Planning Time

Can you believe that there are only 4 weekends in February? Only 4 chances to get out for a long something without worrying about squeezing it around a long work day as well. Four more weekends in March, though perhaps the high country skiing this season will extend into April and May. June, even, in the high places if we’re lucky.

Rick was the one that got me thinking about this when he mentioned the promise of spring desert blooms given all the rain we’ve been receiving. If it spilled into the desert, the wildflowers this year could be amazing. And for a retired couple, desert wildflowers mark the end of the ski season and the beginning of spring travel. He wasn’t optimistic that he would even really ‘get in shape’ this season with the late start and road/weather closures. Could it really be that the ski season, barely started, is already nearing its close?

Years slide by to a gentle beat that fades into the background, like the sound of your own heart. Can a sense of urgency span several years? How do you fit everything into such a short life, crowding personal ambition in around professional responsibilities?

Back in college, Mike first introduced me to the idea of “Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail.” That was following a climbing road trip that many of us were unprepared for. We hadn’t read the guide books, didn’t know what we wanted to climb. Spent a lot of those precious days wandering aimlessly instead of firing off items from a tick list. Those who had prepared were weighed down by those of us who were clueless.

And now, all these years after that lesson that should have seared itself into my mind, I am once again waiting to see. Watching the weather, instead of making things happen and taking advantage of the gear that I’ve spent hard earned money on to get out regardless of conditions, regardless of weather.

And plans can change. Tom has stories of climbers so intent on their climbing objectives that when the weather refused to cooperate, they were unable to flex to something that would have been a better use of their time. They simply moped about the refuges staring out at threatening skies and gnashing their teeth in frustration.

Mid-year resolution: There is a balance in all things, and planning is no exception. Refusing to furl the sail and seek shelter when a storm is blowing in is as foolish not charting a course and allowing the wind to blow you where she will. Begin.

More Vacation Please

 

Yesterday, a friend suggested that with all of these winter rains sweeping across the country, the desert blooms in the spring might be exceptional this year. Of course “it depends”, but it’s promising. According to him, Death Valley and Joshua Tree are both over-run with wildflower viewers at this point so you have to find a more out-of-the-way desert. Desert wildflowers have become a “thing”.

That much-missed precipitation and snow has fallen locally as snow. Perhaps this is finally my chance for that long ski tour that I’ve been meaning to get to for more than a decade now. It would be easy to take a whole week, but could possibly be crammed into less time.

A Glacier National Park visit has been on my hit list for a long time. I thought I was going to go last year, but then circumstances foiled those plans. When we cancelled those plans, we swore that this year would be the year. At least a week.

My closest group of college friends almost got together this winter for a reunion in Colorado. That’s a few days’ journey just to get there, plus time to hang out. Call it a week.

And I’d like to visit my parents, and VIP’s family out east. And I have a long list of want-to-dos over on the east side of the Sierra, most of which require substantially more fitness than I have now. So, exercise needs to be on the to-do list as well as the event itself.

Backpacking trips too… too many to count.

I have a lot of vacation by American standards, but clearly I need more.

 

Tiptoe Goals

Shhh!

It’s just before 6 am, and though I know this goal that I had to write daily, once abandoned briefly due to illness, didn’t recover for much too long, I’m not letting that deter me from shooting off into a million other directions.

I collect goals the way cat ladies accumulate cats. I love them all dearly, these goals of mine, but they seem to have a life of their own, and I have enough of them that’s it’s a little hard to keep track of them all the time. Since I put out food and water, they seem to linger, but if you asked me at any point where a particular one was and how it was doing, I might know, or I might not have really seen it for a few days… or more.

I’ve started making my bed. That’s funny, because though my poor mother tried to make this a habit, it never really stuck. And I wouldn’t pass any kind of housekeeping inspection with my quick effort that amounts to little more than pulling the covers up and smoothing them out. But a friend got me started on Marie Kondo’s book a while back, and though I haven’t gotten very far there either, I do agree that having tidy spaces is restful for the eyes. I’m making an effort.

I’ve been trying to eat before 7p. It doesn’t always happen. Yesterday, VIP proposed a running date, meeting at a neighborhood trailhead at 6p. It was after 7p when we got back to the house, and our new renters had just arrived, so rather than diving directly into the business of dinner, we spent a bit of time getting them oriented and providing suggestions. So, I failed yesterday. But I have an alarm that reminds me to start thinking about food at 6p, so more often than not I’ve moved my meal-times a little earlier.

And speaking of exercise, there is that nagging running goal. And the low sugar one that is successful most of the time, except when I’ve had a particularly bad day. I also have a bunch of professional goals. And other, non-running, fitness goals. Cats, I tell you.

Another quiet effort, started today, is getting out of bed before 6am. I tried this a while back as a 30 day challenge (getting up before 5:30 that time to take more advantage of my mornings) and liked it, though the  key to success is not the morning alarm, but the bedtime alarm.

I thought I’d tie that effort to writing, posting, drawing and other creative endeavors.

Before, when I was trying to write/post something regularly, I was sitting down and trying to get inspired late at night. Late for me. And it felt like the goal was interfering with my sleep. Hopefully, I will be able to retrain my muse to show up in the morning instead.

Mea Culpa

unicorn-peak-5631-crop-x400

So much for daily posting.

On the other hand, when one gives up an abstract personal development goal in favor of overcoming illness quickly, travel and spending time with good friends in beautiful places, is that failure, or success?

I’m back now.

A quick note about the picture: This image was found, not posed. A sad bunny lost his child in the making of this image.

Streak?

Is it weird to want to keep a streak going in the calendar on this blog when I post to my other one? Part of me simply wants to see all those boxes filled in when I actually post something, even if the “real” post is somewhere else. I posted yesterday too.

The streak is alive!

Clean (Part 1)

When watching other people clean, I have a deep sense of my own lack of domesticity. HK came over today to do her first cleaning. I was impressed with her easy movements and attention to detail – like cleaning was this relaxing thing that you could do with grace and style. Hm. Go figure.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate a tidy environment, but it seems to take so much additional effort to maintain that state that it seems both unprofitable and unrewarding.

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently purchased the audio version of Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” WC said that she really responded to the emotional promise of having an uncluttered environment, and I seem to be moving tentatively towards Minimalism, and an uncluttered tradition, so I thought I’d give it a try.

WC was right.

In fact, I also stopped listening to the book so that I could spend some time visualizing an uncluttered space, and the relaxed and uncluttered life that is supposed to go with it.

I’m not holding my breath, but it’s worth a try. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Learning To See

There is learning to read, and then learning to read. People don’t understand that although they learned to read when they were young, people who practice reading carefully are just better at it than people who don’t.

When I was in graduate school, I remember a fellow student shaking his head in wonder at how much information and understanding one of our professors got out of reading a paper. “I want to be able to do that!” he told me. And that’s a degree in the sciences. For my VIP with his degree in the humanities found the difference striking as well. Even as a graduate student teaching undergraduates, he was shocked at how poorly his students could read, until a friend pointed out that learning to read – reading well – was something that he’d learned in graduate school.

There are a lot of reasons that people pick up a camera. There are a lot of reasons that I’ve picked up a camera, but one of the things that I would really like to learn from the practice is learning to see.

I’m surrounded by outstanding natural beauty where I live, and landscape photographers flock to the area to take their shot of the iconic scenery, from iconic locations, within arm’s reach of another photographer taking basically the same shot. I don’t mean to minimize that experience in any way because there are many reasons to stand in a singularly beautiful spot, looking out over amazing views. And yet I find the ability of certain photographers to see beautiful and amazing things in a small town in the mid-west, or an urban jungle, or the everyday objects that mostly are too common to pay attention to mesmerizing. If only I could learn to see things the way that they do.

More so than the technical expertise of getting a vision to come through a camera lens, this is what I want to learn from photography.

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My friend, SR, is the one who noticed this patch of grass. She doesn’t have a fancy camera, and ultimately isn’t all that interested in f-stops or focal lengths, but her talent for noticing beautiful things consistently amazes me. As my colleague and grad school said of that professor – “I want to be able to do that.”

Now, how do I get there?