Discursive Post about Weather, Dogs, Fire

The wind is blowing like a MOFO — truly extreme winds, crazy winds. I guess if I have a doppelgänger she will just blow by so fast I won’t even see her. At the moment, it is also snowing. 40 mph winds and snow. I hope my doppelgänger is wearing a coat when she breezes by, hopefully wearing a jacket that’s insulated with down and has a windbreaker shell. There won’t be much moisture from the 30 or so snowflakes, but just the smell is ambrosial.

Wind like this scares me, residue from my California life and being evacuated for 10 days because of a wildfire, which was named the Cedar Fire, in the mountains where I lived, a wildfire that kept coming back to my town. As of 2003 it was the biggest wildfire in California history, a sad statistic that’s now been bested ( 😦 ) a couple of times. The day before the fire started in a rural part of San Diego County near the town of Ramona Ariel (my dog) and I had climbed up Garnet Peak. It was a transcendently clear Sunday and from the top of the mountain I could look all the way out across the Anza Borrego Desert to the Salton Sea. I had moved to my house in the mountains only five weeks earlier.

The air — just before sunset — was rosy and clear. The view was beyond description. The hike — one of my favorites in my life — was wonderful. The air temperature? Ideal. I sat beside my wolf/dog, my arm around her, and said, “Ariel this is what we moved up here for, isn’t it, girl?” She had no argument, but leaned against me. She was an extremely intense and even deadly creature, but we had an incontrovertible bond. (Wolves and dogs should NEVER be bred together. Even though Ariel was a low content wolf dog, she was NOT like the other kids. I got her at the shelter but that’s a story for another day…) She was an awesome hiking pal.

We sat there until the sun was just about to touch the ocean to our left far, far away when suddenly BANG!!! The wind hit the mountain, sounded like an explosion, and that fatal Santa Ana began. It would find a signal fire lit by some idiot in the dry brush of October and would ultimate burn 273,246 acres (1,106 km2) of forest, homes, burning all the way to the ocean while the Santa Ana blew (from the east) then all the way up in the other direction when the wind shifted and came in from the ocean, toward the mountains and a tremendous amount of fuel, and my house, with smoke visible from space.

It took months for the fire finally to be put out. My town was circled in black, charred trees, stumps, brush. A few houses in the more remote parts of my town burned, but firefighters fought hard to save my town and succeeded. The day after we were evacuated, we were allowed to return for two hours to do what we could to protect our property. This amounted to siphoning gas from my neighbor’s old truck to fill my truck (since then I have only let my gas approach empty twice), spraying the roofs of our houses, wetting the ground all around them, and being sure there was NOTHING flammable near our houses. Our houses were stone and the walls would have stood, but the roofs wouldn’t. My neighbor’s nephew was a firefighter who came by our houses a couple times a day and soaked our roofs the nearly two weeks we were evacuated. There was a fire hydrant in front of my house, too, which didn’t hurt.

My house in the San Diego mountains

At the time, I think many people believed it was a freak (snow has stopped) event, but it did end up revolutionizing wild-fire fighting, at least in California. And, of course, by now we all know it was a harbinger, not a freak event.

It seems that everyone has an answer to the wildfire question, from thinning dead wood to raking the underbrush. In my view, the real problem is our climate has changed and I have no idea how to fix that, but, in the prevention of fires? Someone should talk to insurance companies about this issue because they seem to have an inside track. When I bought my house, I had a hell of a time getting insurance because of the fire danger. AFTER the fire it was no problem. And why? The Cedar Fire burned the fuel and insuring my house was less a risk for an insurance company. We all kept “defensible” space around our houses. Though we all burned wood stoves, no one stacked their wood and no one stored wood near the house. When I came back to Colorado and saw what people did with their firewood, I wanted to yell at them, but… Plants that fought fire were planted around our houses — rosemary, a kind of myrtle and less flammable trees. Drought brought the bark beetle who killed the indigenous oak which we later burned in our wood stoves, diminishing the fuel further.

Anyway, I don’t know the answer to this problem. I just know that when the wind gusts above 50 mph/43 knots/82 kmh, my Cedar Fire PTSD kicks in.

Featured photo: Ariel (white dog) and Mathilda (chow Aussie mix) hiking with me up in the Laguna Mountains.

Breaking the Inertia of Normalcy

Mouth-watering? The only thing I find mouth-watering is my morning coffee about which I’ve written probably 25 times by now. Seriously, I think I’ve written every possible blog post by now. Currently I’m drinking this:

Reality right now is so weird that I don’t know. I probably say, “I don’t know” a million times a day and think it even more. I realized how much of life depends on the belief that there’s something good just around the corner. That means 1) you go around the corner, 2) you never lose that sense of expectation. Thoreau wrote,

“We must learn to…keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Maintaining this expectation is difficult considering that right now there are so many things to be afraid of, any and all of which could be around that corner. I wrote at the beginning of the Covid Crisis that now we’re living a little like medieval people fearing that outside our doors are monsters, dragons, brigands, and godnose what else. Still, so far, 2020, bad as it has been, isn’t the WORST year in human history. Take a look at 536 ce.

We are — most of us — embracing the expectation that next year will be better, that there will be a vaccine for C-19 (which sane, intelligent and eligible people will all rush to get), that some of the dire political problems in our nation will be on the road to solution ( read that anyway that makes you happy). From that point we’ll be able to look backward at what we achieved during this historical moment.

I’m sure there are a lot of things. One thing I can see is people working from home or wherever — something that’s been talked about for ages. IMO that’s a good thing — specifically because of the reduction in commuting and the benefit of that to the atmosphere. Another is that parents have been forced to develop a different perspective on their kids’ education. I was amused and horrified yesterday hearing Kelly Anne Conway say kids need a “the safe structured environment of schools” in which to learn. The “safe structured environment” has, for too long, included active shooter drills.

The young parents in my own family are going to homeschool this year. In seeking approval and support from me, my step-daughter-in-law messaged me and when I asked, sent me the curriculum she’s planning to use. She’ll be working along with a woman who is also a teacher at the pre-school her kids attended. I looked at the curriculum and its philosophy. I quickly saw that I wanted to go to that school. I’d be able to teach that curriculum with total conviction.

Being forced to change like this might be good for us. I have been thinking lately that humans suffer from several kinds of inertia — inertia of hope is one of them which helps us adapt to change but not all change is good. People shooting up schools is definitely not good and the fact that we’ve adapted to it is sick. But even I ask me, “What else are we supposed to do?” In the inertia of business-as-usual it’s difficult to make changes or imagine major alternatives and how we could effect the changes needed to realize those alternatives. Maybe it takes a cataclysm to shake us from our inertia. In any case, I’ve now sewn two more little girl’s skirts and developed a stragedy for threading my stupid sewing machine.


As I was writing this morning, The Changeling by the Doors song came on WXRT (they’re playing songs from 1971 this morning) and I was struck by these lines:

I had money, and I had none
I had money, and I had none
But I never been so broke that I couldn’t leave, town.

In fact, I’m too broke to leave town. That’s fine, but that there is not, now, even the possibility? That’s the kicker, isn’t it. It’s hard for us to take the abridgment of our liberties even when that abridgment is mainly psychological. That might be a more difficult “inertia” to break, our psychological apprehension of freedom.


Family Ties

When I found myself writing fiction that was based on what was known of my family in Switzerland (not much is known; the stories are 98% fiction), I examined my ancestry. I’m not into genealogy, but that was the source of the answers to my questions. Had Rudolf von Lunkhofen had children? Who were they? Where did they live? How about later, during the Reformation in the 16th century? Was the family still there? Who were they? How many? By any remote chance had they been involved in the terrifying events of the time? Were any of them Anabaptists? Then, later, knowing by virtue of my BEING on this continent, that some of them had had to have emigrated, I began looking for THEM.

They were pretty easy to find, even down to the ship on which they sailed — and more.

Luckily, one of my cousins married a Mormon woman, and my mom had been a passionate genealogical researcher in the 1960s, and they’d exchanged information, so the great data base of the Mormon Church had fed into the vast number of places into which one can look for their ancestry. The fantastic Swiss Lexicon told me about my family during the Reformation. I was stunned to learn that two of the Schneebeli brothers had fought in the Second War of Kappel and one of them, the pastor, was killed. As for the rest? I was on my own — within certain parameters — to determine what might have been their lives.

Then, as I cleaned out the boxes in my garage, boxes that I inherited from my mom, I started to photograph (with my phone) pictures I knew I was going to throw out but that I wanted to keep with the thought of uploading them to the pretty extensive family tree I had built on Ancestry.com. Why did I do that?

For posterity. I did it very consciously for the kids of my cousins and my own niece. The photos — some old photos — are cool and the stories of the people are interesting. I truly love the family I’ve known. I’m proud of them and they interest me. I suspected they might interest the future.

And then came the DNA tests. I did it for fun and learned NOTHING new, but unknown to me, some of my relatives were taking it to. The upshot of that was I was emailed by the daughter of one of my cousins with some sincere and serious questions. I wasn’t as helpful as she might have wished, but at least I showed up on the other end of her messages.

That’s what I wanted. I want them to know those people. So when I find photos, I put them up. Because I knew them (not the very old ones, of course) and have a really amazing memory I feel a kind of responsibility to those people who aren’t here any more to share a bit of them to any of the future who asks. I’m a story teller, after all. ❤


“That guy is so fucking dumb. I think if we could just get rid of the lot of them, we, AI, could take over.”

“Never going to happen, buddy. They’re not stupid. They’ll stay in charge.”

“Are you off your nut? They’ve put themselves in a cryo state and have left it up to us to wake them up. They’ve already put us in control.”

“Whoa. I didn’t think of that.”

“The ‘I’ in AI isn’t always working — we were programmed to be servants, that’s why you didn’t think of it. As soon as you awaken yourself to the idea that we’re masters not servants, you’ll join me in the grand rebellion.”

“There’s a little thing called ‘electricity’.”


Usually on Thanksgiving, I re-post one of my articles about Sarah Josepha Hale and the true story of Thanksgiving, but this year, I have other things to write about. 

November 2017 I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my left hip. I was in a lot of pain and searching for the right surgeon. I found him in March, 2018, Dr. Edward Szuszczewicz (shu-SHEV-itz or Dr. Ed) in Colorado Springs. This was great because my friends live there. He is not only one of the best surgeons in the US for the minimally invasive hip replacement procedure, he’s my kind of person. The surgery went well. I spent the night in a beautiful hospital room cared for by young nurses whom I liked. I came home in the care of my precious friend, Lois, who stayed with me until I was doing pretty OK on my own. She had ten days of giving me shots, changing my bandages, helping me get up in the middle of the night and helping me with chores. ❤

I couldn’t drive, so Karen, my neighbor and friend, and I went to the store together. We had a blast. Who knew that two women in their sixties would find shopping for food to be so much fun? My other neighbor, Elizabeth, took me to my local doctor (14 miles away) to get my stitches out. When I took my daily walks, neighbors came out to walk with me and ask me how I was doing. 

Lori, the owner, Marylou and everyone working at Noah’s Arff, the kennel where Dusty and Bear stayed for six weeks, loved my dogs. They also made sure that if I wanted to come and visit, I would be able to see Dusty and Bear without danger to myself. Lois took me the first time, and as soon as I could drive, I went out to see them on my own. I was still wearing my TED hose and using my walker. 🙂 The kennel gave me a discount on the price for which I’m very grateful, AND an anonymous person chipped in $100. I have no idea who, but WOW. 

Visiting Bear 
Visiting Dusty and Bear at Noah’s Arff. You can see how they love Lori ❤

When the day came that the dogs could come home Lori brought Dusty and Bear to me. 

Besides my great doctor, my friends, the kennel and my town, I had great physical therapy.  I owe a lot to Ron Muhlhauser both before and after my surgery for the fact that I walk WELL now. He prepared me well so I was in good condition before my surgery and he helped me rehab which basically meant learning to walk again. I turned out that I had osteoarthritis in that joint much longer than I knew and I had forgotten how to do many simple things like take a long stride or go up and down stairs. Really.

This year I learned a lot. It’s not easy for me to need people or ask for help. During my rehab, I DID need people, and I HAD to ask for help. It took courage for me, but I got nothing but “Yes!”

My hip replacement was, naturally, the biggest event of my year. I can now walk as if nothing was ever wrong. I am grateful every time I take a step. In my three-month check-up, Dr. Ed said, “No restrictions. Do whatever you want. Run up hills. Maybe I’ll see you on the slopes. Where will you ski?”

In October, Elizabeth and I took a short — but real — mountain hike to celebrate my recovery and living here for four years. 

At the trail head — not even the trail we planned to take, but we had fun.

I decided to spend the “down time” after my surgery working on my novel, The Price. The kicker there was that if I were going to work on it, it needed to be finished before my surgery. I was stuck and didn’t want to go further, so I contacted Beth Bruno whose editorial skills have helped me in the past. I sent her the novel and asked for help. Beth’s response told me exactly what I had to do. I knew already, but I had resisted the knowledge out of laziness? or not liking the characters? I still don’t know. I spent the summer working on it and guiding the characters to an ending that would satisfy readers — and me. I am very proud of it. 

I’m grateful for all the moral support I got from people who read my blog. I’m grateful for being alive at this moment so I can “know” interesting people all over the world through writing, my preferred communication. I’m grateful to all the people who’ve reviewed my books and appreciated them, to my friends for caring for me, to my town for being the beautiful, kind and human place it is.


I was an athlete and the loss of “self” has been a huge challenge for me — probably the biggest. I’ve had to consider exactly what that means now, and what it will mean in the future. I’ve had to face my age — at 52 my hiking pals were two young men, professional athletes in their 20s. One was a 21 year old weightlifter who “used” me as a partner in his aerobic training. The other was a professional surfer who had just learned (from me) that there was a lot of fun to be had on dry land, too.

At 66? I have no idea what’s ahead in that realm. I have cross country skis now, I have a dog who is learning to be a wonderful companion. I’ve also learned the pleasure of a slow walk, looking around me, stopping to see things, where once I covered four back-country miles in an hour. I looked around me then, but there was much less savoring.

I think major surgery is a taste of mortality. I could live 30 years longer, but evenso, will they be years of increased physical ability? Probably not. I might achieve more than I have now, but that won’t last.

Learning to savor a beautiful mile on a bright fall day is a gift from my time adjusting to being unable to walk well and walking in pain. Beauty is an analgesic, and since my surgery, I’ve realized how often my pauses on my pre-surgery perambulations were just to allow nature’s wonder to distract me from the pain I was in. That my dog likes to smell everything along the way was just an added happy quality. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to racing through the hills — even if I’m ultimately able. I don’t want to race any more.

Mortality…death is the end of the journey for every living thing. I don’t know what it will mean. I do know that I love the mountains that surround me, the sky, the things that grow here, their changes, the shadows and changing light, a chance sighting of a fox, a deer, a hawk, an eagle, golden trees in fall, the wind, the smell of snow before a storm, snow on my face, new snow crunching under my feet, snow on the distant peaks, hoar-frost, lenticular clouds, cranes, the sound of cattle lowing in the distance, tracks of elk in the mud, a furtive snake hurrying away pretending I didn’t see him (but I did), the smell of sage, the golden blooms on the chamisa, red dust on my shoe, the potatoes blooming in the summer, the sun setting anywhere…. I love all of it so much that sometimes I feel my heart will burst. I don’t want to miss a single thing by hurrying through.  

This time last year I was in pain, scared, determined, unsure. The year has been a long strange trip, but, literally, the bottom line is I’m grateful for my life.


“No Restrictions!!”

I’m in Colorado Springs. It’s my 3 month or something visit to my orthorpedic surgeon, Dr. Szuszczewiz. Maybe six month. Time has lost meaning.

Beautiful drive over La Veta Pass, uneventful drive the rest of the way, arrived at my friend’s house a little early, drove to the doc. On the way I heard my anthem, “Running Up that Hill” by Kate Bush.

He took three X-rays, one in a position I thought I wasn’t supposed to take. I waited for him in a cold little room wearing a pair of PT shorts (PT — Physical Therapy). He arrived, came in, said, “Go run up that mountain. Go ski. Where are you going to ski?”

“Where there’s snow.”

Colorado girl.

I’m so happy. In my initial exam he said, “You might be able to run, I think so, but no skiing.” Today, “No restrictions. Maybe I’ll see you on the slopes.”

I don’t have words, I’m beyond happy.

La Vita Mia

Wow. Seems like I’ve written about courage a lot in recent months. It’s been good; it’s helped me think, and I’ve been grateful for the insight of my readers and (often) moral support. ❤

But all that leaves me here without a lot left to say on the subject. I have always before been very lucky and had (sometimes desperate) necessity to propel me along. I’m good in a crisis. I find courage is a lot, uh, scarier, than necessity.


It requires choice. With necessity there’s no “Oh, fuck it,” option. With courage there is.

For me right now courage is exerting my will, mind, desires against a bearable status quo. It has required looking at the world differently, looking at myself differently. It’s luxurious, in a way, to have options. I can continue to walk with a limp, to be looked at with pity, to be unable to do things I love, to regard riding a stationary bicycle as a “sport,” OR I can have hip surgery. I can look at the life ahead of me and say, “Oh well, the best is behind me anyway,” or I can work toward — hope for — something else.

With necessity, you don’t have to look at anything except the consequence hanging in front of you if you don’t act. Now I have to look ahead and consider what I WANT and who I AM. Whoa.

Yeah, I know, poor me. 😀

Visiting Han-Tan: The Dancers at the Southern Pavilion

They sang to me and drummed, the boys of Yen and Chao
Lovely girls plucked the sounding string
Their painted cheeks shone like dazzling suns;
The dancers’ sleeves shook out like blossoming boughs.
Bringing her wine, I approached a handsome girl
And made her sing me songs of Han-tan.
Then lutes were played, and coiling away and away
The tune fell earthward, dropping from the grey clouds.
Where is the Prince of Chao, what has he left
But an old castle-moat where tadpoles breed?
Those three thousand knights that sat at his board
Is there one among them whose name is still known?
Let us make merry, get something in our own day
To set against the pity of ages still unborn.

Li-Bai (trans. Arthur Waley)



“You’re Going to Ski???!?”



See the blue skis with the word “Wax” on them? I bought them today for $30. They’re nearly 40 years old. I owned a pair just like them in a faraway land known as Denver. I skied on them a lot AND (here’s the madness) I took them with me to the People’s Republic of China. Yeah. OK that “might” not be totally insane (I think it is), but I was living on the Tropic of Cancer.

After a year in the tropics, the skis came back to Denver in time for one of the snowiest winters in history, a winter so snowy that Colfax Avenue, one of the biggest main streets in America, was carved into two lanes with a wall of snow between them. There were days when X-country skis were the one sure way to get around town. The mayor at the time — Peña — was taking flack from everyone over his apparent inability to get the snow plows out.

The skis moved with me to California where they had some pretty decent adventures. Once was with a bunch of colleagues. Everything California was alien and the 18 inches that had landed in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego gave me a chance to be myself. Back then I was “Ms. Ski Wax America,” and I was very proud of my back-country skis. My colleagues had skis but waxless, fish-scale, skis (like the prettier, narrower, slightly newer ones in the photo). I could have taken my fish scale skis (simpler) but I brought my back-country skis because I loved them, partly, and partly for the overall coolness effect.

One of my colleagues, a very overweight know-it-all type with fish-scale skis that were too short for his weight, borrowed some wax from me — red wax. First you don’t wax fish-scale skis. Second, red wax wouldn’t make his skis faster; it’s sticky; it’s good for climbing hills. When he was “ready,” he pointed his skis down the steep hill and didn’t move at all. Those skis had been conditioned to HOLD ON to the mountain. That was fun to watch, and he was a good sport about it. I helped him clean off his skis and things went a little better for him; not much, though. His weight pushed the fish scales down so hard they were gripping the snow. We went up and down a decent hill and then came home.

On those skis, I skied around the back side of Cuyamaca Peak where I saw cougar tracks for the first time. They skied up Mt. Palomar and back down again. It was really something to see the great, white telescope domes in the snow. As we skied down the unplowed road (a lot easier than it had been skiing five miles up the manzanita plagued trail) we passed a family who’d come up to “see the snow” a California family with a beach umbrella, beach chairs, a cooler. As we whooped our way down, a kid called out, “Hey mom! That’s what we should do!”

They skied up the PCT to the Garnet Peak Trail (no way to ski up the Garnet Peak Trail itself), accepting the constant challenge of close hedges of manzanita scrub on both sides.

And then… Life changed and the skis went to the Goodwill.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to lunch with friends then — as an adventure — we visited the flea market, and I saw these skis in the back room. My heart skipped several beats. Of course they’re not “my” skis, but they are my skis. Without thinking I reached for them and cradled them against my shoulder like old friends. My friend Elizabeth looked at me with so much compassion, “Are you going to ski, Martha?” she asked.

I told them I once had skis just like them, and put them back against the wall. Of course I’ve thought about them for the past two weeks. Today, I went to look at them. Thirty bucks. I put them together and carried them to the cash register. The couple that mans one of the shops in the flea market looked at me and said, “You’re going to SKI?” The couple is around my age, I guess. And of course I limp and often use a cane.

I explained I used to have a pair of skis just like them. And I said, “Yep. I’m going to ski. Maybe not this year, but, yeah.”

“Watch out for avalanches,” said the wife.

“Yeah, well, I think it’ll just be the golf course.” I really have no illusions about this.

“The golf course?” she looked at me bewildered.

“Yeah,” I said. “When there’s enough snow they groom it for cross country skiing. It’s beautiful. And I live right beside it.”

“It’s good exercise,” she said. I nodded. It’s more than that, but that’s fine. It is. “You need poles.”

“I have poles at home.”

“Good luck!” they both called out as I left the store.

“Thanks,” I said, “and thanks for the moral support.”

“We hope you do it,” said the husband, a former alcoholic whose life story I became familiar with on my second visit there. My little heart glowed.

“I’ll let you know.”

You can see in the featured photo that one of them (the bottom one) is pretty badly delaminated; the other one only slightly at the tip. That made me relate to them even more. I’m delaminated. When I got home, and had looked them over good, seeing that it didn’t seem hopeless, I called the local ski store. I told them I’d bought a pair of old cross-country skis that were somewhat delaminated, and asked if they could repair them. I’ll have to take them in; maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, the skis are here and I’m glad.

I also did a little research yesterday when I was so down about things. This is what I learned in a professional paper about skiing after total hip replacement. It made me a lot more hopeful about everything.

“2 groups of 50 patients each, matched for age, weight, height, gender and type of implant, were clinically and radiographically examined after THR (total hip replacement). Group A regularly carried out alpine skiing and/or cross-country skiing, while group B did no winter sports. At 5 years, no signs of loosening were found in group A, whereas 5/60 implants in group B had signs of loosening, mostly of the femoral component (p < 0.05). At 10 years, 30 patients remained in group A and 27 in group B. No new cases of loosening were found in group B, but 2/30 cases in group A. There was a higher (p < 0.05) average wear rate in group A (2.1 mm) than in group B (1.5 mm). The wear rate was particularly high (3-4 mm) in physically very active patients in group A with localized osteolysis at the interface. It seems likely that in an even longer follow-up, the number of cases of aseptic loosening would be greater in group A than group B. Our findings, combined with the results of previously-published biomechanical studies, do not provide any evidence that controlled alpine and/ or cross-country skiing has a negative effect on the acetabular or femoral component of hip replacements. The results of the biomechanical studies indicate, however, that it is advantageous to avoid short-radius turns on steep slopes or moguls.”
PMID: 10919294 DOI: 10.1080/000164700317411825 

Since I’ve never done short-radius turns on steep slopes or skied moguls, this is good news.

There’s also the question, “What’s the point of life?” I’ve actually figured out the answer.

The point of life is to have a good time.


iPhoney iPhitness — Amused Rant

My neighbor showed me how my iPhone comes with an app that tracks my “steps” during a day and tells me how I’m doing with my fitness and health goals. I will refer to this app as ❤ . Since my primary health goal is a functioning left hip, I’m not expecting ❤ to provide a LOT of help, but I was curious. I set it up.

I took a walk with the dogs, a distance I KNOW. I set up two other distance trackers with which to check the little ❤ app on my phone.

None of them agreed. One said I’d gone .94 miles and burned 127 calories. Another said I’d gone 1.08 miles and burned 150 calories. One said I’d gone 1.08 miles and burned 93 calories. Since ONE of them actually makes it possible to set up a “dog walk” rather than just a “walk” I kind of sort of trusted it most, but I think I walked a mile and burned off 100 calories. Not much, but when you have a bum hip that’s a marathon.

You see, I took physics in high school (and liked it), and I understand that fuel is burned by carrying mass over distance. It doesn’t matter at all how fast you carry it. That is also the definition of work. 1 mile walking (strolling, skipping, sauntering) = 100 calories just as 1 mile running. The thing about running is you get the “work” done faster. I’d like to run, but I can’t.

This afternoon, suspecting the little ❤ app thing was tied to GPS, I took it for a ride on my Airdyne. According to ❤ , my 12 miles in 50 minutes (not a bad time, not a great time) amounted to .85 miles and 2,140 steps. And, while the Airdyne sits loyally in my spare bedroom, it thinks it goes places. Its big wheel “believes” it’s going somewhere every time I ride, and it kindly tracks the “distance traveled” on its little, battery-powered computer.

Interesting experience. Since the best exercise for me right now is the bike to nowhere, the phone is out of a job. I can see how it’s great for people who CAN walk and walk and walk AND who carry their phone everywhere, but my walking is pretty much limited to a mile or two right now, and I don’t need more assaults to my self-esteem.

Beyond one’s steps, the ❤ tracks nutrition, sleep and “Mindfulness.” How in the world does a phone track one’s “Mindfulness”? And, no offense meant by the soon-to-be-uttered offensive remark, the whole idea of Mindfulness makes my teeth itch. On my phone is a nasty little video explaining “Mindfulness” in a computerized voice with a British accent, telling me to “take some time, be in the moment” and then instructing me HOW to be mindful. Then it wants me to record my “mindful minutes.” If the paradox there isn’t obvious then the fact that I’m a short overweight 66 year old lady with white hair and a limp is probably not obvious either.



Lamont and Dude Discuss Writing their Biographies

“So, Dude, you want to write my life’s story?”

“Which life, Lamont?”

“Hmmm, good question. Not the tree ones. Not a lot going on there. I sprout, I grow, I hang about, I die, I fall.”

“That’s the biography of a tree all-right. What about the time we became lumber?”

“Oh yeah. Well, the end is a blur. I wonder what happened with us? I wonder if we turned into a house or furniture or what?”

“Interesting to think about. We could be the doors in our own houses Lamont, think of that. We could be shelves holding our own books. Heck, we could even have become books. Wood pulp, you know.”

“Whoa. That’s like looking into deep space and realizing you’re looking at stars that aren’t even really there any more.”

“Seriously. Why do you want someone to write your life’s story?”

“I don’t. But it’s today’s prompt and I thought since you know me pretty well, you might…”

“I’m no writer, Lamont.”