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Cloud Chaser!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A sizeable thunderstorm swept through our area earlier in the morning, however a check of the radar showed that the rain was OVER! Woo hoo! Out on our ride we go!

I added some miles by starting in Center Village and met up with a couple of bike club members in Windsor. It was still a bit misty with clouds and a few drops of rain here & there. But I chased the clouds away!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=v71o5D0xlNk

On our way south out of Windsor we rode past our very own local monastery:

Transfiguration Monastery: Contemplative Benedictines transfigurationmonastery.org/

Worth checking into sometime, putting it on my bucket list...!

We rode through beautiful river valleys along the Susquehanna river on into Susquehanna, PA, "south of the border" of NY / PA. Here are two different versions of our route. I like RideWithGPS...it figures longer distances than SP :-)

Route: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness
_maps_view.asp?rt=779987
ridewithgps.com/trips/3081780

Here's a picture of the old aqueducts around Susquehanna:



Only three of us did the ride...the others sure missed out on a good deal!

More pics!



A pic of a pic? :-)



And a Trio Selfie!



Around 3/4 of the way through the ride outside Windsor we stopped for lunch and hey, they must've known we were coming! What's on the big screen TV but some of the final laps of the Tour De France! :-)

One of the other members was kind enough to pick up the tab also...! Our club has such terrific people!

Back home it was cook, cook & cook to get ready for the week ahead!

You just can top living a life filled with SPARK!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTN_KITTEN 7/28/2014 10:32AM

    What a great day!!!!

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WATERMELLEN 7/28/2014 8:08AM

    What a great ride. That aquaduct is so impressive!! Love your beaming smile!!

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KANOE10 7/28/2014 7:50AM

    What a beautiful ride and you did chase those clouds away! I like your photos, especially the aqueduct. I hear you on cook,cook, cook for the week ahead. That is what it takes to stay healthy!

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FERRETLOVER1 7/28/2014 7:47AM

    Sometimes the best trips are with the smallest group.

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SPINNINGJW 7/28/2014 7:33AM

    Beautiful area for a bike ride. Alas, I did not take pictures of my river walk this weekend in Grand Forks ND.

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/28/2014 6:41AM

    More memories in photos! Thanks for sharing!

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Great Ride and Great Memories

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today's ride paled in many ways to the wonderful ride back in October 2011, but there were enough parallels to bring back the memories and yet to enjoy the people with whom I was riding today.

Here is the route for today's ride:

ridewithgps.com/trips/3034307

30-some miles, fairly flat, easy-peasy...but a great ride for me to pump it up and feed my need for speed and satisfy that cravin' for pavin' and yearnin' for burnin'! :-)

HERE is the most daunting ride which I had the great pleasure of sharing with 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI back in the fall of 2011:

ridewithgps.com/routes/750935

Double the distance with MONSTER climbs! I was in no way ready for such a ride today, jumping into the bike season only a few weeks ago. We had done that ride in OCTOBER: end of the season when we're all pumped and primed...and STILL had our socks knocked off...lol!

I miss having the pleasure of 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's company since her relocation out of state earlier this year, but it was so enjoyable to re-visit our experiences together during today's ride as there were a number of the same roads, same delicious restaurant for lunch stop.

It was fun to re-visit also my blog and hers about the day, complete with pics and all!

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4527772


www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4526498


Missing you 'round these parts, 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI, but thank goodness for these memories! :-)

It had been sort of overcast earlier in the ride so on my inner radio I dialed up an oldie from Donovan to see if I could coax the sun to come out and play:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_GgE7zF3wo

And it WORKED! When the sun came out to brighten up the day I changed the channel to this Earth, Wind & Fire song to pump it up:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLxV0OPCNlg

We had the pleasure of greeting some new members to the bike club today, which was very nice to see!

In searching for these songs tonight I've wandered down the rabbit-hole that YouTube can be for me occassionally and found a couple more gems I thought I'd share with you all if you care.

Most of you know how vitally important Jackson Browne's song "Alive In The World" is to me. This is my theme song to which I do my best to live up to!

Well I found a YouTube that honored the song with beautiful nature scenes that just add so much to my appreciation of the lyrics!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMuABsC-Skg

And although there are no lyrics to this next tune, it's title and the music evokes a similar strength and declarative vitality to occupy this world as fully and completely as possible!

Jan Garbarek Group - Mission: To Be Where I Am

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzSRemRHwZI

Here are a couple more links to Jan Garbarek's music. His band is simply magical and the rapport between he and bass player extraordinaire Eberhard Weber is always so emotive and satisfying!

This one features lovely artwork which conjures up Garbarek's Nordic roots:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH0Ss6_t5xI

And here is an entire live concert...! To see the alchemists at work in conjuring such musical journeys...!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSta9W0kpsw

Way past a reasonable bedtime...! But it's been fun meandering through memories and music...

Thank you all for wandering through them with me! :-)

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/26/2014 9:22AM

    What a lovely blog -- pedalling through physical and musical and remembered spaces!!

(And: anja seems to be doing great paddling away in Arkansas!!)

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SASSYCHRIS1952 7/23/2014 8:05AM

    Another great blog!

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_LINDA 7/21/2014 2:10AM

    Enjoyed the ride and the music! Thanks for all your hard work in searching them out and sharing it with us!! Especially love listening to music while reading blogs :-)
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L*I*T*A* 7/20/2014 9:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 7/20/2014 6:45PM

    I am so glad that you were able to participate in this ride - it's really great to see you back in the saddle...and enthusiastically writing about your ride!

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1CRAZYDOG 7/20/2014 5:44PM

    Ah, glad that you had a good ride and that it triggered good memories!

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MTN_KITTEN 7/20/2014 4:27PM

    emoticon

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KANOE10 7/20/2014 9:42AM

    I enjoyed meandering with you and like the links to music. I am glad you are back biking again. Thanks for the photos also. You are doing well.

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BUSYGRANNY5 7/20/2014 9:19AM

    Thanks for including all the links including the music!!

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DONNELDA22 7/20/2014 8:44AM

    I envy your ability to take these long bike rides. My days of bike riding are over(knees) can't take it any more. Glad you still can and want to blog about your travels. We can ride along with you in spirit.
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ONEKIDSMOM 7/20/2014 7:49AM

    What a lovely memory-triggering ride you had. I listen to music when I run, but not when I bike. Guess I'm not confident enough in the terrain or my skills riding to distract myself from being "in the moment"... but that doesn't stop the tunes from popping into my head... and you've given me more fodder for the mental sound track!

Spark and ride on! emoticon emoticon

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THINFITFEMINIST 7/20/2014 5:44AM

    music is also my muse but my favorite genre is Blues.

Happy to see you back in the saddle peddling away. Hope your doing fine on your food choices also. I know you are not a vegan like me.

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PRAIRIECROCUS 7/20/2014 1:30AM

    emoticon
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Michigan: The Rest of Vacation & Some Archeology...

Friday, July 18, 2014

This was a most challenging week of re-entry after vacation, hence a delay in posting the "rest of the story"...!

I was truly blessed with some of the BEST weather during my time in Michigan, especially on the important days of our reunion and our party for my father's 80th birthday.

Here is a picture of my father standing WAY way up on the new "overlook" recently built in New Buffalo which takes one out into the nature preserves. We were down on the lower trail looking up toward him near sunset:



My aunts who live on a lake outside of the Kalamazoo area graciously offered there gorgeous home and surroundings as the place for holding our party for my father. Here are a couple of shots to "attempt" to show how beautiful the area and the weather was that day:



Above is the view off their rear deck. You can see the shed with the kayaks, the pier and the pontoon boat they took folks out on to enjoy some time on the water.

Below is another view off the deck with a couple of my uncles taking it all in:



Here is a nice pic of me with my uncle who is only a few years older than I and more like an older brother than an uncle. Also my sister is joining us:



The highlight of the day was heading out in kayaks with a couple of my young buck nephews and going on a paddling expedition through not only this lake, but a chain of lakes connected with marshy wetlands with just enough water to paddle through the tall cat-tails, blooming lily pads and huge swans serenely taking in the day and all but yawning at us as we quietly paddled by. One of my nephews managed to creep into the greenery to snatch a few stray swan feathers to take back to show others. What a wonderful three hour journey we had! Paddling steadily all the time...did my shoulders feel THAT! :-) I was pleased that the soreness didn't last beyond the evening. Here's a pic my sister snapped before we set sail. We all would've loved to have taken pics ourselves, but one of my nephews already lost his cell phone in another pond and nobody dared to take chances bringing them along.



Now for archeology! In preparing for my father's birthday I was flipping through lots and lots of family pics to help my sister in preparing a scrapbook and I did an online slideshow.

Of course some of these pictures had ME in them too...!

I think I may have shared this before, but for comparisons' sake I'll share it again. This is from 1973 (a special Math / Chemistry summer program between Jr. / Sr. year of high school, receiving an award at Western MI Univ. in Kalamazoo, with my parents and a couple of professors) during my all time low weight on the tail end of doing the Mayo Clinic's Ketogenic, high-fat, zero-carb diet:



This was my first foray away from home and the beginning of my unraveling the benefits of the ketogenic diet as I stayed at a college dorm with college cafeteria food and began to "stray" in my food choices.

Now here I am only a few years later while at our local community college. I'm with a couple of good friends and you can see how the pounds are already accumulating. You can also see my freaky long hair that I couldn't do anything with but tie it up like a 2nd head bobbing behind me...lol!



So further down the drain I go...



A potent reminder of the depths from which I've recovered and never want to visit again!

Here's a cool snapshot of three generations, myself, son and father taken earlier this year...life is SO much better being in control, in the driver's seat and living the SPARK!



Looking forward to a weekend of spectacular 80 degree sunny days and a ride with the bike club tomorrow from Windsor to Afton for lunch and returning for around 35 miles.

Keep the SPARK everyone! :-)

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINBOWFALLS 7/24/2014 8:51AM

    Beautiful. Thanks for the trip away!

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CHANGE4FIT 7/23/2014 10:01AM

    Great Blog-You really look a lot like your dad!

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VALERIEMAHA 7/20/2014 1:00PM

    I SO enjoyed this, Don. What a great trip and lovely gathering for a most important occasion. Thanks for taking us along.
emoticon
Maha

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L*I*T*A* 7/19/2014 8:42PM

    great share....................thanks

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DONNELDA22 7/19/2014 2:36PM

    So glad you had a wonderful trip and birthday party for your father. This is a summer you will remember always.
Thanks for sharing. emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/19/2014 2:47:30 PM

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WOMANWITHGRIT 7/19/2014 2:14PM

    Thanks for sharing, Don. Great pics of your get together - yes, pictures never do justice to the beauty and experience. Your historical pictures -- I identify some and want to keep going in the direction I am now headed, as well. Pam

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MTN_KITTEN 7/19/2014 12:09PM

    Family and friends ... that's what life is alllllll about.

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WATERMELLEN 7/19/2014 11:01AM

    What a super blog -- hope that while you kayaked you got a sniff of the waterlilies (the white ones in particular smell glorious!!)

Loved the family pictures and the graphic history of your struggle (mine too) with weight . . . How marvellous that you are fit enough to keep up with the young'uns and have such a wonderful time at the family reunion to honour your father.

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KANOE10 7/19/2014 9:15AM

    Those were great photos. I also started the upward slide in college and kept going. Your transformation to health is amazing. You look great. That vacation with all of the family sounded so enjoyable including that 3 hour kayak ride. You certainly are fit to keep up with the younger family members!

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ZELLAZM 7/19/2014 8:25AM

    Nothing like family! These were new photos to me and it gives new meaning to your progress.

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DAISYBELL6 7/19/2014 7:59AM

    I thoroughly enjoyed this blo. It is delightful to catch a glimpse of your progress thru life! Thank you for sharing all this.



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SPINNINGJW 7/19/2014 6:59AM

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pictures. You truly have come a long way, and to be able to kayak with your nephews is priceless.

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THINFITFEMINIST 7/19/2014 6:47AM

    OK, Don, here's a question that I've been wondering about: Where's your wife? I thought you were currently married?

These pics were wonderful and it gives your friends a glimpse into your life. Very much appreciated. Thank you.

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/19/2014 5:40AM

    You've got that right, about life being better. Not easy getting it off. Not easy keeping it off. But a whole lot better when we do what we need to, to stay Sparked!

Great photos, Don. Thanks for sharing your trip with the rest of us! emoticon

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_LINDA 7/19/2014 1:59AM

    Wow! What a paradise! Fun times indeed! You have quite the large family!
Interesting trip through memory lane there! Always enjoy looking at old photos of someone, especially those early hair and clothing choices lol.
emoticon for reminding us how good life is when you are fit and able to be active!
Spark On!

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/19/2014 12:04AM

    Wonderful photos; thanks for sharing them.

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ALICIA214 7/18/2014 11:36PM

 


Love your pics and family get together to celebrate your Dad's 80th
birthday... Thanks for sharing...

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STRIVERONE 7/18/2014 11:11PM

    I've never been to Michigan, but your last couple of blogs have changed my impression that it was all Flint and Detroit. :)

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1CRAZYDOG 7/18/2014 11:04PM

    What wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing. You certainly have transformed!

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Rag In The Bag: Michigan Travels!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

So in line with the shedding of the "bubble" I've been enjoying tossing a rag in the bag (pannier), hopping on my bike and reconnecting with new friends, old friends and family out Michigan way.

After spending the night with a very close friend with whom we shared our MSW years at Michigan State University I got on the bike for old times sake to tool around campus as I used to do way back in 1976-80 (the Magic Johnson-Gregory Kelser years!). Hardly recognized parts of the area in East Lansing as it had changed a lot, but much was very familiar. Fond memories of the Erickson Kiva where the campus hosted such fine jazz performers as Oregon and others. I ushered so I could see everything for free.

I re-visited the housing co-op where I lived and spent the majority of my time in East Lansing. Such cool memories there! We all worked together, very communal spirit, rotating meal prep, each taking care of various chores and OH THE PARTIES!! We weren't quite up to "Animal House" standards...but pretty close! ;-)

Here's a picture of Howland House, an old Victorian home which has been raised up on blocks and moved TWICE in the city!



They're much more colorful than they were back in my day. I enjoyed chatting with the kids on the porch who said they were making an effort to pull together the "alumni" of the house. I loved that thought and volunteered my name and e-mail address and expressed hope that through this I might catch up with an old room mate with whom I completely lost contact over the years. When I shared his name they said "hmm, isn't his son the plumber in town?" I'm excited that they agreed to pass along my name and e-mail to them and hoping to be able to re-connect with him again.

Here's a pic of me en route to our family reunion in St. Joseph:



It was a nice 40+ mile round trip.

PLUS a WAY COOL SPARK BONUS!

Since I knew I'd be out this way visiting family I caught up with WMUGRAD who lives in the Kalamazoo area and earlier this week we had a blast riding along through the relatively new Kalamazoo Valley Trail filling our ride with lots of enjoyable conversation swapping bike tales and Spark tales. Afterward she treated me to a lovely lunch at an Indian restaurant. Both of us happen to be social workers and had plenty of "shop talk" and tales to share as well.

Thank you so much again for your gracious hosting, WMUGRAD!

I continue to revel in the pleasures of catching up with one Spark person after another...every one has been such a delight! We are all part of such a wonderful community and I encourage you all to do your best to make it "real" and connect with each other in whatever way you can!

Here's a "selfie" of WMUGRAD and I:




Viva la SPARK!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4FIT 7/23/2014 9:57AM

    Sounds like a grand time, Don!

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_MOBII_ 7/18/2014 9:03PM

    I am so happy that your trip down memory lane was a great one!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 7/15/2014 6:30PM

    A great blog! Thanks for sharing! emoticon emoticon

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SAM60SUMTHINK 7/13/2014 1:39PM

    Such a fun-filled, memory-evoking trip!! And visiting/meeting with a SP friend while at it! Wonderful! Gotta love the brightness of the Howlad House... especially in the cold states which are so drab in winter! Hmm how many houses get moved TWO times? Once is infrequent, but twice? Must have been too near campus at least one time and moved to enlarge facilities?

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RAINBOWFALLS 7/13/2014 7:10AM

    It sounds like you are having a wonderful trip. I just love the colorful house!

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ZELLAZM 7/12/2014 3:58AM

    Happy, happy blog post! I'm looking forward to meeting a fellow Sparker and team member IRL this summer, too.

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L*I*T*A* 7/11/2014 11:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 7/11/2014 11:37AM

    Sounds like you have been having a lot of fun riding and connecting with old (and new) friends. I've never riden the Kazoo Trail but have you tried Kal-Haven? Perhaps they connect (probably since the Kal is for Kalamazoo). I've riden part of that one. Fun times.

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MTN_KITTEN 7/11/2014 10:56AM

    Have fun ... you animal you. Who knew????

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KANOE10 7/11/2014 8:10AM

    What a wonderful trip and how fun to meet a fellow Sparkie. You look healthy and happy. It must be have brought many memories back to revisit your campus. I love that house! I live in the town of my college so I see the changes.

Have a great trip my friend!

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_LINDA 7/11/2014 1:31AM

    What a fabulous,fun time you are having, meeting online friends and hopefully connecting with old ones :) I would love to meet my Sparkies someday, but it would involve quite the long trip.
Nice to see you so relaxed, don't worry, be happy is the theme here!

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WATERMELLEN 7/10/2014 9:10PM

    Wow!! You look great and are clearly WAAAAAAY out of the bubble!! What a friendly outgoing person you are . . . love the idea of connecting with alumni!!

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WOMANWITHGRIT 7/10/2014 8:48PM

    Oh, the rides sound grand - both on the road and down your college memory lane. When you decide to ride in NW Illinois, count me in. (I've decided to get fit!)
I received my MSW in 1981, Syracuse University, after several years in public child welfare post BSW.

Good to know you're back in the saddle, Don. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 7/10/2014 8:07PM

    How wonderful to meet so many other sparkies! I think that's awesome.

Thank you for sharing the pictures and details of your experience!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/10/2014 6:53PM

    I totally second that endorsement of meeting fellow Sparkers in person. Every one that I have met has been a delight, and just as they are online! emoticon emoticon

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THINFITFEMINIST 7/10/2014 6:47PM

    I am so glad that you are doing what you are doing. It's also wonderful that you are having such lovely experiences with meeting SparkFriends.

I had the other end of the spectrum happen on more than one occasion so please forgive me for not taking up on any more of these meet and greets in the future.

Enjoy your family and friends.

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FERRETLOVER1 7/10/2014 6:36PM

    What a cool house! Love the colors.

It's amazing how much things change, isn't it?

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Bubble No More!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today I decided I will not live in a bubble any longer and Eliquis (my anti-coagulant) was NOT going to keep me off the bike! A friendly nudge from 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI pointed me in the direction of this blog:

afibrunner.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/
what-activities-are-safe-while-on-anti
coagulants/


While I know there are bike club members on anti-coagulants who ride and it's been in the back of my mind if the anti-coagulant was going to be long term that I may just have to buck up and ride anyway, this blog sorta tipped the scales finally to help me say: ENOUGH! Get on the BIKE! My new Brooks Flyer Saddle is long, LONG overdue to get broken in...although I'm not sure which got broken, the saddle or my backside...lol! Actually I rode it "okay"...Brooks' leather saddles are notorious for requiring months of riding before they conform nicely to one's bottom and morph into the best saddle you can ride.

So I tossed a towel in my pannier, grabbed my iPhone & RoadID and off I went! Been a long, long time since last fall...kinda wobbly like Bambi's first steps for a few RPMs, but reclaimed the road very nicely with an easy-peasey 20 mile ride up to Whitney Point and back. Gorgeous day, soaking up the sun, smiling and even singing out loud along the way, reprising that Stevie Wonder song that's been stuck on my brain mentioned in my last blog: I Love Every Little Thing About You...lovin' my bike, lovin' the day, lovin' the world!

Keep 'er Sparkin' everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRIE1948 7/16/2014 7:59AM

    Good for you

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/16/2014 7:23AM

    Wow it sure took me long enough to see this post. :-o

I'm so glad to hear you are back in the saddle. For some people, our activities are sort of non-negotiable. Cycling for you, white water kayaking for me.

Which I've finally done twice in the last two weekends. I am so freakin' relieved I won't have to hang up my paddle due to this relocation. The thought was just about killing me.

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SPEEDYDOG 7/5/2014 10:13AM

    Hi Don,

There is always an element of risk with physical activity. Just think of the risk if you don't ride and keep fit.

You have a great attitude.

Thanks, Bruce

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SAM60SUMTHINK 6/30/2014 12:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SASSYCHRIS1952 6/28/2014 11:07AM

    As always, I love your determination! emoticon

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ZELLAZM 6/28/2014 5:46AM

    Yay, Don! Yay, Stevie!

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VALERIEMAHA 6/23/2014 5:01PM

    A Thousand Times YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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DOKEYOKEY 6/23/2014 2:11PM

    Great that you are riding again! I can see it brings you great joy.


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_MOBII_ 6/23/2014 1:06PM

    Whoop whoop! Back at it!

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L*I*T*A* 6/23/2014 11:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/23/2014 9:10AM

    Honestly, I would have made the same decision. Happy trails!

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 6/23/2014 8:43AM

    I LOVE seenig this positivity! And I'm glad you had a beautiful easy ride.

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BILL60 6/23/2014 7:57AM

    That's the way to enjoy life.

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WATERMELLEN 6/23/2014 7:33AM

    Yay anja for pointing you at the article that gave you the balanced and reasoned reassurance that you needed.

Love to hear that joy!!

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FERRETLOVER1 6/23/2014 7:08AM

    I am so very happy for you, Don! Enjoy every single emoticon and remember to listen to your body!

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SPINNINGJW 6/23/2014 7:01AM

    Glad to hear that you are back in the saddle. It seems as if you have weighed the risks and are willing to take some risk to be able to live your life. Good article link, by the way, and I am sure your doctor would rather you be active than sit around moping.

Keep smiling, singing and LIVING your life!
emoticon emoticon

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THINFITFEMINIST 6/23/2014 5:43AM

    You need to live YOUR life. Riding is a major part of that. emoticon

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BILLB000 6/23/2014 12:57AM

    I like the way you are thinking these days. Pleased that you are feeling upbeat these days. You deserve it.


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_LINDA 6/23/2014 12:05AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon is where you were meant to be!
Your background looks so inviting! It would be lovely to see the sun again and dry out here!
Enjoy, you only have one life to live and its too short to deny yourself your favorite activity!

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WOMANWITHGRIT 6/22/2014 10:08PM

    So happy for you, Don.....riding again and a Brooks to boot! Yep, I've had one and they are great --------------after that initial period. emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 6/22/2014 10:02PM

    Heeee's BBBBBack! Good for you. Glad you had a marvelous ride.

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STRIVERONE 6/22/2014 9:46PM

    You are going to be fine. Just don't put your bike on auto-pilot and don't ride when you're exhausted.

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GROEDER 6/22/2014 9:43PM

    Sounds like a very good ride!!!
Good luck with the new saddle (and your back side!!!)
Gregg

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HAPPY-DESTINY 6/22/2014 9:26PM

    emoticon emoticon

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