Bob and Kat retired in January 2008 and moved from North Dakota to a middle-class Minneapolis exurb, Buffalo, a couple summers ago. I've gone to see them 4 or 5 times since, and admit that it was on this most recent visit that, in my opinion, they've finally settled into the groove of the thing. A personal friendship with nearly every person at their church. Serious mileage on the sedans they drive to see my nephew, my sisters, my Grandma, their old ND friends in neighboring towns, and theater and concerts downtown.
Enough to do but not too much to do. Comfort with not doing too much.
(I came up for breakfast at 7:30 Sunday morning to find them sitting across from each other at the kitchen table, coffee mugs in hand, eating cereal with sliced bananas, Star Tribune spread between, not talking. Serenity personified.)
Of particular pride to all who know Dad is his gig singing baritone with the Apollo Male Chorus -- one of the oldest continually performing men's groups in the US. For someone relaxing, he spends a lot of time memorizing music. Wicked fun to see him looking sharp Sunday afternoon in concert, here (below, in white beard) belting out "Oh, Susannah!"
Maybe they were just glad to see me and their mood reflected it. But I thought Bob and Kat seemed as well as I've seen them in years. When I saw my sister, Missy, the next day, I asked if she agreed ... and she did. She reminded me that 6 weeks ago, Dad joined a YMCA and, since then, has been going to Silver Sneakers exercise classes and walking the treadmill 20 minutes at a pop. Hates to miss a class if he can help it.
"I really think that exercise has given him new energy," she said. "Think of how that feels when you're really active and you feel good about yourself."Dad has for the last 2 years been more sedentary than not. This is a good thing. I have faith in Missy's theory.
I also like how it feels to be energized. Yet, I've been so tired since the early part of April that I haven't felt that good about myself. (And obviously haven't felt like blogging, as you might tell.) I miss that energy. I miss feeling good.
The Budapest Challenge unveiled on Tuesday is my effort to jump start myself back from (my self-defined) energy oblivion. Weight-loss edicts of that magnitude force me to stop eating peanut butter by the half-jar and get out and move, no matter what. Really wanting to look good in a bikini not just for y'all, but for me (it does indeed feel good to rock the 2-piece at the beach) is more incentive.
Part of my strategy is, indeed, re-enrolling in Weight Watchers for portion control. Second part is biking a minimum 5 miles a day (easy enough when I make it my commute). Yoga in my living room is on tap to start after Mother's Day. Running several times a week will continue. And yesterday I began the daily noon-hour half-hour power walk. (3 WW exercise points!)
Today I did just that, heading out onto Stuart Street and around the Common and back down Comm Ave's grand boulevard to Dartmouth Street. Awesome. At 3:30 p.m. it was 75, breezy, and partly cloudy. The Public Garden ripe with tulips. Pedestrians strolling, not striding, around me. Sun on my bare shoulders. Legs .... energized. As was I, who got back to the office and ripped off my last 2 hours of Schwab paperwork like it was breathing.
Hopefully, this energy is the start of a trend.
Thanks, Dad, for the inspiration.