You Have To Know Your Limits!


“You have to know your limits ,Mom,” said my thirty-something daughter.  “You are old and you can’t push yourself anymore.”

She said this because my face, neck and chest were a deep red-almost blue to purple color, you know, the color of beets.   And,  maybe  I wobbled,  looking as if I was trying to keep my balance at each step, which I was.  Those two points don’t necessarily mean it was heat-stroke.

Anza Borrego–

Ok, we went to the desert to visit Anza Borrgo Park. It is spring and all the wild flowers were in full bloom.  Bright yellow dollops  of flowers gave the illusion of a beautifully, textured, pastel-green, fabric dotted  with yellow polka dots.

Late Start

We left three hours later than we  should have–we also stopped in the middle of the mountain  to take  pictures, and then we dawdled at the potty/water stop.

By this time, the road into the park was closed.  All the smart people had gotten there before we did.

Parking Nightmare

We parked the car a good half a mile from the entrance, then once inside the park, it is a quarter of a mile in before you come to a trail.  On top of that, it is  another quarter of a mile to the visitor center.  After getting our bearings there, yes, we walked another quarter of a mile to the trail head.  Yeah, we were finally at the point where we wanted to START our hike.    Our bodies only move in quarter mile distances before it makes the brain kick in, telling it to ask the question, how much further?  The young couple, looking warm, but not exhausted, gave us hope that we had almost made it.  Our mouths dropped in disbelief when they told us, it was “only” a mile and half in, but it was mostly uphill from there.


Did I mention it was 98 degrees?

I had been very determined to see the oasis.  I had planned for this and no matter what, I would see the oasis!

Once the young man told us it was another three miles after all the miles we already had walked, my brain kicked in and started screaming, turn around! I shook my head and yes, I turned around in utter disappointment.

I knew I could not make it all the way, but if only….

Once we turned around, I think the temperature increased and my body and mouth were as dry as the desert sand we were trudging through.  I sagged and dragged my feet.  We had gotten ahead of my daughter and her friend, but when we re-united, the first thing my daughter said was, “Mom, are you ok?   You are soooooo red.”
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Time to Change

Or is it merely time to change the clocks.


Daylight Saving–yes there is no “s”— is a wonderful manmade way to control and bend time.

I enjoy the long days.

But, I hate changing the clocks.  Do you know how many clocks and watches are in a house?

Three in the kitchen, two in master bedroom, one in each of the 4 other bedrooms,  one in each study, and one in the garage,

and then, don’t get me started on the watches.  I have 10 inexpensive fun ones, several fancy ones and the list

goes on.

This year I rebelled
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Surprise! My Peeps Aren’t My Closest Peeps

Remember, for the non-Hollywood types, peeps means people.

DNA and genetic research  has changed our lives in so many ways. It is hard to believe that the jurors didn’t believe that the DNA of OJ Simpson truly convicted him.

We all want to know where we come from–we are proud of our nationalities and believe that our ancestors made us what we are.

Growing up, I knew I was Norwegian, Danish and German. There was no contesting that. My paternal great-grandfather only spoke German and insisted that everyone in the house speak German. So, my dad and his siblings learned German. They were lucky they had a teacher who spoke German so they could learn English. My paternal grandmother was born in Norway and came to the U.S. as a child.
On my mother’s side, her family was Norwegian and Danish. She grew up in the town of Denmark, her parents spoke Danish so they could speak freely in front of her and she would not understand them–but she did. My mother also  played the organ in the Danish church. Therefore, I staunchly believed that those three countries were my absolute and only heritage.

When my husband was mad at me, his insult would be to call me a Neanderthal because  I was being “stubborn.” I guess he believed all Neanderthal were stubborn because of their jutting jaw and large brow that made them look like they were constantly frowning.



Then along came 23 and me.

My beliefs were not shattered,Continue reading

How Do You Operate This?


California’s severe drought lasted about 5 years. In 2015, the state was the driest it had ever been in 500 years.


There was a total of 38 inches of rain in those five years combined. That is an average of a little more than 6 inches
a year. The average yearly rainfall should be 23 inches. As you can see, we had a problem.


This year we have been blessed with lots and lots and lots of rain. The snow packs are 170% of normal. Dams are threatening to break because of the excess water in the reservoirs. Yesterday we had two inches of rain in one day!!!!

Remember, this is Southern California and it doesn’t rain in Southern California. Well, it did this year!




No, this is how you open it!

We have not used umbrellas in six years. We have forgotten how to open them. Some children probably have never seen one.

Yes, we need to re-learn how to open the umbrella. It took some time. I knew there was supposed to be a button somewhere to open it, but I had to turn the umbrella around twice to find it.

Ok, it opens easily.

But, how do I close it?  Wait, it takes more pressure to close it than I remembered. I drag it into Continue reading

Here We Go Round Again!


Merry Go Round

We know our life goes in cycles, just like everything in the world from fashion to politics to educational views.
I wish my cyclic Merry Go Round was as beautiful as the one below But I have been around and around and around
so often that my Merry Go Round does not look like this. It has lost its glimmer, glitter and glamour and is
just a hard metal disk that gets harder and harder to push.

This is my Merry Go Round of Weight Loss!

I will not put a before picture in here because I don’t want to present that image of me. I–me–Virginia–is not that picture.
Unfortunately, the world only sees you from the outside. But the real me is my humor, my love for family and friends, my creativity, my
love for writing, my love for biking and walking on the beach–any time of day. When you see the picture you see a matronly, retired woman who
looks like she hasn’t seen a gym in years–even though that is untrue. I do visit the gym often when I am well.

Also, one thing that makes Virginia is my belief that I cannot quit and give up. A sane person would say, you are old, you’re retired, you really
don’t have to do anything but relax and watch the world go by. I cannot do that.

So, once again, I am starting a weight loss journey. I was successful a year ago, and I am determined to be successful now.
This is my first day on a quest to reach my goal. I feel like I am Don Quixote fighting against the impossible or the absurd,
but I will grab my stick , just like Don Quixote, and set forth to find my beautiful Merry Go Round again.

I Found My Peeps

How far back does culture affect your life?

As a family, living in rural Wisconsin, meals were never something we rushed through.
No one was in a huge hurry to get up from the table and start whatever they needed to do. It wasn’t because we were lazy, it was because we enjoyed sitting and having a conversation while the food started to digest. We knew the table would be cleaned up, but it wasn’t urgent.

We Are All Immigrants

My paternal grandfather came from Germany, and my paternal grandmother came from Norway as a very young child. My maternal grandparents are a mixture of German, Norwegian and Danish.

My Peeps  (For the non-Hollywood types peeps means people)

We in dined in Munich with our German friends last night. They lingered after they were finished eating! One even commented that in Germany one must linger over dinner. Yipppeeeeee! I found my peeps!

Not Just Us

Now I know it just wasn’t my family that lingered. This is a custom or part of the German culture that was passed on to me.

Conflict of Cultures

My husbands culture is to finish the meal quickly and clean up the dishes before–god forbid–the sauce dries on the plates.

As you may have noticed, that is a major difference in our cultures. It is not just the American culture versus the Egyptian culture, it is also the Egyptian culture versus the German ancestral customs that I never realized were so much a part of me.

Clash of Cultures–How do we solve this?

I have found a very simple solution. My husband jumps up from the table and starts washing the dishes. I linger long enough until it looks like he is almost done and then I get up to “help.” If it is so important that it gets cleaned up right away–go for it. I will not stop you.

But don’t even think about stopping me from lingering.

If It Is Sunrise, Then I Am At The Beach

In case you didn’t know, it is very dark before the sun rises.

Darkness and Dragons

I will admit, I do not like the dark. It truly gives me the willies. But in order to see the sunrise on the beach, you have to be up and out and walking on the beach when it is still dark.

Imagine if you will, a dark sky, towering cliffs to your left, the sledge hammer-like pounding of the surf, and an ocean that is as black as the obsidian sky. The waves crashing against the shore break in huge, white, frothy, steaming, caldrons of white-water that seem to pulse from an unseen sea dragon.

My vision at night isn’t very good, but I swear I could see the dragon. To me, the waves were two hundred feet tall. I asked my daughter why the waves were so big. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. “They aren’t big. They are normal size or even smaller,” she reprimanded me.

I didn’t believe her and quickly grabbed her elbow so she could lead me along the sand. It was low tide which made the beach ever wider.

Wet Sand Walk

Walking on the wet sad is easier and we walked together arm in arm. (She was still giving me the “Are You Kidding Me?” look when I was holding her arm, but I prevailed. I think she felt sorry for her aging mother. I did have another means of protecting myself, though. I carried my long, walking stick. I know it is meant for hiking on uneven trails, but it also has a bit of a sharp end on it in case I need to keep dragons or other sea creatures away from me. Maybe it would help if I took up fencing?

We do not stroll on the beach, we power walk. My daughter sets the pace, as this is her morning exercise. The fact that she is over thirty years younger than me, doesn’t faze her one bit. She just knows that I will keep up with her. My competitive side won’t let me hang back and she knows it. As we begin our walk, I feel as if I could play the big bad wolf, because when we start out I am huffing and puffing. Eventually, my lungs adapt and I can say a few words here and there.

Vigilance and Guard Duty

As we walk, I keep turning around to make sure no one is behind me. I know my daughter is being diligent and checking the front. (If you believe that, I have a bridge for you.) As I turn, I start to see the sky lighten behind us. The darkness turns to midnight blue and then morphs into royal blue and then sky blue. The western sky doesn’t have the pinks and yellows of the eastern sky, but it has a beauty of its own.

Either my eyes have adjusted, or it gets light faster than I think, because very soon, we encounter other walkers and joggers wandering, running, and meandering down the beach from the opposite direction.

Two Mile Mark

By the time we reach the two mile mark, I am no longer looking for dragons and demons in the dark. I know they don’t exist in the light. We turn around and I get a chance to fully enjoy the cerulean sky. Blue is my favorite color because it gives me energy and is an uplifting color.

Take a chance, get out of your comfort zone and see the sunrise from the west, just minutes before the first light.

If you are afraid of the dark, bring a friend and a big stick!

Fringe Benefits of Old Brains

Fringe Benefits

Look, there has to be some fringe benefits to getting older. And now, research has shown it! How did they come to this conclusion?

By Watching A Movie?

Yes, researchers proved it by having their participants watch a surprising or suspenseful movie. Of course, we don’t know which one they saw.
They monitored the brains of young adults and older adults.


The young brains all “lit up” in the same way at the same time.

The old brains all had unique patterns of brain activity, Their brains “lit up” in different places a different times–they didn’t match their counterparts. According the article in Women’s World, this is a “sign of individualized thinking and better brain development.”


Without going through all the trouble of hooking peoples brains upContinue reading

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor!

Yes, I survived the accident! Thank goodness!

Even though was no blood, my body was traumatized. In simple terms, that means that my body hurt and it hurt EVERYWHERE!

Doctor and Pain Relief

So that means a trip to the doctor.

Pain is something you want to alleviate as soon as possible. The Doctor that my primary doctor recommended made a connection to me. Some people don’t like chiropractors, but when your muscles have been beaten to a pulp, that’s the person to see.

His South African accent soothes the brain while he grinds–yes grinds on your muscles. He uses a noisy contraption that sounds like a grinder–think shop class– type grinder, but it’s many and fast moving dull barbs break up the tension in your back and your backside. He is a holistic healer, so he doesn’t believe in pain killers, but he gives supplements.

Will It Ever End?

First, you visit four times a week, then, three times a week.

At That Lovely Age

Since I have reached that “certain age”, other medical issues are rearing their ugly pain. So, I have another doctor visit for my cataracts, then that leads to another one to get new glasses. Just to make life interesting, my vision in one eye was horrible. So again another doctor only to hear I have a hole in my retina. Yes, that was and is a bimonthly visit. My thyroid is acting up–ok, it is causing a whole of issues in the body–so now it off to another doctor. When you are dealing with doctors all the time, you start to wonder what is wrong with you. Yes, you guessed it. I went to another doctor for my mental health and she referred to a second mental health doctor.



People ask me how I like retirement. I love it, I reply, but I am busier than I was when I was working. Now I am “working” on my health and my new job is to constantly run to visit another doctor!

First. Hopefully, My Last.

There are a lot of firsts in life, some of them good, some of them bad, some peaceful, some painful.

Mine was bad and painful!

Last week was my first real car accident–it wasn’t my fault!


I was waiting at one of the very long stop lights in Encinitas. Actually, I was calmly waiting. Sometimes the long wait makes you crazy, but I was thinking of seeing my son at dinner. Moms don’t get too many dinner dates with their sons, so this was a special day.


Slam! 800 tons of metal had slammed into my car, or at least that is what it felt like. My whole body convulsed as if it was crashing against rocks below a cliff. I had no control over what was happening to my body. I hit the side of the car. My hands had a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel trying to give me a sense of control, but it didn’t stop me from jostling back and forth in my seat. And yes, I did have my seatbelt on. My brain had so sense of what had happened. Then I looked up and saw the car in front of me driving away and I had no idea what to do. I felt as if I was thinking through a haze. Surprisingly, I didn’t think about myself or if I was hurt. The first thought that popped into my head is that I wouldn’t see my son and I wanted to cry. My second thought was, “I’ve been hit and what do I do?”


I never want to inconvenience anyone. So, automatically, I drove away from the intersection wanting to go to the side of the road. I didn’t stop to look at my car, I just moved. I kept driving forward until the car in the next lane honked so I would move over.


My head was in a fuzzy, murky cloud. My body hurt–I ached everywhere–particularly my back. I knew I had to get out, but the traffic kept coming. I parked on the side, not knowing or caring if it was a no parking zone. A huge SUV loomed up behind me overshadowing my little car and parked behind me.


If I was unlucky enough to get in an accident, at least I was lucky enough to be hit by an honest gentleman. The first word out of his mouth was “It was all my fault.” Then he kept repeating to get out of the street. I managed to stumble onto the sidewalk and when I saw the back side of my car, I was shocked. The trunk was pushed in at least a foot. The lights were cracked and the red covering had completely fallen off one light. It was crumpled, puckered, crimpled and wrinkled. Then when I glanced at his giant SUV, there was absolutely no damage!


I know I have to exchange information and the only thing I had in the front seat was a bag from the pharmacy. When the man suggested I use another piece of paper, I glared at him and said “this is fine.”


Of course, my shaking hands and even shakier voice belied the fact that I was ok. When he saw how badly I was shaking, he offered to write his information down for me, but for some reason I needed to feel some sense of control, because at that point all other control was taken away from me. I told him I could write it.


He said he wondered if the trunk had been sprung. The trunk was closed tight. He had to check it. Why do men have to take things apart and then try to put them together again? Yes, the trunk was sprung. It popped up with a clunk. Then he tried to close it. He slammed and slammed and slammed and slammed, trying to close a trunk that had been tightly closed and in place before he opened it.


The advantage of the huge SUV is that he is capable of keeping a huge garagae full of repair equipment in it. As I watched dumbfounded, he tried to push and pull and pick up pieces that fell from the trunk, then he grew more and more red-faced. “I think I have some twine to put this together.” He spent at least 10 minutes rummaging through his trunk trying to find the twine. He found a huge tangle of thin twine. I know twine and I was really concerned that it would never hold. He tried to find several places to attach the twine so he could tie it. Nothing! Finally, he tied one around one side of the license plate, and then he realized that would not work, so he had to fumble with the twine once again trying to untangle it. Yes, he managed to finally secure the trunk in place.


What do you say to the person who broke your car and then tried to fix it with twine? I mumbled a soft thank you. I am not a vicious person and my brain was still in a deep fog, so I got in the car and drove away–leaving him there to call his insurance.

Once I got home, I said what I wanted to say, but he didn’t hear it. Then I called my insurance, but that is another story.