Sunday, November 29, 2009


So, about India. Despite the number of automobiles and cycles and the changing way of life there, so much of the beauty of India - cultural rather than physical - remains.

They have neighborhoods with markets of all kinds at the end of the street. Remember those days? When I was a kid in University City, Missouri, we were able to walk three blocks to an intersection where we had a full service grocery store, two 'drugstores', a deli, a dry cleaners, two gas stations, an ice cream shop (remember Velvet Freeze), a dentist, a vet, an appliance store, a cobbler, a hobby shop, a barber shop, and a butcher shop. All of that just 'down the street'. In the U.S., this type of neighborhood probably only survives in NYC and Chicago.

In those olden days, we walked the one mile each way to school (no, not uphill both ways) in all kinds of weather. There were no 'snow days' as there were no school buses! We walked three miles or so to the Loop to watch a movie or shop, about 2 miles to ice skate, three or so miles to the pool in summer, and to any of our friend's homes. No one drove us anywhere! Even my dad walked the three blocks to the bus stop to catch his ride to and from work every day. Mom got the car as her job was farther away (and she was one of a handful of working moms), and she still had all the errands to run.

In Chennai, it was so nice to be able to walk just down the street to buy fruit, a bag of milk, or a book. Good exercise and efficient. Had I stayed around longer, the locals would have come to know me. On my very first trip to Chennai (back when it was Madras), the local grocer who knew my father in law very well, ordered extra shipments of Coca-Cola just for me. Years later, the local druggist ordered extra tubes of acne meds for my teen son. Try that at Walmart!

It was charming to see children actually walking to school, backpacks and lunch bags in hand, chatting merrily as they strolled along. How many of our kids are able to walk to their neighborhood schools? How many go to neighborhood schools??

Walking also has the 'unintended consequence' of getting to know one's neighbors. This is true any time, anywhere in the world, I believe. How could one walk the same streets day after day and NOT get to know others along the route?

So, at least for now, India's cities retain their neighborhoods, their local 'down towns', their friendly environs. All this makes it safe to walk - if you can avoid the out of control traffic!

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I just returned from a very quick, hectic trip to Chennai (formerly Madras), India. I had the opportunity to accompany my mother in law on her return trip home. She'd spend several months with us in St. Louis but had to get outta Dodge before the weather turned too cold. Brrr - like today.

Anyway, it had been since the days of the Tsunami, December, 2004, since I'd last been there. As I had expected, the traffic was terrible. India has yet to impose orderly driving rules on its populace. Riding in a car in any large city in India can be a hair-raising experience! But, this time, I wasn't prepared for the exponential increase in the number of autos and motorcycles. Of course, there are still auto-rickshaws, bicycles, and pedestrians, all competing with buses and trucks (lorries)of all sizes for space on typically narrow, pot-holed streets. Most cities have banned cycle- and human-pulled rickshaws, carts, and herds of livestock (locally referred to humorously as 'brake inspectors').

So, what's all this got to do with walking? The population of Chennai is FAT! Fat, I tell you! I was shocked. With the improving economy, the increased production and reduced prices of consumer goods (including food), and the decrease in miles walked, younger Indians are following their U.S. counterparts in increasing girth.

It's very clear. I have a perspective of the same population in the same geographic location and climate over the course of almost exactly five years. During my last visit to India, most students and young professionals walked to the bus stop or cycled to work or school. Not so now. With their increased buying power, they're purchasing all kinds of automobiles and walking very little.

So, a word to the wise here for India. Please don't follow us down this particular path. Keep walking and maintain your healthy habits to avoid the common health ailments that go along with the increased weight - heart disease, lung disease, joint disease, and depression. Continuing to walk will prevent all of the bad things so many U.S. citizens suffer.

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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I recently designed and had printed some new 'business' cards. They aren't really business cards because they don't refer to a business. They're for my two blogs. I hand them out to the occasional person I run into who I think might be interested.

Why? Well, I run into so many sedentary people who I think would benefit from moderate exercise like walking AND I don't want to have to go into some evangelical type lecture about the benefits of such exercise. So, I'd like them to see my blog and learn in their own time. If anything I have written is of value to them, then I'm happy. If not, they won't hurt my feelings by reading something else online. LOL.

My card is a simple design, soft blue lettering on a white background. Has an overlay in blue of the St. Louis Arch. Then, there are the two blog addresses (this one and the crochet one), and my email address.

So far, I've only given out a few. One was to a friend who is extremely sedentary and was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus a year or two ago. She's a very talented gal who is retired and has time to take care of herself now. I'm hoping that my simple blog postings will inspire her to get moving.

I've never known anyone who didn't improve his/her body and outlook with a good walk! Hope my enthusiasm will inform and inspire others.

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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Today, November 1, 2009, would have been my Dad's 84th birthday. He passed away in 1992 after suffering a stroke a few hours following surgery for prostate cancer. Dad was only 67. It took him 3 months to die. During that time, he worked hard to regain speech and physical abilities we all take for granted. But, he never saw the outside of that hospital after December 18, 1991.

What happened? It wasn't the fault of the doctors that Dad had smoked for 50 years. He was a chain smoker up til the day he scheduled the surgery. Apparently the damage done to his cardiovascular system (the cancer had not spread) and the inability of the doctors to thin his blood as they normally would after a stroke (because he had JUST had major surgery), set him up for more strokes. One on about February 12, 2009 left him vegetative.

Dad had retired a couple years earlier from sales, a career that kept him literally on his feet for at least 8 hours every day. He was tall, thin, and good looking. He had been severely injured in WWII. At one point, he had been told he would never walk again - but walk he did. He coached little league baseball for years for both my brothers. He mowed the lawn, kept the house in good shape with glue and duct tape as he could fix anything, and never missed a day of work. Upon retirement, he and Mom took to the highway in their RV, fulfilling their lifelong dream of traveling throughout the US. They had a ball.

But, Dad was way too fond of TV. Once he retired, he never took an active interest in anything that was remotely physical. He plopped himself in front of that TV for many, many hours each day. Drove Mom nuts as she's not a TV fan, much preferring to read, walk, and cook. Of course, with 8 grandchildren, all local, they had a house full on most Sundays. Dad would drive the little ones around on the riding mower while he cut their football field sized front lawn.

But, sitting was what he did. Mowing, driving, TV. He eschewed any form of physical activity. I firmly believe that Dad would have lived a much longer life had he given up the smokes earlier and taken up almost any physical activity. As I've written here before, walking during TV commercial is one way to get in your 20-30 minutes a day.

Of course, I have no idea what God's plan might have been for Dad. He was a good man who didn't take care of himself. The same could be said of so many of us. My message here, my gift to my Dad on what was his birthday, is to ask everyone to rev up their activity level - just a little each day - and stick around long enough to help raise those kids and grandkids who count on us so much.

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.