International Women’s Day Can Be Any Day

March brings many events to our attention. Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (IWD), St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness are just a few well-known commemorative dates. According to the National Day Calendar, there’s more where that came from and it’s hard not to relate to these initiatives. They all share a common base, to recognize actions to be made aware of and/or to celebrate those who have made an impact.

Zumba instructors Jen Gilmore, left, and Felice Merzel Danielson, Zumba Fitness Instructor & PoundFit Instructor at ZING Fitness Zumba studio are putting the fun into fitness for residents of The Summit of Plantsville, CT.

IWD is both a shout out to all women achievers and those that make the world a better place. In Southington, two individuals have been doing just that. Zumba instructors Jen Gilmore and Felice Merzel Danielson, Zumba Fitness Instructor & PoundFit Instructor at ZING Fitness Zumba studio provide exercise for inbound patient/residents of The Summit in Plantsville.

The idea came about as a way to bring variety of exercise to folks that typically have a routine in place. “The residents are waiting for us, the dancing ladies, at the door,” Gilmore said. “We wanted to bring Zumba to patients at The Summit, because exercise can help in many more ways than just physical,” added Danielson. “It’s about connecting with people and being social, that can really help improve the quality of someone’s day. We call it ‘Zingfit Zumba through the ages’ at The Summit because it’s something everyone can do!” Classes held at The Summit take place Friday mornings at 9:30 am.

The Summit At Plantsville is short-term rehabilitation, long-term, respite, hospice and dementia care facility. The Zumba classes add fun to physical activity, with lively music and movements. Safety is well accounted for, says Danielson, with Occupational Therapists present during sessions. “We modify the sets according to ability of each participant.”

Gilmore and Danielson share their story here: Their actions are a reminder that putting your best intentions into the world can be something that happens everyday, if you want it to. The theme for IWD is #BeBoldForChange. The next time you see something you’d like to change, remember it only takes one step, one action to affect change. Why not start there?

For ZING Fitness Zumba class schedules and costs use email: or visit their Facebook page for more information.





Notes From The Pavement

I’m running again, albeit slowly. Today’s route of 3.16 miles took me longer than I’ve done it previously, in my ‘better shape’ days. That’s to be expected. When you slack off for two years and find your way back to the pavement, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

Honestly I didn’t really even take note of the time exactly. It had to be about 5:15 – 5:20 when I started. Thoughts I notice are typical: how exposed am I to a loose dog? I had just started to run when I hear a pooch crying. I turned around and saw a lab, sitting outside calling to its owner. I’m always just a bit wary that the animal will stir by the sight of a human, compared to the steady flow of traffic.

Doing intervals is good. There’s no guilt if I stop running to regulate breathing. There’s always the next mailbox post to run towards after pacing with long, walking strides. I noticed one homeowner took to the afternoon to remove their Christmas decorations in March, just in time for St. Patty’s Day.


Savage St. Loop – Southington, CT

Garbage seems to be all over the road. Not just discarded soda bottles, but floss sticks and flattened metal pieces of indistinguishable objects gone rusty. Cigarette butts make me want to run faster, but my legs feel heavy. To my surprise the end of the loop was in sight. It’ll be nice when the grass turns green and the weather gets warmer. In the meantime, one day of exercise is one step closer to health.



Running: One Step at A Time

It’s been a long time coming, but I think I found my way back. To running that is. It’s unclear why I stopped especially when I did. My workouts consisted of three to four times per week running anywhere between three to five miles. I completed four 5k races within one year, improving my time with each race. I’m not competitive with anyone but did enjoy seeing and feeling the effects of being in decent shape. The longest distance I’ve ever run is probably about eight miles but I can’t be scientific about it.

I kept track of my road running efforts using Mapmyrun. It’s a nifty program that creates mileage maps of where you run. It can even calculate calories burned, I guess depending on the time you clock the distance.  I refer to 2010 as the year of my best running.

It feels tentative but I think the funk that has taken hold since 2010 is losing its grip. Why, I wonder, does somebody just suddenly stop doing the things that make them feel healthy and vie for inertia? My best guess is depression. Suffice to say there’s enough life stresses that can cause depression. The trick is knowing that and in spite of recognition, figuring out how to counteract the ugly beast!

An impetus towards getting back on track has been a 6 week challenge to realign eating habits paired with exercises while watching television. The idea of watching Scandal and working on my abs simultaneously kind of feels scandalous!! So far, it’s been going well with the exception of some lower back pain. Exercising actually helped after laying off for one day – so it seems the body remembers what feels good. That’s what I’m telling myself.

I revisited my profile on Mapmyrun and calculated my distance today and was pleasantly surprised. I ran nearly 2.41miles in about twenty-five minutes. I stopped a few times to get used to the pace. Considering I haven’t run in some time – I was happy! It felt great to move about.

A working mantra – running, like any endeavor, is best accomplished one step at a time.

Is Safety Ever Overplayed? One Company’s Quest

I work for The Marlin Company, when I’m not working freelance. The core product Marlin produces are communications in print and flash media. All materials cover workplace safety issues, and when you think about it, safety is a subject anyone can relate to. Take the latest weather conditions that recently hit Connecticut.

Whichever the reference ~ Winter Storm Nemo, or in weather geek terminology, Blizzard Charlotte, the northeast was hit with record snowfalls that had many remembering old times, like the snowstorm of 1978. That storm has been indexed as ‘Blizzard of ’78’ and if you Google that search term, the resulting images ironically resembles Nemo! No surprises there – snow is snow. That much hasn’t changed in forty-four years!

Some of my co-workers won’t remember 1978, having not been born yet. I don’t remember it per say because I wasn’t driving then or didn’t own any property. The snow probably was a nuisance, something that interrupted the normal convenience factors of getting around.

The Marlin Company chose to close Monday following Saturday’s downfall. As an employee that news was a godsend, considering the roads were unplowed and couldn’t be navigated anyway.

Local news coverage was non-stop and critics made fun of the media saying they took a natural weather event and turned it into a media frenzy – and that comes at a cost of creating its own panic. How can the media do a better job? Should they merely report and not dramatize? Which would you rather have a pure factual transmission or the many visuals of reporters standing in 15 inches of snow?

My vote is it’s better to have a descriptive report on the conditions. For as many times as safety tips are conveyed, lives are still lost. As reported by Associated Press an 11-year-old Boston boy died when he sat in a running car to keep warm after shoveling. The exhaust pipe hadn’t been cleared and the fumes collected in the vehicle.


It’s alway better to be informed. What you do with the information is up to you. Today The Marlin Company had a “Lunch and Learn” program courtesy of Diana Minelli, Human Resource Manager. The topic: making better food choices and an introduction to the Cross-Fit brand. Two speaker trainers from Shorline CrossFit presented, David Plumey and Carl Chu, and kudos to them and Diane for giving their time to share tips about the Paleo diet.

Both Plumey and Chu spoke about glycemic index, good food sources for energy and the benefits of exercise. Nothing new, but ever the need to remind people – how to make better choices with food.  A little effort can go a long way! My take away is be inspired. How I know this is when I eat pizza, I feel heavy. When I eat healthily I feel light. Such a simple deduction and yet most people, me included, find it hard to stay away from favorites.

This evening I heeded the inspiration and had oven baked salmon, broccoli rabe with red bell pepper. I baked an egg frittata for breakfast. At some point a person has to make efforts towards changes that promote a better way. Why not now?



Massage Gives Employees Reprieve From Desks

Do companies care if their staff is happy? No it’s not a trick question, some do, and the way they show it is in sponsoring opportunities that benefit employees. The Marlin Company, a Wallingford workplace communications publisher, takes it one step further, and held a massage day, Friday, to keep staff relaxed.

Licensed Massage Therapist Carol Starrett, left, works on Sandy Anderson's back during office visit at The Marlin Company, massage day.

For a ten-minute spot all that was required was an r.s.v.p. Two Licensed Massage Therapists, Carol Starrett and Jenny Mooney, set up chairs on site and made a lot of people feel better.

For desk-bound workers sitting in one place for long periods of time can cause stiff necks, and lower back problems. “It’s important to get up and stretch periodically,” said Starrett who also is a licensed LPN. Starrett says she became a massage therapist simply because she enjoys learning about the body and helping people improve their overall health.

While administering the massage Starrett checks in with client’s concerns, asking them if the pressure being applied is ok. There were no objections. Three women each said they felt great after their ten minute massage and even though it was short, being able to relax had an immediate effect on their body.

Debra Moody is treated to a neck massage by Licensed Massage Therapist Carol Starrett, who visited The Marlin Company for massage day.

Typically during a massage session that can last one hour, a client can opt to concentrate on problem areas. There are several different kinds of massage techniques such as Reiki, Shiatsu, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology, Sports, Neuromuscular, and Rolfing that concentrate on specific areas.

In order to practice massage therapy licensing is required and the terms vary by state. In Connecticut 5oo hours of classroom time in an accredited school, followed by exam and course fees apply. For a full description outlining Connecticut requirements visit Department of Health link.

Massage can also improve headaches associated with prolonged eye strain from staring at a screen. Simple sets of repetitive shoulder rotation may reduce muscle tension that can cause chronic headaches.

Licensed Massage Therapist Carol Starrett adjusts the head rest for Sandy Anderson during her visit to The Marlin Company for massage day.

Starrett offered other techniques such as setting up your workstation and your position in the chair in an ergonomic fashion. If a person wears bifocals, it’s important that the reading height is comfortable to avoid straining the neck to read the screen.

The timing of massage is always right, but was particularly delightful on the Friday before a long Memorial Day weekend.What a nice send off for the holiday!

Carol Starrett’s company ‘Star Touch Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork’ offers services in the Meriden, Cheshire, Southington, Wallingford and surrounding communities and can be reached via email at until website is finalized.