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Last week I hiked up Sobaeksan (1439 m) and got a rude awakening regarding how out of shape I am. I used to hike a lot, but let it slide after having kids. It brought me a lot of joy in the past, so I'm trying to get back into it. This week I decided to hike a smaller local mountain (338 m). Inwangsan means Benevolent King Mountain.
  1. Just getting to the temple gate by walking through the hilly neighborhood had me breathing hard. I took this picture as an excuse to stop and catch my breath. Then I had to stop and rest again once I got to the stairs in the background. There was a lot of stopping to rest throughout.
  2. Seonbawi is a weird looking rock where people come to pray. It's said to be a good place to pray for a son. This mountain is sacred for people who practice animism. There were a few other shrines and altars along the way but I was too tired to take more pictures.
  3. Here you can see the rock formation that gave the mountain its name. To the left is the benevolent king. To the right is his tiger.
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An American optimist looks back on the year. Inspired by @jakebrandman https://li.st/l/71M6HAQhh7tkYp0eykNf5W
  1. 1.
    Boston's Great Molasses Flood
    A wave of molasses killed 21 people and injured 150. This year can't possibly get any worse, can it?
  2. 2.
    Einstein's Theory of General Relativity confirmed during a solar eclipse
    "Stars not where they seemed or were calculated to be, but nobody need worry." This is fascinating, but I was not worried. The stars are precisely where I thought they would be- in the sky.
  3. 3.
    Red Summer race riots
    I'll wager 100 years from now, racial hatred will be a distant memory.
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  1. Realized just how many books I was about to buy
    Twenty.
  2. Culled books I felt I could live without for a little while
    Cut it down to ten.
  3. Looked at the unread books still on my shelves
    They're not being ignored. They're ripening. When the reader is ready, the book appears.
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I met some really lovely people the summer I walked the Camino de Santiago (2005) but I lost the notebook in which I had written their information and my memory is awful.
  1. Kola from Cologne
    On my first day walking the Camino de Santiago, 5 km from our day's destination we sat under a tree and smoked cigarettes. She rolled hers. We ate dinner together in Roncesvalles but she was a much faster walker than I was and lost touch the next day. She probably ended up finishing a few days ahead of me.
  2. Sandy (upstate New York), Jane (I forgot), Natalie (Canada), and Maria (Austria)
    We met in Astorga and walked together for several days, cracking jokes in our exhausted delirium. I walked into Santiago de Compostela with Sandy and her husband. Jane was hilarious and drank wine from a bottle outside a church on a Sunday in Rabanal del Camino. I was lonely and Natalie was a great walking companion as we approached O Cebreiro. Maria was always telling us about everything she appreciated- a true ray of sunshine.
  3. The three Americans with whom I shared a bottle of Chianti with under the stars in Leon.
  4. The two Frenchmen who cleaned and bandaged my blistered, bleeding feet on my third morning of walking. I'm pretty sure they were angels.
  1. 1.
    Let's Make a Blanket Fort!
    Or play in the rain. Or make sensory bin from rice and beans
  2. 2.
    I Made the Best Humans
    They're really the best ones.
  3. 3.
    More Coffee Will Fix This
    70% of my time is spent in this space.
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  1. Is pizazz even a word?
  2. (While counting) ... 26, 27, 28 *pause* *sigh* Numbers probably go on forever.
  3. I think I have a cookie brain. My brain is about cookies.
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  1. The weather
    So freaking boring.
  2. Anything where you lecture me
  3. Updates on your gastroenteritis
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  1. Nonfictional crushes on fictional characters
    Book boyfriends can break your heart, too.
  2. Friends who aren't on the same level of nerdiness about a book series you love.
    Thank goodness for Internet forums.
  3. Book hangovers
    When a book is either so good or so emotionally draining that you can't read another book for a week. It's torture.
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  1. I'm reading.
    This is a big piece of the pie chart. Right now I'm spending my spare time huddled under a blanket, reading The Count of Monte Cristo.
  2. I'm writing.
    It takes a lot of silence and staring at walls to entice whatever bogus muse that was assigned to me. I wish my creative process allowed me to be active on social media while drafting, but it doesn't. Boo.
  3. Misanthropic disgust
    The people I like, I like a whole lot, but there aren't many of those. Sometimes I just can't deal with the Internet. INFJ problems
  1. (Verb) like so much/many (noun)
    If I read this in your book, you get an automatic eye roll. If I read it twice in your book, I stop reading it.
  2. Epic
    It has lost its meaning.
  3. Ditto for literally.
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