Town Crier: Spandex spurs New Years Resolutions

MONTCLARION: Jan. 1, 2016

It’s New Year’s Day — time to shape plans for 2016. And speaking of shape, the number-one resolution, according to, is to lose weight. Which leads me to my first column item ….

For several decades, a group of senior women have been meeting to exercise in Montclair. There’ve been various venues, and the gals come and go, but the base group has hung in there for years. In fact, reader Joanne Sandstrom says she started going after reading about it in my column.

“What keeps us together? Not spandex,” she laughs. Rather, it’s the stories that bond — a sharing of sitcoms and soap operas. “New grandkids. Crotchety old parents. College graduations. Weddings. Illnesses. Deaths. All of life. We hash it over as we’re bending and stretching and lifting weights.”

The weighty issue of politics is, however, off the table. Better to spend time debating the really important stuff — like the best local restaurant for a special occasion. Or who’s going to win the Big Game.

“We have people with Cal-Stanford rivalries within their own families. Whatever it is, one of us has been there, done that,” Sandstrom says.

And, because they are women with vast reservoirs of knowledge, their tips are better than anything you’ll get in Ask Heloise. “We remember the old housecleaning tips. Polishing silver. Cleaning nasty oven racks ….” The gals could go on and on ….

This welcoming group is always looking for drop-ins. There’s no need to commit to a contract, just come whenever you can. The ladies meet Monday and Wednesday from 8 to 9 a.m. at Montclair Presbyterian Church, 5701 Thornhill Road. Join them and knock out one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Around town: Congratulations to Duvin, the Montclair wine and live music venue that has been selected for the 2015 Best Businesses of Oakland Award in the Wine Bars category. The award recognizes businesses that have exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. Duvin has built a following in large part through email, sidewalk signs and social media.

Meanwhile, Pour Wine Bar & Bistro has been busy since opening last month. On a recent night, I popped in to find an old friend enjoying the house specialty dish — risotto. Owner Cheri Sprenger says the winter menu also features a tomato fennel bisque soup with a smoked cheddar and fontina cheese sandwich. I wonder what wine she’d pair with that yummy comfort food?

Email bag: Thanks to Paula Hawthorn for clearing up the mystery of what group was protesting on Dec. 12 in Montclair. She runs the organization Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), bringing attention to street violence in Oakland. The protest at Mountain and Moraga brought attention to the murder of Reynaldo Vasquez. You can read about the case at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s