Four Day Weekend -- 07/04/00

With Independence Day falling on a Tuesday I have a four day weekend... the third four day weekend in a row!

I took two vacation days to get a Thursday and a Friday (June 15th & 16th) off for Jennifer's high school graduation weekend (mostly to get yardwork done so everything would look good, but also for shopping and advance food preparation for the party. I actually managed to work five days in a row then, but I still had another four day weekend because I took off Monday and Tuesday (June 26th & 27th) for our expedition to the Catskills. And now a four day weekend to celebrate Independence Day.

I've talked about Saturday and Sunday.

Yesterday (i.e., Monday, July 3rd) was a very relaxed hang-out day. Nancy and I got up a little before seven (early for a holiday, but sleeping in compared to my usual 5:30 - 6:00), had breakfast outside. She did some gardening -- she is so involved with her flowers -- while I surfed the web -- catching up on other people's websites, not working on this one. Then we went to the beach, no kids, just us. Usually I like to run on beaches, on the hardpacked sand near the water's edge, but it was high tide when we were there and there were a lot of people there... besides which, I thought that I should give my legs (especially knees and ankles) a bit of a rest, what with Sunday morning's four mile race and the fact that I had put together two consecutive weeks of running after months of fairly little running. However, Nancy and I both love to walk (everywhere, in cities, in the country, on beaches) so we went for a walk along the shoreline. Otherwise we just sat in the sun and read books and relaxed...

When we got back home I fixed lunch -- tuna salad (water-packed tuna, chopped up onion, red and green peppers and celery, low-fat mayonaise) on whole wheat toast with lettuce and coleslaw (shredded red cabbage, Granny Smith apple, carrot and parsley with low-fat mayo and just a touch of sugar) -- yummy and filling but not fattening -- which we ate on our front porch. What a lovely day, blue skies, bright sunshine...

Later on in the afternoon we went for a bike ride along a bike path. The bike path follows the roadbed of an old railroad line that used to run from West Kingston through Peace Dale and Wakefield to Narragansett. They began construction of this a couple of years ago... last summer most of the blacktop was in place... and it now runs about four and a half miles from the West Kingston AmTrak railroad station to "downtown" Peace Dale. Next year, I believe, it will be extended through to Main Street in Wakefield and then, eventually, over into Narragansett. It is quite marvelous and is very popular, used by people on bicycles of every description from serious racing bikes with Spandex-clad riders to easy riding touring bikes with senior citizens to training-wheel equiped children's bikes with their neophyte riders. Walkers and runners alike use it, as do roller-bladers. Motor vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles) are prohibitted (except for powered wheelchairs). We didn't bike the entire path, just went from our house to the path and rode towards West Kingston for a while and then turned back, about six miles altogether.

I fixed sausage and peppers for dinner -- sweet Italian sausage made with low fat chicken, microwaved (and poked and drained) first, then sliced up in a frying pan with a little olive oil and lots of sliced onions and peppers (red and yellow and two different kinds of green peppers... the onions and peppers had already been started when I tossed in the sausage) along with potato salad (red potatoes, low-fat mayo, chopped red peppers, onions, celery, plus parsley, chives and green peas... the last three items fresh from our garden), corn on the cob, and a nice crusty Italian bread. Yes, you can maybe see why I have been having weight problems and have decided to concentrate on weight loss through a combination of exercise and diet. Please note the term low-fat kept cropping up in these food descriptions... also I have been learning to resist the urge to eat a lot. So far, i.e., the past two weeks, it has been working slowly... slowly... No point in a crash starvation diet only to put it back on... attempting the kind of life style change that will take it off and keep it off...

Monday night rented Three Kings... very interesting movie... although it is difficult to say that I liked it... It was a good movie (worth renting and watching) but I had difficulty finding much empathy for or identification with the leading characters and I have complaints about various plot twists as well as with the ending. Fascinating cinematography. I think it must have been a knock-out on a wide screen in a movie theatre.

I thought that I would finally get a good night's sleep -- Jennifer can drive herself to and from work (and doesn't usually work much past nine or ten p.m. anyway) but Sean is just fifteen and he often has to work past midnight, thus a parent (Nancy has always had trouble staying awake past midnight, so this means I'm the designated driver) has to remain semi-awake and alert until he calls for a ride. Last night I settled down to read in bed knowing that Sean was playing on the computer and Jennifer was at a friend's house but would be home "not too late." And I drifted off to sleep... only to wake suddenly smelling smoke... danger -- adrenaline surge... and as I sleepily sat up in bed, fumbling for my glasses, I realized that it smelled more like tobacco smoke than smoke from a house fire... but I pulled on a pair of shorts and stumbled out into the hall... where I no longer smelled any smoke... and downstairs where I found Jennifer in the kitchen cooking blueberry pancakes while her friend Violet was on the computer. Her friend Andy, despite having quit, had returned to smoking and had stepped out into the yard to have a cigarette. Our bedroom window fan had brought the smell of smoke into our room. Okay. Big relief, the house is not on fire. Yeah, but it was now almost 2:30 a.m. and I was wide awake... sleepy, exhausted, tired... but wide awake. I went back to bed, too tired to attempt to read... but it took me almost half an hour to fall back asleep...

Thus, I was still feeling sleepy this morning and didn't get downstairs until past 7:30. After breakfast I surfed the web a bit, reading email and other people's sites... Later, around eleven, I changed into running shorts and running shoes and set out for a run. I went through lots of different weather as I ran along the bike path... it was overcast when I first set out from my house but by the time I'd gone a couple blocks it was hot and sunny... and then it clouded over as I ran along the path... dark enough that I was thinking about the chance of rain during the evening fireworks display and hoping that it would rain sooner so that we could have a dry evening. Two minutes later it began to rain. I ran through a light shower for a mile or so and then it stopped. By the time I had turned around and was retracing my steps the bright sun had returned and the only damp spots on the blacktop path were in the shadows cast by the trees. I think I got a bit carried away with running (okay, jogging, I wasn't going fast) because I ended up doing six miles.

After lunch (turkey on whole wheat with lettuce, onions, low-fat mayo plus some of yesterday's potato salad on a bed of red leaf lettuce from my garden) eaten on the front porch, enjoying the view of a lovely summer afternoon and a refreshing light breeze, I took a shower followed by a nap. I am not much into naps (whereas Nancy really needs a daily nap) but today I was exhausted between my interupted sleep and my six mile run.

Tonight: Fireworks! (I love fireworks.)

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