The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

When We Walk — April 3, 2014

When We Walk

I have always loved to walk and have accumulated many hours of memories and recorded thousands of impressions during my walking life. Walking always seems to have generated a heightened awareness in my senses stimulating my perception, my imagination, and my memories.

My mind can at any moment wander back to walking home from Muhlenberg Elementary School with my little sister. Sometimes I would trudge home, dragging the toes of my shoes, worried about some disclosure I would have to make to my mom upon arrival. Sometimes on the way Sallie and I would drop our book bags and run around laughing and teasing each other. And sometimes we would short cut over to our grandma’s house and share some delicious chocolate chip cookies that were always waiting in the freezer.

In Mid City, New Orleans I lovingly walked my newborn, Joseph, through the neighborhood, stopping along the way to allow my neighbors to admire the joy of my life. I could count on Miss Minnie’s being on her porch and she would always say, “Bring that baby up here, child. I need a closer look at that beautiful baby.” Joseph spent some leisurely afternoons strolling through Mid City and tipping a few iced teas on Miss Minnie’s porch.

When we moved to Denver from New Orleans we got a dog. Nelson was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever whose favorite activity second only to swimming was walking. Nelson and I put on many quick-stepping miles between our house and Nelson’s favorite swimming hole, the Cherry Creek Reservoir.

When our family moved to Evergreen, Colorado we adopted Boofy from the Evergreen Animal Protective League and my wilderness walking experiences took off. There was a dirt road that began up the hill from our house and descended into a beautiful woodland paradise that Boofy and I explored every day. I wrote about our walks here because they were so special to Boofy and me.

My dog Boofy in Elk Meadow, Evergreen, Colorado
Boofy in Elk Meadow

After my divorce Boofy and I moved to Denver’s beautiful Potter Highlands neighborhood and began hitting the sidewalks in what I think of as our own personal Urban Renewal. What an adventure it was being back in the city!

I could go on and on sharing my walking journal, but this story is called “When WE Walk.” When I say “We” I mean “You and me.” We receive energy when we expend energy and we don’t accumulate many memories sitting on our tuckus.

Walking stimulates our brains, our awareness, our lungs, our heart, and our smiles. When we walk we invite ideas, energy, and happiness into our lives. I invite you to go out and take a walk. It’s that simple, first one foot forward and then the other.

Now go on out and experience what happens when we walk. Let me know what you think.

More Healthy, More Happy! — March 28, 2014

More Healthy, More Happy!

Physical activity and movement, so important to humans, has somehow slipped away from us.

We seem to have stopped moving ourselves around in our daily lives and started jumping into our cars to move us everywhere for everything.

Many of us have jobs where we sit. We have cars that we sit in, and when we are sitting around at home we think about ways to fit some kind of physical activity into a lifestyle that has very little time left for adding anything.

To buy our food, many of us drive our cars to a grocery store and look for the closest spot in the gigantic parking lot to the door.

I have written about the joy of riding my bike to my favorite neighborhood farm market in Sunnyside to pick up browns (eggs from happy neighborhood chickens) and greens (arugula, and kale, etc.) from the corner of 44th & Vallejo in Denver.

Denver’s Stapleton Community is an Active Living Partner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design where physical activity is restored back into the fabric of everyday life. People walk or ride their bikes to work and school and to the store and this is good.

The whole experience of riding your bike or walking down neighborhood streets to a local garden or grocery store, chatting with your neighbors, buying fresh food and walking or pedaling home with it is rejuvenating and makes us healthy and happy.

Healthy and happy is worth finding time for no matter where you live and I know that “more healthy” makes me “more happy.”

Happy and Healthy!
Happy and Healthy!

Since I am pretty sure that “more healthy” will also make you “more happy,” may I suggest that you sneak some activity into your life and move it around a little bit.

If you need a little prod, travel on over to my Pintrest account and check out “Day 100” for some “more healthy, more happy” inspiration.

Be Happy!

Temporarily Not Quite Least Obese — March 10, 2014

Temporarily Not Quite Least Obese

Back in October of 2010 I blogged about Colorado’s status as the country’s least obese state. I was happy to report that we maintained our status again in 2012.

Well, the bad news is the new numbers are in and Colorado has lost our first-place rating as least obese to Montana!

Montana???

Come on people of Colorado. What could have caused this?

I know what it has got to be,
and the only thing I think it’s got,
it’s got to be the legal pot!

pot plant
Legal pot in Colorado

I predicted that the legalization of pot would ruin our fair state. Now my predictions and the predictions of other luminaries have come to pass.

Legal pot IS dangerous. I mean this year we had Girl Scouts stationed outside of pot stores quadrupling their sales.

But, we can turn this around Colorado.

If all you are lifting is a bong in one hand and a local craft beer in the other it’s not going to work.

You have to get up and move it around a little bit. Walk to Sunday brunch.

A Denver B Bike
Jump on a B Bike
Get on a B Bike to do the brewery tour. Get out to Red Rocks when there isn’t a concert.
Take a hike in beautiful Red Rocks
Take a hike!

And Montanans, don’t get too used to to your top spot. We’re at least a mile higher than you are.

Grinding It Out — August 1, 2013

Grinding It Out

Grindstone-300x241

How many times have you had to do something that was not particularly appealing but just plain had to be done? Stuff like this is usually important or you wouldn’t even consider doing it, so you’ve just got to get it done. That is one of those times when you’ve just got to put your nose to the stone and grind it out.

I recently heard this term from a guy who was considering a really difficult bike race with mega elevation gain. Somebody else was describing the difficulty of pieces of the ride and this guy said thoughtfully, “No, I can get through that. I am an extreme runner and I know how to just… grind… it… out.”

Since then I have been thinking about an individual’s anticipation and acceptance of just grinding it out. If you have ever done it you know how it’s going to be – really, really difficult. It’s going to be unpleasant. It’s going to hurt. But you know what to expect and you are sure you can do it, will do it, and will feel pretty darn good about it afterwards.

I usually think about this “grinding it out” when I am on my bike approaching one of those hills that go on forever at a grade that I know is going to be challenging for me. I get ready for complaining lungs and legs, but most preparation I need is for the challenges I will face inside my head. I frequently call upon the words that I have heard coaches and mentors say over the years. I use these words as a combination of prayer, meditation, and incantation; surprisingly to much success.

You can laugh, but “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it” and “Quitters never win and winners never quit” have gotten me and my bike over some tough stretches. I might as well admit to chanting to myself on a long 7% grade “bulldogish hangontiveness” over and over. It comes from my junior high school principal (We were the Trexler Bulldogs) and flows nicely over the other “I can’t do this” voices.

I have now reached a place where I truly grasp the beauty of just grinding it out, and I can do it; albeit, at my own level. I am surprisingly happy about this and about knowing that everyone can grind it out at his or her own level and that someday we will all tire of our perceived levels and grind it out even further.

The Life In Your Years — March 7, 2013

The Life In Your Years

I just read a posting on a sort of “senior” website asking what do you see when you pass a 76-year-old woman on the street. The answer they were looking for was “nothing,” you don’t notice her at all. To that I say “so what?”

When I walk down the street I don’t notice anyone who is representative of any age; unless they stand out for some odd reason. Most of the time a person stands out is because their “difference” is apparent, and may I say appreciated by this girl. People’s more extreme individual traits do catch my eye.

Aside from some ageism in the workplace (and the degree of that varies between occupations) I believe that there has never been a better time for ageing in this country. And the Baby Boom that occurred in those years from 1946 to 1964 here in the US could have had something to do with that. There is power in numbers and the Baby Boomers are 76 million strong.

We Boomers benefit from the availablity of modern drugs to keep us going. Happily, some of us also spend time exercising and enjoying a healthy diet.

In 1900, life expectancy for much of the industrialized world was under 50. Now one hundred and some years later we are living well into our 70s and 80s and our ageing accomplishments are twofold. First we are living longer. I don’t know this, but I bet at the beginning of our living longer we were simply living longer. These days we live longer with substantially improved quality of life for those additional years.

Abraham Lincoln said it a long time ago, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” It is my crusade to put more life into each day, and if I can inspire anyone else to join me, I invite you to come along. Let’s get moving.

Making It Happen — February 19, 2013

Making It Happen

Woman2SWomanI have arrived and every experience I have had up until this moment was in preparation for this moment. Now it is my responsibility to take this gift and do something fabulous with it.

What do we have but this moment? What have you got to lose?

A woman cannot sit around and feel sorry for herself. Those negative thoughts produce negative energy that surround her and keep her from finding happiness. Exercise really helps. A plan really helps too. If a woman makes herself get up and do something that she may not believe she is capable of she won’t believe how much power that will give her.

When I see a woman who breaks through her fear and gets to the gym or really starts walking and doing sit ups and push-ups and putting her valuable time into herself my heart rejoices. You see a new-found strength in her face and in the way she stands. She feels her god or goddess-given power. If she keeps going you will see her absolutely glow. We have all experienced the power of our own and our sisters’ successes. It is so empowering.

This is where a plan comes in very handy. If a woman formulates a plan for making herself more important in her own life and for making herself into the woman she would love to be, it becomes more possible that this will happen. Not everyone in her life will support her in this endeavor for many and various reasons which do not matter. She needs to find some support and we all need to be available to each other in these our efforts to blossom.

I’m thinking so much about women in my life who are stepping out and others who are thinking about it but are still fearful. I have been crippled by fear and will never criticize another woman for her fear. I hate receiving advice from other women when I am too scared to hear it. I will always be there though to lend support when someone has taken their first steps.

Some of us are here to help each other at the gate, but I feel more confident helping my sisters through the turns once they begin taking their own steps. We are all here to help each other and bring our own power to do that. We each have our own gifts that we bring to the world and our own way of helping each other bring theirs. We can let our powers lay dormant or we can bring them out for each other.

Shine On — November 16, 2012

Shine On

I recently read an article in Huffington post about 14 things that 50-somethings are happy to no longer stress about. I was surprised by one woman’s comment that she no longer stresses about wearing make – up or how her hair looks.

In another article I read the inspiring story of a woman who coming back from a debilitating disease was excited about feeling well enough to put on some makeup, fix her hair, and wear something special for her husband.  She felt good enough to get some shine on.

In my 20s, selling advertising in Houston, I often heard my sales manager say, “Fake it till you make it.” He encouraged us to shine with confidence and success even if we didn’t own it yet, because people were buying us as well as the product we were selling.

Turn it on and keep it on!

Is the beauty of age that you no longer have to bring your shine?

I personally enjoy an experience more when I feel confident about bringing my best self, so it doesn’t make sense to me that a benefit of aging is to no longer need to bring your shine. And are we to conclude that when applied, the mature shine doesn’t shine as brightly to the world as a more youthful shine. That is as counterintuitive to me as that old hill we supposedly go over as we mature.

The road of life that takes us from birth to death brings plenty of twists and turns but I can’t imagine that we reach a point where it all turns south. How would you identify your pinnacle day? “Yes, I remember the day well. April 16, 2007 was the very best day of my life and then I went over the hill.”

Ridiculous.

Keep going

I imagine life’s road ever so slightly inclined uphill all the way – just to keep us striving and reaching and growing. It’s got bumps, holes, and long flat stretches to be sure, but it is mostly a slight incline all the way to the very end when we make that final pass into the Great Unknown. Please remember to use your blinker when you make that final pass.

The road of life is a design from which to shine and not a voluntary turnoff onto steep decline. So always remember to shine on up the road and to give others a toot to remind them to turn their shine on too.

The Least Obese Again! — October 29, 2012

The Least Obese Again!

In October 2010 I blogged about an article in 5280 Magazine entitled “The Last Lean Americans” which reported Colorado’s obesity rates at about 15 to 20 percent to be the lowest in the nation.

Well, Colorado has done it again in 2012. It’s not surprising that the state with a population as active as Colorado’s would have the lowest percentage of obese individuals. These Pew findings are from surveys conducted with 177,663 U.S. adults from January through June 2012 for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Gallup calculates respondents’ Body Mass Index using the standard formula based on their self-reported height and weight. The World Health Organization defines a normal BMI range as being 18.50 to 24.99. It labels BMIs of 25.00 to less than 30.00 as overweight/pre-obese, and those with BMIs of 30.00 or higher are considered obese.

An average of 62.8% of all American adults were overweight or obese in the first half of 2012 — 36.3% were overweight and 26.2% were obese, which is pretty much unchanged from 2011.

Being the least obese sounds good, but our percentage of “overweight to obese” is 55%, which although is better than the almost 63% national average still represents pretty many people who are not as healthy as they could be.

fitness brings happiness

An October 25th article posted in Huffington Post  reports that obesity rates for the US middle aged (45-65) population  are on the rise.  Speaking of “on the rise,” the rate of STDs caught by men in this middle age category has more than doubled over the past 10 years, that’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though that story is better saved for another day, I need to just say that middle aged men may want to be working out more and making out less. I’m just sayin’.

this could be you

Back to Colorado. Let’s think about next year’s Pew Report on Obesity. We could just continue to wallow around that 55% mark or we could mesmerize the rest of the country and the world with our level of fitness and healthy good looks. Ladies, I invite you to explore Lean.Clean.Mean on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Lean.Clean.Mean. Total inspiration. Guys, check out the blogs and the workouts here http://www.mensfitness.com/training.

Whatever you end up doing begins with a single step. It’s the hardest part sometimes but one step leads to another and before you know it you’ve gone around the block. Use it and lose it. I’m off to the gym. Later.

Wealth Distribution and Longevity — September 4, 2012

Wealth Distribution and Longevity

Healthy at 100 was written by John Robbins in 2006 and here I am in 2012 just discovering this tome. I can’t put this book down because what Robbins says about growing old in western culture is spot on.

He writes about the very real importance of good nutrition and about how exercise will really keep a person vibrant well into the later years. I was looking forward to sharing information about “Keeping Your Marbles,” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It” but I couldn’t stop reading and I got to the section entitled “Wealth Distribution and Human Health.”

There are many places in this book where the writer references the Japanese as having the greatest life expectancy on all the earth and asserts that one of the reasons for this is that it is also economically the most equitable of all the world’s affluent nations. I never heard this but it seems that after WWII, General Douglas MacArthur was given the task of overseeing the nation’s reconstruction and in doing this, economically leveled the playing field between the rich and the poor. His reforms were followed by the most rapid rise in health and longevity ever documented in any major country in world history.

Let’s come back to the United States and take a look at what has happened here since WWII. At the end of this war there were very few homeless people on the streets. Even as late as 1970, homelessness in America was still rare. But since that time economic inequality in this country has grown immensely and this gap has had devastating health consequences.

In his book Robbins says, “History shows that whenever inequality of wealth distribution becomes extreme, people tend to spend less on public health, education, and social safety nets. Large numbers of people feel chronically left out, powerless, anxious, angry and afraid. In such societies, everyone – whether they are “haves” or “have-nots” tends to become less trusting of their neighbors and less inclined to help others. Robbins continues, “The result is higher crime rates, increased violence, and higher rates of heart disease, depression, and many other debilitating and deadly ailments for both rich and poor.” Robbins cites Japan and Sweden as two countries first and second in the world in terms of wealth equality and coincidentally (?) first and second in life expectancy.