“The decency of womanhood has disappeared”

“As each player goes through the first hoop, as he undergoes a metamorphosis . . . the male antagonist becomes a creature too vile for language. The decency of womanhood has disappeared by the third hoop.”

  • Living Age, circa 1898, quoted in Croquet: A handbook of all the rules, strategies, techniques, and tips you need to be a better player by Steven Boga

So this is why the Europeans did all they did

“At some point in history, Europeans had the brilliant idea of sending the dead to the outskirts of their towns. It wasn’t exactly ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but it was definitely ‘out of sight, out of urban life.’ Graveyards were built beyond city walls; ghost were separated from the living. It was all done quickly and efficiently, like removing the yolks from the whites. The new arrangement had proved highly beneficial. When they no longer had to see tombstones – those ghastly reminders of life’s brevity and God’s severity – European citizens were galvanized into action. Having pushed death out of their daily routines, they could focus on other things: composing arias, inventing the guillotine and then the steam locomotive, colonizing the rest of the world and carving up the Middle East . . .You could do all that and much more if only you could take your mind off the disturbing thought of being a mere mortal.”

  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.

360 hours of exercise in the year 2021

I called in sick. After walking 1.75 miles on Thursday — but not to the club for an hour on the stationary bike and another walk home, as promised — I slept in Friday morning after picking someone up at the airport late Thursday night. Not COVID symptoms, but not in top form either. So I called in sick.

My Thursday walk brought me to 360 hours of exercise in 2021, five hours short of the goal in Club 365: 365 hours of exercise in a year. Somewhat discouraged, but Kathy said, “Look on the bright side: You had 360 hours of exercise this year.” I’ll do better in 2022 when the pandemic will go away, I will go to warm places to exercise, hike, bike, kayak, walk, and all will be better.

Happy New Years to all of you, and keep on exercising.

Trouble ahead: 6.75 hours of exercise in two days

At Bill’s suggestion, I dug out my YakTrax. Unfortunately, they were in the bottom of our box of cold weather clothing. So the box had to be emptied to find them. The fortunate thing is that we found several items of clothing that we can give to “cold weather items” for YouthCare, being collected at the Paramount Theater here in Seattle.

I also think I should get credit for an hour of exercise for wrestling to get the YakTrax on my boots. But no. Cheaters never prosper.

Only two hours of walking today, which brings me to 358.25 hours enroute to 365 hours by Jan. 1, 2022. Kathy walked with me today. Here she is trying to get her gloves on. This is Seattle with gentle marine weather. Gloves are rarely needed.

I also dug out my Liberty Center Tigers hat that was knitted for me by Grandma Saul. Still fits. So maybe I don’t have a big head.

But look at the size of that tree trunk! It must have been planted right after the Lake Missoula Flood 14,000 years ago. Five blocks away but we have never noticed it before.

As far as reaching the goal of the Club 365 (365 hours of exercise in one year), I am in serious trouble: 6.75 hours to go in two days.

The plan: Walk to athletic club = 1.5 hours; stationary bike = 1 hour; walk home = 1.5 hours. That totals four hours times two (Thursday and Friday) and I will make it. Maybe.

Except that my “Dark Sky” app says that it is starting to snow in Shoreline, WA. Is there a snow day allowed in the Club 365?

Walking on side streets that are slide streets

Just one hour of walking today. That gets me to 356.25 hours on my way to 365 hours of exercise before Jan. 1, 2022. Three days to go. Greg suggests a long bike ride, which I agree with if the streets were not filled with ice and snow. And why, I ask, are these snow plows sitting in a parking lot when most side streets are mostly slide streets?

Three hours of exercise for the next three days would get me to 365 hours of exercise in 2021, with 15 minutes to spare. Yes, I am a dreamer.

355.25 hours of exercise, aiming for 365 in 2021

Temperature for the morning walk on Monday was 10 degrees. It had warmed up to 20 degrees for the afternoon walk. That’s two hours of exercise to add to my total:

353.25 as of Dec. 26 plus two hours today = 355.25 hours of exercise so far in 2021. Goal = 365 hours of exercise before Jan. 1, 2022. That’s the 365 Club way.

The 2021 question: Why did you not do your exercises?

A friend and former colleague Clem introduced me to the 365 Club – exercise 365 hours in a year, an hour a day. In 2017, I completed 365 hours on Nov. 30, 2017, while walking around Oaxaca, Mexico. Since then? I have fallen short. 317 in 2018. 354.5 in 2019. 2020? Was there a year that year? I think coronavirus ate my homework.

But this year, things were looking up. On Sept. 5, 2021, I was 49 hours ahead of pace (248 hours due at the end of that week; I had 297). Then I started slipping: 42 ahead, 38 ahead, 37 ahead, 34 on Oct. 17, 20.5 on Nov. 7 and now, on Dec. 26: Minus 6.75 hours with 353.25 hours of exercise clocked.

It rained a lot in November. My Pilates instructor went to Hawaii. It was cold. We’ve been stuck inside this country all year. I’m a lazy person with no discipline who needs others to goad him to shut his book (can’t put down “The Girl who Played with Fire”), turn off “Bosch” on TV and move 10 feet away from the couch.

So now I have five days left to do 11.75 hours of exercise by January 1, 2022. This is like college, like finishing a 3,500-word term paper and I have two paragraphs written. Short ones. It is due at 8 a.m. Dorm clock reads 2:20 a.m., and the party light is barely dimming. Plus, the math teacher wants a solution for Fermat’s Last Theorem by noon.

Back to the tail end of 2021, where the weather outside is frightful.

11.75 hours in five days to make 365? 2.5 hours per day would do it with 45 minutes to spare on Dec. 31. I’m reminded of my favorite author when I was in the third grade: Willie Makit, who wrote “Run to the Outhouse.”

Daily counts start Monday, Dec. 27, 2021.

‘. . . still be asking the hopeless eternal questions’

“To-night, as ages hence, people would say this, or shut their doors on them, turn in bereaved agony from them, or toward them with love saying: ‘That is our star up there, yours and mine;’ steer by them above the clouds or lost at sea, or standing in the spray on the forecastle head, watch them, suddenly, careen; put their faith or lack of it in them; train, in a thousand observatories, feeble telescopes upon them, across whose lenses swam mysterious swarms of stars and clouds of dead dark stars, catastrophes of exploding suns, or giant Antares raging to its end – a smoldering ember yet five hundred times greater than the earth’s sun. And the earth itself still turning on its axis and revolving around that sun, the sun revolving around the luminous wheel of this galaxy, the countless unmeasured jewelled wheel of countless unmeasured galaxies, turning, turning, majestically, into infinity, into eternity, through all of which all life ran on — all this, long after she herself was dead, men would still be reading in the night sky, and as the earth turned through those distant seasons, and they watched the constellations still rising, culminating, setting, to rise again – Aries, Taurus, Gemini, the Crab, Leo, Virgo, the Scales and the Scorpion, Capricorn the Sea-goat and Aquarius the Water Bearer, Pisces, and once more triumphantly, Aries! – would they not, too, still be asking the hopeless eternal questions: to what end? What force drives this sublime celestial machinery?”

— “Under the Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry