I love doing dishes. Well that’s not entirely true. I love having the dishes done.

Doing dishes, for me, has always served a double purpose. For example, when we are camping I insist on washing dishes every single meal for the ten-day period because I want my hands clean! It’s the only time I can really get under those nails, get the pine sap and soot off.

When I’m at home I want the dishes done because I hate the clutter. I want the dishes either in the cupboard or in the dishwasher. I’m still trying, after 23 years, to train hubby to put them in the dishwasher or at the very minimum, to at least check and see if they fit in there. [But no.]

I’m at Tracy’s for a few days and just woke up to last night’s dishes in the sink, on the cabinet and stove. I washed them all and laid them out on a towel to dry. I wash here for two reasons. To get rid of the clutter — she has an enormous amount of dishes with four children and three meals a day — it just, logically, all backs up. And second to keep warm! Their water heater is turned to 180 degrees but the house is usually around sixty. They are all very hearty people and used to the cooler temperature in their all-electric home. I’m sure it costs about the same as a monthly house payment to keep this place warm in the winter so I can understand why the heat is low. But every chance I get to turn on the hot water and keep my hands there for twenty minutes I take it.

It wreaks havoc with my manicure, but it’s very utilitarian. The greater good, you know.

So it is with everything else. I was thinking of how it fits with eating healthy and exercise. You can probably make the leap yourself . . .

Even though I love it when I’m in the groove, [when I start to crave daily exercise and wouldn’t go a day without] I don’t particularly like to exercise right now after not doing it consistently and mindfully the last 2-3 weeks. [It’s a lot like starting over.] But I did exercise yesterday right on Tracy’s livingroom floor — I did 100 abs and the whole round of hydrants and back leg lifts. Then I did squats on the wall for three 30-second holds. [killer!] And I love-hated the feeling throughout the day when my muscles were actually aching. [It’s been a while since I felt that.]

I have to make myself do it. Yesterday legs and abs, this morning arms and chest. I have to make myself until I want to exercise. I have to live as though I’ve got it all together until I get it all together!

This morning I added some core exercises because I’ve known for some time I needed to. Can I just say it hurts every part of my body to try to hold myself up on my elbows and toes for 30 second increments. My back hurts, my tummy hurts and of course my elbows and toes ache like crazy! But it’s for the greater good. Evidently this group of muscles steadies the frame and keeps everything lined up properly. “When the core muscles are weak, other muscles have to compensate and take over functions they weren’t designed to perform, so they can’t work at their peak efficiently and they get stretched in unnatural ways.” [This from my new book, I Hate it When Exercise is the Answer.]

Dishes. Exercise.

I do each because I like what it produces. Not the process. It’s the end I’ve got in mind. No pun intended.