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    Getting back on the mat yesterday and today has been quite an eye-opener. It's easy when I'm walking six days a week to ignore the aches and pains that come with it, but doing yoga really throws them into focus. Even if I'm getting all the exercise I want from walking, I guess it's time for yoga at least once or twice a week on top of that for maintenance purposes.

    We picked up a few plants for the deck. I'm really into this one.

    Awesome new plant

    I picked this up for the orange bathroom at our friend Barbara's garage sale. It's a year older than I am!

    Orange bathroom update

    We've only had one of two light bulbs working in that bathroom for a while now, and just the one was enough for the room. I figured it would be cool to add a second one that's orange.

    Orange bathroom update

    Too bad I chipped the queen in the process. Luckily that's not really noticeable at eye level. I love entering the bathroom now because the orange light comes on faster than the plain one, so you see the room bathed in orange first. It's fun.

    The BC wildfires continue to give us strange sunrises.

    More wildfire haze

    I fiddled with it in Aviary on Flickr a bit. I almost never do that but the sun blended into the surrounding sky too much.

    My break until Sunday from walking was well-timed. I slipped on the steep part of our grass while moving the sprinkler this morning and hurt my shin and ankle. They just feel tender now, but I think the break will help. New rule: no flip-flops on wet grass.

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  • 07/09/15--11:06: A change of pace
  • Normally by the time I might want to do yoga or go for a walk, Sam and Steve have made their way upstairs. Usually, Sam can be found sleeping on Garrett's bed, and Steve will either be on their upstairs tower, snoozing on one of the dining room chairs, or waiting to follow me to my room so I can open my blinds and he can jump up to that windowsill.

    Today, Sam was sitting downstairs, looking intently out the French doors. I really didn't want to bother him, so I decided to finally try yoga in my room. I felt doubly good about this decision when I found Steve clawing away at the bottom of his cardboard box downstairs when I came down to grab the mat. Sam was still staring outside, too.

    Yoga on carpet's a little weird. Nicer on the knees, sure, but it's weird to reach off the mat and feel something squishy. That led to me trying harder to stay completely on the mat, which meant more moving around on it. It's doable, but not preferable.

    Since I had all the stuff I needed to make another batch of Tuscan white bean burgers except for basil and buns, I decided to grab those items and go ahead and make them today, then freeze them. Now that I'm home, I can't find my sun-dried tomatoes. I could go out for more tomatoes, but I think I'll just substitute kalamata olives instead. Another change of pace.

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  • 07/10/15--05:22: SchadenFriday

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  • 07/11/15--07:16: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 07/12/15--11:33: Arlington Fly-in
  • I went with Garrett to the Arlington Fly-in yesterday, an aviation event he used to volunteer for. Thankfully, the weather was much cooler than it's been lately. And they have fair food. I almost got a donut cheeseburger, but went with a thai chicken wrap instead. It was decent, and so were the fries, but there were enough fries for four people. That left me pretty satisfied the rest of the day.



    The Flying Tenor sings while he's flying. Supposedly.

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  • 07/13/15--10:21: Happy trails to me
  • You ever look at an animal and really identify with it? This morning, Steve looked just like I felt. I could almost hear him saying, "I gotta get out there."


    I saw something on the trail today that I haven't seen in years. White dog poop! Remember when there was white dog poop everywhere?

    white dog poop

    And at one point, I couldn't help but feel watched.


    It looks a lot like another house I've seen on Capitol Hill in Seattle before. They both look like creepy dog faces when you can see more of them.

    The walk today was glorious. My back was a little bit stiff for the first mile, but actually felt pretty good after that. It was cool and cloudy the whole time, and even rained a little bit! I didn't realize how much until I got back to the car.

    Yay, it rained!

    Today's route:

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.51 miles in 1:27, 9,698 steps, 497ft gain
    4.51 miles in 1:27, 9,698 steps, 497ft gain

    I'm going to consider this my default route for now. It's really great because it's a nice big climb in the woods followed by a very scenic walk down on pavement. Plus there's lots of options on the trails if I'm feeling more adventurous. The only real drawback is that it's six miles away, so that's some extra driving. Not a huge deal, but it's weird buying gas that much more often.

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  • 07/14/15--15:13: Birthday shirt from Garrett!
  • Birthday shirt from Garrett!

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  • 07/15/15--15:00: 41
  • Due to some changes at work that aren't really worth explaining, I'm working for a new company as of July 1st even though I'm at my same job. My credentials in the system finally switched over yesterday. I didn't have to go get the new badge and return my equipment to the old employer yesterday, but I'd been dying to try the new laptop and that required the new badge and trip to campus for initial setup first. It took an hour to get out there and everything took a lot longer than I expected, but it worked out nicely because I got to have a birthday sushi lunch with my brother and sister-in-law. All of that, plus liking and responding to all the FB birthday messages made for an extremely busy day, and I'm definitely not used to those any more.

    Even though I was exhausted, the evening was still very fun. I've been wanting to go to our neighborhood bar for Taco Tuesday for ages now, so I'm glad my birthday was on Tuesday this year. The tacos were awesome and cheap, $1 for beef and $2 for chicken. The bartender bought me my first drink, and Garrett even ran to the store a few doors over and got me a tart with a candle and Happy Birthday ring.

    The bar also has Naughty Bingo on Tuesdays. The prizes are things like lube and sex toys. We didn't win either of the two rounds we played, but that's fine. The winners had to go up in front of everyone, take the prize out of the bag, and show it off.

    Naughty Bingo

    I already think that once you hit a certain age, a party every year isn't really necessary. We'll be hosting big July 4th parties going forward, too, so another party ten days later isn't really necessary. A nice mellow evening at our regular hangout really hit the spot.

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  • 07/16/15--12:05: Apparently, I've got a knack
  • My plan today was that "default" loop up through the center of the gulch and back down via the residential area to the West. As I approached the spot by where I do my stretches when I get there, a woman who was leaving with her dog told me she lost her phone on the Western trails and that she'd hung a sign with another number in case I found it. Challenge accepted! I told her I'd keep an eye out for it and went up the Western trails instead of the center.

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.18 miles in 1:17, 6,828 steps, 403ft gain
    3.18 miles in 1:17, 6,828 steps, 403ft gain

    I wasn't super jazzed about those trails, though. They're steep enough that I felt some tenderness in my left shin where I hurt it recently. In fact, I ended up having to use my hands to help go up the steepest one because my back foot kept slipping back.

    Shortly after that, I found the phone! It was in this weird little area where the trail splits and immediately comes back together, and the phone was on the little triangle formed by the higher portion of the trail. Wanting to get back a little sooner than normal so I could try to get the phone returned to her, I headed for the exit I found recently, which is below the lowest point on today's map. I said earlier that I thought that particular spot was the last exit point on the West side, but it turns out I was very wrong. I found two more today!

    Point A on the map. I turned back, though, still hoping to exit further South. To get here, I went by the area that's right by some houses that I previously didn't want to use because there were a lot of branches everywhere and I didn't want to make noise, but it looked fine today.

    Point B on the map. This street is so nice. A few big houses on one side only with the gulch behind their back yards, plus no houses across the street, just more conservation land. Absolutely beautiful. A little bit further, the neighborhood becomes the typical grid of houses that look just a bit too much alike, and then after that there are some cooler older ones.

    When I got back to the car, I popped over to the trail to grab the sign so nobody would bother looking for a phone that was already found.


    I left a message with my phone number and email, and missed her call by two minutes while I was showering. Thankfully, she followed up via email. So much easier that way. I decided the easiest way was to leave it at her house for her, and I ran a couple of errands on the way back.

    I wonder what type of personal electronic device I'll find next.

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  • 07/17/15--04:47: SchadenFriday

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    My plan for the day was that default loop and I didn't deviate from it.

    I ended up seeing gooooooooooats!


    Since I took their picture, I grabbed a shot of something that's been bothering me. It's ok to go below the line, Joe.

    It"s ok to go under the line

    I wonder if this is really two different people.

    Two different people?

    Realizing I was down to three lunches in the freezer, I got on the Forks Over Knives app when I was at the store and decided to get the stuff for this pasta recipe. It ended up being way too tomato-y because I forgot to check off tomato paste when I bought it to make ketchup earlier, which led to me buying it and thinking it belonged in this one. I also did a terrible job cooking the lentils. It was my first time. The recipe's decent, but if I make it again, I'll substitute white beans for the lentils because I think it'd taste good, and yellow onion for the leeks because leeks are a pain.

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  • 07/18/15--06:21: CATURDAY

  • Even a cat black as the night can be a shining star. RIP Harold.

    BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 07/19/15--10:01: Going where I don't belong
  • I wanted some extra miles today, so I figured I'd keep going past the point where I gave up the day that I ended up stuck in the brush trying to find my way up to the Boeing recreation area. A lot of what I did today, I won't be doing again, because I wasn't supposed to in the first place.

    Today"s awesome walk, 7.06 miles in 2:21, 15,193 steps, 652ft gain
    7.06 miles in 2:21, 15,193 steps, 652ft gain

    Previously, I turned back at point A on the map because the distance I would have added was more than I wanted to do that day. Because I turned back, I didn't see that the road ahead often has no shoulder at all. I ended up crossing the street a few times just to find wider spots. Not ideal. The pot of gold at the end of that shitty rainbow was a very nice wildlife refuge.

    Narbeck Wildlife Sanctuary

    I walked the inner boardwalk trail there (point B on the map) and it was very lovely.

    Narbeck Wildlife Sanctuary

    I wish I had my sunglasses. Not just because it was a very bright morning, but also because I saw a lot of activity in the water there. A whole bunch of...something small were swimming in circles and if I had my sunglasses, which are polarized, I might have been able to see what they were. I did end up seeing the biggest, freshest bird poo I've ever seen.

    What monster did this???

    Glad I wasn't there when it happened.

    I very nearly turned at point C on the map to take a longer route because I had already gone a long way and wasn't feeling particularly tired, but I'm glad I didn't. The walk ended up being 7 miles, which is the longest I've done in a while. Adding another 1-3 miles on top of that could have been a big mistake. Especially since I haven't been bringing water. I always wore a hydration pack when I was doing 8-10 mile walks, but it's better to leave it behind if I'm doing a shorter distance. Otherwise I drink too much and need to pee and there just aren't that many places to.

    Today's going to be hot. Thankfully we've got a well-stocked fridge and can just hang out in the basement with the AC running all day.

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  • 07/20/15--16:11: Surprisingly easy
  • I hadn't been on the Eastern trails in the gulch since the scary hot day when I found myself tangled up in spiky vines off the trail, overheating, and starting to worry. This morning was cool and cloudy, so I decided to have another go at it.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.6 miles in 1:39, 9,886 steps, 472ft gain
    Today's awesome walk, 4.6 miles in 1:39, 9,886 steps, 472ft gain

    The Southernmost trail entrance to the Eastern side is almost at the very end of the center trail, point A. I'd entered there before, but today's plan was to take only right turns so that I'd end up at the recreation center. That only took me off the trail once, at point B, but I was able to jump back on. The area directly West of the ballfields you was where I was so miserable last time, but approaching from the South was quite nice.

    This poor tree. :(


    I saw quite a few of these. I really like how brilliant that shade of purple is.


    You'd think having just passed the 3,000 mile mark since I started keeping track of these walks, I might be better at visualizing a route and estimating how far it is. I'm terrible at it. I planned when I emerged at point C to check the map and see how far it'd be to leave via the road I took into there yesterday, then loop around on the route I briefly considered taking. I was thinking it'd be a few more miles, but it was seven. Pass.

    So instead of heading straight North to my normal way out, I walked around the outer edge of the ballfields to see how many more entrances to the trail I could spot. I saw three, and there might even be one more by the recreation center building. Lots more to explore.

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  • 07/21/15--10:51: Deja vu
  • I didn't mention it yesterday, but right before I came off the trail by the ball fields, I stepped on a rock incorrectly and managed to aggravate that shin injury I got on the wet grass in my back yard a while back. I figured it'd be smart to take it easier today, so I headed for the Lowell riverfront trail. It's really flat, the main path's paved, and even the paths that aren't paved are almost perfectly flat. The gates were locked at both entrances, though. I briefly considered parking at Lowell Park and crossing the tracks near there, but a train was parked and there wouldn't be a way around it.

    Like the last time I was locked out there, I decided to head over to Port Gardner, the main Everett waterfront.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.75 miles in 1:52, 12,373 steps, 132ft gain
    5.75 miles in 1:52, 12,373 steps, 132ft gain

    I did that again today, but picked a better place to park this time, in the marina visitor area. There's a cool path there that goes around the outer edge of the pier that leads past all of the businesses down there, plus the area where the farmers' market is held. There are lots of restrooms on the path I took today, which makes sense because a lot of people are staying on the boats.

    I like this kind of tree. They always look like giant terriers and sheep dogs to me.


    The Everett Yacht Club. Not nearly as pretty as the Seattle Yacht Club.



    One thing I really noticed today for the first time was the way Jetty Island always looms in the distance as you walk the waterfront. It's longer than the waterfront itself, and I only recently learned that it's man-made. Part of me would really like to explore it, but you can only get there using a seasonal shuttle boat. Here's a little boat-shaped bench with information about the island, presumably for people to use while they wait for their boat.


    The Equator Schooner.

    Equator Schooner

    Here's a small beach I never noticed before, which is right at the 4 mile mark on the map above. It doesn't show up on Google maps.


    That's a nice find. Considering how much water surrounds Everett, there aren't really that many public beaches. Plus the biggest and best one is closed for at least a year while they upgrade the bridge that leads to it. There were a couple of creepy-looking paths leading up into the trees, but I was too nervous to check them out. I walked all the way around on the beach, though. It was nice even though it didn't smell great.

    I just liked the contrast here.


    Anyone need a crab pot puller? They're *electric*!


    Nice graffiti I almost didn't notice because from a distance it just looked like mountains that belonged there.


    The app says I climbed 132 feet today, but I'm not really sure how that's possible since I was basically at sea level the whole time.

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  • 07/22/15--10:05: Above it all
  • At the Northernmost point of my route yesterday, I very nearly climbed up to the follow the next set of roads that lead back South again, but thought better of it, and decided to walk up there today instead. This turned out to be one of the best routes I've taken up here, at least in terms of things to look at.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.47 miles in 1:45, 11,752 steps, 216ft gain

    This is right at the entrance of the complex on the waterfront. I hadn't been able to figure out what it is, and clicking on it on Google Maps didn't say either. I had to search the address, and discovered it's an old Weyerhaeuser office building, and it's on the national register of historic places.

    Historic Weyerhaeuser Office Building

    The City of Everett recently sued Kimberly-Clark over the state they left this property in after they demolished their facility here. It was supposed to be grass, but they left gravel behind.

    Former Kimberly-Clark site

    This is Abby!


    She's the third of three cats I saw today. One was grooming in a yard, one was asleep on a porch, and I spotted Abby from a couple of blocks away. She was laying on the sidewalk, and when she saw me coming, she got up and walked toward me! I leaned down to pet her, and she followed me for a bit. I was probably beaming when I noticed her owners were sitting on their porch smoking. They told me her name and that she thinks she's a dog. I hope I see her every time I walk by.

    Just after where Abby lives, the neighborhood starts to get really swanky. Most of the houses are older, but kept up very well. The landscaping is generally very nice. Every house on the West side of the street has an amazing view of the water out the back windows and from their back yards. The only real downside would be the noise from passing trains down below, and I highly doubt it bothers anyone who lives in this gorgeous area. Luckily everyone gets to enjoy the views because three blocks (16th-19th, point A on the map) were set aside as a park.

    Grand Avenue Park

    Naval Station Everett views from the park.

    Naval Station Everett
    Naval Station Everett

    You can see the entire waterfront from up there. Click through to flickr for bigger versions of this one.

    Everett waterfront from Grand Avenue Park

    Park mosaics.

    Grand Avenue Park mosaics
    Grand Avenue Park, Eagle Mosaic

    Neat car.

    Neat car

    Ham radio?

    Ham radio?

    The further North you go, the bigger the houses get. There are several million-dollar mansions. I didn't take photos because I was thinking I might grab screenshots of the whole street from the air at some point, but I wanted to get a shot of this gas streetlamp.

    Gas streetlamp

    One last shot of the water from down below just before I got to the car.


    This is a really wonderful route that I'll surely repeat. There's only one bad thing. I had to cross Marine View Drive at the entrance to American Legion Memorial Park, point B on the map. It's a wide, busy street and there's no crosswalk, but you're clearly supposed to cross there because there's a wheelchair ramp in the sidewalk across the street. The next intersection is a half mile down the street in the wrong direction if you're headed toward the water. I don't think pedestrians should have to go a mile out of their way just to cross a street safely.

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  • 07/23/15--06:45: Anal bead chic
  • Anal bead chic

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  • 07/23/15--10:17: Shin shinnery, shin shinnery
  • Continuing my several-day break from the gulch in consideration of my poor left shin, I decided to plan another new street route today. One of my obsessions has been to find every North-South route in the area, and after today, I may have seen them all.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.28 miles in 1:26, 9,205 steps, 316ft gain
    4.28 miles in 1:26, 9,205 steps, 316ft gain

    How funny that on a day I was giving my left shin a break, both of them started hurting when I set out. This happens once in a while and I don't really know why. Thankfully, I found a bench to sit on right by the 1-mile mark. They were fine pretty soon after my little break there.

    The route today was designed around finally seeing Seahurst Avenue, Elm Street, and West Highland Road, the last of the obvious ways to go North or South without hitting a dead between my neighborhood and the Western shores of Mukilteo. There might be a couple of shortcuts or trails left between neighboring streets, but the only spot where it really looks like it is a retention pond that may or may not have space to walk by the fence that surrounds it.

    Of course now that I say that I'm noticing several more little cul-de-sacs that might have their own trails into the woods. Figures.

    One spot where I was not expecting to find a little trail was point A on the map.


    It ended up being just a quick shortcut to the next street over, but it was nice. Once I got there, I found myself at a really cool neighborhood park that had its own little trail, point B on the map. Near where I marked that point, I saw what might be another trail going further North, but it was pretty overgrown and I was trying to keep today easy. I'll check it out another time and do some research online. I decided to grab a pic of the park on the way out to show how desperately we need rain.


    The first part of the walk was pretty unpleasant because there's always so much traffic on Mukilteo Boulevard and the shoulder is so narrow. One car even honked as it went by as if to say I had no right to be there. Seahurst Avenue was quite the opposite. You'd think looking at the map that Seahurst and Glennwood would be pretty similar, but they couldn't be any different. Glennwood's a typical busy road with a lot of run-down houses, but Seahurst is like being out in the country. And it's high enough above Glennwood that it's got killer views.

    I was hoping to find a shortcut from Seahurst to Glennwood so I wouldn't have to walk along Mukilteo Boulevard again. No such luck, but I spotted a plane in the Google Maps satellite photo.

    Plane spotted in Google Maps

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  • 07/24/15--07:59: SchadenFriday

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  • 07/25/15--08:07: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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