Monday, February 1, 2016

Pick Up Stix - The Advanced Version!

I do NOT need to join a gym.  Getting things done around the house and property is a major workout.  My latest task has been to tackle a HUGE pile of limbs.


Rudy stacked those a couple of years ago.  He intended to burn them during burn season.  It would have been a fire that lasted for days.  I'd been worried about the pile.  If it had ever caught fire accidentally, it could have been disastrous.

Burning the pile would have required moving the whole stack from one spot to another.  Actually, two moves - once to the truck and again to the burn site.

Taking truck loads to the dump would have been inefficient as well, plus, now that the dump has a $10 minimum fee on yard debris, it wouldn't have been cheap.


I finally settled on renting a big dumpster.  It's a 30 ton dumpster (24x8x6).  It has a door at the back, which made loading much easier.  Some of the logs were quite heavy.  I'm glad I didn't have to hoist those 6+ feet in the air.



Dad and Trish insisted on helping me and Dad ended up pulling his back.  I thought surely after that he would only be back to visit, but he came back the next day and tried to help some more.  He wouldn't listen to me.  If I'm stubborn, I came by it honestly.


It took three days to whittle the pile down.  There was a ton of pine straw to deal with, too.  We were thinking some critters would come scampering out at some point, but if they were there, we never saw them.


We loaded as long as we could before closing the dumpster door.  Branches were "cleaned" before loading.  All the little side branches were pulled off so more branches would fit in the dumpster.  It was more work, but we would have needed three dumpsters if we hadn't done that.


The pile ended up filling almost the entire dumpster.


The pile is gone, but there's a bit of tidying up to be done before it can be considered finished.  There's a little room left in the dumpster, but there are PLENTY of other branches nearby waiting to be picked up.

In a couple of weeks, I'll probably order another dumpster to start working on the limbs scattered around the lower half of the property.  Picking up limbs is a never ending job, but hopefully, I won't ever need to rent dumpsters again after this year.

This is a task I've actually enjoyed, which is really surprising.  I have liked the physical labor which makes me wonder, Who am I?  I can tell I'm getting into good shape and my stamina has amazed me.  This was my Fitbit count the first day the dumpster came -


I loved the feeling of getting something done, as well.  Taking care of this much property isn't something I plan to do the rest of my life, but for now, I'm good with it.  Very good with it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fitbit Pick Up Stix

I have been considering joining a gym.  When I think about hiking the Grand Canyon - going down, down down one day and up,up up the next day, I feel nervous for my knees.  I remember a physical therapist telling me once that if people would keep their quads strong, there would be less knee injuries.  A gym would have plenty of machines for strengthening quads.  In other words, I have a fairly specific reason for considering a gym this year.

I've explained my thoughts to my dad.  His comeback to that has been to suggest that picking up sticks is good exercise.  I suspect he thinks my walking for hours is somewhat a waste of time, too.  He's far more practical than his eldest daughter.

Today, I decided to give Dad's advice a whirl.  Instead of my normal afternoon walk, I picked up sticks. I purposely made it rather inconvenient. The emphasis was on exercise, not efficiency.  I picked up a few sticks at a time, only carrying them in my non-Fitbit hand. My Fitbit arm swung free because, of course, I wanted every step to be counted in order to make my daily goal.  I hauled sticks to the truck (which wasn't close) a few at a time.  I walked back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over.

I have enough sticks and branches around the property to fill this truck at least 50 times.
#MyToDoListIsDrivingMeInsane

I monitored my steps just for fun.  I averaged 893 steps every 10 minutes.  There were times when I stopped to break branches into smaller pieces.  There were times when I stopped to cut low hanging branches.  Had I only been retrieving, my step count average might have been higher.

I used to love this game!
My new Pick Up Stix game is very different.


The "Pick Up Stix" step count is not as high as straight walking, but I have to admit, I really like that I accomplished something while earning my steps.  Dad, this is not the answer to strengthening my quads for my Canyon hike, but I will definitely try to accomplish something a little more often while I earn my Fitbit steps.

I need to point out, too, that had I not had the Fitbit, I would not have picked up so many sticks in one go.  The Fitbit definitely motivated me to keep going.  I'm a big fan of this little gadget!

Those steps really add up!


Side Note (but probably only interesting to those who are Fitbit obsessed) - When I came in, I decided to experiment with vacuuming.  My Fitbit vacuuming counts were annoying.  After ten minutes of vacuuming, I earned only 70 steps.  I took more steps than that!  I thought maybe I'd made a mistake.  I vacuumed a room and rechecked.  Ten steps.  I promise, I did a good job vacuuming and it definitely took more than ten steps.  While vacuuming, my fitbit hand is rather still.  I use it to hold the vacuum cord out of the way.  I switched the Fitbit to my right hand and the numbers were higher.  They may have been a little too high from all the back and forth movement, but I figure the Fitbit owed me!  The next time I vacuum, I'll do some more experimenting.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

8 Months Without Rudy

Tomorrow will be eight months since Rudy died.  Sometimes I think I talk to him more now than even when he's alive.  Yes, it's possible I'm losing my mind.  I can call on him anytime, day or night.  I can chat with him in the middle of the night.  I can even chat with him now during a Braves game. He's never once complained.  (He'd laugh at that.) Anytime something significant happens, I can almost hear him chiming in.  Sometimes, his brother Jimmy throws in his opinion as well.  I can count on both of them to have a unique, humorous, and no-nonsense opinion on everything.  They have been particularly helpful anytime I've made a mistake or felt stressed.  Both of them knew exactly how to deal with drama.  They were drama geniuses!

Sometimes, I get very unique signs from Rudy.  They usually happen in a way that's a bit hard to deny.  This morning while on my morning walk, I was thinking about some recent goings-on in my life and what Rudy would make of them.  I knew exactly what he'd say about them.  It was definitely a time when I felt he was speaking to me.  Jimmy was throwing in his two cents worth, too.  Suddenly, I wondered if there might be a heart cloud in the sky.  I looked up and this is what I saw -

This photo has not been retouched in any way whatsoever!

One cloud in the sky and it was a heart.  It was my friend, Shirley, who started this whole heart cloud thing.  Right after Rudy died, she suddenly started seeing heart clouds everywhere.  Many times, it would be the only cloud in the sky, like the one I saw this morning.  She sent me photos of her sightings, almost one a week.  Now, I'm seeing them often, too.

I still get a feeling sometimes, that surely this whole thing never happened. Rudy can't be gone.  He was just here and he was so strong and healthy. It's a weird sensation and it doesn't only occur when I first wake up.  Sometimes I get the feeling in the middle of the day when I'm good and alert.  It would be so great if this were just a long nightmare.  You know, if it were a nightmare, there are so many things I'd do differently.  The very first thing I would do is give him the biggest, longest hug ever.


He was so amazing.  I was lucky to have had him as long as I did.  I wish I'd been lucky enough to have had him another two or three decades.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Great Start to the Year!

I honored my new way of thinking today by putting fun before work.  I had a traditional New Year's meal complete with greens, black-eyed peas and more. That was the most I'd cooked in ages. After lunch, I left dishes piled in the sink and took off for an adventure.  I purposely got lost on the trails just for the fun of finding my way back.  The spots I walked were mostly abandoned today.  I suppose many people were hung over or home watching footballs games, or maybe both.  The trails belonged to me!  It was fairly fabulous.



I logged in 11+ miles today! I only stopped because the sun was going down.  I would have liked to have done more.  This step number is my highest to date and the day isn't over yet.    I'm home now and feel great.  Not even tired.




Looking at my weekly step chart is interesting.  It's funny that on the chart, Saturday's 16,665 looks paltry.  That's really a good number.




The numbers make getting fit fun, but, for me, there's much more to it than numbers.  I highly recommend sports/exercise/fitness to anyone working through grief.  I'm finding it does as much for your mind as your body.

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