Just a bit more about seeing a bear up close and personal. He was about 25 feet from the car. He was a young thing and didn't look all that well fed for the winter. The drought in the mountains is as bad as the drought here at home so there maynot be as much to eat as usual. This may be why he was so close to the highway, since bears usually shy away from humans. He'd evidently found something tasty because he was nodding his head as he licked a stem. Although I'd been snapping photos all day long my hands fumbled as I tried to take his picture, I was so excited. He, otoh, just lifted his head and stared back at me.
He looked so much like a cuddly pet (obvious stuffed animal conditioning) that it was all I could do to refrain from getting out of the car and scratching him behind his furry ears. As we gazed enraptured, a bunch of the rudest motorcycle guys pulled up behind us and laid on their horns, reving their engines and completely ignoring one of the great opportunities of driving down Skyline Drive. Their honking and noise spooked him and he ran off into the woods.
Too bad for them.
It got me to thinking about how people look for different things in life. Those jerks (we ran into them later on and they continued to behave like rotten 14 year old bullies) obviously wanted a different park experience - which is certainly their prerogative. But they didn't want us to have our sort of park experience and actually crowded around us honking and reving instead of just zooming on to their windy destination. It was rather appalling that a bunch of people would really think it was their job to punish someone they met on the highway who just happened to want something different from what they wanted.
Strange experience - it sort of left me twitchy about all the other motorcyclists who came and went as we tooled along. Odd how human nature can sometimes be so ugly and how quickly prejudices can blossom after a bad experience.
Sometimes when you go with the flow the most amazing things happen. I had plans to take Friday off and visit a friend I haven't seen in almost a year. Alas - her whole family is down sick with some sort of crud and we put that visit off to a healthier time. But with the day off already arranged it seemed just too bad to not make something of it. Himself suggested taking a ramble down Skyline Drive and we were heading west by 9 o'clock.
And while it was a gorgeous trip altogether with sunny skies and lots of breezes flowing up the mountainsides, the most exciting thing of all was rounding a bend and spotting this fellow:
Early this month I started swimming laps at my gym pool. I believe the first time I did it I swam five laps. It took a bit of asking around to find out how many laps it takes to swim a mile and the answer is some fractional one - so I have settled for 34.5 laps. I decided that each time I went to the pool I would swim one more lap. Saturday before last I really had to push myself to swim 11 but last Saturday I realized that when I'd swum 14 laps I could have swum another if I'd had to. Ditto on Monday when I pushed it to 15 and when I walked away from the gym I got really psyched at the thought of swimming half a mile on this coming Saturday.
But though I love the idea of routine - life seldom gives it to me. I will be doing something else this Saturday and there is no way I can get to the pool between now and then either. So yesterday I just decided to give that little extra push and bump up the laps by 2 instead of 1. And when I'd swum 17 laps there was no reason to not do the extra half lap and be sure I'd gotten in my half a mile.
I've been surprised at how long it takes me to swim half a mile - 30 minutes - which is twice as long as the average swimmer - though those are race times and for people between 40-49 and I am nearly 10 years older. But I am not in any hurry right now. What I am working for is endurance. If I find someone to give me some speed tips great - but what I want to be able to do is swim a mile. That's the distance from one side of my river to the other. I'd like, next summer, to swim across the river.
Of course, on swim days I sleep like a log through the night; another added bonus. but isn't it nice to realize that sometimes it only takes a little push to do something big?
The big day was all a birthday ought to be and I am still walking in the glow of all the fun. There were presents and there was cake and champagne and I got some work done (I always work on my birthday because I like to hear lots of people say "Happy Birthday" - somehow that makes the day even happier!)
September first heralds weeks of anticipation of this happy peak moment and no matter what else is going on around me I manage to celebrate the joy of life on that special day.
And as at Christmas time - the day after, while still thrumming with pleasure, starts me thinking about .... What's Next? and just a wee bit about "What did I leave undone...ooops?"
For some time now I haven't tracked my food here. Partly it's because my internet is just slow enough that it's often irksome to write it down - here. Of course there is nothing that keeps me from writing it down on paper and, if I really want it calculated by SP I could add it all the next morning at work, on the faster internet. In fact, that is probably what I will begin doing. But however I keep my books, it's time to start bookkeeping my eating once again. There has been no movement on the scale and I'd really like to see some.
As for what's next? ahh that will be the swim-a-half-mile mark which I should reach this week - I might even push it and get there this afternoon.
And so - my birthday gift to me will be - putting a little more attention - on my nutrition, my portion sizes and my swimming.
I am sending an enormous heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you who reached out to me last week, as I plowed my way through a tough situation. I have come quite far since last weekend and I am sure I will get all the way through to the other side. I know I will get there because this is not an unfamiliar valley. Throughout our lives, we're all required to make several journeys down into the pit, across the wasteland and back up to the sunny plateau. As a beloved friend once said to me, when I lamented my fate, "It's just your turn" and last week was that - just my turn.
I can't say I soared through the food options last week, but neither did I wallow in the chocolate bin. I even came to a few conclusions and came up with a few metaphors that I'll elaborate on at some point in the future. I've neither gained nor lost ground and still hover at that same old 167 lbs I've been at for months. (this is not a plateau, my dear friends - this is minimal effort on my part.) the splendid news is that I went swimming twice and will pick it up again this afternoon. Working my way up to a final goal of 36 laps (one mile) by Christmas.
So. I have NOT been inspired to write but I did want to reach out to all of you who have been so kind to me this week and let you know I am okay and will only get better.