Moving right along

The long, hot and dry days of summer are a memory now. They pull on the mind; like watching a sweet little fluff ball of a kitten scampering down the road. You want to reach out and pull in close, feel its cuddly warmth against your skin only you can’t because it keeps moving further away.

Yeah, I was doing a lot of sighing as I watched the rainy season blow summer off.

Then, fall took a nose-dive into winter and brought with it cold, crisp, sunny days. And Man-Wonder and I got the urge to get moving and so far we’ve kept the momentum up.

Yeah, I’ve been a wearing a surprised expression too!

We’ve even found a really cool walk in the middle of the city. It’s like a mini-forest, ringed with a single path around the exterior of it. That path is a city walk—traffic on all sides! But one you veer inside and start walking through the trail as it loops back and forth under a dense canopy of maples, firs and cedars you forget where you are. All city sounds disappear and you forget everything except the feeling that your toes want to reach up and kiss your face in joy and appreciation of the soft thick carpet of bark mulch and fallen needles beneath them.

The whole walk, around the woods and inside on one giant looping trail is only about 1 mile total but it’s not just a walk. No way! It’s also an exercise circuit—exercise stations are strategically placed along the trails; from monkey bars to pole climbs, from push up benches to posts for leap-frogging over.

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I’m proud to say neither Man-Wonder, nor myself, hurt ourselves on any of the three times we’ve done this loopy walk so far. . .

. . . and I’ve taken pictures of every single exercise stop we’ve quickly walked past.

Walking Idiots . . . or. . . Idiots Walking?

Morrell Nov 8 2014 (10)

Man-wonder and I have been wandering in the bushes again. Okay, bushes within park boundaries.

We decided it was time to retry our luck in Morrell Sanctuary—a skookum inner-city walking park wrapped around a small lake. The last time we walked it we accidentally ended up on the highest peak in the park. Which is not a place I’d go willingly, since I grew up in a small town built on a steep hill.

And, yes, once again we wandered off onto a wrong path. Our big clue this time, after long passing Morrell Lake,  was seeing the sparkle of another lake through the trees—a much larger lake, and one that didn’t belong to our park.

Or should I say, the park we shoulda’ been in? After getting ourselves turned around the right way, we had a fun walk back; kicking and crunching our way along trails thick with  leaves and marveling at how quiet, aside from us,  the park was.

Eventually, we arrived back at our starting point—and because we were finally  in a ‘let’s pay attention to the signs’ mode we caught the two we’d missed going in:

One reported recent bear sightings.

The other listed a cougar sighting from that morning!

. .  . . . . So what did we learn?

That either we learn to read every freaking sign OR we take up running. Because, at our normal speed, where we are regularly passed by the elderly with their walkers—what’s our chances of outrunning a wild beastie . . . ?

bear

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day, and Grasping the Chicken—no—Bird’s Tail

th3J2ANQPKRemembrance Day approaches and I am indebted to those souls who served this country. Not only for what they gave, heart, soul and body during those horrific times, but also on a much more selfish, itty-bitty minded way as this year the day of remembrance falls on a Tuesday and that means our Tai Chi workshop misses a week.

For that I am most selfishly doubly indebted and grateful.

Many years ago I dragged Man-Wonder to a Tai Chi workshop. It was something new and slightly exotic at that time. The instructor wore a loose black uniform, long dark hair and had a small genetic relationship to the Oriental race. It was in a three words—shivery delicious and mysterious.

Too bad I couldn’t say the same for the workouts. I think I made it through most of the sessions (okay, more than half of them). Man-Wonder took to it like a frog to a lily pad and has practiced the form on and off ever since.

Two months ago our neighbor/friend, who belongs to a city club for seniors convinced me to join up and take the Tai Chi beginners course with her. Yes, I admit it — they let me join—musta’ been that wrinkle in my forehead that convinced them.

There was nothing mysterious or exotic about this class as the instructor is a delightful close-to-eighty-something woman with a long sense of humor. She would be making it almost enjoyable bearable—if it wasn’t for the moves. And while she is funny, she is also a first class big honking liar.

Three point two minutes into the first class and she says, “Now class, I’m going to show you the first move.” And then she whips through about six hundred mini-motions.

“Everyone get that?” she asks so sweetly when done. And everyone, except we two, nod like idiots on a stick!

Seriously, c’mon, how could anyone get it that fast?

And I suddenly remembered why I’d not fallen in love with Tai Chi oh-so-long ago. It’s a hell of a lot of work. Body and mind. Not only do you have to remember the sequence of steps within each named move but you also have to watch where your feet are going in connection with your hands plus you have to keep remembering which is right and which is left and that the instructor is moving opposite to you.

No wonder I come home cranky and needing a nap.

Only there is Man-Wonder eagerly waiting so he and I can go through the moves together. Yeah, he flows and I’m like Velcro glomping. . .

But I will persist. And even with my friend and I trying to remember the moves in the common area out back, and even with us making up our own names for the moves we sort-of remember, and even as Man-Wonder walks away shaking his head, I will persist.

Even if it means taking that beginner’s class over and over . . .

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. . . .and over.

Digging the nose out of books is difficult at times

Cripes, can you believe it—after almost two years of writing weekly, I forgot today was Wednesday. Totally and completely blew out of my head. Age? Gooberness? Nothing to say? Nah—just ask Man-Wonder about that one. . .

Truthfully, once again, I’ve been too busy reading—books, articles, blogs, cereal boxes—anything!

Like, I’m a fan of Cathy Johnson; her style of art and her blog; so when she talked about a book called breathing room, well, I had to check it out. She’s in the midst of clutter-busting and this book is a how-to of getting to the core of cluttering. But, not just physical clutter—it’s also about chucking up the emotional/mental clutter, opening up space in the heart so we can open up space in our living areas.

breathing room   is co-written by Lauren Rosenfeld and Dr. Melva Green. It’s a package deal of humor, real-life stories from people they’ve helped, exercises to do, and spiritual lessons.

I’m only up to chapter 15 at this point and already I’ve been requested by Man-Wonder not to bring it to the coffee shop because I keep interrupting his reading. Can I help it when I come across a part that I think he should hear.

Remember what I said at the beginning about never having nothing to say!

So far, this book is proving to be one of those books I’ve discovered right at the time I am needing it. In the last while I’ve noticed there is way, WAY more coming in to this non-mobile mobile home than there is going out, and it’s beginning to feel stuff-o-cating at times.

And, by the way, for those early morning, mid-day, or late evening coffee sits with dear husband, I’ve started taking along Annelise Ryan’s whodunits. They crack me up.  She is funny and fresh and clever.

So, trust Man-Wonder to complain about them too! He says my laughing  is interrupting him . . .

. . . any wonder I call him Man-Wonder ???

Waiting and Watching

sorry dog

Fall strikes me as a time of waiting and watching.

  • Waiting for the shortest day of the year to arrive and then watching the days grow back, minute by minute, until it’s—YAH—summertime again
  • Waiting for this year to end because it is so close now that 2015′s  fresh breath is tickling our senses.
  • Waiting for the leaves to turn their brilliant backsides of oranges, yellows and reds to us.
  • Watching the leaves fall until just the right moment when they hit the perfect crunch level. And then, when no one else is watching we kick our way through them and smile at that momentary spurt of youth again
  • Waiting for the first frost to knock the stuffing out of any flowers brave enough to still be hanging around because the gardening urge hit the compost pile about a month back
  • Hearing the frantic chatter of the birds as they dart here and dart there, finding less and less before they give up and flee in flocks from the coming cold
  • Waiting for the goofy squirrels in the park to stop moving their nuts from one tree to another and carefully watching for them as they have the oddest habit of waiting until a vehicle is rolling by before they make a mad dash in front of it. I often wonder if it’s squirrely suicide because they’re over-frazzled  from their nutty business.

But mostly, for me this fall, I am waiting and watching the pounds melt away. Eight so far. Yah for me as I switch back to better eating habits and more—okay honestly—some exercise. We’ve dusted off and pumped up the old bicycles and are trying for rides between the rainfalls and I’ve found a new twist-on-an-old-cliché mantra to murmur whenever drool-producing smell wafts too close;

If I keep doing the same old, I’ll be living the old same.

And who the hell wants to do that eh. . .

 

A week of oddball bits (sorry Man-wonder)

Man-wonder has been slowly losing heart as he de-mouse-s the sun porch.

De-mouse-ing in the sense of removing and replacing the ‘Mickey Mouse’ work done by previous owners of this mo-bile we now call home.

But, I think I’ve found a bit of motivation with this picture I came across.

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Now that’s a sun porch! And I plan to show it to him tomorrow. I figure it’ll send him heading down one of two paths—either he’ll realize how tiny our sun porch  is compared to this mammoth and he’ll strap on his tool-belt  with renewed vigor OR he’ll like it and decide we should rip down and redo bigger. . . Either way it should be a win-win situation. . .

On a completely different note I came across these little treasures during the week:

 

 

  •  A great short video where Momastery blogger Glennon Doyle Melton talks about finally owning her body as well as saying the f-a-r-t word out loud; http://momastery.com/blog/

 

What’s a pound anyway?

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“You have two months to get your blood pressure down to a normal state or you will begin taking medication.”

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“Awwwkk!”

An excerpt from my most recent conversation with my doctor. Nice person but one I try not to see more than twice a year. Mostly because I can find much more comfortable places to wait, and wait, and wait. . . Nor do I like sitting in a large room where a small percentage of the other ‘waiters’ are coughing up god knows what into little white tissues they hold in their fists like a child holds candy. And it is kind of terrifyingly fascinating to watch those poor souls who you just know aren’t going to be coming back for many more doctor visits while wondering if that will be your fate also.

Aside from those reasons, I find one visit to the doctor for a simple matter will always lead to two or three more visits because she/he is determined that since you are there they are going to check every freaking little and not-so-little part. They are going to poke and probe and tap and maybe, if they are lucky, they’ll find some rare or catastrophic disease in their hunt.

Not that I’ll ever admit it but I like her thoroughness. I just wish she could use a bit of physic ability and see into my energy fields for problems. It sure would save a lot of time and blood testing. . .

So, Man-wonder and I are embarking on our second time on the GI Diet lifestyle. This time it truly does have to become a lifestyle . . .

one pound of fat — A motivational image to keep us hanging in there.

 

A mountain called Memory

 For as long as I can remember, when I was too busy to mentally hang onto information I’d file it away, thinking I’ll pull it out later.
Well, that ‘later’ pile grew, and grew, into some ginormous mountain, overflowing with layers upon layers of things to remember, nuggets of thought.
However, the trouble was that once the pile grew too big, many of my little ‘remembers’ didn’t have enough steam to make it to the top of the heap and then like an abandoned sled on an icy hill, they began slipping downhill, gathering speed until they splashed into the deep dark murky pool of empty at the bottom of the mountain.
Some thoughts obviously drowned. Never to be remembered again
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POOF—GONE!
 Some managed to stay afloat, floating around belly-up as they gathered enough energy to try another run to the top.
And some actually make it!
Their arrival, like a tiny pleasurable electric shock make my lips twitch upwards as I snap my fingers and say, “Oh, yeah, right, now I remember. . . “
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And sometimes, in my own clumsy way, my hunt for a certain fact or thought will be strong enough to pull the memory out of the sludge and yank it up to the top like it’s on a tow rope. Those days make me swear there’s nothing wrong with my memory that a little muscle won’t fix. .
Nothing at all . .
And on a completely different subject—from the book of interviews titled A Different Kind Of Luxury (written by Andy Couturier) he is offered this thought on culture & civilization by Masanori Oe:
‘In one sense it is an illusion; something that exists only in our minds. People tend to think that without all the things that make up culture and civilization we couldn’t live. We think, living in society, that we are lacking all kinds of things. That’s why we make movies & books & all kinds of material objects, creating more civilization. The whole time we are desperately chasing after some nourishment elsewhere. An illusion.’
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Books on the shelf, under the shelf, and everywhere else too.

What’s been on and what’s on my reading shelf this past month……………………..

1591797691The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren.

Karla is an empathic counselor. She shows us how, through words and exercises, we can live a more healthy conscious life by understanding what our emotions are telling us and by becoming the natural empathics we all are. Or would be if we hadn’t buried the ability so deeply. . . . . . . I’m only part way through it because it’s one of those read/stop/think/ read/stop/think  types of books. Worth it so far!

193333083x A Different Kind of Luxury by Andy Couturier.

This book is so good, so rich I can almost taste it as I read. The author has interviewed, stayed with, and captured the lives of eleven Japanese people who chose to live a simple life in the mountains of rural Japan rather than city life. They are farmers, potters, philosophers and artists living what the author calls a luxurious life of nature. I find myself craving what they have. How will I feel by the end of the book? It’s another one of those pondering books and I want to read every single word on every single page.

untitledAndy is also author of a book for writers called Writing Open the Mind. (It’s on my list)

1401943101 Tune In by Sonia Choquette.

Sonia is a writer and an intuitive guide. Anything she writes is worth reading. This book is on how to connect to a part of us we have lost, or disconnected from. She writes easy.

0307452980 Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting The Soul by Deepak Chopra.

I remember the first time I ever read a Deepak book. It blew me away. It felt like I’d found a whole new world and it changed my thinking. And I still feel he is one of the best teachers out there.

Now for the fun stuff………………………………………………

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Clive Cussler’s Fargo series—I inhaled them. What’s not to enjoy about Remi and Sam?

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Discovered Michael Lee West’s  character Teeny Templeton. Best fun I’ve had ignoring housework in a while following her misadventures!

0451240901  And yahoo for another hoot-able book by Juliet Blackwell deaturing her witch character Lily Ivory and Lilie’s pot-bellied-pig familiar Oscar.

And right now, and the reason I have to stop blogging is because I’m in the middle of another fantastic discovery:

146420294x—Susan Slater’s super Insurance Investigator character, Dan Mahoney. I’m reading Rollover with Flashflood  to follow. (Wrong order I know, but when a writer is this good, who cares. . . )

I hear pages rustling—gotta’ go

A squirrel but no licorice or good trees.

Man-wonder and I had been talking about getting back into camping after an absence of ten years plus.

We finally made it out last weekend.

The plan was to use our comfy double chair mattress in the back of the truck, but, at the eleventh hour, we stood there staring at the skinnier-by-the-minute space between the wheel wells (our truck is small) and zipped out to find a tent. camp site (4)Which we did. We also found a cool camp stove, two skookum (hefty) folding chairs

and a hammock, because who goes camping without one and we no longer had one.

As for the tent—They say ‘three person tent’ but what they really mean is three of those short stick people you see on decals on vehicles.

And heaven knows what we were, or weren’t, thinking about the chair mattress since it was the perfect size to fit between the wheel wells. Which meant the wheel wells would hold us on the mattress right? But since the tent was about two feet wider – if we didn’t keep a firm grip on each other  we’d be kissing the tent floor. . . I think we did more cuddling in one weekend than we have in the last ten years.

camp site day sights (1) I like camping!

We thought we’d reserved the ‘perfect’ campsite.  It had stunning views of the strait and there was a lovely winding river fifteen feet below our site.The launching area for canoes and kayaks was spitting distance away and hey—the bathrooms were even closer. And boy, were we impressed with the way the gravel covering the whole site was raked to perfection for us.

But have you ever tried to sneak out of a tent and walk across gravel at two in the morning for a pee-run?

If the unzippering/zippering of the tent flap doesn’t give you up, the tiptoeing-across-gravel and still sounding like dragging chains sure will. No worry about meeting up with a bear or a cougar—the gravel works better than any old bear whistle.

The most disappointing moment (other than realizing I’d forgotten to bring licorice) was when I realized there was nowhere to hang my hammock! The  only trees close enough together were three feet over the bank at edge of the campsite. Meaning, if we managed to hang the hammock I’d have to take a flying leap to get into it. . . Yeah-No. It’s still in its protective sealed bag.

Back on the good side of our adventure—we canoed up the river as far as we could and at one point we paddled over a school of circling salmon waiting for the rains to fill the river so they could swim upstream and spawn. We saw seals gobbling salmon while turkey vultures camp site day sights (4) hung out in the trees watching and waiting.

And we shared our campsite with what I thought was a hunched up jerky young squirrel (think of kittens who hunch up and skitter everywhere). The squirrel, when it wasn’t skittering around, liked to sprawl out in a patch of sunshine and snooze, ignoring people.

Turns out it was hunched up because it was old. It died, sprawled out in the sunshine, on our last morning there.

I didn’t take a picture of the squirrel, dead or alive, and I wasn’t fast enough to catch a shot of the salmon under the canoe but I did take did catch the stunning sunsets and sunrises

campsite - sunrise (5)

camp site - sunsets  (8)

and the mainland mountains across the strait.

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But here’s the kicker of the whole camping weekend—the campgrounds are five  three one and a half minutes from our mobile home park.

No time to get restless and wish the never-ending ride home was over. . .and not enough time for our thick wood-smoke aroma to rub off into the truck upholstery. . .

Yeah, I like camping. . .

 

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