Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Month

When did it get to be August? Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago I was frantically cleaning in preparation for Carole and David's visit over Memorial Day weekend? In one month, it will be Labor Day and the end, sort of, of summer. What have I done this summer?

Now, if I spend time assessing what I have done versus what I could have done, you'll find me sitting in a lawn chair in the basement eating a carton of ice cream. That is NOT productive on any level. There are times when personal assessment is a positive thing and then there are the self-flagellation sessions we females seem to specialize in. "I could have had a V-8" turns into, "I could have tiled my kitchen backsplash with ceramic tiles I made myself after I crafted a kiln out of bricks that I made myself." Um...yeah.

First of all, it was too darn hot. It was just not conducive to outdoor activity. I managed, however, to get the deck and the front steps painted, granted both were before the temperature rose to irritating heights. I'm proud of myself for that.

I washed deck chairs and planted flowers in pots on the deck. That's another plus for me. I've gone years with no outside furniture and only the geraniums to greet me. It's been too hot to really enjoy the deck but at least I got the chairs out. In October, a grand reorganization of the storage shed should be undertaken so the chairs are easy to get to next year, considering I did all this work.

Little projects here and there. A mountain of reading finished. Not a week goes by that I don't read one or two of the magazines in the ever diminishing stack. It's good to see it shrinking. In another year, it will be gone and the magazines I do get won't take me months to read.

It was in one of those magazines that I found what I'm going to call my "August project". It was an old Shape magazine. I have no idea how I got this. It just started showing up on my doorstep a year ago. For me, it's a 20 minute read, if that. There's nothing usually in it to interest me and I find it wholly disingenuous. It purports to give you tips on diet and exercise but has huge ads for weight loss supplements of dubious character. You can't have it both ways. Ooooh Holly Madison (Who the heck is she? Would someone enlighten me?) lost an amazing 20 pounds on something I wouldn't feed to a landfill. Looking at her, she had 20 pounds to lose? She could do that just taking off those embellished jeans she's wearing. That doesn't count. Hence, I give Shape no credibility when it comes to weight loss.

But, in the March 2012 issue, which somehow got buried as I usually "read" Shape the day it comes and then recycle it, there were exercises done with weights. I'm looking for non-impact, since my knees won't handle it at the moment, exercises that promote more strength and flexibility than aerobic activity. I looked these over. Bend the knee here? Well, I can modify this a bit. Stretch the arms out and hold it? Well, I won't be able to do 12 repetitions but I could do a few. For the first time since this magazine mysteriously showed up, it had something in it that I could use. I can't do all 6 exercises at a time. I don't have the strength yet. But I could do 3 a day, alternating days.

So, I dug out my weights and did my first three today. I could not do more than 3 reps of exercise number 2 which required me to hold my arms out at shoulder height and curl one arm, then the other, back behind my head. It sounds weird, but it's easy to do, except for holding the arms at shoulder height. It's painful after 3 reps. I don't have the upper arm strength.

I did not get dejected, however. I know I have a ways to go to rebuild what collapsed around me last year. My goal is simple. I will do half of the exercises every day for a week, alternating exercises. Page 1 was today and page 2 is tomorrow. When Sunday comes, I will try again for another week of exercises. It means earlier to bed and earlier to rise so I get these in. It took 15 minutes to do the first three. My goal is no achy feeling when I do 12 reps and to be able to do 12 reps on each exercise. I'm not going to do more reps on those exercises I find easy. Before I move on to 2 sets of 12 reps, I have to be able to do 1 set on all of them with ease and without pain or achy muscles. My ultimate goal is to do these every day through the whole of August, one week at a time.

I'm reminded of a song from the animated Christmas special "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Mickey Rooney sings this.
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat
My goal is greater flexibility and mobility. I found the Wheaton Park District has Tai Chi classes. They help with flexibility. I've found one I can take on Saturday mornings beginning in October. I'm signing up next week, as soon as I can.

This has been the most productive summer in the last 2-3 for me. As August starts and the end of summer draws near, I want to build on this success and go forward. I almost gave my weights away last year. It's a good thing I didn't. I'm pretty sure I can't bench press either of the cats.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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