Despite the cliché post title, this week for me is seriously the calm before the storm!
Not only are we making the 15-hour drive in one day up to Spokane Washington this Friday, but I also have 80 final papers to grade to the tune of 135,000 words, over the next 10 days.
My students used to submit hard copies of their papers in which I could read while my hubby drove, but in the classes I teach these days, students submit their assignments online through the university portal. So much for multi-tasking.
Other frenetic moments looming include food shopping, packing for the road trip and waking up at 3:00 am to begin the drive. Not to mention, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with 35 other people occupying multiple generations. And the threat of Black Friday deals, the stress of overeating, then the inevitable long drive back home.
For the Thanksgiving holidays, we are staying in a dog-friendly hotel which should help with the feeling of calm. Usually, we stay with family, but other family members beat us to the available guest rooms. Believe me, I am thankful for our large family and we have loads of fun, but daily walks and hikes (weather permitting) and some downtime are the only ways I can cope with most holiday gatherings.
Autumn is my favorite time of year and enjoying the fall leaves and colors brings me peace. Hiking in the woods with my dogs provides a calm respite from the craziness of the holidays and helps me work off that extra piece of pumpkin pie. Unlike many, when walking outdoors, I choose to unplug any tech and just listen to nature and the wind in the trees. Breathing in the cold, crisp air is also calming.
Walking along the water is another way to calm my spirit when stress is nigh. Before we traveled home from San Diego in October, we took a walk on the bayside of Pacific Beach near where my step-daughter lives.
I am blessed to live in a decent suburban neighborhood where it is safe to walk my dogs. I’m linking with Restless Jo’s Morning Walk this week and sharing why walking in nature brings me calm!
Isn’t yellow a lively, cheery color? When I think of August, I think of heat, which makes me think of cloudless, sunny skies, at least out here in the West. I’ve always associated the month of August with the color yellow.
You guessed it, this week’s Sunday Stills theme is anything yellow.
I added “mellow” to my yellow to take the edge off, but our summers here are anything but mellow. Maybe it won’t seem so hot!
Jennifer Bourne, fellow local blogger and co-producer of the Sacramento WordPress Meet-Up and lead organizer for WordCamp Sacramento shared:
“Studies show that the meaning of the color yellow can be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity, increased muscle energy. The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system.”
How do you typically spend your last Sunday in August? For lots of folks, August is still a hot month in the Northern hemisphere, so the beach fronts of rivers, lakes, and oceans see huge crowds spending their last summer weekend around the water.
Water is our “over-arching” theme this week for Sunday Stills. Since interpretation is wide, I encourage you to go with a sub-theme.
You probably know I am an avid water-sports person. Although I dabble in windsurfing, I prefer stand-up paddling (aka SUP).
Stand-up paddling is my sub-theme today.
In the “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the sailor expresses his disdain of being surrounded by (ocean) water but none that he can actually drink. “Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Now you understand the inspiration for the title of my post…or do you?
With water, water everywhere, theoretically, I can use my SUP anywhere there is a body of water over a foot deep. All summer long we have had fabulous windy days at our delta campground, which means lots of windsurfing. Conditions aren’t always right for me to get out on the water with my SUP, hence my disdain over water being everywhere but the conditions are at once too windy to SUP and not windy enough to sail!
I look forward to the calm weekend days at the delta when I can get my SUP out on the water and get my dose of physical activity. SUPing is a great workout which strengthens your core, back, upper body, legs and even your feet.
Because of logistical reasons, I leave my 11-foot fiberglass, stand-up paddleboard at the delta all summer. Our campsite is a few steps away from the levee fronting the Sacramento River, making it easy to carry my board to the water. This summer at the delta I only got out on my SUP three times! I don’t have an extra SUP laying around at home, so if I want to paddle on nearby Lake Natoma or the American River near my house, I have to rent a board. Renting is fine and I have done it, but the incentive is low.
When I’ve had my SUP at home, it takes some effort to load it on top of my car and properly tie it down. That being said, try re-loading and re-tying it after one-two hours out on the water!
Exhausted much? Also, no incentive unless I have help.
Years ago, I tried an inflatable SUP but I didn’t like the bouncy, unstable feel to it. Recently, I tried a new model and it was surprisingly stable even in small waves and a little wind. Major improvements have been made using carbon stringers and other technology for stability and durability.
Bi-annually I receive e-mails from a water-sports store in the Columbia River Gorge near Portland, Oregon about their clearance items. Recently I saw their inflatable SUPs on sale and an idea brewed in my head about how convenient it would be to have one of these available at home.
Even on clearance, these boards are pricey, so I checked out Costco and what do you know, they had an inflatable SUP package that included the board, a break-down paddle, leash and other goodies (bag and pump included), all for half the price. (No affiliate marketing going on here, just information).
Imagine a SUP that fits in the trunk of your car, or in the carry bag that can also be packed for air travel. Sure, inflating takes about 5 minutes with a manual pump, but a pre-work out is all good! After a couple of hours on the water, carrying the board (less than 25 pounds) back to the car, then pushing the deflate button, and poof! Done! Dried off and rolled up and into the car in less than 10 minutes.
“…and all the boards did shrink.”
Now, my incentive is strong to simply grab the bag (just under 50 pounds total), drive the 6 miles to the lake, inflate the SUP in the parking lot or right on the beach and go!
And I did.
Quite the Zen experience last Saturday at 9am. Cool breeze, calm, flat water…and a ton of people out on their inflatable SUPS and other watercraft!
My escape is to just get in a boat SUP and disappear on the water. ~Carl Hiaasen
Enjoy this gallery of previously posted photos.
Serene stand-up paddle moment
Morning stand-up paddle session in Mission Beach, San Diego.
No wind? No problem. Get out your SUP and enjoy!
Woohoo! In the Sea of Cortez
Here is a little bit more about SUPing on Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma.
Link up here or create a pingback by linking to this post! I can’t wait to see how you will interpret water for Sunday Stills!
Today’s Sunday Stills theme challenges you to capture the wind! Wind is a very broad theme which is open to much interpretation.
Like last week, I challenge you to get creative with your photography or other projects! Perhaps you captured the wind in a poem, a song, a quote. I’m sure there are hundreds of songs with “wind” in the titles.
This is one of my favorite quotes.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
We can only see the effects of wind, whether it’s a gentle breeze fluffing a bird’s feathers, or hurricane force winds ripping piers from their docks, or clouds scudding across the sky blown by the beginnings of a storm.
The featured image above shows wind’s effect on the clouds and the ever-present wind turbines.
Wind plays a big part in my life since I became a windsurfer in 2009. The wind is ALWAYS the topic of conversation from April through September in our household and at the delta as every windsurfer I know checks their wind meters, their weather apps or asks if there will be enough wind for sailing.
When it’s a BIG day, it looks like this.
Brodie loves the wind and waves. You can tell it’s windy by his flapping ear!
I manage to have good days windsurfing. Just last week hubby caught me coming off the water with a big smile on my face after 45 minutes of fun in the wind.
Did you know my logo for Second Wind Leisure represents stylized sails in an abstract “W”? A graphic artist friend created this for me years ago when I started blogging, and for my website Windigen Consulting (which is German for wind).
I’m looking forward to what your interpretation for WIND!
For the Sunday Stills challenge to celebrate the first week in July, share your favorite thing about summer. You can simply share one photo of your favorite summer experience or wow us with a gallery of what summer means to you.
And it’s not just about photos…perhaps you are inspired by a song, poem, artwork, short story or something else. It would be nice to have a photo of your idea, but please be creative!
What does “summer” mean to you? Is it the warm (or hot) weather? Or…
Witnessing a refreshing summer storm?
Planting and enjoying your backyard garden?
Enjoying a water sport?
Enrolling the kids in some swim lessons?
A beautiful hike in the mountains?
Calm sunrise at a Mexican resort?
Chasing your dog on the beach?
Stopping to smell the flowers?
Visiting a national park?
Whatever it is, please share your idea of SUMMER this week!
Since we are on the subject of summer, feel free to join us on Instagram for the Summer Instagram Photo Challengethat starts today. You can join anytime!
The last week in June finds the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge exploring the theme “tourist.”
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere sees an abundance of tourists.
We all think we know who tourists are, but did you know that YOU are a tourist? Any time you step out of your locale, you become a tourist.
“Stop hating the tourist—after all, tourists are just us in other locations.” Dr. Greg Shaw
Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act.
In two of the classes I teach, we discuss the idea of tourism. In fact, the major in which I teach is called Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration. Adding “tourism” and changing the major from Recreation and Leisure Studies brought hundreds more students seeking courses in this major which include 14 career tracks beside the traditional public recreation services, parks & natural resources management, and therapeutic recreation.
Tourism and hospitality play a huge role in this major which opens doors for careers in event planning, professional and collegiate sports management, and theme park management, to name a few. One of our class discussions includes these questions:
What would you say are your hometown’s best tourist attractions or special features worthy of tourist visits?
What special places in your town would tourists ruin?
Food for thought!
“Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things.”
― Tahir Shah, Travels With Myself
Are you a tourist this summer? When we went to the Big Island of Hawaii last winter, I KNEW I was a tourist and was very happy to be one. How else can one learn about the places they travel?
Did I mention I have been to Yosemite National Park 25 times in my life so far? I do not feel like a tourist there at all, more like a local who has chased a few bears away, camped in tents in the frigid alpine nights, and enjoyed countless ranger-led hikes and campfires.
It’s all in our perspective.
Please join the ever-growing list of bloggers sharing for Sunday Stills!
Today’s Sunday Stills theme is “fur and feathers” but feel free to add photos of your scaled and slithering friends as well.
Did you know today is National Animal Rights Day? Many organizations dedicate themselves to the betterment and loving treatment of ALL animals.
According to Christian author Gary Kurtz, who wrote Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: A Book of Hope for Those Who have Lost a Pet, he writes that “pets are God’s creatures…merely on loan to us.”
With Biblical support, Kurtz suggests that all animals have eternal spirits. As a Christian myself, I believe this to be true, which gives me great comfort knowing that my past, present and future dogs, cats, birds and even fish have a place in God’s eternity. On some spiritual level, I shall see them all again.
Almost every day, I read online from friends and family who grieve a pet who has died. I often recommend this book and have been surprised at the positive responses from those who have read it.
Regardless of your own beliefs in an eternal afterlife, or not, we must treat all creatures on Planet Earth with care and respect.
Of course, I will swat a mosquito or kill a tick that crawls on my skin. Believe it or not, even pesky bugs have a place on Earth.
To illustrate my point, while camping with family two years ago, I almost fell over as I watched my little nephew stomp on an unsuspecting beetle while hiking in a national park. I asked him why he did that, and he replied, “because he was going to bite me.”
I told him that all critters and animals are protected in a national park and he could go to jail for killing bugs and animals (yes, a teeny white lie, but bear with me here). I then asked him, “What if you were just walking along one day and a giant walked up and stepped on you?” His eyes widened with the realization that his eight-year-old imagination allowed.
A little leisure education hurts no one.
This swallow and her mate decided to build their nest in our neighbor’s windsurf sail shed. One of the other fellows who keeps his sails in the shed noticed the partially built nest and knocked it down with a stick, complaining about bird droppings (my word, not his). Luckily it was still under construction, so no eggs or birds were harmed.
It was an abrupt decision, one that I both disagreed with and supported.
On one hand, these swallows build their nests here on Sherman Island in the delta and there are plenty of safe areas in which to build them. On the other, these skittish birds would not have succeeded trying to hatch eggs in a noisy area with us walking in and out of the shed.
In the long run, I guess there is no right way to move a bird nest. They can quickly rebuild one in a safer location.
But these incidents beg the question, how much have humans encroached on natural habitats in the name of progress, lifestyle and leisure?
To what extent do we continue to banish native animals from their own environments due to urbanization?
It is a little sad to think we need organizations to protect Earth’s creatures from harm and violence, mistreatment and misuse.
So, let’s support our fellow creatures today by posting a favorite photo of yours for Sunday Stills!
Please help me promote Sunday Stills so that we can have more talented bloggers participate in this photo challenge, now that the long-time WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge posted its final theme this week.
Link up here:
A hearty shout-out to May Sunday Stills Photo Challenge participants!
While the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day this weekend (holiday observed Monday), my co-host Aixa at Mucho Spanish chose the theme “aroma” for the Sunday Stills photo challenge.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional “unofficial” kick-off to the summer season here in the Northern Hemisphere. I, myself, am at the Sacramento Delta for a long weekend as this publishes. Part of the tradition includes backyard BBQ filling the air with mouthwatering aromas of chicken, salmon, tri-tip (my hubby’s specialty) and other grilled treats!
The above image shows an array of canapes perfect to whet your appetite!
Deepest gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
Last week as I rode my bike around the neighborhood, I noticed many folks preparing their RVs for a long weekend excursion.
Here in Northern California we are within two hours of either the Sierra Nevadas (Lake Tahoe, Gold Country, and Yosemite just 4 hours south east) and the San Francisco Bay area and the ocean. In between are countless campgrounds, lakes, rivers and other wonderful leisure places.
Each with their own, distinct aromas.
In one of the classes I teach, we study a concept called “smellscape,” sort of an exploration of the senses. Students are asked to think about their favorite leisure places and identify the scents, smells, odors and aromas associated with them.
For me, my favorite scent is the blast of pine that fills the cool mountain air as you enter the forest. As kids on our long drive into Yosemite from the Mohave Desert along the Eastern Sierra Nevada, we rolled down the car windows and drank in the scent, as soon as we reached 7000 feet elevation and saw the trees.
Similarly, there is such a distinctive smell associated with the ocean as soon as you pull into the parking lot at the southern California beaches.
The salt air, sun-warmed asphalt and sidewalks, BBQs, sand and ocean air create a cacophony of smells that announces “you are now at the beach.”
So, take a moment, close your eyes and think of scents that bring you joy and remind you of your favorite leisure activities.
What are your favorite aromas? Please share photos that represent them!
Being that this post publishes during Memorial Day Weekend, I am compelled to share one more Water Safety post. 20+ years working in the public swimming pool and aquatics industry will do that to a person!
There is nothing like a new year to inspire us to reflect on personal growth.
Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth. Bryant McGill
I haven’t posted anything about my windsurf journey in a while, so this seemed like a great time to demonstrate my growth in the sport of windsurfing. I have to push myself a little as I write this because this is one area of my leisure choices that is lacking.
In the above image of me in Baja, Mexico in January 2016, you can see the hesitation and uncertainty in my body language as I get set to tackle shore break waves slightly over my head. Sailing in the ocean is a scary proposition and I have used this same image with the Eleanor Roosevelt quote on several of my social media accounts.
Because this does scare me even now!
But not willing to cringe from a challenge, I was photographed last summer on one of the windier days at the delta, sailing on a very small sail! The wind clocked at 25 mph!
I had convinced myself that in these kinds of windy conditions, that I would get injured sailing this fast. Any experienced windsurfer will tell you that “water-time” is the only remedy for overcoming your fears, and when hubby set up a 3.7 meter sail (I normally sail on a 4.7 or 5.0 meter sail), I took the challenge and faced my fear.
And yes, I had a blast!
I was able to save the image above from a video taken by one of my windsurfer friends. Check it out:
Just the day before the video was taken of me, I used my new camera to take hundreds of photos of my fellow windsurfers as they braved the high winds.
Many of the ladies couldn’t use their own smaller sails because their husbands were using them! You can read more about this in this post: How the Delta Changed My Life
Using that camera in high winds and being able to capture some amazing footage in full zoom showed my growth as a photographer.
Often times, I get more pleasure out of photographing my windsurf colleagues than I do sailing.
I always seem to approach windsurfing with anxiousness and trepidation, even after eight seasons. But that day I went out in the high wind really challenged me and forced me to grow in the sport.
The rest of the summer, not so much, as the wind died on many summer weekends, then I had to deal with a sick dog, then a broken hand.
The best thing about reflecting at the beginning of the year is all that negativity is behind me and I really do look forward to the upcoming windsurf season!
Here’s to a summer of growth!
This is the first post of 2018 submitted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Growth
If you are a blogger and/or photographer, the weekly photo challenges will take you on a roller-coaster ride of themes, for which to submit the appropriate image! Last week we enjoyed serene views of sunsets, peaceful moments and other settings which, as we prepare for the hectic holidays, was a much needed respite.
The goal of this week’s theme Cheeky,according to Michelle Webber at WordPress, is to “find a little irreverence in your world.”
Oh, a bit of fun and humor, huh? I can also use both as I prepare for the holidays!
If you haven’t guessed who this handsome and silly guy is, this is my husband, Hans. In the photo above, he was trying to make some kids traveling with us laugh with his antics!
As you can see, Hans has no problem showing his irreverence, or at least his humor in front of a camera. Ham, much? I found the quote below, which seems to sum up his worldview of life!
“I won’t be cheeky and hypocritical… I will be real or nothing!” ― Deyth Banger
In this photo, my daughter’s dog Gideon seems to be sitting and chatting with Hans. If I recall, Gideon sat like that naturally that day, and Hans posed himself for the photo!
Go ahead, caption this!
While traveling, I take a LOT of pictures! No matter our moods, Hans finds ways to keep things fun! Thank goodness, because I get too serious and I need to lighten up. This photo, taken at a fish market in Baja, Mexico, demonstrates more of his silliness.
Hans has his serious side. He is a hard worker and lives life passionately. After all, he was born in Colombia, South America, to a German father and German-Chilean mother. He is an adventurous spirit who is fluent in both Spanish and German. And one heck of a windsurfer. I asked his permission to feature some of his cheeky photos in my blog today.
I know Hans lightens my mood every day and keeps me sane and happy. If you are newer to my blog, you can read more about how we met.
In this holiday season of rushing around from shopping to parties to family gatherings, keep your sense of humor. Enjoy some cheeky moments this holiday season!
One of my favorite fashion bloggers featured me and my water-sports’ lifestyle on her blog this week. If you haven’t met Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style yet, please stop by and read her blog.
Jodie tells readers “You may not love the idea of putting on a bathing suit or being seen in one, but I do think we need to practice more body love instead of being so critical of ourselves. None of us are perfect, and it’d be too boring even if we were!! So let’s embrace our wonderful bodies as is!!
Even if you don’t go to the beach or pool regularly, I do think it’s nice to have at least one good fitting bathing suit in your wardrobe, for those just in case moments.”
You know me, I practically live in outdoor clothing. On Summer weekends while at the delta (our windsurf camp), you can catch me wearing something water-related. I think it is possible to be a little fashionable while enjoying the water.
Summer activities are often outside at the pool or beach. We are looking at beach style for women over 50 for a variety of activities.
What’s cool about Jodie’s blog is she shows fashion for women of different ages, 50s, 60s and 70s. Always appropriate and stylish!
Blogger Marje from Kyrosmagica used a photo as her featured image (with some Canva editing), which featured me on her Author Spotlight!
Fellow blogger, Allison, at Allison D Reid, contacted me and asked to share her vast collection of gorgeous images of forests, streams and other natural settings. Like me, she has oodles of photos “collecting virtual dust” as she cleverly put it! You can also find the file of her images from South Chagrin Reservation in Bentleyville, Ohio.
Here is a wonderful example of one of Allison’s photos. It happens to fit the WPC shadow theme (but the credit is hers)!
Help us bring our unused photos out of the shadows!
Current folders include landscapes, flowers, animals, cityscapes and general office. Visit on a regular basis for new folders and photos added weekly.
New to the folder this week are the following:
“Donated Images, with subfolder, “Donated by Allison.”
Sports with subfolders: Climbing, Cycling, Group Games, and Water Sports
The folder “Landscape” was also updated to include a subfolder “Water.”
Do NOT be shy about using these. It will be up to you to choose and edit them for use on your blog.
I know many of you take quality photos! If you are a blogger with unused digital images laying around “collecting virtual dust” and would like to donate them to the blogging community, please contact me and let’s see if we can add them. I use the Pro edition of Dropbox with plenty of room, (so no worries on space!) and it is very easy to share.
Bring these photos out of the shadows so we may all enjoy them!
While visiting sunny San Diego over the holidays, we visited Coronado for a quick walk on the dog beach area. Walking back to the car, I saw this amazing door!
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. Psalm 107:23-24
Here is a closer shot of the door showing the intricate wood work.
It’s not always that easy stalking people’s front doors with a camera. I sort of hid behind my car and zoomed in enough to read the quote above. It is a breath-taking door surrounded with beautiful stained glass, complete with a port-hole.
Last year, while visiting family in San Diego during Christmas week, I snapped this photo of my nieces contemplating with Anticipation the coming of Santa on Christmas Eve. We took a leisurely stroll on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach to get out of the house and watch the surfers.
My nieces may look patient, but trust me, they put on a good show to avoid mom’s stern looks, when they asked for the 10th time, “when are we going home to open our Christmas Eve gifts?”
And don’t be jealous of this Southern California sunshine! It can get cold! It was a whopping 50 degrees that day!
You, too, can participate in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge!