Friday, February 25, 2011

So, it snowed several inches last night then this morning started to rain then it was back to snow then rain and it is predicted to return to snow later tonight. Will you make up your freakin mind.

Fortunately I got out there with the shovel just as it was turning to rain so I was able to clear our long driveway before it became heavy slush. With the weather being so unpredictable and my opportunity for running or skiing have been limited, I did some pre-workout warm-ups and headed out with the shovel rather than start up the plow. A pretty good 45 minute workout when I pushed the speed a bit and with another series of stretches, my back is fine.

The last day of vacation and actually much of what was reasonable on my big list was accomplished. Items like "clean out the basement" or "sort through the beer can collection (a holdover from the 70s)" didn't make it to the action step but then just looking at a basement can be enough to make you seek out the beer. It really not that bad, it's more that with a half dozen bikes over various sizes and conditions, skateboards and scooters and several pairs of skis and piles and cases of old record albums, figuring out what to do with them is the overwhelming part. More a warm weather project.

I am procrastinating working on a volunteer project tonight but will get to it after I post this. I've been working it for a while and its at a stage where I have to pass off a bit of it to someone else but need to write up explicit instructions on what the next step is. Too much thinking, but I'll do it to get it moving and also because I sense I'll be taking on another project next week.

So, if your eyes have been wandering down the page to the picture you may be wondering what is with this.

It's a picture in the fish department of a large Asian supermarket in Boston. There this past weekend to see my eldest in a college theatrical performance, this market is adjacent to a marketplace of food stalls serving various cuisines: Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Chinese. Based in a pretty ethically diverse neighborhood, down the start from a major university the food was good and cheap. The market was fascinating and provided an opportunity to stock up on herbs and oils and sauces that are unbelievably cheap when compared with the basic Stop and Shop and the quantities are huge by comparison.

The fish in this tank looked interesting and my youngest wanted a picture taken with it, which is why it is cropped. But the water looked a little murky. The whole fish on ice looked more appealing but with a 2 hour drive home I was risking none of it.

Well as I look at the clock, that project needs to be done and it will probably take me much less time than procrastinating.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One thing about unstructured vacations is that they can be time eaters.

In an effort to not throw away vacation too much time that I have earned, that will "expire" next month, I schedule this week off from work.

I really don't have the time to take time off, which seems to be the problem with why I risk loosing what I have earned. But there reaches a state where the work effort seems to have diminishing returns. Working in a job that can jump between a sprint and a marathon in the same day.

On my "to-do" list last week was to "plan out vacation". There are a couple of family things but we will do but not everyone is on the same time off schedule. Of course as I left work Friday with that list at least fractured and final meetings and emails off directing some activities while i am gone so that I can incorporate that work when I return, my own planning somewhat fell off the list.

So, Sunday morning I develop my list. Three columns, a full page of not just tasks, but new projects, working on partially started projects and some planning as well.
I thrown running and skiing and perhaps a massage on the list for some fun and make me feel like vacation.

There is something to be said about idleness though it is not well accepted, always in a negative tone but sometimes I wonder if that is what is necessary. Like many people I have such a big "list" is because of the influence of work and commuting in taking both physical time and draining so much energy that it effect the efficiency of how other time is used. The list of things that need to be done gets so long and involved that just looking at it is enough to drain energy quicker than pulling the plug on a pool.

So, I am a couple days into vacation. A day in the city with family was fun then Sunday and Monday were those kind of unstructured days when there are specific chores and tasks that need to be done but in between time fritters away. The pellet stove got a needed full clean, and the drive and walk cleared of the snow and a movie and a few things off the list, but not much more.

It's 14 degrees outside. Uncomfortable for running or skiing, at lest for me. The snow is hard and icy and cold seems biting. Yesterday was just a little better but the motivation was not there to even try.

So I am re-looking at my list. It is a sure set up for disappointment by week end and I am thinking I need to toss it and start over. There aren't any unnecessary things on the list and if I worked just a bit more I could have made it a small several pages long, but what good would that do.

A friend emailed me a link to a site on zen moments that she thought I might be interested in. The lead paragraph, which she has no reason to know, described almost exactly the same serious incident that occurred in my life almost 20 years ago that changed many things in my life. I came through miraculously better than the writer, and where he has had to deal with the physical recovery, my struggle has been with the recovery of what is not externally evident to others or to most not even known or noticed. But it is there and I work with it every day. Through this process I have I learned that it is sometimes necessary for me to regroup, break things down to component pieces and try not to feel defeated in the process.

Why did I digress and add such a personal note, I don't know. But I'll leave it in for the moment.

As I look out over the backyard, the sun shining through the trees across the white snow. The rolling smoothness of white, the slumps of snow still on the shielded branches. No movement except the slight swaying of branches at the top. The shadows are fixed, the sky is blue.

I just opened up another internet explorer window and do a Google search on running in real cold weather. I think I need to try this, clear my head and then my list and week will have more clarity than it does now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road. “

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I haven't updated my reading list in quite a while. I continue to rack up the audio-books and podcasts on my daily commute as well as the supply from the library but often just forget to add them here and right now I am just not in the mood.

My reading can be somewhat eclectic and I wonder sometimes what impressions it gives off. Not that I will change my choices based on someone's opinion but it also makes me think of my non- verbal responses and impression to what someone else is reading.

Over the summer I was re-reading the last Harry Potter book in anticipation of the movie coming out in the fall. I had it with me at the beach when I accompanied my son fishing and got this confused look from a guy my age who, while curious about what I was reading, but wasn't sure how to respond to what I was. It was more confused than anything and I found that fascinating.

I just finished up an autobiography by Benjamin Franklin and a hardcover book on the designs and building of bridges. I have a book of CS Lewis stories that I am going to start and a book on the Evangelism subculture in America and I am also listening to the Diana Chronicles (yes the royal one) in the car. Sprinkled with a couple of podcasts on the last emperor of Ethiopia and the Origin of Money, and several round it out. Surely the Diana book, by Tina Brown, is light and gives my mind a break and and the others take a little more brain power. Perhaps I am tarnishing my "Man Card" by some of these, as I expect was the case with the Harry Potter book, but I find the poltics and human dynamics facinating and with Harry Potter, its a well written story .

I guess I would continue to confuse some who observeand who have the time to peg people in categories.......but I am someone you'd want on your team in a trivia game.