Stand Up

Standing desks are all the rage.

I just don’t get it.

I know- sitting is the new smoking so they say…and I’m not saying that sitting for eight hours a day is good for you, but really, is standing for eight hours a day any better?

I did not do scientific research about this- I’m sure there are thousands of articles and statistics that support standing desks, and I’m sure there are an equal amount of studies and stats the say the exact opposite. That’s the nature of anything- one group says A while another says Z. It’s not so much a right or wrong, just different studies and different ways to look at something…

But logically…

Shouldn’t everything be a balance?

If sitting all day isn’t good, is doing the exact opposite the right course of action?

From personal experience, my Dad had a job that made him be on his feet all day. You know what it did for him? Varicose veins, foot issues and heart issues. Standing put too much stress on his body. Sitting a bit might have been better for him.

What if you stand all day but have poor posture? Is that a plus or a minus?

Is good health about more than a decision to stand or sit?

If you stand all day but smoke, how healthy are you?

If you sit and take a five minute walk every hour, how unhealthy are you?

Stand and do no other exercise?

Sit but work out regularly with weights and separate cardio?

Isn’t healthy an all around life style?

What do you think about the standing desk phenomena? Do you think it’s a fad like those kneeling chairs? (remember those? It was supposed to be better to kneel when doing work)

Or do you think it’s an effective tool to use towards a healthy lifestyle?



My local gym used to have a ton of classes: spin and body conditioning and yoga, etc. Then pandemic, and gyms shut down for a bit. When they reopened, my local gym had very few classes on the roster. This was a problem for me as I am a big fan of classes. I need motivation to work out. Period. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just me. While I can and do go to the gym and jump on the elliptical five times a week, I love a class.

Slowly my gym has begun adding more classes. But a few months ago they started having virtual spinning classes in the facility (as opposed to the Peloton model where you can do the classes at home).

I was not happy about these virtual classes. I like doing things in person with a live instructor. However, a virtual instructor was better than no class, so I began attending two spin classes a week.

I hate to admit this, but I loved it.

The teacher was teaching live at a studio, and there were four other gyms taking part in the same class, and we all participated by watching a huge TV in the cycling rooms at our own particular location. We could see the instructor, but she couldn’t see us. However, the instructors were able to monitor our bikes, and our progress, from the studio where they were filming. The class was set up so that my gym would be “competing” against the other gyms. Throughout the class, our stats would flash up on the monitor: how on pace we were with how the instructor was telling us to go, and how much power we were using. (FYI- I was awesome at pacing but really lousy at power)

My competitive nature clearly came out, as did the competitive nature of the others in the class. As we were cheering ourselves over “beating” the other teams, we would be laughing at ourselves for how all out we would go for this meaningless tribute.

I was working out and having fun. I really enjoyed the class.

You may have noticed that I was sort of speaking in the past tense. About six weeks ago the gym decided it wasn’t going to do virtual classes anymore. We don’t know why they stopped because we get absolutely no communication about what is and isn’t happening. But I was a little sad that virtual spin was over.

Luckily, my gym added some live, in person instructors so that there are now a few more spin classes. In fact, I was sitting on bike 19 at 6am today.

When I scheduled this post a few months ago, I thought I would be telling you about how virtual spin class was awesome- but instead I’m giving you its obituary. In a blink of an eye, things change. I guess that’s the lesson of today’s post…enjoy things while you can because nothing lasts forever.

Sometimes a Bike is Just a Bike

I think you know that I am about to be an empty nester. My Daughter will not be living in her bedroom anymore- (yeah- breaks and all, but really- she will no longer be a full time resident at Chez LA)

A somewhat empty bedroom….


I’ve been looking at her bedroom with an appraising eye- if I get rid of the desk which is mainly broken,and cabinet next to it, which contains school paraphernalia, I will have room for a piece of exercise equipment. A nice stationary bike. Or maybe an elliptical.

I explained this theory to a friend of mine, who happens to be a writer/editor. And his first response was “Are you sure you want to cut out your guaranteed outside connection to the world? You know, when you are inside writing all day…”  He was looking at it as being alone too much. Lots of me time without benefit of other voices. That maybe it wasn’t good to be by myself for that much time. If you’ve read me this week, you know I’ve been reveling in alone time. I had two weekends in a row where I had serious alone time. And I loved it. Unapologetically loved it.

Is my desire to be alone too much?

Is wanting to quit the gym and get a piece of equipment for my house too much alone time?

Here’s the thing. I don’t consider my gym time to be particularly social. I go to the gym, I work out, I come home. Period. True, I say Hi and briefly chat with the regulars who are there at the same time as me always, but honestly, I don’t hold any actual connection to these people: I don’t even know their names: I know them by what equipment they favor- bike guy, stairmaster woman, guy who grunts when he lifts weights, woman who preens to much as she stretches. This isn’t interaction. This is just seeing people who have the same schedule as me, like seeing the people who take mass transit the same time every day. My daughter recognizes her bus driver, but no one is calling that social.

So is getting a piece of home gym equipment a step towards turning into a recluse? Do I want to get a stationary bike so I can avoid social contact?

Well, in a word, No.

I am not thinking about exercising at home because I want to be alone.

I’m considering it because my gym fees are almost usurious. I shouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee because I want the ability to exercise indoors. This is really about cutting cost.

And of course, convenience and efficiency. It will be so nice to wake up, throw on sweats and walk across the apartment and just do a workout. No dodging raindrops, tramping through snow, getting annoyed if the guy opening the gym is late. I can make my own hours, I’m not tied to a schedule. I can throw in laundry, exercise, throw it in the dryer and exercise some more. It’s brilliant.

So sometimes there is no deep seeded reason to an issue. Sometimes it just is what it is.



The Reformer

I know.  With that title you’re expecting a Western, or a Cop story.  Instead, you’ll be getting a blog about exercise.



Reformer is a form of Pilates, which is (per a “system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness.”

Now, in layman’s terms, if you’re a devotee of the Fifty Shades stuff, you’re going to love Pilates.  You are laying on a rack, with your feet and arms in various types of straps, pushing your body to do things that will probably cause you to scream out “Oh God”, and thoroughly understand the concept of pleasure and pain.  There’s a Rihanna song that totally plays in your head when you’re on the table, feet in straps, and moving your legs side to side and up and down.


I am stretching muscles that I didn’t know existed.  My inner thighs burn from leg movement.  And my core (more commonly known as abs)- I understand how someone can have a “6 pack” because I actually feel the muscle movement in at least 6 stomach areas.

So, what’s the verdict?

I feel better after class.  I have gone to 3 classes so far (I’m going once a week, every Friday).  I have better movement in my joints- I feel my hips opening up.  I have/had planters fasciitis in one foot and tendonitis in the other, and the series of stretches I do is actually relieving my foot pain.  My abs are stronger, which in turn is making my back stronger.  But I feel every area of my body getting a little stronger, a little looser, a little more flexible.  Though I do ache and “need” to take a hot bath with lavender and Epsom salts (candle and soft music also essential), it is a good ache.  I feel like my muscles have been exercised, but not hurt.

My body feels good.

But my mind also feels good.  I am  sleeping better.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m still a crazy type A lunatic, but I’m a little tiny bit calmer.  it’s a start.

I will also say that the teacher I have is probably the best teacher ever.  No lie.  She is patient, explains what the exercise is, what it will work, and why it’s important.  She walks around the class to make sure we are all doing things properly.  She is calm and laid back, and while those are not qualities I normally look for in others, it is totally welcome, wanted and needed during this class.  I feel like her presence is a good warm hug.

Trying Pilates was one of my goals for 2018.  I’m glad I was able to fit it into my weekly routine.  My other goal was to work out at least 5 days a week, which I exceeded by exercising every day this month.  (though I may not go to the gym today because I have a stupidly packed schedule- Tuesday is my crazy day)

Onward and upward….

Resolution: Exercise

How many people made a resolution to exercise more/be more fit?   My gym has seen a surge of people…

I know I did.  But I set that as a goal every year.  And I keep it.  I set my goal as 5 days a week, but truth be told, I usually exercise 7 days a week.  In a perfect world, I do spin class twice, two weights classes and elliptical 3 times a week.  This year I propose to replace an elliptical session with a Pilates reformer class.  I need to get more flexible- that’s my actual fitness goal for the year- flexibility.

But back to you guys:  How do you keep up an exercise regimen?

  1. Start slowly.  Don’t rush out and join a gym.  Look at the different fitness options available- there are so many now.  Find something you are going to enjoy doing and will look forward to.  Seriously.  Exercise should be fun- it shouldn’t be something you dread.  And exercise is anything that gets you moving.  Dance class, jumping rope, swimming, fencing, soccer…’s up to you!  Choose what you want!!
  2. Now this brings me to my next point- I know the following opinion goes against popular opinion, but DON’T EXERCISE WITH A BUDDY.  This is setting yourself up for failure.  First off, you may not enjoy the same exercise- so having your friend along side you will not make it any better.  Secondly, if your friend is sick, would you still go?  The motivation should not be solely based on your friend riding an exercise bike next to you, but because you want to be on that bike.  But I understand the allure of having a exercise buddy.  My suggestion is simple, find the exercise you like, and find a new friend who enjoys it.  I have gym friends.  I have friends in my exercise classes and friends I elliptical next to.  These people help keep me motivated, because we are both enjoying the same things.  So rethink who your exercise buddies are.
  3.  Start slow.  I know I began a paragraph like this already, but this is something slightly different.  When you are starting out, set your goal to be working out 45 minutes a week.  Seriously.  Say you are going to work out once.  When you do it, it will feel good.  after a few weeks, add another session.  Build up slowly.
  4. Ease up.  In January, I see all the newbies start out in a class, and they take that first class full throttle, the heaviest weights, the most reps, the highest jumps.  They are all in.  Until they’re not.  Because I rarely see these people again.  And maybe it’s cause they don’t like this sort of workout.  That’s fine.  But it’s also because they work out hard, feel like crap (cause you will- using muscles you never use isn’t pretty) and decide it’s not worth it.  So, my advice, that first class, that first session- get the lay of the land.  Figure out what’s expected.  Find your pace.  Concentrate on doing something the right way.
  5. Make sure you love what you are wearing to exercise.  I know this sounds shallow, but if you don’t like what you are wearing, you will be less motivated to work out.  Workout clothes don’t have to be expensive- but you should be comfortable and able to move about freely.

The goal of an exercise routine should be to get fit, but remember, there are all different ways to reach that goal.  Figure out your individual path.  Figure out what makes you happy, and what will keep you exercising and healthy.

I know you can do it!

These are my personal observations.  i have no degree in anything related to this- I just exercise every week and these are things that got me started.

Bikram Spinning

Bikram:  Yoga done in a really, really hot room

Spinning: Indoor exercise class, involving stationary bike with control panel similar to one found in NASA style equipment, very loud music and overly enthusiastic instructor

Bikram Spinning:  Spin class done in small room with no air conditioning

I went to a Bikram spin class yesterday.  Not intentionally, I may add.  I’d signed up (because you need to sign up in advance to exercise- you can’t just show up with sneakers and a can-do attitude)  and when I got to the gym, I found out the air conditioning in the spin room was totally busted.  A 20×20 room, with no openable windows, and 25 bikes.  Oh, and 25 people.  The temperature in the room was 85 degrees.  No lie.  Not exaggerating.  I’d have taken a picture if my phone screen wasn’t fogged up.

I knew the room was this hot.  25 people knew the room was this hot.  Yet we all stayed.  And only 1 person was getting paid.  The rest of us were paying for this privilege.

So why did I stay?

Am I a masochist?  (those of you that know me are not allowed to say yes to this.  I’m making a point, sort of)

No.  I am not a masochist.  I actually like to go to the gym.  I get pleasure from working out, and honestly, if I don’t do some sort of physical activity every day I don’t feel right.  And trust me, I am not a palestrato (Italian word for someone with overly toned body, and absolute devotion to gym workouts)  I am miles away from overly toned, and my body type is more curvy than straight.    I lead a balanced life.  I spend about an hour a day doing formal exercise.  My gym workouts aren’t about achieving an ideal physique.  They are about being healthy- both my body and my mind.  (And yes, I admit, I knew I was going to eat popcorn and pizza later that evening- so it was sort of balancing out the scales of healthy/not so healthy.)

But here’s the thing.  My hour a day at the gym is about the only time I am singularly focused on one thing.  It’s almost a form of meditation.  All I’m thinking about is pedaling, lifting, or moving my feet and arms.  I’m not thinking about my to do list.  I’m not obsessing about tiny details.  I’m not worrying about family or friends or the state of the world-  I’m as close to a blank slate as possible.  And I need this- I need a blank slate.

So for 45 minutes yesterday, I worked through the sweat (anyone who tells you that  women don’t sweat but glow is an idiot)  I cursed out the instructor when she told us to turn it up (meaning increase the resistance- as if you’re going uphill).  I drank more water that I thought possible.  For the first time in my life, my hands kept slipping down  on the handlebars- no towel could help.  But all I thought about was pedaling, breathing, working though it.  Nothing else.  Blank slate.

By the end of class, the temperature in the room was 87 degrees- there wasn’t a dry body in the room.  We looked at each other- survivors- warriors.   and I looked at the control panel of my bike:  CALORIES BURNED- 32.  Good thing I exercise for my mind.

You Can’t Remake Your Youth

Apparently, a remake of “Dirty Dancing” was made.  I saw a commercial.  I saw some of the stars being interviewed.  What I did not see was the actual remake.  I refused on the grounds of….I just don’t want to.

I remember when the original came out.  I loved that movie.  I thought it was an amazing coming of age story.  You watched Baby learn how to navigate an adult world, toeing the line between being a teen age daughter and becoming an independent adult.  It also gave the viewer a glimpse into the historic cultural changes that were about to hit in the 1960s.

Debra Messing portrays the Mother in the remake.  I saw her interviewed.  I love Debra Messing as an actress.  She is funny and warm and intelligent, and she starred in on of my favorite all time sitcoms.  But when she talked about how you were going to see much more of the mothers story…….stop.  Stop right there.  This isn’t about the mother.  It’s about Baby becoming Francis.  That was the beauty of it.

So watching the remake was never going to happen.

I couldn’t help but wonder: why remake this movie?  This movie that people adore?

Can something become more iconic?

Or are we just trying to recreate a perfect experience?

Sometimes things need to remain a memory.  Sometimes things need to remain in the past.  There are no do overs.

When life gets tough, we often think back to “the good old days”.  We look at old pictures, watch video, reread journals…..anything to bring us to a better place.  We want to recreate the good feelings that we had.  But you can’t recreate an exact moment, an exact feeling.  A unique set of circumstances happened in a unique order to create a singular experience.  A guy walks into a room exactly when you turn your head…..Love at first sight.  You can never remake that specific moment.  That specific feeling.

You can’t remake your innocence.

The reason past experiences seem so much better is because we viewed them with less mature eyes.  Getting older is simply adding more life experience to our bodies, to our minds, to our hearts.  As each day passes we may suddenly understand something better, form a new hypothesis.  Conversely, things could get a little more confusing, add new questions to our already overloaded circuits.

We can’t remake our memories because we are no longer the people we were.


Remember the past

Plan for the future

Live in the present






We All Get Older

Every day, we get a little bit older.  Every day, the people around us get a little older.  There’s a young woman who lives in my building. I remember the day she came home from the hospitol.  In a month, she’ll be graduating high school.  She got older.

There’s another woman in my building.  I met her when she formed the building book club.  She was 55 then, not much older than I am now.  She was a practicing therapist and an avid bird watcher,- divorced  by choice, with absolutely no interest in remarriage.  She was living a rich fulfilling life.

She retired as a therapist five years later, age 60.  And at age 60, she wrote a book.  Over the next few years she became an active fund raiser for causes she believed in.  Her secret dream was to be a stand up comedian- and she began performing at amateur nights.  To watch her onstage was mesmerizing- she was having so much fun.  Her behavior post 60 was what my teenage daughter would refer to as goals.

A few years later, things began to change.   It was a small thing at first- she had always brought fruit to club meetings, and suddenly she stopped.  I like fruit as a snack, so I began bringing fruit.  And she yelled at me- told me fruit was her thing.  Normally I’m a huge fan of conflict, but this particular issue wasn’t worth my ire.  I just brought something else and book club went fruitless.

A few months later she  quit the book club she lovingly formed and cultivated.  The woman who once embraced all genres suddenly only wanted to read novels of espionage-which was odd in that she had always abhorred books like that.

Fast forward a year.  I saw her in the lobby of my building.  She pulled me aside and said:

“Someone has been taking things from my apartment.  I’m missing things.”

I asked her if she told the super, and she replied that it was the super who was taking things.

What do I do?  Part of me is thinking, she’s a little older, she could be misplacing things.   I knew that her family had recently hired a companion to help her during the day and I certainly didn’t want anyone taking advantage of her.  I knew her son came by weekly to check on her, so I left a note with my doorman.

Her son called.  He was happy that I was watching out for his Mother’s well being.  He explained that he did a weekly inventory of his Mom’s belongings, and everything was accounted for.  The only thing missing were little bits of her memory.

I’ve watched this amazing woman for years.  She lived her life and did the things she wanted.  Her bucket list is all crossed off. So why am I a little bit heartbroken?

Maybe it’s harder to watch someone else get older.  Maybe I worry that this is my fate 15 years from now.  Maybe I worry that one day my daughter will be taking inventory of the things in my apartment.  It’s probably a compilation of all of the above.

So what’s the message?  Live, love, enjoy.  Eat, drink, dance, sing.  Thats all I’ve got.  Perhaps, that’s all we need.


The End (of a theater)

One of my favorite movie theaters will be closing in January.  The building is going to be torn down and supposedly will be replaced by a retail establishment (as yet to be determined).  There is no historical ot cultural significance to this theater.  It is not a landmark, nor do I have specific memories tied to it.  So why is this seemingly benign event bothering me?  Let me count the ways:

1) They feature under the radar movies.  Critically acclaimed, foreign, documentaries- movies that I love to see but are not shown in a traditional cineplex.

2) The seats are large and comfy, with decent legroom, and most importantly, stadium seating.  As I’m short, I appreciate being able to see the screen instead of someone’s head.

3) They serve hot tea.  My beverage of choice is tea.  Very few theaters serve tea.  The combination of tea and a movie is intoxicating.

4) An usher comes out before the film starts and welcomes us to the theater.  The usher tells us that they will come back into the theater 15 minutes after the film has started in case we have issues with volume, picture quality or temperature.  I like this.  It makes me feel cared for in an often uncaring world.

5) The theater is easily accessed by public transportation.  This is important during bad weather when movie viewing is highly desirable.  It is also a nice walk on a pleasant day.

But most importantly:

6) The theater is in the middle of a virtual food Mecca.  All types of cuisine, all price ranges, casual to trendy to fancy.  It’s perfect.

So why is this the most important reason?

I love quirky movies.  I embrace sub titles.  I look forward to learning about something new.  The husband though…..not so much.  His passion is not film, it’s food.

So I approach my husband as follows:

Me: There’s an awesome documentary about cats in Istanbul out in the theater.

The Husband:  That’s nice.

Me: I read about an awesome Sri Lankan place.  They have this dish called roti, which is where they take the roti, cut it up, and sauté it with this marinated chicken.  It’s right around the block from the cat theater.

The Husband: What times the movie and do we need reservations?

And everyone is happy.

Until now.  Cause this perfect theater is closing.  But until the credits roll in January, I’ll take advantage and savor the moments.  And start looking for theaters with good restaurants around them.

Happy Monday!


Fill in the Blank: _________ can wait

No, this is not one of those dreaded tests you took a kid.  This is just a little exercise in mindfulness.

I went to see the movie “Paris Can Wait” yesterday.  (Side note- starring Diane Lane.  When there is a movie about my life, I want Diane Lane to play me.  I think she’s perfect.  And look at my optimism- I’m sure I’m going to do something notorious enough to warrant my life on screen)

But anyway.  The literal plot of the movie is that it takes 2 1/2 days to make a 7 hour car journey to Paris. The figurative plot is that sometimes we have to slow down and savor life and remember what’s important.  The figurative plot is the winner here.

On their journey from Cannes to Paris, they stop at museums and old churches.  They buy gorgeous fruit from vendors, indulge in luxurious wines, order every chocolate dessert on the menu.  They try.  They experience.  They slow down.  They live.

How often do we actually live life?  Savor the taste of food?  Sit and actually listen to music, paying attention to its subtle nuances?  Sit at a dinner table without a phone or electronic device?  Sometimes we need to slow down.  Sometimes we need to live in the moment.

So- I said it wasn’t a test, but I didn’t say there wouldn’t be homework.  Here’s your assignment:

1) Figure out something that can wait, a chore, an obligation, anything.   (Mine would be shredding.  There is no timeline on when routine household shredding needs to be accomplished)

2) Engage in an activity you love

3) Stretch out the time you engage in this activity- pay attention to each step of the process

4) Live in the moment

5) Enjoy