It’s good to bend every once in awhile

OM, computer generated image - Png file, Atten...

I’m about as inflexible physically as they come, some people might say I’m inflexible personality wise as well but that’s a topic for another day!

Even though I walk 2 miles daily, and occasionally run, I still have extremely tight leg muscles which have started to cause me some real problems as I’ve gotten older. Last fall after raking leaves for several hours I started having back twinges, which turned in to extreme leg pain. I finally ended up limping off to the doctor when I could barely walk after flying home last Thanksgiving. It was bad.

The diagnosis was sciatica and I was given a dose of steroids, which were marvelous but really only a temporary fix. Let me digress for one minute here. Has anyone else ever taken steroids? It was my first experience with them and I must say they were energizing! It was like Samantha from the old Bewitched TV series had twitched her nose and put me in hyper speed! I was cleaning, organizing, fully animated! When I told this to the Doc when I went back in she told me when she was on them she got 3 speeding tickets!!

Anyhoo, once the dosage was over my pain returned, so I was then sent to physical therapy which is what finally helped me recover. What a long haul just for raking a few piles of leaves! That’ll teach me!

What I learned in physical therapy has continued to be helpful by giving me some exercises to strengthen my core and and attempt to stretch my leg muscles, but honestly my legs are still very tight. So just recently I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and try something new, so yoga it was.

dog_yoga

Now I knew next to nothing about what to expect when I went to my first class. This was probably a bad thing because I was totally taken aback by the “new-ageness” of it all, and really had to fight the urge not to giggle, but I’ve found after going for the last few months, and becoming used to the routine, that I really enjoy it and look forward to class. I’ve only taken Gentle Yoga and Restorative Yoga, because I am in no way ready to twist into complex pretzel shapes, but I have noticed a bit of a difference in my flexibility, and, not to sound like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, but I do feel a little bit zen at the end of class!

~~namaste~~

an aside:

At the end of my first class, when the teacher had us place our hands together in front of our hearts, bend our heads and say “namaste”, my shoulders were quaking with laughter because all I could think of was when Hurley and the gang from LOST went back to 1977 and became new recruits for the Dharma Initiative. 🙂

DHARMA new recruit photograph

DHARMA new recruit photograph (Photo credit: gluetree)

My New Exercise Toy!

A few blog posts ago I mentioned that I had a bout with sciatica pain. Part of my treatment was to go to a Physical Therapist twice weekly to get some soft tissue massage (terrific!), get hooked up to a machine for some electric stimulation, and learn some exercises to strengthen my core and stretch my leg muscles.

It was amazing how much the therapy helped and I can tell a big difference in my core by the very simple exercises I was taught. One of the tools I used to help with my exercises is something invented my Joseph Pilate called the Magic Circle. I am not much of a gym rat or a group exercise buff, so I am kind of out of the loop on things like Yoga, Zumba and Pilates, so if you’re already familiar with this piece of equipment I apologize, but for me it is a revelation!  It’s amazing how something so simple can gently help strengthen and increase the flexibility of so many muscles.

So since my PT was coming to an end, and I still can’t really return yet to an all out exercise program, I decided to buy myself a little after Christmas treat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Magic Circle arrived today and I eagerly took it out of the box and did some exercises right away. I think anything that gets me this excited about exercising was well worth the $25 I spent on it!

So like any new convert I wanted to spread the news of my discovery,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

but not everyone in our household is as exciting as I am!

Twas the season!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I was lucky enough to be able to stay home and have the celebration come to me, which is always a win win in my opinion, but for a while at the beginning of the month it was a bit touch and go on whether I would be able to wave my magic Christmas wand (yes, I have one of those, don’t you know!) and get the house tinseled and sugar plumed in time for Santa’s visit on the 24th.

santa claus

I was not only suffering from extreme sciatica nerve pain that was making it difficult for me to walk, sit or stand (this doesn’t leave many options, does it?), but my unlucky number came up and I was assigned Federal Jury duty for the two weeks right before Christmas.

I don’t know if anyone else has ever been picked for Federal Jury duty, but it’s a lot different from getting picked for County Jury duty. For County duty you call the night before the day you are to report and either get a recording telling you to come in the next day to see if you’re needed on a jury, or the recording tells you that your off the hook and your done. Federal duty is a two-week commitment and, depending on where you live, a bit of a journey.

In my case I was assigned to the Federal Courthouse in Chicago, which is not the easiest place to get to by 8:30 AM during rush hour! For the two weeks of service, you are required to call every night to see if you are needed the next day. I can tell you that each night I made that phone call I was crossing my fingers and saying a little prayer hoping they wouldn’t need me, but of course I couldn’t be that lucky!  So, the very first day I had to take my gimpy, sciatica pained leg, on the train and wait with another 100 people to see if we would serve on a jury. That first day I was grouped with 19 people to be interviewed for a jury, but I wasn’t picked and I got to go home by 1:00 PM., and my luck continued to hold for the rest of that first week, as night after night I called in and was told I wasn’t needed for the next day.

But then Monday, December 17th came and I was again required to take the train into Chicago and await my fate in the jury room with my fellow lucky ducks. Something was a bit different this time though, as there were a lot less of us than the previous Monday, in fact when I counted there were only 27 people. Ruh Roh, it looked my odds of a Jury assignment had suddenly gotten a lot higher! First they called 20 names to head to the courtroom, of course one was mine, then came the interview by the judge, and then lastly the selection of the 10 jurors. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, that I was picked. Oh lucky me!  One week before Christmas and chosen to serve on a Federal Jury, in downtown Chicago in the winter, with sciatic nerve pain!

"Gentlemen of the Jury, I have the painfu...

I was a bit nervous, because immediately after the jury was picked, we were sworn in, taken to our new “home” (a small jury room behind the courtroom), given a few instructions, then taken back to the courtroom and the case began! No time to catch your breath that’s for sure.  I don’t want to get into the particulars of the case, but we were informed that the trial wasn’t expected to go for more than three days, so even though I felt like I had lost control of my time, I was relieved that it was for just a short amount of time. I can’t even imagine getting assigned to a trial that lasts for weeks and weeks!

I was also blessed with a really nice group of fellow jurors. After three full days together (we were done by Wednesday afternoon), you get to know each other pretty darn well. We spent a lot of time waiting in our “home”, and since we couldn’t talk about the trial, we got to know a lot about each other. There were even a few promises of trying to ‘keep in touch’, I’m not sure if that will happen, but it just shows you that there is real bond formed when you experience jury duty together!

So, to make a long story longer, I did manage to survive Jury Duty with sciatica pain (which is almost gone thanks to physical therapy), get all my shopping, baking, wrapping and cooking done and best of all have my whole family here for Christmas!!

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

2013