another start

With recent health concern a source of distraction I am trying to find a focus, and will try to jump into writing and see where it leads me. I have two blogs now, at WordPress and Gaia Community, and for the time being I’m going to cross-post, until I figure out what I’m doing.

I had to laugh when I read my horoscope this morning, something I rarely do:

You have a lot of fresh thoughts and, fortunately, many of them could make good sense. But your mind is running so fast now that you are on to the next inspiration before you’ve done anything about the previous one. Unfortunately, an important innovation might be forever lost if you don’t take the time to write it down as it’s unfolding. You cannot rely on your memory; carry around a notebook today and jot down your ideas when they happen.

Fresh thoughts have popped into consciousness all last night and this morning, mixed up with all the feelings of apprehension about tomorrow’s ultrasound. Fortunately I have scribbled down these stray thoughts on a pad of sticky notes that I had already thought to start carrying around with me. Not sure if there is an important innovation captured there…

Yesterday when I was showering and having a little trouble keeping the water temperature adjusted, I started remembering when I was quite little and desperately wanted to stop taking what I considered to be childish baths and learn how to take a shower like all the mature and sophisticated people in my little world. For whatever reason my father was assigned to the thankless task of dealing with my chronic dissatisfaction over the circumstances of my life. One part of the shower lesson was how to adjust the temperature and what to do if it got too hot. Jump out of the shower – one did not need to stand there trying to keep adjusting it if the water was too hot to stand! “What should you do if it gets too hot?” The question was repeated often to make sure I had the point down. It was very important to him that I remembered this. I’ve never forgotten…

Dot connecting… The tragic story of my aunt, Olga, my dad’s older sister who met her death by scalding when she pulled a pot of boiling water off the stove, probably shortly before my dad was born and when she was about two years old. My aunt Lil was about seven years old then, and we have her heartbreaking account of the terrible event. In an instant everything changes. Something tells me now that the story of Olga was in the back of Dad’s mind when he was teaching his own little squirt about very hot water.

Never made the connection before yesterday. The thing I like the most about genealogy and family history is discovering why my ancestors behaved the way they did and what motivated their choices. There are a few more notes on my little pad, but this seems long enough for now.

never a dull moment

Late afternoon yesterday my son, the one recently diagnosed with diabetes, was hospitalized with chest pains. The doctors have ordered a stress test for today. Scary stuff. He’s “only” 34. Practicing my deep breathing…

A few years ago his wife was in the same cardiac care unit with a mysterious heart problem that turned out to be Lyme carditis. She had no symptoms of Lyme disease until it attacked her heart. She’s all right now, but as a result of the experience they did abandon their “healthy” hobby of Letterboxing in the woods. It didn’t turn out to be so healthy for her!

I hope this blog doesn’t evolve into and endless saga of illness stories!

changing

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

~ Stevie Nicks
♫ (Landslide) ♫

I have put on thirty pounds since my husband survived a major heart attack and triple by-pass surgery two and a half years ago. A symptom… of what? Stress? Middle-age? Less than a month after the heart attack, my already frail and declining father fell and broke his pelvis, femur and a few ribs. He has since been confined to a wheelchair. Neither one of them wants to exercise… We won’t even go into the healthy eating question… A couple of weeks after that my son was hospitalized with an antibiotic-resistant infection, and in the course of treating that it was discovered that he has diabetes. No family history of diabetes. And eight months after the heart attack I had a highly suspicious (false positive) mammogram followed by the ordeal of a stereotactic biopsy and waiting days for the, in the end, negative result…

Last summer we went to a big family reunion at Shenandoah National Park where I made friends with my “stepsisters-in-law” as we spent four days hiking in the woods together. It felt so good to be active and immersed in the natural world! It began to dawn on me just how sedentary my life had become, the exact opposite of the changes in lifestyle I had started hoping for after the cardiac wake-up call.

spring 2009 ~ Shenandoah National Park, Virginia ~ bear we met while hiking

Last week I was food shopping and a special interest magazine on heart-healthy living caught my eye. Thinking it might have some helpful recipes I bought it, but inside also found an article on strength building exercises. As I read the instructions and studied the pictures I thought to myself that the exercises were too simple and easy to offer any challenge and have any benefit. Well…

This morning: “Stand with feet just wider than shoulders, toes turned out slightly. Slowly bend torso to the right, bringing right arm toward ground and left arm toward sky. Hold for 1 count and return to start. Do the given reps (5-10), then switch sides.” As I lifted my left arm toward the sky for the first rep it ached, oh so miserably, from that simple stretch! (I shoveled snow yesterday and it didn’t bother my arms – hmm…) I stopped at 5 reps and switched sides, right arm ached, too, but not quite as much. There were six more exercises and they stretched all kinds of long neglected muscles. Some of the exercises call for weights, too. Looks like I now have myself a workout to add to my walks!

I love to walk, especially in the woods. My friend Kathy, whose blog inspired me to begin this blog, wrote a lovely blog post, Why I won’t (usually) go cross-country skiing with you, which touches beautifully on the subject of meandering mystical nature walks vs. cross-country skiing (or for me, brisk hikes) in the woods. (I’d love to try snowshoeing one day.) I think both are needed for body-mind health.