m¶Ûm

They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just to relax.”

I'll just bet it was.

***

I used to work nights and had, for the most part, since 1999. So many times my 'days off' were nights. Many times, though my body realized it was 11pm and I was not at work so it told me to go to bed.

I enjoyed my time off but sometimes it messed my sleep schedule. However, I would have rather had two days in a row than worked one night, had next day off, then back to work the following. I really didn't like it when I was scheduled like that. I understood why that happened. Didn't like it, but understood.

Summer was the worst because I wanted to be outside and sometimes I couldn't be. Winter time I could huddle indoors in front of my computer. When the weather was warm I wanted to be outdoors. Usually, I'd walk my cat up at the town square. The street lights were enough he could see without being scared of too many shadows.

A lot of times, I want to do something but I'm not sure what I want to do. Sometimes the idea of doing something intrigues me, but the preparation and the traveling tend to delay action. Take fishing. I love to fish. I don't mind going out by myself to some lonely pond or lake and sitting for hours. Sure I'm disappointed when I don't catch anything, but it's just the idea of being away from civilization that's key.

However, to go fishing I must: gather the gear, buy bait if I don't want to use lures, pack paper towels, sunscreen, food, drink, a chair, and maybe a book if I feel like reading. Sometimes I brought a radio and listened to an audio book on cassette tapes (remember those?), or CDs. Then I had to decide where to go. The Des Moines river at Eveland Access or Lack Red Rock or Ottumwa, White Oak, the conservation area, the Skunk River. Then I had to drive there, set up everything and then fish.

Many times I did all of these things only to realize, I didn't want to go fishing in the first place. Sigh!

Many times I relaxed at Edmundson Park. Reading, maybe cooking some burgers. The park was in town so I didn't have to travel too far.

Some of the best times for relaxation was when I went to the local state park or down to Eveland Access on the Des Moines River and built a camp fire. Part of the enjoyment was getting some exercise dragging limbs and branches from the woods or the riverside. I could spend hours until I ran out of fuel or became too tired to stay longer. Eveland Access, for a long time, had a huge logjam so there was easy pickings for fire fuel. Just being out by the river, listening to the sounds of the water, a few birds, maybe a passing car above on the bridge.

Back in 2012, Iowa, as well as a lot of the country, experienced a drought. The worst I've seen. The Des Moines River almost dried up in many places. At Eveland Access there was just a channel, maybe fifteen feet wide. That September, I walked perhaps half a mile downstream in the middle of the riverbed. I saw old tires, a fifty-five gallon barrel, and just marveled at being in the middle of the river, dry.

Some of my relaxation periods are a bit stressful. One time at the Skunk, I became stuck in the river, in the muck for about ten minutes because I couldn't move. Lift one foot free, then put it down and it'd get stuck trying to move the other. I did a similar comic act at Eveland Access.

I also love to explore. I drive on country roads or Class B roads (or is it C? Whichever is the type that is nothing but a dirt-or mud-track) and see where they end up. Sometimes nowhere. One time I met a combine coming at me. Twice I've gotten stuck in the mud so bad I had to either abandon the car till the next day or be towed out. (After each of these sticky instances I swear I'm going to learn from the experience...until the next time)

Relaxation helps the mind, body, and spirit. It refreshes my writing creativity and makes it easier to solve dilemmas or make decisions about matters. It also helps relieve anxiety on current problems.

What do you do to relax?

PS. My dad mentioned that he thought last week's blog might have something to do with the Cubs being on a winning streak and beating the Cardinals. Well, after the disaster of this last week, I have only four words, four that seem to be on every Cub fan's lips.

Wait till next year.

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