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.


In a genius move, I locked my home ip address out of accessing WordPress. At least I know the bad password security works.  Expect another post or 3 shortly.

Thoughts on Christmas day

Empty nestThe sun is shining this a.m. for the first time in too long. I think I saw maybe 20 minutes of sunlight last week. This photo is from a couple days ago. The grey skies and rain have been weighing heaving on my spirit. Yeah, yeah I know. It could be worse.

The impending new year is on my mind. Will this one be different? Or will the same habits and patterns prevail? We’ve heard it before; said it before – “If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Complacency is so comfortable even if it isn’t comforting. It’s what we know and we can do it without thinking.

For years I loved New Years Day. It was my favorite holiday. I still enjoy it, as I love the idea of a clean slate. The problem is we usually wipe it with the dirty rag of previous years’ foibles instead of the wisdom accrued. Here’s hoping for a mindful shift into 2015

Nebraska sunrise

Sunrise. A Christmas miracle.