Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Leverage in Yoga

I’ve done spine twists, sitting sideways on a chair, using the back of the chair for leverage to increase the twist for over 30 years.  For over 30 years, I’ve enjoyed the warmth along my spine after a good twist.  Until my last yoga class.


We sat in our chairs.  We twisted.  Then it was time to put the chairs away and do floor work.  I couldn’t lift the chair. I couldn’t even stand straight.  I spent the rest of the class time, doing every relaxation (there really is no such thing as stretching – muscles don’t stretch, but they do elongate when relaxed) I could remember, trying to straighten my spine.


The teacher offered to call the fire department to carry me downstairs.  I was afraid that being lifted would hurt worse than anything I could do to myself. So, I continued to try relaxing my muscles in different positions.


Eventually, I was able to stand, and walk slowly, leaning to one side.  Two hands on the banister, and I got down the stairs, thinking NOT AGAIN.  This has be the worst year yet for accidents.


When I got home, I looked up yoga twists, hoping to find healing instructions.  Instead, I found this on Yoga Journal.   


A couple of tips for any twisting pose:


Elongate your spine by lengthening your torso as much as possible before coming into a twist. Think of reaching the crown of your head to the sky. Depending upon the twist, you may be able to press your hand into the ground to help with this action. A slumped over position limits your rotation.


Initiate the twist from the abdominal muscles rather than forcing a twist by using leverage. This will ensure you reach your edge safely.


Leverage is supposed to be useful in all areas of life.  But NOT in Yoga. NOW they tell me!  Okay, maybe yoga teachers have mentioned this throughout the years and maybe I didn’t hear it because I was having too much fun.  But, now I know, and I will protect myself in the future.


And on YouTube, I found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wYM64_1heo which teaches two good exercises to do for injured discs. And I found instructions for how to use ice.  I didn’t know that ice works best if you leave it on for 15 minutes or until the area is numb.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Small Exercise is Wonderful

I’ve been taking Feldenkrais classes at my gym for about a year now. The teacher is always telling us, you don’t have to make the biggest motion you can. You can make it small. You can even imagine yourself doing it.


I thought this was for the less fit students, so they would at least try.  It never occurred to me, that these minimizations could help me.  I’m strong. I’m able to relax my muscles. I’m working on becoming more fit. Why go small?


This morning, I woke up with an ouchy low back ache.  I decided to try meditating with body relaxation. Translation – meditate lying on my back.  Breathe into parts of my body, starting with my toes, then the bottoms of my feet, then the tops of my feet, then my ankles, working all the way up to the top of my head.  I did this for about an hour.  I still hurt.


My husband woke, and he wanted to meditate lying in our bed.  I did not want to get out of bed. My low back still hurt, and it was only 5 AM.  I wanted to exercises my low back, but not disturb my husband’s meditation.


I decided to try very small motions with my low back, side to side, tilt and reverse. I decided to try making them smaller and smaller. The pain increased each time I tilted to the left.  I decided to play with that. Smaller and smaller.  


Suddenly, something went *pop* – just a very small adjustment. The pain level went way down. I continued doing small repeated movements, the kind that bore me in Feldenkrais class.  But this time I was curious – what was moving more easily? Where was I still stuck?  


I didn’t find anything, but when my husband finished meditating, I was able to get up with very little pain and by the time I’d gone for a walk, I was almost comfortable.  Small is powerful!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Men Think They Know Everything

Men think they know everything.


Boys, too.


I read once that a man will think he’s qualified for a job if he has 40% of the required skills.  A woman will think she’s not qualified if she has 90% of the required skills.


I wondered how young this discrepancy started.  Certainly the few boys who still talked to me in junior high and high school didn’t have that attitude.


But that’s the key – most men were boys who wouldn’t talk to me.


A next door neighbor boy had a major case of braggadocio when I was in elementary school. He had blue eyes and he insisted loudly that I was an inferior being because I have brown eyes. Only people like him were worthwhile.  He was better at aiming a snowball than I was, and that was proof. 


Somebody gave him litmus paper.  That’s the pale pink paper that turns pale purple when you touch it to a bar of wet soap or wet baking soda.  And it turns pink again if you pour vinegar on it.  He insisted it was dangerous.  He, the brave superior being, went into a room all by himself and made the paper change color.  I was so disgusted with him that I figured he had some purple paper in that little room and he had just walked in with the pink paper and walked out with the purple one.


I didn’t think of this neighbor boy as a typical boy. I thought of him as an irritating brat.


Then I had a conversation with my 6-year-old grandson.  I’d brought my jump rope to give to him and his sister.  My grandson greeted me, “I know all about jump rope.”


This sounded odd.  I’ve been jumping rope for years, I’ve witnessed jump rope competitions. I can do a few tricks (okay – not with my new hip) – correction, I could do a few tricks when I had my original equipment.  Anyway, I would not say that I know all about jump rope.  And here was a 6-year-old boy claiming that he knows all about jump rope.


I handed him the rope and asked him to show me what he could do.


He didn’t know how to spin it.  He moved his arms from the shoulders, instead of using his wrists and forearms. He couldn’t jump the rope even once.  

He gave his sister a turn. She quietly took the rope, spun it and jumped successfully.  No bragging. No talking.  Just jumping. 


I asked my husband, the alien, what would have happened to him as a child if he’d bragged about something he couldn’t do. He said the other kids would have teased him mercilessly, the coach would have lectured him. His father would have insisted that he speak modestly, rather than brag. But then, my husband is the sort of male who is willing to talk to me.


Something else is going on in our culture. Somehow – very young – boys are getting the idea that they know more than they do, and are more competent than they really are.  While girls are learning to do things, boys are learning to brag.


Now if girls can learn that boys are just bragging, maybe true communication can start.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learning About Time

One of my grand twins lost her shoe in a pile of leaves.  The shoe hunt, accompanied by much arguing and complaining lasted about two minutes.


“That took at least an hour,” said one of the twins. 


“Do you have a watch?” I asked.


“I don’t want people to ask me what time it is,” she replied.


At this point I almost changed the subject from the value of estimating time to the value of helping others.  But my grand twins are experts at changing the subject, so I didn’t play along. 


Her mother cut in, “She has one. She just doesn’t wear it.”


“If you wear it, and look at it frequently, you’ll get a feel for time,” I said.  “Time does have a feel.”


“Time goes slower when you’re bored,” said my grand daughter.


“It may feel like it,” I said. “But it’s useful to have a feel for how much time is really passing.”


“It felt like more than an hour.”


“Do you think it was really more than an hour?”


“You just don’t get it!” insisted my 10-year-old grand daughter.


Where have I heard that before?  From my children. From my own mouth.  But never about time.


I used that line when I felt I was being treated like a younger child than I really was.  In this situation, I was treating my grand daughter as if she was more mature than she wants to be.  I wanted the responsibilities and freedoms of maturity from an early age.  I don’t know what she wants.


Having a sense of how much time is really required for a job, how much time is really passing when we’re bored and when we’re enjoying is one of the key tricks to getting work accomplished.  This is the gift I’d like to give my grand children – the ability to accomplish their projects.


I surfed the web and found this website:


http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Teaching_Kids_Time/




The authors have several well-thought-out activities for helping children learn to estimate time passing and time anticipated.


Make a list of favorite activities and then place them in the appropriate category: one second, one minute, or one hour.


Compare lengths of time to driving distances: "We will stay at the party for one hour. That’s about as long as it takes us to drive to the zoo."




Make a chart with daily schedules: "At 12:00 we will have lunch.  At 3:00 we’ll leave for baseball practice."




Challenge your child to pick up his room within a certain amount of time. Get him thinking about time by asking him how many minutes he needs to get the blocks on the shelf.  "Could you fold all the shirts and put them in the drawer in ten seconds?"




Make paper chains to count down the days until an upcoming vacation or holiday.  Try to remove the link at the same time each day to illustrate the notion of a 24 hour day.




This is one of the problems with long-distance grandparenting.  Somebody told my daughter about this blog.  It is anonymous for several reasons. One of them was to be able to rant about my family without getting my family angry.  My daughter may read this.  I don’t know if she’ll try these suggestions because they look useful or if she’ll ignore them because I suggested them.


I know my daughter is good at organizing her time.  I’d like to think she learned it from her dad and me.  We both accomplish a great deal with our time.  People frequently ask us how we get so much done, manage to show up at agreed times, and finish our projects ahead of schedule. 


I think having a feel for how much time various activities take is key to effective use of time.  Neither of us can multi-task (unless you count running the washing machine, while writing my blog.)


I hate feeling like the stereotypical senior – worrying that today’s young people aren’t living up to my standards.  I live on the opposite coast from my grand twins.  I have no say in how they are raised.  I may as well worry about life on Mars. It is not a good use of my time to worry about them. But that’s what my blog is for – a place to rant and get it out of my system.


Exercises in telling time for grandparents:


Make a list of favorite activities and schedule them into the week.  Mean it – really make time for them, and really do them.
Compare lengths of time for various activities – shopping on the web, vs going to the mall.  Do I want to get out of the house, or do I want a specific item?


Make a chart of the day’s activities, and how long they will take.  Make sure to include time to exercise and to read, or do something I enjoy.


Challenge myself to get a chore I dislike done quickly.


Include doing something new in my schedule – trying a new recipe, a new exercise, visiting a new local exhibit.  Doing something different is a proven way to help keep track of time.  


And cut time-wasters out of my life – time wasters like worrying. If I can do something, great. If I can’t then worrying accomplishes nothing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teaching Science to the Unbelievers

I was sitting here thinking about how to write about my cousin who thinks infrared light is as unlikely as levitation, when my friend Miriam sent me this link:


http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney


I teach science and as part of my ongoing propaganda to lure my grandchildren to the science side of the political debates in this country, I prepare simple scientific demonstrations for each of my visits.  For Thanksgiving, we had two nights of celebration, so I prepared two demonstrations.  


The first night, we made icosahedrons (20-sided rounded shapes) using 20 construction paper circles and glue sticks.  My cousin wasn’t there that night or perhaps he’d have thrown the paper circles in the air and insisted that there is no point in making spheres because the world is flat.


But he was there the second night, when I demonstrated that he human body makes infrared heat.


The Mother Jones article says, “we have other important goals besides accuracy—including identity affirmation and protecting one's sense of self—and often those make us highly resistant to changing our beliefs when the facts say we should.”


I’m not sure what sense of self my cousin has about infrared heat.  I once tried to teach a young woman that when she got into the bathtub, her body took up space and makes the water rise, just like when she puts dishes in the sink to wash them. She insisted that the water does not rise when she gets in the tub.  She was a slender young woman, but nobody is that skinny.  My cousin’s handshake is cool, but it’s not room temperature.


This youtube video shows how useful infrared light can be and detected as heat: 


http://youtu.be/2--0q0XlQJ0


My demonstration asked my grandchildren (and anyone else who wanted to participate) to shake their hands until they feel puffy. When they put their warmed hands about ½ an inch apart, each hand can feel the heat of the other hand, without touching.  


My cousin refused to participate and insisted we were all imagining things.   I asked him to put out one of his hands and put my hands about ½ an inch away from his on both sides.  He insisted he couldn’t feel anything and then pretended I was levitating him and stood up.


Then he told my grandchildren that they go to a science emphasis school and they shouldn’t believe anything I tell them.


The Mother Jones article quotes Leon Festinger, "A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point."  


No wonder we have debates about vaccines and global warming whether the Earth is a sphere.


Most of the issues of scientific debate don’t affect our daily lives.  No decisions I make would vary if the Earth were flat, or if life as we know it is a result evolution or creationism.  But the mindset of experiment and discovery has inherent value.  I’d like to pass that on to my grandchildren. The question is – how do I interest my cousin, and in parallel, the adult population?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Random Acts of Literacy

Another short blog this week.  I follow Jane Yolen on Facebook. She introduced me to http://randomactsofliteracy.weebly.com/


this site suggests that people give books to strangers that they meet in public places.


Usually I resell mine or trade them for credit at my local used book store.  This idea makes sense. People usually talk to me as we wait for buses, ride on buses, wait in line at the grocery store.  I usually have my backpack or bike saddle bag with me.  It's only a few ounces extra to carry.  If the person seems like they might like what I've just finished, giving it to them is a great idea that I can afford.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vitamin C Raises HDL Cholesterol



My husband, the alien, has always had low HDL in his blood.  His doctors have told him to exercise more.  He rides his bicycle to work, he goes to the gym with me every morning, he helps in the garden. In the summer, he swims after work. It would be hard to find a man who does more exercise.


His doctor tells him to eat more fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains.  I haven’t served white flour or white rice for over 40 years. We have fresh fruits and veggies (both cooked and raw) at every meal.  


I thought – maybe aliens just have low HDL.  But both his parents died in their 60's, and I have plans for him in his 90's and possibly beyond.


He thinks I’m nuts that I subscribe to health-nut newsletters. They have me doing stretching exercises on airplanes and in movie theaters. They have me eating nasturtiums and marigolds. They convinced me to switch from ubiquinone (co-q10) to ubiquinol.  They introduced me to interval training during exercise. And they convinced me to pay attention to Linus Pauling’s work with Vitamin C.


We started taking time release Vitamin C about a month ago.  My husband’s latest HDL test shows him in the normal range for the first time in his life.  He wondered aloud what he’d been doing differently.  The only thing I could think of was the Vitamin C.


He’d heard of Vitamin C to prevent colds, heal bruises, and reduce the chance of heart disease.  But he’d never heard of it raising HDL.  You’d think if it was that easy, his doctors would have suggested it to him.


So, I surfed the web, and found The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
It published an article:
High plasma vitamin C associated with high plasma HDL- and HDL2 cholesterol
http://www.ajcn.org/content/60/1/100.abstract


Further research uncovered more links to USDA and PubMed.  This is not an unusual alien response. It’s well documented.  Since high HDL is associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, such an inexpensive, low-time-consuming answer deserves more publicity.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Voting for a Republican

I just voted for a Republican.  I don’t usually do that without a lot of research, without being disappointed in the Democratic candidate.  But this time, I did it on impulse.


The day before the election, I received many robo-calls.  Technically, according to the law, these recordings are not supposed to start unless I answer with at least two words.  I answer with one word.  Most of them start up anyway.  A few tie up my line with silence.  


One of these was a recording telling me Not to cast my vote for this Republican.  That I’d be wasting my vote and besides this man was dangerous.  He had endangered the lives of some undercover police officers by shooting his gun into the air.


My instinct was a – vote for this guy – he’s got somebody rich frightened.


How is anybody supposed to recognize an undercover police officer?  They’re in disguise – probably dressed like drug pushers or prostitutes.  And, while I don’t think it’s cool to shoot a gun into the air to frighten drug pushers and / or prostitutes (especially not prostitutes), I don’t think it endangers anybody.


I did some web surfing about this candidate.  If he wins, he’ll be the first Asian-American ever elected to the city council.  He’s a war hero (maybe that’s where the gun stuff comes from.)  He seems like a decent guy.  


I’ve seen signs supporting him in Chinatown.  I’ve also seen signs asking City Council to remove bike lanes from Chinatown.  I ride a bike. I WANT bike lanes everywhere.  I hope this candidate won’t vote to get rid of my bike lanes.


Online I found another interesting tidbit.  A City Council member whose office has regularly failed to return my calls is a likely candidate for President of the City Council.  He’s a Democrat.  If this Republican candidate wins, he’ll probably vote for somebody else – anybody else.  That could be good for the city.


I wasn’t going to vote for a Republican for City Council this year.  But thanks to that nasty recording, I voted for him, and so did my husband, the alien.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life Before Death

Just a short blog today.  I came across this website: http://lifebeforedeath.com


We're all going to die.  We do not need to die in pain.  But many of us will.  Advocate now so we'll have options when our time comes.

Life Before Death

Just a short blog today.  I came across this website: http://lifebeforedeath.com

We're all going to die.  We do not need to die in pain.  But many of us will.  Advocate now so we'll have options when our time comes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lock the Doors, Turn Out the Lights

Tonight is Halloween.  When I was the age to trick or treat, I knew the neighbors whose homes I would visit.  We talked for weeks about what costume I would wear, what tricks I would do, and what sorts of treats I would like.  One year, an elderly man on my block promised me he would stand in his hands. I had mastered standing on my head, but standing on my hands seemed much harder. When I got to his door, I reminded him of his promise.  He bent over, put his hands on the floor and then put his feet on top of his hands.  “That’s cheating!” I said, indignantly.  He laughed.


When I was finally old enough to be visited by trick-or-treaters, I spent the day making popcorn balls, which had been one of my favorite treats when I went door-to-door.  My neighborhood children refused the treats.  They said they weren’t allowed to have home-made food. Only store-bought wrapped candies.  I asked if I could talk to their parents.  It seemed to me that if they trusted me to feed their children at all, they should trust me to make popcorn balls without razor blades or rat poison.  But their parents weren’t with them.  They left, eager to get to a house with candy in wrappers.


The next year, I bought wrapped candy.  That year, children I didn’t know came to my door.  They complained that I’d bought little candy bars. They wanted regular sized candy.


I like my neighborhood children. I like seeing them in costume having a good time. I like making popcorn balls.  I do not like a bunch of begging children I don’t know demanding commercial products.


I now celebrate Halloween by locking my doors, turning off my lights and going to bed early.  I’ll see my neighbhood children at a block party where they aren’t afraid to eat my home made goodies.   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Am I "The Man?"

In the middle of a discussion of Occupy Wallstreet on Facebook, I found myself defending my generation. One opponent insisted that those of us in our 60's or “from the 60's”  - odd how that’s mostly the same group – have become “the man.”  This woman stated that we’re not green enough to claim any credibility.


I found myself listing my “green creds” and when I looked them over – they’re not just “green creds” they’re also the marks of being an eccentric geezer.  I have a dryer.  But I prefer to hang my clothes on the line.  The neighborhood store sells whole wheat bread, but I prefer to make my own from scratch. I’d rather mend my clothes than go shopping for new ones.  I like hardcover books which I often buy used. I compost my kitchen leftovers.  I ride my bike or take the bus, when I could easily check out a car from the local car co-op. I grow my own herbs and veggies. I use herb medicine in preference to prescription drugs.  I’m definitely someone from the previous century.


But here I am on Facebook, using complex computer skills.  I’m not retired. I belong to a gym, which I visit almost daily. But the young folks have written me off as “the man.”


It’s an extreme case of “Don’t trust anybody over 30.”  I admit – my generation started it.  But at the same time, we did respect our elders if they took the time to explain things to us from their point of view instead of just bossing us around as if we were automatically going to copy them. 


I remember seriously considering trying LSD.  The older woman I talked to said she understood why I might want to have a spiritual experience “the easy way” or see something trippy, or enter an altered state of mind.  But, she said, she knew smart students who had bad trips. She asked me if my curiosity was worth risking a bad trip.  No lecture. No orders.  I decided not to take LSD. Not even to try marijuana or cigarettes.  I didn’t need “the easy way.”  


I have had spiritual experiences because I meditate. I have had artistic experiences – again because I meditate.  And I have learned to respect opinions from anybody who will discuss them without claiming to have the absolute truth on his or her side.


When I was in my teens and 20's “the man” thought he had all the answers and I thought his answers made no sense.  Now, I’m being called “the man.”  Something in me says “don’t deny it.”  If I have become “the man” my denying it won’t change anything. And if I have not, my denying it won’t convince anybody.  


I’d like to think I’m something new – “the woman.”  I have yet to define what that is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jumping Rope and My New Hip

Jumping Rope was one of my favorite activities in elementary school.  I did the research. It’s low-impact. Not much different from jumping on a trampoline which I do all the time.  So, I bought one of those new-fangled plastic jump ropes that is much easier to spin than the old rope and wooden handle model I grew up with.


The first thing I noticed is that I’d forgotten how to jump rope.  I didn’t know the body could forget such things.  It never forgets how to swim, or spin a hula hoop or ride a bike.  So, I watched YouTube videos on how to jump rope.   Ah – yes – let it slap the ground, then jump.  Slap, jump, slap, jump, slap, jump...


The barometer was down. Pain shot down my thigh and up my butt. And throbbed deep inside where my leg meets my pelvis.


I hurt when I rolled over in bed. I hurt going up and down stairs. I hurt just going for a nice walk.


A few days later the barometer was up, and I felt better.  I jumped some more.  It rained some more.  And I hurt some more. I blamed myself for overdoing it in gym class.  We’d been doing step work. 


But the pain kept getting worse.  I emailed my surgeon.  He wrote back that it looked like back problems to him.  I looked up the symptoms on the web.  Not a good idea.  From that, I’d have concluded I had sciatica.  But sciatica is supposed to have a slow onset and not be affected by the barometer.


I went to my chiropractor.  He asked what I’d been doing. I told him about my new jump rope.  How much fun it was.  He suggested I stop – I have plenty of other exercises I also enjoy.


My leg is feeling better.  My jump rope is going to a new home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Balls are for Sale

I saw a quote recently that read, “People keep saying I should grow some balls.  Why? Testicles are delicate and easily hurt.  What they really need is to grow a vagina.  Vaginas are built to take a pounding.”


Since menopause, I’ve developed a sneeze and leak problem.  Yes, I’ve bought panty liners.  But there has to be an exercise to fix this problem.  I tried kegels. I got really good at squeezing that plastic vaginal insert.  But along comes a sneeze and I still leak.


Off to the web.  Where I learned that ben wa balls, which I’d heard of as a sex toy that didn’t look like much fun, are supposed to strengthen the necessary muscles to prevent sneeze-and-leak.  The idea is to put these things in my vagina, and get strong enough to keep them in while hurrying up and down stairs 4 times.  Beginners just have to stand still with their feet hip-width apart.  And even experienced users are advised to keep underpants on at all times.


So, I ordered a pair.  They come in a fancy velvet-covered jewelry box with a piece of foam rubber inside which has little holes cut out of it to hold the little metal balls.  This item costs $15 plus shipping.  And it’s just a pair of 3/4" spherical stainless steel ball bearings.


For about $18, Amazon sells 10 of them. Stainless Steel 440C Ball, Grade 100, 3/4" Diameter (Pack of 10)


Okay, I can’t use 10 of them, but I could give them to friends and female family members.


So far, I’ve managed to stand still and keep them in.  I even made it walking at a somewhat-slow speed down and up my stairs once.  I tried for twice, but one of the balls fell out.  Supposedly anybody can master this in 6 weeks.  5 weeks and 6 days to go.  This is an experiment.  Balls for women are tough.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Peer Gynt and Cats and Mice

My co-author and I have some overlapping cultural experiences and some that seem completely detached from each other’s worlds.  I love Peer Gynt. The play, the music, the imagination and even the debate about whether the story “really happened” or was all in Peer’s head after he got knocked unconscious by that rock.

My co-author has no idea what the play is about and claimed to me that she had never heard the music.

So, I sent her the links to two of my favorite pieces:

 Hall of the Mountain King?  I think you'll recognize this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRpzxKsSEZg




Here's Anitra's Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lZ3LE7tHg



My co-author gleefully told me, “That’s cartoon music. It’s what they play when the mice sneak up on the cat.”

Cartoons as the vehicle for great music.  Who’d a thunk it?

Peer Gynt and Cats and Mice

My co-author and I have some overlapping cultural experiences and some that seem completely detached from each other’s worlds.  I love Peer Gynt. The play, the music, the imagination and even the debate about whether the story “really happened” or was all in Peer’s head after he got knocked unconscious by that rock.

My co-author has no idea what the play is about and claimed to me that she had never heard the music.

So, I sent her the links to two of my favorite pieces:

 Hall of the Mountain King?  I think you'll recognize this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRpzxKsSEZg

">Hall of the Mountain King


Here's Anitra's Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lZ3LE7tHg

">Anitra's Dance

My co-author gleefully told me, “That’s cartoon music. It’s what they play when the mice sneak up on the cat.”

Cartoons as the vehicle for great music.  Who’d a thunk it?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Stress Test

First – the good news. I got to wear my own shirt for the stress test.  The woman who attached the stickers tried to talk me out of it. “You’ll get sweaty.  You’ll get gel on it.” I rode my bike to the stress test center, so I was already sweaty.  Sticker Lady scrubbed me down with what felt like sand paper to get it all off before pasting on the stickers with the little metal buttons.  Then she had me lean onto her to smash them on firmly.  I told her I was glad to have a female doing this. She told me they make sure of that.


Note: this is a place where they have men help arrange your breasts in the mammogram machine. And as soon as I was stickered up, a man came in to do the sonogram, and another man came in as the doctor to warn me that exercise has its dangers.


Sonogram Man slimed me up and got pre-exercise echos. He kept asking me to hold my breath in or out while he took them.  I do yoga. It’s not hard to hold my breath. He told me that as soon as I got off the treadmill I was to get back on the table in the same lying-on-my-left-side position so he could get a post exercise echos.


Then they had me get on a treadmill. I did not know how to use the thing.  I tried walking on it, and the thing moved so quickly that my steps were short.  After about 6 minutes of this, Sticker Lady, who was now watching the heart chart as it printed, told me to let my leg move with the walking belt. This would give me a longer stride and feel more comfortable.  


Every three minutes the machine got faster.  After about 1 minute on level 3, my leg with the new hip started to feel sore, and I felt tired, so I asked them to stop the test.  Sticker Lady seemed surprised, but I insisted.  She’d said I could stop it any time after my heart rate got to 133, and it was over that.  They made a note that I wasn’t short of breath.  Apparently most people let the test go to that point. They wrote down that my reason for quitting was fatigue.  I guess they can’t just write tired.


I got on the table. Sonogram Man rushed over, like it was an emergency. This time it was hard to hold my breath. After exercise I breathe more deeply than before.


It turns out I’m a freak of nature.  My heart pumps the same amount before and after exercise. The doc had never seen this before.  Apparently everybody else on the planet pumps more after exercise.


No wonder I always was the kid nobody wanted on their teams.  No wonder I always felt like any physical activity was harder for me that all the other kids.  No wonder I had to practice for hours every day just to get a C in Physical Education.  And no wonder I continue to exercise daily – it’s a lifelong habit.  And no wonder, I’m suddenly one of the most fit people my age.  Gym was never work for everybody else, so they didn’t have to exercise in order to do it.  They didn’t develop the habit.  Finally an explanation! It really was easier for everybody else.


Of course the doctor didn’t see it my way. He wants to run more tests.  Hey – I got METs 8 quitting when I did. That’s Metabolic Equivalent Tasks. It means I was doing 8 times as much work as the average person does sitting still.  According to the table I found at 
http://doctoriliff.com/pdf/METs_and_Me.pdf   8.1 is the beginning of the highest fitness level for women over 60.  METs 6 is average.


 I’m fit.  And I don’t care if I’m a freak.  No more tests.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interval Training and Ranting

Time for another rant.


Some of the elliptical trainers at the gym face a television. The sound is off, so I usually ignore it. But, I’ve been doing Interval Training.  


http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/interval-training/SM00110


This means I work out in a cycle of normal speed for 2 minutes, speed up for 30 seconds, and resume normal for 2 minutes.  During the cool-down phase, I found myself watching the television.  The words are presented as text on the screen.


The advertizer began by asking viewers if they had too many clothes for their closets.  I was hoping this was going to be an ad for a place to donate the clothing for charity, or to be recycled into paper.  I used to be able to buy paper made from old blue jeans, but that seems to have disappeared.


NO it wasn’t something sensible like that – this was an ad for plastic bags to squish your extra clothes into. Then you were supposed to put the bags into your suitcase.  So, how are you supposed to travel? Or is the suitcase already packed?  Does this mean you are squishing underwear into the bags?  Who has too much underwear?  Bottom line, if a person has too much of anything, the problem is NOT where to store it. The problem is where to donate it.


Interval exercise is supposed to get your heart rate up.  Not the thoughts during cool down.


Next time, I’m going to try to get an elliptical that isn’t facing a television.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ecology in the Doctor's Office

The EKG lady led me to the doctor’s examining room.  She asked me to take off my blouse and bra and put on a silly examining costume.  I told her that’s an eco-crime.  My blouse will do just fine.  I only need a minute to get my bra off and my blouse back on.  If I don’t fasten the buttons, my blouse opens down the front, just like the costume, but it doesn’t create unnecessary laundry.


The EKG lady went out of the room and checked.  My blouse would be okay. I didn’t have to wear the costume.  She’d honestly been worried that there was a rule that she couldn’t do EKGs on people without the costumes.  


We can look out for ways to save the environment in every situation.  One less costume for the wash, one more step for a clean planet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Be a Weather Witch

In order to control the weather, it helps if you do some experiments first.  All the statements below work for me – but until you do your own experiments, there is no reason for you to accept that any of this is possible.  Just try it.

1) You have power over the weather -- you can use your mind to redirect the wind, or even to decide what kind of weather you want for a specific time in the future.


2) Looking at the radar weather scan can help you decide what you want the winds to do, such as   redirect a cloud -- toward you if you want rain, away if you don't.  If you just need a few hours before you get home, you can slow or redirect the wind.  For this, you can just look up at the sky and decide that no rain will fall until you enter a safe place.


3) You can do long-term planning, which is what I did for the wedding. I decided what I wanted the weather to be like and send my thoughts up to the clouds for about a month ahead of time.


4) You can bring rain to parched areas.  It helps if you have other people working with you.


5) You can make the rain stop and start – for example, you can make it be dry while you wait for the bus, let it rain while you ride the bus, and then stop again when you get off the bus, only to start again once you are safely in your destination building.


This is not a matter of wishing.  It is a matter of real control.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Don't Believe

This is my 9/11 Rant.  When people talk about how a few suicidal maniacs crashing planes into buildings “brought us together” I have no idea what they’re talking about.  As I see it, this country has never been more divided.  The hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.  Our government went to war against Iraq and Afghanistan.  Why?  Nobody in the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Afghanistan directed the attacks.  Our government was angry, and like an angry child, they decided to hit somebody.  The division of Americans who approve and Americans who don’t approve has caused arguments as severe as those that led to the Civil War.


But it’s become more insane than that. It’s not just about wars any more.  I recently quit a discussion on Facebook because my opponents refused to abide by what I consider the two ground rules of debate: 1) no name-calling and 2) no making stuff up.  What’s the point of debating if the other side is going to lie and throw insults around instead of discussing verifiable facts?


And it got worse than that.  One opponent insisted that because I do not share her religion that I’m going to hell.  I asked her why she believes in hell when most translations of the Bible don’t use that word.  She didn’t answer.  So, I asked why she believes the Bible.  Again, no answer.  She says I’m too liberal for her to talk to and my head is in the sand and I’m going to hell.


So, we’re down to a fundamental question.  Why does anybody believe anything?  Our government wants us to believe there was a good reason to go to war against Iraq and Afghanistan. But they don’t give us reasons.  People who believe what they are told, put their lives on the line for our government. Those of us who want proof, feel fear on their behalf.  


My Facebook opponent wants me to believe in her religion.  Why?  Because she read it in a book? Because some religious leader told her to?  These are not proofs that I can accept.  I get it that she doesn’t want me to go to hell. I suppose that is kind of her. But she thinks I need to believe her religion in order to be saved from her imagined hell. And that she thinks her God needs her help to save me.  But in all religious books, the people who are active in the stories have had their own personal encounters with their deity.  They have reason for what they say and do.  My opponent has had no such experience.  What is her reason?


This is the core divide now; People like me who want reasons and facts and people who are capable of believing what they are told.  This seems to be an impassable divide.  Far more serious than about who can own slaves, or can a state secede from the union -- it's about us all becoming slaves to dogma, being forced to join a union that we never voted for.


I don’t expect the religious fanatics to win, to destroy our democracy far more thoroughly than the terrorists even planned. But our democracy will continue to suffer until we find a common ground on which to communicate. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Blonde Bombshell Walk

Yesterday in Feldenkrais class at the gym, we worked on hip movements.  We lay on our backs, knees bent, and used our leg muscles to lift our pelvises.  We played with moving our feet closer to, and further away from our buttocks. We moved our knees further apart, and closer together. We worked with picking up our spines, one vertebra at a time and putting them down again, like a string of pearls. The variations took over an hour and our teacher said he’d have more next week.  Then he asked us to get up and walk. To feel our hip joints and pelvises.


I was aware of many smaller muscles, what I call micro-movements, particularly in my left hip with all the gadgetry in there. I walked slowly to appreciate these new sensations.  The gym room has a mirror on one wall. I saw myself walk.  I looked like a blonde bombshell – okay without the blonde hair, slinky clothes, and bedroom eyes.  But I’d recognize that walk anywhere.




Do you suppose the blonde bombshells took Feldenkrais classes in gym?  Who knew that walking like that was healthy?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X46URbjqSaw&feature=related

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No Thanks for Weather Witching

Before my cousin’s wedding, all the talk was about the weather. My cousin (actually first cousin once removed, but she’s still a cousin) had planned an outdoor wedding and rain was forecast.  I told everybody not to worry – my husband, the alien, and I are weather witches.  The weather will be fine. I promised. I reassured.


It rained the morning of the day before the wedding, but when my husband and I got off the train in DC, the skies cleared.  Still assorted relatives continued to stew about the weather.  It will be fine, I said. No rain.


The wedding was held under clear skies. Not a drop dampened the chuppah.  Happy celebrants. This is a couple who love each other. The bride is the daughter of one of my cousin’s on my father’s side.


At the dinner afterwards, one of the relatives told me she had prayed for no rain, and her prayers had been answered.  Another relative got up and gave a speech thanking the bride’s deceased grandmother for intervening with the weather on her grand daughter’s wedding day.  Everybody seemed to have done something to clear the skies. Nobody thanked us.


Rain fell after my husband and I got on the train to leave town.


I offered to teach my friends in Texas how to make it rain - so far nobody is interested. Weather Witching is a learnable skill, like doing a sommersault, or making soup.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dante Speaks


Dante is the only dog who ever arrived at our house as a puppy.  I think we talked to him differently because he was a baby. Single words. Lots of repetition.


I was taking a grammar class when Dante moved in.  Our teacher talked about how we can understand what is meant from context and voice tone even when we do not understand the words.  Grammar means that there is a logic to the word choices.


For example, when my father read us the story of “The Three Little Pigs” he would always read the section in which the wolf dressed up in sheep’s skin to trick the pigs as “Ah Foo Lamb” cried the Big Bad Woof.  At the time I did not know he was supposed to read “I’ll fool them.”  But I understood that the wolf was being sneaky.


And sometimes words have no context at all.  For example, when a parrot learns to talk, the parrot learns whole sentences, such as “Polly wants a cracker,” or “Pretty boy.”  But the parrot will never say “Polly wants a pretty boy,” or “Pretty boy wants a cracker.”  Parrots don’t understand grammar.


Dante understood grammar and meaning.  When he fell off our bean bag chair, he said, “oooo” and he limped. He’d heard our girls cry when they fell, and he was imitating them. 


We took him to the vet who gave him a pain shot so he’d lie still for an x-ray. Dante loved that pain drug.  Long after he recovered from his sprain, he would suddenly say “oooo” and start limping.  


I was impressed by his cleverness, but I didn’t take him to the vet. 


Our goal was to house train him.  We took him for walks in the morning and evening.  And during the day, we would take him to the door open the door, say “out” and then accompany him into the yard.


The first time Dante tried saying “out” on his own, he went to the back door. He very loudly and distinctly said, “Ow.”  Thrilled, I hurried to the door and opened it. A light rain was falling.  I stepped into the yard.  Dante did not accompany me.  I thought maybe he hadn’t understood that “out” meant he was supposed to go out.  Maybe he thought it meant that I would go out.


A few minutes later, Dante stood by the front door and said, “Ow.”  I wondered if he was teasing me.  But I figured it was worth a 2nd try.  I opened the door.  The sky was sunny.  I looked out the back window.  Rain was still falling.  Our house must have been at the edge of the cloud.  I went out.  Dante accompanied me and did his business.


He did know what “out” meant.  But ever after that, if it was raining at one door, he always wanted to try the other one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurray for the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder


Sometimes being a computer repair person is like being a surgeon. I’m not referring to opening up the box and swapping out dead cards or upgrading RAM.  I’m referring to delivering bad news.  The worst news is – your computer isn’t worth fixing – it would be cheaper to buy a new one.  The second worse news is – your operating system seems damaged. Let’s save your data, wipe your drive and start over with a fresh installation of your operating system.


That’s where I was this morning.  I’d backed up the data. I’d put the Windows XP CD in the drive.  The screen asked for the 25 digit Windows Installation Key Code.  The sticker on the box didn’t have a 25 digit code.  There was no code in the box where my client kept her disks and manuals.  I called her vendor and left a message on their voice mail asking for a key code.  But I’m on the clock.  I can’t sit there waiting for a returned call.


So, I went out to surf the web – Missing XP key code


And to my wonder and amazement – up popped a website with a free downloadable program to recover lost keys.  http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/


Yay for the Magical Jellybean!  I installed that program, ran it, and there on the screen appeared the 25 digit key code for Windows XP.  I entered it, and was able to proceed with the installation.


I don’t make my clients pay me to sit there for an hour while Windows installs.  I’ll go back later and check on it, and install the drivers.  If there’s any chance of saving this puter, I’ll know soon. Meanwhile – thanks again to the Magical Jellybean!  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Choose a Pineapple




One of our stops in Costa Rica was a Pineapple Plantation.  On the way there, our guide asked how we selected pineapples at the grocery store.  Answers were varied.  Smell them. Pull on the leaves to see if they are loose. Feel for soft spots. Tap them and listen to the sound.  Look at the color – is it golden?  Check the size of the pattern on the sides.


When we arrived at the plantation, we learned a bunch of things I hadn’t known about pineapples. 


First of all – they do not continue to ripen after picking.  They are picked when they are ripe.  All that happens to them after picking is fermenting or rotting.  So, once you get the pineapple home, you should pop it into the refrigerator.  Leaving it out at room temperature will speed the rotting or fermenting process.  


The only purpose to smelling the pineapple is to discover if it is fermenting or rotting – not to find out if it is ripe.  None of the other tests are useful, unless you are looking for a table decoration.  Then the color and size of the pattern matter.


Second, pineapples are epiphytes – like orchids.   They take almost nothing from the soil, so a pineapple plantation can be used for years without depleting the soil.


Third, you can grow a new pineapple plant from the top of a pineapple.


Fourth, pineapple plants can be encouraged to set and bear fruit if you expose them to ethylene gas, which is made by mature pineapples, apples, bananas and other fruits.


Fifth, fresh squeezed pineapple juice is delicious – it hasn’t picked up any of that metalic taste I always associate with pineapple juice.


About 75% of pineapples in the USA come from Costa Rica.  It’s great to know that they are organically grown, since I’ve become addicted to them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Time I Saw You, You Were an Old Lady



I hadn’t seen my younger daughter in almost 5 months.  


5 months ago, I needed a cane. I had to force myself to walk a few blocks to the nearby park. I had to sit, rather than run after my grandchildren.  I couldn’t join a game of kickball. Every time I moved it felt as if a knife was stabbing me in the hip. 


But in my mind, I still wanted to run after my grand children, kick the ball, climb the slides and play as I had always done.  It never occurred to me that I was acting old.  I didn’t feel old.  I just had a worn-out hip.  A replaceable part.  And I had an appointment with the surgeon.  Why would anybody think I was old?


But my daughter greeted me, "Last time I saw you, you were an old lady."


When I was my daughter’s age, I imagined that somehow people’s thoughts changed as they aged – they no longer wanted to run and kick balls and climb things.  I was never old – in that sense.  But indeed, I did act like the old people I used to watch and wonder what on Earth they were thinking – that they chose to sit rather than play.


Now, I could play again.  My thoughts hadn’t changed.  My body did.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Barbed Wire

One of our jungle boat rides took us to the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Note the barbed wire on the Nicaragua side.  













Our boat took us one foot over the Nicaraguan border, just because we could without being caught. 




Our guide, Paul, told us a story.  The local newspaper was interviewing the farmer who had won Best Corn Crop prizes 10 years in a row.  The reporter asked, “What do you do with your best seeds?”  


The farmer answered, “I give them to my neighbors.”


The reporter asked, “Then why do you have the best crops?”


“I have good seeds.  And they cross-pollinate with my neighbors’ seeds.  That way we all get better crops.  And since my land is surrounded by healthy crops, my crops are the best.”


Likewise, Costa Rica welcomes illegal immigrants with free education and free health care.  Disease does not know borders. If a sick person comes for help instead of staying home and infecting the community, plagues can be stopped.  Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96%. All Costa Rica residents get a free education.  The illiterates are the illegal immigrants. Costa Rica would like to have 100% literacy, so they will educate anybody who comes to their schools.


How does Costa Rica afford health care and education for everybody?  In 1949, they voted to get rid of their army and spend the money on education and health care.


This is not to say that Costa Rica has no barbed wire.















Until 3 years ago, anybody who was caught committing a robbery in which he didn’t hurt anybody and didn’t steal more than $1000 worth of property was not punished.  This led to repeat offenders.  3 years ago, the limit was reduced to $100.  But people still feel the need to protect their buildings, so in the cities, we saw lots of barbed wire on what looked like inexpensive homes and buildings.


Bottom line – Costa Rica tries to educate everybody, keep everybody healthy, and keep people out of jail.  I think those are three wonderful goals.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mt. Poas with my New Hip

Our first adventure day, we rode a bus most of the way up Mt. Poas, one of 7 active volcanoes in Costa Rica.  (There are also 60 dormant volcanoes.) We were given a choice of two paths to the crater.  A) through a cloud forest over hilly terrain or B) a nearly level path.  This was my first unpaved road walk with my new hip, and Jean has trouble with altitudes, so we decided on the level and slightly shorter path.  Our guide pointed out large roundish leaves as “poor man’s umbrella.”  My husband, the alien stood by one.








The path was only about half a mile. Jean and I were fine.  Our guide had warned us that the volcano might not be visible because of cloud cover.  But we had a clear sunny view.  There are advantages to being a weather witch.  The tour group that arrived about half an hour after we left called our guide to tell him that the volcano was no longer visible.  Despite repeated evidence throughout the trip (one day he checked the radar and saw that we were in the only sunny spot in Costa Rica) he refused to believe in weather witches.


My mother had told me that when she was there, Poas was throwing rocks.  The day we were there, steam billowed from a lake in the crater.








Jean decided to stay on the level path back to the bus. Eric and I accompanied her.  But I determined that next time we had a choice, I would take the adventurous path. My new hip and rehabilitated muscles were up for it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Forgot to Mention the Beach Crabs

My husband, the alien, and I arrived at a tide pool on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica during low tide. We’d come to body surf and did not bring our camera.  We do not need to record our body surfing tumbles for posterity. 


I’d seen beach crabs before – little hermit crabs that scuttle into tiny holes in the sand or hide in empty shells.  The crabs here were big, like the ones at the fish market, or restaurants. Their shells were red and blue and green in abstract patterns. They like to show off. No hiding when I approached. No scuttling away from moving tide waters.


Little crabs scurry along on 8 bent legs.  These big crabs stand up on 6 legs – with the other two in the air, as if they’ve been told stick-em-up.  Just when I thought I understood what they were doing, they entered the tide pool, lowered all 8 of their legs and scuttled sideways.


Later I told our guide what I’d seen.  He was not impressed.  “There are always crabs on the beach.”  We went back with our camera.  The tide was higher. The tide pools were covered. The crabs were gone. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When I Didn't Have my Camera

On my trip to Costa Rica, some of the most photo-worthy events happen when I didn't have my camera.  


1) An adorable tree frog hugged the handle on Jean’s suitcase when she left it out for the baggage handlers at our hotel where each unit had a door to the outside world.


2) A cowboy herded his cows while riding a bicycle.


3) A big fat hop-toad hopped across the sidewalk right in front of me and kept hopping right up to the side of the nearest building.


Maybe this was why the written word was invented. To record wonderful sights. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Endorsements

I don’t usually use my blog space to endorse products.  However, two products I’ve enjoyed lately are worth mentioning.  I have not consulted either company. I have not received any payment to make these endorsements. I paid full retail price for the products I used.

1) Coolmax fabric
I travel with a school book bag.  No checked luggage. This book bag must hold 4 changes of clothes, my cleaning supplies, and my exercise equipment.  Clothes that squish up small, don’t wrinkle, and dry quickly are important.  Clothes that meet those three criteria and feel good when I’m sweating are rare and wonderful.  Coolmax fabric meets all of these criteria.  The weather in Costa Rica was hot, rainy and muggy. I still had dry clothes to wear every day. Nothing took over 2 days to dry.  You can get coolmax t-shirts, underpants, socks, shorts and bras from many companies, in many styles and colors.

2) The Costa Rica trip from Caravan
http://www.caravan.com/tour/costa-rica

This is billed as a 10 day tour.  It’s really 8 days of travel and sightseeing.  The 1st night, you get dinner and a swim in the hotel pool.  The last morning, you get breakfast and a swim in the hotel pool, or a walk around town.  The 8 travel days are amazing.  Travel down jungle streams while a naturalist points out camouflaged wildlife. Tour a pineapple plantation and learn how they are grown and harvested and taste fresh picked pineapple. (Yum!)  Walk on suspended bridges through rain forests while a naturalist points out both brightly colored and camouflaged wildlife. Tour a coffee plantation and learn how coffee and cocoa are grown. Look into the crater of a volcano. Take a boat ride down a crocodile populated river and watch them as they slither and sunbathe. Visit hot springs with bubblers and artificial waterfalls that give great shoulder massages. Go body surfing in the Pacific Ocean.  And in between, listen to stories about the amazing history of Costa Rica as you ride in an air conditioned bus and refill your water bottle from the ecological 5 gallon jug.

This trip does not inclued airfare to get there. For that I recommend PriceLine (also an unpaid endorsement.)

Costa Rica had a civil war in 1948.  They got a new constitution in 1949 in which they abolished the army and decided to spend the money on education.  Everybody gets health care.  There’s a compulsory savings plan deducted from paychecks, which people can cash in every 5 years.  The country is ecological and peaceful. .  I came home wishing we could subcontract our government to Costa Rica. I’ll be posting more about this adventure in future blogs, after I sort through the photos and catch up on the details that built up while I was away

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

PT is Over. Long Live PT

At my 2nd to last PT appointment, I told Young PT that I want to bake something for him and his family.  He said it would have to be for the entire department.  Okay.  How many is that?  He asked around and came back to me.  Two dozen.  I can do that.  What do you want? Cookies, bread, rolls, muffins, cupcakes?  Cupcakes.  Chocolate cupcakes.  Without gluten. Because his daughter is allergic to gluten and so is one of the PTs.

One of the assistants overheard all this and insisted that he personally would eat 20 of the 24.

At the end of our session, when Young PT usually names the exercises he wants me to do for the following week, he added Baking to the end of the list.

My husband, the wonderful alien, was disappointed that the PT gang wanted a full two dozen.  The recipe makes one dozen.  That meant I’d make it twice and he wouldn’t get any.  But there are leftovers from the last time I made chocolate cupcakes in our freezer.  No way would he miss out!
The day of my final appt arrived.  It was also the day I was to deliver the wine glass and spoon and back issues of Toastmasters magazine to our club’s Sergeant at Arms.  And, I’d found a spare double boiler in the basement to give Young PT.  He likes to cook, and most people don’t have double boilers, but this recipe is easiest if you have one.  I also decided to bring plastic eating utensils for the PT staff to eat their cupcakes.  This meant I needed both saddlebags and a box for the cupcakes all strapped onto the back of my bike.

Most people aren’t used to seeing me in my full biking regalia.  My helmet looks like a motorbike helmet complete with face guard.  I got my nose broken and my jaw cracked when I got hit by the car two years ago, and I want protection.  I also wear wraparound sunglasses to keep pebbles out of my eyes with rear-view mirrors attached the eyeglass ear-struts.  My Sergeant At Arms did a double-take and then a nice recovery. “You look cool.”  He even commented on my shoes, which are heavy duty protection, as well.

Finally I got to PT.  Young PT wasn’t there.  I gave the cupcakes to the assistant who had promised to eat 20 of them.  I told him he only gets 4.  He claimed not to remember that I was bringing cupcakes at all.

I was starting to feel like I was in one of those Twilight Zone episodes where the protagonist has been transported to an alternate universe that looks the same, but everybody behaves differently, and eats dinosaurs for dinner.

Then Young PT showed up, and said he’d be with me in a few minutes.  He came back. He didn’t have a lesson planned for me.  Instead he asked what I wanted help with.  That’s what I truly value about him – he can help modify yoga poses or Pilates exercises or tasks around the house.  He bummed me out by refusing to help with backbends. He thinks people over 60 should only do backbends over a ball.  But – this is end game. I need to keep my body going in maximum comfort for the rest of my life. If that means backbends must be done over balance balls, so be it.  He was happy to have the double boiler.   Then, he thanked me for doing the assigned exercises.  Definitely alternate universe stuff.  “I didn’t do them for you.”

He looked relieved.  I’d have adopted him in an instant, if he’d been available.  Instead, I said, “This is probably the last time I’ll see you in this lifetime.  Thanks for doing a great job.”

He said, “Maybe we’ll see each other on the sidewalk some time.” 

He asked me to fill out an evaluation form.  I’m one of the success stories, so I was glad to do it.  I walked in there weak and in pain 2 months ago.  Now I can ride my bike everywhere, swim half a mile, and walk two miles without problems. I do my strengthening and stretching exercises every day because they work.

A few days later, Young PT emailed me “Staff, Wife and Daughter loved the cupcakes.”
I noticed the absence of the personal pronoun, so I emailed back, “You’re welcome.”  I may not have adopted him, but I can show him manners. 
Chocolate Mousse CupCakes

This recipe makes 10 to 12 cupcakes. Be sure to use the paper liners.

Ingredients: 

1 lb of dark chocolate, finely chopped (or semi-sweet chocolate bits)

1/4 lb (1 stick) of butter

4 eggs

1 tablespoon of almond flour or almond meal

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Put paper liners into 12 cupcake molds.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top part of a double boiler, (or you can melt them in an ovenproof bowl in an oven or microwave.)  Stir the melted ingredients until smooth. Allow to cool slightly while frothing the eggs.

Whisk the eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow (Can be done with a mixer or a blender).  Shake in the almond flour or meal and continue whisking until the mixture looks even.  Stir in the cooled chocolate, a little at a time.

Pour the mixture into the cupcake molds and cook it for 6-8 minutes (note: this time varies with the oven – it can be up to 15 minutes – you want the cupcakes to have a shiny center about 1" in diameter.) The edges should look like they have a cooked skin.  The center will be wobbly.  Cool, then cover it and leave it in a cool place.  Store in the freezer.  They will warm up with a liquid center in about 30 seconds in a microwave.