Hike 2021 Forward: Week 29

The goal: 2,021 miles during the year 2021. The weekly pace needed: 39 miles.

Week 29 of my personal walking challenge (July 16 – July 22) began with a zero-day due to professional responsibilities from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, followed by a rainstorm that washed out the rest of the day. I was a little nervous for the week (zero is not a good way to start the week), but I was able to put a few strong days together and ended up with 56.7 miles for the week.  I had a 14.8-mile Monday and a 10.5-mile Tuesday (the other four days hovered between 7 and 8.4 miles). Overall, it was a good week.

My number of accumulated miles is up to 1,385.9 as I continue to chip away at the journey. At the end of week 29, I have 635.1 miles left to complete the challenge.  I hope to break through the 1,400 mile marker next week and maybe be under 600 miles from the finish line.

This week, I had a few miles in the woods and along the river, a few miles visiting a new hiking buddy (he carries a snack with him wherever he walks), and a few miles catching the signs of summer around my neighborhood.

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Hike Books Forward

This is mystery week – not by design but by good reads. My two best audiobook selections for this week are both mysteries. The first (messenger of Truth) was written in 2006 and the second (Tales for a Winter’s Night) is a series of short stories written around 1898.  

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

 Messenger of Truth is book #4 in the Masie Dobbs series. The setting is London, 1931. Masie is a private investigator with incredible skills of deduction and observation. This novel takes the reader into the world of art and the deadly world of foul play. On the eve of a much-anticipated exhibition artist, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls from scaffolding while attempting to mount his secretive masterpiece. The police visit the famed Mayfair gallery and declare the fall accidental, but the dead’s man’s twin sister (Georgina) has other opinions. With the case being closed by the police, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs and the investigation begins.
The facts of the case take Maisie to the beaches of Dungeness in Kent and the dark memories of World War 1.

Being book #4, the first three provide a great deal of background about Masie and her past relationships. It is a good series and I would recommend taking the time to read the first three novels. There are 16 novels in the series and #17 to be released in 2022. The British-born author has done extensive research into the story’s setting, and the protagonist continues to grow with each novel. A good read and an entertaining audiobook. The audiobook also contains a very interesting and insightful interview with the author.

Tales for a Winter’s Night by Arthur Conan Doyle
These eight classic Conan Doyle mysteries were originally published in The Strand in 1899 and then republished in 1908 as one volume entitled Round the Fire Mysteries. I thought these were going to be short adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but the master detective was not present in any of these mysteries. As an audiobook each tale lasts about 45 minutes so there are several nice stopping places. The table of contents reveals the short stories: The Man with the Watches, The Black Doctor, The Jewish Breastplate, The Lost Special, The Club-footed Grocer, The Sealed Room, The Brazilian Cat, and B.24. As in most collections, some of the stories were better than others. I personally liked The Man with the Watches, the Jewish Breastplate, and the Brazilian Cat. The formal, older, British syntax and vocabulary made comprehension a little more difficult and active listening a bit more difficult, but all in all it was an enjoyable audiobook

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Hike 2021 Forward – Week 28

I have made it through the middle of July and 28 weeks of my personal hiking challenge of walking 2,021 miles in 2021. This week (July 9 – July 15) I was able to pound out 47.6 miles. This week was filled with some technical reading as I am serving on two dissertation committees, and both candidates will defend their research on July 16.

July 9th started out the week with a strong 8.5 miles. The weather was nice with the highs only touching 77 degrees. I has some important social events on Saturday, July 10 including both a celebration party for Tommy, a precious son of a close family friend, who has be proclaimed cancer-free after a long bout with leukemia, and a family get-together of best wishes as four of my grandchildren are off to Utah for several weeks. So, July 10’s walking window only yielded 4.7 miles.

Sunday afternoon (July 11) produced some rain, but I managed to dodge the drops for an average hike (6.4 miles). Monday (July 12) was my best day of the week. Two hikes (one in the morning and the other in the evening) bookended the afternoon showers. I took a solo hike around the neighborhood in the morning and then took a nice walk with my wife and daughter at a local park about 7:00 pm for a total of 12.1 miles.

Several conference calls and Zoom meetings dominated my day on Tuesday (July 13). The needed demands of the yard invaded my walk time and then when I began to make my neighborhood loop, the rains let loose catching me a mile away from home. By the time I reached my front door, I was drenched and only had 2.9 miles to show for the entire day.

Balancing out another Zoom meeting, an evening Bible Study, and a morning conference at my bank, 5.8 miles was my total hiking yield for Wednesday. July 14.  Thursday the 15th completed the week with 7.2 miles as I combined two shorter hikes. I walked to my church and back (2 miles one way) and then a quick stroll around the neighbor hood in the afternoon.

I have hiked a tad over 1,329 miles leaving less than 700 miles to complete the journey (more accurately – 692 miles). I am hoping that Week 29 will be another good one. The weather looks promising with several sunny days.  

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Hike Photos Forward

To Bee Or Not To Bee
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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: The Overture

Over the years as a high school administrator, I had the privilege of participating in several pit orchestras for high school musicals and was able to the play one of the woodwind scores for numerous Broadway shows (Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Annie, The King and I, Hello Dolly, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown). I loved these musicals – they were challenging musically, but the energy of the show made the music come alive with meaning and purpose. Having spent many hours in practice and performances, the music began to bounce around in my mind, and I found myself whistling and humming the music throughout the day. The more I have reflected on those good days in the orchestra pit playing music with my colleagues, the more I have appreciated the contagious nature of the Broadway tunes. This leads me to my next metaphor of leadership as I compare the role of the leader to the role of the Overture in the show. Let me share with you four key similarities – Bb, C, Dm, and G just to keep the metaphor going..

Bb, the Overture is the first piece of music that the audience hears. One conductor that I worked with, encouraged us to warm up and be ready for the first downbeat, but he requested that we not play of the music of the show in our warm-ups. We could play scales or pop tunes or Christian tunes, but nothing from the performance. Why? Because he wanted to audience to be introduced to the music of the show through the Overture itself. The Overture has a little taste of all the melodies in the show. It was a grand introduction of what was to follow. In some ways the Overture is the musical face of the story to come. And so, the leader is the face of the organization. The leader must know every aspect of the company and be able to sing a little bit about all the programs, products and services of the institution.  

C, because the Overture is a medley of songs, the style of music changes several times in quick succession and the dynamics move from a soft, sweet love song to the allegro of a chase scene or a march of victory and then quickly to a quiet lullaby. So an effective leader must change tempos and dynamics often during the day. From encourager to listener; from a personal conversation to a group report, from decision maker to a confrontational phone call, from a tender moment of appreciation to the complaints of the disgruntled. The leader not only know every tune, but he/she knows when to change his pace, and his place, and his face.

Dm, the composer/arranger of the Overture casts the melody line from instrument to instrument as the different songs are highlighted. The brass may start the Overture with an attention-getting flair, then the strings or even a violin solo may take over with a sweet song of love, flowed by the woodwinds dancing with a humorous melody of mischief. As each instrument adds its voice and takes the lead, there is a capturing of the entire show in the first 10 minutes of the performance. The effective leader realizes that leadership is not all about the leader. Each member of the team (as the orchestral instruments) must play his/her part for the organization to be successful and grow. The actual role of leader can change from team member to team member depending on the situation. Leader”ship” is a dynamic interactive process of creating, communicating and transforming vision into reality. One leader cannot accomplish that process alone, but with a band of instrumental people, the organization can embrace the entire show. He wise leader allows and encourages every team member to take the lead as his/her strength is needed. The organizational melody should move from member to member as the entire mission is accomplished.

G, the Overture is filled with transitions. Some of the transitions are smooth and stay in the same key, others are abrupt, changing keys, tempo, and time signatures (from 3/4 to 6/8 to 4/4). Before the audience gets too comfortable listening to one tune, the Overture switches gears and introduces another melody. Variety is at the core of the Overture. Effective leaders are aware that transitions can (and will) come at a moment’s notice. There are times when the leader transitions from one responsibility to another without losing a beat as the day just flows between one setting to another. But the unexpected never gives much notice and the leader is often required to quickly change perspectives and step into a different rhythm of decision making. The day, the week, the life of a leader is filled with transitions. The key for the leader (and the orchestra) is to embrace the transitions and make incredible music in the midst of the changes.

The next time you listen to a Broadway show’s Overture… wait, you never have listened to an overture? you don’t like Broadway musicals?….give it a try; “Annie” is a good one to enjoy. So, anyway, the next time you listen to a Broadway show’s Overture, notice the transitions, the instrumentation, and the amazing way that all the tunes are woven together to give the audience an exciting picture of what awaits.

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Hike Fun Days Forward – Special Days July 18 – 24

July 18 Ice Cream Day

Actually, July is Ice Cream Month, but the third Sunday of July has been designated as Ice Cream Day. My guess: the third Sunday stands for three scoops (the maximum number without running the risk of getting sick) and the Sunday stands for the popular Ice Cream Sundae. The real question of the day is dish or cone? That’s all you need to know to celebrate. Ice Cream Day honors every flavor on the menu, so be creative and enjoy the celebration.

July 19 Get Out of the Dog-house Day

This is a day for second chances. Being “in the doghouse,” means you have fallen out of favor with someone: your friend, your spouse or even your boss at work.

Getting out of the dog house involves reconciliation, seeking forgiveness, and making things right. Two tips for enjoying this day. One, if you find yourself in the dog house, take the initiative and reach out. Genuine humility and contrition are healing salves on relationship wounds. Two, if you have banned someone to the dog house, let them out and experience the blessings of pardon.

July 20 Moon Day

On July 20, 1969, I was 19 years old and I was sitting in front of our family TV set mesmerized by the first lunar landing. Fifty-two years later, this landing still stands as an epic event in modern history.  July National Days – National Day Calendar summaries the detals of his day quite well, “On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. Six hours after landing on the moon, American Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. He spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin soon followed, stepping onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two men collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would make the journey back to Earth to be analyzed. 

In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.

Caught up in the thrill of the adventure, millions of Americans watched the mission from Earth. Televisions around the world tuned in to the live broadcasts. The astronauts had a worldwide audience. As a result, all witnessed as Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface and described the event as ‘one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind’.”

July 21 Hot Dog Day

Hot Dog Day in July celebrates a standard summertime grill offering on a bun. If you are not a vegetarian (although I think they make a vegetarian hot dog), consider paying your respects to the frankfurter, the footlong, the wienie, the wiener, or the wienerwurst. Twenty-five million hot dogs are sold at baseball stadiums each year (give or take a few hundred). We prepare them a variety of ways: grilled, toasted, boiled, pan-fried, and rotisserie-cooked. We decorate them in countless ways:  ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, mayonnaise, cheese, bacon, chili and some folks dare to add sauerkraut.

July 22 Rat Catcher’s Day

July 22nd commemorates the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. According to the folktale, residents of the German town of Hamelin hired a strangely dressed man to rid their village of rats. The Pied Piper of Hamelin did so by playing his flute. Upon finishing the task, the townsfolk refused to pay — so the Pied Piper returned. Once again, the Pied Piper played his flute while the children followed him. And with the Pied Piper, the children vanished, never to return. This is also a day to cherish your children – keep your them in sight and close at hand.  

Due to differing dates in stories and poems, Hamelin, Germany, celebrates the day on June 26th. The confusion stems from the Brothers Grimm as they cite June 26, 1284, as the date the Pied Piper led the children out of the town. At the same time, the poem by Robert Browning uses the date July 22, 1376. I can understand the mix up of the actual month and day, but missing the event by 92 years is a little much- it could even be consider literarily grim (Grimm).

July 23 Your Special Day

Enjoy making your own memories today. Start a family tradition. Do something special today for your own growth. Contact an old friend and reconnect. Make a new friend. Take a long enjoyable walk or stretch out in a hammock and read a good book.  

July 24 Amelia Earhart Day

Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. She was an American pioneer in the field of aviation. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also several wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. 

Amelia was born in Atchison, Kansas and developed a passion for adventure at a young age. In 1928, she became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane (accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz), for which she achieved celebrity status. Four years later, in 1932, Amelia made her nonstop solo transatlantic flight. During an attempt at becoming the first female to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2nd.

Photos: Ice Cream – Rough Collection; Dog House – Get Out of the Doghouse Day (townplanner.com); Moon Day – July 20th is Moon Day – Info Cafe (davenportlibrary.com); Hotdog – Download Hot Dog Transparent HQ PNG Image | FreePNGImg; Piped Piper – The Pied Piper is Changing His Tune! – Online Ministries (online-ministries.org);  Amelia Earhart – Encyclopedia of Trivia: Amelia Earhart (encyclopaediaoftrivia.blogspot.com)

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward: Update July 15

Thru-hiker Mileage has gone silent again (last post was July 1 from Boiling Springs, PA – mile 1118), but Rock and Roots have provided several up-dated posts on their online journal. Unfortunately, Rock and Roots do not post photos so I have no visuals for us of their adventure, thus the only photo I have is repeated here.

Last time we heard form Rock and Roots was June 8 and they were 865 miles along the Appalachian Trail camping at Calf Mountain Shelter inside the Shenandoah National Park about seven miles north of Waynesboro, Virginia.

On June 9 the couple hiked 13 miles, stopping about 1:30 for a late lunch and arriving at their evening destination, Blackrock Hut (mile 878.5), at 5:00. They passed over the Skyline Drive eight times during the day’s hike including the Sawmill Run Overlook. Their plan was to reach the 900-mile marker on June 10.

It is not clear whether they reached their 900-mile goal on June 10, but they were able to grab a nice shower at a camp store (possibly the Loft Mountain Store – 885.8).  The journal then has a few blank days, but we do know that Rock and Roots spent the night on Sunday, June 13 at the Skyland Resort at mile 928.2. They commented that it had rained several days in a row so the weather may have caused a slow down of the hiking agenda.

Monday June 14 was a long day hiking day resulting in 24 miles and ending up at Gravel Springs Hut. Roots (Annie) has blisters on her feet for the first time on the trail and Rock needs a new pair of shoes. Despite their feet issues, the couple enjoyed the day’s hike seeing a buck with velvety antlers and later in the day, a doe enjoying some dinner along the trail, as well as two colorful snakes (one with yellow stripes and the other with a yellow head and silver body). Gravel Springs Hut is still located in the Shenandoah Nation Park (SNP), but only about 10 miles from the northern boundary.  

Tuesday, June 15 brought Rock and Roots out SNP. They walked 16 miles and completed their hiking day at Mosby Campsite, 969.2 miles along the Appalachian Trail and about 3.5 miles north of Front Royal, Virginia. The couple is planning on making it to Harper’s Ferry by Friday where they will spend some time with family. The skies were clear today so Rock and Roots got some last day photos of the SNP.

June 16 was a 20-mile day ending at Rod Hollow Shelter around 9:20 pm. They hiked through part of the Sky Meadows State Park. They camped just short of the Roller Coaster (13.5 miles of tightly packed assents and descents) leading to the border of Virginia and West Virginia. Just before arriving at the shelter, Rock experienced a rare sight – a bear climbing down a tree.  

June 17 presented the roller coaster and some challenging terrain. They had lunch 5 miles into the coaster at a spot called Buzzard Hill (appropriate for eating lunch). Close to the end of the coaster the couple passed the 1,000 mile marker. They had hoped to end their day at the Blackburn AT Center  (mile 1007.1), but choose an alternate stealth camping spot a few miles short of the center.

My Photo for 2014

They arrived at Harper’s Ferry and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters, on Friday, June 18th. After checking in at the ATC, Rock’s sister and a niece picked them up. They had an enjoyable weekend in town with family. The ate some good food and took a relaxing tubing trip.

Rock and Roots left Harper’s Ferry on Sunday afternoon, June 20, and hiked 6 miles to the Ed Garvey Shelter. They experienced a crazy rain storm on Sunday evening that lasted through most of morning on Monday. Once the rain cleared on June 21 they hiked to the next campground (Crampton Gap Shelter). June 21 is the longest day of the year but the couple made one of their shortest walks (4.1 miles reaching an accumulated 1,030 miles on the AT). Rock placed a call to his Aunt Anne and Uncle Barry. They came and picked Rock and Roots up and took them to Boonsboro and a nice, warm, dry inn. It was a great morale boost for the two wet hikers. 

The online journal then jumps to July 10 (18 days and 236 miles later). Rock and Roots are almost to the end of Pennsylvania. They are 13 miles north of Palmerton, PA, having climbed out of Lehigh Gap and the iconic rock scramble up the Superfund site. They appear to be staying with John and Linda Stempa at Smith Gap, who are providing a slack-packing opportunity for the couple. They have hiked about 1,266 miles of the Appalachian Trail and are approximately 25 miles from the New Jersey line. I am not sure the reason for the gap in the journal, but we will pick up their adventure from here.

I hope to have a good update next Thursday as we follow these thru-hikers all the way to Maine.

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Hike Leadership Forward – Observant

One of the most important aspects of leadership is often the most overlooked. It takes time, it takes self-control, it takes patience. It is the art of observation. Observant leadership can be effective if it is nurtured, practiced, and intentional.

One of the best ways to understand observational leadership is by using the five senses: hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. Each of the senses opens doors of observation that can increase the effectiveness of leadership and the awareness of the leader.

First is the sense of hearing. Observant leaders have active ears. Active listening is an art not seen very often behind the meeting table. Too many leaders like to, want to, demand to speak. There is a tendency among leaders to yield to the extroverted mistake of quickly entering the fray of ideas with their “correct” perspective and their “wise” counsel. An observant leader practice the intentional art of being quiet and keeping his/her mouth shut. By listening the leader has the opportunity to evaluate the skills and abilities of those around him/her. Who has good ideas? Who rambles without much content? Who expresses creativity? Who has difficulties with change?

Listen to employees, board members, middle managers, those above you, those who report to you. Listen in the hall ways, listen at the coffee pot, listen during casual conversations, listen in the break room. Listening does not mean believing, but listening does mean evaluating. An observant leader leads with his/her ears – what can you learn through listening?

Second is the sense of sight. Our eyes are the windows to reality. Just as listening is increased by being quiet, so seeing is enhanced as we minimize our tongues and give our full attention to what we see. An observant leader has active eyes, for there is a difference between seeing and observing. Observation involves analysis, synthesis, logic, induction and deduction. As Sherlock Holmes notes in A Scandal in Bohemia, “You see, but you do not observe.”

An observant leader watches the dynamics of relationships, the body language involved in dialogue, the actions and the reactions of others. Many watch the primary movements and behaviors of others, but the observant leader attempts to watch the secondary and even the tertiary perspectives and reactions to decisions, discussions, and suggestions. What was the athletic directors response to the principal’s announcement? What did the faces of the administrative assistances communicate around the lunch table? How attentive were the administration when the CFO gave his report?

Third is the sense of taste. As an observant leader has active tastebuds. As the leader walks the footprint of the organization, what flavors does he/she taste? Is the environment filled with the sweetness of unity, or the sourness of discontentment, or the spices of creativity? Just as the tastebuds in our mouth shout out with messages of saltiness or pleasure, so the inner sense of taste must communicate to the observant leader.  

Every organization has a culture and a climate that can be recognized and felt. I remember going to my church for the first time. As I opened the front door, there were several people with smiles and words of welcome. I was greeted by many others and made to feel right at home from the very first service. My clothes did not matter, my age did not matter, my newness did not matter. The church tasted like grace and the good news. An observant leader must taste the culture of the organization, he/she must take note of the climate and taste the message it proclaims.

Fourth is smell. The observant leader has an active nose. If you work in a factory, there is most likely a distinctive smell about the organization. If you report to a school every day, there is a special smell about the classroom. If you work outside, there are certain smells associated with your environment. These are not the smells that I have in mind. The old expression, “Something smell a little fishy to me,” is more aligned to the leader’s nose. What does honesty smell like? What odor does discord and animosity emit? As you take a huge breathe in your organization does it smell healthy, and alive? As you take puffs of air do you find yourself coughing with smells of arrogance and power. An observant leader can smell a bully a mile away, and can enjoy the soft fragrance of rose on the manager’s desk. 

Some smell are very dangerous – the smell of nature gas can explode if not addressed. Some scents can calm the heart – the aroma of lavender is a stress reliever. An observant leader must practice in order to discern odor from aroma. He/she must sensitize his/her nose to understand what is fishy and what is savory.       

Fifth is touch. I am not talking about group hugs or high fives after a meeting (although these are not bad things). An observant leader is an active kinesthetic leader. Let me use three colloquial phrases to communicate the concept. One, A leader must be willing to” put his toe in the water.” An observant leader does not jump in without investigation, but he/she must be aware and anxious to test the temperature and nature of the water. Is this the time? Is the opportunity hot and the environment ready to jump in or is the timing cold and unproductive? Gut feelings can be right on, but a quick toe in the water can confirm the reality of choice. Two, a leader knows how to “touch the sore spots.” During a physical exam, the doctor is trained to poke and prod to check for sore spots, indicators of physical problems. An observant leader needs to know how to touch the sore spots to gage the health of the organization. Wounds that are left to fester can cause illness, amputation and even death. Three, an effective leader keeps “his finger on the pulse.” The touch of the leader must go to the heart of the organization. The leader must not be distracted by peripheral issues or programs outside the mission of the organization, lest he/she lose the pulse of the team’s purpose and the overall health of the company. 

An effective leader is an observant leader. These skills of observation are not easy to obtain or maintain but they are critical to helping an organization grow and thrive. These skills can be crippled and easily forgotten if we talk too much and fail to listen, see, taste, smell, and touch. 

Photos: ears – Top 10 facts about ears | 2013-10-23 | 438603 | Express.co.uk; eyes- Easily recognizing prominent eyes (advisemystyle.com); taste – 10 Fun Facts About Your Tongue and Taste Buds (onhealth.com); smells – 5 Simple Natural Ways to Get Rid of Cooking Smells – Cook Taste Eat;  pulse – Western Sydney Business Connection – Membership (wsbc.org.au)

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Hike Books Forward – July 13

Let me highlight two excellent books that were part of my week. The first is a young adult novel that takes the reader to Lithuania. The second is a medical-oriented novel exploring the recovery of an accident victim.

Words on Fire

The young protagonist, Audra, lives in a quiet farm in Lithuania. But the quiet farm is not a safe farm community. Under the control of the patrolling Cossack soldiers, Russia poses a dangerous threat. Audra turns out to be a strong, brave patriot determined to help save her country’s sense of identity and history. The Russian government has ordered that the Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language be eliminated from the country and all Lithuanians become Russians. Audra will be called upon to help resist such an assassination of her culture.

Her mother and father have sheltered their daughter from some of the realities of the cultural assassination, but the book quickly brings these conflicts to the surface. Audra is faced with many decisions that will determine her stand in the midst of conflict.   

This young adult novel is worth a read. It is filled with adventure, quick thinking, loyalty, mixed with some tricks and a dose of problem solving.

Left Neglected

Sarah Nickerson experiences a traumatic brain disorder called “left neglect.” One morning while racing to work, Sara is distracted by her cell phone, glances away for just a second or two, and finds herself in the hospital.  She discovers that she is unaware of everything on her left side. And now must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole.

This novel is written by Lisa Genova, a graduate from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. With this remarkable background, the author has the ability to paint the picture with realism and a medical foundation that allows the portrait to come alive with stark believism.  

This book is such an excellent read. I was not aware that Left Neglect even existed. The brain is such an amazing entity. This novel reads like a memoir and has all the rings of truth. Genova writes with the lightness of humor and the stress of tragedy as she spans the gamut of emotions experienced in this accidental injury. I would highly recommend this book for its honest approach and hopeful outlook on overcoming adversity.

Book covers found at Goodreads.com

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Hike 2021 Forward: Week 27

Week 27 of my personal walking challenge was rather “weak.” My goal of the year is to walk the year in miles (2,021 miles in 2021). I need to average 39 miles each week and this week (July 2-8) I barely hit the minimum with 40.1 miles. I had several unusual days that cut into my normal hiking time. I traveled back from West Virginia on July 2 after spending a few days celebrating my mother-in-law’s 95th birthday (I managed to walk 5.5 after getting back to Ohio). A special Springboro family get-together on the 3rd (only walked 3.4 miles) and a church-family, poolside, 4th of July party on Sunday (5.9 miles before the party started) filled my weekend. I had two strong days on Monday and Tuesday (totally 20 miles) and a below average day on Wednesday (5.1 miles), which was good because I caught a stomach bug on Thursday and had to take a zero-day. That was probably too much detail for this week, but I thought my low total might need some additional insight.

The highlight of the week for me was Wednesday, July 7. It was Father/Daughter Take  Walk Day and my incredible daughter, Bethany, and I got together for a nice walk at a local park. The walk was nice, but the company was great. We had such a sweet conversation and special time together. I will have to circle July 7 on the calendar for the years to come.

It looks like a rather wet week coming up, but a little shower should not stop the dedicated (mail-carriers and hikers are not discouraged by rain, sleet, hail or snow??). Turn in next Monday for an update on Week 28.

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