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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So, How Did I Loose Those 20 Pounds?

I've been seeing a chiropractor for recurring shoulder and neck pain, which was exacerbated by the move. Books are heavy, and I know better, but still I get in a hurry and use bigger boxes than I should. One of the keys to my recovery is going to be walking.

I love to walk. Always have. When I came out to the Residential Program, I had gotten lazy aoubt it. The excuse was that my feet hurt. Badly. Long days of moving medical supplies at full tilt on a concrete floor had abused my poor feet, and I stopped walking for fun. That's when I started to gain weight. I spent many evenings after work with my feet proped up on pillows.

One of the best things about quitting the job I'd had for 25 years was being able to take better care of myself. In the Residential Program, we walked. Up hills, mostly, and with backpacks. I took to carryng about 25 pounds of stuff - water, lunch, field guides, and extra clothing - every where I went while in class. At first, I could barely make it up the hills...I was out of breath and my legs shook. As I got stronger, it got easier. My feet didn't hurt anymore, and I could handle the hills. I was never the fastest "kid" in the class, but I stopped being the last one to get to the top of the hill...or back to the vans.

Our first field trip to the Oregon Dunes had me convinced I'd never make it...the sand dunes were brutal. I had to have help getting to the top. The entire class was cheering me on as I crawled up the final 20 feet or so. Then Andrew reached down and pulled me up to the top. I knew then that I would make it through the year. It wasn't the last time I needed help, but it was the last time I thought about quiting the program.

As we hiked the mountains of western Washington, my feet got tougher, my legs stronger, and I lost about 20 pounds. By December, I was in pretty good shape. If I fell too far behind, it was becasue I'd stopped to look at something cool.

Since graduation, I've gotten lazy again. My Monroe neighborhood was getting kind of scarey to walk in. Without a dog to walk, I just didn't get out much. I started to gain back the pounds I'd lost.

Now, under doctor's orders, and in a new neighborhood, I'm walking again. I haven't put the pack on yet, but by summer I plan to be ready for some serious hiking.

Monday, February 18, 2008

4 Days and Counting

When the alarm went off this morning I really wanted to turn over and go back to sleep...but I didn't. It's the 4th day of the sit spot challenge, and I've been out each morning sitting under a big Cedar tree. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd look up the latin name, but I'm worn out from moving, and my brain will not call up much English, let alone latin.

Mostly I've been listening to birds. Stellar's Jays, Ravens, Towhees, Robins, and small birds that I don't yet recognize. On Saturday, I saw a racoon climb head first down a tree across the road behind my apartment. It's always fun to see what happens when the "locals" forget that you are there watching. I'll keep you posted on what goes on in the early morning hours near my place.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sit Spot Story

Today begins a 30-day sit spot challenge here at Wilderness Awareness School. It's one of the simplest awareness excercises we do, and the easist to "forget".

I have to confess that I haven't done a sit spot for a long time. Too many scary young people in my old neighborhood. The big old Cedar trees at the park where I used to walk have been spray painted with bold black and red symbols and the police find stollen property in the blackberry bramble where I used to roam.

I set the alarm half an hour early today so that I could go out and sit under a tree and watch the world wake up. The morning sky was pink. The birds were vocal, and the squirrels fat and active. What a beautiful morning!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mom and the Tornado

I hadn't heard from Mom or my sister, Susan, since the tornados that hit the south last weekend. I'd tried to call, but no one answered, and I was really starting to get worried. A couple of days ago, I finally reached Mom. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hi, I was getting worried about you. I heard on the news that there had been a lot of tornados and bad storms down your way (northern Arkansas).

Mom: Oh yes, your sister and I were right in the middle of one.

Me: (Stunned silence...)

Mom: We had been to Wal-Mart to return something, and had stopped at Ash Flats to get gas at the Mini Mart. Susan went in to pay, and they pushed her into the woman's bathroom because there was a tornado coming. She tried to get out and they threw her back in...she said she had to go out and get her Mamma...a big guy said he'd come get me. (Stopping to catch breath)

Me: (Still speachless)

Mom: All of a sudden this big guy yanks the car door open and pulls me out and drags me to the Mini Mart. I didn't know if he was kidnapping me or what....

Me: (Visions of my 4'11" mother dragging her heels in as the "big guy" tries to get her inside to safety) Didn't you know there was a tornado?

Mom: Well stuff was blowing around and it was real dark, but I didn't know there was a tornado. That guy drug me inside and threw me in the woman's bathroom with all the rest - men, too, and we waited there for a while until the men got brave and went out to see if it was safe. Next time some guy opens my car door and pulls me out, I'm just going to go with him.

Me: Ok then...that's why I'm living near Seattle.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Moving Pains

There isn't an 11:45 pm train...or a 5:30 am one either. I slept soundly in my new apartment. I awoke to peaceful surroundings. No early am car door slamming. No rowdy neighbors throwing up on my sidewalk after a night of partying. Yahoo! Not only is it half the price of my old apartment, but it's a better place for nature study. There are a couple of sweet sit spot locations just outside my windows. Clara has found a window seat on the world, too. Cat and I are both happy.

The down side? I feel like I've been run over by a truck...there's a permanent cramp in the bicep of my left arm. My neck hurts. There's a funny tingle in my lower back. The only time I've ever regretted being a reader is when I've had to move my books. Yikes...I must be getting old.

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"