Thursday, March 03, 2016

Attention Spans

It would be fascinating if a Fitbit or similar device could monitor brain activity.  I suspect I cannot sustain concentration on any one thing for more than 60 seconds at a time.

30 seconds more realistic.

Friday, February 05, 2016

F no longer equals N

Disclaimer:  I watch little to no TV.  I haven’t been to a movie (at a movie theater) for several years.  I’m likely a “little” out of touch with popular culture.  With that in mind, I offer the following.

Last night Shana and I were watching a new series on Amazon Prime (Mozart in the Jungle).  We’ve watched several episodes, and all have a lot of your “normal” cussing.  The show also has – what seems to me – a rather prolific use of what we used to call the F word.  You know the one. 

I’m not sure what that bothers me so much.  Maybe I’m becoming an old fogey, unhip and unwise to the real world out there.  Maybe it’s a Midwestern prudishness.  I know I travel in different circles than the characters in the series.  I certainly don’t work in an artistic, creative environment like a symphony orchestra.  But, having said all that, it still seems like an overabundance of the F word.  Where I work, it would be considered very bad form to use the F word in a meeting.  We cuss a little, “damn” and maybe “shit” – but it’s been a long time since someone let loose with the big F-enheimer.

It bothers me how common-place the F word – especially among young people.  When I was a kid, the F word was almost equivalent to the N word.   If you used either, you quickly looked in both directions to make sure no grown-ups overheard you.

Is it possible to turn the tide – turn back the clock on the overuse of the F word?  Really, where does it go from here?  If everyone – young and old – is comfortable with the F word, does it lose its shock value?  Will need to come up with even more dramatic and vulgar expressions? 

Maybe I shouldn’t even care.  You know – WTF.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Walking and Talking

The company promotes wellness.  That’s a good thing.  They offer onsite exercise classes, access to showers, and nicely maintained walking paths on the campus.  They also post maps of walking routes indoors – for those who don’t want to go outside in Minnesota winters (or summers), or those who feel they don’t have enough time to leave the building.

One route seems to take people right by my cube.  Here’s one (of many) reason not to do your exercise walk in the building:  Walking is exercise, and depending on your level of fitness, you may become winded.  Walking is social; many people walk with friends and colleagues. 

Walking encourages talking – it really helps free up the mind and ideas flow.  Walking and talking with colleagues while winded leads to loud conversations – some of which you might not want to share with your co-workers.   Many is the day when I want to hop up from cube and follow the walking talkers who just went by – I gotta know what happens next.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Waiting for the Coffee to Brew

Quiet morning on West McDonald.  One of the first regular weekday get-aways to the cabin and I’m reminded how quiet it is up here most of the time.   Standing on the dock while waiting for the coffee to brew you can hear cows mooing – and I think they are at least a mile to the north of here.

What’s the best way to start the day to get into the right frame of mind – yoga or writing (or both)?   At home, I’ve begun doing yoga again.  It is part of my effort to de-stress.  Yoga is a great way to wake up, and energizes me for the day ahead.  It also helps start the day with deep breathing – something I then remember to do later in the day when the crap hits the fan. 

But here in the quiet of an early cabin morning, yoga seems too much.  I don’t want to disturb the slumbering guests (all Langager/Crosson women who NEED to sleep).  I have taken to writing, something I do throughout the day in fits and spurts.  Writing also calms me.  I just remembered to take a deep breath in – and let it out (something I forget to do occasionally). 

Great night’s sleep after yesterday’s adventure.  On Monday, Shana and I ventured out for our second day of hiking.   We logged about six (6) miles of hiking in Maplewood State Park.  The park is beautiful, situated where the prairie meets the deciduous forest.  One minute you are walking through prairie, and then you are climbing a big hill in the forest the next.  This park has some real elevation!  At least what passes for elevation in Minnesota, with some hills reaching almost 1600 feet.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Reporting from West McDonald

[Sunday morning updates - posted late]

Wow!  Saturday night was the first night Shana and I spent at cabin without a kid or two since the summer of 1996.  Maria drove home last night so she could have brunch with her friends this morning.  Many leave for college this week.  It’s a happy/sad time as all these wonderful young adults (I almost said, “kids”) leave home for college.  It’s a bit difficult to read the screen as I type this. 

As for the other – well, John is in Costa Rica on a scientific adventure with 15 classmates and two teachers.  Follow along here

Awoke earlier Saturday, second night that I didn’t sleep well.  That is rare at the cabin.  Maybe it was the heat, or maybe my choice of bed-time-snack – something I don’t often do at home – and especially not this particular snack.  So tonight it’s no ice cream right before bed.  Maybe a glass of milk, or nothing at all. 

[Monday morning]

I slept better last night; why?  It’s hard to tell.  Once Helen knew I was having trouble sleeping she jumped into action, attacking my sleeplessness on many fronts.  We used the electronic massage wand (ahh – wonderful!), several doses of magnesium to relax the muscles, several times I used a heating pad.  All likely helped – thanks to H!  For my part, I swam early in the day, and enjoyed a 2+ mile post-dinner walk with Shana – something we do almost every night at home, but had not done at the cabin the last few nights.

Mid-day, Shana and I were out adventuring.  We visited the Bluestem Prairie SNA and spent an hour or so wandering around the natural prairie.  It was very beautiful.  We came back the slow way, through Detroit Lakes for lunch, then took the back roads home to the cabin to avoid the “crowd” at Loony Daze in Vergas.  

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

“Like”? No- like.

I just sent an old friend a Facebook birthday greeting.  Shrug.

This friend and I go way back.  For over 25 years, we sent each other cards every year on our birthdays.  A few years ago that practice stopped.  Who knows why?  Now Facebook reminds me when it’s her birthday and I post a pithy little greeting on her timeline.  Check that activity off my to-do list and move on.

Why don’t I have the guts, interest, or time to send cards anymore?   Facebook doesn’t prevent me from also sending cards, but as the years go by and I send fewer snail-mail cards, I have fallen out of the practice – and I feel bad about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Other Morning Routine

Yikes another obituary gets my attention today.  Dale Strom – longtime Richfield social studies teacher.  

I say, “Yikes” because they’re dropping like flies.  Yesterday I attended the funeral of an old family friend.  The week before Shana attended the funeral of a father of a close childhood friend; the same friend whose wedding Shana and I met at.

I discovered these three recent deaths by reading the obituaries, a habit I’ve taken up with gusto.  Prior to my mom’s death in January 2013, I relied on her as the source of death news.  She never missed one, and would often call me if she thought I might have an interest a recent death. 

Now the torch has passed to a new generation, and I’m doing my best to keep up the tradition.  I still start each day reading the comics, and I read every last one of them.  But after the comics it’s the obituaries, looking for an interesting story – or more recently a friend or loved one.