Exercise Confessions

I exercised for a few months. I quit exercising for a few months. I exercised again for a few months. I quit exercising again for a few months. I’m wildly enthusiastic about exercise. I’m wildly apathetic about exercise. Well, I guess apathy by its very nature is not wild. It’s lazy. I would try to explain why I behave this way regarding something as important as exercise, but there’s no logical explanation.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend recently. She said, “When I walk three miles a day I feel fantastic. It’s life changing, Lisa. Really.”

I replied, “I didn’t know you walked three miles a day. That’s wonderful!”

“Oh, I don’t. I used to though…and trust me, it was fantastic.”

I get that. When I eat a salad and three pieces of fruit every day I feel better. Much better. But today I ate a waffle, tortilla chips, taco salad with sour cream, and cheese tortillas. Yeah. Go figure. When I drink lots of water every day, I experience more energy and a boost in mood. Today I drank coffee and sweet tea most of the day. In a few minutes I may even bust out for some bedtime hot cocoa with marshmallows. Thank goodness there are no Oreos or Fig Newtons in the house.

There are apples on the dining room table but everyone knows that hot cocoa and Gala apples don’t mix. Exercise and hot cocoa don’t mix either. When’s the last time a friend invited you to come over for hot cocoa and aerobics? Yeah. Not gonna happen. The only post-cocoa event that is remotely acceptable is reading a good book or watching a movie (and the movie doesn’t even have to be that good as long as you’ve got plenty of hot cocoa).

Exercise-catSpeaking of apples, here’s a bit of fruit trivia I’ve been pondering. Why are human beings rarely tempted to eat too much fruit? When’s the last time a friend said, “I ate way too much last night. I shouldn’t have had that second bowl of fruit salad. The mangos and fresh strawberries did me in.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with excessive fruit eating. There’s just something about a bowl of fruit that speaks moderation into the human heart. There’s just something about a plate of brownies that speaks from a different direction.

The sad truth of the matter is that certain things in my life tend to go together, for better or worse. When I exercise, I drink water. When I drink water, I eat apples. When I eat apples, I make the bed every day. When I make the bed every day, I read good books at night. When I read good books at night, I feel better.

When I don’t exercise, I drink sweet tea. When I drink sweet tea, I eat tortilla chips. When I eat tortilla chips, I don’t make the bed. When I don’t make the bed, I watch poorly-written chick flicks at night, throw my dirty clothes on the floor, and fall asleep in my recliner.

The moral to the story is clear. If you don’t want to throw your dirty clothes on the floor, join me in my renewed attempt at exercising. If you like falling asleep in your recliner, make a pan of brownies.



Jell-O is Weird

jelloHave you ever read a newspaper column that changed your life?  Yeah, so have I.  But this is not that column.  This is a column about Jell-O.  So all of you who wanted to be inspired or have a good cry or ponder the meaning of life, well, you’re gonna have to go elsewhere this week.  Jell-O is a lot of things but it has never helped anyone discover the meaning of life.  And we can’t expect it to start now.

I’ve been fascinated with Jell-O since childhood.  In 4th grade, Christy Miller told me that powdered Jell-O was made from ground up fingernails.  But don’t believe her.  Christy Miller lied about a lot of things.  She told me we could pass notes in math class and not get caught.  She told me her baby brother washed up on shore on the coast of Florida and they just found him lying there, helpless and in need of a family.  We didn’t need a drama class in elementary school.  Christy Miller brought drama every day of the week.  You don’t even wanna know her take on tater tots.

You might be wondering what really is in the mysterious substance we call Jell-O.  You can always read the ingredients but you won’t understand them.  Take my word for it.  They’re not shooting straight with us.  No regular consumer knows what’s in Jell-O.  It’s a mystery product.red-jell-o
Sugar, dye, gelatin, sure.  But there are other things, things they don’t list on the box.  Magic things.  One thing I do know is that members of my family have done a lot of weird things with Jell-O over the years.  Really weird things.
I don’t know what kind of family you grew up in, but I come from a family who likes to call something a salad even if it isn’t one.   If someone asked Aunt Margaret what she wanted to bring to Uncle Jim’s birthday party, she would likely say, “Jell-O salad.”  Aunt Margaret, I love you enough to tell you the truth. Pouring two cans of fruit cocktail into a red sugary substance made of heaven knows what, may be a lot of things but it is not a salad.

Did any of you have a mom who liked to get creative with Jell-O?  I grew up in the 70’s and my mom, along with all the other hip small-town moms, had a vast array of Jell-O creations up her sleeve.  In one recipe, she added mini-marshmallows, cottage cheese, and nuts to green Jell-O.  Yeah, I’m not sure why either.

A friend’s mom even grated a head of cabbage to put in green Jell-O.  This was just wrong on so many levels.  She must have felt bad about Aunt Margaret’s “false salad” claim and was trying to make good on it.jello-salad
But I have some good memories of Jell-O too.  When my brother or I would get sick, Mom would always make us several flavors of Jell-O.  It seems Jell-O was deemed by all to have some kind of healing property.

And that just proves my point.  We don’t have to know what’s in it.  We don’t have to over-analyze it.  Kids everywhere like to eat it and maybe that’s good enough.  Jell-O, you’re not just an old friend.  You’re an American institution.