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Fitness, eating healthfully, working out regularly, living a stress-free life...these are all important issues for everyone and in particular, the 50-plus man or woman. I'll attack each of these important issues in subsequent blogs so stay tuned.

Fitness is of utmost importance as we get older. I'm sure you already knew that. As for me, a sedentary lifestyle is an absolute no-no. Now don't get me wrong - I don't profess to be this huge fitness buff! No sir, by no means. In fact I wish I were so I really need to be doing more.

I try to do something active every day. For example, instead of driving to work – from one garage to the next - I take public transportation so I can get a total of 20-25 minutes worth of walking done doing just this each day. Now, that's not much but its way better than nothing at all! (Plus, it’s way cheaper than buying all that gas and paying $125 per month for parking!) Then throughout the working day, I get up and walk around the office do various chores. When its spring, summer or autumn, I walk for an additional 30 minutes during my lunch hour at least three of the five days of the week and this is quite invigorating. But at winter time, yuck, I'm certainly not walking in the cold. I hate cold weather as a matter of fact. The Caribbean in me will not allow me to conform to it!

In addition, there's a school near my house so I might walk around the track there on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I also moved my elliptical machine into my living room so I hop on for a few minutes from time to time. I do a little strength training here and there with my little 3 and 5 pound dumbells (need to move up to 8 and 10 pounds now). And, (so proud of myself) I just ordered a really good skipping rope for some cardio workout. I know for sure I'll use it as this is something I loved doing as a kid. I also found this place that sells a great hoola hoop called the Hoopnotica travel hoola hoop. It even comes with an instructional DVD so you know I’m getting one of those!! I'm even now contemplating what to sign up and pay for - yoga, African dance classes or a gym? I'm more inclined to do the dancing because again, this is something I absolutely love do to. But rest assured, if I pay for it – I’m going! I'll let you know which one I chose.

So as you can see, I'm definitely trying to stay active and not embrace the sedentary critter. That critter is dangerous for the body.

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This past weekend, my oldest son Howard celebrated his 30th birthday. Now this is a child who has had two major heart surgeries as a tiny kid, and who has beaten the odds from all angles. Tough kid! Dubbed “the miracle baby” back then in 1980 by his attending nurses at the University Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, he simply had the will to live.

We celebrated this glorious occasion by hosting a Sunday evening dinner at my home. The Evite was sent out to nearby family and a few close friends which turned out to be approximately 30 people. Some unexpected guests came along, but they were folks that we were more than happy to have there.

Great food was served which consisted of pineapple chicken, stewed kidney beans with jerked tofu and vegeburger, tuna- macaroni salad, shrimp-pasta salad, rice & peas, plain Jasmine rice, baked ripe plantains and a fruity vegetable salad were the items on the menu. Of course there were Red Stripe and Corona beers, a variety of wine coolers, Jamaican white rum, wines of several varieties, iced tea, fruit juices and sodas were on the menu as well. Last, but certainly not least, was the birthday cake purchased from Sam’s Wholesale Club - a gorgeous all-white coconut cake!

We played music mostly reggae music (on the home stereo [need a Boze!]) since everyone in attendance was from the Caribbean. Notwithstanding all that great grooving music, of course you know we had to have our Michael Jackson segment. Oh boy! The grand-girls were in hog heaven! Every single MJ shot that was played was danced and sung to until the very end. Smooth Criminal and PYT were the ultimate! Mama-say-mama-saah-mama-makoosah!!! Michael we really miss you, man!

Later in the evening, little Sage played hostess and walked around offering a drink of water to everyone in sight. When she arrived at my table and offered me water, I told her that I was fine and didn’t need any. She decided that “no - you look a little tired so you do need it!” How could I refuse after hearing that? She sauntered away and half-way towards the refrigerator, she turned right back and asked me in the nicest little voice imaginable, “do you want your ice crushed or cubed? Crushed or cubed? What four year-old alive knows about ice being crushed or cubed? Well, apparently Sage does. I was floored! Of course I told her crushed (the way I really like my ice anyway) and couldn’t wait to get my water with crushed ice. That was the nicest cup of ice water I’ve ever had! I really needed it after all.

Everyone ate, drank, sang, danced, chatted, and reminisced through the remainder of the evening. It was so much fun! Eventually everyone started leaving for their respective homes. Sad moment that was for me! I never like it when they leave! But all in all, it was a most enjoyable 30th birthday celebration for Howard!!!

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We had our second annual "Gardening with Grandma" event yesterday and the beautiful weather we had enabled us to go full speed ahead with our project. We (me, all three girls, their moms and one dad) happily headed off to Home Depot and Lowe's to shop for our fruit and vegetable garden. This year we planned on planting lettuce, carrot, tomato, eggplant and kale. Between both stores were able to get everything except the kale. I'm still hunting them down in the interim. We also picked up a strawberry and a grape plant. Hopefully someday the girls can have their own strawberry patch and vineyard to pick from! GardeningPYTs5-15-10

 

We arrived home and the girls could not wait to dig in! That's a picture of Sage and me laying out the carrot seeds. Of course I got a lesson on not being scared of earthworms as the noise I made when the first one appeared made them look at me as if to say, "What is her problem?" I'M SCARED OF ANYTHING THAT WIGGLES!!!! That's my problem!! Has always been!

My first encounter with a wriggler was at age 8 when my mom gave me some beans to open up their pods and wash them. Out came this feisty green worm and let me tell you! The whole container (peas, pods, worm and all) went flying high up into the air, followed by the most blood-curdling scream you ever heard! What? Have a worm crawl on my hand? Are you nuts? They probably would have to bury me that day! I was scared sick!!! Since that day all wrigglers - worms, caterpillars, snakes, maggots - whatever they may be - were enemies of mine. The earthworm was no different. Just let me see one wriggling across the sidewalk or in the yard anywhere. Usain Bolt - you try to catch me!! It's bad - really bad and the children saw my response to the earthworm and gave me a thorough lesson. "Grandma! Worms are good for the soil! You're scaring them!" The nerve of them! I'M SCARING THE WORMS! They weren't even worried about me!! They were worried about the darn worm!!! Well I never!!!! However, to my surprise, I was able to continue gardening (with gloves on of course) even after a few of them lazily slithered on by. I had to keep it down for the girls' sake - and so I did.

Anyhow, the girls each got their turn at digging the area, planting the sucker or seed, covering them with soil, then mulch and the grand finale - watering them all! They absolutely loved it! Little Amayah (the youngest) served mostly as the security guard, yelling at Sage to "get back over here, Sagie" when Sage tried sauntering off a bit, and "Marley, wait until Grandma says yes" when Marley tried watering before it was time. It was so much fun with them!

They are now anxiously awaiting the appearance of the tiny suckers so they can see their own handiworks. Last year the girls (except the youngest - Amayah - she was still too young) planted eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, thyme and sage and were ecstatic watching them all grow. Even more exciting to them was eating what they grew!! So the journey has begun and you'll be kept abreast at the various stages - the growing, reaping, eating...the whole nine!

Gardening2PYTs5-15-10

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