health

Self Care Time

I have written about self care many times. Each time it’s a different spin on the value of self care. Today is no different.

I made time for a spontaneous spa day. Finding a place with an appointment that fit my schedule was gonna be tricky. Then I found a partner in crime to share the day with which meant I needed two time slots. The level of hard to schedule increased immediately.

I got lucky. I found an opening. It was further than I wanted to drive but the car ride would end up being part of the experience with my adventure buddy.

A little lunch/snack. A little exercise. A lot of pampering. The massage was a bit odd as far as the methodology but the end result was amazing and my body said thank you 1,000 times. Oh how have missed a good massage throughout this pandemic.

I then opted to splurge for a facial. I had been in the sun a lot and felt the hydration piece of the facial was again something by body would appreciate. And it did. Another big win for my body. Totally different experience but rewarding.

Now the spa attendee said I’ll throw in a complimentary brow treatment since you are here. Great news but then she noted it was threading. I asked if it hurt? She said well a little bit, I don’t know your pain threshold. OUCH!

That settles it. Threading hurts for sure. It’s a different annoyance than the waxing but definitely a shocker on pain at least in my opinion. It was quick though. The hurt came and went before I could fully grasp the insanity. I lived to tell about it. I also think you should give it a try just to feel the experience if you haven’t already.

My partner in crime opted for some lash tints. Dark blue black or black. Is there even a difference? I really can tell the difference in the person but she said she loves the natural coloring vs mascara each day.

An expensive day of treating myself but it’s definitely and investment in me and why self care is important. Your version may not be as extreme as mine and that’s okay. The point of the post is to remember you. You matter and if nobody sees that you might have to show yourself. 

giving, health

Quarantined

Recently I had a chance to interact with somebody on quarantine. It was an unusual situation.

A child was quarantined from school. Old enough to stay home alone but not really alone for a long time or under stress. Unlike the Home Alone movie, home alone meant digital schooling, meals and staying on task. That’s a lot for young kid on any given day. Today though, this is the world of Corona and everyone adjusts as needed.

For me the need was sitting in the driveway in my car just in case an emergency arose. It was an important job. Mom was in hospital for separate reason. Dad was tending to mom’s emergency. Older sibling had to do finals and handle her life. This was just one day. One interaction. I could bring my laptop and work remote. Not ideal but doable. 

This made me think about how fortunate I have been during Corona. How many obstacles I have dodged. Today my time was for another. I was happy to do it. 

While sitting in the driveway i reminisced about a friend watching my kids over the years. I was thinking how hard it is to get that fill in now when your kid is quarantined aka having cooties where one is faced not only with isolation but fear of the unknown and all the other drama that follows. Now who can you ask to care for your cootie-ridden kid?

How hard it is to ask for help when an unplanned emergency happens? A crisis doesn’t have a timeline. Listen to others who may indirectly show signs of needing help. Don’t assume all is a okay. Ask what you can do to help. Be persistent. Don’t wait for them to ask. They may never have the courage to ask. Be doggedly persistent to show you can help. Kindness is free.
Your offer of goodwill can go a long way. Don’t hesitate to help others.

fitness and nutrition, health

Road to 5-0 and beyond

The road to fifty isn’t always so nifty. When you approach the big 5-0, many shifts take place. Your body. Your mind. Sometimes your zip code. Maybe even your friend circle.

Maybe it’s mood swings that hit today. Maybe it’s body changes next week. Maybe it’s aches and pains ongoing. Maybe it’s stress in life. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe it hits all at once.

Maybe you become forgetful. Maybe you just seem over emotional on days. Maybe you are bloated. Maybe you move slower. Just maybe you are getting old. Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to aging.

There really isn’t a guide book for a mid life crisis. There isn’t an age point either. There isn’t a how to manual for menopause or grumpy man syndrome. There isn’t a road map to feeling old. For me I just want to age gracefully and keep up with what I still want to do each day.

It seems many in their fifties are starting to see signs of aging. Maybe the fast food is catching up with one pal while melanoma is rearing its ugly head with another. This is the time to do the breast checks. The annual physicals. The colonoscopy. The dirty list nobody really wants to pay attention to.

The next ten years will be the shoulder surgeries. The knee replacements. The second laundry list nobody wants to contend with. Getting old. Make sure you are treating your body like the temple it is. You only have one. Pay attention to any warning signs that rear their ugly heads.

I take each day as it comes. I try to live life to the fullest. I try to seek out adventures. I like to stimulate my mind. I like to tire myself out with fitness at some point in the day so I can sleep well at night.

I try to tune out negative people in my life. I have no room to waste mental energy on negatives. It will never help me make it through my road to 50-60-70 and beyond. 

3Splitz Farm

Meet SnoCap

It’s just a name, right? Snocap isn’t just a name, it’s a new family member. Temporary or permanent? Not sure yet. Four legs. Varied markings. Flowy mane. Totes a heavy weight around too. Makes some sounds that make one turn their heads.

Snocap is a newbie on the farm. A paint horse. She is unique and already so special. She arrived a day before my birthday. Unplanned in a way but planned in another way. I’ve been looking for the right horse for some time now. The right time. The right temperament. The right price.  the right situation. Many factors were hinging on my decision. The choice wasn’t made lightly.

I wasn’t sure if I would lease a horse or buy a horse. I didn’t know if I should consider adopting a horse. Is fostering a horse even an option? I had to make sure I had a detailed care plan in place since I may not always be on the farm 24:7. I had so many items to check off the “I am ready” list. Today seemed like the readiness factors were in the rear view for a foster opportunity. Today seemed like a good day to choose Snocap. The visitor of sorts is checking out the place. I am learning about horse caretaking.

Opportunity was in front of me. I took the chance. I knew when I met her she was the right temperament to come hang on the farm. No bucking or wild behavior when we met. I made the commitment to see if she would be a fit for our farmily. Now it’s time to build memories and see if she warms up to the new environment.

She came from a muddy pasture that was her temporary home while we prepped for her. A good bath or rain shower and some TLC will have her ready to relax in our pastures where she can eat all the grass she wants and dip her toes in the stream. 

For now Snocap is chilling on the farm with a few visiting friends aka horse buddies. She makes lots of poop piles and has the sweetest personality. Still evaluating to see if she will stay with us forever. Need to give her a ride and she if she is the one.

Welcome to the farmily Snocap! We hope you enjoy your stay. Having horses in the pasture has been very rewarding on many levels. Oh how I would like to eat grass all day, loaf around and just watch all that goes on around me. Oh to live like a horse and be wild and free.

Over the past few weeks Snocap has had to take more than the usual rest. My neighbor watched her lay down in the pasture more than she should. My caretaker felt her legs were not 100%. Her legs seem tired and she may be a few years older than we initially thought. 

She is healthy but timid around the other horses. She may not be the one for me to call my own unfortunately. I may never find the perfect match but I can always check out opportunities and foster to get my horse fix for now.

Although I have enjoyed feeding her, talking to her and brushing her she is going to find her way to a permanent home not too far away. Excited for her new beginnings but will also be sad as she departs our farmily. So funny how we can get so attached to animals in such a short time. I will miss feeding mints to my pal Snocap.

It’s been so much fun being a host family to some horses in our local community that needed a crash pad for a few months to escape the mud slides in their pasture. Wonder which horse friends we will tell you about next. Maybe it will be goats instead. Who knows what farm friends we will have in the coming days.

perspective

Pandemic Dilemmas

(A note: sometimes posts for our blog sit on the backburner. There’s all kinds of reasons for this. The post below was written in April 2020.  It has lived in the drafts folder ever since.  Current news and trends brought it back to mind these past couple of weeks, and it seems as relevant as it was then, if not more so. The resources I worry about most now are our health care workers, but as you can read, those worries were already bubbling up last April.)

It was the classic problem.

Hans has a sick child.  Hans is poor and can’t afford the medicine his child needs to live.  Is Hans morally wrong for stealing the medicine his child needs to survive?

In the eyes of the law, sure he would be wrong.  Stealing is a crime. He doesn’t have the right to take what belongs to someone else.  But is he blameworthy?  If he does it, should he go to jail for it?  If he doesn’t steal it, isn’t there a different kind of penalty?

I was a philosophy major in college, specializing in ethics, or figuring out right / wrong / morality. I shouldn’t say figuring it out, since we rarely if ever got to the bottom of anything.  But we spent a lot of time thinking about Hans and these sticky situations, where different people have different rights and those rights cross or conflict.  Moral dilemmas.  So many of the ones that interested me most involved relationships, deciding who is more important, and trying to figure out a good reason why.

I’ve had my moments of anxiety during the course of the coronavirus so far.  But it’s the dilemmas that trouble me most. I get deeply, truly sad when I think about health care workers being forced to make decisions about who has access to life saving medical equipment if supplies are running out.

Here’s an example: Two 50-year old men come in to the ER at roughly the same time, in roughly the same condition, same medical history. About the only meaningful difference is that one of them has three kids, one of them has none. Should that be the deciding factor if only one of them can have a ventilator?

Of course, it only gets more complicated.  What if the one with the kids is overweight and pre-diabetic while the other is in good overall health.  Or one is married, the other is a widower (and what if the one with the kids is the widower, or the one without kids…does that matter?)  One is an affluent business owner with many employees who depend on him, the other is on public assistance.  One is insured, the other is not.  One is African American, the other is White. Add in factors of gender, age, medical history, addiction, other ailments that might be seen as patient life choices (like smoking) and others that are genetic.  You can see how the picture gets very complicated very quickly.  What matters?  What doesn’t?  Who decides?

In our medical ethics classes, we would talk about assisted suicide and the problems with a doctor “playing God,” deciding who lives and who dies…or in the coronavirus case, who even has the chance.

I know a taste of this, from when I was the one who made the decision to take my father off of breathing support to effectively end his life.  Even though he had prepared me to do it and I felt confident it was the right thing, it still stays with me. I will just say that all of this is simpler when it is clear cut.  Still, it is not simple and never easy.

I know there are people who question if this whole pandemic is real.  If all the staying at home and disruption of our daily lives is necessary.  As a member of a family who is supported by a restaurant, I face the same economic uncertainty that has so many people anxious, restless, angry, and scared. I can’t minimize that suffering, but I hope that the help in our communities and from our leaders will sustain us for a little while until we can get the virus more or less medically managed.

What wakes me up at night, though, is thinking of the doctors.  The nurses.  The medical heroes whose hearts and minds will be scarred from watching people die that they truly wanted to help.  That they could have and would have made a valiant effort to save in nearly any other circumstance.  The people they eventually had to walk away from because there wasn’t enough equipment to go around. The trauma to their hearts and minds is immeasurable, not to mention all the people who might not have a chance to survive if we run out of ICU resources.

I believe these moments say much about our values as a culture, as a society. Can we just sit tight for a little bit? Can we help our neighbors and loved ones survive this strange and challenging moment in history?  In my mind, if we can prevent the damage to those who care for us and give everyone a chance to get access to care, as they say flattening the curve can, we should.  If you doubt that this is a real thing, please find a health care worker and listen to them.  Please.

There are a million other issues with this situation.  Reasons to be angry, stressed, depressed.  Some day I may write about my worries over my students now trying to learn at home.  Or the heroism of medical workers who continue to show up and do their jobs when they are inadequately protected.  Or the many other front line workers, often forgotten and in high risk but low-paying jobs.

Surely, some day soon I may be writing about an actual Hans, who lost his hours at his job and needs medicine for his kids. Those stories are out there and more are coming.  The economic, social, mental, and physical impacts will be spinning out for years and years. Once this initial crisis has passed, we will turn our full attention to the suffering of many other groups who need help, who need heart, who need solutions. We will be writing about this for a long time. This is an endurance test. Both our patience muscles and our helping muscles must grow, strengthen, and sustain throughout this marathon.

But for now, in this initial fury, I worry for the doctors and nurses and patients.  It takes me back to those college classrooms, before I had kids of my own, when Hans’s predicament was nothing more than an interesting little thought experiment to ponder. Now I have kids.  And a lot more to lose.  I don’t wish true dilemmas on anyone.  While there is a choice, there is no win.