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28 December 2011 @ 02:01 am
Colorful Christmastime  
Well, how has the little plan I made the morning of the last journal entry worked out?

Good, I'd say. -It's the 27th and almost midnight and I felt some pollen allergy the last several hours. So I better keep going in town every day and just let Ghost guard the boat here at the marina while I'm gone. It's worked well enough that just after lunchtime I was ready to call the plan off because I had no allergy symptoms for days. But as I said they are back tonight so I need to keep on.

What's life been like?

The word that comes to mind is "colorful"!

In fact, Christmas morning at dawn I awoke to an amazing rainbow:

I had to make an album for it on Facebook and share as soon as I saw it:

Christmas Morning rainbow

That's been the theme -the gloomiest time of the year for a gloomy guy but all I see here in paradise is color every day! That's why I came here though. Downtown Deland reminds me now of a miniature New York City with all the transplanted New Englanders and the sidewalks always packed with pedestrians. The little city of about 27,000 actually has rush hours three times every day just like northern cities used to have fifty years ago. It takes forever to get through town by car during those times, but it's so colorful to be on the sidewalks having coffee or visiting the library or checking e-mail in one of the tiny parks.

And even Jacksonville, a totally different place, was colorful for me on December 23rd when I visited my brother there. It may be a typical city of the deep south with it's dead and austere downtown but all the bridges and the blue and huge river, wider than a lake here near the mouth, made it fun to visit anyway. Ed, my brother knows where to go to find the color -San Mateo, and Five Points, two nice neighborhoods that remind me of Oakwood in Dayton or Bexley in Columbus or Hyde Park in Cincinnati.

The other three themes for me of the past ten days have been learning, limiting, and caution...

The learning is about this Android tablet, which uses almost no energy and which I use even sitting on the edge of the pool at the State Park. I still am having some dislike for the interface but each day gets better.

The limiting is about the internet, neccessary now that my life is totally changed socially and politically. This is happening to all of us who became active in the Fall. -We have all these new contacts and information sources now so we need to limit how much time per week we spend online so that we stay mentally healthy.

I deliberately sought to keep the number of Facebook friends limited. That way, I am able to have a bookmark for each of their pages and just go there every two days. (I don't even bother with the Facebook "news feed" because it's just a long frenzied scroll of everybody's life mixed together. -Yuck!)

Since I'm a nerd, of course there is a lot more intricacy than this to my little "information overload avoidance scheme", way beyond what I want to describe here. But another idea that is part of it is my ten minute/five minute attempt. -I'll only stare at a screen for ten minutes at a time, then I'll look at the water or the birds or the people or the sky for five minutes before resuming.

Finally, the third recent theme is caution. -This is about something I've never talked about to anyone, but because I never really figured it out until this later time. I'll be blunt. -I think I was addicted to swimming many years ago and I think this is coming back, which I did not expect.

My theory is that the "drug" is the endorphins, also called "natural high". The reason they work so powerfully with swimming is that the cooling effect of the water removes the counteracting pain of heat buildup in the body. It's like a free lunch -the more strenuously I swim the more opiates (endorphins) my cells produce, but without the discomfort of sweating I'd have if I were running or biking.

I've found myself craving to get to the Springs, then I get somewhat crazy and I know I overdo it and start playing games to see how fast I can cross the pond or how deep I can dive and then before I know it I've been there a couple hours, and also getting all that sun, which is great for my mood but has to be quite bad for my skin. I go back into town then for supper and I just feel "buzzed" -a euphoric calm that lasts well into the night. Great! -Until the endorphins wear off and my whole body is slightly sore the next day. Only then do I know I was exercising too long because it felt good at the time.

I am going to pay more attention to this now that I noticed it happening and figured it out. The swimming is great for me but I will learn how to moderate it now that I'm older and wiser.

I've been wondering what might have been different about my life if I would have figured this out before -during the heavy swimming years from age 10 to about 25. I guess like so many other things it does not matter now because it's the past.

I almost forgot to mention another thing that happened on Christmas Day, besides the rainbow...Bob Costa took advantage of the warm, sunny, windless conditions later in the day to take his family in his paddlewheeler out into Lake Woodruff. While I was at the State Park they passed there and said Hello.