Yoga for the New Year

Guest post by Mokshadharma Saraswati who belongs to the International Yoga Fellowship Movement and is a follower of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda of Bihar School of Yoga India. She currently teaches Hatha/Raja yoga in the Satyananda style in Chiang Khong, Thailand.



If you have a desire to be more flexible and have more mobility and freedom of movement then our short yoga class might be just what you need to get started.

I thought I would begin with the ANTI-RHEUMATIC GROUP OF POSTURES. This group is concerned with loosening up the joints of the body. Excellent for those of you with rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems and any other ailments where vigorous exercise is not advised. They are particularly useful for eliminating energy blockages in the joints and the outer extremities of the body. The long term benefits of doing the whole series of postures are as follows. They free up the joints, restore metabolism, promote free flow of energy in the body, stimulate circulation and promote muscle relaxation.

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As with any worthwhile exercise program Patience, Persistence and Practice are the keys to a successful outcome.

We are going to start working on FEET, TOES, ANKLES, LEGS AND KNEES. There are also 2/3 more challenging postures for those of you with more strength and flexibility and no specific health issues.

You will need 2 blankets and a pillow. Fold one blanket lengthways and place the pillow and second blanket nearby. Sit comfortably with your legs stretched out in front of you legs flat on the floor. If this is difficult tuck the pillow under your knees.

The base position

Your back needs to be straight and tall, neck long, head erect. Place your hands beside your body near your buttocks palms down. Your feet need to be active ( heels down toes facing up).

Foot bending

Breathe in and breathe out and stretch your feet forward pointing your toes towards the floor. Feel the stretch along the top of the feet. Now stretch your feet back towards you. Feel the stretch in the toes, feet, ankle and calf muscle. Repeat the sequence 15-20 times slowly and methodically and then rest when complete.

Stretch your toes

Keep your feet active. Tense and tighten the toes as you breathe in, hold the tension, then release on the outbreath. Repeat this sequence 15-20 times slowly and methodically and then rest when complete.

Rotating your feet 

Spread your feet a little apart. Keep the feet active heels on the floor. Start with the right foot first. Start to rotate the foot clockwise slowly and methodically. Do 15-20 rotations then rotate the foot anti-clockwise. Work with the breath breathe in as you start the rotation, breathe out as the foot goes down and around and back to the start. Repeat then on the left foot. Rest when complete.

Rotating the ankles

If you have a pillow tucked under your knees remove it now. Still in the base position. Bend your right leg and draw the knee up towards your chest. Lay the leg across your left leg just above the knee leave enough room to rotate your ankle easily. Place your right hand on your right knee. Hold your toes with the left hand. Begin to slowly and methodically rotate the ankle clockwise working with the breath. Do 15-20 rotations then rotate the ankle in the anti-clockwise direction. Release the right leg down to the floor and work now with the left leg repeating the sequence. Rest when complete.

Rolling the legs in and out

Still in the base position roll you legs inwards so your knees connect and the toes of your right foot sit on the toes of the left foot briefly. Now roll your legs out so both feet are turned out opening up your inner thighs. Slowly and methodically repeat this exercise 15-20 times. Now do it all again with the toes of the left foot sitting briefly on the toes of the right foot. Focus and concentrate to ensure the knees roll together and connect. Work with the breath. Rolling the legs in breathe in, rolling legs out breathe out. Use the outbreath to help you stretch and flatten those legs out releasing them down.

Congratulations you have done the first 6 postures in the series. More to come but for now lie down and draw your legs up onto your chest. Wrap your hands around your knees and rock yourself gently from side to side massaging the base of your spine at the sacrum and releasing tension from your buttocks and back after sitting for so long. Remember not to lift your head off the floor use your pillow to support your neck. Release your legs down and wrap yourself up in your second blanket to keep warm. Close your eyes and relax completely until you are ready to get up and get on with your day.

Other articles by this author

Slaying the Dragon of Male Menopause

Power-Purpose-Direction with Yoga

My Life as an Expat in Chiang Khong

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Cellulite: A Rite of Passage

Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

LaverneI received a photo attachment in an e-mail that showed a senior couple, in their late seventies, standing on a public street. He wore a leather motorcycle jacket, jeans and a billed cap. We only saw her back, but that was more than enough. She had white curly hair, wore a faded jean jacket with a biker insignia on it, and Daisy Duke shorts that exposed her entire derriere – entire.  Two vertical rows of decorative cut out designs treated us to even more of the same. It wasn’t enough that every inch of her flabby, overweight body was covered with heavy duty cellulite, but this half naked Senior Biker Chick, with bare rump, and bare legs, wore black orthotic shoes.

Careful examination revealed that this was not a touched up photo; shadows and the way bodies were postured indicated that it was, indeed, authentic.

My instant reaction was to laugh out loud, and feel a degree of revulsion. Viewing her body was not the way I’d have preferred to start my day. How dare she walk around like that in public. Didn’t she own a full length mirror? Didn’t her husband have eyes and a mouth?

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

I forwarded the photo to 83 of my most intimate e-mail buddies so they, too, could spend the day with that image burned in their heads. Reactions came back rapidly.  “Eeeeeuuuw!” “Oh my God!” and  “Please kill me if I ever become so senile that I believe I’m still a babe,” were some of the kinder responses.

I recalled seeing something similar while on a cruise. There was a group of five overweight senior women, leaning against the ship’s railing, sipping fancy pastel colored drinks, and laughing. They were French, and they each wore skimpy bikinis. None of them draped towels around their midriffs to hide flabby rolls and upper thigh cellulite. And since they weren’t accompanied by Seeing Eye Dogs I felt safe in assuming they could each see.

I shook my head and puzzled at how these women could allow themselves to be seen that way. Had they no pride? Didn’t they feel even remotely embarrassed?

On the contrary. It was obvious that these women were perfectly comfortable in their bodies, had no concern about what others might think, and no interest in concealing who they were. Their indifference and confidence were almost sexy.

I viewed them from a nearby deck chair where I reclined in a manner that prevented my thighs from resting on the chair and, thereby, spreading to their full width. I wore one of my four black, one piece, industrial strength bathing suits and had a beach towel available for immediate coverage should I decide to unbend my knees and allow my thighs to relax.

After a few moments of inappropriate staring I realized that I dearly envied these women. I tried to imagine what it might be like to be comfortable in my own skin; to live in a country that accepted midriff bulge, cellulite and upper arm wings as proud Rites of Passage into feminine maturity;  as rewards for doing those heroic things that men have never been able to accomplish:  bear children, retain water, and clean clumps of food from the kitchen sink drain.

I dream of a society that is able to close its mind and eyes to the ravages of age and abolish current unwritten dress codes for older and overweight women. I want my grandchildren to live in a country that embraces a woman’s right to walk without straining to hold in her stomach, to not have to cross her legs in ladylike fashion if her thighs struggle against such attempts, and to expose her naked arms without having to explain, apologize or purchase Flight Insurance.

In other words, I want the same freedom and rights as men have.

Other posts by this author:

Camping: Not for Sissies

Don’t Count Me Out

Aging, Not All Fun and Games

Challenging My Legacy

Behind Closed Doors

Battle of the Bulge

How the Home Shopping Network Turned Me into a Zebra


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An Easy Way to Improve Gut Health

Guest post by Christine Bradley, M.D. Finding balance of the body, mind and spirit allowed me to lose over 70 pounds, regain my health, vitality and find joy in my life once again while enjoying an active life of weekly yoga, pilates, running, cardio kick-boxing,  zumba and meditation. I have extensive knowledge in medicine, holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health. Contact me at Find Your Balance Find Your Bliss

photoDid you know that 80% of your immune system is in your intestinal lining where you absorb your food and nutrients?

Most of us walk around with an unhealthy level of bad bacteria in our gut due to poor food choices, pollution, chemical toxicity, medications, and stress. This imbalance is called dysbiosis.  What that basically means, is that the bad bacteria out-number the good ones, impairing our nutrient absorption and nutritional status and our ability to fight off disease causing organisms.  This can affect our health, our energy levels, our weight, our mood, and our immune system in a negative way.  What is the solution? Heal your gut by increasing the good bacteria that nourishes and supports your gut and your overall health.

Lately, I have been exploring ways to make natural probiotics in the form of fermented vegetables.    My 8 year old son loves to be my helper in the kitchen.   We visit the local market and buy fresh cabbages, cucumbers, carrots, garlic, beets and onions.   During the process, my son and I chop, grate and crush our vegetables.  We have a blast together!  The best part, is giving my son a big cup to smash the vegetables to get all the juices out to make the brine.  He really loves that part!  We make a great team and create food that keeps us healthy.

Not sure you can retire? Get answers here

Here is my simple recipe to introduce fermented veggies and re-establish healthy gut micro-flora back into your life. It is so simple to make and so health giving. Give it a try

Fermented Veggies gut health

    3 cabbages

    1 cucumber

    1 Onion

    2 garlic cloves

    1 beet grated

    Pinch of sea salt

Directions:  Chop cabbage, cucumbers, onion and garlic into chunks.  Grate carrots and beet.  Mash it all together to break the cell walls down and release the juices.  Add sea salt to release more of the juice, then stuff in glass jars until air tight.  Make sure the veggies are under liquid in the jars.  Leave on top of the counter for 7-10 days depending how sour you like your veggies. Check every few days that they are still under liquid and release the pressure.  Once they are ready, eat a tablespoon with each meal and keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

Other articles by this author:

6 Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Depression

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6 Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Depression

Guest post by Christine Bradley, M.D. Finding balance of the body, mind and spirit allowed me to lose over 70 pounds, regain my health, vitality and find joy in my life once again while enjoying an active life of weekly yoga, pilates, running, cardio kick-boxing,  zumba and meditation. I have extensive knowledge in medicine, holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health. Contact me at Find Your Balance Find Your Bliss

photoFall is a wonderful time of year. The leaves are changing, apples are in season, and we get to break out the pea coats and scarves! However, with this fantastic season comes the not so fantastic and very dramatic weather change. In the Pacific Northwest where I live, that means shorter days, a lot less sunshine, and days upon days of rainy weather!

The clocks rolled back this weekend, so instead of throwing in the towel and hibernating for winter, I will be using these simple tricks to beat the cold weather blues and start looking on the bright side. They could help you do the same!

Invest in good lighting

A big part of what makes the changing seasons so hard is losing that precious hour of light at the end of the day. It’s really hard to leave work in the dark and it makes finding the motivation to get anything done at home impossible. This is where good lighting comes in to save the day! Bright and inviting lights in the common areas of your home like the kitchen or living room can help you forget the weather and give you the energy you need to make dinner and catch up with your family or friends instead of ordering take-out and parking it on the couch. You might even be interested in purchasing a UV lamp, which mimics the effect of sunlight and encourages the production of vitamin D.

Life is an adventure! Follow your dreams!

Stay on top of your schedule

When it’s dark and cold outside, the only thing that I ever want to do is curl up on the couch with a good book and a bowl of soup. It’s really hard to find the motivation to go to the gym or even get together with friends! Not to mention the shorter days make it extra hard to get out of bed in the morning for work! I find that putting myself on a fairly strict schedule without any time for moping around or feeling down keeps me upbeat and focused during the winter months.

Get outside as much as possible

Even if it just means a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, taking advantage of sunlight is really important. Instead of hanging around inside, layer up and head out for a brisk walk. Who knows, you may even feel motivated to go for a sloshy run in the rain!

Hit the gym

If it turns out that a run in the rain isn’t really your thing (I’m right there with you!) then take your workout to the gym instead. This will keep you on track and make sure you get moving regularly. Exercising prompts the body to produce natural endorphins. No matter what the weather is like, you can’t help but feel happy after a hard workout at the gym!

Increase your daily dose of vitamin D

Regular vitamin D intake is an essential part of staying healthy. In the summer months, we usually get a large dose from the sun, and the need to take supplements is greatly minimized. In the winter months (and possibly year round in rainier parts of the world, ahem… here) it’s a good idea to increase your daily dosage of vitamin D. Your body needs it to property absorb other nutrients like calcium and it helps you stay focused and happy.  I recommend taking at least 1000 IU a day. It sounds like a lot, but don’t be alarmed! You can buy it in 1000 IU capsules so you only need to take one a day – your body will thank you!

Take note of the little things

Just this week I was feeling pretty down about getting out of bed at 6am knowing that I was up a good hour and a half before the sun. However, when I was driving across one of the many bridges in Portland I noticed the sun rising behind Mount Hood casting vibrant hues of pink and purple over the city skyline. It was breathtaking, and it made me wonder how many sunrises like this I missed during the summer months when I wasn’t up at dawn. It’s so important to recognize these moments and appreciate the beauty that fall and winter bring. If you try to do this every day – maybe it’s a rainbow in between rain clouds or a field of freshly fallen snow –I promise you’ll kick those winter blues to the curb in no time!

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Camping: Not for Sissies

  Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

LaverneA friend in California wrote to me extolling the delights of camping. She went on to proudly describe her ingenuity in preparing a dozen ice cream filled cones, packing them with dry ice and finding them frozen and in tact several hours later when she arrived at her designated camp site and served them to her grandchildren. I admit to being impressed with her resourcefulness but I’m also bewildered as to her reason for doing such a thing when  ice cream could easily have been served to her in a bug-free, air conditioned ice cream parlor.

 I confess. I’m not into camping. What I love is the idea of camping. Being outdoors under wide open skies, drawing in all that wonderful fresh air and listening to nature’s sweet consort, certainly sounds heavenly, but I’ve had to face the reality that I’m too much of a prima donna to accept everything that goes along with those amenities. Things like ruining my manicure while pitching a tent, trading in perfume for smelly bug spray, sleeping on cold hard ground, trudging half a mile to pee, and searching for an electrical outlet for my curling iron are not on my list of Favorite Things To Do.

 I did it once. I couldn’t wait to go. En-route to the camp site a bird flew into our car grill and remained there for the entire three hour trip. I imagine he got tired of flying and wanted someone to drive him to his destination. Obviously he hadn’t thought the whole thing through because while he certainly did arrive without flying he arrived in a messy compressed state.

 And then it poured and poured and poured. I sympathized with what Noah must have had to contend with. Here I was in this confined area with one wet foul smelling dog, two tent leaks, three irritable tent mates, and an infinite number of elusive mosquitos.

 I wanted to sleep in a comfy nightgown but my seasoned camper friends laughed hysterically at that idea and pointed out what a wimp I was. They opted to sleep in sopping wet jeans and I, being totally intimidated, followed suit and was miserable.

 Well, actually, I only thought I was miserable. Real misery didn’t rear its ugly head until the wee hours of the night when I found myself wandering blindly through the frightening darkness, in a torrential storm, in search of some godforsaken Public Pee House.

 The next morning our little makeshift chairs sank into four inches of mud as we attempted to burn wet kindling and create a flame hot enough to solidify egg whites and kill at least some of the trichinosis in our bacon. 

 I learned something about myself that weekend:  I’m too old to have to put up with  unnecessary inconveniences. My favorite sleep-away adventure must include four walls in a five star hotel. I still love nature but I discovered it’s best viewed from hotel and cruise ship balconies.

Other posts by this author:

Don’t Count Me Out

Aging, Not All Fun and Games

Challenging My Legacy

Behind Closed Doors

Battle of the Bulge

How the Home Shopping Network Turned Me into a Zebra

Open at Your Own Risk

Up, Up and Away – Or Not


Posted in Guest Blog Posts, Humor | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Slaying the Dragon of Male Menopause

Guest post by Mokshadharma Saraswati who belongs to the International Yoga Fellowship Movement and is a follower of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda of Bihar School of Yoga India. She currently teaches Hatha/Raja yoga in the Satyananda style in Chiang Khong, Thailand.

One of the world’s best kept secrets is that men go through a change of life or male menopause. It is called Andropause and normally occurs between the ages of 45-60. Although there has been an upsurge in media attention and available information on the subject, most men will deny any such phenomenon exists. Mention it to just about any red-blooded male and the suggestion is met with protest and indignation.

It is certainly not a hot topic for dinner party conversation, although a man might discuss it in hushed tones with a male friend over a few drinks. Nobody dares mention it in public because it is one of those things we do not talk about in mixed company.

Every woman over 45 knows she is going to have to face menopause at some point in her life. The upside for men is that statistics show only one in every 200 men will go through a really rough menopause. Many are lucky and only suffer mild symptoms. There are 70 year old men out there with the hormone levels of a 20 year old (gotta get me one of them). The downside is there are other men who will suffer most or all of the symptoms.

The difference between men and women is that women talk about their change-of-life experiences, even joking about it, sharing how they manage their symptoms. Women accept menopause as part of their life’s journey. At the first sign of menopausal symptoms, she will seek help and advice. Whereas as man may feel quite unwell, be physically, mentally and emotionally depleted; even feel defeated and drained by the whole experience and still ignore the symptoms and repress his feelings.

So what causes this “unmentionable” situation? Low production of the male hormone testosterone (androgen) can lead to the onset of menopausal symptoms which I will list for you below.

*Erectile dysfunction

*General feelings of tiredness and lethargy.

*Mood swings and erratic behavior patterns

*Night sweats.

*Depression, nervousness , anxiety and outbursts of anger.

*Fuzzy thinking and bouts of memory loss.

*Feelings of regret, loss and disappointment.

*Dissatisfaction with life i.e., work, home, family relationships, and friendships.

Certain medical conditions can cause a man’s testosterone levels to drop. These conditions are associated with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Some men with cancer, diabetes, or any auto-immune disorder may also have low testosterone levels. It can also be triggered by obesity, destructive lifestyle choices, poor diet and total lack of exercise or awareness about what is part of the natural aging process.

For proper diagnosis a doctor will first discuss the symptoms, do a physical examination, and order blood tests to check hormone levels. If the results prove there is a problem, the patient will be referred to an endocrinologist –  the person most qualified to deal with management and treatment.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy will certainly relieve some of the symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and anxiety and will improve libido. However there has been so much controversy over hormone replacement therapy for the female menopause that many women are looking for alternatives rather than face any risk. Sadly many women died before the connection was made between HRT and breast cancer. The positive side to that story is many women have been on HRT for years and swear by it.

Still, it is fair to suggest that a man needs to gather all the information he can  about any possible side effects of TRT and then make an informed decision. Do not rule it out; ask questions and get answers that satisfy you and allay your fears before embarking on treatment.

Yoga and Meditation

An experienced and understanding yoga teacher can provide a well balanced yoga practice suitable for a person’s age, level of fitness and problem. Classes will include restorative, rejuvenating practices like meditation, relaxation, breath awareness and cleansing techniques (Hatha yoga). Yoga is based on more than just science. Based on India’s culture and profound philosophy it is like being given a road map, a compass and a sign that says “Stay on the path” to attain and maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Chinese Medicine

Just as yoga comes from ancient wisdom and Ayurveda comes from Indian Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine comes from an impressive and invaluable source. With a long history of success with acupuncture, there are herbal remedies and beneficial, enjoyable modalities like Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Wu Shu. Chinese medicine suggests the male menopause is caused by kidney deficiency and liver stagnation and also related to heart and spleen. There are many Chinese apothecary shops and clinics with experts who can diagnose and treat symptoms of male menopause.

Weight Training

A personal trainer can set up a program suitable for a man’s age and physical condition. It is not so much about building muscle as building bone density, strength, discipline, cardiovascular care and shedding weight that puts great strain on all the bodies systems.


It may surprise you to know that 35 minutes of brisk walking morning and afternoon can work wonders. It is free along with the fresh air and sunshine. Walking can help you lose weight, control blood sugar, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.


It is not about giving up all the things you love to eat it is about including things that are good for you and excluding things that are bad for you. Sudden drastic changes in diet are not recommended. It is more moderation and gradual change. The stomach needs to be two thirds full and one third empty that is the yoga perspective on eating. Cut down on meat if you are a big meat eater. Eat more vegetable, fruit, herbs, nuts, seeds, pulses, sprouts, whole grains. Drink more water, fresh juices. Cut down on sugar, dairy and fat. Gradually cut down and then out social drugs and alcohol.

B Vitamins can help with stress and boost energy.

C Vitamins can stabilize the production of stress hormones.

Herbs – like Ginseng and Ashwaghanda can counteract the long term affects of stress.

Fish oil supplements can improve cognitive function, boost energy levels and can help prevent heart attack.

L-Arginise is an amino acid that helps dilate constricted blood vessels associated with erectile dysfunction.

Menopause for both men and women can last for years. Tremendous strain is put on relationships. Family life can be seriously challenged, destroyed or disrupted. The support of a sympathetic, loving partner is an asset. A man alone is more vulnerable and isolated.


Other posts by this Author

My Life as an Expat in Chiang Khong, Thailand

Power-Purpose-Direction with Yoga

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Don’t Count Me Out

Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

LaverneI was impatiently stopped at a yellow traffic light. The light turned red, and I instantly assumed the posture of an adrenalin-charged NASCAR racer, poised and anxious to accelerate. While I waited, an elderly woman stepped off the curb and began her slow and deliberate step-by-step pilgrimage across the street. The light finally turned green but she had not yet even reached my car.

I waited.

I drew a deep, agitated breath while impulsively strumming my fingers on the steering wheel. I had places to go and people to see.

 But, as she struggled to make her way across the street, lifting and lowering her metal walker before each halting step, something clutched at my heart. She was old; really old. Her hair was thin and white with isolated, wispy strands falling over her eyes and down her neck. Her face was ashen and deeply creased and her bony, thickly blue-veined hands trembled under her own weight as she leaned heavily on her walker.

Her body was shrunken and bowed over as she shuffled past the front of my car, delaying my start by, perhaps, a full fifteen seconds.

I drove away with her image burned in my mind, and unable to erase it. That woman had once been somebody’s little girl, joyfully frolicking in fields of lavender. She had danced to the Charleston and to Swing, and was courted by handsome young men in Model T Fords and Buick Roadmasters. She’d been a young wife filled with hope, and a mother who rocked and nursed her babies during black-outs while listening intently to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats. She’d cooked and scrubbed without any of today’s modern kitchen conveniences, during a time when there were no televisions or computers to occupy her children long enough to give her moments of quiet serenity.

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

She’d lived through wars, survived the depression, and experienced the loss of many loved ones. How could she have known what indignities lay in store for her – that one day each of her crippling, calculated steps would cause traffic to be delayed, while hurried,  mindless bodies honked impatiently en-route to some allegedly important business meeting, fun-filled luncheon or forbidden rendezvous?

Would she have conducted her life any differently had she thoroughly understood the inevitable cruelty of her future? Could she have averted this travesty of fairness if she’d done things differently? If she’d laughed more? Loved more? Prayed more?

I looked deep into my soul and blinked rapidly to hold back tears. Was I sad for this pitiful stranger or was I actually sad for myself? I couldn’t untangle my feelings. That woman could easily be me one day, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

I drove mindlessly, unable to lift the thick fog from my heart, when suddenly I had a change of perspective. Perhaps I was reflecting and interjecting my own fears. This old woman may not have been unhappy at all. Beneath her leathery camouflage may well have been the joyful heart and buoyant soul of a thoroughly fulfilled woman; a woman who celebrated life to the max, who embraced each day, reveled in every sunset, and loved from the depths of her being. Such a woman would be content in her golden years, confident and fully satisfied that she had thoroughly consumed the contents of her cherished gift of life.

I found this thought comforting. There would be no escaping the inevitable final act, but I drew tremendous solace from the knowledge that I live an incredibly rich and full life, surround myself with beloved family and friends, am always cognizant of the wonders each day brings, and have loved with great depth and passion.

Should the day come when I am forced to stop traffic as I cross the road with my walker, please do not feel sorry for me. My bones will be tired, my skin will no longer be taut and my body may be contorted, but my heart will be smiling broadly, for I will be deeply ensconced in the memories of my astounding life; a life void of regrets for what I should have done.

I will have done it all.

Other posts by this author:

Aging, Not All Fun and Games

Challenging My Legacy

Behind Closed Doors

Battle of the Bulge

How the Home Shopping Network Turned Me into a Zebra

Open at Your Own Risk

Up, Up and Away – Or Not

An Apple a Day Doesn’t Work

Vacationing with a Stranger

Help! I’m Drowning in Minutiae

Posted in Guest Blog Posts, Heart Song, Humor, Women's Work | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Location Suggestions for Single Retiree?

Hello Billy and Akaisha,

I really appreciate your newsletter and the great photos!

Lots of places to choose in Mexico

Lots of places to choose in Mexico

I have traveled a fair amount internationally in the past few years and would like to consider living abroad.   I would prefer someplace closer to the U.S.   As a single woman (I am 62 yo), I believe we have a few special challenges.  Certainly security needs are more heightened.   I believe socialization needs are more acute too.   When you have a spouse, you have a built in social system and don’t need to have as many expats around to meet basic social needs.   In Mérida, MX I noticed that couples adapted quite happily, but despite attending the International Women’s Club, language intercambios etc, it was hard to connect as a single person.  Although I enjoy the company of locals abroad, for me the company of expats to do things with is important too. 

There is one more thing is of special interest to me which might be more difficult for you to answer.  I am an organ student, and so I want to be near a church with a nice organ ideally so I can continue practice and lessons.  The Spanish legacy has made it surprisingly easy to come across lovely churches, and at times functional organs.

Reduce your cost of living. Pay less for medical care. Find better weather. Create a healthier way of life.

I am drawn to the warm people of Mexico, but I do have security concerns.  I love the idea of the elevated areas there with moderate temperatures!

Would you please suggest to me any options you can think of?  

Thank you so much!


Guatemalans are welcoming people also

Guatemalans are welcoming people also

Hi Cynthia,

Thank you for taking the time to write and for your kind words regarding our newsletter. We appreciate it!

As far as where to recommend one to live when they are single, I’m afraid I don’t have any clear answers. I think Chapala has a lot to offer in terms of things to do for both couples and singles (bridge clubs, theater, variety of churches, volunteer groups, garden clubs, rescue animals, language clubs, tennis, golf, bicycling, etc.) I have heard some singles complain there is no dating scene or they feel left out of social events. Others seem to just jump in and get busy doing the things they love and they receive invitations both from singles and from couples to attend dinners, theater or go traveling.

I think if you are looking for a mate that is one thing, but if you are looking for things to do and feel satisfied in that manner, it would be a personal style. There are plenty of little towns between Chapala and Ajijic (and beyond) each with their own subculture and Chapala is close to the beach, (3-5 hours) very close to Guadalajara (a large colonial city) and there is an international airport located in Guad for longer trips (to Guatemala, South America, back to the States or Canada.)

I hear people rave about San Miguel de Allende, Patzquaro, Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido – even Merida. I think Guanajuato could be a good bet as well. Very cultured, international, has a university so there is the influence of youth and cheap restaurants…

Antigua is beautifully colonial

Antigua is beautifully colonial

In our opinion, safety has not been much of a concern so long as one doesn’t tempt fate. (Wearing lots of jewelry, flashing digital toys, walking the streets in early morning hours, etc. )

Antigua and Panajachel in Guatemala could be good alternatives. Antigua is cultured – a bit more expensive than Panajachel which is more funky/hippie/artsy.

Since we are speaking of singles and traveling you might take a look at our Traveling Singles page which offers many options for women travelers including adventure trips, culture trips, and women’s networks.

I don’t know if I have directly answered your question, but at least I have pointed you in some positive directions. We wish you the best in your search and hope you find a place that feels like home.

Feel free to write any time, we’d love to hear from you again. And perhaps we could answer any other questions.


Akaisha and Billy

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The World Is Your Oyster


Hi Akaisha and Billy,

Boy, I sure needed to see your e-mail and  the following statement as I’ve been retired (age 57) for a year now and am feeling quite lost not knowing what to do with my life.  This gives me some encouragement!  Thanks and enjoy Guatemala.

“We en-Courage you also to embrace change for the dynamic involvement in your life that it requires, and to not be afraid of your future. Do not succumb to looking down but choose to look up and out!”


The world is an exotic place

The world is an exotic place

Hi Cheryl,

I’m sorry that you are struggling with what you want to do with your life now that you have retired. This is a very normal time period people go through once they no longer have their calendar filled with their work schedule. It’s a shifting of priorities and a new perspective.

At 57 you are still so very young and vibrant with lots of talents and experience to offer the world. Not to mention that “the world is your oyster” at this point as well.

I don’t know what your personal interests are or even where you might be living now, but there are travel opportunities for women (take a look at our Traveling Singles Page) where you can take painting courses in Italy, go with a group of adventurous women to some exotic locale or stay with women around the world on an itinerary of your own choosing.

Share what you know with others!

Share what you know with others!

If you are looking for personal meaning and substance, doing some volunteering is always a good bet.

If you are wondering how you could travel and afford it, try our Travel Housing Options Page. That’s a comfortable and exciting way to open up your horizons.

No matter where you find yourself, if you have the choice to take the leap of faith or not to, take the leap!

Let us know if we can help in any way.

Wishing you all the best!

Akaisha and Billy


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Identifying Knee Injuries

Author Bio: Sabrina Bush lives in New York with her fiancé and a baby on the way.  She is a blogger for numerous websites and has written articles on a number of topics.  Some of her interests include the field of health and medicine, like orthopaedic matters and prenatal topics.  

While many knee injuries happen to professional or recreational athletes, an injury to various portions of the knee could happen to anyone.  Just a simple bend or twist in the wrong direction could lead to excruciating pain.  If a knee is swollen, it may be hard to discern just what type of injury you’re facing.  Even some doctors won’t be able to diagnose the injury without close inspection.  Therefore, it’s important to know the specific symptoms of each type of injury.  Being educated in these matters could save you a trip to the hospital when you’re only dealing with a sprain.

Knee1How the injury occurred will be a major help in determining the type of injury you’re facing.  Of course, knowing the various symptoms of each type of injury will also be imperative.  If you have twisted your knee or taken a direct hit to the side of it, you may have torn the cartilage.  Pain will certainly be involved, and the knee will swell up very quickly.  If you have difficulty walking, you’ve probably torn the meniscus, the cartilage joining the two leg bones into the knee.  These symptoms are very similar to ligament injuries, so it may be hard to tell.  One important symptom that can set the two injuries apart is if the knee locks up.  This will only happen if the cartilage has been torn.

As previously noted, tearing a ligament could involve many of the same symptoms as tearing the cartilage.  Falling awkwardly could cause such an injury, as well as taking a direct hit to the side of the knee.  However, the hit would have to be extremely forceful in order to tear a ligament.  Not as much force is needed to injure the cartilage.  Pain and swelling will occur with this injury.  A major difference, however, between this injury and the one discussed above is the feeling of the knee.  If walking is difficult because the knee feels unstable, it could be a torn ligament.

Knee2Tearing either the meniscus or a ligament is an extremely serious injury that requires immediate attention by health care professionals.  The same goes for fractures surrounding the knee, as well as a dislocation.  In all of the circumstances involving serious injuries to the knee, pain and swelling is commonplace.  Swelling may come on rather quickly, almost immediately after the hit, fall, or awkward twist.  If you have a hard time putting weight on the leg due to immense pain, a fracture may have occurred.  You have either broken an end of either one of the leg bones, and a hospital visit is forthcoming.  The same goes for dislocations.  It should be fairly easy to tell if you’ve dislocated your knee, rather than fractured one of the surrounding bones.  In this circumstance, the bones will look distorted and uneven.  Of course, this is provided you can see the bones underneath the massive amount of swelling that may occur.  Note that it will be very difficult, fairly impossible, to walk on the injured leg.

Knee3While all of the above situations involve serious injuries that require hospital visitation, a sprain is much better to deal with.  You should not require a hospital to diagnose and treat the problem.  Perhaps a visit to your primary care doctor is necessary, but a sprain can be treated using at-home remedies.  A sprain is also much easier to diagnose on your own.  Pain should be centrally located in only one part of the knee.  It should be easy to tell which muscle or ligament is sprained based on the location of the pain.  The knee will feel stable and you should have no trouble walking.  A limp may occur only because of the pain.  Also, there should be no swelling involved with a sprain. 

Hopefully, this article has made it a little easier for you to understand the different symptoms associated with knee injuries.  If there’s no swelling, it’s just a sprain.  Save yourself time and money by staying at home rather than going to a hospital.  However, if there’s immense swelling involved, along with excruciating pain, seek out an orthopaedic or health care professional immediately.  Serious injuries will involve a long recovery time, so it’s best to prevent knee injuries from happening in the first place.  Yet, it could happen at any time.  One wrong slip on the ice this winter could leave you with a knee injury.  Resort to the above information for an easier and faster diagnosis.

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