Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category
It’s been a pretty full few days.
I had a dinner group meeting at Teresa’s, a favorite Polish restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, on Friday, 3 February. Due to the cold, it was a small group, but a pleasant evening was had by all.
Tuesday, I got some real movement in taking back my life – both literally and figuratively. I already had a dentist appointment for mid-afternoon, due to a loose tooth (more about that later), so I did one of the scariest things I could think of…I scheduled a beginner ride at the Peloton Studio in Chelsea (140 West 23rd Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues). Mind, I had bought a Peloton bike a bit over a year ago but ended up being too sick to use it for more than one ride. Also, I was having trouble with getting the shoe clips into the pedals, even after I bought toe cups so I could use regular sneakers with the bike. Well, my neurosurgeon cleared me to use the bike last week, so I figured I should go to the studio and they could show me why I was having issues with the clips. While I was on the phone with them, I asked if they had any really gentle classes, and explained my situation. The young woman I spoke with noted that they had a beginner ride on Tuesday at 1:30, but that I should come earlier to set things up. I did so, with the roomie accompanying me to watch my stuff and to make sure I had help after the dentist if I needed it. I got to the studio, signed in, had a studio account set up for me so I could book rides there when I want to, and spoke with the manager, who had a few concerns about my condition, which I was able to allay. I also was able to show her that I was flexible enough to bend from the waist and touch my toes while standing — something I hadn’t tried doing since the surgery.
Anyway, she decided to let me try the ride, and I’m thrilled that she did. I lasted for 15 of the 30 minutes, but I was able to raise the bike’s resistance from a start of 0 to 2, and get my cadence up to 85. I probably could have pushed through for the second half of the ride, but I had promised my surgeon that I would go slowly and not overdo it. Still, it felt so good to be back on a bike – even a stationary bike with my feet clipped in so I couldn’t fall off! I know I wasn’t going full bore, but it still felt like I was flying! Even better, I felt like me for the first time since before the heart issues happened! I would have even tried walking to the dentist (I had the rollator with me), but the roomie’s hip was so bad she was stopping every ten feet or so. When she apologized for holding me up, I just said to heck with it and flagged down a cab. It felt odd to be walking faster than her while using the rollator, but I think it means that I am making real progress to getting my walking back. Now if only they were not predicting heavy snow for tomorrow night into Friday…I would gladly try walking out for more than a couple of blocks. Oh well, I will get there in good time.
My Weight Watchers coach, the much-beloved Robert, recommended an app called Headspace to me a few weeks ago. I tried it, and love it. It’s a ten-minute-a-day mindfullness app. I highly recommend the free version to everyone. Further, if anyone does try it and likes it, feel free to add me as a buddy there.
Another free thing I came across in my Internet wandering is The Yoga Summit. One of the interviews there was by a woman named Danielle La Porte, who somehow resonated with me despite being about half my age. I checked out her website and blog, and decided that I wanted to try some of her methods.
So, things are starting to look positive again, for the first time in a very long time.
Posted November 4, 2016on:
Replying to a comment in my last post got me thinking about the music that has shaped my life.
As anyone who knows me for more than ten minutes knows, one of the two life regrets I have is that I can barely carry a tune on my own. However, I have been a lifelong music fan. (I think the first song I remember hearing on the radio was “Venus,” sung by Frankie Avalon – yes, I AM that old; live with it.)
I was hooked. Not just on the song, but on the way the words and melody fit with each other, the way the sounds came out, the harmonies…. I still am hooked on music all these years later.
As I grew older, I found that the songs I loved had certain characteristics:
- Often, the singer had an unusual voice
- There were complexities in the arrangements – harmonies and counterpoints and descants
- It moved me just by its magnificence
- It had words that rang true to some part of my life
- It had something in it that helped me cope somehow with some part of my life or some issue I was struggling with
Fortunately, my parents also liked music – chores were done to the Texaco Sunday Opera in the background; Dad liked pop music, and was often the one staying up late with me to watch the late night music shows. My Grandma was a fan of The Monkees (long story – ask me elsewhere about that). Mom loved musicals and show tunes and musical comedy such as Danny Kaye, and Allan Sherman. The Beatles hit the US when I was in 5th grade, and their excellent lyrics hooked me even more.
When I got old enough, I started hanging out in Greenwich Village – an excellent place for someone who loved music. There, I fell in love with Richie Havens, Raun MacKinnon, Laura Nyro, David Bromberg, Weeden & Finkle (later Finkle, Weeden and Faye), Christine Lavin, a cappella music, Buzzy Linhart, Eric Frandsen, and so many others.
Then prog rock came along. It had all the complexities I loved, plus Chris Squire – a bassist who often played top line leads with his bass. It also has Phil Colllins and Carl Palmer (I love a good drummer – always have) And brought me more to listen to jazz and classical music.
My taste in music has kept expanding as I’ve grown. To this day, I still hear new stuff and fall in love with it. My friend Gundo can tell you about the first time he showed me the video for “Wheels” by the Foo Fighters. I pretty much fell off his couch when it was done. And Marc can tell you about the time at the Nassau Community College Folk Festival I first heard Richie Havens do an a cappella cover of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away.” I was literally left speechless. Megan could tell you (if she was still alive) about the first time I heard Tom Paxton perform “The Last Thing on My Mind.” Sue can tell you about how watching the 25th anniversary PBS showing of “Les Miz” not only left me speechless, but gave me two new singer obsessions: Alfie Boe and Norm Lewis.
That said, there are songs that have shaped my life. Sue and Marc have seen the looseleaf where I’d been copying lyrics since the first time I saw “Fiddler on the Roof.”
There are all sorts of sources for those songs, so I will list here some of them, in the hope that you may know and feel the same about them.
- Follow – Richie Havens
- On the Turning Away – Richie Havens a capella version
- You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught – from South Pacific
- If I Loved You – from Carousel
- No Time At All – from Pippin
- If I Never Spend a Morning Without You – Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunney
- Is A Puzzlement – from The King & I
- Corner of the Sky – from Pippin
- The finale of the Firebird Suite – Igor Stravinsky
- Video – india.arie
- I’m Still Here – Stepehn Sondheim (as performed by Elaine Stritch)
- Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) – by Yes
- Run with the Fox – Chris Squire
- Too many Paul Simon songs to single any out
- What Makes you DIfferent (Makes You Beautiful) – Backstreet Boys
- Too many Christine Lavin songs to single one out
- Circle of Fifths – Raun MacKinnon
- The Last thing on My Mind – Tom Paxton
- Most songs by Allan Sherman
- Most songs by Tom Lehrer
- Waving Flag by K’naan
- Take me to the Alley by Gregory Porter
- Bring Him Home – from Les Miz
- Way too many other songs to enumerate
So, these are some of the songs that have shaped me in one way or another, and why music is so important to me.
Well, it’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been trying my damnedest to do what’s necessary to get the hell out of this rehab and back to my apartment. I miss the cats; I miss the Friday dinner group; mostly I miss being home where I can be comfortable.
I am now capable of getting around a bit on a walker, but I really need to be able to use just my cane to get about again, so I’m working my way toward that.My PT these days is mostly concerned with getting me to use the walker more, given that I pretty much refuse to use the wheelchair for anything but the occasional transport to and from the “gym.”
The food here is pretty much still inedible, so the Roomie and Naomi have been bringing me mostly healthy stuff to eat. Naomi even found two huge jars of artichoke hearts and another two of hearts of palm for me. As of the past Thursday, my weight is down to 242.6. I’m pretty happy about that, you can imagine. I had a great session with my coach, Robert, on Friday. One thing he acknowledged is that my action plans have been getting more specific as I am digging deeper.
So, that’s about it for now. More as it happens…
Gwen Raftery wrote a poem about me.
One by one
Ribbing Leg and heel-turn
Feet that felt
After some years
To make the pair.
Don’t stop. plan
Not such a weight
What a friendship
I may be biased here, but I really love this poem.
In other news, I’ve lost 5.3 pounds in my first week back on Weight Watchers. I’m trying the Simply Filling plan right now because I can’t be arsed to count PointsPlus, which is why I was having trouble getting back on program.
I feel like I’m finally getting back to where I want to be in terms of having my will to succeed back. Don’t know if it will last, but I am happy it seems to be back.