Day 15: Aromatherapy Walk!

It’s Day 15 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!   

Something about this heat wave brings out the fragrance of flowers. On my walk this morning the flowers perfumed the air attracting pollinators to help them reproduce.

Some of the flowers  I saw that were scenting the air included roses, gardenias, jasmine, lilies, lavender, sweet alyssum, and what I think were sweat peas.  Magnolia and Meyer Lemon trees were in bloom and perfuming the air as well.

Nature treated me to an aromatherapy walk – a real treat for the olfactory system!

Days 13 and 14: Heat Wave Walks!

Days 13 and 14 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

We’ve been having a heat wave in the San Francisco Bay Area. Triple digits are expected today, so I’ve been walking in the early morning to beat the heat.

I live in Redwood City and its motto is “Climate Best by Government Test.”

According to  U.S. and German government testing (conducted prior to WWI), Redwood City shares the distinction of having one of the world’s three best climates along with the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean coast of North Africa.

As you can imagine, triple digit heat is a big deal in a city that enjoys a temperate climate year-round, and it’s pushing me out the door for early morning, caffeine-infused walks.


Days 11 & 12: Walking Unplugged

Days 11 and 12 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

Papa walked every day, even in his 70’s and 80’s.  On my walks yesterday and today, I observed other walkers.  I didn’t see anyone who looked to be over 70.

I saw two people who looked to be maybe 55-60 years old.  Aside from the gray in their hair, it was easy to spot them – they were unplugged.  They didn’t have earplugs connected to ipods and they didn’t carry cell phones.

Every other walker or runner I saw, was young (under 40) and plugged in.  I imagined they were listening to music, audio books, or self-actualization programs.  I worried about their safety if they couldn’t hear oncoming traffic, and I wondered if they knew they were missing the early morning bird chorus.

Some of them carried cell phones and talked as they walked.  Who did they have to talk to at 7:00 AM (PDT)?  Were they working as they walked and talking to people on the East Coast?

I enjoy the peacefulness of early morning walks – there’s generally very little traffic, the sounds of nature are all around, and I like the time alone with my own thoughts.  Walking provides a time for solitude.  It’s a luxury these days – and I think you can only get it if you’re unplugged.

Day 10: Shoreline Walk with Geese!

Today is Day 10 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!Canada Goose

I joined a dear friend for a walk along the Mountain View Shoreline (on the San Francisco Bay) that includes 750 acres of active tidal salt marsh, slough and wildlife refuge which provides a habitat for many migratory birds.

We strolled along paved walking trails with stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and had some close encounters with avian friends including flocks of Canadian Geese and Red-Winged Blackbirds, and a few Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets as well.





Day 9: Parking Lot Walk!

Yesterday was Day 9 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

It was rainy and overcast and I had a ton of errands to run.  On a trip to the post office (located in a strip mall), there was a break in the weather as I drove into the parking lot.  I decided it was now or never – so I walked the perimeter of the HUGE parking lot before getting in line at the post office.

I recalled that whenever something needed to get done Papa would say, “What are we waiting around for? Let’s go!” He taught me that the best time to take action to accomplish a goal is always now. Strike while the iron is hot. Delay in implementation can cause you to miss opportunities.

I’m glad I took that parking lot walk because the rain started again as soon as I mailed my packages. 🙂


Day 8: Take a “Summer Super Moon” Walk Tonight!

It’s Day 8 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

I went out for a walk early this Sunday morning and was bombarded with the aromas of pancakes, waffles, French toast, and bacon cooking at every turn.  I haven’t smelled breakfast cooking on my weekday walks before, and was surprised by the gastronomic effort folks make on Sunday.  Something about families cooking and eating meals together makes me very happy! 🙂

Did you hear about the Summer Super Moon?  Tonight you’ll be able to see the largest full moon of 2013.  What a great time to go for a full moon walk!  When I was a kid, Papa playfully entertained us by howling at the full moon – and of course, we’d all join in the fun. I still howl at it from time to time.  Do  you?  If you’ve never tried it – tonight you’ll have the perfect opportunity.  The full moon will look HUGE in the night sky.  For an explanation as to why, check out these resources:

Get the latest info on the Super Moon from NASA.

Or check out National Geographic’s coverage of the Solstice Supermoon.

You may enjoy an article I wrote about the Summer Moon Illusion that’s loaded with fun “Moon Activities” you can do with little kids that the whole family will enjoy.

I’ll be walking by the light of the full summer moon tonight.  Will you?

Day 7: Poppy Walk!

poppyIt’s Day 7 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

As I was walking through my neighborhood this morning I saw a California Poppy growing in a garden.

When I was little, Papa told me that the poppy was the state flower of California.  I decided to count how many times I saw poppies growing along my walking route that is lined with block after block of single-family homes.

I saw only 4 instances where people were actually cultivating poppies in their gardens – and one garden looked to contain native California plants exclusively.

I was excited to discover 11 REBEL POPPIES that defied the concrete and pavement to grow between the cracks and crevices on sidewalks and streets.  Go poppies!  🙂

When I got home I searched the Internet for more information on poppies. I discovered that the Spaniards, who settled California, named the poppy flower “copa de oro” or “cup of gold” – a symbol of the gold they hoped to find beneath the poppies in California’s hills.

California Indians valued the poppy for its medicinal uses as a remedy for anxiety and insomnia.  You can learn more on WebMD.

Did you know that April 6th is California Poppy Day? (That also happens to be my husband’s birthday!)  And there is an annual Poppy Festival every Spring in Lancaster, California. You can check out the beautiful photos of fields of poppies on their website here:

Day 6: Made it – with 14 Minutes to Spare!

Day 6 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

Day 6 just got away from me – and I didn’t make it out the door for a walk until 11:00 PM.  I finished my walk at 14 minutes before midnight.  Whew, that was close!

I am determined to walk every day for one year.  Papa used to walk every morning before breakfast.  I’m beginning to think that setting aside a consistent and EARLIER time for a walk each day will improve my chances for success.  Only 359 more days to go!  

Day 5: If the Shoe Fits…

It’s Day 5 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge – only 360 more days to go!

I took a 2-mile “Papa’s Walk” around the neighborhood this morning and noticed that I kept slipping off of my shoes. I was having a difficult time feeling balanced as I walked, and my feet were uncomfortable.  I started wondering if it could be my shoes.  I’ve worn the exact same pair of New Balance walking shoes since 1976!  (That’s not a typo.)

I’ve taken hundreds of walks (probably thousands) over the years – and the shoes have served me well.  But after 37 years, I thought it might be time for a new pair. When I got home, I examined the shoes carefully, and was a little embarrassed at the condition they were in – all scuffed up, heels worn, insoles worn, and it looks like the shoes had started to disintegrate on my feet this morning. The soles had come unglued and there was a hole in one of them – which is why I kept slipping.  (I worry that I must have some kind of mental defect because I didn’t notice it sooner.)

I thought of Papa.  He often said the reason why he worked so hard was to buy us new shoes.  He told us many times about having to put cardboard in the bottoms of his shoes (when he was a kid) to protect his feet when he had worn holes in the soles. His family simply couldn’t afford to buy a new pair.

I decide to forego the cardboard. Because the New Balance shoes had lasted for so long, I looked for the company online and was delighted to learn that “ New Balance is the only athletic shoe manufacturer still making shoes in the US.”  I ordered a pair and can’t wait to try them on! Think the new shoes will last for 37 years? Hope I live long enough to find out.  🙂

Day 4: Night Walk!

It’s Day 4 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge

I didn’t get out for a walk this morning, so decided to go for a “Digestion Walk” with my husband after we ate dinner this evening.  One thing led to another and we didn’t leave the house for a walk until about 10:00 PM.

We were both surprised how bright it was outside! The moon was about 85% full. I love walking at night – our neighborhood was very still and quiet, there were very few cars on the streets, and it was all just sort of magical.

The sky was clear, the temperature a cool 58 degrees F., and despite the fact that it was so late, we could see everything thanks to the light of that Waxing Gibbous Moon.

When we got home I found information about phases of the moon at NASA’s StarChild.  I think I’ll use that information to walk by the light of the moon more often!