Friday, February 28, 2014

Sepia Saturday 217 Rocks for climbing British Columbia

Unable to find any telescopes amongst  our photo collection I opted for rocks or as follows a mountain of rock.  In July 1985 we drove our camper north from California to British Columbia, Canada and spent a few days at the then two year old Klahanie Recreational Campground, Squamish British Columbia, just across from the breath taking Shannon Falls and very near the Statawamus Chief. It is 45 minutes between Whistler and Vancouver, in a  recreation area that touts breathtaking beauty.  A prime location to campers from all over the world.it has  38 acres of forest and is along the Sea to Sky Corridor.   

 British Columbia is one of Jerry's favorite places in the world having spent time there when he was in the Air Force and so we often drove north to vacation; in fact at one time we considered migrating to British Columbia.  He more than me but we (me more than he) decided to remain in northern California.   The brochure, saved from that trip shows its picturesque majesty.   Digging out these photos gave us a chance to reminisce about that trip for just the two of us and the days we spent there that  week there on our way to Prince George.   I  Googled and  learned that  Klahanie is still operating, today, year round.  In fact today it is a prime base camp for those venturesome folks who wish to climb  the Chief, North America's largest granite monolith on any of its  more than 300 trails.  

Shannon Falls, BC  from our site
Our photos are fading so  I spent  time scanning these.  First from across the road right outside our campsite, this is the Shannon Falls, cascading down the granite peaks.  Looks just like the photo on the brochure and just like it does today almost 30 years later...granite does not easily change and so for many  years before and many more to come it will be just this way in its majesty.  It was warm in July, I know that because I was set for a  hike wearing shorts in this next photo.  There  behind me are the falls and the picturesque Klahanie store and lodge, popular day stop  for picnics then and now with several autos in the lot in front of the falls.  In those days, preditgital cameras and all we did not take so many photos.  I can find none of our short hike, we were not on a mountaineering adventure, just out for a short climb.  

Pat at Klahanie Campground
 Shannon Falls in the background 
This is The Chief  that granite monolith which we did not climb
It is just around from Shannon Falls.
 The three peaks comprise what is called the masiff.
I understand  that Howe Sound is a magnificent view from atop. 

Jerry knew then as now how to relax after a hike.
 Back in the shade at the site
Cold brew alongside
So there is one of our granite adventures to match up with the rocks in the prompt this week.  
To see what others share this week go here to the Sepia http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2014/02/sepia-saturday-217-1-march-2014.html

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Being an inspiration

"You inspired me...."   "I got in...I'm so glad you are here today,  wanted to tell you..." were the words I heard yesterday standing in the hallway at the Y waiting for the first Zumba class to clear out of the  Fitness studio for our turn.  It was a greeting from a  gal I had been talking to about the YMCA Diabetes Prevention program and my success.   At first I  look stymied and then she said, "the diabetes prevention.."  which clicked.  I was so pleased that she had decided to check it out and that I can be a part of getting her back to a healthy lifestyle.  She is younger than  me, likely only in her 50's and  has now made a commitment to avoid the diabetes that runs in her family too. I will encourage her all I can but have cautioned her, it is work and no one does this for you only you.  She just asked that she be able to talk with me about it and of course I agreed.  But she will get support from her  facilitator and hopefully her fellow classmates and if she is as serious as she appears she will draw on herself.. 

I have become a walking advocate for this program with my own success of losing  30 pounds since September, moving back to the healthy weight of my 20's and 30's. I never dreamed I would be so successful.  I struggled too and couldn't fathom why that weight hung to me, I finally hd almost decided it was going to be the way it was until the doctor gave me that alert that my fasting blood glucose levels were rising.  I vowed to do all I could to avoid further escalation or getting across tht line to diabetes.  Although my program goal was losing 15  pounds that I surpassed and doubled it amazed my doctor and me. It was slow some weeks only half a pound but it came off.  For the first time in I don't know how many years I did not gain weight over the holidays in November and Christmas and  through it all I was not anti social.  

I've written  before on this blog about the Y's national link to the Diabetes Prevention program, a national effort, which  starts with an hour at a weekly meeting for 16 weeks where  some aspect of nutrition and or  physical activity is discussed along with the dreaded weigh in and review of the past week's food diaries (logs.) After 16 weeks (19 for my group due to holidays and the facilitator being away one week) for the rest of this year long program,  which includes a YMCA membership one attends a maintenance class once a month led by another facilitator who is usually a certified  nutritionist/dietitian. 

While I have met others who have not been as successful, it does not take long hearing  their woes to understand why they struggle. I have a genuine sympathy for those who cannot persevere for whatever reasons and for those who really ask for help but  I have little tolerance for whiners, when they complain that it's not working I ask them if they log their food,  and invariable they say, "no I don't like to do that."  Don't like it, then to me they are saying they prefer fat and diabetes; it's their choice.  Life is all about our choices despite how it's framed or who's blamed.  Along with my lack of tolerance for whining is even less for those who kid themselves and want pity.  Most complainers want magic, the quick fix, the stroke of a wand. Don't we all?  No such magic wand exists for health maintenance and certainly not for weight loss. Long ago a friend and I talked about how much harder we work now to try to stay fit;     don't ever recall it being this much work.  

Sure as there are any number of diets that work in the short term, the nefarious yo yo dieting, which affects the body far worse than just staying overweight is often the result.  It has to be a way of eating that one can follow for life.  Think of it, will you exist from now on eating only cabbage soup or no carbs or no whatever as suggested by certain diets of the month? Weight Watchers is a healthy choice and works for many people so long as they stay with it.  Any weight loss program from which one cannot  wait to get back to the foods  they left behind for a lower number on the scale are sure to create rebound to packing back the pounds and then some.  It must be a lifestyle change.  I have met many who regained all the weight they lost and it is not a mystery why that happens.  
5 pounds of fat compared to muscle..gross

I am  keeping off the weight, doing what I did to lose that fat of  which we were reminded with a visual a 5 lb blob of yellowish matter resembling 5 pounds of fat at yesterday's Maintenance meeting.  Yuck the blob was passed around; as I held the gross looking plastic rubbery clump I was so glad to say, "I  lost 6 of these!"  Medical research shows that one pound of fat has approximately one to two miles of blood vessels so each extra pound strains the heart pumping that much more. Each pound of fat on your body has roughly 7 miles of capillaries (smallest blood vessels) that deliver nutrients to the tissue.  For every ten pounds of fat gained, your heart has to pump blood through an additional 70 miles of blood vessels! Consequently, it is not difficult to see why obesity and heart disease go hand in hand. The more I learned the more I became vehemently committed to ensuring my health.

This program  is a lifestyle change,  not a diet and is based on a few simple keys:

  • daily food tracking, writing it down for me in lieu of electronic gadgets which abound.  One participant said she did not want to do homework and record; she did not lose much weight.  Her rebelliousness hurt no one but herself.  Every participant has an individually calculated personal daily fat gram allowance based on age, weight, medical data, etc.  Mine limited me to 33 fat grams a day and   the facilitator often admonshed me to consume all each day to avoid yo yo rebounds.  Now  keeping it at or  below 33 grams a day is my goal because above that I have determined that i my weight would begin to increase.  Along with that calories are recorded but not the I would begin to add weight.  I have also  learned that high fat foods = high calorie foods. 
  • the program recommends  30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week of physical activity for me it is from one to one and half hours physical activity each day even in this tundra arctic where we have  been confined all winter.  My physical activity occurs now mostly exclusively at the Y unless I am shoveling the blasted snow while Jerry's back heals. I have always been active  so this was  a no brainer for me.  But I sure do miss outdoor walks in this so too cold winter.  
  • weighing every day faithfully and recording  it on the food log. That's paying attention to what the old  enemy, never my friend, the scale  has to say.  I weigh in every morning now. This is a big change for me; I would avoid the scale in every way possible before, kidding myself that I could tell when my weight  edged up by my clothes.  I no longer shudder when I go to the doctor's and they weigh me in first thing. 

The  Y program director asked me to share my story which I readily obliged by writing a  three page article which she loved and sent on to the national headquarters.  The next thing I knew I became a rock star of  the Y Diabetes Prevention Program; my story is to be featured in their national publication.  I will soon post what I wrote here on this blog describing my entry to the program with all the skepticism I could bring... I  was also asked to work on a team for this year's YMCA annual campaign which will feature our prevention program.  One thing keeps leading to another and last week I was interviewed for television here in the LaCrosse area, WKBT-TV  to publicize the campaign.  I am not shy nor tongue tied and have had extensive experience in  public speaking in my career and in organizations everything  from live  news interviews, cameras to legislative testimony in Sacramento and in Washington, DC, so it was old times for me.  Actually I am more of a natural born ham.  I knew the Y loved personal stories but didn't think mine was  any big deal, however I am learning that it is indeed.  

At my ripe age of 69 years to regain my lifestyle healthier than before, through this program has been a blessing and if I can share this to help others including the YMCA I am more than willing. My fasting blood glucose which was showing red warning flags is now low normal and my cholesterol  decreased 17 percent.  My doctor is so pleased and proud that he gave me the flyer about this program; he said he wished he could have me talk with so many patients who just  cannot get on the wagon to improving their health.  .  

I will not say it's easy but it's achievable.  And when one values health one will commit to doing whatever it takes.   I thought I was a  fairly healthy eater, I do not eat fast foods nor overindulge in red meats nor sweets.  In fact I prefer sour or salty crunchy to sweets.  But my weakness is cheese, oh I love cheese, melted, hard, grated, there is not a cheese I do not like and cheese is so good because it's heavy in fat.  A grilled cheese sandwich has always been my very favorite lunch.  And so where do I land in retirement but right across the river, Cheese-head Wisconsin country...heaven for me.  It was here I discovered cheese curds, another delicacy for me.  I love them raw or even better  coated and deep fried, melty.  Almost daily  my quick lunch had been cheese and an apple or other fruit and perhaps some triscuit crackers  or a fast quesadilla. Healthy right?  Wrong! One ounce of cheese has between 8 to 10 or more grams of fat.  I ate a hunk of cheese way more than an ounce, more like  5 ounces and through the day it was also a favored snack for me.  You do not have to be a math genius to calculate that  I could easily exceed my daily fat gram allowance on cheese.  So now I know, yikes I  learned something about nutrition.  I never thought of this before despite my constant pursuit of  education in nutritional eating. I have counted calories and carbohydrates, never before fat grams.  Now I can eat cheese but never again the way I used to; one ounce of cheese which is about a  one inch square is an allowance for a snack, carefully monitored and recorded.  I found the culprit and it was me!  Besides cheese, ice cream and frozen custard were almost daily evening treats and well, now you have the keys to my success.  Awareness and admitting, that I was doing this to me.  The same with nuts that had been a  favorite snack. Nuts are healthy and so a handful now and then when passing by the counter didn't hurt, so I thought.  And wrong again.  Nuts may be nutritious but  they are full of fat.  Now my favorite snack is pretzels which provide  the crunch and salt and  no to  very little fat.  And my glass of wine has no fat either.   

But back to the program and my spokesperson role.  Besides the interview the film crew followed me around though  the gym on my workouts on the elliptical and the  recumbent bike after the interview.  At least I had my hair combed and was not as "just got out of bed looking" as I routinely am when I go to the Y.  Why dress up and clean up to sweat it all off?  We appear with a brush through the hair grooming and begin our workouts.. But on interview day  I was looking a bit better still, not aware that I'd get the full paparazzi treatment which had folks in the busy sweaty gym pondering, "who's she?"  I did admonish the camera man that  it was not necessary to get  butt shots from behind me as he laughed he wanted every angle.  I  refused to don my swim suit for  them and allow the film to show the water logged me as well. Just when I thought we were done, they asked if I would return to the lobby and  entry to the Y  so they could film me walking in and talking...another natural talent for me, talking to as I told the reporter, I can talk to anybody about anything and or to anybody about nothing, which way do we go!"  They later told Nate that they had not had so much fun on an interview  for a long time and proclaimed me, " an awesome natural."  Aww, watch out now I'm puffing up!

 But the kicker was yesterday at Zumba class--Monday morning with my hair combed and reverting to my "just out of bed au naturel look" as we rehearsed a new Zumba routine, Nate, the Y's marketing director,  appeared with  the same film crew, pointed me out and there they were as was I, film at 11.  What could I do but keep on dancing!  The instructor told the class, "we have a celebrity in our midst, blame Ms P M." I have been explaining to the ladies ever since.  Now we have our viewing celebration party coming up soon as it shows on TV and the news which will be sometime in March.  I have a lot of explaining to do all the time now just like today at Yoga, "hey did you bring the film crew along?"  Glad to say, no it's just us.  But it's a;; abput working it and it's all good for the Y and for ourselves.     

For more information talk to the YMCA near you to learn about this excellent program based on extensive national research through the National Institutes for Health.  . It's healthy for you.   http://www.ymca.net/diabetes-prevention/
  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sepia Saturday 216 Suits and hats and men's fashions 1923

Adelbert Behrndt and Sophia
Roth Behrndt  1923
Today's prompt of men in suits led me back in our albums to 1923 in Hokah, Minnesota where  Jerry's great grandparents Adelbert and Sophia Behrndt were celebrating their 50th anniversary surrounded by family.  That year on March 3 Time magazine made its debut, a vaccine was developed for whooping cough (pertussis), and Calvin Coolidge became US President upon the death of President Warren Harding who fell ill in Alaska.  On May 28, the US Attorney General opined that it is legal for women to wear trousers anywhere which fascinated me because I remember when pant suits became alright for women to wear back when we were still wearing only dresses and skirts, in the late 1960's.  But in this rural area of Minnesota, Hokah a name from the Dakota Indian,  Hutkan, was growing.  It was settled in 1851, became a railway village in 1871, was incorporated as a town in 1923. Still, news of current events would be secondary to the Behrndt celebration.  The families kept busy as  farmers, carpenters, lumbermen and banking and went about  their day to day lives. And Adelbert would don what was surely his only suit for the anniversary party or picnic at the home, a long time hard working farmer did not dress up.   But for this day everyone was dressed in their Sunday best, just like the  brothers in law gathered in the next photo.  


Brothers in law at Behrndt's 50th Left to right
Burl Kellogg, Charlie Behrndt (Jerry's grandpa), Phillip Frey  and
Otto Ziemann
I call attention to Otto on the far right, notice his straight upright stance; he appears at that same alert uprightness in every photo we have of him while others do not appear as formal.  Burl is a leaner in most of his photos and Charlie is merely tolerant of the posing. Forward quickly to 1930 and a photo  which has always amused us, Lottie (Jerry's grand aunt and Charlie's sister) appears to be holding her husband,  Otto,  upright as though he were a puppet and she had full control of the strings.  Jerry's grandma Esther, Charlie's wife, to the  right appears amused turning aside and talking to someone else with suit and hat.  It was the way things were, suit and hat were worn for gatherings.  I think we are much more at ease and comfortable today in jeans, and casual attire.   
1930 Lottie and Otto Zieman
Esther (Jerry's grandmother) to right
I found this last  information on men's fashions while  researching  1923

This is  my response to the men in suits and hats from our family photos. Check out what others have to show for the week at the link here.
http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2014/02/sepia-saturday-216-22-february-2014.html

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recipe reverie, blogger acts out

Yesterday's all day snow coating more with continuous whiteness added another  four inches to what has been steadily accumulating this winter.  It  must have affected this blogspot where  I thought I posted this and  yet today I see it had been reverted to a draft...daft why? Blame it on the winter weather.   So here another attempt to publish, winter is getting the best of us and the cyber waves.  

All the descriptive adjectives--pretty, sparkling, fluffy have been exhausted this winter, enough already.  I feel like we are living in a shake 'em up snow globe, no sooner does it settle than Mama Nature sends another blast our way.   I am tired of white and annoyed when it sidelines my plans as it did, confining me to home and hearth.  I did not venture out to drive in the winds with limited visibility nor was I tempted as there were reports of the potential to slide along the roads if the plows had not already been through.. 

 It was a day to stay home and a good day to cook. It has been quite some time since I stuffed and roasted a chicken because for the two of us, it's preferable to stick with chicken parts, breasts or thighs and occasional drumsticks although wings are a great snack.  However the market had these chickens on sale, very cheap and with my purchase of two bottles of wine I got $2 off any poultry, bringing the cost to $1.  So I picked up a whole chicken Friday intending to do something with it over the weekend.  Those intentions did not materialize but Monday's snow day  was an opportune time to stuff and roast this bird.  Jerry is not a fan of what he refers to as "sea gull" although he grudgingly eats the day's menu; I am a big fan of chicken, amd roasting filled the house with wonderful scents.  

My bargain chicken stuffed and ready to roast
As I prepared  thestuffing with lots of sage, big bread hunks, broth, butter, sauteed onions and celery I thought about my maternal grandmother Rose, my Polish Baba, with whom I spent a lot of time and stayed most weekends.    I have written about her  many times on this blog. Roast chicken was one of her special favorite Sunday afternoon meals, with all the fixings after we went to morning mass.  She had none of the kitchen conveniences like deep freezers nor microwaves and she did insist on fresh chickens; she did not want those from the  grocery market that would have been sitting for "you don't know how long."  No,  Rose insisted chickens must they be just bled, fresh; , to her that was the only way to ensure a tasty chicken, kill , drain and cook.  They lived in town so while she did not raise her own chickens, she did walk to the local  butcher for a fresh just killed bird on Saturdays.  It was Sarniac's, the  Polish butcher shop where  my grandpap hung out, helped make Polish sausage and played cards and they knew to have a fresh chicken ready for Rose. Sometimes it would still have it's feet attached but she would tell them to leave the feet, which she would remove at home, herself. 


Baba, my grandma Rose about mid 1940"s
Once she brought it home, the ordeal of cleaning it meticulously began, I cannot remember how many times she rinsed and rinsed that chicken and then soaked it in a brine though it seems that hours and hours were involved. I once remarked in childlike wonder that it was clean already to which she said, "oh no Patty, we don't want any dirt or feathers.  Chickens are dirty and you don't want to eat anything like that."  Finally by late Saturday afternoon, she had her fresh chicken ready for  Sunday roasting.  Her oven had no timer so that bird did not get into the oven to begin until after we returned from church and then she would carefully watch and baste it from time to time.  I wish I had a picture of those feasts, they were a meal which she served with pride and a smile.  So today stuffing and roasting a cheap chicken brought the reverie of childhood.  And I thought of how I will not buy  frozen chicken parts in mass bags, and certainly not  those that are processed in Asia.  My chicken choice is fresh, locally Amish grown and processed....I am Rose's grand daughter after all.  It's my legacy, You don't want a chicken that's been sitting around for you don't know how long."  Recipes can stir up our memories..    

Friday, February 14, 2014

Busy streets and empty stages Sepia Saturday 215

This week prompted  busy streets, traffic or where the mind wandered and for me, that will always be as far away as can be from the congestion and bustle of a metro area. While browsing our photos,  I found plenty of wide open roads, but few of traffic which I have long detested having spent too many years on the congestion of California freeways. I was able to find some with many cars parked though and then, well you see, I took a turn to a side path. 

In 1986 we drove cross country from California where we lived back to visit family in Minnesota and  Pennsylvania from where we swung south on our way back west and stopped in Nashville, Tennessee.   Here in September 1986 is the former home to the Grand Ole Opry, the original Ryman Auditorium.  It first opened in 1892,  a vision of Captain Thomas G Ryman.  With the start of the Grand Ole Opry show in 1943 the Ryman became the Mother Church of Country Music.  In my photo below  a man  by the fence about middle of photo is taking a picture of the iconic  Ryman as we did.  There is a crane on the other side but this is well before renovations were considered. 
September 1986 The old Ryman Auditorium

September 1986 back side alley and a truck load of trash?
All the space was taken up by these vehicles leaving no room to drive past.
It was congested and Nashville was growing but we were able to walk around and take in the sights, some as this alley near the Ryman are not all that scenic but reflect activity in the big cities.   I wonder why we took this photo and even  more why I've kept it. 

 In 1974, the Opry moved to its magnificent current home by the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center and left the Ryman vacant.  Attempting to maintain continuity with the Opry's storied past, a large circle was cut from the floor of the Ryman stage and inlaid into the center of the new Opry stage.  The Ryman then sat mostly vacant and fell into disrepair until 1992 when Emmylou Harris and her band, the Nash Ramblers, performed concerts there and renewed interest in restoring the Ryman.   Renovations had been proposed  as  far back as 1920 when a New York promoter considered placing the Ryman on a southern theater circuit however the  Ryman facilities were considered rustic at best with the 1892 structure remaining intact .It lacked proper dressing rooms and other backstage amenities.  The confederate style gallery wrapped around the stage to the back wall limiting available space for dressing rooms so sections of the balcony were replaced with a  4 story bldg. erected on each side for dressing rooms, an elevator and office and catering room.  The full interior renovation began in 1993 and by 1994 the Ryman was restored at a total cost of upwards from $8.5 million to the national showplace that it is today.

In January 2012, it was announced that the Ryman's 61 year old stage installed in 1951 and lasting far longer than expectations  would be replaced.  The stage will be replaced with a medium-brown Brazilian teak that will be extremely durable and also camera-friendly, an important aspect that is often overlooked. It will retain a 36-inch lip of the blonde oak at the front of the stage, similar to the way the Ryman stage was commemorated in a circle of wood at the new Opry House. Beneath the stage, the original hickory support beams will be kept and reinforced with concrete foundations, crossbeams and joist work that will help triple the stage's load capacity.  

This next 1986 photo shows me on stage at the Ryman.  Now you know why I included so much information about that stage.  I jumped up there and had Jerry take my photo while our tour guide prodded me on. We were on a private tour so there were no other observers to shock.  I can now say I was on stage at the Ryman.  I have learned researching for this post that today   tours offer the opportunity for one to ascend the Ryman stage and have a souvenir photo taken, for a fee of course.  I was ahead of the curve back in 1986. 

Pat onstage at the Ryman Auditorium 1986


this has been my Sepia Saturday post.  To enjoy what others share today go to the Sepia site and visit the others.http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2014/02/sepia-saturday-215-15-february-2014.html


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arctic Zumba activity

I have neglected blogging because of lack of time which is consumed by other competing activities, a significant one of which is  my physical activities at the Y across the river in La Crosse.  For several years here I considered joining the Y but thought I might not be inspired to drive there; I was wrong. Ever since mid September last fall when I gained Y membership with my enrollment in the  Diabetes Prevention Program, I have a new outlet.  Just about every day, 5 days a week, sometimes 6 I drive to the Y for physical activity, elliptical machine, body toning, swimming, yoga or my very favorite the Zumba classes. A part of my fitness program was to ensure 30 minutes dedicated physical activity per day, easy enough for me because my walks outside and around town  in the good weather were always an hour, sometimes longer, in retirement  I am blessed to have the time to spend as I wish. And well, you know me if a little is good, more is better. 


But now most mornings are consumed  with me across the river at the Y which takes up the full morning from 9:30 when I leave till about 11:30 or noon when I return home to clean up for the day.   Often I'm in Zumba which lasts for 50 minutes in the  fitness studio.  Zumba is an aerobic cardio dance exercise with a Latin twist, although our classes feature a variety of music most of it is Latin style or depending on the instructor hip hop.  Me at 69 hip hopping, oh yeah. Who'd have imagined? I have long been a fan of aerobic dance, starting long ago in CA with that old Jazzercise which we did way back then (70's) in bare feet.  I remember when we began to wear shoes and all thought it would never work.  Today I cannot imagine the bare feet and absolutely prefer shoes for support.  

My affinity for dance as exercise had me completing a certification and instructing aerobic dance for fitness  for a short time in CA until I began to drive myself crazy with my obsession to constantly change the routines and music.  Did I mention I can get bored with rote  routine?  I had a full time professional career at the same time so 24 hour days did not offer enough time for my continuous choreography.    I love most any dance so I thought any exercise centered on this would be great for me.  

Zumba is a highly aerobic dance fitness program done correctly but similar to most activities can be adjusted to one's abilities. It uses squats, lunges in the routines and even some martial arts moves.   It is credited originally to Alberto Perez, a Columbian dancer and choreographer in the 1990's who one day forgot his "tape" of aerobic music for a class he was teaching.  He improvised  with Latin music, salsa and merengue and after astonishing success in 2001 he moved to the US  where he  teamed with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to produce a demo "reel."  (Note how far we have come from tapes and reels, just had to say.)  The dance was licensed by Fitness Quest in a direct marketing campaign and home videos.  Gee they could have been Los Tres Albertos.  My research shows that over 14 million people in over 150 countries take weekly Zumba classes.   I take a Zumba class about 3 or 4  times a week. 

It has been a fantastic way for me to stay fit.  Besides physical fitness it is great for the mind to learn the new routines; our Y instructors offer a variety but most sessions find me with Wanda who mixes it up and adds new routines all he time.  While my favorites are the dances to the 50's and 60's songs, I have acquired some new hip hop favorites.  Like this one to Love Me Right by the Swag Geeks and Brook Penning 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcpekRRDs_c

Here is the routine we do choreographed by Lauren Fitz, by the way no one in our class wears a hat.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWfQU-9atYs

How would I ever have heard of them or this music if I'd not been in Zumba at the Y.  I have written before, constant learning, it's the only way to be.

I works up a healthy sweat.  All ages participate although there are many of us retirees in Wanda's classes which are less impact than others, but not for those who cannot move.  It's a very welcome wintertime activity for me and energizes while building my core muscular fitness and aerobic capacity.  The Zumba toning class once a week is another stretch always  leaving my arms and shoulders exhausted from the mere 3 pound weights we use for 30 minutes.  I have made progress  because the first class in toning I could not use the 1 pound weights for the entire time, now 3 are my comfort zone.  Wonder if I will get to five with Zumba toning?