Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nu, Just Do It!

   Generally I go swimming every Monday and Wednesday evening, my intent being to swim at least 1 kilometer each time (40 pool lengths).The swimming not only gives me aerobic exercise (as well as the 25-minute walk each way to and from the pool), but gives my arm a workout, which I need as my major exercise is walking. And, in addition, I enjoy the time there… usually at least.  This year the facility has even been heated a bit better than it had been in previous years, so the cold weather is no excuse not to go. (I'm not saying that it is WARM, but once you get swimming, it's OK….)
   However last week, even though I had the doctor's OK to swim (in spite of a torn tendon in my arm), my swimming pace was a bit slow---- and that, along with the wind squeaking through the cracks, made me COLD. The result? I wasn't sure this evening (Monday PM) whether to go to the pool.  But in the end, realizing that I had NO WHERE near my "mandatory" 10,000 steps, I shrugged and told myself "Nu, Just DO it!"
And I did.
And I felt great, swam fast, and wasn't cold at all. I even squeezed 50 pool-lengths in.  Even walking home I felt energized.

    You know, sometimes we have a task to do, a chore, or something that just doesn't appeal to us right at that moment. And sometimes we just have to shrug and "get on with it". And so often, we end up enjoying the task, or at least finding it easier than we thought we would. So often the REAL problem is not the task, but in our own minds. When we circumvent those inner doubts, fears, and disbeliefs, we liberate ourselves to succeed, to accomplish….and to change for the better.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Bit of Independence

    Now what I am going to write here is probably VERY passé for the younger crowd. But in my day, women often left "man's jobs" to… men.
   Now what is defined as a "man's job" varies from culture to culture, and often from household to household. But often in the hustle and bustle of daily life it becomes very easy to ignore the burnt out bulb, the plumbing job, or the "hang it up there" until the male spouse arrives.
   But there are several drawbacks to all this. First, when tired husband arrives, the long-awaited job may still wait… and wait…. and wait. In addition, we women must be aware that there is a good chance that the male half of the couple may someday be ill. Or that we may someday find ourselves living on our own, for whatever reason.
   So change that new type of fluorescent bulb, or whatever, if you have the chance. Do it when you are young, so that when you are older (and not as stable as you once were) it will already be easy to do; you will have the task down pat already.

   [Written by the proud changer of the new-fangled type of fluorescent bulb. But the 2nd bulb, that STILL won't light  (due to damage, it seems, to the housing), is awaiting my SIL the electrician.]

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Toy Store

[picture: Ricki assembling a map of the world puzzle]     
   My good friend and I were walking, as we often do…. "C" is a wonderful walking partner (and a lovely all-around person, as well). However, among other things, she wanted to stop in the nearby mall to pick up a gift for some relatives. In addition, I promised to show her which store in the mall sells the cheapest jewelry. Both were fine by me.
  What took me by surprise was when she decided to pop into a toy store near the entrance, dragging me along with her. I don't think that I have been in a toy store since Ricki's passing (except for a store that sells crafts materials as well).
   [ I used to enter nearly every toy store I passed, looking for new educational materials for Ricki. Any new approach to a skill she was studying was likely to be purchased. Studying was to never be done with  "that same old boring toy" for her, oh no!]

   What surprised me was my reaction. I almost felt like I couldn't breathe. I even considered leaving, but decided the price of my friend feeling bad for taking me there was way too high a price to pay for my comfort. I just decided that to feel the loss is normal, permissible, and maybe even good. So I took a few deep breaths, and managed ok for the few minutes we were there. But I was surprised. But I'm OK with that, too.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Few Small Points

    Last week I fell while walking home from swimming, on some uneven pavement, and hit my left arm. (And of COURSE there were witnesses!!) The arm hurt, but not too badly. And since there also was no swelling or visible bruising, so I figured that it wasn't broken. Yes it hurt, but I figured that it would get better in a week, at the most. I questioned if I would be able to swim on Monday, as LIFTING straight up hurt, but I WAS  able to, as long as I swung my left arm out a bit sideways on the upswing. I even managed my full regular forty pool-lengths.
    By Wednesday, my arm was much better. The day had had some light rain on and off, but a full-blown storm of several days' worth was blowing our way, so I decided to make the most of my ability to walk and swim while I could. [There are occasionally days when it is nigh-impossible to walk, as actually occurred today. On a Saturday (Shabbat) that it really rains hard with no breaks in the clouds, going out walking means getting drenched, as I do not use an umbrella on the sabbath. But that rarely happens; there are usually breaks when I can scramble out for at least a quick walk. (In such cases I try to walk near the house, so I can get back if I overestimate the time available before the next deluge.)] But when I know that heavy rains are expected, I will try extra hard to see if I can get in my walking when and if the opportunity arises. So Wednesday evening I went to the pool, did my 40 laps, and even a few more. I noted that I was able to swim normally, and was grateful that after a full week, the pain was subsiding. I did stretches after the swim to be sure to treat my muscles well, and headed for home. By the time I arrived home, my muscles were protesting vigorously. And I had extreme trouble falling asleep due to the pain in my left arm.
   Thursday evening I went to sleep relatively early. Friday was a fast day, from dawn to dusk. I wanted to get up VERY early, so that I could drink my minimum therapeutic dosage of coffee-caffeine before the fast started, before embarking on a day of cooking for the upcoming Sabbath. Unfortunately, the pain in my arm did not allow me to fall asleep very quickly, and I only got about 5 hours of sleep.
   So in the morning, I was faced with the choice after drinking my coffee: go back to sleep… or cook for the Sabbath bright and early. I chose the second, wanting to enjoy the coffee-effect while it lasted, and besides, it was one of the shortest pre-sabbath Fridays of the year. (The Sabbath arrives before sundown, anytime from 4:14 in the winter to after 7PM in the summer.) Since the predicted stormy weather had arrived at our doorstep overnight, I hoped to catch a break in the weather to walk a bit on Friday. I KNEW very well that after eating the post-fast-evening-sabbath –meal there was NO way I would go walking…. EVEN if there was no rain (which looked unlikely anyway). Remember, I could walk on Friday with an umbrella in hand, but not on Friday evening.
    But by mid-morning I was literally falling asleep whenever I sat for a moment. Immediately I wondered "How in heaven did I use to function day after day on 5 hours of sleep?" And of course the answer was: by drinking coffee after coffee, by eating cookies to keep that sugar level up.
   So I went to take a short nap. I awoke with a lot more energy, and even found the time for a quick 33 minute walk around the neighborhood between rainstorms.

So what are my points?
1) If you can get your exercise in, do. It should be relatively high on your priority list. Because it is a BIG factor in good health.
2)  Look ahead. If you are realistic enough to know that you are NOT going walking (for example, after a fast) see if you can get it in (IF you feel good enough) earlier
3) Listen to your body. Get that sleep. (Yes, I know I'm not perfect in this yet, but I am improving a LOT.)
4) And during a shabbas deluge, don't go walking. Getting drenched is NOT great for your health. Some days, RARELY, when you are sick, very overloaded, or all H*ll broke loose… sometimes you just CAN'T get that exercise in. This means knowing when to back down gracefully……
* * * *

    Meanwhile our plumbing is getting fixed, and in addition the air-conditioner heat is not working. It is cold.  I keep drinking tea to stay warm. And the orthopedist can't see me until Wednesday  .** GREAT**   But tomorrow I expect the storm to be less, and I am eager to get out walking after a day just longing around.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Small Supermarket Story

      I really didn't HAVE to go to the supermarket. I had gone to my "regular" supermarket last week, stocking up on things for a month, at fairly reasonable prices. However, I had forgotten a few items, and was aware of a few good sale items at a competing store. And since I wanted to get a few more aerobic steps in today (ie, walking to the store and back), I went to the supermarket.
   Once there, I found everything I wanted, except for one not-so-common-item, and headed to the checkout lines. However, there I was very unpleasantly surprised by the winding, snakelike size of the line. And since I had exactly 11 items, I was not even eligible for the "quicker" "10 items or less" checkout. But I didn't really mind, because THAT line was very long, and it was questionable if I would reach the checkout counter any earlier there.
   Suddenly I noticed a line that seemed slightly shorter, zipped over there road-runner style, and got in line. Shortly afterwards another woman, with two young children  in tow, placed herself after me. Just as it was about my turn, a teenage girl approached me. "I have only two items. Can I go ahead of you?" After a moment's hesitation, I replied "Sure, as far as I'm concerned. But you have to get permission of the lady behind me as well." (Since she is also, in effect, cutting in front of her, she needs her agreement in addition to mine.)
    As the girl gratefully stepped ahead of me, I noticed a second teen with a small bag of fish. She didn't ask me to let her go before me… but I knew that if I was her, I would understand that it would be ridiculous to stand a half hour in a checkout line for one item. So with the woman behind me agreeing, we also let the second teen cut in front of us.
   As I was bagging my stuff, I asked the children of the women if they enjoyed "helping" mom. Their mother, smiling, rolled her eyes. We both knew that the kids were not exactly making everything easy. I quickly gathered my stuff, and rushed out. I just needed to put the store cart away, in PLACE (to retrieve the coin one puts as collateral in the handle). But outside the store, unlike where I usually shop, the cart storage area was a huge mess. Trying to commander the cart to the right angle to be able to place the anti-theft locking mechanism into the handle (and receive my dollar and a half back) took several minutes.
    Then, JUST as I was finishing, the woman who had been behind me in the store came up. "Oh! You are still here! You know, you left an item on the bagging desk." Glancing at my full hands, she added "I'll bring it to you." Moments later she was back with a bag of eight "0% fat" yogurts I had left behind.

       If replacing the cart had not taken me so long, I would have left, forgetting the yogurts until arriving at home.

   If I had not spoken to the woman behind me, to check if she also agreed to letting the girls go first, she may well not have remembered who I was.

   If I had not let the teens go before me, the woman behind me  may have let them go before HER, and I would have been gone when she exited the store.

    Now I do not very often let people cut ahead of me in line. But today I did, and it seems that, as is often true…. You generally don't lose from being nice to others.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Real "Shechiyanu" ("First")

(image: light brown knee high boots ) :

   I have huge feet. Being blessed with  feet-large-for-height genes from both parents, I am a size twelve.(43-44 Israeli size. )   Most stores here carry to size 40, many to 41. …and a few to size 42. Until lately, I have bought nearly all my shoes in a special store in Jaffa, or in America. Or I buy a feminine-styled man's sport shoe.
    Once I saw that a store in the Petach Tikva mall had a few size 12 shoes, but nothing that I liked. Today I popped in there again, as I was passing by, and I found KNEE HIGH BOOTS.

   I have always dreamt of wearing knee high boots.
   But my feet were too big, or my legs too fat.
   But these fit. I GRABBED them!

   I commented to the casheir: "How lovely that you have knee-high boots in size 12. That is so rare."
   And in his reply he mentioned that these boots are also WIDER than usual.
   My bubble of finally having thin-enough-for –knee-high-boots  legs burst.
   But the boots aren't a snug bare–fit, either, so I will enjoy them anyway.

DRAT! Why did he have to mention that!??!