Last week one of the blog comments came from someone who said that reading my blog is like reading my autobiography in weekly installments. And it’s true. Being able to write the blogs gives my readers a window on my life behind the words. I think a lot of people assume that writers live lives of quiet contemplation far removed from the joys and vicissitudes of everyday life.

During the time I’ve been writing these weekly pieces Bill and I have been living our lives. We lost a son-in-law to cancer. This year Bill and I both lost siblings to flu-related health issues. (Message: Get your flu shots.) We’ve celebrated the birth of our first great grandchild along with graduations, gymnastic tournament wins, and bowling tournament wins—and defeats, too. There have been weddings and divorces. We’ve lost a pet and found her again, thanks to the magic of the Internet. We lost pets who crossed the Rainbow Bridge and my readers have grieved with us.

I’ve also shared some of our ongoing health issues because, at times, there’s just no easy way to grow old gracefully. (My father always claimed that eating honey would do it, but he also told me that coffee would stunt my growth. It turns out neither one of those things is true.)

In April almost three years ago now, Bill and I went to see our personal physician who told us if we didn’t start exercising, we were done for, and that Bill’s next stop would be in a wheel chair. At the time Bill weighed 290 pounds and I weighed 265. His shirt size was 3X and my pant size was 26. Yes, the doctor allowed, we both needed to lose weight, but we were probably too old to make that happen.

We went home and put our shoulders to the wheel. We both started walking, aiming for 10,000 steps a day. In order to keep myself honest, I reported all of this information in my blog. I figured if I fell off the wagon, my readers would provide the necessary kicks in the butt. We also hired a personal trainer.

We changed our way of eating, dropping from three meals a day to two. Breakfast is generally two eggs, a single piece of Dave’s Killer Bread toast with butter and honey (out of deference to my father), along with a glass of milk, and coffee. (By the way, this week my grandson had a health discussion where addictions to drugs, opioids, alcohol, and coffee were all discussed as though they were all on the same plane. (Had I not been too busy drinking my third cup of the coffee of the day, I would have flown to the school on my broom and given that woman a piece of my mind!) Occasionally we splurge on a bowl of Snoqualmie Falls oatmeal, barely cooked so it’s still chewy. Or else we have a hunk of salmon and creamed cheese also with toast and milk. I think the toast and milk give us enough carbs that we don’t feel carb-deprived and we don’t feel hungry, either.

Dinner time is now right around five. Eating early is better for us. My consumption of Tums is almost non-existent. (That was an addiction!) And our meals are simple—street tacos; a single steak divided three ways plus a vegetable and/or a salad. I’ve eaten more salads in the past three years than I’ve eaten in my whole life. But it’s paid off. We’ve lost weight and kept it off. At this morning’s weigh-in, Bill was 228 and I was 195. He’s lost 60 pounds and I’ve lost 70. His size 18 shirts now fasten easily around the neck, and I’m wearing size 16 pants. (Sweet sixteens, as I like to think of them.)

But it hasn’t been easy. And you may have noticed that I stopped talking about steps. When my shoulder was messed up for three months late this summer, I mostly stopped walking because the shoulder was so bad that even walking hurt. At the time, Bill’s long history with back pain was getting progressively worse. We kept working out with the trainer as much as possible, but we were both pretty pitiful. When it hurt too much to raise my coffee cup!!! I knew I was in big trouble.

Then a miracle happened. On the day of Bill’s back surgery, my shoulder was marginally better. The day after, it was almost one hundred percent. Six weeks later, I have full range of motion, and Bill is almost completely pain free. I can do 20 sits to stands in a row without being worn out. And finally, I told myself it was time to get off my butt and start walking. I noticed I had lost a lot of stamina, but I’m back walking. At age 74 plus, I figure walking three miles a day is good enough. That boils down to about 7000 steps. (Steps taken putting up Christmas decorations or cooking in the kitchen give you lots of steps but very little distance.) So I shoot for both 7000 steps and three miles rather than one or the other.

That’s what I’m doing for my physical health. For my mental health, I’ve taken a news break. The vitriol on both sides is too much, and so, I’ve #Walkedaway from news broadcasts and news sites on the Internet. I used to read two newspapers a day, morning and evening. I don’t do that anymore. I used to watch both the local news as well as the national news. Nope, I don’t do either of those anymore, either. The fact that the sun is out today on this very chilly December morning came as a complete surprise to me. I didn’t know about it until I opened my eyes and the sun was shining.

So why am I writing this blog today? It’s December. At the moment most of the commercials on TV seem to be focused on people buying new cars for Christmas. The only person I ever knew who really did that, was my late father-in-law, Herman Janc, who, in 1960, bought Mary Grandma a brand new bright red Camaro to replace her 1956 Bel Air. He hid it around the block, and she went out looking for it in her house coat. That Camaro was the first and last brand new car Mary Grandma ever had.

As soon as the pre-Christmas commercials go away, we’ll be deluged with the Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers hullapalooza as everyone is required to look on New Year’s Day as the only time of the year when we should all turn over a new leaf. In my experience, those New Year’s Resolution type of life changes seldom make it as far as February 1. You can change your life any day of the year. My news diet happened sometime this past November, and I’’m finding I’m missing all the bombast less and less every day.

So if you want to make changes, change one thing today. If you’re a non-walker, start walking. If you don’t have a Fitbit, count out a hundred step route and walk that ten times. Work up gradually. I’ve found that 2500 steps equal a mile. And if you haven’t been walking at all, a thousand steps is a good start. If you find yourself screaming at newscasters, simply look away. Give yourself a break. Switch over to the Hallmark Channel or go binge on a season or two of Star Trek Voyager. Or even, dare I say it, read a book!

I know from comments and e-mails that some of you took heart from what we were doing and started your own walking/weight loss programs. I hope my fall from grace in the steps department didn’t derail your own efforts, and that’s why I’m writing this today. I wanted to let everybody know that I’m back—back walking and back writing. The copy edited manuscript for next April’s The A List went to New York on Monday of this week.

Now it’s time to turn my hand to Beaumont # 24, Sins of the Fathers. That book has a name now—a name, a probable pub date, and, for all I know, a cover—so I’d better get with the program.

See you next week.

30 thoughts on “TMI

  1. Thanks so much for your reenvigorating blog. I needed that, and I’ll bet a few others loved it too!

  2. I am so happy to hear that you and Bill have recovered so well and are able to restart your exercise.
    I had a bad fall and kept thinking I would recover. I tried my best to keep up some activities but the pain was too much. Finally I saw a doctor who explained that it was nerve damage and I needed physical therapy! The therapy has really helped to cut the pain. I’m not yet 100 percent but making progress and able to walk a couple of miles if I’m careful not to aggravate my injury which is in my left hip.
    I encourage everyone to practice their balance! A fall when during our senior years isn’t as easy to bounce back from!
    Thanks for sharing your life with your readers!

  3. I’m thrilled to hear about Beau making a come-back! Also, it’s very brave of you to share details of your life and, for me at least, it endears you even deeper to my heart! (Finally, a human being who can be real!) So many people spend their time trying to present a false front of perfection and divine bliss on social media, to the point that I wonder what’s wrong with me!? Thank you for being real.

  4. I used to work four hours Mon to Fri evenings at a retail store. I dropped 15 pounds just not sitting at night and snacking. Alas, the store closed and just standing and cashiering for hours and not walking put it back on. Time to get moving again. I’m a stress eater anyway so job instability does not help the situation at all. Oh well, life goes on and I know the cure for this particular issue! Happy to hear both of you are feeling better and you have no plans to stop writing. Enjoy the holiday season, life happens whether we are ready for it or not and attitude is everything 🙂

  5. Kudos to putting yourselves first and your age and shape last. We are never too old or out of shape to make improvements. I have also turned off all news. The hatred in and on the air is saddening and disgusting. I won’t comment further as to not cast any blame even thought I do have an opinion. I send you cheers for your thinking and following through and wish you a happy and bright future. Love love your writing!

  6. You make me embrace Fridays.
    I have been reading your books for many, many years. I may even have bought my first one in Bisbee at a book store when the owner mentioned you as a local author.
    My husband wasn’t much of a reader for pleasure when we married 43 years ago, but he was at the time of his passing in September of this year. He enjoyed your books very much especially the Joanna Brady ones. Thank you for helping him through his health issues and giving
    me a place to escape to when life became rough.

  7. You made me smile about your oatmeal ?! When I visit my kids in Washington I bring back three or four bags. It is too expensive even through Amazon. I’m with you on the news blackout. Really really enjoyed the last Brady novel. I’m waiting patiently for another Beaumont book. Having finished 35.5 years of law enforcement in Washington state those books are near and dear to me. However, living in Prescott Valley now I’ve read the entire Brady and Ali Reynolds’ series. Be well and have a great Christmas.

  8. Merry Christmas, I am so happy you got your health back. One of the reasons we move to AZ was a change of life style, and lower cost of living. After I hurt my back I sat in a chair and my core is gone. I felt like I was dying so we stood up put our house for sale and came to Surprise AZ. It just about killed us but it’s done.
    Now we start. The best part of moving was NOT watching and reading the NEWS. our mental state was in such a happy state by turning off the news we figured we’d hear if we were in a war … Our country is in such an embarrassment to the world . Where as we have always stood tall above other nations now it seems we are a bunch of hypocrites. See what happens when you turn the news back on lol .
    I am so Grateful that Beau is back I love that guy. Please have a Very Merry Christmas filled with Love and family… Jan

  9. I am wondering if what he bought her was really a Camaro. They were first produced in 1966 for the 1967 model year. I am married to a car guy so I have learned a lot about old cars. Plus my only ticket was in a friend’s 1968 Camaro which I did not realize till years later was a muscle car. I just thought it drove so well. Haha on me. Love your blog as well as your books. You are an inspiration and it is heartening to read something each week that is so real. We need more of that in our lives instead of the hatred and nonsense going on these days in the news. My best to you always. A happy reader!

  10. See lots of car commercials on TV. So, do you know if the car had a red bow on it from the dealership?

  11. Thank you for writing your books and blogs, I really appreciate them all. Your sharing about recovery from shoulder issues really resonated for me. I admit I do not enjoy walking for exercise, I know I should but I just don’t. What I found out a few years ago is I will pay to join a “gym” and go in two or three times a week and “work out”. This is working for me and my posture is better from the working the machines, even if I only do 3 repetitions, I am stronger. We are looking forward to Christmas Eve at our house, I have given myself permission to buy and bake lasagna and not cook and prepare a “homemade meal” I can’t do it anymore. 76+ and happy.

  12. This is why I love your books and your blogs. You are one of us. I feel like you could walk into my house, we could share a cup of coffee and take up talking like we had known each other our whole lives. I live on a small acreage and I walk my three dogs twice a day around it. More like they walk me, and the three cats follow doing their own thing. I am 76 and refuse to think that I am old. You take care of yourself and Bill. I can’t imagine my world without you and my favorite book people. Merry Christmas.

  13. You have inspired me to change one thing. Can’t wait for the next book! I have read every one. Keep up your good work.

  14. I love your blog and your book tour talks. I saw you twice in Casa Grande and hope to see you again one day in Sierra Vista. We moved here in March this year.
    I spent most of my life sitting at a desk and then coming home and sitting in front of the TV. I’m much more active at almost 71 (January) than I was for the first 50 years of my life. I’m taking your suggestion to heart and stopping the news. A few days ago I realized how much time was being eaten away while I checked my various conservative news sites. It was kind of astounding! I just finished Field of Bones. Great read as always. 🙂

  15. I found this written on an index card in a pile of papers.

    “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis

    It is something to think about.

  16. I am just wondering if Catlover worked for Coldwater Creek. I too am a cat lover and was working at one of the stores when they went out of business and closed all the stores. I had lost over 10 pounds just by working there. Happy you and Bill are feeling better and doing so well. I loved the last Joanna Brady book and just wondering if possibly Latisha and Garth might meet again someday. I thank she would make a great addition to Bisbee. Have a wonderful holiday season and here’s to an even better New Year!

  17. Isn’t that interesting that you and your husband’s pain got worse and worse, and then his surgery cured you both, Leastways, that’s how I see it worked: true love and closeness.

  18. I sure enjoyed your blog as much as I enjoy all your books and can’t wait for another one to come out, especially Joanna Brady character. I can identify with your health issues, not so much to lose weight but to exercise and the shoulder pain, etc. I hope your and your husband with continue with some sort of exercise, mostly we walk and I have a recumbent bike I am supposed to use for my bad knees.
    So until your next blog, I wish you good health and happiness during the holidays and next year.

  19. I notice you are calling the next Beau book “Sins of the Fathers”. I have just finished a book by that name written by Ruth Rendell and published in 1970. I know titles can be used for more than one book altho it is confusing.

    The zinger in Rendell’s book was a surprise and a bit far-fetched as far as I am concerned. However, things have changed since she wrote what was a scandal then.
    I am looking forward to what Beau has gotten involved in in the new book.

  20. good for you! you are an inspiration, and I have been walking (but not consistently). My goal is to walk more consistently and get to 8K (would rather be over 10K, but…. ) consistently. My mother is 87 and she has made remarkable gains in strength and stability the more she walks. At any age, it is possible, but people have to make their minds up to DO it. So thank you for providing motivation to so many people. And I love that you are writing about JP. He’s still my favorite of your characters and I love that he has grown and changed throughout the series, while still staying the same essential/integral JP.

  21. Thank you for your blog. I read it every week, courtesy of the round-up from Goodreads of posts by my favorite authors. Especially, I thank you for this post. I will re-read this, hoping to keep up my interest in getting healthier in 2019.
    My husband and I had the pleasure of hearing you speak in person at Vroman’s, quite a few years ago. We still remember, and we still read the new books as they come out.

  22. I love this post! Good for you…getting healthy at any age is a wonderful thing! I just looked up your blog for the first time today. I found one of your recent books earlier this year while on vacation at a cottage. I read it and was hooked. I went to our local public library and started checking the books out one by one backwards. I’ve read all the Ali Reynolds, and all the Joanna Brady that they have in print (I’d have to use my computer or a kindle for the others, but don’t worry, I will!) and I’m just finishing up “Dismissed with Prejudice” about Beau. It’s fun reading about all your characters…they seem like old friends now. So excited to hear that there will be another Beau novel coming out–can’t wait! 🙂

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