It’s Valentine’s Day and it is the 9th one I have celebrated with my wife. Actually I married myself on July 20, 2012 and we /I have been deeply committed and in Love ever since. This Valentine’s Day I fell back in love with me. In the past 9 years, we have had heartbreaking losses, celebrated many wonderful occasions and we continue to discover and uncover and excavate who we are together. This year has been horrific – I lost my precious daughter Tovah to cancer during this pandemic. I was buried in my grief, confused, angry, heartbroken, lost, found, held, alone, not alone, supported, unsupported, scared so scared and at the same time hopeful.
At 58, I launched my website – 60 in the City (well almost) and now I am approaching my 65th birthday. My dream 7 years ago was to motivate womyn to believe that anything was possible, to believe that we are not our victim story, that we find Joy in the simplest things. I wrote about marrying myself, about a staycation in this fabulous city of Toronto. I wrote about traveling for free by working as you go. I wrote about my home – only 400 square feet. I wrote about my struggles with weight and with health issues, I wrote about things that confused me like people who don’t cook or older womyn who think they are invisible. I wrote as I traveled sharing my adventures. I wrote about my grief. This past year I have been writing letters to my granddaughter Harper Rose. I’m writing her because it fills my heart but also because I am afraid that I will forget as I age – that I will forget the fun and the stories that we are sharing together.
This weekend I found my personal beauty again – pandemic hair, a healing eye and all. I put on red lipstick. I put on makeup. I polished my nails. I got dressed just for zoom. It is a weekend Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) retreat. It has been a long time since I saw myself in that light. Being able to look in the mirror and smile and see me as I see me – feeling beautiful, confident and content. I have been looking in the mirror everyday for about 10 days and saying a positive mantra and a series of things that I am blessing including my eye and my medical situation. For 2 ½ months I have been dealing with the retina of my left eye that has detached 3 times causing significant scarring. I had to position in bed for more than 3 weeks – first on my right side, next face down and this last time face down or facing right. “Bless my left eye, bless my medical situation and ending with I am ALREADY healed, happy, loving, wealthy, successful, confident, physically and emotionally well. This is my affirmation.” Every day I felt a sense of joy and well-being returning to me.
February is never an easy month for me. I am ready for spring………. well quite honestly, ready for summer. I am a summer woman. I love the heat, love the sun and really don’t mind humidity. Winter takes more work to stay balanced and positive. I intend to do it, though. Every year I stop wearing socks in February, bring sandals to the office, ignore my sweaters, and wear my spring clothes with my big red coat over them. Big shawls and furry winter boots help because the older I get, the more I feel the cold.
Yesterday was one of those challenging February days – the morning started out well – waking up without an alarm clock, writing in my gratitude journal, yoga stretches for my lower back, and a walk to work that includes a challenging incline that leaves me exhilarated. My office is now only 500 metres from home eliminating public transit but also my 40 minute walk. I decided that I need that walk so I am taking advantage of my awesome neighbourhood.
A little pampering goes a long way. If you have a health insurance plan that allows for massage therapy, acupuncture or any other healing therapy, I strongly urge you to take advantage. For those who don’t, I recommend schools for Registered Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Estheticians, Hair Stylists and more. The prices are extremely low in comparison and the treatments usually take longer therefore giving you a little extra pampering time. I have been taking advantage of our beauty schools for almost a decade. Colour, cut and blow dry for around $30. A simple wash and blow dry is only $10. Pampering on a budget for sure.
This week I visited my favourite manicurist for the best pedicure EVER. I have been going to Mary for Manicures and Pedicures for about 9 years. She changed locations in the Beaches3 times and I along with many others have followed her. A pedicure with Mary compares favourably to any high end treatment. She puts her all into her work and has a thriving clientele. She knows I am having trouble with my knee and really spends extra time on the massage. You can ask for extra massage and pay only $1 per minute at many salons in Toronto. I really recommend finding someone you like and becoming a regular customer rather than just dropping in. A mani/pedi at the many salons in Toronto are usually on $35. It is just one of the luxuries that I give myself every 4-6 weeks when possible – for me, it is definitely living life abundantly. You can find Mary at Professional Nail and Spa, 2221 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, 416-694-4111. Tell her Sandra sent you. (this is not a paid commercial just friends sharing great ideas)
The Amazing Mary
Profession Nail and Spa, 2221 Queen Street East, Toronto
Admittedly I am not a person who loves exercise and I really cannot motivate myself to join a class or go to a gym. I really do enjoy getting out to a pool and I am fortunate to have one only a few kilometres away. We are so blessed in Toronto to have community pools in every neighbourhood. Lane swims are very reasonably priced and leisure swims are free across the city. Spending 30 – 60 minutes moving about in the pool really is a great attitude adjustment.
Leisure and Lane Swimming at Main Square Community Centre
Main Square Community Centre
Stiff joints always feel worse in the winter (at least for me) and I have been faithfully doing yoga stretches for the past 2 weeks every morning. What a difference it makes! I am concentrating on the lower back, sciatic area, hips as well as neck and shoulders. I really appreciate the videos by Psyche Truth on YouTube. I am really blown away by the difference I am feeling this week after being consistent.
Here are a few youtube videos that I really like but I find I need to try a variety to keep it interesting.
How To Yoga Stretches for Low Back Pain & Sciatica Relief by Jen Hilman
For years I went to tanning salons in the winter for the tan and for the warmth and the light. It really worked for me but I don’t recommend this. The dangers’ of tanning beds outweighs the benefits, in my opinion. I have never tried sun lamps to help with the lack of sunshine but it might be a great idea. I take my Vitamin D every day, get outside for a walk and dream of summer sun.
Spring tulips on a table, visits to a garden conservatory, green house, butterfly conservatory, art gallery, museum or even a night in a local hotel ( look for great deals online). Take a drive on a bright sunny day to a neighbouring town – visit a Farmer’s Market, Antique Shops and more. Don’t have a car? Rent one for the day, hop on the Go Train but get a change of scene this month. I once spent an adventurous day at Ikea during a blizzard. Travelled there by subway (had to change trains 3 times) and we were among the very, very, very few shoppers. We ate in their restaurant and the staff were offering us samples of different foods since there were only 2 other customers. It was a full day outing and I think all I bought were some bright yellow candles to go with my February tulips.