Saturday, April 02, 2005

Journaling on the trail...

John Evans is evil -- and that's spelled E V I L. First he gets me hooked on Battlestar Galactica and then he gets me hooked on trail journals written by hikers on trails like the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Colorado, etc. I'm currently reading a trail journal written by a 37-year-old woman nicknamed Bedouin (trail name given because of her Megamid tent) and she's section hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) alone and in 200-mile two-week hikes every year during her annual vacations. I've read through two years and am now on the third year and the more I read the more I want to get out there even though I'm not nearly ready for a 200-mile trek (or a 50-mile trek come to that). There's something about getting out there and exploring, even if it's a trail you share with other people, and being in the outdoors on your own away from people -- although from what I've read you do not get too far from people or shelters or towns near the trails that offer all kinds of hiker-friendly food, snacks, equipment, fuel, and company. Still, I want to get out there and I know in order to do that I have to start working on getting to the stage where a 50-mile hike won't bother me and I'll be Jonesing for the real trails.

The more I read, the more I want to get out there; the more I want to get out there, the more I'm dissatisfied with things as they are now. I'm not a person who likes to wait when I have a goal in mind, and it's not about instant gratification either. It's about having a goal I know is within my grasp but for a little work or planning and wanting to go after it. Reminds me of Tom Cruise in Top Gun when he tells Charlie, after she accuses him of being aggressive, that he is aggressive and that when he sees something he wants he goes after it. I know the feeling.

in line with that thought, I received a phone call from a friend back in Ohio who wants my help playing a practical joke on her family. She asked me because she has heard and seen some of the tricks I've played on family members and she likes the way I think and plan. I agreed to help and even offered some really great tweaks on her plan, fleshing it out into a true Fixnwrtr-styled full fledged, never-to-be-forgotten practical joke that will live on long after the punch line in anecdotes and family stories. Anyway, to get back to the point of this line of thought, she said that she admired me because I don't whine, even though there are parts of my life (from beginning to end) that have been pretty awful and frightening and even horrific, but I never whine. I told her what I tell everyone, life happens and it isn't always pretty and all the experiences I have had make me who and what I am right now. Without those experiences I would be someone else and maybe someone I wouldn't even like. Whining gets you nowhere. If you don't like a situation or you're unhappy and you don't do anything about whining is a waste of energy and just proves that you'd rather whine than fix whatever is wrong. Children whine. Wimps whine. But people who know what they want and go after it don't whine.

I emailed Bev this morning in hopes she will lend me her TaeBo tape so I can get in shape. I'm also going to start hiking around here and doing a little climbing before I move to the Springs to build up my weak ankles and hamstrings and toughen up the ligaments and muscles around my knees -- once the snow stops falling and the roads and conditions are a lot less muddy and icy than they are now. I don't have cleats on any of my shoes. When I get to the Springs I'll spring for a new, well fitted pair of running shoes, as suggested in Ray Jardine's Beyond Backpacking, which the above mentioned EVIL man suggested and I got from the local library system, and get out on some day and weekend hikes as soon as I get settled in the Springs. I will of course break in the shoes before trekking because I know one thing about hiking/walking/backpacking already: When the feet go, the rest of the body goes. I learned that growing up in the Army where the condition of one's feet can decide, and has decided, the outcome of many a battle. I know from personal experience that I can weather storm, misfortune, danger, and near death experiences, but I cannot weather ill-fitting shoes and bad feet. Oh, I've had my share of aches and pains in my feet, swelling, plantar fasciitis, and the occasional blister from bad shoes, but I tossed the shoes, fixed the problems that caused damage to my feet and paid attention to what causes blisters and foot ills. I refuse to suffer. I'm not the martyr type. I either fix it, toss it, or don't do it again. It's that simple.

Anyway, my mind is made up and my goals are set. I'll work overtime and do more dictation to pay for my new addiction, thanks to the above named EVIL fella, but I am going to enjoy myself and make another dream come true.

Yes, Mom, I am a dreamer, but as I've told you countless times, without dreamers you would still be living in a cave eating raw rotting flesh from a dead animal you fell over while searching for grubs, and plants dressed in foul-smelling animal skins or plaited grasses or the all-together instead of having seven or eight closets full of clothes, jewelry, shoes, and what not in a warm house with a below zero bedroom, eating off a whore house dining room set, watching Forever Knight on your 70" TV screen and taping it on your DVR, and driving around in your vintage Cadillac. So there!

Whatever your dreams (especially the really good ones), it is worth making them come true.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Future plans and changes

Whenever a door closes, a window opens. Or something like that.

I've been very busy working and watching Battlestar Galactica -- on tape of course. A friend sent me the pilot and every show but the season finale, which hadn't come out yet. (He's sending that one some time this week.) I expected not to like the show, but I was wrong, very wrong. I am having a little trouble with the actor who plays Gaius Baltar because he also played Bridget Jones's gay friend, but he is very interesting and a little manic (you have to know what's happening to him to understand). I sort of understand my friend's interest in #6, but after watching the sixth episode I wonder a little because she's very violent. And I do mean VIOLENT. Mafia style, hands on, flat out VIOLENT. The plots are believable, the characters complex and interest and minutely drawn, and the show is a real treat. If you haven't seen it prepare for some changes: Starbuck is a woman and so is Boomer this time around. Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer, Hotdog, etc. are now callsigns instead of their names (the characters have regular names just like us). The cylons are no longer walking toasters and the females are definitely not the type to get headaches--they might cause a few, but they won't get them. It's a very good show and it's well worth the time to tape and watch or just sit down and watch every week. I mean really, with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell leading the cast, how could it go wrong? The new show takes all the best from the original series and adds a very real and interesting sensibility that will hook you if you have any brains and taste at all. So go watch.

In between watching BSG and chatting with John I have found more than a little time to work on operative notes and discharge summaries and all things medical and hospital, but I have also managed to sneak out from time to time to go to the library and fuel a growing interest in hiking and backpacking, also courtesy of my BSG tape making friend. I've always dreamed of packing a few belongings in a sack or backpack and just walking off into the horizon. The fact that I can also take my ham radio rig (a very small one) with me is also a plus, but just getting away from civilization and cars and pressure and the like is seductive. We've been talking about some day hikes to get me seasoned and ready for weekend hikes that will get me seasoned and ready for week long hikes and eventually something bigger and more challenging, like the Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail, and the like. Grandma Gatewood began hiking for the first time in her 50s and she even did the Missouri Trail, the one that starts in Independence and ends on the West Coast, the one pioneers traveled to open the west, and she did it in less time. She wasn't hauling her household goods in a wagon or driving a team of horses or oxen, just walking, but she still did it and she was in her 60s or 70s at the time. Fifty seems like a good age to begin doing all the things I haven't had the time, the money, or the physical chops to do. I still have another hundred years to go yet and I want to make the next fifty as interesting as the last fifty, but not quite so traumatic. A walk along hidden wonders, beside burbling streams and silent lakes and tarns that mirror nothing but the sky, trees, and surroundings is preferable to the sound of boat motors, camping families with screaming kids, and campers parked cheek by jowl next to improved cabins, showers, and tent sites. There is something mystical and spiritual in walking through a silent countryside that few people venture near because of its seeming inaccessibility.

On top of all that, I finally received my copy (and the check) for an anthology of true ghost stories about friends and relatives. It's about time. The good news isn't the book or the check, but that the local library wants to buy copies and keep them on the shelves. And the librarian who buys all their books has asked me, because of my own personal interest in all things science fiction, fantasy, and horror, to suggest books they should buy. I have a list that every library should stock. It pays to be a book reviewer.

I have heard that certain friends are planning their own excursions to sunny tropical settings where the nearly equatorial sun beats down on clear blue water and the surf pounds the sands and lulls you to sleep. To each his/her own, but it does feel like change is in the air and people are reaching for their dreams for a change instead of allowing their seemingly insurmountable problems get them down and keep them cowed and lonely. So here's to the future and reaching for dreams and happiness.