Written by Gerald Boerner
Welcome to the year of the predicted Apocalypse — 2012. Such is the conclusion of the believers in the Mayan calendar that end with this year. But I’m not sure that I am among those “believers”. None the less, my life will go on in its new “NORMAL” mode. Damned — aging is such hell!
But these days in good old River City are unbelievable! The nights have been warmer for the past several days; the night-time lows have been in the upper-30s or lower-40s. For the past couple of mornings the temp has actually been around 40-42 degrees. And this is the end of December. The daily highs have been in the upper-70s and lower-80s. Yesterday was a nice 81 with only whips of clouds in sunny skies. Another spring-type day is due today. I can dig it!
It is the morning of New Year’s Day and there is no Rose Parade on TV this morning and the Rose Bowl game is not going to be played later today. Did Pasadena cancel these events? NO. The Pasadena Rose Association had negotiated an agreement with area churches many years ago which stipulated that if New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, the festivities would not be observed until the following day to allow church-goers to attend services without being hampered by the parade crowds. So, tomorrow morning the parade will move down its route on Colorado Blvd through the downtown area. The floats will draw their usual Oohs and Ahhs. Their shapes and colors will work their visual magic. The girls riding these traveling floral displays will be their usual beautiful selves.
Likewise, the marching bands will toot their own horns, so to speak, along with the drums and other instruments. They will be accompanied by the majorettes, cheerleaders, drill teams, and flag units will dress in their usual cute outfits. They will be a visual spectacle as well as playing rousing songs as they move in step along the parade route. To their credit, these marching units have earned their place in the parade by their outstanding performances over the recent years; they are award-winning competitors at the highest levels.
And then there are the equestrian groups. They will feature a variety of breeds, many of which are known for their unique gaits and extravagant tack. These saddles have often been covered with enough silver to fund a small third-world country! But they are exciting to see. I have fond memories of parades past in which the cowboy heroes from radio or TV would ride down the route, moving from side to side to show off their rope tricks or horse handling skills. Those were the days… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 2366 Words ]
Quotations Related to New Year’s Resolution:
“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years’.”
— Henry Moore
“It is always during a passing state of mind that we make lasting resolutions.”
— Marcel Proust
“Dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”
— Helen Fielding
“And I’ve tried to give us a higher profile. Typically, at a board meeting, we’d pass resolutions about the civil-rights issue of the day, but we’d never tell anyone. So I’ve instituted a policy of announcing our resolutions at the end of our meetings.”
— Julian Bond
My Musings of the Day: Reflecting on 2011, Planning for 2012…
On a more serious note, this is a good time to reflect back on the past year and looking forward to the new year. During the past year, I have confronted many challenges, working out strategies (with my beloved Gracie) to deal with many, and look forward to some good outcomes in the coming year.
The Challenges of 2011…
To start with, I am thankful for many successes during the past year. Above all, I’m still ALIVE! I encountered a number of health challenges in 2011. It all started with a discovery at the end of last February — Grace and I discovered that my weight had reached a critical level. Without confronting this problem immediately, I would soon be dead! We spent the next couple of months trying to establish a dietary régime that would allow me to lose about 200 pounds. I need to say that I have tried most of the major weight loss schemas over the years: Opti-Fast (liquid diet), NutriSystems, Jenny Craig, Atkins, etc. I have lost over 100-plus pounds several times only to gain it back slowly when the diet became too much to handle. What I needed was a meal plan that would let me monitor and plan my diet to allow occasional tasty treats that would encourage me to continue. I had seen my daughter Heather lose weight and keep it off; she is on a personal control agenda that lets her continue her life.
The start of the solution to this challenge came about when Grace joined a Weight Watchers (WW) group in the spring. She made good progress on her weight loss program and the WW had an online program that would help you with meal planning, determine the nutritional content of your meals, and let you make your own food choices. This point system allowed her lose the weight that she wanted to lose. I started to follow a similar meal pattern, but discovered a flaw in the WW system — it doesn’t provide for the tracking of the amount of salt (sodium) in your meals!
Let me take a short detour to my story at this point. Besides my weight problem, I had a chronic medical condition — Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). My heart is functioning at about 35% of its normal efficiency. This low performance of my heart meant that the lower output of the heart resulted in the accumulation of fluids in the lower extremities and the lungs. In the latter case, when the lungs accumulate fluid, it is like having pneumonia. It kills you by reducing the oxygen in your blood. It will KILL you if left unchecked. My doctor’s treatment included diuretics to reduce the fluid buildup and the control of salt intake. In the case of the diuretic (Lasix), after my weight gain discovery, my doctor doubled the amount of Lasix that I was to take each day; that had the side effect of keeping me tethered to the bathroom (and therefore house bound). The other part of that prescription was to limit my sodium intake each day was about 1000 mg. This would fight the fluid retention at its source.
So, what could I do? The WW software didn’t track sodium, so I couldn’t follow that plan. To my rescue came one of our friends, Babette. She had discovered a nice, free program that would allow you to plan your meals, monitor your intakes of most major ingredients, and, therefore, stay within your food limits. This program is SparkPeople ( http://www.sparkpeople.com); it is available for Windows on your desktop or notebook or as an iPhone or Android app. I started to use this program and soon learned my attempts to limit my sodium intake were way off. By the end of June I was able to make the adjustments that put me on the correct track. Boy, does it ever make a difference!
Since then, I have been able to guide my diet and make “smart and wise” decisions for my health. And what’s more, since the high in my weight at the end of February to the present, I have lost about 115 pounds! I’ve finally found a way to eat regular foods and control the sodium. I can live with that…
The other major health challenge that I’ve faced during 2011 was an intestinal hernia. While Tasha and her family were visiting during August/September, all of a sudden I couldn’t keep food down. After this went on for a couple of days I went to the Urgent Care Center at Kaiser. They ran blood tests, did a CAT scan, and came up with a diagnosis of an intestinal hernia where a portion of the intestinal wall had “popped through the outer wall into the abdominal cavity. They put me into the hospital immediately and prepped me for surgery. I had the surgery and they were able to correct the problem with a “stint” that reinforced that area of the intestine. I spent ten days in the hospital in the middle of September and missed seeing Tasha, Isti and the grandkids during the last days of their visit.
Since the surgery, I have been able to eat again. While in the hospital, Grace & I were able to observe some of their procedures so we could continue following those practices once I returned home. I think it has helped Grace in her caregiver tasks and improved the quality of both of our lives. Thank you Gracie for all of you love, care, and attention!
The Good Things of 2011…
And now for the good things that transpired during 2011.
Simply put, they were:
- My first granddaughter, Maya Kate, was born in January in Bonn, Germany. She is a healthy, strong little girl who is cute as a button;
- As detailed above, I have found a meal planning and monitoring system that has helped me lose over 100 pounds so far;
- In September, I was hospitalized and had successful surgery for an intestinal hernia surgery;
- Heather had a major article published in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s September issue. Way to go Heather;
- I took a couple of months off of blogging during July and August to recharge my “battery” and do some reading that I had put off for too long;
- Enjoyed the visits by the kids in August and September. Tasha and family came from Germany to be joined for a few days of Heather coming home during that visit. We had our family together again for too brief a time;
- Kaiser/Medicare approved the purchase of a new power chair after taking a bad fall (no injuries) while trying to get on my scooter on my birthday in September. It is giving me a new freedom that comes from mobility;
- I discovered the SparkPeople program, loaded it on both my notebook and Android. It has given me the control that I need for meal planning and controlling my salt;
- I appreciate the way Rosie, Bill, Sabina, and John have stood by me during this time of trial. I would have had a very hard time without their unselfish help for both Grace and myself;
- I discovered that I was still on the eligibility list for ADA services and for the Handicapped Dial-a-Ride bus so that Grace and I can once again get out of the house (within Riverside); and,
- Grace helped me get through the tough times with her love and caregiving services. I don’t know how I can ever thank her enough or give her the thanks that she so deserves.
So despite the many challenges that I faced in 2011, lots of good things also came my way.
My Goals and Resolutions for 2012…
After the initial progress made during 2011 on confronting my health challenges and other events in my life, I look forward to a great year in 2012.
I look forward to keeping these resolutions:
- I Resolve to… Continue writing my blogs, including my musing postings;
- I Resolve to… Continue to carefully plan and monitor my diet, especially the sodium content;
- I Resolve to… Continue to help Grace with her caregiving tasks by doing as much myself so as to take some of the load off of my precious wife;
- I Resolve to… Continue to develop my mobility by following the exercise program provided by the PT specialist and become more active at home;
- I Resolve to… Get out of the house for local trips with Grace to expand our lives to include movies and shopping trips;
- I Resolve to… Return to my Photography by completing some of the projects that I have previously started, such as at the Riverside National Cemetery;
- I Resolve to… Get a lift device for the Sequoia so Grace and I can expand our excursions when I can transport my power chair to more distant points of interest;
- I Resolve to… Continue visiting museums in the area (Getty, LACMA, SDMA, & SDMoPA) and visit some of the sites in the LA area that I have never been to (Huntington Library, LA Arboretum, & Desconso Gardens); and,
- I Resolve to… Be a better companion, husband, best friend, & helpmate for my Gracie.
Well, that is quite a bucket list! But I hope to improve my quality of life and that of my precious Gracie. I want to live longer and keep my mind fit and active. Above all, I want to live with my CHF and overcome it as much as possible. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this year…
Photo of the Day:
I will leave you with a great photo taken recently by my cousin, Scott, who lives in Minnesota. It shows a frozen lake with the sun hidden behind a bank of clouds. Still, it sends a distinct reflection across the surface of ice. The horizon of the lake is placed about a third of the way up from the bottom, consistent with the rule-of-thirds. The sky is beautiful and this winter scene gives me a very mellow feeling. Good job, Scott. I hope to start getting some new shots of Lake Matthews soon. Anyway, I hope that all of you enjoy this image…
Frozen Lake, near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Scott Boerner.
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:
Wikipedia: New Year’s Resolution…
About.com: Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions…
Brainy Quote: Resolutions Quotes…