street signs with arrows

Day after day
life goes one way.
You’re not deterred,
your dreams aren’t deferred.
You work and play,
and time ticks away.
Potential rises,
you find surprises.
Stay the wallflower,
acquiesce the power.
Or grab the chance
to come out of your trance.
Behold the arrow,
turn wide or narrow.
You go one way
and there is no stopping.

 

 

Oberon Street* (4/30)

April 4, 2018

poetry 4-30 four beers

Sunny Day
Drinking my cares away
On my way to where the wheat is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Oberon Street

Drink all day
Everything’s A-OK
Friendly beer store’s where
I meet my needs

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Oberon Street

It’s a magic summer ale
I enjoy it without fail
I’m happy through and through—
Summer in a beer
We’re all happy here

Sunny Day
I suddenly feel OK
On my way to where my sleep is deep

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Oberon Street…

 


*Original Sesame Street theme song lyrics © Sesame Workshop

Terms of Use | Sesame Street

Referenced in good faith for this personal project

Original Sesame Street theme song

Jimmy Fallon, Sesame Street & The Roots Sing “Sesame Street” Theme (w/ Classroom Instruments)

 

 

poetry 3-30 three bars

Through three blue bars

the world is white and wonderful

The sky sneezes snowflakes

in a cold that continues to cling

Nature refuses to be nudged nearer to normal

and the brightness of the blanket blinds us bit by bit

Why winter won’t wither away?

 

Two Days of Snow (2/30)

April 4, 2018

poetry 2-30 two days snow

Two days of snow in April

is not what you’d expect.

It’s true it’s Minnesota

but even we are allowed to have spring.

 

Two-times-ten degrees colder

than what we were expecting.

Yes, it’s Minnesota,

but even we are allowed to have spring.

 

One optimistic robin singing in the snow

is one more than I expected.

Hope sits in a tree in Minnesota.

I’m convinced we will have spring.

 

 

untitled cat poem

April 4, 2018

poetry 1-30 cats.PNG

My girl says mrrrr

just because I look at her.

She’s my Little Ducky.

I feel so lucky.

 

My girl says mrow

when she wants attention now.

She’s my Jammy-Cat,

the boss, and that is that.

 

My girl is quiet

and she doesn’t deny it.

She’s my Squeaky,

just keeping it low-key with me.

 

 

Chrome-plated blog writing

January 17, 2016

 

CJ and the Chromebook

CJ is displeased that the Chromebook, not she, is my lap.

The hard drive of my trusty old G4 iBook pooped out a few years ago. I briefly made it go again by installed a new SSD drive, but after a few boots, it went back to not working. The iBook was my auxiliary computer that I used mainly for writing, so I didn’t pursue any further repair efforts.

I had been trying to make due with writing on my iPad. I can do okay touch-typing on the virtual keyboard (though I find I downsize to using only three fingers on each hand rather than all four), and I think I probably could have continued that way if only the screen were bigger. I like the writing app that I use, iaWriter, except for the part where it only shows you about six or eight lines at a time. I understand the rationale behind that, so that you focus on the current words spewing forth from your brain through your fingertips rather than always being distracted by going back and editing, but when I write these blog posts, it’s really handy to refer to earlier portions, as I frequently go off on tangents, or because the way forward is often revealed after looking and pondering what has already been written.

The volume of my writing dropped off drastically once I no longer had a real laptop on which to type. I miss writing–though I’m less sure you all miss my ramblings as much–so last week I took action. I drank the Apple kool-aid a long, long time ago, so it pains me that I have settled, due to the unignorable price difference, on a Toshiba Chromebook as my new laptop.

At least I think I have.

It feels zippy and responsive when I navigate around and the display looks crisp and bright. Because the price is so low, I was comfortable splashing out for one size larger than the smallest. It’s lightweight but feels substantial, and as a machine, has impressed me overall.

But what I have quickly become uncomfortable with is the realization that the Chrome OS is just an interface for the online Google environment and that there are no actual applications local to the computer, and certainly none that aren’t Google things. I am uncomfortable having to be logged in to all of the Google universe in order to just write this blog post. I’m not a privacy conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do prefer not to make it any easier than necessary for sites and environments to rake in all that information about me. I log in if I need to, but I log back out of most sites when I finish actively using them. Especially Google properties. Hence, my reservations about this Chromebook.

I figure that if I ordered an old-fashioned, spinny hard drive for my iBook, it would run again. I hypothesize that the SSD drive was simply too-modern technology for the poor beast. Or I could upgrade and spend what I need to for a basic Macbook flavor. This has been a trial blog post, if you will, to see how comfortable I am with this Chromebook.

But I think in my heart, I’ve already made my decision.

photo of Kelly

The beginning and end photos from my 30-day DietBet. You can’t see much, if any, difference, but I can feel it!

Like so many women–and you know what? It’s not even a woman-thing. Like so many people, it is always my desire to just drop a few pounds. A month ago, I got back on the horse. I began going to the gym again three or four times a week. A couple of weeks ago, I figured out an alternative bike route to my office that is a little further but which I can ride in the same amount of time. I toned down some of my consumption habits. I joined a 30-day DietBet game.

Let’s start with the DietBet. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a website where you pay money into a multi-person game to bet that you will be able to lose a certain amount of weight. You win by meeting the target, and the pot is split by everyone who made it. For the 30-day game I just completed, the goal was to lose 4%. For me, that was 8 pounds (3.6 kg). I’m not going to lie–I joined that particular DietBet because Karina Smirnoff was the host. You know how much I love Dancing with the Stars!

I went to the gym regularly for the first few months of last year and it felt great! I dislike running, but trotting on the treadmill has kind of become my thing since I discovered the Couch to 5K business two or three years ago. It only takes a couple of weeks for me to begin seeing and feeling the difference, so that’s my approach every time I start over. I fell off the wagon (er, treadmill?) when I went on vacation last July and spent the next three-quarters of a year subsidizing other people’s memberships. But my weight also crept up to the highest it’s ever been, and so finally last month I started going again and have managed to get back in the good habit.

Feeling the inspiration on foot, I also try to bike a little more, too. From about March through about October, or for as long as the snow holds off, I bike commute to work every day, a 15-minute ride through the heart of downtown. I don’t really think of it as exercise, even though it is, and so have been trying to go out for a long ride at least once on the weekends, and a medium ride in the evening every now and then if it’s not too hot.

Perhaps you are a fan of the NFL (National Football League) and know that the Minnesota Vikings are building a brand new stadium where the Metrodome stood until last year. I guess it’s going to resemble a giant, glass Viking ship. All I really know is that they didn’t spring for bird-safe glass. We’ll see how that plays out. The area of downtown adjacent to the stadium site is also going through a major redevelopment, and shiny new office buildings are rising from the backhoed rubble of a number of former surface parking lots.

Well. All of this construction activity has wreaked havoc on the very streets that I use every day in my commute. There are closures and detours which, unless I want to go significantly out of my way in one direction or, in the other direction, ride on a busy artery with cars only thinking about the freeway access a half mile ahead. Even the quieter alternative a couple of blocks beyond that is under its own construction of a sewer project. There is no good way to bike that particular vector.

Thus, I finally broke down and tried the route that takes me along the Mississippi River bike path to a bike commuter trail to the western suburbs. I can enter and exit within blocks of home and the office. I had balked at using it because it is a longer distance, and when I’m commuting, I’m all about not wasting time. But it turns out that, even though it’s 3.25 miles versus the 2.5 miles (5.2 km vs 4 km) of the downtown route, it doesn’t take me any more time because there are only a couple of interactions with streets and I don’t usually have to stop even once, and I can just go. Riding this route for the first time was an epiphany! It’s easier, it’s so much less stressful, it’s scenic, and the longer distance fits in with my increased activity desires.

photo of several meals

These are a few of the quick (usually about 30 minutes to prepare), delicious, home-cooked meals I’ve been making.

The final component of the last month has been to be more mindful of when and how much I’m consuming. For me, the largest part of that is to cut back on the beer. Instead of three or four, I try to keep it to a couple. And instead of my favorite double IPA or big stout, I often choose ones with lower alcohol content. Along with that is the realization that it also helps to eat a lighter supper earlier rather than later. Gorging on a burger at the bar is a whole lot different than freshly preparing a meal of more sensible foods (that I actually like better anyway). A staple has been a few ounces of salmon, a pile of asparagus, and one-half cup or less of a whole grain, such as quinoa or my new favorite, farro. I have resumed documenting everything that goes down my gullet in the Lose It! app. I don’t necessarily try to meet the calorie budget that it suggests, but the act of tracking eventually causes you to more carefully consider your choices.

So doing all of these things consistently for the last five weeks paid off. I surpassed my DietBet target and lost 8.8 pounds (4 kg), and won $49.68 on my $30 bet! My stamina has increased so much from the treadmill trotting and wobbly bits are coming a little more under control. Mainly, I just feel better and that is very satisfying. The knowledge that this happens when I keep up with things is what gets me through the afternoons when I’d rather just go home (okay, that, and that I’ve been watching 30 Rock while I trot to distract myself).

But it’s my desk-neighbor at work who put the extra little spring in my step today. She’s 23 and just out of college, where she was a competitive swimmer and is still someone who you would call an athlete. A couple of weeks ago I was moaning about being sore from my first session of strength training the day before and we had a brief conversation about my activities at the gym. Well, today she asked me how it all was going and was astonished when I said I had gone fourteen times last month. We talked a little more and I mentioned that I had lost about 7 pounds (3.2 kg). In response she uttered the five words at the top of the page and that is the most gratifying and motivating thing of all!

———-

Addendum: Because I want to keep the momentum going, I joined another DietBet game. This one goes on for six months with a final target of a 10% loss. There are monthly official weigh-ins with their own mini-targets, and you can win those, too. I tried one last year with little success, but I feel like I have a better attitude now. Stay tuned!