Friday, January 06, 2006

Walking blues

Actually, that title's a little misleading. Yes, I was walking, but I didn't have the blues... and I wasn't even looking at anything blue. This afternoon, I headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood, just my (not-so) trusty iPod and me. Greg Brown was crooning in my ears, and I was tromping down the slushy streets.

As you may recall, I haven't gotten much exercise since I got pregnant. Since Sunday, I've managed to get out for a walk every day except Wednesday and Thursday. It's a trend I'm determined to continue, even when the depths of February arrive. Taking walks, in general, is not something I'm good at. I like to have a purpose -- a movie to return to the little video store up the street, a dog to walk or a friend who needs a tour of the neighborhood. Walking just for fun is not my forte, but I've been determined to change that. (This despite the advice of the Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy, a gift from a friend, which contains an entire chapter on reasons you should not bother exercising during pregnancy. I am not a fan of this book.)

So, after lunch with my dear friend (and former co-worker) Kendall Phrippen and a bit of work for a freelance project, I headed out into the 'hood. Which is not a 'hood at all, but a quiet neighborhood along the coast. I trudged up a hill, toward the nicer houses along the water, watching as the gray sky met the darker gray water. And I remembered how much I love this area.

My street is full of modest bungalows and Capes, most of which were built in the 1920s. A mile away from us, just over the border of Wealthy Town, are the mansions -- literally multi-million-dollar homes on rocky cliffs overlooking the bay. In between are charming little streets you'd never find if you weren't out wandering. Like the mansions, the houses that line these streets are perched above the water, but they're more modest (still expensive, but not ostentatious). There are Capes and split-level ranches and colonials and what I think are called saltboxes (I've never been good at identifying architectural styles...) -- all jumbled together, some on small lots, all of them facing the ocean.

Back toward my neighborhood, even along the beach the houses are smaller and closer together. It makes for a homey, cozy atmosphere. I smelled smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves, and I glimpsed a few dogs frolicking on the beach. I stopped in at the fabulous neighborhood bakery for a peanut butter cookie, and I headed home. The gray sky had turned purplish, and the dogs were squirmy with glee to see me. Very nice all around; I could do this again. And I will.

Whiny complaint that didn't seem to belong in the main post: My stupid iPod, which I charged fully a few days ago and did not use between then and now, claimed battery failure after about 25 minutes. Typically the battery lasts for four hours, though I noticed on my drive to New Jersey that it died after two hours. Anyone know if cold weather hurts the battery life? Seems logical -- if irritating -- that it would. Any suggestions for overcoming this problem, short of tossing the thing in the ocean, would be welcome.