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Sunday, January 7, 2001

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Volkswalks and cancer

I did not sleep at all last night. I'm starting to write down what I did the day before to see if there's a pattern but I can't see anything different. My mind just does not want to stop thinking. I wasn't as bad off as I had been other times I couldn't sleep so I decided that what I needed was to get out and walk. I'd read recently (I've been reading about not being able to sleep) that getting plenty of daylight helps.

I walked the downtown Historic Walk. I've walked this one several times but there always seem to be more houses restored. It goes through the old barrio and the historic downtown and the old houses are being nicely restored. Of course, this means that the people who used to live here are being slowly moved out because they can't afford it. The other alternative was to just leave it alone but most of the homes were pretty run down in an area that wasn't too good to live in.

In the barrio most of the houses are old adobe with the thick walls and the deep set doors. They come right up to the sidewalk since the spanish tradition was to have the open area behind or in the middle of the house which made for more privacy. I was in one that had a huge front door and cobbles in the entry area which used to be used to bring in the horses. They are covered with stucco that is painted in every color, both pastel and bright.

There was a home show going on in the convention center and I wander past some of the free areas to look at the displays, used the facilities and went on. I went past the Carillo house, which is the old Governor's house, across the overpass on Broadway and through the government offices. I passed the old Pima County Courthouse which has a dome on top covered with tiles.

Past the government offices I passed the art museum and entered the next historic district. This one also has adobes but also the large, bungalow style of home with large covered porches. What a great place to sit on a hot day, especially before air conditioning. Quite a few have been made into nice bed and breakfasts. There's a free tour of this area that I need to take some time and learn more about the homes.

I followed the underpass beneath the railroad and walked through the old commercial area that is slowly being turned into a more upscale and/or counterculture shopping area. There are some great buildings that could be redone but I know it's a slow and expensive process.

I finally entered the University of Arizona, right by where I work, and stopped in a park area to have lunch. It was good to rest my feet. It had been a while since I walked that far at once and in my new shoes so my feet were tired but only a slight soreness which a little vaseline took care of. It was more from my toes rubbing the socks, which always bothers me, than from the new shoes.

It was just a quick walk around the university since so much construction is going on now and then back to 4th Avenue, our own little 60s throwback. It always saddens me when I walk down 4th Avenue because there are so many kids spare changing. We're not talking about people who can't get a job but just people who don't want to grow up.

I stopped at a thrift shop and picked up a couple things and then back down town to the start point. It was a good day for a walk. I had on a tshirt and didn't get warm enough to work up a good sweat even though I was walking at a good clip. This is a relaxing walk for me as I pretty much know the route and can concentrate on changes along the way. I do look at the map before I set out because all the construction at the university causes changes even in the downtown area in order to make up the 10k.

It felt good to get home and take off my shoes. While I enjoy walking, the real pleasure of walking is taking off your shoes when you're done. It always feels so good. I am such a barefoot person and wish I could walk barefoot but I'm afraid my arches just aren't as resilient as they used to be (probably because of the extra weight they are bearing) and it's just too hot here most of the time.

My son called this evening to tell me that my ex-husband has colon cancer. I felt so bad for my ex but even more for my son. How hard to find out a parent may not live too much longer. Hopefully the chemo and surgery will cure it. I still wish the best for him even if I wouldn't ever want to live with him again.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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