Saturday, December 24, 2011
'twas the morn' before Christmas and all through the gym,
The treadmills were crowded, the faces were grim.
Edited to expand:
'twas the morn' before Christmas
and all through the gym
The treadmills were crowded
The faces were grim!
The benches were covered with sweat-dripping towels
We vied for the free weights
We didn't want dowels.
And after the grunting
The cool down and stretching
There came relieved grins
The smiles became fetching.
And we heard one another
As each one departed...
"Boy that sure felt good.
I am glad that I started."
And we heard the staff sigh,
as they locked the doors tight.
"Merry Christmas to all!
Now go turn out the light!"
Ok, done, 'nuff parody. But seriously, the gym closed at 2 p.m. today, and is closed on Christmas Day, so anybody who wanted a serious workout was there in spades, crowding us all together. I had Handel's Messiah in the ear buds and it felt good to be back after my "sideline" trip this week. I did the trainer's first workout, then came home, showered and changed into something more festive.
Wishing all my fellow Sparklers a happy, healthy, sane next few days... for that matter, next week!
Friday, December 23, 2011
I managed to sideline myself with some kind of bug for the past couple of days. I think what my mom used to call the "holiday flu" is at least partly self-imposed by eating the rich foods of the season and overstressing. This particular time it was different. It seemed to start out with the sinus "weather nose". Which puzzles me because we haven't had much "weather".
I skipped the gym and went to bed early on Tuesday. Wednesday I couldn't cajole myself into going to work, just felt pretty lousy. I did this at least in part as preventative strategy. I know the bulk of my team is taking today off, and I for sure didn't want to press my luck earlier in the week, wear myself out, leave me sicker, and leave the workplace uncovered for the last work day before Christmas.
I got so far as to go to work yesterday, but packed it in after an hour. My body probably could have survived, but my mind was not functioning and I was still feeling that weariness.
Being this odd kind of ill got me thinking and pondering over fitness versus health. Being sick while fit is somehow different from being sick while unfit. That whole "my body could have survived" might be part of the difference... I think I'm better before I'm wholly recovered. I did let my body have a little more activity yesterday than the day before.
This is fighting a childhood conversation with my mother in my head: "If you're too sick to go to school"... I think I've written this one before. At my age, though... it's having to change. "If you're too sick to think clearly, you have no business being at work. But you still have to take care of your body." That doesn't mean "go out and play" but it does mean nurture yourself, and that may include taking some steps, pacing in the house or walking gently on the treadmill. No extremes, but moving.
Balance in all things. Here's to a better health day, recovery and a self-nurturing Christmas weekend!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Most of the TV station "retrospective" shows come between Christmas and New Year's. This is not surprising... we tend to look back, assess, and move forward at anniversaries of significance: beginning/end of a school year, a project, too. New Year's is just one of those times we have agreed on as being an ending / beginning.
Since I sort of feel "I've had my Christmas" and am all full of that glow... I've started to move on to restrospective thoughts. Here are a few that roam through my warped brain this morning:
2011 was a year with losses, and we're not talking poundage. We are talking people and pets beloved. We are talking health issues among loved ones. Taken in the right light, losses can bring us closer together and make us appreciate more what we do have... I've see that in action this year, and for this I am grateful. Taken in the right light, they can motivate us to take care of ourselves and our own health. For this, also, I am grateful.
2011 was a year of athleticism. The bling and the t-shirt collection grew this year with a 10 mile, a half marathon, a mud run 5K, two "ordinary" 5K's, and a 5 mile effort on foot. Some walking, some walking/jogging intervals. The sense of accomplishment and "Yes, I can!" is priceless.
It was a year of maintenance, the second since declaring myself "done" with the losing phase. But it was truly the first year of attempting to truly NOT lose. The first year of maintenance I let my body drift downward and find its true "home" range. This "not losing" thing is tricky, and I hope I am learning the tricks so that "not losing" doesn't turn into "slowly gaining"!
2011 was a year when I began re-assessing how long I want to keep working. The losses have a tendency to point one's thought in that direction. The health issues of others make one realize one's own mortality: I expect that this theme will continue into 2012. You get to this point in life and you start to sense that you can CHOOSE what to do with whatever you are blessed to have remaining, that you need to steer into the next phase of life.
I don't know what 2012 will bring, but I'm starting to think about what I will put on my "wish list / reward list". I know I've already signed up for the half marathon in May. I have my sights on my first Triathlon in July. In between and around? Who knows? But fitness has to be part of my life. It just does. No doubts about that.
And one of the big keys to keeping that motivation and remembering how much it means to me? Right here, friends and fellow Sparklers... in my own blogs and those of others, in the Spark teams and the tracking.
Love you all!
Happy Hannukah to the Jewish among you... I'll think of you lighting candles tonight.
Merry Christmas to those in advent... I can feel it in the air!
And a wonderful week to all!
Monday, December 19, 2011
Is this time of year so different from any other? We still go to work. We still take care of daily chores. But there is an excitement, an expectation. Some of us work hard to damp that expectation down, seeking to avoid the disappointment of hopes unfulfilled. Some of us battle feelings of sadness that our own life isn't "more", somehow. But not everyone!
Yesterday I went to visit my sister in law, the one with ALS. I went bearing a plate of the cookies my son helped bake on Saturday, a gift to the household, which includes her daughter in law and two grand-daughters... all of them left behind by my nephew's passing last February.
What did I find in my visit? A home full of love and caring. A home full of positives and hope. Because she tires easily I don’t stay long. We talked of the things we can be grateful for: that she has family living with her, to help her. We talked of the amazing technology that allows her to text and have it give me a synthetic voice phone call, of the fancier camera technology that will read her eye movements and allow her to type (she doesn’t have that yet, she can still type). We expressed gratitude that she has a window she can look out on the world. That she still has *some* mobility and functionality.
We spoke of hope: that the pharmaceutical trial she’s a part of will result in slowing down or stopping the progress of the disease, and she will be able to adjust to a “new normal”, knowing what she can do, and finding new ways to do common things. She wishes she could be more active, and she wants to find a level of activity she *can* live with and be as healthy as she can for as long as she can.
There were some tears, too, when we spoke of her son, and what a good father he had been to his beautiful little girls. They are growing up so fast. I sat with them for a bit while the visiting priest ministered to my sister in law.
I had done my own workout at the gym before our visit. After the visit I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and allowed myself to go calendar shopping. I love motivational calendars, and am so disappointed that Spark didn’t offer a page a day one this year. Fortunately, I kept some of my favorite Spark Calendar pages to recycle!
And as I reflected on my day, I came to the gentle awareness that yes, this is what Christmas is about... the love and appreciation we bear to one another. Christmas is about hope and love.
May these joys fill your home, whether you celebrate the arrival of the Christ child, the Winter Solstice and the growing return of light to the world, any other religious event or nothing at all. If I have one wish for the world it is for gratitude, hope, comfort and love to permeate hearts and minds everywhere.
Or, to put in in the old-fashioned way: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
When I was a kid (oh, no, there she goes again) the gifts we got at Christmas time were essentially things we needed anyway, just wrapped up. New undies (my one and only shot at day-of-the-week undies came as a wrapped package on Christmas... tmi, I know, I think I was 8 or 10 at the time). PJ's. Slippers. Gloves. That sort of thing.
Well, these days, I don't have a lot of people in my life (like parents, say) who know what I need. And I don't know what other people need, even the people I care about. So it's hard to replicate the Christmasses of my youth, at least in terms of gifts that mean something special. I guess the meaning (for me) was that a true gift was simply our needs were being met. Every time I think about the gifts of the middle years, when nobody knew what anybody really needed, I feel a little hollow and let down: the year I got a bracelet from mom that broke when I first put it on. The clothing that didn't fit my burgeoning girth (which of course I hid from the family because I lived 1200 miles away and could!)
As I come upon the gift-giving season, I feel relieved that most of my family is now Jewish, or Buddhist, or Atheist, or whatever and I don't have to think to the level of "what does this person need or like?" Because to me, a gift that they didn't want (or need)... isn't much of a gift at all.
Several years back, instead of giving gifts, I went to making donations to charities. As for Christmas shopping? I did mine last night. Under the tree for me? New undies and socks. And some running tights. From my personal Santa to me.
For those of you who are waiting for the running report from yesterday: felt good running outdoors on a great day with my son. I slowed him down (a little over 10 minute miles). He kept me going (the full 3.4 miles). Win-win! Then he came over to my place post-showers and errands and we baked the Christmas cookies - full of sugar and butter and flour... and I sent the bulk home with him, reserving a plateful to take to my sister in law and a small sample to take to work. None left for me... YES! Now, that's a gift.
The best gift of all? Time together.
Life's good, Spark on!
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