Monday, March 23, 2009

Budding Into Existence

My, some times it’s so cold in March you're tempted ask the weather, “Hey don’t you get it, spring is here”? But despite the cold, I can still feel spring in the air. I see it all around me as the colors appear in my own front yard. I have some evergreen Vinca ground cover and it blooms tiny, little, five petal, purple flowers that seem to indicate, it won’t be too long now. There’s that Harbinger of spring, my puny, little, Forsythia with bright, yellow blooms on it. And of course I have my favorite of all time, a pink herbaceous Peony. Right now the only sign of the impending peony is a strange, dusty, burgandy bud. Yes, that’s the the weird looking thing in the picture above. My peonies are show-stoppers! They’re pink, one my favorite colors. And every year I wait for them to strut their stuff. They stop even the busiest person in their tracks to admire both their size and their beauty.

There's a flowering tree called a redbud a.k.a. Cercis canadensis in my yard. Unfortunately, that’s getting cut down this year. It’s just too big for the space. When I originally placed my order, I ordered a miniature, called Cercis Covey a rare, weeping, redbud which grows no higher than 5 feet. But I didn't check my invoice thoroughly enough. It said redbud, so I assumed they had sent me what I had ordered. They sent me the right species but the wrong genus. So each year it just gets wider and taller. I have one neighbor in particular who complains about this. It can grow up to 20 feet high and 40 feet wide! Way too big. The redbud only blooms for about three weeks, but man is it a beauty! The moment you turn onto my block you see pink in the sky and you wonder, “What is that pink vision in the sky”? But right now it has these tiny hard buds that look like pointed, purplish-red, peas.

There’s also some Helleborus out there. What a trip those flowers are! First they take three years to bloom and then the only thing you see is the tops of their heads. They droop. So you have to bend down and lift their faces, as if they were drunk or something to see their beauty. I bought them because they were on the cover of the catalog and they looked so exotic. They’re also shade lovers so when everything is in its glory, full and blooming, they’re literally hidden. But hey, that’s how it is sometimes in life; you have to go in search of beauty. The blessing is, it’s always there for those who seek it.

Last but certainly not least in my tiny yard is a Spiraea Japonica Shibori. That makes three Asian native plants, in my tiny front garden. Did you just notice that it went form being a yard to a garden? Anyway, this shrub has puffy, powdery looking flowers that bloom all summer if they have enough sun and light. But because of the size of redbud, my sunny garden has been turned into a shade garden and the Japonica suffers. Not good! What’s good for shade loving plants does not apply to what sun-loving plants prefer. Even my window boxes had been suffering until I realized that because of the tree shading the windowsills, I had to switch over to shade plants for the window boxes. Back when the tree was small and you could still see my window boxes, I did win awards two years in a row from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. That was really special.

It’s all good. I love the buds; they give me hope that despite climate change and weather debacles, some things remain the same. Come Spring, coy and innocuous little buds bloom into beautiful flowers. Ahhh spring!

Making My Way Back

It’s been 15 days since my fall in streets of Manhattan and today I feel better than I have in the last fifteen days. Walking around is no longer a painful experience. My ribs had been extremely painful since that fateful night. When I finally made it to the hospital two days after my fall, the Physician’s Assistant informed me that the only treatment for broken, fractured or bruised ribs are pain killers and time, all I could do was wait patiently for recovery. As anyone who knows me can tell you, patience is not my strong suit.

I did have some help along the way. First there was the outpouring of concern and encouragement from friends, which felt like a soothing balm to my spirit. Thank you so much to all of you who emailed or called to comfort me, I sincerely appreciate it. And did I mention help from my Honey Bunny...

The other means of remedy that I incorporated were Rescue Homeopathic Remedy, and with that it only took three to four days for me to fully recover from the shock and trauma. What a magnificent remedy to always have around. Another remedy I took on a regular basis was Arnica Homeopathic Remedy. Both of these natural remedies were very helpful. In addition, I popped
some Advil when it got unbearable, I can’t deny that. I continued to go to work every day, like so many others do everyday, in pain. Most of the pain now is primarily in the morning. I guess because as we sleep our bodies get a little stiff from inactivity. Once we get going, everything warms up and the pain can begin to subside. I’m slowly getting some aerobics in on stationary bikes.

When I consider the consequence of Natasha Richardson’s fatal fall, I realize how very lucky I am, it could have been so much worse; worse in ways I do not like to even imagine. Like when my friend Ruth told me how bad it could have been had I hit my face and all my teeth could have gone flying out my mouth! Crazy lucky I am!

Still there’s the realty of Natasha Richardson. I didn’t know her that well, really not at all; like most , I just admired her acting and thought often of her mother , Vanessa Redgrave when I saw Natasha performing her craft. I always felt Natasha’s voice sounded like some different kind of music, husky and rich. My heart goes out to her and her family. I am a fan of her mother’s work and it’s said, that one of the greatest pains in life, is burying your own child…

So again, I’m know I am very blessed and I would like to say again, Thank you to all those who sent their blessings my way. I’m on my way back to 1oo%. Thank you!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dreaming of a Kindle

I have been thinking about a Kindle (electronic reading device) since it first came out, I guess about two years ago. I saw the Amazon video featuring Toni Morrison on how she uses and appreciates the Kindle. Or was that just an ad? I can imagine for an author and a voracious reader as Toni, a Kindle makes a lot of sense. Imagine her toting ten books along with her on overseas journeys or she could just bring along one little Kindle on which she can store thousands of books.

One reason I didn’t immediately purchase a Kindle is I’ve been waiting for the price to come down. But now there’s the Kindle 2, the updated version that even reads to you and is about $50.00 less than the original version. You could use the speaking option when you’re driving or when your eyes are just too tired to read. I’ve also been trying to figure out how I feel about reading books on an electronic device? My friend Sujatha, is the only person I know of who has a Kindle and she really likes it.

When Oprah mentioned that you could look up a word instantly on a Kindle, that idea really appealed to me. I also like the fact that you can download a book from anywhere in less than 60 seconds. I almost convinced an elder who is an avid reader to consider the Kindle. She was sold on the idea at first. But she thought that the books downloaded for free. When she found out she had to pay $9.99 for each book download, she was no longer interested. She just recently gave into the idea of using the Internet and is intrigued with her new hobby of purchasing used books on Amazon for a fraction of their original cost. But I'm convinced that she will eventually cross over to a Kindle.

But hey, I’m not trying to sell you a Kindle; I’m actually trying to get one myself. So I just want to know what do you think about the idea? Do you have a Kindle? Have you considered getting one? Do you have a romantic relationship with dusty old books and can’t imagine cuddling up to an electronic book? Tell me your thoughts.

A bit of a set back

As you guys know, there’s nothing like setting a concrete goal for yourself and then having some event beyond your control come along and derail your intentions or at least your time line. That is what happened to me this weekend. I had a goal of doing 90 days of P90X because by the beginning of the summer I wanted to be able to fit easily in my colorful summer clothes and not look like it was a struggle to get them on.

Saturday night I was in mid-town Manhattan, off to meet up for dinner with a couple of wonderful Sisters I had met at the Landmark Forum. As I was crossing the street, I literally went from being up right to being face down in the middle of the street. The concept of a "slap down" took on a whole new meaning for me. I mean usually when you’re falling it kind of happens in slow motion. You see and feel yourself falling and all kinds of thoughts are going through your head about how you don’t want to fall, how can you break the fall etc.

I didn’t have that luxury. I was walking kind of briskly and the next thing I knew I was lifting my head up off the street to see if any cars were coming at me. It was amazing, it was like a movie set. Because there I was, in middle of the street, 8th Avenue in NYC on a Saturday night (8:30 pm) two blocks from Madison Square Garden, Port Authority, and not one car was headed in my direction as I lay splattered in the middle of the street. It had to be an act of divine intervention; had to be! BTW, I tripped when my foot got tangled up in my baggy legged pants… I didn't have on my MBT's. I was trying to look light and airy that day, so I had on a pair of Puma's instead. I keep wondering if I had had on my MBT's (the AntiShoe)if this would have never happened???

You know how it is when you fall in public and you immediately jump up thinking if I get up fast enough, I can minimize my embarrassment by pretending that I didn’t really fall, and that no one saw me fall and we can all pretend like it really didn’t happen. Well I was so utterly stunned, I mean seriously in shock and in so much pain I couldn’t make that leap up. I laid there looking towards the direction of the “should be on coming traffic”. I was thinking all the while though, I’m in so much pain and this is so shocking, I wish I could just lay here for at least five minutes or until the ambulance arrives. But at the same time, I began peeling myself up off the asphalt.

Finally one of the oblivious New Yorkers started coming towards me, a young man asking if I was okay. I was moving in slow motion as the pain was wracking my body, but still he wasn’t moving fast enough to help me up. It was as though he didn’t want to get to close, not close enough to actually give me a hand. He’s a New Yorker, he’s got to keep his distance, I guess??? I made it up and across the street, still no cars. That was weird!

It felt as though the majority of the impact happened in my left breast, as if my left breast had imploded. But when I put my hand in my bra it was still in tact. Long story short, no long story long I didn’t make to the hospital until today (day and a half later). Rocky suggested that my breast probably didn’t implode but that my ribs were possibly fractured. The Physicians assistant at the hospital told me that my ribs were probably just bruised. And even if they were broken, the treatment is the same, pain killers is all they could do for me.

My breast hurts, my ribs hurt especially when I move forward to get up or backwards to lay down. My back hurts, my left wrist, and my right fingers and my left knee has a knot of pain on it. In addition, I am short of breath especially after climbing the stairs. All this to say, “P90X” will have to wait but hopefully no longer than a week. I’m considering this little set back a test of my determination. I will be getting back to my P90X ASAP. I miss it already. Rocky is continuing to do it. He’s actually fascinated by the program. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The P90X Challenge

I have been exercising all my adult life. But my weight has been inching up little by little despite the fact that I was going to the “Y” three times a week. Over the years I’ve done a number of things to stay fit. In my college days I used to jog and somehow wreaked my knees. So I moved into power walking and bicycling. During the cold months I either belonged to a gym or workout at home with videotapes and then DVDs. Throughout all this I continued to practice my yoga on alternate days.

Since the weight has become an issue despite my efforts I decided to ratchet it up a notch or two. A client told me her transformation was due to the DVD series called P90X (a.k.a. BEACH BODY). I less concerned about having a beach body. My interest is to be able to continue to wear the clothes I already have in my wardrobe! So I ordered P90X. It was either that or hire a personal trainer (which wasn’t fitting into the budget).

Apparently, P90X is for those who are already in tip-top shape and just want to pop it up to the top level. As I was reading the “Read This First” manual", (of course I hadn't read it first) it stated the best way to do P90X was to first complete one of their other series. Well good to know, after I’ve already spent my money. The website didn’t say that! Apparently, you’re supposed to start with P90 or Slim or any of their other programs, first.

I decided to go forward with what I already ordered. The premise of the program is built around the idea of muscle confusion. Let me tell you I was so worn out, after the second day, the muscle that was most confused was the one between my ears! There are 12 different DVDs and you do one each day in sequential order. You have one day off a week. After 90 days you’re either transformed, you’ve died or you’ve quit. Well the only option for me is transformation. I’m settling for nothing less. I’ve been actually making it through these workouts. During the sessions they do remind you to take breaks as you need them and use the size weight that will allow you to build muscle and have good form throughout. In other words, "don't over do it"! So with that and not allowing your ego to get the best of you, you can make it through.

The thing that had me wondering publicly whether anyone had died from doing P90X (I asked this on my Face Book page) is the segment called Plyometrics (jump training). Oh my God! It was so intense! But the thing was it was so much fun to do. It’s all these weird football training kind of moves. My heart was pumping so loud; I could hear it in my ears. So after each exercise I would put the pause button on, wait until my heart rate went back down and got back with it. I am loving the challenge, the simple but effective and very unique moves.

The other part of this is diet. They offer two manuals, which are pretty informative. One is all about a recommended diet. You don’t have to follow it, but you definitely have to make sure you’re getting the recommended nutritional requirements to keep up with this program. You’ll need to be ingesting plenty of protein and supplements. Of course they bombard you with advertisements about their protein drink and energy bars etc. I’ve decided I’m not buying any of their products at this time.

Before you begin P90X you’re suppose to take your measurements, take your resting heart beat, take your BEFORE photos. Then after ninety days you have something to compare it to. If I’m still alive I’ll let you guys know it goes. I’ll check back in at the 30-day mark. Check out some funny video about this on Google.