Paul's Perambulations a personal blog

January 20, 2012

I’m looking forward to late winter and sugaring off. Can there ever be too much of a good thing?

Filed under: humor,Recreation — admin @ 2:03 pm

I LOVE real maple syrup. Readers who know what I’m talking about, know what I’m talking about. But this love changed, in a way, (more…)

February 5, 2011

Does Paul take a homeless person to the formal Mendel dinner?

Filed under: Education,Family,Peace,Recreation,Work — admin @ 11:18 pm

The Villanova College of Arts & Sciences invites their faculty to an annual formal dinner. Putting on a tux for dinner seemed rather excessive/wasteful to this simple Quaker. But a friend had purchased one at a garage sale that happened to fit me perfectly, and so (more…)

January 26, 2011

Dating and Marriage

Filed under: Love,Recreation — admin @ 9:19 pm

I started dating during the final disintegration of my former marriage. It is my experience that dating progresses through several stages. (more…)

February 11, 2010

Backpacking in the Blizzard of 2010

Filed under: Love,Recreation — admin @ 2:58 pm

It was a winter wonderland on our backpacking overnight camp in the woods in the middle of the Blizzard of 2010.  Beautiful snow. (more…)

January 17, 2010

Healthy Aging, With Nary a Supplement (NYTimes 1/11/10)

Filed under: General,Recreation — admin @ 11:15 pm

 I contributed the following post to the discussion that followed this NYTimes article :

This is the best article in the magazine section today (and perhaps the only one to tell the unvarnished truth). My wife and I (in our 60’s) hike, camp, backpack outdoors, but most days simply walk. We eat relatively healthy (but don’t obsess over food choices) and take no medications. When I say we take no pills, most friends seem amazed. Sometimes their response feels critical or angry, because they see my behavior as implicit criticism of their lifestyle.  Living healthy doesn’t mean you don’t get sick — I’m getting over a month of viral bronchitis. I’m usually surrounded by many young people, both healthy and sick, and we all get sick at times.

See Comment for my responses to two related NYTimes articles regarding healthy living.

September 17, 2009

A lifetime illicit drug free — it does happen.

Filed under: General,Politics,Recreation — admin @ 2:38 pm

Amazingly, almost unbelievably, I’ve never used illicit drugs and don’t feel I’ve missed anything on that account. I think much of this stems from a 1962 term paper I wrote on LSD (make that “about LSD”) while a student at Tufts. What about the elephant killed in a 1962 LSD experiment funded by the CIA and published in Science? Then there were Harvard’s Alpert and Leary, looking for participants at Tufts (LSD was legal until 1966) when their subjects had already founded a church/meditation center for the drug’s use and were known to be wacky losers. I was a serious runner then, and the athletic scene was totally different from today. Athletics were a prime motivator AWAY FROM drug use.  The athlete’s diet was protein based, with carbo-loading just before a race. Performance enhancing drugs were not in the picture, and cigarettes and alcohol (the drugs of choice at the time) were known performance diminishers. There were two views regarding the relationship between drugs and sex.  It helped; it didn’t help but folks were so stoned they didn’t know the difference. Without experimentation, I sided with the latter (besides, who needed the help?).

Incidentally, Alpert was a Tuft’s graduate, and I heard Leary speak at Princeton and spoke with him briefly there. So have some yogurt and chanterelles, in memory of Tusko the 7000 pound bull elephant (RIP).

p.s. Fran and I are amateur mycologists, but we avoid the psychedelic ones.

August 17, 2007

Zen and Backpacking

Filed under: Recreation — admin @ 11:40 am

Getting set for backpacking can be almost Zen.  What’s important in your life?  Do you focus on being prepared for every emergency and carry a fair bit of medical equipment?  Do you focus on nature’s capriciousness and prepare for sudden changes in weather?  Do you carry pounds and pounds of water, because water is what’s essential and natural sources may be inadequate?   Or do you go superlight and trust to speed and agility under those circumstances to get you through?

I could go on.  But look in someone’s pack, and I think you would learn a fair bit about the person.

July 19, 2007

Risk Taking, Not Thrill Seeking (re Backpacking Donut Hole Trail)

Filed under: Family,Recreation — admin @ 6:18 pm

The phrase above is how Fran described herself in her response to my ad on five years ago (see Comment below).   Sounds good, although I may not have fully understood what I was letting myself in for.  I could hardly have preferred it the other way –Thrill Seeing But Not Risk Taking.  That might be eating cotton candy on the boardwalk and riding the roller coaster.  Blaaaa. 

Monday evening we returned from a three-day backpacking trip on the Donut Hole Trail in Sproul State Forest.  I got my dose of “Risk Taking, Not Thrill Seeking.”  The area where we hiked, and the Donut Hole Trail in particular, are described as follows:  “North-central Pennsylvania features the most isolated and expansive forest lands between New York City and Chicago. The experienced backpacker looking for an isolated trail will appreciate the lonely Donut Hole Trail…maintenance may be a problem…with inconsistent blazing…stinging nettles…expansive isolation, deepwoods experience, and the opportunity to witness wildlife” (quoting from Backpacking Pennsylvania, by Mitchell — the backpackers’ bible).  We can confirm that Mitchell speaks the truth.  We were lost twice and (more…)

July 2, 2007

Eating off the land

Filed under: Family,Recreation — admin @ 11:12 pm

Yesterday we went for a walk along Darby Creek near our house, looking for dinner. We found it in the form of such plants as nettles, plantain, daylilies, spicebush, etc. Although these items are usually described as weeds and wild flowers rather than food sources, they are in fact edible if correctly selected and prepared. See the dinner that resulted. (more…)

May 25, 2007

Away from it all, with solo backpacking

Filed under: Recreation — admin @ 4:05 pm

I recently spent three days backpacking  the Tuscarora Trail on Blue Mountain.  I saw no one the whole time and had a great time.  It was pleasant and natural, and everything went well.  But it is curious some of the comments that I received.

  1. “Weren’t you scared?  Someone might attack you.”  Well, the most dangerous part of the trip was the drive getting there (northwest of Carlisle, PA), and next would be doing the errands that were required in preparation.  Why do folks see nature as so inherently scary,  absent the protective veneer of  “civilization?”  A few expressed concern about bears, which is a minimal risk compared to daily life.
  2. “No cell phone. Oh no!”   Somehow, cell phone communication equals civilization and makes everything Okay.
  3. “You didn’t talk to anyone the whole time?”  Well, there was no one else there.  “Didn’t you at least talk to the animals?”  Folks know that I’m a talker, but that doesn’t mean that I hallucinate or discuss things with Mr. Box Turtle.
  4. “Everyone needs a break from their spouse sometime.”  No, that’s not why I went backpacking.  I’d have loved if Fran could have come, but she had to work and I had a bit of free time between submitting semester grades and graduation.  Fran was supportive, and I’d have felt the same for her if the situation had been reversed.

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