The #1 reason three generations of our family spent March Break in Costa Rica this year was because our grandchildren wanted to see monkeys in their natural habitat. They wanted to swim for sure – almost all day every day – and they were more than happy to spend a week without jackets, hoods, boots, mitts, and tuques, but the monkeys were the big draw. It’s hard to disappoint on that front when you spend any time in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a nature lover’s delight. Its biodiversity is extraordinary; it is among the most biodiverse countries in the world and, given its relatively small size (similar in size to the state of West Virginia), it is considered to be the most densely biodiverse country in the world. It has tropical rain forests, cloud forests, mangrove forests, coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and also tropical dryland (aka deciduous) forests, which was the one Costa Rican ecosystem we hadn’t known about and the one we ended up staying in and exploring. Continue reading
Posted in Sun destinations, Travel
Tagged biodiversity, capuchin monkeys, Costa Rica, deciduous forests, ecosystems, Guanacaste, howler monkeys, March Break, monkeys, photography, sloths, travel
I haven’t blogged about running for a while because, well, I haven’t been running! I’ve been going through a spell where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to again; a few energy and injury issues, an aging body, and it’s easy to convince yourself that your running days are over. For those of us who have found peace, exhilaration, and a sense of well-being on the trail (even when we hurt all over!), it’s something you miss when you don’t do it. And when I see younger people out running our trails, which until very recently have had a coating of snow and ice on them but beckon just the same, I’m jealous. Whenever an injury or some other impediment gets in the way of being able to run, I console myself by thinking about how lucky I’ve been to take up running at an advanced age and have had so many wonderful experiences, including several half marathons and two marathons, all with my husband and brother. After all, I did pass the 70 mark last year. Be thankful for what you’ve been able to do and just enjoy walking.
Well, I was all right with this philosophy until I read an article last week about a remarkable woman named Chau Smith. Smith lives in Missouri in the U.S. and has run over 70 marathons in her life, although she didn’t start running until she was 48 years old. An astounding record, right? But she decided she wanted to do something really special for her 70th birthday and so signed on for the Triple 7 Quest. Now get this, the Triple 7 Quest consists of completing 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days! Even the logistics of getting to seven continents in seven days presents a major challenge. Then of course there is the jet lag associated with the travel, which is something that I really, really don’t like. But all of that is nothing compared to the physical and mental challenge of running a marathon on seven consecutive days. These were her race destinations, completed between January 25 and January 31 of this year: Perth, Australia; Singapore; Cairo; Amsterdam; Garden City, New York; Punta Arenas, Chile; and King George Island, Antarctica. Nine people completed this extraordinary “quest”; needless to say, Chau Smith was the oldest. Continue reading
Posted in Running
Tagged 7 continents, 7 days, 7 marathons, Chau Smith, goals, inspiration, motivation, old runners, older runners, perseverance, running, setting goals, Triple 7 quest
Last week was a sad and sobering one for me. Two people whose lives had intersected with mine in very different ways passed away in the same week. The reality is that death is part of life, and at my age that reality hits you in the face more frequently than it used to, but these two cases in particular reminded me of the important message conveyed in Linda Ellis’s poem The Dash. These two individuals had never met, and their interests and talents were miles apart. But in reflecting on their lives and the loss being felt by those left to grieve, what is striking for both of them is the powerful impact each of them left on so many, many people. They both had a natural gift for mentoring others and used this gift to full advantage; they both lives their dashes exceedingly well. Continue reading
Another Hugh story, for kids 2 -5. Kids 3-5 might also like the Robby Robin stories.
Terry Tractor Takes a trip
A tractor named Terry lived in a barn near the sea,
with his friends the horses and lots of kitties.
They all shared a person called Grandpa McVey,
who came to see them every day.
He came to feed them their oats and their hay,
their cat food and gas, but mostly to play. Continue reading
It was almost exactly 4 years ago when I wrote a previous blog post about my tentative introduction to eBooks. I haven’t gone on to become a big fan of eBooks as a substitute for having paper in my hands. I continue to buy more books than I can get through because they are so tempting, and our house is filled with piles of books on most flat surfaces. It’s who we are. But although I have not switched to eBooks as a substitute for piles of books, I have embraced it as a way to obtain and enjoy some extremely well-written, compelling, enjoyable, and/or informative books by self-published authors – or indie (independent) authors. In many cases, it’s the only available format for these books.
I don’t claim to be an expert on why it seems difficult to impossible for good authors to get in the door of a publishing house. I get that the business model for paper-based book publishing and bricks-and-mortar bookstores is changing, similar to the music, movie and TV industries. However, I do not understand why, in the process of figuring out how to continue to make money from selling books, the book industry turns away so many good books. And this is where the blogosphere has stood me in good stead. I have “met”, even feel like I have become friends with, a number of bloggers who have a passion for writing and a wealth of ideas for stories, and who have self-published one, two, or even many books in the past five years that I have been in the blogosphere. I stand in awe of their talent and their resolve. And I would have paid full bookstore value for their books, which in some cases instead I have only been able to get as a Kindle download from Amazon. Having said that, the books are in fact eminently and conveniently readable on my iPod – and very cheap. But there is little to no difference in quality between these books and many of the ones that cost far more through publishers. One set of authors is making a living from their writing and the other set is doing it as a labour of love. And therein lies the rub. Continue reading