30 August, 2005

40 pounds gone

The plateau seemed like it would never end, but not only did it end, its receded far into the distance. As of today I am officially down fourty pounds! Not only am I out of the 200s, I am actually fairly well into the 180s at 187, and it is a marvelous feeling. All my sweat and effort at the gym is paying off in the form of smaller measurements, a modest amount of muscle definition, and best of all--a dramatic drop in weight on the trusty scale. I'm now confident that even if I retain water, I'll remain under 200 pounds, and as far as I'm concerned, I'll never see 200 again unless I'm holding something heavy (like the cats) whilst on the scale.

I celebrated with a nice long swim two days in a row--I can actually accomplish 3/4 of a mile in 45 minutes, and although I've very tired by the time I finish, I'm not as tired as I was the first time I did that. My shoulder starts aching during the last 3 laps or so, and I've taken to compensating with easier arm strokes and increased kicking power to avoid aggravating it during those last few laps. My guess is that it'll be a good month or so before I'm ready to go beyond the 3/4 mile mark. For now I'm out of the pool for a week and a half, as the gym is closed for rennovations and some much needed pool improvements--I'll have to content myself with the equipment over at the Montpelier branch of the gym. :( They have a much nicer locker room, but the actual equipment isn't as varied as at my home facility. Oh well--at least its still gym access. In anticipation of the impending closure, after my swim today I hit the elliptical trainer for what seemed like a very easy half hour--given the swim directly beforehand, I'm surprised the machine seemed so very easy...I would have expected it to be more of an effort. I must be getting into shape, eh?

29 August, 2005

Re-gilding in Frackville. I include this shot simply because the spire was so beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Another house typical of Centralia--this one is actually in Frackville some 6 miles away. Posted by Picasa

I'm dying to know whats inside... Posted by Picasa

The lone park bench in Centralia. Behind it is a time capsule that I imagine will attract many former residents for its opening in 2016. Posted by Picasa

Large patches over areas of subsidence downtown in Centralia--the fallen tree has been .left there for months. Posted by Picasa

The spires from behind. Posted by Picasa

Looking up at the church--its on a VERY steep hill--the steps up to it are as steep as some of the steps up to Aztec step pyramids in Central America. Posted by Picasa

On the steps of the Russian Orthodox church above Centralia. Posted by Picasa

Graffiti around holes in the wall at the abandoned washouse in Byrnesville--a community next to Centralia that has also been consumed by the mine fire. Posted by Picasa

My bare foot next to a crack someone must have thought was the mother crack. Posted by Picasa

More cracks--the debris in the crack includes charred wood ashes from tree limbs people have dropped in there that ignited from the heat. At times you can see open flames emanating from the road. Posted by Picasa

Part of the largest fissue in the road. This was actively smoking and VERY warm to touch. You could stand bare foot or bare hand contact for about 5-6 minutes before it became uncomfortable. Even with shoes, the heat was enough to want to keep walking around. Posted by Picasa

Smoke emanating from the fissure. My son is over six feet tall so you get an idea of the scale of the heaves. Posted by Picasa

More Route 61 graffiti... Posted by Picasa

My son walking towards a fire-heaved section of Route 61. The "hill" he's approaching is heaved up and subsided on the other side to a height of nearly four feet. Posted by Picasa

Grafitti on Route 61 leading into Centralia (the abandoned section) Posted by Picasa

Here we are beneath the warning sign, eating ice cream on the highway to hell. (Teaberry ice cream--yum!) Posted by Picasa

Warning signs posted around town and especially around the abandoned section of Route 61. Posted by Picasa

This is the side view of the same house with the supports visible. The owners have gone from limited yard as they were surrounded by neighbours, to a huge yard. I'm sure they would rather have their neighbours and thriving town back. Posted by Picasa

The remaining homes are tall and thin, and must be supported with steel I-beams and brick buttresses since the rest of the supporting row homes have been torn down as residents leave the town. Posted by Picasa

A typical street in Centralia. Posted by Picasa

The burning hill above town--note the dead trees killed by having their roots burnt underground. This is near the cemetary which has one section burning. The cemetary is immaculately cared for, and is still in use, as we saw graves dated 2005, though I'm sure the graves near the back where it is actively burning now contain cremains. I was glad to see it being maintained despite the rest of town being completely overgrown. Posted by Picasa

Locust Avenue--the main street of Centralia. This street used to be lined with homes and businesses and is now mostly vacant lots. Posted by Picasa

Centralia, PA

Centralia was an amazing place. It was terribly sad to see all the vacant house lots, with driveways, carports, and front steps leading to nowhere, and cut power lines gridding a town that is largely absent. The once thriving coal town of 1900+ residents has shrunk to six houses, and most of those are clinging together in one area with actively burning fire a few hundred yards away on a hillside. The Russian Orthodox church above town is still there, and well maintained. We had wanted to see inside, but it was locked up securely, so we contented ourselves with wandering around it. Our reward for the effort was some very ripe blackberries on the grounds behind the church.

The section of Route 61 that was closed was fairly easy to find, and was blocked off by a mound of earth. It wasn't all that effective a barrier as there were tire marks on it, and someone had laid rubber on the abandoned section of road on the other side. There was a lot of graffiti on the road, including two different sections announcing we were on the highway to hell, and another spot announcing that so-and-so had peed there. That one was pretty funny, and I noticed that none of my kids would walk on the long gone urine. As we walked a half mile up the road the pavement became noticeably warmer beneath our feet and began to heave and buckle upwards. At spots, the heaving was close to four feet high. At the worst section of damage, there were many cracks and fissures in the roadway, with the longest being about 50 feet long and 3-4 feet deep. Smoke poured from the largest crack--given that it was 90 degrees that day, I would imagine the smoke and steam must be something to see when its cooler and raining. We had a nice video clip of my son exploring the largest crack, but it was inadvertantly deleted from the camera. We will have to go back in October when Tacincala has parent's week at her school and reshoot that video, since it was something to see. Back in town the roads are covered with asphalt patches that are repairing large holes that have subsided from the coal beneath them burning away. A local woman told me that back in 1961 three boys were playing in the then new landfill site, setting small fires. They were called to dinner and thought they had extinguished their fire, but as history showed, it was still live and burnt down through the rubbish until it hit a fifteen foot crack beneath the landfill which hadn't been filled with noncombustible barrier. From there it found its way to an undergound mine shaft and on into the rich coal seams underlying Centralia. Those three boys, now men, must feel horrible to this day, since their afternoon of play directly led to the essential demise of thier town.

On the cusp of the 180s

All the swimming and gym time I've been logging is paying off at last. While my face is still looking very round, my body is notably thinner and the fat deposits significantly squishier with the exception of my upper abdomen which contains plenty of densely packed adipose tissue. 3/4 of my thighs on down to my feet are looking extremely shapely these days, and I can feel muscle definition beneath the curtain of fat on the remaining 1/4 of my thighs. I actually missed working out while we were away in Pennsylvania, and had to content myself with walking--often alone as the kids were greatly enjoying television in the hotel room.

Speaking of PA, I was a baaaaad bad girl while I was there. I indulged in Krispy Kreme donuts (which kick ass btw--nearly as good as Tim Horton's Timbits and worlds better than Dunkin Donuts), found a little shop which had TEABERRY ICE CREAM, my all time favourite. Actually, teaberry is my favourite gum, and finding it as a gum is a rare treat these days, so finding it in ice cream form was like stumbling upon the holy grail of ice cream. My weight loss odyssey is safe though, since both the ice cream and the donuts are now safely 400+ miles away. :)

Despite the relative lapse in activity level and the gustatory indulgences I was rewarded with 191 on the scale this morning. I saw 189 at one point, but my rule is to continue stepping on the scale until I see three numbers that are the same--while 189 is a very sexy number indeed, 191 was the official number du jour. I'm actually a bit stunned to have whipped through the 190s so quickly, especially since getting beneath 200 pounds was so bloody difficult. I'm starting to have mental visions of the 170s now, which is exciting since at 169 I cross a marvelous threshold from obesity to mere overweight status. Thirteen years ago I weighed 155, a number I remember well because it was at that weight that I met Paul. I felt quite fat at the time, but looking at old photos from the time, I actually looked quite lovely. The next time I see that number I'll feel ravishingly thin and I'm sure I'll be quite focused on reaching my goal, since it will be well within reach then. The nice thing about all the changes? I'm doing this for myself--to reclaim my body and feel fit and healthy--to add years to my life, and healthy years of high quality life at that. This is not to please any man or woman, not to fit into any certain size of clothing--its my gift to myself. I do admit to a lingering fantasy however--a fantasy of sending Paul a photo of myself at my goal weight, with one phrase appended to it: Bite me! He claimed to be supportive of me at whatever weight I happened to be at, but in actuality undermined my self esteem and confidence with daily snide remarks. Well Paul, look what I've accomplished on my own. Your comments didn't help me lose weight, but without your constant negativity I've done quite nicely for myself.

20 August, 2005

Justifiably Proud

I am rather proud of myself today, and I feel I have an excellent reason for my little bout of pride.
For the first time in my life, I swam an entire 3/4 of a mile, and I did it in about 45 minutes without stopping, save to move the counter on my lap counter. That works out to a fairly speedy 1.6 minutes per lap--not too shabby eh? I followed that up with two laps of kickboard to balance out the upper and lower body effort. Now my arms feel leaden, but they are entitled to--it was quite a workout. The only down side is now I'm tuckered out and I still have to get the car cleaned out and packed for the morning.

19 August, 2005

Speedo man

Both yesterday and today I was treated to sight of man who actually looked good in a speedo. This is a rare thing, as most men in speedos fall into one of two camps: overly muscle-bound and disgusting, or utterly out of shape. One man in particular cut quite the figure in his speedo because he was blessed with an overabundance of body hair--a pelt actually. He had such thick black hair all over his body that you literally could not see skin except on his hands, feet, and around his eyes. His back was even so covered with hair the skin wasn't visible. His choice of swimwear? Yes, a speedo, and a teeny one at that. Seeing him walk by was a bit like driving by a horrible accident--you don't want to look but you just have to. Ugh. At any rate, I have rarely seen anyone who actually looked good in one of these swimsuits.

The exception to the rule is this one man who swims regularly at my gym. He must be in his mid 60s, but he is in perfect shape--not overly muscled, and not overweight save for a bit of extra skin at his waist that seems to disappear when he gets into the water. He exudes health and strength, and his swim strokes are perfection. Watching him cut through the water effortlessly is like watching a statue of a Greek god come to life. We swim at about the same rate, and I have to say that I try and time my stroke so that I'm about 1.5 armlengths behind him in order to enjoy his fluid grace in the water. Its fun having a swim partner, even if he's not really my swim partner. :)

Speaking of swimming, I set a new benchmark for myself today: 22 laps in 35 minutes. A half mile is 18 laps, and my body seems to have acclimated to the jump in distance quite nicely, since I wasn't really all that fatigued after my laps were completed. Even better, I swam after I had completed 17 pulse pounding, threatening to explode my ventricles minutes on the stairmaster. I hate that thing, but it certainly gives a cardiovascular workout like nothing else--even plodding along slowly my heart rate was 182. I'm thinking I'll avoid that one and stick with the elliptical trainer instead, as 182 is much to high a pulse to sustain for long.

As I was leaving the gym I ran into my personal trainer, and told him I had finally broken the 200 pound threshold. I'm at 195 right now, and my next goal is 180--he agreed that 180 was a good increment to aim for, and suggested I keep on with my current regimen and defer another session with him until I reach the goal after 180--169. Why 169? Well, at 169 I cross the threshold from obese to simply overweight. It will be a HUGE milestone and by then my body will be vastly more efficient at exercise, so I may well need a new routine to continue with weight loss at a decent rate. That works for me...

Centralia here we come...

Trip preparations are in full force. Yesterday the tires were rotated on the car and I purchased a roof rack, rope, and bungee cord in case the trunk won't close. Today I clean out the car, have the oil and air filter changed, check the tranny fluid, and put in a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. I'll also purchase a spare for the next tankfull. Tonight I'll pack for myself, mop the kitchen floor, and set up kitty supplies so they'll have plenty of food, clean litterpans, and water. Sunday we hit the road--known destinations are Centralia, PA, Carlisle PA, and probably Hershey, PA. I just may have to pack my scale because a week without a weigh in will just about kill me. :)

18 August, 2005


After a difficult few days, I am now embarking upon a much needed vacation. For the next two weeks (or bloody close to it anyhow), I will have the pleasure of plenty of quality family time with the kids, the opportunity to visit places I've never seen, and in one case, satisfy an exploratory itch I've had for several years now. The itinerary is still cast in putty, but one firm destination is Centralia, PA. Centralia has the dubious distinction of slowly dying as a community, courtesy of an underground coal mine fire that has been burning its way through rich coal deposits since 1961. Tacincala was enthusiastic about exploring what remains of the once thriving town, but to my surprise and delight, my son Nashoba was even more excited about the trip, since Centralia evidently is a plot location in a Dean Koontz book he has enjoyed. Miko has other destinations more pressing on her mind, but will hopefully catch the Centralia bug with the rest of us once she is there.

At any rate, I've survived my annual review (and obtained a modest raise in the process), an absolute straight out night from hell at work when we were slammed with admissions all night, and an excess of pissiness generously shared by some of my co-workers during shift change. The morning after we were slammed, we got grief because no one had found a spare few moments to tape report, so they had to wait for verbal reports. That evening when we came back in for our next shift, only one person had taped on a grand total of one patient, so we had to wait while day staff trickled in to give verbal report--this was fine because we understood they must have been as busy as we had been the evening before, but one nurse in particular was not shy about expressing her displeasure that report ran very late that night. Hey--we were wanting to get going as well, but what were we to do when we had to wait for staff to come into report off?
This morning I had completed the assignment so that the nurses who had worked the day before got the same patients back (I had all my patients reassigned and got a new one last night, but hey--you go with the flow) for today. The first nurse to show up was quite cheerful and printed notes for her assignment. The next one, an orientee, grumbled that she did not have the same assignment as the day before, and with her nurse preceptor proceeded to redo the assignment so she would have her patients back. This would have been fine except that it meant nurse #1 had to reprint for her now changed group of patients, and nurse#3, who had precepted the orientee the day before, lost her group as well. Nurse#3 (who I like a great deal, but who has been rather stressed of late), came in and was very vocal about her displeasure, wondering why I hadn't given her back her patients. Somehow I don't think she believed me when I explained that I HAD given them to her again, but the orient and nurse #2 had reworked the assignment. It was a case of no one being happy. Given that I was in the midst of dealing with the incident reports for an unsecured bag of very potent fentanyl, was operating on three and a half hours of sleep due to stress induced insomnia, and had been getting no end of grief from my son's care team, I just wanted to cry. The shift ended at last and my holiday commenced--does it sound like I need a break?

After driving home and lending Tacincala the car so she could run errands, I grabbed a 90 minute nap and then was off the team meeting for my son. That meeting ended up being about as much fun as an extended bath in a vat of battery acid, as the theme du jour was "give Kat shit for anything and everything". I might have been able to roll with it on a normal day, but after the preceding two days and in my state of sheer and utter sleep deprivation, I broke down and wept in the meeting. I'm sure my poor son was terribly embarrassed. That finished at last I sought catharsis for my weary and embattled soul.

Ravenous as it was now 4:30pm and I hadn't eaten since about 6 am, I walked to the closest restaurant and had a gigantic salad, about 3/4 of a cup of corn chowder, and steamed broccoli (in lieu of potatoes) with a broiled haddock filet. Man did that ever hit the spot...
Walking back to the house, I found that Tacincala was back with the car-- I resisted the siren call of the bed and dragged myself to the gym. That ended up being the main cathartic I so badly needed. There is something about pushing off underwater and feeling the caress of the water as I glide through it that always soothes me and brings a measure of peace. Its the same sort of utterly transcendent peace and healing I found during my skydive after I had deployed the canopy. Freefall was exhilarating, but swimming and the glide down from the sky both brought great beauty, a silent calm that fills me with joy, and a deep sense of being one with the universe--emotions and sensations that occasionally come unbidden as gifts, but also emotions I can tap into simply by swimming. That is one reason swimming is my favourite form of exercise. I also enjoy the workout it gives my muscles, and feel rejuvenated physically, emotionally, and often, spiritually after a swim. Fifteen laps were all that were in me tonight, but they were incredibly satisfying laps. Kvetch complete, now I'm curled up in bed ready for the additional rejuvenation of sleep, and a sleep unburdened by schedules and alarm clocks. I'll see you in the morning.

16 August, 2005

Another half mile

To my great delight I managed another half mile swim last night, this one completed in 35 minutes. My shoulder didn't bother me nearly as much as it had the day before, and although I was fatigued at the end, it was a much less intense fatigue than before. Its a great feeling, and makes me proud of what this body can accomplish, despite the layers of excess fat still piled upon it.

Right now I am at the weight I was at when my ex, Paul, decided I was too fat for his tastes. Its bringing up some emotional baggage as a landmark, but its more of a bittersweet emotion since reaching a weight under 200 pounds has been such a Herculean effort. I felt exceedingly fat then, a feeling helped along by Paul's frequent acerbic barbs about my weight. This time around, while just as heavy, I feel like a much stronger person emotionally, and certainly physically. No, my biceps don't bulge like grapefruits beneath my skin, and my back has its share of dunlop's syndrome (it dunlops over my brassiere strap), but I feel healthy and after a good workout like last night's I even have twinges of athleticism. Its a novel concept for a once waifishly thin women who had terribly low self esteem. That woman was replaced by a morbidly obese woman with not quite a poor a self esteem level, and she in turn, has been replaced by an obese woman with fairly strong self esteem and a generally positive outlook. My message to Paul? Bite me, buddy!

Back in 1998-9 when things with Paul were rapidly headed downhill, I got plenty of grief from him, and precious little support. With support, I'm sure I could have accomplished anything I wanted, however this was obviously not meant to be. Perhaps my current mindset stems from that pain and grief--because it feels as if I've surmounted some large internal obstacles to emerge not unscathed, but much stronger and substantially more resilient. Do I still have moments of self doubt? I most certainly do, but the self loathing that was there for so many years has left, and now instead of adversaries, my body and I are colleagues working together towards the goal of a fit, healthy, strong body. Its a wonderful feeling.

15 August, 2005

Sweet sweet success

Its been a rough few days in the morale department, as the scale simply refused to cooperate with me and kept bouncing around the very low 200's but at last I had some real success. To lead up to the big announcement I'll bore you with a few small triumphs from yesterday and today.

Triumph number one: yesterday I swam 1/2 mile for the first time ever, and I did it in 33 minutes! I was running late to the gym because I had spent too much time screwing around on the web, so I only had enough time for a swim. Since the 1/4 mile has been so easy lately I set the bar 100% higher at 1/2 mile. It only took me 13 minutes for the first 1/4 mile and then the second one took longer as I was tiring. Those last three laps were really pushing myself as my shoulder was beginning to really kvetch at me so I kicked harder with my legs and decreased the strength of my arm pull. I was pretty pleased with myself for that new milestone and even did it in my new swimsuit--a lower cut in the front than I am really comfortable in skirtless size 16 tank jobbie. *grin*

Triumph number two: at work last night we took turns with a new sort of power break. The census was low with only seven patients (far better than the one they had last Friday!) so instead of sitting around on our collective arses, we took turns going off the floor to the little gym upstairs by ICU. Three of us took 15 minutes all to ourselves ( one at a time of course) and made the most of our time off the floor. I chose to tackle the stairmaster--a torture device that always makes me feel as if my heart is going to explode 3 seconds after getting on the foolish thing. I managed 15 minutes to the tune of 130 calories--just enough to burn off the cup of chai I had treated myself to shortly before.

Now for the real news...after waking up this afternoon I of course had to visit the cantankerous scale. Scale rules about empty bladders, being stark naked and not having eaten or imbibed anything in full force, I stepped on it. It read 200. Insisting upon confirmation, I stepped on it again: 234. NO frigging way! Again I stepped on the fickle mechanical wonder--198. Very cool--that one I want to believe. Twice more I stepped on it in an odd sort of slow motion dance and twice more it read 198. Three is a row that agree are the magic number--I made it to onederland! One nekkid happy dance later I'm going to celebrate with a nice swim...you think I have another 1/2 mile in me today?

12 August, 2005

Nacho-bob or Nafroba

My son's hair grows very quickly, and is thick and coarse. Consequently it needs to be either very long or very short to look good--if he lets it go too long it becomes shaggy and makes him look he has an unnaturally huge head. His nickname when he is needing a trim has become Nafroba, which everyone but him finds highly amusing. At the moment he isn't quite Nafroba, but he's getting there pretty quickly.

I drove to New York to pick my son up the other day and we had a lovely time during the long drive back. We brainstormed names for the band he wants to form, and came up with a few good names and a lot of silly ones. Riding along on the dash was my purple twenty pound loss Nutrisystem bear, so one name he came up with was "Purple Plush Twenty Pound Bears". This said whilst miming the bear's rather odd sitting position at the time--giggles abounded. For a while, he would propose names and I would append "of doom" onto them. "Mile Marker 117" became "Mile Marker 117 of DOOM" and such. It was goofy, yet a whole lot of fun, and a far cry from the angst the two of us have been through in years past. He's really maturing into a neat young man.


After recovering from a marathon day of driving, I was back to the gym today. I covered 2.5 miles in 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer, to the tune of 390 calories, grabbed some weights and worked my arms a bit, and then did the Superman in a phone booth thing before going swimming. The gym closes obscenely early on Fridays, so I had to hustle to get in what I wanted to accomplish. I whipped out my quarter mile in about 16 minutes (a new record for me), and then finished with two laps of kickboard for the old legs. I'm finding that the quarter mile is getting easier and easier, so it looks like its time to up to about 15 laps instead of 9.

On other fronts, while dressing today I noticed that my midriff, while still quite squishy, is starting to have a hint of tone underneath the adiposity. :D My arms are also starting to tone nicely--its rewarding to see the beginnings of some very real results from my labours.

10 August, 2005

A boy and his chicken redux...

The front cover that started it all...the inner art and back cover make it even better.

A boy and his chicken

The other day, my 18 year old and I drove to New Hampshire
(aka the land of no taxes) to purchase her a laptop for university. We found a very solid little unit for her, and also purchased two Jason Mraz CDs. Mssr Mraz is a wonderfully talented young musician with a unique syncopated style and an unbelievable vocal range. His style is unique and very challenging musically, but he makes it sound effortless. At any rate, his quirky sense of humour is evident in his label art and one CD features Jason and a chicken quite prominently. As soon as I saw the cover, I dubbed the album "A Boy and his Chicken"; a nickname my daughter loved. When she copied the CD onto her new laptop, she changed the album name to a boy and his chicken--something sure to cause discussion with her friends. While we enjoyed brunch and listened to Mraz at his finest, we amused ourselves to no end creating stories to explain the album art, giggling nonstop for the better part of an hour. In one, Jason was traveling with his chicken when the car broke down, causing the chicken to become irate. The resulting spat ended with the dishevelment of the surrounding area and with Jason Mraz knocked unconscious by the chicken's formidable right hook. They eventually made up and ended up enjoying a 3D movie together. In another variation, the chicken was a mugger who got the better of Jason--upon regaining consciousness after being walloped with an egg filled blackjack, Jason was so impressed with the chicken's spunk that they became pals and celebrated a new friendship at the movies. Yet another exceedingly silly variant had the chicken being Jason's lover, and the two had a lover's quarrel over a flat tire in a seedy neighbourhood overrun with Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.

To really understand this you'll have to see the label art for the CD for yourself--its almost worth the cost of the CD without the music being thrown in! The album in question is called "Waiting for my Rocket to come". His newest effort "Mr. A-Z" is also well worth the investment, and its art is just as much fun as the chicken art.

07 August, 2005

By way of comparison, this was taken in Montreal when I was topping out in the 225 range--I may have hit 230 but my scale was on the fritz at the time, so its hard to tell. I love the lion skin in the photo but have never loved the way this shot showed exactly how heavy I was getting. The photos from this trip helped nudge me along to taking action and reversing the upwardly mobile trend my weight was pursuing. Posted by Picasa

Drumroll please

Here we go--unveiling the ever shrinking woman...tahdah!

This shot is of my progress thus far: 27 pounds off of my body once and for all. It doesn't seem that long ago I was struggling to reach the ten pound loss mark, and now I'm nearly to the thirty pound milestone. In anticipation of the thirty pound mark I bought this dress which fits quite nicely, and will only look better and better as I continue on towards my goal. This is an 18, but earlier that day I managed to squeeze myself into a size 14 swimsuit...14! The swimsuit stayed at the store because although I could get it on, and it looked halfway decent, I couldn't actually move easily--something thats a must if I'm swimming.

Speaking of swimming, I'm quite proud of myself for having made it to the gym five days last week. This week is significantly more hectic, but I did get in a walk this morning, so that counts for a little something.

Oh, if you get a chance, go out at night and enjoy the Perseid meteor showers. Wendy, a nurse at work, had her annual summer bash a couple of nights ago and we ended up all lying on blankets in the middle of the road watching the stars and some pretty spectactular meteors. The showers won't peak until the 11th and 12th, but there are enough now that you'll see one every 15 minutes or so. BTW, Wendy lives almost at the end of a pretty rural road, so we were in little danger of being run over whilst stargazing, and got to enjoy the heat radiating up from the pavement on our backs. It was quite soothing, and between the company, the beautiful night, and the stellar show, it made for a perfect evening--the kind I wish I could bottle and save to savour again and again.