Vlog – Project Athena Week 4


It’s the end of Phase 1! A base has been built 🙂 I must say I am very happy with the training plan provided because I have really not felt terribly sore or tired yet. The mileage increase has been very gradual and the emphasis on cross training and strength have been perfect. This week, while there are no new donations (waaah)…I did get the proper sized backpack AND then I saw the very animal for which the pack was named. THAT was a real treat 🙂

On to Phase 2! the mileage ramps up now. I will be inspired to keep moving by some Phase 2 level donations? Pretty please?





Afternoon walk at work


A task in my Happify track this week was the Walk of Inspiration:

Take a meditative walk in a place that always inspires your best ideas. It could be a busy street, a hiking trail, or even the mall. (Hey, great ideas can come from anywhere.) Walk slowly at first, with eyes on the ground. Notice the tactile sensations of walking: the feeling of your feet, the temperature, the way your body feels.

Once you can walk at a normal pace while paying attention to sensory experiences, start noticing sounds—but try not to think too much!

Once you can attend to tactile and auditory sensations, start looking around and noticing any activity around you.

I decided that I would set out with the photo app opened on my phone and walk the grounds around the “campus” here at work. We are surrounded by Torrey Pines and native sage brush so it’s perfect for losing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. A welcome respite from the desk! Today was a good day because I am wearing softer soled shoes so that my own footsteps didn’t interrupt the sounds. It was a little chilly – I was glad I had on a sweater and I needed to button it up due to the gray skies completely covering up the sun. Often though, I find that the gray days mean I can see the bird life more clearly. The lack of glare and deep shadows makes the movement and colors catch your eye a bit more.

Sure enough, not a minute into the walk I heard the soft call of a rufous sided towhee. Not the main trilling song – he wasn’t up on the top of a bush singing – he was just flitting on the ground and then low in the bushes making his more sedated wheezy call. He moved too much for a photo, but was still so beautiful with his black and orange feathers providing a striking contrast to the green of the grass.

After spending a little time watching him, I set about taking pictures and had some fun afterwards making this collage in Picasa. I was paying attention not only to color but also to shape and textures as I walked:

Afternoon walk


There was more bird song serenading me through the walk, and the scents were fairly strong too. Sage and pine dominated.

Not a bad way to spend 15 minutes, but something I probably would not have done without the reminder – thanks again Happify 🙂


La Jolla Cove


I don’t mean to only post updates on Sundays, but….here we go again! No formal race event today, but the training group did invite us out for some open water swim time at La Jolla Cove.

While they were in the water, I took pictures. Some of the swimmers, some of the wildlife all around them. There is one photo of a sea lion’s head poking out of the water just behind them. Several times they were surrounded by the seals. The Cove is a great place for swimming and scuba diving so the water was filled with people.

I was glad I had the wildlife to distract me because once they were out of the cove and heading out to open water I got a lot more nervous for him than I had anticipated! Even with swim partners, he just looked so awkward since he has not really gotten enough practice at swimming in general and never completely put his head down and got a good swim stroke going. I thought his dad had spent some time teaching him last summer – but NO! Argh!

Still, it was fine and I did see some cool sights. The best was an Osprey cleaning itself up on a light pole right above the life guard tower so I got some great close up shots (and to watch it instead of the swimmers!).

Lots of pics of bobbing heads. Bright pink, yellow & white swim caps were with SB who had on nothing since we left his orange swim cap from the tri at home (sigh).

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For those interested, his write of his Spring Sprint in his own words has been posted on LegUp Training Blog.

Click HERE to read it.

Not exactly the *perfect* Sunday, but considering that I ran/hiked 4.8 miles at Torrey Pines yesterday AND spent four hours pulling weeds from my flagstone walkway? An hour at La Jolla Cove with me NOT exercising was plenty fine!



Over the last weeks anyone driving along the coast has been treated to the sight of huge flocks of Brown Pelicans soaring along the water line. I’ve been enjoying the views on my way home and saying to myself  “I need to snap a picture of this!” Of course I never remember to put my good camera in the car, and the 1st couple of attempts to capture them on the phone were failures, but on the way home yesterday I got lucky with a long line of birds and just enough traffic to slow me down 🙂 Pardon the funky tilts and angles. Still amazes me that these enormous looking birds actually fly so gracefully.

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Friday Beauty – in the eye of the beholder


I kept it traditional yesterday, but I can’t resist sharing a couple of more politically oriented Veteran’s Day today – and yes, I consider these beautiful because sometimes it takes a proper visual representation of an issue to get a very very critical point to be made:

And one more traditional representation of beauty (in my eyes anyway) that I posted on my birding site a couple of weeks ago – Male Anna’s hummingbird in my backyard (do you have any idea how hard those little buzzers are to photograph? Especially with two cats flailing at the window?)

Enjoy your weekend!

Oh, and check out Robin’s place – she’s visiting San Diego for a week and will be posting some of her awe inspiring photos while here. I’ll be taking her out on the trails on Wednesday. Perhaps I can help her find some ceviche? 🙂


Recommended reads for the week


I may or may not be able to post much again this week. Every time I think I can, something comes up. In the meantime though, what I worked on last week was actually for another site. I’ll post it here later, but for now, make sure you bookmark or add Whatever Nation to your blog roll. *Especially* if you are the parent of teens.  Topics addressed over there in prior weeks include cyber safety, raves, teen pregnancy, and birth control. This coming week the topic is bullying. The stories of the recent suicides made this topic a must. In my research on the topic I found a couple of eye opening and helpful sites:

Groundspark – for sobering stats.

The Trevor Project – for more stats and also for resources on how to help the most heavily impacted LGBT youth community.

I didn’t stop my reading challenge. I just took a detour into the political book realm so I wrote up books #38-40 on Pragmatic Progressive. Book #41 will be a Dean Koontz for a quick, Intense counterbalance of fiction.

Fall birding season is here so I’ll be watching/listening for our “cold” weather visitors & listing them on the Torrey Pines Reflections site.

Finally – a comic strip featuring me as the rat. Yeah, I own this!

Pearls Before Swine

Cleaning the birds soiled by the BP Oil


Please visit the International Bird Rescue Research Center. Donate. Read. Watch the videos. These people are doing the hard work and research on how best to rehab the birds impacted by the oil spill in the gulf. Here’s some screen shot samples:

Further down in the FAQ’s they say that they are using Dawn dishwashing liquid to wash the birds!  Thankfully Proctor & Gamble is donating the product to them. NICE:

Check out these quick facts about the spill so far:

Book mark the site. Follow them on Twitter. Share their links on Facebook. This is going to be a long, long process and these organizations need all the support we can give them.