Exercise. We all need it. Some of us enjoy it, even crave it. Some of us do just enough to get by. And for many, there’s a happy-enough middle ground.
Darlene here. I’m not a huge fan. I enjoy nature walks and getting out in the fresh air and sunshine on a nice day. But I don’t wake up all bright and cheery and ready to hit the gym. I do most of my exercising at home. If I did a public gym, I’d feel the need to look somewhat presentable in terms of hair, clothes and make-up. Instead, I put on some music, and I watch the clock on my microwave oven as I jog an interior “track” around my kitchen, run up and down the stairs and perform squats and jumping jacks in my dining room. I struggle to stay motivated or interested for a full thirty minutes.
But a new piece of technology is helping me enjoy the daily drudgery a little more. It’s an electronic frame we received from the kids for Christmas that plays several hundred digital photos. My husband recently loaded a variety of photos onto the frame. The pics cover a huge range of time, but mostly from when our youngest was five or six to the present. There are proms, vacations, holidays, school events, weddings and more vacations and trips.
What does this have to do with exercising? Well, I can set the frame in a prominent place along my “route,” then take a jog down memory lane while I work out. It’s actually made my routine more fun. Yes, fun! 🙂 In fact, I use it as a little motivation to add some extra pep to my steps. Each photo only shows for a few seconds. So, if I want to make sure I don’t miss any, I have to hurry to get around the kitchen and turn the corner in time to see the next photo! The novelty may soon wear off, but for now, it’s something to help keep my eyes off the clock!
I know a woman who reads while she exercises. I can’t concentrate through all the bouncing and movement. Another friend takes her camera on her walks, and she takes pictures of nature while she’s walking. Another listens to podcasts. Whatever it takes to get the job done, right? How do you get your daily “steps” or exercise? Please share your ideas!
Speaking of exercising, sometimes it’s good to burn off calories. Sometimes, it can help burn off a little steam. Sometimes, you need to get rid of some excess energy or get lost in a mindless activity so you can think.
In my sweet romance, “The Story Between Us,” Reed has had an unexpected absence from the gym and is feeling like a slug. Here’s a short excerpt:
— Ten minutes later, he turned into the center’s parking lot and didn’t even remember the drive. He grabbed his duffle and jogged up the sidewalk, ready for a good workout. The sounds and scents of people and equipment in motion greeted him in the entryway.
“Holy hell. Look who’s here.”
When a familiar voice reached him over the din of machinery, Reed stopped short.
“Beginning to think I’d never see you again.”
With a wry grin, Reed met his friend at the door to the weight room and punched him on the shoulder. “Hey.”
“Where’s the kid?” Mitch glanced behind Reed.
“Someone’s watching him for a couple of hours.”
“That’s great, so you finally got some babysitters lined up. That means you’ll start coming to basketball again? Can you get someone tomorrow? We’ve got people coming over to watch the Cowboys game. You in?”
Mitch’s questions hit in rapid succession. But the last one hit hard. Tomorrow. They had no plans. Tomorrow, Kristen would be gone. “Not sure I could get someone on short notice.”
“So, plan on next weekend. I mean it. Bring Dylan along if you have to.” He swung a towel across his shoulders.
“You on your way out?” Reed asked.
“Nah, think I’ll do some running.” He hitched a thumb. “You coming?”
Reed hesitated. Did he want some company and conversation, or would he rather get lost in his own thoughts?
“Come on,” Mitch pressed. “How’s the job? They promote you yet?”
They claimed side-by-side treadmills and hollered over the low humming of the machinery.
“Don’t have an official offer. Wassmer retires end of the year. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m thinking right before Christmas, and we get a fresh start January one.” Assuming he could stay on top of things until then. He couldn’t wait for his current boss, Dan Wassmer, to retire. The man was a chauvinistic, good-ol’-boy, throwback from earlier days, who’d been biding his time for a couple of years. He did little around the office except get in the way and annoy the hell out of the people, especially the women, around him. Reed suspected all along that Wassmer was transferred to his area as a stopgap between being useful and retiring.
He increased the resistance on the machine, though it probably wasn’t necessary since thinking of the situation at work easily increased his heart rate—or blood pressure.
With Kristen around all week, he figured his heart rate was already elevated. He probably should’ve made some special plans for today. Some little surprise. He glanced at his watch. Could he still pull off something? What could he do?
“So, you free all day?” Mitch asked. “We could grab some guys for a pick-up game.”
“Nope. Just a couple of hours.” He thought about the offer, though. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d hung with the guys. Weekends with the guys fell into the before-Dylan timeframe. But he couldn’t ask Kristen for more time—not today. Check that. He wasn’t giving up any more time that he could be spending with Kristen today. Twenty minutes later, Reed parted ways with Mitch. “I gotta do some weights. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Mitch nodded. “Sounds good. Remember, my place next weekend.”
Reed gave a tentative thumbs-up. He spent another twenty minutes lifting weights then headed for the shower. Couldn’t stop thinking about doing something for Kristen. She appreciated the tea he left the first day she came to his place. Maybe she liked surprise gifts. Or flowers. Didn’t every woman like flowers? Or chocolate? Raking a hand through his hair, Reed laughed at himself. He really was not this inept. But something about Kristen made him want to make sure he got it right. He wanted the smile that lit up her whole face to be because of him.—
When a children’s book author gets a story idea from a young fan who’s lost his parents in a tragic accident, she knows she’s hit gold. She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake. But the boy’s guardian sees exploitation.
The Story Between Us is available in digital format and paperback online.