Tag Archives: lifestyle

This is the Place to Live!

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Editors’s (that would be moi) note: Oh my. Look what I’ve done. In my frustration with the WordPress App and using my new smartphone I have published the same thing twice! I won’t delete one as some of you lovely people have “liked” one and some of you have stumbled on the other one! Oh bother.

This was a smartphone practice post for our upcoming road trip through Europe. More practice needed. Or a tablet. Or the laptop on my laptop while himself argues with the new SatNav. I’m so looking forward to it all.

This message is coming to you from the cozy familiar space of my laptop and will be repeated on the other post. LOL LOL!

Exercise for Dummies

Namaste! Tree pose with cactus arms.
Namaste! Tree pose with cactus arms.

“What are you doing?” He didn’t need to preface his sentence with “Now . .” It was implied by his tone.

“I’m shoving a magazine down my pants. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No need to be sarcastic.”

“I’m using the magazine as padding to protect my spine from the hula hoop.” My new waist whittler had killer knobbly bits on the inside. To demonstrate, I gave the hoop a little spin.

“See? No pain. Whoops!” The fruit bowl took a hit and needed to be pushed back a bit. With the table cleared, myself carefully positioned between bed, window and wall, and Jimmy well out of the way, I could get my hooping exercise indoors instead of looking a fool outdoors.

I tried again. “If I put the magazine in my pants, keep my feet firmly planted, put my hips into it, concentrate and don’t let the hoop slow down, there’ll be no damage to me or the trailer.”

“That has to be one of the most stupid things you’ve ever done.”

“Thanks!” Who, after all, wants to be predictable?

“You’ve already injured yourself once.”

That was my leg. I can’t hurt my leg. The table’s in the way.”

“I still think it’s stupid if you’re risking hurting your back.” He’s trying to insult me or frighten me into stopping. It isn’t working.

Exercise is an issue in our confined quarters. We walk when we can, I swim when there’s a pool on the campsite and we both do sit ups about every six months. Even with constant tweaks to our diet to reduce calories and improve nutrition, our waistlines are expanding.

I worry about the blood pressure and obesity implications of eating a big meal then taking one step to the couch to have dessert and vegetate in front of the telly for the rest of the evening.

With Jimmy away for two weeks I had contemplated our lifestyle and found it lacking. In the midst of doing what I wanted, when I wanted to (instead of falling into step with the tour director/camp commandant) I exercised frequently and cleaned up my diet between bouts of reading trashy magazines and watching trashy TV.

“Guess what I had for lunch today?” I had asked Jimmy during one of our international phone calls.

“Please don’t tell me.”

“Sautéed spinach with Parmesan cheese slivers on top.”

“Oh God help me.”

“It was yummy.”

“The thought of it makes me feel sick.”

“Tonight I’m having jumbo shrimp braised with garlic, onion, ginger, Jalapeños courgettes and spinach.”

“I won’t come home.”

“Tomorrow I’m having a crab cake.” Jimmy doesn’t like seafood, shellfish in particular, so I gave him all the details because there’s an unruly streak in me.

Back to the exercise matter, it is only four steps from our dining “room,” or living “room” or “bedroom” to our toilet. We joke about going upstairs to bed. It’s one step up. My pedometer registered just 151 steps from late afternoon to bedtime.

Where’s that hula hoop? And my magazine padding?

How do you include exercise in your daily routine?

Can you imagine me hula-hooping in this same space? It wasn't a great success.
Can you imagine me hula-hooping in this same space? It wasn’t a great success.

A Fruitless Quest for Perfection

“Are you enjoying this weather?”

My first thought was that she was being sarcastic, but her sweet open face and tidy grandmotherly hairdo belied that notion. “Well, no,” I replied cautiously. “I’d like it to be a bit warmer.”

“Are you from here?”

“No. Baltimore.”

“Well we just love it here. We’re from Georgia and it’s so hot there.”

“Oh, that explains it. You must be enjoying the cool weather.” We were camped just south of Duluth. It was a 60° and cloudy in July – not the best summer weather in my view, and in winter five feet of snow can arrive all at once, all in one day. Sorry, Duluth. Can’t say I’ll be exploring your charms any further.

Summer sunset near Duluth
Summer sunset near Duluth

And that, my friends, is a perfect example of why we have been on a wild goose chase looking for a perfect place to live.

Because we’ve been talking to people.

What you already have – curly hair, skinny legs, a home in the South – is not necessarily what you want. What someone else wants – straight hair, big boobs, a home where it snows in winter – isn’t necessarily what you want.

What Jimmy thinks he wants is not necessarily what I want. And what we both think we want or someone else thinks we‘d like, we don’t want when we get there and see it. It’s too congested or too rural, too busy or too slow, too tired and seedy or too brand new and characterless. I despair.

So let’s review that list of requirements for a perfect place again:

  • Ÿ  somewhere not too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry
  • Ÿ  no spiders, no mosquitoes or other hideous insects
  • Ÿ  no snakes, no bears
  • Ÿ  no tornadoes
  • Ÿ  no hurricanes
  • Ÿ  no floods
  • Ÿ  no earthquakes
  • Ÿ  no tsunamis
  • Ÿ  no volcanoes
  • Ÿ  no deep snow
  • Ÿ  no humidity
  • Ÿ  no wild fires
  • Ÿ  a low cost of living
  • Ÿ  an ocean or gulf view (yes, realize that eliminates all but 21 states)

    Gulf of Mexico from the Panhandle of Florida
    Gulf of Mexico from the Panhandle of Florida
  • Ÿ  a mountain view would be nice, too

    Mountains bathed in sunset light viewed from the warmth of a desert climate
    Mountains bathed in sunset light viewed from the warmth of a desert climate

To this list I’ll now add:

  • Ÿ  no cattle grids on the interstate ramps (too high chaparral)
  • Ÿ  nowhere that traffic on the interstate is the main topic on the local news
  • Ÿ  not on a road called Skunk Hollow
  • Ÿ  no mudslides
  • Ÿ  on second thought, no spiders (above) would certainly eliminate all 50 states so will modify that to no tarantulas or giant arachnids. That might eliminate Florida so I won’t tell Jimmy if I see one. In fact Florida has all manner of shocking creatures, but humans are probably the worst (humans in general, not Floridians in particular) and we can’t get away from them.
  • Ÿ  not in a town where the local library sees fit to display a “No Guns” sign listing the pertinent ordinances in case you want to argue the point
  • Ÿ  near a major airport to take a teeny bit of stress off trips back to Blighty
  • Ÿ  not where we would ever, ever have to use the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River in New York City ever, ever again. Others shudder when you mention it to them and Jimmy pales and starts to tremble.
  • Ÿ  nowhere that you can buy just guns, musical instruments, jewelry and car audio in the same store
  • Ÿ  that no hurricane and no tsunami thing might eliminate all the ocean and gulf coasts so I’ll choose to ignore the discrepancy for now.
  • Ÿ  I’d like to say not within 50 miles of a taxidermist but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
  • Ÿ  not in a town where the gun store sells gator meat, hog traps and fresh frogs legs.
  • Ÿ  not in a town with a gun store at all. It may be very un-American of me to not want to have anything to do with a gun but I’d like to live somewhere that I don’t feel the need to have one about my person or home.
  • Ÿ  nowhere that we’d be dependant on using an Interstate daily as one third of Americans are. They’re a generally a mess – busy and bumpy.

Should we abandon the quest and the list and just live near one of my brothers so we’d at least have family nearby?

That would be Florida which falls foul of many of the items on the above list.

Or under the unending grey skies of Washington State (at least when we lived there) where when Mount Rainier is uncloaked it is event to be remarked upon and pointed out. “Look! Rainier’s out!!”

Mt. Rainier making one of its rare appearances
Mt. Rainier making one of its rare appearances

Fourteen and a half thousand feet of geographical wonder, which when the sky is clear is visible all up and down the Puget Sound, is usually hidden from view under a thick veil of cotton wool. Look at a U.S. weather map and you will invariably see a swirl of muck over the top left corner of Washington. The Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier are under there.

Jimmy is really no help at all. He wants to blow the house fund on a big motorhome.