All Write, TV

In Which I Run Around and Thor Makes His Television Debut

IMG_20181003_180928Whew! TV is hard work!

In this recent Front Porch segment on Fox28 Spokane, I tell about the time I accidentally went for a run.

Speaking of exercise, my tubby tabby Thor makes his network television debut in this episode.


Click here to watch the whole sordid story and tune in to Spokane Talks Sunday, October 7 to hear about my encounter with the PC Police at the grocery store!


A visit from the Frown Fairy


In which I’ve come unglued. Or something. Seriously, aging isn’t for the faint of heart– or weak of ankle.

Squinting at my phone, I rubbed my thumb across the screen, certain there was a smudge on it marring the photo I’d just taken of my friend and me.

After posting it on Facebook, I checked the enlarged photo on my computer and that shadow I’d seen between both of our brows was still there. Only it wasn’t a shadow – it was most definitely a crease. How had we both suddenly developed frown lines right between our eyes? Neither of us is prone to frowning.

And not for the first time, I realized I should have listened to my mother.

Sometime in her late 40s in an effort to combat wrinkles, my mother came up with an innovative solution to prevent pesky frown lines. Before going to bed at night, she affixed a corn plaster right between her eyes. She dubbed them “frownies” and was confident the plaster would prevent wrinkles from creasing her forehead while she slept.

 The only problem was sometimes those frownies migrated during the night. She’d come to the breakfast table with one in her hair or on her cheek. This was the subject of great mirth to me and my siblings. To Mom, not so much.

I’ve noticed other signs of increasing decrepitude. A few months back I started having severe pain in my right elbow that radiated down my forearm.

“How could I have tennis elbow?” I moaned to my husband. “I haven’t played tennis in 25 years!”

I took ibuprofen and soldiered on, unwilling to spend time or money on a doctor visit. A colleague heard my groans and diagnosed the issue. Turns out it wasn’t tennis elbow – it was “mouse elbow,” a common problem for people who work at computers all day.

She sent me a chart about how to sit at my desk to help alleviate the pain. I adjusted my chair and desk, bought an elbow brace and before long, the pain was gone. Who needs a doctor when you’ve got a journalist?

It’s a good thing my elbow felt better, because lately I’ve been limping. The pain radiates from my Achilles tendon, making walking miserable. This is not good news because I walk several miles three to four times a week and need this exercise for both my physical and mental health.

Achilles tendinitis is most common in runners, and I can assure you I only run if something or someone is chasing me. Baffled, I tried ice and heat and ibuprofen. Nothing seemed to work.

I took several weeks off from my walking routine, but it’s not like I can go through life without walking anywhere.

Even my journalist friends were baffled.

Then one day while sitting at my desk, I discovered the source of my strain. While writing, I often cross my legs and push my right foot against the back of my desk, flexing my Achilles. I also often tuck my legs behind me, flexing my right foot against the chair leg.

Bingo! Pain solved. Kind of.

Keeping my feet on the ground while working has fixed the source of the problem, and I’ve been able to resume my walking routine, but hills are still painful and if I walk too much, the limp returns.

According to Google, this type of injury can take up to two years to heal. Google further said this problem is also associated with the aging process.

Sometimes I really hate the internet.

So, there you have it. Apparently, I’ve reached the age where frown fairies sneak into my room and slap a crease between my brows while I’m sleeping. I can hurt my elbow by typing and my Achilles by sitting at my desk.

This morning I woke up, stretched my arms over my head and sighed when I heard my shoulders snap, crackle and pop. I didn’t bound out of bed, I cautiously tested my tendon and groaned when I felt the familiar ache that told me I’d walked too many miles yesterday.

I took the stairs to my office one at a time and carefully adjusted my mouse pad, keyboard and chair before I began writing.

As I type my feet are firmly on the ground. At this rate, they’re going to be the only firm thing about me.

Like Bette Davis famously said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.”

Which could be why she also said, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.”

Contact Cindy Hval at She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at Her previous columns are available online at columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.


Workouts offer a Wii fit of frustration

Knowing that every year my New Year’s resolution is the same (to regain the figure I had at 21) this Christmas my husband thoughtfully provided a gift to get me going in the right direction. No, I didn’t find a personal trainer under our tree, nor did I discover a gift certificate for liposuction. Instead, Derek bought me a Wii Fit Plus.

Wii Fit is an exercise-themed game made by Nintendo. You step on a balance board and it measures your weight, tests your balance and tells you your fitness age. The Wii Fit Plus is an enhanced version of the original game. I think the “Plus” means extra frustration at no extra charge.

Our 10-year-old technology expert set up the system for me. Following the instructions, I stepped on the balance board. Within seconds a message flashed on the television screen: “Unbalanced!”

As if that weren’t offensive enough, what followed was worse. My Wii Fit age? Forty-nine. Since that birthday is still five years away, I’m afraid I’ve muttered some uncomplimentary things about my Christmas gift.

I felt better when I discovered I could create my own personal trainer. I named him Sven. He’s a little pale and pasty and his lips don’t move when he talks, but he says positive things like, “Wow! You’re good at that!”

Of course, he said that when I was doing the deep breathing exercise, but it’s nice to have one’s skills appreciated.

The feedback wasn’t as encouraging when I proceeded to some of the more strenuous activities. The program lets you play a variety of games to work on areas like balance, strength training and aerobics.

As my children howled with glee, I attempted to head soccer balls without getting beaned by panda bears or shoes. I missed almost every soccer ball, but was repeatedly struck by the objects I tried to avoid. I think it’s disrespectful for children to laugh at their mom when she gets hit on the head with a soccer cleat.

So, I stepped off the balance board to tell them that. When I resumed the activity, a message flashed across the screen, “I know you took a break during this exercise, but don’t worry, it will get easier.”

That’s just disturbing.

The kids stopped laughing when I aced the step aerobics workout. Jane Fonda and I mastered this routine in the early ’90s. They were also somewhat subdued when I demonstrated my Rhythm Kung Fu competency.

But then I tried Rhythm Boxing. My audience distracted me. If it had been a real match I would have been KO’d in the first 10 seconds. I didn’t fare any better at Hula Hooping, and the Yoga routine exhausted me. I decided to take a break for a couple days.

Not a good plan.

An even worse idea was checking my fitness age at 10 p.m. on Sunday night. The stupid game said I was 62! I’d aged 13 years over the weekend. I blamed it on my kids being home for Christmas break. Well, that and Christmas cookie consumption.

But I didn’t give up. Sven and I are working out every day and the kids aren’t allowed to watch. I just wish my Wii trainer would get a tan and some new exercise attire. Still, he seems pleased with my progress. Yesterday, he said, “Well, persistence isn’t a problem for you, now, is it?”

That persistence is paying off. My latest fitness age is 38! I may never again have the figure I had at 21, but I won’t stop until my Wii Fit Plus tells me I’m 29.

I wonder if I can get that on my driver’s license?

This column first ran in the Spokesman Review, January 7, 2010. Sven and I broke up shortly thereafter.  But I’m pleased to tell you we’ve reconnected and are back to monthly workouts.