Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Glass Half Full

I hope those who know me well would describe me as a "glass half-full" kind of guy.  I know I do.

On the optimist/pessimist theme:  One person's "cloudy day" is another's partly-sunny day.  Sitting in a meeting this morning, a co-worker looked out the window and said, "I wished those darn clouds would go away."  Well, I almost took that as a direct challenge to make time for my lunch-time walk.

I definitely see today as partly sunny.  It's also a lot less humid than yesterday so I was able to complete my lunch time walk without my pants sticking to my legs - yuck!

Later today - off to the cabin to retrieve John whose been spending time with Shana's parents enjoying the latest cabin toy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Can You Schedule Romance?

[Today's walk:  Camera/phone on the path.]

Rest easy, this isn't an embarrassing post about how older couples with kids find creative ways to “be alone”.  No, this is about those darn kids! 

At my age I find myself thinking, and even sometimes saying out loud, “Kids nowadays!” 
I've had a chance to observe the latest fad and I don’t approve.  That fad?  The scheduled breakup. 

Isn't life convenient?  Now, we can schedule our break-ups.  All the kids do it; they schedule break-ups before college departures.  The scheduled heartbreak is designed to save them the heartache of a “real” breakup bound to occur later.  It’s very practical – but also very unromantic in my humble opinion.

OK, I admit it – I’m an old romantic.  Back in my day we promised never to part, and hung in there through long-distance relationships, the inevitable meeting of “the other”, and the horrible break-up. 

Was the old way bad?  Of course, many hearts were broken.  Many tears were shed.  However, perhaps those breakups launched a thousand pop songs, and other works of art.

Is the new way better?

Let’s wait and see.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm Here for the Cake!

[Today's view from the walking path - during lunch break.]

Is it really necessary to be here (in the office that is)?  It’s a 45 minute commute - one way.  And when I get here, the majority of my work is done via email. 

My first meeting today was a 10 minute “stand-up” where the key players from Technology were not in attendance (Funeral Leave, and Sick Day) - back to desk for more email.  

Now it turns out my 1:00 meeting cancelled, affording me time for more email.  

The last meeting of the day is at 2:00 when I’m invited to a “Wedding Celebration” for a recently wed co-worker.  Oh well, at least I’ll get some free cake.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Come-Back?

[Running up the road from Lonnie's Park, Friday, August 8, 2014.]

People of a certain age ask about the Hobbled Runner.  He’s not gone; the Hobbled Runner lives on.  Today he spends most of his time today on Instagram where he lets his pictures do the talking.

Those few admiring fans who remember the Hobbled Runner are not the only ones who miss the Hobbled Runner.  Truth be told, the old runner misses himself, often starting posts he never finishes, and saying, “I should really post more on Hobbled Runner.”  Let’s examine the reasons for the Hobbled Runner drought of 2014.

  • No time?  Not really, as evidenced by the time and energy put into Instagram.
  • Nothing to say?  Oh, he has a lot to say, his daily journal contains all sorts of stuff that would make nice Hobbled Runner posts if only he would share.
  • Blogs are out-of-style?  True, but who cares?  Certainly not the fans of Hobbled Runner, nor the old Mr. Hobbled himself. 

Perhaps I will start a back to school effort.  With the kids gearing up for another year of school, the Hobbled Runner could gear up for another year of blogging. 

Let’s give it a try – and see where it takes us.  This year promises to be a year of change with Maria entering her senior year, and John-John starting a high school.

Let’s start again – if only for selfish reasons:  The Hobbled Runner reports that it feels so good to write.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Scandi-Sotan: Someone Already Invented the Word

Yesterday, I took credit for the word, "Scandisotan" a mixture of Scandinavian and Minnesota.  Today, curiosity got the best of me and I Googleed the term.

I have to admit, several others have used the word before.

Here's a restaurant review:

I would add Bachelor Farmer to your list of possibilities based on "new American" (or Scandi-sotan) and also because you mention wine--they do a cool wine share thing where you can get a glass of any bottle and the rest goes on a chalkboard for consumption likewise. 

And there's more, from this book by David Hage, where it refers to an accent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Putting the Hobbled Back in Hobbled Runner

And so it begins – another round of physical therapy.  This time it’s my shoulder, the right one to be precise.  The pain began in January after a few hard weekends of cross-country skiing.  Shoveling snow didn’t help, and now I can’t comfortably cross my right arm in front of my body.  It makes it hard to wash my left side in the shower, and makes putting on shirts a bit of a challenge.  Sleep is impacted as well.  I usually sleep on my right side but the pain in forcing me to sleep on the left side.  Inevitably I roll over and wake up on my right side – with a stiff, sore shoulder. 

The PT guy was probably my age – maybe a little younger.  During the intake process I mentioned that as a result of the shoulder injury I found push-ups challenging and I wasn’t doing pull-ups anymore.  He sort of snorted/laughed and kindly offered that he hadn’t been able to do pull-ups with ease in a while.  Then he asked how old I was – implying that pull-ups were for kids.  Hah! 

I’m no Cross-Fit gym rat but I know my way around the pull-up bars.  The nerve of the guy!  Just because he’s too old for pull-ups doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t hope to swing again from the bar.

In my typical Scandisotan* way I tried to down-play my ability – said I wasn’t a pull-up freak, and they were probably easy because I’d been doing them for years.  This is true.  I started doing pull-ups when we lived in south Minneapolis.  I would run with Favorite around Lake Nokomis and take time to do pull-ups (and dips!) on the old 1970s era Parcourse fitness equipment. 

While it’s true, I’m not 15 anymore – but I think I see some pull-ups in my future – once I lick this latest shoulder injury.

*Scandisotan – (Adjective, first used 2014) – A new word of my own invention; a combination of Scandinavian and Minnesotan meant to imply one who has the “best” traits of both traditions.  See also, “Minnesota Nice”, and passive-aggressive. 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Digital Reading

This Washington Post article about reading skills in a digital age is interesting.   The title implies that online reading is not "serious":

"Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say"

It sounds the familiar alarm - that our online "reading" (skimming and scanning) is hurting our traditional paper reading - but also points out this interesting point:

The brain was not designed for reading. There are no genes for reading like there are for language or vision. But spurred by the emergence of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, Chinese paper and, finally, the Gutenberg press, the brain has adapted to read.
I always enjoy the evolutionary way of looking at things.  Of course, humans learned to read over time - and now we are learning a new way to read.  
I'm not ready to be alarmed - yet.  Of course, I seem to have developed a new way of reading - the digital way - and have been able to keep my "old" way of reading deeply with concentration.  Online reading is highly distracting (to me), too many links, far too easy to stray over to your email, etc. . . 
Perhaps - one could argue - successful online readers will develop the ability to filter distractions and continue to read deeply, with concentration online.  Those are the folks who will succeed in the years to come - digital readers who can read the "old way" - with concentration in an increasingly distractable world.

Question of the Day

Question of the day:  How hard should I try to ignore the urge to retire from public service?  

I have one year left to serve on the local Planning Commission.  We are limited to two, three year terms.  I considered getting off the Commission in time for the annual new member selection in March.  Every year the Commission has two open spots, guaranteeing staggered terms which are good for continuity. 

Why now?  Why not just stick it out through the end of the year? 

Last month’s Planning Commission was a bummer with a contentious public hearing that seemed to drag on forever.  At one point I lost my temper.  I ended up being the only “no” vote on a new redevelopment site plan review.  I didn’t like the way the issue was presented to us.  Our decision will set a precedent for future similar developments.  It seemed that we couldn’t delay our decision to gather more information because this project was rolling forward and was expected to be at the City Council by a certain date.  That made me feel like a rubber stamp. 

It often feels like we can’t slow things down and hold a matter over another month for more staff work or time for commissioners to consider the matter before voting.   As it is, we usually find out about the agenda items the Saturday before a Wednesday meeting, giving us only a few days to read the materials and visit the site(s) of the agenda items. 

So I felt rushed in the meeting, I would have preferred more time to consider the issue.  Top it off with the fact that the big development issue came after more than a one hour public hearing on some new lights being proposed by an athletic field at a local college – or University as it’s now calling itself.

A small but vocal group of neighbors came out to complain about the proposed lights, and also raise all sorts of complaints about existing operations at the school.  I know I take criticism personally and some of the folks were just mad at the city or the system, but it really got under my skin.  As the years have gone by I find I’m much less patience with the average citizen, especially the rude ones.

The older I get the more valuable time becomes to me.  Recently I find I’m anxious at events where I feel I’m “wasting my time”.   I want to leave, go home, go back to my desk – anywhere where I can do things on my own time and my own terms.

As for the Planning Commission, I could stick it out – see it as a challenge.  Maybe I need to overcome my anxieties about contentious public hearings.  Perhaps my service can help me develop skills I either don’t have or might want to develop.  But I had those skills in my younger day – I’m just much more impatient as I grow older. 

A wise friend once told Shana when she was complaining about some upcoming volunteer obligation:  “If it causes so much grief, why do it?”

“Why do it?”  That’s a good question. 

Perhaps we “do” because so many “don’t.  Once you start volunteering for stuff – school committees, board memberships, you become the type of person who is called upon even more to serve.  As I learned back in Cub Scout leader training (yuck!), don’t ask for volunteers from the group of folks who are currently doing nothing.  Sure they have time to spare; but they don’t want to get involved.   Seek volunteers from those parents who are already busy.  The do-nothings will continue to do-nothing, while the volunteers always say, “Yes” to more.