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Why Push-ups? a LeftBrain/RightBrain conversation

Sunday, May 05, 2013

I have a summertime goal to do 25 real military style push-ups. The reward for when I reach this goal will be to treat myself and a girlfriend ... who's on a minuscule budget and can't afford such treats - to an overnight mini-vacation at the beach. I'm a scant 100 miles from a great beach town. We'll go on a week day, so the crowds will be smaller, and pretend to be teenagers again.

To push myself harder - so this isn't just a pipe dream - I've actually told her about the treat. And I told her it was a reward for me reaching a private goal. Another spur to keep me working towards this goal is the time factor. We have to do it on a week when she doesn't have her kids. And I have to have an open space in my calendar at work. Summer is the busy season work, and though I have extra staff then too, it's tough (though not impossible) to get away between mid June and late August. The best week would be the first week of June - 4 short weeks away!!!

I'm not being fanatical about this ... just workin' at it. But the question remains ... Why push-ups? Why am I tying a desired treat that I could give myself anyway to some arbitrarily (well, maybe not so arbitrarily) selected physical activity?

Let's check in with the two Brains of Bess and see if they can shed some insight on this.

emoticonLeftBrainSchoolMarm So. What's with the push-ups? Why do you want to do 25 push-ups?

emoticonRightBrainWildChild I want to be strong strong strong. I want to soar!

emoticonLBSM Push-ups are hard.

emoticonRBWC I love them. I love hard. I am flying. I will look like Olga Korbut.

emoticonLBSM No you won't. She's blonde. and tiny.

emoticonRBWC I want to have strong muscles in my back and to stand up straight and not get a hump. I want to get rid of the back fat. I want to go neener neener neener to the 95 pound weakling/curled up old lady stereotypes. and I want to look hot hot hot.

emoticonLBSM (rolls eyes)

emoticonRBWC You want to too. you know you do.

emoticonLBSM Yes. I do too, but do you realize what it takes to do 25 guy push-ups? We have to lift a lot of weights and do a lot of other exercises. And why do you want to tie this to a trip to Virginia Beach?

emoticonRBWC hmm. well - because - going to the beach is an extravagance.

emoticonLBSM Since when did you shy away from extravagance?

emoticonRBWC It'll be hard to get away. We'll have to convince Himself that it's a good thing to do. He'll whine.

emoticonLBSM (laughs at the thought of Himself whining to WildChild)

emoticonRBWC And besides, otherwise we wouldn't go to the beach AT ALL this summer. I want to go to the beach. I'm willing to do the work to get you to agree that we can go. I'm willing to explain to Himself. I'm willing to do the exercises. I will do ANYTHING to go to the beach and play in the ocean and eat and swim and walk in the sand. And SHOP.

emoticonLBSM Wow. That's a huge concession from you. You really want both of these, don't you?

emoticonRBWC yes yes yes yes yes I want them both.

emoticonLBSM Well. Those seem like good healthy reasons. And it sounds like fun, too. I'm not all that interested in the push-up thing but I'd like to go to the beach.

emoticonRBWC You are SO lazy!

emoticonLBSM I am not lazy - I am measured.

emoticonRBWC Lazy. Chicken.

emoticonLBSM well, yeah. I am a little chicken.

emoticonRBWC You know you'll be glad we got this strong. You know it. Please please please. Figure it out.

emoticonLBSM Weh-ul. Okay. Then we need a plan. Because there's only a few weeks left till we're caught up in summer. In fact - we only have 4 weeks till June. That's 13 strength training days for doing push-ups. And we're only at 15 'real' push-ups. We'd have to add almost one a day to reach 25.

emoticonRBWC Can't we work out more days?

emoticonLBSM I don't think so. I don't know. Maybe. I'll ask W. the personal trainer. But I don't want to make a plan and a schedule and have you quit on me.

emoticonRBWC Pleeeeeeeeeease. I Promise I won't quit.

emoticonLBSM But I don't want to injure our body either. I am just not sure. Besides - we have never yet done a real, deep push-up. How do we know if what we're calling a push-up is a 'real' push-up?

emoticonRBWC We can ask W. the personal trainer.

emoticonLBSM hmmm. Yeah. We could ask that too. But how about we put it off till July. We could do it the week of July 14.

emoticonRBWC That's forever!

emoticonLBSM It is a long way off but ... it also gives us time to really reach the goal. Besides - the beach in hot hot hot July will be more welcome.

emoticonRBWC But it's not as pretty.

emoticonLBSM But it's more achievable. Besides - think how much you'll love jumping into the ocean on a sweltering hot July day. Think of how much fun it will be to walk Atlantic Ave. in the twilight. Deep Green Ocean Swells - salty sweet taffy. hmmmm.

emoticonRBWC Oh yeah. Yeah.

emoticonLBSM so you're okay with the July date? If you are ... I'll book the hotel room this week.

emoticonRBWC Oh! Really? Commit the money? Okay! I'm good with July.

emoticonLBSM We'll tell H this week then. So she can arrange to be off work. And we can put it in our work schedule too.

emoticonRBWC Yippeeee! I can't wait. I can't wait!

emoticonLBSM Well, I'm getting excited too. But remember - once we've made the reservation and scheduled with H there is A B S O L U T E L Y no going back on this. It's a total commitment.

emoticonRBWC I know. I promise. No whiny quitting.

emoticonLBSM Me too. No lazy quitting.

emoticon RBWC Thanks. I love you.

emoticon LBSM Welcome. I love you too.

So. There you have it. Why I've set a goal of 25 push-ups and tied it to a week day mini-vacation at the beach. I'll keep you posted - and of course - there will be photos of the beach. In July. When it's hot hot hot.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


LOL, this was very cute, and I hear your conviction! You can do it!

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LRSILVER 5/5/2013 3:49PM

    Great. Hope both brains get together and let you meet your goals.

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BARBARASDIET 5/5/2013 10:51AM

    I hope to be able to do pushups someday!

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MADEIT3 5/5/2013 10:33AM

    The person here who told you the best way to do push-ups is to do them - absolutely correct. As the mother and grandmother of career military men, let me add my two cents - you need to "drop and do five" - or ten, or twenty, or thirty - at least every couple of hours through the day. I'm not able to do a full military pushup at my age and physical condition (I live with the effects of two rotator curr injuries) but I push out against the wall five to ten times a day, ten time each go. So good luck to you. Good luck, and I can't wait to see you've achieved the goal!!!

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    Too cool, Bess!

I think it's great that you can/will reward yourself for achieving your goal. I'm too jealous!

Push-ups are a great exercise! I'm working on strengthening my back and triceps as well! Strong is good! We're on our way!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 5/5/2013 9:32AM

    You can do it. Great idea linking your goal to a reward. Great blog.

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WATERMELLEN 5/5/2013 9:28AM

    Sounds good to me! And: you'll only look hotter in your bathing suit when you've achieved this goal, right?? (So nice of you to treat your gf!!)

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EMMACORY 5/5/2013 8:48AM

    You are so brave!! I do wall push ups but not a military style one. You are one strong woman! I will be rooting for you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CASEYSAUER 5/5/2013 8:34AM

    After being in the military, I can tell you the best way to learn how to do the push-up......DO THE PUSH-UP. Sounds crazy but it works. I wish you luck. Do I still do the push up? OH NO! Never again, Not unless held at gun point and threatened with end of life!

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SANDICANE 5/5/2013 8:18AM

    My goal was to be able to do push ups too! I got down on the floor to do my first one and couldn't move...not a single part of me.

So I started on the wall.
After awhile I went back to the floor. ANY movement up and down counted as a pushup. Now I can do 30. I never try to do more than I try to go deeper and my goal is for my nose to be 1" off the floor on the "down" part, by the end of 2013. I never had all those funny conversations with myself that you did...they are VERY entertaining. You go girl! You GO! Enjoy every sweet victorious pushup!!!!


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Tools In My Kit

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The other day (in my quest for that bonus wheel spin emoticon ) I took the poll "Inspirational songs or sayings" I selected inspirational sayings. My own musical taste runs to classical or 17 and 18th century folk music or else other deeply ethnic music, none of which are trying to pump you up or challenge you with taunts about how much physical suffering you can do for the cause. No duh. that music was written when it was often hard - even impossible to get enough food to even stay alive.

anyway - I do love me some inspirational sayings and there are several that I've carried around with me on this journey. The first was a gift from my Weight Watcher leader and came last spring when I had been futzing around, sitting at the same weight for more months than I like to admit to. She told us that she did the same thing, dancing around those last 10 or 15 lbs, till her husband asked her one day "So. Do you plan on paying Weight Watcher's $10 a week for the rest of your life?"

That was a KaPow moment. Truth? If that was all I had to do to get and reach my goal, I would think $520 a year a cheap investment. If I could just buy weight loss I'd probably pay a lot more than that for it. I pay more than that for my satellite internet connection and I probably have paid that much for food I didn't eat that eventually went bad. So - No. I did not plan on being a perpetual paying member of Weight Watchers.

and of course, what he meant was ... if you are not going to walk the walk, perhaps you shouldn't lie about it. It was a gear shifting moment for me.

I've shared Tool #2 with you before but it's worthy of a second or even third repeating. It has to do with exercise and it's timely because in today's SparkPeopleBlog by Nicole she states (wrongly I think) that anyone who says they like the hard work of exercise is lying. It's not true. Well. It's not true in the way that blanket claims are never true. Had she qualified it with "most people ...." I'd have agreed. In my case, I LOVE exercise. But I often don't feel like making the shift - the change from what I'm already doing. One day while muttering to myself at the end of the work day about "Do I want to go to the gym? Do I want to go home? Do I? Don't I?" one of my staff walked by and said

"If you are asking yourself that question it means you NEED to go to the gym"

Oh My Goodness! Bulls Eye. Bingo.

How true that is. If I can't go to the gym, I already know it. Any Thing Else means I go to the gym. It's not up for discussion. Nothing else is an option. Either there is some compelling reason why I can't go to the gym or I go to the gym. I've never missed a gym date since he said that to me over a year ago. I don't even think about it. I kiss my husband every day. I pet my dogs every day. I brush my teeth twice a day. I go to the gym 4 days a week. period.

Today, one of my favorite Spark People bloggers, Pixilicious :

talked about boredom eating - one of my challenges. She said - next time you're prowling around the kitchen looking for "something" (a.k.a. ooey, gooey, I'm hungry whiny sugary, salty, whatever) to eat, ask yourself "Are you hungry enough to eat an apple?"

If you aren't, you probably aren't hungry anyway. You're bored, mad, tired, sad - you are something other than hungry. So don't try to fill an empty spiritual hole with tummy stuff.

But if you are hungry enough to eat an apple - follow her advice. "go get a big old apple".

Wow! Thanks Pixie - that tool is going into my kit!

Happy Thursday to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 5/3/2013 9:55AM

    Now that was an excellent blog. I particularly like the last tool. are you hungry enough to eat an apple?...makes you realize that if you are..then it might be normal hunger. If you are not..then it is emotional eating.


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MSLZZY 5/3/2013 9:29AM

    I packed an apple today. Guess I should eat it LOL!

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TORTISE110 5/2/2013 8:11AM

    Enjoyed this!

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NANNABLACK 5/2/2013 7:30AM


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ELRIDDICK 5/2/2013 7:01AM

  Thanks for sharing

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LRSILVER 5/2/2013 7:01AM

    Great blog. Great advice. emoticon

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Active Saturday!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I wear a Weight Watchers Active Link. I love it because it helps me remember to "Git up offit" as my next door neighbor used to say. Not to me, of course. He was an ancient gentlemanly farmer and would never speak to a woman that way - but he used to say it to Himself and it always made me laugh.

anyway - I really did Git-up-offit yesterday. Saturday is usually house cleaning day around here anyway but I had to go into town before I jumped in on the routine stuff - and if I'm in town on a Saturday I am going to go to the gym. The plan was 30 minutes of aerobics and 30 of weights but there was a zumba class that I've always wished I could take ... just getting started. So instead I got in about 20 minutes of weight lifting (20 pound dumbells - YAY me! - and 13 pushups!) and then danced for an hour.

I'm not sure I'm going to go back because I tend to flop around a lot when I'm dancing and I have a bad spot in my neck and in my lower spine ... and Zumba is a very shimmying sort of activity. I may be to fragile for it. I had a little dizziness for a few hours after the class and I know that's a sign that the neck vertebrae were pinching a nerve. I have to be careful with elliptical machines for the same reason.

And worry not - my doctor is fully aware of this backbone of mine. We've just decided that as long as I can manage it without surgery we will just watch it like a hawk.

but the class was fun and full of women I know who are delightful people. the teacher is adorable - in her 50's - a high school teacher with a twinkle in her eye. And that's how I started my day.

It continued with a major house clean. I can sometimes live with skipping the usual Saturday jobs for a week by not looking at the dirt - especially if I know I'm going to be away like I was last week. But 2 weeks? not. I live in the country. I live on the east end of a farm (blowing dirt from plowed fields goes with the prevailing weather patterns - west to east). I have dogs. I have guys. I have dirt. A full house clean is worth a lot of activity points!

and when it was all done, Himself asked me to join him on a 2 mile walk. Woo woo. By the end of the day I'd earned 9 activity points ... which, according to Wikipedia, is 900 extra calories burned over and above the normal calorie baseline.

This is good. this is very good since I know that this week I've indulged in Restaurant Fare, Belgian Chocolates, and conference meals.

Today I'll be active, of course, but I'm not planning on it being a 9 pointer. I have 3 boxes of daffodils to plant - dug from an old 17th century back yard - not that these are all 17th century daffodils - probably they're no more than 75 years old but there are a lot of them and they're headed for the lane that leads up to my house. It's a 1/10th of a mile stretch that gets afternoon sunshine and filtered morning light. In the springtime it's spectacular - but there are gaps - and right now I can see where they are. I shall be diggin' in the dirt for hours this afternoon.

May your Sunday be blessed with all the love in the world. And daffodils.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/29/2013 7:19AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLITT62 4/29/2013 5:15AM

    I'm really not a good housekeeper - I really just don't enjoy cleaning - how that is a stress buster for some people is just beyond me! But it's funny, I will make the effort to clean more before a trip so I can not clean when I come home!

Too bad zumba didn't agree with your neck, cause it's fun & a great workout!

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LRSILVER 4/29/2013 4:49AM

    Sounds like a great day.

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KANOE10 4/28/2013 8:55AM

    What a great active day. emoticon Enjoy your daffodils!


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You are a busy bee! Hope your back is feeling a bit better today.

Wishing you blessings as well. emoticon

Sunny emoticon

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Sumer Is Icumen In

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I always thought it meant summer is on it's way but according to wikipedia - it means it's already here.

Modern English
Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow
And the wood springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the stag farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing,
Don't ever you stop now,
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

Either way, I'm ready for it - tired of this cool weather, I want to swim in the rivah!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LRSILVER 4/26/2013 6:51AM

    I cant wait for warm weather.

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MSLZZY 4/25/2013 10:14AM


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KANOE10 4/25/2013 9:05AM

    I am tired of this cool weather and stilly layering up. I want warm days also, Great poem.

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Feeling Rich

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'll admit it. I love to spin the spark points bonus wheel. emoticon Every day I fool around earning points just so I hit the 25 mark and get that second chance. I can't even tell you why it's so much fun since I have an ancient computer and sort of slow satellite Internet service. It's really not like spinning a real wheel. Here at home the wheel sort of jerks around like someone spilled jelly on the gears. But I still love doing it. It's like finding money.

Goofy, I know.

Today is Hump Day - which usually means Story Hour Day for me. I still do the Wed. pre-school story hour - just about the only public thing I regularly do any more since I have so much good public service staff. They don't need me for that and they do need me to be doing Other Things in the back room. But I seriously heart those little wide eyed chaotic loving wee ones. We have a little ritual too - when it comes to craft time. I keep the crayons all mixed together in a shoe box. When I pull it out I ask them "And what does Mrs. Haile like best about crayons?"

they all shout "The THMELL!"

And then we all get to sniff the box. I really do love the crayon scent - so much that I asked for a bottle of crayon perfume for my birthday (asked my son - Sons always give their mothers what they ask for)

I keep this at the library and any child who wants a spritz on his wrist gets one. Very waxy scented library on Wednesdays.

then I ask them "And what do I like Second Best about crayons?"

And they shout "The SOUND!"

and then I slowly pour the entire box on the table, letting the rattle fill the room. And then we all put our hands in the big heap of color sticks and spread them out so everyone can enjoy them, while I remind them that when I see So Much Color I feel So Rich - as if there was everything you ever needed to make the world beautiful.

Rituals are wonderful for children. Kids love to feel like they are catching up with us grown-ups so when they can remember something they feel like they're part of the team. and a ritual very quickly becomes something they remember. This ritual is something they love and expect and get every week. It makes them feel like they're going in the right direction.

I also think it is important for all of us to feel rich. Most of the sorrow in the world (I humbly claim) seems to stem from a feeling of lack - from thinking there's not enough to go around. At a library - there are so many books - so many choices - enough to feel as rich as a king ... or a queen. It's the same with a big box of crayons. And as one of the first lessons in life - I love teaching little kids that there's not only enough - there's enough for EVERYONE to feel RICH!

Huh - So. I never know where a blog is going to go when I start typing. Who knew I'd wander into story hour today. Ah well. Happy Hump Day to you. May you feel RICH!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 4/25/2013 7:54AM

    "Most of the sorrow in the world (I humbly claim) seems to stem from a feeling of lack - from thinking there's not enough to go around"

I agree.

The question remains how do you change that?

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MKELLY72 4/24/2013 1:11PM

    What a great story!! My best friend and I used to color together as high school students (and beyond) and the smell is something we still talk about loving!! I will have to see if I can find that for her! Fabulous!

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GETULLY 4/24/2013 9:51AM

    What a great story! Thank you for sharing. I, too, get a rush spinning the bonus wheel.

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KANOE10 4/24/2013 8:06AM

    Nice blog. I teach young kids and love to see them happy and learning. You sound like you are doing a great job with your pre-schoolers.

Have a wonderful rich day.

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    Great attitude! Thanks for sharing the concept of feeling is so much more than having a certain amount of money. Very few people understand this, it seems to me.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/24/2013 7:45AM

    I also push for that 2nd spin every day. I have slow satellite Internet service too.
Crayon perfume? Never would have guessed that. Nice blog!

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NANNABLACK 4/24/2013 7:12AM


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