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"Let's make a burrito!"

Zzzzz
Press Your Luck
christopher575
Pretty simple, busy day. Got up and worked straight through to noon, which included the longest test case I've written to date. Left at noon to swim. Was originally going to go out to lunch but decided it would be more fun to do that tomorrow when I didn't have any afternoon obligations. Went to the store. Came home and made some lunch, watched episode 2 of The People vs OJ Simpson. Had my conference call. Found out there's a good chance we'll have another call tomorrow afternoon.

Treading water at the pool today while listening to music, I kept finding myself kinda dancing in the water. Even if it's embarrassing, it makes the time go by faster. And it leads to more structured, intentional movements while treading water.

I'm glad there's not much to say about today because I'm too sleepy to say much. Zzzz

Lord of the Hills
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christopher575
Lord Hill Park is one I noticed on the map when I did a little post mortem after Monday's swim. You see, I thought I knew my way to the Snohomish Aquatic Center well enough to do it without navigation help from my phone, so I didn't use it. At the point in Lowell where you can either finish heading down the hill toward the riverfront trail, or turn and head South, I should have kept going, but turned. It was quite a while before I knew for sure I went the wrong way. Thankfully it's pretty easy to pull off the road, search for the destination, and get audible directions. I really don't know how we managed before.

I'm glad it happened, though. Lord Hill Park is a neat discovery. Nearly 1,500 acres of trails, just 12 miles from home! After a crazy-busy session of writing tests this morning, I had some lunch and headed out for my first visit.

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Upgrades, pt. 2
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christopher575
On my way down to Seattle, I stopped at Big 5 to grab a nose plug, figuring whether or not I like the mask that's arriving tomorrow, it'll still be nice to have the option to plug my nose when using the goggles. I noticed that I still had well over an hour to get to my session, so I drove all the way to Denny via 99. There's a lot of stopping and starting, but I really like seeing everything that's on the main drag in Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and North Seattle. Strip malls galore with all manner of restaurants and shops.

I arrived at 1:45 and was out of there by 2:30, and was able to jump on I-5 and get back up to Everett without too much traffic.

I went back to Snohomish again this morning, nose plug in hand. It's so much easier to use a snorkel when you don't have to regulate what's going on with your nose. I'm a little surprised they don't just include a nose plug with every snorkel. Things were going pretty great, but unfortunately my iPod's battery died after about 20 minutes. I swam another 20 more, then hit the hot tub for a few minutes before heading out. It's actually pretty entertaining to watch people zoom by in the river walk feature while sitting in the hot tub. It's kind of like waiting at an airport gate while people zoom by on moving sidewalks.

The fog that was everywhere on the way out to Snohomish hadn't gone anywhere in the time I was there.

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I went ahead about bought a ten-pack of swims at Snohomish today. I realized this morning that I should spend more time at Snohomish now before Forest Park closes. Why not enjoy it before I have to share it with other Forest Park users once we're displaced? The ten-pack is $52.50, with is a whopping $2.50 off the regular price of $55 for ten $5.50 swims. But they don't expire and you don't even have to carry a punch card. It's in their system and you just show up.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. I might hunker down early and plow through a bunch of work and explore a new place to walk in the afternoon. I took a wrong turn on my way out to Snohomish yesterday, and when I was examining the map to see what I did wrong, I spotted a huge park out there that I'm looking forward to exploring.

Upgrades
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christopher575
I wasn't sure I'd have any sort of workout tomorrow because it was scheduled to be an extremely busy work day. When it comes time to do testing, we're given several days, but are always asked rather quickly in the start of that period if we're done yet. So, if it's possible, I'd just as soon devote a day and try to finish it all. But our demo call today was pushed to tomorrow. I didn't know that until about an hour ago, and I'd already moved my Tuesday swim this morning.

Today was my first swim with my new snorkel. I didn't have a nose plug, so it took quite a while to get used to it. Without a nose plug, the water slowly creeps up my nose. When it's time to blow some bubbles to get it out, I found I couldn't do it too aggressively or just about as much water would pop back up. I also didn't like exhaling through my nose and then trying to inhale through the snorkel. It really worked best if I did all my breathing through my mouth. I went ahead and ordered a mask that covers my eyes and nose and has a sturdier strap than my goggles do, so it should work nicely. I also went ahead and ordered the last two of my favorite swimsuit that were left.

Today's my second of three research study sessions down in Seattle so I'll leave for that after I eat lunch.

Part of me wants to grab a nose plug today so I can swim again tomorrow with it since the mask won't arrive until Wednesday. It was hard getting used to the snorkel, but really wonderful once I did, so I'm kind of eager to do it again sooner than Thursday.

I also had a nice chat in the hot tub with a guy who coincidentally helps maintain the trail I hiked on Martin Luther King day. He had a lot of good suggestions for other hikes, too. I have Presidents' Day off for the first time in years, so that'd be a good way to spend it.

Japanese Gulch via bike
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christopher575
I don't know why it never occurred to me to look for videos about Japanese Gulch on YouTube before. This is a pretty neat find. You get a better idea how huge the place is than I can convey with stills.



He enters via the center and then stays in the Western portion the rest of the time, as far as I can tell. A few highlights:

0:51 Rusty Car Trail
1:46 Huge airplane goes by
2:58 Mud avoidance side path #1
3:05 Mud avoidance side path #2

I wonder if he's one of the three guys I see there a lot. They're usually with a black dog, but I can't remember what breed that dog is.

Complete the beak
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christopher575
After a couple of Sundays spent in Lynnwood and Edmonds, I figured it was time to return to Langus Riverfront Park and Spencer Island. As I've mentioned before, Sunday's my favorite day to go because weekday traffic makes the journey back a little scary; the on-ramp's basically non-existent, as are the gaps between cars. My Sunday alarm's been set for 6:30 the last two weekends, but I moved it to 5:45 to make sure I'd catch the sunrise. Turns out my timing was pretty good!

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Everett walk photo albums
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christopher575
I spent the last week or so in my spare time scrolling back through my flickr photos all the way to when we moved up to Everett so I could make albums for the various walk destinations. Wish I would have done it as I went along, but better late than never. Enjoy!

Silver Lake/Interurban

Waterfront/Legion Memorial/Grand Avenue

Big Gulch

Howarth Park

Lowell Riverfront Trail

Edgewater Beach/Mukilteo Beach

Spencer Island/Langus Riverfront

Forest Park

Japanese Gulch

Sunrises and sorenesses
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christopher575
I never got around to posting about yesterday's walk because I was quite productive. Well I don't know if you can call it productivity when you get one task done, but I think it counts if it's a task that takes several hours.

Our guest room now sleeps two. If Sam decides to share.

Finally, we've got a futon for the guest room/my office! Up until now, we've just had a cot in there. Thankfully we've only had one guest at a time, so it hasn't been an issue, otherwise I would have had to give up my room. It took me forever to find one I wanted to buy, mainly because it's no longer the '90s and there aren't futon stores everywhere, and what's available is either really cheap or really expensive. I went the cheap route, and this one was $135, shipped. The mattress is more squishy than the "real" futons I've had before, so I'm not positive it'll hold up, but replacing the mattress is easy enough if you have a frame you like. Now I'll be keeping my eye out for cool bedding. Anyway, as you can see, Sam likes the futon. He and Steve both slept there last night. I'm glad they like it, I was certainly in pain from assembling it.

Anyway, that was my afternoon. There was also an awesome morning walk...Collapse )

CATURDAY
cat rainbow
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SchadenFriday
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Throwback Thursday, Monchichi edition
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christopher575
Me

Schmupdate
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christopher575
Today's the third day that a film crew has been working on our street. They're three houses over from us at a place that's set way back from the street. I emailed a local blogger to tip him off, hoping he'd find out what they're working on, so I wouldn't have to. He said it might be more Twin Peaks filming, but I've heard elsewhere that they're already finished filming in Washington. Hopefully I'll run into someone on the crew and can ask. They park all up and down the street, including the three spaces in front of our house, so it's not too unlikely. In fact, I barely missed a couple of them when I went to the mailbox yesterday.

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Popping in for a visit in the dark
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christopher575
After so much swimming, I was really in the mood for a little time in Japanese Gulch. It's still so dark in the morning, and likely to be quite muddy at the bottom, so I parked at at the business park near Paine Field and headed in. I hadn't really thought about how challenging the very first part would be, though. It's not really a walking path, even though there's plenty of room to walk next to the highway. The issue is that a trench has been eroded and you really have to watch your step, but you can't if it's dark, because there are no streetlights. Compounding the issue are car headlights coming at you constantly. It's worth it, though, once you get to the Gulch's center trail and forget you ever saw any cars in your life.

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My mind is probably made up
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christopher575
Fridays and Mondays are walking days, but this last Friday and yesterday, I auditioned substitute pools for when my neighborhood swim center is closed for six weeks for maintenance. Friday was the Snohomish Aquatic Center, and yesterday was the Everett YMCA. I really like both of them, and the YMCA is very tempting, but Snohomish will probably win in the end.

I thought about it while I was treading water in the diving tank at Forest Park this morning. Neither of those pools has a diving tank, so a lot of lap swimming is probably in my future. Snohomish has ten lanes, while the Y only has four, so if I'd like to have a lane to myself, it's much more likely to happen at Snohomish.

Another good reason to go there is that the $60 special swim pass for the Y is a use-it-or-lose-it situation, whereas I'll pay per swim at Snohomish. I much prefer a situation where the swims I pay for can be used any time, just in case.

Anyway, I spent an hour in the pool today again, and it was definitely a lot nicer now that I have music. I spent a little time trying to improve my technique while swimming, but I'm not terribly good at drawing an adequate breath from the side the way swimmers do. Practice practice practice.

Pool research, option 2: Everett YMCA
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christopher575
Patrons of the Forest Park Swim Center can get a pass to use the pool at the Mukilteo or Everett YMCA for $60 during the six-week period that Forest Park is closed for maintenance. Anyone can get a day pass to check out the Y any time, so I signed up for one and used it today to try out the Y's pool in downtown Everett. It's six lanes across, but with only four lanes roped off and a two-lane-width area set aside for recreational swimming, at all times. The deepest part is in the center, and that's five feet, so it's not ideal for treading water, but it's a better option for that than Snohomish is.

But I decided to just swim laps for an hour today. It was more enjoyable than Friday's lap swim, because I now have goggles and an iPod shuffle that clips onto them. An hour swimming back and forth would have been pretty dreadful without the iPod, especially since the second lifeguard who was on duty blasted really bad country music over at her chair.

About 40 minutes in, a woman asked to share my lane. I said that was fine, but we should split it down the center instead of doing circles because I'm really not a fast swimmer. She wasn't either, but I'm still glad we split the lane that way because she took a lot more breaks than I did. With only four lanes, I'm sure it fills completely up pretty often, whereas when I did laps over at Snohomish, we were only using four out of the ten lanes at the most.

There's a hot tub by the pool, though there's an issue and it wasn't hot today. The locker room's got a steam room and sauna, and unfortunately the steam room is also out of commission. The sauna was nice.

I really haven't decided if I'll take advantage of the opportunity to use the Y. There are no time restrictions on the pool and it opens at 5am, so it's pretty tempting. And even if I do it and don't really like it, it's only six weeks. We shall see!

From Lynnwood to Edmonds and back again
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christopher575
This morning I set out to try to see the four parks I posted about. It was a bit of a long drive, but Sunday mornings are by far the best time to head out somewhere a little further than normal. As I entered Lynndale Park into Google Maps, I got a strange warning. "Your destination may be closed when you arrive." I checked Google's listing and it said the park is closed Sundays, but who's ever heard of a park being closed on Sunday? The hours aren't listed on the official site, and while I was almost positive the park would be open, I decided to park at Southwest County Park so I wouldn't have to worry about it either way. Southwest County Park's parking is just a wide spot on the shoulder of the road, so it can't be closed off with a gate.

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CATURDAY
dramatic cat
christopher575


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Pool research, option 1: Snohomish Aquatic Center
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christopher575
The maintenance closure of my swim center is a month away, but I felt like finding my alternate pool right away. Well, that's not entirely true. What I wanted was to visit Japanese Gulch, but after yesterday's crazy rain, I knew that even if I entered from the top and followed the center trail, I wouldn't be able to go very far. Not really worth it.

I spent some time yesterday researching the options on the flyer the pool attendant gave me yesterday and eliminating options. The high school pools were easy to eliminate; the hours are awful. Lynnwood's got a big swim center, but it's a little farther than I'd like to go. Same goes, doubly so, for Mountlake Terrace. The YMCA in Mukilteo's pretty close, but they only offer lap swimming in the morning, whereas Everett's YMCA has laps in the morning as well as recreation swimming any time.

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SchadenFriday
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Isn't that always the way?
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christopher575
Got to the pool this morning and noticed a sign at the front desk. The swim center will be closed from 2/29-4/10. I'll miss the first part of that because we're going on vacation from 2/26-3/6. They've got a deal with the YMCA to provide a swim pass for that period for $60. There's also the Snohomish Aquatic Center but I'll need to pop over there to check it out. Their recreation side is all pretty shallow and the competition side has lap lanes all the way across, so I need to see how big the diving tank is. They've got a river walk, so if I go over and don't really see a place to tread water, I could try that out.

Either option will be more expensive. Right now an adult entry to my pool is $4.25, but I buy ten for the price of nine, $38.25. To pay that amount per swim with that pass at the Y, I'd have to go 16 times in that period, which would be three each week plus an extra somewhere. I do enjoy swimming very much, but I doubt I'd force the same value out of that pass as I do with my current one.

An adult drop-in session at the Snohomish Aquatic Center is $5.50, and their discounted price for ten is $52.50. But their pool looks a lot nicer than YMCA's, as long as there's a good spot for me to do what I do.

Today's swim was good. The woman who's been taking my corner by swimming back and forth between there and the ladder decided to swim on the other side of the deep end because her mom was going back and forth on the edge where it meets the shallow end. I doubt she'll be doing it often, though; she stopped and told me it's much harder there for some reason. Specifically, she said it felt like fighting for her life. I don't really know if it's easier to swim next to a wall for some reason, but I could picture that being the case.

I've still got a few weeks before all that matters anyway, but being me, I want to check out my options soon. If it's raining tomorrow morning anything like it was today, I'm definitely going to swim instead of walk, and may as well check out the Snohomish pool. This morning's rain would be terrible to walk in. I had to walk through little rivers six feed wide in the grocery store parking lot. If our street had gutters and sidewalks, I'm quite sure the garbage and recycling containers would have ended up in a pile down the street.

Answer for question 4602.
Press Your Luck
christopher575
If you could go back in time and give some advice to your younger self, what would it be? What age would you go back to in order to deliver this advice? Do you think your younger self would listen to you and heed the advice?
I've been through a lot of really bad times but I definitely believe that, even if paradoxes weren't an issue when you changed something in the past, the differences in life would be drastic enough that it would be very foolish to try to change anything. I really like how my life eventually turned out and I wouldn't risk any of that changing, even if there were huge, awful struggles along the way.

So I guess I'd just go back a few weeks and give myself the winning numbers for the billion dollar Powerball drawing.

Halfway there
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christopher575
Quite a few balls in the air at the moment. My eye exam was yesterday, so I decided to find some new glasses today. There was no shortage of options of providers, so I picked one who happened to be in the direction I felt like driving to lunch afterward. There's nothing particularly wrong with my current glasses, I'm just sick of them. I have oily skin and long eyelashes, so my glasses get dirty very quickly. It's really hard to get this particular pair clean because the nose pads get in the way, so I wanted a new pair with plastic frames and no pads at all. The frames came in a little under the amount my plan will pay for, but of course I still had a sizable bill because I wanted to new-fangled anti-glare coating specifically designed for computer users. That's actually the reason I have to wait ten business days for my glasses, but with the amount of time I spend at the computer, it's a good idea.

I also came home and ordered my first-ever pair of prescription sunglasses. I've always had a hard time finding sunglasses I like, so I just ordered a basic wayfarer shape and crossed my fingers.

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Easy money
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christopher575
I signed up a while ago with a firm that does research studies, focus groups, and the like. My afternoons are usually free, so I figured I may as well see if I could occasionally make some extra money. They don't just call people in randomly, though; it's always a long questionnaire that'll either get you in or disqualify you. After talking to them a few different times, I finally qualified for one. The appointment was yesterday afternoon. Traffic was great both ways and I was gone for 2.5 hours total. They even validate for parking so the only expense for me was gas. I was in their office less than an hour and walked out with a $75 prepaid debit card. Not bad!

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Maintaining routines and making plans
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christopher575
Nothing was particularly remarkable about today's walk. During it, I felt like I was going really fast, but I checked when I got home, and my time was quite close to the last time I was there.

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Using old techniques to find new adventures
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christopher575
Even though I occasionally search for articles and sites about hikes and walks, my main method for finding new places to walk is to just open Google Maps and look around. It'd been a while since I did that, though. This week, I took a look South of Big Gulch in Mukilteo to try to find the next similar place. That's how I found Meadowdale Beach Park, which I decided to check out today. It's a pretty far drive, so the traffic on a weekday would make it take too long.

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