Wednesday, April 07, 2010

what's in you wednesday

We have a friend, Helen, who died three months ago at the age of 101.


Well in to her 90's, Helen was competing in - and winning - several swimming titles in the Senior Olympics. The last time I saw Helen, she was 95 years old. Charlie and I went to her home for dinner and to illustrate how she starts off her day, she pushed her chair back - and in between salad bites - dropped to the floor and started doing push-ups. Then, she flipped over and started doing sit-ups before standing up and doing a few leg lunges.

Charlie and I watched this nearly-a-centenarian-woman who had more zest than either of us combined, in shocked amazement as she declared, "This wakes me up and helps get my blood pumping!"


Charlie's dad, Alex, turned 82-years old on St. Patrick's Day. He recently qualified for the Senior Olympics in swimming. We credit his wife, Kathleen, for getting him hooked on the sport, since she's a rather avid swimmer, herself. I've known Alex for 20 years and I really don't think the man has aged a day.

He looks that good.

And according to his son, can still cook a mean steak.

Alex cutting steak

My mother met the fitness King Jack LaLanne when she was at the Optimum Health Institute a few years ago. His secret for staying healthy and active is exercise and diet. According to Wikipedia, at the age of 95, LaLanne still works out 2.5 hours every morning. And he's been quoted as saying, "If man made it, don't eat it!" because he blames processed foods for a lot of the health problems that plague people, today.


Whenever I feel like I don't have the energy to get out and do something active, I just think about how good I always feel when I do something as simple as take a two mile walk.


And whenever I start to convince myself that I'm too busy and will have ample time later to do something, I try to remember that if I take time for myself now, I'm actually increasing my chances to live a longer and stronger life.

If I take the time NOW, I'll have more time LATER.

(Or so says Helen and Alex and Jack.)


So today, I stopped the "critically important task" that I was working on (and which I cannot even remember now so it mustn't have been that critically important after all) and I took off for a one-hour walk around the absolutely beautiful why would we ever leave it neighborhood. When I returned home, I was more convinced than ever that even a leisurely walk gives you energy. Exercise clears your mind. It makes you feel good about yourself. And if sustained, there is no doubt it will help you look better in a bathing suit.


Provided, of course, you are able to resist the incredible temptation to "reduce" the population of processed Dove chocolate Easter bunnies that are currently residing in your house.


Those darn Target candy sales.

They'll get you every time.

I'd bet three bunnies Jack LaLanne skips that store, altogether.


  1. I like the Jack Lalanne quote! I'm a big fan of Michael Pollan's "don't eat anything that makes health claims."
    p.s. I grew up in Fairfax and still live in the area. Yes the traffic can be bad. Yes you have to get on a waiting list for everything. But the Midatlantic is a lovely place to live (I actually LOVED the blizzard we had in Feb - no lie!) and having family nearby for my kid has been even better than I could imagine. Virginia schools are top notch and there are so many great colleges and universities!

  2. I spent yesterday cutting up and freezing all the chickens I killed, eating all the fresh greens from the CSA I joined, then I spent the evening chowing down all the Reese's peanut butter eggs I had confiscated from the kids, because I am older and I can do that.

  3. I don't know about anyone else, but I needed that reminder. After three weeks of working out 5 times/week, I gave up yesterday. Instead of turning on a workout DVD after the kids went to bed, I curled up on the living room rug and cried for an hour. Then I took a bath and slept for 7 hours. Then I had an eclair for breakfast.

    Not surprisingly, I don't feel better.

  4. It took a LOT of self control to WALK. PAST. DON'T. STOP. TIL. YOU'RE. OUT. THE. DOOR. the Lindt chocolate Easter bunnies lined up in the supermarket yesterday, for only US$2 each (usually US$10). I went in for penicillin for my strep throat, so my resolve was weak... but I resisted. It was a very, very, VERY hard thing to do ;)

  5. Okay! It's a bet!

    (Love a challenge. Jack, be ready to be blindfolded and rope-tied. We're going shopping!) ;-) Marg.

    What I won't do for chocolate-processed anything!

  6. The last time I saw Gracie she was in the baby pool and Elizabeth was the swimmer. Wow. that was wonderful, what a water baby, course with her Grandmother, she must improve every day....will Virginia have out door swimming every day???? I know I know but I like your family just the way they are, away from any out side influences. Those bunnies cannot be trusted, especially the Dove ones, they keep calling my name too.

  7. Poppa Alex4/8/10, 1:28 PM


    thank you for the complment and, although we don't eat steak anymore, I would never pass up a piece of chocolate or a glass of fine Chardonnay.
    Love to all.....and don't move back East as Guy's 3 siblings are all in California and we are only 6 hour drive away.... and you would then miss us as much as your family back East misses all of you.
    whatever you choose, you willalways be the best parents and worker-bees. We honor you choices.
    Poppa Alex