As I mentioned in another post, I've started walking with my friend, and neighbor, Urme. At first, I felt really lame when I told people I was "going walking" because it makes me feel like a 35 year old mother of three, but after some analysis and careful calculations, I've finally realized that I hate running and it really hurts my knees and I don't want to do it anymore. See Table 1.
Do you like activity?
Does activity cause you physical pain?
So, I've chosen to adhere to my scientific findings and set aside my pride to become a walker. Though I may not feel as "cool," I have met a lot more people while walking than I did while running. Previously, I had not met many of my neighbors. Maybe because I'm in grad school and I work all the time, but probably because I used to run and would obviously run so fast that no one could even get a word in before I was at the next block. It was like talking to The Flash, except there was less lightning (figure 4).
Figure 4. The Flash, in all of his lightning and spandex glory.
So anyway, the first couple I met as I ventured into the wild blue yonder live across the street from me. They were planting mums in their front yard. Correction: They were planting TONS of mums in their front yard. I mean, they already had a lot of mums planted and there were still at least 6 pots waiting to enter the ground. When I walked by, I said "hello" and the wife just said: "Hello there! I don't know where we're going to plant all of these flowers!" And since I didn't know where she was going to plant them either, I just responded by telling her it doesn't matter where she puts them because her yard is beautiful already. They also have this incredible copper sprinkler that spins and shoots water out the edges. And though that description sounds like something all sprinklers do, it isn't. See figure 5.
Figure 5. Copper sprinklers that changed my life.
Now that you understand how awesome they are, I'll tell you that they have probably made my favorite things list, coming in close behind raindrops on roses and right before cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels. Actually, I really just love spinning things. Like spinning stools, tops, fans, pinwheels, merry-go-rounds (the kinds at parks, not the kinds with horses and random animals to ride), and lazy susans. While we're on the topic of lazy susans, I would just like to say that the most incredible lazy susan I have ever laid eyes on is in Hunan's, a chinese restaurant in Jeff City. Yes, that was a bold statement but I'm sticking to it. It sits on a huge, round, 12 person table and spins with amazing ease. Luckily, my family is large so we get to use it often. However, a large family+lazy susan also means that we share food, which is fine with me, except everyone always likes my dish the best, because it is the best. I could live on chicken and broccoli from Hunan's. And I wish I were joking. My mom is the worst about eating my chicken and broccoli because she always orders the Happy Family (because she likes the name) and no one likes the Happy Family (because it's gross).
Anyway, my walk didn't end there. And it would be really sad and pathetic if it did. After meeting up with Urme, we continued our walk through the neighborhoods of Columbia. We saw lots of things, like a squished snake in the road, a dead frog and the cutest little girl I've ever met. Well, maybe not ever, but she was up there. Anyway, when we walked by, she immediately held up a book about guinea pigs and yelled:
Guinea pig girl: Look how long this guinea pig's hair is!
Julie: Wow! That looks like a good book! Do you have a guinea pig?
GPG: No. I just like them.
Urme: Do you want to know a cool fact about guinea pigs? They are one of the only animals that will eat and eat and eat and never stop.
(Urme said this and GPG just stared blankly at her. Apparently, she didn't care about that guinea pig fact...)
Julie: What do guinea pigs like to eat?
GPG: They will eat any kind of vegetable, like carrots, lettuce, probably spinach.
Urme: That sounds like healthy eating. Do you like to eat healthy food?
GPG: ...and they like tomatoes.
Julie: Man, guinea pigs are so cool!
Urme: See you later!
We started walking away and after we passed a few houses, we heard a small voice yelling: "They also like to eat celery!" so we turned around to see her holding up the book, like we might be able to see the picture. So Urme yelled back: "That's so cool!" and we kept walking for a few feet and heard the small voice again, yelling: "...and broccoli!" so I replied: "Broccoli's my favorite food!" I pretty sure we made a new best friend.