A Silver Lining

I am writing from a place of frustration at the moment. By this evening when I have gone through my day and found joy and hit the reset button, I will possibly regret writing from this mindset. But I stated from the beginning that I want to be transparent in this endeavor. If we cannot write from a place of authenticity, what is the point?

I am 60 years old, five days away from being 61. I seemingly cannot consistently carve out one hour a week to go a local yoga class. It is offered twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but geez…let’s not get too crazy. I wouldn’t want to ask for the moon.

This morning I awakened early at Mama’s house. I browned a nice beef roast in olive oil and salt and pepper. I peeled potatoes then cut them into hearty little chunks and placed them in the bottom of a crock pot. I then put the nicely seared roast over the potatoes and sprinkled onion soup mix over the top. I set it to low so that it could cook for a solid eight to nine hours and be ready for Mama’s dinner. I told her she could smell it all day long and give her something to look forward to. She didn’t quite understand.

After that, I attempted to help Mama comprehend what the day would be like; the comings and goings. She shook her head (negatively) and asked why we were doing this to her. 

We found agreeable clothes to put on and headed to the kitchen for coffee. She sipped her morning brew, sweetened with French vanilla creamer and stared at me. “Were you here with me last night?” She asked. “Yes”, I said. “We made a good dinner and talked and even laughed a bit. Later we ate ice-cream on your balcony then came back inside to sing songs from the church hymnal until our voices gave out. Do you remember?” Her reply “Not really.” Sigh. 

Sometimes I wonder if it would make a difference if we sat and did nothing all evening. All efforts to fill her time and bring her joy seem to evaporate by morning. Although in my serene mindset I know that it is indeed worth it, if not for her, then for me.

Knowing I would need to leave her by 9:10 to make it to yoga, I quickly got myself dressed in yoga-appropriate clothing, side-braided my hair and packed up my overnight bag. 

As life goes, things happen. A bit of extended time comforting Mama. A washing of the searing skillet and cleanup. A conversation that was needed. And I’m not out the door till 9:20. I thought I could still make it, while maintaining road safety. About two miles from my destination was a lane closure with lined up traffic while two large cement trucks took their sweet time backing into a new housing development. That pushed the possibilities over the edge. 

I circled back around and headed for home, defeated. I walked into the house, finding Noah working on his school schedule and lamented to him about my morning. He understood, as much as he was able.

There are those pouting, toned-down temper tantrums we occasionally throw in an adult form. I tossed one right then and there. 

As the old adage goes when a young couple has a fight about who should take out the trash, it’s not really about the trash. And this morning, it wasn’t totally about yoga. It was more about being in a place where ‘things’ prevented a small staking of a claim for oneself. 

As stated in my first paragraph, by evening I will be fine. I will be smiling and grateful. 

I will realize that this extra hour in my morning allowed me to spend time at my desk, which perhaps was even more therapeutic.

Healthy Thursday

Is anyone else grossed out by cooking chicken? Here is a lovely organic chicken that I washed inside and out with cold water, salted and peppered, and about to stick into the oven to cook. In two hours, it will be beautifully browned and the skin will be crispy. The juices will run clear and the meat thermometer will register right at 185 degrees. Perfect. 

We will enjoy tender, warm pieces of this chicken along with a medley of cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus roasted in olive oil and sparingly sprinkled with seasoned salt and pepper. 

Mike and I are trying to stick to a ketogenic diet plan and this meal should fit the bill. 

Honestly, mashed potatoes and homemade gravy would have been delicious with this chicken. Or perhaps a nice dish of hot egg noodles. Also, a crusty, toasty loaf of French bread would round things off nicely. 

No, those things are not on the list. We will stick with meat and the vegetables grown above the ground. We will eat chunks of cheese and olives stuffed with garlic and avocado melted into scrambled eggs and walnuts and pumpkin seeds. 

That raw chicken sitting here on my counter looks a little bit disgusting but it was so very good. It also provided plenty of leftovers, enough to make a nice stir-fry this weekend using a bag of frozen riced cauliflower. 

If you can get past the initial unpleasantness of something, you may find that given the right temperature, the right timing, and the right accompaniment, delicious and lasting changes can be made. I’m counting on it. 

Tastes Good/Made Bad

I read an article in Prevention Magazine about how some of our favorite foods are made. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Sometimes I do not want to know how some things are made. I just want to eat Oreos dipped into my hot coffee and hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Well, this article slanted my thinking. 

First, coffee creamer. I have written previously about my coffee love. I do not use sugar but I do use cream and it has to be just the right color. I do not like straight black coffee. All three of my boys drink it that way. I may just not be man enough and I’m totally fine with that.

We all know what a stellar job the food industry does at packaging items to appeal to our senses. The packaged food industry is a trillion-dollar business and they will do whatever it takes to get the color, texture and flavor right.

Coffee creamers are at the top of the list for swaying us, at least the coffee drinkers among us. They look and sound so amazing; sugar cookie, almond joy, Irish crème, pumpkin spice, Cinnabon. Plus the TV commercial of the lady (with perfect hair and Audrey Hepburn slim pants, classic sweater set and ballet flats) curled up cozy in front of her fire drinking hot coffee with these delightful creamers, well it’s pure marketing genius.

The article stated that though these flavors are tempting, in addition to all of the added sugar (or high fructose corn syrup, more likely), these also contain a lot of oil—specifically hydrogenated oils. Plainly put, these are industrial fats known to be extremely unhealthy. 

Another item mentioned in the article is jelly beans. I do not really care for jelly beans, but oh my, when  I was a kid, I loved them. They are shiny and cute and brilliantly colored. Just looking at them made me feel happy. Well, I’m not happy anymore. 

Jelly beans are often coated with shellac. This shellac is, yes, a relative of the same topcoat you use for your home manicures. Shellac is also used in insulation, sealants, and varnishes. And one more fun fact. Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug found on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes then dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac. Um, gross. This needs to be reported to the Easter Bunny right away. Unless he is in on it, which would be a whole other story.

Lastly, shredded cheeses. Most of us have heard that it is better to buy a block of cheese and grate it ourselves, just like our mothers did. One of the rules of thumb with shredded cheeses is that if it sticks together, chances are, it is better. The non-clumping agent known as cellulose is more familiar to us when we call it what it actually is—wood pulp. Instead of giving us what we pay for and want, which is more cheese, companies fatten up the bags by adding wood shavings. 

If I have ruined your dinner tacos piled with shredded cheese or taken away your coffee joy or tainted your Easter dreams, I apologize. 

We all want truth until it starts messing with the things we love.


I have a new calendar book. It covers May 2018 through June 2019. My previous one, of course, ended in June of 2018, last month.

I am not sure if it is due to my thrifty upbringing or because I took ecology class in high school (which I took only because I thought it was a ‘cool’ thing to do, not because I cared about the earth. Sorry Earth. I do care, now.)

I have a hard time throwing away perfectly good paper, even though I, of course, recycle. It may be the writer in me. It hurts my heart to dispose of blank paper that could be filled with words. 

So when it came time to dispose of my old appointment book, I went through and pulled out all the blank pages. I then cut them up neatly into smaller sheets, perfect for a grocery list or a reminder note. 

I often keep little notes in my kitchen drawer that state consistent reminders, things like “clothes in dryer”. I will put this note on the counter so when I awaken in the morning I will remember to warm up the clothes and fold them before I leave the house for the day. 

Another note is “fruits and veggies”. Again, will leave this note on the counter before I go to bed to remind myself to grab a banana and the bag of carrots and cauliflower that I cut up the night before.

Often I will put a person’s name on a piece of paper when they come to mind late in the evening or during the night and I must remember to call or email that person.

I could buy a thick stack of yellow sticky notes or those cute cubes of square paper at any store. But why should I toss away perfectly good paper when I can create my own notes, save a few bucks, and maybe even a tree or two.

On occasion I have seen my husband or one of my sons toss a spiral type notebook into the trash, when they no longer have a use for it. I fish it out and ask why they have thrown away perfectly good paper!?!!

I know, at these times, I sound and act like my mother. I know I may get an occasional eye-roll when I step onto the soap box about being frugal. 

Perhaps we all spend freely in some areas and are parsimonious in others. I am certainly aware of that quality in myself. Do I really need eight black tee shirts? Though in my defense, not one of them is identical. They each have their own little differences which make them unique and just right for the outfit. 

The ability to show restraint is an extremely important quality. I may choose saving blank paper and you may choose owning only one black tee shirt. 

Prudence needs to be evidenced in some part of every life. 

Jello Stories

So it is National Eat your Jello Day. I have three stories associated with Jello. 

The first one is my personal memory of Jello. Several times I have written about the way we ate as a family growing up; simple, home-cooked, delicious meals around the kitchen table. We did not have dessert every evening but when we did it was pudding or a made-from-scratch cake or Jello. It was often red Jello. My mama would add a can of fruit cocktail so it was full of fun, chunky, varied pieces of fruit. It was so good! 

My second thought about Jello is from one of my favorite movies, My Best Friend’s Wedding. I am not completely sure why I love this movie. It does not have a 100% happy ending, but there are sweet parts and funny parts and sad parts and the music is wonderful.

In one scene, Julia Roberts’ character, who is a food critic by profession, is telling Cameron Diaz’s character that she is creme brûlée and when you are creme brûlée, you cannot be Jello. Diaz’s character is upset, crying that she wants to be Jello. Roberts’ character forcibly tells her that she will NEVER be Jello.

Who knew being Jello was such a great thing? You have to see the movie, trust me. 

And third, today, while driving home from running errands, I heard a woman on the radio talking about the importance of instilling values into your very young children. She stated that it is not too far fetched to say that what a child is at age seven, is the adult he or she will be. Wow. No pressure.

She went on to say that as a young mother, she would often take her children to the mall early in the day to walk the little ones in the stroller and let the bigger ones walk along side and look at all the stores. One day when she was there, she saw a large sign hanging from the ceiling of the mall which stated this:

A child’s mind is like Jello. Put the good things in before it sets.”

That impacted her greatly. She realized the major importance of being with her children from day to day to day and teaching them strong values and lessons.

I could not agree more. My little ones are all grown up into wonderful adults. I am so grateful for them; their love and care and their friendship. They are very dear to me. 

There are, however, days that I would love to do it all over again, to be better at it. But in spite of my shortcomings, and by God’s grace and mercy, the good things were put in before they were “set”. 

But really, we are all, regardless of age, still ‘setting’ to some degree. We can still put good things in, even if we wobble and jiggle just a bit. 

Shooting your Age

I have heard my doctor-husband speak of seeing a healthy patient in his late 60s or 70s or even 80s and say “He is in great shape. He is a golfer who shoots his age.” Explain, I say.

To “shoot your age” refers to good golfers over the age of 65ish. Obviously, a 25 year-old can’t “shoot his age”, but if a 65, 70 or 75 year-old can shoot his age, that is a major accomplishment in golf. Ah, okay. Now I get it. “So then, if a 90 year-old can shoot his age, that is really good, right?” “Yes!” He exclaimed, “really good.”

That got me thinking.

What other sports or activities might we want to “shoot our age”? Maybe tennis ~ love, 15, 30, 40. That could work. I would like to shoot (score) my age in tennis. 

How about basketball? From what I know, a player who scores between 40-60 shots per game is a superstar. Only four players have scored 60 or more points on more than one occasion. Those are Wilt Chamberlain (32 times), Kobe Bryant (6 times), Michael Jordan (5 times), and Elgin Baylor (4 times).

I will most likely never shoot my age in any sport, except perhaps bowling.  

There are certainly moments I would love to (literally) shoot my age. I would blow a hole right through the year on my birth certificate and then create a new one. Perhaps I would replace 1957 with 1967, easy enough to do. Yes, 50 could be nicer to say than 60. 

Those moments, however, are truly just that, momentary. I am trying very hard to do exactly what my blog description states “face 60 with style and grace”. For the record, I did not come up with that phrase. My graphic-designer, brilliant son (one of three), Christopher, added that little quip to the card when he designed it. 

I may have not come up with it, but I am 100% on board with living it out. 

Healthy Thursday

A few weeks ago on one of our drives to visit my father-in-law at the Ohio Veterans Home in Georgetown, my husband and I ran through the McDonald’s drive-thru. I wanted coffee. He wanted a Big Mac.

When I reached into the bag to pull out the Big Mac, this little card was inside.

As noted on the sheet, McDonald’s wants to make it easier for parents to select balanced meals for their kids. They are evolving their nutritional standards for Happy Meal offerings. There are now only two options for Happy Meals ~ a hamburger meal and a 4-piece Chicken McNuggets meal. 

Where is the cheeseburger meal you may ask. Apparently the Cheeseburger Happy Meal does not meet the new nutritional criteria. However, they are quick to note that you can add cheese to your Hamburger Happy Meal at no additional charge. Okay then.

And what about the Mighty Kids Meal? Well, it is no longer available. But…you can still request six Chicken McNuggets by adding two to your 4-piece McNuggets Happy Meal order for an additional charge. Wait, what? So the Mighty Kids Meal is not available per se, but you can still create it by mixing and matching and adding an additional charge. Ah, now it makes sense. Kidding.

And lastly, chocolate milk is no longer on the menu. Stop crying, kids, your mom will buy you a toy later at Walmart, to soothe your angst. McDonald’s is quick to note that they are reformulating the chocolate milk to reduce the amount of added sugar, so hopefully it will make a return. Crisis averted. 

In spite of my snarky remarks, I applaud McDonald’s for their attempt to keep kids healthy as they grow into (hopefully) healthy adults. 

My concern is what are the parents ordering for themselves as they ‘choose’ healthier options for their kids? Newsflash, parents, your kids are watching. 

The best option we can give our kids and grandkids is making better choices for ourselves and have them take note. 

Just sayin’. 

Selfie Elbow

“Selfie Elbow” is now a real medical condition. Who-da-thunk-it?

When I awaken with sore muscles after a previous day of yoga or a rigorous upper body workout, it feels great. I love to know I have pushed myself and fatigued muscles that are now in the process of rebuilding stronger.

However, if I awaken with a sore elbow from a previous day of taking too many selfies, that feeling would not be great. 

Selfie elbow is the latest tech-induced ailment to sweep the world of smartphone addicts. People are holding their elbows in a bent position for extended periods of time in order to get the best angle for their selfies. The result is a strain on the tendons, muscle soreness, and overuse injuries.

Mary Ann Wilmarth, a doctor of physical therapy and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association told the Washington Post that “Selfie elbow is similar to tennis elbow or golfers elbow, which are names for conditions in which you experience inflammation in the tendons that run along your arm from your hand to your elbow.” She added that inflammation from taking selfies happens because you’re extending your arm but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone as you do—a modern movement that our bodies just aren’t designed to do on a regular basis. This is the definition of a #firstworldproblem. 

Ya think?

We, of course, have heard about other tech-related conditions such as “gaming thumb”, “swiping finger”, “texting neck”, and other issues caused by our driving desire to stay connected. I use those last two words loosely. Are we truly staying connected through these methods?

Thankfully, the solution is as simple as the problem itself, said Wilmarth. She suggests we build technology time-outs into our day to give our limbs a rest. Get regular exercise to improve your circulation and make sure you’re stretching and strengthening all parts of your body daily, she added. 


I am a certified personal trainer. I fully expect to begin receiving pamphlets in the mail advertising CME courses to teach folks how to strengthen their elbows, shoulders, and fingers in order to maintain their narcissistic lifestyle. 

Oy vey. 

Fragility Fractures

When I was younger, in my forties, I remember hearing about ‘older’ women with fragile bones and how important it is to stay active and strong. That sounded nearly ridiculous to me, then. THEN, not now.

I used to think nothing of scrambling onto a counter top or the corner of a wobbly chair to hang a curtain rod or get cobwebs out of a corner. THEN, not now.

A simple fall from tripping over a rug or missing a step previously seemed somewhat harmless. THEN, not now.

A ‘fragility fracture’ occurs when bone mass is weakened by age or disease. Often, these fractures happen after normal activity. Once experienced, these fractures place a person at a ten-fold risk of it happening again. 

Jennifer Jerele, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio states “Fragility fractures are most common in women who have osteopenia and osteoporosis, which both occur as we age and our bone density stops accumulating. Unfortunately, osteoporosis is not a disease that can be felt or seen and therefore may go unnoticed until a fracture occurs.” 

The most common fragility fractures occur in the wrist, hip, or spine. The sad truth is that we accumulate bone density until we hit 30 years of age and after that, we gradually start losing it. THIRTY, not sixty or fifty or even forty. 

This malady especially affects women after menopause. Their bone density tends to drop dramatically unless they make lifestyle changes or begin medication. 

The best way for a woman to know if she is at risk for osteoporosis or fragility fractures is to have her bone density tested through a DEXA scan. The scan compares the density of a person’s spine and hip to that of a healthy 25-year-old. This provides a T-score, which helps guide future treatment.

So the lifestyle changes mentioned above are something we can all do, for free! Nutrition and exercise are important. Adding weights or strength training exercises to daily or weekly activities is a first, positive step. Also, taking calcium and vitamin supplements can be helpful. Increasing these vitamins provide a 25% risk reduction of hip fractures in older adults. That is pretty huge.

And lastly, try to reduce risk of falls at home; move furniture out of walkways, add a nightlight to pathways, remove or secure area rugs. Geez…do I sound old. 

Accepting the reality is difficult. However, denying it is worse. 

I will be purchasing a sturdy step-stool and stop using kitchen chairs and wobbly boxes for reaching up to complete tasks. I will try to keep my traffic pathways clear of stuff. I will secure precarious throw rugs.

I will also up my strength training and add calcium to my routine. And I will schedule a DEXA scan.

Bring it, 25-year-old. 

Healthy Thursday

In January, I wrote a blog called Reality Yoga, lamenting that the pleasant, but factual, 35ish year old instructor, kindly pointed out (aloud but with yoga voice) that I should take it at my own pace. “Yoga is not about winning. We do not want injury to show that you are able to do exactly the same moves as everyone else in the room.” 

I wanted to yell out: “I am not new to this world. I worked as a certified personal trainer. I know how this works. I used to say the same things to my ‘older’ clients.”

But that would have only made me look (and sound) my age. One of many life lessons that 60 year-olds learn.

So I smiled and nodded and pushed myself harder than she recommended. 

And I kept going, week after week. 

One would think that at age 60, it would not be a monumental task to get to an hour long yoga class once a week. The class is offered twice a week but let’s not get crazy.

I am still working part-time as a writer for a magazine. I help care for my dear mama. Married to a busy physician, I am in charge of the care and feeding of our home, literally and figuratively. I also have one son living at home, finishing up college, and another one, who has been back home for about a month as he transitions to another job in possibly another city. It’s all good, but busy. 

This morning when I walked into the yoga room there was a sign on the door stating “Yoga is pool-side this morning.”

I grabbed a rolled-up mat from the large cubby and headed out, hoping very much that we were not in the sun since I had failed to apply sunscreen. At last minute, though, I did grab my summer-white, large framed sunglasses.

As I walked toward the pool, I was glad to see a striped canvas-covering where women were gathering. My instructor said: “Oh, it’s you, Rebecca. When I saw you walking over here, I thought there was a celebrity taking my class this morning.” Ding-ding-ding!!! Yes.

I am feeling so much better about yoga. I am learning the names and the movements and am now often able to anticipate the next step. 

And a small victory, in class today, my instructor (aloud but with yoga voice) said to one of the ‘newbies’, “See what Rebecca is doing, that is the correct form”. Again, yes!

I’m certainly not able to perform the full-thrust of what some of the thirty-somethings are able to do. I cannot ‘flip my dog’ and may never get there, which is so very okay.

As are most new paths that we choose, yoga has been a lesson in persistence and discipline. And as Nicole (yoginī girl) said back in January, the first time I attended, “Go at your own pace. This is about your own journey.” 

As the hour closes in, following shavasana, I am not bothered by the statement that ends every class as we put our thumb knuckles to our ‘third eye’ and together say ‘Namaste’, simply meaning ‘I bow to you’. This insinuates that learning and wisdom are exchanged among everyone in the room. It is a reverential and honoring salutation.

Namaste indeed.