Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
Woman with a brilliant mind

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gertrude at the Gym

"One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure." Gertrude Stein

Now you should know that Gertrude doesn't exactly have a cute little figure. She used to, but now in middle age she's starting to look like her grandma did, and my how that used to seem like such a horrible fate! Now, Gertrude has that big rump, or no rump. That big belly. The grapefruits are more like avocados now.

I went to the gym late yesterday and came across a huge crowd on the aerobics floor, doing Zumba dance. The music sounded nice to dance to, so I went and had a closer look. Those people down there looked like they were having fun, so I went and had a go at it too. And it really was fun. It's Latin dance, after all.

The thing is, those Latin women know how to move their hips when they dance. Us Dutch women? Not so much. Our ancestral dance involved clopping wooden shoes. But I gave it the good old Gertrude effort, and I was rewarded with a great time and some good sweat.

Speaking of Gertrudes. Remember Gertrude Ederle? I'm going to post a picture of her. SHE is the Gertrude of which I speak. She's got guts and determination, and she's got bones and muscle.

On it says:

Gertrude Ederle, a famous American swimmer, became the first woman to
swim the English Channel. In 1926, at the age of 19, Ederle swam the channel from
France to England. Her time of 14 hours 39 minutes for the 35-mile (56-kilometer)
distance broke the previous record and stood as the women's record for 35 years.
From 1921 to 1925, Ederle set 29 United States and world records for swimming
races ranging from the 50-yard to the half-mile race. In the 1924 Summer Olympic
Games, she won a gold medal as a member of the championship U.S. 400-meter
freestyle relay team. She also won bronze medals for finishing third in the
100-meter and 400-meter freestyle races.

Swimming is a great exercise for a Gertrude. We have buoyant bodies, are subject to joint stress and so benefit a lot from water exercise, and we, well we don't look that great in a swimming suit. The thing is, bodies are beautiful! We are conditioned to think that only coat hanger clothes models, or playboy cheesecake girls have beautiful bodies. But just think back to bein a small child playing naked in the bathtub. We loved our little bodies then, didn't we? Our bodies are still wonderful. They move us through this world. They change before our very eyes. Right now my hair is turning gray, strand by strand. It's like a science experiment.

I choose to like my body because I have no other choice. I love it, I clean and decorate it, I take care of it as well as I take care of my house and my car. So that's it. It's better than the alternative.

Guest Gertrude of the day: Chloris Leachman. She is a great comedic actor. She's done it all. Although she's wonderful looking, she's known not for her feminine pulchritude but more for her ability to make others look good, and for being funny, and able to play it kind of crazy. I used to watch her on Mary Tyler Moore and then her spinoff, Phyllis. The hilarious theme song went like this:

Who makes the fog surrounding the Golden Gate simply disappear?
Phyllis, Phyllis
Who makes the warning bells on the cable cars play "The Gangs All Here"?
Phyllis, Phyllis
Who charms the crabs at Fisherman's Wharf right out of their shells?
Who lights the lamps of Chinatown just by walking in view? Who?
Phyllis! Phyllis! Phyllis! It sure isn't you!

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