Eating mixed nuts. Walking with Leslie

Columnist Steve Lange looks at those moments we never would have predicted would become an accepted and expected part of our life.

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Every so often — and it seems to be becoming more frequent for me — you realize that something you never would have predicted has now become an accepted and expected part of your life.

Right now, as I’m typing this, I am sitting in a chair in the living room as my wife exercises to something called “Walking With Leslie,” which is a video series in which a woman walks in place while explaining what she is doing to what I can only hope are other women and men in living rooms just like mine across the U.S.

Me from the distant past — say, 19-year-old me — could not have imagined watching my wife walk with Leslie would become an accepted and expected part of my future life.

Most every night, Lindy slides our coffee table to the side of the room and dutifully follows Leslie, who does not, to be fair, simply walk in place. Leslie also incorporates various sidesteps and kicks, and there is a group of people behind her exhibiting various levels of walking exertion. Lindy regularly produces a stretchy band from a nearby drawer when Leslie calls for that.

Where I sit, on my chair in the living room, is at the edge of Lindy’s sidestep range, and she periodically shimmies precariously close. Her kicks sometimes startle our little dog, Finch.


I fear Lindy paid money for these videos, but it’s better not to ask.

I’m not, though, just a bystander to these moments.

Lindy started tonight’s Walking With Leslie episode later than normal, and it’s now creeping close to my “mixed nut” time.

My mixed nut time is a period at roughly 8 p.m. when my mouth starts to water — involuntarily, almost imperceptibly — and I find myself making my way to the cupboard for my container of Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts.

I eat mixed nuts so often, in fact, that Lindy buys them in 40-ounce containers — that’s 2.5 pounds — from Costco. Fearing for my salt intake, she buys one container of nuts with salt and one without, and then goes through the process of remixing each container to a roughly 50-50 ratio. She did this without my knowing at first. She mixes other healthier nuts in, too. It took me a while to catch on.

Me from the not-so-distant past — say, 30-year-old me — could not have imagined a regular mixed nut eating ritual would become an accepted and expected part of my future life.

It’s rare that Walking With Leslie coincides with “mixed nut” time, though not unheard of.

The regularity of the mixed nut eating started maybe a year ago, when our 13-year-old, food-obsessed chocolate Lab, Scout, saw me eating the mixed nuts for the first time, put her head on my lap, and stared at me in a way that said “I’ve never wanted anything as much in my life.”


Her drool soaked one of my pant legs.

Scout was sick, then, and didn’t seem to have much time left. I figured a few extra nuts couldn’t hurt. Also, I really only like the almonds and Macadamia nuts and pistachios anyway. I gave Scout the peanuts and hazelnuts and cashews.

Soon enough, every night, if Scout so much as heard me unscrewing the plastic lid of the mixed nuts container, she was drooling all over my pants. Soon enough, every night at 7:45, there was Scout, her chin on my lap. It became our little secret, Scout and I splitting our mixed nuts.

One night in early July, Scout laid down and couldn’t get back up. Lindy came out with blankets and pillows and we all slept on the basement floor with her. The next morning, we took Scout to the vet and watched her get that final injection and watched her fall asleep while doing some of the things she loved: eating peanut butter, getting her belly rubbed, and dreaming of running in Bear Creek.

That night, I remember being heartstruck by the fact that we had just opened a new container of mixed nuts.

In early August, I finished my part of the container, and was left with just those peanuts and hazelnuts and cashews.

And me from the not-so-distant past — say, even 40-year-old me from 13 years ago, before we got Scout — could not have imagined how much I would miss a dog.

Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.

Opinion by Steve Lange
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