Saturday, April 12, 2014

More 'Who Would You Walk With?'

I've written before about who I might want to walk with, alive or dead.  I've been thinking more about that lately.

I'd walk ONCE with my biological father to ask why he left us.  I would probably not like the answer as I don't think he'd have a reason good enough to counteract what his actions did to his two kids.  But, I'd take the opportunity. Once.

I'd love to walk with my sixth grade teacher, Mildred Lindholm.  She is the reason I became a teacher.  I had great difficulties in grade school and she put everything in proper perspective for me.  I bet I still have a lot to learn from her.

I'd love to walk with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Oliver Sachs, Dick Clark, Yehudi Menuhin, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Baker Eddy, Lois W., and anyone who could explain algebra and geometry to me.

I'd ask Michelle Obama what she does to keep those buff arms of hers.  I'd ask Benjamin Franklin where he got all his great ideas and thank him for creating the first lending library.  I'd love to talk to Watson and Crick about DNA and genetics, Carl Sagan about the cosmos, St Francis of Assisi about his love of animals and giving away all of his money.

I'd walk with Muhammad and ask him if he thought modern Islam was what he had in mind.  I'd ask Jesus if  modern Christianity was what he had in mind.  I'd ask Moses if modern Judaism was what he had in mind.

I'd ask Billy why he committed suicide when so many of us loved him.  I'd walk with Mother Teresa and quiz her about her selflessness and if it was worth it.  I'd stroll with Picasso to discover why it was he saw the world in the geometric motifs he painted called Cubism.  I'd ask Mendel to explain his law so I could 'get' it.  I'd ask Dr. Seuss where he got his ideas for books. 

One way to walk with the people is to listen to recorded books while I walk.  Not everyone has a book to answer the questions I've posed.  But, there are enough available to keep me busy, thinking, and walking for many miles.  Right now, I'm listening to an Oliver Sachs book so engaging that I forget how far I've walked. 

Walking and talking.  Walking and listening.  Walking and singing.  Walking and observing.  Walking and hearing the sounds of nature and/or the city.

Oh, the places you'll go!



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is Gwyneth Paltrow In Touch With Reality?





My daughter recently mentioned actress Gwyneth Paltrow to me.  Daughter is not a fan.  Why I asked?  Gwyneth is an attractive woman who had done a great job in her recurring role on Glee.  I know she's done other things, but I can't name them other than the amazing photos I've seen of her on the Red Carpet during award ceremonies.  She is certainly a thin woman with fine taste in evening wear.

My daughter elaborated.  Gwyneth is out of touch.  She says that EVERY WOMAN can make time to exercise EVERY DAY.  My daughter is an attorney and educational advocate for a local NGO related to the welfare of adopted and foster children. She spends a lot of time every day speaking with foster and adopted parents who are struggling with the needs of the children in their care.

The notion that these women have all the time and resources that Gwyneth is lucky to enjoy is laughable.  Gwyneth surely doesn't have to clean her own house.  She doesn't have to do 10 loads of laundry a week, pay the bills, or get oil changes for her car(s).  I'm being presumptuous here.  But, surely she has far more creature comforts and discretionary income and time than the rest of us.  So a statement from her regarding EVERY WOMAN or EVERY DAY might be difficult to take without a pound or two of salt.

My daughter is right, of course.  But, so is Gwyneth despite all the amenities she may enjoy that the rest of us do not. 

Gwyneth is a mom of two, and until recently was the wife of a huge rock star.  She comes from a family of wealth and privilege with mom, Boston Main Line actress Blythe Danner, and father, the late writer Bruce Paltrow.  Certainly Gwyneth has never known a moment of true need or financial insecurity.

Most of us have way to much to do every day.  We have jobs outside the home and even more jobs in and around the home.  Every day, every woman I know must juggle the duties at work and home.  Most also have additional balls to juggle - kids, husbands, elderly parents, a month that's longer than the paycheck, and all kinds of extracurricular and community activities that require attention.

Still, if Gwyneth can do it, the rest of us can too.  No, we don't have a yoga studio in our back yard like Gwyneth has.  No, we have no one to do the laundry, balance the checkbook, select and pay for our designer wardrobe, or shuttle the kids hither and yon - not to mention paying attention to the husband and picking up mother in law's prescriptions. 

Gwyneth might be a good role model for us.  It seems that no matter what other irons she has in the fire, she exercises EVERY DAY.  She said it herself.  What I'm sure she meant is that she, herself, is important enough to make time for EVERY DAY.  Aren't the rest of us?

So, it might not be as easy as the private personal trainer in the yoga studio in the back yard on the private estate in England, (see the photo above for verification) but it can be done.

Take comfort in knowing that you won't have to show off your prominent pelvic bones on the Red Carpet.  Take comfort in knowing that the whole world isn't watching you sweat.  (Do you think she sweats?  She doesn't look like she sweats.)  Take comfort in knowing that you haven't been replaced as the main squeeze of the rock star.

Just put one foot in front of another and go for a walk, secure in the knowledge that Gwyneth would approve.  After all, aren't you as important to your family as a movie star is to hers?  Actually I think I'm more important than that to my family.  They like me even thought I can't fit into a size 00 slinky evening gown.  That's gotta be worth something - even to Gwyneth.

PS - Please save your hate mail.  I don't hate Gwyneth.  But, I don't envy her either.



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Walking With Joy

The fair days in these parts have been few and far between.  We've had rain, snow, hail, tornadoes, flash flooding, just after the alerts for the risk of forest fires after such a dry period.  Not great walking weather.

Still, there are tiny bits of joy I see every day, often in my own back yard.  For the past week or so, there has been a pair of cardinals back there.  The male is such a bright red that he stands out prominently.  His mate, being drabber in appearance, is harder to see.

The red tail hawks persist.  One has gotten rabbits in my back yard, leaving the skull for us to discover.  Yuck!  Still, a bird of prey on the wing is a glorious site.  Best to not think of what they're scouting for.

In the woods, trees are just beginning to bud.  Tiny specks of green amidst the drab browns and grays of winter.  Occasional tulips peak up in the yards of neighbors - those who actually tend to their lawns rather than the benign neglect with which my lawn is treated.

Thank heaven for daylight savings time!  With a longer window of opportunity to walk after 5 PM definitely improves my mood.  I'm not a morning person!  I'll walk in late morning, but most of my walking buddies are not available til after 5.  All winter, that confines us to the gym or malls most days.  Now, we are more likely to be able to walk outdoors even if the weather is less than perfect.

So, positivity prevails.  Spring is coming.  I'm sure.  It's delayed this year, but it will come.  Right now, the rivers and creeks have risen and all the spring flowers have had their showers.  Now, it's time for nature to take pity on us walkers and clear away the late winter drabs.  Time to feel the promise of spring - the lush green fields and the pungent smell of mulch and fertilizer.  Bring it on!



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A New Bridge



One of the trail loops in my favorite parks had been unavailable for several months due to the condition of one of the foot bridges.  Kris and I had been monitoring the rebuilding of the bridge all Winter.  We were thrilled to see the recently reopened bridge this past weekend.  It's a little thing, but we are delighted by all the trails at this park and to have one blocked off was disappointing.  So, now, we are able to approach the bluff overlooking the interstate via this bridge.  The other bluff overlooks a bend of the Meramec River as it turns from its East/West course to its North/South course heading for the Mississippi River.  At this point, it is about 12 miles from its confluence with the Mississippi





Kris kindly took this picture of me and my best four-legged friend, Lizzie, who is the most avid walker I know.  It was the rare day of about 60 degrees surrounded by days in the 40's and worse.  We had sun and clear skies.  That combination makes heading out for a walk that much easier.  A favorite trail makes it easier too.

I suggest you find a good walking friend or two and a great trail near your residence and forge onward, walking for your mental and physical health..



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Almost Spring!!!

Despite the mostly terrible weather in these parts, I have kept up a regular walking routine.  It so helps to have friends to walk with, who count on me for motivation as I count on them.  One friend, Kris, and I have fallen in love with Emmenegger Park which I've written about before.

We walked there this afternoon.  I'm mostly retired but Kris still has a full time, very demanding job.  Nevertheless, I have been known to nag her via text to flee the office and meet me on the trails at the park.  She's usually game.

We have walked in this park for three seasons.  This will be our first Spring there and I can't wait.  Fall was lovely in the woods - all those rustic Fall colors, the crisp air, and the hint of snow in the air.  Winter was challenging, but when the paths weren't icy, we trooped on.  Once all the leaves had fallen, we crunched them underfoot and continued to find new trails.  Summer was pleasant under the canopy of tall trees near the Meramec River.  Cooler than most places, sheltered from the sun, and meeting lots of other walkers/hikers on the trails.  Now, Spring brings the best promise of all!  Spring is my favorite season - so much to look forward to with Daylight Savings Time and more opportunities to walk outside without risk of ice or bitter wind.

So Emmenegger is our Go-To walking paradise.  Another plus for us is that there are no bikes on these trails.  While I'm happy to share the trails with bikers, they don't tend to announce themselves and we have had some near misses, so we prefer bike-free trails.  Best of all is that it's a place Kris and I both look forward to meeting any day we can!



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Creating Motivation


 If the weather is not perfect or if you have too many items on your To-Do List or you don't feel fantastic, you might be in need of motivation.  Here's a great way to find some.  Make it yourself.

No, this is not really a crafting project unless you want it to be.  I found this picture of some decorated Mason jars, but any kind of container will work for this project.  You want to create a Motivation Jar for yourself.  That way, every day you need some motivation, you'll have it at your finger tips.

Make the jar something attractive and keep it somewhere you will see it every day - on the kitchen window, next to your toothbrush holder, or beside the TV.  Someplace you can't miss it. 

You must fill it with motivation!  How?  Keep reading.  Take each one of the lines written below, copy, cut each one into a strip, fold each strip, place in the jar.  Use paper in different colors to make it prettier.  Even better, cut out heart shapes and write (or glue) each slogan to a heart, fold, and place in your jar. 

Voila!  Motivation at your finger tips.

Here are your motivational quips:

Taking care of myself is #1 on my To Do List.

First things first - and I'm first.

One step at a time.  Start now!

Every journey begins with a step - or a thousand.

I won't give up.  I'm worth it!

It's gonna hurt anyway.

Progress not perfection.  Five minutes is better than no minutes.

Sweating is for Sistas.

Move!  Now!

One small step for mankind.  More steps for me.

I am beautiful just the way I am.  But, I can be even better.

Walk, don't run, right out the door.

Who's the most important person in the room?

Because it's good for me.

Sitting on the couch gets me NoWhere.

Step on it!

I get better, one step at a time.

I'm worth it every day!

Ok, that's enough from me.  Readers, please feel free to add your own motivators - and share them with us.

Open jar, take one strip daily, move!

*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Head Scratching And Anger - No, Despair


This morning was beautiful if a bit chilly, so I was able to walk outside for a couple miles with my best walking buddy, the four-legged Lizzie.  She suffers from too many days without a walk when the weather is too cold or the path too icy.  We both enjoyed our outing.

Later in the day, after my friend Kris was able to leave work, we met at a local mall to walk and talk. While the mall is not my favorite place to walk, it certainly has the advantage of being warm, safe, and accessible.

But, it was there that I saw one of the most awful sights I've ever seen - a kid in a stroller with a small video screen for his viewing pleasure.  It was all I could do to not grab his mother and shake her, screaming about how she was stunting the physical, emotional, and intellectual growth of her child.  Have we become so detached from our tots that we need to have them entertained by a cartoon on a screen while we toodle with them around the mall?  Or for that matter, do we really need those SUV's with not one - but TWO - video screens for the kids to view the latest toons so as not to disturb mom or dad or any other passenger?  I am outraged!

It's bad enough that our kids find their own way to the TV remote and the video game console, plopping themselves down to be entertained by some mindless virtual maelstrom having no basis in reality, no soul, and no redeeming virtue of any kind.  Well, I guess there is that teeny little benefit that the won't be bothering a parent for the next hour or six.

So, we wonder why our kids are all getting so fat.  We wonder why they don't do well in school.  We wonder why they demand more and more external forms of entertainment so they are never forced to deal with the realities of the world they will grow up to run!

If that mom with the kid in the stroller loves her child, she will encourage him or her to look around at the world as he passes through it from his toddler perspective.  She would engage in conversation with that child, building neurologic pathways in the brain for speech and some curiosity about all those new things s/he sees.  Further, as soon as s/he is able, she'll take him out of the stroller to toddle around the play area or run down the mall corridors, exercising those muscles s/he's certain to need as he matures.  Having a kid that plugged in to external, mindless visual entertainment is child abuse - plain and simple.  Don't bother to flame me or throw virtual rotten tomatoes.  I'm right here and anyone with a functioning brain knows it.

I've raised three kids and there were certainly many times - probably daily - when I wished they'd just shut up and leave me alone for a few minutes.  That's what books and playgrounds are for!  And naptime.

Please, please DO NOT plug your child or grandchild or any child whose care is ever entrusted to you into any form of electronic media on a regular basis - especially when there is an opportunity to allow the child to do some activity that will stretch his mind or her legs.  An hour of Sesame Street is one thing - a treat (maybe for you as much as the kid who will be totally engaged by it).  But, aside from that, stroller rides, car rides, walks, trips to the playground, and carpool are all opportunities to share the world around you with that child - maybe the only opportunities you'll have in an increasingly busy and plugged in world.  Take advantage of every opportunity to help a child do what his/her legs were intended to do - crawl, walk, and run - to do what his brain was designed to do - learn, evaluate, measure, question - to do what a child's ageing and development demand - a guide through this very complicated world s/he will have to navigate.

If you love that child and want to give him the best chance at success in life, take him for a walk and a talk - regularly.

BTW - this stroller looks like a rental (as Kathy G points out) but the one I actually saw was not a rental.  Someone paid big bucks for that awful thing!



*************************** Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.