Coyote sighting!

I went running in Arastradero Preserve after work today. It was probably only my 2nd or 3rd time trail running since New Year’s, so I was slow in warming up. I’d finally finished this long, gradual climb and was enjoying the downhill when I saw what looked like a stray dog coming straight toward me on the trail. It was clear within seconds it was a coyote – a relatively rare sighting, as they don’t like to be out around humans. I clapped my hands and made some noise and he veered off into the brush, passing me about 10 feet away. A magnificent looking animal – sort of like a thin dog, with pointy ears and a huge bushy tail. (No, the photo above isn’t this particular animal, but one I captured at a greater distance mountain biking many years ago. I think the camera was a 1 MPixel model, just to date things).

For the past few weeks I’ve been more focused and present with my eating and exercise routine. I’m not sure what exactly “clicked” for me, but somehow it got easier to just pay attention to simple things like “Am I really hungry right now?” “Is this what I really want to eat?” etc. And I need to think of exercise as more than a luxury for when I have time, but an essential part of healthy living. Then the challenge is to make it fun and interesting (elliptical trainers in the basement gym get old pretty quickly).

Seeing that coyote was just a reminder of how much I love being out in the woods. I could never live in an inner city without easy access to some wilderness. I can’t put the experience into words easily – it was just very grounding to be that close to a wild animal, on its no-nonsense quest for dinner. I envy the coyote its simplicity of life (although I don’t wish for its precariousness, either).

Meanwhile, the “accent wall” now has a complete coat of “oh so red” on it, and I’m no closer to figuring out what to do with the other walls. I just glued up chair #4, which leaves 2 to go now. Hosting a dinner by my birthday in June is still the goal.

Oh, another great nature sighting: as I was sitting on my back steps the other day my eye caught some motion in the tree right next to the steps. Nestled in a branch was a hummingbird nest! It’s about the size of a large chicken egg cut in half – a tiny little cup of hair, duff, and bird spit, with a humming bird all nestled within. I don’t know if she has chicks or not – she flew off when she noticed me moving. Some lazy afternoon I’m going to set my camera up on a tripod and try to capture her. I’ve photographed hummingbirds at feeders, but never in a natural nest.

Just enjoying the endorphins wearing off and the smell of fresh air… I hope all is well with you.

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A day by the water

My sweetie and I spent the afternoon at Audubon Canyon Ranch, a park and preserve with dozens of nesting Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. I’ve seen these birds in marshes, but never nesting in trees! Quite a sight. The nests were a little too far away for me to get decent pictures, but I did see a pair in the nearby marsh.

Not too much else is new. The set of 6 dining chairs is making steady progress. Yesterday I cut the shoulders to most of the tenons on the table saw (nothing focuses the attention like the spinning naked blade on that saw!) I still have to cut and finish the curved back rails, and then figure out how I’m going to cut the angled tenons on the side rails. I’m not sure whether I’ll use the same technique I did last go-around; that’s part of the fun trial-and-error aspect of this.

A week from today I’ll be in Chicago for annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, teaching at a workshop and pinch-hitting for a colleague who needs surgery and can’t travel. It’s really a great opportunity to connect with old colleagues from graduate school and to hear what people in particular fields are up to. I don’t know Chicago very well, but I’ll have a little time and hopefully will find an interesting museum or place to take pictures.

I went running for the first time this year over the weekend! Yikes, it’s hard on the ego to see how short a distance I covered. 😦 But if history is any guide, within just a few weeks I’ll be back up to respectible mileage. With the nice weather upon us I don’t want to spend my time exercising in a dark basement gym, so I’m trying to work in a regular routine of biking or running after work. Now if only work weren’t so darn exhausting sometimes…

Have a great week, y’all!