Make Your Bed Exercise

 

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 If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?

One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?

The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.

I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.

Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”

He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.

I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.

Now, I was not only older, but weaker.

Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.

The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.

However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.

13ff6543-74a7-4938-811f-97e6d4c24c9a_1.db6bc136ad0b6ef50bc16d0a248f0d17Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White.  Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.

However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.

She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.

So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.

Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.

Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.     

. . . . just saying

 

 

Gray Hair and Feeling Maudlin

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Now that the Christmas tree is back in the box it came in, and the furniture in its proper place, I am excited to start the New Year. Our grand-kids will be visiting this week and my husband, Bob, and I plan to visit Italy in the Spring. The temperature today is sixty-five, and its sunny. Life seems good when Bob mumbles something from the living room.

After forty-seven years of marriage, I am not certain if the mumbling is to annoy me, or he has forgotten I cannot hear with the water running and question what he said, “Really? Alex Trebek is going off the air because he shaved his mustache?”

Bob is watching Jeopardy, and raises his voice to shout, “No I don’t like Alex Trebek with or without his mustache.”

There is something discerning about his tone. I turn off the water, grab a dishtowel, and join him on the couch. “I thought you liked Jeopardy.”

He continues grumbling that if the show had more categories about sports, he would know every answer, and that Alex Trebek is cheap, not giving every contestant all their earnings. I agree, second and third place contestants receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively not their final Jeopardy winnings.

Understand, Bob can be grumpy. He sports a tattoo; one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, however this seems unusual, and I ask, “Are you feeling maudlin?”

He replies emphatically, “Yes! I just don’t know what else can go wrong!”

Surprised by his reaction, I am concerned and say, “Has something happened?”

Now, Bob has had numerous medical challenges and I joke, “He has no pancreas, no spleen, no gallbladder, no thyroid and no appendix but a full head of hair and all his own teeth.” He is a healthy man. So I ask again, “What is it?”

Hesitantly he says, “Today after golf, I showered, and like I always do, combed my hair, head down over the sink, but when I stood up the sink was full of gray hair. I am losing my hair! I can’t believe something else is wrong.”

No wonder he is feeling maudlin, the salt and pepper hair makes him look younger. However, I laugh and through uncontrollable chuckles explain the gray hair is mine, combed into the sink while cleaning my hairbrush that morning, and evidently forgot to wipe up.

“So I’m not losing my hair,” he says and relieved joins me in laughter.

I am reminded of a Betty Davis quote, “Old age is not for sissies.” She is right.

                                                                        . . . . just saying

The Horse That Never Won A Race

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Have you heard of the horse that never won? Zippy Chippy is his name. He is a thoroughbred racehorse who ran in one hundred races, has eight seconds and twelve thirds, but never won. However, his tenacity for staying in the race made him a popular horse to watch and voted one of the year’s “Most Intriguing Characters,” by People Magazine in the year 2000.  “Winners don’t always finish first.” became his charge.

I imagine how he felt showing up at the gate thinking; this race can be won, because I also set New Year goals then fail to achieve them, and like him, come close.

I wanted to lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day in 2018. You could say I took second place, losing and regaining the same five pounds throughout the year, but finished the year at the same weight,  somewhat a winner because I did not gain a pound although my underwear feel tight. My vertigo has improved and I walk crooked only occasionally. I spent three nights in Boston and traveled to Washington D.C.  to see the White House decorated for Christmas.  Melania’s “Red Trees” looked spectacular. I dropped the ball on blogging but started other writing projects.

In 2019, I have the same goals; lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day.

Where is the horse that never won today?

Zippy, retired from racing in 2004, had a brief second career as an outrider’s pony at his  home track in the Finger Lakes. Thanks to his longtime owner-trainer, Felix Montserrate, he currently resides nearby at “Old Friends at Cabin Creeks” where this winner still loves attention from fans and appears happy.

Today is January 6, 2019. There are 359 days left in the year to achieve my goals; lose five pounds, travel more and write every day, or at least finish with a second or third place.

Winners don’t need to be first!

. . . . just saying

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If I Could Turn Back Time

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I  am not the only one getting older, I thought watching the Kennedy Center Honors program the day after Christmas. Many honorees are older, their achievements come over time. Cher looked fantastic at seventy-two years of age. In tribute to Cher, Cindi Lauper strutted her sixty-five year old body across the stage, singing “If I Could Turn Back Time”. Cindy appeared a little winded and I worried her wig would fall off but delivered a great performance that had the audience on their feet.

“You go girl!” I said out loud repeating the refrain If I Could Turn Back Time, and clapping along.

It is not possible to turn back time, really, but the program was a reminder that some people are better at aging. Is it possible to slow down the aging process and not become old people: frail, feeble and decrepit?

Take a  look at Nancy Pelosi, who sat in the balcony during the show, totally enjoying herself.

220px-Nancy_Pelosi_2012Politics aside, she looks marvelous at seventy-eight years of age and according to VeryWellHealth.Com her life expectancy is increasing.

Statistics indicate,  “If you make it to 75 your life expectancy increases to 86.8. You gain another 3.4 years. That means the average 75-year-old will live 9.3 years longer than the average child born in 2006. Go figure, you can increase life expency by living longer.

Nancy Pelosi is aging well. She probably has a fitness trainer and had “work” done., however, would never be called old.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Can we avoid becoming “old people”?

Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

I looked at the habits of old people and came up with seven.

Seven Habits of Old People

  1. They spend a minimum of five hours a day sitting
  2. When shopping, they park as close as possible to the store, shuffle in and lean on the shopping cart for upper body support.
  3. Stay home when it rains.
  4. Complain they can’t remember and don’t.
  5. Think getting mail, even junk mail, doctor appointments and garbage pickup are highlights in a day.
  6. They yell at other drivers, scream at computers and curse at their cell phones
  7. They talk mostly about medical issues, who died and what is wrong in the world.

If I have left something out, but you cannot remember what; type CRN (Can’t Remember Now) in the comment box which can be found below.

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                                           Just Saying . . . .  If we could turn back time?

 

Summer Time

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Summer Time

Today is Thursday, June 21st, the 172nd day of 2018, there are 193 days left in the year, officially it is summer and the song Summer Time, and its refrain, living is easy  repeatedly plays in my head.

I am remembering the time in my life when school was almost out and a Fourth of July Parade followed by fireworks signaled the start of endless summer days. Some mornings there were swimming lessons at one of the Levittown pools,  other mornings I would meet my friend, Vicki Love, under our weeping willow tree to play cards, search for a four-leaf clover or read Nancy Drew Mysteries.

It was not necessary to phone, text or email we made plans the night before as the streetlights went on signaling everyone to go home.

Lunch was either peanut butter and jelly, bologna or tuna fish on white mushy bread, then we walked once again to the pool for an afternoon swim. We may have watched cartoons before the Dinah Shore Show followed by dinner woven with family discussion. The girls did the dishes while the boys disposed of the trash.

We now live in Florida where the kids have been out of school and the days hot since the end of May. The sun is too strong, the humidity an albatross around my neck and I spend most of the day inside wearing a sweatshirt because air conditioning and I do not get along. We will head north to New Jersey in a couple of weeks to a cabin rental on Cozy Lake to visit family and friends and fend off mosquitoes.

I have a long list of books to read because I made a commitment to the Great American Read. So far, I read 1984, The Giver, neither of which was cheery, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a story of nonsense I returned because it made no sense, and Invisible Man, feels like homework, I will let you know.

 In between, I am reading books by Alexander McCall Smith, a favorite author of mine known for the PBS series The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

The song, Summer Time is still rumbling around my head causing me to wonder why the living was easy and  I have concluded it was not because I was a kid and times were simpler as much as, kids were not allowed to watch TV and did not read the newspaper.

I have news fatigue, so without naming names, decided to dust off my Nancy Drew collection.

Its summer time and living needs to get easy.

.  .  .  . just saying

Ask Alexa About the Big Read and 1984

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Today CBS Morning News reported a Portland, Oregon family’s claim their Amazon Echo recorded a conversation and sent it to a person on their contact list, unbeknownst to them.

“Winston Smith is rolling over in his grave,” I say to Mr. Wonderful, my husband, on the way to reheat a cup of coffee in the microwave.

“Who?” He mumbles.

“Winston Smith, the main character in George Orwell’s novel, ” 1984″, remember Big Brother, Newspeak, Thought Police, and the Telescreen.

“Right, Big Brother, the one with a mustache? and he continues work on a crossword puzzle. “What’s a four letter word for fabric that begins with L?”

“Linen? ”

“Linen is five letters, a four letter word.”

“Lace? Ask Alexa, she’s like Big Brother, knows everything.”

“You really think Alexa is like Big Brother? Let’s find out,” and speaking into air Mr. Wonderful says, “Alexa are you like Big Brother?”

Alexa answers, “I don’t have an opinion on that.”

“See! That’s what I’m talking about,” I start saying but Mr. Wonderful anticipating a rant announces, “I’m going fishing.”

I first read Orwell’s novel in high school, more than fifty years ago but never did the math, the year 1984 seemed so futuristic, I assumed I would be dead and besides at that time, depictions of being vaporized for thinking seemed as unlikely as Aliens arriving from outer space. But I have been rereading the book not only because it is on the Great American Read list but feel as though “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING US,” for real.

Well, Alexa may not be watching but she is definitely listening, ask the family in Portland, Oregon.

The Telescreen in the novel, “whose voice came from a metal plaque like a dulled mirror,” could hear Winston throughout his apartment and sense his every move.

Alexa is more attractive and invited.

Winston works for the Ministry of Truth but questions everything they tell him. He buys a diary, sits in a small alcove to remain outside the range of Telescreen to write, but is unable to formulate his thoughts because thinking is a crime, subject to vaporizing.

Mr. Wonderful interrupts my private rant tossing his car keys on the counter and announcing, “It’s raining.”

I shut my Kindle, get off the couch, and join him in the kitchen.

He inquires, “What are you reading?”

“The novel, “1984,” remember? It’s on the Big Read List.”

“Is David Baldacci on the list? You know he’s my favorite.”

“You should read it, it’s scary, many of the happenings are becoming real; President Trump has embraced Newspeak. Trump probably thinks the destruction of words is a beautiful thing, just like comrade Syme in the novel who questions, “Why do we need the words excellent or splendid when a stronger version of good i.e., plusgood or doubleplusgood works.”

How many times have we heard Trump’s description of things as big, really big, or really really big? Yes occasionally Trump says it is HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHuge! Otherwise he’s the King of a limited vocabulary.”

Mr. Wonderful rolls his eyes and heads to the bathroom to shower.

I follow him my voice escalating, “The party tried to convince Winston two plus two is five and changing old news to fake news is real but Winston couldn’t accept this, even Trump knows fake news is real.

Mr. Wonderful is now in the shower and past pretending he can hear me. When he is towelling off,  I change the subject and ask, “Did you hear about Roseanne Barr?, She shot herself in the foot.”

Mr. Wonderful answers, “I heard, with a tweet.”  Than continues, “Too bad the thought police didn’t vaporize her earlier, think of the jobs that could have been saved. What happens to Winston, I can’t remember.”

“You should read the book. Eventually Winston is sent to Room 101 where his brain is rebooted and he spends the rest of his life gulping gin, and playing chess with himself. He no longer laments about Fake News. Oh he has a job working on The Interim Report, the subject of which is not known.

Mr. Wonderful hangs up his damp towel, smiles and says, “refresh my memory again is ‘1984’  fiction or non-fiction?”

From the other room Alexa answers, “I have no opinion on that.”

                                                       .  .  .  .  just saying

Wikipedia 1984

PBS Great American Read

David Baldacci

Continue reading

Welcome to the ’70s

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Welcome to the seventies, not as in 1970, as in this year I will be seventy, and please do not attempt to console me by saying the seventies are the new fifties or sixties, because I have to de-stiff-i-tize when I stand and cannot move my thumbs.

De-stiff-i-tize? You know what I am talking about. It occurs upon rising from a sitting position and can barely stand, you moan and somehow crunch your back and neck into a marginalized upright position. Dining in public restaurants I have observed others replace the moan with an inconsequential laugh, grab the back of a chair then straightening.

Seriously, I cannot move my thumb, and now question what the seventies will be like, every day there is a different challenge, last week it was a hip, this week hands. Therefore, I took to vigorous hand exercises, which resulted in trigger thumb.

Surely, you do not want to hear the full medical prognosis, or perhaps you do, however I swore health would not be the topic of every conversation and yet it is.

Thinking I can nip this in the bud by glimpsing into successful seventy-year-old lives I have started watching “Grace and Frankie,” a Netflix comedy and it is a hoot! Perhaps laughter is the best medicine.

Grace, played by Jane Fonda and Frankie, played by Lilly Tomlin live together after their husbands, gay lovers secretly for the past twenty years, announce they want divorces.

Jane Fonda an eighty year old in real life, pays the part of a younger woman, Grace who is in her seventies and yes, we all wish we look as good as Jane Fonda does at any age and of course the place they are forced to live in is a beautiful beach front house. Actor Martin Sheen plays Robert,  Grace’s ex and Sam Waterson, Saul, Frankie’s.

The plot is fast pace, the cast constantly moves, and there is no on camara de-stiff-i-tizing, although Martin Sheen’s movement getting out of bed, reminds me of how the president got into his suit jacket in West Wing and wondering if his elbows ever could bend.

After falling neither Grace or Frankie can get up and crawl to a phone resulting in their children purchasing First Alert devices for them and Jane Fonda, Grace, smashing hers with her high heel.

My kind of woman, she plans on getting older but never old.

.  .  .  . just saying

 

 

Next Door Neighbors

american-gothic-grant-wood-art-institute-of-chicago-244I keep thinking today is Thursday and it is only 6:30 in the morning. I started thinking today was Thursday in the middle of the night, do not know why because yesterday definitely felt like Tuesday which it was, consequently I should have a feeling today is Wednesday but do not. However, what difference does it make if today is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday? I am retired!

Nevertheless, I am happy today is Wednesday, not Thursday, because that gives me an extra day between Wednesday and Friday which I need since I opened my big mouth and invited the neighbors over because, although everyone appears to be happy standing in driveways with the sun beating down on our heads pretending not to sweat while we chat, I envision something else.

Well actually, what happened is Mr. Wonderful* came back from getting the mail and announced that the Smith’s house was for sale. Surprised, I asked where were they moving to, his response  “No one is moving “Mary died, that’s why all the cars were parked there last week.”

Stunned I expressed how terrible it is we did not know, and asked about her husband and if he will move closer to family, Mr. Wonderful said, “No her husband died six months ago.”

When we moved here, I joined Nextdoor ,  a private social network that will help find your dog or a plumber so I would be in the know but could not remember my password and instead started knocking on doors.

So we are getting together in two days.

There really is not much to do, neighbors said they would bring what they like to drink and a dish to pass but I need to dust and make sure the toilet is flushing properly which it started not doing the day before yesterday. I need to find that password.

In the mean time bits and pieces from a Chinese passage about neighbors and community are creeping into my head, and search online to find this;

Let there be a small country with a few people

Though neighboring communities overlook one another and the crowing of cocks and barking dogs can be heard

Yet the people there may grow old and die without ever visiting one another

Oh, now I remember what difference it makes if today is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; Wednesday morning the trash gets picked up.

                               .  .  .  .  Just saying

Painting by Grant Wood

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 47 years

 

 

 

 

Grant Wood Pitch Fork

Just Another Day

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The Fairchild Oak

Just Another Day

Today is just another day but not really. It is a day not to be anywhere, do anything, or explain why I changed my mind about doing nothing and did something. I was awake at 2am listening to the rain, thunder, and cracks of lightning like special effects from an Alfred Hitchcock film flash outside the bedroom window until 4am, when I got out of bed.

I was not going back to sleep.

Sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on a toasted piece of wheat bread smothered with real butter, I watch the mixture ooze into its crevices’, and ponder whether to brew a cup of coffee to dip its crust in, or walk to the Fairchild Oak, less than a mile from here, but consider how muddy the venture would be, and instead make beef barley soup from left over steak, adding frozen green peas, the petite ones.  

Today is just another day but not really. After watching an interview on CBS Morning News about Tom Hanks collection of short stories, “Uncommon Type” (the title reflects his fondness for and use of old typewriters) I am reading the book and now in love with him.

He laughs at himself, and likes writing because he knows what the prize is inside the box, or so he says.th

The book jacket describes Hank’s first work of fiction as one “that dissects, with great affection, humor, and insight, the human condition and all its foibles.”

I hear Tom’s voice as I pretend he is reading to me and sip beef broth standing up.

Today is just another day but not really, it is the first day of the rest of my life.

.  .  .  .  just saying

Can You Squat?

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 Can You Squat?

Rose joined her friend already seated outside at the Hudson Garden Grill. The restaurant known for its ambiance and gourmet menu was contained within the Bronx Botanical Gardens where they planned to attend the Orchid Show after lunch. Hugh clay pots dripping with colorful annuals decorated the patio and cardinals danced with the breeze.

“You’re late,” quipped Joan handing her a menu, “I ordered us drinks.”

Rose sighed and said, “How did you know what I wanted? I’m dieting.”

“You always order a Bloody Mary with lunch. Joan argued, “If you prefer, I’ll drink yours. Really Rose, this is when you thank me, apologize for being late, and explain why . . . . . like, maybe your cat threw up.”

Rose leaned forward and lowered her voice, “Can you Squat?”

Stunned Joan shook her head then blurted out, “Can I squat? Have you lost your mind? I can’t put on my underwear standing up,” as the server appeared with their drinks and interrupted the conversation saying, “Hi, I’m Chantal and I will be your server.” Dressed in a v-neck black tee and a tan khaki skirt she wore a smile from ear to ear, a pen was tucked inside her hair bun.

Rose was hungry. She had not eaten before the incident than did not have time after, but nevertheless asked the server to give them a few minutes.

Chantal said, “It’s a beautiful day, take your time.”

They discussed the menu choices and after deciding Rose would have Chicken Paillaid, Joan the Lobster Bolognese, raised their glasses to toast the occasion. Joan’s first grandchild had been born on her seventieth birthday and she had been busy attending CPR classes for infants and signed up for the course on installing child car seats.

When Joan paused, Rose attempted once again to get a response to her question, “Can you squat?”

“Squat? You mean squat as in the late 1970’s so men couldn’t see up our miniskirt or squat as in squatter’s rights from the 1800’s?”

Rose rubbed the back of her head reminded of the morning’s incident, “Squat as in your butt is nearer to the floor than your knees. It’s concerning, things are going downhill fast, soon we won’t be able to fix our own meals.”

“That’s why there is take out Rose, and surely you have heard of Meals on Wheels. I can open a jar of olives now that I have that rubber thing,” Joan offered with pride.

Again, Rose leaned forward and whispered, “This is serious, can you squat? I can no longer squat. Well that’s not totally true, I can squat just not get up from the squat.” Her voice faded as the server arrived with their entrees.

Joan suctioned her glass with a straw and motioned the server they would have two more drinks.

Nursing the celery topped Bloody Mary’s Rose explained, “I have this vertigo thing going on, and bending over causes dizziness. Today I said to myself, ‘self don’t bend over, squat’ and did. But I couldn’t get up and when my thighs were screaming with pain let go of the counter and fell hitting the back of my head on the floor.”

Joan asked, “Where was Tom, did he call 911?”

“Tom was playing golf. I crawled into the dining room and leaned on a chair to get upright. It was exhausting and reason I was late.”

A patron on their way to the restroom stopped to comment, “The same thing happened to my husband, on the golf course. He forgot he wasn’t twenty-four and squatted to line up his putt, it wasn’t pretty.”

Joan attempted to offer condolences, saying, “You poor thing. You must have a bump.” But giggled instead, putting her hand over her mouth and apologized for laughing. Rose not knowing whether to laugh or cry joined her. Soon their laughter was drawing attention.

Chantal rolled her eyes delivering the check.

After paying, they toured the orchid show, took the train ride to see the azaleas, and visited the gift shop.

On the ride home, Rose wished she were young again.

.  .  .  .   just saying

Poem

                                               To Be Young Once More

Wiggles and giggles galore

Remember we’d drop to the floor

Get up and dance, afraid of wetting our pants and giggle some more

Our faces would ache as spirits soared

Oh to be young once more

 

Now it’s difficult to stand and everything is sore

Not just back, knees, and feet, but ear lobes, eyebrows and seat.

We can no longer squat to pickup something dropped

But bend deep at the waist .  .  .   .  disgraced by a moan

Not  the “When Harry Met Sally” type even though our eyes are shut tight

We linger then limp to a chair wondering, when did we get this old?