My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Dreaming of France: The Paris Metro: It's a work out

One thing we noticed while we were in France last month; there are an awful lot of fit people in Paris. An awful lot of fit and trim, sexy and slim, attractive people. 

Casting Call: Slim, attractive French types please line up

I blame it on the Metro. My theory is that all the walking to and from the metro, and especially going up and down the stairs of the Paris Metro system has something to do with it. You see, there are very few elevators and escalators. 

The first metro line was opened in 1900 during the Paris World's Fair at a time when no one really thought about elevators. While the system is not so good in terms of its accessibility to the disabled, it's a built-in exercise regime for everyone else. 

By everyone else, I mean the 4 million plus people who use the Paris metro every day! Parisians walk from work or home to and from the metro, rush up and down those stairs, hurry along the sometimes long and winding passages. I say it must be part of what keeps them all looking so trim and slim. Like the trio of modelicious guys I snapped a furtive photo of below. They just happened to be sitting next to each other at the station, waiting for their train, strangers to each other, oblivious to what an excellent advertisement for the health benefits of using the Paris Metro system they were. Ironic isn't it, that they happen to be sitting in front of a billboard for Heineken? My hunch; the only Heineken beer carbs being consumed would be by the guy standing on the platform to the far right. That, my friends, is the very definition of a beer belly. A votre santé!

A question for Monsieur Millennial, Le Professional and Sportif.
Does taking the stairs chase the pounds away?

My husband and I have a lot of marvelous memories of our trip to France. 
This one? It's all mine.

Connect with Paulita at Dreaming of France where Paulita and her husband are mulling over where to live in France.


  1. Any city where people walk seem to have much fitter people. All those stairs cannot hurt.

    1. Yes, and those of us who live in cities where people don't walk, (like Los Angeles, where I live) have to find a reason to. My husband just asked me where I wanted to walk today! We find lots of errands can be combined with a walk of a few thousand steps towards our 10,000 steps a day goal.

  2. Sim, I agree, but I bet all three of those guys drink beer, or wine at least. While we were in France, I ate more in quantity than I eat at home. I actually walked fewer steps than I usually do at home on many days, yet I managed not to gain any weight. Of course, in Paris, I was exceeding my step count, but I walk a lot at home too. Exercising, especially walking, is great for keeping people slim, but I do think the food in France is healthier. Even the eclair cafe, which I sometimes ate two of each day, didn't add pounds. Now that I'm home, the pounds are creeping back up. I start a diet again today.
    Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France! Love hearing about your latest trip and seeing the pics. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

    1. I ate so much delicious and pound packing goodies in Europe but we probably walked twice as much as we do here at home, which at 10,000 steps day is more than most Angelenos do. We probably averaged about 18 to 20,000 steps a day —on our first night in Paris we walked all the way from Blvd Saint Germaine to the Eiffel Tower along the Seine and all that tromping around Pompeii and the Forum added up as well. I'm still slightly puffier than I was when we left! I blame my ancient metabolism not the pain au chocolate and sfogliatella!


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