You learn something new every day!

I am in Tyler, TX, visiting the Quilters Guild of East Tyler. My lecture is over, I’ve shopped for fabric, and now I’m working on the computer in my hotel room—where no one is bothering me. There are times when I want to leave my studio and go to a hotel just for this reason :-).

Anyway, I took a break from doing what I’m supposed to be doing to check email where I found a link to this video showing how to tie your shoes. I tried it on my sneakers and it does make a pretty knot. The trick is remembering step 2. My shoe laces are thicker so I did fiddle with the knot a little more than is shown in the video to make it pretty, but it works!

Click here or on the link below if the video does not open on your screen.

http://www.bloomberg.com/api/embed/iframe?id=E9_eL3MHTzCCUCqCDWahdQ

What it looks like may not be what it is…

I posted this photo on instagram/facebook/twitter a few days ago. This little (1/2″) beast stung me as I was working on my computer. It had gotten into the house, landed on Lorna’s hand, she flung it off and it found me. Ouch. And then OUCH. The pain got worse, not better.

So, this bug stung me. I hit it with my shoe as it was struggling at my studio window and then I took this photo. Steve walked by and I asked him what it was. He said: ‘Bee, probably some local sort of bee.’ I called it a bee on instagram/facebook/twitter.

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Every comment said that no, that is a wasp. Or a hornet. Definitely not a bee. So I looked at photos online and told my darling husband that I doubted his assessment.

What you may not know is that Steve is a field biologist and has been for a very long time. He works with beetles, but he’s good when it comes to other creatures. He said he would take it to his office and ‘key it out’. (If you want to know what that means, let me know. I’ll ask Steve for more details. I suspect microscopes and books were involved because that is what he does.) Here’s what he found:

The solitary bee subfamily Oxaeinae includes many species that are primarily found in the new-world tropics, but with a few species in the southwestern US, including Texas. This subfamily was fairly recently included in the larger solitary bee family Andrenidae – it was formerly considered its own family, the Oxaeidae. Female Oxaeinines collect pollen and nectar, and use it to provision in brood cells in deep burrows. The solitary bees are important pollinators, especially in the southwest.

Folks, it doesn’t matter that it looks like a wasp, it’s a bee.

This brings me to the larger point of this post: The older I get, the more I realize that things are not always what they seem. Common sense is only worthwhile if it’s correct. There are so very many things that, once objective data are collected, it turns out that what looks right, just isn’t.

I view all of this as a good thing. I am reminded (yet again) that it pays to be open-minded, to listen to those who know more than I do, and to learn something new rather than to just assume that I am always right. I should add that I am wrong so often that this is not a foreign concept for me :-).

I should also add that I enjoyed the comments that were posted. It made me go back and look at the photo, and look at bee/wasp pictures online, which then made me doubt Steve. This was good for me! I tend to be too trusting which isn’t good. I wish I could always be correct, don’t you? But then I’d be insufferable, which is bad. I guess I’ll embrace being only sometimes right :-).

Maui, days 1 and 2…

We landed yesterday in Kahului, Maui, and had some time to kill before checking into the hotel so we visited the Iao Valley and Needle. Let me just say that you can miss this and not feel bad. It is a lovely view but there were too many people and a serious shortage of parking spaces.

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We drove to Paia and had the good fortune to find nice lunch, fabulous gelato, and the Cesere Brothers gallery. We were lucky enough to have time to visit with John who told us about their (marine/nature) photography. It’s really amazing and before too long one of their prints will be hanging in our house!

We are staying in Lahaina which was a whaling town. There are many lovely beaches nearby—today we went to Kahekili Beach Park to snorkel and sit on the beach. The people watching was as good as the fish watching.

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We also snorkeled off of the Mala boat ramp. This was a little more challenging. The way in and out of the water was shallow and rocky, with some coral. We had to be careful.

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The boats were on the other side of the boat ramp so that wasn’t a problem. Steve almost had a problem…

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But then the shark spit him out. [Really, not to worry. No sharks, that we’ve seen. That’s the Snorkel Bob shark that I photoshopped into the the photo. Our mom’s can now stop worrying :-).]

Amanda and I have been snapping lots of photos, sometimes of each other!

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Tomorrow we are hiking on Haleakala. It will be a long, but satisfying day. I’ll take pictures to prove it!

From the Big Island of Hawaii…

We spent the day hiking, looking for birds and looking at nature. It was fun and it’s late so I’m not writing much, just sharing photos :-).

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We started with the Pu’u O’o Trail hike, which starts off of the Saddle Road. It’s not a long hike, lots of stopping for photos and looking for birds, and taking photos of people (Steve and Keith) looking for birds.

Of the nearly 200 photos that I took today, only a few turned out well. I’m still working on manual focus, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Maybe, by the end of my 52 Week Photo Challenge class, I’ll be much better. As it is, I’m happy with the photos that did turn out well and the rest are gone!

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This next one cracks me up… who is looking at what?

beckygoldsmith-BigIsland-1-52In the afternoon (after lunch at Sompat’s Thai in Hilo) we went to Volcano National Park and did the Pu’u Hulu Hulu trail this afternoon.

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That’s Amanda, sitting next to a broken lava dome.

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This is a spent Ohi’a Lehua blossom. I’ll have more of these later on.beckygoldsmith-BigIsland-1-34

Amanda got a nice picture of me—many thanks to Amanda! I don’t look as bad in the hat as I imagined that I did!

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This is a branch from an Ohi’a Lehua tree. The look of the tree changes depending on where they are. I am doing my best to take interesting pictures that are in focus and not over or under exposed, manually. I love it when it works!

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We saw several rainbows today and this one, on the way back to our rental house, made us stop to take pictures. The ends of the rainbow were both in the crater. So cool!

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I hope to post more photos tomorrow. I hope that you are enjoying your life right now as much as we are :-).

Yes, I am fit(bit)…

After reading your comments, after thinking about it a little more, and after lunch, I went to Target yesterday and bought myself a new Fitbit Charge. Thank you all for your comments. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I bought this new gadget.

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It’s hard to take a nice picture of your own arm :-).

The color choices for this model are not great: black, gray, dull navy, and orange. Black seemed to make the most sense… it will look fine with fancy attire, right?

I had a discussion about the Fitbit over dinner with friends last night—about why some of us like wearing this sort of device. I believe that Oscar had it right when he said that it offers validation. I don’t feel the need to broadcast my daily activities, but I do like knowing how active I’ve been, compared to how active I usually am.

I have always treated my body as if it is a used car. If my car starts acting up, I take it to the mechanic because I do not want to be stranded somewhere. My body is in reasonably good shape for its age, but when parts of me act up, I go to the appropriate doctor. The Fitbit is just one part of my simple, self-monitoring system. That, and I like the mental pat on the back I give myself when I reach my daily goals :-).

Am I still fit if I’m not wearing my Fitbit?

I have been wearing a Fitbit One for more than a year. That’s the kind that goes on a waistband or in your pocket. It’s not fancy, but it did keep up with my activity. I lost it yesterday. If I knew where I lost it, I could find it, but I don’t. Deep sigh.

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This morning I got up as usual, took my 2+ mile walk with Laurie, played 45 minutes of pickle ball with Catherine, Carla, and Ann, and then did a hour of barbell blast. That last hour is not exactly my favorite thing and during the entire time I’m wishing it was over. But I can tell it’s good for me so I’m going to continue to make myself go, twice a week, Mon and Wed. Pilates is Tues and Th—also not my favorite thing but I’ve been doing it for so many years that I’d feel guilty if I didn’t go.

Anyway, the point is, I did my normal thing, but there is no Fitbit to record it. Do I care? I sort of think I do which is funny because the only time I notice the thing is when it tells me either that I’ve almost met my daily goal or that I’ve surpassed it. I don’t check my stats, I don’t care about my heart rate, and I’m darned sure not going to spend time tracking my calories or sleep. Why on earth do I care about this thing?

Steve and I are going with friends, Amanda and Keith, to Hawaii on Monday. We are going to be there for 3 weeks because it’s far enough away that it makes good sense to stay awhile. (FYI: I’ll post lots and lots of photos!)

Now, back to the Fitbit… We are going to do a whole lot of walking and hiking. One thing I especially like about the Fitbit is that is tracks not just how far you walk, but the number of ‘floors’ you’ve done. (My morning walk includes hills and which amount to 32 floors!) I’m pretty sure that after each hike (and they mostly involve inclines) I’m going to want to look at a Fitbit to know just how worn out I should be :-).

I’ve looked at the various models and I am seriously considering the Fitbit Charge, which looks like the one below but doesn’t come in purple. The one below is a Charge HD that comes with extra bells and whistles that I don’t need.

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The Charge costs a little more than my previous model but maybe it will be easier to keep up with. And it can double as a watch! You know, I had hoped that by writing this post, I would talk myself out of wanting to replace the lost Fitbit. I’m pretty sure the opposite has happened. Sigh.

An aside: People who know me well, know that I am into tech gadgets, Apple gadgets in particular. I am surprised that I don’t want an Apple Watch yet. The main reason is that I have such a small wrist that I don’t love the way it looks on me. But it’s also that the watch is connected via bluetooth to your iPhone. When it’s out of range, many of the cool ‘connected’ aspects of the watch no longer work. I’m going to wait until Apple makes a watch that has its own cellular connection and that looks good on my wrist.

I’m tidy!

Have you read ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up‘ by Marie Kondo yet? It’s a best seller, and for good reason. Ms. Kondo has been tidying since she was 5. In her book, she writes clearly about all of the systems she has tried over the years and the insights that she has had. It’s a small and tidy book—a quick read. She does repeat herself a little but that’s OK. By the time I was finished I was motivated to tidy.

I have always considered myself to be a tidy person and in the past several years I have weeded out my possessions several times. But I still was aware of an underlying sensation that there was just too much stuff around me. I read this book and realized that I have always gone about the weeding out process the wrong way. Rather than deciding what to make go away, it works better to consciously decide what to keep.

She recommends starting with your clothes. Take everything out of the closet, out of your drawers. Pile them on the floor or bed. Don’t do this room by room. If you can’t tackle all of your clothes at once, work in categories: pants, shirts, dresses, etc. I decided to tidy all of my clothes at once. I share a small-ish closet with Steve (who was not remotely interested in tidying his clothes). You can see my empty shelves…

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And the empty rod. There’s another empty rod on the other side of the closet. I get/need more closet space than Steve**.

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Here’s almost everything on the bed. I emptied drawers from the dresser onto the bed after I took this photo.

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One of the best parts of the book is the way the author makes you understand that you really only want to keep what gives you joy. Those clothes that I bought and maybe only wore once gave me joy back in the day, but not any more. Holding onto them is not doing me (or the clothes) any good at all. Once you accept that and get the hang of deciding, it actually goes very quickly.

She also explains the logic of how to fold and place your clothes in drawers. I was skeptical until I tried it. I am now a true believer and will never fold and stack clothes in a pile again. I promise.

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Ms. Kondo likes storing things, standing up (not stacked) in simple boxes on shelves.

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I have a lot fewer clothes in my closet. No more hanging t-shirts, they are all folded now. I realized that what remains is truly what I was wearing all the time. The rest was just in the way.

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It took me about 6 hours to tidy my clothes, fewer hours than I thought it would take. Everything was touched and either bagged to go away, folded neatly to go into a drawer, or rehung and placed in the closet. After the clothes I moved on to purses and bags, shoes, books, and bathroom stuff. As I said earlier, I have been un-cluttering for the last few years and that helped this process go faster.

I still have categories of things to tidy but I’m taking a short break. What I can tell you is that I feel mentally lighter. I am finding it easier to concentrate. If you are feeling a similar urge to tidy, I strongly recommend this book. Everyone I know who has read it, has the same feelings about it.

**I did try to encourage Steve to read the book. He is beyond not interested—and he gave me a look that make me think that I was perhaps going overboard with the tidying ideas. That got me to thinking.

I realized (again) that our house is full of my stuff (that his salary helped to buy). Steve has never been a shopper, or a collector of stuff. He is interested in tools, but only the tools he needs. He has to be forced to buy clothes. He is not into knick-knacks. He is particular about what goes into the kitchen but he does not over-stock it.

He likes the way our house looks and functions, and he likes it tidy, but he doesn’t feel the weight of our possessions in the same way I do. So I have given up trying to get him to read the book and am instead being thankful that he has always loved me enough to put up with my acquisition, and de-acquisition, of things.