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Workout Weirdness

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Lately I've been plagued by a lengthy bout of nasty allergies which have my eyes and nose running with periodic sneezing fits. I've been knocking off box after box of tissues...ugh!

Yesterday was particularly nasty. But I remembered something from times past when this has occurred: becoming physically active seems to quiet down the symptoms. So I tested this theory by heading out for our power walk together with a co-worker yesterday.

Sure enough, nary a sneeze or drip!

Get back to the office? The sneezy waterworks kick in.

I wondered about my plan to lift weights and do Spinning later in the evening. Sure can't Spin & sneeze at the same time!

But again, as soon as I started in with the strength training, which I do before Spinning (who wants to lift weights AFTER when you're a soaking mess?!) all the symptoms quieted down right on through my hour-long Spinning, with only a teensy runny nose nagging at me.

Finish up, head to the car to go home: BAM! The symptoms kick in again!

This has me wondering if I'm just weird or whether there is a medical explanation for this pattern.

Note to self: check in with Physician Assistant son...he gets all my medical questions! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERLYWA 11/28/2013 12:27PM

    Wow...I have struggled with allergies all of my life and am so glad that I just happened across this blog today. When my nose/eyes get going the last thing I feel up to doing is exercising, but to read that it actually seems to shut down the allergic response for you really makes me want to fight through it next time and seeing if it works for me, too. Thanks for sharing this experience!

I have added you as a sparkfriend after seeing some of your encouraging messages to others in the new sparkteam I just joined this morning :)

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SASSYCHRIS1952 11/14/2013 4:36PM

    I hope you get to the bottom of the allergies emoticon

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WMUGRAD 11/13/2013 11:49PM

    Wow! I would have never thought of that! emoticon feel better

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_VALEO_ 11/12/2013 4:16AM

    What has you GP said about it? Seems like an allergy to something (work? lol). I hope you to find out what triggers this and get a treatment for.

Good luck!

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GHK1962 11/11/2013 2:46PM

    Hehe ... the part where you said, "This has me wondering if I'm just weird or whether there is a medical explanation for this pattern." ... if I had asked that of my wife she would have said BOTH! heh

Nevertheless, what did you find out?

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CHANGE4FIT 11/9/2013 10:04PM

    Sorry to hear about your dilemma, but I like Bill60's suggestion!
Hope the allergies dissipate soon!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/8/2013 8:00PM

    I'll be interested in what your son has to say, too. I have had the tendency to start sneezing after autumn races. Hadn't noticed it other times of year... but today... sneezed all the way home from work. Swam just fine last night... sneezies TODAY. Hmmmm!

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WATERMELLEN 11/8/2013 7:50PM

    I get sneezy and drippy as soon as the heat comes on inside house/office/car/gym: outside is better! Maybe a dust allergy from blowing hot air, I'm not sure (my house has steam radiators and it's not so bad at home).

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RACEWELLWON 11/8/2013 9:58AM

    It sees to me that allergies have been abundant this year. Sorry you suffer - keep us posted - would like to know the response from the PA. emoticon

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KANOE10 11/8/2013 8:03AM

    Hope you figure that out. It could have something to do with the heating/air system. I am glad exercise helps!

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HIPPICHICK1 11/6/2013 10:12AM

    Sounds like you have some indoor environmental allergies. It's not uncommon esp in bldgs that are old or when one is in an AC environment. I hope the issues get resolved quickly!

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MOTHEPRO 11/6/2013 6:30AM

    Interesting, at least you figured out how to avoid it.

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_LINDA 11/5/2013 11:43AM

    For me, I can't take air conditioning, gets the dribbles going right away. The air quality in most buildings that don't have open windows (or you have to close them because winter has arrived) is poor. The venting systems are usually clogged with dirt and mold and it is not cleaned nearly enough if at all. That was why the sick building issue made the news for a while.
But most normal gyms would have A/C too (mine doesn't so I am okay with them)
Will be most interested in finding out what the son has to say.

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L*I*T*A* 11/5/2013 11:28AM

    i would be interested in what your son has to say???!!!
sounds bit environmental to me ????
closed in spaces such as offices and car etc????
take care.........

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BKWERM 11/5/2013 11:00AM

    Obviously, you're allergic to work! emoticon

Hope you figure it out.

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DONNELDA22 11/5/2013 10:58AM

    Hope you find an answer to your sneezing fits. Let us know if you find some answers. Hope you are feel better soon. On things for sure, until you get an answer you're going to be getting a lot of exercise. emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/5/2013 10:23AM

    Keep us posted as to what his response is to your dilemma.

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OUTDOORGIRL69 11/5/2013 10:14AM

    Don at least you know you get your exercising in for the day. If it stops it you at least get relief for a short time. Hope you get better Prayers are there for you.

Try to have a good day.

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BILL60 11/5/2013 9:51AM

    That's a great way to a super healthy lifestyle.....exercise all the time to avoid the "Drips".

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MYUTMOST4HIM 11/5/2013 9:32AM


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Fading Tiger Paws

Monday, November 04, 2013

This summer cycling season, after being cut loose by my cardiologist in June and taken off of Coumadin, was capped by two of the most special cycling accomplishments: 1) Cycling 'round the 1,000 Islands area of New York and Ontario with 15 of my bike club members and 2) Cycling 'round Cape Cod on my week-long self-supported tour with several other very special cyclists.

One of the things I do when I ride is, whenever possible, I wear my Keen Sandals:


Nope, no cycling shoes for me. No clip-ins, etc. Just don't want to "go there" and take my lumps learning to clip, falling at stop lights, etc. Besides I'm a keep-it-simple kinda guy: one pair of sandals and I'm good to go wherever I want to, cycling, walking, hiking...do it all with no need for changing over. It was a nice "downsize" to my self-supported load...no extra pair of shoes!

And as odd as it may seem, I really liked the "stripes" I earned from spending time in my Keens as the sun would tan the open parts of the sandals leaving stripes of tan against the pale, unexposed parts of my feet. By the time I finished riding the Cape I was sporting some pretty cool stripes, silly as it may seem I felt proud to earn them and just seeing them on my feet could make me smile and re-kindle the memories of how they got there! :-)

Well, since I'm a fairweather kinda cyclist I've been pretty well sidelined from riding for a while now. Not that I won't keep my eyes & ears tuned to a possible warm spell during which I can scoot out and enjoy, but increasingly my workouts are indoors at the fitness center. Spinning classes are great, but I am finding myself increasingly missing my outdoor "fix."

My Tiger Paws are fading and this past weekend's Daylight Savings felt like a big heavy door slamming shut against the daylight.


The Dark Months are upon us! It's not just the darkness in the morning and after work that I find so oppressive, but the confining aspects of the cold and dark, the withdrawal of abundant sunshine.

A couple years ago I finally bought a used cross country ski set hoping to be able to use them and to get my outdoor fix. However I and many of our bike club members who switch to cross country skiing during the winter are finding that climate change has mostly snatched away our readily available skiing options. Some travel north to ski. But I'd like to gain more confidence, as I'm a newbie, before driving a distance to flop around in the snow.

So the challenge returns: how to keep my Spark during The Dark Months!

One thought which I've started to put into action has been to make a more consistent and concerted effort to head out for power walks with co-workers while on lunch break at work. We have a handy hill nearby which we start right up at the beginning of our walk that always revs us up for the rest of the walk during which we keep a crisp, zippy pace. It's a great break from our long hours either riding around seeing clients or at the pc logging in our work. PLUS we shake loose our work and enjoy our conversations along the way AND:

We get our OUTDOOR FIX! Nice triple bonuses!

The other activity I know I need to enjoy more consistently is to get out for Swing Dance every possible Tues. night:


Yes it's on the other end of the county 20 miles away...but the costs of not going are too great. Need to make this a priority PLUS:

I need to be vigilant for opportunities to push the envelop, get out of my comfort zone and try other things. For instance, recently one of the most SPARKIN' members of SP I know: 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI has been enjoying the fun and community of contradancing and spotted an event that is coming up this Saturday practically in my back yard!


Part of me worries about being a total newbie to this kind of dancing, but I've heard from many sources how user-friendly, warm and accepting the contradance community can be. So yep: gonna do it!

I've invited our local SparkTeams to join in the fun and am hoping there will be others to meet. I'm truly grateful to 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI for her persuasive, friendly "nudges" to get going here!

Yes, The Dark Months may be upon us, but I'm beginning to realize and utilize one of the most potent defenses against the darkness. Pardon the dated lingo of this song, but it came to me while writing this blog and all "grooviness" aside, the message remains as timeless and vibrant as ever:


Yours in SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 11/14/2013 4:33PM

    "Reach Out in the Darkness" is one of my favorites songs (I'm listening right now). I like your other links also, thanks for sharing!

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MOTHEPRO 11/5/2013 9:39AM


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CHANGE4FIT 11/5/2013 9:31AM

    Go for it Don-nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I think any kind of dancing is simply a mood lifter :)
I agree on the DST transition-I have grown so accustomed to my walks and outdoor time that I am in a sort of mourning. I left the house Sunday afternoon at 4pm for a 5 mile jaunt and it was dark when I got back 78 minutes later. 2 months ago, I wouldn't even leave the house until 6:30 to avoid the heat....
I have adopted a habit of taking a half mile walk at lunch-wakes me up and energizes me for the afternoon. Guess that may have to be my "sunshine" fix for a while, too. This too shall pass.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL69 11/5/2013 9:13AM

    Love the Blog and the shoes. I need to look into them.

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SMITTY4RL 11/5/2013 8:57AM

    Hey Don, I love the talk about tiger paws and how they're fading. Do you do a road bike or hybrid of some sort? I'm surprised you wear them instead of clip-ins, and it actually gives me a ray of hope because no matter how I adjust my clip-in's, I still end up with knee pain and it shortened my bike-riding experience to almost nothing this year. Too late for this season, but I have my eye on next--am in talks with DH's family (they live in Iowa) about doing a part of RAGBRAI. Oh, and good luck with dancing--that's something I cannot do to save my life, not matter what style, lol. Cheers!

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/5/2013 8:06AM

    Nice blog. Have a great day.

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HARMONYAGAIN 11/5/2013 7:08AM

    It sounds like a fun active time.


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/4/2013 11:32PM

    Don, you have nothing to worry about with the contra dancing. It attracts lots of people who feel otherwise socially or physically awkward. It's funny that way.

Just check out this video, if you have any doubts:

And heck, you already do swing, which many contra dancers aren't even brave enough to attempt! LOL

Looking forward to seeing ya on Saturday. And dancing with you.



Comment edited on: 11/4/2013 11:34:57 PM

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Somewhere In The Hills...

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Another wonderful weekend spent with fellow bike club members! Yesterday we had our bi-annual roadside clean up which our many hands wrapped up lickety-split and followed up with a quickie 20 mile ride to Whitney Point. It was more overcast yesterday and overnight it rained fairly hard...which accomplished exactly what I had hoped: a rain-free Sunday for more cycling!

As it still looked and felt like it might possibly rain when I set out from my house at 9:30 a.m. I had this song on my mind...the jazzy bass line walking along setting a nice cadence for my pedaling:


I re-named it to "RIDE Between The Raindrops" but fortunately no rain came down on our parade! :-)

I met up with others in Binghamton. Today's ride was a "bunny" ride...as the ride leader calls them. Sounds cute, light and fun right? Well...perhaps all that but one thing her rides AREN'T is EASY! Earlier on when she dubbed her rides "bunny rides" a few got duped by the name and umpteen hills later discovered cool places to ride with wonderful sights from around our gorgeous terrain...but paid for it with sore quads and other body parts! :-)

There were 8 of us for today's ride, including our favorite member, without whom the club wouldn't be here today, who is 80 years old pedaling right along with us!

I already knew that the first part of the ride was going to be a climb out of the south side of Binghamton heading toward the Pennsylvania / New York border:

As the ride went on other riders embellished with route add-ons which took us up more hills so we ended up criss-crossing the hills much like the wooly-bear caterpillars scampering across the roads we powered up and zoomed down! While the colors weren't at their best, the recent rain having taken down quite a few leaves, there was still a rustic beauty pedaling through the countryside, at times through roads layered with pungent pine needles. There were great views of the valley below from atop these hills:

All the hills brought to my mind one of my favorite (oh heck they're ALL my favorite) songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim: "Favela" which is subtitled "Somewhere in the Hills:"


I especially like the soft samba rhythm of the guitar that propels me along and which is from Jobim's classic album which I HIGHLY recommend...check out the reviews here:


I managed to get myself lost along the way zooming out a bit ahead of the group, not knowing where the heck everybody went and calling one member to get their location so I could back-pedal and rejoin them.

We got back to their parking spots and talked a bit about the ride and upcoming rides. Next weekend promises a return to the Butternut Valley which stretches from Sidney to Mount Upton and Morris and includes waterfalls and hopefully more fall foliage if it holds out! Another one of my favorite rides!

So rather than head straight home after the ride with the group I took the River Road loop for yet additional climbing and racked up a nice total of 56 miles and over 3,000 feet of climb today. Woo hoo, did THAT feel good!


All righty now...back to the work week...let's fill 'er with SPARK everybody!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 10/19/2013 8:25AM

    I always enjoy the scenic pictures you post, it's second to none to embrace being out and about!

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RECREATING_ME 10/17/2013 9:43PM

    Always beautiful scenery on your cycling adventures!

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_VALEO_ 10/11/2013 5:57PM

    Oh, thank you so much for this gem "Walk between the raindrops"! A classic song I haven't heard for such a long time, and I needed to hear it today!

If you had a hard time pedaling through the hills, it is because I was right with you on your luggage-rack. Your fault--the way you describe nature and your ride make us believe we are part of it!

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CHANGE4FIT 10/9/2013 9:07AM

    What a beautiful place! Glad you had a great day of riding.

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HIPPICHICK1 10/8/2013 9:41AM

    Love it!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SMITTY4RL 10/7/2013 9:22PM

    Love the pics. Sounds like a super ride--glad the weather held for you!

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ZELLAZM 10/7/2013 7:19PM

    Thanks for that great link about Switzerland. I only had time to scan it, but I've got it bookmarked. And I will need to come back here to your blog and click on all the music links...because right now, I need to finish packing and go to bed! That train at 7:07 isn't going to wait for me!

Have a super Spark week,

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L*I*T*A* 10/7/2013 10:33AM

    sounds like you had a great time........ emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 10/7/2013 7:44AM

    Your life is in rhythm: and love the big skies in your great pics!!

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FERRETLOVER1 10/7/2013 7:17AM

    Thank goodness for cell phones or you might never have found them again! Love your pictures - awesome scenery - sounds like a great ride!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Death Valley!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Strike up the music, Cassandra Wilson with an upbeat ode to life, which is SO FINE on this gorgeous autumn day! The colors are coming so FAST all of a sudden!

"A Little Warm Death"... www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh_r6NwqIvs

I should have known that with his quiet smile, our ride leader would have at least one challenge during this ride. He didn't disappoint! There is a REASON the road he led us through is called Death Valley Road! I couldn't believe I made that climb without walking. I think if a fly had landed on my shoulder I would've crumpled into a walk...but it didn't and I was able to make the entire climb sucking wind with every turn of the pedal...lol!

We had the special pleasure of welcoming five guests from Spain on our ride, making a nice total of 15 riders strong. The ride leader promised a round of ice cream for all near the end of the ride. However we had many "boo's" when we discovered the ice cream stand was closed. I was cheering for the lack of temptation...lol! We later came across some enterprising girls selling lemonade at their stand on the lawn in front of their home. A much better investment of our quarters seeing their faces light up!

A rider remarked that "Did you hear that chocolate milk is so *last year* for a recovery drink? The new recovery drink at the end of a long ride is BEER!" which brought round of applause and chuckles.

I cracked, "okay, guess we're now in search of an ice cream stand that serves beer!" :-)

Here I am with fellow bike club members and a few of our guests from Spain who I hope will join us tomorrow for our big day of fun and rides out of Marvin Park, Owego:

Had a lovely time tonight at the Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter Paul & Mary) concert...such a wonderful humanitarian, minstrel and quite an accomplished guitarist as well!

Late night...off to bed and solid sleep for a big day of cycling tomorrow!

But not before sharing a good reminder from ThoughtCatalog.com, a website which has been catching my eye and tweaking my brain now & then with interesting editorials & blogs. I thought of Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements, namely the first in which he speaks to the power of our word and the importance of being impeccable with our word. Here are related thoughts shared:

You Are / Whatever You Say / You Are

Let's do our best to be kind and loving toward ourselves and each other:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XENA1956 10/23/2013 6:59PM

    When I first spotted this blog. I thought Don was here in CA riding Death Valley and I didn't know about it. Then I read and had to laugh. Keep on getting up those high hills. Sound pretty tough. If you ever get out this way you will find plenty of mountains rides both street and dirt. lol Nice reading what you have been up too. xo Teri

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SMITTY4RL 10/4/2013 7:29PM

    The title caught my eye...super job on the great hill. It's almost time to put up the road bikes here (although we might squeak out another ride or two). Looks like you had a ton of fun--even thought the ice cream stand was closed emoticon. Wow, love the song, too (wonder if I can download on iTunes?)

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 10/4/2013 9:49AM

    I always LOVE the stories of your rides!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/30/2013 2:56PM

    As always, I enjoyed your post and your pictures!

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MYLADY4 9/30/2013 1:19PM

    Way to go and how freeking fun. Oh and I am so jealous, just say'n.

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RAINBOWFALLS 9/29/2013 5:54PM

    Such great weather this weekend for your bike rides. It sure looks like you are having a great time.

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_VALEO_ 9/29/2013 4:03PM

    I was expecting another Death Valley emoticon but I am not disappointed! Good job on climbing this hill!

Great links to music and articles!

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/29/2013 10:12AM

    Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing them.

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L*I*T*A* 9/29/2013 9:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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40PUDDLEJUMPER 9/29/2013 9:24AM

    fantastic blog thankyou!

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CHANGE4FIT 9/29/2013 9:03AM

    Great blog, Don. When I clicked the link I half way expected you to write about an upcoming bike trip through Death Valley with your tent in tow!

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HIPPICHICK1 9/29/2013 8:53AM

    Sounds like a great ride and a great day!

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FERRETLOVER1 9/29/2013 8:42AM

    emoticon on making it up that huge hill! I'll bet the ride back down was really great.

Sorry that emoticon stand was closed, but you really made those little girls day. emoticon

Sounds to me like you earned that "recovery drink" - emoticon

I have always been a huge fan of not only Peter, Paul and Mary as a group, but of each of them as individuals, too. You were so lucky to get to go to a Paul Stookey concert! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/29/2013 8:43:35 AM

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ZELLAZM 9/29/2013 7:05AM

    Lovely day - Would have loved to have heard Paul Stookey of P,P&M. I learned to play the guitar along with their albums way back when! And beer has long been the preferred drink (last year, this year and I don't expect there will be much change) of German athletes. Not this one...the lemonade would have been more to my taste!

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PMRUNNER 9/29/2013 6:09AM

    Thanks, Don! Enjoyed your entry and the links too.

Comment edited on: 9/29/2013 6:13:49 AM

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ROXYCARIN 9/29/2013 12:48AM

  emoticon emoticon

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3 Day Soup / Bike Helmet Mowing: Time Management!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's been quite the shock to the system adjusting to "the real world" since returning from Cape Cod. Having eaten mostly cut up fruits & veggies and store-bought sandwiches on my travels I was yearning for something home-made but had so little time at the end of each day it took me three days to make some soup:

Day One: toss some dried black beans into a bowl of water to soak until

Day Two: boil up the beans with lots of onion and garlic, put in fridge until

Day Three: toss in some tomatoes, spinach, green beans, beef broth and jazz up with chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper simmer away and voila! Big batch of soup for the next few days! Yum! FINALLY!

This weekend promises more of the WONDERFUL weather we've been having lately and two cycling events I will not miss. PLUS I still have to restore and return all that borrowed camping equipment. But the lawn needs mowing and the sun is going down as I arrive home and I can't afford the time to mow during the weekend. Tomorrow night Noel Paul Stookey from Peter, Paul and Mary performs locally and we're going to treat ourselves to his music...all three (RIP, Mary...), such soulful human beings...!

Solution? Strap on my bike helmet and turn on my Light & Motion VIS 360...all the light I need to do one of the SPEEDIEST mowings of the season, albeit dialed way down on the "tidy" spectrum...lol.

Had a delightful power walk earlier today with a co-worker...handy little hill nearby our office to get me pumped up as we scaled it and 'rounded several blocks...it was just what the doctor ordered during a day of data entry on the computer...ugh!

Cheers to everyone for a weekend ahead filled with SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEMORIES7 1/8/2014 4:00PM

    Hello Don, I love the humor in this! I am going to try your recipe here but I just got to tell you, it will not take 3 days to make!! I hope that you have a healthy day! Hugs, Rose:) emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYCRN 10/26/2013 10:01AM

    Great way to not let home chores interfere with fun! I have only regretted it when I dusted instead of riding.

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GIRANIMAL 10/7/2013 5:01PM

    LOL I love the use of your bike helmet! And your soup sounds delicious.

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PATRICIAAK 9/29/2013 8:54PM

    super! you sound pumped!

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_VALEO_ 9/29/2013 3:50PM

    When it involves beans, it always takes time! I am sure it will be a great soup!

You can strap your light on your bike helmet or wait for the full moon to mow your lawn! ;)

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CHANGE4FIT 9/28/2013 1:45PM

    What time is dinner? I'll bring some southern cornbread-LOL
Love the mowing-we used to have a mower with headlamps-did some interesting mowing in those days......
Enjoy your weekend!!

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HIPPICHICK1 9/28/2013 10:19AM

    Soup is good!
A musician friend of mine went to a folk fest in the west years ago and somehow magically ended up on stage with Paul.
Have a groovy weekend!

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L*I*T*A* 9/28/2013 9:52AM

    enjoy the weekend.......
sounds great!!


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OUTDOORGIRL69 9/28/2013 9:07AM

    I just made a big batch of soup also yesterday. It has been cold here & it hits the spot. I will freeze some of it for later use.

Don...... You do know to save time on the beans you can cook them up & then freeze them for later use. That is what I do so I can just take out what I need when I make things and a lot of time is saved.

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HARMONYAGAIN 9/28/2013 8:10AM

    The soup and weekend sounds wonderful!
enjoy emoticon

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ZELLAZM 9/28/2013 4:23AM

    You have a good weekend, too, Don. Sounds like a busy one for you. Enjoy the soup!

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FITFRIT 9/28/2013 2:28AM

    the soup sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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_MOBII_ 9/27/2013 11:48PM

    I can hear my dad yelling now..."You can't mow at night, you will cut your feet off!" Heheh, wish I would have had a helmet with a light on it back then! (Although, in my defense...I still have both feet!)

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/27/2013 11:04PM

    Whenever I visit your SP page, I can't believe those pics are the same person. How inspiring!

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WATERMELLEN 9/27/2013 10:46PM

    That soup sounds terrific!!

Love your night light mowing . . . such dedication! Now playing golf till I can't see my feet: I get that.

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