Yesterday I had some time to kill, so I decided to check out Piedmont Park. I'd meant to for a while now but never around to it. I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful park with good running trails and wide open fields. It also has a little lake and many wonderful trees. Unfortunately I did arrive in the late afternoon and the heat and humidity were intense.
I ran across this within minutes of arriving. It's amazing how much is being shot in Atlanta these days.
This area is known as Active Oval and has several playing fields, including these beach volleyball pits. A nice gravel running trails encircles the area. I also found plenty of stairs to mix in to upcoming workouts as it looks like we may be moving close to this park in the very near future.
The Peachtree Road Farmer Market is the third farmer's market I've been to in Atlanta, the furthest from where we're living and the biggest.
I was overwhelmed with all the fresh and yummy foods. As often is the case when I go to a farmer's market, I didn't have any sort of shopping list. When I have in the past, particularly at smaller markets, they often don't have what's on my list, so I have to improvise anyway. I've learned to have a basic idea of what's in the pantry and fridge at home and then grab what looks good and worry about figuring it into our menu latter.
There was a lot that looked good and at practically every booth I shopped at I was convinced to buy just one more thing than I had planned.
There was a plethora of tomatoes and melons. I sampled some amazing local cheeses as well as some salami and bacon. At a booth selling pesto, I couldn't make up my mind, so bought one of each. We eat a lot of pasta so I know it won't go to waste.
Saturday's trip to the market brought home lots of goodies, many of which have already since been devoured. It's been quite a readjustment not having our own garden, not to mention lacking a worm farm or compost bin to throw all the green waste into. Having chickens and a vegetable garden gave me great insight and appreciation for the work farming takes, especially using organic methods on a smaller scale. It almost makes sense to tip the farmer's, they certainly earn and deserve it.
It all made for an incredible breakfast.
Is it any wonder why I'm having such a tough time losing those last 5 pounds.
The Georgia Aquarium
As our time in Atlanta may be coming to an end, I realized that we should start seeing some of the city’s highlights. Up there in the top ten is the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium. Skye and Cindy had already visited it before, but Skye really wanted me to see the whale sharks.
The underwater tunnel leading to the main observation room was overwhelming. There were so many notable fish passing by so closely overhead it took one’s breath away. It was spectacular.
After lingering in the tunnel for a while we headed to the main observation room. The size of the tank was hard to put into context. On one hand it was huge. I mean it housed four massive whale sharks, a few giant manta ray and a plethora of other large fish. And yet it seemed cramped. When I see a lot of tropical fish in a saltwater tank, my mind relates to a tropical reef teeming with colorful fish and coral. When I think of sharks and whales, I think of a vast ocean-scape where the planets largest creatures have practically infinite space in every direction
I started feeling conflicted. Skye was awestruck and certainly enjoying seeing these magnificent beings so up close. Yet I was feeling very bad for the fish, particularly the big whale shark that was so far removed from its natural habitat. I then started questioning myself as to why my sympathy was guided by size. Shouldn’t I feel just as bad for the smaller fish that were obviously not in their natural setting.
We headed to another group of exhibits. I usually use these field trips as an educational tool, but this time around it seemed that the information was either too broad and general so as to be something we had already covered several times over, or so specific as to have little long term relevance in the overall scheme of things. And I think I was distracted by the moral dilemma I was with which I was struggling.
The beluga whale exhibit pushed me over the edge. These beautiful creatures were doing countless laps in the much too small tank. One of them had marks across his back from rubbing against the sizes of his enclosure. Every time he came towards the glass he would swerve to hit it at the last moment and rub his massive body against it. Whereas there seemed some plausible moral loophole to be had with keeping gigantic fish in captivity, it seemed impossible to justify with mammals with a much more complex brain. Knowing how much more a person suffers mentally than physically from being incarcerated time, I knew that the beluga was worse off than the whale shark.
We didn’t stay much longer. Skye and I talked about what I had been thinking about on the way home. And then we had a family discussion about it when Cindy got home. I did more research on the matter and found out that two whale sharks had already died at the Georgia aquarium. I was reminded of the killer whale tragedy that occurred a couple of years ago at Sea World. But I also remember my many fond and permanent memories I had at various marine parks growing up and of course seeing the smile and wonderment on Skye’s face as she observes these other creatures.
I remain conflicted.
I started blogging for a bunch of reasons, perhaps primarily it was to vent or to express myself in regards to fitting into the world, to have a record of where I was and am in time and space. To write; Writers write to be heard, in a diary or a journal it is be to be heard by oneself, the anonymity allows for an honesty that fiction writers have or even nonfiction writers enjoy as long as it’s not autobiographical by nature, which is why so many blogs seem too censored and then some ring with TMI. Editing is censorship. Like everything else balance is key.
That I’m writing this at 3:30 am is a testament to my struggle with finding balance. I am guilty of thinking about things too much, that my mind is too restless. It is a cacophony in my head. I am driven by my passions that in turn drive me to distraction. As I started in on this entry, I started jotting down notes, that started to look like an outline which was good until I began to realize that it was looking more like an outline for a book or even a series of books as opposed to a single journal entry.
Being Proactive vs. Being OK
What do I do for a living?
Yoga, slackline and unicycle
Marathons and plyometrics
The Dynamics of Place
The Story of Stuff
Having the right tool can make all the difference but then again there’s much to be said for being resourceful or making due with what’s at hand.
Paleo-diet, localvore, gourmet , “Slow” food, to eat to live or live to eat
Home schooling my daughter is what takes up the majority of my time and yet gets the least airplay as it were. This is due to respecting my daughter’s privacy and provides for yet another balancing act.
When I work I must make to-do lists, prioritize them and allocate resources to be able to check things off that to-do list. There are many more parameters to my goals and responsibilities in my professional life as opposed to my personal life which makes it possible. The lists in my personal life grow far beyond my resources and so I find myself in a Sisyphean struggle to have my reach exceed my grasp.
And with that, I must stay good night or perhaps good morning and get back to the tasks at hand.
Off to Savannah
At the last minute, we decided to take a little mini-vacation and headed off to the coastal city of Savannah. It ended up being a lovely mixed bag of touristy activities. Some of the sites we thought would be more “authentic” ended up being touristy and a couple that we initially avoided because we thought they’d be crowded and cheesy ended up being quite lovely. We slept in on Saturday, which we all needed. I headed out on my own to check out the local Farmer’s Market at Forsyth Park.
Forsyth Farmer’s Market
I thought that because Savannah has some foodie leanings that I might find some nice little breakfast goodies. But unlike the farmer’s markets in California where there are often as many prepared food vendors as there are farm stands that was not going be the case.
It was a smaller market with pretty much what you would expect nothing quite special enough to bother hauling back. There were some interesting stands promoting such things as barter networks, communal farms and alternative energy sources.
I headed back to meet up with the girls for brunch at B. Matthew’s Eatery, which had wonderful food and also happened to be the site of Savannah’s oldest tavern, unexpected but quite cool.
After meandering around the beautiful streets and squares that make up Savannah’s historic district we came upon the house where Juliet Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts was born. Skye had been a Girl Scout for several years up until we left Los Angeles a few months back. I thought that the tour might make her a bit nostalgic and maybe she would reconsider her decision, but she’s pretty ready to move onto new adventures; and what better place to seek out an adventurous meal than at the Pirate’s House.
It was a bit tacky but not terribly so. I went along with it and ordered a Skull Crusher in a souvenir mug which I actually quite liked. The food was much better than expected, delicious. The clouds were gathering and with a few lightning strikes and claps of thunder, we knew we better head for shelter.
We almost made it back. The rain was refreshing and gave a good dousing.
All in all it was a perfect little mini-vacation.
Went for a trail run the other day, my birthday to be more precise. I dillydallied around a good part of the day and finally decided to head out of Atlanta to find a place to run in nature. It was hot and humid on the trail but it was in the woods, in the shade and on dirt. I was wearing my Viabram Five Fingers, continuing my foray into "barefoot" running. I quickly realized I was very much on a hiking trail. Roots and rocks crisscrossed the trail and made the going precarious. I ended up covering about six miles of up and down terrain, taking me about an hour and quarter to complete. The next day I felt shattered. It was really tough on my body. But all in all I had a great time. Running in the woods or anywhere in nature is so much better for me than slapping asphalt and treadmill work is paramount to torture.
I regularly go through the little notepad that I carry with me all the time, the one full of notes, lists, numbers and every day kind of stuff. I make big X’s across pages where the information on it no longer warrants being looked at. On the pages that have a scribble that I might find useful in the future, I sometimes circle the tidbit. Or perhaps I use a different color pen maybe if it deemed quite pertinent it will get a highlighter mark over it. And then on some very few items, I put a post-it on the page. These have to be kept to a minimum, otherwise the notepad starts to look very messy and ragtag.
For some reason, the one page that has held onto it's post-it the longest is a copy of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010 . I originally transferred them from another journal at the beginning of this year to assist in the making of the 2011 list, which never happened in large part due to the uncertainty of what lay before my family and I in the upcoming year.
Here is a copy of the list.
The list is funny and informative on all sorts of levels. Looking at it, a year and a half after writing it, I can say that one of the 12 has legitimately been accomplished. #5, creating the Website Jon of All Trades. Most are irrelevant now because my circumstances have changed so much from when I first conceived of the list. A few that involve specific consistency were dropped the first time the goal wasn’t reached, which is unfortunate because the principle behind the goal was sound.
Only three have any sort of relevance at this point.
I include #3 with a chuckle. On one level it is purely vanity based which you’d think I could realize and let go of. On the other hand , with a little self-discipline it is a bench mark that is attainable and has been in my sights for as long as I can remember, so why not knuckle down and do what it takes.
#4 remains on the list for a couple of reasons. I find that writing regularly has been good for me and by posting blog entries I have been able to keep track of my life. Facebook has become a shorthand version.
#10 Out of the country--Traveling internationally changed my life. It gives one a different perspective on things. On my 40th birthday I made a resolution to see the “New Seven Wonders of the World” which were announced that day. It’s now been 4 years and I have yet to make it to any one of them.
Now I can remove the post-it.
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