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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Water, Water Everywhere ...

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Water, Water Everywhere ...

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At the beginning of the week, Bobby told me that he'd looked into and gotten us a membership at the Carroll Aquatics Center. We actually have a pool right here in Manchester, but we looked into it a few years ago, and it was ridiculously expensive; CAC is $45 a month for a husband/wife membership. The Manchester pool is also summer-only, whereas the CAC keeps their lap pool open year-round; it is a heated pool, and in the winter, they put a bubble over it. It has been a battle for me lately, dealing with pain/inflammation issues, to take exercise. A lot of things that I used to be able to do hurt now, and with the summer heat starting in earnest, even when it doesn't hurt, it's just not pleasant to hike or ride bikes in 90 degree F weather, especially given Carroll County's rather hilly terrain. (It's 85F/29C right now--I'm outside on our patio--but I'm under the trees and there's a breeze blowing, so it's actually quite nice. It's 91F/33C in Baltimore right now. One of the many times when I ♥ Carroll County. Those of you on the East Coast dealing with the escalating summer heat right now know the difference those 6 degrees make!)

I miss being physically strong. It used to be that I could hold my own against anyone around my size and quite often against people bigger than me too. I don't like looking weak or asking for help. I think this comes from the horribleness that was elementary school gym class, where I was always made to appear weak and incompetent and came to believe it before being brought gently to reality by my first skating teacher. In recent years--changing jobs, starting grad school, and then these recent pain issues--I haven't been able to take exercise for a variety of reasons. So I'm no longer strong like I used to be, which I don't like. Swimming is something I've always liked--I intensely dislike most forms of exercise, i.e. anything involving team sports or running--and been good at. And it's low-impact enough that I hope I can get a good workout without hurting badly afterward.

We went to the pool for the first time today. There is a lap pool and a recreational pool. I thought, when we arrived, that I'd be happy with a few gentle laps, just to get myself stretched and back into the motion. I haven't swam in earnest since moving to Carroll County, which is now six years. At ten laps, I thought, "I'll go for 25." At 20, I decided, "Why not 30?" My former self could swim forever* and would find 30 laps laughable, but my present self was really happy with that, especially since I swam hard for about half of those laps. I was starting to feel a little tired by the end of it. I figure I'll increase by four laps each time I go until I can swim forever again, then ramp up the intensity.

* I am extremely buoyant, so I don't have to work to keep myself afloat, just to move through the water. With a normal lungful of air, I can wrap my legs into a lotus, cross my arms, and float with the water at my chin. If I empty my lungs of air, I sink to just below my nose. This was always a good thing--when I was a kid, I never understood why we had to tread water to pass swim tests, since treading water was literally no effort for me, since I don't even have to move my arms and legs to float upright with my head above water--until I did my open water scuba certification and got out into the quarry and couldn't sink. I explained to the divemaster that I needed more weight because I'm unusually buoyant yadda yadda, and he kindly mansplained to me that that was impossible and I was just nervous and holding air in my lungs. Thank you, sir, for clarifying that twenty-some years of experience in my body, swimming nearly every day in the summer as a kid, wasn't real all that time! Eventually, not surprisingly, he had to put more weight on me, and I sank like a stone.

Yesterday was the 4th; we had a party: small but fun, consisting of both sides of the family and our friends Tristan and Don. After everyone left, Bobby and I were sitting outside, having a drink and enjoying the gorgeous evening, when we realized that we could see the Manchester fireworks going off through the trees. So we drove to the end of the street and watched them from there. In six years here, we never realized that we could see them from up here. It was also cool because our street looks west into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we could see other fireworks going on out there, in miniature form and complete silence. The fireflies that fly late around here--Photinus consimilis, I think--and emit three or four flashes in quick succession were out in the trees, competing with the fireworks. (Here's a good article about Maryland fireflies.) Tomorrow, we are going on a bus trip with my parents to Atlantic City for the day.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/318670.html
  • Alex and I have been totally noticing how many fireflies there are this year compared to usual.

    We share the same sports aversions and some of the same tolerances!

    We also watched unexpected fireworks from our front stoop last night. I should have known! We live in Sunset Park! People here either do not care about safety regulations controlling private fireworks, or don't know about them. So one street over, people were setting off major fireworks on the street in front of their house (in one of the more densely populated areas of Brooklyn!). We were far enough away to watch in safety.
    • Alex and I have been totally noticing how many fireflies there are this year compared to usual.

      And my mother-in-law was saying how, in her area, there are hardly any at all anymore. I know of quite a few "firefly count" projects--I'm always half-tempted to sign up for one, to give myself an excuse to sit out in the yard and stare at bugs for a reason ;)--because populations have dropped so drastically in many areas. It's good to know that they're still holding on in a few places. We're overrun with them, which is okay by me. I love them.

      People here either do not care about safety regulations controlling private fireworks, or don't know about them.

      The year Maryland expanded what was legal in terms of fireworks, Bobby and I went to the fireworks show in his parents' old neighborhood. It was the same thing as you describe. A densely populated Baltimore suburb, everyone gathered in a field for the show, and people are shooting off rockets; two misfired and sailed off parallel to the ground and really could have hurt someone. Up here, the 4th is an excuse for shooting off fireworks for the week leading up and two weeks after (I just heard some being shot off a few minutes ago), but at least we are in a rural area, and short of catching things on fire or blowing one's own fingers off, minimal harm can be done.

      We saw quite a few unofficial shows last night too. At one point, three neighbors were shooting them off at the same time. Poor Lancelot didn't know what to do!

      The kinds that explode in the air are, I think, all still illegal in Maryland, but they're legal in Pennsylvania, which is a five-minute drive, so everyone has them anyway.

      Edited at 2013-07-06 02:30 am (UTC)
  • Thirty laps seems pretty strong to me! But I feel I can relate to this - only with walking instead of swimming. Before my foot injury I could walk miles, no sweat, but afterward it took two years just to work back up to one. And that was after the recovery part.

    You're so lucky you get fireflies! I think I've only seen them in person once. Maybe we just don't have the right environment/climate for it over here.
    • Yes, walking was affected for me too, as I developed several bone spurs on my left foot. My husband and I used to walk everywhere. I'm finally getting that back and am glad of it. Yesterday, we walked the Atlantic City boardwalk with no problems, even a bit of it barefoot. (Once upon a time, you couldn't find me in shoes at home in the summer, but bone spurs on bare floor?? :^O)

      Fireflies never made it over the Rockies, apparently, and no one is sure why (at least, according to an article I read on it). They're such a sign of summer here, and I love them enough that I've never been able to take them for granted, which is a good thing! :)
  • I wish I could go swimming… Though I'm astounded that you could do thirty laps! I think I'd be able to manage two. Your plan for ramping up sounds good to me. (I'm trying to get back to regular exercise again. I seem to be stuck at three miles on my exercise bike. I'd like to reach six.)

    That's-- in my opinion-- the best way to watch fireworks. (The only show I like is one of Disney World's.) As opposed to the neighborhood fireworks that have been going off since the Solstice.

    Fireflies! They're one of the reasons I love living in Kentucky.

    I hope you had fun today!
    • I feel so lucky that we found this pool--inexpensive and close to home! We had an affordable pool when we lived in Howard County, but it was a twenty-minute drive, which made it easy to say, "Eh, don't feel like going today because 40 minutes in the car is a lot." I did 34 laps today, interrupted at the 24th by a stupid foot cramp!

      Now, to me, three miles on a bike sounds like a good bit! :) There is no place in Carroll County without hills--I joke that the signs at the county lines should say, "Welcome to Carroll County--It's all uphill from here!"--which has squashed most of my ambitions of riding my bike because steep hills in the heat?? Nope. And I don't have an exercise bike. Good luck getting to six! :) It sounds like, for us, this is the Season of Exercising Dangerously. Heh.
      • I'm trying not to be jealous. I don't even know where the nearest community (or YMCA) pool is. And our backyard is a hill.

        It's only about twenty minutes, so not enough for the "thirty minutes of exercise three days a week" thing. (Plus, my cramps tend to be less if I exercise at least thirty minutes a day.) So six miles will put it there, and let me watch a full TV episode of something at the same time.

        It sounds like, for us, this is the Season of Exercising Dangerously.

        Hee!
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