Up In The Sky Sometime

I walked last night
Should say I wandered
I saw the galaxies
And so I pondered

How I would love to roam there, up there
Up in the sky sometime
"Up In The Sky Sometime" - Jonathan Richman

The Big Dipper, distinct in form, glittered into my sweaty eyes on a still and warmish autumn night amidst a set of burpees.

Wow, that sentence sounds like a candidate for submission to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

But really, the fanciest gym couldn't beat the sight of bedazzling stars dancing around in the black sea above me.

I loved astronomy as a kid, learning the basics about the world of stars before my ever-shifting interests went on to other things like airplanes and stamp collecting. Maybe this is where my scientific mind truly outshone my artistic mind. I really dug the concrete stuff like the life-cycle of a star, the heat at which stars burned and the corresponding colors, the chemistry that allowed stars to function, and so far.

On the other hand, the constellations stumped me for the most part. I checked out books from the library that cataloged the constellations to try to figure it all out. Some were easy enough - Orion, the two Dippers, and Cassiopeia - while others escaped my mind completely.

And even then, the Dippers are part of Ursa Major & Ursa Minor - the Big and Little Bear. How someone got bears out of those particular masses of stars I will never know.

But maybe trying to figure out the sky from someone else's POV is a fool's errand. If you really think about it, anyone can create their own constellations out of the hundreds of stars in the sky above. Many perform that same exercise with clouds as they float on overhead on a day where you probably have better things to do but couldn't imagine doing them for the next half-hour or so. So why not the stars?

As I glanced toward the south, I spotted in the stars the runner, both feet elevated off the ground as they stretched for the finish line.

Then I completed my last burpee set. I think someone glancing down from a neighbor's window at me might have thought I was completely nuts by then.


Dolores For Assembly

Capitalism in downfall (the successes are sometimes touted, but the failures are almost always noted) stood brightly on display in the neon-colored clearance signs, screaming 30-60% off of everything in the store (with the requisite "No Refunds" disclaimer.) For this corporate retail store, this particular location no longer brought in the greenbacks, and was closing its doors for good, or at least until the next tenant set up residence.

Clerks tended to the growing throng of customers looking for a good bargain or three. Not many seemed to be smiling, save for the occasional consumer who found a wanted item for a never dreamed about price.

I had made my purchase for the day, garnering a necklace for a niece for her birthday. On the way out, there was Dolores.

Her jubilant face belied her hunched back and the wheeled walker, decked out with a U.S. flag, her purse, and other accessories, which she grasped for support as she ambled forth . I stood my ground as she glanced my way behind her wire spectacles and moved toward me.

"How are you doing, son?" she said jovially, as she slowly stretched her hand. Her handshake was firm and strong, again defying external appearances.

"My name is Dolores and I'm running for mayor of this city." Her smile radiated determination and sincerity. "I sure hope you will vote for me." "Sure thing," I responded, as I nodded my head and smiled back - it would be impossible for anyone not to, in my mind - as she took leave of me and headed deeper into bargain mania.

Alas, I couldn't vote for you for mayor, Dolores, as I don't live in the city where you live.

On the other hand, state officials in the legislature have done little to impress me this year, and the budget, already infested by a recent trend of tardiness past the mandated deadline, was made simply intolerable in my opinion by going almost three months overdue this year.

Thus, Dolores, you earned a promotion - I hope you like state office, because I threw a vote for you there.


Just In Case You Were Wondering...

In my blog post three months ago, I posted some close-up pictures of some objects I happened upon on a wandering kind of day.

I figured it was about time to let anyone who ventured a guess in private or in comment what those pictures are (just highlight the text below - I'll give those of you a chance who haven't looked at the pics yet a second chance to give a quick glance...)

Blue Glob - Exercise ball (yes, with little spikey things)
Hexagons - Rack of Barbells
Patterned Dots - Truncated Dome Warning Strip (found on sidewalks; interesting thing about this pic - depending on how you look at it, those domes can appear as depressions)
Green Circle - Patio Table (outside coffee store)
Wooden-looking Object - Park Bench
White Dots - Box of Cotton Swabs


The Need For Speed

In the athletic realm of things, I know I'm not supposed to compare myself to others for a particular discipline.

With my favorite past time that is running, that really has never been an issue. My goal has always been to see how far I could really progress. It helped that there were always signs of progress during those formative years.

With swimming, however, it's been a whole other matter. I can't help and stare in amazement at folks in other lanes, and how easy they glide through the wake, skimming over the surface of the water effortlessly.

One swimmer I've seen lately sports an Escape From Alcatraz cap as he works out. I think he's probably seen me stare at him at times, and if he has, it's not because of jealousy, but because I keep saying, "Damn, he makes it look easy." Compared to the other elite folk who compete in that event, he may be a back of the pack person for all I know, but he looks plenty fast to me.

I've been doing a lot of form work for awhile, trying to perfect it as best I can sans the a coach's watchful eye, and my swim times have improved up to a point. But now I guess I have to take the axiom I've heard from others that really seems so simple to heart - to get fast in the water, you have to swim fast, which means lots of interval work.

Yikes! I'm suspecting I'll be needing a lot of shoulder & upper back massages next year, because that seems to be the next step.


Emerging From The Mush

I think it's fading now.

For the past few months, I've been going through a serious case of what I call mushbrain.

My focus has gone to heck.

I've seen my emotions sway from complete coolness to something close to frenzied hysteria.

My normal hyper-tangential, multi-tasking mind, has had a numbing dullness from which I could not seem to break.

An online acquaintance of mine suggested that my surgery had thrown my body chemistry out of whack. Obviously, I'll never be sure what's been happening the past few months, but I suspect she's 100% correct (and I thank her for her insight...merci!)

A good sign of this was my run a couple days ago. When I was able to run post-bone marrow donation and post-wisdom tooth extraction (oh, yeah - three of those nasty molars, out of there!), I could barely concentrate on anything but putting one foot in front of the other.

On this run, I noticed the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees. As I passed the wetlands, the bird calls seemed to echo around me, as if they were making final preparations for a long journey...perhaps a journey to warmer climes to the south? It was as if the fingers of fall were starting to take hold of the land around me.

Today, those fingers were nowhere to be found. The local Indian summer season had set up camp, perhaps causing the members of the Pop Warner football team some unwanted discomfort, but otherwise a welcome visitor to summer-clothing-clad residents enjoying a walk with their pets, or tossing a football with family members in the street.

I suspect I have big globs of mush to wash away still, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. Crossing my fingers, of course...