Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trip Delay

This isn't the first time trip delay has happened, in fact, it happened on our first Thistle Adventure too.  Yep, Mr. Ed was not blessed with good teeth.   His teeth want to die before he does so his non-travel days are filled with fillings and extractions and impressions and implants and dentures and bridges and huge outlays of cash.  The dental work, planned to be wrapped up in September, has slid into October. Our Rocky Mountains trip from Alberta to Colorado has shrunk to something much less ambitious because we're getting a late start and the snow is already flying in Banff.  We now have a departure date, God willling and the creek don't rise of October 8, with Ed wrapping up his dental commitments for this fall on the 7th.  

My teeth seem to be doing fine.  Other parts of my aging body, however, are acting up.  Having managed to put the digestive tract health issue behind me, I've now been diagnosed with osteoporosis.  As they say, we don't get out of this life alive, but wouldn't it be lovely if loosing our teeth and doubling over with bad posture didn't need to be part of the game plan.  I could forgo the wrinkles too.

Aah well, complaining won't help my bones, exercise will.  My wrinkles?  I think I'll find some relief with candlelight and no mirrors.  For the osteoporosis I now have my list of stretches and twists and balancing acts along with high impact exercises.  I've biked for years to avoid high impact exercise because of my fused ankle.  High impact exercise is now on the top of the list of what I'm supposed to do -- running, jumping rope, hiking, dancing.  Yikes.  Do I sacrifice the ankle for a straight back?  It feels like a "between a rock and a hard spot" kind of dilemma.

Examining my life, even the struggle parts, I am always able to find gratitude -- wonderful family and friends; beautiful home and community; years and years of high energy and good health; happy childhood; meaningful and stimulating work and leisure activities; and money enough to consider myself rich by world standards.  I'm even grateful to discover there is a payoff to being older bringing with it a sense of maturity I never imagined possible.  Our retirement years, or as I recently read and prefer, our "refire" years, can be full and rewarding!  Long held relationships grow even richer and there is free time to spend as we desire.  A contented feeling, like surround sound drowns out not all, but much of my younger life's anxiety.  And then there's patience.  I have much less for stupid stuff, but much more for a delay or postponement here and there.

So, with a bit of a late start on our fall trip, soon we'll depart.  Reduced in scope yes, but no matter, we definitely are looking forward to another Thistle Adventure.  We'll spend time in the North Cascades, head east to Glacier Park, and then backtrack to Idaho's panhandle.  To explore the panhandle we will drive south on Highway 95, searching for bike trails and sweet small towns, basking in Idaho's scenic beauty.  Fall colors are in our hope-to-see plans too.

One trail we'll seek out is the Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail off Highway 200 (referred to as Idaho's Highway 66).  Highway 200 begins at a junction with Highway 95 in Ponderay, just north of Sandpoint.  A short sweet trail that has Benton wiggling with anticipation.

                                 Image result for Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail

Our plan is to get far enough south before too much mountain snow and then home before it snows here on Whidbey.  We'll be home for the holidays. "Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!"

Early January our first 2017 Thistle Adventure will begin.  Branching out from our southwest travels of these past two years, we currently have two destination bike trails in our sights.  First is the Natchez Trace Parkway, 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.  The second is the 200 mile Katy Trail State Park in Missouri, along the Missouri River.  But before the trails, we're looking forward to meeting up with Ed's brother and his wife at Big Bend National Park in Texas.


"When I reflect upon my life, the best things were like a fine wine.  It took more time than I wanted but how glorious the taste when it had matured."

~ Ron Sims

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Whizzpopper Words

Words, words, words.  At one point in my life I decided to learn a new word a day.  Now whatever happened to that idea?   I guess the word "forgot" came into play.  As a little kid attending San Antonio School in Ojai, California, as I struggled over my lessons,

 I'd ask my mom how to spell or pronounce a word.  She always said, "look it up."

As a result I spent lots and lots of time with my nose in a dictionary because my spelling was abysmal and my vocabulary pretty darn inadequate.  And finding a word you cannot spell, wow, now there's a time consuming challenge.  Did the word start with a 'c' or  's'?   Maybe a  'sh' or  'ch'.  What followed?  Was it an 'e' or 'i' or 'a' or what?  In the process I decided I hated the dictionary despite my heavy use of it.  But,  slowly, very slowly, over the years I began to admire, if not love, this book.  It became my right-hand.   Look it up became my mantra.

And now, in our modern world, word fascination can be propelled out of bounds with the Internet.  Dictionaries, Thesaurus, Google, lists and lists of synonyms and anonyms along with spell check and grammar check reign.  I  have daily word assists that can morph into anti-assists.   Like, if you have a good friend named Drury,  as I do, it routinely gets changed to dreary.  Or apostrophes, good grief, they are confusing enough before my computer takes charge -- often improperly I might add.  Rereading my work often finds me gasping in exasperation.   Between the computer's not so helpful help, and my own failings, the results can be quite alarming.

Then there are the words that my trusty computer doesn't recognize.  It diplomatically suggests, "did you mean …?"  For coffiwomple, on the other hand, it bluntly says, "No results found."   But wait, digging deeper, Goggle says coffiwomple means to "travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination."   Aah, it does exist and that's exactly what Ed and I plan to do this fall.

Our destination is a trip to the Rockies, with an unstructured, boondocking-shunpiking Thistle adventure from Banff to Colorado.  Given it's snowing in Yellowstone and the Sierras right now, who knows what the route will be.   But, at any rate, the idea is to follow the changing fall colors, observe wildlife in their winter preparations, and bask in glorious rugged mountain scenes.
                               Image result for Rocky Mountains

One day for fun I found myself searching for travel words and I found some whizzpoppers.  Feeling delight at my findings I wrote this little story about our upcoming trip (translation included for non Scrabble masters): 

Right now, here in Langley, Ed and I are hygge. 

Right now, here in Langley, Ed and I are experiencing cozy feelings enjoying the good things in life with friends (hygge). 

Before we depart eleutheromanaia hits us.  Wanderlust overtakes us!  Or, is it fernweh?

Before we  depart we’re hit with an intense and irresistible desire for freedom. (eleutheromanaia). A very strong and irresistible impulse to travel (wanderlust) overtakes us.  Or, is it an even stronger urge (fernweh)?

Unfortunately, before we hit the road, resfeber engulfs us. 

Unfortunately, before we hit the road, a restless race of our travelers' hearts engulfs us with a mixture of both anxiety and anticipation (resfeber).

 But, once on the road, we'll coddiwomple along feeling our life is eudaimon. 

But, once on the road, we'll travel in a purposeful direction towards a vague destination (coddiwomple), with the feeling that our life is being lived well (eudaimon).

 Nemosphlisht lulls us into complete comfort, right before we're jolted into yugen.

Our fondness for forests and forest scenes ( nemophilisht)  lulls us into complete comfort when suddenly we're jolted into  a strange universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words (yugen).

 It’s a whoopsy waffling world!

It's a great (whoopsy waffling) world!

A 'biffsquiggled' Fran


"Don't gobblefunk around with words."

~ Roald Dahl