Dan Loses His Mind While his World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled (part 6 of 6)

Prelude:  Many people have approached me in the three weeks since my temporary amnesia/aphasia event saying something like “It must have been scary.”  It was scary in 2002.  At that time, with similar symptoms, I had no idea what the future held.  It scared the sh%$ out of me.

Since it happened before, this time wasn’t so scary.   For the first hour in 2017, I had no idea what was happening.  Why would I be scared if I had no idea what was going on!

During the second hour I could sense I was remembering more and speaking a little more clearly.  I was not scared; I was encouraged, especially since I remembered that previously in 2002 I came out the other end just fine.

If it happened again in the coming year, now that would be scary!

So, what do we know with any certainty?   Not much.

Fact #1: On June 27, 2017, I had a temporary episode of amnesia (I didn’t remember squat) and aphasia (gibberish flowed from my mouth).

TIA or TEA are acronyms being thrown around as possible diagnoses.

TIA stands for a transient ischemic attack (ischemic relating to the heart).

Hitch D and H with paddles

Re: TIA.  My echocardiogram and carotid artery tests suggest that my ticker is doing just fine.  No surprise, my parents lived healthy lives into their 90s.  To cover all bases, the neurologist wants me to start taking baby aspirin daily, just in caseAspirin prevents blood clots from forming in the arteries. It can help certain people lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

I have no limit on my physical activity; pickleball, ping pong, and working out at the gym top my agenda.

Next week, the neurologist wants me to wear a Holter monitor for 48 hours, which will continuously record my heart’s activity as I go about my daily activities.  I’ll keep you updated.

But a TIA is not the neurologist’s first choice.

It’s the TEA.   TEA stands for transient epileptiform amnesia (which in my case might apply since the neurologist couldn’t rule out some form of epilepsy after reading my EEG (electroencephalogram).  So, there’s no certainty, but it’s the leading choice in the clubhouse.

YH bases

To cover all bases again, I have been put on a low dose (500 mg twice a day) of Keppra to prevent seizures, if some form of epilepsy is what I have.

The bottom line is that the neurologist doesn’t know what caused my temporary amnesia/aphasia.

YH safety net

So, a reasonably wide net has been thrown to cover a host of possibilities.  I get that and am thankful for the caution.

After such an event, by law I am not allowed to drive for three months.   I get that caution, too.  Not driving will be inconvenient but hardly a sacrifice.  I am retired.  Hannah and I regularly play pickleball and go to the gym together.   I have a modest social life (read: limited).

So, for three months, we err on the side of caution despite an uncertain diagnosis and no explanation for a cause.

YH dehydration

I wonder whether dehydration due to caffeine consumption and not drinking enough water (2002) and not drinking enough water (2017) might have triggered the temporary amnesia/aphasia.  The medical professionals never suggest such a connection.  And why this time, when I have been dehydrated many times before?

Without any explanation for the cause of my two events (2002 and 2017), I still wonder.

Takeaways:

YH water

Whether dehydration had anything to do with my temporary amnesia/aphasia, I have become a zealot for drinking water daily.  Each morning when I awake, I drink two eight-ounce glasses of water.  Three more follow: mid-morning, before lunch, and with lunch.  Dehydration will not be the cause of any future such event.

I live in a town on the coast of Maine with a great community hospital and in a country with excellent Medicare health coverage for seniors.  I’d recommend York Hospital for its effective loving kindness health care.

YH David and Dan

David Stoloff, my department chair at Eastern, stopped by to check on me.

Since posting of these blogs, I have appreciated many people contacting me and wishing me well.

I heard from a childhood friend who referred to me as Brother Dan in his email of support.

Thank you, Brother Tom.

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Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 4-5 – The Surprise

July 14Day Four – I was hoping my sleep would be on a trajectory to the moon of good night sleeps as I strung together days without wine.  No such luck.  Still, into my fourth day of no alcohol, I have no waiver in me.  It’s not quite as easy (but still very doable) when the original reason (by that I mean sleeping better) is showing hit and miss results.  No one promised me it would be a bed of roses (you see what I did there!)

Sitting with Hannah in the evening is the encouraging same for me, the BA in elementary education grad from Arizona State as I munch on various veggies (green peppers, carrots, celery, and sweet potatoes).  Another small victory.

July 15Day Five – I awoke to the still darkness of the morning as our bedroom shades are only half down so the overnight cool can sweep into our room and bathe us with a comforting chill.  I lay here for 45 minutes, maybe an hour thinking, sh**, I’m not falling back asleep.

And then I notice dawn’s first light come around the window!  Hot damn, it’s nearly dawn!  Going out to the dining room to check the time, I see that it is now 445A on the microwave clock!  Victoire!  I’ve slept seven hours straight.  I’ll take that any day.  I hope it’s related to no alcohol.  Or maybe just cumulative fatigue from last night’s poor sleep?

Cleanse Family Rawding

Max (5), Molly, Owen (nearly 7), Tip

This afternoon we are in for a surprise.

Coming to Massachusetts to be with our grandsons, Owen and Max, Hannah and I find them ready to play games.  We play cornhole in their backyard, followed by card games of Uno and Zeus on the Loose at the patio picnic table.  After dinner, I read to Max from the Batman book (the boys absolute favorite) while Hannah reads to Owen.

Cleanse M and P at golf

With our first born

Once the boys are in bed, we sit outside with our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip for our usual pre-dinner glass of wine; a glass of wine, for the first time, I decline.  As I tell them about my cleanse, I notice Molly sips from her water bottle.  Molly nods and smiles.  Unbeknownst to Hannah and me, Molly has not had a glass of wine in ten days herself for she too has had trouble sleeping after a glass of wine.

What are the odds that we’d each start a July cleanse without the other knowing about it!  Go Molly Go.  Go Danny Go.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 1-3 – Piece of Cake

Cleanse pickleballs

July 11 – Day One.  If any day should be a piece of cake, this is it.  But… Fran brings four cold beers for après-pickleball this Thursday morning.   I could start tomorrow and be a decent guy (i.e. sociable) and have just one?   Turns out it was easy peezy to let Hannah join Fran with a brewski, and I toast the morning with a sparkly water over ice with our pickleball friend Joy.

After an afternoon walk in town through Steedman Woods and along the Fisherman’s Walk in York Harbor, Hannah and I sit again on our front deck under the patio table umbrella as we do each evening; she with a Trader Joe pinot noir and me, ta da,  with sliced baby carrots and celery sticks dipped in garlic Organic Humus.  Not a twinge of desire to drink along with Hannah.  One down, twenty-nine to go.  I can hear my fans cheering from the sideline.

July 12 – Day Two.  My overnight sleep is better which means it enters the good category (by that I mean one time up at night and no extended wakefulness).  Still, this cleansing is a process and I will stay the course interested to learn if my sleep improves and what else might happen by eliminating alcohol from my daily life.  Might I lose weight since wine is a stimulate to appetite?  Have more energy  throughout the day?  Not be sluggish in the evenings?  Other consequences I haven’t even thought of?

Cleanse bird feeders

Our front yard bird feeders

By late afternoon, it doesn’t seem like it should be this easy.   I sit with veggies while Hannah has some fine red wine as we look out to the bird feeders in our front yard.  We talk about Brene Brown’s ideas of the importance of being vulnerable and the value of developing shame resilience to avoid the telling of self-defeating stories. All the while, I feel no urge to imbibe.

July 13 – Day Three – I’m encouraged after another decent, yet not spectacular night’s sleep.  With the windows open, our bedroom gets down to 71F, and slumber envelops me.

Then during our 715A workout on the elliptical and recumbent bike at Coastal Fitness in Kittery, I feel more energized and fired up with my heart rate rocking in the mid-120s.  Any correlation with no wine for three days?  Too soon to tell.  One energetic morning is way too small a sample size to establish a trend, but I extrapolate anyway.

Evening wine with Hannah is again no wine for Danny.  Veggies and humus.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – The Plan

Cleanse margaritas

Demon margaritas

I just didn’t sleep well last night.

It was another warm, humid high 80s July day in Maine, but that wasn’t the reason I didn’t sleep well.  You see, Hannah and I decided to shake things up from our usual evening glass of wine with homemade margaritas on our front deck.   Just two simple margaritas.  And now this morning I am connecting the dots between my poor sleep and those slushy, delectable margaritas.  Added to the alcohol was the extra liquid from the crushed ice that likely added to the reason I woke, peed, woke, peed time again.

Lying in bed next to Hannah before dawn (by that I mean before 4A), I was just ready to try something to sleep better.  Why not give up alcohol for 30 days to see what happens?

Cleanse Ruby's

If you know us, you know that Hannah and I rarely miss a late afternoon with a glass of wine together.  What if today is the first day of thirty going cold turkey?  No vino each evening.  No margaritas at Ruby’s with Karen.  No brewskis after ping pong with my buddy George.  No evening wine with Molly and Tip on our weekly visits to their place to see our grandsons, Owen and Max.  No Mike’s Hard Lemonade on a really hot summer afternoon.

Just days ago our son Will and his wife Laurel talked about a 30-day cleanse from alcohol they had just completed.  At the time, I thought, that’s cool (for them), and then proceeded to have wine each night with Hannah during their week long visit.

Cleanse facebook

But a seed was planted.  Along the lines of cleansing, of late I have deactivated my Facebook account, stopped following others on Instagram and deleted the app from my phone, and brought to an end playing online Scrabble (i.e. Lexulous).  I was not happy with the appendage that was my iPhone.

Why not give a 30-day cleanse from alcohol a shot.  I had always believed that I could give up alcohol if I wanted/had to.  Well, game on!

While the poor night of sleep may have been the impetus to take on this cleansing challenge, I also really want to see if I can actually go without alcohol for 30 days.  And at the end of thirty days, will I want to go back to wine or a brew at all?  Slow down, big fella, let’s not get carried away.  Come along for the ride.

Dan and Hannah’s Ogunquit (Maine) Morning

Og Will, Laurel, and Brooks

Will and Laurel with one year old Brooks

Yesterday morning after six days in York, our son Will, his wife Laurel, and our one-year old grandson, Brooks, left for home, 400 miles away in Ithaca, New York.  Good times.  Welcoming each day, we coffee-ed, feasted on Hannah’s biscuits, and talked real, albeit all the while being semi-distracted by their high motor toddler.

Og map

After four days of Arizona heat and Georgia humidity here on the coast of Maine, we wake this Sunday at 530A to a quiet morning chill (62F); we even pull on long sleeve tee-shirts for comfort in this delightful summer cool.  Skipping our usual morning stretches and meditation, we drive seven miles to Ogunquit (the next town north of York) to walk its expansive beach.

Typically in summer, we avoid Ogunquit like a plague of locusts because of the out of control congestion along Route One through town and impossible parking (and by that I mean, it’s not free).

But… just three days ago on an early July 4 morning, Hannah and I biked to Ogunquit where we’d learned that the massive beach-side parking lot is free until 8A!  Ergo, if we arrive early, we can park for free, walk for an hour plus on the beach, and return home for a relaxed breakfast.

Og 1 parking lot

Early morning at the parking lot at the beach in Ogunquit

Once at the Atlantic Ocean, on a beach just waking up with tourists and locals, we take to the sand to walk north into the wind; a muted sun behind sketchy clouds leads us towards Moody (the next small town).

Og 1A expansive beach

Ogunquit Beach with low tide still 2+ hours away

Immediately, a smiling man approaches and says, It’s just going to get colder.  WTF!

What’s that all about?  A. Is he just a negative sort who wanted to point out that our morning in paradise was not going to be as good as we think?  (but then why the genuine smile?)  B.  He’s joking (and just isn’t very funny).  C. It’s just an awkward spur of the moment comment (something we all can be guilty of).  D. He genuinely wanted us to bundle up, concerned for our comfort (please, it was in the low 60s!).   E.  God only knows.

Even so, I give you the Ogunquit Beach early on the first Sunday in July.

Og 1C H on beach

With the Ogunquit harbor in the distance, Hannah braces against the wind

Og 1D seagulls

The dunes between the beach and tidal Ogunquit River

Og 1F seagulls in formation

The Alpha Gull leading a ragtag flock who have no concept of what a formation is

 

Og 2 H by moody cottages

Hannah with the “cottages” of Moody, Maine, 30 minutes after we began our walk

 

Og 2B close up of no loitering

“Private Beach No Loitering”  There are 200 yards of sand between this seawall and the low tide mark.  Someone has issues.

Og 2C North beach Og sign

Og 2D H on lifeguard chair

In Moody with Ogunquit in the distance

Og 2E yoga class

Early morning yoga on the beach near the main parking lot

We arrive back at the parking lot just before 8A to avoid the daily fee that had not been posted when we arrived.  It is now.  See below.

Og 3 $30 parking

On the way home, we pop into the Cumberland Farms for the Sunday New York Times with its many sections which lasts us all week!

Og 1A cumby nyt

Once home on Chases Pond Road, I feel peace and love in my Namaste World with my Peet’s decaf, Hannah’s biscuits with blueberry jam, and the sports page of the Sunday Times all thanks to our Ogunquit Morning.

Og 4 on the front deck

Dan and Hannah Hike Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire

mm-map-2.png

To celebrate this Father’s Day (2019), I ask our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip to hike up Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire with Hannah and me.

MM diner pancakes D

Many a good Dan and Hannah hike begins with breakfast out for some carbo loading.  Fifteen minutes from the trailhead, our diner of choice is the top-rated Hometown Diner in Rindge, NH. Hankering for blueberry pancakes, I overstep by ordering three, when the waitress tells me, They’re big!  The plate-covering behemoths do satisfy my craving, allow me to share one with Molly and Tip, and send home one for our grandsons, Owen and Max.

MM 1 at white dot trail sign

Knowing that Monadnock’s the most hiked trail in the United States and #2 in the world (See below for number one.), we arrive by 830A to insure ourselves a parking spot as well as a cooler morning hike.

Though populaire, the trail is typical New England – a mountain of rocks.  The wide path up the White Dot Trail is stone after stone, one higher than the next.  If you are hoping for a walk in the woods, this is not the hike for you.

MM 1 trail begins with H M T

What looks like a walk in the woods soon turns into…

MM 1B stone steps with M and h

…stairways of stones…

MM 1C H on stone face

…then walls of stone.

Rather quickly, we are breathing heavily as Molly sets a pace that I love; she has a relentless commitment to the top, with nary a rose smelled.  We stretch our legs to step up the mountainside boulder trail.  Leaning into the mountain, balancing with our hands, we are greeted by stone slabs which require handholds to ascend.  Though it’s a tough hike, eight and ten-year-olds are on this trail, too.

MM 1D H on stony face

Hannah on all fours climbing to the top

MM 1E M H D on rocky assent

Dan, Hannah, and Molly making their way to the summit

And then we spot two women, one with terror on her face as she explains she can’t go up the stone face nor does she feel can she climb back down.  “Panic” is what she feels and articulates.

At this point, Tip jumps into action as he did two years ago when he escorted Hannah up a rock face ravine where she had fallen 25’ to a precarious perch off the  San Ysidro Trail in Montecito, California.  Today, Tip uses all his skill and confidence-producing words to support this athletic woman, who we learn is dealing with a recently separated shoulder.  While Molly and I lead, Hannah stays close to the hikers distracting them with encouragement and interest in their story.

MM 2 M with MM in distance

Molly ready to summit Mount Monadnock in the distance

 

MM 2A D with mountain in background

As I said, there are a few rocks.

All six of us make the summit and celebrate with pictures.

MM 4A we six on top

Dan, Tip, Molly, and Angie in the back.  Hannah and Amy upfront.

MM 3 D and M on top

It was indeed windy at the top.

MM 3A T and M on top

Tip and Molly atop Mount Monadnock two days before their eighth anniversary

MM 3B we four on top

As mountain hikers know, often the climb down is even more difficult.  Rising to the challenge, Tip in front and Hannah behind support Amy on the alternate White Cross Trail down the mountain.  The slower pace allows us all to bond as we learn about each other’s lives.

MM 5 descending

MM 5D rocky descent

MM 5E angie amy H descend

MM 5B tip on tree

Successfully, back at the trailhead we feel like old friends with Amy and Angie.  Our new hiking compadres are most appreciative that we altered our hike for them and to Tip for shepherding Amy all the way down.  Fact is, meeting these women made for a more memorable experience than we ever thought possible; and as Hannah reminds me We are not here to see through each other, but to see each other through.

MM 5F d and h in descent

Hikers from Maine in New Hampshire

 

Mt. Fujiyama in Japan is numero uno.

Danny Loves Hannah – 47 Years and Counting

47 wooster

Today Hannah and I celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary.  In 1966, we met in Ohio at the College of Wooster, a small (1500 students), self-contained liberal arts college.  Ergo, it was no surprise that many of us first-year students were in the same classes.  In our case, I sat as close as I could, but not creepily so, to Hannah in Sociology 101 and French 103.  We also played on the tennis teams.

During our first year, Hannah, quite understandably, was hotly pursued by first-year guys as well upperclassmen.  Me?  Pursued?  Not so much.  My shyness and horned rim glasses might have had something to do with that.

I was biding my time, hoping the meteors at Wooster would flame out.

47 H at zion

Zion National Park, Observation Point Trail overlooking the Virgin River Valley (Btw, my favorite all-time picture)

Out of the blue, the summer after our first year at Wooster, I received a post card from Hannah while she was a counselor at a summer camp at Moss Lake near Old Forge, NY.

To say the least, I was pumped to return to Wooster for our sophomore year and ask Hannah out.  By that fall as nineteen year-olds, we were dating.  For one who didn’t date in high school, it was the time of my life.  We’d go to the TUB (Temporary Union Building) for cake topped with soft serve ice cream for 25 cents.  We’d play honeymoon bridge in the common area of her Wagner Hall dorm.

Later that fall, we went to the Homecoming Dance at Severance Gym.  The home to varsity basketball and dances, Severance Gym was so small that students sitting on the lowest of the six rows of bleachers had their feet on the basketball court during the game.  That night with the lights low, we slow danced all night long.

Later that night, we walked around campus, holding hands, and eventually found ourselves slipping into the empty chapel on campus.  Without much subtly, I lead Hannah to the balcony in the back of the church; we kissed for the first time.

47 ithaca 2

Taughannock Falls, Ithaca, NY, circa 2019

That sophomore year was life at its best.  Junior year not so much.  Our relationship faltered and we became “friends,” a détente that was not of my choosing.

After our junior year, I took my broken heart out West by transferring to Arizona State University.  Hannah stayed at Wooster, graduating with honors in 1970.

During the following school year, I taught fifth and sixth graders social studies, science, and Spanish at Patrick Henry School in Anaheim, California while Hannah taught elementary physical education at Thornell Road Elementary in Pittsford, New York.  We wrote letters to stay in some touch.  Phone calls were few and far between as the price of a call was $30 per hour back in the day.

47 map of az

47 young D and H

Circa 1976

In an effort to see what magic we might have, Hannah moved to Arizona in October of 1971 where I soon had a job teaching fourth graders at Holdemann Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona.  Time together in the desert climate worked for we married on July 1, 1972 on a Penfield, New York hill where her dad grew Christmas trees.

47 five kids

Our “kids” [Tip, Molly, Will, Laurel, and Robyn] circa 2016

Molly (1979) and Robyn (1981) were born at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.  In 1982, we moved to New England to raise our family in a small town (York).  Once Will came (1983), we wrote and still write our love story on the coast of Maine for now 37 years.

With all the errors and bumps in the road in our life, we had some Ws based on…

47 ithaca

Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, New York, circa 2019

Hannah’s belief in me that allowed my confidence to grow.  My encouragement of her to let her true self shine through.  We valued experiences over things. We sat and talked most evenings in front of the fireplace when cold and on our deck when warmer.  We celebrated each other’s small victories.

47 in cali

Point Reyes National Seashore (California coast north of San Francisco), circa 2016

I developed a voice such that I had the confidence to become a university professor at the age of 51.  With courage, she at 55, pursued her dream job – cutting hair in a nursing home and in the homes of the housebound.  She willingly came along on my wanderlust travels throughout the United States when home was her journey of choice.

I hit the jackpot going to the College of Wooster where I met the girl of my dreams who turned into the love of my life.

Dan Loves his Fitbit

Hannah and I have been over-the-top uber exercisers forever.  We began running the canal paths of Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona as twenty-somethings.  Each with a degree in physical education, we were road runners for thirty years until, in our mid-50s, our knees creaked, No mas.  Putting the uber into uber-rageous, we biked the 190-mile Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with its 15 degree mountain inclines; we both believe that’s the most difficult physical challenge we ever attempted.  (How do you like that humble brag in the lead paragraph!)

Now into my seventies, I pickle, workout at the gym, play ping pong, and walk the trails and side roads of Maine and California.  I don’t need a Fitbit measuring my every step to know I am rocking active senior until…

Tau Fitbit

…this past January when our son Will and daughter-in-law Laurel sent Hannah and me Fitbits to the house where we were staying in California for the winter.

For those new to Fitbit-dom, Fitbits primarily register the steps one takes in a day; the default goal is 10,000 steps per day.  Fitbits calculate our weekly average as well as allow Hannah and me to compete playfully to see who gets the most steps during a work week.  In addition, Fitbits scroll vibrating messages that show me my latest text or email.

It turns out that being in temperate California in January and February was the ideal breeding ground to fall in Fitbit Love.  Away from the ice and cold of the New England winter, Hannah and I walked daily along the Pacific or through the town of Carpinteria to add to our pickleball and hiking step totals.

But what I never expected was that my Fitbit would enhance my active life in at least six ways.

Fitbit york harbor cliff walk

Cliff Walk at York Harbor

One, I just exercise more.  My Fitbit regular reminds me to get some more steps and think to walk to the Cliff Walk in York or for twenty minutes in our neighborhood.

Two, I just move more.  My Fitbit has vibrating and visual reminders to get me up and moving around when I sit at the computer or read and write on our front deck.

Three, when in the early afternoon, after picking up 6000 steps at the gym or 8000 playing pickleball, I say to Hannah I need a neighborhood walk to get to 10,000.   And so we do.

Fitbit pickleall

Four, I no longer just stand around waiting on the court when playing pickleball.  When the other players are chasing the ball, getting into position, or preparing to serve, I walk around to stay loose, and equally important, rack up valuable steps.

Five, I no longer just sit for long stretches on the sidelines waiting for my next turn to play pickleball; I walk around to stay loose and be less likely to pull a hammy or rip an Achilles.  I’m ready to play without being stiff from sitting.  (Just a thought.  Perhaps, considering their serious injuries in the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson could use Fitbits.  I’m just saying.)

Six, I just dig the satisfying feedback that quantifies my activity.  The daily numbers reinforce that I am a mover and groover.

That’s Fitbit Love!

Here’s a Fitbit screen shot from my iPhone for June 21, 2019.  Notice the 17K+ steps for the day that came from an hour and 40 minutes of pickleball this morning, mowing 3/4 of our lawn this afternoon, and evening walk in the neighborhood with Hannah.  Do take note of the sweet nap I had earlier in the afternoon.  I thought it was 30 minutes, 40 tops.

Fitbit screen shot 2

Dan Learns of Antidotes to Fear and Worry

It’s not a deep dive to say these are challenging times.  Climate crises (not merely climate change).  The current president.  School shootings.  Polarization that eviscerates our nation.  White supremacy.  Poverty.

Antidote curiosity 3

Do these challenges have a way of overwhelming us to the point where spiral into worry and fear?

Justine Willis Toms speaks to me along these lines.  Curiosity is the antidote for fear.  Optimism is the antidote for worry.  Curiosity can support our understanding of our fears.  Optimism is its own reward.

Speaking of fear and worry, Hannah has a powerful question to put things in perspective.  When a certain mindset, habit, or behavior pattern distresses a friend of hers, she might respond, How is that (e.g. fear or worry) working for you?

Antidote optomism

I close with my guy of the heart – the Dalai Lama.

When someone asked him, Why are you so happy all the time, even while there’s genocide going on?  The Dalai Lama’s answer was simple: because it makes him feel better.  He said he doesn’t know how it’s going to turn out, so each day he’s just going to do what is right and good to do.

Hello Dalai, my kind of guy.

 

(Inspired by “Deep Dialogue” by Mallory Herrmann in the Unity Magazine (May/June 2019)

Dan Hikes Around Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park (Maine)

Jordan map

I awake before dawn in the queen bed at the Bar Harbor Motel; my friend Bill in the next room.  After yesterday afternoon’s climb up the Gorge Trail in sunshine (Click here for that posting), today’s forecast is for mist and drizzle.  It’s no morning to climb any of the rock faces of the many mountains here in Acadia.  A hike around Jordan Pond becomes an ideal trail choice.

After checking ESPN sports on my iPhone in bed, I slip into my hiking Merrell’s for an early morning walk to check out the weather and warm up on the Carriage Roads of  Acadia National Park just beyond the motel property.  A ball cap and Ithaca College jacket are enough to shed any light rain as I walk for 45 quiet minutes.

Meeting up with Bill for the motel continental breakfast later, we agree that hats and jackets will ward off any light precipitation.  Taking delectable small bites of a blueberry muffin while sipping my decafe black, I have my dose of morning nirvana.

Jordan Park Look Road

Park Loop Road in Acadia

Driving twenty minutes on the Park Loop Road, we arrive at a nearly empty parking lot at the Jordan Pond House.  Like most hikers today, we have come from away and are not going to let a little rain deter us.  Walking down the trail in front of the Jordan Pond Lodge, we are met by two unleashed, large labradoodles; I agree with our grandson Owen who likes his dogs small and not barking.

I am leery of new dogs, having been nipped and bitten before by dogs that “would never bite anyone.”  The female hikers see us, but as we approach the white demon barks wildly at us.  I step back immediately.  She says, He doesn’t like to be startled.  Ya think!  You saw us coming!  I think but don’t say.  Fortunately they head to Pemetic Mountain and we begin our circumnavigation of the pond.

Jordan 6 B and D back at start

Bill and Dan at Jordan Pond

The eastern side is a pleasant easy going, winding gravel trail within an arm’s reach of the water.  Though we see no beavers, we do see their handiwork; and, in this case, their impending triumph.

Jordan 2A beavers at work

Jordan 2 gravel trail

Jordan 2B Bill on gravel trail

My friend Bill

By the far end of the pond, we cross a man-made causeway, then a wooden bridge through the marsh and over the creek emptying into Jordan Pond.

Jordan 3 D at bridge

From here things get interesting as the granite boulders come down to the shoreline from Penobscot Mountain.  Never too difficult to climb over, the low lying rocks have an orange sheen (painted?) which guides our way.  Always within 10’ of the water, we never feel we might slip on the moisture-soaked rocks.

Jordan 4 bouldery trail

Jordan 4A more of bouldery trail

Then, for what seems like ¾ of a mile, we have a succession of planks a foot or two above the rocky, uneven terrain bordering the east side of Jordan Pond.  Though slick, the planks allow us to walk with a steady rhythm back towards the lodge.

Jordan 5 plank trail

Jordan 5A more planks with D

Jordan 5C newer planks

Two couples from Ontario, Au Canada and parents of a darting up and down the planks five year old boy with his three-year old sister brighten the morning as the drizzle ends.  With parents like these, these kids will grow up not letting a little inclement weather deter them from getting a healthy dose of Vitamin N (i.e. Nature).

Jordan 6A D and B again at end

Misty morning in Acadia (Jordan Pond)

Dan is Breaking Up with Facebook

Facebook Neil Sedaka

You gotta love Neil Sedaka’s classic “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.”  But in this case, it just doesn’t fit my divorce with Facebook after eight years.

Of late, I have been on a nine-month break from Facebook, but I just wasn’t ready to cut the cord completely.  The final straw was being reminded by David Brooks on a podcast (The Ted Interview) about the lack of meaningful connection that comes with a steady diet of social media.

Facebook no

Just because I wanted to break up, Facebook didn’t make it easy to sever ties (what they call deactivating).  It wasn’t exactly clear to me how to close my account.  My go-to response in tech uncertainty is to email our son Will for support.  But, before he responded, I thought, I bet if I googled “Closing your Facebook account,” I would find the key to unlock this door.  Ta-da!

Was the Russian hacking the reason?  No.  The ubiquitous ads?  Not really.

That I can be lazy and click on Facebook to just pass time (and by that, I mean waste time)?  Guilty as charged.

Primarily, though, I am disappointed that going on Facebook didn’t foster connections with others that I naively thought it might.  In fact, I think friendships wither when folks think posting on Facebook is enough to keep friendships going.

Facebook adios

So, I bid adieu to Facebook.  Adios, mi non-amigo.

By the way, Hannah has never had a Facebook account.  Wise beyond her years!