Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Grown Up House

"B has a grown up house," I reported to another friend.

"I don't have a grown up house," my friend said immediately.  

I don't have a lot of close friends, but this is why I love the ones I have.  I didn't have to explain what I meant by "grown up house."

B's house is beautiful.  It is immaculate, despite her rambunctious dog. She has nice furniture that looks like it was chosen carefully.  Spaces are clear of random knicknacks.  Her guest rooms are actually guest rooms, with beds and chairs in them.

My house is cheerfully described as a "bungalow" on real estate sites.  It's over a thousand feet smaller than hers.  Unless managed, the surrounding forest is always threatening to take over.  My furniture is mismatched, my art is eclectic, and my "guest room" has litter boxes and an exercise bike in it.

It is cute rather than beautiful, a hippie sort of place. It'll never win design awards or sell for a fortune, but it is cozy.  I look forward to coming home to it when I'm away on a fire assignment. The truth is, I like the grown up houses and I'm sometimes envious of people who have them, but I'm not really a grown up house kind of person. I'm happy in my little space.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Exercise on the road

 When you travel, if it's not an adventure type vacation, is your first thought how and when am I going to exercise? No? Just me? 

I admit to being a little excessive about it. I worried slightly as I packed my running shoes for a fire assignment that ended up lasting almost 3 weeks. Despite popular belief, not all assignments involve hiking a fireline and swinging a pulaski. These days, because of other qualifications I have, my days, while long, can be pretty sedentary.  

Some people use this as an excuse to slack off on their routine, which is understandable; after 12 to 14 hours of hanging out at a helibase or airport with a helicopter, I really just want to eat and maybe watch TV, if I'm lucky enough to have a hotel room and not a tent. But it had to be done or else I would soon feel icky.

Arriving at the small airport, I surveyed my options. There was a gravel road that ran the entire length of the perimeter fence and was more than four miles long.  Another road circled some private hangars and was a mile and a half. Despite the vigorous wind that often scoured the area, the mechanic and I were determined to get workouts in. After returning from a run or walk, we would compare notes on how far we went. "The house with the dirt piled up in front of it" or "the bridge to nowhere" were important markers.

I peered longingly into the hotel gym. Surely it was closed due to covid. Upon inquiring I was delighted to learn that it was open by appointment. I could reserve it for an hour and nobody else would come in. Looking at the sign in sheet, it appeared that nobody else at the hotel was interested. Even though it often meant that I was in there late at night, it was worth it to be able to lift some weights and use an elliptical in peace.

Introvert Exerciser's Paradise

I was even able to get my feet on a couple of actual trails.

Life would probably be easier if I could let this exercise obsession go at times like my coworkers seem to be able to do.  I guess we make time for what is important to us though.

Is anybody else like this? What are some of the ways you make it work?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020


 I don't know if it's politically correct to say "Indian Summer" anymore, but if I were a Native American, I'd definitely want to claim this one. 

After a summer that seemed to go by too quickly, we are having a glorious autumn. Days are in the 70s and even close to 80, and the nights are crisp. The larches and aspens are turning golden. And even though I have to work (I'm managing a helicopter that is still responding to fires almost every day), I am still loving it.

I was briefly able to break away and hike. I didn't know what to expect of this trail: it was close to town and I was worried it would be full of people. But as I climbed through a beautiful canyon and up to a ridge where the trail met the Continental Divide Trail, I met very few other hikers.  I lingered on the CDT, imagining what it would be like to be hiking these miles from Mexico to Canada. 

I know we are on borrowed time. Some years, it starts raining and snowing in September. The forecast is looking grim for this weekend. So I'm enjoying this interlude while I can.