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.

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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