Tag Archives: exercise

About them 2019 resolutions…

Okay, so I did all right. I won’t be crossing quite everything off the lists but I’m basically satisfied. In both 2018 and 2019 I made highly specific “kinda, sorta resolutions” tailored to me. It’s worked out well.

I read 33 books. The goal was 20. I did most of my reading in the early part of the year. I put check marks by 13 of them, indicating which ones I really appreciated.  I can’t read the way I used to; it takes more to hold my attention, more to get me to sit in a spot for hours with a book. Because of that, six of my 33 were books I’d read in years past and wanted to read again. Sometimes I just need a sure thing. I have little patience these days for trying to get into a book, trying to relate to characters, or trying to care about the subject matter. I get restless. And I KNOW there are books – like all things – which can hold me; it’s a matter of finding them.

A year ago I bought a yoga mat and a DVD player for the TV in the living room, the only place (other than outside!) where I have space for doing yoga. As with the reading, most of my yoga was done earlier in the year. I am very active outdoors most of the year and didn’t need more exercise of any stripe. Because I hadn’t totally factored that in I fell somewhat short of my intentions. I’ve done the five-minute “sun salutation” 38 of 50 planned times and the 30-minutes of yoga just half of 25 planned times. That said, when I DID do yoga it was usually in 40-45 minute increments per the instructional DVDs.

I like yoga. I don’t worry much about fussy breathing or learning all the poses’ names, or anything that might daunt, bore, or intimidate me. To me, yoga is exercise. Exercise focused on strength, balance, and stretch. It’ll make your body move in ways it wouldn’t in the normal course of a day which is an especially good idea for anyone who is aging. Otherwise you end up like the tin man!😯 I want to be strong, agile, and spry as long as possible. The way I live is dependent on it at many levels. I will not go down easily. I know I’ll be doing yoga over the winter.

I did ZIPPO with learning Italian from cds. That fell off the map in short order because I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t learning Italian. All I can say is I recently heard “piazza” somewhere or other and knew it meant plaza.😐 I think I ‘d like to learn – or try to learn – key phrases and words at least as a starting-off point rather than attempt the language itself. That, or I need different cds. I felt inept very quickly with the set I was using. Other than English, I have never felt I had an aptitude for languages and my opinion after this year hasn’t changed a whit.

Thai cooking wasn’t a success either. Thai cooking, it seems, requires a lot of ingredients I don’t typically have and more trouble than I wanted to invest. I did attempt spring rolls because I love them when I have them out but mine, which I decided to bake since I cook NOTHING in pots of oil, were okay, not great.  Instead, I continued to make this Thai-inspired cole slaw. If I can find more recipes like it, I’d definitely try them. Lime, peanuts, cilantro, be still my heart!

I watched a lot of DVDs, both movies and series. I had wanted an idea of the number since I’d never kept track. The thing I realized is that as with books, I need the right movies or series to hold me. I ADORE movies, as I adore books and music. But a lot of each is just average, nothing special, not to me. I want the gems, the ones I get excited about, the ones that thrill me, and make me sit back in awe of someone else’s brilliance and accomplishment. How did they do that?! That’s the feeling I want. That’s why I read, watch movies/series, and listen to music.  I want to have that O-MI-GOD feeling. Am I demanding? Do I expect too much? Yeah, well maybe. But once you’ve had that feeling, it’s Continue reading

Update on my 2019 “resolutions”


It’s over 6 months – yikes over half way – into 2019. Time for an update on my kinda, sorta resolutions. This is my second year nailing down specific, simple things I’d like to accomplish. I consider it a positive new thing. It gives focus and a certain order to my year.

I have read 25 books. The goal, which I expected to exceed, was 20. The most recent was the 400+ page Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb. It’s part memoir, part nonfiction, a fascinating book for anyone psychologically minded. It gave me a lot to think about. It’s the longest book I’ve read since I got serious about reading again (less internet, more books).

I have slacked entirely so far as continuing the Italian language cds I started in late 2018. I think it’s because I didn’t feel successful. I never felt I had a knack for languages and I can’t say my opinion has improved! I will try again but maybe a different cd set. I can’t give up this easily; I mean, geez, I should nail down a few phrases at least.

I have kept up my crossword puzzles hobby and, as planned, got a hold of several New York Times Sunday papers so I could try theirs. I really like the NYT puzzle. The puzzles increase in difficulty over the course of a week (one of my commenters pointed this out to me but I didn’t know which day the NYT “week” officially started). The puzzle is easiest on Monday and most difficult Saturday,  with Sunday’s puzzle being equivalent to a Thursday in difficulty. Having that measuring stick is useful.

I didn’t do as well on all the puzzles I tried as the one pictured but I’m still pecking away at them (without using the internet for solutions). The puzzles are created by different people and a short bio is included. A 25 year old named Erik Agard, a professional puzzle maker, had, as of June 2, contributed nine puzzles to the Times this year, more than anyone else. Professional puzzle maker! At 25!! I look at the puzzles and (very) vaguely wonder if I could make them. I don’t see how you’d even begin. Daunting. Which makes the 25 year old maker that much more impressive.

My favorite thing from the NYT however, is “Spelling Bee” , a challenge of making words from proffered letters. I don’t know exactly what it is about this but I love coming up with words. I need a framework though, and as with “Spelling Bee” a way to rate my progress. The Times has: Good, Excellent, and Genius scores. Naturally I’m striving for Genius! And occasionally with actual success! (So why aren’t there JOBS that need such a skill?😕) Useful or not, I always enjoyed finding words from random letters but now I see the importance of such word games in keeping your mind sharp, more so as you age.  Mental (and physical) challenges were part of 2019’s resolutions.

My self-instructed yoga got off to a good start. I’ve done the “sun salutation” – a five minute pose set – 21 of a planned 50 times. Additionally I’ve done 30 minutes plus of yoga 12 of 25 planned times. I haven’t been doing yoga recently because I’m very active outdoors in Spring and Summer and I really don’t need extra exercise. I’ll plan to pick it back up later in the year. Since I’ve done just about half, I think I should hit my goals by December’s end. I’m intent enough that I bought a DVD player for the TV in the living room – the only spot in the home big enough – where I “practice” yoga, primarily using library DVDs. I tried different ones to see who I’d like. I’ve never used exercise DVDs so this is new. It kind of makes you feel like you have company although I wonder if repeatedly watching the same one or few would get old? (I won’t pony up for classes and don’t feel the need.) I think if you get bored of hearing the same things, you can turn the volume down and just follow the poses.

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Sun Salutation (simple 5-minute set of poses

 

I regularly de-clutter and get rid of stuff – and have been at it for years – so at the end of December I made a modest goal to get rid of 15 things. What was I thinking?! I’ve already let go of 125 things. I surprised myself. Getting rid of stuff is addictive, though. And really, I’m down to almost all little things. It feels awfully good to shake off debris that no longer serves you. Keeping a list makes it more fun. Same with the other numerical goals.

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A sample selection

 

I have not made any Thai food (yet). A Thai-inspired Cole Slaw prompted that goal.i

This wasn’t in the January post but after an unusual year of indulgence of sorts (relative I assure you) I wanted to bring my food spending down. I was prompted to spend less as a goal because the  $2,200 I spent on food in 2018 seemed like a lot and was decidedly more than I’d ever spent. I have markedly cut my food spending in the first 6 months of 2019 but I wonder how much of that owes to the fact I had, I see in retrospect, the equivalent of a small grocery store in my home! I had quite a stockpile going on. You’d think a stash like that would just last & last but no, it seems I ate most of it.😐

In the first six months I spent $766 on food, which, if doubled and divided by 365 is about $4.20 a day. I did this NOT by dieting or going hungry but by eliminating pricier products or prepared foods like the $5 pound of hummus I treated myself to occasionally in 2018. (That hummus is now $5.50 and shouldn’t a home cook like me be making her own hummus anyway?) I bought only fish (frozen or canned) and shellfish, no other animals (which is not to say I never will but as of now have no thought to). Other than Olive and Sesame I haven’t bought any fancy oils, such as the delicious Avocado oil I bought a few times in 2018. I’ve eaten well, nutritiously, and plentifully (I have to for my activity level), no complaints. At this rate, one I’m not sure I’ll maintain, I’d spend $600 less on food this year than last. I’ll be satisfied if I cut it by $300 (more beans, less pasta.😁) and that seems like a realistic or probable savings by year’s end.

The only real indulgence I’ve kept – so far – is an occasional bottle of Kalamata Olives. The point of cutting my food spending isn’t to be a martyr or self-punishing in any respect. I ADORE food and its importance in my life can’t be overstated. It’s to see if I can spend less and still be happy with my food and to get myself to make even more foods at home.

I’ve watched (or watched again) two Marx Brothers films. Who said goals can’t be fun?! I know I need it, more levity, and the Marx Brothers are a sure thing. I have watched A LOT of movies and several series this year but I’m not too concerned so long as nothing more important is short-changed. This is the first time I’ve kept a list; I simply had no idea how many hours I spend watching DVDs and I wanted to know.IMG_20190708_122736

Lastly, I ‘m maintaining my physical health and with the yoga earlier this year, definitely challenging myself. I was pleased to find I kept up with everything the instructors were doing in the DVDs. On other fronts, I haven’t mastered a chin-up or pull-up 😁 – something I’ve mentioned – but I don’t really expect to.

I’m bringing sexy (or something like it) back

Like a lot of people I am less active in winter. I don’t belong to a gym – never have – so this means I have to find ways to keep moving, to keep exercising, usually outdoors. Long walks, bike rides and so on, suffice, but geez-o-flip, it’s COLD and WINDY and UNPLEASANT outside. Plus, it’s BORING out, nothing much to see. There are so many more interesting things to look at in nice weather, flowers and birds and people doing stuff.

I’m not sure why a mini trampoline or “rebounder” caught my eye on Amazon last month. Was I looking at hand weights and saw one advertised? I don’t know now. I didn’t understand them, let’s start there. A rebounder?? What was that? I’d never been on a trampoline, not in childhood, not as an adult. I’m pretty sure my parents would have considered trampolines dangerous and I never had the opportunity to bounce on one anywhere else, be it school or at a friend’s house.

I liked the idea of JUMPING just fine. What kid doesn’t have a go at jumping up and down on their bed until they get yelled at to stop?

As I am wont to do, I started reading customer reviews and doing research about the benefits of using a mini trampoline. There are even videos. Some people take “rebounding” VERY SERIOUSLY. I liked what I saw. Trampolines are considered easy on the joints, suitable for any age, and give a good aerobic workout, plus some other high-falutin’ claims about cleaning out your lymphatic system that you can surely read about if you decide to look into it yourself.

I don’t have room for exercise equipment beyond hand weights and pushup bars. There’s nowhere for a treadmill or rowing machine. Unless I got rid of my bed. Or the couch. Or the refrigerator. At just 3 feet across, the mini trampoline appealed for its “low profile.” I know all too well if you store something like this (as opposed to say, a chocolate cake or a massage chair) away where it’s inconvenient, it’s out of sight and  out of mind.

There are two types of mini trampolines, one with metal springs and another with bands. I opted to go with one with bands because it cost less and apparently ones with springs are noisy (and I want to be considerate of neighbors, even when they aren’t considerate of me AHEM). My thinking was if I spent around $20 on a low-end Stamina model and found I liked it, I could always upgrade down the line.

Balance is one of the things that begin to decline in middle age. I truly didn’t know how I’d be at jumping. One suggestion online was that you needn’t even have your feet leave the trampoline surface; you could just move in place and get some benefit. Some of the models come with “balance bars” that you can hang onto while jumping. I figured even if I wasn’t comfortable really jumping, any movement would be better than nothing.

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When I first tried my trampoline, I was tentative, afraid of falling through it even though I don’t weigh much. I told myself that even if it broke it probably wouldn’t break all at once and send me flying onto my face on the floor but in stages that I’d notice. The next day, when I put the radio on, and Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” came on the radio, I had gotten over my tentativeness. I was jumping baby! Hop, hop, hop. It felt good. I was bustin’ some moves. Justin and I were bringing sexy back. “Them other boys don’t know how to act. YEAH!”

Is it fun? Yeah, yeah, it is, certainly as compared to other exercises. It’s suggested that you start with short intervals, gradually increasing your time. At this point I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and jump away. I mix it up, sometimes jumping up and down, sometimes running in place, or maybe doing little side steps. There are exercises online but I haven’t found the need to look them up yet. Right now, I know I’m getting an aerobic workout and doing something good for myself.

Finding a place to stow in when not in use was a challenge but I came up with this. I moved the couch/love seat out from the wall, leaving just enough room for the trampoline. The slight rearrangement made the living room seating area cozier and more intimate too. Who knew?

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I want to share one more winter thing I do each year to help make sure I don’t let my fitness levels slide too far off. A couple times a winter I try on my “keep me honest shorts” to make sure I can still get into them. It’s a lot easier to STAY in shape over winter than to try to get back there on the first nice day in spring when you want to wear shorts!

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Can’t hide in these “keep me honest shorts”

Short Thought 147 (Pokemon Go)

I wouldn’t have any feelings one way or the other about the Pokemon Go craze except that they’re telling us with a proverbial straight face that ambling around pressing buttons, for what will probably end up being a few weeks, is exercise. Riiiiight. Why it’s practically aerobic! Sure to turn the obesity epidemic around! I think it’s even slated to be an Olympic sport next month in Rio.

I bought a toy (or is it a game?)

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There’s a very cool local “online yard sale.” People post photos, descriptions and prices of things they’re selling. The items stay listed till sold or the seller deletes them. This new (unused), regulation 18″ size dart board with 6 darts for $10 caught my attention. Which is not to say I’m a darts aficionado. We had a toy board when I was a kid and somewhere along the way, I must have played a time or two as an adult. But never regularly and not in a very long time. I’m not sure why it suddenly appealed to me, except I want more fun damnit! Not to mention I am always on the lookout for exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. This would use arm muscles, right? Plus walking back & forth to retrieve darts.

Still, I’m a frugal sort and my spending philosophy of late is that I’d rather spend money on food treats – like pesto, artichoke spread, dates, and kalamata olives – than more stuff. Lucky for me, the seller dropped the price to a tidy $5 and I pounced. The way it works is buyer and seller arrange a meeting time at a public spot for the exchange. I was surprised by how heavy the board was. I had googled it and knew it was a low-end brand (another reason not to spend much). The way I’ve started to look at this sort of thing, i.e., purchases, is to buy an inexpensive or moderately priced whatever first; then if you love it and use it, upgrade later when you’re sure it’s worth it to you.

Did you know the regulation height for hanging a dart board is 5’8″ from the floor to the bullseye? Or that the distance to stand away is 7’9.5“? Yes indeedy. I’ve been practicing outdoors to start (I pictured any number of misfortunes indoors) and while my measurements aren’t exact, they are close enough. I looked at the instructions for a game and they seemed complicated and involved math, so since it’s just me learning how to throw for the time being, I made my own goal. Which is to get all 6 darts inside the interior red/green ring on one “turn.” Um, this is not easy. I did accomplish it the first time I set up the board, which is the picture above. (The many holes – this board was unused – show some idea how many tries it took me.)

I have, or have had a tendency to overwhelm myself with too much information when learning something new. (It was an exciting, new day in my world when I read only ONE online article on blogging when I started this one.) So I decided not to read anything and just start throwing darts. I think at first I was tossing too much like throwing a baseball (not that I can actually throw a baseball, mind you, but how I’ve seen other people do it), with too much overhead wind-up. Then I experimented with easy, light throws and harder, more aggressive ones (for some reason I was picturing Odd Job in the James Bond film as inspiration).

There is a real satisfaction in throwing darts. Who knew? I like it! The darts make a pleasing sound thwack when they sink into the board too. I had an idea I might have aptitude for this skill and I like competing against myself (that’s been true always; I recoil from the phrase team sports). Should I ever consistently get all 6 darts inside that interior red/green ring, I have other goals/ideas in mind, but for now there’s no threat of achieving the first one. I am improving, however. Here’s yesterday’s best throw:
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I’m trying to get all six darts in tighter, closer to the bullseye. However, the closer the darts get to the center, the more likely they are to hit metal (or whatever the silver dividers are) and ricochet off and fall on the ground. I don’t know if that’s always an issue; I’ll have to look at higher-end boards to see. It hardly seems fair for the darts to ricochet off when you’re so close! It’s like a cruel booby-trap. Despite this, I’ve managed a total of 5 bullseyes with deft marksmanship; yeah SURE. They were all accidents in dozens of throws. One other problematic issue is the tendency of the (cheap?) darts to unscrew and loosen during play. Maybe a little glue is in order…

I puzzled over the flags but maybe those were the only 3 colors they had?

I puzzled over the flags but maybe those were the only 3 colors they had?

I’m a “borrower”

I study people. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Before I consciously knew what I was doing. This trait could stem from a number of factors but at any rate I’ve become highly aware of it. One aspect is that I am often fascinated by how other people do things. I want to know if they’ve figured out a way of being or thinking or doing that I’d like to incorporate. Sometimes I watch and think: Wow you can do that? I hadn’t thought of that. So I borrow.

I dated a man years back who, when asked a question be it by me or someone else, didn’t immediately answer. He took his time and formed a response. It didn’t seem ignorant or designed to be somehow passive aggressive, but just his nature. By contrast, all my life when asked a question, I hopped to in an effort to immediately answer it. I still tend to go that way but realized there’s no particular requirement to do so. It’s quite possible that a man can get away with taking his sweet time in responding more so than can a woman, but just seeing another way was so useful to me. Huh!

In recent years I’ve been on a serious kick of de-cluttering. I don’t mean to say I ever lived in squalor or had piles of junk in every room. No, I just hung onto collectibles and old birthday cards and more than a few things that might be “useful” one day. (It won’t surprise you to learn my parents were this way and then some. Quite then some.) So I’d begun to rethink all of this. I read books and took ideas where I found them. About 2 years ago I saw a garage belonging to a woman I know. And it was all but EMPTY. It contained basically a CAR. That empty garage became imprinted on my psyche. I wanted an empty garage. And I don’t even have a garage. Or a car for that matter. But you get the idea. Well, I hope you do. My life is a lot more like that empty garage now. I have plenty of stuff but I don’t have too much stuff.

When you are sick, I learned, make dinner in the morning so it’ll be there waiting later when chances are what little energy you had that day is spent. Long ago a former neighbor mentioned this and I am invariably sorry when I forget her clever idea.

When I was younger, I knew a man with 10 years on me who started exercising routinely. The men in his family he said, with a lone exception, had all died by 40. He didn’t want to join the Dead Under 40 Club so he committed to making exercise a part of his life sooner rather than later – or too late. Although at the time with the perspective of youth I gave little thought to an exercise routine or the notion of dying before 40, this man’s words (and those of author Covert Bailey which echoed them) made a deep impression. I started exercising young and haven’t stopped. (And just so you know he did see 40 and is alive today.)