Today’s Walk 1.080

When:  Monday–During the Afternoon- 3/19/2018
Weather: Low 70’s, mid-afternoon, VERY breezy.
  • Camel-up: Today’s trek was, with one exception, only me. I am guessing the wind accounted for a large part of the drop-off. Although walking the middle of the afternoon might also be a factor. The two ladies who were walking an intersecting path acknowledged me with a “hello” without breaking stride. This left me little to notice beyond their water bottles. I can’t fault them for carrying water bottles with them. I don’t know how long they are going to be out. They also may have a health condition that makes it necessary to take the occasional swig of water. My plan has always been to saturate myself prior to walking. (Cameling-up) I may be a little parched at the end of the walk, but my hands are not bothered by grasping a bottle that will throw off the swinging of my arms. When I start taking those large strides, my arms really get moving.
  • Zinc lozenge: As I tried to get some quality sleep Sunday night, I was fighting the symptoms of what I thought was allergies. (I.e. Drainage and stuffy head). As I moved through the day on Monday, I became more convinced I was on the quick path to having a cold. I scoured the bag I brought to work to see if there were any stray zinc lozenges in the bag. There were not. As I endured the rest of the workday, I was planning to find my stash of lozenges as soon as I got home. If lucky, I might yet use their magical powers to ward off the deepest depths of the all but unavoidable cold. Fortunately, the stash was still intact. I popped one immediately after getting home. I did those post-work things do to help me unwind. Then, I took my walk. About 1/2 mile into the walk, I exhausted the first zinc drop. I launched another one into my mouth knowing I would still stay below the daily prescribed quota. As I tucked it into alternating corners of my mouth, I focused on stretching out its near magical powers. I wanted my body to get a slow steady drip of its cold-fighting effect. This last lozenge kept my mouth company for over an hour. My mouth and tongue seemed temporarily transformed by the spells it weaved. The mouth either had a heightened awareness or a slight numbness. Whatever effect it had, I usually avoided food for a while after anything zinc touched the inside of my mouth. Sometime after dinner and bed, I did take one more lozenge. I wanted to give my body a good dosage of medicine to see if the battle for my health might allow my body at least a partial victory. Monday night I had better sleep than the previous night. The cold symptoms were not present. When I arrived at work, the sneezes and only slightly runny nose were what awaited me. It doesn’t mean my foe is giving up the fight. It does mean he may need to find a new general if he wants to completely vanquish me and my zinc ammo.

Today’s Walk 1.079

When:  Sunday–During the Afternoon- 3/18/2018
Weather: Low 60’s, mid-afternoon, It was humid!
  • Daddy & Daughter Biking: It is good to see dads and daughters doing things together. As this duo came up behind me, dad gave me a nice warning. His goal must have been setting a good example. Many of the solo bikers don’t choose to do this. Our pace and path were such that we encountered each other again. As they stopped to turn around, they had a little snack. Dad again said something like, “Have a nice day.”. I followed up with a, “Have a great day, little lady.” as his daughter passed by. While I trailed them, it was good to hear dad talking about school starting back up. He was investing in his daughter in a positive way. As a parent, spending time with your kids does not have to be as deliberate as a date. A bike ride is a great option. And, if you are not going to model wearing a helmet, it is good to at least make sure your kids are wearing one. 😉
  • Puddles: One puddle was 3/4ths the way across the sidewalk. There was a couple pushing a stroller coming from the other direction. Since the water completely covered my side for a few feet, I felt motivated to walk a little faster. The young family did not look like they were determined to see me with wet feet. As I crossed the narrow portion of the dry sidewalk, I felt I could slow down my briefly accelerated pace. It felt better to be on the “other” side of water obstacle where some insane stroller operator could not taunt and torture me and suck time out of my day. If I chose to be evil, I could always have run through the puddle and splashed them.
  • Ant Farms: The previous evenings light rain disturbed many an outdoor ant farm. At many of the farm locations, there were fresh ant-sized bites of dirt resting on the top. Once the rain had stopped, the worker ants must have gone immediately to work. There was no sign at the top of their plantation of the chaos the rain had introduced into their lives. Also, along with the expansion/crack joints of the sidewalk, the ants had cleared out some of the grains of dirt that had become embedded in the crease. If I were an ant, it seems unlikely I would have any time for hobbies.
 Post-dinner, I had a short walk with my wife…
With a vacation planned this summer that will involve a great deal of walking, my wife decided she needed to walk the perimeter of the neighborhood to get prepared for our adventure. Our neighborhood does not have the variety of my normal path. At best, there may have been a couple of blooms not visible along my normal trail. Tonight, however, the families were abounding. We passed 3 to 4 slow moving families. They came in a variety of combinations. Some had grandparents and some only a couple and their dog. Other had a grandchild or a whole handful of children. It was good to see the togetherness available when taking a more reserved rather than a more ambitious walk. The humidity and temperature dropped off since my earlier walk. Despite the aches of my previous walk, the more pleasant conditions made the squeaky joints easier to ignore.

Today’s Walk 1.078

When: Saturday, during the Afternoon- 3/17/2018
Weather: Low 80’s, mid-afternoon.

  • Bike Weenies: Today, I believe I was a moving pylon in someone’s obstacle course.  Not sure why I was chosen to serve in this role.  It looked like this particular bike weenies left the house with his intention to own the sidewalk.  I was not given a warning or an apology.  I became an impediment that needed conquering.  His companion offered no bike swerving as they passed me.  The damage emotionally had already been done.
  • Dancing Cavemen:  As I turned the first real 90-degree turn on the path, I was greeted by a dancing caveman coming up the path toward me–on my side of the path.  Why was he a caveman?  He had a piece of wood as thick as a baseball bat and about 3/4th as long.  Why was he dancing?  Since he was on my side of the sidewalk, we had to negotiate whether I would join him in walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk OR whether he would temporarily hop to the correct side of the path so we could intersect without confusion.  After I began moving to the “wrong” side of the walkway, he quickly moved over so we could avoid confusion.  As he passed, he told me to, “Keep on Keeping on!”  I let him know I would.  To show my approval, he grimaced at me and beat his stick in the dirt a number of times.
  • Blooms:  The blooms have arrived.  Walking through a balance of urban woods and residential, I see all sizes of redbuds, Bradford pears, crab apples, and a mix of other blooming vines/trees/shrubs/annuals/perennials..  I love the delicacy of the redbuds.  The shades of pink that cover the branches are nearly overwhelming.  The blooms on the pears give them temporary value.  Some still call them the “worst tree ever“.  The other blooms don’t seem as prominent or as frequent.  They are still one of spring’s special delights.

Today’s Walk 1.077

When: Friday–During the Afternoon- 3/16/2018
Weather: Low 80’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.

  • Sweating: Today allowed a nearly forgotten concept to re-enter the vocabulary–sweat.  It was not terribly humid.  However, a few sweat beads originating at my temple made their way down my face.  In a few weeks, it won’t be just a few!
  • Pause:  One point on the path involves crossing the street.  I have grown used to the idea of just waiting until the traffic passes.  Today, a car insisted on stopping to let me cross.  I felt a little badly.  While I was looking the other direction calculating when the cars might allow me to “frogger” through, this nice guy may have waited a couple seconds before realizing his kindness.  Once I did, I hustled across quickly.  I through up my hand a couple of extra times to thank him for his generosity.
  • Dump:  As I was coming towards the end of the walk, there is a dispenser of green doggie bags.  The gentlemen standing there pocketing a few bags was walking two dogs.  As he continued walking, the dogs were not allowing him to move very quickly and they were not doing a very good job staying on their side of the sidewalk.  Just as I was preparing to pass, one of them was creating an occupant for one of the bags.  When I yelled out, “That is what you are out here for.”, he couldn’t help but agree.

Today’s Walk 1.076

When: Thursday–During the Afternoon- 3/15/2018
Weather: Low 70’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.

This has been spring break week. Frankly, it has been one of those near perfect spring breaks. If you live up north, you would rarely get such a beautiful week in March. In Texas, the odds are greatly in your favor. This week has been one of those not uncommon but still unappreciated jewels of the Texas life. It is one of those weeks we will look back on in August and say, “Why couldn’t spring have stayed around a little longer?” I want to say without hesitation, “I am grateful for it!!”
Very breezy: As the week has progressed and the temperatures have climbed, the southern breeze has been largely responsible. The same breeze that brings the warm temperatures seems intent on bringing every allergen it can grab on it’s way up to DFW. Some allergens are grown locally, but importing them is an added bonus when you live here. A couple stretches of the walk had me wanting to walk sidewalks to reduce my profile and the resistance of the wind to my passage. The wind likely affected all of us who were out walking. I think I sneered pretty well at the wind, but it did a pretty good job sneering back at me. The wind may have claimed a victory. As long as I arrived home safely, I was victorious, too!

Today’s Walk 1.075

When:  Wednesday–During the Afternoon- 3/14/2018
Weather: Low 60’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.

  • Getting the paper: On Monday night, I turned the sprinkler on. The green grass is just starting to push through the straw of last year’s final breath. I wanted to start the grass breathing well this year. And, the lawn person came on Monday. They generally say to water in the fertilizer within a couple of days. So, I set the sprinkler to run on our next watering day–Wednesday. I had a passing thought about this on Tuesday evening. I wondered how the sprinkler schedule might affect my grabbing the paper Wednesday morning. It definitely had an impact. Just before 5:00, I peaked out the front door. The sprinkler was showering my path to the street where the paper presently dwelt. I figured the news was not of immediate importance, so I continued my preparations for the day. With all prepared and really just wanting to read the comics, I took another gander out the front door. The first sprinkler head, the only one I could really see any water coming out of, was pointed the other direction.  My immediate path was clear. With no thought as to what may have been beyond the first sprinkler, I dashed toward the paper. My commitment could easily have been swayed by the couple of sprinklers not as favorably turned, but I persevered. Again may I stress, it was quite early in the morning (Just after daylight savings time began). I believed I was supposed to read the comics and trusted the sprinkler would be favorable. I got back to the house with a slightly wet lower back and a pulse running a little more quickly then when I left the house. The paper was in a bag, so the comics were not a soggy mess.  My day could start well.
  • Build a dam: Since it was spring break week, I am picturing some parent who was asked by her adorable children, “What can we do this week? We are bored.” The parent with possibly a little sarcasm replied, “Build a dam.” And, that is what they did. The driftwood from the recent heavy rains was waiting to be plucked from along the fences. I am not sure where the dirt came from that was placed on top of the driftwood. There were ample mud smatterings along the sidewalk. The house of origin may have donated the mud OR the tools dropped mud as they were hauled back to their garage of origin. Regardless, the now slow moving water in our overflow creek was somewhat dammed up. The dam had an area approximately 3 feet wide across the top. At most, the dam was 4 feet long. Atop the dam was some items indicating the dam was more than just a project. It was a place for a club to meet to celebrate its accomplishments. The next large rain is likely to start decomposing this spring project. In previous years, the same kids may have been responsible for moving the rocks below the culvert and creating a damming effect. Maybe next spring break’s project will involve cinder blocks and the generating of electricity.
  • Slow jogger with weird shirt: This is certainly the weakest entry in today’s collection. A middle-aged man was wearing a shirt that fit way too snuggly. His shirt was a light green with the word “Weird” appearing prominently on the front. His jogging pace was nearly that of a snail. I believe he feet, at their highest point were still scraping the sidewalk. At no point was I concerned he would trip and fall on his face, but neither was I confident he would actually stop jogging in place. My assessment was apparently incorrect. His body did indeed move forward. I hope he lived close. Otherwise, he might be out “jogging” for quite awhile.

Today’s Walk 1.074

When:  Tuesday–During the Afternoon- 3/13/2018
Weather: Low 60’s, mid-afternoon, light breeze.

  • Going To The Park: At about the mile point on another beautiful late winter day in Texas, I saw a mother with her 3 daughters coming toward me on the street. The front two were moving via a plastic wagon, and mom and the youngest were coming behind. The mom wore a green t-shirt representing the local school district. (In Texas, they are referred to as ISD for Independent School District.) As I came upon the youngest, she excitedly said something to me. After she said it a second time, mom quickly translated, “We are going to the park.” My next question was, “How long has it been since you have walked to the park?” She admitted it had been awhile. I let her know the park had been closed a few months, and it would be closed for a few more. She replied, “I really don’t think we were going to make it there anyway.” With all 3 girls being under 5 and with mom having only 2 arms, I was pretty sure my news did not disappoint her too much. I probably had a parting phrase something like, “Enjoy those precious girls of yours.” And, if I didn’t say this, I thought it. Where was the nice guy who presently lives in my body when I was younger? The guy who lives here now OR the guy who writes this blog, always seems to know what to say. Or, the guy who writes this blog makes it seem that way…
  • Turtles in the trees: My walking path includes one pond. The pond has been the source of many problems. While coming up on the pond from both sides, there is a sign stating the path is part of the 100-year flood area. (I know it doesn’t use these words exactly. I have spoken to people from the city and they use phrases like this to try and alleviate their guilt in the poor planning.). The most recent issue was when the path was closed down to deal with more draining issues. (It is also when I got in “trouble” for traipsing where I supposedly had no business being.). Thanks to the recent rains, the pond has been quite high. This has allowed a few of the trees to drink heartily right along the edge. With the trees under water up to their lower branches, pond-dwellers are granted easier access to the trees. This is where the turtles win. Their claws do help, but an ability to come from the water and land on a branch near parallel to the water does facilitate their evolutionary progression. They are not able to climb anything that resembles perpendicular. They don’t mind. They are enjoying the chance to dry out and see if their wrinkles go away. Should I pause too long or get to close, they will unhook their claws, and roll back into the water. I am not sure if it is the same pair. Nearly every time I pass the pond on my walk, there are two of them situated on the same branch.  The pond pecking order is probably at work…