Driving on the Other Side of the Road

driving on the left side

My International Driver’s Permit is in hand. Watch out world!

It was surprising how easy it was to get. I’m not quite sure what I imagined, but a passport style photo, a valid driver’s license from my state of Colorado and payment were the only requirements. I walked into my AAA office and fifteen minutes later, I had my permit.

Now comes the more difficult part, actually driving on the other side of the road on my trip to Africa. I’ve never done it before. I’ve always been the passenger. So this will be one of the adventures associated with my trip. Not only learning a new way to drive, but doing it alone in another country. So how to begin? By Googling it of course.

Here are the tips I’ve found so far:

  • Follow the other traffic
  • Write a note reminding myself to stay to the left and tape it on the dashboard
  • Confirm I’m driving an automatic so I don’t have to think about using a stick shift on the opposite side at the same time I’m concentrating on staying on the left side of the line
  • Add GPS to the car rental so I easily know how to get to my location
  • Think “hard left, wide right”
  • Keep the center line on the driver’s side

While I’m nervous, I’m also excited. South Africa seems like a great place to start. Once I get used to it there, it will be much easier to drive when I travel to England and Ireland where the roads are much narrower and the rock walls much less forgiving.

Here’s one of the YouTube videos that gave some great tips and pointers:


Have you ever driven on the other side of the road?

Lucky 13 – Pounds That Is

Diet and exercise for good healthEleven weeks ago I began searching for a trainer to help me with my weight loss and fitness goals. After finding fees of $60-$70 an hour, I changed my focus to an exercise program that fit my priorities.

  1. Convenient times and location, especially early morning hours
  2. Workout planned so I didn’t have to spend time figuring out what to do
  3. Whole body workout including weights and cardio
  4. The ability to workout at my own pace 
  5. Limited socializing – workout focused
  6. Variety

After an initial free workout, I decided that Orange Theory Fitness fit the bill. The classes are one hour in length and are varied to include strength, core and cardio components. One of my favorite parts is the use of heart rate monitors that track my progress as I’m training.

The first week was tough. I needed modifications on almost every exercise and I was easily the heaviest person in class. I climbed into my car in tears after one session. I felt like such a failure and beat myself up for letting myself gain all this weight. But…I was determined to keep going.

Today, I’m 13 pounds down and have shrinking cankles! I feel much better and while burpees are still impossible, I can hold a plank for 1 minute. Now while 13 pounds is only about 14% of what I need to lose, it’s a great start and I’m proud of myself.

This year the burpee, next year a 14’er!!

Impromptu Girlfriends

PedicureIt was Christy’s birthday last week and I was part of her celebration. Now, I know none of you probably know Christy and are wondering why I’m sharing this information. The fact is, I don’t really know Christy either. Let me back up…

I walked into the nail salon and selected colors for both my toes and fingers in preparation for my trip, never guessing that I was going to have to cancel, but that’s another story. I settled into the chair for my pedicure with a huge sigh. I love pedicures. There were two ladies, friends, sitting across the aisle enjoying a conversation while they were being treated to relaxing foot massages. I pulled out my kindle and started to read, comfortable and content.

A few minutes later, the bell to the door went off and in walked another woman (Christy’s sister) to the delighted squeals of the ladies. She was dressed up in a bright and colorful flower covered dress and sweater and carrying a gift bag and twelve pack of diet coke. That’s when the festivities began.

After apologies for ruining my quiet spa like atmosphere, they invited me and the salon ladies to join them in the celebration of Christy’s 48th birthday. We began toasting with Diet Coke and then, thanks to the liquor store nearby, ended up with a glass of champagne.

The topics of conversation varied:

“Get the surgery. It will change your life and if it doesn’t, I’ll pay for it!” (early incontinence)

“Honey, it’s either bangs or botox.” (after Christy made fun of  commented on her sister’s new self cut bangs)

“There are no wrinkles on a balloon!” (there may be some advantages to being overweight)

“It’s better to take drugs and smoke than to be fat.” (maybe no advantages to being overweight)

We laughed and shared growing older tips and frustrations for the next hour all the way through my pedicure and manicure. It was the delightful and unexpected highlight of my day, even beyond the foot massage.

I love impromptu girlfriends, don’t you?

 

Don’t Forget to #walkwithme Today

#walkwithme Olive
“Shhhh. Don’t tell Olive we have a walk planned this morning. I’m hoping the house stays quiet for a little bit longer.”

Today I’m challenging myself and others to walk with me. It’s as simple as taking a quick power walk or a longer enjoy the morning or evening jaunt.

My plan is to walk a path at my local park that climbs and gives me an amazing view of the city and my community. It’s 6:37am here in Denver and I’ll be ready to start my walk at 7:15am. I’m not sure if anyone is joining me. Regardless, I’ll be out there walking and I hope you will be, too.

Don’t forget, you can walk at any time during the day, but the pre-set times are 7:15am or 7:15pm just to make it more fun. Imagine a group of people in different places of the country, or world, out taking a walk, even if it’s just around the block.

I’m using the hashtag #walkwithme on Twitter and will be posting pictures once I return.

Feel free to add your comments or any links if you are planning to join me. See you out there!!

Did You Just Call me Ma’am?

Ma'am in the mirror
“Thank you, ma’am.”

Ma’am? Ma’am? Did she just call me ma’am!!!???

I remember the first time someone called me ma’am. I was at a store purchasing clothing and after I finished paying, the teenager called me ma’am. I immediately told her, “I’m not a ma’am!” and stomped out. Talk about a life changing moment! These days, ma’am doesn’t phase me. I’m actually appreciative of how respectful it sounds.

But then, my son told me about a shocking experience he had last week. He was buying dinner at Chipotles when the guy called him “sir”. Right away he demanded they not call him “sir”. When they asked what he wanted to be called, he said, “I don’t know, dude maybe, but definitely not sir.” As he explained his frustration, it threw me back right into the first ma’am moment.

Oh crap! Now I have a son that is a sir!

The last straw was on Monday when I took a class in finances and the thirty-something instructor looked out across the room and referred to us as an “older” audience. And then, she talked about us seniors who would soon be retiring. That was over the line!

NO…I DON’T ACCEPT IT!

Just because AARP has been sending me solicitations for five years now, doesn’t mean a thing. I tear each one up. Pretty soon I’ll be taking the blank documents and returning them in the postage paid envelopes. There…that’ll teach ’em.

I’ve decided I’m drawing the line. I’m not a senior! I’m defining senior as sixty-five…or at least until someone offers me a worthwhile senior discount. Then, I might just reconsider.

#walkwithme on Saturday

dog with leather leashI invited all of you to walk with me this Saturday in a post I wrote a few weeks ago. Here’s some clarification about the upcoming walk.

I look forward to having you join me this weekend. Remember, no excuses!

Let’s work together to get the message out and encourage ourselves and others to take steps towards health. I can’t wait to see your pictures on twitter. Remember the hashtag is #walkwithme.

Don’t forget to add your comments on the #walkwithme post I’ll add this Saturday. Wouldn’t it be great if we had people participating from various places around the world?

I’ll see you then!

Walk With Me Challenge #walkwithme

Decisions…Decisions…

Traffic Stop
Being indecisive has never been a problem for me. Some decisions I make immediately and others take some research. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to choose a career in law enforcement. It wasn’t a usual direct and focused decision, but one that came a different way.

At the time, I was separated from my husband and had a two year old son. The police scanner had been background noise in my life for years since my husband volunteered as a reserve police officer in the city where we lived. Testing to join a nearby department was coming up and one of my girlfriends planned to apply. She asked me to go along with her and that’s how I found myself testing to be a police officer. Not that I hadn’t been interested before, but my friend helped push me into taking the steps to make it happen.

Thirty years later I’m still working for my department. It’s been a wonderful career and I’m looking forward to retiring in about four years.

I’ve been blessed to be part of this profession for a number of reasons, primarily because:

  • I’ve had the opportunity to help people when they’ve needed it the most. Whether it was comforting a child after a serious accident or protecting a woman from abuse by the person who was supposed to love her, I’ve been there. I’ve responded on tragic suicides and walked away from a person, dying of cancer, who stopped breathing and had a do not resuscitate order. I accompanied a young girl in an ambulance who was shot in the head by her father in a domestic violence situation. I arrested people for crimes they committed. I taught classes to children on avoiding drugs and helped move the department forward on social media so that the community could stay better informed. I’ve made a difference.
  • I work with heroes in action. The vast majority of officers are true professionals, keeping our community safe every hour of every day, including holidays when most people are celebrating with their families. They are a phone call away and will respond to assist even people who are the most vocal anti-police activists.
  • The job helped me provide for my son and I with fair wages and benefits. Now looking forward to retirement, I’m grateful that I have a pension and savings that will allow me to live comfortably and to travel as I move into the next phase of my life.

It has been a privilege to serve my community as a police officer. While we seem to be beat up in the media a lot, I know that most citizens appreciate the work that we do and they feel safe as they move through their days. I’ve made some good decisions during my lifetime, but becoming a police officers was one of the best.

What’s one of the best decisions you ever made?

What’s on Your Kindle or E-Reader?

Ereader
I was one of those people who held back purchasing a Kindle. There was something about caressing a brand new book, turning each page eagerly (in most cases) to see what came next. I finally broke down a few years ago, buying one of the early models that you only read on and it’s opened up my world.

  • I now read anywhere. My library fits in my purse. Every time I have a few unexpected minutes, I can pull it out and easily find my place.
  • When a friend recommends a new book, I can have it downloaded in just a couple of minutes and store it until I’m ready to dig in.
  • I no longer have hundreds of books in piles on my bookshelves. I only save my very favorites. Just imagine how relieved I’m going to be next time I don’t have to move 20-30 heavy boxes of books.
  • My Kindle saves money. Not only to I save money when I buy books cheaper, I also don’t accidentally duplicate purchases like I used to.
  • I can fit more usable stuff in my luggage when I travel since I save so much weight and room by not packing so many books.

I still buy books that are resource or self help kinds of publications because I like writing in the margins. But the rest are all downloaded. Finally, a glimpse into the library on my Kindle reveals that I have 106 items including the following:

There it is, a brief look into what I’ve been reading. Now that I’ve shown you mine, what’s on yours?