There have been many disruptions in my daily outdoor walking ritual in the last few months, cold and darkness accounting for most, but I am happy to report that I am back to my early morning walks! Two photos below, taken yesterday and the day before, show how beautiful it is out there and why I love these walks.
Someday I would love to go walking in Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom! I would love to explore the literary landscapes, visit the home of the Brontes, see for myself the moors described in The Secret Garden and in Wuthering Heights. But in the meantime, I have been doing some “virtual walking” around Yorkshire, and getting to know some of its famous landmarks.
This virtual walking is really a lot of fun! I have connected my Fitbit, which tracks my daily steps, to a non-profit website (and app) out of Scotland called “World Walking.” This organization was designed to help motivate people to walk more and focus on good health.
They have put together many different walks you can choose, and you can walk solo or create a team of walking friends to help you reach your chosen destination. It’s teamwork rather than competition. When you choose your walk, it is broken up into milestones, which are destinations you reach on your way to finishing the complete walk. For each milestone, there are photos and a written section that explains the historical and cultural significance of that location. There is also a link so you can see the street view on Google and look around you at almost any time!
I have loved getting to know more about Yorkshire! It has definitely encouraged and increased my walking — it takes 547,880 steps to complete my Yorkshire route!
Becoming more familiar with that part of England has also piqued my interest in the literature that comes from that area. There are many authors that are either from Yorkshire or who lived and died there, or who live there now. Susan Hill was born in Yorkshire. The Bronte sisters are perhaps the most famous writers who lived and died there. J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Bennett, Winifred Holtby, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, are all authors with connections to Yorkshire. I originally thought that as I did my virtual walking around Yorkshire (see the map of my route), that I would read books by these authors. I have been reading (and loving) some of Susan Hill’s books, and I am now listening to the audiobook of Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre, but I’m afraid I will finish my walking goal before I’m able to put much of a dent into my Reading_Yorkshire goal!
If you are a walker, or interested in doing more walking, you would find this site very motivating. Please do check out worldwalking.org!
“The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.”
Haruki Murakami’s book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, was a delightful surprise. I downloaded the audiobook this week expecting to enjoy hearing about his running experiences, but I didn’t expect to love this book. But I did love it and gave it 5 stars on my Goodreads review!
In this little book, he talks about how he became a runner, about the technical details of preparing for and running races, of the mental and emotional struggles of long-distance running. But it is also a fascinating memoir of the growth and changes he experienced as he became both a runner and a writer — two “obsessions,” really “passions,” that define who he is as a person.
“Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice. “
Murakami spoke to my heart with this book. I’m a walker with the heart of a runner. I wish I had discovered at a younger age this love of moving fast, participating in races, and learning all about myself from the daily experience of getting outside and losing myself in motion. But I didn’t start my “running” journey until age 65, and my knees will not let me run, so I am content with the walking experience. However, I identified with his love for running and writing, was touched by his descriptions of aging (he and I are the same age, born 2-1/2 weeks apart), am inspired by his passion for life, and I totally agree with his longing:
“I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.”
It’s been a very busy day and I didn’t think I’d have time to put together a blog post. But after a trip to the grocery store, where I saw this display of books that looked awfully yummy, I decided that a simple book photo was just right. I didn’t buy any of the books, but I’m going to look at the library to see if any of them are available there. About three years ago my doctor recommended a completely whole foods plant-based lifestyle change for me, so I fix a lot of different combinations of legumes/vegetables/rice “bowls” as meals and enjoy them a lot. These books had lots of ideas that looked, like I already said, yummy.
The sun is out on this cold January morning. It is cheering, but not warming up very fast! The side roads around town are still icy, although the main roads are pretty good, so I was able to get back to my exercise class this morning and then stop at my favorite lookout point on my way home to take a winter photo of the snowfields and the coastal range. And now I am home again having a cup of coffee and listening to Vivaldi. Sunshine, good coffee, and beautiful music. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
My blogging friend, Trish, (Love, Laughter & a Touch of Insanity) is hosting this 2nd annual blogging event. Last year, I so enjoyed reading about people’s lives, but didn’t post about my own. This year, I’m sharing a day in my own life, and will once again enjoy reading about yours!
Two and a half years ago, I retired after teaching for 27 years, and my husband and I moved to a small town in Oregon. The following is my account of a pretty typical day in this retired teacher’s new life.
THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2016
5:00am: I wake up at this time no matter what. Inner clocks are incredibly difficult to reset, and even though I’m retired and could sleep-in as long as I want, this is the time my body says to get moving, so I get moving!
5:00-5:45am: Wake, make a big pot of tea, and read (currently reading my first book by Ann Cleeves, A Bird in the Hand).
5:45-6:15am: Work on my Bullet Journal. One of the joys of retirement is getting up each morning and being able to set my own agenda! Our first year of retirement was pretty unscheduled — footloose and fancy free! Recently, I decided that I needed a little more structure to my day, so I set up my bullet journal and spend time each morning and each evening planning my day and then reflecting on each day. I love this! I’m much more efficient with my time, so I’m getting more reading done, more knitting, taking more long walks, remembering to send birthday cards on time, etc. I’m still setting my own agenda and enjoying my days even more! Delightful!
6:15-7:00am: This is time usually spent on the computer reading, answering, and sending emails, and catching up on social media. I do a lot on Facebook, which is a nice way to communicate with my Mom and family, and friends and relatives that live near and far.
7:00-9:00am: I ate breakfast and then got ready for my morning exercise activity. On Mon/Wed/Fri, I go to exercise class at the gym 3 blocks from my house. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I meet a very special exercise buddy. My new friend, Gloria, is an 81-year-old runner! I meet her twice a week to walk/run on the hills near her home. I walk, she runs! Because my legs are long and I have a long walking stride, I can keep up with her (most of the time) while she runs. She’s been running for 40 years, and she has become my mentor as I learn to challenge myself and my body more and more. With her encouragement, I have signed up for a summer’s worth of 5k challenges. Portland Parks and Recreation sponsors 6 summer 5k walk/run events, each one at a different local park. My first ever 5k walk will be on May 15th. Gloria will run and I will walk. What fun! Can’t wait!
9:00am: Back home, shower, get ready for the rest of the day!
9:15-10:30am: Housecleaning, laundry, menu-planning. It’s been so rainy recently that I haven’t been out in the yard doing some of those morning tasks, but that will change very soon. Today, I swept the front porch to get ready to put out some potted plants soon.
10:30-11:30am: I signed up for a Craftsy class on “Designing Edible Gardens,” so this morning I spent an hour working on that class. I take notes in my Bullet Journal, where I keep track of all the planning I’m doing for our 2016 vegetable garden.
11:30-Noon: Prepare lunch. Today’s lunch was a “rice bowl”… brown rice, stir fry veggies (no oil!), cubed tofu, mandarin orange slices, some slivered raw almonds, and 1/4 cup orange sauce. (Warmed it all up in the microwave.) A simple, but very healthy and satisfying lunch. Two years ago I was overweight, pre-diabetic, and taking 2 blood pressure medications as well as a cholesterol-lowering medication. My new doctor referred me to the Healthy Living department at Kaiser Permanente where I met with a doctor and his nurse who have changed my life! They gave me the information and support needed to change the way I eat. I have worked hard to change old bad habits and establish a new and healthier lifestyle by eating a completely plant-based diet. The health benefits for me have been enormous. I’ve lost 25 pounds and Kaiser no longer classifies me as obese or pre-diabetic. I no longer take blood pressure medications or cholesterol-lowering medication. “Food is my medicine.” And along with losing weight, I have become much more physically active. I go to exercise class three mornings a week, and meet with my running friend twice a week, so I have a good 1-hour/5 days a week exercise routine. I also go for long walks with my hubby, and ride my bicycle and go hiking when the weather permits. Simply put, I am feeling better than I have felt in years!
12:30-2:00pm: Running errands. Fred Meyer, car wash, JoAnn’s for some crafting supplies, and Best Buy to pick up a new exercise tracker to help me do some serious training for my summer of 5k races!
2:15-3:00pm: Home again. I sat in the recliner, put my feet up, and called my Mom on the phone. I talk with my 96-1/2 year old Mom every day. She lives 800 miles away, but we bridge the distance by having long conversations about health, happenings at her retirement home, and about what we are currently reading. We never get tired of talking about books!
3:00-3:45pm: Stayed sitting in that recliner and worked on my current knitting project while listening to my current audiobook, In the Wet, by Nevil Shute.
3:45pm: Stood in the kitchen looking out the greenhouse window at the flock of little birds, the Scrub Jays, and the Acorn Woodpeckers that frequent our bird feeders. I could never get bored looking out that window. There’s a lot of bird (and squirrel and cat) drama to enjoy!
4:00-5:00pm: The Grandboy and his daddy arrived. I was honored with an invitation to join his Minecraft world for awhile!
5:00-6:00pm: I set the table while hubby cooked dinner tonight. He cooked a totally whole foods, plant-based meal for us — Cuban Black Beans. No, he hasn’t given up his meat or cheese (or pastries), but he has been very supportive of my plant-based needs. He likes to cook and bake, so he usually fixes 2 or 3 meals a week (yes, I’m spoiled!). Today, he fixed this one, which is one of our favorites!
8:30-9:00pm: Planning and reflection time with my Bullet Journal.
9:00-10:00pm (or so): Reading in bed until too tired to read anymore. I love this!
** My “retired” days are busy and I love that. Although this has been a day where I mostly described my solo activities, my husband and I do many things together. When we retired, we started a wonderful tradition of going “exploring” on Wednesdays. We call it our “Wandering Wednesday,” and it started as a way to get to know this new area we moved to. We visit historical sites, botanical gardens, libraries and bookstores, wetlands and forests. We post photos on Facebook for our family and friends to enjoy, and it’s become a delightful highlight of our week.
** I love my new focus on physical activity and healthy living. It just feels so darn good! A number of years ago I read Reeve Lindbergh’s book, Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age — and Other Unexpected Adventures. In that book, she said that 60 is the “youth of old age.” I am closer to 70 now than to 60, but I feel more youthful today than I did when I turned 60. Although I haven’t always been good about this, I know how important it is, at any age, to take good care of yourself. My mother is a wonderful role model for aging gracefully and healthfully, and I hope I can do as good a job of moving into my elder years as my mother!
** This is a new stage of life for me that comes with many, many changes, but the one thing that has remained constant is my passion for reading! With retirement, comes much more time to enjoy my books. What a luxury to be able to sit down and read on the front porch or in my favorite indoor spot at any time I want!
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read about “my day in the life.” Although I don’t post or comment as often as I used to, I still love the blogging community and enjoy visiting your blogs. I love to hear about what you are reading and what is happening in your lives.
Thank you, Trish, for hosting this annual event!