Swing dance at our Reception

Swing dance at our Reception
Dancing to Come on Come on: by Mary-Chapin Carpenter:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Summer's Growth!

I took the first (or top) video on April 22 of this year when we cut our decorative grasses down. If your listening to my comments on the second video, I didn't compute the duration correctly. It was only 4 months, since we cut them down. What a prolific summer for tall grasses, but not, as you can see, for the lawn.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It is Not Length of Life, But Depth of Life - Emerson

I just finished an hour hike through our neighborhoods, so I'm tired and should be eating something but I'm grabbing a quick glass of water and one of soy chocolate milk, instead. I wanted to get some musings on paper before they leave me.

Even family members ask themselves why would Ken be walking for an hour over western PA's hilly terrain. I would answer them today by saying that it's for my health, not just my physical body, but my soul's health. In past years, I've been a runner. In my younger days, I've run 5 or more miles and was surprised to find that during those lonely periods that my mind seemed to be quicker and somehow taping into a different part of my brain because of the interesting connections and observations that I was making. Books and articles have been written about this change in consciousness, and some have called it "Runner's High", possible being produced by chemicals released during exercise. This change of consciousness was so addicting, that I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I wasn't able to run and it was a strong motivation for me to return to running after getting on a medication that has controlled my arrhythmia and allowed me to get back to exercising. My wonderful discover has been that I get the same expanded consciousness by walking or hiking on neighborhood streets that I don't get on the treadmill at the YMCA.

During today's walk, I found words to explain why the first episode of Laura Linney's new show, The Big C, meant so much to me. When I was first diagnosed with the heart arrhythmia, I went through an initiation of sorts. Instead of seening happy celebrating people wavying at loved ones on those early morning news shows, I saw people who are going to die, like me. It's the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. All of a sudden I was taking medication that was making me more and more lethargic and increased my life long tendency to put on weight and of course, my chance of dying. After several years of trying different drugs in ever increasing dosages, I finally changed doctors and found one with a different set of meds in his tool box, one of which allows me to get back to a more normal life.

So just as Laura Linney's character, is allowing herself to try things that she has never done before; telling a student, the tough truth or spilling the wine herself on the sofa, I want to live my life, somehow in a "deeper" way, and try to discover what that means. I have a plaque on my mantle. It's by Ralph Waldo Emerson and says, "It is not length of life but Depth of life". Another writing informs this exploration, too; I remember, perhaps Thoreau said it, "most men get to the end and find they have never really lived". Please let me know if you have the actual quote and author.

I'm really grateful that the new heart doctor has allowed me to escape, for now, from the valley of the shadow of death. With the help of my wife, swingdancer Donna, I've been able to loose 30 plus pounds and take 6 1/2 inches off my waste. I want to live my life, remembering how precious each moment is, discover each day, how to live more deeply.


The Big C - Season 1, Episode 1

Sure hope you can take 29 minutes and 12 seconds to watch this first episode of the new Showtime series. I suspect Showtime will make a few episodes available in hopes that you will want to subscribe. I may be tempted or just wait for the first season DVD. I have liked Laura Linney in everything that I have seen her act in, and this doesn't disappoint.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Day Trip to Coopers Rock.

I really do want to write about our vacation to Asheville, NC, but as a direct result of the fabulous time that we had on that trip, we decided to take a one day trip to a local place with sights similar to what we saw on our vacation. Coopers Rock is a State Forest of West Virginia. It's located just south of the PA - WV border on Interstate 68, a fast 2 hour trip from our home in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Heading down Interstate 79, we were able to see beautiful green forests as attractive as anything we saw in the Smoky Mountains but with some breaks of view into rolling hills and sometimes farmland.

In addition to the beautiful interstate drive, I found the Washington, PA country music radio station that is unique in this era of satellite-delivered uniform music. WKZV 1110 AM plays old time country music like done by The Bellamy Brothers and The Forester Sisters. As we drove by, where their station signal was strongest, we sang along with our all time favorites and as we entered the park, we finished our 2 hour drive, singing "I Love Beer" with Tom T. Hall.

This picture is of the Cheat River, know for it's whitewater kayaking and rafting. It was taken from the overlook at the park.

We took a picnic cooler and came prepared to do some "easy" bouldering, a novice approach to rock climbing. During our hiking, we met 3 groups of serious climbers who had installed climbing ropes from the tops of the rock formations they intended to climb. We, also, met a couple from the Pittsburgh area who where carrying folded foam pad that they placed at the base of rock that they would free climb, without any ropes, the more intense kind of bouldering.

Although you can pick up a map of all the trails, if you want to see rocks, up close, I recommend taking the Rattlesnake Trail that begins just to the left of the concession stand. It leads to Rock City, a collection of rocks and boulders that you can walk among, stand on, and trip over. Although I had taken my tennis shoes, I insisted on wearing my open toed sandals and stubbed my toes a number of times.

Just want to wet you appetite for this wonderful location. Hope you can make it, and enjoy it as much as we did. If you would like to see more pictures of our adventure, CLICK HERE!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kissing You Goodbye!

From the sublime (see the previous post) to the ridiculous; I always tell people that this is my favorite country song (Listen at 1 min 24 sec in), but I really didn't know it was an actual song before. Enjoy!