Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Two walk day - 17,000 steps

July was a pretty tough month for walking steps.  It was hot!! And early in the month I was on an unofficial vacation from life - no blogging, no walking.  I still tracked my steps, but I made no effort to bump up my totals.  As a result I didn't reach my July goal of 10,500 daily steps average for the month.  My 30 day average was approximately 9,900 steps - ok, just not at goal.

So the August goal is a repeat - 10,500 daily steps average.

But today, the last day of July, I wanted to go out with a "bang."  With my 30 minutes of stretching (conversion steps) and my 2 long walks today, I reached 17,000 steps!  That is a record for me since  May.  (My all time record was 31,000+ steps in one day back in 2009.)

Anyway, I am pleased that I ended the month well.

Finally, I am looking forward to Fall and Winter (my favorite season).  If I can keep focused, keep increasing my step totals, keep increasing my physical endurance now ... the fall should be great.

Less heat, better endurance!!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I own a rigid heddle loom - a Kromski Harp - 16" wide.  And the more that I use it, the more I want to use it.

But it has been a slow road to climb and I am a novice.  I bought my loom in May 2011 (yes, over a year ago), in a desperate attempt to keep connected to all things yarn (knitting had sadly slipped off my radar in 2011.)  It was that kind of year.

My dear cousin assembled the loom that May 2011 and helped me get it warped up.  I finished that first project in January 2012 when I saw her again (May to January - a casual weaver could complete 10 scarves in that time.)  

Hem stitch on edge
Obviously desperate attempts are exactly that.  Desperate.  But in 2012 the complexities of my life began to clear, and I took up the loom once again.  I am joyfully hooked to weaving.

I love my loom.  I am eager to weave and to warp up new projects.  I am still a rookie, but I know this hobby has now put its stamp on me!  I am many scarves into this craft.  I am now working on a table runner (pictured here).  It is turning out problematically but I am learning from it.

I am haunting web sites looking for another Harp - this time 32" wide - so that I can make a broader range of projects.  I will get the stand that hold the loom because 32" wide is to big a loom to brace against a table. 

And I joined a weaving club.  Spunky Eclectic Weaving Club.  A club project is sent to you every other month.  Each time the project and the skills used are different.  It will is a good way to expand my skill level with this new craft.

Like a bug bite that needs to be scratched ... I am now weaving.

Someday - maybe this year - I will get out that beautiful spinning wheel that I named Agatha back in 2010 - a Kromski Sonata - and take care of that spinning itch that has not left my radar.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Talk the Walk - Mind Games

Other than a good pair of walking shoes, you don't need much to walk.
That is why I like it.
I step out my door and I am walking.

So why are mind games important.  After a time the mind gets bored (mine does) and starts working against you, trying to engage you in other things so that it is happier.  The mind has good intentions but it doesn't benefit your body.

The most obvious method that works for most people is reading about walking.  I won't suggest reading materials here but they abound.  Just do an Amazon or Library search on the words "walking exercise" and you'll have your pick!

One of my favorite games is my pedometer.  Currently I am using the Striiv Pedometer, and I have blogged about it here.  But generally any step counter will work if you are new to the idea of "counting your steps."

It is simple.  The more steps you take, the more you have moved.  Yes, getting your heart rate up for a specific period of time increases the health benefits, but it all starts with moving.  You can't lie about how much you have moved if your step count for the day is around 2,000 steps instead of 10,000 steps (the recommended number of steps needed each day for good health.)  And if you think 10,000 steps a day is enormous, look to the Amish.  Pedometer studies have shown that the Amish take an average of 18,000 a day.  An average!!

For me: I am trying to do 10,500 steps in July.  I won't make it.  I had too many days below 10,000 earlier in the month, but August is another month and I will make it then.  And then I will move the bar - September might be 10,750 steps.  The goal is to keep moving and keep increasing.  The pedometer keeps me honest.  And my brain likes to beat my last step number.

Another brain game I particularly like is Walker Tracker - a free online site where you can log your steps each day.  Walker Tracker is almost like a Facebook for walkers.  You can do the minimum which is log your steps each day - and see trends and stats from that simple action alone.  You can also bump up your participation by blogging some on the site, or making friends called "comrades" (I am esknitter there), you can get information about walking in the discussion groups, you can see ratings for pedometers, you can join like-minded groups on that site (Walking Women of 60, Audiobook Listeners, Weight Loss, Walking Knitters, etc. all with the option of sharing information).  But the reason I am on this site is for the "competitions."  The map below shows a graphic representation of a competition - walking the Oregon Trail.  If you join the competition, your little avatar shows up on a map letting you know where you are in the walk and how far to the finish, what your rank is, etc.  Great fun.  There are no prizes for winning, just the satisfaction of participating.  Check out Walker Tracker if it sounds like something you would enjoy.  Look up esknitter - and make me your comrade!

Writing about walking on my blog (yes, doing what I am doing right now), helps me.  I love taking pictures on my walk. The paths I take are pretty much the same each day, but the pictures I capture are the snapshot in time of something I saw.  I enjoy reading blogs that do this as well - like Life is Good-Smile, my dear blogging friend Happy One, who walks 6 + miles each day in all kinds of weather.  Happy One has been doing this for over 25 years.  She has risen to a new level - she walk for the joy of walking - I hope to be there someday.

Volks Marching has recently caught my attention. I don't know enough about it to say much now, but I will share what I find out at some point.  It is a new mind game for me.  And finding new minds games is as important as participating in old ones.  Remember, the mind gets bored!

Audio books are a regular part of my life - especially while walking.  I couldn't read as many books as I can listen to.  There are so many great reads out there and they are often enhanced by a talented reader.

So those are my current mind games - and I am always looking for more.  Share what works for you.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Morning Light

You might wonder how I would know anything about morning light.

My normal day begins around 7:00 am with a stumble to the bathroom, and a stagger to the coffee pot, and a slump over the lap top while I sit at my kitchen table ... all in an effort to get my brain  coordinated with my body before I must interact with other beings I share the earth with ... like around 9:00 am.

Yes, until recently that was the sad state of my early morning.

But intense heat this summer has changed all that.

Now if I walk it is in the morning right after coffee.

And so, I know about morning light.  It was a wonderful discovery.  The walk starts slowly because the caffeine has not yet reached my extremities as I step out the door.  But within 10 minutes my focus has shifted from my back, my knees, my elbow, my knuckle ... to my stride and my surroundings, and the morning light

 ... like this.

 You miss a lot if you wait to long too step out the door. 

Best of Luck to all the Olympians of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
I think of you during my morning walk.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Through my Caregiver Eyes - A visit

Most weeks include 3 or 4 visits to see mom.  

In December of 2011, I was forced to place my mom in Assisted Living.  (The story of our journey over the terrible times from November 2010 to December of 2012 are found under the heading - Through My Caregiver Eyes on this blog.)  That move was a hard and tearful decision for me, but she no longer had the strength to climb the 20 steps into my house. 

We were lucky enough to get her into Brooke Grove Assisted Living - the same organization that had provided her rehab on several occasions.

And so my regular visits to Brooke Grove continue.

And many days my dear grand-dog, Milo, comes with me.  Look at that face.  Look at that bone.  He is such a welcome little soul during my visits with mom.  In fact, when I show up without Milo, staff asks how Milo is doing!!

And he is an "attention sponge."  If you have a free hand for scratching, he is there!

Mom's adjustment for the most part has been wonderful.  She no longer peppers me with questions about when she is going home.  She thinks of Brooke Grove as "home."  And I am grateful.

Of course, a little part of me is sad that she cannot be home with me.  Sad that she cannot pick up the threads of the life she had before all the loss.  That same little part worries that she doesn't ask any more about going home because she has given up.  And it is just part of a long list of things I have sadly watched her give up over the last 5 years.

I know that she doesn't feel this sadness.  It is my sadness at experiencing all her loss.  Now her life settles around a very few things.  Visits from her family and weekly Mass on Sunday.

 I can do that for you mom.
You don't need to give up those things as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

God as a Neighbor

My daughter moved into her first condo - first purchase of property.
The end of June I spent the weekend with her - cleaning, unpacking, getting settled.
And, of course, I was checking out my daughter's neighborhood ...
the place were she will live and walk her dog.  
The place where I want her to be safe.

I am happy to report, she picked very well.
My daughter now lives in the best neighborhood.
Her neighbor is God.

The National Cathedral
Seriously, I am not kidding.
This is the view out her living room and bedroom windows.
See - right between Milo's ears?

Even at night, the view is beautiful.

And the rest of the neighborhood is just as great!

Yes, there is an apartment development with my name on it!!
Apartments with style abound.
The neighborhoods behind her building are residential and beautiful.
After years of moving all over the area,
 I think my daughter (and Milo) have finally settled in a great place.
A beautiful area.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank You Feathered Nest

During my hiatus I miss out on a very important "Thank You!"

I won my second (ever) contest just this month!

I saw this writing challenge on The Feathered Nest Blog - write a few words about the month of June.  And I entered this contest with this entry here.

I entered not because I am the greatest writer, or because I had a creative idea for the challenge.  Nope!  My reasons were greed.   I wanted this charming green dish.

The moment I saw it I thought, "Yep, that dish would look great in my house."  And it does.

I am a big fan of green. And I love all the decorate holes in this piece.

And there was this very cute pencil box and paper.  Really, this picture does not do these 3 pieces justice.

And now they all reside in my home.

Thank you Delores of the Feathered Nest Blog.

Please visit her fun blog.  She is a regular poster with the most interesting topics ... I hope to be like her when I grow up.


PS - See?  Isn't this dish just as sweet as it can be?
It loves living at my house.

Thank you, Delores.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Anniversary That Was ...

Dear Blog,

Retired Knitter here!

On July 20th I missed your 2 year Blog Anniversary.    I feel bad about that - like I had missed one of my children's birthdays or something! What kind of a blog owner am I if I could miss that kind of event?

After all the help you have given me over these past years, I am shamed faced that I didn't discover my error a few days earlier.

You were born when when my thoughts and emotions threatened to explode if they didn't go somewhere.  You were there when it was just you and me and no one else.  You were there when blog friends started to show up to share my life, to lift my spirits, to make me smile, and to surprise me with their sharing.  You were there (sitting patiently) while I zoned out and didn't write for weeks.

Now 514 postings and 127 followers later, you are still there.  And thankfully so are many of those blog friends.

So Happy Anniversary my dear blog (a few days late.)  And thank you readers for two years of sharing and laughing and fun sprinkled with some highs and lows.  I look forward to many more.

Retired Knitter

Monday, July 23, 2012


Wow, July has been a total bust for me.

No blogging.
No walking.
No exercise.
No noth'en!

I guess I could have called it a "holiday from the blog" or "too crazy busy" or "taking some me time," or "writers block."  None of that is true.

Truly, I just stopped writing.

This morning I opened my blog ... awww where have I been?  What happened to the days between July 6 and July 23!!  I miss being here!

But life didn't stop, and I have been chronicling it with pictures.  It has all been good, so I am getting back in the saddle!

See you again, soon!

PS - Yikes, just checked all your unread blog posts!

(hand grabs chest)

 So apparently you guys haven't been sitting around idly like me!  Panic!  What have I missed ???

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Pause - brought to you by Mother Nature

Ok, that storm a week ago was note worthy.

Photo from Wikipedia
Called a Derecho, this weather front is what brought our region to its knees more effectively than any hurricane.  As of this writing, there are still people across our area without power.  Thankfully, our power returned earlier in the week.  But storm recovery isn't all about the return of power.  Some unlucky folks had severe house damage, large downed trees and smashed cars.

We were lucky.  We only needed to clean up the refrigerator and the freezers.  But this event did give pause to think:

  • I was raised without air conditioning.  Apparently I can't live without it now.  Crazy!
  • I had way too much food in the house for 2 people.  What gives with that?  
  • I am totally disgusted with human nature.  It was reported by the news that although most people welcomed the electric crews into their neighborhoods, some crews had fireworks thrown at them while they tried to make repairs.  We need to weed out these defective humans now before they reproduce and create others of their kind.  These defectives need to be isolated on an island in the equator with no electric!!  Or better yet, tie those thoughtless individuals up on the top of a power line in 100+ degree heat for 12 hours ... and see how it feels to do that kind of work.
  • I love big weather events.  A Derecho isn't one of them.
Next time: local pictures

Monday, July 2, 2012

Storm aftermath

Our area was hit by mega storms on Friday night.  My electric power is out!  Besides the fact we have no juice to power our computer (you can't imagine the withdrawal symptoms), we have no air conditioning!!  It is amazing to me that I grew up without air conditioning.  With temperatures reaching 100 to 103 ... we have been struggling.

But we are fine, our home is fine, our family is fine, all our pets are fine ... we are blessed!

I am briefly using my son's home for a web connection (and his wonderful air conditioning)!

It will be several days before we have electric - probably next weekend if the news reports are to be believed.  It was a regional event and more than a million folks were affected.   Once we are powered up, we will be cleaning out our fridge and freezer - and shopping for replacement stuff.  So postings will be spotty for awhile.