Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I need an iPod, I thought as I pressed my hands against the tapestry chair and righted myself. I walked toward the door as I considered the songs I might feed the palm sized device. Surely it would take the drudgery out of my exercise. All I needed to do was make a run to Costco and pick up the latest version.  
 I  walked down my front steps, headed toward the beach and checked my starting time. My mind began to spin with the details. Once the I Pod was in hand, I needed to select the songs and download them. Yet sorting through six decades of my favorite songs might take considerable time. I could begin with the disheveled pile of CD’s stored in my closet. But WAIT! How does one download songs? How much time would it take to learn that? UGH! It can’t be too hard. I’m sure I can figure it out. And so my obsession kept spinning.

While engrossed in this self imposed mind static, I realized I passed a quarter mile of houses and gardens without even noticing. I turned around and glanced at the tree lined street. Then my attention shifted to the soft cushion of the sole of my shoe bearing down upon an inflexible concrete. I took a deep breath and continued my walk

Once I arrived at Ocean Avenue a decision presented itself.  I could stay on the street side and attend to the turn of the century homes and landscaping. Or I could cross now and take the sidewalk along the bluff’s edge and enjoy the view of the ocean. Maybe I should wait for the light to turn and head for the closest stairway. Then I could walk across the sand and actually stroll along the water’s edge. The last option seemed the most appealing.

Down the long stretch of steps that lay before me, my enthusiasm waned a bit. Everything has its price, I speculated “One must return from where one came.” Yet I pressed on. Once at the bottom, the sand gently receded with each step as I approached the water.

The slow rhythm of the oceans pull upon the shore was my reward. The contrast of enormous man made vessels waiting to be docked and unloaded buoyed by an expanse of water seemed remarkable. I looked toward the pier encircled by seagulls. Then I continued my walk dodging the debris washed upon the shore. At the same time, I searched for small treasures. Drift wood, bits of plastic, broken glass, tangled seaweed…

I glanced up. A man with a scrambled head of hair and disheveled clothes was approaching. He’s probably homeless, I imagined. My mood shifted. A certain sense of powerlessness overcomes me when I encounter the apparent suffering of those on the fringe. He was getting closer. I cringed. As he started to get closer, I heard a voice. Panic set in. Then he pointed his  finger at me animatedly saying. “Did you notice what a marvelous day it is? We’re lucky. They’re all marvelous” I broke out in a grin. “You’re right”, I replied. And he was gone at a pace much lighter and quicker than mine.

With his disappearance, my search for hidden treasures evaporated as I left the oceanside and headed home. Two joggers approached me on the right passing me by. Both were plugged in to their…yep….i Pods. I wondered if they had encountered the same man. And if they had, could they have heard him? I think not.
And what other pleasures would I have missed if I had been plugged in…the sound of the waves pulling against the shore, seagulls crying overhead and the voice of one seemingly lost soul pointing out the miracle of a  day…

Although I had the funds to purchase an i Pod upon my return, was it worth the price?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Opportunity often hides in strange packages.
Recently diagnosed with prediabetes, I spent the last several months processing the information. At first I blew it off thinking the test results were a fluke. I spent Thanksgiving freely eating sweets at whim.
Alcohol was a close buddy as I consumed several glasses as soon as the sun went down. And bread, my favorite, was a main stable. Yet I was forced to take a sobering view after receiving further results that my glucose level had raised even higher. So additional appointments with the doctor, nutritionist and many episodes of surfing the net, brought me closer to an understanding, it  ain’t a good diagnosis. But it might be reversible. Whew!
As one might expect, I became instantly motivated when reading it can lead to diabetes 2. That carries with it the potential for kidney disease, heart failure, high blood pressure and/or neuropathy. With the hair raised on the back of my neck, I fast forwarded to information outlining the ways to reverse it. . As my daughter, Christine, commented, “There’s nothing more motivating than fear.” Such wisdom.
So how do I dump this near nightmare?

It’s clear. I need to increase my exercise and drop 5%to 10% of my body weight. Exercise is key, since it allows free floating insulin to be absorbed by my muscles.
It also provides the added advantage of speeding up my efforts of discarding of the extra 40 pounds I added after high school. Belly fat accompanies and contributes to prediabetes. And, sure enough, my waistline is way past go. UGH! That requires ab abuse. So where am I going with this ramble? Hang in there.
With my head popping with new information, I rolled my bike out of the house and on to the porch. Clunking it down the steps and out to the street, I hopped on and headed toward the beach.
While keeping my balance, I noted my knees were behaving so I began to peddle
faster. Hmmm. Not bad. I kept a close watch on the oncoming traffic and the potential for car doors opening smack into me.
Arriving at Ocean Boulevard, I glided down the hill and out to the bike path.

Knees were still fine so I increased my effort. I pedaled, pumped. Then glided while glancing toward a calm deep blue sea. A serene sense of gratitude washed over me. Inhaling I quickened my pace as my heart pumped faster and stronger. I approached a turn in the path and headed toward platform directly across from the Queen Mary. Stopping for a drink, I parked my bike and stretched out on the grass and took my pulse. Yep! It was working.

After I sat up to watch the sunlight glisten and almost skid across the water.I took note. My connection with exertion and nature was long past due. I had almost forgotten what a unique cocktail they provide. I drank slowly. Then a couple approached me and asked that I take a picture. I snapped them as they posed capturing one small moment a reward for our brief encounter. I took note again. Time slowed.
I got back on my bike and headed home. The sun warmed my body. As I reached, Second Street, I tilted the bike swerving it from one side of the road to the other. A memory over powered me. I could almost hear the click, clickety, click of discarded playing cards clothes pinned to the spokes. An Ace of Spades? A Heart? Certainly not a Club. This felt too good.
Contentment settled in as I rounded the corner and approached my home. Maybe this predicament shook me out of my complacency and sent me straight into the path of opportunity. Not a bad rap.