The Bean Can Workout

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For several days it’s been just too hot here to go for a walk.  I vowed, after our ghastly winter in which it was just too cold and icy to walk, that this summer I would not complain about the heat if we were lucky enough to get some.  So I’m not complaining about that.

But of course if I’m writing I am complaining about something,  and todays topic is how sloth-like I’ve been feeling.  Only for a few days, though.  Last week I was so freaking ambitious it was scary.  I moved furniture around in the basement.  I cleaned the windows and curtains down there and vacuumed and dusted and even did a bit of painting.  I washed light fixtures and cleaned and rearranged clutter and tried not to think about how the carpet should be burned and how gross the ceilings are.  Then I imagined my grandchildren in the future reminiscing with each other about visiting and having to sleep in grandmas creepy old basement when they were young.  After that I sighed a lot and told myself the experience would no doubt build character.  Because just imagining the work involved in doing everything that needs doing is exhausting.

So, now that I’ve been sitting around for a few days resting and doing nothing except wondering what I should eat next, I’ve come up with a much better fitness plan.

I should mention my eye exam first, because I like to take a very meandering approach to getting to the point, but trust me, this is relevant.  Visual acuity was way down in my left eye and intraocular pressure was up.  My optometrist asked if my blood pressure was okay.  Well, we had just driven downtown on a Monday, so it was certainly a possibility that it was elevated. He asked me to come back early Friday morning before drinking coffee to have the IOP rechecked.  He also did a retina scan.    That Wednesday I went to my doctor to have a possible plantar wart on my foot looked at (it’s a whole other story, I know, we think it’s just a callous although she did the liquid nitrogen treatment just in case) and my blood pressure readings were high enough for her to be concerned and suggest that I monitor it for a month and keep a record.  First thing in the morning before coffee, last thing at night before bed.  I am also checking fasting blood sugar readings daily, so I suppose you could say I’m currently keeping the worlds most boring diary.

Exercise for helping to control both these things is very important.  The early rush hour trip back to the optometrist resulted in slightly less elevated IOP, normal enough retina scan, normal enough macula, check up in a year.  I also have early cataracts.  That’s pretty normal as well.  What would be even more normal is having an optometrist close to home instead of smack dab in the middle of the city.  And to give up all this “before coffee” nonsense.

But back to the exercise thing.  Finally.  I’ve lost a lot of weight since retiring and I don’t want it to creep back on due to lack of activity.  I’m way more clued in about diet and nutrition and smarter choices, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a huge leap to develop the same kind of commitment to keeping my joints from seizing up.

Walking is still the best.  Cutting the grass is equivalent to a walk.  Now for the days when I can’t make myself put on shoes and go outside, I will do a 30 minute bean can workout.  It’s actually a fifteen minute seniors low impact thing, but I’ve upgraded it slightly because I’m not ninety yet.  I found it on YouTube.  There are no doubt gazillions of these videos to peruse, but on this one I quite liked the nice young man (this is how seniors talk) who went through 10 different exercises, telling me how great I was doing before I even got off my butt to do anything.

He uses a chair in some of them for balance, does squats that don’t kill your knees, side to side steps that remind me of one of my random dance moves in high school, marching in place with swinging arms and high knee raises.  Killer stuff. I changed the wall push ups to fridge push ups because I’d rather have greasy handprints there.  Side to side twist and punch from the chin is exactly as much fun as it sounds.  But the best part was using “weights” which were actually water bottles,  for lifting and curling and pressing and whatever else you call messing around with heavy things in your hands.

I had to improvise with a can of black beans in one hand and a can of mixed beans in the other because I don’t have water bottles around when W isn’t home. Did I mention he’s gone fishing for the entire summer?  And is also looking after some things for his elderly parents on the side.  This is why the grass cutting here is all mine.

My preference in lieu of plastic water bottles is a refillable water container because there’s nothing wrong with our tap water.  I can appreciate the convenience of bottled water when it’s necessary but I think it’s a silly wasteful gimmick we’ve gone way overboard with for the most part.  I do have some bottles of Diet Pepsi in the cupboard but it’s probably not a great idea to shake those up for 30 minutes.  But the good news is it gives me an excuse to drink a couple of them and then fill them up with water to use instead of canned goods because they hold 710 ml vs. 540. And could conceivably make a bigger impact on my shoulders.  Which is where most people never think to concentrate when slimming down.

Anyway it will be a few days before the Pepsi bottles are ready because I try to limit my sodium and artificial sweetener intake, so it will be Bean workouts until then.  The beauty of this series is there’s nothing bouncy or heart attack inducing.  Always a plus.  You do as many repetitions as you can of each one, and go through the routine twice.  It was kind of fun!  I think I might even be able to break out in a sweat if I try hard enough!  I like the concentration on stretching and gentle movements, a combination of yoga and Tai Chi for the very lazy.

Now when I’m feeling like a slug and think a snack will perk me up, I will do as many fridge push ups as it takes to change my mind.  Hey, it could work!

Okay, I gotta go and get started on one of those bottles.  I love a project.  Maybe one day I’ll graduate to real dumbbells.  But then where’s the fun in that?

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Sharing My World 74

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Share Your World – September 4, 2017

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Did you know, when it comes to clothing, there are many different shades of black?  I’m pretty sure I own a sample of every one of them.  It is possible for black pants and a black top to not match.  But frankly I don’t care.  My closet is a black hole.  For variety I might throw on a dark blue or dark purple jacket or sweater, and sometimes my shoes have splotches of colourful wildness, but black is for sure my fade-into-the-background comfort colour.  My sister has tried to steer me away from racks of black in clothing stores but for me their magnetism is strong.  “Oooh, I like this!  Does it come in black?”  (Sister fakes shooting self in head)

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

Well behaved dogs belonging to other people are my absolute favourite.  German Shepherd and Jack Russel come to mind.  I also have a little stuffed Starbucks dog on a bookshelf somewhere that I quite like.  He doesn’t shed.  Or bark or drool.  Or need to go out to the backyard to pee in the middle of the night.  I’m just imagining worst case scenarios so I’ll be less tempted while looking at pictures of adorable dogs that need adopting.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Tomato plants (they smell amazing), sun flowers, daisies and Black-eyed Susans,  strawberry plants, lilac bushes.  What is wrong with me, I don’t have any of those!  I have had great success with tomato plants but we always get early frosts here and all the fussing with them in the fall is stressful.  Yes, I am that kind of gardener.  Maybe I’ll try some again next year since I’ve had several seasons break from it.  We grew dwarf sunflowers once in front of our house.  I have a picture somewhere to prove it.  They were beautiful and odd-looking  at the same time.  Sunflowers should be gigantic and in fields.

People with green thumbs are admirable.  That gene skipped a generation with me and went straight to my daughter.  I’m sure the ghost of my grandma hovers over her and her plants in a state of blissful ecstasy.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

That magpie was pretty inspiring.  I took a photo of it on some half dead grass and it rolled its little bird eyes and flew over to a rock amongst some bushes and posed there for me instead.  That was the day W decided to accompany me on my walk but went missing a few blocks into it.  He was admiring some guys front yard and I guess stopped long enough to be noticed and struck up a conversation with him while I just kept walking because I was out for a walk dammit, not gawking at front yards or a chat with some random stranger.  I went all the way to a busy street and doubled back thinking I would meet him continuing on the walk.  But there was no sign of him, so I walked through the park and then back over to the busy street again to see if he might have gone that way, then back through some walkways and back to the exit from the park just in case he was somewhere around there.  Anyway you get the picture, me walking around in circles and W nowhere to be found.  I was home and showered and had breakfast before he finally showed up, all happy that the guy he was talking to took him into his backyard to show off his award-winning landscaping horticulturists dreamscape.  The guy has a guest book so apparently he’s delighted to entertain nosy people and take them on tours.

This is the kind of shit that happens when you marry an extrovert.  You cannot take a normal walk together.  So we haven’t tried that again.  I go walking on quiet residential streets after people have gone to work.  He goes to the busy streets around the mall.  I don’t even like to say hello to people.  He learns six peoples life stories in ten minutes or less.

Next week we are leaving on a four day road trip, from Alberta through Saskatchewan and Manitoba to southwestern Ontario where we will visit family for a couple of weeks before heading back home.  I’m excited about the family part.  He is really excited about the drive.  Weird.

So I might be around here less, although I’m not sure how that is even possible, or I might be so bored driving through places like the prairies that I learn how to use my iPad without getting car sick.  Just so you know to expect the unexpected.  Or the completely predictable.  I will probably be doing some of the driving as well, so when W is hanging out the passenger side window becoming best friends with a service station attendant I can just drive off.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Labour Day weekend.

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Sharing My World 70

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It’s a coyote!  (Click photo for source)  This is a cousin of the one I saw running down our street on Sunday morning, all pointy eared and bushy tailed and NOT A DOG.  And still I ventured outside and walked around the neighbourhood.  What the hell, I’ve had a pretty good life.

Share Your World May 8, 2017

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

All of the above.  I wear shoes when I am getting ready to go out because I forget something in the house and have to go back in to get it and can’t be bothered to take my shoes off for what will probably be less than five minutes.  Then when I come back from wherever I’ve been I might again leave my shoes on because I forget to take them off.  Being forgetful makes life a lot less boring.  There’s always something new to deal with.

I wear socks when my feet are freezing.  I’ve noticed they are great dust and debris collectors.  When I take them off I wonder how there can continually be that much crap on my floors.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with my outside shoes because I always remove them at the door.  Don’t I?  I am not a big fan of my slippers because they make annoying clomping sounds but they are easier to slip into than gigantic thermal socks.

Barefoot has always been my preference, but the older I get the harder it is to pull that off, and even open toe footwear is getting to be an unwise choice.  Feet don’t get more beautiful with age.  They do get more interesting though.  My right foot has a bunion and both feet are developing claw toes.  My left big toe has an ugly thickening nail.  Mostly I cover them up so they won’t frighten small children.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Strangely enough it was a concoction my grandma used to make, consisting of cut yellow beans and small new potatoes in a buttery white sauce.  She made it for us on the rare occasion when mom wasn’t home to cook, so we considered it a real treat.  I have the best memories of how delicious it was and how fast a whole big pot full would disappear.  Tried making it myself as an adult but the results were disappointing.  Could be kids just have weird taste buds.

Are you a listener or a talker?

If we’re friends and visiting one on one I’ll probably talk your face off.  If you’re a talkative stranger in a supermarket check out apparently I have “sympathetic listener” tattooed on my forehead.  If it’s a big group I’m probably saying  very little.  Chances are I’m not listening either.

Favorite thing to (pick one): Photograph? Write? Or Cook?

Well I’ll just give you answers to all three because apparently I don’t understand what “pick one” means.  I like to photograph whatever catches my eye when I’m out walking, not because it necessarily makes for a great photo, but more to prove I was actually outside and away from my own property.

I like to write lists.  Must be my favourite thing to write based on sheer numbers of them started, scratched off, completed, lost, crumpled up, thrown away, stuffed into random pockets and bags.  They are everywhere.  They are supposed to keep me organized.  They are not very good at their job.

Soup is without a doubt my favourite thing to cook because it allows for freedom of expression.  You can toss any number of weird things in there and still have a wide margin for success.  W would not agree with that.  He suffers from chronic soup suspicion.  Yes, that is a real affliction.  He likes to know exactly what he is consuming and with my soups full knowledge is not always possible.  Or even preferable.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My daughter has made some positive changes in her life and I’m grateful to her for inspiring me to make some too.  I haven’t been walking because of a painful knee and fear of making it worse, but on Saturday the two of us (well three of us if you count the dog) got out in the sunshine and took a long stroll.  Here’s the funny thing about that.  The longer I walked the better my knee felt.  So I guess my making-it-worse excuse is total crap.  Damn.

W just sent me a text from Ontario to say he made it to the island safe and sound.  He left early yesterday morning and I am on my own for who knows how long.  Could be a month, could be the whole summer.  So I am REALLY looking forward to the grass growing so that I can cut it.  Haha.  Threw that in there to see if you’re still paying attention.

Soup and walking.  That’s what I meant to say.  Hope I don’t die from all the excitement.  Although that would beat being eaten by a coyote I guess.

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What Did You Say?

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'Actually I asked for a large 'Cola'.'

'You never listen to me, you only hear what you want to hear!'

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Today the weather was blustery and cold and I didn’t feel much like venturing out for my walk. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better and walking outside on the icy sidewalks will soon become treacherous. So today seemed like a good day to switch to plan B and do a fake walk on my mini trampoline. It’s low impact and makes me sweaty and short of breath, so the results are definitely similar. I just switched my weight from one side to the other in a bouncy fashion and then got my arms working as well (and after awhile couldn’t believe how slowly doing that made the clock move….)

Later when W asked me if I had gone for my walk I said “No, I did some dancing on the trampoline”. And he said “You did WHAT on your hands and knees??”

OMG, both of us being half deaf is going to be so much fun.

Art du Jour 79

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Twenty days of blog neglect must mean I have at least half that many lame excuses for it, so yes, that’s what comes next.

But first, this is a drawing requested by my 14-year-old grandson of some random YouTube guy.  Two of my granddaughters knew right away who he was supposed to be and even told me his name.  However, as talented at portraiture as this grandma might be, remembering names is not her strong point.  So call him whatever you want.  I don’t think his teeth are that weird in real life.

Here’s what’s going on in my life, in random order of importance

  1.  After many scaredy cat delaying tactics I finally got up the nerve to sit down and figure out how to take a blood sugar reading.  The first few stabs at it were incredibly frustrating but now I’m poking my finger tips with sharp things three times a day like a pro.  So come on, how hard was that?  You think you can’t do something and then you find out you’re not such a wimp after all.
  2. Results of my mammogram were normal.  Can you imagine being the person who spends her day flopping boobs on to glass plates and squishing them in different directions?  Don’t ever complain about your job again.
  3. Bone density test was also normal.  So now I feel I can blame a large percentage of my weight problem on seriously dense bones.  Those things are heavy, man.
  4. The radiologist who looked at my abdominal ultrasound noticed some sort of mass on or above my uterus and has advised a pelvic ultrasound to investigate further.  This of course scares the hell out of me, but what can you do except make the appointment and show up for it, right?
  5. I spent a day at the Hip and Knee clinic with W learning all about his upcoming hip replacement surgery, scheduled for November 3rd.  He will be in hospital for three or four days, and unable to drive for six weeks.  So basically, totally at my mercy.
  6. The hand rail for our basement steps has been missing since we removed it when we moved in to this house, so we could get furniture down the stairs more easily.  For over thirty years I have been suggesting that we should put that thing back up before one of us falls head first into the rec room.  A cute little nurse at the clinic insisted that there must be a hand rail or W would have to refrain from using the stairs after his surgery.  The tv is down there.  The handrail is now up.
  7. Next week I go to the Multidisciplinary Care Clinic in the Primary Care Network building to learn how to cope on a day-to-day basis with my medical condition.  Now we just have to decide what exactly my medical condition is.
  8. If you know me even slightly you will know how much I dislike schedules and regimes and rules and itineraries.  I prefer to be an undisciplined brat.  However, I am now keeping a log of my blood sugar readings, blood pressure when I remember to take it, and every single thing I eat and drink every day.  I hope I am burning a lot of calories writing all this shit down.  This record is a requirement for my appointment.  They even make you write it all down in pen, I suppose in case you are tempted to make untruthful revisions.  As if I would do that.  With my erasable ink pen….
  9. Almost every day I go for a walk.  Some days I feel like I could go forever, and other days just putting my socks and running shoes on wears me out.  I find having a purpose and a destination works better than wandering aimlessly about the neighborhood.  The mall is my favourite destination.  Buying random things like a ridiculously long shoe horn from the dollar store for W because he won’t be able to bend over after surgery seemed like an admirable purpose.  I’m sure I can think up many more like that one.
  10. My middle granddaughter is always looking for paper to draw on, so when I was visiting them I gave her my big partly used white paper sketch book.  Within minutes she had drawn a head with a beautiful face and glorious blue hair.  It’s possible she’s filled the entire book by now.  Anyway, I need a new one and can’t possibly do any proper sketching until I get one.  What my excuse is for neglecting all my other art is a mystery.

And that’s it!  A not so brief summary of my October so far.  We had Thanksgiving dinner in there somewhere.  It caused my highest blood sugar reading to date.  I blame the sweet potatoes.  Better them than me.