Fort De Soto Park, which has a dog-friendly beach. We decided to stop first for a nice lunch, and found a place right on the beach and ended up going no further. We watched pelicans diving for fish, walked in the surf, and enjoyed the magnificent sunshine. There was quite a breeze, as a storm was due in by evening. Doris' dog Jingles was afraid of the wind, the water, and the unfamiliar surroundings, so she held him most of the time. He did get a bit better before too long.
Since the drive to St. Petersburg was more than an hour, and after we had finished lunch, we decided we had already had a fine time at the beach, so we decided to skip the park and drive back home. Norma Jean and I took a nice little walk around her community and spied these little ducks looking for lunch. We laughed as they paddled their feet to keep themselves in this position.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
|Norma Jean finishing her 3/4 mile swim|
But here in Florida, Norma Jean took me to her YMCA, where the outdoor pool is not all that busy when it first opens at 6:30. Yes, that is 6:30 in the morning! She swims three-quarters of a mile, without stopping, before coming home, changing clothes, and going out for a four-mile walk with her dog. If you can call it a "walk," since I must jog alongside her to keep up. She is most comfortable with covering four and a half miles every hour. That means before 8:30, she's had enough exercise that would be the envy of someone decades younger.
Muscovy ducks everywhere around the ponds as well. I'll try to get some pictures, but so far I'm so tired after trying to keep up with my younger sister that you'll just have to wait a bit. Maybe on Thursday...
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Betmar Acres, a 55-and-over mobile home retirement community. She walked more slowly than she usually does, to allow her elder sister to keep up.
I'm a little tired from the travel and the three-hour time difference between Pacific and Eastern Standard Time. I used that as an excuse to keep Norma Jean from going even farther this morning. Tomorrow we'll go a shorter distance but at HER pace. I'll get a good night's sleep so I'll be ready.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
|Rita looking out at the view|
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
|Al taking a picture of me taking a picture of Amy|
|Taken at the parking lot with my iPhone|
|You can click on the picture to admire it properly|
It was a wonderful day spent in the mountains a mere hour or so away from town. Thursday the rest of us will gather for a hike that is predicted (again) to be in rain. But I don't really mind; I had today in sun, clouds and snow, and Friday I'll be in Florida!
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
|Samish Bay behind me|
Last March we made this same hike, with nary a view to be had; instead we had pea-soup fog to deal with. I wrote about it here. But today we are in the midst of a spell of dry, sunny weather. There is a fair amount of fog around in the early morning when it's like this, but it burns off quickly. I scraped heavy ice off the car and headed to the Senior Center to meet ten fellow hikers. We started this loop hike from the Clayton Beach parking lot.
aforementioned link). This year I noticed that there were even more icicles, and they glistened in the beautiful sunlight. Although we make the same hikes year after year, it's truly amazing how much they change in character from one occasion to the next.
|Amy and Peggy standing on the clearcut area|
By the time we had returned to the cars and our starting point, we had covered around nine miles or so, with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Exclamations of contentment came from many of us, and I was glad to have one of those days that remind me why I live here, and why I can so quickly forget about the rain.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
It was nice to see my doctor for my annual physical and to be given a pat on the back for how well I seem to be doing. My cholesterol numbers are the best they have been in the four years I've been coming here, and all my other numbers made my doctor quite pleased. Walking out of the clinic, I was gratified to see the sunshine and glad I was able to head home, not wanting to expose anybody else to this cold.
It's only a cold, I'm sure, since all I've got in a stuffy head and a scratchy throat. My temperature was normal, and my weight was even cause for celebration! Two years ago when I went to see Dr. Whitehead for the first time, I realized I had gained ten pounds during the previous year, and now I am not only where I want to be, but maybe I can actually start eating a little bit more every day. It's interesting that I don't seem to have all that much difficulty losing weight once I get on the bandwagon, but you can't stay in a losing mode all the time. Two years ago I started using an app to help me keep track of what I was eating, and during the recent holidays my sister Norma Jean introduced me to HER app, and now I am using it every day. It's called "Lose It" at the app store, and it's even better than my previous one. My iPhone allows me to scan the barcode and it goes into my food diary. Is that cool or what?
Maintenance is my goal during the coming year. If I can enter December 2013 weighing the same as I do right now, I will be thrilled. But it's been a battle: when I stop counting calories and just eat, I begin to gain weight. When I'm tracking every bite, I think about what I'm doing when I put food in my mouth, and it's not as big of a deal to keep under a certain caloric number every day.
Smart Guy and I drove to Snohomish last Sunday, not to make a skydive or anything, but to pick up my repacked parachute harness and container system, which had been languishing at the Drop Zone for months, since there was little to no chance of making a jump. Sunday was sunny and beautiful, the roads were great, but when we got to Harvey Field, the frost had only recently retreated, and all the trees were covered with frost! That did not deter the youngest among us from going up into those blue skies, but I wasn't interested, not at all.
|Cessna and jumpmaster (student inside plane practicing exit)|
Today I am sitting in my chair writing this post, while paroxysms of sneezes capture me and I give thanks that I am in a warm, dry place with a partner who is busy making my dinner for me while I write this post. Not to mention that I got a "well done" from my doctor! Life is good.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
|Anthony Hopkins and Alfred Hitchcock|
I wonder what people will think of this movie who know little to nothing about the man himself, as many of the mannerisms and looks that Hopkins does so well are ones I remember from seeing Alfred Hitchcock on TV over the years. He was a familiar figure to me. He loved to make fun of himself and had a great sense of humor. That NPR link has a line that I completely agree with:
To some extent, Hitchcock — you know, the film that we're talking about — is something that he would delight in even if he might be horrified at aspects of it, because it is partly the consequence of this long process that he started in the 1920s of building himself into a public personality that we could take delight in.He would start and end a program with a cameo, which are also present in this movie. I left the theater happy that I had seen it and can recommend it as a really good movie, but not a great one. Mirren was also good but I don't think her performance will win.
Hyde Park on Hudson, a movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his spinster cousin Daisy with whom he has a long affair. (Ed: I fixed this where I had called Daily his aunt instead of his cousin. Sorry!) You might be as surprised as I was to find that Bill Murray played FDR. Laura Linney played Daisy. The movie covers an actual event that happened at Hyde Park in 1939, when FDR and First Lady Eleanor invited the King and Queen of England to their home in upstate New York right before World War II broke out.
The movie is billed as a "comedy-drama," and it certainly lives up to both aspects. I found myself quite amazed at Murray's ability to portray someone very different from himself in looks and temperament. (Or as I imagine Bill Murray is, anyway.) I enjoyed the movie, not as much as Hitchcock, but it was passably good. It certainly helped that I read the reviews before I saw it and they were almost uniformly bad. My expectations were suitably lowered, so I was pleasantly surprised. It was fun; you can't expect much more than that from a movie, can you?
The gist of these two movies is that historically, they are nowhere near accurate, but they were well imagined and enjoyable. If you go to either one, I'd love to know what you think!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
|Al, Peggy, Linda, Ward|
|A wet tugboat in Big Rock Garden park|
It's supposed to clear off and the temperatures drop to the teens tonight, our coldest temperatures of the season so far. It's only two more weeks before I leave for my sister's home in Florida, where I noticed today it reached 85 degrees F. I hope it won't be too much of a shock to my system!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
|Looking out at the rain|
This is my fourth winter in the Pacific Northwest, and it's the first time I've gotten grumpy from the rain. Usually we get a little rain and mist, then some pretty white puffy clouds, a little blue sky, and then it starts all over again. Not lately, though. Day after day of rain. At least I have the gear for the weather, plus I'll be in Florida in a few short weeks. And it's supposed to be sunny again on Friday, so I'll be okay.
It would be nice to go out and do some shopping, but when I am sitting here all warm and dry, it's hard to make myself go out when I don't need to. I caught the bus before the sun came up, standing outside with my warm coat and umbrella and had a great workout at the Y surrounded by my friends, who were also grousing about the weather. By the time I headed home, I was happy to think of being in a cheerful environment with my partner, with my morning workout completed and nowhere else I need to be.
Several of my blogging friends are having problems downloading pictures. This morning I couldn't post comments. I use Chrome as my browser of choice for blogspot, since they are both Google products and only have the occasional difficulty. I have Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers installed on my laptop and when one doesn't work, I'll pull up another and it will sometimes fix the problem. There is also the old standby of doing a reboot. Blogger is currently having more hiccups than usual, though.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
|Well-deserved latte after a soaking wet walk|
I, however, had pulled on my rain pants before I left the house, figuring it was better to be safe than sorry. We walked in the pouring rain at a good clip, and after about twenty minutes I realized that I was feeling quite warm and happy, glad that I had come out for the walk after all. When we went into the coffee shop afterwards, we left puddles as we stood in line ordering our coffee.
As we warmed our hands on the mugs, we chatted about being glad we had made the decision to come out despite the rain. But yes, I'm getting tired of the rain. I learned that December broke an all-time record in Seattle for the most days with rain. No wonder we're all getting tired of it and rejoicing when we see the sun.
I have made reservations to visit Norma Jean in Florida at the end of the month. You watch: it will stop raining and turn warm and sunny. I just hope the gloom doesn't follow me there. Oh, and by the way before I go, I saw a wonderful piece about Maurice Sendak on Time Goes By. I've watched it a few times now, and every time it makes me both smile and cry. Apparently it all came about because Terry Gross interviewed Maurice about his new book in 2011. He died in May this past year, and artist Christoph Niemann drew the pictures and the New York Times published it on the last day of December 2012 to honor Maurice, a wonderful man who taught me where the wild things are.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
|Long rays of sunshine at Lily Lake|
Yaktrax, which are designed to slip onto your boots and make it easier to hike on ice.
|It takes a village to get Norm's Yaktrax secured|