Barbara Land (Jackie’s mom)

Barbara Nell Land née Neblett passed away peacefully on February 22, 2020 at Carle Hospital in Urbana, Illinois at the age of 96.

Barbara was a writer.

After graduating from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism she won a Pulitzer Travel Scholarship which provided funds for travel and reporting while she wrote many articles on the role of women in the reconstruction of postwar Europe.

The list of places she worked as a journalist would be long, but notably included the Miami Herald, Life Magazine, Armed Forces Network, The New York Times, and Reno Gazette-Journal. She wrote over twenty books, including many co-authored with her husband Myrick Land.

Among her books she was perhaps most proud of The New Explorers about women scientists in Antarctica. She had a life-long fascination with the continent from third grade, when she read in the Weekly Reader about a boy scout who traveled to Antarctica. She complained to her father that boys could do things like that and she couldn’t, and her father replied “When you grow up you can do whatever you want.”

Years later, when researching the book, she got as close as New Zealand, approved for the official flight to the research station, only to be unable to board because the scientists and their equipment reached the weight limit for the plane.

Although she never made it to Antarctica as a working writer, she did eventually visit as a tourist, taking two cruises there in her 80s.

Barbara was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on July 11, 1923 to Robert Neblett and Jacqueline Neblett. She is survived by her son and daughter, Robert Land of Santa Barbara, California, and Jacquelyn Brewer of Savoy, Illinois, and by her granddaughter Kyra Yorkland. She was proceeded in death by her husband Myrick Land.

No funeral service is planned. The family will scatter her ashes in Nevada, near where her husband’s ashes were scattered. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Barbara’s memory to the UNR Foundation, Barbara and Myrick Land Scholarship Endowment (175218), c/o UNR Foundation, Mailstop 0162, Reno, NV 89557. The family would like to thank all the people at Willowbrook of Savoy who took such good care of Barbara the past three years.

Picture of Barbara Land having climbed a tree
I wasn’t very good at taking pictures of Barbara, but she always liked this one, taken at Turkey Run in Indiana.

Consistency

I’ve been lifting weights for decades. I was pretty consistent about it for a long time. For years while I was working at a regular job, Jackie and I would go to the Fitness Center and lift before I went to the office at least two, often three times a week, using whatever machines they had (three or four different brands/styles of machines over the years). I saw pretty good gains the first six weeks or so that I was doing this, but they leveled off. I kept at it for years after that, with very little to show for it.

All that time I imagined that the issue was intensity—to make more gains, I needed to lift more and harder. I now think that was wrong. I think the problem was just that machines are a crappy way to build strength or muscle.

Four and a half years ago we moved to Winfield Village, which has a pretty good set of free weights. I’ve been using them—once again without much to show for it. In this case, the issue is not a matter of using the wrong equipment or a lack of intensity—it’s that my consistency has fallen off. I get on a schedule of lifting two or three times a week, but only keep it up for a week or two and then miss a few workouts.

Happily, this month I’m doing pretty well. In 21 days I’ve gotten in 9 lifting sessions, which is just about exactly my target. (I aim for every other day, so when I miss an occasional day it still comes in at 3 times a week.)

I’m seeing some nice strength gains (although after just three weeks I can’t be sure I’m not back in the situation of “anything will build strength for six weeks”). I’m also putting on some weight—probably just because I’ve been eating too many carbs, which I’ll fix here shortly, but in the meantime I’m choosing to imagine that I’m adding some muscle as well.

Understanding that consistency is the key, maybe I’ll be able to keep it up. (Watching my older relatives become frail due to sarcopenia, I’m determined to avoid that fate.)

I’m pretty sure I’ll manage okay until the weather turns and I have to start balancing the lifting with the running and hiking. (I’ve only gotten in one run this month, because of ice and cold.) We’ll have to see after that. But as I say, I’m determined.