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May 2019

I Cheated On My Gym

Download-2I cheated on my old gym. I fell for a younger, shinier gym that opened very near my house.  It's spanking new, with lockers that lock, beautiful exercise rooms, mountains of equipment, flowers in the entrance and a person who swiped my membership card and said, "Have a great workout, Kate!"

I was also lulled by the robust class schedule - so many options at so many times.

Because breaking up is hard to do - and I had a longterm relationship with my old gym -  I just put my membership on hold. This new gym cost twice as much as my old one. But it was so close! And so beautiful!

Well, it's been two months and I've returned to my old gym with my tail between my legs. Gyms, it turns out, are about a good fit. The classes at Gym Shiny were filled with young mothers who look like the women in that yoga picture. The instructors shouted things like, "Come on, Ladies. It's almost bikini season!" or "You know you want your butt to look good in those booty shorts."

Uh, no. I do not work out so I can have a rocking body to display (thank God). Sure, I want to be fit, but it's to be able to take the long hikes I enjoy, lug around heavy things, and accrue all the other benefits of exercise, like better cardiovascular health, stronger bones, more flexibility, etc. You know - to live my life.

On top of that, the robust-looking class schedule at Club Shiny was misleading. Many of them required you to pay extra. Say what? I'm already paying a hefty monthly fee.

My first day back at Gym Old Faithful, I took a class with my favorite instructor. As we were setting up, she said, "Before we begin, great news! Pam is a grandmother for the second time!" We all applauded. Pam is a doctor who takes the same strength class I do. Then when we were doing a leg exercise, our instructor said, "Let's really work this, because summer is coming. And we want to be able to be able to take long walks to enjoy it!"

Ah, I'm back with my peeps. I am sorry I strayed and I've learned my lesson.

Oh, one more thing: the classes at Gym Old Faithful are actually far more challenging than the ones at Gym Shiny. Even if the goal is not bikini-ready bodies. 

Maddy (2005-2019)

    Fourteen years ago, a tiny stray kitten wandered into a jewelry store in Annapolis, Maryland. And in one of those weird twists of life, she ended up in our New York home.

    The basics: our daughter's college boyfriend's little sister had a part-time job in that store. She brought the little stray home, but her Mom was allergic to cats. Overnight, that cat somehow became our responsibility. My daughter argued that the kitten was likely to go to a kill shelter unless we took it. "Her death will be on your hands," she told me darkly. (My daughter has a flare for the dramatic.)

    Anyway, we ended up with Maddy.  She was tiny, four months old, very vocal (every hop up and down any surface was accentuated with a quizzical "Meww?" almost as if she wondered what had just happened. Our vet  looked at her and described her as "riding the short bus," a very politically incorrect way of describing what she saw as Maddy's vacuity. 

    It's true that it took Maddy a few years to master her name. And she still struggled to understand that both sliding doors led into the house. But oh, what a sweet girl she was! Full of affection and love. For such a small  cat (she never exceeded 8 lbs at her heaviest) she had a mighty purr, and she wasn't scared of anything or anyone.

    Maddy adored my husband, and followed him around like a puppy. She stretched when he stretched, meditated when he meditated, curled up and watched hockey games with him and slept on his side of the bed.

    Last night our vet (not the one who dissed Maddy but a different and lovely one) came to our house to put Maddy down. The kitty had cancer and it was spreading. Maddy was really sick and had no chance of recovering. She was suffering.

    Maddy curled up in Mike's lap while the vet gave her a sedative. After she was very sleepy, the vet gave her a second shot to put her down. The whole time we were petting Maddy and telling her how much we loved her. It was a peaceful end, and she was carried away in the little blue kitty bed she loved.

    We thanked Maddy repeatedly for all the love she brought into our lives. 

    Who knows how long I will keep waiting for her to round the corner, making her little mewing sound and jump into my lap?


ImagesThe second anniversary of my Dad's death is coming up. The deep mourning - that feeling that your heart is actually sinking inside your body - has passed. But I miss him all the time. Some days are harder than others.

When my Dad was in his final days, I got some good advice. Ask for something of his - a sweater, a shirt - just something tangible of his to have and to hold. Now I have several pieces of his clothing, though inevitably they've had to be washed and have gradually lost his smell. But still they give me comfort.

Just last night I felt a sharp need to be with him. I slept in one of his old t-shirts, and thought of it as my Dad giving me a long hug.