Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rictameters Again


Guilty pleasure,
Waste of time, yet often,
When the day seems dull, I watch too
Many news shows, same old stories, Cubs games,
But still I lack the strength to break
Away and turn it off
For other things.


Favorite meal
To start the day, to wake
Energy, imagination,
Prelude to a day of actiity
Or maybe just relaxation,
Anyway the only
way to begin,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Rictameters

It's been three years since my little, mostly-unread book of poetry was published (Elder Expectations: My Life in Rictameters is still available on, but from time to time I still write poems in my favorite format, the rictameter: nine unrhymed lines with two, four, six, eight, ten, eight, six, four, two lines, the first and last lines the same. At least one of my fellow Clare residents has become hooked on this form. It's amazing how much can be said in how few words.

For some reason, I've begun to think of new rictameters. They truly are addictive, so I've decided to include some here from time to time. Here are two for today:

I'm Old

I'm old.
Funny things have
Happened: gray hair, wrinkles,
Halting gait, early fatigue, to
Prove the inevitable: my time is
Running out, my future not so
Endless, bright, promising
As once I thought.
I'm old.

Bright Days

Bright days
Of golden sun
Viewed from highrise heaven,
Everything takes on a golden
Glow that makes the world seem better than on
Grayer days, when troubles, problems
Take the foreground, make me
Long for sunshine,
Bright days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eat Alone? Only in my Own Apartment

One of my old friends (old in time, not actual age; she's younger than I am) asked me if I went to eat at restaurants alone. The answer is no, unless I'm traveling alone by car or stranded somewhere. When I was younger, I occasionally went to a restaurant by myself, but later I began to feel too self-conscious to do so. I enjoyed the convenience of having a husband to escort me on eating-out occasions, but that ended more than ten years ago.

For one thing, I have an uncomfortable relationship with food, all of which seems to add unneeded pounds. The less I eat, the better, so a "diet" frozen dinner in my apartment is not only convenient, but satisfying. Although I live in an area full of Chicago's best restaurants, the trouble of dressing up to go to one alone doesn't appeal to me. I look forward to the very few occasions when a friend invites me to a restaurant meal, but I usually just live vicariously through the restaurant revues a fellow Clare resident provides monthly for the resident newsletter I edit. I can't afford some of those places anyway.

Living at The Clare means that three gourmet meals are available each day if I care to partake of them, but I tried breakfast and dinner and gained five pounds in a very short time--even skipping desserts and other obvious temptations. A large part of my non-refundable food allowance goes unused. The food is just too good here, and designed, I think, to keep my thinner fellow residents healthy. I eat only the Healthy Choice breakfast (an egg white omelet with vegetables, orange juice, once slice of whole wheat toast, a small bowl of fresh berries, and coffee) four days a week. The other days, I have cold whole grain cereal with skim milk. Then, on Sunday, I have brunch with three fellow residents. Sometimes it's a regular omelet or scrambled eggs with bacon; sometimes it's luncheon fare like fish with vegetables and salad (and sometimes dessert, I must admit). My lunches are usually cereal or a salad or some cheese or fruit. I do have the special holiday dinners on occasion. Those are quite spectacular.

I yearn to be one of those skinny women who seem to be able to eat anything, and perhaps if I were, I'd venture out to restaurants more often. As it is, though, my fear of food, my lack of outside eating companions, and my shyness keep me at home. It's not a bad way to live, really, for a "hermit" like me. I'm seldom hungry.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Return to Exercise!

Anyone who knows me knows that I've never been the athletic type. Exercise has always been a "bad word," despite my overweight and generally sedentary body. I quit the three-times-weekly exercise classes at The Clare because there were so many things I couldn't do, such as raise my arms or stand for long periods. It was too depressing. The director was very kind and non-threatening, but it just became too much. Besides, it came too soon after breakfast for me to be at my best, whatever that is.

Anyway, I had a new burst of energy, inspired by my exercise-nut brother, and decided on a new exercise program. For more than a week now, I have been going to our fitness room at 7:00 a.m. three or four days a week to use my two favorite machines (actually, the only two approved by my doctor) for fifteen minutes each. One machine is the Nu-Step (pictured above); the other is a recumbent stationary bicycle.

Excercising early in the morning suits me. I've tried afternoons, but I'm either too tired, or involved in something more interesting (even if it is a dull TV program). So far, I've had no trouble being up and ready to go by 7:00. Since I'm always up by at least 5 a.m., this schedule makes sense to me. Besides, I can be sure that the fitness center isn't crowded with both of "my" machines in use. By 7:30, I'm ready for my Healthy Choice breakfast in the Grafton dining room. Since I'm a creature of routine, I think I can keep up this schedule unless sickness or injury intervenes.

I'm sure that this amount of exercise won't end in weight loss, but it seems to be making me feel slightly more energetic. Every little bit helps, I guess. Wish me luck!