Back to Normal

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This past week has left me feeling like I’m coming out of a fog. The past couple months have been tough, and while things haven’t gotten any better on the job front, I’m not as depressed about it. I imagine the nice weather has helped with that – nothing like waking up to rain to kill any motivation to do anything.

I’ve also gotten out twice this week to go hiking – both times were so well needed. Being home so much is weird, and while I know that I should take advantage of the time to get outside, write more, and sleep in, I feel guilty whenever I do. I constantly have to remind myself that taking care of my body takes care of my mind, too.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll leave you with some more beautiful photos from my hike on Monday!

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Oh, and one from yesterday – the cottonwood is so bad here that in some places, it looks like it’s snowing!

There was so much cottonwood on the trails today it looked like snow. #allergies #hiking

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Beach Hunter

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While Seattle didn’t have much of a winter, I can definitely tell that spring is definitely here! I decided to take a short break from job applications to find a park in my new neighborhood. I’ve been craving some beach time, and even though it’s not beach weather yet, it was nice to get out by the water. This one is only a few minutes away from home, and when the sun is shining, it’s a great way to kill some time in the afternoon.

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I ran across these two ducks while on a short hike around the park. They were a little too friendly – you could tell they are fed by park-goers all the time. Thankfully, they kept their distance and let me take a few photos before heading on my way!

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By the time I was done with my short hike, the sun had faded away and storm clouds rolled in. I made a quick beeline for the car, and barely made it home before it started storming! Normally I don’t mind a little rain, but I had my camera with me and nowhere to hide it if it started pouring, so I had to cut my trip a little short. I can’t wait to head back there soon, hopefully with D, for a nice picnic or afternoon on the beach when it gets a little warmer outside.

I can’t wait to find more great parks in the area. This was a great place to start, though!

Spring Hiking: New Challenges in Old Spaces

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Last Monday, I went to my usual park for a hike, and found the place very different than I last saw it. We’ve had some brutal storms and flooding in the area, and they wreaked havoc throughout the park. While it was sad to see trees broken and lying everywhere, and paths destroyed, it was clear that the park staff have worked their asses off to keep the park safe for all of us who spend so much time there…and it was greatly appreciated. You can tell they have had their work cut out for them – clearing trees, repositioning bridges, and re-laying stepping stone across the river. Nature sure does keep us all on our toes, and it was a challenge to find new ways around the park.

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The photo above was taken where I usually cross the river. The stepping stones were washed down river, and the stone walls lining each side of the river are all in a huge pile just to the left of the photo, and the pile is so large it’s re-routing the river a bit. The parks staff added stepping stones a bit further down, but it was strange to approach this and realize I can’t just hop across like I used to!

While it was a challenge, it was once I embraced. It was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve done there, and I can’t wait to see how the park staff adapts to the changes. I’m sure things will be back to normal soon, but for now, we’re all making it work.

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Spring Hiking: New Places

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A few weeks ago, I hit the pavement I usually only use for bike rides. My bicycle isn’t the easiest thing to lug with me from work to where I ride, and I think it needs a tune up anyway. Since the sun was shining, and I wasn’t in the mood for my usual hike, I took a 4-mile walk/jog on the bike trail.

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It was a great deviation from my usual routine, and I even ran into a friendly (but suspiciously quiet) deer. The flowers were bright, and the sun was a great way to ring in the late springtime heat.

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One attraction I often fly by on my bike is the Women’s Park. It was built by women in the community, and maintained solely with donations from individuals and businesses in town. It’s a nice, short detour on my walk, and one I’m glad I didn’t miss. On my bike, it’s a big blur that indicates to me that I’m almost back to my car – but this time, I got to walk through and enjoy the hard work.

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I’ve gone on a few walks this way since, and it’s a great change of pace. It even got me running a bit, since hitting the flat, safe pavement is a bit easier than running on the hiking trails.

Now, all I need is for it to stop raining this week so I can get back out there!

ps – Happy Friday the 13th!

 

100 Happy Days Challenge: Days 31-40

Welcome back to more photos from the #100happydays challenge!

This set of 10 days took almost twice as long as that. Between grading final exams, traveling home for Mother’s Day, and getting ready for summer classes, it was a busy couple of weeks! However, these past “10” days were some of the best so far in the challenge. Read more to see why!Days 31-34

Day 31: Right before I headed out the door to hang out with my nephews for the evening, a package arrived from Mariko of Budziak Beauty! We did a gift swap to honor the challenge, and what it represents – you can read more about it here on my post, and on her blog as well! I was so excited to dig into the box, but I had to wait until the next day!

Day 32: After waiting patiently, I finally got to see what Mariko sent me! I burned through the candy pretty quickly, and the mug she made for me is now serving as my desk “candy jar.” It’s a perfect reminder to stay happy…and if all else fails, there’s always candy!

Day 33: Even though I was stuck grading exams for almost two weeks straight, that doesn’t mean I have to it all inside, right? I snuck out that afternoon to do some grading outside. If you look closely, you can even see me in the reflection of the computer screen.

Day 34: After catching a few of my students cheating on their final (a long story I can’t say more about than that), I went out for a long hike to blow off some steam. It was gorgeous outside, and it was a great distraction from work stress!

Days 35-38

Day 35: Did some Mother’s Day shopping after work. I wish I could have taken photos in the nursery I went to – I wanted to take all of it home with me! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a hand free since I was lugging around two very heavy hanging flower baskets. Both my mother and mother-in-law loved them, and it has become a bit of a Mother’s Day tradition for me to gift them flowers they can enjoy all spring and summer!

Day 36: Managed to get in some blogging time between exams and other exciting stuff…like laundry.

Day 37: Remember my trip to the bookstore? Well, I finally got around to reading all the magazines I bought!

Day 38: Spent a lazy morning catching up with Martha Stewart. I can’t get enough of her magazines, and her blog too!

Days 39-40

Day 39: I’ve been in a huge cooking rut lately, so it’s a pretty big deal if I manage to cook something I love. I used the Macaroni with Spinach and Pancetta recipe from Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat. The perfect dinner for a hot day when I don’t want to cook (and this seriously only takes as long as it does to cook the pasta).

Day 40: Instead of going on a hike, I took a 3-mile walk on the bike trail I usually ride on. It’s fun to see the bike trail from a different perspective. For example, this small wildflower trail is something I’ve never been through before because I’m usually whizzing by it on my bike. It was a great change of pace, and a wonderful way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

There you have it – another 10 days down! I’m hoping that with the weather picking up, and my work schedule winding down, I can get to these each day, instead of every couple days! Almost halfway done!

Spring is Finally Here!

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The weather has been so nice lately that all I want to do is go outside – and I have been! The parks are bursting with flowers, the trees are filling up, and the sun is pretty much always out. It has been a great couple of weeks off of work (at least “work every day” kind of work), and a great chance to just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

I won’t bore you with too much yammering – enjoy the photos!

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(Almost) Spring Hiking

IMG_4173We had another random warm weekend, and since our internet was down most of Friday, I decided to take that as a hint that I should get outside an enjoy the 60 degree weather. I wasn’t planning to go out at all – in fact, I considered heading in to work on my day “off” to get some grading done. But the thought of spending such a beautiful day in a windowless office sounded horrible, so I strapped on my hot pink shoes and headed outside.IMG_4168IMG_4164IMG_4167I didn’t take too many photos this time, since I made a concerted effort to do more running than I usually do. It was great to head outside and appreciate the fresh air and warm sunshine. By the time I got home, I was greeted with this: IMG_4178What I assumed was just a temporary problem (sometimes our cable gets knocked out for short periods of time here) turned out to be a bigger deal. I guess the landscaping crew severed most of the main lines into each building. The cable crew worked very hard all day to get our cable back on, and it was back up and running not too long after I got home – just in time for me to kick back, relax, and sit in the sun while reading a magazine. 🙂

Overall, it was a blessing in disguise. Not being online first thing in the morning prevented me from spending the day locked in the house grading papers or perusing the internet for things I don’t need. I enjoyed the day off, and made sure to spend the rest of the day enjoying it too. Like many people, sometimes I need to be forced away from the computer…haha!

Which reminds me…I might need to make a habit out of this. Perhaps Fridays could be my “offline” days from now on? We’ll see if I can stick to that!