Will I be able to exercise until I die?

  Today a man at the gym got on the treadmill next to mine and told me I had never answered his question of a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t remember him asking me a question or ever even speaking to me before, so I asked him to repeat it. What he wanted to know was how long are we going to keep up on all this exercise, and without missing a beat, I said until we die. He made a face, so I suspect he didn’t like my answer, but that’s the way I feel. I’ll certainly do it as long as I can. I ended the conversation by saying we can support each other as when we see each other at the gym since we’re both there every day. I asked him his age – seventy-six – and when he told me I exclaimed that I was older much to his surprise. And then we introduced ourselves. He’s the second Mike I’ve seen and said hello to for years at the gym. It's nice to know their names after all this time. Even though I say I plan to exercise for the rest of my life, I have to admit it's getting harder … [Read more...]

February’s small stones

I'm still writing small stones every day. This month we're calling them Mad March. In February they were February Favorites. Since I was working a day job over at Northrop Grumman during February, I wasn't sure I'd have the energy to keep them up. But I did and here they are: A new month, with hope for a world less chaotic. If only we didn't have a leader who incites all the turmoil rather than calm. The groundhog saw his shadow today, which means six more weeks of winter. I think that's a good thing. How about you? So busy, so distracted from my writing work, and so tired. Having a day job takes its toll. I saw the sun coming through thick fog this morning, leaving the tree leaves sparkling with green iridescence. Lady Gaga can do it all sing, dance, play the keyboards, fly through the air, and move incessantly during the 15-minute Super Bowl half time show, that is, until she dropped the mike. After a long day I'm enjoying being home with my husband. We have … [Read more...]

More small stones

As the year winds down, I'm still in the throes of my husband's reduced physicality as a result of his Grand Canyon accident a little more than one month ago. He's been suffering pain in his back for about ten days, though today he has said for the first time he's feeling much better. After writing small stones every day since last August I stopped writing them on November 16 - the day of his accident, and I didn't resume until exactly one month later - December 16. Here are my November small stones - that our group named November Pearls. November Pearls My stress level is at its peak, this being the last week before the election. I need massage, meditation, Yoga, Pilates, and a sauna. Did I leave anything out? A power outage today inspires me to take some time away from the internet. I celebrate the Cubbies winning the 2016 baseball World Series. They last won in 1908, the year my mother was born. Another hot, still, sunny day in southern California. Will … [Read more...]

Support ALS research

This morning I took a Spinning class for two reasons - to workout my body and to help fund amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease) research. I am particularly motivated to support this annual fundraiser at my gym (Spectrum Club in El Segundo CA) because two people in my life were diagnosed with and later died of ALS. Our event, Getting' Down with Toni Brown, supports Augie's quest, a fundraiser focused on finding treatments and cures by the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world's largest drug development program devoted entirely to ALS. Toni Brown was a Spinning instructor and then diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Please watch this video to see how Toni is doing now. Participation in the group fitness sessions today - classes include Spinning, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga and others - cost a minimum donation of $25. I counted about thirty people in my class - the first class of the day - this morning. So we raised at least $750.00. A great start in meeting our goal … [Read more...]

Writing to heal and survive

This is a repost (with changes) from one I wrote last year at this time - near the time of our son Paul's December 31st birthday.  I've written about writing to heal, I've talked about it in front of groups, and I must say, I'm still doing it. I journal, I write pieces for other websites and here about writing to heal from our tragedies, and I'm still reaping its benefits. I suggest, even if you've never written a word in your life, start journaling. You don't have to show what you write to anyone, so you're free to write down anything you want any way you want. And then you may be surprised. You may want to go public with your writing. Sharing our stories can be very healing to others. Writing has been part of my life since I was in grade school. However, when my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and after his suicide I needed to write down my feelings daily. Writing in my journal became an obsession and a balm. It gave me a way to organize my fears, pain, and … [Read more...]

Try Pilates: you might like it

This article was recently published on Aging Bodies. I decided to post it here, after reading the benefits of Pilates to people of all ages in the Los Angeles Times this morning. I've been practicing Pilates for at least ten years. I started with mat Pilates, by doing exercises on a mat on the floor. Next I took classes in Pilates on a large exercise ball, and for the last seven or eight years I've either taken group classes or private instruction on the Pilates reformer. This machine is a long wooden and leather bench-like affair that has a series of pulleys and springs that when used with my own body weight, creates resistance not very different from exercising with hand-held weights or weight machines. However, as I've aged I find using the resistance created by the reformer is a lot more forgiving on my body. Plus, the exercises I perform are all geared to keeping me flexible, well-balanced, toned, and strong. Another plus is that my posture has improved immensely. I don't … [Read more...]

Introducing my new writing friend, Deborah Kalan

Deborah and I met in Pilates class. We never said more than hello for about six months until one day I mentioned I had to rush away after class because I had a lot of work to do. She asked what I did, and when I said I am a writer, her eyes lit up. She said, I'm a writer too. And our friendship was off and running. I've read a lot of her stories, and I totally agree. She is a writer. I'm so happy to introduce her work to you. My Writing Life By Deborah Kalan I have been writing seriously since my eleventh birthday when I received a leatherette diary the color of blue Irises. The diary was secured with a little strap that had a gold lock and two gold keys. On the front of it were the words Dear Diary. Each page was divided into five sections of about five lines, which in my 11-year-old mind, restricted me to extremely brief entries. In those days, I mostly wrote about boys. The cute ones, the creepy ones, the ones that liked me, the ones that I liked who didn't like me. … [Read more...]

Megaformer the new improved Pilates?

I took a Megaformer class last night, invited by a friend. She told me she loves it. She goes four or five times a week, so I had to find out what it was all about. Megaformer - works with spring resistance like the Pilates reformer Well one thing is for sure it's tough. Forty-five minutes of constant motion - moving that Megaformer up and back while leaning on our hands or elbows. And although the moves looked similar to some of my normal Pilates exercises and even like some Yoga positions, the class was a combination of cardio and resistance that really got my heart racing and the sweat pouring out. Although I felt I could keep up reasonably well, I don't recommend it to someone who is just starting an exercise program. The advertisement that the class is for all levels is misleading. One has to be fit to gain the advantages of working with the Megaformer. Otherwise it will be hard to stay with the class. Lots of planks Now, the question is: will I ever go again? … [Read more...]

A spring poem

I love Robert Lee Brewer's poetry prompts. He gives one out once a week except during poem a day challenges in April and November. I don't always do them on time or in order, but I eventually get through them. I guess he prompted us to write a spring poem at first bud. I'm a little late, but here it is. I lay on the Pilates reformer and push on the foot bar, in and out, in and out. My feet, first in the second position at the corners of the footbar then in first position at the center with my heels locked tightly together, I keep pushing and pulling. Two red and one green springs determine the weight for these exercises. And as my legs move back and forth the springs squeak, they yearn to stop, they want to do no more work. But I keep going. I don't listen to their moans never giving those springs a rest. … [Read more...]

The last January 2012 small stones

January 22 Dark gray clouds cover the roaring waves. I wonder why the surfers aren't riding them instead of taking them them one by one lying down. January 23 Kristi's photo was posted on Putting a Face on Suicide today. She was just 19 when she took her life. I wish I could share her huge eyes, her smooth skin, her friendly closed-mouth smile with you. She was beauty. And even that couldn't save her from a drug addiction that sucked the life out of her. January 24 I met an old friend this morning and within five minutes of talking she was in tears. She told me about her mentally ill daughter in yet another healing institution. She's been in nine since she was thirteen; she is twenty now. I hope my writing will inspire my friend to take good care of herself. Her daughter will have to find her own way. January 25 I was so proud of myself last evening for being an advocate in getting a mentally ill young man some help. I was told at ten in the evening that he would be in … [Read more...]

A change of pace

I've decided to lighten up on the subject today and write about my exercise program. Sometimes I get to thinking it's a heavy subject because I'm so obsessed about exercising (I do some form of exercise everyday), but it really doesn't comes close to some of the other subjects I've been writing about lately. On December 13, 2007 I posted about the Health Miles program that I particpate in at my gym. (http://us.virginhealthmiles.com/pages/home.aspx) So if you care to read more information about the program please go there. The main thing I want to say about it now is that I've re-upped again into the Health Miles program for another year. My reup date was January 17, and since that date came and went and I'm still participating, it means that for the next year I'll be exercising at my usual pace yet again. Every year I go through the same thoughts. Should I keep going or should I give myself a break? In 2007 I posed the same question and that was after being in the program for … [Read more...]