Saturday the 26th was National Public Parks Day. Now I don't know about the rest of the country, but around here we had a big gathering of volunteers to help clean up our local park down at Lake Selmac.
Funny thing was, I was just complaining about the fact that I needed a new cap. I've got a couple of construction company ball caps, but they're tan and old and it is getting harder and harder to wash the dirt out of them. You got a free ball cap if you volunteered down at the lake for half a day on National Parks Day, plus a T-shirt, some cheap gloves, bottled water, snacks and FREE PIZZA! when it was all over.
Free pizza and a new ball cap!??
I was so there.
Actually, since I walk or jog the lake almost everyday, the trash has always really bothered me and been a dilemma. Do I stop and pick it up? Do I ignore it and let the park rangers (paid) do it? If I pick it up and it is sticky, where will I wash my hands? Do I put the crap in my pocket, or seek out a trash can?
I'm there to get exercise and get my dogs exercise so trash stooping becomes a pain in many ways. I want to pick up all the trash I see... but... I'm in the middle of something and...
Loads of psychic pent-up guilt there, I'm tellin' ya...
So when I read about the annual clean-up day, and about the free ball cap... I thought "I am so there".
Most folks were surprised by my choice of volunteerism. I wanted a pick-em up stick and a pocket full of trash bags.
"You don't want to work with the chainsaw crew?"
"Nope. I want to get me some litter!"
"You don't want to work with the trail crews?"
"Nope, I gotta hankering to get me some trash!"
So I joined the old folks and the kids in a massive 4 hour litter assault and I have to tell ya, it was wonderful! I must have picked up three hundred bottle caps, four hundred cigarette butts, a couple of hundred cans and bottles. Plus all of those baggies and packaging and tin-foil wrappers!
A full year of pent-up trash-side-stepping-guilt unleashed from within me and I out-bagged every damn one of those old folks, tripling... no... quadrupling the take of the next nearest competitor...
"You sure got a lot of trash in that bag in a hurry..." said an old dude in his free ball cap.
"I'm just getting warmed up!" I told him.
Ladies, just because the outhouses "smell bad", doesn't mean you should step behind a tree and do your tinkles there. All of those little wads of toilet paper attract dogs - MY DOGS!- and are simply gross! Hold your nose, tolerate the flies, and do your givings in that stinky box so that we all don't have to watch the rain slowly beat your toilet paper into a pulpy mess...
And I don't have to spend time hunting behind trees and picking it all up!
During pizza eating time, I did meet one of my neighbors who lives on a large lot with a gate.
I think he was CIA...
Last year, I made a personal commitment to get my fat ass back under 250 pounds.
For about three days.
Once I stopped "trying to lose weight", I've basically found an equilibrium between 249 and 253. 249 after a workout, and 253 after a meal. This is all fine and groovy. I feel good, my resting heart rate sits in the high 40's, I can jog without exploding my knees and take off my shirt without apologizing first...
But I've still got a roll of belly fat that just sits there doing nothing but mocking me and keeping belly button lint from forming where it used to always form.
So the only way to really get rid of it (as it will be the last fat to depart) is to get genuinely skinny. Which means becoming one of those obsessed dieters and calorie counters (up to now I just stopped drinking beer and eating ice cream, and stayed away from seconds).
Last year, when Mum was in the hospital in Medford after her stroke, I went into a bike shop in Grants Pass and told the guy who was selling me a bike that I hadn't been on one since I did nerve damage to my hands while riding a bike across Australia. I was admiring the progress in bicycle design since then and explaining how my damaged hands made me avoid bicycles for quite a long time. There was an older woman in the shop who was listening in, and she looked at me and said "YOU rode across Australia on a bicycle? You must be really strong."
The implication being, "you're too fat to be riding a bicycle anywhere, you fat monstrosity..." and I nodded and simply said "Well, that was back when I was skinny..."
Which was when I weighed about 230, (which for me is cutting it pretty thin).
So, just because of that woman (and the return of belly button lint) I've moved the bar down to 230.
Beer is back on the shelf and no more ice cream smothered in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with trail mix and granola...
We'll see how it goes...
I live on a block that is 10.6 miles around. When I first started riding, this was a good ride for me. It took an hour and five to ten minutes, it had hills but not too steep of hills, and I could slip in a ride in the short winter months knowing that if I left more than an hour before dark, I could get back to my gate before dark (obviously).
Since it is far more flat than hilly, I hadn't done the ride in five or six months. I'd graduated to steep and gnarly hills with bears, I'd thought. But I did the ride the other day and it took me 41 minutes without even trying.
I did it again yesterday to make sure I got the time right. 43 minutes because it was windy...
I must be doing something right after all...