Tag Archives: Exercise

Rachael’s Resolutions

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

In 2012, I revolutionized the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of lying through my teeth about diets, exercise and tiresome niceness, I included only promises I could keep.

Still, I didn’t accomplish all my goals. I kept a pair of gloves intact, forgetting to lose one of every pair. I remembered to charge my phone before it quit four times that year. Despite my efforts to destroy the previous Christmas’s poinsettias, one still lives. I didn’t kill it completely, though judging from its appearance, it probably wishes I had.

Given these failures, an attack of perfectionism prevented me from attempting resolutions again.

But I’ve recovered. Noble aspirations for 2024 are listed below:

I promise to harmonize with background music in stores. Singing is gluten-free, contains zero calories and harbors no toxic substances (if on key).

While I may not be the best snow shoveler, I find ways to have fun.

Shoveling snow, I’ll throw half our driveway’s gravel into the yard. Come spring, I’ll pick up 15 percent and let Hubby’s lawnmower retrieve the rest.

I’ll wear only mom jeans, sparing myself and the rest of the world any attempts at wearing skinnies. Instead, I’ll move up a pants size. Moving up is a promotion, right?

I will not label freezer items. Plus, if I’m careful to maintain its chaos, a ten-pound unknown will tumble out every time I open it.

Image by Maayan2007 from Pixabay.

I’ll continue to laugh too loud at our pastor’s jokes on Sunday morning. Sorry, fellow church members, but my laughter comes in one-size-fits-all.

I will growl at the gas gods, whether they zap my pocketbook or lower prices and mess with the world economy.

I’ll never open the front window at drive-throughs without opening a back one first.

I will introduce my grandchildren to a new form of sugar their folks have banned.

I’ll bore my grandkids with “when I was a girl” stories. (The last time I did this, one grandson asked if I knew Betsy Ross.)

I will hand out free smiles, no limits, and no coupon needed.

I won’t change a single light bulb, even if we’re cast into outer darkness. Hubby needs to feel needed.

Finally, I will leave at least one cell phone unmuted, one car horn braying for no reason, and one zipper unzipped at the worst possible moments of 2024.

Too lofty a list?

Sigh. Perfectionism strikes again. …

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What doable resolutions will you make for 2024?

Camper or Motel?

Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay.

Recently, instead of camping, my husband suggested a motel.

I was stunned speechless … but that never lasts long. “Sure!

Afterward, I pondered: Did I prefer our pop-up? Or the motel?

Setting up campers takes time, but provides exercise. Motels offer fitness rooms, but did we go there? Well … nobody else did, either.

Image by Dorothée Quennesson by from Pixabay.

Neither a motel’s walls nor our pop-up’s canvas filter out arguments next door. But as a fellow pop-up owner said, canvas walls provide little nighttime reassurance when, within inches of your pillow, something outside licks its chops.

Speaking of wildlife, our family never encountered a raccoon-skunk war in a motel as we did at one campsite. Once, though, in a Florida motel, a Volkswagen Beetle-sized roach zoomed across our room.

Then there’s the I-can’t-find-a-thing-in-this-place dilemma, common to both motel rooms and campers. Motel light switches save electricity (and company money) because no one can find them. But camping takes the marital game of Twenty Questions (“Where’s my billfold?”) to record levels.

Both motels and campgrounds feature mysterious showers — also designed to save money, as victims — er, guests — must decipher codes to obtain hot water. Or, in the case of campgrounds, to receive water, period.

Hikes to campground restrooms, however, trump any motel inconveniences — though stargazers claim nothing beats views at 2 a.m.

In the past, motels won the prize for cleanliness. However, because of recent worker shortages, no one cleans up after us but us. Sad.

Bottom line: Comparison of pop-up and motel rooms rests on expectations. Sleepers on a camper’s table gripe about aches and pains, but they expected inconvenience. If forced to sleep on a motel’s table, though, I’d gripe about more than a few twinges.

Image by Angelic Cooke from Pixabay.

Especially pain in my pocketbook. According to Smith Travel Research, a hospitality analytics firm, a hotel room’s average cost has climbed to $149.90 per night. A state park’s campsite costs $15-40. Cheaper, right?

Sure, if we omit costs of the pop-up and truck to pull it. And the awning and canvas walls we replaced.

Ultimately, is our pop-up worth it?

Image by Joe Plenio from Pixabay.

Yes. In the woods, air is fresh as if God just created it, whereas in a motel, I cannot open windows. Camping banishes clocks with their coulda-woulda-shoulda tyranny. Plus, motel personnel might not appreciate my firebug husband building a campfire in our room.

I love camping in our pop-up.

However, if Hubby wants to book a nice motel again — especially in January — I’m game.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Which do you prefer, a camper or motel room?

How to Rationalize Watching a Ballgame

Image by Mahmur Marganti from Pixabay.

My name is Rachael, and I’m a ballgame-aholic. Sports rivet me to the small screen.

Although I was raised with the Midwestern work ethic. My mother scoffed at grown men who wasted time playing games with balls and sticks. When she not only hid the “TV Guide” and sport sections, but dispatched Dad’s recliner to the roof, our family got the message.

My husband’s family, though equally industrious, considered watching ballgames valid and Indiana University basketball sacred.

Consequently, Hubby doesn’t require many ballgame rationalizations, though he sometimes borrows from my vast collection. One favorite: we accuse each other of working too hard, then prescribe couch-potato bliss “to keep our blood pressures down.”

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

If this fails, we add respectability with semi-productive activities that don’t detract from the loafing essential to sports viewing.

First, we count the money in our wallets.

Okay, that took four seconds. What next?

We fold Hubby’s brown and black socks. He does this on autopilot, and I rarely bother to separate the two, so we can focus on the game.

Hubby polishes shoes. If the score’s tied in the final minutes, the difference between black and brown also escapes him. But my flip-flops look really shiny.

Image by James DeMers from Pixabay.

I consider cleaning my handbag. But what will emerge from its mysterious depths? A penny with two Lincolns might make us rich. However, a 50-year-old photo of an old boyfriend might distract us from the important business at hand.

Picking dead leaves off plants qualifies as a ballgame pastime, unless teams play overtimes. I enjoy the excitement, but bald plants do not.

Manicures, pedicures and ear-hair-trimming sessions also work, though they necessitate similar caution.

Hubby and I sort through cassette tapes and vinyl albums. We cannot bear to part with any of them, so such endeavors provide pleasant diligence without accomplishing anything.

Some couples file tax receipts, answer emails, or alphabetize canned goods while viewing a ballgame. Some have the effrontery to exercise. They even claim this is quality couple time.

Quality time? My husband and I snuggle, cheering our teams, snarling at referees, consoling and/or celebrating with hugs, smooches and buttery popcorn.

After 48-plus years of watching ballgames together, we know how to do quality time.

It’s the best ballgame rationalization ever.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you rationalize watching ballgames?

Classic Post: Rest Revolution

This post first appeared on April 18, 2018.

This radical confession could create cultural schisms the size of the Grand Canyon. But I believe in honesty when dealing with my readers, so here goes:

I take naps.

Oh, I know some confess to sneaky snoozes on weekends. I mean daily naps during the week, when employees buzz around workloads like frantic worker bees.

Image by Martin Tamjr from Pixabay.

“No wonder you take naps. You’re a writer,” critics point out. “What else could we expect of a degenerate who talks to imaginary people and spends half her waking hours in jammies?”

I resemble that remark. But in defense of jammies, real waistbands stifle creativity.

Back to the nap issue. Is it so difficult to believe a short rest empowers workers? In a word, yes. Anti-nap propaganda has programmed us for decades. As a college student, I never considered naps an option, not even when my then-boyfriend, now-husband, claimed I’d turned 200 pages of my zoology book, my eyes closed.

As a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes so no one knew I was sleeping. You would have thought I was conducting drug deals. Naps, even during breaks, make supervisors nervous. Just because my boss once tripped over my prostrate form … He recovered nicely after cardio rehab.

Like others, I have fought illegal slumber with coffees, colas and energy drinks that could substitute for rocket fuel. Some misguided souls believe noontime exercise generates energy. Since when does energy output increase energy input? They obviously have never chased after two-year-olds.

Efficient work policies include power naps, which promote employee health and safety. Alert employees are less likely to fall out of their chairs, catch their noses in machinery or flush themselves. They provide faster, friendlier service and make fewer mistakes. Studies have shown that teachers permitted a brief daily collapse are less likely to leave the country after the second day of school. Only three percent of air flight controllers who nap direct pilots to park behind McDonald’s.

Image by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay.

Still, old attitudes are difficult to change. Decades passed before my breakthrough. One day, having dozed off, I awoke at my laptop to discover my fingers had purchased 307 Pampered Chef ice cream dippers.

I ejected from the computer, set my cell phone alarm and crashed.

A 45-minute, preventative nap could have saved my relatives the prospect of ice cream dipper gifts every Christmas until 2037.

“But I can’t fall asleep in 45 minutes!” some protest. Soothing music, accompanied by fake waterfalls and synthesized bird twitters, often proves effective. Other daytime insomniacs use power-of-suggestion downloads. I, however, find nothing works like the Lacrosse Channel or Bonanza reruns.

Speaking of Bonanza, the opening music has begun. Grab your blanky. Take a stand — er, sofa. Snuggle down, close your eyes and join the power nap revolution that … will change the … world … zzzzzzzzz.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a rest revolutionary?

Okay, So I Didn’t Lose the Weight

Image by Julita from Pixabay.

My summer dieting resolutions have proved as successful as last January’s, despite my good intentions.

Daylight saving time is more conducive to exercise, I said. I’d shed winter weight like a parka.

Summer gardens produce tons of fresh veggies. Fruit, a nutritious food that actually tastes good, abounds. Easier to eat skinny, right?

I implemented self-scare tactics: Beaches would sound a bloat-float warning upon my arrival.

Other aids would help my effort. Spending hours in endless construction zones would create a slow burn, turning calories to ashes.

Plus, the stars were in weight-loss alignment. Stars or satellites? Not sure. I’m not picky about astronomy.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

I did consume fresh veggies. Also, berries, cherries, peaches and watermelon. And, um, ice cream.

Come on, I live three blocks from Ivanhoe’s, a legendary drive-in touted by The Huffington Post as Indiana’s contribution to “The One Thing You Must Do in Every State.” True Hoosiers don’t live by broccoli alone.

Image by Loulou Nash from Pixabay.

To my credit, I exercised. Dragged along — er, encouraged — by Hubby, I hiked miles across rugged terrain. We paddled lakes, cycled bike paths and, despite bloat-float warnings, frequented beaches. We even swam in the water.

Given those “vacations,” would you choose half a bagel for breakfast?

Also, even the word “s’mores” forbids limiting me to one.

As for swimming — beach alarm aside — possessing a built-in inner tube isn’t a bad thing. When out-of-shape arms don’t keep one afloat, fat to the rescue!  Safety first, I always say.

Besides, the holidays are three months away. Cooler weather will encourage exercise. As temperatures fall, so will my ice cream intake. Really.

Also, plenty of road construction remains to burn off excess calories.

Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay.

Baggy sweaters will hide my summer-acquired inner tube, lessening motivation to diet. But fear not. I’ve created new scare tactics.

Shopping trips with dressing room mirrors always diminish my appetite.

Even better (worse?): the yearly checkup. I plan to share my innovative medical theory with my doctor. Doesn’t it make sense that we who carry more years should outweigh the young, who carry only a few? I’ll inform her the stars are in weight-loss alignment during autumn. She shouldn’t be picky about astronomy.

I’ll promise that now it’s fall, I’ll drop pounds like trees shed leaves.

Besides, there’s always January.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Is it harder to lose weight during hot or cold months?

OMG, It’s Monday!: A Flaw in the Fitness Plan?

O Lord, thank You for insights about our health, that taking small steps can benefit our bodies. I’ve learned that instead of counting down microwave numbers as if for a rocket launch, I can stretch and move …

Though, OMG, You’re right. The resulting hot chocolate isn’t part of the program.

Growing Fat, Er, Fit with You

“I want to grow old with you.”

A romantic line whose meaning gets lost in the translation.

I thought “growing old with you” meant “growing fat with you.”

Not that my husband and I don’t try to stay fit. We walk, hike, and bike. On a class reunion scale of one to 10, Hubby and I generally score between six and seven. Good, but not obnoxious like those aliens who’ve maintained their graduation weight. No one over 50 should be without love handles. A small potbelly witnesses to the good life.

Unfortunately, Hubby and I took the good life to an extreme last winter. Love handles had turned to love tires, inflation dangerously close to maximum.

Hubby bought new scales.

I wanted to yell at him. But I couldn’t breathe; my jeans were too tight.

Torture enough, right?

Wrong.

Having recently retired, Hubby fulfilled a lifelong dream: exercise.

He put his money where his muscles were, hiring a 21-year-old personal trainer. A guy who doesn’t remember when bacon was considered healthy.

Surely, my crazed spouse would recover from this madness. Instead, sporting new exercise attire, Hubby went to the gym.

He returned looking like he’d kept an appointment with the devil, gray-faced and covered with sweat. He’d hauled 30-pound medicine balls and heaved weights. Did “planks” and sit-ups.

“That trainer should pay you,” I said.

I’d wanted to grow old with him. Now, I almost changed my mind.

Talking hurt him too much, but from his expression, the feeling was mutual.

Still, he refused to abandon his nightmare, er, dream. “I want to set up our camper without an Ibuprofen fix. Chop wood. Backpack in bear country.”

His potbelly shrank. His waistline tire deflated.

Meanwhile, mine threatened to explode. Would my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup habit hasten my demise? So he could grow old with an equally svelte blonde who could lift campers with him and backpack with bears?

Sad, but determined, I buried my Reese’s Cups deep in the freezer under ancient containers of grated zucchini.

At least, the trainer on my senior exercise video looks 35, not 21. He’s okay, though entirely too cheerful. If I’ve had it with Chirpy’s smiley face, I make him disappear. Click. Poof.

That’s the personal trainer you want. Not one who, during the COVID-19 shutdown, emailed even scarier workouts Hubby could do at home.

I made peace with the exercise bike by reading. During microwave numbers countdown, I stretch, hoping someday to recover a waistline.

My tire has deflated somewhat. My potbelly has diminished.

Hubby and I aren’t growing fat together.

Though some sweet day, the Reese’s Cups I dig out may change that. …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you translate “growing old together”?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Still Riding Strong

O Lord, when Hubby and I first rode our new tandem, we nearly took out our neighbor’s trash cans. He wasn’t perfect then and isn’t now. And unlike Daisy, I don’t always “look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.” But OMG, thank You for 17 years and 5,500 miles of mostly fun cycling together without a crash.

Hubby and I at the Blueberry Festival, Plymouth, Indiana, circa 2006.

I Was a Soccer Mom

Before the quarantine, I beheld a newspaper story that made my body temperature plummet into the single digits. Soccer had invaded our area. Again.

“Calm down.” I took 10 deep breaths. “Your children have flown the nest. And the therapy helped. Really.”

Nevertheless, eight years of soccer mom madness left their mark. My normal (spring?) spectator attire consisted of a ratty sleeping bag guaranteed to repel water, ice and lightning bolts.

Photo by Ollebolle123 from Pixabay.

Even my deceased minivan, God rest its crankshaft, never recovered. Saturday mornings required more gasoline — and strategy — than the Normandy invasion. Because this is the First Commandment of Soccer: Never schedule family members to play in the same hemisphere.

There are other reasons why I still occasionally run screaming from children wearing knee socks.

I’ve never understood the rules. Take “offside,” for example. Does it have something to do with flying? My two children, whose combined weights equaled that of a soccer ball, flew more than they ran.

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay.

I tended to get upset.

Just a little.

All right, I confess to a deep, dark secret that will forever taint the family name. A referee once had to tell me to shut up.

Actually, he said, “Ma’am, you sit and watch the game. I’ll make the calls.”

To my credit, I feared for the children’s lives. Especially my kid’s!

The referee did not see that big, husky kid boot the smaller kid into the air instead of the ball. Neither, apparently, did other players. Even the wounded rose from the dead and stared at me.

My son stared at me.

I sat down and shut up.

Along with ER trips, I hated soccer dirt— gicky-sticky mud. Another Commandment of Soccer: fields must contain a minimum of 31 deep puddles, with the two largest placed at goals.

Player identification problems are bound to ensue. I once bought 73 sundaes to console my son’s team for a loss, only to realize after the last burp that I had fed their opponents.

Still, I must be fair and celebrate positives:

  • First, I love to watch other people exercise.
  • Second, I will forever cherish the memory of games on beautiful blue-sky days. Both of them.

In closing, I ask others to take compassion on soccer moms. Send them cards, give them hugs and chocolate, pay for their psychiatric stays.

I also want to ask all soccer moms, past and present, to join me in a credo that will seal our recoveries. Say it with me. We can do this.

“We were wr‒wr‒[gasp!] wrong. The referee is rrrr . . . [choke!] The referee is rrrr. …”

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What is your favorite soccer mom memory?

Hula Hoop Hullabaloo

I halted before an after-Christmas-sale toy display. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a rattling, green-and-purple-striped Hula Hoop®.

Shades of the 1950s. I looked down. Was I was wearing anklets and Mary Janes?

As a four-year-old, I marveled as my friend Kathy bobbed and wiggled. Her hoop never touched the ground. Though my few borrowed sessions consisted of rattle-rattle-clunks, I wished the Hula Hoop® and I could be best friends forever (BFF).

But my mother doomed my dream. She said I could not steal it. So, I begged for a birthday hoop.

She informed me: a) $1.98 was a lot of money; and b) they were impossible to find. Wham-O sold 100 million hoops in 1958, with demand outracing supply. No hoop for me.

She lied. On my birthday, I received a green Hula Hoop®! When Dad sent it rolling toward a busy street, I shrieked. Had I found my BFF, only to lose her? To my utter amazement, Hoop rolled back to him. Birthday magic was complete.

My favorite toy accompanied our family on a mission trip to Mexico. Happily, the street children also spoke Hula Hoop®. Unknown to me, my neighbor Maria bragged about my superiority. This gringa, she proclaimed, could keep the hoop going 12 hours straight.

Another pigtailed girl faced me, a gleam of challenge in her dark eyes.

My BFF turned traitor. Rattle-rattle-clunk. Rattle-rattle-clunk. I failed my country.

I didn’t leave the mission compound for awhile. Maria joined a temporary witness protection program. During retirement, though, I couldn’t remain apart from Hula Hoop®. Our glory days were past. But we would stick together, come rattle-rattle or clunk.

Before long, our family planned a return to the States. My parents insisted we did not have room in the car for Hoop and my new baby brother.

Why not leave Brother and take Hoop with us? But no one asked my opinion, so I sadly tucked my BFF behind a dresser so no one else could play with her.

Fast-forward several decades. My sister insisted on introducing me to her new exercise equipment. Sessions with it had strengthened her core, she said.

A Hula Hoop®.

These days, I cannot even find my core. As I watched her bob and wiggle, I wondered: could an old friend aid in my search?

The New Year and my surprise Hula Hoop® encounter had reawakened both core conscience and childlike longings. I brought the hoop home.

Our sessions have largely consisted of rattle-clunks. My core remains AWOL. But I harbor no qualms about exposing my flab to Hula Hoop®.

After all, what are BFFs for?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What was your favorite childhood toy?