Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Cat and I got out for a nice walk at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens yesterday. It was a lovely day.

Built between 1912 and 1915, Stan Hywet Hall is one of the finest examples of the American Country Estate movement, which flourished during the Industrial Age. Unlike European country houses created by generations of title and wealth, American Country Estates were built by the wealth of self-made industry giants. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore, Rockefeller’s Kykuit, and Hearst’s San Simeon, are well-known examples.  England provided the inspiration for the Tudor revival Manor House and service buildings, and also prompted the name of the Seiberling’s estate. Stan Hywet, is Old English for stone quarry, the property’s most prominent natural feature when the land was purchased.

The Estate became a beacon of progress for F.A. and his business associates, who often met here to discuss and negotiate the challenges of the day. It served as an international stage for well known figures in music, the arts and politics, and it was the site where daughter-in-law Henrietta brought together Bill W. and Dr. Bob for a discussion that led ultimately led to the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization that has benefited millions worldwide.

F.A. Seiberling’s wife, Gertrude, established her own reputation as an accomplished artist, musician and patron of the arts. Stan Hywet’s design and décor were largely influenced by her personal taste. She applied her passion for gardening, music and the arts to help found Tuesday Musical and the Akron Garden Club, institutions that remain strong, vibrant and iconic organizations and that still support the estate today.

From the official website, https://www.stanhywet.org/

Working Out: Day 1

Years ago, I took my daughters to a birthday party at a rollerskating rink. They were both having trouble adjusting to the skates, and as a child of the 1980s I’d naturally spend a good amount of time at the rink in my hometown. I rented some skates, put them on, and went to help them.

That’s the day I learned that your body is different after 30 years of not skating and putting on 200+ pounds. I was like a pear on toothpicks with wheels attached, but not nearly as graceful.

Years ago, I was part of the Dagorhir medieval rennacement/LARP group. I used to run around the woods and swordfight. And so, about 8 years ago when my friend Mike and I got a hold of some Nerf swords, I felt pretty confident that I could take him.

That lasted about five seconds, then my thighs cramped, my knees locked up, and I fell over.

Mike, executing the coup de grace on my sorry ass.
Mike, executing the coup de grace on my sorry ass.

Sufficed to say, my brain has no real relationship with my body, and has no idea how to care for it. At the time of the writing, I’m 49, weigh around 350lbs, and am shuffling around the house in the mornings like an 80 year old man. My wife, who is much better at this body stuff than I am, asks me each morning if I want to go for a walk with her, and thus far, my brain’s answer to this is, “Not until Spring 2020 stops being a stupidhead and morning temperatures crest 55 degrees.”

What actually comes out of my mouth is, “Nope.”

Clearly my current approach is not working. And by “approach” I mean “ignore all the stiffness and popping of joints and push through without exercising even unless I’m feeling sufficiently motivated.” That motivation, the font of light springing forth shining from my eyes and enabling me with the superpower of a sports-movie-montage, never seems to manifest.

So I started using Daily Burn today. 28 minutes with a very friendly just name Justin and people behind him how looked more like me instead of the tiny little yoga women and cut black-belt men they ground in vats in southern California. It was nice. I don’t like going to classes, and all the gyms are shut down anyway, so doing this at home in my office was pretty cool. I don’t*enjoy* it like I enjoy a good book or an ice cream sandwich, but maybe that part of the point. I’ve been an “enjoy physical work” guy. The idea that forcing your body to do hard things has never really made sense to me. Folks talk about an endorphin rush, but that never really happened for me.

Until today.

It was just a little one, but I felt better afterwards. So that’s something. I’m aiming for workouts three days a week, and am using some habit tracking software to measure how well I am doing. Wish me luck!