Tag Archives: gym

Haikus: High School Redux

High School Redux

Wearing blue sweater,
Laughing, leaning against tree–
Forever fall day.

Sister’s purple room,
Entwined in discovery–
Lethargic at school.

Basketball warmup,
Entangled, breathless on mats–
The gym door slammed shut.

Christmas gift in hand,
Eggnog nutmeg forgetful–
We reignited.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/challenge-haiku/#more-48826

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The Uncooperative (and Partly English) Patient

The lowly has risen. This isn’t quite as marvelous and self-aggrandizing as it may sound. I just went from being a person with a lifetime of low, sometimes unusually low, blood pressure, to a person who was trying to calm down, so that I could go home instead of to the hospital. I guess 160/100 is no big deal…unless your normal blood pressure has been 110/60.

Was it the coffee I drank? Just those few sips? Normally a drinker of strong English or Indian tea, it was, if so, not caffeine but some other alkaloid contained in coffee.

Suggestions on what to avoid if you happen to have a sudden spike in blood pressure: self-righteous relatives who choose that moment–when you just want to avoid the dreaded hospital, to go home, and to get something to eat–to tell you how “lucky” you are. I am perfectly aware that I am fortunate not to be in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, or war-ravaged Syria, or drought-and-strife ravaged nations in Africa. And while I am not making the ultimate sacrifice of going there as a foreign aid worker–with no special medical training, I would merely be in the way–I am one of those people who broods over the terrors, natural and man made, that befall people whom I have never met. Hunger is perhaps the curse I brood over most because it is almost one hundred percent preventable. And I am almost always hungry, despite not suffering want.

Not that I am unusually generous, but I give as I feel able, and as thoughtfully as I am able, pouring over Charity Navigator, and over articles on how to help the most people with whatever (small amounts) I have to share. MSF, Oxfam, an UNICEF are usually the international aid agencies I choose for crises. There are also organizations such as FINCA, that provide small business loans, usually to women in third world countries. (Is “third world” not an outdated expression? Non-industrialized nations might be better, but even wealthy industrial nations like Japan suffer tragedy and require aid, as we saw two years ago.) I do not neglect local needs, the people who are my neighbors, either. But I could most certainly do more–much more. As I have written before, the word “charity,” except in its biblical meaning of “love” rankles. Who am I to have money and time that I choose or don’t choose to share with someone else? Lucky, that’s who. Not to mention a bit selfish.

Wherever I go out, I make my best effort to smile to someone who may be having a worse day than I am, even though I naturally tend to be on the morose side myself. Or even to smile at someone who looks like he or she is having a marvelous time. We can all be masterful at deception when we are in public. Yes, this is terribly trite, yet I hold fast to the truism that a smile can “brighten someone’s day.” My smile is probably my best feature–isn’t it everybody’s?–and it is a daily miracle to watch someone become happier simply because I have made eye contact, and smiled at them, without regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, and all those other statuses. Sure am lucky. If I didn’t have teeth, for instance, I doubt I’d be smiling, and able to make even that small contribution.

My other suggestion: Don’t answer the phone. If it is urgent the caller will keep trying. One doctor’s office called the other, and while I was sitting there, head and chest pounding, sweating, being quite amazed that I had been able to negotiate the heavy Friday afternoon traffic while feeling distinctly light-headed, another doctor’s office called. What was I thinking? I normally do not answer the telephone. The telephone is my least favorite mode of communication. That’s what voice mail is for. I think my mother is starting to understand that you don’t leave a message except in urgent cases: You call, hang up, and the person you have called will call you back if he or she is able and so inclined. I was in no mood to be told to make an inconvenient drive next week to have my blood pressure checked. Every pharmacy has a cuff, and I know to check both arms, and so on. So…I was not impolite, but I was very definite in informing the receptionist that I would not be coming in for a blood pressure check because doing so would raise my blood pressure. Being even mildly terse with the receptionist, and probably labeled an “uncooperative” patient, made me even more stressed.

My blood pressure was perfectly normal at the gym yesterday, at the gym this morning. I like going to the gym: the people are friendly, and if I can’t be playing a real sport, I at least want a good daily sweat. Once I arrived at the doctor’s office, I suddenly felt strange. So I am not going to repeat that exercise unnecessarily. Yes, if I check my blood pressure at one or more pharmacies and it remains high, I will go to my GP, but until then….

It’s Friday evening. Happily, though caffeine was forbidden, beer was not.

I’m really very annoyed at myself for missing the GSW (Golden State Warriors) buzzer-beating game last night. (The GSW are an NBA basketball team based in Oakland, California.) Maybe I can find a replay on ESPN2. This is probably a good day to abandon my usual schedule.

Can You Come Out and Play?

Denver Harvard Gulch Outdoor Pool (Wiki commons)

Denver Harvard Gulch Outdoor Pool (Wiki commons)

No, my friends don’t put it exactly that way these days. “Let’s hang out” is also passé. The brilliant weather calls to me wordlessly. The birds call, the sun shines, hoodies and jackets are shed. Friends call, and I dutifully stick to my work schedule. Usually, that is. Right now I am as bad as a high school student with “senioritis” when invited to come out and play.

On an typical day a friend may ask whether I am going to the gym, the pool, taking a walk, want to have a cup of tea, or a drink in the garden. There are even a few with whom I work collaboratively. I also receive invitations to concerts, to parties, to celebrations & ceremonies as well. But neither obligations nor preplanned events are daily temptations.

Everyone who works from home is subject to many of the same temptations, interruptions, joys, and frustrations. Kids who normally have no interest in mom suddenly have important information to convey. If I snap that I’m in the middle of something, I’m beset by guilt moments later. If I drop work and engage, likewise. The kitchen table office just isn’t working that well, but that’s where I work most of the time.

Friends are more understanding when the reply is “busy working.” It was always more tempting to hang out with friends than with parents as a kid. Some things don’t change. The family reconvenes at dinner and night time, but as an adult, it is more difficult to find friend time.

The temptation to spend time with a friend who also leads a semi-solitary creative life writing, composing music, creating art, as a university professor, or running a business from home is always there. Yet we almost always resist. We all work, or at least attempt to work, more than do those who “go” to work. We simply never finish because we have allowed ourselves the dubious luxury of doing the dishes or laundry, or the definite luxury of reading or listening to music for pleasure and because we have the kind of work that is never done. Like parenting.

The lettuce is wilting again though I watered it twice yesterday. It is so hot and sunny that I must hang out the laundry to bake rather than using the dryer. Be right back!

Two friends texted me about swimming in our community pool yesterday. Lap-swimming is hardly the most social occupation, but playing chicken is strictly forbidden at our public pool, so we have a hasty exchange or wave before or after we swim laps. Maybe this is my summer of learning more than a back dive! At 6:15 yesterday, I missed one friend who came & left a little earlier. The other–a swimmer, as opposed to someone who can swim–was swimming when I arrived and still swimming when I climbed out. We did catch up on a few things while rinsing off in the locker room.

Today our glorious Olympic-sized pool and diving well both open for the first weekend of summer. Not only will I bring goggles, cap, and lap suit, but a beach towel, sunglasses, snack, phone, earbuds, & a book. But what I really plan to do is unabashedly hang out and play. The time has come to rouse my inner child. I hope my friends can come out and play, too! Still undecided about working on those bikini lines :/)