Apr 30, 2007

Birds, bulges and benches

Yes, another four days since I last posted. Here's why:

SATURDAY: "Dawn's at 5:45 am. I'll pick you up at 5 am." So I got up at 4:30-ish, starting making the coffee for the thermos and gathering the breakfast sandwiches I had made the evening before, dressed warmly, stuffed a small rucksack and grabbed my camera. At 5:05 am, my friend Torleif and I drove to a recreational area I have written about before on my homepages: Kvarven.

The moment we exited the car, we were met by a wall of sound, created by dozens and dozens of songbirds. Torleif has been birdwatching since he was a boy and could single out each individual specie's characteristic song. I realized that I know birdsong like I know flowers: Rose, dandelion, everything else - crow, great tit, everything else. But it was an amazing experience, to be washed with all that chirping. Immediately, we starting trying to find the singers themselves, sometimes spotting one in the top of a tree.

We got to the spot we had picnicked at the last time we were here birdwatching, and ate breakfast, enjoying the vista way out to the North Sea and back to our own local fjord. There were some fog clouds delaying the sunrise a bit as it rose up behind the eastern mountain range that shelters Bergen's bay, but once it was up, so were we.

The last time, Torleif had heard the call of a black grouse and we headed off in that general direction, and were rewarded with seeing the bird perched on top of the radio mast inside the old military site, still fenced in and off limits. Kvarven is still military. This year, we headed up that same path, hoping to spot the grouse, but we didn't even hear him. We decided to follow the path that skirts the fence. One reason Norwegian scenery is so lush is because it's so wet; our path went through marshy parts and after jumping several puddles, we were wondering about turning back, but I saw the trail rising and figured it would dry out so we forged ahead a bit more.

And came to a vista neither of us was expecting. We sat down and gazed at untouched landscape, wild, hidden and gorgeous, for quite some time. We could hear the muted hum of traffic from the highway just on the other side of the western ridge, but not enough to ruin the illusion of having the world to ourselves.

Finally, around 9 am, we turned around and went back, running into another hiker. I spent the rest of the day happy, but feeling tired like I'd been partying all night. I did end up falling asleep on the couch for a while in the afternoon.

SUNDAY: A glorious day. Clear skies, sunshine, hardly any breeze: T-shirts and shorts weather (if you didn't stand still in the shade). I was getting dressed and opened a package with new panties in my size. Or so I thought. To my shock, the panties were a snug fit. I then spent a while reading a diet book I had bought about a year-and-a-half earlier, weighing myself and measuring my waist and hips. Not good. According to my BMI, I am now overweight, my ideal weight was over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) ago, and my waist-to-hip ratio is now dangerous, as in I have too much around my middle. So I got ideas for dishes to cook (for some reason, they struck me as far tastier now than back when I bought the book) and grabbed my pedometer and went for a walk in the sunshine.

I do not want to go up another clothes size. I have to get my waistline back. But this is all foreign to me. I have always been skinny and when I first started gaining weight (as I entered peri-menopause), I had feminine curves for the first time in my life. I didn't mind. But the pounds kept creeping up on me. I sit around a lot more than I used to...ahem...blog. And they say getting rid of excess weight after menopause is harder than before, so here goes. For the first time in my 46 year life, I will count calories. I am a bit impatient because a safe weight loss means 90 days just to shed 10 pounds (without heavy exercise). Bleh. But a couple of pounds should make the panties fit again.

MONDAY: A rather quiet day at work as half our department had taken a vacation day, as had many others, giving themselves an extra long weekend, since tomorrow is International Labor Day and a holiday. I had jumped at the chance to get a massage with the physical therapist who serves our company on Mondays. He had two available sessions today and I took the 12:30 pm one.

I thought it was the usual loosening of the shoulders, but he found deep knots that hadn't been addressed in a good while. He used a technique I hadn't experienced before, which was to press on the knots while I took deep breath and held it (something about the oxygen, he said). The knots did let go and I was so excited, I asked him if the second available session was still free, and it was. So a little after 3 pm, I was once again on his bench, and this time, having cleared away some other tensions a couple of hours earlier, he found deeper ones, and it hurt. It was almost to the point where I felt like stopping him. As it was, he couldn't loosen this one knot in my right shoulder; it was too stubborn.

He moved to my hips. Oh, OUCH! If I thought that knot in my right shoulder was bad, the ones he found circling all around on my butt muscles were far worse. I've decided to keep going until I'm back to a regular level of "tense". I couldn't relax, I couldn't let go (and I did think of an e-mail exchange with some friends about giving up control; ha! I can't) and my breathing wasn't deep enough (it hasn't been for a good while, I know). So here's someone who can help me work this stuff out (and maybe the emotional reasons for it) and his time gets deducted from my paycheck. It's a good thing I'm getting a tax refund. What good use for it!

He told me I was good-looking woman, and was surprised I had never been a regular exerciser since I seemed so strong. "Blessed with a good body, I guess," I said, secretly appreciating the compliment considering Sunday's ruminations. And I intend to keep my body good.

PS: With a day off tomorrow, I just might get all the photos from my birdwatching walk published. My homepage links to my photo albums.

10 comments:

Paula said...

Nice photos! It took me 6 months to lose 20 pounds back in 2005, so yeah. I've gained back 2-3 since joining a gym and don't feel that motivated to get those off. It's hard to stay hungry when you're trying to exercise, but I know that it's better for me this way. Being strong is good! Hubby gets the same remark from doctors, but I sure don't. I'm slim in my clothes now, but still squishy underneath. Good luck!

Keera Ann Fox said...

(Man, that was a fast response! You stalking me??? No, wait, you can't be. You leave comments. Never mind.)

I was surprised the physio thought I was strong. I'm pretty squishy underneath, myself.

What do you mean, stay hungry while trying to exercise?

Glad you liked the photos!

Paula said...

I mean that I don't mind being a little hungry while reading a book or watching a movie, but it's really hard to be hungry if I'm going to the gym. And if I am, I'm way hungrier afterward!

Paula said...

My other word verification was "WTFUV!"

Keera Ann Fox said...

I think I know what you mean about the hungry part. Last night, I felt hungry and knew I just wouldn't get to sleep with my stomach calling for attention. I popped three grapes into my mouth and, to my surprise, that did the trick. It's OK to feel a little peckish if there's something good distracting you. :-)

My word verification is lwrrw. Lion lurv?

Webmiztris said...

5:00 a.m., birdwatching, exercise, dieting....this is all so foreign to me!! ;)

alice said...

Welcome to my world! As you well know, I've been trying to shed 20 pounds ever since it piled on when I quit smoking! But I hit a milestone today that I'm very proud of: I ran a mile this morning, without stopping. It took me 15 minutes and it felt great!

Sravana said...

Glad to know that I'm not the only one fighting the bulge. I'm teetering on the overweight BMI myself, and I'm ready to do something about it. After all, new "prospect" lol

Tim said...

I think we humans - due to society - obsess far too often about things such as appearance, weight and bmi. Of course I can talk this way, since I'm rarely concerned with how people view me or how much overweight I am unless it's a health risk.

I think a little gain and loss is natural, as it would be with a winter gain - to fatten up a bit in order to battle the cold. Not many would agree with me, however. Oddly enough, though, I have both winter sizes and summer sizes. ;)

Seems like it was a wonderful trip, however. Squishy and I recently had a nice trip as well, with the quiet of nature, the birds and only the wind to join our conversations.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Dawn, when I was your age (gawd, that makes me sound old), I could have said the same thing! :-)

Alice, congratulations on the mile!

Sravana, it's partly that time of life, but still nothing to let get out of control.

Tim, this is not winter fat, nor has my body ever followed the seasons, so that's probably individual. It is a "health risk", because even more telling than BMI is waist-to-hip ratio, meaning that a woman's middle measurement should not be greater than 80% of her hips, or she's heading for the detrimental apple shape. My waist currently measures more than 80% of my hips.

Sounds like you and Squishy did what Torleif and I basically did. :-)