Sunday, December 01, 2013
It's strange how we get so caught up in daily living that we don't really know why we do things the way we do. This afternoon was perfect for a long walk. I took a short walk in the morning and after seeing how beautiful it was, determined to try a longer one later.
It was cloudy, so I didn't need sunglasses. It was calm, still, peaceful, perfect for reflection. It was on this walk that I realized that I got obsessed with planning winter exercise because we had a crummy November for weather. It was either windy, rainy, cold, or any combination thereof. On sunny days, it was windy and icy cold. I simply don't get a lot of satisfaction over moving around my living room right now. Some day, maybe I will. But right now, I realized on this first day of December, I'm going to keep up walking for as long as I can.
My dog was overjoyed. He was on a sniff-a-thon. At one point he had me zig-zagging back and forth across the road, checking out all sorts of exciting possibilities. Sometimes, he stopped to just listen. I followed him, listening too, to the silence. I mean there wasn't a sound. There weren't any vehicles on the road until on the way back a semi came along and the guy waved at us. I don't know what a semi was doing on these back country roads, but it surely was for the purpose of agriculture. The last 15 minutes some cars came along. Everyone waved at us except for a guy who lifted his forefinger off the steering wheel when he went by. That's good enough for me! It was deliberate and meant for us.
I should be thankful I have this opportunity to walk on the roads yet. I'm going to use it to the full. As soon as the roads get snowy and icy, there will be tons of salt to deal with. Then my dog shouldn't come along, as he won't wear boots. I tried that already. I saw something on the Today show about a wax you can put on their feet. I don't know if I want to try that. I'll just run him in our yard doing Frisbee and stuff. Then I'll finally get my walks without a dog pulling me around. My legs are getting strong enough that my knees aren't as affected by his pulling on the leash, something that he never got over even though I took him to obedience class for 7 weeks.
Sometimes, it takes some time for us to sort out what we need to keep on this weight loss journey. Mostly, for myself, it's because I don't know myself as well as I think I do, also because I get too busy to think things over. But, ironically, walking gives me the opportunity to do both!
For my vegetarian friends, I'll be making Rockin' Moroccan Stew this afternoon that I'll put over quinoa. I got the recipe from the Jazzy Vegetarian show. My husband and son will get beef stew. And I'll be baking an apple pie for the guys from apples we picked from our tree about a month ago. I'll be eating a fresh apple after I serve that to them! Here's the link for the recipe:
I also made Chinese Tofu with Mushrooms & Bok Choy, which I got from Spark Recipes. I think I'll look up the member who submitted it to thank her. I used presliced portabella mushroom caps which I cut crosswise into thirds. That made for big meaty chunks of mushroom. I used twice as much bok choy, mushrooms, and scallions. Even without rice, it really filled me up. If anyone wants help with cooking tasty tofu, let me know. I think I have it mastered after reading several books and trying several times. If you want, I'll post a short blog on it if that would be most helpful.
For my friends who love nature, my husband spotted the biggest bear he has ever seen yesterday just north of our little village. My father-in-law saw a wolf back near their garden this week. And he knows the difference between a wolf and a coyote. He was employed with the DNR for many years. My in-laws have already had bears tearing through their bird feeders just a few yards from their patio doors. (They like to get a close look at the hummingbirds. My in-laws, not the bears).
Too bad there isn't a bird emoticon. Does anyone see a bird emoticon other than a dove and a stork?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I didn't do my Karen Voight stretching DVD tonight because my daughter came over for a visit. She walked on our treadmill. When she was done, I told her about my blog about her little brother laughing at me while I work out, especially at my videos. My son protested my account of his laughing, stating he wasn't really laughing all that much. :p My daughter said one commenter of my blog was right, I'd better get newer videos so my son doesn't have so much to laugh about, citing the clothes. Yes, I understand and agree that workout gear has become better over the years (er, decades).
Then I got out my Hip Hop Abs DVD, which wasn't even out of the shrink wrap yet. My daughter popped it in, and it is defective! It looked like a computer screen with a video card that is broken. Well, at least that's progress. I know at this point that I no longer have a DVD that was released lately, and I can get rid of it. I hope they'll give me a refund. Now about a ballet DVD...I'll have to see if any exist these days.
Most important, I've decided that walking is my one true love. Sometime between now and around 1990 when I was doing exercise shows and videos in earnest, I'd become an outdoor lover, an outdoor exerciser. I'd say it was the winter of 1994/1995 when I first discovered that a walk a day is a sure cure for seasonal affective disorder. My doctor told me when I went in to see him that 10 minutes a day is all the sunlight you need to beat it, and you don't even need sunshine. Even a cloudy day will do. What a great deal, huh? Pretty cheap therapy and most pleasant too! I didn't take the medication samples he gave me. The walking did it!
My change to outdoor exercise probably had something to do with moving to a much smaller house too. If I had all the room that I had before, with a whole room dedicated to exercise, I'd probably be keeping up some aerobics and weightlifting in front of the TV screen. I didn't have to work out in the living room in those days, and I had the whole house to myself during the day. Total privacy, as everyone back then walked out the door in the morning and I didn't see them until 3:30. What a luxury. Nowadays, my walks are an escape where I can take my time and be at peace. Finally, a slower pace, a pace I choose.
I guess I have changed permanently into someone who doesn't really like indoor exercise. I can't go back into the past and I really don't want to.
Oh, just thought of what my son told me earlier today. He said he was thinking this morning about how happy he is that I'm his mom because I'm one of the kindest people in the world. Even when I bug him about school, he knows I'm doing it in his best interest so he can go far in this world. And I thought he didn't notice...
Just thought I'd pass that on for balance. One of those sweet moments.
Friday, November 29, 2013
I got my new stretching DVD today. Last night after dinner, I sat on the couch for a moment before leaving the house with my family. An infomercial for the Fluidity exercise system happened to be on. I liked it because I like ballet. It looks a lot like ballet exercises. There is even a specialized barre included. I got the full price from their website. Because it's a bit pricey (I would get my Spark Tracker first), I decided to consider ballet exercise on DVD before investing that kind of money. I had Ballet Boot Camp on video but never got around to trying it before the switchover to DVD.
Fluidity does look terrific, though. I asked myself why it appeals to me so much. Then I realized that it's because of pain. Fluidity looks gentle and painless. It kind of reminds me of Callanetics of the 80s. I never tried that. It looked too boring when I was in my 20s. I bought Hip Hop Abs, but haven't tried it yet. Bought Karen Voight's stretching video which I probably will do tonight. I like walking, like swimming, and don't mind gardening. I don't like jumping around, high impact aerobics, moving my arms around a lot. That's because it induces pain in my neck and shoulders.
Now I am narrowing down what my problems are and what exercise I need to do. Now I know why I can't get myself to do a great deal of aerobics videos. I did some, but not much. When I did do it a while back, it was okay. The funny thing is, the more I do it, the better I feel, the less it bothers me. So I have to get going.
I figure I have to go back to basics, go easy. I got away from walking through a very busy period of my life, fell into the doldrums a little bit. But I'm sure that if I start walking, doing my more easygoing exercise DVDs, I'll work myself up to more and better exercise.
When I think about it, there is only three months out of the year that I cannot walk on the roads with ease. I usually start in mid-March (or as I say, "the third week of March" is my official starting point). And I have walked on pleasant days all through the winter in past years. Winter is just a state of mind in many ways. You can dress for it. There is a saying that there is no bad season, only bad clothes. That is so true!
Pain problems are why I don't do much weight lifting. I think this is why I haven't joined the gym in the nearby village, even though it is staffed by qualified personnel from a hospital. I used to keep a pair of 10-lb. dumbbells on the kitchen counter. I'd lift them for 10 shoulder presses almost every time I'd walk by. I might start that up again. That tiny bit of lifting won't hurt.
This is winter, and I'm going to put some strategies into place to triumph over the Old Man. I'm not going to be a couch potato just because I got a little rough start. Last autumn, my plan was to go swimming one evening a week, which is a 40-mile round trip. I might do that because I love swimming, but I might just jump on my treadmill instead on cold, windy nights.
The point is I'M NOT GIVING UP! It's time to get myself going. There isn't even any salt on the roads yet to get in our dog's feet. That poor guy needs to get out and sniff some more in the great outdoors with me. He's sensory deprived! He's such a good dog. There aren't many like him, that's for sure.
I don't mind working, I don't mind exercise. I love it when I can get to it regularly. I just have to get my life and determination in line with where my head is at, which won't be much of a problem!
Monday, November 25, 2013
I've been enjoying everyone's blogs. Such a variety of things are talked about!
This blog is about what I need the most at this time. I'm doing fairly well at keeping within calorie range. Not perfect, but good enough to lose weight if I only could exercise. I have determined that no matter what my situation, I will find time to exercise.
It's not really my parents that are the problem. They actually are doing really well right now, and I'm not spending a great deal of time there. I think it's the mental load that's getting me down, not literally having enough energy to walk or do DVDs. Recognizing that, I've decided to get sparked into exercising more again.
One of the things I want to do is get a Spark activity tracker. That has taken a back seat to the expense of switching over my cookware and many small appliances over to ceramic to get rid of the PFOA from Teflon and Silverstone. It all adds up to money. I reasoned that I will still exercise without the tracker, and even if I don't know exactly what I'm getting accomplished, not having the tracker won't keep me from doing it. But I do need to get the chemicals out of my life and my family's bodies. And when that is done and I'm ready to put myself first, I'll order that tracker!
Another problem I have with exercising at home is having a teenage son in the house who likes to tease his mom. He laughs at my outdated DVDs (I got some I liked from the 80s and 90s that were videos back then and he thinks they're a hoot). I should say, he laughs at them and laughs at me while I am doing them. To make matters worse, he's attending school at home, so he's here all the time!
There is a fitness center that was started pretty close to my home by a regional hospital system. They are open a few afternoons a week. I'm thinking about going there to be around adults and get some expert instruction too! I can't believe a high quality facility is located in the little village nearby, and my son would probably enjoy getting me out of the house too! We get along amazingly well for spending so much time together. But being apart is good.
A part of the reason why I have been so lax these last few weeks is the winter solstice setting in. I know I am affected by lack of sunlight. I started some St. John's Wort extract in the hopes it will perk me up. I think it's working. Liquid extract seems to work better than pills or capsules. It probably absorbs better.
I just ordered a stretching DVD. I love stretching. It relaxes me and I have a tendency to get too stiff. Stretching gets rid of some pain that I have. I'm surprised at the strength needed to hold those stretches, and I think it serves a little as exercise too. At least we know that flexibility is one component of fitness, so I won't feel like I'm too lazy when I do it. But working up a sweat and moving my body is something I am missing. Especially since I'm not gardening any more.
Speaking of gardening, I have a few pictures to share with you.
The first is a salad I made for myself last week. This is the last of the green tomatoes I harvested before I pulled my plants out of the container. This is a Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato. It doesn't look like it would if it was harvested ripe, but it still tastes a lot better than what you buy in the store. It was VERY green when I picked it and not full size, but it turned out quite well anyway. It took at least a few weeks to ripen. I'm surprised it didn't spoil before it was ready to eat.
And the tomato before I put it in so you can see it better.
Now I'll show you some of the tomatoes right after they were harvested about a month ago, with the nasturtiums and pansies I put in my salads too. The little cherry tomatoes in the second photo are Mexican MIdget, another heirloom variety. There are a few basil leaves thrown in the bowl with the Midgets that I gleaned from the container. The flowers are high in nutrients such as carotenoids and lutein. The stems are edible too, kind of peppery like arugula.
Lastly, I'm thinking about trying Spark Coach to see if that will help with my motivation and in figuring out some of my problems and logistics in getting exercise. I'm thinking that I might be totally surprised at what they may tell me. If you have any experience with Spark Coach and how it works, I'd be glad to hear from you!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Well, I'll soon get back to blogging about my weight loss efforts instead of what is keeping me from them. I just joined three Spark Teams where I can vent, instead of in my blogs. Hooray! Each team looks like just the place to be, and I'm eager to get back to exercise, food, and fun on my Spark Page! This should be my last blog that focuses on them.
My parents are amazingly resilient! It seems like every time something happens to them, such as a stroke or fall, they always bounce back. My mom doesn't remember anything about her hospital stay, yet when I was there on Monday, she was making supper and wouldn't let me do anything to help her. I worry about them when I am home, and when I go there, I see they are doing fine. I need to see them regularly or I'm not happy. Phone calls are not enough to see how things are really going.
As you read before, I have had my challenges with stubborn parents. My mom refused to get her hair cut to the point it was hanging long and straight down her back. My dad convinced her to go along with my wishes after I told him that some of my friends think I'm not taking care of them. She certainly did look unkempt. After dad started helping me, I got some photos to show her of Helen Mirren and Diane Sawyer, among other celebrities, to show her what I had in mind. She was sure she would need a perm and a short cut. But lo and behold, she chose one of the cuts I found for her, and her hair looks super! She loves it! It's chin length and when the weight was taken off, and some layers cut in, she had waves and body galore! She actually has fantastic hair for someone her age. Even she was surprised - always thought she had stick straight hair, but now realizes I got my hair from her. Hair stylists tell me that I make them look good, my hair is so easy to work with. Well, mom is the same way. Another battle resolved after 1-1/2 years. A banner day indeed.
As long as my daughter and I go there to monitor inventory, do meds, run a few errands, and take them to the doctor, a few things around the house, and a couple of personal cares, they are fine. All they need is support. I am feeling pretty good about them now. The haircut turned mom around! She even looks healthier.
She also is cooperating better about letting us take over the tracking and organizing of her meds. She insisted on administering them to herself because she's a retired RN who spent 37 years as Director of Nursing, mostly in nursing homes, but 10+ years in hospitals too. She thinks that since she gave people meds all of her adult life, she can handle it single-handedly, as if nurses don't really get dementia like other people do. Sorry, mom. You do forget. And we don't want you taking your blood thinners or heart meds too close together (sometimes 1/2 hour apart). Egad!
These two issues established, I hope things will settle down now. I anticipate no more blogs specifically about my parent experiences. My daughter and I call each other almost every night for a parent report. I'll leave it at that and let my Spark Teams handle the rest. Thanks for putting up with these two blogs.
My daughter laughed her guts out reading my last blog. It was SO true, and it was only a small part of our story. She told me to write a book. We weren't laughing at them, we were laughing at our life. You can either laugh or cry. We choose to laugh and love our parents and grandparents, warts and all. Those shared experiences of my daughter and I - like she says, no one would ever understand, could possibly understand what it is like to do what we have been doing these last 18 months. Not even our friends. My parents are chock full of surprises. Never a dull moment but one thing is for sure, lots of hugs and kisses.
I remember walking through the nursing home where my mom worked when I was in high school. It was the end of the day, and I needed a ride home after finishing my after-school job. I was headed to my mom's office, and a little lady in a wheelchair indicated that she wanted me to stop by her. When I got there, she looked up at me and said, "Your mother is an angel of mercy." I didn't know exactly why she said that, was too shy to ask. But I've never forgotten those words, even after 37 years. Now the time has come to take care of that angel of mercy, and dad.
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