Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coping methods

From The Telegraph, by Jay Williams, Guinness World Records 
What a guy! Thomas Lackey is celebrating his 90th birthday by becoming the oldest person ever to wing walk, breaking his own record set last year. He did it in the UK on Guinness World Record Day, last Thursday 18 November. He is all over the news right now. He says he thinks about his wife when he's up in the air and carries her photo up there with him. Earlier this year I wrote a post I called "Think Skydivers Are Crazy?" with a picture of two people ostensibly playing ping-pong while wing walking in 1927. People have been doing crazy stuff for quite awhile. Some of us use high-risk behavior as a way to cope with everyday stress. Tom had a heart attack awhile back and one friend said the only difference is that now he needs a little help from his friends to climb onto the wing.

The weather has turned amazingly cold and wintery here in Bellingham. On Friday night it snowed all night long and cold air blew down from British Columbia, with winds steady at 25mph and gusts to 45. I took this picture yesterday morning from inside my cozy abode showing the fence separating our apartment complex from the neighbors next door.
I think there was at least three inches of snow, but only 15 miles south of Bellingham in Mt. Vernon, there was no snow. The cold air didn't make it down that far and so their precipitation fell in the form of rain. I waited yesterday for the first bus of the day at 9:45am (which was happily only two minutes late as I stood out in the wind) and went to downtown Bellingham. I was thinking of taking a nice walk, but this is what the sidewalks looked like.
I don't know if that picture is sufficient to show what walking on the frozen sidewalks was really like, but I sure wished I had cleats on the bottoms of my boots, because I had to shuffle along instead of stride in order to stay upright. Finding the Farmers' Market all but deserted, I took the bus to Fairhaven, a few miles south of downtown and bought myself yarn to make a new hat, along with a good book to read as well. I noticed that in only this short distance south, the amount of snow that had fallen was much lighter.

Once I got home, I figured I could write a new blog post this morning and settle in with my book and knitting, foregoing any outside adventures. Tomorrow I'll get my usual workout at the gym by taking the bus, keeping my car in the driveway. The snow and freezing temperatures are not expected to let up until Wednesday. By Thanksgiving Day we should be back to our normal above-freezing temperatures. I saw one of the local Northern Flickers on the finch feeder. This is not the greatest picture, but I took it from inside and couldn't use the flash, as it would have reflected back from the window. The finches use the feeder by hanging upside down and sticking their beaks into the slot located below. He didn't know that, and obviously didn't need to worry about it, as he could use the entire feeder to his heart's content. I also have two suet feeders that he uses all the time, but he needs other nourishment too, in order to keep himself warm.

We all have coping mechanisms for dealing with the stresses and strains of our lives. I jump out of perfectly good airplanes and hike in the mountains. What's yours?


  1. Well I commune a lot with nature walking my GSD in spring, summer, and fall. Winter not so much outside. Mostly hibernate and read books in the winter but then this is Minnesota!

  2. I'm glad it's not so cold here, yet. We're still hitting near the 60's some days. It actually still feels like fall. I figure winter will come soon enough.

    When I'm feeling overwhelmed I tend to walk-if I've got the opportunity. If not, I use frantic, frustrated energy constructively and clean or do laundry. To keep from getting overwhelmed I do Pilates and yoga. I also try to spend a bit of me time...reading, blogging, writing. Honestly, with two young children I often would prefer to jump out of a plane-and I'm scared of heights!

    Every time I see your birds I remind myself that I need to get a feeder for my deck. I see a fair number of birds anyway; imagine what it would be like if I fed them.

  3. mine is to go to the mountain...went hiking this it is abouta perfect enough for just a sweater...nice sun...amazing....dnt know if i could pull off wing walking though...smiles.

  4. Oh Jan, you put me to shame. I'm such a whimp I would never try your adventures. Putting my toes outside on ice is about the most stressful thing I can think of.

    It was 28 degrees here this morning but no sign of snow. Wow, I wonder what your winter is going to be.

  5. I loved all the topics you covered in your post. It sounds like you made the perfect choice for a cold winter day: take a short jaunt, begin a new project, read and write. I also love that you stayed in touch with nature. I think all of these things help one deal with stress.

    Creativity always helps me deal with stress. Writing is my best outlet. It sure beats cleaning the house!

  6. I paint, and draw. I don't think I would dare go wing-walking or sky-diving. Sheesh...! You guys are braver than brave...!

    We got hit by that winter storm too, and it's frrrrreeeeezing here. Brrrrr....

  7. Yes, skydivers are crazy!

    Those pavements look treacherous. Please don't hurt your leg anymore. Stay indoors until the paths clear.

    I like to listen to music. That always relieves stress for me. I also like to stroke the cat.

    Blessings, Star

  8. I"m exhausted from shoveling sunshine off the driveway

  9. I eat? That is unfortunately the first thing that came to mind when I read your question. I used to go for long walks but I have been limited in that lately.
    I read, I write letters and speeches in my head, I talk back to the radio or TV.
    Right now, as the Seahawks are falling far behind, and the snow is falling lightly outside, but not sticking, I'm going to go for a "ride" on my stationary bike.

  10. I think photography does it for me.. being out there in the first place.

    I don't envy your snowfall. I'm so not ready for winter.

  11. Some people, like the 90 year old walking the wing, redefine aging.

  12. I can't believe this weather. It is a cold night in Ontario and yet it is supposed to be quite mild tomorrow... 13 degrees Celsius! I am sure it won't be long until it snows.

    I truly admire the courage of that skywalker. He must feel mighty close to Heaven!

  13. Frozen sidewalks are terrible, aren't they? We have not had snow here yet even though temps have been 22F in mornings. Yesterday I put on my down jacket and went out to the garage and straightened it out from the move, made room for the car. I plan on keeping the car in the garage in winter. Regarding the wing walking, I do not see any reason anyone would do that but that is just me. I think I am an adventurous person but not with things like that. I like that there are so many kinds of people in this world with all our varied interests, and I admire a 90 year old man for pushing himself to the max.

  14. I hate ice. When I was maybe 13, I broke one of my my arms thanks to an icy sidewalk. Then when I was about 22, I made the mistake of thinking I could attempt ice-skating, and my other arm was broken within seconds of stepping onto the rink. Now in my 50s, I just assume I'll break if I get too close to any ice. Stay warm and safe up there, Jan!

  15. Starlings come around here in the spring, have their babies and then take off and never return until the following year. I have met some very nice starlings, especially the fledglings. I think you would like them.

    I really liked Bellingham when I was there and spoke at a college in 1976/1977. I forget the name of the college and I don't remember what kind of college it was. I know the auditorium was shaped like the old Roman coliseums and I was down on deck looking up at all those eyes looking back at me. The lady who had me come out then has since passed away. She was into reincarnation. And I was exploring it at the time she had me come out.

    My mother said she was going to keep her feet on the ground and advised me to do that too. LOL.

  16. Well, I do have a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner every night. I'm not sure if that would be considered a luxury, vice, coping device or just simply a tasty beverage.

  17. No snow for us yet, except for a dusting a few weeks ago. It was actually short sleeve weather yesterday, for the grandsons anyway!

    My stress buster would be hiking in the woods...although it's pretty stress free here in the winter of my years.

  18. yikes! and I was complaining about the cold around here... and we're oly just flirting with freezing...

    My coping mechanism would probably be dancing, losing myself in the music and dancing. But it has to be in a festive atmosphere with lots of people.

  19. Coping mechanisms for me? Fresh air, gardening, landscaping, playing with Finn a Yorkie, checking out great blogs like yours...

  20. I like to see people like Thomas Lackey make the news, it shows everyone that age is no excuse to give up.

    We're at 19 degrees right now and by tomorrow night it's going down to about 2 above. The wind chill will be somewhat lower. It started snowing on Sunday and it's still going, looks like we are having a white Thanksgiving.

    Coping mechanisms? Yard work, housework, hiking and walking, photography, club work, blogging, etc. etc. .... It's my coping mechanisms that give me the stress!!

  21. I take photos
    of anything, anywhere, any time :)

    that sidewalk looks treacherous
    shouldn't people shovel?

    here's to warmer temps and lots of melting

  22. I take photos or sleep..stress makes me really tired..if it is really bad I clean..and clean! Bravo to old Tom to keep doing what he wants too at his age!
    There are some things and their name escapes me that you can buy to strap on your boots when it is icy.. Yaktrax I looked them up in my Duluth Trading may like them for your hikes too:)


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.