Damn Nature! You Scary!

January 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm (Day to Day, Exercise, Skeleton Trees, Weather) (, , , , , , , )

I missed a few days there. Sometimes the weekends get away from me. And then whole weeks get away from me. I had the interviews. I’ve done all the legwork I am going to do for now. I actually started this posting before the one below it, so if it seems out of order or confusing, it’s because I failed to edit the things that already happened from the things that were about to happen. I will say that I am feeling better about the whole job thing. As usual, I underestimated the time it takes, the scheduling issues and the typical paperwork that goes along with actually getting hired for a job. It’s been well over 20 years since I had to do the whole formal procedure. So I continue to plug along.

And by plug along, I mean that I went to the doctor, and as I expected, he would not clear me for a few weeks. But he gave me drugs. And rescheduled me for next week. I am sure he does not believe that I will follow through with my care, but time will tell. He said the meds should make a difference within the week. I will let you know. I think my BP machine is way off from what their machine says, so when I go pick up my new prescription I am going to try the BP chair that they have in the drugstore. Don’t worry, I still had some pills left from my last attempt at controlling this problem, which I failed miserably at doing, so I am pilled up times 2. Last night and this morning. I guess I feel fine. I have to drive today so we’ll see how that goes. I was also given orders to eat low sodium. Watch that salt. Typical. No junk. The usual. He didn’t really mention the weight thing, but we both know…

The best part was the activity/exercise thing. He said I need to get active and get moving. But not crazy, strenuous, over-the-top, crap like I have been doing. Walk. He said. A light jog. But do not get yourself huffing and puffing, because guess what?? NOT GOOD for the BP yet. It’s too much. I have been given the ok to take it a little easier. It does no good to skyrocket your heart rate and BP when you already have naturally high numbers. I guess I could burst a blood vessel or faint at the very least. Once the BP is better, you can go back to the big stuff. I really do feel kind of stupid, because I should know better. But the cliches are true. I definitely stink at taking my own advice. But let’s move past this, because I hate dwelling on my own idiotic mistakes and I have other things to do today. One of which is returning some women’s blouses that make me look like a flowing pregnant middle aged dump. And unfortunately, I have to break down and buy some new jeans. I very nearly ripped the belt loop off of the one pair that is supposed to be stretchy. Now I have a big hole where the front pocket meets the loop and I am flashing the people with my white, pasty, roll of blubber that is trying to escape from the waist band. Not pretty.

So as you know, we had some snow over here. Came down on Friday and tapered off, leaving the cleanup for Saturday morning. We went to bowling and when we got home, at about noon or so, Stevie and I decided to go walk in the woods. We were just there, and we figured the trail itself wouldn’t be too snowed over because of all the trees. We were excited to be the only car in the parking lot, which was plowed so we thought that was a good sign. And as we started there was a set or two of footsteps, not brand new but visible, so we thought someone obviously already walked the trail and if we just follow their path we will be fine. As an extra precaution we made sure to make a huge mess where we were walking so we could always just turn around and follow our own steps back out. We were even careful not to veer off the set path too much so that we didn’t get confused later. Good thing.

We made it to the pine trees before we started losing the path. Above is the picture of the first bridge and the small boardwalk you have to cross before you get to the creek that Stevie was playing on last week. The creek is totally covered in snow now. Or it was. It didn’t even have any animal tracks yet. The creek is below. One with Stevie, one without. We liked the way the shadows were laying across the fresh snow.

As we continued to walk, the snow was thick in places and I’m sure we weren’t exactly on the path that the nature preserve people laid down, but it was close. When we got to the pine trees the footprints really got dim. But there’s only one way to go through and we knew where we were going forward so we kept at it. I’ll just throw in all the pics, as I type so I can use them and you can kind of see and compare from past photos if you can remember or care to search.

Just past the pine trees is an open area. It looks much bigger as you peer through the trees but when you get up to it, it’s not really open at all. The way the trees have grown and then appear to have died out there, they look like they are reaching for the pine trees. Kind of bending towards them with outstretched arms. The limbs were covered in snow and gave the scene an even more desolate feel.

It was so bright and sunny though, it was almost blinding. It should have seemed clean and happy. The sky was blue behind the trees and the air was warmer in the open areas. But it was really cold and shadowy under those pine trees and it felt heavy and dark. I was hoping we would not have to walk back through there because the way the snow was laying it was hard to see our tracks even though we were right there, practically still standing in them. As I look at the picture above now, I think of hula dancing and I can see, what looks like a face, in the tree that is right in the center. The more I look, the more faces I see. It didn’t look like that standing there in front of them. It looks like there are faces in both waving trees and then another one on the left side, along the edge of the picture, maybe a third of the way up.It kind of looks like someone is hiding behind the tree, peering out.

So we took the pictures, but we didn’t really see any of that as we were walking. We kept going to our favorite picture spot: The Path! The path of tall evergreen trees! This leads to a lake, which then leads to a nature out crop that goes into the marshlands that are really tucked away inside the forest preserve. Luckily we were far too lazy to walk all the way through. Another good thing. I am sure the next time we go, when I can wear gym shoes because the winter boots I have hurt my feet and ankles really bad, we will have pictures for you. Can’t wait huh? Yeah I know. Here’s more trees:

Well that one takes up alot of space. From here, if you go directly to the left, there is a very long boardwalk that takes you through the next part of the woods. And here is where we had our trouble. It seems who ever walked before us decided to stop just at this tree line and go back. At least that’s what we are guessing. No more tracks. But since the boardwalk can only go in one direction, we figured, what the hell. The path will probably be pretty clear as it kind of goes in a big loop. WRONG. Once we got to the end of the planked path, we followed the treeline to a little sitting bench that sits at a turn. We continued on for maybe 100 or 200 feet when we decided we were not on the path anymore. We were walking over branches and stumps and trying to not fall or twist an ankle. There were footprints, in single lines, going here and there, so we picked one set that looked like they were heading for the creek and started to follow them. We were now very careful to make as big a path as we could and to NOT veer off or change directions. At this point we could not see the bench anymore and we could not tell at all where we were in relation to the original trail. We know that there is a huge, brand new bridge structure that was just completed before winter, somewhere in front of us, but even going forward, we could not see any sign of it. And it’s really huge. Like, way bigger than it needs to be. It actually looks too big for what it is going over. And it’s a bright yellow, fresh wood color, that sticks out in all that pure white we were surrounded by. If I was cold before or my feet were hurting in those boots, those feelings were totally gone and being replaced by anxiety and a nervous feeling that we are truly lost in these stupid woods. I knew we had our footprints. And I knew we had hours of daylight left. But still. Standing there, looking around, trying to find anything that looks even slightly familiar, and finding nothing but more trees and no clear path, is a sick feeling. Far off in the distance we could see movement that looked like deer running. And they were. Because they were being chased by those same two dogs we had come across on the path last week. They approached us fast and friendly, sort of, but wary at the same time. Kind of like they thought we were going to try and catch them. They were German Shepard’s, brown and gray, and when we first saw them they really looked like wolves, or at least coyotes. But even though these dogs had tags, they still didn’t look healthy or domestic. They were skittish and briar tangled and looked wild a few days ago. They are either lost or they get to roam. Either way, they stayed away from us on this day.

I was pretty much done with taking pictures and kind of sorry I brought the stupid camera with at all. Now I had to carry it and we needed to make a decision. Keep plowing ahead hoping to somehow run across the creek and one of the bridges, and possibly running the risk of crossing back over tracks that we already made and following them in an endless circle, or just going back the way we came before we got even farther into the trees. Since we really had no idea which direction we were going and we had no map of the trail to generally guide us from the bench point, we decided the best way was to just go back. Even that felt nerve-wracking because it occurred to me that if it started to snow again, or the wind started picking up, our fresh new tracks could be brushed away in a few minutes. So we tried to go fast but in a controlled fastness that did not lead to panic. Here’s another picture of the trees with the nice blue sky that doesn’t look scary at all.

Usually it takes us about an hour to walk all around the 3 mile loop. Even with starts and stops. We were already out there for over an hour when we got past the boardwalk. The snow was pretty deep and it is a workout to walk in. Going back we were trying to hurry but we were getting tired and our feet and calves were aching in the same way they do when you walk on sand for a long time. Our pants were wet above the boots and starting to soak through and it felt colder and breezier. You would think borderline freaking out would keep you warm, but you’d be wrong. You don’t really think about being cold, but it’s not the same thing. Once we got to the boardwalk, we felt better. It was easy to follow the path we had made. Then we just walked, without stopping, all the way back to the creek and the first bridge. Finally. Now we could take a minute to stand there and laugh about how dumb it is, and easy, to get “lost” in the woods. Oh, and here were the people! Now they come. Here’s a man and a woman. Here’s two more guys. Here’s an old man and a woman. And here’s a whole family! Three adults and two little kids. All of them had cameras hanging around their necks like I did. We told all of them how far we went and how if they follow our tracks all the way until the end, they will abruptly stop in the middle of what seems like nowhere, and unless they are braver than we were, they should turn back at the bench. We practically ran out of the woods once we saw the nature building, but stopped long enough to take one more picture, before Stevie swished all the snow off the top:

So that ends my gripping tale of being lost in the woods for 2½ hours after the first major snowfall of our Midwest winter. FYI, in case you don’t live in this area, the next day it rained. And rained. We had about 45 degree temps. Thunder, lightning, the whole shot. All the snow got melted away. Except the really tall snowplowed piles. They just look like gray, dirty mounds of disgusting, scattered all around the neighborhood. Then it snowed lightly, again, to add a fine white powder to the top of the crap piles and dust the grass one more time before it warmed up (yesterday) and misted a fine rainfall over the whole mess, trying to melt it away for good. It’s sunny and bright right this minute and I am going to look outside… right now… and tell you that the snow that remains, is piled on yard corners, next to the driveway entrances, or hiding in the shade.

As usual this took way too long to type and is probably way too long to read all the way through. So, if you stuck with me this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel a story can’t be told in just a few sentences. It needs paragraphs and pages and many many run-on sentences to drive home my pointless points. Be glad that you don’t have to actually listen to me tell the tale. At least here you can just click off the site and be done with it. Good golly! Maybe I should put a quick sum-up at the bottom of the page for the people who skipped the middle and are just looking to see if we made it out alive.

For the scrollers:

STOP HERE!

Long story short version: Big snow. Went to the hiking trail. Followed a set of previous footprints until they disappeared. Took some pictures. Went off path. Then had no path to follow. Got lost. Saw some potentially rabid dogs. Backtracked. Saw more people. Made it out safely.

Does that short version seem too long? I don’t know anymore! I just want this to end! I must get up and get out. Later gators! The End.

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Day Quote. Or, “The Case Of The Man Who Was So Stressed Out That He Thought He Lost His Keys And Ended Up Having A Heart Attack.”

July 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm (Day Quote, Movies, Video) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“Zero Effect” Special Edition

I always say that the essence of my work relies fundamentally on two basic principles: objectivity and observation, or “the two obs” as I call them. My work relies on my ability to remain absolutely, purely objective, detached. I have mastered the fine art of detachment. And while it comes at some cost, this supreme objectivity is what makes me, I dare say, the greatest observer the world has ever known.

—Daryl Zero

I can’t possibly overstate the importance of good research. Everyone goes through life dropping crumbs. If you can recognize the crumbs, you can trace a path all the way back from your death certificate to the dinner and a movie that resulted in you in the first place. But research is an art, not a science, because anyone who knows what they’re doing can find the crumbs, the wheres, whats, and whos. The art is in the whys: the ability to read between the crumbs, not to mix metaphors.

—Daryl Zero

Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.

—Daryl Zero

A few words here about following people. People know they’re being followed when they turn around and see someone following them. They can’t tell they’re being followed if you get there first.

—Daryl Zero

And now for a little bit of dialogue:

Steve Arlo:
There aren’t evil guys and innocent guys. It’s just… It’s just… It’s just a bunch of guys.

Daryl Zero:
I did find one other thing of interest, though.

Steve Arlo:
Holy shit, those are the keys. You found the gold Swiss Army knife.

Daryl Zero:
I know.

Steve Arlo:
And this is the safe deposit box key. Where’d you find them?

Daryl Zero:
They were in the sofa, under the cushion.

Steve Arlo:
What?

Daryl Zero:
They were stuck in the couch in his office.

Steve Arlo:
Was he hiding them there? Is that possible?

Daryl Zero:
Not possible. That’s where they fell out of his pocket, over a year ago.

Steve Arlo:
So… what do you make of this?

Daryl Zero:
I think that just as I feared, Ms. Sullivan doesn’t know a thing about these keys.

Steve Arlo:
Wait–the keys are a coincidence?

Daryl Zero:
Yes.

Steve Arlo:
That’s–confusing.

Daryl Zero:
Yep.

Steve Arlo:
Doesn’t seem like a good thing.

Daryl Zero:
Sure it is. It’s good because the man has been looking for his keys for a year. And I’ve found them.

And finally, wrapping up this special edition Day Quote Segment:

After investigating her, I found myself in better shape than ever before in my life. To me, she will always be a singular unforgettable event, the only time I ever took leave of my objectivity. Perhaps the most able blackmailer of her time, she was at once the worthiest opponent and the greatest ally, and the only woman I have ever… the only woman, period. And though I never would’ve anticipated it, in the end she did for me what I have done for so many: help solve a problem, first by observation, then by careful intervention – in other words, the Zero Effect.

—Daryl Zero

Now go see the movie!

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Day Quote

May 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm (Day Quote) (, , , , , , , , )

Poor Catullus, drop your silly fancies, and what you see is lost let it be lost.

—Catullus

What I say is, patience, and shuffle the cards.

—Miguel De Cervantes

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