Flounder — To struggle or plunge about awkwardly. Early in the morning the word came to me. First question — is it a word? Second – what does it mean? That accurately describes my feeling at the moment. Now I know that January has always brought depression in my life. Too many cold days, NO SUNSHINE — nothing to look forward to. Do I need to go on? This year is more difficult. I’m missing my mate. Even though it was cold last year — we had a date to meet friends for lunch, I was ordering his medicine, a date with the doctors was cancelled because it was 3 degrees and I didn’t think we should travel.
Thankfully it is not that cold YET. I know it is coming. Since the ice kept me in the house for a week in October, I’m not looking forward to cold, snow and ICE. `I hate to admit it but I HAVE NOT accomplished anything worthwhile in too long to mention. Television, magazines and stores are full of ideas to lose weight. It would not hurt me to lose a couple of pounds, okay maybe more than a couple but I don’t have the motivation. I DO NOT want to try any of the newest, hottest ways to lose weight nor do I want to try the old and proven. I have learned that I my body needs meat, vegan is not for me.
I planned to go the senior center for an art session and I did. I thought that it would be helpful to learn to draw. Sadly my hand was hurting on the day I went and drawing didn’t help it. It put my hand out of commission for a few days. My daughter asked me if I had fun and I honestly replied “no!”
I won’t bore you with the list of things I DID NOT WANT TO DO. Did that feeling pass? To be honest I don’t know. My stubborn spirit raised its head and I committed to activities that would help. I DID NOT GO CRAZY! No plans to “diet” or restrict my eating. No plans to use my time to organize the house. Instead I committed to two steps. First to walk more than 3,000 steps a day. Looking at my log, many days were under 2,000. Second: do Tai Chi every day. Of course, I also wanted to drink more water and get more sleep. I have been taking my blood pressure daily and the numbers were higher than I wanted.
A week has passed and I’m happy to acknowledge that I met both of my goals.
I lost it. Where did it go? In the beginning of summer, I was able to WALK to Mass. It wasn’t exactly easy, painful knees were a problem but I was able to do it. Now walking a block is exhausting. Knees don’t hurt, but my right hamstring objects. Exercises that were easy are now either challenging or impossible.
I hurt my right hamstring at the beginning of July. The injury caused me to remain butt down and feet up for almost a month. We were in the country so I did minimal walking with Robin in the morning. I tried to continue with water exercise but I soon learned that I was doing more harm to my body than helping it.
I didn’t drive our car for over a month. When I did, I learned that using the automatic control hurt my body. I was able to drive manually, exercising my right leg. I was afraid to ride the scooter, afraid I would do more damage to my legs.
FIGHTING BACK — not at all happy with my limited ability. I started to drink a cup of bone broth every day, hoping it helps my various body parts. I have returned to doing Tai Chi EVERY DAY! I have also added 15 minutes of yoga along with the arm exercises I used to do.
I’m looking for improvement — ANYWHERE. The pain in my knees has diminished. My hamstring continues to be a challenge. Some days it behaves, others — the smallest step will cause pain. One of my daily exercises is for the hamstring.
Many of the exercises that were easy for me are no longer possible. If I get down on the floor, getting back up onto my feet is a challenge. Getting out of a chair or off the couch has also been a challenge. Recently I was able to rise from the couch unaided — improvement!
I’m being reminded that I need to improve my strength and my muscles. I have some DVD’s that are designed to help muscles. So far I haven’t been brave enough to try them.
In the city I have more stairs to climb. I’ll admit that I climb up and down the stairs more slowly. I also use the banisters or other handholds going into the basement. I don’t know if I NEED to use aids or the memory of falls makes me more cautious. In order to remain in our house I HAVE to be ABLE to do the stairs.
Step by step, day by day — I’m working to become more flexible.
I had plans. They weren’t big plans or expensive plans. We were going to the country for almost a month. I planned to try to lose weight. I planned to exercise in the water almost every day. I planned to increase the number of steps — walk the short nature trail, add the trails I used to walk before my knees became a problem. I planned to do many meals in our crock pot — not only to save money but to control the amount of sodium I was eating.
God must have laughed. MY PLAN — did I consult to make sure my plans were agreeable? NO! I DID NOT! My plans quickly disappeared. Our first week, Robin and I walked the short version of the nature trail. I planned to increase the length the next week. I went to water exercise and maybe worked my legs too much. I made a pot of ham and beans in the slow cooker. My husband invited friends to help us eat it. Too high in sodium for me because of the ham but it was delicious! The temperature forecast was for 90. We went out for breakfast but I only ordered one egg, potatoes and rye toast. NOT WHAT I WANTED — I was watching sodium.
Returning to the car from shopping at the store — I pulled the hamstring at the back of my right knee. I don’t know what I did. I only know it HURT! ALL OF MY PLANS QUICKLY CHANGED. It hurt to sit down. In order to get back up — I had to have support to pull myself up. Thankfully supper was ready — in the crock pot. Even going to the bathroom was interesting. I couldn’t sit down. Thankfully the next day the swelling decreased enough so that I could sit in the bathroom.
I DO NOT MAKE A GOOD INVALID. My grandkids were at the campground — they were going to the pool. Sadly I decided to stay put, keep the leg up. It was hard to ice the leg since the pulled muscle was behind the knee. I finally put a bag of frozen vegetables on the chair and placed my leg on top. SUCCESS!
Having planned meals for the slow cooker — meal preparation was easier. I had the ingredients on hand. Thankfully my husband liked all the new recipes. So did our friends.
After almost two weeks — my leg is better — I have only gone to water exercise once. Doing too much — stressed the muscle. I have finally driven the car — but not the scooter. I have to remember to put my butt in the car, then add the legs. I still CAN NOT get up unaided. Our oldest daughter suggested I do Tia Chi — It is gentle stretching. Is it helping? I don’t know. But not hurting! I have walked the short nature trail — picked ripe blackcaps on the way.
Its not FAIR! I’ve never been tall but I was able to reach stuff on the shelves. Okay! I’ll admit that my youngest daughter was taller than me and when she rearrange the dishes and other stuff I couldn’t reach them. But for the most part, I was able to reach the stuff in my cabinets. Then I noticed that I had to stand on my toes to reach some stuff. Then I noticed that I was afraid I would drop stuff I was putting away. Then I decided that for the safety of various cups and glasses, I had to rearrange the shelves.
I realized I was using the step I purchased for my grandchildren more often. I also realized that it wasn’t tall enough. Or had I shrunk again? My grandson who is twelve is taller than me. His sister will soon be. To make life even more interesting, my husband had shoes on — I was barefoot. I only came up to his chin! He is older, but he doesn’t seem to be shrinking.
I have a wider two step stool that I’m using more often. I hate to admit it, but I’m also using a 2 step ladder to reach the top shelves. I hate to admit it — but it doesn’t seem to be tall enough. Of course it doesn’t help that I have lost my flexibility. If I’m on the floor — sitting is better for my knees, getting up is a challenge. I try not to meet the floor on that level.
Shopping has also become a challenge. First off — I don’t have the strength that I had. Injuries and weight have caused some of that. Also laziness has played a factor. I’ll admit that I have time to exercise. I just don’t do it. Yoga is supposed to help with height. Somehow I don’t think my height will stretch out if I resume yoga. I have been doing Tai Chi on a regular basis. Some of it is muscle memory, some of it is distracted thinking.
I’ve become better at asking for help when I can’t reach a product on the shelf. I’ve become better at searching for tall people who can reach what I can’t. I’ve become better of asking for help when a product — 40 bottles of water is too heavy for me to safely move.
I might vow that I will begin again to do Jane Fonda’s strength training. And I might, it just hasn’t happened yet. I might also begin another exercising program. The pain in my shoulder seems to have diminished, as has the pain in my back. Am I scared to do any of the exercises that caused the pain in the beginning. Good question — no answer.
I’m looking forward to summer — the camper and exercising in the water. I’m also looking forward to losing a few pounds. I’ve tried most of the year so far without success. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I’m maintaining my weight. NOT GAINING. Hopefully I will stop SHRINKING!
I thought the appropriate title for this thought ramble was BURIED TREASURE. Oops, I already have one of that title. This title is just as appropriate. It just dawned on me that the anniversary of the fire is in a week. Both my mother and my brother passed over, I would have also except I guess I needed to stay here for my father.
“My friends in high places” are very good at what they do. A whole day can go by and I don’t become aware of their help. One day this week, I PLANNED to exercise — I changed into exercising clothes and put the dvd on the TV. Robin came downstairs, wanting to go out. I tried to get her up early, so we could go for a walk. She ignored me. I have to admit that she got me up at 5:00 AM, went outside, did her business and returned to the top of the porch. The pond of water on the sidewalk had turned to ICE. At 9:00, the pond of water was covered by snow. The snow seemed to be gritty, I thought if I was careful I could take her for a walk. Exercise plans went on hold. I put on my boots, hoping that their traction would keep me upright. I found a penny on our walk. “In God We Trust” it reminded me.
When we came back, it was too late to do the exercise that I planned. I did a fast Tai Chi and continued with the day. I had planned to make soup. I’ll admit that I didn’t follow the recipe, but the results were delicious. Of course, neither my husband nor my son wanted to try it.
Trying to salvage the day, I examined the contents of the drawer that holds our check books. I had many, many check registers and many, many unused deposit slips. I didn’t want to put the check registers back in the drawer. They moved to the filing cabinet, except there was no room. I had to pull out a handful of assorted paper. Looking at it, I have no idea why it was in the filing cabinet until I came across a couple of gems. I found the notice of a good friend of mine that passed away in 2003 at the age of 97. She is still often in my thoughts. I also found a letter from a friend of mine with a comic strip that gave me a good laugh. The person in the comic strip joined shopping anonymous and when she was tempted to go shopping, she call me and we went out to drink. I have to admit that I phoned my friend and arranged for a shopping trip.
Now I’ll admit that I realized that “helping hands” had influenced the day. I could detail the many things that have occurred this week, but I’ll try to keep this ramble on the short side. I was scammed this morning by a friend on the I-pad — only it wasn’t her. I asked a couple of personal questions that only she would have had the answer too and the person disappeared. I didn’t fall for the promised money. This afternoon, the mail brought prescriptions for my husband that I hadn’t ordered. One he would need in the near future — the rest, I’m puzzled. Knock knock — is anyone home? That is when I realized that an important anniversary is close.
WADING THROUGH THE MUCK
Did you read BROKEN ICE? Did you laugh? It sounded so easy — didn’t it –tell your mind to stop and it would! Your mind would listen to your desire to stop stomping through the muddy places and return to the light. I TRIED, I really did. I refused to dwell on the sad, dark places in my past. It might have worked. If I was at home, in my own space, but sad to say, once again we were out of town.
On the road should have been a distraction — new places, new people, new food. And it would have been, except we were with family. Since we were with family, and they had to work, we didn’t eat out often. I tried to find the light — took their dog for a walk every day, listened for the birds. I actually saw a flock of blue birds. I listened to the crows. I saw a hawk in the tree. I did my tai chi every day and tried to watch my eating habits. I did not have my music; I could not go in the pool, the water was too cool. I left my computer at home, limited myself to the Kindle instead. I learned how to search for stuff on the internet and I discovered a couple of games that were fun. When my granddaughter got a score of over 500 and I barely reached 90 on a word game, I realized my thinking is slowing down.
We went to Florida to meet our new great grand daughter. Both my husband and I enjoyed the new princess in our family. Knowing that they are so far away, and that she would grow up without us didn’t make me smile. I’m reminded that they are on Facebook and Skype is available. Life gets busy but we will try to stay connected.
My daughter suggested I get a children’s book for the baby and read her a story, create memories. I bought a Harry Potter children’s book and read the baby the first story. A good wizard used his magic and a three legged pot for the good of people who came to him for aid. Then the wizard died and left the pot to his son, who did not use the pot’s magic to help people. I read with expression. When the older wizard was helping people, the little one watched me and smiled. When the son was mean and sent the people away, the baby pulled up her bottom lip into a pout and started to cry. We didn’t finish the story, she was too upset. She was only five weeks old. How quickly they are attuned to the tone of voice.
The first full day we spent back at home, the little one rolled over all by herself. Our granddaughter captured it on a video and shared.
The title of this thought ramble is courtesy of my friend Catherine. She often told me — “Life is calm, I’m walking peacefully when all of a sudden, without any warning, I’m on an ice field and I fall through.” That was her way of describing a bout of depression. I remembered the phrase recently when, the ice broke, and I fell through. Its not like I didn’t have any warning that it was coming. After all, it was the Fall of the year, leaves were falling, cooler temperature, gray skies. I was a year older. Various body parts were showing their age — not working as well as they used to. The messages coming through were to focus on the present, the past is gone and the future is still to come. And I ignored the messages. After all, I thought I had dealt with the issues from the past and moved on. WRONG! All of a sudden I was remembering my childhood. Searching for happy memories. Since it wasn’t necessarily a white picket fence, happy family — it isn’t a place I enjoy visiting. My father did the best he could and so, I guess, did I.
I was worried that my father would fall into the past when his memory declined because of Alzheimer’s. I was afraid he would remember the fire and the death of my mother and brother. Thankfully he was protected from those dark times.
Searching for a way back to the surface, back to the light, I hit the stop button in my brain. I turned on music to help distract my thinking. I’ve heard that when you are asleep — lost in a nightmare, you can tell your brain to stop — it is only a dream. I tried the same concept — even though I was awake. I refused to go down the same dark path that I have traveled many times before.
I would love to state that I exercised because I know that works to ease stress. I did Tai Chi but not any strenuous exercise. I felt I had no time, too much to do. And if truth be told, I do. I don’t know if I’m moving in slow motion but everything I try to do seems to take longer. Of course, I’m still trying to do many things at once. Instead of enjoying the quiet while I exercised, I turned on the TV. Yo-Yo Ma was the guest speaker, he has a new CD — Playlist on the Borders. I was reminded of the time, many years ago, when he was a gift to me. I planned to go to the Celtic Fest downtown in the city. It was early afternoon — a line of people by the Chicago Symphony caught my eye. It was a free day and I changed my mind and joined the line. It took a long time to enter. Yo-Yo Ma was the featured artist. He delayed the concert until everyone was seated. I enjoyed myself totally and stayed until 10:00 PM.
I often have “help” from the other side. The key is to recognize it.
I wish I could write that I have lost weight, that I have reached my goal — pipe dreams again. My metabolism is asleep — days, weeks and months of butt down, feet up must have put it in a deep slumber. I would be happy if I lost a couple pounds — I would know that I was heading in the right direction. Road blocks must be up, and so is my weight. Too much sodium always adds a couple of pounds. In a way, its not a bad thing. When we are traveling, I won’t have control over sodium like I do at home. I guess it is best to be prepared, even the food I prepare at home is not as low in sodium as I expect. Sometimes the sodium count is missing or the label has the wrong information. Too much sodium and my feet swell, I just need to be able to walk.
Speaking about walking — I won’t say exactly that my energy has returned but I have been able to walk distances again. Although the inclines at the Botanic Gardens have my thighs talking, I’m not giving up. There are not many hills in our neighborhood and I really don’t like walking on the treadmill. I climb stairs at home but it is not the same.
EXERCISE — I’m listening! Articles have appeared in magazines and the newspaper reminding me of the value of Tai Chi. Years ago I took a class and I still remember part of the routine, adjusted each time I go through it. I put it on the back shelf but I have revived it again. Yoga — another thing that I have been reminded of in many different ways. I even found my copy of the book A MORNING CUP OF YOGA which slipped off its shelf onto the floor, hiding against the wall. The book reminded me of various exercises that my body needs, that I don’t do. Both exercises can easily go with me on my trip. Years ago, I greeted the morning doing Tai Chi on the shores of Kauai.
Just how many purses do I need to take with me? After I bought ANOTHER, lighter purse that wouldn’t clash with my clothes, I was reminded of a bag I bought last fall. It wasn’t where I remembered putting it. Memory — what an interesting concept. After another search, I found it hiding in a bag with many more purses in my closet. At least ONE of those has to come with me. Decisions, decisions!
Packing will be interesting. I have tried on various items of clothing that I thought would make the trip and decided to leave them home. I’m sure I have enough to wear, and if not — there is the International Market where a merchant told me: ” Momma, I’ve got a deal for you!”