Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Busy Tuesday

Our coffee group this morning
This morning at Avellino's, my coffee shop of choice, we had all six seats around the community table filled with this motley assortment of people. Me, John, Gene, Teresa, Roger, and Tim. We all enjoyed our usual coffee and scintillating conversation, and then I realized I had stayed longer than usual and was in danger of missing my exercise class. I didn't, however, as I was able to hustle out the door a little faster than I have been. I'm slowly getting better.

After the class, I headed to Fairhaven for my usual 11:00 yoga class. I was pleased to find that several poses that were beyond me last week are now getting easier to accomplish. Then a trip to my acupuncturist for another round of needles. It never fails, I leave there feeling much better, although I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the needles going in. Most are just a little pinprick, but some give me zingers that last for seconds before settling down. He offers to take them out if it's too much, but heck, if I suffer through their placement, I'm going to enjoy the effects later on.

I would say I am probably 75% returned to normal, and I have been told by Warren (the acupuncture guy) to continue to limit my exercise to 15 minutes at a time. I told him I've been stopping at 20 minutes, and he says that if he told me 20, I'd go for 30. (In other words, he figures I'll always overdo a little bit. He knows me by now.)

Then I came home and am presently finishing my final task for the day: a post. Now I can pick up my latest book and bury my nose in it.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Walking group and more

Cindy, our leader, on the left
This morning I joined the ladies for the walk around Lake Padden. Most of them went twice around, 5.2 miles, and I thought that maybe I could take out my trekking poles and go around the lake once in the opposite direction, giving me a chance to meet up with them even if right now I can't walk at their speed. But I guess I was too optimistic about my ability to walk at all: I only made it part way around before turning back.

It was overcast, and because of the nice rain we had last night, it was cooled off from the previous several days of too hot (for me) temperatures in the mid-eighties (28°C), and with the cloud cover, it was just right temperature-wise. I thought I could make it farther than I did, but it was a good lesson for me not to push myself too hard, too soon. At least I was out there with them for awhile, and I sure did enjoy the mile or so I did walk. Cindy admonished me to start off walking on flatter surfaces than around the lake, because she wants me to be able to join them until I'm at least 100.
Bouquets of sweet peas at the market
Then I went to the Farmers' Market, not because I needed anything, but thought it would be nice to get in a little bit more walking. Chatting for awhile with a yoga friend I ran into, I was at loose ends about what I might do next. So I just went on home. Now I'm getting my chores done; writing a Saturday post and crossing it off my list.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

My Thursday exercise

Out the door and down the steps
Another Thursday when I cannot go out with the Senior Trailblazers on one of my favorite hikes, the Chain Lakes loop. But I decided to head out to catch the bus downtown and pretend like it's not Thursday. The day was a perfect temperature, in the low 60s (around 16°C) with lots of sunshine. The trip to the bus is about a 15-minute walk at my current pace.
My chariot
Our bus system has a few spots for people to take a bike to use once they get to town. And when you get to know the bus drivers, they are very friendly and helpful.
My favorite coffee shop
My first stop is always Avellino's, my favorite place to start the day's activities and meet up with my pals. John was the only one there this morning, but he had some homemade dill pickles to share, which were just wonderful.
Shane making a latte, Carrie in the kitchen behind
Although it's just a little after 7:00am in the morning, Shane is ready to brighten my day with a smile and a double Americano. Sometimes I have a latte, but this morning I thought straight espresso was the way to go. Then, around 8:15, I left for the Y to get a little workout going.
Stationary bike
I usually warm up with twenty minutes on this stationary bicycle, which is very comfortable; I do an interval program and have worked my way back to using a Level 3 resistance. When I first got injured, I did the program at the lowest level but am now back to my normal resistance. I'm getting better, a bit at a time. I usually then take an hour-long strength and tone class, but today I skipped it, not feeling much like it. (I've also caught a summer cold.)
A nice front yard garden
After taking the bus back, I walked back home and noticed this lovely garden, with the gardener Judy working away. I said hello, and she smiled at me and asked if I wanted any summer squash. (It's all getting ripe and the time has come to share the bounty.)
Inside the garden
She invited me in, and I didn't mention to her that I have some zucchini squash in my own garden, because I always look forward to seeing how other people's produce tastes.
Two kinds of squash and strawberries
I selected these two delightful squash, and she asked if I like strawberries. Doesn't everyone? These were sweet and perfect, so much so they didn't make it all the way home.Yum!
My sister Norma Jean
Once home, I made myself some lunch and got on FaceTime to chat with Norma Jean, who is visiting her daughter and granddaughters in Virginia. She's staying in the basement, which is not quite finished, as you can see. It's her birthday today and I wanted to catch up with her. It was a nice visit, but I sure wish I could be with her to share some wine together. We'll have to do it separately, but I will definitely quaff a glass to celebrate her advanced years (she's younger than me).

Now it's late afternoon and time for me to take something to help dry up my runny nose and finish my latest book. Hopefully the Trailblazers are having a wonderful day. Melanie, I'm sure, will post pictures on Facebook, and I'll just have to reminisce, thinking of all the wonderful times I've gone there in previous years. I'm happy to have had a good day anyway.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A short summer break

Pretty purple pansies
I just returned from my appointment with the acupuncturist, and he gave me some good news and some bad news. First, he thinks that within 4-6 weeks, I should be recovered from my injury. That's the bad news, considering what an impatient person I am. Nothing is broken. And right at the height of summer, too.

The good news is that he thinks I will recover fully. I wasn't so sure about it, considering how much I'm still hurting almost two weeks later. After the treatment, I was in noticeably less pain, but he cautioned I should wait a day before I evaluate how much better I really am. He also gave me exercises to do daily to strengthen the muscles around the injured area. And another appointment in a week.

So I guess I'll be posting some photo safari pictures on Thursdays for the next few weeks, but I am encouraged that I will get better if I don't overdo it, which is always my nemesis. I'll be good, I promise!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

One small step

Buzz Aldrin captured Neil Armstrong's image in visor
"The Eagle has landed" is the phrase these two astronauts radioed back to Earth when the landing module (named Eagle) touched down on the lunar surface. Today is the fiftieth anniversary of that momentous day, and who alive then doesn't remember just where they were when it happened? I was in my mid-twenties, a housewife and secretary, and since it happened on a Sunday, I was at home watching the entire event play out on TV.

I have just spent the last hour reading different articles commemorating the anniversary, and remembering what I felt when it happened. It was simply mind-boggling that we tiny humans had made it to another planet within my lifetime. Of course, we all thought that it was just the beginning of space travel, but after a total of 12 different men walked on the moon and returned, it just fizzled. We were in the throes of the Vietnam War at the time, and many other things were deemed more important. And I can only imagine how much all that space travel cost: why, it was probably more than the war effort. (I don't really want to know, but I do sometimes wonder why we gave up space travel so easily.)

Today, I also found out that an astonishing 5% of Americans don't believe it ever happened. There are lots of articles laying out the most common conspiracy theories. I'll leave it to my readers who might be interested in them to do a little research on your own. It's quite fascinating.
Flag "blowing" in nonexistent breeze
I well remember seeing this picture and also wondering why the flag was moving without an atmosphere. In case you wondered, it wasn't: it was wired to look like it was blowing in the breeze. I learned from this article (from The Atlantic) that when the Eagle module took off, the exhaust caused the flag to fall into the moondust. And what does it look like now?
The flag, made of nylon, was an off-the-shelf purchase. Unlike Earth, the moon lacks an atmosphere capable of blocking out the worst of the sun’s rays. It wouldn’t have taken long for the ultraviolet light to eat away at the dye and bleach the flag white. 
Well, maybe it's time for us to go back and plant some new improved flags! In any event, it's a wonderful event to mark, and I'm privileged to still be around to celebrate it fifty years later.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Photo safari

Borage from my garden
Since I couldn't go hiking because last week's injury is ongoing, I decided to take pictures of flowers and post them instead. They are not wonderful pictures, but what is a person to do when she doesn't have a hike to chronicle? The group didn't go into the High Country because of rain, but frankly, today it is almost full sun. It could be different up in elevation, though. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't miss a fun summer hike.
Crocosmia (red) and hydrangea (blue)
I see these lovelies every time I climb the stairs to my apartment. They are just to the left of the stairs and I enjoy seeing their colors. I wandered around looking for some good pictures, hoping that my photo safari would give me some interesting shots.
Hedi's pretty begonias
Hedi has some nice flowers on her front porch; these are her favorites, but her coleus are also really pretty, too. I've got some to transfer into planters myself. Hers are awfully pretty though, don't you think?
Coleus and an unidentified succulent
I ventured into our community garden, where some of us have flowers amongst the vegetables. I planted snapdragons and cosmos, which are doing quite well, even thriving, on my special brand of benign neglect.
Mishmash of pretty flowers
I should at least go out there and take out the weeds, but I'm not very much inclined to. Our zucchini is beginning to take over a whole section of the garden, and I'm eating it as fast as I can. Others are also helping; there's enough for everybody, or will be in another week or two.
Fragrant yellow rose
My garden neighbor to the east of me inherited all of Rob's lovely plants, including this yellow rosebush, which smells divine in the full sun.
As one enters and exits the garden gate, Carter has planted some nasturtiums for us to enjoy. One year I put these in my garden and they took over. You can also see the shadow of the photographer. I almost cropped it out,  but then I thought, why not leave it? I notice I always lift my little pinky when taking these shots.
Today's hikers
 Melanie sent me this picture of today's Senior Trailblazers, but the resolution is so low that I cannot identify everybody. Fourteen of them, in all, and I do hope they had a wonderful day. Mine wasn't bad: I walked to the bus and went to the Y, lifted weights and rode the exercise bike. At least I was able to get my steps in!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Another soggy Thursday ahead

Jim on Heliotrope Ridge hike last year
This lovely picture shows one of my rescuers from last week's fall. He followed closely behind me as I agonized my way back down the trail. Here it is, Tuesday already, and I am barely any better than I was several days ago. I wanted to say thank you to Jim and Kirk and all the rest who helped me get back to civilization. Exactly a year ago, we went to Heliotrope Ridge and I captured this waterfall behind Jim.

I just received an email from Al, who gave us the bad news that once again it will be rainy and wet just in time for our Thursday hike. There was no way I was going to be able to do it, anyway, but it looks like it will be another local hike rather than a trip into the High Country. This is certainly getting old.

However, if it means I won't miss anything fun like last week's lovely hike, I should be happy, right? My bum is still sore enough that walking is slow and measured, meaning that unless I improve a whole lot within the next few days, I'll also miss another Saturday walk with the ladies. And of course it's one of my favorites. Better just keep concentrating on healing!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday with an injury

Lily, me, and John as babushkas
Since I couldn't go walking with the ladies this morning because of my hurt tailbone, Lily decided she'd go to the coffee shop with me instead of walking. Now, I can certainly walk but just v-e-r-y slowly. No way could I keep up, so after our coffee we three headed over to Whole Foods for breakfast. We played with the Messenger app that allows us to put on different disguises, and I especially liked this one, with John looking quite fetching in his scarf. I love this app, and we do this when we want to have some innocent fun.
Beautiful bouquets
Then John dropped us off at the Farmers' Market, which is open only on Saturdays, and we walked around, hoping to see the ladies. They met for the walk this morning in front of the market, but alas, we didn't see anybody.
Interesting raspberries
We did see lots of wonderful fruits and veggies, and the best time to look at things like this is when you're full, which we were. So we didn't buy anything but enjoyed looking. I don't think I've ever seen raspberries that color before.

I did buy some CBD ointment to put on my keister, hoping to speed up the healing process. That was one hard hit I took, but it's been less than two days and it's already getting better. This morning I was able to do my exercises in total, while yesterday they were very truncated. A massage yesterday really helped, too.

It has occurred to me that the way I am moving around right now is more like most mid-septuagenarians walk: carefully and slowly. I don't like it one bit, but it has made me mindful of my usual vigorous activity, and the need to appreciate it while I'm still able to do it. This won't last forever, but for now I'm injured.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Damfino Lakes and Excelsior Pass

The long road in, complete with potholes
Today's hike did not lack for adventure: fifteen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to make a final decision to head to the Damfino Lakes trailhead that would take us to Excelsior Pass. There are two ways to get to the pass, the one from the highway is long and starts at a lower elevation, so it's tough. This one is a long drive on fifteen miles of rather miserable road (see picture), but it starts much higher and is easier. The road has been closed for years, so it was our first time back in awhile.
Our group, plus me behind the camera
We almost didn't go, because the weather forecast was iffy. It looked wet to start but should have opened up later in the day (it didn't). But to start, it was just a rather heavy mist, and we were all ready for it.
Walking on the trail near the lakes
It was so nice to be back in the area, even if the weather wasn't wonderful. By the time we got to Damfino Lakes, it wasn't even misting very much. The lakes are called Damfīno (long "i") because someone once asked what these nondescript lakes are called, and the answer was "damned if I know."
Heading towards the pass
Once you get past the lakes, you begin a steady but gentle climb towards the pass, which has wonderful views on a day when it's not socked in, like it was today. But the weather was mild, the rain only a heavy mist at its worst, and we moved steadily upwards.
Green and lush
After a bit more than three miles, we reached the pass, but the trail caused those who had never been on this side to exclaim often, "what a beautiful trail!" And for me, I remembered why I love this particular trail so much. Just plain delightful, even without any views.
The pass
When we reached the pass, there were several options available to us: head to the summit, about a mile from this sign, find a nice place for lunch, or hike a ways along the High Divide trail. We decided to head for the summit, but as soon as we got onto the other side of the pass, the heavy mist was more like actual rain.
On the other side of the pass
We trudged a ways along in the heavy mist, and after a short while some of us decided to turn back and try to find a place for lunch. Eight decided to continue up to the top of Excelsior Mountain (maybe another .7 mile), while the rest of us decided to find a place to shelter and have lunch.
Our lunch spot
We found a nice place to enjoy our lunch and hang out waiting for the summiteers to return. Once you stop, when you're not basking in the sun, we had to walk around trying to stay warm. But once we connected up with the others (who had already had lunch separately from us), we headed back down the trail we had come up.
Joy looking joyful
As you can see, on our return, it was still a bit on the wet side, without any view, but everyone was happy to have re-discovered this favorite trail. We made our way back down the way we had come. By this time, the rain had pretty much stopped, but we were all a bit cold from the breeze and damp conditions.
The rain had finally let up
This is the final picture I took, because by the time we got back to the boardwalks around the lakes, I took a hard fall. The boards were wet, and I was walking too fast and my legs went out from under me. I hit the boardwalk, hard, with my sacrum taking the hit. I was in serious pain, but once the shock began to let up, I was able to get up and continue hiking. My friend Kirk took my pack, and Jim walked behind me for support, and Chris in front, warning me of slippery spots.

I took a couple of ibuprofen right away, and now that it's been four hours, I just took two more, along with a nice bit of wine, and, although I am sore and walking carefully, only time will tell how much of an injury I have sustained. We covered anywhere from seven to eight miles and around 1,400 feet of elevation, depending on whether you were a summiteer or not, and in any event I think we are all simply happy to have had such an adventurous day in the High Country!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tuesday flowers

Front porch flowers July 2019
I went to the library a few minutes ago to pick up a book I had requested, and after navigating the car through myriad construction projects and finally found a place to park, I walked in for the few minutes it took to check the book out. On the way back, I remembered that it's Tuesday and time for a post. What to write about? As I walked past my front porch flowers, the problem was solved: flowers, of course.
Gorgeous rosebush
In our front yard area, this lovely rosebush catches my eye whenever I park my car in front of it. My friend Hedi told me she remembers when she and another resident planted it, a decade ago. It has the most beautiful multicolored roses, some more yellow than pink, others a sweet mixture, with light that seems to radiate right out of the petals.
Mostly pink
I love these flowers and appreciate their beauty every year as they grace our common area. I would pick some and bring them inside, but it seems selfish to do that. Instead, I'll share them with you, intact on the bush.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Happy birthday, Lily

Lily's Chantilly cake and Hedi behind her
My friend Lily is having a birthday today. Yesterday evening our friends Hedi and Dan, who live in the apartment complex, hosted a very small party (five of us) for her birthday, and it was so lovely. I bought this Chantilly cake from Whole Foods for us to enjoy, and boy, did we! She did have a small amount to take back home, but we all had to fight off the urge to eat it all up.
Whatcom Falls park
Then this morning Lily joined eighteen ladies for a lovely walk in the park, of which I was one. Although we went just under five miles, we felt we got a good workout, while some of the ladies went up to Big Rock Garden to add another mile or two.
Some of the ladies having coffee afterwards
And then a few of the ladies joined Lily and me to have coffee or a smoothie before heading back home. Lily deserves whatever good things the day might bring her, but we sure had a good start. The sun is shining, we are exercised and happy, and the day feels just right to continue a birthday celebration.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day, America

Small group this morning
Since my usual Thursday hiking group took the holiday off, I went on a six-mile walk with my Saturday walking group. We'll still get together on Saturday, but it's Cindy's habit to get in a nice walk on this holiday. It was overcast, making it just about perfect walking weather, and we went from the Village Green in Fairhaven to Arroyo Park. We went out for an hour, and then turned around and came back. Afterward, we stopped in at a coffee shop and got coffee and a treat.

Just a lovely "forest bath" with some of my favorite friends. According to some research, walking in a forest is much better for you than walking in the city. From that link:
One study published in 2011 compared the effects of walking in the city to taking a forest walk. Both activities required the same amount of physical activity, but researchers found that the forest environment led to more significant reductions in blood pressure and certain stress hormones.
Of course, this group doesn't lollygag on the trail, but sets a brisk pace. However, it's certainly pleasant and does lower one's blood pressure, just being surrounded by all that green, birds singing, and everything in bloom. When I came home, I went out to the garden to get myself a snack.
Ah, summer
 There are so many ripe raspberries that I just cannot keep up. I took some, once again, to my neighbor so she could enjoy them, too. It's a lovely day to celebrate our nation's 243rd birthday!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Private yoga session

I didn't look quite like this
Yesterday when I went to my yoga class, I was the only practitioner to show up. Maybe it's because it's a holiday week, or perhaps it's because there are only four people signed up for the semester and they are out of town, so it was just Alicia and me. She had decided to introduce us to this more difficult pose, Warrior III. Believe it or not, I was able to balance for a few seconds on one leg, but not quite as well on the other.

She started me off by leaning on the wall, standing on both feet and making a 90-degree angle, both feet on the floor, and fingertips touching the wall. Then I backed off a little from the wall. I bent my forward leg 90 degrees, and then I leaned forward on the bent leg, gradually leaning forward until only my toes were on the floor with the back leg. Little by little, I was able to lift the leg off the floor, and if I lost my balance, I could reach lightly for the wall. Then I slowly straightened the other leg and was able to do it, if only for a few seconds.

It was great to have all her attention, and she helped me believe that I could learn the pose, and sure enough, I was able to do Virabhadrasana III, even if not for very long. It was so thrilling to do it, I thought I might take another extra class today, but when I woke up, my stiff body thought maybe that would not be such a good idea. If I'm sore today, I'll be more sore tomorrow. But I'm happy!