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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9930 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... thank you!

2018-02-23 - Nur Sdrawkcab

~5.3 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Raccoon!" K-Rex spies the critter galumphing across Pimmit Drive, the first and only of its kind seen in that neighborhood. In a cool drizzle Dawn Patrol sets off in opposite-to-normal direction, and everything looks new and different. Cars pause politely for us at crosswalks. We ponder why some kids (and adults) are so stoic when ill, while others become whiny-needy. Birds chirp as the sky brightens. We meander to produce a crenelated trackfile map, in hopes of giving artist Sean a new challenge.


- Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 08:20:56 (EDT)

Speak, Poetry

We start life speaking poetry
and later, learn to speak in prose.

(kudos to Chiara H; cf. Mines of Metaphor (1999-09-28), Simply Symbols (1999-11-07), Stir the Stones to Song (1999-08-18), Still Life in Ice (2001-02-28), Ode Less Traveled (2006-12-18), ...)

- Friday, March 23, 2018 at 05:55:25 (EDT)

2018-02-21 - Here Comes the Sun

~6.3 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Want a Cherry Blossom bib?" we ask, as eight runners and two dogs pass the Dawn Patrol. A comrade can't run that race this year, so we're in search of someone to transfer her entry to. No takers yet! Fog hangs in the valley above Scotts Run. Temps are already in the 60s, on their way to record warmth today.

"The coffee is better at Star Nut - and the owner is happy to open shop early for us!" Local runners Morgan and Laurel introduce themselves and let us pet their dogs. We vow to join them another day, get our iced coffees from Starbucks, and proceed. Kerry and Kristin navigate through neighborhood cut-throughs. A brilliant ball of light appears above the eastern horizon, some phenomenon we haven't witnessed for months. Crocuses and snowdrops blossom.


- Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 04:29:15 (EDT)

2018-02-19 - Cheery Cherry Daybreak

~6.4 mi @ ~12.1 min/mi

"Cherry-blossom sunrise!" Dr Kristin points toward the spreading glow on the horizon as light rain begins. Dawn Patrol duo discusses presbyopia and the importance of setting a good example for children (and everybody else). One rabbit scampers across a lawn, eyes green in reflected headlamp. Bright pink Valentine hearts light up a Pimmit Hills window. Evil scale post-run reads 157 lbs. Is a body that hygroscopic?


- Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 05:48:17 (EDT)

Mantra - Happiness Is


... as wise friend and Buddha Buddy SMB suggested some years ago: "Happiness is not a product of something, but just a state of being. It just is. So it is always there."

... perhaps like air, or a small animal in the deep forest, or a star far away — happiness is, and joy is simply noticing it!

(cf. Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), Unenviable Happiness (2006-02-27), Pursuit of Happiness (2008-11-19), Personal, Permanent, Pervasive (2009-04-27), When Someone You Love Is Unhappy (2011-05-29), Models of Happiness (2012-01-05), Smile at Everyone (2013-02-15), Expectations vs. Possibilities (2013-08-13), Lovingkindness - The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (2015-07-12), Happiness Is (2015-07-28), Joko on Joy (2015-09-03), I Want Happiness (2015-12-04), Mantra - It's a Blessing (2017-11-23), ...)

- Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 04:49:45 (EDT)

2018-02-18 - Kemp Mill Chill

~6.2 mi @ ~8.7 min/mi

"How does the 10k course compare to the 5k course?"

"Uh, it's 5k longer?"

Remnants of yesterday's ice storms coat cars and paths for this morning's MCRRC "Kemp Mill (C)hill" race, but streets are 99% clear. Snowy lumps plop down from trees and power lines. Hills are long and gentle. A black bear disguised as a giant furry dog is out for a walk. Official results show total time 54:01, 1st of 3 finishers in the 65-69 year old male cohort; Barry comes in 2nd. And nobody falls down!


- Monday, March 19, 2018 at 04:28:02 (EDT)

2018-02-17 - Estupido o Estupendo

~8.6 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

"6.0 for your Triple Plotz!" Barry applauds a slip-and-recovery near-split performance on an icy wooden bridge in a tiny urban park. An oak wears a sign claiming $110 benefit annually, not even counting the value of its beauty and shade. We ramble up Sligo Creek Trail in search of Kemp Mill Elementary School.

"Watch out, there's a speed camera. At our pace, we might get tickets — for loitering!" Kind pedestrians on their way to synagogue offer complex directions. A man holds the leash of a huge black bear that, upon closer inspection, turns into a friendly shaggy dog. A front-yard cat statue holds a sundial.

"¿Estúpido o Estupendo?" Bilingual signs at the school's entrance promote self-esteem and test Spanish vocabulary learned more than half a century ago. Google Maps leads to the Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail, a red-blazed muddy natural-surface cut-through in Breewood Park. Three deer taunt, then leap over fences and stair railings.


- Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 05:28:47 (EDT)

This Is Getting Old

Clever, wise, poetic, personal: Susan Moon's 2010 book this is getting old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity is a collection of essays that spin the wheel of life and smile at whatever number it stops on. Some bits appeared earlier elsewhere, such as "The Worst Zen Student That Ever Was", and some are new. Some are first-person confessionals, some are glimpses of family and friends, some are universal musings. Some are poignant, some bittersweet, some simple hilarity.

"What If I Never Have Sex Again?", asks a chapter, and begins:

I may never have sex again. May never lie spoon to spoon with another person. I don't feel like having sex right this minute, which is fortunate because I don't have anybody to have it with. But I'm not sure I'll keep on not wanting to have sex right this minute for the rest of my life. When I was younger and didn't have a partner I didn't think, "What if I never have sex again?" I assumed I was in between relationships. Now, in my mid-sixties, I wonder if I have quietly passed beyond "in between."

Even if I did want to have sex, maybe nobody would want to have sex with me. Confidence ebbs away as skin sags in private as well as public places. I suppose you could always resort to the cover of darkness, or never taking off your nightie, but can't fingers still feel the sag? Couples who grow old together get used to each other's sagging in slow increments, but it's a whole other matter to get to know somebody new when you're already wrinkled up. Plus, I'm not as bendable as I used to be.

I used to like sex a lot if I liked the person, but when I didn't have it, I didn't miss it much. Sometimes I missed the person. Saying I miss sex is like saying I miss wearing my hiking boots, when what I miss is standing at Paiute Pass watching the cloud shadows run across the lake below. I miss going where the hiking boots take me. "Having sex" isn't something that I can miss, all by itself, because I could never peel it away from the person who, moments before, might have been reading aloud to me in bed, and who, shortly afterward, might be snoring beside me just loud enough that I nudge him to quiet him.

Not having rolled in the hay for a while now—never mind exactly how long—I hardly ever think about it. I'm lucky not to want what I don't have. It's convenient. I want, as in lack, sex, but I don't want, as in desire, it. At the movies, in the erotic parts, I'm like an eight-year-old: "Oh, gross! Hurry up and finish this scene! It has nothing to do with me!


That's a representative sample of Moon prose: chatty, comfy, cute, clear. And lovely prose-poems, as in "The Secret Place" during a description of a childhood nook:

I lay on my back on the ground that was crunchy with lichen, while the sky did cartwheels around me. As the day came to an end, the sun's light turned a thicker and thicker yellow, and clouds rushed away from me into the void on the other side of the horizon and disappeared. This daily ending, staged with the smell of the bayberry and the crying of the gulls, gave me a lump in my throat— a shout I couldn't shout out.

Lots of "I", lots of looking in the rear-view mirror, lots of regrets, and lots of laughter. A finger pointing at the Moon ...

(cf. Mantra - Go for the Moon (2016-07-18), ...)

- Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 06:21:04 (EDT)

2018-02-16 - Collusion, Conspiracy, Combination, Comingling

~8.9 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Rock wins!" In the battle to see who buys iced coffee, Kerry's kung fu triumphs. It's now the Year of the Dog, so Dawn Patrol must bow (wow!) and obey the orders of any born under that sign. Warm drizzle washes salty sweat from forehead into eyes. Cait discusses scary snakes and less-worrisome lizards, ferrets, etc. as we meander around McLean. We share phobic confessions. "Good morning!" fails to rouse zombie-like students shambling toward school. Judging by their attire it's Wear Wacky Shorts Friday.

"Collusion vs consipracy?" and "Combining vs comingling?" We debate nuance and implication of certain words, and concur that a car with headlights off is contributory negligence to our jaywalking. Soggy low-cut socks sag into Hoka sandal-shoes resulting in ankle scrape and toe rub. Experimental result noted - don't try that again for a while!


- Friday, March 16, 2018 at 04:36:02 (EDT)

Mantra - No Problems


... as family friend Joyce, living with brain cancer and raising three teenage daughters, once gently said, "If that's the worst problem you have, then you don't have any problems!"

... and in a meta-move: inverting turns problems into opportunities!

(cf. No Problems (2003-11-29), Yes, and... (2012-11-14), No Worries, Mate (2012-11-24), Being Zen (2014-05-26), Happiness Is (2015-07-28), Joko on Joy (2015-09-03), Mantra - The Problem is Not the Problem (2016-08-21), Mantra - She'll Be Right (2017-02-21), Mantra - We Got This (2017-09-13), Mantra - It's a Blessing (2017-11-23), ...)

- Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 04:55:37 (EDT)

2018-02-14 - Unself

~6.0 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Less ego!" Dr Kristin suggests a remedy for excessive angst, bureaucratic strife, and countless other challenges. Dawn Patrol meanders through Pimmit Hills, glancing east at intervals to admire the sunrise that begins like a faint will-o-the-wisp and brightens into a tangerine conflagration on the horizon. A friendly Jennifer introduces herself as we wait for the crosswalk light to change. She's out for a few miles, her first run of 2018. Happy Valentine's Day, Ma'am!


- Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 04:43:16 (EDT)

2018-02-12 - Magical World

~6.66 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"Maybe a list of what I didn't eat would be shorter?" Weekend diet of Five Guys peanuts & french fries, Papa Johns pizza & cheesy bread, plus Sheetz "Box of Deep Fried Love" couldn't possibly be correlated with Evil Scale's readout this morning of 70kg = 11 stone, could it? Dawn Patrol orbits McLean, building a mostly-convex trackfile map for comrade Sean to draw upon. We dither at Starbucks but eventually opt for iced coffee rather than hot. Gusty north winds and light sprinkles portend a cold front's passage. Temperatures fall into the lower 40s.

"It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy ... let's go exploring!" Kristin cites the final Calvin & Hobbes comic strip as we meander through Langley Forest, laughing at glassy fishbowl houses and under-construction mansions. Kerry's quads are talking to her about Saturday's icy Maryland Heights adventure. School bus flashers twinkle. Shadows of power lines look like chains across the road, and almost cause a stumble at one point - oops!


- Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 05:17:46 (EDT)


Threads in the tapestry
Weaving the fabric of life
Persistent: shapes of bodies, patterns of thought
Words and deeds, habits and surprises
Values to choose by, choices to surrender to

We meet and dance
Whirl and dip, mirror each other
Learn each other, lift each other
Together help each other
Grow — and then, separate

To fade into the background
For all the rest of time

- Monday, March 12, 2018 at 04:47:53 (EDT)

2018-02-11 - Neighborhood Nothingness

~10.8 mi @ ~13.5 min/mi & ~5.5 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"I am from Tonga. We sailed across the Pacific. This is nothing." Barry quotes Pita Taufatofua, Tongan olympian, as we run up the hills of the 'hood. With temps in the 60's we consider taking off shirts and applying coconut oil, but refrain to avoid distressing the neighbors who might glimpse glistening godlike bodies. The route combines adventure (discovering a new cut-through behind an elementary school) and GPS track file artistry. Rain stops. Fog hangs low over Sligo Creek.

"Oh, poo!" (or something similar) says Barry when at 1:15pm Ken texts to say he has arrived and is awaiting us. Somebody gave somebody the wrong time, by a whole hour! No worries, all's well among friends — we meet Ken and get Barry home in time for his planned visit to a friend in need. Ken proceeds westward, on new-to-him paths past nursing facilities & retirement homes. We sprint away to avoid capture, lest we're mistaken for escapees.

"Instagram is where all the cool kids are going — it's the new Geocities and MySpace!" At Saint John the Evangelist cemetery Ken makes his very first Instagram post, near a memorial to Daniel Carroll, US Founding Father and signer of the Constitution. Deep history!

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 06:09:19 (EDT)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), 0.9930 (December 2017-March 2018), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)

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