Showing posts with label retirement activity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retirement activity. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meandering blogger

Ally our 2016 American Allegiance
I have not been posting to this blog but happened here after getting a notification about a comment.  So I have updated with a photo on the sidebar of our now new, to us, 2016 American Allegiance Coach, our new vacation home on wheels.  We acquired Ally, her name,  end of February, 2017 at Lazy Days in Seffner Florida where we wintered  some of our 2016-17 snowbird south. Since I did create this blog to record our RV adventures long ago, I thought I should get busy with posting the new addition.

This was not my idea, I was quite satisfied with our Excursion, but Jerry wanted newer, better,  it had under 62,000 miles which is nothing on a diesel, but he  wanted this upgrade, tag axle and a hundred other things, newer.  He began to develop a litany of things that would have to be done to fix the Excursion, and admitted it would cost way less than the new coach, but that he felt it was time to upgrade . 
2008 Excursion which we traded in for Ally

2017 February Florida, moving out of Excursion into Allegiance
what a siege and chore unloading and loading.  We were loaded up
for winter, so it took days to transfer stuff. 
Yes Ally is ultra luxurious but what a siege.  I could write the longest blog post ever about the entire process, but I have already done that on Facebook, so not repeating everything here for non Facebook people.  I fear spending big sums of money in retirement because I have a phobia of ending up a bag lady.  I always have had that, maybe it started  with warnings from my Polish grandma, "always have a way to take care of yourself and earn money so you do not end up old and poor"  something like that she told me in Polish.  Jerry who is not a spendthrift by any means, though, reminds me that we can't take it with us and we just as well enjoy while we can.  We have no one that close to us to leave sums of money too and most of what we leave will be going to various charities and organizations that we support.  While they will likely put our names on a plaque somewhere in gratitude, we should reap the rewards of the working we both did in our careers.  Further, he knows while I shudder,  that no way are we approaching financial destitution in fact, we are part of the better off retirees, we own our home. no bills, some months do not spend all our income and we do not need to save and pinch pennies and debate about purchases.  When we see something we want, we buy it.    

Back to Ally, Jerry spotted this American Coach and had been on the lookout to upgrade, even though we really liked our 2008 Excursion.  I was reluctant to do this, spending really big buck$ and then some, but I should have known that once he starts on looking at a new vehicle, it is going to happen.  Well while we were in Sefner, he couldn't get the right deal on the price of this new coach nor on trade in for ours. I was relieved but his mental wheels kept on churning and turning.  So we went on to Texas, Port Isabel where we intended to spend the rest of February and early March.  That is another story entirely and although the weather was fabulous there along the gulf, that border area is just not a place I care to revisit.  The RV Park was old and very cramped, so that we couldn't look out our windows without seeing the wall of another coach or trailer squeezed right next to us.  That is  jut not the way we like to live, so  we  were waiting out February and wiser for the experience. 

Allegiance hall way, residential refrigerator.
Behind the closed doors to the left are the separate washer and dryer. 
Jerry began making phone calls back to Florida to the sales consultant at Lazy Days and learned the American Coach was still there.  They thought they had sold it but the potential buyers couldn't qualify for financing.  We were paying cash.  For the life of me I cannot understand people financing motor homes, especially as vacation homes.  We have never charge a vacation in our lives, if we couldn't pay for it we  didn't go.  The Allegiance had barely had a first owner who kept it only 4 months and then upgraded to something bigger, a bus. Well that first owner took the depreciation, because just like automobiles, these babies depreciate the minute they leave the lot.  The Allegiance is 42 ft, but what a difference those 2 feet more than the 40 ft. Excursion make.  We gained a half bath which I really appreciate when Jerry is in the shower and the main bathroom is occupied.  We gained a residential refrigerator and a stacked separate washer and dryer, unlike the all in one combo we had in the Excursion.  I really like all these amenities, the beautiful dark cherry high gloss  luxurious cabinets and the new microwave convection oven, the all induction cook top and the dishwasher!  I never thought I would want a dishwasher in the coach, but when we winter for months, I was missing that.  I still prefer my own cooking a lot of the time when we are traveling, so despite eating out when we chose to, I cook most meals in our home.  I have always dislike washing dishes and although it isn't that bad for two people, I am much happier with a dishwasher. We have 3 smart tv's inside, one is going to come out and become cabinet space and we have an external TV for watching outside. 

Living room area sofa, not fully pulled out, there is an extension,
to the sofa which is white leather. That's why a cushion is on the
kitchen  counter, sink area to the right
King size bed
There have been some minor fixes needed, stuff the former owner never found or perhaps didn't have the acuity that Jerry has for all things electronic and mechanical.  We have an appointment in August at the factory in Decatur Indiana for some slide warranty work. That fits with our planned trip to my PA home area for my 55th high school class reunion.  Although he vowed that it would fit into it's own house that we have here at our home in MN, sure enough when we got home in March he called a contractor to have some roof beams elevated.  With each newer, bigger coach, he has enlarged the shop/house for coaches.  It is now fully extended and can go no bigger, but the beams were a bit too low for this coach, so there was an adjustment needed. Did I mention the bed is king size, which I dislike and so does he.  We are accustomed to queen size and this meant buying new linens too.  So although this is more comfortable with ability to raise feet and hear, etc. similar to the  luxury bed we have at home, with massage features, etc, we both would have opted for a queen size.  But the new coaches all have King size, likely that works well for big people, or those who are king sized themselves. We are not. We talk about replacing this King with a queen, making this bed is  hassle because there is barely enough room for hands to fit between the head and the wall. And the pillows, too  many all nicely decorative, but have to be removed for sleeping and then stored across the room.  We took several pillows out and have them in a big  bag stored at home, they will likely visit Goodwill store soon.  

We traveled  to Goshen Indiana in May to a Pushers annual event that Jerry has wanted to attend for some time. Another long story and one chronicled on Facebook.  We have some home projects under way including taking down 3 of our magnificent big ash trees from out back, victims of the emerald ash borer that has devastated this region.  I had new quartz counter tops put into the kitchen and am still waiting on the tile for the backsplash.  After I debated and pondered and made my decision, the contractor later advised that the tile was on backorder and there would be a 8 to 10 week delay.  So although  the counters were done end of April, we are waiting.  Surely this will end, but I decided to wait,  After all it took me 3 years to do this project that I have been thinking about and took me a month to decide on both counters and backsplash.  So waiting and keeping busy at home, gardening, weeding, and life. This is the update for today, last photo of the happy man in our new vacation home. 
Jerry watching one of the 3 inside TV;s from the sofa.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arctic Zumba activity

I have neglected blogging because of lack of time which is consumed by other competing activities, a significant one of which is  my physical activities at the Y across the river in La Crosse.  For several years here I considered joining the Y but thought I might not be inspired to drive there; I was wrong. Ever since mid September last fall when I gained Y membership with my enrollment in the  Diabetes Prevention Program, I have a new outlet.  Just about every day, 5 days a week, sometimes 6 I drive to the Y for physical activity, elliptical machine, body toning, swimming, yoga or my very favorite the Zumba classes. A part of my fitness program was to ensure 30 minutes dedicated physical activity per day, easy enough for me because my walks outside and around town  in the good weather were always an hour, sometimes longer, in retirement  I am blessed to have the time to spend as I wish. And well, you know me if a little is good, more is better. 

But now most mornings are consumed  with me across the river at the Y which takes up the full morning from 9:30 when I leave till about 11:30 or noon when I return home to clean up for the day.   Often I'm in Zumba which lasts for 50 minutes in the  fitness studio.  Zumba is an aerobic cardio dance exercise with a Latin twist, although our classes feature a variety of music most of it is Latin style or depending on the instructor hip hop.  Me at 69 hip hopping, oh yeah. Who'd have imagined? I have long been a fan of aerobic dance, starting long ago in CA with that old Jazzercise which we did way back then (70's) in bare feet.  I remember when we began to wear shoes and all thought it would never work.  Today I cannot imagine the bare feet and absolutely prefer shoes for support.  

My affinity for dance as exercise had me completing a certification and instructing aerobic dance for fitness  for a short time in CA until I began to drive myself crazy with my obsession to constantly change the routines and music.  Did I mention I can get bored with rote  routine?  I had a full time professional career at the same time so 24 hour days did not offer enough time for my continuous choreography.    I love most any dance so I thought any exercise centered on this would be great for me.  

Zumba is a highly aerobic dance fitness program done correctly but similar to most activities can be adjusted to one's abilities. It uses squats, lunges in the routines and even some martial arts moves.   It is credited originally to Alberto Perez, a Columbian dancer and choreographer in the 1990's who one day forgot his "tape" of aerobic music for a class he was teaching.  He improvised  with Latin music, salsa and merengue and after astonishing success in 2001 he moved to the US  where he  teamed with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to produce a demo "reel."  (Note how far we have come from tapes and reels, just had to say.)  The dance was licensed by Fitness Quest in a direct marketing campaign and home videos.  Gee they could have been Los Tres Albertos.  My research shows that over 14 million people in over 150 countries take weekly Zumba classes.   I take a Zumba class about 3 or 4  times a week. 

It has been a fantastic way for me to stay fit.  Besides physical fitness it is great for the mind to learn the new routines; our Y instructors offer a variety but most sessions find me with Wanda who mixes it up and adds new routines all he time.  While my favorites are the dances to the 50's and 60's songs, I have acquired some new hip hop favorites.  Like this one to Love Me Right by the Swag Geeks and Brook Penning

Here is the routine we do choreographed by Lauren Fitz, by the way no one in our class wears a hat.

How would I ever have heard of them or this music if I'd not been in Zumba at the Y.  I have written before, constant learning, it's the only way to be.

I works up a healthy sweat.  All ages participate although there are many of us retirees in Wanda's classes which are less impact than others, but not for those who cannot move.  It's a very welcome wintertime activity for me and energizes while building my core muscular fitness and aerobic capacity.  The Zumba toning class once a week is another stretch always  leaving my arms and shoulders exhausted from the mere 3 pound weights we use for 30 minutes.  I have made progress  because the first class in toning I could not use the 1 pound weights for the entire time, now 3 are my comfort zone.  Wonder if I will get to five with Zumba toning?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Clear to go but now waiting out the weather

Notice the truck tracks on our frozen Mississippi backwaters
transporting those who drove to their ice fishing huts

So here we are centuries after William Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It about winter, "Thy breath be rude" we agree.  Inhuman, I say.  Winter has arrived with an icy grip but we are warm and comfy inside our home. Here along the mighty Mississippi, the river has frozen and the river barge traffic has long ago ceased, the waters are still and white all along.  Winter's metaphors often reference the stillness, sense of silence and darkness, a season of hibernation, a season where everything dies a little. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, "The falling snow is a poem of the air,..where the "troubled sky reveals the grief it feels." That is a fitting sentiment as we marked three more  deaths in December, one anticipated a blessing after her long suffering, one sudden and most unexpected and the third a surprise perhaps not so unexpected with the person's illnesses the past years.  All were too young, or "not that old" as my Mom would say when she reached her 70's; one my contemporary from high school in Pennsylvania another only 74.  Winter with its cold and darkness aptly describes death and yet it is a respite for the year. In "January" John Updike wrote about the lack of sunlight in winter: "The days are short,   The sun a spark,  Hung thin between The dark and dark." Long freezing winter nights and crisp winter days can evoke harsh feelings among the people who endure them, but not all poets consider winter a bleak and lifeless season. My favorite poet, Robert Frost's "Dust of Snow," a crow’s movements cause snow to dust the speaker passing under a tree, and this dust "Has given my heart / A change of mood / And saved some part / Of a day I had rued." 
For my fellow bloggers not on Facebook, I passed my colonoscopy with an all good to go, clear, victoriously, flying colors and hope I get another 10 year pass until the next exam.  I will say the prep was easier than what I had 10 years ago and I was able to get a good night's sleep until I had to arise at 5:00AM to drink the remaining clearing solution.  At the hospital wing waiting area, holding my "traveling bag"so named by the nurse who processed me aboard, in it my clothing as I had stripped into the ugly hospital gown and robe the common dress of the women in the room.   I read and talked with another patient through her sign language interpreter, that woman was also named Patricia; soon another patient arrived to wait and she too was Patricia.  I have not been with so many like named women before.  Whenever a nurse came for Patricia we made sure by last name which of us was next.  Finally it was my turn to walk down to what would be my procedure room and climb into the bed which the thoughtful nurses had heated with a warm blanket and  then quickly piled some toasty blankets atop me, hospitals are always cold.  They hooking me up to all sorts of medical measurement equipment.  My doctor was a pleasant young woman, at least she looked young to me, an  Italian immigrant who apologized for being late to  proceed with me but explained that there had been issues with the  previous patient that took some time to resolve.  I assured her I expected to make it easy for her, in and out and done in no time so she would not miss lunch; by this time it was 11:30 and I had been admitted at 10:00AM. Moreover, I was hungry for lunch now.   She laughed and the next thing I knew it was time to awaken.  She said she easily removed 3 tiny sessile polyps, minute in size only 1 and 2 mm, or Millimeter which measures length; she sent the tissue for a pathology examination but she did not anticipate any problems and I would receive a follow up recommending my next exam and my primary care doctor would already have the electronic access o the results.  Technology abounds.  She provided a written report to the nurse who passed it along to me after I dressed for my exit. I have since learned that my tiny polyps were something that might not be spotted (ahem) but for the state of the art equipment of Mayo and the specialists.  

Back deck thermometer through kitchen window
8:15 this morning, sub zero has arrived
Now we are keeping a careful watch on the weather as our temperatures fell  well below zero overnight and the south eastern parts of the country all are experiencing very low temperatures. I have never before experienced these sub zero temperatures, all the more reason to stay comfy inside, marking another first for me.  We had been planning a departure about January 16 right  after my last meeting of the Diabetes Prevention Program at the YMCA.  But now we are watching for better weather. 

2013 at Easthaven.  Icicles hanging from the
wheels covers on our coach. Here in MN it
has its own house and is not exposed to harsh elements.
Last year we spent a week at Easthaven, just outside Memphis, TN waiting out the ice storm that was devastating the area and making for treacherous driving conditions in an area not equipped to handle it.  Then when we did get going we drove through snow in northern Mississippi.  It was not an experience we want to repeat.  Jerry said, why try to drive the rig and toad (tow vehicle for those unfamiliar with RV style lingo)  for two days to sit in ice, we are better off right here at home, cozy and warm and not having to go out in the frigidity arctic temps.    
2013 last  year through the windshield of our motor coach on
I55, northern Mississippi.   
So we wait patiently and keep warm and I keep busy with many projects including writing on my blog. I see I  need to remove the Christmas and Santa from the right side here, tomorrow perhaps. A lesson I have learned  to perfect in retirement, I don't have to complete all tasks in one day, tomorrow's another day. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Doing what it takes to triump in the battles of the bulges

Autumn colors different around  town.
Partial color changes, early leaf drop, 
I've  had a fairly healthy lifestyle over the years and yet it is not enough, so to step it up, I  enrolled at the YMCA sponsored diabetes prevention program at the advice of my doctor who commented that the past two years my fasting blood glucose levels had risen.  While not yet to a stage considered medically "pre-diabetic" he advised, "don't let this get away and take your good health."  I have some family history of diabetes so I do not want to go there and will avoid it with all my power. Well, I also avoid the scale like the plague but was aware of carting along some excess poundage  because my clothes did not fit as well.  My annual doctor's check up (or any medical visit) involves encountering my enemy, the scale;  I could go in with a broken arm and I would be weighed first.  The pain of reality is diminished slightly  though because the pounds are no longer visible instead a metric version is displayed these days which gives me a content moment, being blissfully unaware of my weight in metrics. That lasts until the nurse translates it to  pounds for me or leaves the chart and I see the conversion.  I am a "nosey" inquisitive person so I always look or ask her.   Well my annual check up this July followed our month long trip in the motor home to New York and Pennsylvania which involved good times, good food, good drinks, good friends. 
Mid morning "snack" of immense cinnamon rolls
at Braeburn Lodge, Alaska

There in is the culprit, the food, always. Why does so much of social life revolve around food, meals, snacks, treats.  Food is all over everywhere.  It is no wonder we have an obesity problem.  Most of us eat way too much. Our trip to Alaska involved more food than I could consume in any given  setting and less physical exercise daily than that which I routinely do, so those pounds joined my body.  But not to fear back home, again it is boot camp, baby, I cannot allow that poundage to become overly attached to me.  BTW, the other half  of this household seldom battles weight and is one of those fortunate people who can eat whatever.  Even he, did some cut back to trim back after the trip because he is very conscious about weight gain and will not go there. 

While I battle poundage, the  last maybe 20years especially, and acknowledge my metabolism is not what it used to be when I could eat half a bucket of KFC chicken and not gain an ounce. 

This is week 5 of the 16 week program; my doctor will retest my fasting blood  glucose in  December when I expect a clean slate, "ya done good girl".  This program developed by the American Diabetes Association after significant research and clinical trials is administered by local YMCA's country wide.  Like anything, results require commitment  Changing habits takes time.This multi faceted approach (food target and physical activity) involves a weekly meeting, a program lecture and participation, recording  every bite and morsel into our food journal  along with  amount of daily exercise, daily weight, any issues or concerns.  We turn these journals in at each meeting to our group leader who returns them the next week with helpful comments.  She has advised me to eat more and use those 33 grams of fat each day to avoid yo yo bounce dieting.  Yeah!  Eat more, slow down the loss which they set at only 15 pounds for me, but I set at 20. We have these dandy graphs to track our weekly weights, officially what her scale shows and yes, we weigh in every week. I still have not made friends with the scale. 

Because we meet at 6:00PM which  would be  right at  or before our dinner time.  I learned after weighing in the first time to not eat my dinner until after class.  There in is another mystery--how can I gain 3  pounds when I don't eat three pounds of food at a meal?  Yet, there's that dreaded scale lying in wait to annoy me.  There are about 20 other participants in the program with all their varying tales and excuses.    

 The sessions are interesting and I am reeducating myself in a lot of healthy food lifestyle choices.  We count total fat grams for which my daily allowance is 33 very easy to reach when eating cheeses (one of my favorite foods) and other non-essential things. My daily lunch or  midday snack was always apple, cheese and  maybe some crackers.  Now it might be a sandwich, apple, yogurt and only an ounce of cheese, that's a 1 inch cube.  I could eat 10 of those no problem.  So it is a process of learning or relearning.  I have indeed become a "fat detective" and carefully consider whether an indulgence is too costly a price to pay, in fat grams. So far I have dropped 12 pounds and the program has me stepped up to increasing my walking to many miles a day instead of just one or two, interspersing some jogging on the track, and finally  adding water aerobics, lap swimming and Zumba classes and toning at the Y where we have a free membership with this program.  Our weather has cooled down a lot so it is good to have the option of indoor classes at the Y.  
Wooly caterpillars abound; legend predicts winter by the
middle red, the head represents remaining time of autumn
and the tail the length of spring. 

So it goes with a step up in physically challenging activities and carefully paying attention to foods.  I doubt I will ever befriend that scale, but keeping healthy is my goal, healthy aging.  I love it when folks think I am much much younger than my 68 years. A healthier lifestyle, that's the choice here.  Doing what it takes.  This endeavor is requiring that we delay snow birding south until January; ironic in that now that we have no responsibilities of caring for elderlies, this old gal gets tied up in  a delay.  Such is life in retirement.    

Monday, November 7, 2011

Catching up and falling back on time

Red bush off back deck.
I have just been  far too entertained with domestic chores and laundry for days to write, even having to skip my favorite Sepia Saturday again this past weekend.  Time sure can roll along quickly most days.  Right now I am taking a quick refresh break from many outdoor chores as we are enjoying a sunny lovely fall day.  I am especially thrilled that the bush off our back deck has restored itself to brilliant reds after an absence of a few dismal years.  When we moved here that first fall it was a brilliant red, but not so much since, a splash of a red leaf here and there only.  But this year, it is back to its red.  I don't know what kind it is but many folks around here have these although no one identifies them.  The local nursery was no help.  This is the bush  where I have sprouted blooms of wine bottles the last couple years amongst it's foilage on  barren limbs that did not leaf out.   I am curious if it only does a red show every so many years. 

This weekend was the autumnal  time change when we gain the hour of sleep, daylight savings, I like that.  But I do not like that it will now be dark about 4:30 PM and surely by 5:00PM this far north.  And another think, I dislike  resetting all the clocks and watches and electronics in the house.  Well, I am fortunate that time changers are Jerry's tasks and fortunately all the computers, cell, and cable TV monitors and the bedroom alarm clock reset themselves.  That still leaves the  clocks on the stove, microwave, under the kitchen counter radio, watches and other  old clocks for manual adjustments and of course, the vehicles.

I think of Aunt Jinx who got tired of all the  resetting of her various clocks and so she left the stove clock alone to be "right half the year or so" as she said when I would visit and tell her the clock was wrong and would offer to change it. The right time half the year was good enough for her and she said she did not look at that clock anyway. 

Today I made my first time change mistake, because while the mechanical apparatuses (apparati?) are reset, my body is not and we had not changed the clock in my SUV.  So on my way to Curves this morning and the post office, I decided to first swing into the library to visit LaVonne, our librarian and a friend whom I've not seen since we returned home.  But when I arrived the doors were locked, I  checked the sign posted and thought, well it is 10:30 and they open at 10:00 so why are the doors locked?

Because it was not 10:30 as my vehicle clock displayed but only 9:30.  Oh well, I had other errands and a work out awaiting and everything is convenient in our town so I could return later.  I had saved a front page article from the  Durham, NC newspaper about the necessity of libraries for real research in this time of Googling.  The article pointed out that not all reference material in libraries and research centers has been digitized nor made available on the internet. The analysis by Duke University students and the librarians concluded that the need for libraries is still vital for accurate in depth research.  Hooray for Duke! 

There the students bring their laptops to the library to compose on while using the massive reference materials.  It reminded me of my days as a college student at the Allegheny Library and home trips to Carnegie in Pittsburgh.  Somehow, I think it a disservice if college students do not have to avail themselves of a library but merely Google for information.  Knowing how to conduct research using reference materials is becoming a dying art, so LaVonne told me as she looked at the photos of the  volumes of materials on the shelves.  We commiserated on how we would thrill at the hunt for information in the our old college days among the massive tomes. For me it was not only college days, I used the reference materials at the California State Library numerous times during my career as an analyst when preparing legislation and testimony; how does it work today, a quick Google and there are the facts as we found them? 
Shallow analysis at best, I suppose.

The same newspaper had an extensive article about why books would not become obsolete nor replaced by  electronic readers for many reasons including that printed volumes abound, are cheaper than the ereads and   one can share a book.  Most interesting was the amazing new data showing that the aging eyes are not meant for extensive online reading.  I can verify that newest  study finding.  I spend lots of time at my computer.  However I do not like to read pages and pages of narrative material on line, I find it tires my eyes.  No surprise in this study that revealed lack of blinking and lubrication to the eyes is a common malady with ereaders and computers and that for people beyond a certain age, this is not a good thing.  Hah another reason to stick with the books.

Piles of leaves that Jerry has blown from the yard
Awaiting grinding in the mulcher and shredder and then
transport up the hill to the rose garden in the front.
Well, More to do outside to enjoy this sunshine.  Tomorrow later a wet front is  moving in.  We intend  to spread  leaf mulch over the rose garden to winterize them,  but may not finish this today.  It  is a glorious day to take in sunshine and great fresh air and blue sky.  Later....

Our smallest maple tree, still has many leaves
to come down.  Our motor home awaits movement
 to its winter house