Walking and Reading

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually walk and read. I did try to perfect that back after I saw Beauty and the Beast and wanted nothing more to be Belle. Unfortunately, I lack the talent to walk any length of time reading and not hitting something or injuring myself. I reluctantly concluded I would never be as cool as Belle…)

I am feeling much more like my old self these days. I still have some tweaks of pain when I move in certain ways but overall, I am 100% better! Hopefully, this health scare will keep me on the right path from now on! While I am not quite feeling up to the zumba class a friend found for me, I am hoping to attend that soon! In the meantime, I continue my tour of Tallahassee’s parks with Tom Brown Park.

Lake Leon at Tom Brown Park

Tom Brown seems to be, if not the largest, one of the biggest parks in the city. It holds the annual 4th of July celebration for Tallahassee along with being host to ball fields, Mountain bike trails, a dog park and a 1.5 mile paved trail, Goose Pond Trail. I met up with a friend one night after work last week and wandered from Lake Leon onto the Goose Pond Trail. Since we lost the light quickly, we didn’t make it very far but we also stopped to enjoy watching the dogs at the dog park for a bit so I think we lost a bit of time there. But I liked what I saw of the park. I didn’t see much of the extensive ball fields the park has since the walking trail where we started isn’t close to them but the park was a busy place on a late Wednesday afternoon which is always a good sign. It was much busier than the park I’ve visited before but Tom Brown, as I said, it one of the largest parks in Tallahassee as well as more centrally located, right off Capital Circle. It also happens to be much closer to where I live so I hope to visit and walk regularly once we get over the spot of bad weather we’re having (it’s warm out but rainy and stormy for the next few days).

I also enjoyed having someone to walk with. I love my alone time, and I usually need more of that that the time I need to spend around people, but it’s also fun to just walk with a friend and talk about random things, about work and family and home. It’s also fun to take some time after work to unwind and complain a little if you need to. Normally, I don’t have that decompression time to talk something out if I need to and I appreciated having it along with walking and feeling better.

Next, I want to feel up to a high power zumba class but I think I’m still a week or two from that. I watched one of the Step Up movies over the weekend which meant I was dancing like an idiot around my apartment and yeah…not yet ready for zumba! So, I’ll keep walking. I also should work on getting over my fear of the treadmill so even when it’s gross out, I can get some walking in as pacing in my apartment just doesn’t do much. That said, I don’t think it’s the treadmill I’m afraid of so much as the odd people I run into at the small gym at my complex. Always nice people, just odd. I almost miss a large gym just for the anonymity they offer. I might need to think about investing in a gym again at some point but for now, baby steps!

In other news, I need to get back into my reading groove. When I feel crappy, I mostly want to lay on the couch like a slug and watch TV. But, since I’m feeling better, I’m getting back into reading.  I got a bit dragged down too by The Cookbook Collector. I really wanted to like this more than I did but in the end, I was sort of ambivalent to it. It made interesting use of the dot com bubble followed by the bust and 9/11 but I just never much cared for the characters. Confession (AND SPOILER ALERT): I thought good riddance when she killed two characters on one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers. How awful is that?! For one thing, you can see it coming so the shock value isn’t really there and two, one of the characters was awful, just completely unlikable and the other character I had nothing invested in. She could have never mentioned him again after she spent a chapter or two on him and I wouldn’t have ever wondered where he went. Luckily, I followed it up with a fun historical romance of a girl who runs away to join a ballet company in Brazil in 1912 and then Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens which is about a plane crash which lands the contestants of a teen beauty pangent stranded on a not so deserted island. I would tell you more but it’s a book you must read to believe and I highly recommend it with a caveat – you need to be someone who likes snarky comments with a Mel Brooks sense of humor (and as someone with family members who do not get that humor, I always like to warn people where it appears).

I just finished Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s love letter to books, The Shadow of the Wind. Seriously, I’d like to crawl into the library described in the first chapter and never come back out. After I finish one last library book, I need to start on the stack of books I’ve accumulated since Christmas as gifts and from book store sales. First up on the stack? A new Flavia de Luce novel (well, new to me, I’m a bit behind on the series). A little Flavia is always a good thing!

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Walking a Park

Path at A.J. Henry Park, Tallahassee

My surgery went well; my recovery was a bit unexpected. Everyone made it sound a lot easier than it turned out to be for me. I handle pain well, thank goodness, but I was not up and about easily only a few days following my surgery. Tomorrow is 10 days after my surgery and today is really the first day I’ve felt mostly normal since they took my gallbladder out. I guess everyone is different but this one threw me for a loop a lot more than I was expecting. Slowly but surely, I am getting my feet back under me. One thing I’ve been trying to do is to keep moving. It does help me feel a little less like I am an invalid and also I feel a bit like I am walking off the pain. However, doing laps in my apartment gets old fast so I figure it’s time to start exploring the parks of Tallahassee.

I love walking; I always have. My favorite cities are completely walkable from one end of them to the other. I love not needing to drive or catch a bus or subway. I love taking in a walk whether it’s for pleasure or to get me from point A to Point B. I loathe running or really most other forms of exercise if I’m being honest but I adore walking. Sadly, Tallahassee isn’t exactly a walking city. I wouldn’t walk down my road if you paid me. It’s a charming road but has no sidewalk or shoulder to speak of. So, if I want to walk, I have to find a place to do so.

Tallahassee also has, thankfully, a plethora of parks to choose from. Being unimaginative yesterday, I just picked the park at the top of the list on the website. A.J. Henry Park is in the northeastern part of the city and, like anything else, took me about 20 minutes to find amongst the really nice houses I drove through. It is a fairly small park on the shores of a tiny lake. There is a short boardwalk along the lake’s edge, picnic areas which were host to two different birthday parties the day I visited, and then miles of trails through the woods. I wandered the woods for an hour, finding my way to a small ravine with a stream running through it. There were stairs down to the stream which I appreciated it as taking the steep looking trail wasn’t really something I felt up to just yet. It was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods and while I ran into a few other couples walking, I seemed to have the forest mostly to myself which is really the best way to enjoy a walk.

My only complaint was the trails were not marked very well. I found posts with maps that had either been destroyed or weather had rendered mostly illegible. There were color coded arrows which would have been helpful if I’d known what trail I’d been on to begin with. I suppose I could have pulled out my phone and gotten the map from the parks’ website but it didn’t fit my mood so I just wandered. I think I mostly stuck to the green trail but really, I have no idea. A bit more guidance would have been appreciated but I didn’t get lost so I suppose that would be considered a successful walk in the woods.

I hope to explore more of Tallahassee’s parks in the coming weeks as I try to keep active more. Sadly, most of this week will see me walking on the treadmill though as I’m returning to work. Tomorrow will most likely be a very long day but I’m looking forward to getting back onto my usual schedule and feeling like things are getting back to normal.