Thursday, October 20, 2011

Talking with Distractions

I love to walk and talk. Sharing stories and ideas with clients, colleagues, and friends while walking makes the everyday activity more interesting. The ability to talk about who you are and what you want while walking outdoors is a skill worth learning. How often do you have the opportunity to network, practice interview skills, or pitch your idea in a quiet space with no interruptions? The ability to speak with a few distractions is a skill well worth learning.

After the walk the creative juices are flowing and the brain is energized making a focused discussion more productive.

Walking and talking may not be for everyone. For some it might be more of a distraction from nature or thought processes, than a way to enhance the walk. For most of us walking and talking is a fun way to practice communication skills.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Science Begins Outdoors

I recently took some fresh green figs to work to share. I had them in a clear container. When I asked a fellow worker if she would like to try one. She said she thought it was spinach. They are both green, but quite a different look. Are we loosing our sense about what our food looks like?

I read an article about how kids need to get outside and experience nature to learn about science. One scientist explained:

“In a few years there will be nobody left to identify several major groups of marine organisms,” he said. “I wish I were exaggerating.” Paul Dayton, Scripps Marine Life Research Group

Far from exaggerating, I'm afraid that many young people today are not even familiar with fresh vegetables and how food grows.

Young children love to walk, observe, and explore. They are so excited about a wild flower the wind, and rain. Science at its best begins outdoors. As Richard Louv says, "Want your kids to get into Harvard? Tell ’em to go outside.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cosumnes River Bat Spectacular

We went to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a potluck and bat presentation. We saw live adult bats. They are so tiny! The presentation dispelled many myths about bats. They don't nest in your hair, so when Bruce touched my head while thousands of bats were flying over I felt like a bat flew into my hair even though I know that would be very unusual.

Bats like to live under bridges during the day and then fly out at sunset. We waited until the sun was sinking as the evening light twinkled over the river. Then suddenly thousands of tiny bats like a swarm of ants flew across the sky. The preserve just south of Sacramento has about 40,000 bats as regular inhabitants. They eat their weight in bugs and help control mosquitos and other bugs.

We didn't join the Kayak Tour since I didn't want to kayak down the river after dark (I don't think Bruce did either.) We'll have our daylight kayaking next weekend. We took a walk along the river and watched the kayakers and hawks. A cool breeze, Mt. Diablo at sunset, and a bat fly over. Great evening!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Long walk on little legs

Triple digits again, and I was about ready to skip the walk today when I got a call from my daughter. She and little Max were going for a walk so I joined them.

There's nothing like walking with a baby. At 14-months old, he walked half mile through the park. He laughed at my antics, hopping, skipping, and jumping. An observer of nature, he didn't miss a thing. So much excitement with trucks, tractors, and dogs. He delighted in all the sights and sounds. Walking with a toddler makes the usual walk unusual, since he was fascinated by all of the usual things.

About a 50 minute walk before the heat blasted us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vernal Pools

I got up this morning with the expectation that we were going on a long walk through the Howard Ranch Trail at Rancho Seco. The trail is part of the Cosumnes River Preserve where Bruce is a volunteer naturalist. He had heard about the beautiful display of flowers at the vernal pools. It sounded nice, but I had a fairly low expectation of being dazzled. It was a sunny day with a nice breeze so I said I might be able to walk the 7-mile trail.

From Vernal Pool

We walked around the lake and saw some wild flowers along the side of the path and then walked and walked through the fields.

From Vernal Pool

When we came to the end of the trail, we wondered where the vernal pools were. On the way back we saw an outline of Mariposa Lillies around a patch of green grass. We could see where the thin lines of flowers followed the path of the water.

From Vernal Pool

I could see there could be a real draw here for people who wanted to see tiny wild flowers growing in interesting patterns across the field. But I was more interested in the cows crossing the path and seemed to be on a mission to follow their leader. At one point we were surrounded by cows on the ridge coming towards us and cows down below. When they stop and stare and then head toward you, it can be a little intimidating, especially since we were far from our home in the middle of theirs.

From Vernal Pool

Bruce was a little disappointed because he had an expectation that after we drove all the way up to Rancho Seco, paid $10 to park, and walked 8 miles that we would have seen more. I guess if we had looked at the picture on the billboard (or the website) before we went for the walk, we would have known what to expect.

Expectations have a great influence on our satisfaction with any situation. If you like to visit Vernal Pools as the other visitors we met did, it would be a great experience. If you are expecting a brilliant display, this is not the place to go. On the way back up the trail Bruce took a photograph of a butterfly that we happened to meet. It was a nice surprise to see the butterfly pose for us.

Vernal Pool

After the long walk I was really hungry which made the free birthday hamburger and sundae at Red Robin extra delicious.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Having a garden

I love gardening, or I should say I love having a garden. We went to the nursery yesterday. I picked out tomato plants, lots of peppers--jalapeno, peperoncini, orange, and yellow as well as lettuce and strawberries. I like to think about the delicious salsa, salads, and colorful dishes we'll have this summer. While I am looking up ways of cooking the vegetables, Bruce is out planting. He likes to sit out in the sun and dig in the soil while I sit in my office writing. We are quite a team.

We both enjoy watering a little too much. This year we will cut back on the water which should produce a more abundant crop. We (we as in Bruce) transplanted the Lemon Balm plant that took over the garden last year. I knew the plant could be prolific, but when I planted it in the square foot garden last year I was amazed at how it overshadowed the vegetables and herbs. It grew through winter frost and rain, and still I had to cut it way back. I enjoyed lemon balm, mint, honey green tea all year.

I love having a garden, smelling the pungent herbs, picking the fresh tomatoes and peppers each morning, and adding color to my day. What do you like in your garden?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He has risen!

What does Easter mean to you? Bunnies and eggs, Easter egg hunts, children's smiles, chocolates, communion, and sunrise worship service. What do these have in common?

Spring is the time to celebrate life, birth and renewal. For many Christians Easter is the time to celebrate the re-birth of Christ and all who chose to follow in His footsteps. This morning as I was greeting people coming into the worship service, I heard the greeting Happy Easter as a celebration of the life and resurrection of Jesus. It is a wonderful way to celebrate Easter, but the greeting was a bit shallow for me. "He has risen!" seems a much richer greeting so I will share it with all of my friends.

I had fun sending stickers and coloring pages to my grandchildren in Albuquerque as well as seeing the look of new adventures on a 1-year old's face as he peeked inside a plastic egg to find treats of Cheerios and crackers. Today is the celebration of all that is new, fresh, and innocent as I remember the reason I serve my family and community--because Jesus was the greatest example of sacrificial love.

Have a wonderful day!