Love is all around

You're gonna make it after all

I’m gonna make it after alllll

My dear friend Syd from Nebraska came up to Mpls for the weekend. I took him to brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday morning. Afterward, he was keen to go see the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Mall. Then I showed him around my neighborhood and we walked to Loring Park for TCPride.

At Hell’s Kitchen we took the opportunity to try out their Mimosa Bar. The Bloody Mary Bar had far more options but those things are too hot for me.  Either option is rather spendy. Is it worth it? I wouldn’t get the Mimosa bar again but you could probably snag enough finger food on the Bloody Mary side to make it worth it.

My first Pride here was in 2008. Eric had told me about it but I could fathom it was as big as it is. Omaha’s Pride was a fairly small affair though it has steadily grown over the years. Here, it has corporate sponsors, the city lights up the bridges like rainbows and puts rainbow banners along Hennepin Ave which is the parade route.

Like me, Syd was taken aback by the size of the Pride festivities here and quite pleased with all the male eye candy. LOL Here he is with his 60s era Polaroid, using the timer after taking a pic of Mary Tyler Moore statue.
My friend Syd & his beautiful 1960s era Polaroid.
I’m glad we went early before it got crowded. He returned later and met up with other friends. He thoroughly enjoyed his visit and plans to return.

Later on Saturday, I went to a bon voyage party in Stevens Square for friends moving to CA. Then I went to St Paul for a babysitting gig. Sunday was a sleep in day I was quite grateful for.

Touristy

My folks visited from Nebraska. Since they stayed somewhere besides my apt, we managed not to get on each other’s nerves too much. Funny because it’s true. LOL

This is a list of places we visited in no particular order:

Lord Fletcher’s – Fathers Day brunch next to Lake Minnetonka

Lady of the Lake – Lake Minnetonka boat cruise

Licks Unlimited – ice cream shop in Excelsior. Mom liked it better than Sebastian Joe’s. I wouldn’t go that far.

Guthrie Theater – We saw The Music Man

Mill City Farmers Market – Picked up some chocolate, bread, and sampled Surly beers

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary – Showy ladyslippers were blooming

Caffrey’s – sandwiches

Lake Calhoun – to see Minne the Lake Creature

Boca Chica – Mexican food in St Paul

Harriet Island Regional Park – post dinner river meandering in St Paul

Crowds

Summer is here and events aplenty. I had invites last Saturday to 1 housewarming, 1 moving away party, plus a south Mpls bbq fest and Northern Spark. I also had a migraine, a rainy morning, and door damage from a guy backing into my car. Yay, weekend?

Some plans were canceled, some rescheduled, and ultimately, we did end up going to Northern Spark for a little bit. We first walked over to the convention center at about 9:30pm where Cloud Cult was playing in the park across the street. It was recorded for a future ep of Lowertown Line on TPT.

End of the Cloud Cult show. #nspk

After that we went inside the convention center to see what was going on in there. We had some food, some caffeine, then walked over to Peavy Plaza. It was packed and we didn’t venture down the stairs into the melee. After that we hopped a bus down to Washington then walked over to the Mill City Museum. Again, packed. We pushed our way through and back outside.

We sat on the steps looking out at the Stone Arch Bridge which also was packed. I had serious crowd fatigue. It was around midnight, there was no way to get close to the activities because of volume of people, and I was just sapped of energy. We looked at the bus routes and would still end up doing a fair amount of walking if we took one part way home. We walked to the street and hailed a taxi. Worth every penny.

The high point of the night was probably when I screamed on the bus after looking down and noticing a caterpillar crawling on my hoodie. I screamed because I was startled. Just wasn’t expecting it. I freaked out my fellow passengers. LOL. I got it to crawl on my hand and released it when we got off the bus.

I love the events Mpls puts on but I’m beginning to realize I prefer the idea of some to the actual events. I’m an ambivert and my threshold for crowds is decreasing with age. Just a taste is enough. Anyway, I’ll recover in time for next week’s big fest right in my hood – Pride.

TL;DR: Awards aren’t everything

And I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I don’t want you to think that I’m not honored by this, because I’m, I feel very, very honored, and it’s – but it’s just that awards are stupid. Every real estate office has some framed, five-diamond president’s award thing by the desk, every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing; every car salesman is a platinum jubilee winner. It’s all a big jerk off. It is, the hotel sucks, the real estate person is stupid, and the only thing the car salesman is good at is ripping you off. – Jerry Seinfeld

leg lamp 02 - A Christmas Story House - 2014-11-28 by Tim Evanson

It’s a major award! (Leg Lamp by Tim Evanson)

Sure, he’s joking but what makes jokes funny is the kernel of truth therein.

Many years ago I worked with a woman who absolutely did not want to be in the limelight. She was a very hard worker, a workaholic, truth be told. She was nominated for and won a company award. She was mortified. She was annoyed. She didn’t see what the big deal was as she was “just doing her job” in her words. I think she got a paid day off (that I doubt she ever took) and a plaque. She would have preferred being in her cube working than losing 20 minutes of productivity for the public presentation.

At the other end of the spectrum was another man I worked with at a different company. Our employer sent several award winners on a big resort vacation once a year (until the tech bubble burst and the stock price dropped). A woman on our team was one of the winners. The next day, this man had a balloon bouquet which appeared to be from his wife. I asked if it was his anniversary. He said, through almost gritted teeth, “No, my wife just wanted me to know even though I didn’t win yesterday that I’m still number 1 in HER book.” Wow. Public recognition was very important to him.

This week I saw rumblings around social media because ESPN is giving Caitlyn Jenner an award. People are angry that others are not getting the award.  It’s a courage award. It’s true; there are PLENTY of athletes and former athletes deserving of such an award.

Therein lies the rub: a single award, many candidates. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fast food employee of the month or an Oscar, there will be few winners and far more never recognized. If you look to awards for validation of yourself or your idols, invariably you’ll be disappointed. 

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