Friday, January 28, 2011


I’m convinced that natives and long-time residents of the Pacific Northwest (where I live) must be naturally waterproof and insulated. A while back, I donned my heavy rain-repellent jacket with hood, and pulled on gloves and scarf to take my dog Rufus for his morning walk. He wore his ski jacket. We’d gone about half a block when I noticed the rain bouncing off the sidewalk. It had turned to ice pellets.

Then Rufus barked and tugged at his leash. One of my neighbors strolled to his car wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and jeans!

This isn’t an isolated incident either. On trips to the grocery store, shopping mall, pharmacy, while I’m bundled up in Gore-Tex and Prima-Loft with a layer of fleece underneath, I’ll invariably see people dressed for a day in the Caribbean. And walking around as if this were normal!

I also have my suspicions that these Northwesterners may have webbed feet. I’ve been unable to gather evidence of this, however, since they have a disconcerting habit of wearing socks with their sandals in cool weather. I’ll have to do more research on that in the spring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

73 Steps

The walk around my suburban Seattle subdivision, in and out of every cul-de-sac and up and down every hill, measures about 1.5 miles (give or take). And I’ve gotten to where I can do it pretty easily without going into cardiac arrest. So, last week, I decided to add the seventy-three steps to the mix.

What are the seventy-three steps? They’re a concrete “ladder” that leads from the area where I live into a small housing development closer to the Green River. I can tell you that it isn’t difficult going down those seventy-three steps—anybody could do it—and walking the ¾ mile loop along the other neighborhood’s sidewalk is a breeze. But, coming back up? Whew. Just thinking about it makes my thighs ache and my lungs squeak. I have to stop twice on the way to the top!

Recently, I was talking on my cell phone with Sandra (in North Texas) while walking—gasping, groaning, grumbling—up those stairs and she said, “I’m not going to hang up this phone until I’m sure you’ve made it to the top.” I wouldn’t have argued with her, even if I’d had the breath to do so. When I told her I’d reached the last step, she cheered.

I wonder what Seattle-area 911 would say to an emergency phone call from North Texas? Maybe that’s something we should research. In the meantime, I’ll take my aerobic exercise one step at a time. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Talking on a cell phone is a wonderful way to lose weight, but only if you walk while you’re doing it. A couple of years ago, Sandra A. and I discovered we share the same nationwide cell phone service, so we can talk until our batteries die – without it costing us a cent extra. Since then, we’ve walked and talked almost every day.

When there’s freezing rain in North Texas where Sandra lives, she stays indoors but will talk to me while I walk up and down the hills in my neighborhood. When it snowed one December in Washington State (my home), I walked on the treadmill while Sandra trooped up and down her street, telling me about the inflatable Christmas decorations in the yards she passed. Since we’ve both visited in each other’s homes many times, we can describe what we’re passing in our neighborhoods – the flowers blooming at the big house on the corner or the new construction at the top of the hill – and the other person can visualize what we’re seeing.

Just knowing we have a friend who will keep us company while walking has encouraged both of us to get out and get moving, even on days when we’d rather stay inside and watch TV. I’ve learned to walk in drizzly rain (a common occurrence where I live). On some days I not only have a BlueTooth but blue lips as well. Sandra braves the hot Texas sun or blustery Blue Northers, though thunderstorms will keep her safe indoors.

Without our walkie-talkie system I’m sure we’d have all kinds of good excuses for avoiding our daily walks. But with them we’re getting in shape, losing pounds, and keeping in touch. And, of course, it gives us an opportunity to discuss our book.