Monday, September 4, 2023

Body Positivity by Jenn McKinlay

JENN McKINLAY: Happy Labor Day, Y’all! I hope no one is laboring anywhere out there in Jungle Redlandia unless it’s something you want to do.

This has been the summer of body appreciation in my world. No, I have not been lounging on a beach checking out the hotties, rather it’s been a summer of health scares and in some cases the scares manifested into full on situations. Once you start spending a lot of time in the hospital (I was visiting a friend daily for about a month) you begin watching the stories of the patients unfolding around you. The emotions run the gamut from heartwarming to sad and to several other emotional blackholes that I’m going to avoid because…yeah.


I spent a lot of time talking to doctors and nurses and watching the blips and bleeps of the machines. It hammered home the fact that our bodies really aren’t that different. So many working parts that require maintenance and upkeep and so much potential for disaster. It made me appreciate the functionality of my body and I have made a commitment to take better care of it (full disclosure: my blood work from my annual physical came back no bueno, so my doctor is also on me to take better care of myself…less bad breakfast choices and more greens…sigh).



So, this is a body positivity post! We all have things we don’t like about our bodies (hello, broken nose) but I want to hear about things that you do like and tell me what you do to take care of yourself. I’ll go first. 


I like my height. It was a struggle during adolescence being the tallest kid in the class (especially when the vertically challenged boys spent every recess trying to cut me down to size) but I like being tall. I can see over the crowd at the parade and I can eat whatever I want because there’s a lot of yardage to spread those calories out on. To take care of myself, I have a fruit and veggie loaded smoothie every morning and I workout - high intensity interval training - three times a week and I walk miles every day with my dogs.


So, how about you Reds? What do you like about your body and how do you take care of it?


LUCY BURDETTE: Jenn, I sure hope your friend is doing better! What a good pal you are, will you come see the rest of us if we get sick?


Now about bodies, I am happy to be short to your tall! Sometimes it’s not an advantage as in a crowded elevator with a bunch of tall people when I can feel claustrophobic. Most of the time, I do not feel like a small person so I’m surprised if people refer to me as little.


Ever since the worst of the pandemic, I’ve been dedicated to doing yoga 3 times a week, or 2 yogas and one pilates class. That makes me feel strong and flexible, despite my hub’s concerns that I’m not lifting weights. Because Lottie the Havanese lives with us, I walk her twice a day so that’s a good thing too!


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I like my height, too, and was often the tallest. (I might be a little shorter now..but, heels.) I have good hair.  The texture of which changed, weirdly, for the better some years ago.

I am a devotee of the treadmill, and try to get to 10,000 steps a day. I think it’s life-changing. I have a very good diet, and that’s not difficult for me.

Posture, hmm, I am beginning to be worried about the time in front of the computer, and now constantly think about sitting straighter, and lowering my shoulders when I stand. And yes, Lucy, I know my upper body strength is not great–I am worthless on a plane when I have to lift my suitcase. Any at-home ideas, you all?

And I finally agreed to take Fosamax, though I wasn’t happy about it. But I suppose, all good. But I am lucky lucky lucky not to have to take any other medicines (knock on wood!), and I wonder if that is nutrition-related. I have never smoked, or eaten a lot of risky food.

And yes, Jenn, you are a wonderful friend.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Jenn, I’m glad you’re talking to your doctor and taking steps to improve your health - although a 3-times-weekly high intensity workout sounds pretty damn healthy to me!


This may sound odd, but one of the things I love about my body are my stretchmarks. And the drooping this and that and the little flabby belly that never goes away. I successfully carried three babies in this body, birthed them and nursed them. The marks this left on me remind me of how powerful I can be, and how my body worked just the way it was supposed to. 


Now excuse me, I have to sign up for fitness bootcamp at the YMCA. :-D




RHYS BOWENI too was the tallest in my class for a while although I am dwarfed by Jenn and Hank. But in ballet school at age 12 I got cast as the tree in the ballet of the wood fairies. Humiliating. I made up for it with impressive swaying!

What do I like? That I’ve stayed the same size for as long as I can remember. The bad thing is that all my clothes from the 1900 s still fit me. I’m healthy although my knees are reminding me about those years of ballet then hiking. I take almost no medications 

What don’t I like? My saggy neck. My tummy, stretched by 4 children ) I best you, Julia). I should have done something about them while there was still time!


HALLIE EPHRON: I was the tallest, too, in 4th grade. And it’s been downhill ever since. Now I’m average, if that, and shorter than my not-very-tall daughters and nearly shorter than my firstborn 10-year-old granddaughter whose dad is 6’2”. 


On the plus side, my eyebrows are more under control but still they feel more like a bug than a feature.


I’ve been faithfully walking but not as much as I should, and I’m promising myself to get back on the exercise bike and start increasing the time I pedal. I found that was good for my stamina and good for my hip.

I don’t think there’s a thing you can do for a saggy neck. It is what it is.


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm glad Lucy is also on the short team! I don't mind it, really, except clothes are always too long, and I also have weirdly short arms so sleeves are always too long, too.


What do I like? To my surprise, I've been quite happy with the post-pandemic gray in my hair. Also, I lost quite a bit of weight back pre-pandemic and have kept it off. And, according to my last annual checkup, all my numbers are practically perfect. (Quoting my GP here!)


The thing really bugging me is a bad knee, which keeps me from exercising as much as I'd like, although in London this summer I walked eight or ten miles a lot of days. The knee can be fixed–I just have to find the time and gumption to do it.



All right, Readers, your turn! What do you like about your body and how do you take care of it?


89 comments:

  1. I’m kind of average height, which is fine with me; I’m okay with the gray hair [and I’ve accepted that it’s always going to be fine and straight, no matter how hard I try to make it curl] . . . I’m trying to lose a little weight . . . I try to eat right, I exercise, I walk . . . most days I manage to get past that 10,000 step mark . . . .

    Jenn, I hope your friend is better . . . .

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    1. Thanks, Joan! Progress is being made - it's just slow.

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    2. ANd I just read that the 10,000 step thing is not necessary..that 5000 is just fine!

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  2. I am 5'10" and I, too, have always liked being tall (I didn't even mind too much when I was taller than all the boys; I was a tomboy and saw it as a plus! Though it was true I would never be cute, I did not have a cute personality anyway). When I was young I liked that condescending men could not, in fact, look down on me. In fact I've always seen it as such a plus than I am trying to write a novel with a small heroine, just to imagine myself into that. My close female friends have often been very small. Back when we took trips together with our children, I posted my 6'4" teenage son next to my 5' friend Joanne and the younger kids in JFK airport so I could find them in the crowd when I got back from parking the car.

    These days I'm facing lots of new health challenges. Last week I test come back very strongly positive for lupus, which is unusual at my age and with my symptoms. I am trying to be philosophical. This body has been a workhorse for a long time and I have always taken it completely for granted.

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    1. I forgot to list "how I take care of it." I've never been one for exercise aside from walking and working outdoors. However since I've developed afib and had two knee replacements, I've worked out with an "EXERPEUTIC EXERWORK" desk bike for a half hour early most mornings. It sounds ridiculous but I can put my laptop on the desk and read or write emails while pedaling hard enough to get my pulse in the target range and I barely notice I'm working out. That's how I like to exercise... without noticing! My husband is an athlete and he uses the bike for warming up or warming down from real workouts, while watching television. I notice the price on the desk bike has gone up almost $100 since I bought it a few years ago.

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    2. Good luck with the health challenges. I'm certain your philosophical approach will stand you in good stead!!

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    3. I do feel as if the body is a machine that has surprising and unexpected meltdowns much like an old car. *sigh*

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  3. I'm short, too; 5'1", and have always liked my height, except when clothes shopping. Like Deborah, I always have to have hems taken up, and sleeves are long for me, too.

    I'm also satisfied with my gray hair and even my wrinkles. (Maybe out of gratitude for having made it this far in the road , lol) As for health, I had my thyroid out 12 years ago, and I have glaucoma, and so I do have medicines to take. It could be better, but it could be worse, for sure. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I really dislike goal-oriented exercise. It's boring to me to do 20 sets of this or that, or even spend time on a treadmill. What I do love is walking, and I walk from two to four miles daily. Also, I read recently that housework is one of the best forms of exercise because you don't even know you're exercising. (So maybe I won't hire a housecleaner just yet. ☺️)

    And yes, Jenn does sound like a wonderful friend.

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    1. YES! I always feel like doing housework means I can skip the gym - all that stretching and bending!

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    2. That's it! And you don't have to count or keep track.๐Ÿ˜Š

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  4. Another in the short-and-fine-with-it camp here, although these days I'm fighting not to dip below 5 feet. And I love my silver hair, which makes it easy to add a streak of turquoise. I eat pretty well and also had great numbers from my lab results last month. Hoping I can eliminate the statin from my prescription list next time.

    I walk 11-12k steps a day, as vigorously as I can, and take a balance class twice a week, which is great for core strength. That brightly colored weight set I bought last winter on the little pyramid rack? I never get around to using it, alas.

    I saw Hank hoist her suitcase OUT of the overhead bin last night - you did great, my friend. With my height and lack of upper-body weight work, I can barely get my carry-on up there anymore, but there's always an obliging younger and taller person somewhere who will help.

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    1. I always offer to grab bags out of storage bins on planes and I am your friend in the grocery store for the top shelf items! LOL.

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    2. And that's why Jack Reacher was named Reacher---because..well, you know the story. (And Edith, that PLANE, have you ever heard SO many people coughing in your life?)

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  5. I too like my height very much. I’m team short and like it that way. I love my hair. Sometimes it doesn’t always do what I want it to, but I know I am lucky with the thickness, color, waviness, etc. And it grows so fast!
    I like my stretch marks and am used to them now. I was overweight as an adolescent, so I’ve had them with me for a long time. After I had my kiddo, I’ve only added to that collection. I’ve been trying very hard to accept that my healthy weight vs. others just looks different. My healthy weight is a different number that somebody else’s. For some reason, my body is just a heavy body. I have a wide rib cage and could never achieve the stick thin body of some other woman. My lower stomach is loose and that’s something I’ve had a hard time with, but I need to accept it because that’s how my body is now. I love how strong I feel after having my child. I carry her around for hours sometimes. Ladies, if you want to improve your upper body strength, carry around a 20 pound sack of flour. LOL

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    1. I hear that! I will never be as fit as I was lugging around two toddlers.

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  6. From Celia: I’m so impressed, such good workout habits. Height is good and I don’t appear to be shrinking. Skin is great, thanks to my English genes. Hair - great color but disaster, AND it’s decided to get much thinner. Body, well there’s the rub as the Bard said. There’s lots of me and it all wants to stay. We eat well and healthily. But this year has been a bit of a health or body disaster. A so called minor leg thingy has just grown and there seems no end except lots of knee replacement which is now under advisement. Soooo boring. Exercise? Well I do try let’s leave it there. Jenn I hope your friend is on the road to recovery, your dedication must be helping. I think strong friendships is a hallmark on JRW.

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    1. Agree about the friendships, Celia!

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    2. We have to pick out batles, Celia. Personally, I loathe exercise but one of the hooligans is in nursing school, so...

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  7. Jenn, I hope your friend is out of the hospital and doing better.

    I have two dogs who demand their morning two mile walk. I'm now in two hours a day of yardwork mode, pulling weeds and pruning bushes. The local pool is open for another week, so I swim laps most days too. Mediterranean diet, no carbs, just go with the flow.

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  8. Mark me down as a member of the "bungy knee club." Both of mine are arthritic (that word always makes me think that I'm 90 years old) but they seem to go in and out with how much they annoy and impede me. I do take off fish oil and glucosamine every evening to help with my joints.

    Sooner or later, I know that I am going to be on the table getting a shiny new chrome knee popped in. It's not the operation I worry about, it's what the heck to do for the 6 weeks afterwards when you can't walk or drive!

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    1. I have two titanium knees already. The recuperation is no fun, but life improves afterwards.

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    2. Oh, six weeks is a REALLY long time. I'd hesitate, too.

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    3. Edith but you do walk and exercise right away correct? Rehab is very painful but you have to use the knee right away?

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    4. Indeed, yes, they have you walking hours after surgery and in rehab the next day. (I've got two knee replacements also.)

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  9. Like you, I'm a great believer in body positivity, becase my body positively
    (and constantly) reminds me that it is there. #gettingoldsucksbutit'sbetterthanthealternative

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  10. Since this is all about positivity, I will try and find the positive.
    I am short – which means I can’t reach the cups in the kitchen cupboard. Positive side – the silverware drawer is under that cupboard, so I can get a fork and hook it in the handle to get the cup down.
    I am also more sideways than upways, and more lower front than top. Positive – my eyes still work, so I can still read recipes to try and alter which way I am growing – might not be working all that well, but the experiment is fun anyway.
    I am old. Nothing works. I can’t bend down – I drool when I see or read about someone just reaching down for something – that was the day. Speaking about drool and the pillowcase – well you can guess that picture. Speaking about spillage and laughter – much the same. Good thing in this situation – I still get up every morning, can cuddle any of the 10 cats, love to garden and explore food, although not too much on foot, and have a husband to occasionally moan to. Not that he listens – he might be deaf…real or male-patterned.
    Just listening to all your running makes me tired – definitely not envious. I will watch you go by from Geriatric Row – the dog is beside me as he is having none of that foolishness either!
    Oh, my stretch marks are times 7, and I have no feeling in the (floppy jelly belly) flesh above my bikini C-section scar (7 times) that destroyed the nerve endings after the first time. Positive note – I can stab myself regularly for diabetic injections and never feel a thing!

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    1. You seem to have discovered the perfect balance of bad/good, Margo. That feels like the real
      achievement to me!

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  11. I like all your posts. Julia, my mom too was proud of her stretch marks--from carrying twins and then a singleton, hard earned. As for me, I like that I can walk and run every day--averaging about 6 miles. I hate the treadmill but love being outside. I have to bring one negative piece I'm dealing with in, because it's driving me crazy--and it goes along with exercising outside--yellow jacket stings. I get bad local reactions and I was stung Saturday am and am now dealing with a very swollen and itchy arm--swollen from near the shoulder to past the elbow. The little so-and-so also got me on the side of my nose so one side of my face is puffed up too. Come on, good body of mine, you can defeat this pesky insect.

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    1. Oh, I am so sorry, Gillian. The last time I was stung my knee swelled up like a cantaloupe. Argh. It's the worst.

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  12. Loving this! Debs, I have to say that you look great with grey hair--I've been seeing photos from B'Con, and wanted to mention so.

    Weirdly, I was one of the shortest kids in grade school, always at the front of the line, as if the teacher was afraid she'd misplace us. But at high school graduation I found myself at the end of the height-graduated line with Jane, who had been the tallest in the class all twelve years. She looked at me and said, "Little Karen"? Neither of us had noticed that I'd shot up! I've kept most of my height, only losing an inch, so far. Unfortunately, my husband has lost closer to 4", and he's now shorter than I am. He's also losing a lot of his hearing, but I'm blessed to have kept most of mine, knock wood.

    Since I never got around to dyeing my hair, I'm pretty happy with how it's evenly silvering. I get compliments on it all the time, including from people asking me who does my color. Well, God, and for free. LOL Like Hank's, my hair has also changed texture, and in a nice way. It's thick and grows fast, so no complaints.

    My mother's whole family had beautiful skin, maybe from the Hungarian/French roots? and I was lucky enough to inherit it. My oldest daughter is always complaining that I didn't "give" her my skin, as if I had any choice. She is also mad that I "gave" her my ahem, generous thighs. My sister has my mom's skinny-all-the-way-up legs, but I would rather have my hourglass figure.

    I have good energy and robust health, with mostly great "numbers", and I take only one medication, for a non-life-threatening condition. My doctor congratulated me on keeping my weight steady for a long time, and like Rhys, I can still fit into most of the same stuff in my closet from ages ago. I do need to walk more, but we are making a plan for that as soon as this area cools down a bit. You are all inspiring me!

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    1. I love it, Karen! Keep on keeping on! My hub is losing his hearing as well but it might also be selective - lol.

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  13. Amanda here: I am in the short camp at 5’2”. I’d love to be tall, oh well. I’m stronger than I look and love heaving and hauling loads of brush to the dump. I can walk anywhere I need. My right shoulder is a bit wonky and I really need to figure out why. Am promising myself I’ll ride the stationary bike this winter, as it’s clear to me that doing nothing during snow season is no longer an option! Use it or lose it ๐Ÿ˜œ

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    1. That's exactly what my trainer says - "Use it or lose it"!

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  14. Hmm, this is something I’ve been struggling with. I assumed after I retired, in about 3 months I would be fit and healthy. Nope! I do feel better from the increased sleep and the reduced stress, but haven’t dropped the weight. I love walking, but have been struggling with some foot issues, which have led me take up swimming. I am growing to appreciate it and was able to squeeze in a few at Bcon despite the early start times.

    Something I’ve mostly loved about myself … I guess my hair? While I was teased unmercifully about the color as a child, I had Anne of GG in my corner and grew to appreciate the redness. Even though it’s fading away to beige now. In the last few years it has gotten wavier, which I Iike.

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    1. LISA: I noticed your lovely hair right away. I am envious. Mine is menopause thinning and going all white!

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    2. I swim laps in the pool when it's too hot to walk. I think it's an excellent way to keep all the parts moving!

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    3. I agree Jenn, swimming is easy on the joints, provides a great cardio workout and keeps your muscles in shape. I used to laugh when a friend or someone would say it's raining why are you going to the pool? Ah, really?!! You're wet either way right. Or it's so cold outside - whereas the pool water was usually about 79-80 degrees warmer than the outside temps. The hard part was the quick (as possible) walk from water to the locker room and a warm shower.

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    4. Aww, thanks GRACE!

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  15. Wonderful topic today, Jenn! Body positivity is quite an issue these days. You are a good friend to visit your friend in the hospital.

    Like you, I started drinking more fruit and veggie smoothies.

    Currently at perimenopause stage, which meant that my pounds are creeping up and my wonderful Ob/Gyn suggested Vitex herbal supplement. The weight seems stabilized right now. Every morning my weight stays the same. Very happy about that.

    Being Tall is something I have experienced. Looking at me now, it is hard to believe I was "tall". Because of meningitis, the side effects included early development. When I was 7 years old, I was as tall as a 10 year old. By the time I was 12 years old, I was as tall as a 20 year old. I was the tallest child in my 5th grade class. Thankfully, I remained a B cup until two years after leaving that horrid school where there was a great deal of misogyny.

    When I first underwent the body changes (like from a cocoon to a butterfly) at the age of 12, I was not a happy camper. No one warned me about the implications of becoming a teenager. By the time I was at University, most of the women I knew never worried about their weight or looks. They Knew they looked wonderful and did not obsess about their weight or looks. My university was pretty unusual for America because several years later, I read THE BEAUTY MYTH by Naomi Wolf and realized that the weight obsession was still a major issue!

    Once I became accustomed to the new changes, I learned to live with what I have now. As long as I can do things like swim, walk, and do fun things, then I do not mind what my body looks like. Now there is a good reason to be careful with my weight. There is a history of heart disease in my family. My great grandmother died the year I was born from heart disease. She was descended from Huguenots who arrived in New Amsterdam the year before it became New York.

    When I was living in Washington, DC, a friend from Norway was studying abroad at Gallaudet University, She looks like the Crown Princess of Norway (wife of the Crown Prince). We had an interesting conversation a few days before she was going back to Norway. She said that she thinks she needs to lose weight. I said "No way". This is amongst the most brilliant people I've been fortunate to meet. She had a summer internship with the BBC in London through Gallaudet University media department. She always said "If there is a problem, then let's come up with a solution". Very smart!

    Wow! This was a long essay! All of the Jungle Reds here are gorgeous! I remember thinking that Hank was like the Bionic Woman because she could walk in these high heels. At Bouchercon, it was the first time I saw Hank wearing flat shoes! Loved Jenn's dress at Bouchercon. And Rhys looked beautiful in the shirtdress. My Mom has a similar dress. With Rhys' peaches and cream skin, there is No need for makeup. I remember meeting Debs, Hallie and Lucy at Bouchercon in Toronto and alk looked beautiful. Only have seen Julia's photos and I love the snow white hair. My hair is Snow White color too. Though sometimes I say it is Platinum Blonde,

    Happy Labor Day!

    Diana

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    1. You have gorgeous hair and eyes Diana! It was delightful to see you at B'Con and I wished it had been less chaotic after the GOH interview so we could have chatted longer. My friend Paige Shelton said she was thrilled to use her dormant sign language to talk with you and she
      said she's going to refresh her skills so she's more fluent!

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    2. I saw Diana for exactly two minutes! But it was great to put a face to the name.

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    3. Jenn, thank you for your kind words. I am taking Biotin vitamins for my hair (some hair loss from perimenopause) and thanks to the magic of makeup. Yes, it was delightful to see you at B'con and I wished it was less chaotic too. Someone accidentally took my registration packet and it took a while to get a new registration packet for me. By Saturday, it was less chaotic. So many people at Bouchercon this year!. I decided that if I ever go to B'con again, I'm definitely going to volunteer at Registration so that I get first dibs on my Registration packet, Rain check on a longer chat ? It was great to meet your friend Paige. She seemed to understand my Deaf accented words.

      Edith, it was great to see you too!

      Diana

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    4. Diana! SO great to see you, and thank you for making sure Jacqueline Winspear and I had a signer for our interview! Hope it was successful..xoxoo

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  16. My body positivity is my weight that is far from slimness. When I was younger I weighed up to 240 pounds. Over more than twenty years, I reduced my portions little by little losing weight on an average of four pounds a year.
    For nearly twenty years now, I keep myself around 160 pounds and I consider it my healthy weight .
    I feel well most of the time (except for periods of back and knee pain ) and all my test results were still good this year.
    I still eat what I want but in small portions. I walk outside every day. My yoga classes will begin soon for fall season. It’s sure I should strengthen my upper body… maybe this year ?…
    Danielle

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    1. Sounds like you have it figured out, Danielle. Good for you! I feel like I had it figrued out and now I need to adjust the parameters.

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  17. Well, after seeing several SD Bouchercon attendees using canes, walkers and scooters, I like my sturdy legs! I was teased about my thick chunky calves as a kid but I am a walker. I have easily reached my daily 12,000 step count while in San Diego during the past 9 days, and did over 20,000 steps on 2 of those days. And at 5'7", I was a giant in the family, towering over my mom & dad, but that's fine with me.

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    1. GRACE: So wonderful to see you and I did not recognize you at first without your eyeglasses. Good news! They got a new lanyard and a registration packet for me after I saw you.

      You always look wonderful! Like you, I walked a lot while I was at Bouchercon. No idea how many steps!

      Diana

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    2. Hi Grace, I noticed and recognized many names on the list for Buchercon and was hoping to go for a few panel talks with my hubby. But they were sold out when I tried to sign up. I hope the JRW's and others who attended will post about the event.
      My husband who normally isn't into these kinds of events was intrigued when I told there was a panel about lawyers and legal stuff in crime fiction. He suddenly wanted to go - as he does Criminal Appeals!

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    3. DIANA: it was lovely to see you briefly after Kate Carlisle's interview. I am glad they got you a new lanyard. Yes, I no longer wear eyeglasses since having cataract surgery in 2021.

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    4. ANON: That's too bad you were not able to get a day pass for SD Bouchercon. I think they sold out in mid-August.

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    5. It was great to see you at BCon, Grace. You look fabulous. It's always delightful to see Reds out in the wild!

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    6. Grace! It was so lovely to see you--and I have a great photo! I will post soon..xx

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  18. Jenn, what a wonderful friend you are and I hope your friend is better. I am short and getting shorter, but it is what it is, as they say. I used to walk a lot but this pesky sciatica has put a stop to that. However I am just waiting for the appointment to have a treatment which I hope will put me back on the road. Every night while swishing fluoride mouthwash for a minute I do knee bends and movements with hand weights. Whether it actually helps or not I figure it can't hurt. Several years ago I bought a nordic track and boy did I get good on that! Then I hurt my knee in an unrelated fall and never really got back to it. When I moved I gave it away but now I sorta wish I still had one. I had a treadmill which I hated so I got rid of that too.

    My dog is very old and barely moves but every night I try to get her to walk just a little bit with me across the back yard. I figure if I can do that with my pain she should be able to move a little too.

    My doctor tells me that my numbers are very good. Except I am a bit low on salt so she wants me to have more salt in my diet. I've never heard of such a thing, but she seems to know what she is talking about, so please pass the potato chips. No thanks on dip though.

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    1. Oh, my Hub is jealous! He's a salt guy. Yes, staying in motion is a challenge but so important.

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  19. Jenn, you are a treasure! I hope your friend is recovering - and your bloodwork numbers improve at your next jab!

    I was a tomboy so I've always been active and it's stood me in good stead. As an adult I became a runner, and a rabid scuba diver. All that swimming, you know. Living in Maine makes my fitness programs a bit more difficult. I hike/run in the woods when the weather cooperates - it's three miles, mostly up hill - so that's good, and in the winter when the snow cooperates, I switch to snowshoeing. I did try cross country skiing, but could never get up the hill in the back yard. Fail! I used to work out daily with an online trainer I discovered during the pandemic. Loved the workouts, but I began to have shoulder problems, so that was that. I haven't found anything that lets me do upper body resistance without ending up in serious pain. I'm looking into an apartment size treadmill that folds up that I can use in my office. A friend told me about one she uses, it's a Sharewin. I put it on my wish list :).

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    1. A foldable treadmill? I love it. I used to cross country ski in CT but it's been years. I remember what an amazing workout it was, tho.

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    2. Kait - thanks so much for your comment about the Sharewin fold-up treadmill. That could be a game changer for me!

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  20. Jenn, you are a good friend indeed! A little body negativity--my numbers are good but my diet could be better in terms of greens and veggies. I take one med due to thyroid surgery years ago. My legs are strong, which I like, but the hips aren't so willing, so I can't run or walk too far--right now 3 miles is my limit. And I'm okay with that.

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  21. I used to be taller, and loved it. Osteoporosis, alas, has changed that. Hank Phillippi Ryan, I am interested in your experience with Fosamax. My PCP is about to prescribe it. I’m in relatively good health, and have spent the last 2 decades trying to appreciate my body. I could always improve my diet, and increase my exercise. Goals.. Hoping to retire next year and more time to read all of your books, Jungle Red Writers! Thanks for the blog and all of your comments and recipes, and books! Suzette Ciancio

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    1. Suzette, I used to be taller, too. I've shrunk an inch with more to come, I expect. So weird.

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  22. Yep, one of the tallest in my class until I hit early puberty and stopped growing by the time I was 12. In law school, as one of 4 women in my class, I sometimes felt like a flower (or more likely a mushroom) among tall trees. Then I hit 70, with spinal stenosis and scoliosis. Now I am a little old lady who can't reach the upper shelves in the grocery store. Not happy about being undertall-- I can't eat as much as I'd like.

    I used to have good legs. About a year ago my ankles ballooned. VERY unhappy about that.

    I am anemic (have been most of my life) and eating liver gets tiresome but it's better than falling asleep in public. But my blood pressure is good, and I have a lot of upper body strength even if my knees are shot. And I'm still alive and kicking, sort of, which is more than I can say for a lot of my friends and my lost Great Love (his yahrzeit is tomorrow night, which gives me pause, but I've stopped dissolving into a little puddle at the thought of him. I guess that's progress.)

    I try to eat vegetables regularly, and this time of the year, I try to substitute fruit for sweets. Sometimes I even succeed.













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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Ellen. Such anniversaries are so difficult but I hope the lighting of the memorial candle and the recitation of the kaddish brings you some comfort.

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    2. Ellen, sorry for your loss as well. You mentioned anemia - I heard vitamin C such as a glass of orange juice may increase the absorption of iron. But not sure if this is scientific.

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  23. Love my titanium knee and my Norwegian (ski-slope) nose. I hate the osteoarthritis, but I've had it since my early twenties and it has kept me always exercising and I an allowed 5 (and no more) extra pounds to the top of my shrinking height to protect bone breakage (how's that as a prescription for dessert?)

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    1. I like that prescription! Mine was "Don't eat any carbs or sweets but don't lose any weight." HUH???!!! LOL.

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  24. I am a firm believer that humor can get you through most anything.

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  25. In school, I was one of the tallest girls in my class until suddenly I wasn’t. I think I was in seventh or eighth grade then. The funny thing is that I still always thought of myself as tall! Turns out I was one of the tallest in a family of short people! I’ve lost some inches and am now just barely 5’1”. It doesn’t help that I’m now stopped over from scoliosis. I’m trying to continue thinking of myself as tall! Hard to do when I need to climb onto the bathroom vanity in order to change lightbulbs in the fixture over the sink.

    Except for orthopedic issues and some gastrointestinal annoyances I’m healthy, and am working at staying that way. Five years ago I lost a lot of weight and have kept the weight off. I’m proud of that. I’ve always eaten healthy foods, but was eating too much of them.

    DebRo

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    1. Sounds like you're on top of it, DebRo! Maintaining does seem to be the challenge!

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  26. I forgot to say I had my left knee replaced two years ago. So that’s one body part that’s working well! Unfortunately, it left me with some nerve damage in my foot, which sometimes throws me off balance. On the positive side, I’m no longer dragging myself upstairs, and I no longer have trouble getting up from a chair. I used to dread it!

    DebRo

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    1. Drop foot? I know so many people who suffer from that.

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  27. I am on the short side, and I am so grateful to the people in the grocery store to get me the stuff from the top shelf! Beyond that, I would let myself go gray about five years ago and started to take better care of myself however I wasn’t really paying attention to my cholesterol. Having some heart issues really woke me up and now I am on medication and very cognizant of what I eat. I wish I would’ve told my younger self to take better care of my skin and stay out of the sun. However, I do take much better care of my skin now I try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day with my dog and doing errands and things around the house. I feel a lot better when I exercise however, it hasn’t curbed my desire for chocolate! It’s interesting. That self-care is now a thing for years. I think all of us have put everyone before us. No we don’t have to feel guilty. If we want to do some thing for ourselves, that’s progress!

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    1. YES! Becoming an empty nester was a revelation. I can take care of me first? Shocking!

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  28. I’m trying to think of what I like most about my body. Those of us north of 50 were socialized (unintentionally, perhaps) to always discuss the negative aspects of our bodies (“I can’t do a thing with my hair” or “I’m sooo fat”). So being positive about our bodies is an adjustment. I was always taller than everyone in my class except a boy named Terry Spargaaren (sp?) who came from a family of giraffes. I didn’t like it as a young girl, but am happy to have whatever height I have left. Meeting Jenn and Hank this week makes me realize that 5’7” is not tall. My hair is graying nicely and it’s nice not paying to color it any more. I need to increase my walking, but am very willing to go for longer walks with my dog. This isn’t a body characteristic, but I like my sense of humor and, as an adult, confidence to talk with strangers (at places like Bouchercon, not creepy bus stations!). I went up to authors, famous and not so, and thanked them for their work and they all seemed surprised and grateful. And I was sincere!
    Jenn, I am not surprised that you are a great friend by witnessing you with Kate (Carlisle) and Paige (Shelton), but I do think it’s lovely to know that you’re a supportive and caring friend, too. Best of luck to your friend in their recuperative journey. And please say hi to Paige for me! I ran into and talked with her many times. If you need a fourth for your plotting group, I am a fan of all three of you and have no book of my own to work on so could just be a listening ear! Lol! — Pat S

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    1. Great to see you there at Bcon, Pat. And fun to push our social boundaries. Small talk is so much easier when it can start with, “What are you reading that you are loving?” Or, “Ooh, I read that last year and loved it!”

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    2. So nice meeting you, too, Lisa! Yes, we really were with “our” people, weren’t we?

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    3. Pat!!! It was delightful to see you at BCon! You genuinely light up the room. :)

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    4. Aw shucks. Thanks, Jenn. You aren’t bad yourself! — Pat

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  29. I'm very good with the negative stuff relating to my body. The list seems to be getting longer every year. But you are looking for the positive stuff....

    I have long legs. While in high school the big thing was Levi's 510 jeans. At 5 feet, 6 inches, my inseam was almost two inches longer than my 6 feet tall younger brother. The down side the long legs is my shorter torso. I hate sitting in booths in restaurants because I sit short. Booths aren't for larger torsos that sit short.

    I might be healthier if I exercised, period. But I look at exercising like having to take that horrible tasting prescription cough medicine we had for my brother when we were little, that the doctor would occasionally give to my sister and myself. If we could get it down, it could work it's magic. If I would walk more, I could be a bit healthier. I just have to swallow the bitter medicine and do it. I loved the water exercise classes I had in college, so easy on the joints but really it is a good workout. If I could find a class after work and wasn't so blasted self-conscious about wearing a swimsuit.....

    I hope you will be visiting your friend at home soon, Jenn.

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    1. It can be so hard to get started exercising, but once I do, I kick myself for not starting sooner because I feel so much better. My mom didn’t like swimsuits, so when she went swimming it was in exercise clothes - quick dry shorts and T-shirt.

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    2. Any gym with a pool has water exercise classes. Many of the gyms have classes during lunch too,

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    3. Thanks, Deana. She has a follow up procedure tomorrow so I am hopeful that things are moving in a positive direction.

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  30. I will say I like my curly hair. I also recently turned 55 and decided to get serious about my health. I have lost 21 lbs in 3 months on Noom, feel healthier and happier than I ever have. The hardest part is having to replace clothes twice already. It's a good problem to have, but it's been a bit of a hassle. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

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    1. Bravo, April! Good for you. I'm 56 so I know exactly what you mean. All of a sudden, you have to be vigilant.

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  31. Almost 84 now...but I'm still living alone and managing everything by myself. I feel good about that. I do my own grocery shopping, get myself to my hair appointments, and visit the doctors at least once a year. Everything physical worked great until 81, but then, we are not immortal, so I won't complain. I did ballet, rode horses, hiked, taught school, traveled, raised a child. I believe I had it all.

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