The Tale Of Five Tests

By the time the words Corona (the problem and not the beer), Covid had infiltrated our lives, I had hoped I would be able to avoid the situations which led to me having to take a test to see if I was positive or negative. And for a largely positive person (outlook in life-wise and not disease)I was looking forward to staying negative for a long, long time to come. But in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” And so I had reason to get tested. Not once, but multiple times as it would play out.

During the first test, I kept looking at best case scenarios which would be me testing positive and taking a 2 week holiday, all expense-paid, in the guest room and getting waited on hand and foot, without having to interact much with anyone. I would binge-watch, binge-read and just wait out the germs exiting my system. The worst case scenarios would have been my 80+ father-in-law getting it. He has co-morbidities, is a difficult patient with the most minor of issues and no one wanted him to have that over his head at his age.

Instead an 11-year old fidgety boy came up positive amongst all of us. He took it like a champ. Got everyone’s attention and basked in it for whatever it was worth. Was prayed over and showered more love and affection than he has been since he broke his hand a few years back. And Covid was dealt with in a manner so calm and efficient that it hardly seemed like a problem.

The second test was a necessary follow-up to the first test and when the results came, I whooped up so loudly both Red and TO came running out of their rooms to see what had happened. We did our own versions of “take that you nasty pathogen!” and went our merry ways.

The third test was necessary before I went in for a surgical procedure late last year and while I was fairly sure it would show me as non-reactive, my mind was already bracing for the intrusion of the excessively long swab burning through my nasal passage and making me gag. I needed only to gag because the nose was thankfully left alone and I was cleared for the surgery.

The fourth test came up recently when I traveled after a gap of almost a year and a half. The place I was landing in mandated a negative test report so I went through the rigmarole of the burning nose and retching to get the said report and I was nighty put out that no one checked or even mentioned it when I landed. All that swabbing up and down dark alleys in one’s body and all for nought.

Am getting tested again in an hour or so. I came back home and have what are now called “mild symptoms“. In a pre-Covid world, I would have been able to accurately put them down to a change in climate, exposure to the air conditioning in a cramped place or just a cold and let it ease itself out of my system. But in circa 2021, they are mild symptoms and need to be viewed with suspicion till forays through my body prove otherwise.

The world that we know has changed but not the people. Not much anyhow. We are still doing the things we want and are pretty comfortable with taking what we think are “acceptable risks”. You live with something unpleasant long enough and it stops being a Boogeyman and gets reduced to being an inconvenience.

A year ago having an occasion to have a test would have given me quite a bit of worry. Now it’s just a matter of temporarily moving into a room on my own for an enforced staycation vs. being free to move around and cough in public without being looked at as Typhoid Mary. And while I hope that this post doesn’t get added to with an anecdote of a sixth test, it is entirely a possibility and one that will be taken up with a weary “here we go again” +some kind of tongue-in-cheekness.

TO put it very succinctly before going to bed last night, “Be NE-GA-TIVE Ayu!”

Halfway To Healthy Living

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Yup, you read that one correctly. It’s a halfway, half-hearted or even half-assed attempt at living healthy with yours truly. Not because I don’t care enough…hang on…I’m not entirely sure I do. Intensely care, that is. But since I drop the ball so often, I have to take a good, hard look at myself and admit it- I’m fairly MEH when it come to being healthy in a holistic manner.

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I have all the intentions in the world- walking my glutes off, with the right kind of arch-support shoes no less. Eating well…ok..I ALWAYS eat well; I just don’t always eat healthily.

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I don’t turn my up nose up at soups and salads nor do I mind smaller portions or boiled and blanched stuff as opposed to the fried, creamed and au gratined eats but at my soul am a meat’n’potatoes gal who does think of food in terms of lamb chops, BLTs and ribeyes.

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However, when I briefly do get on the healthy bandwagon I go at it fairly thoroughly. I watch the portions I eat, I eat healthier overall and I’m very diligent about keeping a track of things like using a food diary, avoiding fried stuff and go off alcohol as well. I monitor my water intake, sleep cycles, BPM and my Fitbit becomes a near constant…and then it comes to a grinding halt!

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I’m not entirely sure what to call it- an innate laziness or just a personality type who doesn’t want to work harder than is needed but I do appreciate the notion of fitness and good health beyond the theoretical part.

As a woman in her 40s and one who is still not done raising a child; it’s imperative to maintain good health because stressors keep increasing daily and good physical health greatly promotes mental health as well. And I don’t mean mental illness but increases the mental agility to take things in one’s stride, the strength of mind to decide on issues- big and small and most importantly, bounce back and look ahead.

So the faltering journey is on, yet again; dotted with toned milk and berry smoothies, grilled salmon and tons of green crunchy stuff. Music is being chosen carefully to promote more footfalls and one day soon, the yoga mat will get rolled out again and the Galactic Ameba willing, I’ll even do planks and crunches.

Of course the moment I start setting increased goals on the Fitbit my mind says

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The Unbearable Unsightlyness Of Playing

Let it be noted that if I had to do anything amounting to slightly strenuous physical activity vs being bodily harmed, bodily harm would rule the roost.

The most apt description of my gait, run and overall physical movement is quite akin to the drunken hallucination from Dumbo. I kid you not.

Red has despaired and has moved his focus onto the one person whose hand-eye co-ordination can still be salvaged: MLM.

Why am I so bad at it? I honestly don’t know much beyond that heavy bodies take more effort to move and they sweat a whole bunch leading the heavy individual to feel lightheaded, awkward, clumsy and generally NOT GOOD AT ALL.

It’s not that I can’t hit a ball. I can. But then everyone ducks or waits for chunks of the ceiling to start raining down.

MLM’s latest fancy is playing squash (I thought it was the same as racquetball but the husband snootily told me they were different). He’s signed up for summer classes and we thought it would be a good family activity to indulge in. Well…the jury is still out on that one.

I did manage to get a half-assed rally going on with Red but then the ball seemed further and further away and the racquet didn’t seem to want to connect with the ball much at all. Again..left scratching my head.

But after I unwound myself from a striking pose my body had assumed, I found that these were the postures I was getting into. It goes without saying that none of them are optimum while playing squash.

1) Garden Cupid Statue: hark back to the chubby Cupid statues on pedestals, shooting an arrow but with direction changing each time a ball approaches. That’s my pose when I try and hit a ball that’s got lobbed a bit closer to the ground.

2) Hey! I’m Here: all the people marooned on desert isles usually have one moment where a ship passes by in the distant horizon and they jump up and down, waving like it’s what they were born to do. Well, that’s my hands above the head pose while trying to hit a shot that’s rebounded off the walls.

3) I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up: my pose for a few seconds after trying to come out of the first pose

All along, in the background one would be able to hear deep and furious panting…

And that’s after 10 mins of being on the squash courts.

C’est la vie!

Tox Or Detox

This was written a goodish while back but I wouldn’t mind taking a walk down that lane again..”

Apparently a build-up of toxins in one’s systems can lead to a variety of undesirable behavior. I don’t mean murder and mayhem necessarily but it can make you meaner than usual and paint the world a bright shade of jaundice.

I’ve been grumped for a while now; on and off. Stuff piling up. Normal right? Maybe not. Things fall short of my expectations or go bust altogether. Been on a single parent-like streak for a while too although that’s not at all the situation at home. There’s only so much a woman can take and added to that the in-built hormonal imbalance my gender is infamous for and you have a recipe for sulks, pouts, blues, anger and a general snit like a  3-year-old coming off a sugar high post the Halloween candy getting over!

Ergo the looking for modes to offload the weird miasma of stagnation and generally not feeling cheery for too long. I found a leaflet in the newspaper about a detox program that didn’t seem too tough and too quacky and actually seemed like something I could do without it taxing my routine entirely.

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So I ended up signing up for a no-solids, only liquids detox plan for a day to test drive it, if you will. Am on my third bottle of a health drink that doesn’t taste half bad but would taste better with more stuff added in. But this apparently will (can) make a difference in my system and my mood. I’m skeptical but hey, what do I know? Am the moody chunky female who’s been cussing more than usual lately 😦

Gym Diaries: Jelly Arms & Pokey Things

This Thursday my trainer started me out on a slightly ramped up routine. Either that means that YAY! my stamina is increasing or that I really need as much help as I can! Am sure it’s a good blend of both because I do find it easier to get back into a groove without getting into what I call my “soggy-sweaty-mess” state and also because there is extensive help required in getting to desirable levels of good health.

Anyhoo…for the most part this particular regime has me moving my whole body more than the previous ones did and the way that’s happening is partly comical and outright ouch-inducing.

One of the exercises consists of me jumping onto a set of mats from a bent-knee position with arms swinging to give me momentum. But there’s a catch- I MUST NOT THUMP! My trainer lands like a cat. Barely any sound. But I THUMP. Quite thumpingly. He asked me not be terribly consciously of myself while jumping and to do it the way I used to as a child. I took him at his word and he said in his I-want-to-praise-you-but you-aren’t-there-yet tone, “That’s better. Now do it without the sound”. And therein lies the rub. Chunky people create sounds. We haven’t been light on our feet in a while so our movements overall including treads, gaits are fairly heavy. So I have many jumps to go before the thumping stops.

Now comes the more painful part of my story. The dreaded nemesis of the gym, the foam roller with the pokey thingies poking out all over it, has made a return in a vile form. And my thighs are begging for mercy. I’m supposed to lie down in a plank position and keep the instrument of torture under my thighs and just roll back and forth. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yeah, so were the circles in Dante’s Inferno!

But all drama aside, going to the gym has shaken loose one of my biggest fallacies: that my lard is going to protect me, dull some sensation of pain etc because there are layers of it just under my skin. But nooo…pokey things are designed to cut through fat and poke away to glory and make you cry for mommy. I really, really, really don’t think I’ll ever like that thing and am pretty sure that my thighs are getting permanent grooves in them from all the back and forth rolling.

Onto the jelly arms. No guesses here. I started on weights. And after the first 8 reps there was mini earthquake measuring around 5.7 or so in the Richter scale in my arms. And then there were aftershocks. I couldn’t fathom how wobbly my arms got. And this was with just a 3-kg weight.

The reason going to the gym often ends up being a slap in the face for many and leads to drop-outs is due to the image of yourself that you see emerging. Stamina, endurance seem to be words in a dictionary and you really don’t know how to summon any up and want to just lie down on the mat, have the world leave you alone to curl up and sleep away the hurt from the pokey things.

But those who can endeavor. Sometimes by getting their angst out via blog posts. Those who can’t, take a step back to less intense activities or attack the bag of chips with a new-found love or vengeance. But I decided that very day; the only jelly I wanted to see was on my plate and not in my limbs.

PS: The next post may need to be posted with Google Docs Voice typing because the era of jelly arms isn’t over yet.

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Have Teeth, Will Eat

It’s no secret am a foodie. It’s also no secret Red thinks I can and do eat pretty much everything under the sun.

We go to the gym on different days and whoever is home makes the protein shake for the other individual to save time etc. Now Red gets creative every now and then and comes up with secret ingredients which I have to guess at. His concoctions usually turn out palatable but the way in which they are presented to me especially, is anything but!

Before we proceed further a little backstory is required. See I eat limes and lemons down to the rind. Occasionally chew on the rind as well. More so if I’ve done some tequila shots as well but for the most part, I strip the lemon bare and it’s mostly cringe-worthy for people sitting around me. They end up puckering their faces while I suck on the lemon so often there’s a bunch of people making kissy faces at me (as it may look to an outsider); while I sit blissfully unaware of anything of the sort!

Anyhoo, apart from the bizarre lemon eating (their words not mine) I also occasionally eat the watermelon seeds instead of spitting them out. So in the last 10 years I’ve become either goatish or bovine in Red’s estimation.

Jog back to circa 2017 and present day. Red kept my protein shake ready and it was slightly tangy and quite nice when suddenly I munched on something I thought was a shrivelled up goji berry and this bitter flavor spread in my mouth. I fished out a half chewed up orange seed and Red, feigning complete innocence, asks me, “You eat seeds, don’t you?”.

If I only had a grapefruit handy to lob at his face at that moment…

Apparently you eat one tiny watermelon seed once and you’re tagged as a garbage disposal forever!



The Perils of Healthy Living

The biggest irk about “healthy living” is when it’s forced down your throat by someone who thinks they (meaning the rest of the family) ought to change their eating habits.

Recently Red went on a road trip with a childhood friend who has embraced healthier options in his life vis-a-vis his eating habits. This individual didn’t wake up one day and find a roll of fat around his waist and decided to go the Atkins way but thoroughly researched everything there is to find out there online and made changes right from the cooking oil to the stuff that finally winds up in his stomach.

Red was impressed. I wasn’t. It’s very easy for someone who doesn’t manage the kitchen to waltz in one day and ask for top-bottom changes in what we eat, what it’s made in and how it’s going to be made; and not lift a finger in the process. And the person asking for the said changes is slightly finicky about his grub to begin with.

But housewives being the modern-day Atlas, the brunt of doing the research fell on me, as was wont. Keeping all preconceived notions aside of what passes for good cooking traditionally I hit the Internet and started looking for credible sources (meaning I looked beyond Wikipedia) and I was surprised to find that Red and consequently his friend weren’t wrong. Canola oil, rice bran oil and many of the “lighter oils” I had known about earlier and thought were good for the heart and the overall health of a person, were actually not all that great. I found this and this to be helpful in understanding the matter at hand.

Still, I find that new findings crop up every now and then and there are still things which may end up being matters of long-term debates viz microwave cooking- impending health hazards vs. unsubstantiated myths. And now suddenly making these kind of changes is a bit tough. And we do it because no one wants arteries clogging up at 35. But more still because if there’s the slightest possibility of any of the findings being accurate then we owe it to ourselves to read a significant amount of literature backing pros and cons of the issue and then taking a call.

But in the meanwhile it gets me a bit testy to have Red looking over my shoulder of signs of improvement of “healthiness” in our eating patterns.

Very tough to be a meat and potatoes kind of person AND a midnight snacker in this day and age I must say,