We went to Hyde Park, New York this week to visit the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It was so nice to be there. I enjoyed stepping back in time and getting a glimpse of how the Roosevelts lived in their beautiful house on the Hudson River. It was an amazing feeling to be in the space where they once lived.
We also enjoyed the Franklin Roosevelt Library and Museum. I came across a copy of one of my favorite photographs there. The Migrant Mother, Florence Owens Thompson, photographed by Dorothea Lange. You can see the hardship and anxiety on her face. It is an amazing photograph. It makes me stop to appreciate my own life.
We stopped by Eleanor’s stone cottage on the way home. I was sorry it wasn’t open to tour the day we were there. What a beautiful location, and I am sure a perfect place for Mrs. Roosevelt to get away from it all! I loved that Winston Churchill would come to visit. It also made me think about Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and big steering wheels. It was another time.
I had a wonderful day at Hyde Park. It was very inspiring to me to see what amazing things people can do with their lives.
I have been struggling this summer. I am not a hot weather gal. It begins to wear me down and I have been feeling tired a lot of the time. I also declared the summer as Off Season for my cold water plunging. I take an ice bath only once a week instead of multiple times. I have been buying 32 pounds of ice on Saturdays after OutdoorFit. I fill the bath tub up half way and I can lower the temperature to 54 or so. I stay in for 11 minutes. I then save the bath water for a second dip in the afternoon. The temperature will be up to 68 or so, but it is still refreshing.
I have been going into the ocean once or twice a week. It doesn’t count as cold water therapy if the water temperature is 72 degrees, but it still feels good. Cold Water plunging is not an easy thing to do and yet I really miss it. It is so energizing and it changes my negative attitude quickly.
My last blog post was May 4th. I get up every morning, make myself a cup of bulletproof coffee and I sit down to write in my journal. I write my innermost thoughts and complaints down. I also write the list of things that I want to accomplish that day. I need to go back and see how many times I wrote down blog post and didn’t do anything about it. Do you have something that you tell yourself that you are going to do it and it continually ends up on the bottom of the to do list?
I am a member of The Little Bites of Joy Community. This month we participated in a habit challenge. I wrote I would publish a blog by the end of August. It has been helpful to have accountability. This will be published in August. I think I get three points for achieving my monthly goal. It is almost September and I am committing to a weekly blog post. There it is in writing!
2022 has been a busy and stressful time. My Dad went into hospice and my Mom fell and broke her hip getting my Dad a beer. Yes, he stills enjoys a martini and an occasional beer in hospice. They are both, 91 and have been married 70 years. They have lived a wonderful life together. There have been so many special moments these past 4 months with my parents. Dad and I have liverwurst sandwiches for lunch while watching Gunsmoke. I spent time with my Mom in the hospital drinking tea and watching A League of their Own together. It has been nice in so many ways.
It also has emphasized how important it is to take care of yourself. I witness what a struggle it can become. Things, I take for granted like putting on your shoes and socks or going to the bathroom. These activities are now very difficult or impossible for Mom and Dad. I want to stay strong and fit for as long as possible. I have begun to work on some new exercises for myself and my OutdoorFit ladies. We are working on our glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These are the muscles that you use getting up off the toilet. Do you want to stay out of the nursing home? Keep your muscles strong!
Here is an exercise to get you started!
Let me know how it goes! If you are interested in joining us online or in person, please CLICK HERE to learn more.
This recipe was originally called Buckwheat Banana Cake with Yogurt-Espresso Frosting from Bon Appetite. I have tried different versions. I reduced the sugar, I use oat flour instead of whole wheat and I add nuts and blueberries.
I made it yesterday, I came downstairs and my son Thomas had eaten the entire top off of it.
Here is my recipe.
3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour I Love Big Bold Health Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat Super Nutrition Flour. It has super powers!
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 very ripe bananas
3 Tbs coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 melted coconut oil
1/2 unsweetened Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup organic blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a bread pan with parchment paper letting it hang over on other sides. Wish the dry ingredients together.
Mash bananas and coconut sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in eggs, melted coconut oil and yogurt. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in blueberries and chopped walnuts. Scrape batter into parchment lined pan and smooth top.
Bake bread 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan for 30 minutes. Turn out bread on rack and cool completely.
I started ocean plunging back in September. Unfortunately, since the beginning of January, it has been too windy, and the air too cold for me to do my plunging in the ocean. I have been taking 5 minute cold baths 3-4 times a week, to keep in plunging shape. Andrea, one of my fellow plungette takes a cold bath almost daily. I’m doing my best to keep up, but I don’t bother with the baths on the days I have OutdoorFit. Training outside in the cold is enough for me.
Sunday, Sophie, our golden retriever woke me up too early. She likes to get up at 6am and I wanted to sleep in. I was annoyed and cranky. I knew if I took a cold bath, I would have a quick change in attitude and feel so much better. I filled the tub with tap water. There is no need to add ice when the tap water is 40.8 degrees. As soon as you get in, you forget all of your problems except that you are sitting in frigid water. I sit upright for two minutes and then try to muster up the courage to get my upper body in as well. I stay in for two to three minutes more. I wash my face in the end. Andrea actually dunks her whole head in. I am not quite there yet.
My husband, Dan is getting tired of the noises coming from the bathroom. Sometimes, he will come in to talk me through. He coaches me to get to the next step. He encourages me with helpful phrases like, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” I am so grateful for his support.
I am obsessed with the plunge. I had an immediate shift in my attitude on Sunday. I felt so much better, Cold, but better. I know if I wake up achy, a cold bath will take care of the tension. I have lost weight. I am sleeping better, and a friend told me that I looked ten years younger. It is a powerful tool. I know it is crazy and that is part of the appeal!
I love the connection with Andrea and Rosanne, my fellow plungettes. I text them every time I am heading into the cold bath. I need all the support I can get. When we started last September, I told Andrea we are going to be best friends. We don’t need to eat or drink together. All we need to do is to jump into the ocean for 5 minutes. We have formed a strong bond. Doing something with a touch of craziness will do that. Do you want to read more about the benefits? Head over to the previous blog post.
I asked my fellow plungettes to share what they love about plunging.
From Andrea: “Plunging has a few fantastic benefits that keep me coming back to this seemingly crazy pastime. First and above all, it lifts my mood. Instantly. And after I do it, my brain feels sharper like when I’ve had a great nights sleep but better. When we go in the ocean as opposed to the tub, there is a feeling of connecting with the planet. And I believe it has sped up my metabolism a bit which is always nice. Finally, it has been a bonding experience with the two ladies who I do it with.”
From Rosanne: “I started to plunge this spring in my pond upstate as an entry into releasing fear around diving into a cold, sometimes dark body of water, after learning about Wimm Hoff and his ice baths. I began his breathing methods and found it’s benefits very helpful which led to my interest in having friends do the plunging together in the Atlantic ocean. The experience of being emersed in nature, with the brilliant sunshine and piping plovers encircling us was an amazing experience and has led me/ us to continue the practice. The bathtub is getting me through the winter and I am excited to return to the ocean with my fellow plungettes once the weather improves.”
This is my from my sister Kathleen who plunges in North Carolina: “Addicted to the plunge. When Mary first told me she was going into the icy waters of the Atlantic for 5 minutes – I thought she was nuts but also knew I had to try it. I have not had the chance to go into the ocean but live near a lake and have been in the sound. It’s exhilarating. My body thanks me every time. The aches disappear and my senses come alive. I’ve been able to do it most weeks – sometimes twice a week.”
I encourage you to give it a try. You don’t need to start with a cold bath. Turn the shower temperature to cold at the end of the shower. Breathe through it for 30 seconds. You will feel invigorated! Let me know how it goes.
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:
Aids fat loss.
Boosts immune function.
Decreases stress, increases glutathione.
Helps your sleep.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.