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  • 10/27/15--04:57: Mud avoidance protocol
  • As I saw Garrett off this morning, I noticed that it was raining, and it looked like it had been all night. I've thought recently that on such days, I might suck it up and climb the residential hilly neighborhoods and then turn back, instead of entering the gulch. But I'm not quite there yet. I just wanted somewhere to go that was completely paved.

    It'd been a while since I went for a waterfront loop, so I headed that direction. On the way, I decided I'd start by the park instead of by the water, that way if I needed a pit stop, I could stop at the marina. Now that the park is closed for soil remediation, the only bathroom on the route is at the marina, so it's better to stop there 3/4 of the way through the route instead of starting and ending there.

    My commitment is to get a photo of a mosaic and a house when I do that route.

    Grand Avenue Park mosaic
    The one on the right should be a cool color, too.

    If I owned that house on the right, I'd feel some pretty intense pressure to paint it an interesting color.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.14 miles in 1:27, 11,177 steps, 194ft gain
    5.14 miles in 1:27, 11,177 steps, 194ft gain

    I wish there was even one more way to get from one side of this route to the other. Five miles is a good walk, but it'd be great if there was an option to shorten it a bit. What you see here is the shortest possible route.

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  • 10/27/15--17:28: Reach for the moon
  • I'd heard a lot about how awesome the moon was last night, but never stepped outside to have a look, so I figured I'd head out nice and early for the Langus Riverfront Park. It's one of the few places I go with lots of sky visibility, and as long as it's after 6am, I don't worry about how dark it is when I show up. I hadn't even thought about the fact that it might be really, really foggy. And it was.

    The moon was low, but I got an awesome photo of it before it slipped out of view completely.

    Crazy moon

    And of course, tons of fog photoz.

    Reflections of, the way life used to be

    Grabbed a selfie as it had been a while and a big change is coming later this week.

    Spoopy fog selfie

    I have mixed feelings about the way Instagram does mirror images when you use the front-facing camera. I think it makes for better pictures for the person who takes it, because we're used to our reflection. But it's backwards. Sigh.

    A nice little scene in the back yard when the fog broke up a bit as the sunrise arrived.

    The dramatic final throes of this morning"s fog

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.16 miles in 1:20, 8,942 steps
    4.16 miles in 1:20, 8,942 steps

    Saw the weirdest thing as I approached point A on the map. A truck pulled up, and I figured it was a hunter since the spot over the bridge and North of there is the hunting area, and that's as close as one can park for hunting. But after the truck turned 180 degrees, I saw a dog come running up. The driver made sure the dog didn't follow me as I did that little Southern dip to the right (didn't want to turn back until I hit two miles) but then he took off again. And came back, with the dog chasing the whole time. Guess that's how he exercises his dog, by having his dog chase him back and forth between points A and B. Huh.

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  • 10/28/15--16:26: Leaves me alone
  • I was completely wrong in thinking the center trail might have dried out a bit by the time I returned this morning, and to make matters worse, it actually started to rain as I arrived at the gulch. I was still going to attempt the dual-side, double-climb route I've been planning, though. Even if the center trail's muddy, the trails on either side would most likely be fine. But there was something else I thought of.

    The creek. The route I want to do crosses the creek at one of the spots where there's no bridge. I've crossed without getting my feet wet before, but it was difficult even though it was during dry weather. There are some large rocks there, but there need to be a few more. So I went directly there, basically planning to do the second loop of the trail first, and backwards, if I could cross the creek. I tried, but couldn't quite do it. I got about halfway across, gave up, and then had a very hard time getting back to the side. But I did it.

    So I continued up the center of the gulch, and climbed up to the ballfields. That part of today's walk overlaps the first part of what I wanted to do, but I headed East so that I'd get more miles in.

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.1 miles in 1:07, 6,659 steps, 437ft gain
    3.1 miles in 1:07, 6,659 steps, 437ft gain

    I noticed recently that the OpenStreetMap view of the area includes just about all the trails. I was excited to draw my intended route on a clean map in MapMyRun so I'd finally learn how far it is and what the elevation gain is, but for some reason it only shows the trails when viewing a route, not creating one. Weird. So I pasted in two screenshots and drew what I wanted to walk onto the copy on the right.

    It was nice to head up to the ballfields again. It'd been a while.


    A lot of the trails are covered with tons of leaves right now, and they're definitely a major hazard. I'm not terribly worried about slipping on them, though I know it's possible. The main problem is that they're in layers thick enough that it's hard to make out the terrain underneath. Very dangerous, considering all the tree roots and big rocks.

    It'll just get wetter from here on out. I need to find some more good, steep climbs that don't get all muddy.

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  • 10/29/15--17:14: A break of sorts
  • I decided a while back that Thursdays are a pretty good day to devote to yoga and swimming. The main reason is that Thursday is garbage/recycling/food and yard waste day, and I've always hated coming home from a walk and dealing with that. But before the walk is too early, and any other random time is annoying because I like a shower after. So if I do a yoga video, take out all that stuff, then shower, it's perfect.

    There are other things that make Thursdays stand out from the other days. It used to be my final day in the office each week when I only worked from home on Fridays. It was also my payday for a long time because they processed everything at once and timed it so people who got paid by check got theirs on Friday, so those of us who got direct deposit got it a day earlier. I really liked that because I could make a payment online and it'd be processed Friday instead of Monday. Then they changed their policy and Friday became the day. Then I changed employers and went to monthly pay, but now we have it set up we get weekly "allowances" from our joint account, and mine's on Thursdays again.

    It's also the day I typically go out for lunch. Working from home means eating at home a lot, so I decided a while back to preserve my sanity by going out for lunch once a week. This has become even more important now that my other lunches and breakfasts during the work week are vegan stuff that I make myself. My weekly lunch out is such a nice break now. And since the open swim period at the swim center begins at noon, it's perfect if I pop over there and have lunch right after.

    My favorite thing about Thursdays is that it's the one day a week I'm not in charge of dinner. I used to cook dinner all the time, but it got really frustrating to never get a break, so I said I needed one night a week off and Thursday's what Garrett chose. It's great. For those who don't know, we divide our chores around here by task instead of by time, and it's worked out well because neither of us has to do the stuff we really hate. And it makes sense for me to make more of the meals since I have so much time in the house each day and can go grocery shopping just about whenever I want. Garrett's got a chicken roasting in the oven right now.

    Yoga was good today. I think it may have been the first time that I lasted as long as the instructor through all three plank-related exercises. The swim was nice as well; 30 minutes of effort, slightly winded at the end. Then I hit the store for a few things I'd forgotten during recent trips, and finally checked out the newish Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood. I'm happy to report that the food was good, the menu was large, and they have a bar we can go to happy hour in sometime. And they even have fried ice cream. I haven't had that in 30 years or so.

    The trees near the swim center look nice right now.


    I sampled all three of these salt substitutes, and they're all awful. The no-salt ketchup I buy now is made with the AlsoSalt, so maybe it's decent in recipes. But I'm afraid of ruining food by trying to cook with it.

    These are awful and I"m shocked anyone has ever bought a second shaker of any of them.

    Happy National Cat Day! I gave Steve and Sam makeovers yesterday with the Perfect365 app.


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  • 10/30/15--05:03: SchadenFriday

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  • 10/30/15--11:06: Feelin' loopy
  • I have a long appointment at noon today, so I'll be eating lunch early. That made me decide to eat breakfast early, and go on my walk a little later, which was perfect, because it's dark so late. It was raining pretty hard when I woke up, so I decided I'd head to the Lowell Riverfront Park. The main trail there is paved, so there's a decent walk to be had there no matter what.

    I've been curious about the new neighborhood being built down there. Looks like they're still just moving piles of dirt around and covering them up with tarps. I don't know what's taking so long. This hill has grass on it now, so that's new.


    I've often wondered if that neighborhood will have easy access to the park trail. Turns out they will. The trail used to have a dead end, but now it connects up with the new street right near what I think will be the entrance.


    My original plan was to perhaps just stay on the pavement, but there were people up ahead with a couple of dogs, and I always hate walking past people. They are often just fast enough that I have to go too fast in order to pass, and then my shins hurt. One of my main decision-making methods when it comes to choosing a route is to just avoid people. It works pretty well. I jumped off the main trail because of those two, and back on later because of another guy heading my way.

    Luckily, the non-paved trails at LRP hold up pretty well in heavy rain, so I looped around to try to cover the whole area. Glad I went down there, as Autumn's quickly slipping away and it was nice to catch the last bits of it.


    No trip down there is complete without climbing the big staircase and taking photos from up above.


    There's a rad waterfall built into the bridge.


    Even the parking area is lovely.


    Today's route. I'm starting to really like these OpenStreetMap maps since they show the trails.

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.5 miles in 1:08, 7,537 steps
    3.5 miles in 1:08, 7,537 steps

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  • 10/30/15--18:23: Article 2

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  • 10/31/15--07:20: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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  • 11/01/15--08:59: Icon Origins
  • He actually won $5,750. I've been watching Card Sharks on GSN, and the DVR catches the last minute or so of Press Your Luck.

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  • 11/01/15--16:30: Schmupdate
  • Halloween was a bust once again. We were so excited when the doorbell finally rang, but instead of trick-or-treaters, it was our neighbor we recently made friends with. We invited her in and had a grand old time chatting with her for over two hours. That worked out nicely because it kept us up late, which I think should help with the transition to Standard Time. I also stayed in bed late and skipped the walk.

    Some recent photos

    Steve supervising as I decorated outside.

    My supervisor #cats #catsofinstagram

    Our spoopy decor and lighting.

    Come getcha candy!

    Yesterday was also my niece's son's first birthday. We weren't sure how much food there would be at the party, so we went out for sushi beforehand. That was kind of a dumb move on our part because my other niece is quite the cook and there was really quite the spread there. Oh well. The sushi was awesome.

    First time trying hand rolls. Love them.

    Her new house is in our old neighborhood, so we went to a place that I now regret not trying while we lived there. We also finally went to the French bakery in the same shopping center. Garrett ordered a couple of brioche rolls, but they dropped all but one of them, so they gave us a roll and a loaf. Garrett made brioche French toast this morning, and he fed seagulls, ducks, and squirrels at the lake before the birthday party.

    Feeding birbs
    Duck pals
    Then this happened

    My niece's dog Bailey, hating her costume.

    Terrifying spi-dog

    I just read that the Lowell Riverfront park is closed due to flooding. The river was moving fast and was awfully deep last time I was there, and I figured this would happen. Glad I went when I did!

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  • 11/01/15--19:30: I made dinner
  • Lobster ravioli with a pan sauce I made from half an onion chopped and cooked until browning in olive oil, to which I added three cloves of garlic, about half a teaspoon of capers, salt, pepper, and the juice of three quarters of a lemon. When it cooked down a bit, I added a little more olive oil, then deglazed the pan with a few glugs of pinot grigio. As that cooked down again, I added a little bit of dijon, and because I found it a bit tart from the lemon, some Worcestershire. When the ravioli were cooked, I fished them out of the water and tossed them around in the other pan with a sparkle of parmesan.

    I was originally planning to toss the peas in the rest of the lemon juice with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but the pasta turned out more lemony than I planned, so I used balsamic in its place.

    Garlic parmesan bread sticks!

    I made dinner

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  • 11/02/15--12:02: Mondays, lasagna, etc
  • I can't remember ever having a particularly hard time dealing with a time change, and don't really know if that's why, but I slept horribly last night. I woke up a lot, taking forever to fall back asleep each time. Couldn't get comfortable, couldn't breathe well. But there was extra light out due to the change, so I headed out to Edgewater Beach, thinking I might walk along it and then up to see if the Eastern portion of the gulch was dry or not.

    It wasn't long after I started that I realized how exhausted I was. I definitely didn't feel like climbing any more, so I decided I'd just walk a few loops around the beach. There was going to be a bit extra distance on the first loop with a pass through the Lighthouse Park, but I got there right as the ferry was letting off, and I didn't want to wait. And then on the way back to the beach, my shin started hurting a lot.

    So I cut the walk down to one lap. It wasn't impossible to walk, but I know from experience that walking while in pain is a bad idea. You walk differently to compensate, which leads to pain elsewhere, and I didn't want a sore shin to turn into a sore shin with a sore hip on the side.

    Today"s awesome walk, 1.6 miles in 31 minutes, 3,473 steps
    1.6 miles in 31 minutes, 3,473 steps

    The timing was funny. It rained a lot during the drive down, and it started to rain again as I got back in the car, but I didn't really get rained on in the short time I was walking. As usual, it was lovely down there.


    I'll give it another shot tomorrow. It'd be a bad idea to go swimming now with my recently-colored hair, so if that's unpleasant, I'll just plan for some yoga. And maybe a nap is in order today.

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  • 11/03/15--16:43: Cooking Over Walking
  • It's funny that I went to Langus Riverfront Park the other day to investigate it as a place to go when it rains a lot, and then it rained a lot and the place flooded. After yesterday's failure of a walk, I figured today would be a good day for yoga. I did that after a big shopping trip. It was Adriene's Yoga for Spinal Health video, which is a few minutes shorter than her Yoga for Your Back, but still quite a challenge.

    After work was done, I started working on food. The first recipe, Fabulous Un-fried Falafel Burgers, requires a break of at least 30 minutes to let the mixture meld, so I started with that. I make slightly larger patties lately because I like to use toasted Dave's Killer Bread instead of buns, so this yielded five patties instead eight. Those are assembled and are about to go in the freezer, so the jury's still out. I'll add tahini, cabbage, and cucumbers when I eat them.

    I also made Roasted Vegetable Pasta. It's always good advice to assume it'll take longer than a recipe says to make it, and this one was no exception. Mostly because of the time it takes to cut the vegetables into matchsticks. Not to mention the time I spent washing all the produce this morning.

    Washin" that produce haul

    It was all very worth it, though. This stuff is delicious.

    Roasted vegetable pasta for lunch. It was gooooood.

    I chose whole wheat elbows for the pasta. I'm not really into rosemary and definitely didn't feel like buying any fresh, so I put just a bit of dried rosemary in, and added a ton of fresh basil. So good. I ate one serving for lunch today, and there are two more in the fridge and another two in the freezer. I made ten meals today! I also bought stuff to make more Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers, but that was not happening today. Two recipes is plenty.

    A couple of items arrived in today's mail. First, the slippers I've been eyeing for years and finally decided to get:

    My horrifying new slippers.

    Plus another tin Zima sign. It's way bigger than I pictured from the listing.

    I will henceforth call eBay, zBay.

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  • 11/04/15--12:37: New shoes
  • Longtime readers will be shocked, because I've been wearing the same shoes for years. Shortly after I started walking, I had to get shoes better suited for it. Ended up getting an excellent deal on LA Gear Paramounts at Big 5. Probably $28 or so. Ever since then, whenever they've been on sale, I've bought as many pair in my size as they had in stock. The most I've bought is three pair, but usually ended up with only one or two. And I refused to buy them when they weren't on sale, because they were always at least double that.

    A few months ago, I noticed they were on clearance, so I called around to all the area stores to try to get my last pairs of them before they were no longer available. And I didn't manage to get any. I figured they'd be replaced by something very similar, and I was right. Enter the Primal. I actually bought three pair online, on sale, back in August. They were $21.99 each pair, marked down from $54.99. I finally decided to try some on today, because the pair of Paramounts I've been wearing when not walking is starting to get pretty foul.


    For comparison, here's a shot of some Paramounts.

    Test photo

    I've got a pair of Paramounts in the garage that I've been walking in, and a pair in the house that I've been wearing at other times. There are no more to be had after they're gone. I'll miss you, LA Gear Paramounts.

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  • 11/04/15--17:30: A shore thing
  • It was a spoopy, foggy morning, and I was driving to Langus Riverfront Park and Spencer Island, where I've spent so many foggy mornings lately. But I glanced at the clock and realized I should have left an hour earlier. That would have gotten me there right when their hours start, and with plenty of time to walk the amount I wanted to and get back in time for my haircut appointment. So I kept on my path to North Everett instead of going over a few blocks to head North of town.

    There wasn't enough time for a complete loop like I've done so many times, so I parked by Legion Memorial Park. It's closed for soil remediation, but the area across the street isn't, and there's always plenty of spaces. And nice trees.


    From there, it's nice to head down to the water, because it's a good climb at the end. The tides were the lowest I've ever seen them.


    Usually herons fly away as soon as I get the phone out for a picture. I'm amazed I got a shot of this one.


    If there's any technological development I'd like to live long enough to see, it'd be power lines going away. Hopefully birds won't be too mad when that happens.


    More waterfront loveliness.


    The haircut I hurried back for. I dig it.

    Hair update

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.34 miles in 1:01, 7,180 steps, 187ft gain
    3.34 miles in 1:01, 7,180 steps, 187ft gain

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    Since I didn't set aside enough time for the route I wanted on Wednesday, I just did today instead. It's been a long time since I completed both loops at Langus Riverfront Park and Spencer Island, and it was cool to get back out there. Especially since they've done enough maintenance at Spencer Island that it's actually possible to do it without emerging completely soaked and covered in burrs.

    It was cold when I got there! First time I've worn gloves this season. Thankfully I have texting gloves so I can still use my phone while I walk.


    I was distracted on my way out of the house and forgot my iPod, though. This is the kind of place where I don't mind as much if I don't have music.


    I thought there was just one abandoned boat in the water there, but it looks like there might be three or more.


    Today"s awesome walk, 4.5 miles in 1:24, 9,675 steps
    4.5 miles in 1:24, 9,675 steps

    I was calling this route the "bra route" because my mental map as I walked it looked like one, but now that I see the real version, it looks more like a beak. I'm still going to call it the bra route, though.

    I heard lots of shotgun blasts during the walk, and even crossed paths with a pair of hunters and their golden retriever on my way out. I thought it was odd that they parked at the main parking area and walked a mile and a half in, because I don't see any indication that they can't park right near the bridge that leads to Spencer Island. And it doesn't seem like a pleasant walk for them, as they both had huge backpacks and shotguns to carry.

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  • 11/06/15--05:52: SchadenFriday

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  • 11/06/15--16:04: End of Summer Bummer
  • I'd been away from the gulch long enough and was really missing it, so I gave it a shot this morning. It was muddier than I thought it would be. The whole experience was not very enjoyable, because I had to watch the ground the whole time. It began to feel like I'd be stuck in there forever, and for once, I was pretty happy to get out. I didn't even stop for any photos today.

    Today"s awesome walk, 3.93 miles in 1:31, 8,451 steps, 441ft gain
    3.93 miles in 1:31, 8,451 steps, 441ft gain

    If I go there at all, it'll need to be visits to the sides, from the sides. Going up through the center is pretty gross now. Some routes that incorporate nearby streets and go in and out on one side aren't out of the question, but I wish I could just do what I've been doing.

    I suppose it's also time for me to revisit routes in my own neighborhood, and also head over to Big Gulch to see how it's holding up in the rain.

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  • 11/07/15--07:20: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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