Walking around

I caught myself admiring a lovely Wedgwood tea set, London, November 2005

I caught myself admiring a lovely Wedgwood tea set, London, November 2005

“I absolutely love cities that reward walking.  In London, you can’t go three blocks without coming upon something grand and historic, a charming little square, or an interesting piece of street life.  To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, when you’re tired of walking around London, you’re tired of life.” — Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

For those who haven’t yet figured it out, I’m often writing things I need to read or hear myself. So today, I’m reminding myself of how much I love to walk.

The insanely busy holiday season, coupled with the rainy and/or cold weather and my generally low moods lately have meant that I’ve not been walking nearly as much as usual. Like maybe 3-4 days of every week, at most, and only two miles or so when I do walk.  For someone who used to walk five miles EVERY day (no matter the weather), this is a considerable slump.  My bathroom scales know it, but more importantly, my mind and body feel it.  I really, really need to get going again. Hence the pep talk.

It’s not a hard argument to make, though.  I agree with Pang; I’m crazy about cities that reward walking.  In this category I would immediately think of London, as he mentions, but also of Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC and pretty much any charming little town on either coast.  Come to think of it, once you figure out where the sidewalks, bike lanes or other pedestrian-friendly roads are, almost anyplace can reward walking.

Cities offer an energy and vitality not found anywhere else, but suburban and rural settings have unique charms, too.  No matter where we are walking, our minds are on a scavenger hunt for images that inspire, amuse, educate or palliate.  Whether we snap photos with a man-made camera or gather visual memories with only our neurological equipment, we are building a scrapbook of comfort and joy that will stay with us on an unconscious level, even as our minds must return to focus on other tasks.

It may be true that when we’re tired of walking, we’re tired of life.  If so, addressing the symptoms could affect the cure.  I invite you to join me in getting outside, even in the cold or rain (bundle up! take an umbrella!) to gather images for our personal collections of things to be happy about.  If you’re in the country, keep an eye out for wildlife, and an ear open to birdsong.  If you’re in a suburb or city, stop in an interesting shop, or treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea at a charming bistro.  Or just use your imagination to transform a mundane scene into something unique, by looking more closely, or from a different angle.

Let’s go claim some of the rewards of walking.  Feel free to share with us some details what you find (or what finds you).

56 Comments

  1. Jack

    Several (more than several) years ago, my wife gave me an iPod with a step counter. I’ve always loved walking, but the new and now in some ridiculous way competitive nature of that silly counter has taken things to overdrive. I only wear it while officially exercising, last year that totaled just shy of 4.6 million steps, a slight increase from 4.4 in 2014. I’ve dragged my somewhat reluctant wife, sister and various neighbors into the cult, all 50-somethings and I think it’s safe to say they all wish I’d just shut up about my steps. FYI, my doctor brother in law, to one-up me, bought a fit bit several years ago and took almost 7 million steps last year. For you math guys, that’s around 4000 miles of walking. Does the dude ever work??

    Sweet obsession! Better than the 2 bottles of wine I used to drink every night after work. For you math guys, that’s a river of heartache 😄

    • Jack, when I read your comment, I thought of the hilarious piece David Sedaris wrote about being addicted to his fitbit. I think many of us can identify. I had tried several cheaper pedometers but found them too inconsistent to be trusted. I had never heard of a Fitbit until Jeff gave me one, but I got hooked on it immediately, and I have been amazed how accurately (or at least consistently) it measures distances. It really is easy to get obsessed with it. For anyone who is goal-oriented, counting steps (or miles or stairs climbed or whatever) is a great incentive. Fitbit sends you little messages such as “you have now walked far enough to get to the moon and back” and silly things such as that. It really is fun. And I agree, a much healthier habit than large quantities of wine! 😀

  2. Julia, good morning. I enjoy walking but I’m not a cold weather fan. ~/
    I do enjoy walking around in cities…seeing new places and things.

    • Merry, you and me both…I used to walk in the cold weather, but when the temperature drops below 20 and the wind is high, I can’t be out much anymore. I feel silly wearing a ski mask but my face starts hurting after a very short time in the icy wind. I tell myself that a 60-year old (or anyone almost there) gets an exemption from walking in the cold. I’ve started walking laps around the house some, and even tried going to a shopping mall, but it just isn’t the same as being outdoors. Stay warm!

  3. Sheila

    You’re right, Julia. So often, IT finds us, when we least expect it. Recently, while in California, we ventured a short distance from Santa Barbara to Montecito. From the sidewalk next to the beach to the tree lined shopping district, I can’t remember if I walked or floated. It was so beautiful, to say the least. ✨ I know you have fierce weather heading your way soon. Stay warm, my friend. I’d say tea is the order, and lots of it! ☕️

    • Sheila, I believe Montecito is the richest part of Santa Barbara, which strikes me as rather like saying the whipped cream is the richest part of a hot fudge sundae, but once you’ve been there you get the idea. I seem to recall the zoo (which was a beautiful piece of land) was near or adjacent to Montecito. I have only vague memories of it, but I bet it’s prettier now than ever.

      The weather has been fierce indeed. I had hoped the prophets of weather doom were over-hyping it, but if anything, I think it’s turned out to be worse than they expected. And last night I saw online a story that said the DC snow measurements were actually LOWER than what was originally published; apparently measuring snowfall is an inexact science at best. Suffice it to say — WHOA!!! Bring me another cup of tea!! 😀

  4. That photo was stunning. I wish I had been there. There is little to look at where I walk. Same stuff, different day. I’m sitting here in the gloom and the daily rain and cold drizzle. But I didn’t walk in the sunshine either. I used to walk the mall once in awhile but now, rarely. When I had my dog, we walked everyday twice without fail. 2 miles each time most often. No wonder I’m so gloomy and chunky! And tired all the time. We are so good at coming up with reasons not to do this or that. You got me. I’ll find a way to walk more. Thanks Julia. Have a wonderfilled weekend. Giant hugs.

    • Marlene, I started walking much less after Pasha died, which is strange; one would think I’d walk MORE since it’s easier to walk without a dog. I think having a dog is good for people for that very reason, among many others. They force us out of our warm little cocoons. I know to that when I was walking with Pasha, I would stop and talk with my neighbors more often because our canine companions would always want to stop and visit with each other.

      I find that the less I walk, the more tired I get. Inertia is a very powerful force in me. Once I can get myself in motion, I tend to stay in motion much longer. It’s getting started that’s the problem. One thing that helps me tremendously is to put on some lively music. I doubt I’d walk at all if not for my MP3 player loaded with books or my favorite exercise tunes.

      I love that word – “wonderfilled!” Sending Giant Hugs to you too! 😀

      • I so understand. I too stopped walking after my dog died. I miss her so much for that reason. And she was an icebreaker for me. I still tend to walk with no music or sound. I like to hear what’s around me. I think it’s age that requires more quiet. I’ve started exercising again and heading out this morning again between rainstorms. It’s hard to set up the discipline to do it for no other reason than to take care of yourself. I’m always looking for my day to fill me with wonder.
        Right now it’s hiding the f in fill. Wow! It did that on your reply too. I think my computer has gremlins. 😦 Time to call in Tech Support. I’ll wait till he’s had his coffee first. All the F’s are disappearing if I try to add a word to it. Scary!

        • Marlene, how rustrating! Hope it was inally ixed. JUST KIDDING! I left the fs off on purpose!! I have never had any letters disappear, but I have had entire sentences and paragraphs disappear. I just got back into NoVa after being stranded in Atlanta for two days longer than I was supposed to be there. The roads here are partially cleared, but the drifts in our front yard are as high as me in some places, and I have no idea when the sidewalks will be safe to walk. I’ll have to find some creative way to get my exercise in. Hope you have clear skies ahead.

          • Another blogger had the same problem the next day. I think the air waves were broken. 🙂 You are funny, leaving off the letters on purpose. 🙂 Being stranded with a grandchild is an extra reward for your kindness. Life couldn’t get better. I just can’t do snow anymore though I do love it. Ours comes once or twice a winter then is gone in a day. We have rain and more rain but plenty of dry in between. I do a yoga routine when I can’t get out. It works so many muscles that if I’ve been away from it for awhile, I can barely move the next day. It’s really more of a workout than most think. I’ll walk this afternoon when the rain lets up. I don’t have to shovel it. 🙂

            • Marlene, I’m reading more and more about the benefits of Yoga. It’s said to be quite beneficial for body and mind, so I really do think I need to learn at least a bit of it. Your snow sounds exactly made to order for my tastes. Just a bit of atmosphere and no lingering drifts to get dirty and block visibility. Yesterday most of the road were cleared, so we took Matt to his hematology appointment. They had to station traffic directors in the parking lot because the drifts were so high between the cleared driving lanes that there was no way to see whether it was safe to continue through an makeshift intersection. It’s been deliciously warm and sunny yesterday and today, though, so I plan to get out and about at least a bit. But I won’t see any sidewalks for a long time, I fear. Hope you have a great week ahead!

  5. Julia,
    Thanks for taking me along for your walk. It’s been some time since I’ve been mobile on my feet than as I am now on wheels. I can still enjoy the sights and sounds of that which is now passable, but miss having the world under my feet. How much that there was that we once took for granted. You are correct; make the most of our time and means available to us.
    -Alan

    • Alan, thanks for this touching reminder. It made me sad to think of your missing the world under your feet, but happy to know that you do know how to appreciate that gift in a way most of us can’t, and can help us think about it. Marshall McLuhan talked about how we are as unaware of what surrounds us as a fish is of water. When we are immersed in something it’s very hard to fully experience it on a conscious level. Of course, this applies to everything in life. I think part of the wisdom that inevitably comes with growing older is becoming aware of how unaware we are, until something has passed and is no longer there. There are times when this can be a good thing — how often do we find ourselves thinking “how on earth did I survive that for so long?” — but it also can be a bit sad when we recall fun and happy times. In recent years, when I find myself very happy or very troubled, I try to stop and remind myself “this too shall pass.” Hope you are staying warm and enjoying some beautiful “Currier and Ives” postcard snow scenes!

      • No truer words spoken, Julia!
        I too find myself surprised in getting through some trying events. It must then be true: That God never gives us any more than we can handle. Or better said: Whatever challenge that comes our way, God will send us ample grace to withstand it.
        -Alan
        Yes I am staying warm. Hope you survived that storm well.

        • Yes, I’d have to say that one of the best things to come out of the past three years of crises, is our ability to say to ourselves: OK, somehow, some way, we are going to survive this. We have done it before, and we can do it again. Even when we don’t feel it in our hearts, our minds can remind us that we have never been left desolate. (John 14:18)

          And speaking of surviving, yes, we have thus far done quite well in the storms. Actually we missed the worst of it; I was stranded in Atlanta, and Matt and Jeff were in York County, where it was nothing like NoVa. The big roads here are mostly cleared by plows, but it will be a couple of days yet before everything is passable, and the drifts are so high they’ll probably linger for weeks. Nothing like being nice and cozy and thankful for electric power, climate-controlled homes and hot tea!

  6. blseibel

    Great idea, I was just bemoaning the size of my middle and I love walking but our VERY cold temp have let me make excuses BUT I recently heard that the sports dome allows walkers in the morning hours and I’ve heard malls are popular walker spots so I have no excuse … I will miss me doggie companion thought. But there is hope, we are back in the 30s starting tomorrow. No excuses anymore, huh?

    I have always loved walking around Chicago, it’s a great walking city except that protestors over the last couple of months have made a peaceful walk more challenging. Hoping this spring it is something I can get back to.

    • I too have allowed the cold weather to sidetrack my own determination to get back out and walk more. I am amazed to think how it was only a few years ago that I would head out for a three-mile walk, all bundled up, with two golf-ball-sized heated stones in each pocket to keep my gloved hands warm for as long as possible. Even so my hands would be freezing cold by the time I got back home. Now when it’s cold outside, I simply think “GO OUT IN THIS WEATHER? ARE YOU KIDDING?” and go back inside. 😀

      I’ve seen beautiful photos of people walking along the waterfront in Chicago. I’ve only been there twice, but the enduring memory I have of it is how COLD it is there. The wind makes it feel much colder, I think. Still, I can imagine it would be lovely in the sunshine. I hope you are able to enjoy it again soon. Whether it’s crime, dirty air, noise, protesters, panhandlers or any other menace, it seems so sad to think that people are unable to enjoy their streets and towns in peace. I’m sending you WARM wishes for a cheerier experience next time you get outside.

  7. Thanks for the reminder. As my dog ages, she is not able to take the many miles walks we used to take for much of her life. As a result, there is not the same push to get out of the house in less than ideal weather conditions. I need to off my rear end and get to walking again; it’s always a lot of fun and I feel better when I am doing it regularly. Even though my dog can’t walk far, she still likes a good turn around the block. Enjoy your next walk – whenever you take it!

    • Aren’t our doggie friends wonderful to motivate us to get outside, even for short distances? I think that short turn around the block with your dog is a great way to jump-start the rest of your day. Exercise of any kind is one of those things that always feels better AFTERWARDS than it does when we are anticipating it. For me, it’s the same with healthy eating. Every time I over-indulge in food I think “why do I do this when I know how bad I will feel afterward?” We really are funny creatures. I hope to get walking again soon — but I doubt the sidewalks at our NoVa home will be safe to walk anytime soon. I might have to get over to the mall in the meantime…happy winter! Thanks for being here.

  8. Julia, I’m sorry to hear that you’re in a slump. It’s certainly understandable that your mood is low. Life can beat you down.

    I do find that walking always lifts my spirits. I’ve really missed it these past three months while I heal from surgery, and look forward to getting that mobility back. I like walking with friends and I enjoy walking alone too with my thoughts. I love walking in the rain too, with the caveat that I live in California where it might be raining and 68 degrees, not the cold, driving winds and rain you have in the east.

    I hope you can find your way outdoors again soon. xo

    • Alys, has your doc given you any sort of schedule for easing back into walking? I would imagine it will have to come slowly. One thing I truly miss about California is the ability to enjoy (not just endure) walking year round. At times like this, with snow piled high, sidewalks icy and the wind so cold, it seems wise NOT to get outside, but I do look forward to being outside again soon. Right now, “soon” feels a long ways off!

      • Julia, I see my doctor on Monday and I will ask her just that. You’re right about walking in California. Even the coldest days are tolerable, and no worries about slipping on ice. That alone would be enough to keep me inside. I hope you get a break from the cold and snow.

        • Hi Alys, I hope you got good news from the doctor yesterday. I went out walking today for the first time since the big snowfall in NoVa and the walkways are still mostly covered. I had to stick to the streets, facing traffic, and moved to the side when cars passed. I walked some on the ground where the snow was melted, but of course it was wet and soggy. Still, it was great to be out again. Hmmm, that song “California Dreamin'” is suddenly going through my mind…

          • Hi Julia, My doctor is pleased with my progress and says I’m ahead of schedule. I got the all clear for walking. I still have low-level pain and swelling, but it could be another three months till that subsides. I’m still putting my feet up at the end of the day and icing for twenty minutes.

            Wow, you really are snowed in there. I’m glad you got out for a walk, but sorry to hear you had to use the streets. Is the visibility fairly good?

            We are so lucky with our California weather. I’ve come to appreciate it even more since blogging and hearing about weather all over the world.

            On a separate note, I loved your letter and will reply in kind when time permits. It was so special to receive your news via snail mail

            • Alys, I am so happy (and not a bit surprised) to hear you are ahead of schedule. Bravo! Keep on doing what you’re doing and we hope that soon all the pain and discomfort will be a memory.

              There are still patches of snow left, but the warmer temps and rain have helped clear things considerably. Fortunately, most drivers are considerate; they can see the waist-high mounds of snow on the walkways and understand why I’m in the street, so they move as far as possible away from the curb, and if there’s a spot where there is no snow, I step off the street for a minute. I had to get cautious about that when I tried stepping up on a pile of snow, slipped, and wobbled frightfully just as one of the less considerate drivers was speeding by. Hopefully it scared him as much as it did me, but it was a lesson learned. Each day it’s been a bit easier to stay on walks for at least part of the way. A lot melted yesterday, so today may be almost all clear.

              Yes, you are so fortunate to have the California weather, even with those difficult (and often dangerous) dry seasons. While I lived in CA it felt as if the climate and outdoors were a trusted friend who could always lift my mood, no matter the circumstances. My love of walking was kicked into high gear during our San Antonio years (when we lived near a great park with a fairly challenging uphill climb, with a lovely view and a downhill second half that provided built-in incentive) but those 5+ years in NorCal really cemented the walking habit for me. Of all the places we ever lived, including Hawaii, the NorCal climate was my very favorite.

              I’m happy you got my way-too-chatty letter. I have really enjoyed writing long letters to several people this winter. I had forgotten how much I missed it. There’s something about postal mail that brings a different kind of fun than online communication, much as I love it. My love of writing letters goes way back to childhood when summer camp friends and both my grandmothers were reliable pen pals.

              • It too love the art of letter writing. I enjoyed every word of yours. There is no such thing as too chatty.

                You’ve had such a diverse collection of addresses over the years. I’m sure you’ve met amazing people and found something to love about each location. California is rarely humid, so I think that helps quite a bit, even on the dreaded 97 degree July/August days. I’ve been in Hawaii, Grenada and Mexico when it was hot but way more humid and I wilt. I’m built for the British Aisles.

                We used to send and receive letters to my Aunt Alys in Englad as well as my grandfather. I’ve also exchanged letters with a number of friends for many, many years prior to social media. It’s wonderful to gather your letter and sit in a quiet place, taking in all the details. I promise a letter in return.

                • Yes, the humidity is definitely a huge factor. I remember visiting my brother in Tuscon, Arizona, and being amazed at how tolerable the high temps were (though we wore hats for good reason).

                  How fun it must have been for you to write to relatives in England. Drew told me once, based on his own studies of literature, he concluded that all the great writers were also great correspondents. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all of us who correspond are great writers. But at least we are in good company. 😀

                  • We are in good company! And since writing improves with practice, it stands to reason that letter-writing will lead to better letter writing, and so on.

                    I’ve never been to Arizona but would love to go one day.

                    • I would like to go back to Arizona. We have some good friends who live in Sedona, and I was planning to go visit them before we got the news Jeff was sick. So I had to postpone the trip.

                      I think letter-writing must be good practice in the sense that we probably don’t self-edit as closely as when we are writing something “important” such as an essay or short story. I think inhibition keeps a lot of people from writing. I know it kept me from writing much more than letters and school assignments for many, many years.

                    • You are so right, Julia. Inhibitions hold us back from many things. I’m glad you (and me) kicked them to the curb, eventually, and found our voices.

                      Sedona sounds beautiful.

                    • Alys, I sometimes have to kick mine BACK to the curb! But I’m getting pretty good at that kicking bit. Let me know if you need any help going after them. 😀

                      I can just imagine all the photo ops in Sedona!

                    • It’s a journey, Julia, that is true. Oh my, Sedona is gorgeous!!!

                    • Maybe a bunch of us can meet there sometime. 🙂 In our imagination, if nowhere else!

  9. I’m an inveterate walker–walk daily for at least 30 min. and an hour or more if I have time or the weather allows. It is for my heart health (I have CAD), yes, but I am an outdoors lover and also a person who really needs to move, finds joy in it. So I do hope you can get out there and walk even a little each day–it is so wonderful for mind, body and soul!

    • It really is good on so many levels. I’m happy to learn you are a walker. I honestly believe the habit of walking has transformed my life, and whenever I’ve been unable to enjoy it in recent years– whether from being in hospitals for weeks on end with Jeff or Matt, or just confined inside by weather that makes the sidewalks too hazardous for safe strolling, I start feeling very lethargic and negative. I’ve even considered (shudder) going to the gym and getting on a treadmill. But I find that so unappealing. Maybe the mall? Kudos to you for maintaining such a beneficial habit.

      • Have you ever tried dancing at home? Better than nothing! Zumba, perhaps, or just dancing about to your own collection of music? I do that when i can’t get out and it is a great work out (I always work up a sweat)! Invite a friend over to share the fun. Or Zumba at a gym or dance place. I can’t yet bring myself to walk in malls…Good luck!
        \

        • Oh, yes, I dance around at home all the time — when no one is looking, of course! I put on my “tunes” (which is what I call my favorite music) and I burn a lot more calories hopping around doing housework, or just bopping to the beat, than I ever do walking. Plus it’s super good for the mood, even better than walking. I used to say that the Stones were the world’s best anti-depressant! It amazes me what music can do for the mind and heart. I went to a Zumba class on a cruise ship one time, and I totally loved it — but I somehow injured myself and was limping for two days, so I figured I might need to be more careful with it next time! 😀

          • So agree about the mood effect of the freedom of dancing! (I even took flamenco but my foot got injured last year, so I’m waiting awhile to go back.) Music and movement= bliss and good fun! Hope you get back to Zumba this year–can use a video.

            • Cynthia, that’s a great idea about the video. I think I’ll check out a Zumba video from the library and see if I can manage to ease into it without pulling anything out of joint. 😀 That way I can shop around for one before I buy it. I did absolutely love it the one time I tried the Zumba class on the cruise ship. It sort of reminded me of my high school drill team days. Meanwhile I had great fun burning off the calories last night dancing around downstairs to the music of “Tommy” (the original rock opera by The Who) which I discovered to be available on Amazon Prime. It was like a trip down memory lane; I had listened mostly just to the Overture and Pinball Wizard in recent years, and I forgot how much I liked some of the other songs. They are building a really impressive library of music at Amazon Prime. I’d probably pay the yearly fee now just for the music. (Disclaimer: I DO NOT WORK FOR AMAZON but they probably should pay me for this plug. 😀 )

              • Good idea–we can forget the library’s media offerings. I need to go again soon, too, and find some DVDs! I didn’t know abut Amazon Prime and their music library–sounds interesting. Best of luck with your dancing–every woman who can should dance around a bit!

                • I agree! 😀

  10. Carolyn

    Here it is Sat. Morning and I am reading your blog. Walking !! That is what I need to do. I do walk in the house on my treadmill but not as fun as being outside. You have made me want to go out. Today we still have snow on the ground but the sun is out. I’ll see if I can talk Terry into going on a walk. Of course I will be careful, please no more broken bones. We missed all the heavy snow and you all are getting it now. Stay safe and enjoy the beauty. Hugs to all and have lots of hot tea.

    • Carolyn, I was surprised to see on the news that Tennessee had gotten snow. This really was an amazingly widespread blizzard, wasn’t it? Be careful on those sidewalks — I often hit icy patches long after the sidewalks appear cleared. DEFINITELY we want to avoid any more broken bones!!! You will be glad to know I’ve done just as you suggested– I’ve been drinking record quantities of tea, though at least half of it has been caffeine free since I have my limits where that’s concerned. The tea is the up side of being trapped indoors! You and Terry enjoy that Memphis warmth for me. Thanks for sending some sunshine my way — sending you love and hugs right back!

  11. LB

    Walking can be restorative, both physically and emotionally, and so energizing. I’m always so impressed that you are some how able to pick yourself up and go, even when things are so very challenging.
    I also have to say that I absolutely love the photo of you taking a shot. Such concentration!

    • Thanks LB – I like that shot too. I don’t remember whether I realized how well my frowny face would show up in the picture, but surely I composed it that way on purpose. Lately, with the weather interfering with my normal walking routines, I have found myself really missing it and saying to myself “Solvitur ambulando” — it is solved by walking — more and more often!

  12. I smiled to see you there in the London window. You and I would have so much fun there. They really do the window’s up and I love that. I think that’d be an awesome job. A store here for the well healed, Holt Renfrew, has fantastic, creative windows. Also a store that sells all kinds of fun and unique items called Artworks. I actually blogged about their windows once. I haven’t been by for months and should as you suggest head out for a walk. It was easier when we were uptown to walk to the shops. Being in the valley now, all the shops are up a very steep hill or a set of stairs that knock my socks off. Still, it would be a healthy walk and at worst, I’d have buns of steal, LOL. Winter weather makes it tricky, with boots and heavy coats and all. I’m glad spring is not too far away, I think we’re 1/2 way through a typical Alberta winter. Normally by the beginning of April we can start to expect warmer weather. But we’ve had snow in April too. There’s always a last hurrah! xo hugs sent your way k

    • I say, what a capital idea — I must ring Her Majesty and see if there is an opening for tea time in her calendar anywhere in the next decade. Afterwards we could all pop over to Fortnum and Mason for a jolly trolley full of picnic treats and a bit of the Royal Blend, which is at least partly to blame for my tea habit (the colour of the tea tin is pure coincidence 😀 ). Then whilst Her Majesty is busy with affairs of state we can have one of our legendary “we’re not lost, we’re just exploring” afternoons as we did in DC.

      Or if you want to get up to something that is at least remotely possible, your local shops sound quite charming and the up hill climb gives you the perfect excuse to forget the calorie counts. I was recently reminded (while looking through photos) that we too had some late snows last year — in fact, I think there was even a little bit of snow in early April, or close to it. So yes, we are not there yet, but definitely headed in the right direction! Sunny thoughts to you. ❤

      • I’ve been to almost every menu at Fortnum and Masons and will become a tea drinker just to get some of their gorgeous aqua hued tins and packages.

        I’d be total down for tea with Katie! She’s adorable. If the momsie in-law wants to come, we’ll hitch a ride with her and the Corgis….tee hee. I think her and Wills will be a romance for the ages. They’re so in love with each other.
        Maybe we could have tea with Katie on the big Wheel? Yes capital idea…spit spot…we’ll be the toast of the town xo K

        • I agree with you that HRH the D and D of C seem thus far to have avoided the biggest mistakes his parents made re: marriage. Is she not gorgeous? In the last couple of trips to London had no desire to ride the big wheel but with you as company it would be a trip worth taking. When I was a kid the Ferris Wheel was my favorite ride at the amusement park (we would usually be allowed only one ride each to choose, and that was my choice every time, back during the days when everything required tickets for each ride) but for some reason the London Eye didn’t particularly draw me in. I guess it was all that time spent prowling around Fortnum and Mason that seemed more fun, hee-hee. As for being the toast of the town, I must admit that the Brits always seem to view my particular brand of over-enthusiasm with more tolerant forbearance than celebration. “She’s camera-mad, that one” as my wonderful pen pal of 25 years, Sue, explained to her husband shortly after she first introduced us. But if La Boomdee is there, that will be a game changer for sure. 😉

          • La Boomdee has a day off !! Good Morning La Julia xo
            I will be sure to get to Fortnum and Mason’s this June to ‘prowl around’ as you say. I think Jim will really enjoy it, LOL. He’s pretty easy going and almost always will accommodate my plans if time allows. Does Jeff mind doing the shops on a holiday? You may have heard, Alberta is plunging into a deep recession, so there may not be a lot of shopping going on. The exchange on Sterling is a real pill. Meanwhile, Canada is ‘On Sale’ so it’s a great time to travel North.
            I haven’t been to a midway in a long time, but I do love a ferris wheel ride too. It’s nice and slow with great views. We rode the London Eye on our last visit and it’s very slow moving too. The egg shaped cabin you ride in is huge and it was fun to ride with other families all enjoying the views. It’s fun to hear their accents and I think I might have started to sound like them by the end of the ride, LOL. It’s a bad habit, I tend to blend in a bit too much, HA Except to them, I probably sound like a wacky tourist doing a very poor Mary Poppins. Have a fab day little Ms Denton, there’s someone waiting to bask in your sunshine right around the corner. xo Love K

            • I have that same “bad” (or maybe not so bad?) habit. The other day I got of the phone with a friend who lives on the gulf coast — Jeff said “did you know your accent gets MUCH thicker whenever you talk to her?” No I didn’t, but I’m not surprised. I knew I tended to do that everywhere we’ve ever lived from Hawaii to Texas to Virginia, and many points in between. Interestingly, though, I’ve never lost my basic deep south accent.

              This tendency to copy the linguistic sounds of whomever we are with is a trait we apparently share with a lot of other people. Some see it as negative (mimicry or being a wannabe) but other sources I’ve read say that it’s actually a good social skill and connotes empathy and/or desire to be liked. I can’t remember where I read that, but here’s a re-cap with the same general point: “It rather appears that converging with an interlocutor is a social skill connected to empathy. You speak more like your interlocutor or a group you interact with so that you will be accepted as one of the team. This will make social interaction and achieving your aims easier than if you did not accommodate.” (see more of this discussion at this link)

              Canada on sale? Oooh la-la! I may need to try to carve out some time in my calendar to make a trip. All I need to do first is clone myself so that I can take care of my chores for me while I’m gone. I’ll let you know how that goes. So far every cloning agency I’ve approached has replied “Uh, clone YOU? I don’t think so…” (political joke omitted here) 😀

              • hmmm, interesting link. Thanks Julia. Seemed like a good discussion. I kind of snickered at the last comment, it sounded like something ‘Sheldon’ might say, “We encourage answers based in rigorous peer-reviewed work, instead of anecdote; can you cite sources or evidence for these assertions?” Rough crowd, LOL
                Without the peer-reviewed work Krysta expects (HA), I’m comfortable with either notion that a person is being empathetic and wants to fit in AND they probably have low ego issues. Neither sound like a bad thing to me. I could see us sitting at some nifty English Tea Shop sounding all posh…teehee. Once, my neighbour at the lake had a BBQ with a bunch from their office and kindly invited us to join them since we’d met a number of them over the years. One of the younger guys I hadn’t met before asked me, “where are you from?” I blindly answered, “oh, next door” (LOL, I hadn’t caught his drift) So he said, “no, like where’d you grow up, you have an unusual accent”. “I do !?”, I said in surprise. Lord know’s who I was empathizing with that night, LOL. It’s funny how we think we sound differs from how others hear us. I love your southern accent, I’d ’empathize’ you all day long sugar. xo K

                • “Next door” — I love that! Sounds almost like you planned it as a clever reply. About 25 years ago, while we lived in CA, I started saying “Brooklyn” when people would ask me where I was from, if I was in a smart aleck mood, which is a lot of the time. If we are sitting around at a Brit tea party and someone calls us on our fake accents, we can say “Oh, that’s just how we talk in Boomdeeville, where we are from. It’s a small settlement of refugees near the northern Canadian border, near the Arctic Circle; perhaps you’ve heard of it? Named for the oil boom? Do come to visit sometime…”

                  • Heehehe, Brooklyn! You kill me littl’ Ms Smarty Pants. No doubt you were a stand out in California. I’m hearing you say, “why I just don’t know where I left my surfboard” but sounding like Elle May.

                    Boomdeeville might be a good name for an amusement park. Gak! ‘Oil bust’ is more like it. Alberta just might have to go into the amusement park business soon. The northern Disneyland so to speak. We’ll hand out parka’s on the bus and instead of giant teacups, you might ride on a moose or beaver, ha!

                    • Hey, that amusement park sounds good to me. It will sound even better in August when we are all complaining of the heat and mosquitoes. I definitely got some remarks about my accent in California. The one I remember most is “Do you sometimes find that people think you are less intelligent than you are, because of your accent?” I’m not making that up, someone actually said that to me. I don’t remember what my reply was. Probably something like “Naw, we’uns is all geniuses back in the hollers where I come from. Set down and have some leftover fried possum. It’s been in the icebox since Sattidy so it’s still bound to be good.”

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