Tuesday, June 20 - Solstice.
High temperatures and high pollen counts have come to the Willamette Valley. This makes it difficult to decide if one should open the windows to air out the house or not. It also makes it difficult to do things in the afternoon -- between the two I found myself taking a nap. And then staying up a little later than normal.
This morning, I woke up briefly at 4 to watch the crescent moon and Venus, which were right next to each other. Night was just beginning to surrender to twilight, so the sky was dark and the stars were still bright. Unfortunately for viewing, so was my neighbor's front porch light. Out back, the moon and Venus were low in the sky, and difficult to see through the trees.
Later, around 6, the moon and Venus were surprisingly higher in the sky. I watered the plants and as the rising sunlight painted cherry tree's leaves pink, I could still see the moon and Venus shining next to each other. Since the Summer Solstice is in twenty-eight hours, I sang "Center of the Sun" as I watered. A half-an-hour later, the moon still guides the eye to Venus's secret peripheral flash in a brightening sky.
I haven't been writing about the gym lately, but I have been going. Monday night: 250 cal on the elliptical; 100 cal on the cable rowing machine. 3x13x60lbs on the pec fly; 3x13x70lbs on the lat pull-down; 3x13 Roman chair hanging curls. 3x13x35lbs barbell curls, 3x13x35 reverse barbell pulls. 3x13x20 lbs triceps pulldowns.
The previous two visits, the gym's stereo had been broken; I really liked not having to hear songs like "Lay Down Sally," and "Keep on Rocking Me Baby," which are basically guys trying to pick up women for a one night stand.
I feel like I'm back to my pre-spring levels. My arm strength feels good, and I'm liking the way my body is looking (well, OK, I'm still working on the old-thin-guy bicycle tire that starts at my back and meets at my belly). I read up a little on chin-ups, and it appears that my next goal is to work on my grip strength so I can hang from a bar for longer than ten seconds. And I should do a quick front- side- and reverse-plank routine at home on non-gym days.
Writing has been... slow. I had a good session Saturday where I sort of closed my eyes and worked on a story for a while; I got 800 words (and a few typos when my hands drifted off the keyboard) and the solid beginning of a story out of that. But it lately--and by lately I mean for the last four months--writing short stories has been like walking back and forth at the edge of a swampy morass, thinking that there's a island hill you'd like to get to, but choosing the best way to begin is not clear and making any progress is countered by wading through deepening muck and a sense that maybe the hill you thought you wanted to get to wasn't what you actually had in mind.
Hmm. Time to see why this might be the case and make some adjustments to sleep, eating, and discipline.