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Shall We Dance?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I have always wanted to dance. Even as a teenage wallflower. Perhaps ESPECIALLY as a teenage wallflower!

But I've always been too self-conscious to ever tackle dancing in any serious way. Just the

-one-is-THERE" approach!

Music has been such a vital love of mine throughout my life. Now it's time to at long last make it a PHYSICAL enjoyment as well!!

Yes, I know Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did this ages ago...however I was very taken by Richard Gere in this movie:


Someone was kind enough to point me in the direction of the Southern Tier Swing Dance Society and finally I PUSHED myself to GO!

Here are a couple links...one to their own website where there is some video feed and another to an older clip that I found on YouTube from a few years back when the evening news featured their demonstration at our local mall:



They meet every week at 7:30 upstairs in a local karate studio. A lesson for beginners is taught for the first 30-45 mins. and then the dance floor is open until 10:30. Cost? A whole $3 each week! This week I discovered that turning 55 has its benefits as I get my fee knocked down to TWO dollars each week...lol!

It's a HUGE wooden dance floor with ample elbow-room and I cannot speak HIGHLY enough of the members who volunteer to teach, DJ the music and come to dance the night away!

Where else can one go for a night filled with good clean fun, no smoking, no alcohol...just folks who love to dance and enjoy pleasant conversation?!?! People of all ages, sizes coming together in such a comfortable environment. I even noticed one dancer doing some knitting while sitting out a song and taking a break. This has been a truly wonderful discovery!

The only catch?

Overcoming my self-consciousness! Curing my two left feet is going to take some time, building confidence and EXTREME patience with myself! Like many here at SparkPeople, I am my own harshest critic!

Plus I realize I have to put more time into this than just showing up each week. It's a real test of memory as well...as it seems that each time I'm getting onto a new step we're off and running to learn another step...and that tends to shove the just-learned step out of my head!

One coincidence is that a good friend of my son from back in his high school days is a regular at this gathering and a VERY good dancer. She is very supportive, great at adapting to my missteps and offers helpful tips / advice. She says once I build "muscle memory" and my feet know what to do without my incessant counting I'll be freer to tackle more complex dancing.

So! I'm in the process of checking off yet one more item on my bucket list! I can't encourage everyone out there to:

a) make up a bucket list if you haven't already done so and

b) start nailing those things you've only so far DREAMED of doing and make those dreams the REAL DEAL!

Here's a little music to get those feet moving:



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYATLAST 11/19/2011 3:44PM

    Gosh! I am so happy for you and so impressed! And the walls keep tumbling down!!!!!

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ZELLAZM 11/12/2011 3:08PM

    You never quit, do you! I love that you're doing this for yourself. Enjoy!

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FRACTALMYTH 11/12/2011 1:13PM

    How brilliant! Go you!

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MYEMANON 11/12/2011 9:52AM

    That's really great. Wish I could do the same. I am more of doing the chores kind of dancer - a little wild and fun and free with no one looking at me.

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AZIMAT 11/12/2011 9:10AM

    How inspiring, I've thought about dancing, and am going to look into what's available around these parts. Thanks.

P. S. frost on the lawn for the first time this year this morning here in Panama City Beach, but it should be around 67 this afternoon. I don't miss bingbong!!!

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IMSMILEY88 11/11/2011 10:36AM

    $2, huh? Now, that IS an advantage of being 55! emoticon

Truly, this is one of the best posts I've read that have come from the way we are changing our lives at SP! You are tackling something you've always wanted to do!!! And, now you have the confidence (guts? nerve?) to try it! I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

I, too, would love to be able to dance, but am way too self conscious. I think I've dance maybe 5 times in my life - my only prom, a dance club in high school, a friends wedding, & my sister-in-law's wedding. Ok...that's only 4! And, I think that is IT! And yet, it is so much FUN once you get the nerve to get out on the dance floor!

I hope you have an incredible time!!! I'm so excited for you!

(And, thanks for your comments about my race on Sunday. I plan on giving it all I've got!)

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LMLOPEZ 11/10/2011 12:40PM

    Don, that is fabulous that you are dancing! I can't believe it took you this long to get your feet moving. Formal or informal, it's amazing what our bodies can do when you give it free reign. Lose the other left foot (from your mind!) and let loose-footloose-kick off your Sunday shoes....sorry, the music took me away!!!

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L*I*T*A* 11/10/2011 10:22AM

    what great fun.....way to go...........
blessings and hugs........lita

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VALERIEMAHA 11/10/2011 9:26AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BILL60 11/10/2011 8:14AM

    You go Don. Keep on doing it, my friend.

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PUDLECRAZY 11/10/2011 6:43AM


You go for it! Don't worry about those two left feet. Either they will become graceful left and right feet with practice, or they won't. Either way, it's about having fun and moving to music. Personally, I would rather dance with someone with two left feet who is having a great time than a graceful dancer who thinks too much about himself.

Have a ball!!!!!

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JLITT62 11/10/2011 5:41AM

    Good for you for not letting fear & self consciousness get in the way igpf your dreams!

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2BMYOWN 11/10/2011 3:36AM

    Now this is downright cool....and speaking as another totally-two-left-feet-person who always dreamed of being able to dance but never quite making it, I gotta clap my hands at your ambition. LOL ENJOY, sparky bud!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/10/2011 12:02AM

    Sounds like fun.


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REDSHOES2011 11/9/2011 11:43PM

    emoticonGood for you learning to dance.. I have been facing my demons with public speaking and communication skills..


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ANDALEX 11/9/2011 11:33PM

    so cool! i've taken a few salsa lessons and had so much fun it was ridiculous. enjoy!

"shall we dance" is based on a japanese film (of the same title, i think). it's worth checking out next time you're in the mood to read subtitles.

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Another Dose of Autumn on Two Wheels!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

You know those beetles that swarm like crazy in your home when it warms up? That was our bike club today: we had 35 members joining the fun today in what felt like the "last hurrah" of autumn! *Perhaps* we'll get another weekend with some decent, "bike-able" weather...but those odds are getting increasingly long!

So we all got out to savor the sun and the albeit gray terrain, tucked between brilliant blue skies and the deep, lapis lazuli hues of the lakes and ponds.

Here's the view overlooking the Whitney Point dam, lake and Dorchester Park, through which we'd ridden earlier.

Although the majority of the club members met in Whitney Point for the ride up to Willet (a teensy spot in the road to the north), a few club members joined me earlier in Chenango Forks to add another 20 miles or so to the formal ride which was only around 24 or so miles.

Both the SP Fitness Maps and RideWithGPS had trouble with our route through Dorchester Park...neither recognized the well-paved and defined path for some reason. So I have a 44 mile estimate and a 47 mile estimate. I'm thinking 44 is probably the more accurate, with a climb of around 2300:


One of the club members posted her surprise over how taxing this ride seemed to her and I had to agree! Perhaps it was the strong headwind and the chill it brought on, or something else but this ride certainly knocked my socks off!

It felt great to be back on the road though! Even if it WAS getting dark already at 4 pm on my way home...ugh! This Daylight Savings Time fall back is going to knock me for a loop for a few days, as I don't use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning...hoping to head to bed shortly!

Just one more pic of a fun and oh-so-true poster shared by one of our club members:

The Benefits of Biking

Here's a few links to the poster:



Make it a SPARKED week ahead everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROEDER 11/9/2011 10:30PM

    Your blog made me jealous!!! LOL I'm hoping to get a little more nice biking weather before the snow starts to hit the plains.
Great diagram of the bike!!!!!

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WATERMELLEN 11/9/2011 10:03PM

    How did I miss this classic Don blog from Sunday until Wednesday? Great pictures . . . and love the bicycle "chart"!! It's tough to feel the days shortening, and I'm glad you got at least one great ride in . . .with maybe a few more to come!

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L*I*T*A* 11/7/2011 12:08PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MYLADY4 11/7/2011 11:01AM

    One word - JEALOUS!!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 11/7/2011 9:45AM

    Sounds like a great ride, glad you could enjoy the last few days of fall before the awful "S" word comes.... SNOW, ugghh.

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JLITT62 11/7/2011 8:38AM

    I don't use an alarm clock either & am still waking up at the same time. It WA a nice weekend, but yeah, a bit chilly still for my run sat.

Right now looks like you might still get another good weekend . . .

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TOOTHFUL99 11/7/2011 7:43AM

    Glad you got some nice biking weather this weekend. Hope it lasts for you.

I love that poster and would like to steal it! Would you be able to send it to me in an email, or do you have a website where I can find it?

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BILL60 11/7/2011 7:33AM

    Sounds like you had a super time. Hope you have more of those days before winter takes hold.

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ANDALEX 11/6/2011 11:56PM

    wow...what a view! glad you could squeeze a little more cycling time out of the weather. as for it being a tough ride, you can feel all the more accomplished for rising to the challenge!

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PUDLECRAZY 11/6/2011 9:42PM

    What a beautiful day and a beautiful venue for your bike ride! Sounds like you had a wonderful day.

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REDSHOES2011 11/6/2011 9:41PM

    emoticon-Great weekend I loved the photo and especially the benefits of the bike!

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VALERIEMAHA 11/6/2011 9:32PM

    WOW! what a cycling warrior!!! I wanna' be like you when I grow up!

Oh yes, you are wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, you've paid the price
But look how much you've gained
If you have to
You can do anything
You are strong (strong)
You are invincible (invincible)
You are Sparkman!!!

I LOVE that poster too. Thanks for sharing your love of bicycling and the joy of today's adventure, it is indeed infectious.

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Chilly Hot!

Friday, November 04, 2011

I've been getting back into the habit of walking / jogging from my daytime office to my evening private practice office and back to my car afterward as a way of working in some activity on Thurs. / Fri. I figure it's a great way to keep up at least a baseline of jogging so that come next May when the Binghamton Bridge Run comes along www.binghamtonbridgerun.org/ I won't have TOO much work to get ready for the 5K.

Nice sunny, brisk sunset on my there...BUT: was FREEZING on my way BACK! Low 30's, thin jacket, no gloves...BRRR! Tucked my notepad and calendar book under my arm, hands into pockets and got jogging! Around 2/3 of the way I could FINALLY feel some warmth building and took my hands out of the pockets.

Another block and I could unzip the jacket a little.

Next, unzip all the way...

NEXT? Fling the jacket off and carry it on my arm.

NEXT? Hop in the car and ride all the way home with all the windows down cuz I'm just dripping wet and hot...! :-)

Oh and hey, I've just GOT to give a shout out to 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's latest blog series: Rules for Humans! DO check it out...SO much common sense, plus a good dose of strategies she has found so useful in her journey:

DO stop by and check it out!


ps...looking like Mother Nature will allow for a GREAT weekend of cycling ahead...woo HOO! My bike's been gathering WAY too much dust lately!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 11/6/2011 7:30AM

    Great visualization of your walk/run - you're such a good storyteller and you can really tell how much you enjoyed getting MOVIN' to beat the cold. Will check out the blogs...have a great Sunday!

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MIQUEY73 11/5/2011 11:24PM


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WATERMELLEN 11/5/2011 9:27PM

    Like you, I'm really enjoying 4-A-HEALTHY-BMIs blog series . . . and your new wallpaper is gorgeous.

This changeable weather is really challenging . . . very chilly here in the early morning, frosty . . . and then quite quite warm mid day, and today sunny too!

Wish I could send a bowl of my pea soup your way!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 11/5/2011 7:04PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 11/5/2011 12:14PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DEBRA0818 11/5/2011 9:52AM

    I feel the same way when I go to water aerobics in the morning -- it's freezing when I first get out there (especially if the wind is blowing) but by the time I'm half way through the class, I'm grateful for every stray puff of wind. Ain't exercise grand?!

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ANDALEX 11/5/2011 12:28AM

    that's an awesome way to tuck a little more activity into your day. cool!

thanks for the blog rec...will check it out now.

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VALERIEMAHA 11/4/2011 11:58PM

    You are walking your talk, Don. And it's GOING TO PAY OFF. YAY! to weekend cycling ahead!

I've been giving a once-over to the Rules for Humans blogs. And you're right -- they're great.

Love the connection,

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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Riverwalk Athletic Center www.riverwalkac.com/ is BACK in business. They had their grand re-opening today and while it's still a bit rough around the edges it's great to have at all their strength training and cardio equipment!

To their credit they've made a concession of not only freezing our membership during the two months they spent rehabilitating and renovating the facilities but they added another month on TOP of that. Keeping the customer satisfied!

I'm still waiting for Spinning classes as the group exercise room will not be ready for another couple of weeks.

Feeling pretty good after putting myself through the paces of both strength training and cardio for about an hour & half. Hitting numbers that aren't too far off from what they were before. But FEELING it more...a good all-over fatigue of having worked my body...yes!

Haven't had much cycling lately as I've been intimidated by the cold and dark. I DO have to take the plunge SOMETIME though as I DID invest earlier this month in the Light and Motion VIS 360 Helmet Head and Tailight Set www.amazon.com/Light-Motion-Vis-Colo
which is supposed to be quite a nice set up which makes a cyclist WAY visible in the dark and because the light is perched on the helmet instead of the bike the light is thrown a much greater distance ahead of the cyclist. Also another advantage is that because it's mounted on the helmet when you turn in the direction of a car your beam of light follows as well, also enhancing visibility. I'm hoping this will give me extra commutes in the fall and spring that I might otherwise not have due to the dark.

Hope everyone makes it through our first volley of Merry Thanksgive-oween with little or no ground lost! ...maybe even stepping on ahead with your SparkPlans...? :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REDSHOES2011 11/3/2011 10:16PM

    emoticonkeep up the hard work!

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DAD2GETFIT 11/3/2011 9:07PM

    Spin on. emoticon emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 11/1/2011 6:38PM

    Sounds great!

Do you enjoy spinning? So far, I have avoided it. A spinning class is available at my gym and right before Body Pump. I could get a cardio and then weight lifting in on the same morning. Just looking at all of those stationary bikes in that room intimidates me.

I love the idea of the helmet light and tail light set. That definitely sounds worth the investment!


Ride on!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 11/1/2011 2:55PM

    You'll be spinning in no time. emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 11/1/2011 10:17AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZELLAZM 11/1/2011 9:58AM

    Fun, I love new equipment! Bought myself a reflective vest last winter for running in the dark but a light would also be a good addition to the gear.

WTG on your gym workouts!

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JLITT62 11/1/2011 5:23AM

    So happy for you that you have a place to work out that's safe & warm.

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ANDALEX 10/31/2011 10:04PM

    you've certainly done your cycling equipment homework. so cool! i don't know how drivers are in your area, but in baltimore they are both crazy and oblivious! i'm glad you're taking strides to be super careful.

have fun at the new gym! sounds like you're already putting it to good use. kudos!

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Blowing Through my Clock-Watching

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I admit since returning to the treadmill I've been babying myself with only 35 mins. at a time on the treadmill. I excuse it as I'm usually on the treadmill before going to work and I can't drag my sorry behind onto the 'mill any earlier. BUT: on the weekend my time is a lot more flexible.

I decided tonight I wouldn't look at the clock and just go until I felt tired. I was feeling better on the 'mill than I had been in a while. Well I kept going and going and finally stopped at 52 mins. but even then I really didn't feel tired, just awfully sweaty and couldn't put off the lure of a hot shower any longer...lol! I usually start sweating at 15 mins. by 35 mins. I'm dripping. Tonight I was sopped with all the windows steamed up!

Nice to get out of my own way sometimes!

I had some help with some super tunes that hadn't been served up on my shuffling mp3 player in a while:

10cc had a super album way back in 1974 that never got the recognition it deserved. Here's one oddball tune with a driving "clockwork" beat:


Some oh-so-smooth bossa nova from one of my favs, Celso Fonseca:


And a great movin' along tune from Pat Metheny:


Keep 'er Sparkin' out there everyone!


ps...just adding this WAY COOL video of a 100-year-old man finishing a marathon in Toronto!


...um...wow...how did my blog edit end up DUPLICATING my blog...?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REDSHOES2011 10/31/2011 12:49AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ZELLAZM 10/30/2011 8:45AM

    Great way to break out of a rut! Need to implement this! Thanks!

...I guess SP thought this blog needed to be seen twice! emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/30/2011 8:46:10 AM

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PUDLECRAZY 10/29/2011 7:07AM


I try not to look at the clock unless I have a deadline. I listen to my iPod and just go. The distraction helps - a lot!

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WATERMELLEN 10/28/2011 8:11PM

    I'm always dripping on the elliptical as well . . . and the music really helps me keep on moving. My "deal" is minimum 400 calories, minimum 30 minutes: i.e. if I've done 30 minutes but haven't hit 400 calories, gotta keep on till I do . . . so that's generally about 34 minutes total at my weight, level 8 and about 58 RPM.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 10/25/2011 1:08PM

    A 100 year "young" marathon man----amazing! And a great inspiration emoticon That gives us young whippersnappers incentive huh! Keep up the good work, Don emoticon

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SKINNYPOWELL1 10/24/2011 3:17PM

    Good job on getting on the 'mill. I watch TV while I walk on the treadmill, killing two birds with one stone. Tonight I have a date with the treadmill and Two and One Half Men, keeps me front wanting to sneak a bite of hubby's milk and cookie TV snack, none for me.

I too saw the 100 year old marathoner - WOW !!!!

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L*I*T*A* 10/24/2011 2:30AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VARMINT3 10/23/2011 2:11PM

    Good job on finding a distraction! I usually cover the time on my treadmill & just read while I run - I know many people can't read on the 'mill, but I manage it somehow...

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ANDALEX 10/23/2011 3:18AM

    sometimes the time passes faster if you can get your mind off the numbers and onto something more interesting. music is a great choice! i love putting my ipod on random and just seeing what turns up. glad you found your way to a good workout!

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