Friday, November 26, 2010

Run Down

So I've been walking like crazy this week. I walked 5 miles yesterday. I just kept going. And every so often I felt like running. So I'd just start running until I stopped. Then I hack up a lung because it was like 30 degrees and windy and made it hard to breathe. Then I'd walk my little heart out some more. Then went back out last night for a half hour walk.

The night before I walked out the door and was hit by such a blast of cold air that I just started running and before I knew it I was half way down the street. Then I walked more. Then ran, then walked.

Today, my quads hurt. Like worse than mountain climbing. And my knees are wondering what I did. And my shins think something might be up. I'm trying not to blame it on age. But I'm thinking we'll take it easy on the running for now. Walking is just fine and I can get the bike out if I need speed.

But I walked 40 minutes tonight. It was so pretty and just the right temperature.

According to my little tracking system I have walked 535 minutes so far this week, and burned 4057 calories. Sweet. Let's see if we can get it up to 600 by tomorrow.

Thank heavens for my jacuzzi tub.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Little Habit

I seem to have developed a little habit. I don't want to jinx it but it appears that I go for a morning walk every morning at 7 (2 miles, 30 minutes) and then when 7 at night rolls around I'm back out for an evening walk (2 miles, 30 minutes, 1 flash light, 1 reflective vest). I have a few routes and they are all exactly the same length and take exactly 30 minutes no matter how slow or fast I think I'm walking.

It's nice. The air is nice now and I like walking in the dark at night. I like seeing the other people out. Soon I'll be able to start seeing people's Christmas lights. And walk when it's snowing which is so beautiful and peaceful.

On the morning walks I tend to plan my day and have epiphanies about work and look at the ocean. In the evening I look at the sky and make up pretend stories about my life and talk to myself.

I highly recommend it. All of it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Yoga Class I'd Like to Take

Enough people in the room so the energy was good, but not crowded. Lights down. Gaura Vani and his band in the front. Harmonium. Drum. Chanting. Then the teacher, and this is the most important part, instead of shouting over the music or talking incessantly through each pose, acts like a conductor - silent, or maybe just whispering the name of a pose and then the students are free to get in it, explore it, breathe. But the teacher is quiet. Silent. Until "tree" she whispers and we find our trees. They sway, they stand tall. "Flow" he whispers and we go where our flow takes us, with the music. "Floor" they whisper. And we make our way to the floor. Bending forward and back, doing what our bodies want all the while the music is playing. "Still" they whisper and we lie there, while they come around and tuck us in and we listen to the music.

And then we all wake up and sing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I Love

  • That I can walk around the curve of the harbor to meet friends for drinks,
  • Friends who make me laugh and whom I make laugh,
  • Pomegranate martinis,
  • Walking home and seeing the lobster boats sitting on the water like they are on glass,
  • Seeing faint Christmas lights in the distance,
  • The air that is just cold enough to wear a jacket and scarf,
  • Coming home to a warm house,
  • Coming home.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Strange Epiphanies

Sometimes I'm riddled with anxiety. I could say it was brought on by this or that, but really it lives in my brain along with joy and calmness and elation and sadness and everything else. And sometimes it just bullies its way to the front of the line and says "I'm in charge here! There is danger lurking and I must warn you all what might happen. And remind you of all the things I thought would happen last time. And prepare you to fight fight fight! or perhaps die die die!" It puffs out its chest and grabs its spyglass (it is quite dramatic) and wrestles the wheel from me (we're on a boat, stay with me here) and proceeds to try to steer with one hand while scanning the horizon wildly for the Very Bad Things that are surely out there. And my little boat that was sailing along is now keeling from side to side, hitting waves the wrong way while my anxiety (who I think must have been hitting some sort of bottle while he was below deck) steers the way.

And the little quiet emotions like contentment, happiness, curiosity, joy, and bravery get sea sick and slink down to their bunks to nap and puke. And I hang on and humor the anxiety and try to remember what I'm supposed to do when he's there behind the wheel. Mindfulness? Now? When there is Danger Ahead?! And where was this ship going anyway? And why?

So that's where I found myself today, green on the deck of my little ship and in a government office with my lawyer uniform on picking up some papers. The type of government office where you think everyone will be mean. And not helpful. And rude.

And yet. And yet. Every single one of them was nice. The receptionist, the people who walked through the waiting room and asked if I'd been helped, the woman behind me talking to a recipient of their services who was so nice to her I about burst into tears, the supervisor who came out to help me. Every single person was nice. As though that was their job. And with each bit of kindness that surrounded me, the boat got a little steadier, anxiety loosened his grip on the wheel and stumbled away (spyglass in hand, just in case, but lowered a bit), the map got a little clearer, the journey a little more sure, and I took hold of the wheel again to steady our course.

Kindness. That is the reason for our journey. Not the sort of kindness where I let my ship crash upon the rocks so someone else doesn't need to move, but the kind where if I need to send a letter to someone who hasn't done what they need to, I can write the letter kindly but firmly. If I need to say to someone, "please get off my ship, I have not given you permission to board" I don't need to kick them in the balls while I say it.

Why kindness made the anxiety dissolve is unknown. But just as I try not to question it when it comes, I don't question when it leaves either. It's part of my journey, but it's not the destination and it is not the captain of this ship.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gold Stars!

I'm handing out gold stars today. Just to myself since I'm the only one here, but feel free to award yourself some.

One for making my bed.
One for walking this morning.
One for voting.
One for packing a lunch (rice, roasted squash and plain tofu. Better than it sounds.)
One for having all my November bills paid. On time & in full!
One for having sore triceps from lifting weights.
One for tracking my food.

Big fuzzy things like being a good human being don't get gold stars. Those are a given and done because they are what you do. Like not getting money for good grades when I was in school because of course you got good grades, that's what is done.

And one for shutting the computer off at 8 p.m. and going to lift weights, write, and perhaps even sit.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ends v. Means

So I'm doing that thing again where I think "there's too much around the middle here, it's uncomfortable" and I start walking and lifting my hand weights and thinking about what I eat and tracking it. Etc.

But this time I don't have a scale. I am not measuring success by the scale. The scale is not the end, with the actions being the means. The actions are the end.

When I get up and walk in the morning - success!
When I take some time to pack my lunch - success!
When I come home and make wicked yummy tofu & veggie stir fry over rice instead of macaroni & cheese - success!
When I lift my hand weights at night - success!
When I pack my stuff and go to yoga - success!
When I sit at the table to have a meal instead of perching on the sofa with the laptop - success!
When I have my glass of water instead of a second beer - success!

Hmm, 6 gold stars for me today!

Every single day, multiple times a day, I can and am succeeding. Each of these things is an end in itself. I don't need to wait for one day a week to be told whether I've succeeded or failed. I certainly don't need a number to tell me whether I've succeeded or failed (and if I do, I'll look for that number on my client roster or bank account or Christmas card list) and I don't need anything to say "those things aren't working." Because anything that gets my feet moving and heart pumping works, anything that gets my mind and soul chilled out works, anything that gets more veggies in my belly works, anything that makes my muscles stronger works.

That's what's working well in my brain today. The things that aren't working so well shall be journaled later. After I clean the kitchen and have tea. Ooh, 2 more gold stars.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


It's funny, once I started writing outside of this blog, I stopped writing here. Maybe this was my little haven to write in when I thought I didn't write?

Anyway, I spent a week at Karme Choling in Vermont at a writing retreat, getting to know my characters, myself, my retreat-mates, all that good stuff.

It was a strange, brain swirling time. Alternately feeling like a retreat, like rehab, like high school then back to a retreat.


When I arrived, eyes open, heart half closed,

there she was. Ella.

Leading me up the stairs, down the hallway

showing me where we put our shoes,

explaining how to park the car

to make room for others.

Ushering me in.

And though she walked with me,

I knew it was a journey I was going to take on my own.

And when I left, heart open, eyes half closed,

there he was. Jan.

Leading me down the garden path,

familiar now beneath my feet.

Showing me where to wash the kale,

explaining how to put cold water on the wound

to keep the cabbage fresh.

Ushering me out.

And though he walked with me,

I knew it was a journey I was going to take on my own.

What happened in between is like a distant memory.

I know it will return,

but for now I let the pages lie still and closed,

between the bookends.

- me

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Home

This was my entry way before. A shelf with shoes, since my shoes live by the door, and a basket for hats and gloves, and a thing on top for mail and apparently haphazardly thrown shirts. Lots of white. And the shelf was kind of dirty from having shoes on it all the time. I've been on the hunt for something to go there to hold shoes and coats and things, and not look messy. I thought about one of those large one piece things that has a bench/trunk, with hooks and a mail slot, but couldn't find one that suited me.
I was in my favorite consignment shop that has nice things at good prices and very high turnover (so if I don't find the perfect thing one day, I might the next) and I spotted this beauty. And I thought - shoes! hats! Perfect size! It had no middle shelf, but it did have pegs for a shelf, so I stopped at the lumber yard on the way home for a piece of wood (there would be no "oh, I'll just pile the shoes in there until I get around to finding some wood. There would also be no $8/foot cedar. Yet. This was $1.20/foot pine.)
Winter goods!
And here she is in all her glory. Looking much more elegant and refined. The big white shelf will be going to the "Boutique" at the dump tomorrow so some lucky family can find her and take her home and maybe paint her and put fun things on her.

And, this area of the house is the "career" area according to the feng shui bagua. I think the change was a good one.

I love pretty things.

And I write now. And I walk (two miles this evening.) And I bought a plant. And finally found the weird little light bulbs I needed for the stove, so all the lights in the house work. I am so at peace here. It makes me realize how living in the wrong place with the wrong energy for so long can almost crush your soul. And how a soul can store up all the good stuff it wants to do and wait until it's safe, and all the good stuff will be waiting when you are ready for it.

Monday, September 20, 2010


From every little corner the message is coming "keep writing." From other people comes the message "don't stop." And so I will write and keep writing. And I will walk and keep walking.

I had my artist's retreat this weekend that I wanted. I wrote. I made a reading corner in the window where I sat and read. I wrote more. I went to the farmer's market. I walked in the dark. I made my goals book. I realized there is a book living inside me that is bursting to get out. I started writing that book. I wrote other stuff.

It's funny how living in the wrong place can suffocate so much out of you that you don't realize was there, gasphing for air, until you are gone. And it can come into the light and the space and breathe.

(And thank you thank you to my readers.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something there is that loves a walk

I walk now. Two miles this morning. 3.7 this afternoon. By the beach, through the village, under the pines, around the Common, past the people who exclaim "what a day!" as we scoot out of the way of the cars on the too narrow roads.

And I write. Sometimes I write about how I have nothing to write about. Sometimes I write character sketches based off prompts from snarky emails I send to a friend about a photo on Facebook and I think "Oh, that's the beginning of a story!"
She had those same eyelashes in high school. The kind that can only be obtained by applying 5 coats of mascara and then pinching to make 7 large lashes.
Can't you see the story?

There has not been any napping as of yet, or trying out of the tub, or finding floor pillows or reupholstering or retrieving of the yoga mat.

There is too much to see to nap. But I found a beach that looks like the perfect place for a nap on a sunny winter's day when no one else is there. We could see about yoga tomorrow. My legs want to stretch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Plans

Here is what I can choose from this weekend, the first in many during which I am not putting things into boxes, taking things out of boxes, carrying boxes up, hauling junk out or hiking up and down somewhere:

Having an artist's retreat in my home, which could consist of reading, writing (with prompts perhaps), putting up poetry in frames as art, walking around outside, drawing and making an effort not to drive anywhere except the bank to put some checks in. And going to the little cafe for coffee and maybe french toast.

Reupholstering a chair. Or at least making a muslin for the eventual reupholsterment. Or putting the new fabric over the old to see what it looks like.

Lots of napping (which I usually just think about rather than do, but it's nice to think about.)

Bring the yoga mat in from the car, roll it out and see what happens.

Go buy some large floor pillows for my reading nooks.

Try out the jacuzzi tub.

Finish the song I started writing last night. It's mostly done, except I have the word "across" in there twice, so one needs to go.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not Settling Can Be Unsettling

For a long time, I settled. I don't know why. Maybe I was too tired to fight for what I wanted. Maybe I thought I had to fight for what I wanted. So I just took what little scraps I found, not daring to look past them for more. The thought of not settling felt unsettling.

Like all the mud on the bottom of a pond would get stirred up. Even if it should be in order to get rid of the tires, grocery carts and rocks under there.

But this move to my lovely new space was not settling for anything. It was daring to want it. Doing the things I needed to do to get it. And getting it. And being here. And feeling amazing and free.

And feeling settled.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Home

I am truly home. In beautiful space. In a beautiful town. And at long last with the ocean once again 50 feet from my door.

I grew up above the ocean. Barely 8 feet of yard, a climbable cliff and a sea wall separated us all of my childhood years. I went to sleep to the faint sound of the waves crashing and woke up to the murmured shouts of the sea-mossers. I spent my summers running along the sea wall burning my feet on the hot boulders and swimming out to the "Big Rock" with my father. My bed was in a corner of the house that was all windows, and it was high, so I felt like I was on a boat. My soul grew out into that space to the horizon.

And when I left, my soul felt crowded. I felt like Edna must have when she wrote "Inland"

PEOPLE that build their houses inland,
People that buy a plot of ground
Shaped like a house and build a house there,
Far from the seaboard, far from the sound
Of water sucking the hollow ledges, 5
Tons of water striking the shore,
What do they long for, as I long for
One salt smell of the sea once more?

People the waves have not awakened,
Spanking the boats at the harbor’s head:, 10
What do they long for, as I long for—
Starting up in my inland bed,
Beating the narrow walls and finding
Neither a window nor a door,
Screaming to God for death by drowning!— 15
One salt taste of the sea once more?

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

I was far inland for a while - Ohio, Sacramento, then back east to Somerville and Arlington. But still, too far inland. Then closer to the shore, but in the wrong place. A place I took out of fear that there was nothing else, and stayed there far too long.

But then, recently, I saw a place that my heart wanted. That I dared to want. That I got. And now I am here. In peace. In a place that beckons me onto the streets to stretch me legs and see the sites. A place that calls me out after dinner to walk along the shore, step down to the docks and run a hand into the water, yes, it really is there. To fill my lungs back up again with the salt air. To think "some day when I am very very old and dying, please bring me to the ocean and let me go." To wonder if that is morbid, and then realize, no, it's not. It's just love.

Sometimes when I see the mountains, I want to hug them. You can't really hug the ocean. But you can sit next to it and smell it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving In

It's beginning to look at lot like a home!

Movers came on Tuesday and moved me into my new home. Helper Mouse came and helped me unpack. Washer and dryer were delivered today (my first appliances!) and the Verizon guy is getting me set up with internet (borrowing the neighbor's until then. Thanks, neighbor!)

There are still boxes every where.

Here's what it looked like before:

Here's a slight after, at least enough to make it look habitable:

It's not nearly done, and there are a ton of empty boxes and paper to go to the dump (tomorrow!) and I have to buy a broom and dustpan and figure out where the pots and pans get hung and where to put a bunch of furniture and what the flow of the rooms is, and figure out where the art and lamps actually go, but it's getting there. And I'm waiting for it to stop smelling like someone else and start not smelling at all because it smells like me.

I've been pretty good in terms of keeping my head on and only once had a slight bit of embarrassment when an o.b. tampon fell out of some drawer the guys were moving and I had to surreptitiously pick it up off the ground. Smooth. I'm sure they didn't notice.

I love my kitchen, I love the breezes, I love the faint noises of the happy cooing baby and his parents that I heard early this morning, I love the birds in the tree and the crickets, I love my washer and dryer, and my stove and the tall ceilings and the space.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Urban Hiking

I found myself in Cambridge yesterday afternoon after lunch with a couple of hour to kill so I decided to walk around for a while. I had on my Keen walking shoes with Superfeet in them so I knew my feet would be happy. And the humidity had gone away, so I knew the rest of me would be happy. I walked around for an hour or so, but when I got to Harvard Square all of the weird people were out - the ones who want to hand you a grungy piece of paper, the ones who want to talk to you, the ones who want to sell you something, and all the ones who smell like different things.

I found myself rather overwhelmed by the humanity and had to escape. Thankfully I came across this gorgeous, gated, brick-walled garden at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, so I ducked in. There were a few other people lying in the sun or sitting on a bench, so I found a bench in the shade and lay down, watching the trees and the sky and the people. Wondering what things the people study there. Thinking about my mom when she was in college (she was a Cliffie, 'cliffe? However you write it. She went to Radcliffe. Back when the boys when to Harvard and the girls went to Radcliffe.) It was very quiet and dignified and relaxing there. So different from the scene a few hundred yards away.

That's all the hiking I'll get in this weekend, although a mountain bike trip is planned for this morning. The move preparations continue. The boxes are closing in on me and I scoot around my house like a hoarder must, turning this way and that to fit in between the boxes.

Coffee finished. Breakfast finished. Off to find biking implements before resuming the wrapping and boxing of things.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First World Problems

I'm afraid my new apartment doesn't have enough closets to hold my winter clothes and linens and suitcases.

I don't know where I'll hang my pots and pans. And my back packs and my boots.

I don't know where my couch will go.

I don't have a couch. Or a sofa. Or a davenport. Or a chesterfield.

Somehow, I think it will all work out.

Wednesday Wonderings

It's Wednesday, a longer weekend awaits (which I just realized), my stuff is all packed for my move and my mind once again turns north and I wonder where I shall take my boots next.

Then this morning I read Section Hiker's post about Mt. Passaconaway, part of which is apparently "psycho-vertical."

Which makes me wonder, is it psycho-vertical like Ammonoosuc Ravine?

Or more psycho because it's longer. I guess there is one way to find out...

However, I need to rethink the whole "get up at 3:30am and drive" thing. It sort of messed up my sleep for the next couple of days and I think it made me more tired on the hike up Kinsman. I might try to find a place to sleep up there if I decide to go. If I can ever figure out about camping, that will give me more options in the future, too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Lost Art of Poetry Memorization

When I was in Junior High, we had to memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class. I, of course, chose the one that Ponyboy had read in the Outsiders, Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost.
Ever since then I've loved working on memorizing poems or stanzas that I love so that they are always in my head when ever I need them.

While visiting the Poetry Trail at the Robert Frost Museum in Franconia last week, I came upon another one which I wanted to live in my head.

Hyla Brook -
BY June our brook’s run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow)—
Or flourished and come up in jewel-weed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat—
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are.

So, last night I worked on memorizing it so that I know it by heart. I read it aloud a few times (I think that poetry, like a play, is meant to be read aloud, so I always read it that way) then I listened to Robert Frost himself read it. At first I had the first part and the last part down, but kept forgetting the middle. I can usually picture words in my head so I made sure to look at each line. Then I wrote down just the first letter of each line to trigger the whole line if I got stuck.

It worked, and then I made dinner while saying it out loud over and over again. Then when I woke up this morning, I said it again. Now it's in my head, and can be taken out when I need a hiking cadence or something to cleanse the palate of my brain between tasks.

There are some Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnets that live in my brain, and I'd like to work on some more Frost poems. It's sort of like knowing a song by heart, you just do after a while.

Do other people do this?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peak Bagging & Bagging a Peak

Peakbagger (n): A mountain climber whose principal goal is the attainment of a summit, or a specific set of summits.

Bag: Slang, To fail to attend purposely; skip

The day started at 3:30 a.m. I was meeting my hiking partner at 4:45 (which we decided was the earliest hour that was decent) for the 2.5 or so hour drive from Boston's south shore to the White Mountains.

I had set my things out the night before so all I had to do was dress, have coffee, eat First Breakfast and go. First Breakfast was 2 blueberry waffles with almond butter and smooshed banana on them. And coffee. (Second breakfast eaten in bits on the trail was an english muffin with butter, almond butter and banana. Lunch, again eaten in phases was roast beef and cheese on ciabatta bread. Snacks, not really eaten, were chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chips & almonds. Emergency food, not eaten, were a few ProBars.)

My stuff consisted of: Keen Voyager Hiking Shoes with Superfeet Insoles which have solved my aching foot problems. Smart Wool socks and sock liners. My pack which has water, toiletry bag (TP, contact solutions, band aids, emergency blanket, chap stick, etc), windbreaker/rain coat, food (lunch & snacks), map, and Blizzard (the dog). Then the flowered bag has my wallet, phone, extra clothes to drive home in, the hiking book and other random stuff that I need but that doesn't come up the mountain with me. My Leki hiking poles live in the car.

The Plan: North and South Kinsman, via Mt. Kinsman Trail and Kinsman Ridge Trail.

We were at the trailhead a little before 8, and on the trail by 8:07. It's a gorgeous trail, woodsy and damp and covered in moss. There are 3 or 4 pretty brook crossings.

My hiking buddy and I have very different speeds on the way up, which seems to work. I hike with the attitude of "this moment is all that matters" and wanting to absorb and study everything around me. Like this mushroom that looked like a jelly fish.
Or this bear scat.
Often she'll be quite far ahead of me on the trail, but eventually we meet back up. We are each hiking our own hike, and I know there are people more my speed to hike with if I want that, and there are people more her speed if she wants that. But this seems to work. And, to paraphrase Robert Frost, people hike together, whether they hike together or apart.

On this hike especially I was feeling like I didn't want to "get" anywhere, I just wanted to be where I was, fully. I wanted to look at the trees and think about why some trees had fallen over taking their root bed with them, and why others had snapped over about 4 feet from the ground. I wanted to photograph every mushroom and write about it. And then sit by a brook and think about it.

This was probably my 5th time on Kinsman, a mountain I just love, and I just wanted to hang out with it.

We took the .2 mile spur trail to Bald Peak, where I was last Sunday morning at 7:30am the continued on.

At some point near the ridge trail I decided I didn't want to go to the summits. I'd been to them before, and really just wanted to sit by the pond. I suggested to Stacey that she go bag the peaks and I'd meet her back at the pond. We sat for a while at the junction and ate, finally seeing a lot of other hikers - day and thru - and grateful that our journey up had been mostly free of other people.

After eating I felt livelier so we hiked the .4 miles to the summit of North Kinsman. We didn't find the actual summit which is a boulder on the side of the path but we found the ledge that was past the summit for the obligatory summit photo.

And the obligatory Franconia Ridge Trail photo, with Lafayette, Lincoln and Little Haystack across the notch. We climbed those a few weeks ago, and seeing those peaks from a distance really hits home what a trek that was. This is one of my most favorite views in all the world.

We started off towards South Kinsman, a mere .9 miles away. Yeah, mere. Somehow there was a resurgence of black flies, and .9 miles is not really that close and I was done going up and so we decided to bag the second peak. I have no need to summit for the sake of summiting and with that we turned around and headed backs towards the cross roads you can see in the map near the Kinsman Pond Shelter.

Here, back in the bug-free shade we ate some more lunch, met a lot of dogs (including 12 year old Gidge waiting for a snack), wondered about people who hike with no map or with a case of beer , chatted with other hikers about our plans and then headed over to check out the shelter area.

There are some tent platforms, which I slept on years ago, and a shelter that was rebuilt in 2007, bigger and brighter than the one we slept in years ago (after we realized that our tent wasn't really waterproof). Blizzard is reading the shelter journal where thru-hikers leave messages, notes and poems. There was also a book about how they built the shelter - bringing in all the logs by helicopter.

The shelter sleeps 14 on 2 levels and has a bear-box for food and toiletries and a composting toilet near by.

Then we reached the pond, which is just past the shelter. And there we sat. There was a little family near us with the kids happily splashing and asking their mom "what was the outhouse like?" There were lily pads and dragonflies and the general wonderment of being at a lake that you can't see unless you climb up a mountain.
After our time of leisure we headed down, and made good time - about 2.5 hours. We figured our total mileage to be about 9 miles with our different side trails and wanderings and our total hike time to be about 7 hours. Our total trip time was 8 hours 8:07am to 4:07 pm (yes, really.)
Some homemade hummus made the trip home easier and my Superfeet made it so that this morning I woke up with no foot pain. Just to be on the safe side, I put them in a pair of my Keen walking shoes and wore them most of the day. They are like an orthotic or something, keeping my feet from falling inward.

Post hike dinner was just a few vegetable potstickers from Trader Joe's and then 10 glorious hours of sleep. Breakfast was kale, leeks and mushrooms with some eggs.

Also, my legs don't hurt today. They aren't even stiff. It's very nice. I did however, take a nap this afternoon. Which was also very nice.

Now to plan the next trail...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'll Tell You About It Later

Friday afternoon at Lake of the Clouds Hut, looking up to the summit of Mt. Washington.
At the summit. Freezing. I ran and put my gloves and coat on after this.
Looking back up on the way down. With my little pal in my pack. Notice the hat head.
Heading back from the summit to the hut. Mt. Monroe is the closest peak you can see.
Finally at the bottom, 11 hours later. Checking the map for some unknown reason.
A little 2.5 mile walk into the woods the next morning. Mostly flat.
Visited the homestead. Every time I look at this I cry.
Bald Peak on Mt. Kinsman at 7:30 this morning. I was up at 5am, at the trailhead by 6am and had a glorious solitary walk in the woods to this amazing site.

More pictures and details soon. Right now I'm just blissed out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Biking Through the Heebie Jeebies

This past weekend was my 20th high school reunion, which meant that the past week was filled with get togethers with friends from childhood and high school, very late nights up laughing (very late night on Saturday laughing and drinking) then lazing at the movies yesterday to recover from it all before going to bed early last night.

I did manage to squeeze in a yoga class on Friday morning (yay core), then a quick mountain bike ride on Friday afternoon. After yoga I stopped into a make up store for some powder and ended up letting the make up artist give me an entire made up face. Here you can see how well it held up through the ride. Notice the bronzed cheeks and the smokey eye. And the creepy bunker I'm standing in.

The place we bike was used as an ammunition depot during World War II, so it is full of creepy bunker and weird things. I often get the heebie jeebies while biking there, but it has good trails.

Can you see the bunker through the woods?

And the thing about the heebie jeebies is that they feed on themselves. So, even though you know that probably there is not a dead body around the corner, and there are not ghosts wandering the bunkers (some of which reminded me of concentration camps for some reason) the HJ's were throwing off my mad skilz and the ride felt sort of choppy. Add that to the fact that J. and I aren't the best map readers and kept going in circles... we've seen better days.

Then my late nights and the rum caught up to me and I felt too crappy to ride yesterday which meant I missed out on a 2.5 hour ride. Majorly bummed. But at least the next reunion isn't for 5 more years, and I'll write myself a little note to not have any rum and cokes. (This is how lame I am, I had one and then gave my friend half of the second one because it was too strong.)

Oh, and I found an apartment! I was going to write about it - telling you about all the ones I looked at, and the one I almost settled for and how I almost didn't even go look at this one because it was billed as an upscale, high end condo and surely I don't deserve to live in one of those, but then I visited it, and it was so right, and even though there were 8 other people looking at it she picked me! and it's across the street from the ocean, and has a fire place and central air and hard wood floors and gorgeous kitchen and is so perfect. But, I didn't write about it, so you'll just have to imagine that I did.

Big hike coming up on Friday. Trying to put last minute training plan into place.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hike Report: Lafayette, Lincoln & Little Haystack

The details: Up Falling Waters Trail to Little Haystack, Franconia Ridge Trail to Lincoln and Lafayette, down Greenleaf to hut, down Old Bridle Path to trailhead.

Total mileage: 8.9. Total time: 8 hours. (Yes, just call me Pokey.) Left trailhead at 9:30, back at 5:30. Climbed on Saturday.

I was very prepared for this hike (except for my flannel clothes that I usually bring for sweat and runny noses. Never forget these again.) I packed my bag, and my bag for clothes to change into and started out bright and early to pick up my hiking partner.
Almost 3 hours later, here we were at the trailhead. We were taking Falling Waters up, and Old Bridle Path down.
Everyone and their dog was out hiking on Saturday, along with half of the population of France (or perhaps Quebec). The trail was quite crowded at the beginning, with various dogs running back and forth, and people quite close to us. At the trail split, most seemed to go up Old Bridle Path while we went to Falling Waters, so that helped to thin things out.

We soon came upon a series of very pretty waterfalls (despite the fact that I'm not smiling in the photo.) The thing about pretty waterfalls, the trail on the side of the water fall is steep and rocky. Which we decided was much better to go up than down, and gave us a much better view of the waterfalls. We tucked our hiking poles into our packs and scrambled up and up.

Somewhere around this time I realized that I hadn't quite eaten enough for breakfast and needed some fuel. I was taking small bites of my ProBar since they aren't easy to eat, and snacked on some cheese sandwich. I should have sat and ate more. I think it would have made the rest of my hike more enjoyable and better fueled.
I do not hike fast, and my lungs were definitely feeling the climb. My legs felt fine and it was frustrating that my lungs and heart did not seem to be cooperating. My speed was about 1 mile per hour, approximately that of a spider (and much faster than a sloth and quite faster than a garden snail) so we were soon passed by everyone. My poor hiking partner hikes much faster than I do, so she spent a lot of time waiting for me.

But, my slowness allowed me to see a mouse trying to carry a toad stool into it's burrow, which is just as cute as you'd imagine it would be.

Soon enough we were above the tree line and it was worth it.
The rocky ridge.
Tree on very windy Little Haystack. 4,800 feet. Sadly, it doesn't qualify as a 4000 footer "because it stands less than 200 ft (61 m) above the col on the ridge from Lincoln" but we did bag two 5000 footers, and climbed 3 actual peaks. It was very windy up there.

When I first attempted tree pose my inner thigh muscle seized into a charlie horse so I had to stretch out a bit, and then it was much more elegant.
We hiked over Lincoln 5089', and finally made it up to the summit of Lafayette. 5260 feet. By this time I was about to bonk.
I ate some trail snacks - marcona almonds and chocolate chips. My spirits and energy picked up quite a bit after having lunch. Some of these, the rest of my cheese sandwich, a hard boiled egg, and bite of my very unphotogenic PB&J.
Then we did some more yoga poses. (There's a crow photo on it's way.)
Side plank!
We hung out on the windy summit for a bit, looking at Mt. Washington, doing yoga poses and taking group photos for other people.

Looking back from whence we came.
Heading down from Lafayette, we descended to the Greenleaf Hut. For the first time in 5 hours I had to pee, conveniently at the toilets. I think that my profuse sweating on the way up made it so that all liquids left my body via sweat, and then on the way down when I wasn't sweating as much I finally had to pee.

Anyway, the hut was quite crowded with people sitting and having coffee, cocoa or lemonade. We peeked into the bunk rooms then restarted out trek down. In this photo you can see the entire ridge we hiked, with Lafayette visible on the far left above the roof.
One last look.

On the way down, we passed 3 of the hut croo who are the young men and women who work at the huts and have to carry all the hut supplies up on their backs. They have packs that are wood framed with liquor store boxes lashed to them (I swear one of the girls was carrying 3 boxes of canned goods). It's a bit like huffing and puffing your way down a hill and then having Lance Armstrong fly up the mountain past you riding a wooden bicycle.

We would stop and watch them pass, then watch them speed up the mountain. They climbed with their hands holding up the bottom of the wood frame and the girl carrying the canned goods was holding her iPhone as well. They were truly a site to behold.

Heading down was when we both got a little cranky. Our legs were hurting, I could feel hot spots on my big toes and we just wanted to be done. But the only way to get down the mountain is to climb down. So we trekked on.

Finally we were at the bottom, too tired to take any more photos, but there was parking lot yoga to stretch out our tired muscles.

3 hours later, I dropped my hiking partner off and was soon home myself. I was exhausted. I washed my feet and calves and went to bed. I fell asleep shortly after 9, having put myself to bed with no dinner.

I slept right through until 6am, and today I feel slightly stiff when I get up from sitting, but other than that I feel fine. No sunburn, no stitches (which apparently my father needed when he fell once on those same mountains) no bug bites. Normal amount of hungry. Rather thirsty, but I think that's also from the crazed housework I was doing in very muggy weather.

Now to plan the next one! (Which my dad thinks is going to be Mt. Washinton, 6288 feet, but I think I might need to re-think that.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hike Prep

Study map.
Check out gossip blogs.
Check email.
Figure out to to get to trailhead.
Fill hydration system and water bottles.
Make a cheese sandwich.
Pack almonds and chocolate chips.
Pack 2 ProBars.
Make a PB & J sandwich.
Prep coffee machine.
Set out coffee mug and travel mug.
Lay out hiking clothes.
Pack drive-home outfit.
Pack change-in-the-parking-lot-skirt.
Remember flip flops for drive home.
Mentally review contents of car: hiking shoes, poles, bug spray, hat.
Remember father's admonition to coat feet in Vaseline to avoid blisters.
Realize you have no Vaseline.
Consider using Lush hand lotion but don't want to waste it on feet.
Assume feet will be fine.
Re-check all clothes.
Head to bed.

I'll be in the hills if you need me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

At Loose Ends

When ever I'm going through a stressful time, it's helps to visualize a metaphor for what I'm experiencing (or choreograph an interpretive dance about it, but I haven't gotten that far yet.)

So, here's what I'm picturing: a hot air balloon, fire burning, filling with air trying to take off. But the sand bags are still on. Then one by one, the sand bags are cut away - boy, dog, hair (I don't know why hair is a sand bag, it just is), apartment, new apartment (that's a new one.)

I'm packing all my things, and trying very hard not to just write "Send to Goodwill" on all the boxes. Although I did keep my well-worn copy of Jane Eyre out of the boxes, just in case that happens. I'm having such a desire to get rid of so many of my things to just go live in a little house in the woods or by the beach with just my clothes (I am a professional, I need my clothes) and a few dishes, and my yoga mat and my knitting and my coffee maker.

Or perhaps become a vagabond.

Or just trust that the perfect place will be found in the perfect time. And since I believe in the "when you pray, move your feet" theory of manifesting things, I'm looking and reaching and emailing and driving to see things, in addition to visualizing myself living in the perfect space.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend Warrior

I was quite a weekend warrior these past couple of days. After a week that found me in tears for a few days at weird times (mostly driving while talking to myself about Jane), and then found me going down a one way street the wrong way while trying to buy moving boxes, I realized I needed some serious sweat therapy.

So, Saturday I headed down to the East Bay Bike Path with Ally for a nice 14 mile ride along the ocean. With a flat tire. Seriously. After last weekend's bike issues, to have yet another ride stymied by my aparent inability to care for my bikes was just comical. Thankfully, we found a bike shop near by, they gave me 2 new tires with the speed of a NASCR pit stop, and we were back in shape.

The trail is fairly narrow for a bike path, especially in the beginning (near Colt State Park) it is also a stroller/walker/roller-blade/meander/dog walk path. We weaved in and out of the people and finally found some space. There are also a lot of road crossings which made it hard to get a good pace going. Finally, towards East Providence there are some nice long stretches that aren't too populated. I'd say head out early in the morning (which we had planned...)

The round trip (26 miles, we skipped a mile or so branch) took about 2 hours and was just the right amount of time. Just as I was ready to be done, we were done.

Bristol is a very cute little town.

This morning I had planned a mountain bike ride but just as I was in the car and heading out, my riding companions texted that they would not be joining me. I refrained from texting back "come on, people, rally!! pain is temporary!" and made a quick mental calculation of my options. Returning home to sloth on the couch was not one of those options. Venturing into the somewhat creepy biking woods on my own did not appeal to me, so I made a quick swing back home for my hiking shoes (that'll teach me to store them at home instead of in the car like I normally do) and headed out to the non-creepy hiking woods.

A very sweaty but nice 3 hour hike. I will be very glad when fall is here.

It's weird to not have a dog in the house after 14 years. The wind blew and I didn't have to worry that the dog would get nervous. I can leave the vacuum cleaner out without her avoiding that room. I can leave the door open for a minute and not worry that I'll have to go hunting under all the bushes to find her. When I wake up at 2 a.m. there is no little soul down the hall that somehow senses my awakeness when I haven't even moved and comes ticking ticking ticking to check on me.

I got Jane 3 days after my last dog passed away quite suddenly from cancer. And a few days ago I came across this sled dog kennel that has retired sled dogs for adoption. But, I know I'm not ready for another dog. Not for a while. Still, I miss that little husky face. So, I got this:

My small new friend, Blizzard. He's reading about downward facing dog. (Actually I think that's dolphin...) He's just the right size to come hiking in my back pack with me, and to hang out on the counter or table if an ear needs to be scritched or something. He's what will prevent me from driving to New Hampshire and returning with a retired sled dog of my very own.

I had too many Jelly Belly's again. I really just need to buy about 20 at a time or something. I eat about 40 of them and then my belly hurts. And my body is tired, and just the right amount of sore. And I am glad it is almost bedtime.

Tomorrow I will do yoga. No excuses. Even if it's just dolphin pose.