Category Archives: Fitness

Walking Out in the Morning Dew Stream of Consciousness

red sky jenny skip
“Red sky at morning, sailor take warning”

With temperatures falling into the 60’s at early morning, been able to resume brisk walking in the neighborhood. Walking is meditation in motion. I can’t help thinking about the glut of bad news from the day before and the day before. And tunes from the past get stuck in my head…Armageddon is waiting…governments and the itchy trigger fingers of the men on the big posters…is this the eve of destruct-chienne? The dogs of war are not here, at least: we have a leash law…

Are we walking into a lonely road that leads to isolation? Does it take us to a place where we will no longer be safe?

creepy back road jenny skip
the creepy back road

Down the end of the road is about 15 minutes. I need another 15 minutes to make 30 minutes so I can count this as a workout. I head down the side road to the offshoot condo community, a bastion of liberal-leaning anonymous neighbors, I think some older, retired academics…can tell by their bumper stickers and license plate holders, proclaiming “Obama 2012” and “My other car is a Tardis…” and they’re sleeping, or out walking a big dog at dawn, skulking, not wanting to make eye contact. The place reminds me of Reston, Virginia in the seventies…and sure enough as I saw the pink sky at sunrise a few minutes ago, it has started to rain…the slats of the wooden privacy fences absorb raindrops and release the scents of carved-up trees, their dried pulpy insides open for all to imbibe…who will fight for these intellectuals, sleeping within? Their reasoning, their discerning powers will be laid waste in the looming millennia…

rainbow jenny skip

Focusing on the footfalls through pine needles and air-composted tree debris along the curb, I glance up, not alerted by anything, and chance to see the rainbow…it’s pale…but unmistakeable…and suddenly I do not seem to be so bereft of hope…


Breast of Times, Worst of Times

October, the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, is almost over…

We’ve pondered and celebrated to some extent, but there’s that vague feeling of not having done enough.

Despite all the claims of “pink washing” it’s still been popular to wear pink in remembrance of, or to show support toward Breast Cancer Awareness. I first became aware that not everyone is enthralled over the emphasis on pink when it comes to breast cancer, when I read Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. I respect the viewpoint from breast cancer survivors that the rest of us don’t really know what they’re going through.

But that hasn’t stopped the proliferation of t-shirts, colorful hats and wigs, items with slogans, and all manner of pink merchandise from being bought and sold by the droves here. I wanted to chip in, considering that I’ve had relatives and friends with breast cancer, and I wanted to do my bit to help and recognize them in their fight.

So I participated in the local Making Strides for Breast Cancer 5K walk/run, along with thousands of folks in our community.

pink tutus
ready for Making Strides walk

And I didn’t even take pix of the many men participating in their pink tutus, clown wigs, super-sized sequined demi-cup brassieres, pink team t-shirts with near-risqué slogans and drawings of hands cupping pecs. [Tying this in with 19th Century equivalents—forget it, there are none. Can you imagine Ben, Hoss, Adam and Little Joe Cartwright parading through town wearing pink t-shirts that said “Save the Boobies” all over the front and back? American women didn’t even have the right to vote in elections until 1920. People didn’t even want to say C-word.]

Our team didn’t get in on the tutu aspect of this year’s race/performance; maybe next year…

It felt good to belong to a team, to take part in something that was deemed a good thing, but still bordering on outrageous.

And for a project, I knitted a pink turban from Leisure Arts Slouchy Beanies and Head wraps.

head wrap
knitted head wrap

The pink yarn, from Bernat Handcrafter, in 100% US-grown cotton, asserted on the label that

“In 2012 Bernat contributed $30,000 USD to Susan G. Komen For the Cure and a minimum of $5,625 CDN to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in connection with this product.”

(Yes, it’s most likely been in my stash since 2012).

I’ve always leaned toward participating in causes, such as “Buy American” and boycotting certain things because of trade violations. I like being part of a group, and if I am by default included in a group, as in having risk factors for breast cancer, or being a UAW worker, or believing in Christ, I feel that I should participate in group things. What is your opinion on that? Do you think the October pink-a-thon is overdone, or fun?


Fitness From One Century to Another

We’ve had some interesting discussions lately about how to avoid getting cancer. One way is to quit smoking if you’ve been a smoker, or to never start if you haven’t been. But, living in the 21st Century, we can benefit from LOTS of prior research that tells us things we can do to avoid getting cancer. The older we get, the more I realize that none of us is immune to it.

While surfing the list of online courses offered by University of Florida, I happened upon this one you can take for just $20: TAKE CONTROL TO REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK. You don’t need a college degree to guess that some things you can do to head off cancer include proper diet, exercise, using sunblock, and staying away from chemical exposure, right?

Googling cancer’s history brings up a wealth of horrific lore about how the disease was looked upon in the 19th century. Apart from the various forms of gender-specific cancers, cancer overall was thought to afflict mostly women. Men were encouraged to ramp up diet and exercise so as not to be “subject to women’s diseases.” [from The Emergence of Cancer as a Public Health Concern by Ornella Moscucci, Phil, BSc ].

So diet and exercise were emphasized in the 19th century, but perhaps not to the extent they are now.  Our ancestors probably did lots more walking from place to place than we do, and had physically intense jobs to do, unless they were on the wealthy end of the scale. I’ve had ancestors from both the wealthy side and the poor side. The upscale ancestors may have entertained the notion of Physical Culture, in which exercise with light apparatus such as dumbbells, bar bells, ropes, and other props may have been employed.

Our affluence and  abundance of leisure time may have added to our risk of ill health, by allowing us to overeat and under-exert.  I just finished a 6-week class at the local gym called “Tighten Your Tummy” in which light apparatus, of the sort I’ve never encountered before, was employed. We used foam rollers, a BOSU, a Pilates ring, mushy balls, and exercise mats for two 30-minute intense workouts per week, in addition to a 30-minute minimal workout (like walking or yoga) per day.

BOSU crunches
crunches on the BOSU (note AAW 2013 t-shirt, now part of my workout clothes)
yoga mat and wedge
yoga mat and wedge apparatus






I go to a one-hour yoga class every morning, and I’ve been toting some light apparatus with me in the form of a yoga mat. More and more, my fellow yoginis (I go to the Women’s Gym) have added to their caches of apparatus: blocks, straps, wedges, towels, light dumbbells and gripper things. Which is kind of funny, when you think about it, since one of the 8 limbs of yoga is Pratyhara, the withdrawal of the mind from sense objects. But we don’t get far into the metaphysical aspects of yoga, it’s more of a fitness regime for us.

It was time to sew a new and upgraded light apparatus carrier, since the mat bag I made a while back is barely big enough for the mat and nothing additional. While the Gaiam online store had a nice selection of bags and totes at fairly decent prices, of course I decided to make my own. I found a piece of beige pleather in the remnant stash, some purse magnets I ordered a while back from Nancy Zieman, and a length of funky, fringe-y woven trim in the ribbon, ruffle and trim stash. That’s all it took! Easy-peasy.

pleather remnant
pleather remnant
purse magnets jenny skip
purse magnets
pleather gym bag
finished gym bag
gym bag jennyskip
carrier for light apparatus