I am doing something new.

I was at a Memorial Service in August. Afterwards, I sat outside eating wraps and cake with Andrea, a fellow church lady. We started talking about having your kids go off to college the first time and the stress and anxiety that it can cause. She said she had been working on some breathing techniques to help calm herself. I asked her if she had heard of Wim Hoff the “Ice Man”. She said yes and that it was working for her. I said we need to start jumping into the ocean. Wim Hoff is a big believer in cold water plunges. We waited until after Labor Day when the beach crowds had left, and started plunging for 5 minutes. This was a huge deal for me! I have lived 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean for the past 40 years. I never really cared too much. I have never gone in the ocean without a lifeguard sitting on the chair watching over me. The whole plunging routine was making me so nervous. I would start getting anxious waiting for a possible text from Andrea, asking me if I want to plunge, and get worse from there. It felt like the old days when I was a competitive runner. I would get so nervous before a race. I hate feeling nervous, It is very uncomfortable, but I know if I don’t push myself I will never try anything new. I am getting better at it.

Plunging in the ocean has been life changing for me in so many ways. I am doing something new which I am usually very resistant to. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and my routine. It is so worth it. I have become good friends with Andrea. We are outside, doing something with a touch of craziness to it. I pick Andrea up in my Honda CR-V along with our friend Rosanne. My car is the beach car because I belong to a car wash club. Rosanne, another church lady heard what we were doing and she wanted in. Rosanne loves the cold water. She loves cold showers and plunging in her pond in upstate NY. We head off to the beach where there is always a free parking spot. It is beginning to feel like our beach. We have a turn around time of an hour and there is no food or drink involved. It is simple. It is the best!

Benefits of Cold Water Plunges:

Improves circulation.

Aids fat loss.

Boosts immune function.

Increases endorphins.

Decreases stress, increases glutathione.

Helps your sleep.

Builds confidence.

If you have been following me you know I have not been dealing well with my stress this past year or so. I was taking supplements to help me manage. Since I started plunging, I have been able to stop the stress relieving supplements. I feel so much better. I am grounded, I sleep better and I have lost 5 pounds. I am taking better care of myself. I want to be strong, lean and able to handle the ocean in the winter months. I started eating liver and I have upped my weights at OutdoorFit. The liver is a bit of an adjustment. I am sharing it with Sophie the Golden Retriever. She is enjoying it!

Rosanne and I are in our 60’s and Andrea is a youngster at 50 something. It makes plunging even more special. It is never too late to try something new.

Fit and Fabulous…Aging Optional!

Rosanne and Andrea in our Neoprene Team Caps~

Would I be working out with these older women?

I have been thinking about that question. If someone told me about an outdoor workout in a church parking lot with women in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s , I would applaud them but would have no interest in joining them. I would be wrong.

OutdoorFit is how I keep in great shape without hurting myself. I created OutdoorFit 15 years ago. It has evolved as we have all gotten older. We all want to look good and have our pants fit. I also know the importance of functional fitness and being able to get up and down off the floor. I create my workouts with function in mind. I will do an exercise like bicep curls and then have the ladies get down on their mats and do mountain climbers. I include squats in every workout. We start the workout with a warm up that includes 20 squats. Squats are key to healthy independent aging. They develop strong quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, which allow you to get down and back up again. Squats are also very effective for urinary incontinence. They strengthen your pelvic floor and make jumping jacks a breeze!

I am able to modify my workouts for any fitness level. If you can’t do your pushups off the ground, I have you do them off a bench. If you can’t manage going up and down off a bench, I just have you hold yourself in position.

Elaine, the queen of OutdoorFit, joined the group when she was 79. She is now 83. Her first workout, I thought she was going to fall over because her balance was so bad. I had her work next to a bench so she could catch herself if necessary. . Elaine was impressive! She kept coming to OutdoorFit and within 2 weeks her balance was so much better. She has gotten stronger and her endurance has improved so much. She is an OutdoorFit superstar!

Elaine Millner, Fit and Fabulous!

Elaine comes to the workout three times a week. She comes with her resistance band, 8 pounds weights and her mat. She is always fashionable dressed, today she showed up in her favorite “Good Karma” shirt. I thought it was the perfect outfit for our video.

Enjoy!

Love,

Mary

He was Smart, Athletic, Good Looking and Drove a 1961 Red PV 544 Volvo.

He was Smart, Athletic, Good Looking and Drove a 1961 Red PV 544 Volvo is the title of a 3000 word chapter that I wrote, and after much personal anguish, didn’t submit. I joined a women’s group last spring called The Wild and Wise Women. They decided they wanted to write a book together. We were each asked to write a chapter about the effect of the pandemic on our lives, and the importance of community during this time. On some level, I thought it would be good for me to write a chapter. I love the idea of being a writer, even though it has never come easily to me. I envision being Diane Keaton in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. I am sitting at my desk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, writing an amazing chapter that everyone wants to read, and finds fascinating. The truth is, I spent months not writing it, and when I did sit down to write, I didn’t enjoy the experience. I ended up with a knot in my right shoulder from bending over typing on my Mac computer.

The deadline for the rough draft was the end of September. I read the draft again and again. My editor is my husband Dan, who is also the smart, athletic, good looking guy who drove a 1961 RV 544 Volvo. He read my chapter, and told me I was all over the place, but I could change it around. I knew that, but I didn’t want to spend another minute on it. I spent the afternoon having a melt down. Why? Was it because I wasn’t handing in my homework? Was I quitting on myself, or was I upset I was letting the Wild and Wise women down?

The real question is why was it so hard to decide one way or the other? I got together with Vicky of 2 Grandmas and A Microphone, and we talked about resistance and self sabotage in the video. Do you struggle with making a decision ? Do you procrastinate ? We all do. It was helpful to talk with Vicky. I hope you will find it helpful as well.

“Answer the call to what excites your spirit.” Rumi

Thanks for reading and watching.

Enjoy,

Mary

No one ever called me the Fun one.

Who knew I would need to put Fun on my to do list? I am seeing a Health Psychologist and she suggested I find time to do Fun things. I am a homebody. No one ever called me the Fun one. When I was a kid and visiting my Grandparents in Saint Louis, my family would be going out to do something Fun on the last night and I choose to stay home with Pop and Gram and watch TV. I never liked going to my friend’s house for sleepovers. Once, I was invited to a party and I told my friend that I wanted to stay home and pull dandelions.

I am beginning to feel like I need to get out and do more. My tendency is to say no. I guess I need to start saying yes.

“What would Julia do?” I am asking myself this question more and more. Julia is my niece who is living an amazing life. I blogged about her before. She said her secret is to fill her day with Fun things. I am starting out with the goal of doing one Fun thing a week, and see how it goes. Baby steps for me. This week I have been invited to a neighbor’s pool. I met her walking in the neighborhood. I am connecting with someone new. I think there are bonus points in that!

Vicky Perry and I got together for 2 Grandmas and A Microphone. The topic was doing Fun things! We talked about jumping into the ocean, riding bumper cars at the Fair, taking tango lessons from a Russian instructor and Pickle Ball. Maybe, I am becoming the Fun one!

What do you like to do for Fun?

Love,

Mary

A Good Night’s Sleep.

I am so grateful when I have a good night’s sleep. I know it is so important if I want to feel my best and have sustained energy throughout my day. It is frustrating when I don’t sleep well and feels like a waste of time laying in bed at night, not sleeping, and waking up tired. I was talking about sleep at OutdoorFit last week and one of the ladies suggested I take a Benadryl. I knew it wasn’t the answer for me but I had gone too many nights without sleeping well so I decided to take one. I slept better but I woke up groggy and had to rely on a cup of coffee to get myself going. I have been reducing my caffeine consumption so I don’t want to wake up feeling like I need a cup of coffee. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I know alcohol is a sleep disruptor. I am now drinking 5 ounces instead of my usual 8 ounces. I am making small changes which are making a difference. I didn’t give up the wine and coffee completely because that would make me cranky.

I have been trying different routines to help me sleep. Here is the latest one that is working!

Bedtime Routine

A hot cup of Mineral Calm and a scoop of collagen protein.

(Protein is great for immune function and muscle repair. It is good to take it at bedtime. There is regenerative work going on while you are sleeping.)

1 Stress Relief (Ashwagnda)

1 Chewable Calcium Magnesium

1 Pure Rest (Melatonin)

2 doTERRA Serenity

It might seem easier to pop a Benadryl but I don’t wake up groggy with my new bedtime routine.

Here is a link for the products that I use.

I know so many of us struggling with getting a good night’s sleep. I hope this is helpful.

Love,

Mary

I love having a pretty yard.

I love having a pretty yard but I don’t want to work so hard at it any more. Last year, I planted vegetables in my back corner garden next to my limelight hydrangeas and blue kazoo spirea. I did harvest a few cucumbers, and I had butternut squash that grew out of my homegrown compost. It was all kind of a mess. It was a lot of work without much reward. This year I’m simplifying the yard. I am slowing down and not being so impulsive, I am committed to making the back garden a more permanent garden. I had our struggling concolor fir taken down. It was our live Christmas tree years ago and grew to be a very tall tree. It never looked good. I finally had it taken down. Now, I have more sun in the corner. I moved 7 At Last roses from the front yard to the back. They are beautiful apricot colored roses. They were in the front yard and the deer just loved them for early morning snacking. I was tired of spraying them with Deer off.

By moving the roses to the back it has simplified my foundation planting as well. I put down a nice layer of mulch and it looks good.

I am so grateful that I am able to do my own work. I stay strong, healthy and fit. My OutdoorFit workouts keep me that way. Interested in learning more about OutdoorFit? Click here. You can get in shape in a short amount of time and maintain your fitness level working out only a few days a week. You will be able to do what you want to do. Do you love gardening, or chasing your grandkids around? Maybe it is keeping with a 5 month old golden retriever puppy. It is important to embrace being Fit and Fabulous…Aging Optional and OutdoorFit!

I hope to see you soon.

Love,

Mary

Family, Home, Sophie and Creativity.

I love a good decluttering challenge. I have done a few of them, and I always feel better when my house is clean and tidy. It brings me great joy to open the door of the tool shed, and to have it in order. When I am stressed or agitated, cleaning out a drawer or decluttering the office brings me peace. I might not feel better when I am actually doing the project, but I am always grateful when I am done.

When Sophie the golden retriever came to live with us, I decided it would be best to pick up the area rugs. I feel so much better with them gone. She is not chewing on them, I don’t have to worry about her urinating on them, and I don’t need to vacuum them. I can just sweep the floor at the end of the day. There is something very therapeutic about a good broom in your broom closet.

Having the house in order makes me feel better, and messy surroundings make me feel agitated. However, there is a part of me that knows spending my days cleaning is not enough. I have been feeling flat. I need to be creative, but I have been avoiding writing my blog posts or promoting OutdoorFit.

So, here I am sitting at my desk writing. I need to find the right balance between taking care of my family, the house, Sophie the dog and my creative endeavors. Progress!

How are you doing? I hope you are finding happiness in your day. What projects are you working on? Have you started gardening yet? Are you spring cleaning? Are you writing a best selling novel? I would love to hear from you.

Love,

Mary

How cute are the three of them sitting on the stoop?

I am so grateful for naps.

Sophie at 3 months is a challenge. We are involved in a love hate relationship. She doesn’t listen to me very well unless she wants to. We go for multiple walks a day. I try my best to keep her head up and away from the ground, but most of my time is spent pulling rocks or sticks out of her mouth. She gets annoyed and starts pulling aggressively on her leash. If my husband is with us, he will say “off”, and she drops the leash. If it it just Sophie and me, she will growl at me and she tries to bite me. I will tell her no but she keeps at me. The other day, a man was walking past us on the street and I asked him if he had a deep voice. Could he please tell Sophie “off”? He wasn’t open to disciplining a cute puppy.

The Monks of New Sketes, the authors of The Art of Raising a Puppy, advise the owner not to yell or get angry at their puppy. I am really trying. Who is in charge here, Me or Sophie? My red Patagonia OutdoorFit jacket is now Sophie’s walking jacket. She loves nipping at my sleeves. I keep them taped up so the down feathers don’t fall out. Patience is a virtue.

I know Sophie will be an amazing dog and companion. I am committed to her training. She does bring joy and happiness wherever she goes. We have met many people walking in the neighborhood who probably would not have stopped to say hello. Sometimes I stop them because Sophie knows everyone loves her and she needs to say hello.

I am so grateful for naps and she loves her crate.
Peace.

Love,

Mary

Meet Sophie the Golden Retriever.

We have a new puppy, and I am back into mothering mode big time. I decided to let some things go for awhile. I stopped 2 Grandmas and A Microphone and writing blog posts. I have not been posting much on social media unless it included a golden retriever puppy named Sophie. If you don’t care about cute puppies then it is probably best to sign off now.

This is the story of the arrival of Sophie. As many of you know, I have a special needs son named Thomas. He has always been around Goldens. We have had 4 Goldens and a wonderful dog named Kelly. Kelly was half golden and half Chesapeake Bay retriever. When Tom looks at dog books he is interested in Golden retrievers. 2 and 1/2 years ago, our last Golden, George died suddenly of cancer at the age of 7. It was very sad for all of us. Thomas talked everyday about how sad he was about George. My family and I had thought of getting another dog, but my husband wasn’t ready to move on from George. For me, there was something freeing about not having a dog. The house was clean. We could leave and not have to worry about George. Then the pandemic hit, and Tom is home all of the time zooming his programs. I thought this is the perfect time to get a dog. I told Tom that George is his dog angel and he needs to start praying to George to bring us Sophie. Thomas wanted a girl dog. He likes girls. There is a young lady down the street named Sophie. She got a golden a few years ago for Christmas and named him Tom. Tom the golden has the same birthday as Thomas. We thought Sophie would be the perfect name. Sophia means wise. It is good to have a smart dog. Tom started to pray to George, the dog angel and I started to look for a good breeder.

I found Jane Pappler from Redlion Kennels. I gave her a call and left a voice mail. I also emailed her to tell her about Tom and that we were looking for the perfect puppy. Jane called me back. Normally, I would not have answered the phone. I usually don’t answer a strange number. This time, I did. “Mary, this is Jane from Redlion kennels. Would you like to talk about Golden Retrievers ? ” She asked us if we could wait a year. She was receiving 30 calls a day since the pandemic hit. I said I could but I really wanted a puppy sooner. Well, guess what? She bumped us up on the list. George the dog angel was helping us find Sophie.

We picked up Sophie January 12th, at 7 weeks old. Our world has changed. I am so glad that I am not a single parent. My husband is in on the puppy parenting. She sleeps pretty well through the night and she is house broken. I don’t trust her yet but she cries at the door to go out. I started reading The Art of Raising A Puppy by The Monks on New Skete. I love their philosophy and it has been very helpful. The Monks are very grounding. It is so important to have a well trained dog and we are working on it. Sophie is sitting. She is a smart dog. I hope you get to meet her soon. She thinks everyone loves her.

Love,

Mary

Thank you George.

It went much deeper than how much money you want to make.

It is the New Year! Do you do take the time to do an annual review? Do you set intentions for the upcoming year? How do you define success? Three great questions that I’m resistant to answer. Recently, I joined Andreea Fegan’s Little Bites of Joy community group. Sunday, Andreea led us through a vision workshop. We talked about how we define our successes and how we want to feel on a daily basis. It went much deeper than how much money you make, or how many followers you have on Instagram.

During the workshop, Andreea told us to write down how you want to feel during the day. How do you make other’s feel?

Here is my list.

  • I want to go through my day with Ease and Grace (I stole that from one of the woman on the call.)
  • Confident
  • Enthusiastic
  • Grateful
  • Grounded
  • Happy

Don’t you feel good when you are around happy, enthusiastic, grounded people? I did have peaceful, but I changed it to grounded. It feels more authentic. I love authentic people! I feel like I am pretty authentic already. I don’t know how to be any other way.

I define my success with numbers. If you run a business, it is important to know your numbers. I always check my monthly revenue, but then I tally how many people are in my OutdoorFit program, and how many people watch a video or read a blog post. I’m disappointed if I don’t reach a certain number of views. Some of my feelings of self worth appear to be tied into how many views I get. Andreea suggested going beyond the numbers and consider what kind of an impact are you making. You never know who reads your posts or watches your videos. Maybe when I encourage others to drink more water or do a round of mountain climbers I am having an impact. Are my viewers having a life changing moment? I hope so.

In my OutdoorFit membership group, we started A 28 Day Feel Fabulous Program. It is all about making small changes to feel better. Click here if one of your intentions is to feel fabulous in the New Year! I hope to see you soon.

Love,

Mary

Day 1
Feel Fabulous Program
Clean out the Fridge!