Monday, May 29, 2017

Some Marriages Could Probably Use Recycling

Dear George,
Here is a recent conversation that Katja and I had when we were leaving for Frisch’s for breakfast and I was putting paper and plastic into our recycling bin. 

(D puts pizza box into the regular garbage can instead of the recycling bin)
K:  You should put that in the recycling.
D:  No, it’s got food on it.  It can’t go into the recycling.
K:  It doesn’t matter.
D:  It does matter.  No food in the recycling.  
K:  That’s not true.
D:  It is true.  (Pointing to lid). It says so right here on the recycling container. 
D (getting into the car):  One of my pet peeves is people who don’t follow the rules about recycling.  (long pause). I’m just going to go over the rules.  Paper and plastic go into recycling.  But not if there’s food on them.  No food on paper plates or on plastic containers.  And no caps from plastic bottles.  Or from glass bottles.  And no plastic newspaper bags.  Or styrofoam.  Or other stuff that should go in the garbage.  Like broken appliances. 
K: (silent, no response)
D:  Another problem is when you mix together garbage and recycling.  There’s newspapers and banana peels, all mixed together.  Then I have to sort it out.  And newspapers in the trashmasher.  We could recycle about ten times as much if we followed the rules.  
K: (silent, no comment.)
D:  I can tell that you’re listening very carefully and are committed to following the recycling rules.  
K: (laughs.)  
(End of conversation until we arrive at Frisch’s)

As you can see, this was a very productive two-way discussion.  Our recycling ought to go a lot better now.  Whew, I’m glad I brought this matter up!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Everything There Is To Know About Zumba

Dear George,
Now that I worked up my courage and went to a couple of Zumba classes at the fitness center, I decided I should learn more about it.  Here is what I found out.  

What exactly is Zumba?  Google says: "An aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music."
How did Zumba get started?  In the mid-1990’s 16-year-old fitness instructor Alberto "Beto" Perez in Cali, Columbia, forgot his music for an aerobics class he was about to teach, so he went out to his car and got a tape of his favorite Latin dance numbers and used it to do a salsa-like workout routine.  His students liked it so much that he added it to his gym routines and named it "Rumbacize".  Perez moved to Miami in 1999 and, when his students there were equally enthusiastic, he renamed the class “Zumba".
What does "Zumba" mean?  Some say Zumba is just a fun word that sounds like Rumba.  Others say Zumba is Colombian slang for “buzz like a bee” or “move very fast”.
How much is the Zumba business worth today?  It’s the world’s largest branded fitness program.  It’s worth over 400 million dollars.
How many people do Zumba?  Zumba classes are currently taught at approximately 200,000 locations in 180 countries.  About 15 million people participate.
How many Zumba classes are there in Cincinnati? lists over 280 Zumba classes in the Cincinnati metro area.  
What dance styles are incorporated in Zumba?  Salsa, merengue, samba, hip-hop, raggaeton, cumbia, soca, cha-cha, tango, mambo, and others.  Also squats and lunges.
Are there different types of Zumba classes?  There are nine different types of classes, designed for different ages and levels of exertion.  For example, there are classes for children (Zumbatomic), classes for seniors (Zumba Gold), resistance training classes (Zumba Toning), classes in the water (Aqua Zumba), and circuit classes (Zumba in the Circuit).  
How intense are Zumba classes?  Classes usually last an hour.  According to WebMD, Zumba is an interval workout, involving a medium intensity level.  The classes move between high- and low-intensity dance moves.
What areas of the body does Zumba target?  Many Zumba dance steps emphasize the hips and midsection, helping strengthen the core.  Dance moves also help work the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.  Traditional Zumba doesn't target the arms, and it's not focused on back muscles.
How many calories does one burn?  About 500 to 1000 in a one-hour class.
Does Zumba have health benefits?  According to WebMD, Zumba helps weight loss, reduces blood pressure and bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Do you need to be a good dancer?  No dance experience or skills are necessary.  In Zumba classes people don't have to move exactly like the instructor.  It's more like club dancing where you move to the music in the way you want.
Do men do Zumba?  The official line is that 20% of Zumba participants are men.  However, instructors are more likely to estimate 5%.  In general, men are less likely to participate in fitness groups, and that’s particularly true of dance fitness groups.  Male instructors and participants are much higher in Latin countries where males are
encouraged to dance from an early age.
Can older people do Zumba?  Because there are different class options, Zumba proponents claim that it is safe for all ages.  Also a good thing about Zumba is that you can set your own pace, increasing or decreasing intensity in a way that works for you.
What kind of clothing should one wear to do Zumba?  Just about anything as long as you can easily stretch in it.  The company did launch a clothing line called Zumba Wear in 2007.  Today Zumba clothing is an 80 million dollar business.
Do any famous people do Zumba?  Here are some well-known Zumba-lovers: Jennifer Lopez, Jackie Chan, Madonna, Jordin Sparks, Vivica A. Fox, Natalie Portman, Olivia Wilde, Kirstie Alley, Emma Watson, Shakira, Victoria Beckham, Wyclef Jean, Toni Braxton, Rapper Pitbull, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Eve Longoria, Zooey Deschanel, Halle Berry.
Can I try doing Zumba at home?  Along with DVD’s, there are tons of Zumba videos on YouTube.  One website that offers “10 of the Best Zumba Workouts” is  
What if I want to do Zumba  on my cruise?  Royal Caribbean offers a cruise centered around Zumba dancing.
And what Zumba's slogan inspires us?:  "Ditch the Workout -- Join the Party!”

SOURCES;, "Zumba Fitness: Sure It's Fun But is it Effective?";
www.confessions of a, "What to expect at your first Zumba class;", "What Is Zumba Exercise?”;, “26 Celebrities Who Zumba”;, “5 Fun Facts About Zumba”;, "All About Zumba Class";, "What is Zumba?";, “Facts About Zumba”;, “10 of the Best Free Zumba Full-Length Video Workouts”;, "Zumba";, "Learn about Zumba”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mom Memories

Dear George, 
If my mother (Doris L) were alive today, she would be 107.  That’s hard to imagine.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all together, but Doris died at Marinette General Hospital on April 24, 1986.  To the best of my knowledge, she uttered her last words to Peter and myself: “I’m grateful.”  That sums up a lot of Doris’ nature.  Here are some more memories that come to mind to me on Mother’s Day:  

  • Doris had four kids: David (7/21/37), Steven (2/27/41), Peter (6/9/45), Vicki (2/24/47).
  • My mom was very pretty and full of fun.  She was a teenager during the flapper era of the 1920’s, and I always thought that helped shape the course of her life.  
  • When I was about 4 I attended a community theater performance at the Menominee Opera House, and, when the bouncy tiger appeared on the stage, I hollered at the top of my voice, “That’s my mommy.”  (Lots of laughter from the audience.)  
  • Doris and Grace Fernstrum took Sally F. and myself sledding on numerous occasions at the Tourist Information Lodge with its big hill.   
  • When we moved to the river Doris planted a luxurious garden along the west side of our lawn.
  • Doris also planted a strawberry patch next to our driveway, and we gathered strawberries each morning to put on our cereal.  
  • She and Vic travelled around Menominee County, finding wildflowers along the roadside to dig up and transplant on our property.  
  • When the trillium first bloomed in the spring at Brewery Park, Doris made sure that each of her children in turn brought the flowers to Miss Elsie Guimond, our sixth grade teacher. 
  • Doris stocked a bird feeder outside our dining room window and kept a written list of all the birds she saw.  When a red-winged blackbird appeared in our driveway, she called all the kids to come to the kitchen to see it. 
  • My mom was an excellent cook.  Whitefish, pot roast, meatloaf, venison, duck, Swedish meatballs, and turkey are just some of the delicious highlights that come to mind.  Also strawberry shortcake. 
  • All of our extended family came to our house on Xmas eve.  My bachelor uncle Karl brought extravagant gifts for Doris, Aunt Millie, and Aunt Martha (dresses, jewelry, etc.) as well as for the children. 
  • Doris packed a picnic lunch for our family rowboat outings to Indian Island up the river.  
  • Doris had many close female friends: Jean O’Hara, Florence Caley, Ruth Mars, Nan Jacobsen, Margaret St. Peter, Jackie Burke, Margaret Worth, Martina Steffke, and lots of others.  She and Vic entertained frequently: costume parties, art parties, poetry parties, jazz parties, and just plain parties.  They had a wonderful network of friends.  
  • Doris was officially a member of the D.A.R., though she saw it as a pretty stodgy group and didn’t attend the meetings. 
  • My mother loved jazz.  Her happiest moment that I can recall is when Louis Armstrong’s orchestra played at the Silver Dome, and Doris sat on the edge of the stage, just 3 or 4 feet from the master.
  • My mom had a very deep voice which led to telephone callers frequently thinking that they had reached Mr. L.  She also got a deep tan in the summer, and my father claimed, tongue in cheek, that she was part Navaho. 
  • After three boys, Doris was thrilled to have a girl in the family (my sister Vicki).  
  • Doris had a lot of aphorisms for her children: “Don’t give up, don’t give in”; “Straighten up and fly right”; “Eat your beans, Suzy”; and many more 
  • Doris was one of the best women golfers at Riverside Country Club, and she enjoyed horseback riding at the stables located at the intersection of Riverside Boulevard and Highway 577. 
  • Doris smoked through much of her adult life and wound up having surgery for lung cancer.    
  • She enjoyed drinking Silver Cream beer and chatting with house helper Hannah while Hannah did the ironing.  Their story-telling often took up the full afternoon
  • Doris also loved going to the hairdresser where she would catch up with the community gossip.  
  • Whenever we children went swimming, Doris sat in a lawn chair on the riverbank and kept a careful eye on us.  We weren’t allowed to go in the rowboat without lifesavers.    
  • My mom loved our Irish setters, Mike and Micki.  One time when the dogs got into a nasty fight, she tried to break it up and wound up with a deep gash on her arm.
  • Mike fell through the ice on the river in late winter, and Doris crawled out on her stomach to rescue him. 
  • When my friend Marvin F. set a large box of kitchen matches on fire on our apartment living room floor, he was banished forever when my mother discovered the charred wood. 
  • As a youth, I thought my mother was crazy at times, but, later in life, I discovered all mothers get crazy at times.  After one episode of particularly unruly children, I gave her a note that read, “Don’t give up, don’t give in — Try Wrecks-All” (a play on “Rexall”, our family drugstore name).  Doris broke into laughter and felt much better. 
  • When my mom criticized my handwriting in ninth grade, I stopped writing in cursive for the rest of my life (except for my signature which is indecipherable).
  • Doris was thrilled when Katja came for a visit during our sophomore year in college.  She told her that she was the first girl I’d ever brought home (which, of course, was true).
  • Most of all, my mother had a warm, rich, spontaneous laugh, and we heard that every day of our childhood.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cincinnati Zoo Nanny Blakely Retires

Dear George, 
We’ve lost a chum at the Cincinnati Zoo.  After six years of duty as the zoo’s nanny for a wide variety of baby animals, Australian Shepherd Blakely is retiring.  Blakely was recruited for his job when zoo staff visited a local dog shelter to find a dog who would be a gentle caretaker for other animals.  Only eight months old at the time, Blakely fit the bill from the start.   

The zoo’s executive director Thane Maynard explains: “When mom can’t take care of them, they need all the help they can get.  In essence, Blakely is a nursery worker, helping interact and play with baby animals. It’s cute and fun, and yet in terms of those babies growing up, that socialization is an important thing.”

Blakely’s first charge was a tiny cheetah named Savanna.  When Savanna’s brother died, her mother ignored her, and zookeepers put her in the nursery with Blakely.  Blakely responded immediately in a nurturing way, letting Savanna climb all over him, snuggle, and play together.  

When babies don’t know how to eat, Blakely dips his snout into a bowl of milk and lets the baby lick the milk off of his fur.  As the babies get old enough to eat from a food bowl, Blakely teaches them to eat by going to the bowl first, leading the baby to run to it before their big competitor eats up the food.  In his time at the zoo Blakely has taken care of newborns from numerous species: a skunk, cheetahs, a bat-eared fox, a warthog, a takin, an aardvark, brother wallabies, and a baby ocelot.  

Because they were ignored by their mother, Blakely most recently has been taking care of the zoo’s three Malayan tiger cubs: Chira, Batari, and Izzy.  Dawn Strasser, head of the nursery staff, explains: “Blakely is the adult in the room.  He teaches them proper tiger etiquette by checking them when they’re getting too rough or aggressive.  This is something that their human surrogates can’t do.”  As the cubs have grown larger, they’ve outgrown the nursery and their nanny, moving to the Night Hunters building.    

When Blakely’s not on duty, he frequently goes for a walk around the zoo with a staff member, and he’s just as friendly to little kids as he is to the zoo animals.  Last year the City of Cincinnati proclaimed October 19 to be Blakely Day in the city.  In retirement Blakely will go to live on a farm with nursery head, Dawn Strasser.  However, if the occasion arises, he may be called back into nursery duty. 


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How Best to Behave on Ludlow Avenue

Dear George,
As you know, I’ve always been obsessive about collecting and ordering things.  Usually these are material objects of some sort, but recently I’ve been collecting “messages” (rules, directions, commands, suggestions, etc.) that are printed on posters, placards, signs, cards, etc., in or near Ludlow Ave., the main street of our neighborhood business district.  They’re a concrete reminder of the nonstop barrage of directive messages that we’re exposed to in our daily lives.  Here’s my report.

If you’re taking a walk on Ludlow Ave.
And aren’t sure of just what to do
Simply read all the signs that are posted
Here, from my list, are a few:            

  • Wrong Way
  • Buckle Up
  • Beware of the Dog
  • Please Have ID Ready
  • No Littering, Loitering, Panhandling or Begging
  • Prohibited: Bicycle Riding, Skateboarding, Rollerblading
  • Press down hard on the handle
  • DANGER:  Hazardous Voltage, will cause death.
  • Notice: All Backpacks and Large Purses are Subject to Search
  • Sorry -- No Dogs Allowed
  • Smoking causes lung cancer
  • We request that you remove any hats, caps, sunglasses or hoods
  • No weapons or firearms
  • Children No Longer Allowed Unless Being Serviced!
  • Don't Be A Butthead

All these rules, of course, are “Don’ts”
There are endless things one shouldn’t do
But you’ll also discover some “Do’s” on my street
Including some I never knew:

  • Puppies Welcome
  • Free Food / Free Drink
  • Go Bearcats
  • Increase mindfulness & serenity
  • Breathe
  • Fight to the Finish!  Never Give In
  • Manifest Your Exquisiteness
  • Say Hello to Happy
  • TRUST in YOUR beautiful, HOLY, Light-filled Divinity
  • Today Is Going to Be Awesome

Walking on Ludlow is no easy task
There are thousands of rules that apply
I try my hardest to be correct
Though it does take some work to comply

There clearly are many more Don’ts than Do’s
They’re invented by people who lack smiles
The Do’s seem to come from more mellow folk
Who encourage alternative lifestyles

To manifest exquisiteness, I’d say, is the hardest
For one, I’ve lost touch with this trait
If I find it, how do I manifest it?
Do I even want to be in this state?

It used to be I felt free on my walks
But, with all of these rules, now I won’t
Though I’ve found one sign that does ease my mind:
 “You Don’t Need to Believe –
“It’s Better if You Don’t”