Saturday, July 29, 2006

Accidentally Trendy

Meet my new best friend:

I had no desire to be uber-trendy and get springs in my shoes. As luck may have it, these were the comfy shoes in my price range. I tried on a different shoe that actually made my feet roll in. That cannot be good for the knees. The shoes I bought are nice and stable and made for the terrain that I run on, sweetie (I was taught to never end a sentence with a preposition so you are all 'sweetie' today).

And yes, I do realize that these are very, very ugly. If any of you come here and run with me at 6am, you are welcome to call them ugly to their face. Otherwise, ....

I'm going to paint my toenails now. If the shoes are gonna be ugly, the toes are gonna be pretty.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My morning

Alarm goes off at 5:45. Hit snooze. Alarm goes off at 5:50. Drag stiff and sorry body out of bed and very slowly dress and stretch and avoid going back to bed. Hit the road by 6:15 wondering what ever possessed me to think this was a good idea. Walk slowly until I am almost awake. Walk faster. Consider running on the flatter parts. Think better of it because it's still uphill. Swat bugs (note to self: remember to use the bug spray tomorrow morning). Sing a song of joy (in my head) that I've made it to my daily mark (approx. 1.7 miles today) and it's all downhill from here. Walk for 10 I mean 20 I mean 50 steps (ok the next big tree, I mean it!) before I pick the tired legs up and begin to very slowly run. Try and find a good rhythm and match it to a song in my head (no IPOD for me, I run on a one-lane road and have to listen for cars and jump into the brush). Wonder if my running is actually slower than my walking. Realize it doesn't matter. Act unafraid of Pomeranian who barks and nudges my ankles every morning. Promise myself I can walk after the next 100 steps, then convince myself I can keep running. Smile at the horses running behind the fence. Wonder why the horses don't jump the fence. Wonder if horses ever jump fences and charge sweaty runners. Definitely keep running. Avoid pothole. Realize I'm finally at the bottom of the hill and have to adjust to a flat surface. Promise myself I can start walking at the corner. Start running up my street, but only until the first I mean second I mean third mailbox. Walk up my very steep and long driveway with jelly legs. Climb my front steps wondering if everyone's knees make that noise. Grab a towel to blot the oh-so-feminine sweat pouring off of me. Grab my water bottle and drink it while pacing around my kitchen. Breathe heavily and try to talk to my freshly-showered-and-dressed-for-work husband. Jump for joy (only on the inside, legs are too tired) when I tell my husband that I ran for 1.3 miles straight today. Continue to pace and breathe heavily until I've finished my first pint of water. Convince myself that I love to stretch and do strength training and that yes, I can make it up 12 entire stairs to the shower. Finally am dressed and ready to have my own breakfast. Smile and know that I love to run and start my day like this. Look at the clock and realize it's already 8am and I haven't gotten anything done yet!!!

This happened today, but it's not too different from most days. Sometimes there are turkeys running across the road. Other times there are kamikaze deer. I've already had one run into me (ok, my car) and I think she's trying for a rematch. If you are bored and feel like sweating, come along sometime.

Sorry there are no pictures to post. I'm up to 29 utility poles now and I've started running. Enough things wiggle and jiggle on me when I run without adding a bouncing camera. I'll go public (to both of my readers) and announce that I'm training for a 5K in the fall (maybe -- still haven't registered and am not sure I'll be ready). And while I'm going public, I've lost 15 pounds. As you read above, it's just falling off. (Can you just hear the sarcasm?)

If you really want a picture, here's a quilt that I just gave away to a lovely girl who recently graduated from high school.

It's a twin of a quilt I gave away as a Christmas present. Note how I have not yet learned to crop or rotate a photo. It may help to turn your computer monitor on it's side.

If you need to see another picture, here's one of the Beacon Reservoir:

A group of us from church hiked up there a few Sundays ago. It was a killer hike, but a beautiful site. The tower in the distance-- you can see New York City from there. I, however, cannot because I couldn't go one. more. step.

And since I know one more picture will make your life complete, here's another shot of deer in the yard.

It's better than the last one, but maybe not by too much. I have to write 100 times "I will turn off the flash to take nature pictures"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Catching Up, part 1

I'm still working to conquer the mountain, but I'm behind in posting. You all, of course, sit in rapt attention waiting desperately for me to post yet another picture of a telephone pole.

In the last several hikes, only a few items are worth noting:

1. I had a 2-dog hike one day. A beautiful and friendly husky named Dawson walking his human and a chauffer-driven greyhound. I didn't catch his name, but his driver congratulated me on making it down the hill this time (she usually passes me as I'm walking UP).

2. The tunes stuck inside my head are ever-changing: a Sunday-School song from 30 years ago (Come and Go with Me to my Father's House), Horsey-Horsey -- a Camp Fire Girls song from 30 years ago, and finally THE CLASH -- Rock the Casbah. I'll walk to the Clash any day. Make the other songs go away, PLEASE?

3. Note pole number 4 -- I took another view w/o identifying information. In that photo, you may notice a mailbox and a garbage can. This would infer that there is mail service and garbage collection. There is. While walking, I have been passed by a garbage truck and a mail car (and a schoolbus, too). When I hear a vehicle approaching, I jump into the brush on the side of the road. When I saw a garbage truck approaching, I thanked God that I wasn't in my car. How would that work, I wonder? I know my photos are of incredibly poor quality, but I hope they at least convey the narrowness of the road. Can you imagine driving on a road this winding, hilly, and narrow and seeing a garbage truck coming HEAD-ON? Me, neither.

Pole 4:

Pole 6:

Pole 7:

Pole 8:

Pole 9:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

All about the numbers....

Songs stuck in my head on today's walk: 2
'Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley' going uphill
'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen going downhill (I couldn't make this stuff up)

Number of cars that passed me: 8
note to self .... Walk Earlier!!!

Number of cars that stopped to speak to me: 2
#4 mentioned that I didn't get far since yesterday's walk (ha, ha)
#8 asked if this road was on the way to "_____ Road" (sir, this road is on the way to nowhere, but good luck!)

Number of utility poles passed: 5

To recap:


two. (correct date, but now I have to learn how to crop)


four -- no photo since it includes someone's personal property.


Workout brought to you by the number five and Con-Edison Fitness Center.

Oh, deer!

This morning I was eating breakfast and I happened to look out my kitchen window to see this:

Yes, a tree and a whole mess of ferns. But if you look under the tree on the left side, you will (barely) see a fawn with 2 beady eyes. It's eyes aren't really that beady. I think I had the flash on and caught a reflection.

Since I am unable to capture this (or anything, apparently) with a camera, I'll try to describe what fawn are like. They are incredibly tiny with lots and lots of white spots. They dance around on spindly legs and aren't afraid of much yet. I usually see them alone, but I know that their mothers are nearby. If I attempt to get too close, mom comes in and they burst out of the fern in great big effortless leaps. My best "I wish I had that on film" moment was when there were two fawns playing in the fern outside my kitchen window. I don't think I completely comprehended the word 'frolic' until I watched the fawns dance and jump around each other.

We don't have television in my house. Cable is too expensive, we don't have a clear spot for a satellite, and we never watched it much anyway. In our house, entertainment is called 'windows'. We have a lot of bushes in the yard that look like Charlie Brown Christmas trees because the deer munch on EVERYTHING, but watching fawns at play cancels that out quite nicely.

And, no, you cannot hunt in my yard. Yes, people have asked me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Come Walk With Me

Four years ago, my husband and I purchased ourselves a little 'unique fixer-upper opportunity' that happens to be located on the side of a mountain. We've had a love/hate relationship with our house, but the location continues to stun us daily with it's beauty. Since we are a bit of a distance from civilization, going anywhere is a commitment and going to the gym is a luxury I can no longer afford.

There does exist a road that goes from my house over the ridge and back down the other side of the mountain. It's 6.5 miles the short way (more winding passages exist) and the first 2 miles are all uphill. This summer, as I do every summer, I've committed to conquer the mountain. I want to walk to the top, at least, and be in good shape doing it.

(caution, sudden change of subject)

As I was thinking that I really need to buy myself a digital camera and stop borrowing my daughter's, I remembered that I actually DO own my very own camera. So when my son returned from college, I stole it back from him. I don't know how to use it, but I figured I should learn.

(And now we tie two disparate subjects together nicely.)

Here are some pix from today's hike. Ignore the date. (That's one of the features I do not know how to use.)

This is the last flat part of road for a while. It's narrow and badly paved, but paved it is.

And here is why we mention the paved road in the previous photo:

Yes, this is a real county road with houses on it. Yes, I live in New York and we have bad winters. Yes, I'm thankful that I don't have to navigate this road every day in winter just to get to my house.

When I made the commitment to conquer the mountain this summer, my first day's goal was to get to the first utility pole. See, I live at the end of a power company's territory. The first bit of my walk has no utility service. The neighboring utility company brings power up and over the mountain. Here's the much-celebrated pole:

Every day, I try to climb a little farther. I'd go from mailbox to mailbox, but they are pretty far apart. I'm up to the fourth utility pole. This is excitement in rural America.

I thought I'd maybe find some tunes to walk by, or maybe a book on my MP3 player. First walk: found the player but the battery was dead. Second walk: player was charged, but all the files had expired and I needed to log in to the music service and the library to refresh them. Third walk: realized that I walk on a one-lane road and hearing the cars (and getting out of their way) was a VERY good idea.

So what do I listen to while I'm walking? My own huffing and puffing for one. Random birds and animals (very cool). Whatever song happens to be stuck in my head. Today was "Boogie Shoes" (shoot me, please). Oh, and this:

Can you see the water down there? (I have to learn how to take pictures.) There is a stream that runs beside the road and I get to hear bubbling water. Cool, huh? This also runs beside my driveway, just under my bedroom window. Want to fall asleep to that every night? It's quite soothing.

So, I could tell you that we lose electricity all of the time. We have garage doors that are barely worthy of their name. Our windows fall out of the frame randomly (this is great fun). We live under the tree line, so no Direct TV (and the Steelers won this year!?!?!?). But the upside is ... I get to live here. I get to see this every day. Yep, buying this money pit was a good thing.