Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘The University of Richmond’ category

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Friday the 13th Incident A Day Early

So today is Friday the 13th. What does that mean, exactly? I’m not sure. I do know that I’ve had issues, this week, and I’m hoping, maybe, that they were not some sort of warning about today. Like warning signs on the highway. Slow, slower. Maybe you should park under your bed when it gets here . . . Last night (Thursday, the 12th) we had a nice hike over at the University of Richmond. Back in the days when I started walking and losing a lot of weight I used to walk the paths at U of R. So I felt confident about leading a hike with a group from the Central Virginia Trailblazers. The University of Richmond is an important part of the Richmond landscape and it has been voted, at least on one occasion, as the most attractive campus in the nation.

But I was worried about the weather. It was hot and humid yesterday and T-storms were in the offing. But then the weather took a turn for the better and we headed out on our walk around the campus. All was well until ominous, dark clouds headed in from the west and I took a sharp turn to the east, back through the wonderful International Center building and down the road to our cars.

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Everyone was returned safely to their cars and I headed home when the heavens opened up and delivered a deluge to our area. It was dark. The rain came down in sheets and I was relieved to reach my neighborhood and make the final turn to safety. Warmth, comfort and cheery lights in a dry house with two, slightly on edge, doggies was just a few feet away.

Except that when I made that final turn, seeing dimly our corner the street sign, I forgot that it is on the right side of the street, not the left, and I turned into a ditch that frames the property of our next door “neighbor”.

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It was at this point that things got a little odd. I called AAA and they assured me someone would come around in 15 minutes to back my car out of the ditch. But it took about an hour for him to show up because, he said, he had to pull 3 or 4 other folks out of ditches because they also had problems with this torrential storm. Not a problem, really, except that my “neighbor” showed up a few minutes before he got there and wanted “my information”. I told her I lived across the street! Then she wanted the police. So when the AAA guy showed up he called the police and they came. A young man, clearly endowed with innate wisdom, arrived and walked over to us for a short conversation. I told him what happened. My “neighbor” suggested that I had hurt her driveway. But the car was several feet from her driveway. It was in the ditch. It had not touched her driveway. She suggested that she couldn’t see the situation very well because it was very dark. He suggested she could come out in the morning and sweep the dirt and pebbles around. She retired from the scene. The AAA guy backed up my car in about 30 seconds. We all went on our separate ways. The young policeman told me on his way out that he hoped the rest of my evening would be “better”.

I don’t know my neighbor. Our other neighbors have had issues with her but I don’t really worry about that. I do know that she planted many plastic Flamingos in her yard as, I guess, some sort of protest, awhile back. A flock of plastic Flamingos in this neighborhood is not, generally, well received. People who are like this depress me. They obviously have issues. They have been abused in some way and feel it is necessary to strike back at every opportunity.

While I was waiting for the AAA guy a lot of our neighbors drove by and stopped. They wanted to know if everyone was alright. When I think about this incident I prefer to remember them. I prefer to think we want to help each other when an accident occurs.

Weekly Photo Challenge / WordPress / Beyond

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This week’s photo challenge is to write about a photo that presumably takes the viewer beyond the main subject to “hidden depths”. And while I was out walking with my camera this morning I took this shot of an art gallery at the University of Richmond. I don’t want to speak for other viewers but it takes me to a couple of places. The reflections in the upper windows suggest a sunny morning in winter with trees that have shed their leaves. The lower windows seem to bring us into the gallery where (perhaps) there is a large work of art. I love art galleries so this makes me curious. What have the artists at U of R been doing here? I need to go over there again, soon, and investigate!
 
 
I was mainly taking photos this morning of the snow which fell briefly here in Richmond last night. Most of it will probably be gone by 5 pm. So here is a slide show of snow on the University of Richmond campus and the surrounding neighborhood.

Osher At The University Of Richmond / Exploring The Universe

This evening I went over to the University of Richmond for the Osher Back To School Mixer. I noticed in their announcement of this event the U of R folks didn’t capitalize “to”. But my feeling is that if you are going to capitalize “Back” and “School Mixer” you have to be consistent and capitalize “To”, too. But, maybe, that’s why I need to go back to school. I don’t know.

There are, as it turns out, many things that I do not know. And this is why I like the Osher program. It gives us oldsters a chance to fill in some of the gaps in our learning experiences. And I am purposefully using the word “gaps” when some might say a more appropriate word would be “chasms” or even “black holes”.

Please be patient with us as we age. We are actually trying to avoid being sucked into a black hole populated with various neurological diseases. Exercising the brain may help! Lumosity helps (the Lumosity folks promise us!) and wandering over to the lovely U of R campus may help as well. We are willing, at least, to give it a go!

On this occasion I was happy to see some of my friends from the writer’s group I attended last year. Rosemary Rawlins was looking great and being her usual cheerful, friendly self. She has written a book, Learning by Accident, about health and healing, family, traumatic brain injury, love and overcoming adversity. Don Warner was also there. He is a retired businessman who owned a local music store known to many in decades past. Betsy knew him when she was a young person running around Virginia with her rock band.

So I enjoyed talking with them. Betsy would have been there, too, but she had to watch Kellan this evening. Bernard Osher was not here either, but he is still alive and one of the great philanthropists of our generation. He has given nearly a billion dollars to programs across the country that help the wizened ones reattach themselves to the younger folks and the universities. Colleges, too, perhaps. There’s word that Mr. Osher eventually intends to give ALL his money away since he has no heirs.

And I would just like to take this opportunity to say how much I admire him as a businessman, a philanthropist and a person. He is a genius of sorts, no doubt and someone who I would be proud to have in our family.

“Dad, I would like you to meet my new father. I know this may seem rather a shock to you but when you hear about it I’m sure you won’t mind”.  Could this be the beginning for a book…David Has Two Fathers?!

What was that? Oh, sorry, just a little daydream. It always happens when I get too close to a classroom. It was a fun evening but now it’s time to wrap things up. Here is a photo of the three of us; Don, Rosemary and me. A rose between two thorns.

 

One Year Anniversary Of Walking / 1750 Miles / There’s Always Someplace To Go

So it has been one year this week since I started walking and in that time I’ve done 296 workouts, burned 175 thousand calories and walking 1750 miles around the University of Richmond and our neighborhood. I lost 55 pounds and I’m sitting here eating some B and J’s cookie dough ice cream with chocolate sauce for breakfast. I realize that’s not a good thing to be eating but it tastes good. Sometime soon I’m going to start moving towards foods with anti-inflammatory properties in hopes that they will help with the restless legs.

I don’t see any reason to ever stop walking in the morning. Old age can be scary and it seems like regular exercise could be a way of persuading it to tread lightly on the aging corpuscles. Having restless legs or any other chronic condition gives one some invaluable insight into the dark possibilities that potentially lie down the road. So, let’s walk people. It’s easy, convenient and after awhile, even pleasurable. Why not explore the world of good habits? Lord knows, some of us have spent enough time exploring the other ones.

Laramie, Wyoming is about 1750 miles from Richmond, Va. so I didn’t make it across the US in one year! This is not a problem, however, and I’m thinking we definitely can do it next year!
 


 

There are also some exciting events coming up soon. More organized activities like the Maymont X-country Festival that includes an 8 mile run along the banks of the James River! And then there’s the Richmond Marathon in November (again). This time I’m going to do it with proper footwear. You can mess up your feet pretty easily doing these things. And you can mess yourself up hiking up mountains without replacing electrolytes too! As I look back on this past year I feel fortunate to be here. I didn’t get run over, die from dehydration and get bitten by a rattlesnake. But can’t we all say that no matter what we are doing? You can run out of luck sitting in front of your computer and not getting exercise.

But it’s a good idea to LEARN from these experiences and try to be safe, use the right equipment and be cautious. Good habits are the way to go and willpower is the engine that will take us there. And this engine will run quite easily if we are able to remember during those weak moments what it is that we really want. Do you want ice cream? Or do you want to fit into those stylish jeans? Well, you can have both! But you need to exercise every day. You need to put one foot in front of the other and go out the door. It’s really not very difficult. Take your favorite tunes, say good-bye to your problems and give yourself a break.

There are things I would like to give up completely and that’s a different story. I still want to drink vodka and smoke Marlboro’s every day but I can’t walk and have them too. I’ve learned a breathing technique recently that helps with this. When you want something you can’t have spend a couple of minutes focusing on your breathing. Try to slow it down to 4 or 5 breaths per minute. I find that the craving is gone after a couple minutes doing this exercise.

I need to spend as much time every day meditating as I do walking. The next step is meditating more. A SRF lesson suggests breathing in while counting to twelve (while walking). Holding the breath for a twelve count. And then exhaling for another twelve count. Do this twenty five times. Apparently you can do both things at once!

There are always more steps. There are always places to go. That’s just the way it is. And, if you don’t believe this, you have possibly started to become old. I was old when I was 25 years old and now I’m getting younger! You are dealing with a contrary kind of person and a blogger who will share things you won’t get anywhere else!

Enjoy your day.
 

The Holocaust Museum Of Virginia / Jay Ipson And Marcus Weinstein

Betsy, Kellan and I went downtown the other day for a rally in support of Jay Ipson, a driving force behind the Holocaust Museum of Virginia.  Jay is a holocaust surviver who as a young boy spent a year living in a hole in the ground with his family to avoid death at the hands of the Nazis.   Here is an article in the Richmond magazine, Style Weekly, about the situation involving Jay and a wealthy donor to the museum,  Marcus Weinstein.

Ipson and Weinstein clashed over issues such as putting Mr. Weinstein’s beloved mother’s name over the door leading to the synagogue in the museum.  Apparently they just didn’t get along in general and the holocaust survivor was forced out of his position in the museum.  At a later date he was asked to clean out his desk as well.  I’m pretty sure he can still go inside and look around but that’s about it.

It’s the power of the purse and behind the scenes machinations that led to this sad situation and brought us to the museum with a large group of supporters for Jay as the museum board held a meeting to talk about reinstating him.  And guess what happened? Mr. Weinstein didn’t show up!  He stood up the other board members and everybody else!  So they couldn’t vote on Ipson’s fate.  And maybe they never will.

How do you make a rich guy attend a meeting if he doesn’t want to? 

The Weinsteins are also active at the University of Richmond and I wrote awhile ago about the Carole Weinstein International Center which opened in the fall of 2010.   The thing that strikes me about all of this is the fear many folks feel about the Weinsteins.   I have heard more than once that so-and-so didn’t want to say anything about this issue because it might cause repercussions.  Who wants to lose their job in this economic climate?  Who wants to ruffle the feathers of someone who does this sort of thing and end up in a desperate situation?

Turning a holocaust survivor who lived in a potato hole as a child and built a museum to honor victims and survivors of so much horror out on the street is harsh!  What else would they do?  You can be big (powerful) and small (petty) at the same time (in case some of you rich folks hadn’t noticed).  You can be a generous giver and a vain individual as well. But people will notice.  And the name on the wall is nothing without the associations people have with it.  It’s like the title of a book.  It’s nothing without the story.  And the story here appears to be that the holocaust and the museum have not taught some of us very much at all.

It’s often not easy to find a peaceful path where human beings and relationships are involved. Hopefully it will happen here at some point. We pray for peace and understanding.  Anger can lead to some really bad things.  Here are the photos from our meeting downtown.