Pen and Moon

musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Lessons From the Lake

It starts with an email: “I’m thinking about swimming tomorrow, anyone else?” More emails float in as the women in my water aerobics group weigh in on air temperature, how cold the lake might be, wind factor, how sunny it is, algae reports, our schedules. Usually one crazy voice saying “I’m going!” is enough to tempt a few others to join. 

This year, we are bolder, more daring, willing to tolerate some not-quite-ideal conditions to continue our swimming and water aerobics into autumn. We’ve been eager and giddy in the face of pushing past our goal date of Sept 15 (as I wrote about in part 1, The Mermaids of Lake Nokomis). We crank up the heat in the car on the way home after we emerge shivering from the water, and some have brought fluffy robes to wear afterwards.  Continue reading

The Mermaids of Lake Nokomis

What does it take to find bits of magic in your life? Sometimes all you need is a lake and friends and a desire to move your body. That’s what happened for me.

It started in July of 2020. Many of us women had been taking water aerobics classes at the YWCA for years together, several times a week. We’d become a community who knew each other’s faces and stories, who laughed and breathed hard, and sometimes complained together.

When COVID came along, of course the Y and everything else shut down. As the summer ticked by, one of our members who had been a former water aerobics teacher had the brilliant idea to start emailing to see if anyone was interested in having some unofficial classes at one of the city lakes a few times a week. Everyone loved that idea. Continue reading

Heart Failure??

It’s been a tricky week for my body and my psyche. It’s the first time I’ve heard the words “heart failure” tossed around like a ping pong ball concerning ME. I have to say, it’s pretty distressing.

Let me start chronologically. Many of you probably know I’ve been dealing with pretty bad swelling in my legs, skin very red and itchy, gaining 30 lbs of water weight in less than a month. This week I had what seems to be my first asthma attack. I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies a few years ago, and it’s been pretty well managed. On Tuesday I was swimming in the lake with friends, got out and had a hard time catching my breath. I only had to walk a short distance, but had to stop and focus on breathing. It seemed hard to get enough air. Continue reading

One Year.

I started my quarantine one year ago today.

Bob and I had spent the weekend in an AirBnB near Eau Claire, Wisconsin, having a writing retreat with our writing buddy and her partner. It was a good time, fun and creative, working on our writing by day and going out to eat at night. The University of Minnesota had started shutting down to in-person classes a few days before, and the virus was becoming a reality.

But no one was sure of everything yet, so we ate in busy restaurants, just starting to feel a little creeped out but unsure of what we needed to do. By the time we got home, we knew the lockdown was on. Continue reading

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