It’s a beautiful day

A great song to spin to early in the morning by U2.

I continue to spin — on a stationary bike, that is.

For the past 17 months, my neighbor and I have crawled out of bed for a 6 a.m. class three days a week at the health club a few turns from our houses. There have been missed classes, vacations, disruptions, but no matter. This has turned out to be my most committed and long-lasting attempt at exercise in years.

I was always a walker, but more for my head than my body. Now, I sweat and move from first, to second, to third in the dark, and love it.

6 reasons why it works for me

1. Like I said, we spin in the dark. (And I think no one can see me spazzing out.)

2. The club is minutes away from my house. It would be so much more difficult to stick with it if it were farther away.

3. The music is blaring and I can sing along without bothering anyone.

4. I’m not competing with anyone except myself.

5. The club membership is discounted by my company, which supports employee wellness efforts, and I enjoy taking advantage of this perk.

6. Spinners are a diverse bunch, so I fit in, no matter what my level or ability. And, from the looks of it, I can spin for many, many more years. And that’s a good thing.

Spinning encouraged me to buy myself a new bike, a step up from the clunky Huffy I had for years. I hope to get outdoors this summer and try some of the trails around Rhode Island.

I’ll let you know if I’m successful. Otherwise, I’ll be spinning in the dark — an apt metaphor for my life.


Spinning on the peace train

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This is what our spin instructor had to say this morning.

We’ve been on this train for an awful long time. We just have to keep riding. : )


I have been trying to figure out why I can’t get the YouTube video to activate in my site. I used to be able to do this, and now I can’t. If anyone can give me any hints about what I’m doing wrong, please sing out! Thanks!


Peddling through the year: Beginning month 12

November was a tough month for me. I had to skip spin several mornings due to some minor surgery, BUT now I am ready to finish this year of spinning! (And then to continue on — best exercise I’ve ever found.) However, Cheryl and I picked up some heated yoga classes through Groupon, so I guess we’ll be trying that sometime before the coupon expires.

A song that spurred me on the most this morning and provided a great blast from the oh-so-fading-fast past was “Eli’s Coming” by the quintessential 70s band, Three Dog Night. How can you not love them? 3DN was my first real concert in the wild town of Sioux City, Iowa. 3DN was also my first rock album (I’ll have to check out which one it was and add that here.)

Came out in 1974 ...

Great music to blare on the car’s 8-track! 🙂

Hope this link works! Enjoy!

Free Ride: Beginning Month 11 of Morning Spin

As we turn another calendar page, Cheryl and I begin Month 11 of our Spin Challenge. Both of our daughters are now married, so we’ve met our goal — and now we think we’ve found an exercise that we’ll continue indefinitely. (Hope I haven’t jinxed us by putting this in print.)

This morning this song, “Free Ride” by the oldy-moldy Edgar Winter Group, was a real charge. What a great song to blast on the radio while heading down the highway some three decades ago. And now I spin to it at 6 a.m. while dripping sweat in the dark. What a strange world we live in.


MONTH 9: Why I keep spinning

I can’t believe Cheryl and I are beginning MONTH NINE of 6 a.m. spin class three times a week. I admit that vacations and work-related trips messed with the schedule in August, and September isn’t looking much better. But this SPIN class is still my best attempt at maintaining a regular exercise routine.

Besides that, I think I’m hooked. Here are FIVE reasons:

1.  I’ve never sweat more (that’s a reason?) — except at basketball practice when I was a freshman in high school and when I detasseled corn for a few weeks one summer.

2.  I’ve never felt stronger — except when I tried to separate two teen-age girls who were gouging their manicured nails into each other’s arms during study hall.

3.  I’ve never listened to so many genres of music in 45 minutes — except, well, never! They play EVERYTHING in spin class.

Even Neil Young. Yesterday it was “Like a Hurricane,” how appropriate after Irene.

4.  I’ve never seen such an age range of spinners — from teens to 70 year olds. And they all spin at their own speeds. (The seniors are faster than the young uns.)

5.  And, last but not least, I’ve never exercised in the dark — and maybe that’s the best thing about spin. I don’t have to worry about anyone watching me or doing it wrong. It just doesn’t matter because the spin instructor yells at everyone!

Actually, there’s a sixth reason — a pretty important one.

6. Cheryl

Cheryl and I began spinning as a way to get ready for our daughters’ weddings — Mallory’s in July and Kerri’s in October. So, this is a shout-out to Cheryl, who is more determined, better at spinning and a real trooper. I couldn’t ask for a more consistent exercise partner. She even gets up for an early morning Saturday spin class all the way in Rehoboth (which, I’m sorry, I just can’t do)!

Thank you, Cheryl, for signing up for my health club (in addition to yours) and for turning on that light every morning five mornings a week for the last eight months (more or less).  Our signal, that we’re up and ready to go.

See you on Monday!

Week 22: Every Picture Tells a Story

This morning’s spin song that’s still sitting in my head is Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story. It’s always so hard to get going in the morning, but it’s great exercise and doesn’t take much coordination or much thought (both good for me). Once you get on the bike, you’re on automatic pilot — you can even close your eyes.

The song reminds me that there are lots of pictures inside my head, and lots of stories. This week I learned that another poem has found a home (if it ever gets finished). It was selected for an anthology of poems about collections. I’m going to include the poem here now because there are no worries about the poem “being published” and because I’ve waited for almost two years to hear from them about publication.

So here’s the picture that tells the story: an old priest opens the door to his rectory after a little girl in a school uniform knocks on the door.

How differently might the picture be interpreted today …

Offering Up the Collection

The Irish priest had pure white hair,
a black cocker spaniel named Rasputin,
and a glass jar of children’s teeth.

An odd collection amassed from years
of tiny gap-smiled visitors bold enough
to cross the street to his brick-faced rectory.

They offered up wadded handkerchiefs,
cradles for bloodied milk-white kernels
that Father praised and plinked into the maw.

In return, he doled out holy trinkets:
small plastic statues of empty-handed Mary
or Jesus pointing to an painted ruby heart.

A cursory sign of the cross over an open mouth,
and the child raced back to the playground
to prove how brave she’d been to go alone.

When confessional boxes murmured dark secrets
and tongues burned down the priest’s creed,
his collection hummed like a choir of cherubim.

Rasputin died first, then the priest, far away.
His jar was flung into the alley, its bits scattered.
All night the wind sang across drifting snow.


Week 20: I’ve Been Everywhere

Still making it to spin class regularly — and heading into the five month zone (can’t believe it). There are always lots of road songs in spin class, and this one, “I’ve Been Everywhere” comes up quite often. Well, I haven’t been all that many places, but this Johnny Cash song seems to list quite a few of them. I think I’ve spent a good portion of my life in a car …

I’ve Been Everywhere

I was totin’ my pack along the long dusty Winnemucca road,
When along came a semi with a high an’ canvas-covered load.
“If you’re goin’ to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride.”
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.
He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand.
And I said, “Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this here land!”

I’ve been everywhere, man.
I’ve been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert’s bare, man.
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I’ve had my share, man.
I’ve been everywhere.

I’ve been to:
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota,
Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota,
Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma,
Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma,
Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo,
Tocapillo, Baranquilla, and Perdilla, I’m a killer.

I’ve been to:
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete’s sake.

I’ve been to:
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika,
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica,
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport,
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport,
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina,
Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean-a.

I’ve been to:
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado,
Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado,
Larimore, Admore, Haverstraw, Chatanika,
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika,
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.