Alum Rock – First Hike of 2016

I decided, after eating way too much food in general over the last several months (Stress eating, what is that?) that I was going stop whining about all the weight I’d packed on and since I was feeling like crap in general (I’m full. Oh is that a cookie?), I’d take stock for the new year. 

I was so tired of feeling tired and jittery (sugar shock?) and moody that I’d not necessarily go Primal or Paleo, but more “Natural.” Interestingly, I’ve been mostly Paleo since the first, but I’m not saying “You can’t…” because I know how well that goes over with me. 

I guess having the option makes things easier. Anyway, I developed plantar fasciitis a while back and it made every step over the last year and a half a total drag. So I stopped walking and hiking. 

Miracle of miracles, it cleared up right before our trip to Disney World. Yay!

I’ve been walking again, at least lunch, but it’s a boring jaunt on the sidewalk with cars rushing past that no amount of The Proclaimers can fix. Today was the first day I got a chance to be in the woods.  Walking in places with fresh air and plenty of greens and browns around makes me happy. The hike doesn’t feel like as much work as it would if I were on a dreadmill. 

I took a detour on my hike thinking I’d found a cool new trail, and ended up doing a lot of near-miss-land-on-my-arse mud-skiing. Riiiight. With rain comes mud. 

I took some pictures on the hike on my phone so I’m sharing with you.  Enjoy!  

In the spring, summer, and fall months, all I see are rocks and dirt. This was a welcome change. 

Why did I take a picture of greenery making its way up the side of a mountain?  Who cares!  It looks cool. You might not be able to see it, but there was plenty of miner’s lettuce, too. 

The path before me lies…a bench or a hill coming up around the bend. Believe me, if it hadn’t been spitting rain, that bench would have been my siren’s song. 

I just liked the look of this, really. Green in general makes me happy. It reminded me a little of Nahino Park from the 70s in Vancouver. Coquitlam?  Burnaby?  Somewhere around there. It had the most amazing statues carved out of trees. 

I’m a sucker for foliage. This spoke to me. It said:

Take a picture. Show your friends. Your classmates will remember what the Argyle reference is.

Sometimes you’re just walking along and you see a massive tree with branches twisting all over the place like an octopus.  I felt small in comparison. And a little nervous there might be some Wizard of Oz action about to happen. 

Apparently, this leads to frustration. As you’ll see in a minute. Several tricky moments there as I thought I was going to take a mountain to the knee. Or the arse. Or the face. Luckily, just a few chest clutching moments before I was back on the road. 

I have a carving my dad did of a face in a piece of wood. It was about the size of my forearm. This log is the size of a few VW Beetles parked back-to-back, but he could totally rock it. 

I’m officially now on the other side of the creek. Is life better on this side?  I thought so. Until…


What in the blazes is this?  I want to be on the other side. You are preventing me from this. I’m not amused. This is not cool!  Should I try and cross?  Maybe if I take off my shoes and socks. Give your head a shake, woman, you’ll end up the subject of an after school special. 

And so back I go. Had to follow the crummy hard road to get back to the bridge. Nothing natures to really look at except:

Wait. Is the sun going to come out?  Maybe?  Perhaps?  No?  Whatever. I feel like I’m seriously backtracking at this point, but the Achievement hunter in me is thinking:

Well, at least you won’t have to jog badly and awkwardly in place for ten minutes before bed so you can hit 10,000 steps on your walking app.

So there was that, at least. When finally:

Oh thankyouthankyouthankyou. Not lost. Ron would kill me if I got lost and subsequently eaten by a mountain lion. I write books about them as plot points, I’m not jonesing to be the main course for one. 

I actually saw this, thought of stomping on it to see what was inside, and walked away. Five seconds later I’m turning around to take a picture.  Come on, aren’t you curious?  Yeah it would be sooooo satisfying to hear it crunch wide open, but then there is that nagging fear of what would I do if a multitude of insects (angry, now homeless insects) came pouring out with little insect weapons of mass destruction and my name tattooed to their foreheads?

You’ll be happy to know I left it as is. I’m really not interested in sparking a war on humanity for a fleeting instant of crunchy satisfaction. Wonder if it’s still there…

Wandered past this little reminder. Can you kick a creek?

And another one. Whatever. I’m so over you, creek. And seriously, who builds a trail that leads through one?  Whose bright idea was that?

And finally, this. I had to stop for a few seconds and just record shaky cam because the sound of the water was so nice. It won’t be there in a few months. Heck, a few weeks. People wandered behind me as I was recording, but they were kind enough not to speak.  Another lady was beside me taking pictures. The hikers were probably thinking, 

Dead body?  Beaver?  Power Ball ticket?

And then I went to the farmer’s market. 

Nugget of Awesome: Red Sky at Night

Do you know where the proverb, “Red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in morning sailors warning?” comes from?

If you said Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, you would be right. But only partially. Here’s the quote:

“Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”

Before that, Jesus said it in the Bible in Matthew 16: 2-3 (ESV)

He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’”

What Jesus was really talking about:

You’d think it would be about sailing! But nooooo. He was referring to the unbelief of the Pharisees and Sadducees asking for a “sign” right then and there to prove to them that he was the Son of God.

Jesus said the people in Jonah’s day (remember those three days in the whale?) had better faith than these men did. The divine was in their midst and they were blind to it.

Back to the origin of the phrase. Honestly, I have no idea, probably a sailor.

From the makers of Nuggets of Awesome You Didn’t Know Came From the Bible. (I just made that up, but maybe I’ll do it again and it’ll be a thing.)

The Bible: not only relevant, but keeps you from sinking your boat.

Clean Joke: The Cell Phone Gift

This is just silly, but I like it.

Bill bought his beautiful blonde wife, Sherry, a cell phone for their first wedding anniversary.  Sherry loved the gift, and watched intently as Bill explained all the features on the phone.  The next day, as Sherry is having her hair done, her phone rings.  It’s Bill.

“Hi, honey,” he says. “How do you like your new phone?”

“I just love it. It’s so small and your voice is clear as a bell, but there’s one thing I don’t understand. How did you know I was at the beauty parlor?”

What I Want for New Year’s

Who asks for a New Years gift? Well, apparently I do.  Unique is just another word for weird, but that is okay.  I was going to ask for this for Christmas (’tis the season and all that), but by the time I’d polished this write-up, it didn’t give people much time.  Since New Years is all about a fresh new start and a whole new year, it fit my plan nicely.

Don’t worry, what I want doesn’t cost any money, so don’t fret about that.  My wish requires only your time.  You really don’t have to.  The whole point of a gift is that you give it freely with goodwill, not a scowl and a box to the head.  So if, after reading this, you decide that this is not something you feel comfortable giving, that’s okay.  I’m only a tyrant at Monopoly.  Que sera sera and all that.

What I would like is for you to take some time and read just one book in the Bible.  (It’s not Genesis, I promise!  I tried reading Genesis first, it was a bad idea!)  Actually, that’s it.  The rest of this post is just to show you how to do it.

So let’s start:

Find a Bible (or go here for one online).  By the way, there’s even an App for that.  It’s called YouVersion and it has the Bible in many translations.

If King James reads like Shakespeare to you, I recommend the New Living Translation or the New International Version for easier reading.  Don’t get fancy; you don’t want to try and juggle deciphering and reading at the same time.  You’ll just get frustrated and that is also not the point of this gift.

Got it?  Don’t open the Bible yet!  Okay close it, then.

It’s easy to start flipping through and then get distracted or confused.  Before you start, please pray.  Maybe you don’t pray, maybe you don’t think any god exists to hear you.  Maybe you just feel weird talking inside your own head.  Do it anyway, okay?  I’ll even recommend what to talk about if you are stuck on how to start.

Wait!  Don’t open your Bible yet.  What now, you ask?  Do a quick life check:

  • Are you distracted?
  • Will you be distracted shortly?
  • Are you in a quiet room?
  • Can you concentrate without being bothered?
  • Do you have a pen and paper (or something electronic) to jot down your thoughts or questions?

If the answer to any of these questions is a less than ideal situation, resolve it.  You don’t have to tell anyone what you’re doing, just make sure you’re not going to be interrupted.

Okay, now (gasp!) the prayer:

  1. Thanks
  2. Insight 
  3. Questions / Issues

I recommend thanking God for some of the things that you’re grateful for in your life right now.  It’s just a warm-up to get you used to “having a conversation” in your head.  You’re not expecting a reply, you’re just putting it out there.

Once you’ve relaxed a bit with the thanks, ask God to open your heart (this is important – it’s amazing how guarded we can be) and your mind to help you understand what you are about to read.  Yeah, it sounds New Agey, but there is no point in doing something if you’ve already decided you won’t learn anything.  All I’m suggesting is that you ask God to help open you up to…possibility.

You may also want to ask him to help you with any questions or issues that may come up as you read.  If you also want to pray that Aunt Sally’s arthritis gets better or that you get the job you’re looking for, go ahead and do that, too.  Even if you don’t believe in God, having quiet time to settle your thoughts never hurts.  Sometimes it just helps talking in your own head to articulate the things that are bothering you.

Now we start!  Finally!

Okay, open your Bible and flip to the New Testament’s Book of John.

My wish is that you read this entire book.  But don’t slam through it like housework or a Jell-O shot, this is some powerful and interesting stuff.  Savor it like really good chocolate or a hot apple cider on a cold night.  I highly recommend stopping each time you get to some title at the beginning of a new section. (Less if it’s just too much reading or you find yourself skimming.)

Books (like John, Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) are written in sections so you want to keep the flow of what you’re reading together. There is no rush.  Just chew on it.

There is going to be a lot that you “don’t get” like:

The word was with God? What?
Why is he called The Word? Lamb of God?
Who is Isaiah the Prophet and what’s the connection?
What’s a Pharisee?
What’s with lambs and shepherds?

Any question, comment, thought, idea, reflection, insight, or rant you have, write it down.

Maybe you spent 10 or 15 minutes today and nothing really changed in your world.  That’s okay.  As you go about your day, skeptical or not, ask yourself why of all things “this bit” would be in the verse or chapter.  What makes it so important or significant that it would be included in one of the most respected and revered books in history.  Or what was going on in the world at the time, culturally, and geographically.

If you’re willing, tomorrow, do it again with the next bit.  And so on, until you are done.

quiet place

There are 21 chapters in the Book of John.  Like I said, please don’t rush.  These writings have been around for over 2,000 years.  The scripture that Jesus quoted from is hundreds of years older than that!  It’s not going anywhere.

Whether it takes you a month, six weeks, or however long to get through this one book, if it was an interesting read and nothing more, send me an email and tell me that. I will thank you deeply for the gift of your time to fulfill a New Year’s wish of mine.

Or, as you read, and you’ve written down questions or comments and want to share them with me, go ahead and email me at!  People have said the Bible is not relevant, but I assure you, it is.  Nothing better illustrates the human condition than this book.

Anyway, that’s the present I’d like.

The Bible changed the course of my life.  It started me on a path that led me to ask questions, to look at my choices and my life, and to change my future forever.  It did not make me funnier, better at parallel parking, or allow me to do physics.  It has, however, revealed to me some insightful things about me, about life, and about what happens when we die.

Thank you for reading!  I hope you grant me my wish.  It may seem strange, but in granting me my wish, you may be fulfilling a wish I already have for you.


P.S.  Please do me the courtesy of keeping any comments or email content positive.   If you have nothing nice to say, I respect that, but I don’t want to read it.  🙂

It’s a New Year: Suck It Up!!

February 12, 2012

I had a very lovely winter.  Primarily, the fun part was deciding that I was going to enjoy myself and then diet come the new year.  I was tired of stressing about every bite, every crumb, every culinary opportunity passed by because I felt guilty enjoying it.  So, since October is practically winter, I said, 

“You know what?  I’m tired of stressing about this.  I’ll just enjoy myself now and go hard-core come January like the rest of the world who make resolutions.”

Once I’d removed the restriction from myself, oh, I went cuh-razy!!  Lunch out.  Dinner out.  Order in.  Dessert?  Yes, please.  Oh wait, here comes Thanksgiving!  Potluck?  I’m in!  What?  Christmas is around the corner?  Yikes!  That means parties!  And now we are on the speed train to New Years!  BRING.  IT.  ON.

Weighing myself each week?  Thing of the past.  Jeans a bit tight?  Uh…yeah.  (And, like, it happened over night.  That was weird.)  So come January I was seeing it in my face and the usually places:  belly, thighs, bottom.  Ugh.  There really is a price to pay for lack of common sense and overindulgence.  Sad, but true.  I reaped what I sowed.  Big time.

I’d been slacking on my Weight Watchers, so I decided to force myself to reset.  This is what it takes sometimes for me to break a bad pattern (like eating chocolate I don’t even like to munching on snacks when I’m not hungry just because they’re, well, sitting there.).  

— Oh my gosh, my cat is snoring.  I totally had to interrupt this to mention that. —

So I decided to try the HCG Diet and go VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet).  I’m not going to go into crazy specifics on the diet, but I’m sure what with these Internets you can find out about it somewhere.  Anyway, it’s been a good month and I’ve shaved off the extra weight (I still want to take off more), but this has exceeded my expectations for a month worth of work.

The criminal thing about being 5’2″ is that 5 pounds on anyone 5’5″ or higher looks like 20 pounds on us and it suck rocks!  It really is quite unfair.  And it just so happens that my sister and mother are both tall and slender.  I’m built for manual labour.  Again.  Unfair.  My husband says I have Popeye arms because my forearms are so big.  I keep trying to tell him that that’s not the kind of compliment a lady appreciates hearing.

Anyway, so I thought I’d update with that random bit of news.  Gluttony = bad.  It makes your jeans not fit and your face look puffy!  And then you have to go on a ridiculous diet that doesn’t let you have any fun!  Maybe I’ll learn my lesson this time.  

Or…when I am 50 years old I simply say, “Life is too short.  Pass the brownies.”