Tonight Paul and I rode the stretch of the KRVT that runs between our house and the Kal-Haven trailhead. Along the way I found this absolutely massive puffball. It was literally bigger than my head. And of course, since it was the one time in the last ten years I went out without my pannier, I had to carry it home zipped inside my hoodie like a great round beer gut.
Paul isn’t interested, so I have a heaping plateful of mushroom slabs fried in butter. Anybody want them for breakfast tomorrow morning? Just fry them again with a couple eggs and you’ll have a killer breakfast.
Hiking has become an increasingly important escape route for me. Here’s one of the more gorgeous places I’ve been lucky enough to hike: the Pacific Northwest. This is Second Beach, in La Push, Washington. I would love to escape there again someday.
Every day I fight with negativity, with my fitness, with my weight. Today was rougher than usual. I had to drag myself to work, drag myself outside, drag myself to the gym. I felt much, much better afterwards, but today was all about going through the motions just to get to the afterwards.
It’s a worthwhile fight. So here’s some positive reinforcement: A power rack selfie after hitting three personal records.
A quick and dirty sketch of myself rolling my kayak for the first time — loose and low quality because the reference material is fuzzy.
And therein lies a quick story:
A couple of months back, I sold my dear old red kayak, Waterbender, and bought a fancy new sea kayak, the better to have longer and more long-distance adventures. Part of being safe in your boat is being able to recover yourself if a wave knocks you over, and so I made a commitment to learn to roll my boat. Paddling buddy R was generous enough to give me a couple of one-on-one lessons in return for dinner.
Things didn’t go well at first: learning to roll was terrifying for me. The combination of being upside down, with water rushing in towards my brain through my nose and ears, and having my legs trapped triggered a serious panic sensation, and I’d flail and gasp and thrash and wet exit every time, even with patient R holding my shoulders.
On R’s recommendation I borrowed her nose plugs, Paul’s swim goggles, and bought some swimmer’s ear plugs. I found a handicapped ramp at a local lake and used the railing to practice rolling myself back and forth manually. I could only manage an hour or so at a time, and then the repeated visits to the panicky place would just be too much.
But the noseplugs made a huge difference, as did the swim goggles. Once I could see what I was doing underwater, and once all my air wasn’t rushing out of my nose in an effort to keep the water out, I could slow down and actually think instead of just reacting. R suggested that I just try hanging upside down for a bit longer each time, and so I did, slowly building up my tolerance.
I watched videos in the meantime, studying body placement. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a thinker-learner, not a doer-learner. Eventually I found a couple videos that showed some dry-land practice drills — which sounds goofy as heck, I know — that turned out to give me the lightbulb moment I needed to put it all together.
Winter was fast approaching, and I maybe had forty-five minutes of daylight each night at the lake. The water was getting progressively colder, which made me less eager to go dunk myself repeatedly. Finally, on the last good warm evening of the year, I was out with my buddy B, who caught my very first successful roll on camera. I rolled three times that night: the first one I popped right up like I’d been doing it my whole life, and on the last two I was able to reset after a failure, which is also a good skill to develop. None of them were pretty rolls, but this winter I’ll be able to polish my technique in swimming pool lessons.
I went for a walk in the woods today and thanks to the wet weather, there were mushrooms EVERYWHERE. I’ve literally never seen so many, and so many kinds. Inspired by this clown I watch on youtube (no, really: he was an actual clown) I took a mess of photos and put them into a slideshow. Puffballs! Destroying angels! Orange mushrooms! Purple mushrooms! (no, really: purple mushrooms. I’ve never even heard of purple mushrooms before.)
If you guys know about mushrooms, I’d love to know if you know any of the kinds I photographed, especially the really odd-looking ones.
As I was sitting down to draw tonight and wondering what I was going to do for today’s entry, Paul called up from the kitchen that there was a bowl of popcorn for me. Problem solved! (Also, Paul makes the best popcorn. My popcorn is terrible by comparison.)
This was a fun little inkwash experiment, with one drop of Rapidograph ink and a lovely Raphael 8404 I’ve had for several years and don’t use enough.
Here’s a small portion of my collection of desk fidgets. I have a whole bowlful, but these are the ones I fidget with most often, not counting my lip balm and kneaded erasers. I have nervous hands and have found that I both learn and listen better if I give them something to worry on while my brain does its thing.