Three things — 7.19.18

Things I’m loving this week

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Ginger G lace swing dress. I don’t know where I found the first one, but I bought it for Kelly — a simple off-white lace sleeveless swing dress. I tried it on and loved it, so I googled it the other day to buy one for myself and found it for sale on ebay and poshmark in black and pink, too, and promptly scooped them up. It’s a perfect summer dress good for anything from work to a picnic to a wedding. It looks great with a jean jacket/shirt, too (though it’s been far too hot for that lately).

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Shakespeare Summer Nights. There’s just something about sitting on a hill in the grass at Frontier Park and taking in a little culture. You missed the performances of Macbeth, which were this Mon.-Wed., but you can still see Standup Shakespeare this coming week, July 23-25 at Frontier Park’s bandshell from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  It’s free, but bring a couple bucks to put in the collection basket at the end of the performance. Also bring a chair or blanket, bug spray, sunscreen, a cold drink, and snacks (if you want)….just clean up after yourself, of course.

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Kittens! Kelly’s piano teacher got a kitten, which means I get to play with the little tiger every week while Kelly works on scales and such. I’ve never met a kitten that likes to play more than this one. He never stops in the 45 minutes I’m there and refuses to let me cuddle him, though I have forced a few kisses on him.

Things I’m not loving

A traitor in the White House. I don’t even know what to say….I mean….what can you say? The President of the United States sold us out in Helsinki, sided with Russia and their dictator, and betrayed the U.S. Intelligence workers and military commanders. It was so bad that even Fox News (the presidential propaganda station) was disgusted.

Amazon Prime Day.  That whole thing is kind of a mess. It’s like shopping at Gabe’s or some other discount warehouse where shit is just all over the place. Who has all day to click, click, click to save a few bucks.

A gym without air conditioning. I went to the Downtown Y to walk while Lauren was at a meeting at the library. I much prefer to walk outdoors along the waterfront, but…it was hot and humid and I could not take another moment of the sun on my face, so I figured I’d go to the Y and walk on a treadmill in the A/C. Except there’s no A/C at the Downtown Y. I almost left and just went to Tim Horton’s, but….I sweated it out in my cotton T-shirt and capris.

 

 

Worth Reading — 7.18.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

New York Times Opinion: Trump and Putin Vs. America

“There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trump vacated that oath today, and Republicans can no longer run and hide from that fact. Every single Republican lawmaker will be — and should be — asked on the election trail: Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A.?”

Related: New York Magazine: Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.

And because, by God, we need it right now….

Esquire: Can You Say ….Hero? A profile of Fred Rogers

i09: Mayflies might just have the saddest, most perfectly evolved existence of any species

Vanity Fair: “I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets

Just Write 158 ~ What’s my age again?

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It was about 86 degrees and we had just finished our second round of bleachers, snaking up and down the 9,000 (at least it feels that way) silver steps lining the football field we work out in, on and around on Tuesday nights.

While we caught our breath, I mentioned to a friend that Lauren had a birthday coming up that week.

“How old is she going to be?”

“13,” I managed to gasp out.

A few seconds later, I said…”No, 14.”

A few seconds after that, “Wait…oh my God, she’s going to be 15.”

I could blame it on oxygen deprivation. My mind was simply unable to handle doing any sort of math at that point. But, I seem to get stuck on certain ages.

Like, in my mind, I’m 32. I’m perpetually shocked when I have to write my age down on a race entry form and think…OMG, am I actually 46? That’s very close to 50. Shit. When did that happen?

Well, it happened in the time my 3 and 5 year olds were becoming 6 and 8 and then 11 and 13 and now 15 and 17.

Every year my oldest brother and I compete in a duathlon — a run-bike-run event. He bikes, I run. We’ve both slowed down and I’m not sure I can even say we really “compete” anymore, but we do our best. Anyway…I just filled out the application for our team and when I wrote down his birthday I realized he’s going to be 60.

SIXTY. My brother is going to be 60 and that just blows my mind…almost as much as the fact that I’m almost 50, my mom is nearly 80, Kelly is almost off to college, and Lauren will able to drive a car next year.

I mean…WTH?

They say that kids keep you young and in some ways, I suppose they do. But, in other ways, they make you feel very, very old. They are living, breathing and constant reminders that the years are going by.  In days, hours, minutes, and moments at a time.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.

Three things — 7.12.18

Things I’m loving this week

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My big Bubba. This 40-ounce insulated water bottle is the only thing keeping me alive in the A/C-free second floor farmhouse I am working in this summer. I fill it up with ice before I leave home and replenish the water all day. It can sit in the sauna that is my office all day and it never sweats (unlike me). By the end of the day, I still have ice, which I chew …loudly. Cause this overheated girl just don’t care about office etiquette anymore. BTW — I got my Bubba at the Harborcreek Walmart on clearance for $7.

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Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. It’s sick and twisted, but it’s Stephen King, so…  I am so hooked on this cat-and-mouse game between a retired detective and a man who drove a Mercedes at full speed into a crowd of job seekers. I’m ripping through it faster than Bill Hodges can plow into pedestrians (too much?). I didn’t even know there is a TV show based on this book, but then I wouldn’t because I haven’t had any form of pay TV in twenty-plus years (not counting Netflix).

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GoodR sunglasses. I bought a pair of Ham-Cured Cramps GoodR sunglasses for running, but now I wear them all the time. I want them in a rainbow of colors. They’re fun, affordable, fog-free, and they have super cool names like “Donkey Goggles” and “Gardening with a Kraken.” Want to know more? I wrote a review of them on my Runner’s Notes blog.

Things I’m not loving this week

Hang on, kids, we’re going back to 1956….

This supremely bad pick for the Supremes. But…whatever…seems the be the way this country is going right now….backwards at a high rate of speed. It’s like being on the Music Express ride at Waldameer when they flip it in reverse. Only there’s not cool music and we can never seem to get it to go forward again or get the f*** off.

Pants. I’m finding it nearly impossible to put on pants and work in my office, which has no A/C this summer. It’s all skirts and sleeveless tops for me (and you know how much I hate my arms, so….I’m THAT hot).

 

 

 

 

 

Worth Reading — 7.11.18

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Harper’s Bazaar: Why A Pro-Life World Has A Lot of Dead Women In It

“Stop calling anti-abortion activists ‘pro-life.’ They’re not.”

Scientific American: More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

“Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place. The real problem is that single-use plastic—the very idea of producing plastic items like grocery bags, which we use for an average of 12 minutes but can persist in the environment for half a millennium—is an incredibly reckless abuse of technology. Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place.”

New York Times: What it Means to be Loved by a Dog  (Get your tissues! )

Shameless promotion alert….

Erie-Times News/Her Times: Read These Books With Your Daughter This Summer

BTW…I received a great response to this story from Mary Drapcho, District Librarian for the Erie’s Public Schools, who suggested these titles, too:

 

I tried it: The Holden Arboretum

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What I tried: The Holden Arboretum, a large outdoor arboretum with miles upon miles of trails in nearby Kirtland, Ohio.

Why I tried it: A friend recently told me about it and after surfing the arboretum’s website and seeing the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk, I was sold.

Location: 9550 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094. It’s about a 90-minute drive from the Erie area.

About the arboretum: “The Holden Arboretum is an outdoor living museum on 3,500 acres that promotes the beauty and importance of trees and other woody plants. The grounds feature more than 20 miles of trails that lead you through cultivated gardens and native forests. The Arboretum also features the Murch Canopy Walk, an elevated walkway 65 feet above the forest floor, and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower, a wooden tower that rises 120 feet above the forest floor for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Cost: Admission to the arboretum is $10 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-18 (under 6 are free). Tickets for the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower are an additional $4 for adults and $2 for children (6-18, again under 6 is free). So I paid $26 at the entrance booth for the girls and I for the arboretum, the canopy walk and the emergent tower. It was well worth it.

What you’ll see: At least a dozen different gardens (wildflowers, butterfly, rhododendrons, etc.) with a variety of things blooming throughout the year. (You can see a list of what’s in bloom here.). The gardens are nothing short of impressive with colorful displays and educational plaques that offer information without over-explaining. There are more than a half dozen ponds that offer a look at aquatic life – lilies, dragonflies, damselflies, turtles, fish, frogs, polliwogs, and snakes (yep, we saw a water snake!, too. Here’s the trail map.

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How long to plan to be there: The website said to plan on two hours, but…if you look at the trail map (link above), you’ll see that’s probably way off.  We were there from noon until 4:30 and I still don’t think we saw everything. Admittedly, we did a lot of zigzagging as it’s easy to get “off course” as the gardens are, as you would expect, meandering and one sort of blends into another.

What to bring: Hat, sunscreen (it’s all outside, of course, and much of it is in full sun), camera, water bottle (I’d suggest an insulated one that will keep ice water all day), picnic lunch (there are picnic tables, but we spread out a blanket in the grass under a shady tree in the parking area), comfortable walking shoes (I’d suggest sneakers).

A word about kids: While I think young children might tire of the flowers/walking, the arboretum clearly has made great efforts to appeal to them. We stumbled upon some sort of scavenger hunt for kids and my daughters delighted in finding the boxes and signing their name in the trail maps. And there are several kid-specific areas for them to play and explore including “Buckeye Bud’s Adventure Woods” and “The Habitat Hut.”

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Words to the wise: This is not a good trip for those who don’t have the stamina to walk for a few miles over terrain that is often uneven. The tower requires walking up (and down) 200 steps. Also the tower sways and the canopy walk creaks, so if you don’t like heights, don’t buy the tickets for the walk or the tower. Also…if you’re allergic to bees, be aware that you’re going to be around a lot of them as they are buzzing around all of the flowers, pollinating like the busy little bees that they are.

Pups are welcome: Well-behaved small/medium dogs on a leash are welcome at the arboretum. That said, you need to clean up after your pet (of course) and they are not permitted on the tower or canopy walk.

Verdict: My kids, 16 and 14, had a great time, as did I. It was well worth the 90-minute drive and the $26 for admission. I’d like to return in a cooler season and think it would make a great fall trip.

P.S. I set my GPS watch shortly after we got there and we walked 4.62 miles:

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More photos from our afternoon at Holden:

 

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Three things — 7.5.18

Things I’m loving this week

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Creek kayaking. Definitely my favorite kind of paddling. The lake is nice, but….a wee bit boring as it’s just one giant expanse of water and rivers don’t offer much of a workout…you just kinda go with the flow. Creeks are usually small enough to paddle up and flow slow enough that you still need to paddle back down. This weekend, we tried Elk Creek. We couldn’t get far as it got too shallow, but what we did navigate was pretty cool with a waterfall and water so clear we could see all the fish in the creek.

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My pool. There’s no better way to end a hot, sweaty run than to kick off your shoes and leap into the pool (clothes and all). I spent most of this entire 90-degree weekend in my pool. I got very little done around the house, but…whatever. It could be 50 degree and raining next weekend and I’ll have plenty of time to work indoors.

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Skirts and sundresses. There’s not a ton of great advantages to being a woman, especially these days, but one good thing is that we can get away with short skirts, sandals and flowy tops at the office. I almost feel sorry for the guys in their pants, buttons downs and ties. Almost, but not quite.

Things I’m not loving this week

Ethics Investigation into EPA Head Scott Pruitt Widens

Scott Pruitt. This guy was a total disaster from Day 1 and every day there is another story about some ethical violation he has committed and using his public office for personal gain and yet, he’s still got his job running the Environmental Protection Agency (running it into the ground…is more like it). What does this asshat have to do to get fired? What will it take if not the current THIRTEEN investigations into his actions?g This is ridiculous. Just another of Trump’s cast of shady characters.

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The Night Circus. This is one of Kelly’s summer reading books. We picked it up at the Friends of the Erie County Library Book Sale and since Kelly wasn’t reading it yet, I decided to. I’ve been wading through this giant book a couple of weeks, hoping that it would all eventually make sense. I’m not far from the end and it’s pretty clear that it’s never going to really make sense to me.

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Temps in the 90s. I know…I know…..7 months of winter here, but….I don’t like humid, hot, sunny weather. You can’t move without sweating and it always feels like the sun is trying to melt my skin off. This is why you’ll never find me living in the south…except maybe when I retire and winter there.