“books are a uniquely portable magic”

Bart's Books, Ojai

One of my earliest memories is sitting cross legged on the carpet to the left of the fireplace, facing the bookshelf, a big book in my lap. One of my parents remarked to the other that it was typical: I had my back to the television. I remember looking around and noticing the rest of the family focused on ‘the box’, before returning with a shrug to my book.

I have never been a TV fan. I have always been a reader.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ― Groucho Marx

Have you ever seen this? Yeah, to a large degree, that’s me. Especially the bit about introducing her strangely-named kids to Aslan.

Books teach me, enlighten me, transport, soothe and awaken me. I like them more than film, because they allow me to supply my own visuals, and go at my own pace. I can take them anywhere. My relationship with the author feels more intimate, because we interact one-on-one each time. And while I often use the written word for education, I also use it to escape.

At the end of a long day, when I am quiet and clean and in my own bed, a book allows me to forget my stresses and slip into another world. It clears my mind of the daily clutter, and provides a bridge to my night-dreaming. For me, books serve some of the same purposes as meditation.

Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live. ― Gustave Flaubert

How do YOU escape reality for a while when you need to?

[Title quote: Stephen King, On Writing]

i can be a badass (in a good way)


Tonight my friend Evie shared her list of things she’s learned (this past week) on summer vacation. Which got me thinking about the things I’ve learned lately. Which got me art journaling.

Re the last point:

At CrossFit, ‘badass’ is a compliment. It means tough & strong. It means you strive hard, and push yourself, and break through your barriers. That’s what I’ve been doing, in my ‘protecting my knee’/’I’m 50 not 20’ fashion.

So when I just googled the term and found definitions ranging from ‘ultra-cool motherfucker’ to ‘a tough, aggressive, or uncooperative person’ (neither of which I am) I wondered if this was a label I wanted to adopt.

But when I think back to last night, and the hardest workout of my life, and the high-fives and encouragement from the kids decades younger than me, I know … yeah. I can be a badass.

And it feels fucking fantastic.

end of summer check in

Sunset hike

As usual before a long weekend, our office closed early today. So I had time to get out to Thousand Oaks for a three hour sunset/moonrise hike at Wildwood Regional Park. Combined with a CrossFit class this morning, and fasting all day, I’m kinda beat tonight.

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer in the US. And the end of the eighth month. So it seems like a good time to check in once again on my one little word for the year.

Sunset hike

So how’s my health?
• I’ve maintained my weight loss, effortlessly. The no-grains thing is working out for me just fine.
• I started CrossFit training about five weeks ago and I love it. I’m getting stronger and more toned every week. But …
• My knees hurt. I try to protect them (stepping instead of jumping for example) but there are still a ton of knee-impacting exercises. I am not sure what to do about this.
• I had many visits with a chiropractor in hopes of healing my jaw. There was no healing, though my posture certainly improved. And then I found out that my insurance wasn’t covering the visits (totally my fault for not clearly ascertaining that prior to treatment). I’m waiting for the big bill, which I hope to negotiate down to something manageable.
• In the meantime, I’ve decided to ignore my jaw. It works fine, for most intents and purposes. Nuff said.
• I haven’t had a cold or other sickness all year.
• As for emotional healing, I’ve kinda-sorta started dating. Well, put it this way, I have been on a few dates. It’s been nice, though there’s no-one special at this point. But I’m ready to love again, if it happens. If not, that’s OK too. I’m happy with my life as it is.

So yeah, it’s good. I’m healthy, and getting more so. Just gotta strengthen those knees.

sand. toes. yeah.

There was an accident in the canyon and my road home was closed. So I stopped at the beach for an hour to see where the seagulls would lead me.
I had wanted to get back to Topanga in time to hike before dark. But there was an accident in the canyon and my road home was closed. PCH was backed up for miles.

Sink your toes into the sand. Yeah. Like that.
So I took the path of least resistance and stopped at the beach for an hour to see where the seagulls would lead me. Wandering on dry sand was equally as good as a mountain hike, in terms of a leg workout. And it felt marvellous to absorb the different smells and sounds and rhythms of the ocean and its inhabitants.

Sometimes it’s good to let go of expectations and take the opportunities offered.

Well, most times, actually. Don’t you think?

my backyard

Such gorgeous weather this weekend. While I’m sorry my scheduled birthday dinner party didn’t eventuate for reasons previously mentioned, I’m delighted that I got to hike again today, instead of spending the afternoon cooking.

I really am very lucky.

worth the climb

Two-hundred-and-eighty-two steep, irregular steps. Whew. My cardio fitness sucks.

I’ve worked out three days in a row now. Nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions, but simply as a way to boost my endorphins and get out of a bad head space.

Man, it feels good.

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