules. There will be life beyond Covid-19.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo
 

 

 

 

Says Who???

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I was watching a favorite television program this morning while I drank my coffee. The topic was about female body image. You know what I mean… weight, hair, cellulite, wrinkles and so on. The host and her guests, four ladies in probably their late thirties and early forties, were discussing all these issues and then some. The general consensus seemed to be that in order to support a strong feminist attitude  you should not conform to society’s standards regarding appearance. A couple of the women had let all of their body hair grow out, and one had embraced her cellulite and sagging skin by posting pictures of her “cottage cheese” thighs in a bikini. It got me thinking about how I felt on the topic.

I have a confession! Even though I strongly support women’s rights, I am not about to grow out my underarms and leg hair. b3bc40e4c667475dcf5a8033ee651da2

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Hell, it bothers me that my eyebrows are thinning, but I have a healthy crop of upper-lip and chin hairs. I am kind of wondering if that is where eyebrow hair sags to as we age. It doesn’t help that my poor eyesight makes it difficult to see this new crop, so I sometimes need to rely on that dreaded magnifying mirror.

It makes me kind of laugh when I think back to my early teenage years. Shaving my legs and armpits seemed like a coming of age event. There were lots of little nicks and cuts until I got the hang of it, but I loved the silky feel and look of clean-shaven legs. It never occurred to me that I was giving in to men’s expectations.

For me personally, removing my body hair has absolutely nothing to do with my opinions about women’s rights or conforming to social norms. I simply like the way it looks. It makes me feel fresh and clean. 98816aa3d6dab787462b3ffa8928d100

 

 

 

 

 

We all remember the feminist “bra-less” movement which was then followed by the “top-less” protest. Those women were taking a stand! No one was going to tell them what to do. Men loved it. I really found it amusing in that women had been going topless on the beaches in Europe for years previously. No big deal! Not to mention, in cold weather, my bra keeps that sensitive area warm. Let’s face it, no one is fighting to go topless in the dead of winter where I live.

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It’s interesting how societal conventions morph over time. Men have picked up on our fascination with hair removal. They are waxing and shaving their parts like never before, and I am not referring to only gay men as some may think. Body builders are doing it to show off their muscle definition better; some feel it makes certain areas more sensitive during sex. Do silky smooth testicles make them less masculine? Of course not! It is simply a matter of taste. e7d08f868acbea2b7dd1c2ed87f88d5a

 

 

 

 

 

As I listened to the young women on the show make their points, I couldn’t help but think they should be using their voices, not their unshaven pits or dimpled butts, to promote women . Ladies we are smart! Let’s use ours brains to fight for equality. That old adage, “Looks are only skin deep”, still holds true.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Burlesque….. Seriously?

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Every fall, as regular as clockwork, new classes begin at our local senior citizens’ centre. One of my groups favorite classes has been zumba; we all love to dance and so, it is a perfect fit for us. This fall, however, as I perused the registration catalogue, my eyes fell on a new offering….. burlesque! Really???? I read the course description, “come bump, grind and laugh”. I was intrigued to say the least and apparently I was not alone. It wasn’t long before a text came from one of the girls asking me if I had seen the program in the book. Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “We have to do this!” And after a flurry of calls, all four of us agreed.

Last Tuesday was our first class. Like a young child, I was most curious about who the teacher might be, who else would sign up, would it be too difficult, what should I wear? Surprisingly, the class was full. Who knew there were so many senior ladies wanting to release their sexy?

The teacher jumped right in with a light warm-up and before we knew it, we were putting together the first steps of a cheeky routine. Giggles broke out here and there as we moved our hips and caressed our curves with our hands. Some of those ladies were concentrating as though they had never moved sensually in their lives, but they were enjoying unleashing their new-found sex-goddess.  bdc50c16f91622bb4641792f6ff2884d

 

 

 

 

 

As the hour slide by, we repeated steps over and over to build the routine. Our instructor had to keep reminding us to put on a sexy smile. It is challenging to count steps and look provocative.

The men in the next room were playing a lively game of darts, but their curiosity must have gotten the better of them because every once-in-a-while one would peek in the door to see what the laughter was about.

According to our instructor, we will be learning two routines. For the second number, we will be using a chair as a prop.  I can hardly wait! I hope that my arthritis does not get in the way of my “sexy”. 26dfb1759291bd5f60112d8c30b4564a

Go ahead try something new! And 1, 2, 3, 4…. swing those hips!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Life Is Fiction

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I love reading stories about women who do an about change in their life because their circumstances are making them unhappy. Two well-known examples that come to mind are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I have discovered there are many more out there to discover. I can hear the groans now! You’re probably thinking this woman’s age is affecting her brain. Yes, these stories are fiction, but often real life is stranger than fiction. And I honestly believe that writers use real life situations in their novels because the readers can relate to the characters easily.

Just yesterday, I finished the book, ” Under Italian Skies” by Nicky Pelligrino.

20190724_095220 It was recommended by a friend who knows I love Italy and France as much as she does. The book itself was entertaining, but more important was the fact that it was written about middle-aged women and their lives and dreams. Fiction, yes, but those women could have been any one of my real friends. All of the characters had come to a point in their lives where they thought they had to accept their situations. They were all beautiful women with so much more life to enjoy. All they needed was a gentle push.

 

We often fall into ruts throughout life. Our days become routine and mundane. If you are raising a family, this is especially true, and having been a single parent who raised two children alone, I know how easily we can lose ourselves in their lives. Dreams fade into the background of every day requirements so far that we often forget they even ever existed. When I was younger, my own mom often reminded me that I had no time of my own, but even back then, I knew my turn would eventually come.

My children grew up and left home, and I found myself with a great deal of time for me. Luckily, I had an amazing circle of friends, all in similar circumstances. As time went on, more women joined our group. We were drawn together by our common interests, but we have also expanded our lives by trying new things together. There is something very reassuring about the support from others.

I can’t say it enough. Live your dreams as much as possible; you will never regret it. Just today, I came across a post by Humans of New York in Facebook about a woman who is doing just that. I enjoyed the piece so much, I am including it in this post. It reads as follows:

“I spent thirty-six years as an editor at the New York Times. There were so many rounds of layoffs, and so many buyout opportunities– but I kept turning them down. I was terrified of retirement. I never wanted to ‘retire.’ The word sounded terrible to me. It meant going to Florida and dying. It meant sitting in a chair and watching daytime TV. It meant not working anymore. Not thinking anymore. Nothing but play and relaxation. And that wasn’t enough for me. That’s not living. You always need to have a goal. Grandchildren are great, but they’re not enough. You need something to wake up your brain. A reason to focus. A reason to get out of bed and use everything that you’ve ever learned. I’ll never see myself as retired. Right now I’m trying to become a fiction writer. I love it because my brain is always working. Some days I think about my work so much, that when I finally sit down to write, it just comes pouring out my fingers. I’d love to finish a book one day. Something that people enjoy. And I’d love to have it published. Maybe a hardcover from Random House. That gets optioned for a movie. And wins an Oscar. Oh it’s exciting, isn’t it? I could go on and on.”

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So, the next time that you read a lovely fictional story, and you find yourself wishing that was your life, think again. You are the author of your own book. Write it the way you want it to be.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo