Sunday Stills: City #Sidewalks

sunday stills sidewalks

In a few days, I am trading my city/suburban sidewalks for rural ones, as we make our way north to the Spokane, Washington area.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is sidewalks, walkways, rural paths, etc! Join me for a walk down memory lane as I share some of my favorite walks.

One of my favorite views as I walk my dogs is this one below of a suburban street a few blocks from my current house of 32 years.

fall in the neighborhood
Last look at neighborhood street

My brother-in-law shot this of the first snow in October on his suburban street in Spokane Valley. Image credit to him. I’m asking for snowshoes this Christmas!

snowy suburban sidewalk

Luckily I don’t need them to “walk” in this miniature Christmas street display.

Christmas Village

The theme of City Sidewalks reminds me of Christmas and the beautiful Christmas song, Silver Bells. My favorite rendition of the song is by Anne Murray.

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style
In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas”

Last Sunday, hubby and I had to leave the house so the inspector could do his thing, and parked on the street that leads to the American River Bike Trail. A beautiful Autumn day in Sacramento!

Road to Bike Trail

Taking a more general approach to the theme, I’m sharing galleries of sidewalks, paths, and walkways I’ve collected on my walks.

Campus Memories

Last Wednesday was my last time to walk on the university campus where I have taught for the last 10 years. I met our department chair to turn in my building and office keys. Having not been on campus for months due to Covid, I felt slightly cheated for missing these views this semester.

Memories of Sidewalks and Pathways Gone By

This is one of my favorite photographs taken in 2014 in Lake Tahoe. We walked down this stairway to the beach on the north shore. I turned and looked back and caught this image. I believe this was a defining moment when I became a photographer.

a long walk up from Lake Tahoe shore
Long Walk Up

Here is another gallery of previous photos taken on walks in San Diego, the Sacramento River Delta, Sedona, Spokane, and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this image of my hubby in his green bike helmet looking toward Yosemite Falls. Have I mentioned I have been to Yosemite National Park 26 times so far?

walking path to Yosemite Falls
Path to Yosemite Falls

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

On my walks, I see many types of birds. Frequently seen in my own neighborhood are mockingbirds, mourning doves, and robins. Bluejays are also everywhere as pictured below (on my backyard feeder). Shared for Lisa’s Bird Weekly: Birds beginning with “B.”

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

One day this week, we took a break from packing the POD to visit my dad and step-mom 45 miles away in the Sierra foothills. A long dirt road to my dad’s house up the hill. I’m not sure when I will be back to see this again.

Western States trail
Walking up Turkey Hill Road in Foresthill, CA

As winter sets in, we drive north to Washington in a few days.

Winter Scene Spokane

For this California native, I will enjoy and embrace my new paths in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me this week. Images in this post are submitted for the following photo challenges:

I look forward to your interpretations of City Sidewalks this week!

shoe graphic

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Sunday Stills: Walking Through the #Calm Before the Storm

Walking Along Pacific Beach Bayfront
Calming Autumn Scenery
One View of My Weekly Walk

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.

Winter Scene Spokane
Last November’s walk in Spokane, WA

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.

A Leafy Path

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.

leaves red riot
Calming effect of nature’s beauty

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.

Walking Along Pacific Beach Bayfront
Walking Along Pacific Beach Bayfront

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!

I am also linking with Dawn’s Festival of Leaves.

As I seek some calm this week, I hope you can share your version of “calm” in your creative ways through images, poetry, music, and stories.

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No Excuses Fitness: Exercising with a Cast

using the knee scooter

As I continue to write my book No Excuses Fitness, I have included my experience with exercise and recovery from injury and surgery in this post.

Two years ago, while out walking my dogs, I fell and fractured my right hand. I was lucky only to have to wear a wrist brace so I could still use my fingers, but the pain and awkwardness of the brace hindered most of my activities and personal care.

Consistently engaging in leisure-time physical activity makes up part of my identity. The idea of not being able to walk, swim, go to the gym or ride my bike sets up high levels of anxiety within me. Not only do I want to maintain my fitness level, but I also want to keep weight off.

I admit I am a little addicted to exercise and its effects on weight loss, among other benefits. So of course, I went to the gym three days after I broke my hand. I figured I could still walk on the treadmill or use the elliptical since my legs were fine. I did not want to lose the progress I had made in my fitness journey.

After only 15 minutes on the elliptical, and not engaging my right hand, I was pouring sweat and feeling strange. I later shared this news with my daughter, an avid, 30-something Cross-Fitter, who admonished me for not resting. Our bodies use a LOT of energy to heal even a minor fracture. Feeling much better after a week, I went back to the gym and engaged in my usual workouts but in shorter durations. I was also able to carefully walk the dogs again, using my left hand to hold the leashes.

Two years later, my mindset toward physical activity hasn’t changed much. When I elected to have bunion surgery on my left foot in early June, I thought I went in with my eyes wide open. Having never experienced firsthand the mobility issues of using crutches or a knee scooter, I assumed I could gracefully and patiently handle the whole process of recovering from surgery.

It has been quite a journey. “Gracefully and patiently” are distant ideals.

As each day went by, I gradually got more energy. Most physical activities had to be done in the morning, as my foot would typically swell in mid-afternoon. This is the time when I would elevate my feet on my La-Z-Boy!

Here is a look at a week in my life post-surgery. Please note that light activity was approved by my doctor during my third week when the real cast was placed.

Walking the Dogs

With assistance, I found I could get my knee scooter outside, while someone wrangled the dogs. My small dog, Aero, walks well and I could attach his leash to the scooter handlebars, while someone walked alongside with Brodie. I went from walking 15 minutes to over 45 minutes, 2-3 days a week!

I keep my phone with me in case of photo ops!

sunflowers surrounded by blue
Sunflowers are seen on a walk around my neighborhood

Stationary Bike

I bought a used stationary bike I keep on the backyard deck, and 2-3 times a week I cycle for 15-20 minutes. The casted foot occasionally slips a little while pedaling, but most of the work is done with my right foot.

view from exercise bike
At least the view is nice!

Calisthenics, Strength Training, and Stretching

I keep a resistance band in my scooter basket. When the mood strikes, I do some simple resistance exercises for about 10 minutes. I also lie on the floor and gently work my abs and legs. Due to the cast and inactivity, my left thigh is now an inch smaller around than my right thigh! With my ankle immobilized within the cast, I know I have some work to do once it’s off.

Short Errands to the Store

Once the fourth week arrived, I was able to drive to nearby stores to run errands. Hubby showed me how to place the scooter in the back of my SUV, which takes some maneuvering. It’s lightweight, so it is easy to lift in and out of the car. Just doing this much and rolling around the grocery store takes energy and time. I discovered last week I can pull a cart with one hand while riding the scooter, but I save the big trips for hubby.

Backyard Gardening

Plumeria sprouting

To get into my backyard, I need to use the crutches. Our deck has three steps into the backyard, so the scooter does not work. My plumerias and sunflowers need water daily while the rest of the plants and flowers need water every other day in our Northern California 90+ degree heat. Some gardening projects will have to wait until I am back on both feet.

My two proudest achievements this summer! My first pink plumeria bloomed yesterday, a huge surprise since it can take up to three years for cuttings to bloom.

My first plumeria
First plumeria

Last year I planted sunflowers to photograph and enjoy. Once I saw this type, a Tall Sungold, aka Teddy Bear, I just had to have one. A blogger friend sent me some of his seeds from his harvest!

Close-up of TeddyBear, aka Tall Sungold

I take photos of the sunflowers and plumeria almost every day. Have you ever tried to hold a cell phone with two fingers while using crutches? I knew I should have bought one of those Velcro pouches made for crutches while I was at the medical supply store in San Diego!

Getting Back to Normal

Looking forward to when the cast comes off in a few days, I may end up wearing a walking boot for a while longer, which is OK since I can remove it. From this point, I plan to swim and do some aqua aerobics and water walking at the gym swimming pool, along with using the elliptical again. I’m also looking forward to my Friday or Saturday morning yoga classes too!

The key is to resume physical activity gradually. Complete recovery from bunion surgery can take up to one year, due to mild residual pain and swelling!

I’m excited about getting back to the delta for our summer weekends where I can kayak and ease into stand-up paddling’ but I think I will put off windsurfing until next season!

I know that my recovery will be slow, but I have an entire month before I’m back in the classroom.

Was it worth it? I’ll let you know in a few weeks! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the scooter ride with me today.

This post is inspired in part by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk, How to Exercise with A Cast and Becky B’s Blue July Squares.

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