You Gotta Try This

Today’s guest post is by Anna.

I am unimpressed with this year’s so-called “winter.” It has been a disappointment. While I can appreciate that some folks like the nice snow-free sidewalks and warmer temperatures, I am a Minnesota kid, and I miss my snow and ice and cold. I tried to go out ice skating one afternoon and instead of the chsss chsss chsss of skate blades on the neighborhood rink I heard chuh chuh chuh as I tried to maneuver myself across the slushy mess. Sure it was sunny, but without any glide in my step, not even the warmth on my face or the extra vitamin D was working for me.

Still, there was one day when it was real winter. One day when it had just snowed enough to do something outdoors besides walk the dog. Daughter really wanted to go sledding. I was feeling more in a “stay inside by the fire” kind of mood, since we were in the “cold after the snow” part of the snow, but was willing to put on my snow pants to appease the seven-year-old and ensure that my Minnesota native cred was still good. So, find the boots that had not yet been needed (in the basement), pull the snow pants out from the closet (yikes, these got smaller in the last 12 months), hat (goofy looking), mittens (the warm ones), out we go to find the sleds. Crunch crunch through the quiet neighborhood – with the exception of a few folks out with their dogs, we are the only ones out. And yikes, that wind is biting; a fierce blast that I was not expecting, especially given the mild weather of the season thus far (should have added the scarf). A few blocks from home I hear myself whine like a three-year-old, “are you sure you want to do this? We could go home and have cocoa…” No. We are going. There is snow to be sledded on, this is not an opportunity to be missed.

Once at the hill, the seven-year-old races to the top with her sled in hand. I find a sunny spot to try to gather some warmth and watch. Ssssshhhhhoooo, down the hill she comes and then runs back up the hill. “You gotta try this. It’s so much fun!” I am not convinced, but trudge up with the other sled. Wedging the extra sled into a nearby stand of tall weeds so it won’t blow away, I plunk myself down into the purple plastic embrace of the sled with Daughter in front of me. Sssssshhhhhhooooo, down the hill we go together, across the path, almost to the creek. And it was fun. A few more times together, a few times each on our own sleds, timing our runs so we don’t mow down the walkers (and one biker) using the path at the bottom of the hill. Laughing as we fall over or spin backwards on our descent. Even with the exertion of going up and down the hill, eventually my face gets cold enough that I convince Daughter it’s time to go home. Bump bump bump the sleds follow us home to cocoa (and marshmallows and a fire). But I was glad I tried it, ssssssshhhhhhooooo, it was so much fun.

When have you been convinced to do something that was more fun than you expected?

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119 thoughts on “You Gotta Try This”

  1. Good morning to all. Very nice blog entry, Anna. I think there are many times that it has been necessary to convince me to do something that is fun.

    The first I can think of is the trip we made to New Orleans. I knew there would be things there that I would like and a lot of bad development for tourists. I didn’t know that there would be so many things there that would appeal to me. The food was very outstanding and the spirit of the place was great in spite of all the bad tourist attactions. There is fantastic music store, The Music Factory, that has a hugh selection of the great music of the area. The French Quarter seems to still be a place that is proud of it’s heritage although it is filled with many bad tourist attractions.

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    1. jim … you didnt think youd like new orleans? cmon. thats the dumbest thing i ever heard. new orleans may be the best city on the planet for hanging out. tourist stuff. where else can you get a shrunken head for your voodoo wall. how is that compared to mickey in orlando or the statue of liberty in nyc. music at breakfast eat in the only french city in america. what a place. san fransicio is cool, nyc is wonderful but new orleans is the best.

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      1. You are right, tim. In my own defense I would say that I had never been to New Orleans and didn’t know much about it. Well, I did say I am a person who sometimes draws back from having fun.

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      2. what a fun discovery. glad you got to do it. i took my office manager ( a guy who is 35 or so now) and i do what i do and feel like i am leading my poor little sheep astray. i drink and wander the streets looking from one late night jazz joint to the next. i am always afraid i may miss something. the business in the morning is not as much fun to get up for after late night antics but you gotta do what you gotta do. going there on vacation when there was no responsibilty in the morning ….. ah i can only imagine.

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      3. I’m kinda with you, too, Jim – sometimes I don’t trust other people’s idea of “fun”…but I do need to get back to New Orleans now that I’m a grown-up. I have good memories of going as a kid with my family, but somehow I suspect there are parts of the French Quarter I would experience quite differently now…

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  2. im pretty easy new stuff? im in. i have the ability to veg out and do nothing but i have a little tick tick tick that makes me want to do something al the time. i am not a homebody. i stir up the quiet of a saturday if it ever comes up and find somethong of interrest. i drag a kid or two along and off we go. the vidiot calling of the universe today is too bad. i got caught yesterday playing free cell when the trumpet lesson went an extra 10 minutes and i finished my email updates and didnt want to start on the next project but all in all i feel like i stay away form the games. news and communication thats different but.. i saw 3 cars at the curb yesterday waiting to pick up their ride and all three drivers were working on their phones. i remember 10 years ago thinking my then 14 year old had a problem he played games on his phone with every spare second of his time. always occupied and always reacting instead of acting. i think there is a danger today that it is too easy to miss the sledding days and the walks in the great outdoors because the call of the ease in getting sucked into the games on the phone make it possible to avoid thinking of an activity. we are surrounded by activity that is popcorn filler instead of nourishing life adding filler. i dont get surprised by too many things i end up enjoying these days. maybe the last one was learning how to do brakes on a car. i had always heard it was easy and never bothered to learn but i did about a year ago and it feels good to save a bunch of money and do a job that makes you independent to a point. oil and brakes is all i do any more but my old honda accord hasn’t needed much else. do the oil and change the brakes until sometthing goes wrong and i have been good for a long while (why am i jinxing myself). brakes are not a lifechanging activity but i like knowing how to do it. next.. making cheese.

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  3. by the way good for you anna for being a gamer and going out into minnesota for the 7 year old. they need that today. when we were kids one neighbor or another would knock at the door and the adventure would begin. today they play sports with uniforms and coaches and have play dates where moms have art projects and mall expeditions in store. a day in the elements with a soulmate makes the world a better place. good work.

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    1. I do my best to allow Daughter as much free play time as possible – we limit the number of organized activities she is involved with (2, if you include the after school art class she’s in) and play time with friends is for her and her pals to figure out – I’ll assist with talking with the other parents to get it set up, but they’re on their own after that (unless mediation is needed for a dispute…and the judge is, quite frankly, reticent to take cases).

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      1. Anna, I applaud you for the unstructured play time. I don’t think it can possibly be good for kids to be under the supervision of adults 100% of their waking hours. Perhaps kids of my generation had too much unstructured time, but it sure was good for us to explore our interests and learn about ourselves. Good for you!

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      2. When Daughter was tiny there were some articles that came out about “nature deficit disorder” which is sort of a made-up thing, but what they were trying to get at (and I think there was a book out that spawned the articles) was that kids spend too much time in structured activities and too much time indoors. They need unstructured time to explore their world, both indoors and out. I took that to heart and have endeavored to ensure that Miss S has plenty of time without an adult around to figure out her world. It helps, I admit, that she has zero interest in team sports of any sort…

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  4. The first time i went to watch the National Curling champonships in Fargo In was prepared to be bored. But the whole experience was very interesting. I had no knowledge of time limits and several matches occuring at the same time. I was captivated by the whole procedure and had a great time!

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    1. i used to hang with canadians and this was lifes blood for them. kind of like group ice fishing or darts for them. head to the curling club and drink beer tak smart and curl. i like it. the olympics last time had me watching the curling with more interest than in the past. i could do that. my luge fantasies are almost past, i will not do mt everest anymore (katmandoo is on my bucket list) but i can learn to curl.

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      1. I discovered during the last Olympics that you could become a “fan” of the Norwegian Curling Team’s pants…so heck, why not. I am a fan of The Pants. :)

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      2. Yes, tim, those are “the pants”…you can fan them on Facebook. During the Olympics it meant I got all the curling updates. Still do from time to time (and also updates on other loud pants-related goodies).

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    2. I didn’t grow up playing hockey and I am not a hockey fan. I was suprised to find that I liked this sport when I went to hockey games when my daughter was on the high school hockey team. Sme kinds of checking are not allowed in high school girls hockey that are usually allowed in hockey. I think this might make girls high school hockey more a game of passing and playing positions which I think is good.

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      1. i was so thankful that i was not introduced to hockey as a kid i would have become a hockey idiot. it is a sport that is just up my alley intensity and skill/hustle/mentality wise. i am thankful my boys discovered it after high schoiol as a recreation from a pond hockey point of view with friends. i did have a daughter express interest in it and we got her all the stuff so she could go mess with the other hockey players for one season. that was enough to convince to look elsewhere for her fix. i think she would have been good but unlike piano and trumpet, i would not nudge her toward a more dedicated pursuit of hockey skill.

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  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    When I was a kid my uncle took us (his 3 kids, and me, my sister and brother) bareback riding on a horse. We had to learn to “leapfrog” jump onto a horse from the rear without a saddle. I was scared at first, then caught on. And the horse was willing to tolerate this? I had a BALL and did not want to leave the pasture.

    My Uncle Jim was great at this “go find an adventure” kind of activity.

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    1. I suddenly seem to be in the group that can only reply to a reply; first time this has happened.

      I wanted to establish that when I mentioned “random acts of kindness” yesterday I had no idea that today was National Random Acts of Kindness Day, or so I’m now told. I was going to mark this as OT but now that I think of it, I guess it really does relate to today’s topic because the first time I deliberately committed a RAoK it was really fun; much more than just a warm fuzzy. It led me to keep looking for anonymous ways to brighten someone’s day.

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    2. Oh yeah, then there was the times friends drug me off to a singles dance. Not fun, but I met my husband that night. He was the only no wolf there that evening. And here we are 24 years later…

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  6. Anna, this is a beautifully written blog and beautifully felt. When I was a kid there was a creek wandering through a city park right in front of my house. We kids could walk through my house after school and be on the creek in five minutes. In winter I was surprised to learn how much fun it was to skate up the creek when it froze, and I regret that more people haven’t tasted the joys of skating on a meandering creek. Each bend in the river brings new adventures, new views.

    On Saturdays we would walk down to the creek, lace up our skates and take off upstream with backpacks on. An hour of skating would take us far from home . . . north of town, actually, north of 13th Street! Eventually we’d locate a rest spot. Sometimes we’d build a little shelter to cut the wind, and always we’d build a crackling campfire. Out of the backpacks would come sauce pans and Lipton’s dehydrated soups. I think we made soup using creek water, which was adventurous given how many cattle fed and peed and pooped along the banks of the creek! I’m not sure soup will ever taste as good as it did to a kid with a runny nose, bright red cheeks and skates, sitting on the banks of a little frozen farm creek. Soup was followed with marshmallows, and that always led to that interesting test of character: are you a person with the patience to toast a marshmallow or are you a greedy guy who wants to burn it and to hell with fussy concerns about the charred crust?

    Then the return trip down the creek toward home and parents, the winter light failing, skates making whooshing sounds as we stroked back to civilization. I’ll never forget what it was like to hit with your skate a stick frozen in the surface of the river, which absolutely stopped that skate and launched you headfirst through the air looking like Superman flying with outstretched arms–very briefly–before you smacked down on the ice again and looked like a crash victim.

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    1. Great story, Steve! To continue my career as a commenting lamprey: I used to hate speaking in grade and high school, so when I went to college and started taking creative writing classes with Jonis Agee, I was appalled to find out that she wanted us to go to a local coffeehouse (the Victoria Cafe by the old Odegard’s, anyone remember it?) and read at the open mike. I was nervous, of course, but I discovered the performer-audience “click” that can happen when you’re up there to share something with people who are interested in hearing it. It helped that the Victoria was a great crowd, no heckling or disapproving silences, Jonis had prepared us well, and the other readers were surprisingly good for an open mike. Our favorite was the schizophrenic guy who was writing his memoir at the recommendation of his therapist–I treasure his line, “Everyone on the plane was crying, because they could see I was losing my mind.” Pure genius! Just about every time I do a reading I grumble and say, “I don’t want to do this, I don’t have enough new stuff, everyone’s going to get sick of my old stuff,” and I almost always loosen up eventually and enjoy myself (of course, like most poets I have stories about bad readings and torturous open mikes. I’ll save those for later!).

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      1. i always thought the hans brinker story of skating on the meandering rivers was about the coolest thing. it always looked like you would turn a corner and hit a drift but ill bet the tree roots would get your attention. i had an adventurous group of friends who took me cross country above the shill hell down below in montana where the was a skinny little path across the top and they were good skiers. i was trying to keep up and as they zipped across the top of the canyon i caught the tip of the ski in a few snarley roots popping up in front of me and went ass over tea kettle down a absolutely straight down mountain cliff on an ice wall. the guys came back laughing and doing the rescue routine. how do you help a guy stuck on the side of an ice wall? well ski over to him and tell him what to do. i lost a ski that was 1/2 mile down the mountain and their suggestion was to ski down to it on the one remaining ski i had and do that jump up spin around thing so you head on direction left and a little down jump up do a 180 and head to the right and a little down until you get to the desired spot on the hill. we all laughed three or 4 years later when i had developed into a better skier but man those were interesting challanges.
        another day in montana i had bought the ski pass for the week and it was -20 that day. i had a hard time getting my car started but when i got tho the mountain i had it pretty much to myself. it turned out there was a thermal inversion on the mountain and it was -20 on the bottom of the hill and 30 degrees at the top of the hill. i skied in the warmest spot in town for thew whole day all by myself. glad i went out on a cold day for that one. i had initially figured i would get in a run or tow and sip toddies by the fire in the lodge but plan b was too much fun

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    2. Steve – great story. Creeks are wonderful places for meandering and spending the day, regardless of the season.

      CG – I remember the Victoria Cafe (and Odegard’s…miss Odegard’s a bunch). Glad you were able to find a voice to do open mike and readings – that takes a special kind of bravery, I think.

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      1. Barbara: I do readings, but at science fiction conventions. I haven’t done an open mike in a long, long time. Might have to think about climbing back on the horse one of these days!

        Anna: Jonis told us, “If you want to be writers, you’ll have to learn how to read” so somehow I just did it. It helped that a grade was on the line. Also, I loathe with the fires of a thousand blazing suns the ridiculous “MFA accent” so many people affect when they read, and decided to go out there and prove you don’t have to sound precious to be a poet.

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    3. Delightful, Steve. I, too, had a free free childhood, running all over the place. Don’t remember ever being afraid…and now I am almost always afraid of something. Why is that?

      I think it would be interesting to poll the baboons about their style of roasting marshmallows, although we could change the word “greedy” to “hurried” to avoid being judgmental. I’m pretty sure I know where tim would be in that poll. I remember taking great care to toast my marshmallow just so.

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      1. My father could roast the most perfect marshmallows and I try to do the same. Hold the fork in one hand and use the other as a support. Rotate the fork slowly and evenly over just the right amount of heat. However, I do appreciate the occasional flambéed mallow of the marsh.

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  7. Just don’t think about the water quality. If it has not gotten you yet, it doesn’t matter. My aunt and uncle lived near the creek in Ames in a little bungalow. I loved that area.

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    1. They had to have lived quite close to us . . . there just weren’t that many houses near Squaw Creek in those days. I find that, more and more, those days we spent along the creek look like romantic dreams or scenes from “Little House on the Prairie.” What an incredible place for a kid to grow up in the 1950s, which might have been the ultimate time to be a kid in America.

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      1. I grew up in an area in Jackson, MI where there was an abandonded gravel pit, the remains of an old tile factory, a rail road track and a river with swamps along it’s edge. That was a great place for doing things like building huts and catching snakes and turtles and other creatures.

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      2. i had the minnesota river bottoms. too bad we all watch the kidknapping and sex deviant shows that make us watch our kids. my parents used to tell us to watch out and we thought they were nuts. dont screw up our playing!!! well we have screwed up their playing. i am convinced. the river bottoms are still there but the aire of exploration has been surgically removed from child psyches.

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      3. Barbara . . . I think they might have renamed it to be less offensive to Native Americans. That was the name of the creek flowing through Brookside Park just west of Ames and just east of “Campus Town.” Our home was on a hill overlooking the park, with no houses on the other side of the street. We kids spent as much time along or on the creek as we did at home.

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      4. Barbara: were you there when the wonderful wobbly suspension bridge was up? It allowed you to go from the town (Ames) side to the campus side of the creek. When you walked on it, the bridge wriggled madly like a demented snake! The spoilsports who run things have replaced it with a dull, ordinary bridge now, I hear. I used to play a lot in the area just downstream of that bridge.

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  8. Morning all. Lovely piece, Anna – although it makes me miss our usual winter all the more.

    As some of you know, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some fabulous places. 16 years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Tanzania. When I got the travel documents before the trip, I saw that there was an optional hot air balloon trip one of the mornings. I had never been up in a hot air balloon before and had always thought this was a “no, never in my lifetime” thing. But after agonizing for several days, I decided to sign up for it. I figured that this was certainly an opportunity that would only come along once in my life and I really didn’t want to let it slip by. Turned out to be a wonderful experience… it wasn’t nearly as scary as I had expected… and the whole day had a kind of dream-like quality because of it.

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    1. Field trip? I’ve done it once, over the St. Croix. It’s a real high (pun almost unavoidable). If we can get enough interested, perhaps we can get a discount.

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  9. I’m not inclined to resist new stuff, if can convince myself that I have the prerequisite skill to do it and that failing won’t kill me. Don’t know why, but I had gotten into my head that waterskiing was difficult, and so I resisted trying it. Didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of everybody. Then Bob, a friend with a boat on White Bear Lake, told me that he was sure he could teach me. The first couple of times I fell spectacularly, and, mainly because I didn’t let go of the rope, ended up with some pretty colorful bruises on the front of my thighs. Once I got the hang of it, I LOVED it. The feeling of whizzing along on the surface of water is truly exhilarating.

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    1. I had a similar experience with learning to water ski, PJ. After finally getting up that first time… there’s nothing like that feeling!

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  10. I’ve never liked crowds, so I’ve always avoided places like the State Fair and the Ren Fest. My family didn’t do things like that when I was growing up so I had little knowledge of what to expect. Many years ago, some friends talked me into a day at the Ren Fest and I thought I’d died and gone to the world I was supposed to have been in all along. I went back every year, even going alone when I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. It’s gotten awfully expensive now and August – September are consumed by Rock Bend, so I haven’t gone for a couple of years.

    I also didn’t think I’d enjoy playing in a band but I did it for 14 years and I enjoyed most of it.

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  11. Once I went on a paintball expedition with some coworkers. We were not very well organized – friendly fire was a problem, as I recall, and the whole endeavor had a Keystone Kops quality to it. But we had a good time, and some of the participants may have worked out some aggressions.

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  12. When younger I was a very nonadventurous eater. I swore I would never consume what I was certain were awful tasting things like coffee, onions, alcohol, asparagus, any salad with mayo, or fish. (I am sure there are more but these are the ones that come to mind.) Well, once I tried them, I changed my mind. I still am pretty fussy about fish, but when I can get it fresh I like it

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  13. Since I’m pretty much game for anything, it’s hard to think of an example of something dreaded and then enjoyed.
    Two types of skiing come to mind. Went downhill for the second time in my life to Afton with wasband and some of his junior high students. We had shorty skis which made it much easier than the first time I’d gone (in junior high) I tooled around the bunny hill for a while and then they talked me into going up the lift and trying it for real. I was scared to death but it turned out not to be too bad. In spite of that, I never wanted to go downhill skiing again, and I haven’t.
    After a summer or two of fairly successful waterskiing, I developed this phobia of having my tips go underwater and causing me to cartwheel across the lake (I don’t think that catching the tips underwater is even easily possible). I hung back for a while and finally got up the guts to try it again. No problems.
    I wouldn’t say that either of these cases is a good illustration because although I succeeded in completing the task, I didn’t come out enthusiastic on the other end, just mildly successful.

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  14. Perhaps this incredibly mild winter is our consolation prize for enduring 85″ of snow last winter?

    Responding to this morning’s question………about 15 years ago, I decided to surprise my daughter on her birthday with tickets to a Vikings game. I got a bit carried away & bought enough for the whole family to attend together. Never having watched, much less attended, a football game, I had no way to expect what would happen. My daughter insisted that all of us go in full costume; purple wigs, face paint, yellow boas, and all. Before five minutes in the Thunder Dome had passed, I was 100% hooked by the sheer gale-force energy & exhilaration of the experience. I was utterly shocked when our fans booed the opponents, asking my son, “Isn’t that rude???”

    By the end of my very first Vikings games, I was screaming out epithets and shouting in a whole new language. I was utterly enthralled, transformed and manic from the crowd’s frenzy. This brand new electrifying experience had a result not unlike the baby grand event: I came home and immediately ordered 6 season tickets! Like the time I bought a Cabo San Lucas timeshare after
    my first Marguarita, I was stuck with trying to fill those 6 seats game after game after game.

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    1. bad season to have leftovers. in a good year youd have to figure out how to spent the money. i would think cabo would be easy to find takers on.

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  15. After heart surgery over a year ago now, Husband found a stationary bike at a thrift shop, which sat in the basement for several months until he started using it regularly. After all my Christmas dramas were over, he made me promise to give him 5 minutes one day, and persuaded me to get on the thing. Let’s say I had been reluctant – knew it would be good for me, but never got to top priority. So I tried it – not so bad, and it didn’t buck me off. I’m now up to 15 minutes almost daily.

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    1. BiR, I know what you mean. It feels good “knowing” that you’re doing something for your body even though you may not be enjoying the process all that much. That’s how I feel about my visits to the Y; getting my butt there in the first place is half the battle.

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      1. For decades, I tried every possible method for “doing something for my body even though I didn’t enjoy it” and failed miserably (Nordic Track, gym memberships, walking, treadmill, etc., etc.). It wasn’t until turning 60 and discovering dancing that I finally “found” not only what worked, but provided untold joy. Zumba’s the national rage these days because it’s simply (& vigorously) dancing. After 25 years of being overweight, 40 pounds just dropped away, not from any diet but from dancing alone.

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        1. If only I could get myself dancing daily… I used to do aerobic videos faithfully. Since I only get to Zumba twice a week (if I’m lucky) and contradance every couple of weeks, I need to look into getting new videos (or -shock- advance to DVDs!) that I can do on my own.
          Sorry to hear that PJ has to struggle with style-cramping joint issues. My new-ish hip isn’t perfect but I can dance again.

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      2. I agree, Cb, doing something good for your body is so much easier if you enjoy the process. I have always been physically active: bicycling, skiing, rollerblading, swimming, ping-pong, badminton, tennis, fencing, archery, bowling, hiking and dancing; enjoyed every minute of it. Never thought of those activities in terms of them being good for me, I did them strictly because I had fun doing them. Then at 35 years of age, I tore the meniscus in my right knee playing tennis. Surgery fixed the immediate problem, and I resumed my active life style. At 45 I had to have another knee surgery; the remainder of the meniscus was removed, and that pretty much put a halt any high impact activity; really cramped my style.

        Now 24 years, and several more surgeries (including a knee replacement), later, I’m lugging around 35 extra pounds, and it’s a struggle, particularly since my favorite pass time is cooking! And, frankly, Silver Sneakers isn’t all that much fun.

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      1. Oh, darn, I thought watching my various exercise videos would do me lots of good…and now I find out I have to actually do the moves?

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  16. As a new grampa and neophyte babysitter, I want to assert right here that “Shaun the Sheep” is a film marvel that ranks with “Gone With the Wind” and “Casablanca!” It doesn’t do much for the dignity of goats, but other than that it is perfect!

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      1. PJ, I’m trying, but this kid zips around like a sheep dog. When you see a cute expression you can’t get to a camera fast enough because he’ll be on to something new long before you can find the camera! I did snap pictures of his face as he watched Shaun the Sheep. What a wonderful movie. Beats the dickens out of Citizen Kane!

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  17. Afternoon–

    Thanks for the story Anna. Daughter and I went sledding one day too, but really it’s just a means to hot chocolate for her. Hill is in the backyard, twice down she’s done, (I got her to go once more)– whole thing was over in a matter of minutes.

    I’m really trying to be more adventurous in eating. Asparagus has been mentioned already, but it was news to me how good it can be. Moral mushrooms I’ve made a couple different ways. Sometimes it is as simple as different apple varieties or trying the steak before I cover it w/ ketchup.
    How about ham, you cooks? All we know is to cover it w/ pineapple slices and clove spears. There must be a different way, yes?

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    1. So, those moral mushrooms…do they improve your behavior when eaten, or just make you browbeat all those other people who have loose morals?

      Sorry, couldn’t resist…

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    2. Ben, please ban that ketchup bottle from your table, unless you’re having French fries.
      If you’re cooking with good, fresh ingredients, let them be the star of the meal. Morel mushrooms are special indeed. Just a few more months……

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    3. I have used other fruit juices as a baste for my ham (later in the baking so the fruit sugars don’t burn) and added things like cardamom and allspice, plus whatever herbs I had at the time that sounded good…did a maple syrup glaze once, that was nice, too.

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    1. Oh, how I wish I were in the Cities. I envy you from the bottom of my green heart getting to hear David Francey, and I understand that Solas will be in town on Sunday. Grumble, grumble self-pity whine!

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  18. There must be sometime when someone convinced me to do something that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy but I did…I just can’t remember! Obviously, I need to step beyond my comfort zone more often.

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    1. Edith, maybe you’re just more open to new experiences and don’t need that much prodding. I’m with Lisa and tim in the camp of people who are game for most anything, so there were really only two things that sprung into my mind, and both were related to fear of looking ridiculous and/or getting hurt. The other was parasailing. Thought I would die, but it was wonderful.

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      1. It would probably help if I had somebody to encourage me to do new or adventurous (or even out-of-the-usual-rut) things. As it is, I usually have to be the one to both encourage myself to do something and then do it alone…not always easy for someone who struggles with depression. I keep trying to do little things, which is better than nothing.

        Daughter #2 did ask me to consider driving out to get her at the end of the school year in Philly and then swing up to Maine for a visit…that would definitely be out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure I’m physically up for 1100 or so miles of driving alone, maybe I can convince her that going by train would be almost as good – and that would also be an Adventure for me.

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      2. Maybe a Blevins book club outing would be out-of-the-usual-rut. What kind of encouragement would work on you? Would you be enticed by bread pudding?

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      3. drive but take your time. dont do it all at once. find cool stuff on the way. frorm here to phillly? rock and roll hall of fame. michigan ave in chicago on day 1 visit the chicago instatute of arts . on the way to maine you coud visit dfriends at attica

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      4. Oh, I could never drive it all at once, tim…can’t stand being locked into one position for so long and i might fall asleep at the wheel. But it would take days and days at the rate I would be able to handle it. I’m thinking the train thing might be just the ticket (pun intended).

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      5. LInda, I have never been in a book club and I think I would enjoy Blevins’ Book Club…but being a relatively newbie here, I’m not sure how to get started. For instance, when I see that the next meeting is at so-and-so’s house, how do I know where they live? (Bread pudding is not needed to entice me…I can make some decent desserts and can bring something to share.)

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      6. Edith – shoot me a note at akb at pobox dot com and I shall add you to our little email list for the book club. Then you should get the info on where we are meeting (and how to get there). Our next meeting is in March (we meet every other month, give or take) and we are reading “Hound of the Baskervilles.” Please join us!

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      7. Edith, the Blevins’ book club is pretty forgiving. You don’t even have to have read the book! Chances are you won’t get a word in edgewise, but it’s an interesting and fun group. Depending on where you live, you might be able to car pool with someone.

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    1. Very cool! Does that mean that Bob Collins is checkng on the Trail on a regular basis? He mentions it as though everyone would know what he’s talking about.

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    2. We have such a congenial bunch of baboons that our conversations seem so imtimate that I forget about lurkers and checkers and the curious. It would be really interesting to know just how many people read us every day, and even more interesting to find out what they think about us.

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      1. More importantly, Renee, what do you think about all those people who comment on the News Cut blog?

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      2. I used to frequent News Cut more often than I do now – it seemed like there is more disagreement than what we have here (probably since Bob Collins touches on more of the “hot button” issues like his reference today to teacher tenure), but it never gets mean or nasty.

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      3. regular/loyal lurker here. Usually read/enjoy at the end of the day. Yes, to congenial bunch. I haven’t figured out how to receive follow-up comments unless I comment; at the end of the day the conversation seems perfect without any additions. The posts usually appear on FB but not lately.

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      4. Nan, I hope you decide to pitch in whenever you’re so moved. I have given up trying to figure out what’s going on with FB. I know a lot of my friends are as frustrated with it as I am.

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        1. Thank you, I will. Sometimes, it seems a little like interrupting. Although that doesn’t usually stop me in real life…

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