Feels like Christmas in July

24 Dec

It is a very mild christmas eve in Rhode Island. In fact, it has been mild here all fall, right into December. We have thrown open all of the windows, and despite both of us having little colds, have taken several walks today. Nature is confused. On a walk with Zoe at Oakland Beach this morning, we saw what I think were Greater Scaup floating on the waves at the beach, goose-like in their look and call, making a big fuss as if summer were suddenly back and the tourists might invade their beach. On Zoe’s road, a lone forsythia blossomed on a fat bush, bare enough to reveal a sweet little birds’ nest, empty for the day. Everyone is out and about, although it is not sunny. Everything is damp, but heck, it’s Christmas Eve, so people seem cheerful out there despite the lack of a white christmas.

Working from home, I am now afforded a fine view of the side yard, where two or three fat squirrels play all day long. One pretends to work at digging a place for a store of nuts or seeds; the other waits until the time is ripe and then, in a fit of spring-like energy, runs and pounces on the other’s tail. It’s pretty cute, and beats staring at the wall of a cubicle. When the snow finally comes, I won’t have to worry about digging out to get to the bus to get up to Providence to then spend a day worrying about getting home in the snow. My commute is quite short: put the dogs out, come back inside, refresh my coffee, and get to work. It hasn’t gotten old yet.

With a little more time in the mornings, I can now devote a good portion of it to a yoga lesson with yogawithadriene.com, followed by a run or, with this mild weather, a solid bike ride. I am not really good at yoga, and I’m not a big fan of classes or gyms, because despite having done yoga for awhile now, I am the least limber person I know. I can’t touch my toes. I like Adriene’s classes because she seems like someone I would talk to on the street, and she always says in her videos that it doesn’t matter where you are, but to enjoy the journey. I always laugh at people who say that. Just when you stop to enjoy a moment, it’s gone. But when doing yoga with Adriene, I actually have those moments that seem to hang on for a bit – either I’m cursing her – “move on, woman!” – or I am relishing a twist that relieves a sore back muscle. I recommend her to you if you are a beginner or just like doing things by yourself at home. Following Adriene’s lesson, I sometimes do these hip exercises to strengthen weak muscles that caused some problems for me this year. It’s pretty funny how a woman who trained for and then ran across the state, and went on to hike/run the Pemi loop in a day with her crazy friends, has weak hip muscles, but I do. So I do the full six minutes but it is HARD. The cheerful instructor says to do them several times in a row. Really? Ha. I can barely get through six minutes. But I DO already feel the benefits of these activities. I can lift my knees higher, and have a stronger upstroke on the bike.

Living out here, it is hard sometimes to not be outside all of the time. Even when it is cold, we are surrounded by beautiful trail, especially now that the DeCoppet Preserve Trails have opened, just down the road. Tom and I spent a good portion of our weekends this Fall exploring these woods. There are lots of old cellar holes, stone walls, boulders and grown over fields. DeCoppet wanted the preserve to be given to the state with the explicit wish that it be kept hunting-free, for use of foot hiking only. We still wear blaze. You just never know.

We have rediscovered the joy of the long ride the past few weekends, riding to the ocean in Narragansett, over through the woods in Ashaway, and along the coast in Newport. My solo rides are ten to fifteen miles in the morning before work to check out what’s going on in the area, seeing the sun come up over dew-blanketed hay fields. We truly live in a Paradise.

We took the house off the market temporarily to freshen up our kitchen and fix some logs on the north side of the house. The log guys were here for a couple of weeks. They were very professional and we are so happy with their work. With all the construction noise, I took my laptop and tried out some of our local coffee shops. My favorite was Fresh Ground Garden Cafe. They make excellent sandwiches, and the coffee was good. I might go back, although I make a perfectly fine cup of coffee at home and have grown used to my routine over the past couple of months. But it is nice for a change.

Spring events

This is the week for signing up for races and lotteries before prices go up. I have my eye on a few for next year, but I am hesitant to sign up for anything without knowing our housing destiny. If we can’t sell the house this spring, I suppose I can run a race here. But I have been intrigued by races put on in North and South Carolina, in particular, one race which is claimed to be the hardest marathon in the country, and another, Quest for the Crest, claiming to be the hardest 50K. As my mother says, why? It is hard to explain. Either way, both require a level of training I am not sure I am prepared for, seeing as I have taken some time off of running until I can strengthen the hips. So, we’ll see. There’s always the opportunity for a bicycle adventure. I’ve been promising Mad Legs we’d do the Kancamagus Highway for years now. Maybe this is the year. Thank goodness my best friend and training partner is so tolerant of my whims. Whether it is running, hiking, biking or laying around watching movies on the couch, Tom goes along with whatever I want to do. Lucky me.

The most important part is the journey, right?

Happy Holidays.

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