The perils of pickleball

Olive the cat
Olive doesn’t play pickleball. She’d rather sit in the sun.

Friday I opted out of barre class to try beginning pickleball. Since it was Good Friday, I realized my husband didn’t have to work so I took him along.

I was nervous when we walked into the gym and asked if this was beginning pickleball lessons.

“There are no lessons,” a woman answered.

“But I was told that beginning lessons were on Fridays” I said.

“This is beginning pickleball. We just play.”

Yikes.

Then two more couples walked in and said they had never played before either. We were all relieved to not be the only newbies.

A woman and man suggested each first-time couple go to one of the three courts and experienced players would play with us. My husband and I got Bill, who turned out to be an amazing coach. He said he’d been a coach for 30 years of different sports.

Bill had us practice serving over and over. He went through the rules and told us where to stand. He helped me with technique and after one hour, he said we were ready to play. He was patient and encouraging. Without Bill I don’t know if I would ever play again.

We played games or matches for the next hour. Yes! Two full hours of pickleball.

The next day I couldn’t move. Even after four weeks of swimming and barre classes my body was in shock after pickleball.

Easter Sunday my husband and I practiced at our neighborhood tennis court. We had ordered removable lines and markers to turn the tennis court into a pickleball court. A pickleball court is much smaller than a tennis court. After measuring and placing the markers down, we were ready.

A few serves later, I reached down for a ball and pulled a muscle. I’m currently sitting on an ice pack.

My kids told me I shouldn’t have gone from zero workouts to four in one week, but should have built up slowly. They said they knew I would get hurt. A good friend told me that, too. My question is this. Why didn’t they tell me before? Or did they and I didn’t listen?

What activity have you started and stopped and started again? Have you ever done too much too soon and gotten injured? What happened? Is this just the side effect of old age?

What are you forgetting?

Olive cat in the morning sun.
Olive’s memory is just fine.

Have you noticed yourself forgetting things lately? I have. I can walk into a room for something and forget why I am there. Also, I can’t go the grocery store without forgetting items on my list — or things I forgot to add to my list. I also am forgetting names and words. I notice my husband is in the same boat.

I found an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Why We’re All Forgetting Things Right Now: Short, temporary moments of forgetfulness are happening to more of us more often these days, memory experts say” by Elizabeth Bernstein. She writes for WSJ’s Life and Work section.

Here’s an excerpt:

Short, temporary instances of forgetfulness—those ‘senior moments’—are happening to more of us more often these days, memory experts say. We’re finding it difficult to recall simple things: names of friends and co-workers we haven’t seen in a while, words that should come easily, even how to perform routine acts that once seemed like second nature. 

We’re living in yet another moment of big change as we return to offices, create new routines and find our footing in yet another new normal. (And don’t forget a scary war in Europe on top of that.) All this change consumes cognitive energy, often much more than we think, neuroscientists say. It’s no wonder we can’t remember what we had for breakfast.  Our minds are struggling with transition moments.

“Our brains are like computers with so many tabs open right now,” says Sara C. Mednick, a neuroscientist and professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. “This slows down our processing power, and memory is one of the areas that falters.”

The chronic and cumulative stress of the past two years has taken its toll, too. Research led by Dr. Shields shows that people who have experienced recent life stressors have impaired memory. Stress negatively affects our attention span and sleep, which also impact memory. And chronic stress can damage the brain, causing further memory problems, says Dr. Shields, an assistant professor in the department of psychological science at the University of Arkansas. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-were-all-forgetting-things-right-now-11649166214?mod=life_work_lead_pos3

The article also said we are bombarded with too much information and scanning through info on our phones isn’t helpful. Another thing that an expert pointed out was the sameness of every day during the shut down. Apparently we need novelty to help our memories.

They offered suggestions on how to deal with memory loss. If other people are noticing it, you should probably see a doctor. Also, don’t try to force it if you forget something because that’s counter productive. Stay calm and turn off the TV and phones to be present in the moment.

Have you noticed a lag in your memory or a spouse or friends since COVID hit? What types of things do you forget?

I’m Getting So Old I’m Growing Barnacles!

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I went to a skin doctor to have some nasty looking moles on my face checked. I had them removed years ago, but they are back — looking meaner and uglier than ever.

The doctor told me that they are not moles.

“They sure look like moles,” I said.

“No, they are barnacles.” he said.

That floored me. “Barnacles?”

“Yes. Barnacles. The human kind.”

I texted my husband. He said, “That sounds nasty!”

“Thank you, honey. I love you, too!”

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Need I say more? They are nasty and the nice doctor took out a tank of liquid nitrogen and spray painted my face. I think I will not go out in public again for a long, long time. The nasty mole thingies have transformed overnight into large stumps sticking out of my face.

Ugh! They are supposed to fall off now. Anytime, please. I’m waiting. And while I’m waiting I’ll write draft 11 of my mid-grade novel.

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Human Barnacles are also known as Seborrheic Keratosis. They are a result of getting older. I just read on a website that they should fall off from freezing with liquid nitrogen in a few weeks. A few weeks???

The Good News: Seborrheic Keratosis is not cancerous or dangerous in any way. I am thankful for that. I almost forgot to mention that the doctor gave me a long lecture about being in the sun, wearing sunscreen with at least a 50 spf and wearing long sleeves and pants. And that swimming is not a good sport for my daughter because she is so fair-skinned!