Chaplain Tortoise

From an unknown artist, speaking my truth.

There is progress. Slow and steady. Chaplain Tortoise,  here, is almost ready to go back to work on Tuesday!

Almost 2 weeks out from surgery, I’m feeling encouraged. (I’ll spare you a picture of my knee, minus the sutures.) The swelling is going down and I’m able to do simple things like stand up and sit down without pain. I can navigate steps (going up is easier than going down) but still find it difficult to do things like pick up a bag of groceries from the floor, or squat. (I probably could squat, but someone would have to rescue me.)

Now, as my surgeon says, I have a “better” knee, but I do not have a “healthy” knee. It will take some babying and strict rehab to get closer to normal functioning. And, though I hate to say it, I will have to start going to the gym regularly. My whole body will benefit (and I know this), but I’m just not someone who enjoys working out. And most of my friends are readers and knitters, not joggers and weight-lifters.

One of the realities I am facing, though, is that to get back to my personal “best” it will take some work. So I decided to check out the local gyms and fitness clubs, just to get a jump start on where I will end up after PT.

It was… interesting.

There was one that smelled like every high school gymnasium you’ve ever been in, minus the pull-out bleachers and whistles. Yeah… no.

There was one that appeared to have delusions of grandeur, with hardwood floors and a “eucalyptus” steam room. (Why? I don’t know). And a “day spa” where I could get a bikini wax and a facial after I work out. (Um. No.)

There was one that had row after row after row of treadmills and row machines, and not much else. Also no one on the floor who could teach a newbie how to use these things. My comment to the salesperson: “Look. I got this knee injury from walking. On a flat surface. I need a little more than a smile and wave.”

There was one that had pushy sales staff and warned me that “the price will go up if you don’t sign today.” (My response? “Oh well. Your loss.”)

Then there was the guy who schmoozed so much, I thought we would be meeting up with our spouses for a drink this weekend. Dude. I’m just looking for a place to work out. Your son is not marrying my daughter! (Creepy.)

And… my last stop, when I was almost ready to say fuggedaboudit, my search yielded a place with fairly normal people. People who get that I am not interested in being anything other than a better version of my best self. I think I’ll probably end up there. We’ll see.

I’m operating at a lower speed than normal, which has been frustrating. However, listening to my body has been key. (My knee definitely YELLS at me when I try to do too much!) Stepping back into mindfulness practices, I remembered that knowing and caring for myself is the best way to walk into a healthier me.

So for now, I’m Chaplain Tortoise… taking those baby steps towards healing. Slow and steady wins the race.

On the Theraband-wagon

I have never been one to do a scheduled, planned exercise routine. Oh, I played team sports (ahem… not well!), biked, and ran laps (or stadium steps) for conditioning. I was a decent swimmer and worked as a lifeguard for a couple of summers. Before band tryouts, I jogged and practiced marching. I was never religious about it, though. (heh heh)

The closest I can claim to having an exercise “plan” was the morning walks with other moms once the kids were on the bus, a stint of doing Tai Chi (not my cuppa), and deep water running (hard to schedule when you work full-time.) I enjoyed a casual hike now and then, mostly when we went camping.

But now. Since I did my kerSPLAT on our patio, I’m an old fart with a knee brace. I’m loving my ice pack and my comfy shoes.

IMG-5326I’m motivated to avoid any surgery as long as possible, so I am trying hard to be consistent in my exercises. Quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Stretches. Clamshells. Clocksteps. A Sexxaayyy new knee brace. And my new friend, the Theraband.

It’s all about muscle tone. Or a lack of it. I’ll never be a body builder or swimsuit model, but I’m determined to get a little more strength in my legs, and eventually my core. I’m learning the smart way to do things (like go up and down the steps with a bum knee). And I’m learning what I shouldn’t do, as well.

JaniceWhen I’m doing my stretches, there’s lots of time to reflect. Let’s face it: unless you’re listening to music or chatting with a friend, you have time to think while you count your sets of 10. Unlike Janice, (“cycling is my passion”), I’m not scrolling through social media or on the phone. Other than focusing on body mechanics and which muscle group is supposed to be worked, my brain has space to work. Yes, occasionally, I’m making a grocery list in my head or thinking about my appointments for the day. And being a pastor, I also ponder the spiritual disciplines that I so easily let slide.

It’s gotten me back to listening to Pray-as-you-go and restoring a little breathing space into my day. Do I bounce out of bed, unroll my mat and start my exercises? (OK, you DO know me, right? You know I’m a “coffee before you talk to me” person!)

No, I’m trying to put in a little quality time with my Theraband so that I make progress. Eating right. Exercises. Stretching. Taking my meds on schedule. One minuscule step at a time…


The Myth Stops Here

It’s time. I have to confess. People think I am “so organized.”

I am not.

  • I can’t find the checkbook to write the checks for the piano and oboe teachers. (They are among the few who still require checks! I do indeed remember how.)
  • I found three things that were meant as Christmas presents for my kids and beloved bearded spouse. That would be for Christmas 2011. (Yes, they will get them this year. I hope.)
  • The first floor of the house finally got cleaned, but only because the 3 of us worked on it for several hours today. (I will do just about ANYTHING except clean my house. Well, not exactly true. I will not clean the litter box.)
  • The suitcases from our trip to South Carolina (4 weeks ago) and The Johnny’s college move-in (2 weeks ago) are still not put away.
  • I just cleaned several mold experiments from the fridge and pantry today. (Never mind what. I didn’t serve it, so that’s a plus.)

I am working on getting back into routines — ones that perhaps will work this time around. Routines which are not so blinking complicated, like, “I will file every paper every time a new one comes in the house, after I have done ten jumping-jacks, combed the cat and written a new villanelle.”

As if.

Some of this motivation is because I want to be a good steward of our many blessings. I don’t like wasting food, or letting “stuff” accumulate, particularly items that we don’t use or don’t really need. When you have too much “stuff”, it seems to migrate from room to room, waiting to be “put away.” Or am I the only one who has this problem?

I’m also trying to include new habits in my routines. This is dangerous. Habits like:

  • writing more on my blog
  • spending less time goofing off on the computer/iPad/iPhone
  • working on a conference paper proposal and two articles
  • researching and writing “that book” (see my blog from Friday)
  • exercising!!

Here’s to a new school year, new plans, new dreams and new ambitions. God’s help in all things, and honesty when I don’t keep things going the way I want.

Sounds like a plan. (A mom can dream!)

Things that are good for me… whether I like it or not!

I am trying a new exercise regimen. I’m only on week 2 – so don’t get too excited. Bascially, using 2 iPhone apps (JoggyCoach and Couch-2-5K), I’m getting in regular walking/jogging routes. I don’t really anticipate ever running a 5K. But I am intent on finding a way to exercise that I can keep up. It helps that The Johnnie, who is on rowing crew at JohnnieLand University, needs to work out for her fitness for rowing in the fall. It also helps that we all need regular exercise anyway.

So today, we walked/jogged/dragged my sorry butt for 3 miles. It was about 80% walking and 20% jogging. But it counts. May I just say that I do not enjoy jogging. I don’t mind a casual walk. Sometimes. When it’s pretty out. And not too cold/hot/muggy/buggy/icy. (Which rarely happens in the MidAtlantic states. But I digress…)

I have runner friends. They whine when they CAN’T run. I never understood that. And I still don’t. But for the sake of my bones, my heart and my lungs, I’m trying to do something that is good for me. Like this running/jogging thing.

The other thing that has been good for me is logging my food intake. The axiom I was told to use was “If you hog it, log it.” The app I’m using for that (LoseIt) shows me where the “junk” calories are. It’s annoying that foods that I enjoy the most are either bad for me or are expensive. I’m trying to focus on the positive here, but the transition time really sucks.

I don’t really want your advice. I won’t drink shakes that look like lawnmower clippings, so don’t even try.

I also don’t really want your sympathy. Just your prayers.

I earned my salad for lunch today. Just sayin. 🙂