Friday, August 23, 2013

One Hundred and Three

Simply stated, my goal is to live to 103 years of age and still be healthy.  I chose that number several decades ago when my health was stressed and my mother's words rattled my soul, "You are burning the candle at both ends.  If you don't slow down, Letty, you'll never live to see fifty."  Mother liked her idioms.  

I knew she was right, but I didn't know how to slow down.  So I exercised as a way to sustain me through the difficult years of raising teenagers, working full-time, and preserving my marriage.  The YMCA opened up the street from us in Norman offering all five of us a chance to work off some daily frustrations, and the Duck Pond at OU became our Saturday home as we ran the jogging course together.  We often treated our family to the greasy hamburgers and fries at O'Connell's Irish Pub after a good hard run. We weren't perfect!

A few years ago my daughter added to the 103 year old goal when she sent me a newspaper clipping, not a "link" (It's a family tradition to send newspaper clippings, helping to keep my mother's memory alive.) about a woman who didn't shoot her first hole in one until she was 103!  That hurt, especially since I haven't enjoyed watching my ball fly into a hole in one, yet.

My husband explains that decades passed, I prefer to say years,  then suddenly on December 1 of 2012 my medicare card went into effect, but I refused to use it.  Instead I attached the workout schedule for the month and set a goal of working out at least five hours every week until I turned 65 on Dec. 26.  Goal accomplished, and now it is months later, not decades.

In the last few years since retirement, my overall health turned a life sustaining curve when a trainer guided me to Pilates and other core strengthening exercises.  My body and soul felt alive and healthy after only a few weeks of Pilates, and my back grew stronger every week.  After two years of Pilates, I added Yoga and then light weights.  With three years of consistent training, plus long leisurely morning and evening walks with the dog, I can now play golf three to four days in a row; I can play competitively and not ice myself down the following week in a state of collapse.  Pilates and yoga will be my friends till the end, I hope.  The old idiom "A body at rest stays at rest; a body in motion stays in motion" is true, and I would add a body in motion stays healthier (Ok, maybe I need to attribute some of my ability to exercise and play golf to Advil or Aleve.)
Core Pilates with Abby Hurst.

Maybe it's the wine, the beer, the cheese and crackers, or the delicious large servings of healthy foods,but something is causing me to gain weight, right in the middle of my body.  So I decided I would take care of that problem by joining a "Couch to 5K" group three times a week.  For one thing, I wouldn't be drinking alcohol on those evenings, nor would I be eating large meals.  My line of thinking was simple--after eleven weeks of training I'd be a thinner me.  My brain forgot that my feet, knees, legs muscles, and hips were 65 years old!  I thought I was going to die that night after jogging only a minute and walking two minutes, over and over and over.   Sadly, my body ached enough that I admitted "defeet".  Jogging will not be in my future, but I am remaining dedicated to walking briskly,  two times a week with the dog, during the time of evening when I might toast a drink or eat a snack.  Who knows, but it is a constant battle to stay on the healthy side.

Recently, my dentist told me that my teeth and gums looked healthy and complimented me on taking care of them.  (Doc Jackson was convinced I'd loose my teeth by 25 because of cavities! Fear of false teeth at an early age pushed me to brush, floss, and care for my teeth.)  I asked Dr. Loudenback, "Will they last till I'm 103?"

He laughed, "They could."

Explaining my comment, I said, "I plan to live that long, if exercise, healthy eating, a positive mental attitude, and faith make a difference."

He smiled, "I just hope I'm alive when your 103."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thunder Is Not Just a Basketball Team

Lucy panting heavily but secure in her Thunder Jacket.
It's real.  In the background I can imagine Al Roker energetically chiming "Thunder...Thunder.." then like an echo our skies break loose with rolling thunder and daggers of lightning.  Our Lucy dog is terrified of storms so she paces, pants, whines, and cries  from the constant barrage of thunderstorms that we've been blasted with this past week.

When we can plan on approaching lightning and thunder we wrap our shaking shivering dog in her grey "Thunder Jacket."  It wraps around her tightly with a enough stretch for jumping and scratching.  It's not perfect, but it helps to relieve her storm stress, so that we don't have to drug her!

The other night we were prepared for the storm:  Lucy was wrapped in her jacket and one dim light was left on, but no anxiety drugs administered.  Long before the rain arrived Lucy whined and paced around the bedroom jumping headlong onto and over two sleeping bodies.  As a cattle dog it is her mission in life to protect us from all possible dangers, but in the case of storms she takes the duty on with terror in her bones. Her body language cries, "Storm Alert.  Storm Alert.  You might die.  I might die.  Help Me!!!"

Being a good dogie mom and a real sleepy head that night I scooted down on my side of the bed leaving room near the headboard for her to nestle.  No matter where I scooted Lucy couldn't settle, by now the house was shaking when the thunder rolled, and Lucy's panting and hot breath on our necks was wearing on us.

At last I gave up and stumbled into the front bedroom with our panting protective dog at my heels.  With one dim light on and the doors closed so she wouldn't bother Jack, I crawled into bed.  Once again Lucy girl bounded into bed with me and placed her rump on my head, not beside but on my head!  I grunted and growled then moved over giving her more room.  Not to be outdone she spread out and protected my back, all the while breathing heavily.  I wanted to laugh but instead grumbled to myself.  The storm barreled down on us jolting us both with thunder.  At last I entered a dreamy sleep, and then I felt it...something crawling slowly down my back.  As if  I'd been struck by lightning, I leaped out of bed, ripped my gown over my head and flipped on the bathroom light.  With mirrors in had, I searched my shaking body.  There in the middle of my back I spotted the tick searching frantically for a place to bite and nestle into my body.  Disgust echoed from my lungs as I plucked the tick off and dropped it in the toilet.  Drowning was the perfect death for that blood sucking creature.  Sleep to be denied!

Storms have plagued our area since the first of August, and yes, the thunder jacket helps.  Just the same, the next night I kept the anxiety pill handy just in case.
Flooding from the torrential rains, in our unseasonable August, blocked our country road.