Paul's & Kitty's Mental and Physical Activities

We (Paul and Kitty Antonik Wakfer) put into daily practice the principles of mental and physical exercise for good health. Our daily activities are a blend of mental and physical with emphasis on the mental, since that is where we derive our greatest long term satisfaction and productivity. The reason for this emphasis is twofold. First, advanced mental abilities are the essence of being human in the sense of distinguishing humans from other lifeforms. So to promote and practice such abilities is to revel in and fully express one's humanity, which is of course why we derive our greatest satisfaction from this kind of activity. Second however (and likely not unrelated to the first), a great deal of research has shown that mental activities promote brain health, reduce the rate of brain aging and that a healthy brain is of paramount importance for a healthy body and a long lifespan. (See numerous references on Science Index under Health and Exercise.)

Mental Activity Updated 6/4/10

MoreLife provides us many opportunities to "flex" our brains

MoreLife and (since early 2003) the Self-Sovereign Individual Project are our main activities almost everyday, and their array of subjects and support tasks provide us with enormous opportunities to flex our brains. We - Paul and Kitty - are the originators, design engineers, programmers, content providers, maintenance crew, and support staff to list just the major "departments" that comprise the totality of MoreLife/Self-SIP. These various divisions are comprised of numerous tasks that require us to exercise our memory, mental data connections, and reasoning abilities, thereby not just keeping us at a high level of mental acuity but actually expanding those abilities beyond previous levels as the websites and their coverage grow in content and complexity.

"Retiring" doesn't mean non-productive or non-improving

Although both of us are retired from typical employment and income production, we will never retire from productive work. Having goals like MoreLife and the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, which are vast in their scope and therefore will never be complete, provide a creative outlet and an incentive, both of which motivate us more than any other intellectual task either of us has had in the past. Doing these together is a synergistic effort that supports and rewards each of us when an individual task is complex. In addition, we each constantly increase our abilities in the other's area of expertise; as an example, Kitty has improved her memory and reasoning skills by learning some of Paul's techniques, while at the same time increasing her knowledge of biochemistry and history of philosophy. Paul has sharpened his ability to uncover relationships, possibly from Kitty's "nth dimensional puzzle" explanation for a partial view of reality. He has greatly expanded his exposition skills by having to explain things to Kitty (who seldom lets anything slip by and often asks insightful questions), and his patience for the difficulty in working with both complex concepts and those individuals who are often "difficult" themselves. The demands of MoreLife/Self-SIP, many other online activities, and our daily living activities have also enhanced his multi-tasking skills while not diminishing his exceptional ability to focus.

New and different fields of interest offer stimulating challenges

Before beginning work in the Fall of 2001 on MoreLife, which actually was conceived in the spring of that year, Kitty had to learn HTML. She and Paul had decided that using a simple text editor, rather than having an HTML composer do the "translating", would be more versatile and allow more personal control over the output, even though also more "work". It was this "work" - mental stretching and weight lifting - that began a new phase of design for Kitty. In less than a year, MoreLife files had grown in number and size such that a new tool (an editor specifically designed for HTML) was needed to handle the project - another challenge for Kitty to learn, but also, another opportunity to grow mentally. Each new update to MoreLife whether it be the Glossary, the Indexes, or Personal areas (chiefly her responsibilities) brings opportunities for learning something new or doing something "old" in a new way. Her writing skills have improved with the challenge of "painting" a verbal picture, even when photos are a major part of the output.

Old skills get new challenges and increase in capability

Paul, with his strong background in computers both hardware and software, still finds challenges in the current tools - some he'd rather not have since they are the result of failures of those tools to provide methods that other programming tools have had for decades and these challenges steal time from other far more interesting tasks. At the start of MoreLife Paul often became very upset at these "distractions" from the new most important work of his life. However, he has now learned to deal with them in a constructive emotional and technical manner, and he appreciates that these annoyances can also be viewed as opportunities to be even more creative and to gain more control of the website. The considerable writing that Paul has done in conjunction with MoreLife has honed a skill which had been largely dormant since his teaching days. With the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, Paul returned to one of his real intellectual passions - the fundamentals of reality. Teaching others in the written form allows him to clearly address an issue by bringing into an orderly presentation, the terms requiring definition and the essential concepts and reasoning necessary for understanding. The computer, HTML and Internet with its hyperlinks has made the writing, while still intense, not the painful and laboriously lengthy task it would have been in years past.

Individually reading and then discussing keeps us informed and connected

While most of our mental exercise is geared towards the almost limitless aspects of MoreLife/Self-SIP, we do spend time reading and discussing subjects not directly (at least not now) related to our website. We enjoy reading during parts of our meals and often share and then discuss articles either of us may have read in Science News, Scientific American, Invention & Technology, The Scientist, and others or online from Rational Review News Daily, Mises Daily Article and the like. And then there are the many philosophical discussions that we have, either directly or indirectly related to the Self-Sovereign Individual Project and/or related to material presented in the Outlook and Interpersonal sections of MoreLife. We have joked to each other that some might wonder what two people, who have lived and worked together virtually 24 hours a day since mid-2000, could possibly still find to talk about. We just never run out of topics and typically keep up an unbroken conversation even when walking at a full clip.

Reading for relaxation, including side critiques

Kitty has always found reading at the end of the day a relaxing, while still stimulating, exercise. Although this is when she enjoys the small amount of "escapist" reading that she still does (mostly science-fiction), she sometimes challenges herself with philosophical writers of the past and since Fall 2006 with works on cognitive therapy (See Outlook Practice), propped up in bed with a cup of herb tea. Her notations in the margins of the latter writings are not uncommon in our books. Paul hasn't read a novel in years, but rather enjoys spending what little "free" time he has reading online technical or philosophical pieces. He read portions of works by Randy Barnett that we purchased in order to provide more complete critiques of online items. He is doing similarly to works by Anthony de Jasay and Jan Naverson. Occasionally Paul digs into the new copy of Human Action by von Mises (online version) that we bought (he lent out his old copy many years ago and hasn't seen it since.) In addition he almost daily skims newsgroup and periodically makes insightful comments on others' posts or initiates one of his own. On very rare occasions when he just doesn't feel inclined to concentrate heavily, and FreeCell or Spider holds no interest, Paul reads a short story or essay by Paul Hogan - one of his favorite science fiction writers - or lets Kitty read one from various sources to him.

Games can have valuable benefits

We rarely participate in contrived game playing (having no purpose other than the game itself). The first "game" we played together (beginning on our irregular visits to our cottage in 2001) was Scrabble, but in a non-competitive method that is far more mentally and interpersonally beneficial than the standard way the game is played. We have come to call this "Cooperative Scrabble". We pick the tiles independently and keep them on our individual racks open to view, then deciding together which words made alternately by each of us will produce the best immediate score and greatest potential for highest combined points. I and Paul see considerable resemblance to life itself in which neither one of us can know exactly that will come our way, but when we work together to choose the optimum immediate and long range action, the joint outcome is far better than if we had operated totally independently. Paul with all time highest total score Cooperative ScrabbleTaking time to create a long word from existing tiles between the two of us in smaller steps of short real words has allowed us to obtain some really interesting words - and high total points. In the middle of January 2008 in a game that took us 4 sittings over 2 weeks, we beat our previous high total of 819 - new high 834! Playing this game in front of the fireplace in the coldest weeks in Arizona is especially enjoyable, although the game often takes 3 nights - and 4 like this last one - since we are trying to optimize our choices, not simply play a game. And then we often do not play again for a few months.

Verbal games with numbers or words can be mentally stimulating - and portable

Not all our hours driving are spent in discussion of deep subject matter. Here are some descriptions of games we have played during various trips:

  • While driving to Arizona at the beginning of October 2002, Paul introduced Kitty to a "game" of sorts he taught himself many years ago - quickly determining the number of wheels on all sizes of tractor trailer rigs. Knowing that virtually all transport trailers have their wheels arrayed in sets of 4 across and that the cab has 2 steering wheels on its front, one can rapidly calculate the total number by quickly counting only those seen in profile. An 18-wheeler will be seen from the side to have 5: 1 on the front of the cab = 2, 4 from there back on cab and down the rig = 16; total = 2+16= 18. Put another way, the typical rig has 4 x number rows of wheels seen from the side (omitting the front row) + 2. It was fun for Kitty, new to this concept, to see how quickly she could find a 42-wheeler.
  • Kitty shared with Paul on that same trip how, as a child, she learned (from her father while traveling) to make as many words as possible using the letters on license plates, a mental exercise she stills finds herself doing at red lights. Paul, in turn, gets great delight out of seeing all the possible ways that the letters and numbers on a license plate can exhibit symmetry.
  • On a subsequent trip we tried another game from Paul's childhood; naming an item from a chosen category - like fruits and vegetables - and the other having to follow that from the same category but starting with the last letter from the prior word. This game can be made even more tricky if the words chosen have to end with the letter with which the previous word began.
  • Finding relationships in numbers has been a tool - as well as a game - that Paul has used since childhood, when he first became fascinated with mathematics. For example, he finds it easy to remember our car license plate because the numerical portion is 240 - a "nice" number:
    • the prime number factors 2, 3 and 5 are the first 3 prime numbers
    • the second digit is twice the first - actually Kitty thinks this is "nice", but not one Paul considers particularly noteworthy, unless the number system used is base 8, in which case each digit of 240 is the double of the previous
    • the second digit, 4, is the only value that the side of a square can have so that the perimeter equals the area
  • Remembering the words of old songs has been fun (as well as stimulation for the memory) on many a drive as well as at home. There are certain radio stations that play instrumental versions of songs and the challenge then is to be able to sing along. We do pretty well since we both enjoyed listening to many of the songs made popular in the 50s and even before Kitty was born in 1945. (These were ones with, in our opinion, more memorable lyrics.) And to add to the fun, Paul has a very nice singing voice and enjoys using it.
  • A game Kitty introduced to Paul, during our numerous drives in May 2005 to and from the Toronto apartment and the cottage 160 miles to the northeast (as part of our full-time relocation for summers in Canada), was one of synonyms. In this case it was all the words we could think of for a thoroughfare on which businesses or homes are located, the most common in English probably being either "road" or "street". By the middle of June - which was after the relocation was complete - we had come up with 28 used in the US and/or Canada, listed on a notebook we kept in the car glove compartment for that purpose. And we had found examples of all of them during that time.

Some computer games can be mentally beneficial

There are some computer games that many people use strictly to pass the time but are actually excellent tools for developing pattern processing abilities, and enhancing both inductive and deductive reasoning. Here is some information about the three that we make use of:

  • Freecell is a card solitaire type of game that Paul played frequently in years past partly as escape from the depressing life he was leading, becoming extremely proficient, able to win at first try over 95% of all the games he started. In fact, Paul has never found a Freecell game that he cannot win eventually, if not on the first attempt. He has played as many as 92 in a row without losing but does get sloppy in his choices of moves when he gets *too* tired. We're waiting for Paul to come up against a game of freecell that he can't win. He has a list of a dozen or so (each game has an identifying number) that several years ago required up to six tries before he found the pathway to success, and he would like to have the challenge of more of those hard games now that his skills are also improved. He thinks that his skill at this game has improved considerably and therefore the long string of wins.

    Kitty had only used low levels of logical and strategic thinking in the playing of Freecell, which she played only when in discouraged periods. It didn't take very long, however, for her to improve her skill tremendously once Paul pointed out a few basic strategic considerations to keep in mind. She's started to work her way through the 32000 :-) versions of the game, keeping track of those that she does not solve even on restarting at least three times. On these she consults Paul, who so far has been able to show her where a different route would allow the game to be won. She actually consults him very infrequently as of summer 2005, having gained considerable skill in focus and patience - both necessary to be successful at this game. She wins most games now the very first time.
  • Together in the Fall of 2003 we looked at Minesweeper, which Paul had only dabbled with in the past, and found that although there is an inescapable element of luck at the very start, after a "beginning", there is usually a long period where sometimes highly complex logical reasoning is required to determine where it is safe to "step". While neither of us really enjoy games involving the pressure of time, we did enjoy bettering our best times at maneuvering through the "minefield", as well as improving our ability to apply highly focused thinking for the necessary time.
  • A third computer game we found on Kitty's computer - the Compaq laptop with which we travel - (while on our first visit to the cottage in 2004) is Spider, another card solitaire. This one has 3 levels of difficulty but it is not clear that the games using all four suits, the highest level of difficulty, are all solvable. The 2 suit ones Paul initially found difficult enough, requiring considerable ability to visualize many moves ahead - even more at times than needed for Freecell. He moved onto the 4 suit games after about a month, but great use of the "undo" feature is necessary in order to win - and that is definitely not every time even then. Paul's skill in this area is far greater than Kitty's but she periodically sees a move that he has not considered, making our two-headed games much more enjoyable for the 2-suit version. For the more difficult 4-suit, the game requires more patience than Kitty has to devote to a game; Paul has come to think Spider has increased his ability to not get frustrated with lengthy mental processes, which did at times occur in years past. Kitty occasionally tries a 2-suit game herself, when Paul is otherwise occupied, as a method of improving her reasoning skills. An added enjoyment that Spider has, lacking in FreeCell and Minesweeper, is the computerized fireworks display provided on winning a game. Kitty thinks that with the 3rd level difficulty (4-suit) there should be sound effects too :>)
  • In Spring 2007, Paul found that the numerical pattern game sudoku was available via Linspire (our source for Linux operating system). We were curious regarding what we read in various places was a great fascination with this game. Paul investigated the game and found rather quickly methods for solving most of even the difficult versions - no guessing but algorithms of elimination and little use for a "what if" using superscripts. For several months he only played the game occasionally, returning to Spider as more challenging, mentally stimulating and, at the same time, relaxing. He most often does this last thing before getting ready to go to sleep. Then as Kitty began to play sudoku, quickly advancing to the "hardest" level and finding the pattern solving especially enjoyable, Paul took it up again finding a few new algorithms for number eliminations that makes the use of "what if" trials most often unnecessary. Both of us enjoy the game and consult when either of us runs into a situation where all algorithms appear to have been used and a "what if" may be necessary. Most often, there is something more that can be done to eliminate possible numbers and then solve the puzzle directly; and Paul is working on a probability scheme to eliminate even more possible numbers. Kitty has improved her playing of sudoku so that she solves most of these hardest level puzzles in less than 20 minutes. She compares her fondness for the numerical patterns of sudoku to the fact that she's always been enjoyed creating design patterns such as in knitting and needlepoint (something she hasn't made time to do in several years). The history of sudoku is interesting, including the fact that it is not a Japanese game at all.

Visual puzzles as opportunities to "think outside the box"

Paul with a challenging puzzle Something new we completed during our 2003/2004 winter stay in Arizona, was a large (1000 piece) jigsaw puzzle of a springtime Alps scene. The small pieces with numerous similar coloration and edge shapes made the job a real challenge. We devised a method of primarily concentrating on the "wiggle" shapes first within a "color pattern group" (green grass, brown/green grass, sky blue, leaves w/ & w/o flowers, rocks, just plain black (shadows), buildings - whew! what a job). Paul found that while looking for a match for a particularly unique "wiggled" piece he would often find the match for another that he'd been previously seeking - his "background processor" was at work. Kitty decided that she was often trying too hard to hold too many various edge wiggles consciously in her mind and failed to find any matches during those attempts. All in all, it was a mental exercise we will do periodically.

Conscious thinking and writing on fundamental subjects provides best mental exercise

6/4/10 Still the activity of thinking and writing about the very wide spectrum of MoreLife topics - especially the philosophical subject of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project - is by far our most important and enjoyable mental exercise. We have discussed numerous times the fact of Paul's ability - improved rather than declining as he reached the 70 mark - to discern the fundamental points among the many facts as well as the fact from the fiction. (See his comments on turning 70.) His early interest in symbols and patterns and his life-long practice of using and honing this skill in various ways has kept this a vigorous ability.

While Kitty's logic skills were not as accomplished in her earlier years, she agrees with Paul that considerable improvement is there despite the fact that she had already reached 60 when this was apparent. She greatly improved her writing skills in her early 60s; the additions to the Focus on Freedom section of SelfSIP are virtually all hers - with Paul's excellent editing of course. Almost all items she has written in this area have been picked up and included in the Rational Review News Digest list of commentaries. Additionally, she takes the time to make reasoned responses (including praise where she decides is deserved) at various websites to items she has read. A websearch on "Kitty Antonik Wakfer" will find these, sometimes limited by the site to as little as 500 characters (not words) - a real challenge on some subjects.

By doing this type of "work" every day interspersed with the mental relaxation described above, we are constantly using our brains in both old and new ways and thereby unlikely to "lose it".

Our conducive atmosphere for mental exercise

Contrary to what many people use for studying and purposeful thinking - silence - Paul and Kitty have found that background non-vocal trance music is extremely mentally invigorating. There is a definite energizing and pace-keeping undertone to the constancy of the beat that we have found very stimulating without distraction and therefore beneficial when working. In Arizona (where we have streaming audio) we start off our day with a station that plays music from 1920s to 1950s and sometimes current groups playing in that style. (We find it interesting to hear - and often sing to - music from when we very young and even before we were born.) Then later while we sometimes switch to standard classical, newage or classical guitar, we often select the streaming from (Digitally Imported) of non-vocal trance within a couple hours and use it almost exclusively while at work on the Self-Sovereign Individual Project. Paul credits much of his great strides on SelfSIP since late October 2005 to the musical background provided by non-vocal trance from

There are times however when a more peaceful background is preferred and we find one channel in particular especially nice because of the high quality and large selection of contemporary music of a low-key variety. is a Korean streaming station with no commercials or conversation - just some of the most beautiful peaceful contemporary music we've heard anywhere. We also turn our streaming to this station when we're winding down for the day. Kitty mentioned in an email to the web owners (along with a value payment via PayPal) about our only complaint of a lot of buffering around midnight Arizona time; likely some problem with their server arrangements. The kindly response included the information that they were working on the problem and a few days later it was much improved. ;>) Kitty received a friendly reply from DJ Haru when she inquired in March 2008 if the email address she used in Spring 2007 was still good for another Value for Value transfer. He remembered that we can't receive the stream when in Canada, something we hope will be corrected with supposed plans by Bell Canada for improved lines in the area.

We also enjoy classical music and in March 2008 found a station online that has a very good selection with a minimum of commercials. Its announcer is also low key, which we prefer to many who spend much time chatting it up. The classical channel at The only negative about the station is the volume - we need to turn it full up on our WinAmp for this channel.


When we are in Ontario we are without the ability to stream over the Internet (we're on a slow dial-up). Our radio music selection is limited to a couple of classical stations and some contemporary/oldies stations; of these we usually choose the classical. However Paul has a very large album collection that we have been going through, listening to - and cleaning off old finger prints. The majority of these are classical, many being multi-works of major composers. While Kitty was not familiar with some of these, the album inserts and jackets have provided a good source of background information, and the Internet even more.

Physical Activity Updated 6/4/10

Both of us, before we "teamed up" full-time in August 2000, had maintained a regular schedule of physical activity for at least the preceding 17 years.

Kitty was not athletic in her youth

Kitty admits to never being athletic when a teenager and young adult, but began swimming 5 days a week in her last semester of Mechanical Engineering classes at age 38. She is sure that this was a major factor in her obtaining her best semester grades - 4 As, 1 B in non-trivial subjects. During her engineering career, she made exercise a regular part of her day: aerobic classes at a health club interspersed with a moderate routine of yoga and weight lifting - the basics of which she taught herself - either at the same club or at home, and athletic walking. An additional form of exercise, also fulfilling a desire from childhood, was ballet which she began to take at age 42 and continued regularly for most of the next 10 years.

Paul's sports and social activities were stunted from childhood

Paul was "skipped" ahead of his age group because of superior mental abilities and this likely resulted in his stunted sports and social activity participation. He never felt really competent at such activities until after he started to go to dance clubs in Toronto in his mid-40s. Initially as with any other activity he takes on, Paul studied the "practitioners" as he listened to the music; and he practiced on darkened sidelines and in the privacy of his home. As he felt increasingly comfortable with his own developed style, he ventured out on the dance floor where, in these modern times, an individual dancing alone is an accepted occurrence. He rapidly became a fixture, drawing attention for his athletic stylized dancing and somewhat as a novelty, since he was at least a generation older than all the others in attendance. Solitary athletic (fast) walking was also a regular activity, more because going slowly on errands was considered a waste of time and not invigorating, rather than as specific "exercise".

Our Views on Exercise vs Activity

While many people consider the purposes of exercise to include the expenditure of excess calories, we do not agree that this is a healthy purpose. (See the section on Food) Instead, we consider exercise as specific motions of the body performed to increase/maintain strength and flexibility for purposes of regeneration or maintenance of tissue, and/or the overall health of mind and body.

Activities of daily living can encompass many physical motions that have the same end results as formal exercise. Reducing our dependence on "labor saving" devices either in amount or frequency has provided us with opportunities to "exercise" without visits to a gym or health club:

We stretch first thing each day

We stretch in bed before arising for the day, just as babies stretch and squirm on awakening. Kitty performs additional specific low back stretching and strengthening exercises - most recommended by the last (and excellent) chiropractor she had need to consult in Toronto and a few she added herself - before arising each day while still in bed to prevent recurrence of sciatica, an infrequent problem over the past 30 years. It's also a nice awakening routine for starting the day :) Paul, however, is not consistent about abdominal strengthening exercises on a daily basis before starting the day; he just finds it very difficult being that energetic immediately upon awakening. However he has incorporated them into his exercising later in the day.

"Labor-saving" devices are avoided

The use of "labor saving devices" are minimal for us both in Ontario and Arizona. Such devices and features are valuable to someone truly physically disabled, but to limit the use of muscles and joints by storing items at "eye level" or on roll-out shelves will result over time in lessened strength and flexibility. So we forgo the electric can opener, automatic dishwasher, and the lazy susan or roll-out shelves (to name just a few, except where they already existed in the Arizona house) and use our muscles and joints. We squat, bend and stretch to reach items on shelves, using a short step ladder for the really high ones. (The infrequently used items are placed higher (or much lower) and further behind those needed more often with the heavier items on lower shelves - or the less used items stored in another less used room.) Instead of replacing the electric garage door opener, in the Arizona house when it failed, we just decided to use our own muscles. Neither of us thinks much about it anymore; we just open and close the door manually. For the Ontario property work in Spring/Summer 2007, Paul made little use of his chain saw, purposely sawing with his handsaws in felling a medium size dead tree and reducing lots of trunk and branches to firewood - or replacement pieces (when long, thick and strong enough) for our "stair case" of natural steps down to the dock. He also consciously uses both arms in this activity which provides much overall physical exercise, especially when working on a hillside. We have enough yearly fall of branches to keeps this as an ongoing activity for years :)

"Breaks" during the day are a must

We wiggle shoulders and back frequently while working at the computer or performing any other activity which can result in muscle tension - mixing powders, packaging pills for the week, etc. And of course there are the long drives between Ontario and Arizona during which more full body wiggling in the moving car is a must in addition to the overall stretches and bends at gas stops.

We take breaks during our "day" from inside work to dance inside. With the multiple speakers in our Arizona house and the great broadband connection to the Internet we can stream terrific dance music. It has replaced (in Arizona) virtually all previous radio and CD playing. We will often spontaneously "move" energetically to really danceable upbeat music - typically varieties of trance, though Kitty enjoys dancing to all types of music. This includes slow classical pieces - improvising adagios and sometimes just doing "bar work". We do often take a mid-day break to walk down the driveway to retrieve our mail. Walking at night isn't a good option since there are no street lights in our rural area and in the warm weather, snakes make their appearance at night when the temperature moderates. Our energetic walks in Arizona are taken just before our second meal which provides us with acceptable temperatures even well into April.

Indoor dancing and just plain purposeful moving around is a must when "black fly season" is in swing for several weeks from the end of May to late June in Ontario "cottage country", although bug jackets are worn when outside for any length of time. In the later summer, walks on the dirt roads and broad paths are quite pleasant marked with many short but steep hills that work the leg muscles quite well. While the Fall and before late May when the woods are leafless provide greater distance visibility, treks there are filled with lots of rough terrain no matter the season.

House and yard maintenance and improvements provide opportunities

Cottage renovations and incrementally moving from our Toronto apartment became the major portion of our physical activity starting in April and May of 2005; we completed moving our possessions the last week in May. Paul noticed at first a bit of overall achiness but within a couple days felt more invigorated than before and definitely stronger. Carrying heavy items and packing our car was easier than before - a definite side benefit. Photos from May 2005 onward show some of the variety of activities related to the move from Toronto and cottage modifications that include lifting, manual sawing, crawling under the cottage and more. Additional work was done in the Spring/Summer 2007 on the ~20 year-old dock that Paul's former son-in-law built as a replacement for the dock Paul had erected 20 years before that. Because simply replacing the dock, found to have structural weaknesses as well as some board deterioration, was too expensive for us, we put in a great deal of physical labor to refurbish it. (Lots of dock rejuvenation pictures :) Then there was the raising of the remaining portion of the original cabin that now is used for swimming/canoeing related items - pictures.

There are numerous trees on the cottage property, and picking up of downed branches and trimming of those overhanging the driveway is a frequent necessity. Instead of arranging for someone to haul away the large piles of brush, we are gradually breaking the branches down by hand (w/ feet and axe to help at times) to a few inches in length at most and using them as fill in low spots that ordinarily are a bog when the winter snows melt. Upkeep of the natural steps down to the waterfront dock is needed almost yearly since many of the logs used in the past were not the long-lasting cedar. While there is no lawn (Paul has no desire for such a waste of land), there are many small wild strawberry, raspberry, blackberry plants in the sunniest location which benefit from some weeding. And there are wild blueberry bushes along the rock ledges that saw some increase in berry production this year after removal of the encroaching cedar that we removed in 2006. Recently Paul felled a multitrunked birch (1 actually dead) and a couple small evergreens getting lots of exercise in the process. (The additional sun exposure ought to do wonders for those blueberries, although it make take a couple years - 2nd half of photo page.)

Yard maintenance in Arizona is a necessity even though the property is xeriscaped - landscaped with native or dry land adaptable plants. Our house, which became Kitty's upon the dissolution of her previous marriage in October 2000, is on 3.5 acres. Although most of it is "unmaintained" desert, the area around the house has several mesquite variety trees, palo verde trees, and other low water usage shrubs that require pruning for shaping and watering-well maintenance in order for the drip irrigation to work properly. These items, along with thinning of aloe vera and other succulents, replacing drip irrigation parts, and general outside house maintenance are major sources of exercise several times a week. We do this work in the early morning or late afternoon hours so as not to be in the sun when it is at its highest, and thereby presenting us with the strongest UV (ultraviolet) rays. (Examples in photos)

General inside housework is always a good form of physical exercise and the Arizona house has much more floor space than our Toronto apartment had and also more than the Ontario cottage. This is both good and bad; the added housework is more exercise, but this takes time away from MoreLife/SelfSIP work which we'd both rather be doing. The house also has a basement which up until the late winter of 2004 contained our office and afforded us some exercise running up and down the flight of stairs many times each day. Taking the steps up two at a time provides additional strength training for our legs. Our necessary trips are less frequent since we moved our office upstairs to the ground floor, but we still make use of the stairs a few times a day.

Walking - we do it rather than ride whenever we can

We try to always walk when our errand destination is 2 miles or less. (We use backpacks for carrying things and we carry an umbrella when the weather is threatening.) When we lived in Toronto during the warm months (50+ years for Paul and 8/2000-5/2005 for the two of us together), we frequently incorporated several errands and made a long circular route of 4 to 6 miles. Now that our US and Canadian residences are several miles from the nearest town, our walking errand routes are much shorter and less frequent.

When we drive the 12 miles into town when in Arizona, we often park at a distance at the widely spread locations we are shopping and walk for the errands in that locale. If that is really not convenient, we at least park the car far from the store entrance. In Ontario, whether in the nearby village (~12 miles ) or sizable town about 25 miles to the east, we park at one location and walk everywhere, if time is not a pressing issue.

We use stairs whenever possible rather than elevators or escalators. And since the move from Toronto to rural Ontario, there really are very few of these "people movers" anyway, and similarly in central Arizona. But even on visits to a "citified" location, the mechanized means will be avoided unless the height is great - more than 8 floors. And when in Arizona, the stairs down to the finished basement in our house are never avoided - they offer the opportunity for using our legs in ways that the mostly flat outdoors there does not. Taking two steps at a time on the way up gives extra stretch to muscles, including those supporting the knees which definitely need regular attention in order to not be fatigued when doing hill climbing for fun. In Ontario, the natural steps down the hill (between cottage and lake itself) are fairly steep and some with a higher than typical rise. This gives us a good workout, especially when we do it several times in a day :>) (Preliminary study results at the University of Geneva on the health benefits of stair climbing as part of regular daily activity is subject of BBCNews Online article ,"Climbing stairs can prolong life".)

We walk quickly most of the time but reduce the pace when backpacks are heavy or streets are icy (or when 12 year old Moose - our now deceased dog - could not keep up with us :).

Walking Goals
Make a Difference

In March 2008 Paul decided to purchase an inexpensive pedometer (less than US$5.00) in WalMart, just to see how many steps he took on an average every day. A number of articles have been written recommending 10,000 steps as the daily amount for maintaining good health.R
He found that on a more sedentary day he would be in the 5000 step range but when we did our purposeful walk/runs or dance exercise or when we went dancing, the numbers would be well over 10000, even over 20,000 on a good dance night. Paul decided to then average 14,000 steps daily, or approximately 100,000 each week. Since Kitty and Paul do almost everything together, we conclude that her numbers of steps are about the same. Even so, she now has her own pedometer and we'll see how our numbers compare.

Accumulating 10,000 steps on the pedometers daily is more difficult at the cottage since we have no public dancing opportunities and rain is not infrequent as it is in the central AZ desert. However we still wear the pedometers and manage to get those numbers over 5000 - even sometimes to and over 10,000 - except when it's raining. Paul has less difficulty with keeping the numbers up when he's busy with the cottage and property improvements/maintenance; Kitty frequently has to remind herself to "keep moving". So, we've gotten into the habit of checking the numbers several times during the day when it's one without planned physical activities, and then adding some extra movements just to get the meters higher ;>)

Stretching and strengthening as
part of walking

We incorporate purposeful actions in walking for stretching and strengthening.

  • Loosen shoulders and upper back with arm swinging and shoulder rolls/raises. We use backpacks to keep arms free to move easily.
  • Loosen/strengthen back, hips, and legs:
    • Do periodic march or high steps. (Easily included when we berry pick in rural Ontario stepping over canes and in woods treks climbing over downed small trees and other obstructions.)
    • Straddle the sidewalk curb, one foot on walk and other in street. Alternate legs.
    • With heels of feet overhanging curb, raise up on balls of feet. (Great way to pass time while waiting.)
    • "Sprinkle" walk with squats. (We purposely did this on 1:00-5:00 AM walks and clean up trash along sidewalks in the Toronto neighborhood where we lived. Now we periodically do a "trash pick-up" fast walk in the desert in Arizona or in Ontario - carrying some plastic grocery bags make it possible on the spur of the moment. Squats are also regularly a part of mushroom and berry picking in rural Ontario.)
    • Include some stretching and bending. (A regular part of berry and mushroom picking in rural Ontario, especially to reach those really nicely ripe blackberries.)
    • Take stairs two at a time on the way up.

Purposeful fast walk/jog - followed by resistance work - or just dance/exercise

By our primary definition, a purposeful walk is one which the destination is the purpose of the walk, not the walking itself. This was easy when we lived the warm months of the year in Toronto since we did virtually all our shopping within a couple of miles. And walking to recreation destinations, such as the Lake Ontario waterfront was just a longer but pleasant walk. Our car was only used when we drove to the dance club area - we just didn't want to take the extra time on those occasions - or to some further distance that wasn't on the subway route.

Since moving from Toronto in May 2005 to rural Ontario and even before that during the cold months spent in Arizona, the opportunities for walking from home to destinations on errands has been almost none. We therefore have had to incorporate fast walks often with interspersed jogs/runs a purpose in themselves for simply the exercise. This is not something that Paul enjoys, especially in Arizona when the skies are often without a single cloud. We try to find ways to make these less of a chore, concentrating on the health benefits, the scenery and also some conversation. We may invest in a small portable audio system so that on some occasions we can play enjoyable energetic music.

We have been working at increasing our endurance which has not had sufficient high energy dancing challenges since the reduction in dance club opportunities. In late March 2006, we started doing more walking/jogging - even investing in new running shoes which we found to be a definite improvement. Much of the time though we find ourselves so involved in computer work - various research, website updates, online discussion groups, philosophical or life-extension writings - and typical (and some non-typical) self-maintenance tasks that we keep our exercising indoors to compact high value into less than an hour, usually every other day.

Even before the increased times for fast walks, Kitty took photos of the desert course often used near our house when in Arizona. We also do a "street course" around one or more of the large blocks in this general area, sometimes jogging interspersed with the fast walking (Kitty again doing more jogging in order to keep up.) She also took a series of photos of the most frequent fast walking course at our cottage in Ontario.

Before meeting Paul, Kitty had obtained several pieces of exercise equipment which in the Spring of 2006 began to get more use by both of us. We have a variety of ways to do upper body work during our exercise.
Moving up the pace of Paul's workout by using the stepKitty starts to increase intensity of early portion of workout Hand weights (5lb for Paul, 1lb for Kitty) are used typically for the first 10 to 15 minutes with floor work to the strong fast beat of high energy trance (Eurodance or Hard Dance) from quickly moving up in energy level including use of a step.

Paul does 100 strokes at a medium pacePaul regularly uses the rowing machine (and sometime heavy-duty bands for a bar or independent hand pulleys incorporated into the multi-purpose step) during which time Kitty has usually increased her pace to a fast jog through the basement weaving around all the equipment.
Paul does 2 reps of 35 each in 3 hand positionsBoth of us use the cardio-glide which incorporates legs, arms/shoulders and aerobic work. Taking 2 steps at a time is a real workout
Also, we both do sets of stair climbing back up to the first floor (14 steps) from the landing, taking the steps upward 2 at a time with a quick descent - Paul does 12 and Kitty 6; this is a very good aerobic challenge.

Just one of several positions Kitty usesKitty also makes regular use of the TotalGym after at least 30 minutes of strong aerobic work. This equipment is also good for abdominal and leg work outs. Sometimes Paul uses TotalGym tooPaul works on his abdominal muscles which have a tendency for separation in the right inguinal area - using the rowing machine and sometimes the TotalGym. While his leg raising ability has never been great, it has improved.

Sometimes we do more frequent shorter walks/jogs of about 2 miles 4 or 5 days a week followed with various resistance workouts. Unfortunately, when we're in Ontario we have only a few free weights but will look to obtain more items to use for upper body work outs. Having the energetic eurodance or trance as background music during our sessions is very uplifting; we make lots of our exercise moves those that are part of our public energetic dancing.

The timing of our purposeful exercise is one or two hours before our 1 meal daily. We found previously, as suggested to us by Ólafur Páll Ólafsson (our co-moderator for MoreLife Yahoo), that when on 2 meals daily we still had plenty of energy when exercising before the dinner. Even now when not having eaten since the evening before that having an empty stomach is not uncomfortable and, in fact, any hunger sensations are lessened by the exercise. Our exercise time occurs typically sometime between 3 and 5pm.

Keeping together even when not keeping pace

While Moose was alive, to provide Paul with added workouts during some walks in the city, he would increase his pace to a race walk and take a zig-zag route while Kitty walked as quickly as Moose (on a leash) would go. Paul would include "detours" up and down steps and over/around various obstacles. We will likely still do this "accommodating together walk" at times, even though it's only the two of us now, since Paul's long legs are built for long strides. We reserved this type walk for late night or wee hours to avoid crowds in Toronto; curious police officers, however, were not unusual. :>)

Many years before Kitty met Paul, when she visited her father in Florida their walks were done in a similar manner. He had only recently started taking care of his health and his pace was only moderate at best. Kitty would zig-zag at a fast pace on the quiet residential streets themselves while her dad walked at his fastest on the sidewalk. This way they could still converse and do the athletic walking geared for their individual capability.

Kitty walks much faster now than she did in 2000 when she and Paul first joined. Even so, when Paul is walking at full speed she often will need to intersperse with a jog in order to stay within conversational distance. Sometimes when the "course" is relatively flat, Paul will zig-zag. However, when doing a walk/jog for timing, Paul takes a measured course and Kitty just has to keep up.

Stairs and steps make great aerobic opportunities

6/4/10 Since January of 2010 we have made stair/step climbing a regular daily activity, although we had included them in our Arizona purposeful exercise (shown above) when we made the time to do this routine. The stair/step climbing is done because our opportunities for high energy dancing are not as many as we would like, Paul is not inclined to take the time out for the "purposeful exercise", opportunities for strenuous physical tasks are less in Arizona and Kitty found herself with less than desired energy on a mountainous hike in December 2009. In Arizona we use the stairs to the basement - typically 20 roundtrips for Kitty and 24 for Paul, doing them 2 steps at a time on the upward climb.

Our natural steps at the Ontario cottage (built by Paul himself in the late 60s) provides the opportunity for step climbing, with a few have a short enough rise to enable 2 at-a-time. When our neighbor Susan or her family is not present we include the even longer set of steps there, many of which can be done double on the upward climb. When her steps are not available, we simply do more roundtrips on our own. We keep the pace moving all the time and vary the excursions at the top and bottom for our steps.

In and on the water for exercise too

With full time warm weather residence at our cottage on a small lake in Ontario, comes the advantage of being able to use the water for exercising - especially enjoyable on hot days. Our dock is built off a rocky ledge where numerous fish in the bass family congregate. Kitty admits to preferring to swim where she can see the bottom - the lake is at least 20 feet deep - but enjoys donning a snorkel and mask to explore along the nearby shoreline watching the fish in the area. Paul plunges in from the dock and swims a fair distance out into the lake and swims about. Kitty, with flippers on her feet adding assurance that her toes won't get nibbled, most recently now joins Paul swimming out in the deep. Canoeing when the wind and motor boat traffic are light is very enjoyable and gives our shoulders and back muscles a good workout.

Don't Just Stand There!

When we find ourselves standing in line - typically at a store check-out line but also at banks - we rarely stand still. Rising up and down on the balls of the feet (Kitty's favorite) or stepping in place are good exercises. If there's enough room Kitty has been known to do modified lunges. And if we get stares, so what! Now that we have our pedometers we're likely to smile and ask, "Have you done your 10,000 steps today?"

Paul has taken to doing high steps around the kitchen while waiting for the 2 kettles of water to boil for making a new pot of tea. (It's a big earthenware tea pot.) He's also begun keeping his 5kg hand weights upstairs in AZ in between our aerobic dance exercise period and uses them at the same time. Sometimes he does this even when rewarming his mug of tea.

Energetic Dancing - our favorite form of exercise

Our dance styles are artistic while dynamic with much overall body movement and we love to "perform". Without a doubt, this is our favorite "exercise". To get a "feel" for the high-energy music (from 140 to 160 beats per minute) which we enjoy so much, take a listen to some of the samples available at The site also has a good explanation of the varied terminology in their dictionary. Two of the best sources we know of for virtually continuous streaming audio high energy dance music are Digitally Imported with multiple trance subgenres (which we listen to through Shoutcast) and Energy 98 (out of Oregon), both obtainable anywhere a computer is located.

2003- Kitty and Paul ready in their ‘informal’ attire for high energy dancingThe energy level of much of the dance music being played in Toronto (and elsewhere) has taken a considerable change since late 2002. What is sometimes referred to as R&B, but has little similarity to the music with that description from the mid and late 90s, and is more often known as hip-hop, has made its way into many of the clubs we have been dancing at. Paul remembers a similar period in the mid 90s when a music genre virtually identical to hip-hop had popularity, but disappeared within about a year. While we both like what we term "musical rap" - an interspersion of understandable rap with a fast upbeat melodic piece - none of what we hear currently being played under either the R&B or hip-hop name has any uplifting energy. The current tempo generates a shuffle or vertical vibration at best - the paid dancers have to really work at getting double-time movements out of it or don't bother and just erotically slink. This type of music is just not conducive to aerobic dancing, the type Paul and I really enjoy and which provides the main source of our physical exercise.

For most of 2005/2006 months in Arizona, our dancing was typically done at home due to lack of good dance clubs or other venues within a reasonable distance. And this is the case all the time when in Ontario. Therefore we added more exercise components to our at home dancing, even though we get energetic outside dancing at least once a week when in Arizona. Squat moves, high leg lifts/kicks, pelvic rocks and lots more upper body extreme moves are part of every session. Paul uses 5kg hand weights during much of the usual 45 minute sessions (reduced to 20 to 30 minutes if we have also taken a fast walk/jog) before our dinner at least 4 days a week. Kitty uses a set of one-pound weights when in Arizona and substitutes two 1 pound hammers when we are in Ontario - but is careful in her movements with these latter so as to not rap herself. We even use the basement stairs in Arizona for some step work. All this to great energetic music in a good size space adds up to fun and super exercise. We heartily recommend it to everyone, no matter their age.

Our dancing has a strong mental component

There is an aspect of mental exercise to dancing, that is lacking in many other solitary physical sports such as running, swimming, golf, etc and even those played with others such as tennis, baseball, basketball, etc. The addition of music, not as simply background, but as an essential aspect of the physical movements extemporaneously selected and executed requires utilization of additional portions of the brain. Yoga and tai-chi are also lacking this extra mental stimulation, though they provide avenues for balance and relaxation that is beneficial. Our dancing is thus even a much better mental exercise than figure skating, water ballet, and dance in all forms - tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom, etc. since we extemporaneously choreograph our dancing for every piece we hear, whether it be contemporary House, Rave, Trance, Disco, Latin, or Techno - to mention those with which we are more familiar. (See dance dictionary at This difference, between freely chosen movements to fit with the music, lighting and mood, is quite different than any other sport or form of exercise, and we think that it is much more beneficial for both brain and body. (Kitty sometimes thinks of herself as somewhat of a contemporary Isadora Duncan.)

Our dancing at Toronto clubs now history

Up until we left Toronto at the end of May 2005, Kitty was always scouting the online Toronto nightclub entertainment forums, as well as local entertainment newspapers and the email club advertisements she received (and still does), for those clubs playing any *really* danceable music. We were disappointed in trying out some "new" places (new to us) only to find that a club which advertised higher energy music (various "house" varieties) turned out to be little more than a lounge with a postage stamp size dance floor that was used mainly for just standing. But we kept looking while we made use of the best we found. Even though we no longer are living during the warm months in Toronto, if anyone has any recommendations for the Toronto area (or greater Phoenix or Tucson, for that matter), please let us know. Maybe we'll find an occasion (and acceptable club of course) and decide that the 3 hour drive is worth the effort.

Although our Internet access in Ontario is currently with a dial-up, we are able to stream (at between 24 and 33kbs) some good dance stations from North America and Europe using our Bose radio on auxiliary. Since our return to Arizona for the winter 2005-2006, we obtained broadband there and have been enjoying streaming audio throughout the house. The descriptions of clubs in Toronto from our dancing there (2000 to 2005) have been preserved but moved to a separate page. For now, our dancing is at home - always in Canada and mostly in Arizona - with club dancing only occasionally in Arizona. We are making use of good dance music - various Internet streaming stations and CDs, dancing whenever the tunes are motivating and the mood hits. When the cottage renovations are complete and our speaker system set up, we expect that the whole place will vibrate there also when our dance music is on ;>)

Yes, Virginia, there are some energy dance clubs/events in central Arizona - Phoenix area

Updated 6/5/10 Dancing on our stay of winter 2002/2003 was pretty much limited to what we did around the house to music either on the Phoenix smooth jazz station or our CDs. (Kitty more frequently dances spontaneously, doing much of the same type of improvisation that she enjoys in our Toronto apartment.) We had not located any acceptable dance clubs locally or even in the greater Phoenix or Tucson areas. But in December 2003, we discovered CBNC (formerly known as Coyote Bay Night Club) in the Papago Plaza in Scottsdale where on Thursday nights the music played was live from KNRJ - Energy Arizona. This FM station was a surprise find on our drive from Toronto as we headed south from Flagstaff in early December 2003. Paul spent a considerable amount of time adjusting a new FM antenna on our roof, which for a time improved our reception; now, however, we can't receive it decently in the house at all and can only receive it in the car. We miss the music at home, though, since it is a very high percentage of good high energy that was letting us get off the floor and have a good time. We had been looking forward to Thursdays, not even minding 45 minute drive to CBNC. But as is often the case in the dance club business, the attendance did not meet the owners' desires and their contract with KNRJ for live-to-air DJs was not renewed after 26 weeks; our short run of dancing there was over in early January. (Kitty commented on CBNC and dancing in response to a Morelife Yahoo post.)

To our delight we found during our 2 week check-in of the AZ house in July 2004 that KNRJ had instituted "Flux" at Sky Lounge in downtown Phoenix on Thursday nights. The music was generally more progressive (fewer vocals, a bit less melodic and without as much emotional uplift) than played during other hours of the day, but it's still all more than 120 beats per minute (bpm) and often at the 140-160 level that we prefer. We really enjoyed the 2 nights we got to join the small but enthusiastic group at this smallish club in a mostly quiet late night area. (Phoenix, like many other cities, does not have a nightclub area like Toronto - several square blocks of club after club! Unfortunately most of them are currently playing large quantities of hip/hop, reggae and a energy-less R&B.) We then had some good dancing to look forward to on our trips to Arizona. The staff and clientele at Sky Lounge on Flux nights (which we found switched to Saturday nights in October 2004) were particularly friendly and never did we see any tendency towards violence that frequently accompanies the urban genre dance clubs everywhere. In fact, Paul's 67th birthday night February 26, 2005 was spent at "Flux" and host Pistol Pete gave us a great "shout-out" on air noting the event and DJ Justin Dohman played "Heart Attack" just for us since Kitty had let it be known on the station's forum (no longer exists, unfortunately) that this was a favorite partnering dance piece for us. It would be *great* to have the local Arizona dance music fans support the station's live-to-air sufficiently so that they get other nights at clubs in the area.

The past tense "was" is used now because it was a great disappointment when we returned to Arizona in mid-October 2005 and found not only that Flux nights had disappeared from Sky Lounge, but also there were no trance Wednesday nights at NEXT in Scottsdale. We made the 45-60 minute drive to Phoenix area twice to try out a club during the last 2 months of 2005, but both were only moderate on energy. On the last Tuesday of January 2006, we tried E4 on Drinkwater in Scottsdale where one of KNRJ's (Energy Arizona's) resident DJs was playing house mixes. Unfortunately the dance floor was extremely small and the DJ's mix, which had started off fairly good, became very drum and base after about 40 minutes. Many patrons left and we too didn't find the music worth continuing to dance to. And as of Fall 2009, this club too has entered into history.

During our 6 month 2005/2006 stay in Arizona, Kitty frequently checked out the Phoenix New Times online for clubs where DJs were playing high energy dance music, there was actually room to dance and the locations were within an hour's drive. This last is not trivial since dancing at home takes no preparation/travel time and doesn't cost anything. :>) Only a few clubs were found worth trying out and none worth the time and money in our estimation for a return - until the genre played changes. So we did almost all our dancing at home those 6 months as well.

2007- Kitty and Paul celebrate her 62nd birthday at trance envent in PhoenixIn mid November 2006 after our return from Ontario for the cold months, Kitty found a source of energy dance locations, (now defunct) forums at, based in Arizona. She now uses to check on general dance events and also Phoenix NewTimes online for clubs. Since then we attended our first rave (Unity 6 held at the IceHouse in Phoenix) our first desert party (PLUR City, northwest of Phoenix with a great view of the city lights), a couple more of each since and an original monthly then quarterly event (Aura at Mystic Jewell in Tempe). All of these were full of fine energetic music, nice young people and fun. Kitty keeps up to date on regular events and special happenings; we decide based on location and type of music. As we become more familiar with the local DJs and their mixing styles, we'll know about which clubs/events we'll likely enjoy more. We have definitely looked forward to each upcoming Aura event - the music and atmosphere is super, plus the smooth wood floor is terrific for dancing. And to top it off, Mystic Jewell is only a 30 minute drive for us! While the previous owner decided not to renew her agreement with the OverMind Works (OMW) and the events ceased temporarily in early 2008, they have been back again since Fall 2008 at the (newly named) Plaza de Anaya Dance Studio in Tempe.
Despite the setback of having no Aura (and at that time no prospects for its return), the OMW crew had more desert parties planned like the one we attended in April 2007 and shown on the separate photo and description page of trance events we went to in the first half of 2007. Another photo page of dance events for Spring 2008. (There always some we miss while we are in Ontario for the summer.) A really super event in early February 2008 was Karuna in Tucson - the best music and environment for energetic dancing we had had since KNRJ stopped its Flux nights. We've also been to trance house parties and all-ages outdoor dance music events in various parks in the general Phoenix area and look forward to at least one more desert event before we leave for Ontario in late April.

Since the Fall of 2007, we've found a few clubs for dancing - ranging from OK to good - and hope to become acquainted with more. For a few months we found BarSmith and Burn on Washington in central Phoenix with their moderately energetic music on Saturdays - house in the former and pop dance in the latter - to be worth the 50 minute drive. Homme Lounge (both downstairs and upstairs) up on Camelback was sometimes a good stop when we were dancing in Central Phoenix. But by January 2008 we found that we got more energetic dancing more often on Wednesdays at a Latin club on McDowell & 16th St, Karamba, followed by Switch Wednesdays at Cafe Carumba in Scottsdale (mostly house but sometimes break beats). We'll note other clubs in the future we find to be good. Of course, clubs change managers and/or music genre so a venue can't be counted on to remain good in our view. And even ones that weren't worth it at one time may improve - in our estimation. Even good ones disappear as general popularity changes, clubs "disappear, or DJs "retire"/"move-on". As of Spring 2010, only Karamba in Phoenix remains (after more than 5 years!) with its good disco-era dance music on Wednesday. Switch Wednesdays with DJ Tanzit too, unfortunately, has gone into history - maybe someday to be resurrected.

High energy dancing - at home and/or in clubs/parties/raves - is great for the body and the spirit; we recommend it for all ages!

Tucson too

After doing more searching on the Internet in early 2004, Kitty located a couple of clubs in Tucson with "promise". We were pleased at the beginning of March 2004 to find Heart-Five on Congress on Wednesdays to have good energetic house music supplied by a series of young local DJs. That winter stay ended with 1 night a week (for 5 weeks) of 90 straight minutes of high energy dancing - better than the last time ;>) While we didn't make use of the club during our short July 2004 check-in visit, we did drive the 55 minutes each Wednesday during our October/early November stay. We were greeted pleasantly by the 2 DJs each time, having been remembered from the previous spring. Guess we kind of stand out ;>) Unfortunately in early March 2005, Heart-Five replaced the DJ'd house music on Wednesdays with live music - what we would describe as alternative. So our trips to Tucson have ceased. But there are other nights for people in that area. And the forums lets readers know about regular and special electronic music events in the Tucson area.

Input on Dance Sites Welcome

Updated 6/5/10 If readers know of some place in the greater Phoenix area (or even in north Tucson) that they think provides high energy dance music that we may like, please let us know. Reader input would be especially helpful for the general area between Bancroft and Haliburton Ontario since we've found it so far to be a real vacuum for energetic dance music availability when we're at the cottage. In late 2007, Kitty put out some feelers on the network and was steered to a site for psytrance events that included Canada, which unfortunately in June 2010 no longer contains information for this general area of Ontario, a very large province. However Kitty will do here yearly check on the Internet to see what, if anything in the way of energetic dancing exists in this "neck of the woods".

Internet dance music - from everywhere

The real pleasure that we were able to "take back" with us to Toronto in 2004 was the streaming audio, at that time from KNRJ, but since April 2005 back to its original source as Energy 98 and MikeO and available online at various baud rates. (We value highly the music we stream from Energy 98 and return value to MikeO for it; as we say, we are Value Traders.) Since moving out of Toronto our streaming options in Ontario are at 33kbs and less. The telephone lines at our cottage location just do not support streaming of any kind - dance music that we have tried all suffer from cut outs or blips of their stream, regardless of our own activity. This gets to be frustrating at times, though sometimes we have found that we can get many European dance stations which have low baud rates with usually much less loss of steady reception. So even though we're out in rural Ontario with dial-up, we can punch a variety of streaming audio stations through Shoutcast and enjoy some energy dance music ;>) And then we've also acquired a number of good CD compilations.

Another source of really good energetic dance music that we have is an Internet friend, frequent MoreLife Yahoo poster in Iceland and since December 2005, a moderator with us at this same Yahoo group - Olafur Pall Olafsson. He with his twin brother Egill, using the artistic name "Dualmind", have composed and engineered several upbeat trance tracks that are as good in our opinion as many of those we have heard on SMK. We have downloaded the .mp3 files and created our own "Dualmind Shuffle" of tracks. Next step is to copy these files to a CD for travelling in the car.

Now Kitty - the dancing junkie that she is - gets to do some real dancing without being in a dance club. If we could only stream in our car....WoW! Wouldn't that be great! But at least we have several dance compilations CDs, and will be adding Dualmind to that growing collection.

When we returned to Arizona in mid-October 2005, the very first task (after unloading the car and getting a bunch of sleep) was arranging for DSL or equivalent. We had to wait a week for the broadband setup, but the wait was worth it. The streaming audio is terrific - and the transmit/receive rate makes web work much less a chore. Now we mostly use the Internet station Digitally Imported ( with its many different trance/techno/house subgenre channels. And when Paul hooked up the computer to our bedroom stereo and the amplifier downstairs with its multiple speakers including for the living room - WOW! We've now got pulsing music all over the house and can - and do - dance everywhere whenever the mood strikes, which is very often ;>) This internet radio station is highly recommended for those who want to sample the various current electronic music genres and some of their subgenres. Much of it is great for dancing too! We pay for the premium access on a yearly basis, chiefly as a regular means to return value to the owners of this station for the great value we receive from their music daily while we're in Arizona.

Regular physical activity and lean body keeps Kitty's back problems minimal

Kitty: I experienced a significant back strain following the need to maneuver a very heavy suitcase while on travel alone in early April 2001, which created significant pain from my left buttock to well below my knee. With use of excellent chiropractors, specified mild exercise, periodic icing, and a short course of laser therapy over the period 3 weeks after the incident to December 2001, there was no trace of discomfort after the spring of 2002. (I had a history of low back problems dating back to late 1969 when I was doubled over with radiating pain down both legs after, as a labor and delivery room nurse, I had once again strained to move a highly anesthetized patient to a stretcher. I was home at rest for a month as a result, and the orthopedist I had at the time told me I had degenerative disc disease which would likely give me problems periodically all my life.)

For a few weeks in December 2001, I restarted the hatha yoga-based routine I taught myself from "Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program" (out of print though available used if you're lucky) but had lapsed from using daily approximately 5 years ago. While I did not continue it as I had planned (chiefly for lack of time), I have not lost flexibility; in fact, it is better than it has been in a few years. I can place my palms on the floor while maintaining straight legs within a few hours of arising and moving about; something I was last able to do back in 1997 while taking twice weekly ballet lessons and 5 x weekly aerobic dance classes. Which one(s) of the numerous items on My Regimen is responsible for this rejuvenating effect, is not clear at this time. However since I did not see this improved flexibility until the beginning of 2002, it is likely a result of one of the more recent additions. I continue to watch for and enjoy changes in this area and others.

I do regularly perform a series of stretching and toning exercises upon awakening, before getting out of bed. Many are those that the chiropractor recommended for increasing abdominal and lower back muscle strength which I began after the April 2001 incident. Some of the others I've added do more of this same strengthening while the remainder are for flexibility of hips and leg/foot joints.

On some occasions of heavy yard work (AZ or Ontario properties) or when I've carried an especially heavy and bulky item, I have experienced a twinge of sacral-coccygeal (very low back at base and near base of spine) pain when later bending over or squatting. When this occurred, the most I did was to lay down a couple times that day with a small ice compress to the area for 10 to 20 minutes. I made sure to avoid any additional strain for a day or two and found this to be sufficient - no recurrence. There have been no incidents of sciatica (the radiating pain down the leg) since that one in April 2001.

I have noticed that if I do not take at least hourly breaks from work at the computer to stretch shoulders and back (or at least wiggle about frequently while sitting), I will experience discomfort in these areas within a few days. Periodic such occurrences motivate me to follow my own prescription of physical activities mentioned above.

Having good high energy dance music playing in the background while working on the computer is a great way to keep me moving all over - even while sitting. And I definitely enjoy getting up and dancing around at the least excuse ;>)

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