.:: If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.--
Henry David Thoreau ::.
C & N since 1998
.::Sunday, August 30th ::.
~ 08:30 PM ~
"...Turn it up, this is my attitude, take it or leave it...."
Hiked an overnight at Cuivre State Park last night. Videos HERE. Good hike. Shooting on the way in on the bottom of the Bluffs. No other overnight hikers seen. Backpacker camp was empty. Sounds of motorcycles until midnight. Blood orange moon peeked through the woods around 10:30. No animals around the tent but raccoon, possum, and deer seen on the way in. The park map omits the numbers marking the trail north of Connection E. Plus, the not all of the maps on the trail posts mark the "you are here". Had to use a compass to orienteer to the campsite. This morning back to the trailhead, I passed horses and a few did not like my backpack despite being 5 yards off trail. On my way off trail, I was stopped by day hikers about the trail. They had no map so I gave them mine and answered their questions. They were not prepared for the hike beyond a few miles on the bluff.
Neale went to our niece's soccer game and I painted the bathroom doors.
"...there's a fatman in the bathtub with the blues...."
Neale has an important presentation this morning. They are working on team building. Fun afterwards.
Yesterday, I had my first round of classes in person. My online classes opened Monday. I have three traditional classes (1 hr. 15 mins.) on Tuesday and Thursday. The Intro classes are packed and my Race class is full of familiar faces. Very good day. Opening days are getting better and more relaxed.
Last night, I went to Cardio kickboxing for a change and we worked on knees. My fight instructor teaches the classes so the fundamentals are strong. In fight class, we worked fundamentals and used tennis balls on several of the drills. One drill that we have done with tennis balls is our version of "if you can dodge a tennis ball, you can dodge a fist". What we did last night was tucking it under of chin to keep our chins down. If the chin passes the shoulder on a punch received, it is a knockout. Chin tucked is just good practice. Finished with medium speed sparring.
Unusually cool day here (74) so Ellis and I are going for a walk.
"...hung up on specifics, miss seeing the whole thing...."
I made my first homemade hot sauce. 5 red habs and 5 jalapeņos with apple cider vinegar, salt, and Splenda. Good bite. Clearly a first attempt. I used my 'dust' in my chili. After last season's crop of habs, jalapeņos, and Serranos I still have plenty of dried hot pepper flakes. Good slow cooker chili in the 'Skyline Chili-style'. Backyard Serranos made it into Neale's basil chicken yesterday.
On Saturday, we finished the doors and added the basement stair handrail. All that is left is the painting of the doors.
On Sunday, we had to pickup some items in Alton and I worked in the yard. We had serious storms on Saturday so there was downed limbs in the yard.
It is 'back to school' week for me. I had office hours today. I met a new adjunct and said 'hi'. She asked if I had any advice and I said 'no'. Teaching is an art and you can't teach how to teach. Tomorrow, I have my first round of classes. 8 total but only 4 in person and no 8AM class.
Long meeting today. Had to be done. My school also produced a commercial and unlike some schools we don't use teenage girls in pajamas to sell education. But, did I mention we are a Steinway campus? Yes, we have very good pianos.
It was a pleasure using Nishiki sushi rice to make maki rolls on this week. Having never used that brand of rice before, I was surprised how well it reacted without the ritual of washing. However, my dashi needs more than kombu added to my boiling liquid.
We finish the doors this weekend. Painting the doors that still need a coat on Friday before lock sets are installed.
Decided to brew my pumpkin ale for Oktoberfest this year. Brewing should occur this weekend. May have a bitter available as well. Party is 8 weeks away.
Purchased my project guitar neck. I bought a telecaster-style neck that is maple with an ebony fretboard. The black ebony should go well with the dark mahogany wood of the body. Pickups and bridge next.
Went back to Krav. I worked with one of the regular guys, which is good because there were throws involved and knowing how to fall is important. My mid left foot is sore after the hike yesterday. I am not sure what it is so I am calling a sprain. Jogging on it was tough but boxing should be fine as I used the heavy bag to gauge it.
Neale went to the pool as it was a beautiful day here. Gym afterwards.
Ellis scared up a rabbit when I let him out after my workout. The rabbit hit all three corners until it made out under the gate. The rabbit was faster and more agile than Ellis. Personally, I think Ellis is just curious but he may want to bring a trophy too. So far rabbits are surviving in our backyard despite his presence.
I should be in bed but the Twilight Zone has lured me in.
Today, I hiked Chubb Trail again but started at the Flint Quarry trailhead. As the names states it runs along an old quarry area. It also is mostly uphill to the east side of the Chubb Trail mile 2 (aka the Picnic table). I saw one other hiker and two mountain bikers, which appreciate my awareness to clear the trail as they pass. At the picnic table I noticed the new trail to the west is shaping up. On the way out, I passed 5 people coming in. When I pass some people on the trail I tend to think they may not really be aware of their fragility. One guy had no water on 90+ day, which seemed strange. However, I am sure they think I am over prepared but I do come ready for the worse and the day pack helps condition for the expedition pack (about 45 pounds currently).
Cooked for Neale. She had a long day. She went for a walk and I would have joined her but my left mid foot is slightly sprained.
Back to work for me today. Nothing major for me on the first day of in-service.
Noisy windy storms overnight bothered my sleep. The heat was gone in the morning but the humidity drained me during my first 6K. Plus, my calves would not stretched out. Short of the third mile turning point, I had to stop for a 30 second walk. Since I had been grading and being lazy this week, my endurance was not where it should have been. In my last 5K, I cruised the entire way. With about a half a mile to go, I stopped again. A fellow runner told me not to stop and got me started. We talked during the remainder of the run and I learned she had also taken the week off from cardio. Her heart was pounding while my calves were screaming. I thanked her and finished with a time of 37 minutes. My first mile today was under 8 mins. at 7:48. But, the Saint Louis humidity and upset calves slowed me. Next 6k, I will aim for 32 mins. My next 5K is on September 11th and it is a flat park track.
Breakfast with Neale and errands after the race.
I stopped at the Alpine Shop and was looking for Polar Pure tabs, which it turns out they do not carry. I did see the MSR MIOX for the first time. Still leaning with the Steri Pen Journey. Possible hike tomorrow.
"...Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?..."
After a few lazy days, I did venture out of the house for errands. I stopped to pick up my race packet at Ghisallo Racing, then to Costco, and finally for groceries at Schnuck's. It was a miserable hot day in Saint Louis. I waited until after 6 to mow the front lawn and go for a run.
Neale is at a happy hour with coworkers. ITAP or Llywellyn's I believe. I tried ITAP last Friday after we saw "Inception". Best selection in the area at ITAP. Growler's a close second.
"...Brett Favre retired? Ok. ....Oh, he's back?..."
Back to fight class. With the new schedule, fight class is after "kid kick". Kid Kick is a class for young people to wear gis and learn basics of martial arts. For me, it meant a 6 year old starring at me while I was doing my hand wraps. I can only hope I do not make an impression upon this kid. Class went well. Worked on counter punching and phantom punch.
Neale checked out the International Tap House in Soulard for happy hours. Competition: Lleweyun's across the street. ITH has no food.
Went back to Krav last night. Mike noticed my shin soon after I arrived. It is better but not flat to the skin as the bump is still present. It did not bother me during class as it should not. True test in Thursday. But, I finally purchased shin guards. The new design of the exercise space and schedule started last night. Felt strange to leave after one class. Also, I was not winded after an hour of punch defense and ending with pressure drills.
I made a ratatouille chili for Neale and she liked it. She also finished the last piece of cake from the birthday party. Lubeley's Bakery did not disappoint.
"..It starts to feel like a barricade that keep us away..."
Yesterday, Ismael and I installed the new basement door. Neale was at the gym, getting breakfast and left to watch our nephews & niece. Ismael did a great job fitting the door. As I said during the door install, "this is not a Lego house". We have a new top step to show the transition to the basement too. I am chalking and wood filling this week. Next Saturday, the other doors will be switched out.
After the install of the door, I mowed the front and back lawn. Since it has been a wet summer, I am still mowing twice a week. When mowing was done, I packed my day pack.
Neale had a great time watching the Rattlin' Bones, her coworkers band.
Today, I was up early. I decided to hike the Lewis and Clark trail at Weldon Springs Conservation Area. I have hiked this trail several times and it rewards each time. Despite being a conservation area, it is well marked. I hike it clockwise, which is the opposite direction most people start the trail. The trail was quiet at 10am and I did not see anyone until 20 mins. in. I saw a guy that was not dressed for a hike carrying a laundry basket. Later, I would find one of his possible campsites. I believe he may be living out there. Then, I found a fresh 20 gauge shell. I could still smell burned powder. I wondered "who is hunting this trail?". At 40 mins., I encountered two guys with shotguns and at 30 yards I was not avoiding them. I said "hello" and they asked the time to the trailhead. They seemed stressed as they were not ready for the time in the woods and wanted it to be over. They were probably hunting squirrel, which is tough given the foliage. There was several blowdowns across the trail but the vistas were worth the time. Busy day on the trail as the weather was mild for August. 8.2 miles in 3 hrs. 20 mins. Great day in the woods.
After a quick change in the car, I went to Costco for supplies. I tried to let people too close as I may have smelled of trail.
After the hike, I called Neale and she was getting ready for the dinner at Pi. We had a party of 10 and three birthdays to celebrate. Good time.
Yesterday, I demoed the basement stair door. Since I have grown to expect the unexpected when cracking open the walls at this place, I was surprise I had the door out in 30 mins. The clean up took about as long. No major or minor damage. Pretty clean.
I started a loaf of wheat bread in the morning. Maple Grove medium Amber syrup instead of sugar. Best bread I have ever baked. Neale is enjoying it as well.
Today, Ismael arrived so we could install the new basement door. One door took 4 1/2 hrs. A new door in an old house takes massaging of wood and patience.
Neale is spending time with our nephews and niece. Later, she is watching Matt's band.
We had a very busy last few days. On Thursday, we went to dinner. Too hot for Erin Bode. On Friday, we went to the Kings of Leon concert at Verizon. However, the show was ended after three songs because a pigeon deposited a load of bird poop into the bassist's mouth. Earlier in the show, an opening band mentioned there was an issue with a bird in the rafters above the stage. As soon as I saw the lead singer of KOL run off stage, I knew something was up and then they announced the show was canceled. Images of the infamous Guns n' Roses at the same venue years ago made me grab Neale and head peacefully to the exit. The KOL crowd was less drunk than the Roses fans so we had no problems. However, KOL probably played their last show in Saint Louis for a long time. Refund coming.
On Saturday, we went to see a free show in the city. Silversun Pickups played and there were no pigeons. But, there was an awesome lightning display so we left 45 mins. into their set as not to get hit by lightning or wet from the rain.
On Sunday, we went to Kansas City to watch Manchester U. play the Kansas City Wizards. Arrowhead Stadium has been remodeled and looks excellent. We had club level seats, which were in the southeast endzone. Afterwards, we had dinner at an Irish Pub in the Power and Light District. Great downtown area.
After grading homework, I was in need of a run to relieve stress. Before the run, I stopped at Whole Foods as I needed a few items to finish my pita and baba ghanoush recipes for tonight. I started the dough and roasted the eggplant. After combining the eggplant with the remaining ingredients, I placed it in the fridge. The run felt great. I have a 5k on Sunday. Neale liked the eggplant and my tzatziki with dill was good but thin.
Neale desires to meet me next year around the halfway point of my AT hike. Presently, that may be Damascus, VA. I am still planning the trip so no itinerary is solid.
I am about to finish another book about the AT so I thought I would share a list of books I found helpful. The order is not a ranking.
Thru-Hikers Companion, 2010
How to hike the AT: Nitty Gritty Details of a Long Distance Hike
A Walk for Sunshine
On the Beaten Path
As Far as The Eye Can See
Walking With Spring
A Women's Journey
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail (Updated Edition)
Three Hundred Zeros: Lessons of the heart on the Appalachian Trail.
Ten Million Steps: Nimblewill Nomad's Epic 10-Month Trek from the Florida Keys to Quebec
Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail
Walking North (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
"...The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep..."
I arrived back from the trail to watch the World Cup. Neale was pleased with the results. I thought the Orange would pull it off. We went to the Alpine Shop for socks and Global Market for supplies. Finally, Target was the last stop. Having walked enough in the morning, I returned home and Neale went to the gym.
On Saturday, I went for an overnight hike at Meramec State Park. Pics are posted on the photos page (HERE). Flip videos made as well. Warm day but there is a spring at the park so I could resupply in the morning. Mild night with very little moon and the cover was thick in the trees. Coyotes started before 8PM and there was a very violent exchange between coyotes around 11PM. Possum checked out my tent. Gladly, it was less buggy than Hawn. While I was awake the fire kept the bugs out of the area. I found pieces of a bone (leg?) at my campsite. The coyotes must have gotten an animal. It was not fresh. In the morning, I packed, ate, and headed for the spring. I still do not have the tent packing perfected so I will practice. At the nearby campsite, where I know fellow campers were the day before, they had already moved on to the spring. I do not see them or hear them during the hike. At the spring, I filled my bottle and headed to the trail head. Great hike.
Neale developed a cold. She claims it was due to her climate inappropriate dress during the trip. I think it is just the time in a metal tube with stranger's and their germs. I provided her with meds and support. I appreciated she used a sick day.
Good night at Krav. Upward knife defense work. Fight class was looking troublesome as I was the only long term member at 8PM. Luckily, two other long term members appeared during warm-ups. We full contact spar on Thursdays and I did not just want to work with the instructor. The newer members tend to swing heavy as they fill they must prove something. Swinging heavy is fun but payback comes from somebody. During my spar with the instructor, I was able to work in a throw and get to the ground. Since it was the first time I tried the move during a spar having learn it a few weeks ago, I don't think he expected it. After a few pointers at the finish, he mentioned that if I lose a bad habit or two, I could be an awesome fighter. Personally, I believe the bad habits will fade with confidence as I know he is a stronger fighter. Practice, practice. My confidence builds each time.
First week of summer two is done. Great group. Almost 20 people, which is amazing for a summer two class. I almost considered not teaching summer two after two years ago but my desire has been renewed. However, this will be my last summer teaching as I head to the woods next year.
I like taking picture when I hike. Yet, I know wearing the same outfit matters little to the furry woodland creatures but viewers notice. Today, I was able to find two shirts at Sports Authority to add to the summer hiking wardrobe without dumping major cash. Short sleeve Alpine Designs were purchased but I was looking for long sleeve Champion shirts.
A frozen yogurt shop opened in downtown Webster. It is not Pinkberry but is doing good business by all appearances. Going to give it a try soon.
~ 01:18 PM ~
"...save for every heart high..."
Neale pays close attention to her appearance. So, the photograph below makes me laugh. Having worn a dress to the Fourth party, she needed some blankets to enjoy the fireworks. She wrapped herself up and earned the nickname "Mayan Neale" from me.
"...I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul. ..."
We're back from Portland and Seattle. We flew out on Wednesday, had a stop over in Phoenix, and landed safely in Portland. However, we had some of the worst turbulence on the PHX=PDX flight that I had ever felt. Nauseating. Stopping for dinner at Portland Mexican place, which had great food. The first local brew I got to try was a Mirror Pond Amber. Later, we watched a niece of Joan's perform at a night club. She was a very good performer. On Thursday, we had the rodeo, which featured a "tough guys wear pink" night for breast cancer awareness. Good event but probably a one time event for me. On Friday, I took a trip to Powell's for books and Neale had an appointment with Joan to try a local spa. However, we were planning on lunch and we missed each other. Neale went inside the shop and I was waiting outside to ensure a quick pick up in parking tough Portland. Also, my cellphone lost its function so we did not connect with each other until an hour later. I returned to the hotel and waited for Neale. I found lunch at a local market. At night, we had dinner at a great Peruvian restaurant. Excellent food.
On Saturday, we took a train to Seattle for the day. After a short 3 1/2 hour trip, we arrived in Seattle and spent the day in downtown. Lunch was at Cafe Flora, a top 5 vegetarian spot according to Veg Times. After walking thought Pike's Market, we walked the boardwalk and then to the Space Needle. We found dinner at Greek place. Overall, one of the best eating on a vacation we have ever had together.
The Fourth was at Joan's aunt's place and 20+ family members gathered for the event. The highlight being a game of horseshoes, which was a first for me. I was pretty good. Neale may need more practice. The Portland fireworks were great as they did a 30 min. show on the river. Pictures have been posted on the photos page HERE.
Neale is enjoying World Cup soccer. She had yesterday off and I was back to teaching. I had krav last night too.
Today, I am picking up Ellis after work.
After a sneeze or eye rub, I developed a red dot on my left eye, which is gone today. Odd but harmless.
We are in Portland visiting Steve and Joan. It is our first summer trip to Portland. Weather has been cooler than normal. Today, we had a great lunch at an Indian restaurant and watched a rodeo in St. Paul. Walked along the water this morning for exercise. Having a great time,