Tag Archives: outdoors

Men at Work

Men at work. The beautiful. amazing, and dare I say, unusual thing about these scenes are that the men are working quietly, and getting exercise and fresh air, not to mention gaining a sense of accomplishment. Who doesn’t love clean gutters?! Um, well, I don’t think about them very often, so I guess love is going overboard. I’m not even sure what terrible things might occur if water and leaves were to coexist in our gutters. Of course I realize that the gutters would become clogged, and water would run down the side of the house, and not neatly through the downspouts. It’s just not the sort of thing this blogger thinks about often. I also did my small part today: I planned my morning so that I had those extra ten minutes to walk to the gym instead of driving. Not only did I get fresh air there and back, but because I was on foot, had a chance to have a 1.5 minute conversation with a friend I rarely see while she was stuck at the red light. (This pleasant impromptu meeting does confirm my fear that it is best not to walk when feeling antisocial. There is no sensible route that doesn’t involve crossing one of the main roads in town, while standing out in the open for several minutes. Yes, I can be a real hermit at times.)

It helps not to be a perfectionist if you are going to have DIY leaf removal with the assistance of two guys in their teens.

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Thanks to one of our volunteers, another few piles of leaves were raked up and stuffed into compostable bags. At some point they will be removed by the town crews. What a big fuss over leaves on lawns! Since I have my noise issues–which I now know is a condition called misophonia that I share with many others–I do need to check the calendar and be sure to be elsewhere when the leaf collection vehicles come scraping and beeping by sometime soon again. It was, I promise, more than my imagination: they really were here off and on from 7am to almost 4pm last time. Had I only known, I would have planned to be elsewhere.

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

And now that the leaves are gutter free, two guys at work have begun, and almost completed, another seasonal ritual: putting up the Christmas lights. When we moved here from North County, San Diego, and kept up the tradition of festooning the house–not just the tree–with lights, I was sure that this would be looked upon as terribly déclassé. Much to my surprise, neighborhood friends and acquaintances often remark upon how much they enjoy our Christmas lights. And those who find them cheap and tacky are probably kind enough to keep such thoughts to themselves 🙂 These days a peace symbol joins the lights. Though Dr. Bronner–whose philosophy I must research one day–doesn’t live here, and we don’t proselytize “All One God Faith,” the peace symbol includes one and all. Didn’t someone called Tiny Tim once say something similar at the end of a book by Charles Dickens? Am I already getting into the holiday mood?

Peace,

Circe

Monday Run Day

The Path by Circespeaks

The Path by Circespeaks

Monday run day. I am moving fast today. Lots to do. I started out on a walk that turned into a run, which is a good metaphor for the way this day is going.
In the course of walking and running, I mostly avoided roads with traffic, and took the routes of humanly constructed nature: the path by the brook to the loop around a big soccer field. Of course asphalt loops and soccer fields, like fields of any kind–are not real nature, but they beat concrete and battling with cars for a corner of pavement. I have discovered my best path out of the house, without using my car, while spending the least amount of time crossing streets or in any way thinking about cars and traffic.
I am not a runner. My idea of why to run is to chase a ball or a kid. But I find myself not exactly out of shape, but not in the best shape for the upcoming ski season, and life in general, so am adding running (yes, jogging, but hasn’t that word been retired?) back into my routine as much as overused soccer knees will allow.
Do you remember wearing a winter coat when you were little? Not a ski jacket, but a coat, for occasions when your parent decided that you should look “cute” or be dressed up a bit? I do. Mine was red, with big red buttons, and my arms didn’t move that well in it. I felt repressed when wearing it. The pictures confirm that I did look cute, but from the inside, it did not feel good. Today’s run was unplanned, so though dressed in yoga pants and running shoes, I was also wearing a wool coat on top. When I arrived at the loop and saw other people running, and not in long, graceful sinuous motion, either, I decided that I didn’t care what I was wearing: today I would start to add running back into my non-runner’s workout routine. Of course, I happened to pick the coldest morning of the year thus far to start my running program. But it is so much easier to just do something spontaneously, even without every detail in place, than to plan so carefully that I set up mental roadblocks. The running program and the renewed commitment to being outside, but away from traffic are separate, and consistent. So, whether the knee with big staples from a 15-year-old ACL reconstruction, or the knee without object too much for me to do this often, I will resignedly keep walking.

Today my path will lead to a place I both do, and do not, want to go. It is not the physical place about which I have mixed emotions. The story is not mine to tell, and no online source is truly anonymous, but in brief: I will be visiting a very close friend today. One of my friend’s two children, not a young child, but a young person, is very ill. Will I provide comfort? Will we be able to meet, enjoy ourselves, reminisce, without making devastating illness the focus of our afternoon, or is that a ridiculous proposition.

Please, any of you who has a child who is ill, or a close friend with a child who is ill, provide me with guidance. Illness is never so devastating as when it strikes the “wrong” generation of a family. The young person may be present, or be off enjoying time with other family members. “How are you doing?”, a most common of English phrases, takes on a weight and unintended meaning in a situation like this one. And there is the discomfort that comes with knowing that I am as susceptible to this, or any other scourge, as the next person. But this is not about me. It is not about illness. It is about meeting a close friend of many years face-to-face and heart-to-heart. May my heart lead me. Only intuition, or guidance from a source greater than myself, and not rehearsed dialogue can help me to be the person I need to be today. I will keep my ears, eyes, and all senses wide open, and I will know what my friend needs from his old friend. Please hold me in the light this afternoon.

Waking Bad

You can’t expect me to like Mondays, rain, snow, and mornings, right?! So I confess: I do like Mondays, rainy days, snowy days, but I do not like mornings.

It’s not the mornings themselves, but the fact that I am a night person, and have a hard time forcing myself to go to bed, and an equally hard time falling asleep, and then always–without exception–wake up in the middle of the night for an extended period of time at least once. Are you with me? This condition has persisted since I was a small child. Some lucky people sleep soundly and steadily. Such nights are few for me. Sleeping late was never a problem in my teens or twenties, but it is now, and our neighborhood is very noisy, especially in the mornings. Yes, kids, it is all downhill from here!

Too bad I get that extra burst of energy right when I should be going to bed. And despite all this staying up late, I have never seen the highly acclaimed, or at least highly entertaining series, Breaking Bad.

The purchase of a new mattress–now starting to do the research–would probably be somewhat helpful, since the mattress is old, lumpy, and the box springs jiggly. This is not an exciting purchase, and I keep putting it off. I imagine that I would prefer a good old-fashioned cotton bed that is soft and doesn’t jiggle. (No metal box springs.) Does such a thing exist? Possibly hand made from an artisan in Vermont?

Yes, I have ear plugs. With planes constantly zipping overhead (from a small local airport) they are a must. I will not further embarrass myself by describing the ridiculous lengths to which I go in hopes of sleep. Just a little more, another half an hour? If I didn’t need the sleep to function and feel well, I wouldn’t care. Today I don’t have what a fellow WordPress blogger and fiction writer refers to as “brain fog.” She has much helpful advice and describes extraordinary coping mechanisms that may be helpful, whether of not you suffer from CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), so here is a link to her blog: http://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/category/cfs-living-and-writing-with-mecfscfids/ Instead, I have a burning sensation behind my eyes that won’t get better until it is once again dark outside, and I start to feel great!

One of my friends suggested that I work on a farm, and make a routine of getting up early and working outside all day long. What I especially love about that idea is being outside all day. I’m not convinced that I wouldn’t rather be skiing, or an explorer, or anthropologist, or pilgrim, or doing something a bit less monotonous than farming, but maybe my anxious and active mind would thrive on the monotony. The gardening of spring and summer really elevated my mood and kept me outdoors no matter what the weather. But gardening and farming though related, are not the same. One solid day of picking apples might suffice.

I do not have a TV in the bedroom. Never have. Never will. But…I do answer email far too late at night, and sometimes even do productive work at my laptop until quite late. I definitely spend more time at a screen than really suits my mind and body. Working late–when I tend to be productive, since there are fewer interruptions at night–would be great if I were able to sleep just a couple more hours in the morning. So when I see that “bossy old sun” begin to rise, I tend to greet it with misgiving and bleary eyes.

Any and all suggestions welcome, but I would especially like to hear from people who have always been night people, but have managed to change their habits.

Waking Bad by Circespeaks

Waking Bad by Circespeaks

Can You Come Out and Play?

Denver Harvard Gulch Outdoor Pool (Wiki commons)

Denver Harvard Gulch Outdoor Pool (Wiki commons)

No, my friends don’t put it exactly that way these days. “Let’s hang out” is also passé. The brilliant weather calls to me wordlessly. The birds call, the sun shines, hoodies and jackets are shed. Friends call, and I dutifully stick to my work schedule. Usually, that is. Right now I am as bad as a high school student with “senioritis” when invited to come out and play.

On an typical day a friend may ask whether I am going to the gym, the pool, taking a walk, want to have a cup of tea, or a drink in the garden. There are even a few with whom I work collaboratively. I also receive invitations to concerts, to parties, to celebrations & ceremonies as well. But neither obligations nor preplanned events are daily temptations.

Everyone who works from home is subject to many of the same temptations, interruptions, joys, and frustrations. Kids who normally have no interest in mom suddenly have important information to convey. If I snap that I’m in the middle of something, I’m beset by guilt moments later. If I drop work and engage, likewise. The kitchen table office just isn’t working that well, but that’s where I work most of the time.

Friends are more understanding when the reply is “busy working.” It was always more tempting to hang out with friends than with parents as a kid. Some things don’t change. The family reconvenes at dinner and night time, but as an adult, it is more difficult to find friend time.

The temptation to spend time with a friend who also leads a semi-solitary creative life writing, composing music, creating art, as a university professor, or running a business from home is always there. Yet we almost always resist. We all work, or at least attempt to work, more than do those who “go” to work. We simply never finish because we have allowed ourselves the dubious luxury of doing the dishes or laundry, or the definite luxury of reading or listening to music for pleasure and because we have the kind of work that is never done. Like parenting.

The lettuce is wilting again though I watered it twice yesterday. It is so hot and sunny that I must hang out the laundry to bake rather than using the dryer. Be right back!

Two friends texted me about swimming in our community pool yesterday. Lap-swimming is hardly the most social occupation, but playing chicken is strictly forbidden at our public pool, so we have a hasty exchange or wave before or after we swim laps. Maybe this is my summer of learning more than a back dive! At 6:15 yesterday, I missed one friend who came & left a little earlier. The other–a swimmer, as opposed to someone who can swim–was swimming when I arrived and still swimming when I climbed out. We did catch up on a few things while rinsing off in the locker room.

Today our glorious Olympic-sized pool and diving well both open for the first weekend of summer. Not only will I bring goggles, cap, and lap suit, but a beach towel, sunglasses, snack, phone, earbuds, & a book. But what I really plan to do is unabashedly hang out and play. The time has come to rouse my inner child. I hope my friends can come out and play, too! Still undecided about working on those bikini lines :/)