Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Area man goes outside, hears noises: From the case files of Matthew E. Milliken

May 5, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 5, 2018

Incident report

Date/time: Tuesday, May 1, or Wednesday, May 2, 2018 — around midnight.

Narrative: I went outside to retrieve a water bottle that I’d left in my car. I was parked across the street, so I had several yards to walk from my front door.

As I ambulated, I heard a noise that struck me as unusual. I looked around and caught a vague glimpse of what appeared to be a four-legged animal scaling down the trunk of one of the large trees that surround the houses in my pocket of the city. The animal briefly paused at a point about 10 or 15 feet from the ground; after a moment, it descended out of sight.

This, of course, is the kind of climbing that squirrels do all the time. But this creature struck me as being both larger and noisier than a squirrel.

I pulled out my phone, turned on its camera flash/light and swung it around, trying to spot and identity the thing I’d sighted. The beam isn’t very strong or focused, however, so I came up empty.  Read the rest of this entry »

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T-shirts and crossed paths: A short (and yet somehow rambling) anecdote

April 9, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 9, 2018

Author’s note: In the course of a rather prolific month of blogging in February, I put up 14 posts. Unfortunately, my output in March fell to just six posts. In an effort to compensate, I’m going to try to do a few shorter items in April. MEM

One sunny, warm weekday afternoon in 2017, I took a long walk.

I don’t remember if this was in March or June or September. I only generally remember the course I took; it involved heading north from my residence, crossing Interstate 85 and meandering in what I sort of jokingly think of as boreal territory.

What really matters is my return home. When I’d put in about five miles, I came back south on Broad and took the shortcut that I use to get to my residence that bypasses the busy intersection of Broad and Guess Road and minimizes my exposure to the heavily trafficked Guess.

But! Before I get to the actual story in my story, it’s important to note what I was wearing. As friends, relatives and close readers of the blog know:

• I have family in Colorado; and

• when my Parental Unit visits said family, I often will dog-sit for said parent; and

• said parent will thank/reward me by bringing me at least one T-shirt from Colorado.

There are two varieties of these T-shirts. The first variety, of which I currently possess two, marks a visit to a specific attraction in the state. The second variety always says Colorado; for some reason, they’re never labeled Denver or Boulder or any specific community in the state. (That said, my Colorado-residing residents have given me a grey T-shirt labeled Durango.)

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Weekend (?) anecdotes: A deer sighting and my seat-swap roller-coaster ride

July 30, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 30, 2017

My days have been a bit of a blur lately, so I’m only 99 percent sure that the following anecdote took place on Saturday, July 29.

I was walking a certain family dog around my Parental Unit’s neighborhood. We were heading toward a T-intersection of residential streets when I noticed that Lucky and I had company.

As per usual, the dog and I were walking on the street by the curb on the right side. (When there isn’t a sidewalk available, I typically walk along the right side of the road, as would be standard for a motorist or bicyclist.) But either a noise or something I saw out of the corner of my eye made me look to the left. Much to my amazement, I saw that a doe was walking parallel to us through the front yards of the houses on the opposite side of the street.

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 7

July 18, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 18, 2017

I’ve already told the story of how, during the week or so I spent dog-sitting for friends in Northern Virginia, I went to play pinball on Tuesday night and headed back to the house earlier than expected because I was disappointed by the games on offer.

What I haven’t yet explained is why I didn’t go to (as I call it) Massive Marvin’s on Monday evening, when I’d originally intended to visit. There were two reasons: A self-induced fiasco of an early-afternoon walk and a mild panic following an early-evening outing.

The dog and I headed out at 10 minutes to 1 p.m. The day before, workers had cleared away a bunch of vegetation on the property where I’d encountered the possible poison ivy vine on Saturday, so I wasn’t concerned about exacerbating my rash. Nor was I worried about losing something vital — at least, not at first…

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Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 6

July 11, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 11, 2017

After lunch on Saturday, the dog and I began walking along the street away from the W&OD trail. Soon after leaving the O—s’ house, we were on a narrow sidewalk abutting some overgrown bushes. I noticed R— approaching a suspicious-looking tendril protruding from the greenery, but before I could do anything, the dog brushed against it. I hope that’s not poison ivy, I thought to myself.

It may or may not have been poison ivy, but something I touched was. When I woke up Sunday morning, I had two itchy red patches. One was on the inside of my left elbow; the other was on the inside of my right wrist. To be specific, the latter patch was just below the meaty part of my hand that contains a bunch of the muscles that seem to help me move my thumb and make a fist.

These areas would bubble up over the ensuing week. Despite my touching the inflamed skin minimally, the rashes opened and began weeping. The poison ivy rashes expanded around their original territory, albeit slowly. Fortunately, aside from a few very small red patches that appeared near the bottom of my rib cage around Wednesday, the rash stayed confined to those two initial areas.

Still, the urge to scratch was powerful, especially over the early part of the week. I applied some cortisone cream and took regular naps in order to distract myself. I also regularly self-medicated with samples from the O—s’ container of Breyers chocolate truffle ice cream. (When they returned, I told them I was checking their desserts for quality-control purposes.)

To be concluded continued

Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 5

July 10, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 10, 2017

With this, my fifth post about the eight or so days I spent dog-sitting for the Os, I will now begin to discuss what I actually did with the dog in question.

My ward was a very cute, sweet-natured six-month-old pup named R—. Her human adults departed around 10 in the morning of Friday, June 23, after which I spent most of the day lolling around the house fiddling with my computer. I let the dog out on her run a few times as appropriate, but otherwise we engaged in minimal physical activity.

On Friday evening, I stopped entertaining the notion that I was going to shower and dress and spend any time around other people. Instead, shortly before 7:30 p.m., R— and I headed out of the house for a stroll on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The W&OD, a 45-mile-long paved former railroad line, stretches from a spot roughly two miles west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside of the District of Columbia to a point near Monk’s BBQ, a restaurant in the rural community of Purcellvile, Va. Part of the trail runs near Mr. and Mrs. O—’s home.

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Psst! Want to read a brilliant, scintillating anecdote? In that case, this isn’t the best blog post for you to check out

October 31, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2016

On the most recent episode of MEMwrites.wordpress.com:

Hurricane Matthew was sweeping along the coast of the Carolinas; the Triangle got some rain — at times heavy rain — along with some flooding and a bit of wind. But otherwise, little weather-related drama took place in my part of the Old North State.

I arrived at the coffee shop without incident and settled in for some hot tea, a snack and a bit of computing.

When the shop closed, I reapplied all my clothing, packed up my computer and headed south toward Ninth Street. Night had more or less fallen, but the wind seemed to have died down a bit, and the rain was unremarkable.

It’s at this point, by the way, that something interesting — but not too interesting — happened. I’ll describe it in a separate post.

And now: The interesting-but-not-too-interesting thing that happened!

By way of context, Joe Van Gogh in Durham, N.C., is located on what I think of as being the ground level of a two-story building on Broad Street. As one moves west toward Broad Street, the earth rises and crests. The upshot of this is that the building’s other level is lower — that is, a basement space. The exterior wall of the lower level is exposed to open air on the east side but effectively buried beneath the sidewalk on the west side.

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Weathering the storm: Rain and wind and walking and football

October 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 27, 2016

As I mentioned briefly during my writeup of the Stanford-Notre Dame game, the Fighting Irish’s 10-3 loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh on Oct. 8 took place in waterlogged conditions. That day, Hurricane Matthew was sweeping along the coast of the Carolinas; the Triangle got some rain — at times heavy rain — along with some flooding and a bit of wind. But otherwise, little weather-related drama took place in my part of the Old North State.

I spent much of the morning and early afternoon sleeping in, as that was when the rain seemed to be heaviest. But after a while, I got cabin fever, and since the rain seemed to have diminished, I stuffed my laptop into my backpack and donned weather-resistant clothing and headed out.

With one caveat: I’d intended to put on my water-resistant boots but forgot to do so, lacing up my regular sneakers instead. By the time I realized my mistake, I was all set to go, so I just decided to let things ride.

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More (mostly minor) ups and downs of life with an activity tracker

June 24, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 24, 2016

Since I wrote about walking last month, I’ve had two informal walking competitions with my niece and my Parental Unit. One was a Workweek Hustle challenge, conducted at the beginning of June, while the other was a Goal Day challenge, which we did for the first and so far only time in mid-June.

The hustle covers five work days; we had ours over the first full week of June, which coincided with my June 2016 Pokerpalooza. If you haven’t spent much time in a casino, well, as long as you’re not glued to a handful of tables, there are plenty of opportunities to get in many, many steps. However, on the Thursday of that week, I spent most of my time in the car. In part because of that, I finished the challenge with 73,054 steps, about 7,000 steps behind my parent but roughly 8,000 ahead of my niece. Happily, I surpassed my daily goal of 10,000 steps (about which more shortly!) on each of the five days.

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A tiny bit more gloating, and about that hourly activity tracker…

May 28, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 28, 2016

Author’s note: I updated a paragraph in this post on May 30, 2016. As usual, additions are marked with boldface text; deletions, with a strikethrough lineMEM 

On Tuesday evening, a few hours after publishing my previous blog post, I received a message from my niece, through her mother:

“[A—] says she just synched her Fitbit — in your face!!”

I checked the appropriate smartphone app and found that the youngster had indeed risen above me in the standings. But only by a little bit.

“Eh, maybe I’ll get her tomorrow!” I replied.

And for much of the ensuing week, I have. As I wrote on Tuesday, I’ll try to enjoy this brief moment of glory while it lasts.

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