Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Jump Ropes, Book Club and Flowers



Next week is my bi-annual appointment with my internist and it’s been the driving force in making me go to the YMCA to help me lose the weight I gained recently. When I saw him last fall I was up five pounds since spring, then I added another four over the holidays and I knew he wouldn’t ignore that kind of weight gain two appointments in a row. Well, guess what! He’ll never know. I’m back to the same weight I was a year ago. He might even praise me for the five (really nine) pound loss and I will light up like a jar of lightning bugs on a warm summer night. It’s not that he’s a tyrant of a doctor, quite the opposite. He’s so nice that I hated the idea of disappointing him with a broken promise. I have a ton more to lose so I’ll try to ride the Diet & Exercise train for as long as I can. Picture me with “Iowa Blackie,” the wandering hobo poet---him with his paper and pens and me with a set of dumbbells.

Going to the gym is fertile ground for people watching and maybe that will keep me going, like Blackie writing about the people he met as he rode the rails across the country. For example, I haven’t seen people jumping ropes since grade school but they're a common sight at the Y. The ropes they use aren’t like the clothes lines we used back in the good old days. They come in different materials: plastic beaded, "licorice" whips, clothe, vinyl cords, cables, leather and with lights embedded---$5.00 to $80.00. You pick a rope by the surface where you’re going to jump and the speed you want to do it at. Lighted ropes are for night but they would be good in public places. Those wire-thin cable jump ropes are so hard to see when in action that I didn’t even realize that’s what people were doing the first few times I saw them used at the gym. I thought they were just jumping up and down. Online there are plenty of directions for how to jump rope and for picking the right length rope. (With one foot standing on it, you lift the handles and they shouldn’t go past your armpits.) How did we ever manage to learn how to jump rope before the internet? 

A good jump rope workout, according to what I’ve read, is ten minutes which burns 135 calories. How depressing is that? A scoop of vanilla ice cream is 137 calories. You’d have to jump two hours for a banana split. Still, I wanted to try. How hard can it be? I thought, remembering my days on the playground where we 'Double Dutch' jumped. (Two girls twirled two ropes while two other girls jumped in unison.) Fast forward sixty-five years to this week when I tried jumping rope again and I couldn’t propel myself up in the air more than a half inch off the floor! I was glad no one was around to see my feeble attempts. And I felt ashamed of myself for laughing in my head at Boxer Boy, a kid in his early twenties at the gym who wears a baggy hoodie with the hood pulled up over his head and so close around his face that no one could ever pick him out in a lineup. He couldn’t keep the rope going more than six-seven times before missing the rhythm. He’d alternate his jumping attempts with shadow boxing using five pound dumbbells and he must have been boxing with a pretend comic book character because his verbal sound effects echoed around the strength training room, “Wham!” “Bam!” “Pow!” 

This week my book club met and we discussed Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. With 531 pages, at first I dreaded reading it but it was easily polished off in a week because it was so good I couldn’t put it down. It was set during WWII when the Nazis occupy France. The two main characters were: 1) A blind French girl whose family took part in the Resistance by broadcasting coded messages to the Allies, and 2) a German boy who had a talent for working with the new-back-then radio technology and he was assigned to a unit that tracked down where the radio transmissions were coming from so they could be destroyed. Half the group didn’t finish the book but we still had an interesting discussion void any of the disagreements we’ve had with a few other books. And for the bonus round, I got a chocolate rabbit from the facilitator of the book club for having an April birthday. Even when I try to avoid them, temptations keep finding me!

I came home from book club to find a bouquet of flowers on my porch from my oldest niece. She is so thoughtful and loving, not just to me but to everyone. The arrangement has miniature pussy willows in it and I’m hoping I can root them to plant outside. We had them in our yard and at our cottage when I was growing up and if there is such a thing as comfort flowers (like comfort foods) pussy willows, lily of the valley and lilacs would be mine. All and all, the week ended so much better than it started and it’s not over yet. Friday I’m having lunch with friends I’ve known for nearly fifty years. They’re in town from out of state and I always feel honored when I’m included on their list of people to see while they’re here. ©

 
World Champions with Jump Ropes

30 comments:

  1. I applaud you for taking charge of your health. Have to say I see jumping rope as an excellent way for old people to fall and break something. Never would I attempt jumping rope at my age. Sounds like your social life is going pretty good now. Good for you. Hope you continue to lose those pesky extra pounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't feel unsafe to me. Not in the least. If your timing is off then the rope stops at your feet. None the less I won't be doing a lot of it because I don't imagine it's good for my fake knee joints. It was fun trying.

      Delete
  2. Skipping is wonderful exercise! But with weakened pelvic muscles, a bit difficult for me now.

    You have a FULL diary nowadays. I find that keeps the weight down, and the mind humming. The more you do, the more time expands, and vice versa. Side benefit is no time/inclination to snack (my personal killer).

    Happy Birthday! May this year bring you health, and peace. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Libby.

      I wish staying busy was all it took for me to get and keep the weight down. For me, there are more temptations that come with a busy life. Snacking at home I can control by not having the stuff in the house in the first place. Going out to lunch like I did yesterday, the diet goes out the window. No easy way for any of us, is there.

      Delete
  3. THAT is so true!!! It's the reason why I prefer to met friends over a 'walk' rather than a meal. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually thought about that for a fleeting moment yesterday. But aside from the fact that one of the guys uses a walker. However, the main reason is the people I met for lunch love to go to a place they've been going since high school. It's become our tradition while they're in town, and it's a good one. The stories and memories flow and it's so much fun.

      Delete
  4. But an occasional meal out (plus the dressing up involved) is nice. Unless my meal choice is grease laden, or inedible, both make me cross. Prefer lunch to coffee as I then don't have to cook. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never met anyone just for coffee but I sure go out for coffee by myself often enough. Starbucks calls my name.

      Delete
  5. I need to see the doctor for some blood work. He will probably be all over me about my weight. He'll tell me to lose weight, I'll agree (with head hanging down), and then DH will pick up a double meat, double cheese pizza for supper ... Good for you for losing the weight!
    Jumping rope - I'd probably fall on my face. My balance is so bad - another reason for the Dr. visit.
    The book sounds interesting.
    Can't watch the videos, maybe later when my internet speeds back up after my GB get back to normal. :-)
    How nice to get flowers. Good luck getting the pussy willows to take root! Have a good Easter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking that the pussy willows have been in cold storage too long to root. Those they cut for florists aren't treated the same as those they sell bare root. But I'm going to see if I can find some at the garden center.

      My balance has improved using the balance board. My bad balance isn't coming from my head, though, like some people's do. My ankles and feet are weak.

      Hope you (and everyone reading this) has a good Easter, too!

      Delete
  6. I think it's the extra weight from the metal in our knees and/or hips that keeps us from being able to jump! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jumping? Oh my gosh you are BRAVE! All I could think of is ouch, ouch, ouch with the bad knee!!!

    It will be exciting to get an "atta girl" from the Doc. I try to not disappoint mine as well. Hope to be down 10 lbs when I go for my May wellness exam.

    I prefer to meet for coffee so as to not be tempted. Eating out is HARD for me. Last night the family got pizza ... I took my apple to my room. But later came out and had a piece. It was insanely delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could not resist pizza! I don't get it often enough now that Don is gone.

      The coffee places around here have lots of tempting things with empty calories. We all have our will power challenges, don't we.

      Delete
  8. I got quite curious as you contemplated jumping rope. I remember a few years back trying to skip. Ah such a joyous way to move was skipping when we were young but it does not lie dormant like bike riding. Somethings just don't translate with age. I'm guessing jumping rope and skipping fall in the same category. Kudos for trying though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd think jumping would be the most natural thing in the world to do, wouldn't you. When you're a kid you just do it without thinking. Not turn when you get older and then we over think it! I honestly don't see it as a dangerous thing, though, unless you are skipping instead of jumping with the rope. I will try jumping again.

      Delete
  9. Those videos are amazing.

    I can't believe how you've thrown yourself into this exercise routine, and boy, are you realizing the benefits. Your doctor will be happy. I have to go for my 6-month visit on Tuesday.

    I'm with the elephants when it comes to jumping. I don't do it.

    I had a friend who was an incredible woman. She also worked in the French Resistance broadcasting coded messages to the Allies. We all called her Nona which means grandmother in Italian. That's what I chose for my grands to call me. I still miss her so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they amazing!I had a good time trying to pick out what videos to share. I had no idea that schools have jumping teams that compete.

      Your story about Nona was the kind of things that people shared in book club. A surprising number of the ladies knew survivors from the camps or the Resistance. You honor your friend in a very special way by having your grands call you Nona.

      Delete
  10. If I could jump rope like Nick Woodward, I'd be grinning all over myself at the end of the video. He seems superhuman!

    Does the Anthony Doerr book make you want to read more of him? Sometimes I find an author and I read everything they write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't he amazing! I can see why he's a champion jumper.

      Yes, I'd like to read more of Doerr's books. His research is wonderfully well done and he weaves it into the storyline so well you don't realize you're being educated. Plus his characters are not flat or one dimensional at all. He's a good student of people nature and what makes them tick.

      Delete
  11. I could never double Dutch jump when I was a kid! And it was always hard to get into the rope when others were turning on the ends! I had no problem jumping or skipping rope when I was turning, but I don't think I would try the jumping now!
    Amusingly I play with two other flutes every week and we play little trio pieces. Sometimes one of us doesn't come in on time. I am almost always reminded of jumping rope as a kid...it was simply hard to get it with the right timing!
    And yes, it was clothes line rope. I am amused at some of the independent things that we did like the game was over when the kid with the ball had to go home (or the girl with the rope!)
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember it taking me a long time to jump into the Double Dutch ropes, too. I'm the same way now about stepping onto escalators. It amuses me to see young adults jumping rope at the gym. It brings out the kid in me. I don't think they are of an age who ever did it as kids. It's just exercise for them.

      Delete
    2. All the Light was one of my all time books. Like you, I read it quickly. Too quickly. I hated when it was over. It's a book I'll definitely read again in a few years.

      Happy birthay, Jean!
      Peggy

      Delete
    3. That's the trouble with reading books in a book club---you have to turn the books back in. At least we do because we use the library's "book in a bag" program.

      Thanks! I was not looking forward to my birthday but it turned out good.

      Delete
  12. I remember how easy jumping rope was when I was younger, always a part of my boxing routine....would hate to try either now ha ha

    Keep it up I have a feeling you will master it soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try it again. It's definitely not as easy as it was when we were kids, but it's fun trying. Makes you feel silly.

      Delete
  13. Jump rope! I volunteer at my granddaughter's elementary school and at recess the 5th graders teach/supervise the little ones jumping rope where there is a kid on each end of the rope and one in the middle jumping to rhymes. They all wanted me to try. NO WAY! I was NOT going to fall and break my hip during recess. But it did get me reminiscing to my own childhood rope jumping days and how much I loved it. I may give it a try, in the privacy of my own home. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thinking jumping while someone else is turn would be far more dangerous than twirling your own rope. I honesty think it's pretty safe if your knees can take the jumping. It's was great remembering for me, too.

      Delete