Five For Friday


Come on in! Get warm. Northern Indiana is chilly today with a dust of snow. Sit and have some hot chocolate. I’m kind of partial to Giardelli’s Chocolate with Caramel these days.

How have you been?

Remember when I mentioned the workout app 7 Minutes a couple of weeks ago? Well, Greatist, one of my favorite health websites and email newsletters did an article about 7 Minutes last week and gave it a thumbs up for being a scientifically proven workout.

I do have to say though that if you read this article or follow the info-graphic and you’re getting up in years or perhaps have knee or leg issues, you don’t have to do the step-ups with a chair. ALWAYS modify exercise programs for your body and your fitness level (I do:) and talk to your Doctor if you aren’t sure something is right for you.

Here you go: 7 Minute Workout Science Says Actually Works 

Here’s another great newsletter article from Greatist —A Morning Routine to Set You Up for A Kick-Ass Super Productive Day by Susie Moore. Susie’s blog is called No Regrets which just makes me smile. Great advice laced with humor. Who doesn’t want to be Kick-Ass and Super Productive?

And while we’re working out and being totally kick-ass and productive lets take some time to refill our creative well this weekend with soothing, calm words and photography from Susannah Conway and her wonderful blog and website. I found Susannah in the pages of  the winter issue of Project Calm Magazine one of my go-to magazines for inspiration and creativity.

Another go-to magazine along the same vein is BREATHE, and like Project Calm is an import from the U.K. Seems to me the Brits are having all the fun, creativity and relaxation! I’m so looking forward to a trip to the bookstore to pick up new issues. Inspiring artwork, photography and writing. Great for a winter afternoon or evening paired with a cozy throw, warm socks and a cup of tea.



On the home front, hubby and I are dog sitting our granddog Sonny this week. I miss Earl very much so I’m extremely happy Sonny is here and can take me for walks:)
Isn’t he a handsome boy?

Sonny and I send smooches!
Have a wonderful weekend,


Workout Apps For A Busy Day


Come on in!

In honor of my healthy aging commitment, I’m trying to be more consistent in my aerobic activity and strength training. But, what do I do when my schedule runs wild? Here are three workout apps I use when I’m short on time or when life intervenes and my day is jam-packed with other responsibilities.

These apps are free but if you need more workouts you can buy a premium membership too. You’ll be able to determine if these apps are right for you by going to the website links provided here.

Seven – 7 Minute Workout Training Challenge

7 Minutes? Seriously, what can we accomplish in 7 minutes? Hmmm…. turns out quite a bit. Try it for 7 minutes dear friend and if you’d like to workout a little longer, just press the button again. This is a great app to keep some consistency in your workouts when life is topsy-turvy.  Plus, we’re developing and maintaining a workout habit muscle. Something is always better than nothing. High-fives!


Funny name, solid workouts, good results. Is it a cardio, yoga, stretch or strength day today? How many minutes? You pick from 5-60 minutes. All good. Lots to do here. You won’t be bored.


This one is new for me. One thing that might drive you nuts is the fact that on iPad the main menu where you choose your workout does not go to landscape mode. I have a keyboard attached to my iPad so my keyboard is flopping around while I choose my workout.

However, I can assure you that the actual workouts are in landscape mode and my keyboard is back on the desk. Whew!

Workouts are 10 – 30 minutes long, beginner to advanced. I workout harder when I use a yoga app rather than my own sequence of poses. Translation: Nancy’s sequence = easy, Daily Yoga= challenge.

Do you have any favorite workout apps you’d like to share? Have you tried any of these workout apps?

Be happy:) and have a great weekend!



Healthy Living and Aging Well

Happy 2017!

Sit, get comfy and let’s talk.

I’ve been thinking a lot about aging and what aging well means to me. I’ll be 60 in June. Inwardly this makes me go eeeekkkk!!!! I’m not overly concerned about the outward signs of aging as much as being a healthy, vibrant, energetic woman well into old age.

I’ve been hitting the books and doing some research on what this commitment to the next 30 plus years could mean. Turns out healthy aging is gonna be a LOT of work.

I can see you aren’t a bit surprised. Me either.

And puleeze…. feel free to join me in this “work” because although I’d love nothing better than to have you join me in my pain and agitation,  it’s even better to have company for the wins because there will be plenty to celebrate —or this blog will no longer be called The HAPPY, it will be called The Sad, Sad, Life of A Grouchy Crone.

Perhaps you’ve already thought about what it means to “age well”and have a plan that you’re working. Or perhaps you’ve been living a healthy fit life for most of your life. If indeed you’ve always taken fitness seriously and ate right most of your life then I am amazed and grateful to have you here. You, my dearest are aging well and I’m thrilled for you.

I take fitness and healthy eating seriously but not always consistently. I can use your tips and tricks for keeping motivated. I need people to tell me me to my face there is no spry,  102 year old woman living in the South of France who eats only cheese and bread and drinks gallons of red wine every single day and joins the village children in a soccer game each afternoon.

You’re rolling your eyes.

I know, I know. I can’t ignore statistics and proven medical research. According to Younger Next Year for Women by Dr. Henry Lodge and Chris Crowley, one of the best books I’ve read so far about aging and wellness, 70 percent of aging is decay. Got that? 70% of aging is decay!!! I am literally decaying as I write this.

But here’s the thing: We can escape about 50 percent of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver problems, by staying active, avoiding eating crap, (their words lol) and by improving and/ or keeping our social connections. Turns out our social interests and connections are good for our brains.

In other words, we’re still going to get old but we’ve upped our chances of not developing all the chronic illnesses we associate with getting older because we’re slowing down the decay of our bodies and brains by moving, eating right and not crawling into a dark hole to be alone. 

Lodge and Crowley’s plan is not a quick-fix. The reason the book is called Younger Next Year is because it might take us a year or more to work up to the plan’s goals in order to see results. Results in your blood levels, strength level, pain level, endurance, etc. The goal is to exercise 6 days a week for 45 minutes ( 4 aerobics, 2 strength) for the rest of your life. Depending on what kind of shape we’re in to begin with, it might take us up to a year to get to that point.

So, I’ll confess first. Here’s my starting point. Over the past two years I’ve become an avid yoga girl and a Fitbit walker but I’ve been next to nil on the aerobic and strength training.


I’ve spent the last six weeks adding those things back into my day starting with 15 minutes. For the past few weeks, I’m holding steady at the 25-30 minute mark with a one hour community yoga class once a week. I’m amazed by how much stronger and energetic I feel with the addition of strength training and aerobics. I didn’t feel bad before but now I feel really good, which is nice. The book explains how to begin and how to build up your time. The goal is taking small steps with consistency and I’ll talk more about habits and consistency in a future post.

Food-wise I’ve cut way, way back on my wine (so sad) cheese (I’m sobbing here) but breads and other starches are still kind of iffy. Let me just be clear and say that if you brought me a crusty, warm baguette this morning, I would grab it, tuck it under my arm like a football and try to run away from you so I could have it all to myself.

Oh, it’s ok, I can’t run far because I’m not that fit. You my friend, if you’ve been working out and eating right could probably snatch it from me. Give me a year and perhaps I’ll only want one thin slice of your baguette and then invite you to the playground to play soccer with the village children.

All kidding aside, my need to cut back on some of the foods I love and have a safe, reliable plan for aging well has everything to do with my deepest fear about aging.

My deepest fear about growing old is that I end up like my dear Mom, in a wheelchair, unable to move. My Mom’s case is complicated but at it’s root, her being wheelchair bound and in a nursing home for two years was due to a cascading effect of many health issues that all began and were caused by her refusal to do the physical therapy needed after a total knee replacement.

My happy, fun, active Mom and playful Grandma to her grandkids and great grandkids simply quit moving. She had no chronic health issues like heart disease, kidney problems or diabetes. She played street hockey and shot baskets with my son and daughter well into her seventies yet through her failure to do the physical therapy and continue moving, her muscles became unusable and she withered before our eyes, physically and mentally.

Use this link to look up the word sarcopenia. If we don’t use our muscles we will lose them. “Use it or lose it” is true. When Mom passed she was 82. A good long life but there’s always that question in my mind; “What if?”

Now here’s a happy flip-side of my Mom’s situation. My mother-in-law was 92 when she fell and broke her hip. She survived the hip replacement surgery, went to a senior rehab/physical therapy home, kept moving even when she didn’t want to, did the therapy and was able to go back to her own home where she remains to this day. Almost every Friday afternoon hubby or one of his sisters takes her to the beauty salon to get her hair done. She walks with a walker but prepares her own meals, gets out of the house once or twice a week with a family member and is as sharp as a tack. She’ll be 94 in October.

According to Crowley and Lodge we’re never too old to become strong, fit and remain independent if we’re willing to make some changes.

There are of course, no guarantees. I could do form all the suggested healthy habits in Younger Next Year, or any other book about healthy aging and still end up with cancer or be in a horrific accident before my 60th birthday. I can’t control those things, I can only control what I think and do right now in the present moment and let God take care of the rest. I feel I have a better shot at living a long healthy life standing on my own two legs, doing all the things I love with all the people I love if I continue working my plan to age well.

I’ll keep you updated on my research, the actions I’m taking and let you know how I’m doing; what’s easy, what’s hard, what I’ve learned.

What do you think? Any deep fears about aging? What would you like to do about it?

Do you have aging well seniors in your life who are inspirations to you? I love hearing about “old” people engaging in life and doing exciting things! Let me know in the comments:)

Have a happy, healthy week!

Tons of hugs,




From: Me To: You


I miss you!

I’ll be back early in the New Year with new posts and fun things to talk about but I couldn’t let this magical season pass without saying how grateful I am for each and everyone of you. Thank you for being here. I can’t wait to catch up with you!


From my house to yours, from my heart to your heart, I wish you all the joys of the holiday season.

Peace, Joy and Hugs,




More Poetry Please

Life has been changing all around me. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were in my hometown of Stratford, Ontario Canada visiting my family but mostly visiting my oldest brother who just found out he has cancer. Not cancer in one major organ but many major organs. No indication of being sick except for sudden weight loss and an increasing inability to swallow. The diagnosis was a shock to all but no one more shocked than my brother who was vigilant about his health and an avid walker.

My husband and I aren’t new to this disease, it’s taken my wonderful sister-in-law and my best friend. You’ve probably been touched by cancer also, I don’t know of many people who haven’t. Yet the “C” word never fails to takes our breath away every time we or a loved one gets it’s diagnosis.

This week has been about regrouping, gearing up for the holidays but of course my brother is never far from my thoughts. He’s in good hands. His wife, my 93 year old father, younger brother, my sister and their families will surround him and I will visit when I can and send him things to make him laugh and help him stay comfortable as he goes through chemotherapy.

I’ve been reading a book called Midlife Manifesto: A Woman’s Guide to Thriving After Forty by Jane Matthews It’s humorous and full of ideas to keep me tracking down the path of a happy, midlife person. Picking it up where I left off after my trip, the topic of eulogies came up. As in, how do you want to be remembered? It caught me off guard, I was too raw to imagine a eulogy for myself when my brother is so ill.

I skimmed a little further, ready to put the book down when a poem I’d long forgotten rose from the pages. The words flooded back to me in rush. I’d read it to my brother once upon a time when I was an angsty teen and he was a young adult. I don’t remember a thing about the conversation we had afterwards but I do remember both of us smiling.

Days after my reading, he pulled his old ninth grade poetry book off the shelf and gave it to me. I’ve spent many a happy evening with this book for many, many years.

My brother's ninth grade poetry book

My brother’s ninth grade poetry book

Now this old orange volume, first published in 1956 takes on new significance, a moment frozen in time between a shy, awkward little sister full of big emotions and an equally quiet and shy big brother. The poem is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem: To Laugh Often and Much or you might know it as Success.

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.

The strange thing is now that I’ve found this poem again poetry has been coming to me in all sorts of ways. I’d already planned on mentioning Mary Oliver as one of my favorite contemporary poets in this post and believe it or not, I opened an email from Bella Grace Magazine titled: As Though I Had Wings: 20 Mary Oliver Quotes To Live By

It’s a lovely post with a beautiful photo. I can’t help but smile.

But that’s not all. A few days ago, a new friend sent me the Youtube video of Pentatonix singing Hallelujah. If you haven’t seen it, grab some tissues because you just might cry. I did. They knock it out of the park. Visceral, powerful.

I fully intended on sending it to my daughter but got busy and forgot. Well guess what?
She emailed me the same video! She called later to see what I thought. We had the best conversation about the song, the group and the Canadian poet behind the lyrics, Leonard Cohen. We talked about other renditions, Leonard Cohen poems I’ve loved as well as her new love of Pentatonix singing some of our favorite Christmas songs.

Another moment frozen in time.. a sweet moment between a Mother and daughter. Life. Music. Poetry.




So now it’s your turn. Since poetry seems to be falling out of the sky for me, please share some of your favorite poets and why you enjoy them. I’d love to love them too! And for all you poets out there; Claire and friends:) you know who you are— keep writing. The world needs more moments, more memories, more beauty, more poetry.

Hugs all around,



Gratitude and Blog Love


Two weeks ago one of my favorite bloggers, Claire at  thecoffeebeanbrain received a Sunshine Blogger award. I was shocked and humbled when she mentioned me along with several other wonderful bloggers in a list of people who she feels are spreading sunshine as well. Although I was surprised I was on her list, I wasn’t surprised Claire shared her special moment. She doesn’t strike me as the type to keep all the accolades to herself. She very much deserves this award.

Every weekend, I look forward to reading her “if we were having coffee” posts along with her regular blog posts. I am grateful for her insights and deep dives into making her way in this world and having the bravery to share it with others. I am grateful for her honesty. Thank you Claire for your comments, encouragement and putting me on your sunshine list with all those other accomplished bloggers. It means more than you could ever know.

Another blogger I am heartily grateful for is Rachel Mankowitz who writes The Cricket Pages and does deep dives of another type. She poses a problem or situation along with her thoughts and opinions and then tells us what she is certain her dogs Cricket and Butterfly would think or do. This is not to say her posts are silly. Somehow she’s tackled topics like yoga class in her synagogue, the pitfalls of health insurance, social anxiety and rescuing a baby squirrel. Rachel is not afraid to tell her truth or how she views life but there’s also a certain levity to her posts because Cricket and Butterfly are so darn cute. To be truthful, I’m not sure how she does it but I’m glad she does!

Thank you Rachel for your support and encouragement and for “liking” every single post I’ve ever written. You are a loyal blogging buddy.

This weekend get to know these kind, generous women through their brilliant and effective writing. They’ll make you think AND make you smile. Enjoy their sunshine and have a HAPPY weekend!




Creating A Space of Your Own

Several days ago, I tried to write a blog post and two hours later when I closed my iPad I laughed and thought, wow, writing that post was the equivalent to wading knee-deep through wet concrete. Somedays the words and the creative spirit don’t sync. Even though none of the words I wrote that day are making it into this post, I’ve been writing long enough to know that no writing is ever wasted. Sometimes the crappy stuff we write is simply a warm-up to something better.

Which reminds me: The intergalactic space mystery with out-of-this-world recipes you wrote three years ago to which you swear no human or alien will ever lay eyes on are NOT wasted words. Why? Because the words, the writing, the effort, the discipline it took for you to write a novel are all there. Any guilt you might have over spending so much time on writing, photography, paper crafting, lettering, etc. when you could have been doing other things should be banished. Now.

Guilt does not serve your creative spirit nor your creative projects. All those words, photographs, oil pastels, whatever it is you’re doing, learning and loving are building blocks for future work, good work. If you’re a maker, continue making, whether you deem it “good” or not. The good stuff is coming. Sometimes you just don’t know when it will show up.

So… stepping off my soap box and into my sunroom this morning


as I was sitting sipping my coffee, it hit me that although this room is not usable during the winter because there are only screens and no windows, this could be my morning place in spring, summer and early Fall. My morning place. I liked the sound of it.

As the rain pitter-pattered on the roof and a little fox loped across the backyard, my thoughts were far away from my not-so-great writing session. I was fully in the moment of this little world I’d created and nature beckoning me to come play outside. The words, my morning place floated by again and I was suddenly reminded of an article I’d written a few months ago. Before I knew it, I was off and running on my blog post, fingers flying, not a hint of wet cement anywhere in sight.

My morning place.

My morning place.

I’m only including some excerpts from the piece, A Space of Your Own (published in Glo, May 2016) in italics because it would simply be too long to post in it’s entirety. If you’d like to read the whole article, you can go here

Glo (May 2016)

A Space of Your Own – While we’re busy nurturing our careers, relationships with family and friends and transforming our houses into homes we’re often the first to admit we have difficulty finding time to nurture ourselves. Everyone deserves and needs a place to unwind, reset and refill the creative well. If we have no place to go for a moment of solitude, our mental and physical health suffers.

Plan Your Escape
It can be as simple as a chair where reading for ten minutes centers your world, or a place where your papers won’t be disturbed. Claiming an entire room for yourself might be difficult but big or small, this spot in your home that’s yours alone should reflect your style, tastes and interests. It can be as simple as a comfy chair in a quiet corner of a larger room or a sleek midcentury desk under a stairwell. Other areas such as the laundry room, basement, spare room, or sun room can be transformed with a little imagination along with a comfortable chair and cozy throw. I’m definitely getting a cozy throw for the sunroom for cool autumn mornings and evenings. Delineating your space with a curtain, screen, shelving, tall plant, or lighting can add some privacy. Pinterest is a terrific place to go for ideas for spaces large, small and teeny-tiny.

Personalize It
Incorporate personal items that have meaning. Photographs with a theme, such as family, pets, travel and girlfriends etc. A future project of mine is a Kick-Ass Women photography display of all the strong, courageous women in my life, past and present. Favorite books, a journal and candles, combined with anything you love and find calming are a must.

Adding things which reflect your interests should be included too. A nature lover might include stones, a beach glass collection or seashells gathered in a small dish. Bird lovers might include a display of new and vintage birding books and some decorative accent pieces. Travel buffs could display a stack of vintage suitcases for visual appeal as well as storage for all those travel books. Old maps or globes would also be fun.

Back in the sunroom…sitting here, watching the rain, thinking how pretty it is now and wondering why the heck I haven’t been doing more of this over the past ten years, brought me the words I needed. Like I said, you never know when or where the ideas will come. Just roll with it!

A space of your own is a good place to go when your creativity feels likes it’s gone on vacation without you. It should be a spot where you just “be” with no judgements. A place to rest, a place to play, surrounded by things you love. You never know, on a rainy, dark day the creative spirit might show up, pull out the chair next to you, take a seat and whisper; “What about trying this?”

And you’ll smile, sit back and say; “Why thank you!” and go back out into the world refreshed, renewed and ready to create.


Do you have a space of your own? A place to refill the well and moodle over your life’s direction, your projects? Where do you go to reset and nurture yourself? I’d love to hear about your favorite spots.

Have a HAPPY day!

Coming next time: Gratitude and some serious blog love. See you then!



Summer Isn’t Over

Summer isn’t over…

Really, it isn’t. Not if you’re thinking about picking up a copy of Project Calm this weekend. It’s like summer camp for adults especially if you’re an adult looking for new ways to be creative. Summer isn’t over and it’s time to play!

I’ve been wanting to to try something new. Writing is my love and always will be but lately I’ve been thinking about the crafts and creative outlets I used to do as a child and young adult and how they fell by the wayside. I was perusing the art and craft magazines at my local Barnes and Noble and found Project Calm. It’s published in the U.K. (lucky people!!!) and this is the debut issue.

I took it on our family vacation to Northern Canada a few weeks ago and my daughter and I had a ball thinking about projects, doing them and generally being in the moment. Inside Project Calm there was a beautiful botanical papercutting page (which included a background to place behind it ) which read,

She believed
she could
So she did
from U.K. papercutting artist Samantha A. Sherring Samantha sells original templates  and papercutting on her Etsy shop if you’re interested in seeing more.

Almost every vacation day, my daughter Natalie took the papercutting outside to a little table overlooking the lake. Relaxing, fun, mindful, blissful. When she frames it, I’ll post a photo for you.

On our morning lake walks we picked flowers to dry and press, then place into float glass frames, (haven’t done that since I was a kid!) and we photowalked around the little town of Perth. In the U.K. there are scheduled meet-ups to photowalk. Doesn’t that sound like great fun? Here’s a cozy little public garden we found on our photowalk. Of course we had to sit for a bit and enjoy.

Photowalking in Perth, Ontario

Photowalking in Perth, Ontario

When I returned home I pulled these fabulous wreath prints from Project Calm, bought inexpensive white frames and put them above my kitchen cabinets. My photo isn’t the best to show off the artist’s work but trust me when I say they look fresh and fun with my chintz and toile teacups:)

Healing Wreath Prints

Healing Wreath Prints

With further investigation I found out the Healing Wreath artist, Katie Vernon lives in Bloomington Indiana which is 140 miles south of us. (Lucky me!!!!) The prints are studies of plants grouped together for their healing properties. It’s nice to think that family and friends are surrounded by health, happiness, energy and harmony when they gather in my kitchen. Links to her Etsy shop for prints like these and original art are on her site.

This is only the tip of the iceberg with Project Calm and my exploration of finding new ways to be creative. Summer isn’t over, it’s not too late to pick up a copy of this great book-azine or any other art book. It’s never too late to try something new or return to something you loved once upon a time.

Come on. Let’s play. It’s still summer!

What about you? Have you decided to try something new or go back to an old craft or hobby you used to love? Any other creative ideas for extending summer?

Enjoy the weekend!



Grieving The Loss of Your Pet

It seems strange to talk about grieving on a blog called The HAPPY but sadly, grieving the loss of a loved one or a cherished pet is a part of our time here on earth.

This photo of Earl was taken when he was about six weeks old and probably weighed about 10 ounces. Little did he know in a couple of weeks he would travel from his birth home in Michigan and travel to Indiana to meet the people who would give him his forever home. He didn’t know he would live to be fourteen and a half years old, weigh a whopping 9.6 pounds and make everyone he ever met laugh — although I do have to say, he does look pretty confident!

He has been gone for almost two months and I still get teary-eyed or cry when I talk about him and even now, writing about him I have to stop and dab my eyes. I have a feeling this will be the case for a long time. More and more though I notice that I’m able to talk about the fun times without tears. Will those good memories ever fill the hole in my heart? I honestly don’t know.

I do have several books that have helped me through the grieving process and I’d like to share them with you.

The Loss of A Pet: A Guide To Coping With The Grieving Process When A Pet Dies by Wallace Sife

Goodbye Friend: Healing Wisdom For Anyone Who Has Ever Lost A Pet by Gary Kowalski

Facing Farewell-Making The Decision To Euthanize Your Pet by Julie Reck DVM

All of these books are written by kind, compassionate people who know what it is to love a pet and miss it’s absence. In these books you’ll also find tips to help others understand what you’re going through and tips on dealing with those who say; “it was only a dog/cat/parakeet etc.” I might say some unladylike words or  give such a person a hand gesture or two. The experts in these pages will give you better coping skills for handling insensitive people than I ever could.

If we love a pet, we all must someday take this sad journey. It’s heartening to know that others have gone before us and have written about it so eloquently.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

See you in a few days with a much lighter subject!







As you can see, I’m making some changes. It’s difficult to continue with the old blog theme without my little companion Earl by my side so I decided to change things up yet still keep him “here.” I will continue to add to his page so we can help other blind dogs live the great life he did.

I apologize to all of you who received In Honor of Earl a second time yesterday. I had no idea when I changed the blog over that my last post would go out again. I obviously still have much to learn about blogging and social media.

The photo is one I posted on Instagram this morning. It’s a message from my sun porch:) If you use Instagram I’d love to follow you! A huge thank you to my dear daughter for encouraging me to use it. Natalie knew I’d love the visual inspiration and connection. My Instagram connection button is to the left of this post. It’s so tiny, I thought I’d point it out.

Thanks for being here and a big shoutout to Rachel and Megan for liking my Earl post the second time around, it was so sweet of you both! Let’s hope I don’t send it out a third or fourth time! If so, you two are off the hook for likes.

I’ll be back with another post in a few days.

Here’s to embracing change!