Sunday, July 02, 2017

Fireflies and Smoked Fish

I took a little trip back into my Midwest roots last week.  Met up with some family in Ann Arbor, Michigan and while I grew up in the Chicago area, Ann Arbor has many nostalgia invoking things.  Like fireflies.  I don't miss much about Chicago but I do miss fireflies.  And smoked fish.  There are no authentic Jewish delis in Boulder.  Maybe there's one down in Denver but I don't care enough about smoked fish to drive that far.  But my aunt lives just under a mile from a real Jewish deli with the real smoked fish of my youth.  It's been 35 years or so since I've had smoked fish and the fish from this deli was pure heaven.  Plus I was hungry after a day of travel and not much food and about 2 miles of walking to get to/from the deli so that made it all the tastier.  Funny how things like that bring you right back to your childhood.

My aunt also lives in a historic district complete with the old timey framed houses and big trees, sort of from my childhood.  I grew up in a relatively 'modern' subdivision with 1950's tract housing that was kind of ugly if I have to be honest.  But I would often ride my bike to the snooty, historic part of town and I loved the old houses.  And I lived in such a neighborhood in Urbana, IL when I was at university.  So every night after dark I took a 'Firefly Walk' through the old Ann Arbor neighborhood and soaked it all in.

One thing I was not sorry to leave behind was the humidity which greeted me with a vengeance on my first two days there.  Wow, horrible.  I don't miss that at all.  Thankfully it cooled off and dried up for the last 2 days.
But the point of the visit was to visit my 2 aunts, one who lives there and another who came in from Chicago for a little reunion of sorts.  Great to see them both, it's been a few years.  My family is small and difficult and scattered far and wide so it was good to get together even though it was only 3 of us.

We walked around downtown Ann Arbor which didn't hold all that much interest for me since I'm not a recreational shopper though there was a cool old theater.

And a cool mural with some Chiwowows.

Boulder and Ann Arbor have roughly the same population but Ann Arbor seemed busier and more like a real city.  Big tall buildings downtown, highways and busy roads, LOTS of traffic downtown on Friday and Saturday nights.  The university dominates the town a lot more than the university here in Boulder.  Even with school out of regular session there seemed to be a lot of students around, way more than in Boulder.

My aunt also lives near some small forest-ey areas and some trails along the Huron River so I took a walk on a nice loop through the woods and along the river with her dog.

Only about 3-4 miles or so I'd guess but nice.  LOTS of runners, not many dogs.  There were other trails and nature areas but I wanted to get back and it was getting hot for the dog.

Had a nice time, was great to see my family and visit a new place.

But I missed the mountains.  Took another hike up Niwot Ridge yesterday, mostly because it's not very busy yet has great views, a rarity these days on the Front Range.  Ironically even though we hardly saw anybody, we ran into a guy Jonny knows right at the start. His wife and I have a mutual ultra runner friend as well.  She was running separately from her husband, probably training for some crazy thing, and her husband told us to say 'hi' and call out her name to freak her out.  She wasn't freaked out, just confused because she didn't recognize us so the prank was a fail.

The trail was melted out so we were able to get a bit higher this time.  There were a few snow fields but nothing too crazy.

Gorgeous up there at 11,460' but after 9 miles, 2000' of climbing and almost 4 hours of hiking I was toast.  Been ages since I've gone out for so long, last year I was focusing on shorter, higher intensity stuff, intervals, etc. and very little hiking.  From a health perspective the shorter, more intense stuff is way better but I loves me some high country/alpine hiking and it was so wonderful up there, wildflowers and snow, gotta love it.  I was struggling with the altitude more than usual, not sure why.  Sometimes it happens, I have a hard day.  It was a bit on the hot side but not terrible, maybe 60's-70's and sunny.  Who knows, hopefully not age related.  I'm tired today but not as sore as I thought I'd be so that's encouraging.  Been slacking lately, I need to get back on the bike.  I've been re-introducing running, the sore tendon is still a bit bothersome here and there so I'm taking it slowly, walk/run sessions with gradually increasing periods of running.  I've been keeping up with the swimming, love summer swimming at the Rez and outdoor pools.  Weight lifting, ugh, haven't been doing it at all, have to bring that back.  So important.

Tess has grown a bunch.  I love my new camera, a big improvement over my last point and shoot and a different world altogether from the cell phone.

On the one hand she seems to have made a lot of progress with being afraid.  She seems a lot less scared of her environment in general on walks, especially dogs barking off in the distance or even dogs behind fences barking and lunging at her (hard to avoid these sometimes).  But the neighbor girl came over today for the first time in a month or two and Tess acted as if she'd never seen her.  Previously she'd gotten to the point where she'd fetch a ball thrown by her.  So we went back to the girl feeding treats to Tess and after a LOT of treats and me eventually letting Ruby outside, Tess finally pulled her tail out from between her legs and started wagging it a bit and relaxing  Ruby made all the difference.  Sheesh.  She was good at my training partner's house, going up to her and meeting her more energetic, younger dog.  I was hoping they'd at least play chase but they ignored each other, which is o.k. too.  Hopefully one day she'll warm up enough to play.

Went to the dog park super early so we'd have it to ourselves for some recall practice.  Both dogs doing great with that, will have to figure out a more challenging place that's still safe.  Hmmm.  It's great to see Tess stretch out and run.  She's feeling her legs these days, can't wait to move to someplace with acreage.

Still no suitable houses/locations.  Considering some vacant land, not my first choice, but it might be kind of fun to rent in a different town like Pagosa Springs or Montrose or somewhere for a year or so while we build the right sized house.  But ugh, what a pain.  I know enough about construction to know I don't want to go there if I can help it.  Must be patient.

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