Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sorting Out the Past

I have a number of plastic bins that have been in storage under the stairs for years. It is a project of mine to get them sorted out, dispose of a great deal of it, and organize the rest so that I at least know what is there. With that in mind I brought one container upstairs a few weeks ago.

One reason for this sorting is to leave less for my children to deal with when I am gone. I've had a clear reminder of my mortality recently, and, while I am not in the least morbid about it, it is a goad to take care of some things while I can.

While watching episodes of Hoarders with my granddaughter, I was inspired to begin the sorting work!

I pulled out two plastic bags and took them to the living room, where I could watch TV and go through the bags in comfort.

1977 Anne Marie in Cheyenne Wells, CO,
on a visit with Grandma Wales
One bag was filled with letters dating from 1975 to 1978. I began by discarding the envelopes and sorting the letters by author. Some were from people who had been passing acquaintances and the letters had little lasting importance. These I discarded. I read bits of some of the family letters, and was reminded of events I had forgotten. I did not read them all, as I find it more and more difficult to read handwritten items because of my vision peculiarities. These family letters I bagged in their separate categories and gave to Anne Marie. She can go through them and decide if there are any she wants to keep.

Jeremy, also in Cheyenne Wells. Is it just me,
or are his shoes on the wrong feet?
In two letters I found photos that I had not extracted before saving the letters: our children are aged eight (Anne Marie) and not quite four (Jeremy). The pictures were taken by their grandmother, Emma Wales.

The other bag contained items my mother had saved from my childhood and had given to me some years ago. It was fun to look at all these things, some of which were crumbling with age. About a third to a half of these items I discarded, as they would have no meaning to anyone but me. I certainly don't expect my children to make space to keep my juvenile artwork, etc., forever! However, before discarding, I did scan some of the pictures I drew when a young child and have them on my computer. One of the items I am keeping is my Baby Book. Here is my favorite page from it:

I have a lot more of my past to sort through. It will keep me busy for quite a while!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cardiac Rehab is Finished--Now What?

Today marks one week since my final Cardiac Rehab session.

Now it is up to me.

Do I miss going to Rehab? Actually, I do. It is good to have a structured program, the good machines to work on, and the Rehab nurses and staff, who are the best. On the flip side, it is nice to know that I am in much better condition now than I was when I began the program. It is time to develop my own lifestyle that will keep up what was accomplished.

I look forward to weather that will have me outdoors and walking. I do not handle cold well anymore. So, if I can't go out walking, what can I do?

First, I simply must remind myself to get up and get moving. It is way too easy to get comfortable in a cozy chair with a book or a TV program, and just stay there. This is a hard habit to break, but I am working on it!

I can peddle away while watching TV or
listening to an Audible book.

Second, I must remember the lesson they taught us in Rehab: At least 10 minutes of consecutive exercise (using the legs!) are necessary for heart conditioning. Thirty to sixty minutes of cardiac exercise per day for at least four days per week are recommended.

Third, I can use what I have available at home. I can go for house walks. Now, just walking around and around in my house can be a bit boring, but I have lots of Audible books I can listen to as I walk. I also have those 17 stairs that lead up from the garage to my home. I can start incorporating them into house walks for a little heavier work load.

I have also invested in a peddling exerciser that I get a pretty good leg workout on. My house does not have room for a big recumbent bike, but with this machine I can sit in a chair and peddle away while reading or watching TV. It only weighs 23 pounds, so doesn't take up a lot of room, and the workload intensity can be adjusted for different levels of difficulty.

So, it is up to me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In Memory, Gladys Norris Mackey

Yesterday's mail brought a packet from Pam Mackey, a cousin of some degree (I think her father was my mother's first cousin. If someone knows for sure, let me know.). She included a copy of her mother's obituary, a favorite recipe of her mother's, a picture of the Joel E. Mackey family, and a photo taken during a visit to Gillette in the 1990s.
Joe Mackey, Rose Mackey McLaughlin, Fred Bard, Elsie Mackey Bard, Gladys Mackey,
 Bess Mackey Sauble, Mary Mackey, Leonard Sauble
It is always saddens me to learn that another of the generation above mine in the extended Mackey family has died, although I think that for Gladys this was probably in the nature of a blessed release. The obituary tells that she spent her last three years in an Alzheimers care facility.

I did not know Gladys well, but met her a few times when she visited her cousins-by-marriage in Wyoming. I remember her as a lovely, lively, happy and friendly lady.

Pam had my address from when I sent out the information about Rose McLaughlin's death (my mother) to the people in her address book. For the family who knew Gladys and had not heard of her passing, I will include the obituary.