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This morning at the Umstead Nordic Center

I meant to Sunday, but we were too busy having fun in our own backyard (a backyard that extends to include a forest at the end of our cul de sac). I meant to Monday, but after a one-hour bout of physical therapy (hip flexor) in the morning and another hour at the gym with the personal trainer (who was intent on dispensing copious amounts of holiday joy), I was…

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A white Christmas followed by white adventure

I’ve been following the schizophrenic Christmas weather forecasts as closely as anyone. In part, because I love a white Christmas and haven’t seen one since the Denver blizzard of ’82. I’m also keeping a close watch to see whether I should dig out the cross-country skis (in the event of 6 inches or more), the sled (a minimum of 3 inches), or the hiking boots (a photogenic dusting). At this…

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Holiday stress: Keeping a happy face

The following ran in abbreviated form in the Tuesday, Dec. 21, issues of The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. It appears here in two parts — yesterday and today — with additional information, two additional tips and an exclusive holiday survival scenario by Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” (and author of “Class with the Countess”). Yesterday, we covered tips 1….

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Stressed? Nip it!

The following ran in abbreviated form in the Tuesday, Dec. 21, issues of The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. It appears today and tomorrow with additional information, two additional tips and an exclusive holiday survival scenario by Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” (and author of “Class with the Countess”). You’re nearing the end of the holiday sprint — hold on!…

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Stress by the numbers

Today, I have a story appearing in both The News & Observer in Raleigh and Charlotte Observer dealing with holiday stress. Not basic run-of-the-mill holiday stress, but last-minute, there’s-just-four-days-left, curl-into-the-fetal-position, AHHHHHH! holiday stress. You can click on the link above to read the story or, come back tomorrow and Thursday for an expanded version, complete with extra info & tips, outtakes, a blooper reel, an interview with the director, free…

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Study this: Cognition, chocolate milk, kids & caffeine

More reasons to stay active from the world of science. Pump up … your brain. One of my favorite types of studies is the one that shows a link between an active lifestyle and an active brain. The latest comes from the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, where a follow-up of women 65-75 who participated in a once-a-week strength-training…

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MST mapmaker makes us a map

The trail climbs a surprising bluff then, briefly, joins forces with an old roadbed. But I’m not aware of the “briefly” part, and it would be easy to miss where the trail darts back into the woods. Easy, but for two things. One, this new 4.2-mile stretch of trail along the Eno River is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and even freshly minted segments of the MST are hard to…

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Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Eurasian wigeon!

Back when William McKinley was president, a first-class postage stamp was $.02 and the champions of college football were the Yale Bulldogs, Frank Chapman thought it might be nice to go out on Christmas Day and look for birds. This was a common occurrence of the day, though the “looking” also involved shooting. Chapman’s idea was to take the gun out of the equation. A lot of folks liked Chapman’s…

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A complete American Tobacco Trail by the end of 2011?

We were hiking a new section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Eno River today when we came upon an old rail line, which I realized was the Norfolk Southern line that, for a while, looked like it might turn into a rails-to-trails project running from Person County south to downtown Durham. Downtown Durham and rails-to-trails projects reminded me of the American Tobacco Trail, the northern end of which begins…

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Adventure envy

I was … envious? Envious of Alan’s 13-hour nights in the tent? Envious of the 10-degree nights? Envious of having to crawl out of a warm bag at 4 a.m. for the inevitable commune with nature that goes with calling it a night at 6 p.m.? Alan had just gotten back from six days on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Six days that saw the first cold of the season…

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