Bernice Said

Walking…writing in their head…my kind of writing process.


Fitbit Progress

Reviewing my Fitbit YTD, I found that I’ve walked over twenty-eight hundred miles, averaging 7.85 miles a day.

I was wondering about it today because as I went to walk, part of me whined, “Do we haft to?” in its best three year old voice. “Can’t we take the day off?”

With a grudging grimace, I imitated Mom and said, “Let me think about it.” That quieted the quitting part of me while I checked my numbers. I hadn’t done that in a while. Yes, I check daily to see what I did the day before. Once in a while, I look at the weekly total. I always have a general feel for how much I’ve done without getting into details, but I don’t really look at the ongoing cumulative numbers.

After checking the numbers, I felt pretty good about my average and agreed to the partial day off. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Maybe with an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, I can make up today’s shortfall.



He stepped aside to let a woman pushing a shopping cart go by. A young girl in the cart’s child seat said, “Mom, while I ever be big enough that I don’t have to ride in the cart.”

Mom replied, “Yes, you’ll be big enough sooner than you think.”

The man said, “I wish I could get in a cart and ride around.”

The woman laughed. “Yes, I would love to be in a cart and have someone push me around.”

As the adults laughed, the child stared at them. Then the man rounded the corner. Encountering a woman in a wheelchair, he began re-thinking his wish.


His socks had a hole which could have been put there by specification, designed to be part of the sock and inserted on the production line, because they were so regular, but it was the product of his left foot’s great toe. Although the toe and nail resembled common toes (and nails), the toe continually used its nail to cut its way out.

Although it’d been happening with his socks for years, it wasn’t until he saw it on his shoes that awareness took on significance. He liked to walk and purchased many shoes for that purpose. The latest generation of Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Under Armour, and Saucony activity shoes that he wore were made of a mesh material. He’d read the material was made of recycled plastic. (He’d never looked it up on the net because he didn’t trust the information on the net, and vetting it as truth required hours of work. He also privately admitted (that is, to himself) that he hoped it was true that the shoes were made of recycled plastic.) The thing is, his big toe was cutting up through his activity shoes’ mesh. There wasn’t anything on his right foot. It was only the left.

Because he had an active imagination, he began to watch the toe more often, specifically trimming its nail back in an effort to slow down its escape efforts. Imaging his toe crying, “Freedom,” as Mel Gibson had when he portrayed William Wallace in a movie, he nicknamed his toe Bravetoe. It was partly whimsy, but also acknowledgement that the toe had a personality and seemed to have a goal.

And a toe like that, who knows what it would do if it ever escaped its prison? He suspected it would probably inspire the rest of the toes to try to do the same, a possibility that he did not want to contemplate.

Although he did.

The Looks

Don’t you love it when you’re walking and encounter others, and say, “Hi” or “Hello” and they look at you like “WTF is wrong with him?” That makes me laugh, which prompts them to give me another look, which makes me laugh more, and they —

Well, you know.


With our AQI drifting between unhealthy and hazardous in southern Oregon because of smoke from wildfires, masks are the new norm. The N95 is the most popular and the lowest level of protection that should be used if you’re outdoors.

Ashland Fire Department-chart (2)
Purple is very unhealthy and red is unhealthy. Green is good. Nice to see the air quality is improving today. We’ve not been in the yellow since 4 A.M. on July 28th.

While the masks help us stay healthy, I’ve encountered drawbacks, like it’s harder to exchange greetings and smiles as you encounter others. You can’t sip a beverage or eat anything with the mask on, and the mask makes my nostrils itch. With temperatures rising and smoky sunshine, sweat sheathes my face. The combination of breathing through a tight mask and being hot and sweating also recalls my twenty years in the military and the times when we wore our NBC gear. Ah, good times!

But, besides staying healthier, I’ve found wearing the mask protects my beard and mustache from the sun. Without the sun’s influence, my beard and mustache grows in darker and stays darker.

The darker beard and mustache don’t make me look younger, however. There’s a few other things that need to be overcome to rejuvenate my appearance. The mask, though, hiding my nose, mouth, chin, and most of my cheeks, does help with that.

Stay healthy, everyone.


One thing that I’ve found about myself is that, after I go out and get hot and soak my shirt with sweat and then go into someplace cool, I DO NOT like putting my sweaty back against a cool chair surface. It disgusts me. No reasoning behind it; it’s just disgusting.

To me.

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