Existential musings on blogging

I logged in and got all excited to see a comment was awaiting review. It was spam for handbags. LOL

It’s been nearly 2 months since my last post here and I think I’ve stopped wrestling with the pile of unwritten posts in my head. Social media changed things. It’s the evolution of blogs. Microblogging reaches farther and faster. Those platforms have become our social squares. Almost 10 years ago when photography became my refuge, that became my primary mode of communicating my life via Flickr.

I plan to keep my domains for the time being because I think someday I’ll do something more with them. Or maybe I’ll let them go someday. I have never regretting ditching my first blog. There’s scraps of it archived in the way back machine. Not long after I dropped it a strange spammer took over the blogger domain it was under. They’d post nothing but clips of what appeared to be encyclopedia entries with no cohesive, unifying topic.

Before I dropped my original blog I’d actually removed all the posts. I did some sleuthing of my referrer stats logs and discovered my birth father was lurking and reading my blog. Back then there was a lot of interaction on blogs, plenty of commenting and dialog took place. Since he was a disruptive, abusive, troublemaking man I felt he had zero right to even a glimpse into my life through reading those posts and comments. I can still remember the process of selecting and deleting all 800 some odd posts, two and a half years’ worth. Soon thereafter, big changes happened in my life; that blog would have been abandoned anyway. These were the first steps of learning the value of impermanence.

Honey, I’m home

I’m back from a week long vacation in Nebraska. What, that’s not the first Spring Break vacation spot that comes to your mind? LOL

The fella and I went to see the sandhill cranes in central Nebraska and spend some time with our parental units in Omaha. I still have many, many photos to go through.I took more than any prior trip to see them. We were exceptionally lucky with how close they were to our photo blind at sunrise and out in the fields during the day.
cranes at sunrise
We saw many other birds as well, particularly at Black Hawk State Park in Iowa on the way home. To name a handful – coots, canvasbacks, shovelers, cormorants, blue herons, ring-necked ducks and more. In Eric’s parents’ backyard I could have spent a whole afternoon watching and photographing birds. I managed a surprise sighting of a Carolina wren – a first for me. I wasn’t even sure what kind of wren it was. Someone ID’d the pic for me. We also saw our first butterflies, bees, and dragonflies of the season.

It got up to 85 degrees one day which was a bit much two days later it was grey and miserable with a wind chill in the 20s. Oy! Full on Spring is, of course, a bit further off in Minnesota. There’s been some days here and there. The forecast for the next week is a lot of rain which we need. I do hope for clear skies this weekend for at least a little bit of birding time. Word is the loons are back at Lakes Harriet & Calhoun.

It’s good to be home and getting back into the swing of things. I had another exam for work certification which I thankfully passed. No more trips and no more exams presently on the books. The fella is moving in and that requires enough spare time. Looking forward to summer. And Spring when it’s fully here.

Some of this, some of that

That white light when you die? Maybe it's the Lowry Hill Tunnel. #mpls #minnstagrammers

Run to the light, Carol Anne!

Gratefully, this week has gotten more calm. The exam I was sure I’d fail on Wednesday – I got a 95%. That’s higher than the last one which I studied quite seriously for. One more exam in a couple weeks and I’ll have a certification for software we use at work.

I’ve had to loosen up about my daily Fitbit 10k step goal. Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen due to weather, other commitments, etc. As long as I’m averaging 70k every week, it’s all good.

I’ve held fast to avoiding refined sugar this month. It’s been almost 4 weeks and these are the changes I’ve noticed:

  • more energy
  • less joint inflammation
  • fewer cravings (after the first few days)
  • fewer headaches/migraines
  • significantly fewer PMS symptoms and cramps
  • 9 lbs lost (may they never be found again)

My latest music purchase was The Essential Earl Scruggs Collection. Here’s one of the tunes on it. Now I wanna go see some live bluegrass.

More hours, more hands, more something

Taking a quick “Just Breathe” break from work. I have so much to get done today, let alone this week. I need some clones. Here is what I would assign them:

  1. Study for work exam I’m taking on Wednesday.
  2. Work on existing project queue at work.
  3. Also work on existing project queue at work.
  4. Troubleshoot ODBC issues on work laptop.
  5. Sleep.
  6. Walk 6k more steps by midnight.
  7. Organize the remaining odds and ends next to my desk at home.
  8. Pack up tchotchkes/books to make room for the manpanion’s shelves.
  9. Clean bathroom.

It’s nice to dream. I’ll continue working on issues 1 thru 4 for now. How’s your week going?

More music musings

Revisiting a post from a few days ago and similar sounding songs, listening to Sia this afternoon I remembered snippets in “Hurting Me Now” reminded of “Poor Boy” by Split Enz.

In the Split Enz song (1980) it’s a synth sequence which sounds like bells, which first occurs at about :38

In the Sia song (2010), it’s similar keyboard sound which first occurs at about :43

As I said in the prior post, I don’t think incidents like this are intentional. This one is very, very minor. We have a tendency to look for order and patterns and that may well be how I picked up on it. I’ve listened to both songs many times over the years.

Related only in the vaguest of ways, I was in a handbell choir when I was in jr high.

Progress in all things

Day 8 of processed sugar withdrawal. With planning, it's getting easier.First, processed sugar withdrawal is on day 8 and I feel hopeful. I’m reaping health benefits as far as less sluggishness and “crashes” after eating. Second, I have an exam this week that puts me another step closer to certification at work (if I pass – fingers crossed).

Third, winter is scooting rather quickly out the door and Minnesotans couldn’t be happier. What a quick turnaround. Temps this next week will be 15-20+ degrees above average. We got a small amount of snow a week ago and that’s nearly all gone. The lakes are thawing. Life is good.

This was the Minnesota River at Ft Snelling State Park yesterday. Let’s see how it looks next weekend.
MN River

Going on record about records

Eric, the manpanion, has set up a stereo in my apartment. Pupper approves because it doesn’t interfere with his sun pupper needs.

Hi-fi pupper

I think the last time I owned a record player was 1989. Maybe. In the late 90s my roommate had at least 5 including a gramophone.  I was still toting around a milk crate of records from my youth but never played ’em. In fact, it was around that time that I ran into Eric and handed them off to him. Little did I know they’d be back along with him over a decade later. How convenient!

My music collection was long ago converted to digital and I never looked back. I love the convenience of having thousands of songs one one device. Though these days I’m more likely to stream music so I rarely use my iPod. I download tunes and audiobooks to my phone and rotate them.

Yesterday we went to Barely Brothers Records in St. Paul to look at used vinyl. Eric bought an Abba record and I got a 6-record jazz collection in immaculate shape for barely 11 bucks. Whatta deal!
Record purchases

I have to admit it has been fun listening to records. There is something different about vinyl. Perhaps it’s the memories, the crackling sound when the needle waits to be lifted. Last weekend we listened to Thomas Dolby’s “The Golden Age of Wireless” and it brought a flood of nostalgia. I think the album held up well over time and I had a new appreciation for the artistry. One unusual thing caught my ear, the song “Airwaves” sounds similar to Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon”. Both albums were released in 1982; I don’t think there’s any plagiarism going on. But I do think it underscores the reality that it’s not so strange for multiple people to come up with similar ideas.


Refiner’s fire

Secularly, I use Lent as a time to make and break habits. This year I chose to break a soda (or pop as we Midwesterners call it) habit and make a habit of augmenting complaints with solutions. What I mean by that is when I want to bitch about something I first try to think if there’s anything I can do about it. If not, I try to refrain from kvetching. This is obviously not easy. Giving up pop has been so much easier.

When Lent began, I was out of town attending training for work. I’ve heard it said that making/breaking habits is easier when you’re away from your usual schedule and I’ve found it to be true. I had the luxury of not working and being at facilities with easy access to a wide variety of beverages. I was away from usual life stressors and had the mental bandwidth to think about irritants before grousing. Plus, who was I gonna grouse to other than the interwebs?

Unfortunately, I also had access to a wide array of sweets and took full advantage of that. This continued when I returned to MN. I don’t think sweets are evil when consumed in moderation. However, for some of us, refined sugar is addictive and moderation be damned. I concluded I needed to break this addiction in March.

And oh, did I live it up the last days of February. Warm tea cakes ftw!That last week included ice cream drumsticks, sweetened drinks galore (not pop, but still), and more. Here’s the counter at A Baker’s Wife, a delicious bakery in south Mpls. We went there on the last day of the month. I got a tea cake, farm cake, and a cherry danish. I scarfed down the tea cake along with an iced mocha at Angry Catfish Bicycle + Coffee Bar around the corner. The other 2 pastries were consumed later that day. Good grief.  Read more

Time passages

Letting go of old journal pages. Life is change. Glad for progress.Last week I was going through some old papers. Included amongst some receipts, ticket stubs, and long expired coupons were the remnants of various journals I’ve started and abandoned over the last TWENTY(!!) years. I read through them, tore out the used pages, and shredded them. Through the lens of time, I know the reasons for the dominant theme of sadness and self loathing – depression and attempts to make poor relationships with men and deity work.

I am so glad for the passage of time, for being older and wiser. Some would be horrified at the thought of purging these things. One of the lessons I learned though, was to recognize the nature of impermanence and be at peace with it. We are ever changing as is our relationship with what we possess. It’s all temporary. My nostalgia is relegated to one storage tote and eventually, so much that’s in there will be purged as well. That’s ok.

February musings

Common Merganser taking off on the Minnesota River. Cool, huh? Notice the lack of ice?
Common Merganser

Winter has been lazy. Not complaining. We got a bit of sleet and snow this a.m. but it was basically a non-starter. There’s not much ice/snow that’s fallen let alone stuck around thanks to an above average January. February has always been the coldest month in the Midwest in my experience. I’m bracing myself for the return of cold temps tomorrow. And grateful, so grateful it’s been an easy winter thus far.

I’ll be traveling to WI for work next week, the same time of year I went in 2014. It was quite cold then as well and there was little sight seeing.

I’ll be returning to Nebraska to see the sandhill cranes soon. I missed going last year. In 2013 we went at sunset. This year we’re going at sunrise. You can watch Rowe Sanctuary’s crane cam here. It is not always up but nice to listen to the cranes at night. They’re just starting to return to the Platte this week.