Don’t take your energy for granted…. and where did mine go?


And when exactly did it happen, anyway? I can recall having boundless energy. I could chase 3 kids and a dog, make homemade meals, wallpaper a room, and mow the lawn, all before dinner. Now it’s all I can do to sweep the floor, toss in a load of laundry and reheat leftovers, without taking frequent ‘breaks’.

In the late 90’s I took my main bathroom out, right back to the 2 by 4’s. Every piece I ripped out I took to my local building centre and said “I need one of these, exactly this size” and dutifully they cut whatever it was I needed and I drove home and put it in place. When it came to removing the toilet (cause I was putting in a new tile floor) my father, who lived in another city, ‘talked me through it’.

Now, I should point out, none of this was approved by my husband. He refused to learn home renos himself but didn’t want to pay a professional either, so I took matters into my own hands, hence my frequent trips to the building centre. (my husband is a wonderful, intelligent man but truth told, he can barely build a sandwich let alone tackle home repairs) He came home from work late one evening and stumbled into the toilet, which was in the middle of our bedroom (I had to put it somewhere) Once the bathroom was done I put in a new sub floor throughout our entire upstairs (I needed them for the new rugs) then I wall papered my kitchen and put in a tile back splash. Suffice it to say, I had energy in those days. Who knew they’d end?

Last week I cut down a tree that succumbed to last years’ drought in our region. (terrible shame, it was a 13 foot Colorado Blue Spruce) I used a hand saw, trimming off all the branches, then taking down the trunk in 2 pieces (By the time my husband got home from golf, there was only a small stump) and I’ve paid for it ever since! My leg muscles are still stiff and my left shoulder throbs constantly in response to the sawing motion. Ok, so I acknowledge that maybe my renovating days are over…..but it doesn’t stop there.

Recently, we had a party to attend which required dressing more formally and I had to wrestle my way in to a pair of panty hose for the dress I was to wear. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I carefully start to gather one leg of the hose and cram my foot in. With that leg in up to my shin I then gather the next leg of my stockings and I’m shocked to discover I can’t bring the other leg up enough to get into the stocking. (when did this happen?….and what kind of lethal stockings are these?) I inadvertently roll back onto the bed trying to cram my foot into the stocking at the very moment my husband came in to the room (bet that was pretty) and in my haste to recover I rolled right off the bed landing in a heap on the floor (arse side up, of course) and cursing the defective stockings. My husband diplomatically pretended not to notice (but I’m sure I heard him snicker). I wore slacks to the party.

It seems that every year we age robs us of something. If it’s not your physical energy, it’s your memory. (by the way, do you see the irony in that? If my memory had been intact maybe I would’ve remembered that felling trees was for younger people) You work a lifetime so that you can retire and enjoy your ‘hobbies’ but by the time you get there, you’re too tired and everything hurts.

If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s don’t take your energy for granted because it’ll be gone before you know it. Just look around at those of us ‘over 35’ (ok, well over) and note the slower gait, the ‘sensible’ shoes and ‘practical’ clothing (pants with an elastic waist). It’s not our choice to slow down, (rather it’s nature’s sense of humour at our expense) so enjoy it while you can and don’t laugh at the rest of us, cause you’ll be there in the blink of an eye! (fyi, I’m the one without panty hose on)

female aging



The Physical

Every January I faithfully go for my annual physical, and every January I leave my doctors office with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s always the same routine. She sends me for blood work, pokes and prods my parts, (I call it the “annual grope n squeeze”) takes my blood pressure, etc, and pronounces me fit as a fiddle. (truth told, I’m always a little leery of my bloodwork results…my increasingly steady diet of red wine is bound to show up one day)

Two years ago I mentioned my knees were bothering me and after x-rays she advised I was showing signs of arthritis. Years of walking and hiking kept my muscles tone but had caused my cartilage to erode. No fix for it – this is the kind of aging arthritis everyone gets, eventually. She did however suggest I lose 10 pounds to take the pressure off my knees (ok, yes, I had put on a few pounds, but it’s not like I wasn’t careful. As soon as I noticed my clothes were tighter I immediately switched from Vermouth to  red wine)

“Keep walking”, she said, “ to keep the muscles strong, but take off the extra pounds to take the pressure off your joints”. (did you know that every extra pound you carry adds 6 pounds of pressure to your joints?) I had a year to get myself back in shape, and I left her office determined to do just that.

I kept up with the walking and hiking and ramped up my veggie and fruit intake, cutting back on starches and carbs (ok, not really) Never having issues with weight before I thought I could overcome this with time and prayer (?) I did consciously add fruits to my snack diet instead of cookies or chips but I purposely looked for the biggest fruit I could find (cause if I can only have 1 piece of fruit you can bet it’s gonna be a whopper!) Apples the size of my head (but only one) and every now and then I’d find bananas the size of baseball bats (score!). Giving my diet minimal effort, I cautiously strolled into my next years physical hoping she wouldn’t remember the last, cause not only did I not lose the ten pounds she recommended, I’d gained five. (stupid fruit)

She looked at all the stats, no change in my bloodwork but “Your weight is up. Did we discuss that last year?” she asks. I plaster a puzzled look on my face and innocently reply, “Why no, I can’t recall any issues last year. Should I be worried?” She assures me there are no concerns but cautions me against continuing to gain weight. (it’s not like I do it on purpose)

Rats, I leave the office again determined to make changes (could it be the red wine? Maybe vodka would be kinder from a caloric intake?) I whine to my husband later that day and he gently suggests that perhaps my problem is portion sizes. After giving him a sound tongue-lashing for his impertinence, I head in to the kitchen to make dinner. My mood is somewhat lighter while I cook, (thanks to the red wine) so by the time we sit down to eat I’m feeling pretty good. Then I look at our plates. Sweet Mother of Mary, how many people are dining here tonight? Our plates each consist of a chicken breast (Jesus, how big was that buzzard anyway?) …….a big chicken breast! Nestled next to the giant breast is a mound of mashed potatoes and a good handful of green beans and in case we didn’t get enough veggies, we each have a soup size bowl of salad (veggies are important, right?) Houston, we have a problem.

I woke up this morning and vowed to implement changes. I squeezed myself into my spandex workout wear (it was like stuffing sausage into casing) and met up with a friend who’s an avid hiker and criminally slender. (bitch) She makes the thermoses of green tea and picks the hiking trail. I make the tuna sandwiches – that’s our deal, and in the past I made big tuna sandwiches. I’d take the biggest slices from the centre of a loaf of rye bread so we each got a sandwich that spanned a good 6-8 inches. (we’re hiking for God’s sake, we need sustenance)  Today I took the smaller slices, from the ends of the loaf, and she thought it was great (personally, I thought it was an hors d’oeurves) She delicately gnawed away at her sandwich over a 20 minute period. I, on the other hand, scarfed down my sandwich in 90 seconds and then scanned the area for any potentially edible berry bushes. (who survives this diet stuff?) Eventually we drifted into conversation that distracted me from my starvation and much to my surprise, I found myself less and less focused on my appetite. In fact, I felt great.

As I write this, I proudly acknowledge that I survived day 1 of yet another, diet. I’m bbqing lean pork with grilled veggies and a salad…..a small salad, I swear. AND, I’m testing that vodka theory as I cook! (surely there’s fewer calories in vodka than red wine?)

 I just hope it doesn’t conflict with the chocolate peanut butter ice cream we’re having for dessert…………!


pretty lady sitting on a diet

Mother’s Day

Last Tuesday my husband turned 60 and my mother turned 87. Two days later my daughter turned 30 and last night I threw the mother of all parties to celebrate their mile stone birthdays. It took weeks to coordinate, days to prepare the food and the house for out of town guests, and a small fortune was ‘invested’ in our local liquor store.

This Mothers Day like so many in my past, saw me cleaning house, changing beds and sorting empties, in between airport runs. I’m exhausted and a tad hung over (ok, self inflicted) and while there will be no fancy dinner out for me today, I feel a sweet sense of satisfaction and joy in my lot in this life.

This routine is not new. Mothers Day at my house was always overshadowed by family’s birthdays and over the years I always threatened to move Mothers Day into September, where we have no family celebrations and the day would be mine and mine alone, but I never did it and today for the first time I wondered why I hadn’t. Something feels different.

In truth, I’ve come to realize I really don’t mind my annual Mothers Day celebration (or lack thereof) because I’ve come to appreciate the occasion from a very different perspective. It was my husband who made me a mother – he can’t help that he was born so close to a national holiday that celebrates them. My daughter too is the reason I am a mother and that she arrived the day after Mothers Day 30 years ago simply reminds me that she was a gift, one of the best I ever got. (my other 2 children had the decency to arrive at neutral times of the year)

Instead of complaining about what I thought I was missing, I find myself enjoying the fact that I have these annual chores because they remind me that I have these people, these gifts, who made me “Mom”, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

However you celebrate Mothers Day I hope you take the time to reflect on those who made you a mother. You don’t need flowers or jewels, just the reminder that these people love and appreciate you, and they do. As I put my third load of sheets in to wash and prepare to mop my kitchen floor (if wine stains are any indication of a good time this  must’ve been one helluva party!) I feel a wonderful sense of love for my husband and children who make every day of the year Mothers Day and if running myself ragged once a year to celebrate them in lieu of celebrating me, is all I have to do, I’m good with it. Thank you for giving me a reason to celebrate with you at all!

Happy Mothers Day!

Mothers Day

Shhhhh, it’s a secret

Don’t keep any.

We have all, at one time or another, had a secret. Something we are reluctant to share because it reveals something about ourselves, or another, that we’d prefer to keep private. I read an article recently that said the number one reason people keep secrets is to ‘keep the peace’ or keep another happy. Revealing the secret would hurt or offend the other; so what they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?

Wrong. Eventually your guilty conscience will cause you to trip up and something will spill out, if not from you, then from someone else and it’ll hurt more than it would had you come clean yourself because there is a very fine line between a secret and a lie. In fact, to many they are one and the same because you often have to continue to lie to keep the secret.

Studies have found that people who keep secrets are more likely to have psychological and physical problems both of which are relieved once the secret is disclosed, assuming it is. So why do we keep secrets? For some it’s out of fear, guilt or shame. Others get a thrill out of knowing something no one else does – it’s powerful – but eventually the burden of keeping the secret takes its’ toll. It’s simply an issue of privacy; there is information they’d rather not make public because it would cast them or another in an unfavourable light, or they feel it’s just not anyone’s business.

Keeping a secret casts suspicion that may well be unjustified, but it stems from the fact that you are ‘hiding’ something, and hiding something implies guilt. If you have nothing to feel guilty about, why hide it? Hiding a secret also creates curiosity and interest. People want to be ‘in the know’ and if they can’t get to the information they want, they will speculate on what it could be and speculation is always worse than the truth, so save yourself a lot of headache.

It’s never a good idea to ‘hide’ anything. If you have to hide something from someone you’re probably guilty of something, (and you already know it) so do yourself a favour and come clean. Spill your guts, let it all out, do what you have to, to lay your cards on the table before they find out cause life will be easier for you, and them, if you do.