Friday, February 10, 2012

Restarting Fitness For Net Energy Gain

Before we bought our house, we'd gotten into the habit of exercising almost daily. There was a gym (AllStar Fitness) very close to where Kris works, so we'd get up at O-God-Thirty and walk over there fore whatever class they were having. We got a nice mix of spinning, weightlifting (...under some cool name like "BodySculpting", but whatever!), and yoga. We were looking pretty good and feeling great! Also we made some good friends ... there's nothing like sweating and hurting just a little together!
The only real downside to buying a house is that we had to completely change our exercise routine. We tried to stay at the same place, but it just didn't work out; it made no sense to drive out of our way even though the classes were just as good. We soon found many excuses to take off a day or two, and then all of them.
Nature took its course: weight up, tone down, creaking increasing!
Recently, we restarted by joining the West Seattle YMCA. It's on the way to Kris' work and has classes early enough that she can get to work on time. It seems to be a nice bunch of people and the price is right. In fact, the price is so right that we can afford to chip in a little extra for scholarships; it just feels good to be a contributing member of our community!
We're starting slow and easy with yoga classes. Getting injured because we cranked up the weights too soon after a year or more off didn't seem smart. From the very first class, we felt better: looser, more energetic. We'll add some of the more intense stuff as we get back to trim, but at least we've started; as they say, half of life is just showing up!
I'm writing about this because this week's Change The World Wednesday Challenge is
"This week unplug your exercise routine by using no power. No treadmills, ellipticals, gyms, TV, music, or anything powered to assist in exercise. Make your workout Eco-friendly ... and, as always, let us know all about it."

This lead me to see that one minor benefit of our preferred exercises is that they are energy-efficient. Yoga, spinning and weights take no energy except our own - and I just don't like treadmills! I don't know whether it's because of the risk to being flung off when you put your foot where the belt meets the frame (yes, I've done this!), or  just because an endless treadmill is too much like a metaphor for life. I've stepped off the office treadmill, so why step back on at the gym?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Painting as A Pastime, by William Churchill

This delightful little treasure is worth acquiring if only for its 18 color plates of Churchill's watercolors, but it is the 32 pages of personal reflections of the value of the art as a means of relaxing from a stressful life that turn this into a small masterpiece in the area of self-help.
Those who have not read Churchill may not have realized that his masterful command of the English language makes his works very easy to read; this work shows him making thoughtful points so effortlessly that you don't realize how much practical wisdom you are swiftly absorbing. Churchill's life at the center of his century's great crises was at times very stressful, and in dominating his era, he developed a practical method of relaxation that may be helpful to the many of us who are interested only in mastering our own lives.
This is a very short read, and it will waste none of your time. His methods may or may not work for you, but you will be enriched for having learned them!
I completely enjoyed this book!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

R.I.P. Don Jones

Don's Truck
Don Jones was the first neighbor to greet us at the house we now own.  "You thinking to buy?" he asked, with his usual economy of words. He drew on his cigarette and said only, "Good house."
He was right. Don was reliable. When he made an estimate on a project, he stuck with it. Once he was installing some doors in our house and unforseeable factors turned it into a two-day job. He waved off any offer for more money (although he didn't turn down Kris' canned tomatoes; he's a character but he's not crazy.)
Don was a very good neighbor. When someone abandoned a stolen car on our block, he noticed; and his report to the police resulted in the owners getting it back before they themselves noticed it was gone.
Doing what he liked best

I admired Don's initiative with his mobile car repair business. He was going to replace the back-up light switch on my car as soon as I picked up the part. Someone else will drive his truck and eventually live in the house he kept so trim, but noone could replace him.

Don Jones (from FB)

A couple of weeks ago we heard Don had had a heart attack and a stroke. Characteristically, he was working on someone's car at the time. He came home after some time in the hospital, but the aid car was called a couple of days ago and he died the next day in the company of his brother and sister.
Rest well!