Friday, May 27, 2016

Restless. Or, I hate waiting!

Did I mention that I'm going stir crazy as I sit here and wait for time to start moving? Well, I think I did, and I know I am. I'm restless, itchy, not much to do. There'll be a little more to do on Sunday, as I can start sorting boxes and load the car for the first trip, on Monday. Some of the stuff I won't be able to pack until Monday -- the basic things I'm using.

In the meantime -- I'm trying to be patient. In an effort to alleviate the need to do something, I ran a few errands out on the west side and hied myself off to a section of the Fern Ridge Bike Trail that I particularly like.

This large and noisy group reached the path just after I did and while it took awhile for them to get organized enough to pass me by, once they were gone all was peaceful once again.

Lots of green out there right now, plus a share of daisies and blackberry flowers. This is Amazon Creek, which has its headwaters in the hills and forest behind the house, where I've enjoyed hiking this past year. In the distance, beyond the industrial roofs and stacks, is the city.

Lots of cattails and a few dandelions out, too. This is looking west, toward the coast mountain range.

No signs of bird life along the canal today. Generally a heron or two, but not today. Wonder what caused that little ripple?

Just a lot of gently-flowing water and plenty of vegetation. This wild aspect is one of the reasons I like this section of the trail, as it wends through wetlands. 

So that was my hike. Nothing serious -- didn't expect it to be. But it scratched the need to do something other than sit in my room and watch bad TV. I'm still restless. Still ready to do something, but I will be patient. She says.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


A week from today I should be waking up in a new apartment, if all goes well. I have no reason to think it won't go well, and frankly, I can't wait! Not because I hate living here, or because the new place is all that wonderful, but because the stress and tension of these last couple of months has not been good for my mind or my body. I vanquished the last minute worries about this move yesterday, stopped looking for an alternative, and feel good about the whole thing. But that didn't help me sleep any better last night, and hasn't stopped the tension from being apparent even this early in the morning. I just want it over with.

Many things to look forward to at the new place. A nice, if small, east-facing room with a large private balcony off it is a good beginning. Lots of nice morning sun, shady afternoons. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to hang my hammock out there and chill out -- a lot! Great place to sit and drink morning coffee, evening wine, whatever.  After the dark room I've lived in for the past 15 months, this sunny, light-filled room will be a nice change. There will be other changes that may not be so nice, but I don't think they'll be unbearable, either. I've come to look forward to living in that part of Springfield for awhile -- found a place not too far away that makes/sells fresh tortillas (a biggie for me), plus the proximity to all the stores I frequent and a big Goodwill at the end of the block. I love passing time at Goodwill, looking for bargains. And there's the nice gym at the complex, which I hope to make good use of. I've been idle for the last couple of weeks -- no walks or anything else to speak of, because of lack of energy and enthusiasm. Getting rid of the 'moving' issues should alleviate lots of that.

So -- that's where my world is right now. And for the next week.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Delta Ponds Walk

I had to take my car to the dealer this morning for some warranty/recall work, ie, installing new airbags. Since this is located in my old (and future) stomping grounds, I opted to take a long walk while the work was being done.

One of the things I love about Eugene: even this car dealership is a LEED-certified building! For those of you who don't know, LEED certification has to do with environmental friendliness. I can't remember what level this building is, but my memory says it's a 4 (almost the highest). Lots of LEED buildings in this town!

Next, I opted to walk over the new pedestrian/bike bridge that opens up lots of new territory for bike riding in this area, leading east to a busy shopping corridor. I'm looking forward to using this once I'm back living in this neighborhood.

This is the view from the top -- part of what's called Delta Ponds, which is a huge pond/marsh area that has development sandwiched between the wetlands, and the rest gets left to wildlife. This is only a tiny portion -- in the distance to the left you can barely see a footbridge that crosses into the marsh, and beyond that it opens up into a very large swath of water. And there's more on the other side of the road, near the river, to the left. As I recall, this wetland area was reclaimed from an industrial site -- maybe a sand and gravel operation? Don't quote me!

A bit further down the street we reach this: my future new home. This is the building I'm on the waiting list for, and it's home to me already, even though I can't live there quite yet. I peeked into the back area and saw that some residents have big, healthy-looking veggie plants and flowers in the personal growing beds. I can't wait to get one of those, too.

Not much further down the street is the river access lane which brings us out here, just north of one of several bike/pedestrian bridges crossing the Willamette all the way through town. There is an identical paved path lining the river through town on the other bank, too. As I recall, it's about an 18-mile loop, from top and bottom bridges.

One of several benches located overlooking the river, all an easy walk from 'home'. Great for reading, relaxing, or if one is inclined to be out late enough, watching sunsets.

When I lived out here before (I must have moved downtown from this area around 2006) I walked/rode this path often and always looked upon these few homes with some amount of envy. They all have lovely yards, lots of roses right now and plenty of other flowers, plus private patios and some kind of sunroom with greenhouse-type glass. They are so charming on the outside, and of course, they overlook the river.

I've looked upon this place with envy, too. It's also a retirement home, but unlike mine this one is fancy and pricey. Not something I could ever afford, but then I suspect that if I could afford this, I'd head to some tropical isle to spend that money, not do it here!

Back to the Delta Ponds, on the opposite side of the road from the first photo, between the road and the bike path. Lots of geese out there, but really not visible here.

But, this guy was hiding on the edges, just below the walkway. I don't think I've ever passed by this stretch of the path without seeing at least one Great Blue Heron, and I'm surprised I didn't see more today, what with it being nesting season with lots of hungry beaks to be fed.

More ponds -- this time on the right side of the path, between the path and the river.

Caught this little family just below, in the same pond as above. I think they were in the foreground of that photo, but I had to use the zoom to get this close. Cute!

Love the Norman MacLean quote here. I don't know how many acres of wetland are included in these ponds -- I'm sure a Google search would answer the question, but I don't remember.

The next bridge over the Willamette. Signs tell me that this one is two miles from the first one I encountered, which means that by the time I got back to my car, I probably walked about 5 miles and it took me an hour and 40 minutes -- with plenty of stops to enjoy the view and take photos.  I'd had a phone call telling me the car was ready not too long before I reached this point, and while I'd planned to walk a little further, my body was feeling the effort so I walked on to the dealer, which wasn't too far away. Basically, I walked a loop -- part on the street, part on the river.

It was a lovely walk. First time I've done it since I moved downtown in 2006, although I'm sure I must have cycled the entire loop along the river at least once after that. Mostly, this northern section is too crowded on weekends for me, so I opted for other paths while I lived downtown. Indeed, now I'm more ready than ever to reach the top of that wait list and move into this neighborhood once more.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

John, are you out there?

I need another John in my life. And no, not that kind of john. Never actually had one of that kind.

The John I'm referring to was a wonderful hiking buddy back in my Atlanta/Georgia Appalachian Trail Club days. He was always open to my often-crazy ideas about a place to hike or backpack, never really said no to anything as best I can remember. Always willing, always fun, always a great friend.

And we had some good times! He could outwalk me any day, and I was no speed-slouch back then in my relative youth. We'd find the toughest, most challenging places to go and explore, or simply accomplish a lot of mountain miles in a short period of time. And we did it at fairly warp speed, in the world of hiking/backpacking. Granted, there were others who were faster, but we averaged around 2.5 mph over 25 or so miles of trail with plenty of tough ups and downs, accomplishing that in about 10 hours of walking time that didn't include the few brief rest/lunch stops. We didn't have time to do long stops, nor the inclination.

We'd leave Atlanta long before dawn, drive 2-3 hours to whatever trailhead we were using, generally do a car shuttle so there were wheels at each end. With the rough terrain and forested surroundings, it was good to get off the trail before dark when possible so we had to keep moving. I can only remember one time when we didn't make it before dark, and that was at Standing Indian Mountain on the AT in North Carolina. We had to find our way down a steep and lengthy bit of trail in the dark, with only flashlights to keep us actually on the trail.

Or we'd go on a backpack in one of my favorite places, Slickrock Wilderness and explore the side of the rim that was actually wilderness, with unmarked trails where we had to rely on maps and landmarks to know where we were.  I remember one trip that must have been in the middle of summer because we were only an hour or so into the hike, dripping wet with sweat from the humid heat, when we reached the river and stopped for a break. Wasn't long before clothes were off and we were in the cold pools, cooling off before heading up the hill. A day or two later, when we came down from the ridge via a different trail and set up camp, we did the same thing, washing off the trail dust and sweat. I venture to say that very little feels any better than cold, clear creek water under those circumstances! It's heavenly.

There were so many more. I have photos, but none are scanned and I don't currently have a scanner. But if John is reading this, he knows who he is without a reminder!

The point is, I need someone like John in my life, who is adventurous and a little crazy and always says yes to my ideas of fun things to do. And often has suggestions of his own for equally fun things to do. I'm bored too much -- could go places on my own, of course, but these adventures are never as much fun alone as they are with a dear friend who enjoys every moment of it as much as I do.

Last I heard, John was living in Texas. If you are out there, if you are reading this, drop me a line to say hello and tell me what's happening in your life. I think of you often and miss you, even 20 years later.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Well, it looks as if I have found a new 'temporary home', which is a good thing. And not a bit too soon, as far as I'm concerned. I don't like the idea of homelessness looming over me in the least.

This one is in Springfield, which I have long resisted for various reasons, not the least of which is that I always get lost over there, and the traffic always seems awful. It also gets me out of reach of the wonderful Eugene public library, but only for a short while, hopefully. I won't need to prove my address again until August, and by then it should only be a short while until I get to move into my own apartment. What a blessed day that will be!

This is a huge apartment complex, made up of 2 and 3 bedroom townhouses placed like sardines but otherwise very nice. Parking is an issue, but since I mostly go out in the daytime while others are at work, I should have an advantage and be able to find a place nearby. It's a two level unit, as they all appear to be. Downstairs, ground level, has laundry, garage and master bedroom suite. Upstairs is a nice kitchen and two bedrooms, one with a lovely balcony of its own overlooking a forest of other backyards and balconies. No matter the view -- it's a place to go outside! Unfortunately, it's attached to the smaller of the two bedrooms so I can't decide which would work best for me. On the positive side, even if I'm in the other bedroom I'll be able to use the balcony because the second bedroom will be used for storage (another benefit for me, as I can also store my unused stuff in that room).

The tenant is a 'young' woman of around 48 who is on the groundskeeping staff. She and I appear to be a lot alike in some very interesting ways -- she's had jobs in many fields and took off traveling around the country by car a few years ago for almost 3 years, until the money ran out. A woman after my own heart! The location is easy to get to without getting into the dreaded traffic of other parts of Springfield, and it's near plenty of good food shopping, the DMV, a big Goodwill store, and lots more. The complex has a really nice gym, which appeals to me greatly.

So -- not sure when I'd move, hopefully around the 26th or 27th, if I decide to pony up the extra cash to move early and prorate the rent. Otherwise, on the 31st. I think it would be worth the extra money to remove myself from this place 6 days early!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New addition

 Bought myself a new easy chair a couple of weeks ago -- and I love it! This one is super comfortable, soft and squishy but still supportive. And the footstool makes it perfect. I spend a lot of time here, watching TV into the evening whereas before I'd prop myself up with pillows on the bed for that because the old chair just wasn't all that comfortable.

You might remember this one. Big and bulky, taking up the space of a loveseat! And, that big cushion wouldn't stay in place, would slide out every time I sat it it. The new one doesn't have a removable seat, so it doesn't go anywhere. This one went back to the thrift store, taken away by the guys who delivered the new one. Neither is really 'my style', but in this case, comfort wins.

Maybe a little crazy, considering that I'm going to be moving soon and don't know where I'm moving to yet. But, I hadn't gone to the store looking for a chair -- merely a large glass mixing bowl. The chair stopped me in my tracks and I even went back in the afternoon to have a better look at it, sit in it again, etc. Then waited until the following morning before calling to make the purchase. That's called learning how to not be impulsive, I think.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Eugene Marathon passes through the neighborhood

From the foot of the trail that goes down the hill from the house.
I was just finishing up breakfast dishes this morning when I heard the sounds of music (drums and cowbells) down at the foot of the hill. The Eugene Marathon! I knew, but had forgotten, that the course looped around and headed back to town at that point. Naturally, I couldn't resist the thought of that kind of fun and merriment going on so close to home, so off I went.

I missed the elite runners, of course, but that's ok. It was all about the fun anyway. Something to do for awhile on an otherwise dull Sunday morning. Plus, I'd just eaten a very high-calorie breakfast and knew it would be good to walk some of it off anyway.

Making the first turn.

It's a beautiful day outside -- due to hit temps into the 80s. Know I should get out again, but don't have enough energy and/or drive to think about actually doing it. But this was fun.

The loudest drummer! And making the turn back to town.
The 'band' -- more drums and cowbells
It's Eugene, after all.
Took the circuitous route home, on the running trail. Still love these blue flowers!
Everything seems to be blooming right now!