Re-introduction to movement

Saturday I was re-introduced to movement.

Our TKD studio had a free workshop about movement and health.  It was a 2.5 hour workshop.  First, you must understand how much this TKD group has become a family, because only love for a family would draw me out in wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour and near white out conditions.  But out I went and move I did.

It started out with some yoga.  I am new to the world of yoga.  It is something that I have never fully investigated or had a place where I could take a class.  I have tried it on video and decided that I would only do it if no one else was home.  The cubs would have a hey day laughing at my chubby body contorting into those positions.  Imagine my discomfort when I realized that I was going to assume some of these poses in public!  So I tucked myself into a corner and got into the task of twisting myself into a mis-shaped pretzel who was unable to balance on one foot for longer than .3 seconds.

Next came an introduction to X-Fit.  This is a cross between punching at invisible people, kicking at them and then running from them in place in time to music in a particular order under the leadership of your instructor.  So far have you noticed that this could be a recipe for disaster for my uncoordinated, already out of breath from simple stretching in the yoga, self?  Well, other than being about 2 beats behind and doing things mostly backwards I actually held out pretty well.  I made everything as low as I could make it so I didn’t ratchet up my heart rate too much, but I kept up.  At least I did not crash into my neighbor who was doing a much better job of staying up with things than I was!

The day proceeded to core strengthening.  The instructor shows us some very valuable abdominal exercises that I can actually do and not feel like old surgical sites are tearing, or irritate my GERD.  The instructor was terrific except he forgot to tell us the breathing we are supposed to do, so for a lot of it I was turning blue.  Once I got the breathing down, though,  those exercises were amazingly effective.

The last part of the day was the final section of X-Fit.  We punched on  bags and then moved to the floor.  I did the bag work, but I passed on the floor work as my abs were already screaming with delight that they had been found again.

The final segment of the day was a cool down, a much shorter and faster yoga session.  I was able to do most of this as well.  Some of the moves were simply no possible for me to do with the extra mega weight around my middle, but I gave it the good old college try.   I wandered around the studio for a few minutes to make sure my rubbery lets would carry me out to the car, fell into it, and proceeded to drive home through mostly clear streets, though I ran into a few major drifts and a couple of white outs where the road went between fields.

It was fantastic to spend time with my “extended family” and share stories between panted breaths.

It was good to re-engage my long neglected muscles.

I really enjoyed feeling my blood surging through my body.

I went to bed feeling tone in my muscles.

Then I woke up…..

I will leave the amount of pain that coursed through my  body for the next 48 hours up to you imagination.

But even with pain in my legs (have yet to figure out why my hamstrings were so tight) and the tightness in my shoulders (hate that my shoulder has never regained full strength from surgery, even with PT and continued exercise), I hand mixed 2 loaves of bread and then kneaded the dough for 10 minutes on Sunday.  On Monday I got up and walked through the grocery with Baby Cub and lifted and toted the bags.   Tuesday is my day of nothing.  Then tomorrow I will drag out the exercise videos, close the blinds, make sure the Cubs are safely tucked in the office doing their school work and then once again partake in foolish looking exercises in my living room and continue what I started on Saturday!

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I have learned….

Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of the death of my father.

He was and will always be a lot of things to me.

He was my hero.

He was the first man I fell in love with and wanted to marry (he informed me he was already taken, but would always love me)

He was the man who understood me, often times better than I understood myself.

He was the person I went to for advice with all sorts of issues – personal and professional.

He was gentle.

He was kind.

He was fair.

He understood people in ways I can only dream, and usually his understanding was within minutes of meeting them.

He was quiet, until he did not want to be.

He a laugh as big as the sky.  It was a laugh that make you smile because it was just so full of joy.

He had blue eyes that could be cold when he was in his cop mode, but more often were twinkling with his latest practical joke or love.

His hugs were strong and long.

 

I miss him. I miss him a lot.

I miss all those things I wrote about.  But I just miss his presence in the world.  One of the biggest feelings I had those first few weeks after his death was anger and disbelief that the world did not realize what was gone.  The world should have stopped, even if only for a day, an hour, to mourn a man who impacted so many people.

 

There are parts of this past year that I don’t even remember.  I feel like I have lost time. I was wading through a muddy fog that sucked at my legs and blocked my vision of everything around me. There were times I would get angry with myself because I could not “just get over it”.  Sometimes I would feel so overwhelmed by the rawness of my emotions that I felt as if someone was pouring salt and sand on blistered feet and forcing me to walk miles without end.

 

As the year progressed I would forget for a moment what I had lost.  I could see a break in the fog.  I could laugh and joke.  I could sing and play games with the Cubs.  And I knew that is what he would want me to do.  He would not want me to wallow in grief.  He would be angry that I had lost even one precious moment with my Cubs and with Papa Bear.  This was the man who always told me “I did not make much money when I was in this world, so you better have a cash  bar over my coffin so that you can make some money off me once I am dead”.  He called his 8 year battle with cancer “just a bump in the road”.  Those are things that he would want me to remember and cherish.

 

As 2013 ended and I contemplated this upcoming anniversary and the beginning of a new year I knew I had some choices to make.  Before I could make those choices, though, I needed to reflect on what I had learned this past year.

 

I learned that grief can be so overwhelming that it almost becomes a physical entity.

I learned that there are people who truly love me for me and are willing to sit by my side (physically, in cyber space and on the phone) and pass me tissues as I cry.

I learned I could cry and laugh at the same time.

I learned that no amount of preparation can reduce the pain of loss.

I learned that grief is definitely not a straight path.

I learned to be vulnerable.

I learned there is strength in vulnerability.

I learned that even in the midst of the deepest sadness God is there, waiting with open arms.

Still Struggling

I have taken a long hiatus from  blogging.  Part of it is because I have been trying to stay focused on the important people in my life and spending time with them.  The other part is because I don’t want to sound like a broken record.  I am still grieving.  I am still hurting.  I am still struggling to find that “new normal”.   I realize that it has not been a year yet, and because of that I am trying really hard to cut myself some slack.  But there are times that the fog still makes it hard to move forward.

We are in the middle of Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas.  I am terrified of that holiday this year.  Honestly, I have been scared since Thanksgiving.  This has always been my favorite time of the year.  I love everything about it – the decorations, the music, the specials on TV, the family traditions.  One tradition was that Dad and I always went out on a “booming around” day.   It was a shopping day where it was just the 2 of us (until the Cubs came along and then they came with us) and we went shopping for mom and whoever it was I needed to buy a special present for (boyfriends as I was growing up and then gifts for Papa Bear as we started dating and throughout our married life).    The day would always include Dad taking me out for lunch.  As I got older the day became more about the lunch and the conversations we shared than about the actual shopping.  When I graduated from Nursing School and started working he would pull out his date book on Thanksgiving weekend and say “we need to plan when we can do our day”.   We always aimed for weekdays since the stores would be less busy.   Until I was in my late teens the man had me convinced that he did not know how to wrap a gift, so I always wrapped the gifts for him after we got home from shopping.  Once I was living on my own I would always have a big pot of chili waiting for us so we could warm up while I wrapped.   This will be the first year in 46 years that we have missed a shopping day.   I have tried to think of so many ways to “honor” that tradition and create a new one.  I have yet to come up with one that feels right.  I thought about doing a spa day, but money and scheduling just did not work out.  I have tried to think of other ways….go out with the Cubs for a shopping day,  make it a family day of shopping, do some sort of service project with the family.  Nothing has worked out from a scheduling standpoint, and honestly, nothing has worked out from a feeling “right” standpoint either.

But this is just one of the things that have changed.  There are some not so great memories of last year’s Christmas that I have to work through.  Mom and dad usually came up to decorate our tree with us, but last year dad did not feel good enough for long enough to come up, so our tree did not even get decorated until 2 days before Christmas.  I am not even in the mood to decorate the tree this year.   After Christmas Eve Mass last year is when dad took a very bad turn for the worse and they had to leave our home in the wee hours of Christmas Morning while the cubs were still asleep.  It was the 1st Christmas morning that the Cubs did not spend with my parents.

During this precious time of the year I am just sitting in a low spot.  I know I have to work through the pain.  I know that have to just survive until the healing starts to occur.  I know that eventually there will be a “new normal”.  But right now, at this moment, it hurts.  And I want things to “old normal” again.  But normal would mean he would be in pain again.  Normal would mean that the loss was still going to occur.   Neither of those things would I want for him or my family.   But that does not stop what I am feeling right now, at this moment.   All I do right now is to cry out to the only one who knows completely about my pain and hang on to the faith that has been given to me.

Starting over

OK, the weather, life and the cosmos in general interfered in my walking….all within the first 48 hours!

So yesterday, since I spent 30 minutes walking up that mongo hill down south, I decided that I was going to start again.  The program starts on Sundays, so I counted my slow but steady ascent up that mountain

foothill

ginormous,

steep hill as my first day.

Today, in spite of all the errands I ran and visiting I did, and my mom coming back so she can make her PT appointment tomorrow, and the need to take Baby Bear to ballet, I got out and walked 1.9 miles in…..

24 minutes!!!!!!!!

I will admit that Baby Bear conned me into riding the bike (with her on the back and the seat way too low so that I was REALLY working my thighs) about 1/2 way down one of the cul-de-sacs.  But regardless, I was moving for the full 24 minutes.

Next major purchase….a new set of shoes!

 

It worked!

Remember that mind game I played with myself?

I went for a walk last night (note to self, go walking when it is NOT dusk – irregularities in the sidewalk are much more evident!) and I walked for 20 minutes!

I stretched last night after the walk, but my hips are still very tight. I slept really well last night to boot. It was also nice to walk around the neighborhood holding hands with Daddy Bear and just enjoy time together. We found the cubs and were greeted with hugs from the little one and continued on our walk. The nice part about the cubs being a bit older is that I don’t have to figure out how to keep track of them while I walk.

Next goal – at least 10 minutes again today……

Let’s get moving again!

OK, it is time to get moving again.

I have been struggling lately with a lot of issues. Some of them are emotional. Some of them are physical.  Many of them cross over.

I am still trying to “get over” the loss of my dad. When I slide down into that dark place of mine I tend to pull into myself and don’t want to even open the blinds, let alone move around outside the house. During these times I understand the commercials regarding depression and physical pain. There is increased joint pain and muscle pain. There are increased headaches.  I don’t understand the biology of the whole thing, but I do understand that there is a definite correlation.

Another part is that my body went through some trauma at the end o 2012.  My medication had to be re calibrated for my heart rate so I could do more than walk across the room with out getting short of breath.  I also had a kidney stone storm that required surgical intervention.  Neither of those things do I want to do again!  I finally got back to TKD only to find out that I had developed bursitis in my hip.  I tried all sorts of things from stretching, to modifying my technique to getting a steroid shot into the bursa.  That is not a bad experience, just something that I would prefer not to go through again.  I limped along this summer, missing more classes than attending due to the pain.  Late this summer my ‘Ittle Bear decided that she wanted to run cross-country.  I started schlepping her to practices.  Then baby bear decided she wanted to try out ballet, and that added to my taxi service hours.  Subsequently my attendance at TKD became non-existent.  Fast forward to this fall when my hometown sponsors a 5K run/walk for cancer.  When it was time to register I realized that I was not even remotely ready to do it.  I had to admit that I had really let myself down.  I had fully intended to form a team and walk it in honor of my father.  Add another dose of guilt.  ARGH!!!!!!

Well, now it is time to start training.  Now is the time to get my inspiration back.  We are headed into the bleak months of winter, and I know that my motivation will wane during that time.  So I need to get into a routine NOW.  I need to take advantage of the cool, pretty days of fall to get my body hooked on exercise again before the dark and cold days of our winter set in.

I need to start with something that does not require my hip-joint to bend to any extremes.  So I have chosen to walk – easy on all my joints, gets me out in the fresh if slightly chilly air, and is weight-bearing so it is good for my bone health.  I am going to start with this program from The Walking Site.  Since right now everything in my being is encouraging me to stay in my nice warm house on my nice comfy chair, I am going to actually set my goal for the first week as 1/2 of what is called for in the program.  It is a mind game that I play with myself.  If I set my goal fairly low in the beginning, I am really proud of myself when I exceed it.  I know, I’m a dork.  The cubs are very good at telling me that!  I am going to keep track of my exercise via the Presidential Fitness website.  Then as I earn “medals” on that website I will reward myself with items like I did whenever I belted up – a piece of nice but not expensive jewelry, a new outfits, etc.  Today I will start walking.  This is the time when I will do the 1/2 thing.  Then on Sunday I will start the program full force!

 

I will accept all the cheering I can get!!!!!!!

 

Starts and Stops

I have not been writing frequently because there are so many emotions that I have been feeling that…

a) don’t need to find their way out into cyberspace, cluttering it up with negativity

b) are so repetitive that after the first 20 times you hear them you won’t ever want to come back to this site

c) have cluttered my mind so much that I haven’t been able to focus on what I want to write

So I ask you to please be patient as I stutter around and try to figure out my new normal.

Never being one to stay organized for more than 15.3 seconds, my cluttered and clouded mind has decreased that time to about 3.2.  I have become a relatively decent typist, but there is no way I could complete a post in that short a time span.   My to-do list is huge, as is the list of topics that I want to write about.   I have a calendar on which I plot out my posts – or at least topics I want to cover, if not the specifics.  So far I have moved topics 4 different times.  So you see, I am not ignoring the blog, or you readers, all 4 of you.  I am simply slogging along through the mist, waiting for the sun to burn through and allow me to figure out how to reconnect my brain.