Yesterday was a day filled with little surprises.

I began my work day with a delivery to the church. The pastor called me into his office to ask whether I had ever thought of going into the ministry. He gave me a book which is given to people along with this question.

“We Methodists are methodical,” he said, “We have a whole method for this.”

pink dolphins Then I got back to the store and Blessing and I prepared a mailing, a perfect setting for conversation. She told me about the Pink Amazon River Dolphin.

I had never heard of this creature.

Work continued. A teacher came and asked for materials on global warming. 

A parent brought her daughter in to get a stack of grammar books because she had gotten a B in grammar. “You lazy girl,” she said. “No more library books for you.” She tried to enlist my support in this, saying, “All the time she reads,” in a cross voice, but I was on the daughter’s side.

#2 son came in from gymnastics just as I was leaving for my class, complaining that he had honey all over his hands. Apparently, they put honey on the bars when they seem too slippery. Like rosin in dance class, I guess. Who knew?

After class, I continued trying to finish Snow Flower and the Secret Fan for book club today. This book seriously creeps me out. I assume that is the author’s goal. I did sort of like the idea of having a Day of Sorrow and Worry before a daughter’s wedding. Creepy, of course, but there you are sending your daughter off with some guy, and who knows whether he will really take good care of her, and then you don’t see her every day the way you used to, and there is no acknowledgement of this because of course a wedding is a happy occasion. Having an official Day of Sorrow and Worry could let the family get it off their chest. Well, maybe a Half Hour of Sorrow and Worry would be sufficient, really.

Actually, I was going to talk with you today about strength training.

If you’ve ever considered weight training — and I assume that you have, since “weights two times a week” has been standard advice for almost as long as “cardio three times a week” has — you might have considered it only briefly before giving up the idea. Not knowing how, not wanting to look silly, and not wanting to get bulky-looking are the most popular reasons for not following this advice.

The bulkiness part is not a realistic concern for women. You need some testosterone to accomplish that with twice a week training. Plus, we are all deer people, horse people, or elephant people naturally anyway (this is the division in my husband’s country; you might want to be boring and say ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph), and cannot really change that without enormous effort.

The not knowing how part makes a lot of sense to me, and fits in with the not looking silly part. Seeing the trainer at the gym is the best solution, but Kathy Smith and Lotte Berk both have DVDs for weights classes, and there are also books on the subject. And since for weight training it is best to increase weights, not reps, you can use the same routine for years, just increasing the weights.

The main rules are these: use the amount of weight that allows you to do 15 reps and find the last one almost impossible, and work the big muscles first and move down to the little ones.

Looking silly is probably a big obstacle for a lot of us.

I can easily remember #2 daughter and myself scampering around the weight machines at the gym with girlish cries, making fools of ourselves while trying to figure them out. Not everyone wants to go through that. Some people are self-conscious at the gym anyway, without clambering into things that look like farm equipment or medieval torture devices.

But you can do this at home, in privacy, where no one is watching. You can start with soup cans for your weights. When they are too light to provide satisfaction, you can  buy free weights by the pound, like onions, at a sporting goods store. If you want cute girlie-looking ones, you can find them easily at T.J. Maxx or Target.

I am not sure why I wanted to offer words of encouragement about weight training today, apart from the fact that I started out my day that way yesterday and enjoyed it a lot. You just want to share these pleasures, don’t you?

I hope you have some surprises today, too!