A Busy Rest Day – RunLog 4-25-18

I took yesterday as a rest day, after my 10+ miler on Tuesday, falling and bruising my body as well as my ego, along with having a 15 day running streak going…well it was just time for a day off. I don’t do well at streaking too long and this is about as many days in a row as I usually get to before I start feeling stale, sore or grumpy.

Needless to say I still wanted to go for a run, so I had to play that game, well I can do it later most of the day.

However, I was good and even though I was sorely tempted when Mary went out for her run (before the rain started), instead I opted to clean out the old garden plastic that we had been storing under the house over the years. Five lawn and leaf bags later I got all of that plastic ready to take to the transfer station.

It was one of those nasty/dirty jobs that you procrastinate doing, so needless to say, I really would have rather run, but this had been on my todo list for a while and needed to get done.

We did go up to Waterville to do errands, so that occupied a good part of the afternoon, which made things a little easier as far as me avoiding running.

In the late afternoon, I usually get on the elliptical for a bit, but if I am going to take a rest day, I try to make it a real rest day and not do any workouts, so I needed to keep myself occupied.

Which got me to thinking about and looking at my Forza 3’s and GRR7’s to see what it is that is making them less than my ideal running shoes and what I have done to improve them for me.

Forza 3’s

Even though I had a really nice 10+ miler in the Forza 3’s Tuesday, I just don’t feel entirely comfortable running in them there always seems to be something going on that makes me think about my feet when I wear them for a run.

With the stock insole in them (it is the same one as the GRR7’s), the Forza 3’s are fairly firm, which is not a bad thing for a light support style of shoe, but I tend to prefer a more cushioned feel. I did replace the stock insole with a thicker one before my long run and that seemed to help quite a bit with how they felt during the run.

The size 8.5 fit is a bit too long and the shoe feels well a little sloppy unless I really snug down on the laces. In the photo above, I will have to snug them down a bit more, which will bring the eyelets too close together. Probably an 8.0 would be a better fit for me in this model, maybe even an 7.5.

For some reason the loop style lacing holes, when I replaced the laces with a different pair (I dislike flat laces and prefer the more rounded ones), it seemed to allow them to keep snugging up the laces each time I put them on. Then I wouldn’t realize how tight the laces had gotten until I was out on a run, which bothered the top of my feet. So I replaced the regular laces with LockLaces this afternoon to see if I get a more consistent fit.

The other thing that I finally figured out was that the heel flare is fairly wide and angled in from the outsole. I am hitting my other leg when I stride a bit more than I have in a long time in the Forza 3’s

Part of the blame is that duck-footed stride of mine, but it after the 9th or 10th time of me clipping the Forza’s heel against my other leg, it does get a bit tiresome. I knew that it was happening, but didn’t notice how much until I saw the tell-tale streaks on the inside of each leg after running down back last week and then during the long run the other day when I got more tired it became more of an issue. No real solution for this, with the way I run other than to keep my feet straighter when running.

The photo above is after I wiped my feet on my boot cleaner, the pebbles are mostly out, but during the long run the heel section was caked with sand, grit and pebbles that wouldn’t clear unless I dragged, stamped my feet on the tar.

For me the outsole design is a pebble magnet, which when I looked at the bottom of the Forza 3’s after I fell on Tuesday, were fairly well coated with embedded pebbles. So I tend to think when with the pebble build-up in the outsole after 10 miles, combined with hitting the sand on corner may have contributed (no it was not the only factor) to the lack of traction, which resulted in that crash and burn.

Unfortunately, it is just the way it is that there is a lot of sand, dirt roads, sandy road shoulders and bit of mud where I run.

While I have run fairly well in the Forza 3’s, there are an accumulation of little things that make them a shoe I can run in versus a shoe I want to run in – which is a big difference. Hopefully, with the changes I am making, it will make them a more comfortable for me to run in and something that I want to run in.

GoRun Ride 7

The GRR7’s have been my favorite running shoes this year, but experienced significant wear on the heel of the left foot and right ankle well at just under a 150 miles.

Enough that I was afraid of blistering from both spots, so I stopped running in them with less than 150 miles on them. However, I believe that I have solved the riddle of why those issues occurred.

When I got the GRR7’s I put LockLaces in, however I did not use the last lace slot, which I now know was a mistake with these shoes. By not using that last slot, my heel slipped too much and prematurely wore a hole in the heel cup. So to solve that I tried lacing through the last hole with the LockLaces, unfortunately, that made the shoes too tight feeling when putting them on and uncomfortable to wear for a long periods of time.

Since that did not work, I decided that I would put in regular laces and see if that worked. Just wearing them around the house they feel a lot more comfortable and I noticed that my heels felt a lot more locked down.

As for the ankle wear, it was one of those things that I wrote about shortly after getting them and while the rubbing on my ankle never caused a blister, the high sidewall was something that was a slight distraction when running in the GoRun Ride 7’s. My solution is to put a thicker insole in and see if it lifted my ankle up off the ankle well enough or not. It almost worked, so I took a pair of scissors and cleaned up the area around the wear spot and it feels a lot better.

Now that I have made these changes I want to see if the GRR7’s can be run in again. If I can run in them again, that would be fantastic, because they are a great shoe to run in.

The reality is that

While I didn’t run yesterday, I think that I have positively done some things that will help me run better in the shoes that I have in the house. I really hope that those things work, especially for the GRR7’s, which is a shoe that I really loved until I wore the hole in the heel cup and felt that I had to stop running in them.

Please don’t take all the negative things that I have written about the Forza 3 or Ride 7’s as anything other than things that I need to improve for them to work better for me. My body is weird and most runners will not have nearly the issues that I have had in either model. The fact that I want to fix things shows that I do like running in them, instead of me just putting them in the back of the garage to eventually go away.

It is pretty amazing to me how much difference a different shoe laces and/or a pair of insoles can make to the fit and feel to my of running shoes.

A pretty good rest day if I say so myself.

First Run Skechers GoRun Forza 3 – RunLog 4-11-18

Hey, a new 2018 course record on my test course by 15 seconds, despite not really going all that hard. I started out fairly slowly and then picked up a bit as I went down Philbrick Hill. When I got to the flats I did pick it up just to see how things felt.

Oh yeah, it was also my first run in the Skechers GoRun Forza 3’s.

Let’s start from the beginning. Continue reading

A Tough, but Good Day – 4-5-18

Yeah, today was a tough, but good day.

We went to a wake this afternoon and while it was for a close relative, unfortunately it was not for someone we knew very well. There were many reasons for this, but we believed that us going to the wake was the right thing to do.

Wakes are never easy, especially when they are a pretty close member of the family. While we had rebuilt some bridges last summer, there was still a sense of complexity and awkwardness about life’s moments more than 60 years ago, that got in the way of knowing the person who died better.

Sometimes it is just the way things are and it is sad, but it is the way life turns out. However, I have learned over the years, that thinking about what might have been does not work or serve any useful purpose.

You need to keep moving forward and continue to do the best you can with the curveballs that life throws your way. Sometimes things work out and other times life just passes us by.

Rest In Peace – Peter.

Although we did have the chance to meet another close relative, who is someone that we would like to know a little better and perhaps learn a little more of the family history from a different perspective.

Time will tell.

I guess after writing that, writing more about something as trivial as running, seems rather gauche.

So I will just say that I had a good run on the treadmill and leave it at that.

Have a great evening everyone and if you have family that you really don’t know that well, don’t wait until their wake to go see them – it is too late then. Do it now, while they are still alive, you might be surprised at who they are and what you do have in common.

Probably more than you think.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance, put yourself out there and see what happens.

Moving to Apple – Six Months Later

I moved back to Apple’s tech silo, err ecosystem or whatever to hell you want to call it last October and wanted to reflect on the process or should I say my progress a little.

When I decided to move to the world of Apple it was using my:

• iPad Pro 10.5 • iPhone 7 • The wife’s PC – albeit grudgingly • Garmin 230 GPS watch – just to screw with things

This setup relies on IOS as my primary operating system and in some instances IOS is not quite there when it comes to being the daily driver OS. Unfortunately there were and still are a couple of compromises that I have to make to use my iPad Pro as my primary computer.

Which is not ideal, but it has not stopped me. 😉

Even so, I am comfortable with the direction that I am heading with my move to the Apple tech silo.

So Why Apple?

I have lived with a fragmented computing lifestyle for many years both personally and professionally.

To be honest the fragmentation and all the different tech silos, products and biases makes using technology/computers/Internet more difficult, while at the same more interesting and yes, diverse. There is some sort of solution out there for just about anything, even the things that we don’t think or know about sometimes.

Over the past few years, like many people I have used a mixture of Google, Apple, Android, Chrome, Microsoft, Linux based devices — along with a vitual mishmash of various (productivity, entertainment, work related, games, etc.) apps, software and all the different social media sites. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the many cloud based services and solutions that have sprung up.

Needless to say they often do not play well together.

Really what I ended up with is a fragmented shitshow that confuses, frustrates and makes you at times to want to throw things against a wall – usually not good for the device that hits the wall.

After retiring in June 2017, by October I had enough of the shitshow, frustration factors of competing technologies, hardware, apps, software, OS, philosophies and decided to move to one tech silo. The time was right since I was no longer tied to any one silo, hardware or software and had the opportunity to chose one that I wanted to use – not something that someone else choose for me.

Looking back, I had had good experiences with Apple’s products, when I was teaching and while they do collect mountains of data from their customers, they have not as yet monetized that data collection. The idea or at least the perception that I am still the customer, not the product, to me is still a big deal.

When you look at Apple’s hardware, the apps/software and the level of integration that their products are moving towards (they are not there yet), it made a lot of sense for me and how I see things in the technology world, to move to the Apple tech silo.

My Experience

Honestly, moving back to the World of Apple, with the devices I chose to make this journey on, was the path less travelled. It has not been without more than a few bumps, a steeper than anticipated learning curve, some straight-up swearing at my devices and/or Apple, a few creative work-arounds and finally leaving some things to worry about for later.

My biggest issues were IOS’s limitations and overcoming Apple’s history of keeping the iPad as a complementary device and not someone’s primary computer.

The other part I gotta admit that I sort of enjoyed, even if it was frustrating at times. The part where I experimented with different settings, trying too many apps, workflows and weaning myself off Google/Microsoft/Linux ways of doing things.

Over the past six month I have found that often less is more and often “good enough” is good enough, when it comes to keeping things simple and as stress free as possible. Since that is the main purpose of this change — to keep life and technology as simple/efficient as possible.

Keep working on the K.I.S.S. Principle – it works.

The best part is that I am continuing to learn new things all the time about my devices, IOS and the apps I am using. Which means I do foresee a few tweaks here or there as I get more sophisticated, with my knowledge of Apple’s realm.

What are some of the particulars that stick out in my mind about switching over.

Hardware

I love my iPad Pro 10.5, iPhone 7 and how they complement one another.

However, if my iPad Pro did not have a keyboard and I would be looking at some sort of a Mac to take its place.

I ended up with the Zagg Bluetooth keyboard because it provided the best combination of protection and versatility for my iPad, a keyboard that I liked, plus it was on sale at the time.

iPad Pro 10.5

Part of my problem is that I think that until recently Apple tended to look at the iPad as a “nice to have” device. The iPads were not initially designed to be your primary computer – it was more a peripheral device, like a smart phone that was there to complement to your main computer.

Although this perspective seems to be changing with the iPad Pro models, there are still too many instances where the “official” way to do things is to plug your iPad into a “real” computer – which is a pain in the arse when it occurs and should not be the “answer”.

Even with all that I would not trade my iPad Pro 10.5 straight-up for a similarly spec’d MacBook, MacBook Air or some other OS laptop computer.

Yeah, I like it that much.

iPhone 7

Simply the best phone I have used.

IOS

It is nice to not have to think in terms of multiple operating systems and figuring out how to get my primary devices to work well together, where the commands are hidden that I want/need to change and then worrying about the update cycles, who does them, how they will effect compatibility moving forward. All that kind of stuff I worried about when attempting to get different operating systems to play nice together.

I don’t worry about that stuff anymore – two devices, one operating system, things just blend together nicely so far and with each update that Apple does, the iPad is becoming more of an “independent” computer and less a peripheral device.

Productivity

Apple’s apps do most everything that I want to do and/or I can find an app that will in the App Store. However, Apple’s apps/software do things from a slightly different perspective than Microsoft’s or Google’s similar apps/software do, so there was a learning curve.

As I use iWork and Apple’s other apps more, the less I like the other ones. I find Apple’s offering most intuitive for me, but not always as powerful or feature heavy – more minimalist, but more than good enough to get what I want done.

Browser

I like the Safari browser in IOS on the iPad, but don’t do much browsing on the iPhone – unless I have to. I prefer to browse the Internet on a larger screen. Unfortunately there are too many sites that do not render correctly in Safari i.e. Garmin Connect among others for it to be my only browser.

So I do need to have another browser to see those sites correctly – I am using Chrome for now, since I am still in Google Drive for my photos and have used it for several years. Although I am thinking about moving to the new Firefox and seeing if that works out okay.

In IOS I do not live in my browser like I did with Google or even with Windows, at first that was a bit of a jolt, but now I have gotten more used to it and actually like it better.

Email

After many years of bouncing between multiple work emails, personal Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail/Outlook or back in the day AOL, I have finally taken the leap to move my primary personal mail account to .icloud.com.

Eventually, I plan to retire all but the iCloud accounts – it will take some time, but I think it will be better for me in the long run.

I really did not realize how much email I actually receive at my legacy mail addresses. I am finally figuring out where some of the “junk mail” is coming from, now that it doesn’t automatically go to the junk mail folder since I separated the old email accounts in Apple Mail.

As a part of this change I have also setup an alias .icloud.com account for subscriptions or websites that require a email address that I do not want to use my personal email address. Which acts as a filter that helps me identify people/important stuff versus “stuff”.

Over the past few weeks, I have unsubscribed from literally 100’s of lists, promotional crap and old sites that I signed up for and haven’t been back to for years.

Like I said it will take time.

Music

I recently subscribed to Apple Music and am liking/using it a LOT more than I thought that I would. I was getting tired of Pandora, never really liked Amazon Music or Google Music and disliked iTunes even back when I had to use it when I had a Mac and an iPhone.

It was also a pain in the arse getting my personal music collection into my Apple account (and it still is not all there) and finally I had to use iTunes on my wife’s PC to get most of it on my iPad Pro.

This is the biggest reason why I went with the Apple Music subscription – I just didn’t want to deal with iTunes.

I had not planned on getting Apple Music, but now that I have done it – well I am happy with how it is working for me. The bad part is that the subscription price is higher than what I can really justify based on how I see me actually using it.

We will see on this one.

However, I am finding old songs that I haven’t heard in years – Sugar, Sugar by the Archies brought back more than a few smiles and thoughts of years gone by.

Photos

This is probably the biggest area of frustration that I have had with moving to the Apple ecosystem – the difficulty…well near impossibility without owning a Mac.

I simply am looking for a simple solution to get my scanned family photos from Google Drive/Photos to iCloud and on my iPad. My iPad Pro has plenty of space for all my photos, but getting them on it has not happened yet.

After way too much time attempting to figure this one out, the best advice I got was to download each one individually and put it in my library that way. Nope, not with almost 40 gb of photos that I want to move to the iPad.

It ended up being easier to keep much of that “legacy photos” in Google Drive as my archive and to start mostly fresh with Apple Photos.

The bad part was that it took me almost a month of wasted effort to come to this realization. That was frustrating as hell.

Files

I still have to work on learning the new file management system in IOS and how it relates to iCloud, other cloud services and how I can use it. When I do that some of the issues I have with moving stuff to my iPad should be taken care of.

It might even be as simple as getting the “camera dongle” at some point or an Apple lightning thumb drive.

The reality is that

Moving back to the Apple ecosystem has been a good, but bumpy experience at times that is taking me in the direction that I want to go.

One tech silo for my computing and online needs.

My iPad Pro is my daily driver for 95% of everything that I do on a computer and my iPhone 7 is a great companion device. Once in a while I still find that I have to use my wife’s PC to do something, but that seems to becoming more rare as IOS becomes more mature.

Looking at the way things are right now, if someone offered me a similarly specced Windows, Chrome, Linux based laptop computer or even a Mac, I would be hard-pressed to take them up on their offer.

I like the way my iPad Pro 10.5 and iPhone 7 complement one another and how this combo meets most of my now fairly basic computing needs very nicely.

However, it does mean that I know that I will have to update my devices within 3-4 years, in order to keep current in Apple’s ecosystem, as they will at that time have limited support for my “old” devices.

As long as I continue to be their consumer and not their product, I have a feeling that I will deal with the higher prices in exchange for that little extra slice of privacy that I imagine that I have inside Apple’s tech silo.

However, as I have said for almost 20 years, if you or your computer can connect to the Internet, you really do not have any privacy, it is more how the big corporations that already have, will continue to have our data and how they use it.

Who knows maybe Apple will stay to the high road.

Now if only Neverwinter Nights or Neverwinter Nights 2 were on IOS, I would be very happy :-).

Trail Running Shoes – How I Really Use Them

There are a lot of sub classes of running shoes, daily trainers, racing flats, light-weight daily trainers, motion control, minimal, maximal, cross country spikes, etc.

Then there are trail running shoes.

Over the years I have owned many different brands, models and makes of trail running shoes, but there is one big thing about that…

I really don’t run that many trails.

Once in a while I might get over to Bond Brook, some the local hiking trails in Waterville, Oakland or out in Belgrade, but I don’t really get on trails that are technical or run far enough on them to actually warrant going out and buying a pair of trail running shoes. Most of the time at least one pair of my current road shoe rotation are more than enough to tackle the trails I run on.

Why then do I think that I need a pair of trail running shoes? Continue reading

Solutions Not Rhetoric

I am going to keep this short and sweet.

Tone down the rhetoric and work towards solutions.

Real ones, not just stop gap measures to get through to the next poll, election or crisis. Crisis or Chaos management is not a replacement for thought-out solutions and sound planning.

Are we looking at issues and problems through only one lens or side, have we asked or looked at other alternatives other than our closely held ones?

Is “it” all about winning or doing the right thing?

Standing up for what you believe in is great, but if what you believe in is now hurting others or has repercussions beyond what you are willing to acknowledge – what have you become?

Are you still part of the solution or have you become part of the problem?

Think about it.

I think a lot more of us need to.

Another “Interesting” Week – Week In Review 3-18-19

The weather is still getting more than its share of attention when it comes to my running over the past week. You know that 22 plus inches of snow we received mid-week and then the bone-chilling cold and mild 20-30 mph breezes. All of which making running outside not a lot of fun.

So I didn’t run outside.

I have gotten to the point in my life where I want to enjoy or do my runs, as much as anyone can enjoy their running or should I say challenging myself, without freezing my arse off or worrying about slipping, falling and breaking something that might be useful later in the day. Which curtails my getting out the door for running outside (I still walk a lot outside with Bennie 3-5 miles a day), so I just ran on the treadmill for all my runs.

It was a helluva lot nicer to run in shorts and t-shirt.

Even so, running on a treadmill is not as nice as getting outside, but still getting it done, but it was nice that it was a planned cut-back week. Even with the cut-back week planned I still had over 60 miles of combined running and elliptical mileage. Which seemed to work out fine and the old body didn’t complain overly much about increase in total volume.

I did buy an album for the first time in forever, another runner recommended the music for running and for that I love it. It isn’t my usual easy listening/rock n roll type of music, but I got it for running and the beat more than the lyrics – which is good. Since the band is German and the music is in German (I haven’t bothered to translate lyrics yet), I got it for the drums and how they make me want to run – faster. The band’s name is Heilung and the album is Lifa. I have a feeling that the music and the band ain’t for everyone, but it is great to run to.

Running

Monday – I shoveled the garage roof that morning. It had 3-4 feet of drifted snow accumulated and with the big storm coming mid-week, I knew that I had to get the snow off the garage. I took about 3 hours to get everything done without too many breaks and I was toast when I got done. Just to be annoying to myself, I attempted to go run that afternoon. I gave up after 2.0 /17:01, between being exhausted and having to use the bathroom, well – 2.0 miles was enough. I didn’t even bother attempting to get on the elliptical – the body was done.

Tuesday – The morning was cold and windy outside with that big N’oreastah coming in so I headed to Planet Fitness for a run on the treadmill. Nice steady pace 5.0 / 41:15, by the time I got outside again, the snow flakes were coming down pretty heavy, so I was glad to get home.

Wednesday – DNR – That big, bad N’oreastah came in with over 22″ plus of snow. Running outside just was not a consideration, the conditions were pretty horrible and I don’t need to prove to myself or anyone else how tough/stoopid I am.

18″ plus the 4″ or more that came after this photo.

Thursday – Continued clean-up from the storm and broke the snowblower on the heavy/weight snow. So I had to finish up with the scoop, which worked on the upper body – that improving the old chicken wings things. After getting things cleaned up, I headed for another 6.0 / 49:59 on the treadmill. I was tired, but felt good once I got past the first mile. The Gravity 3’s did good and now have over 200 miles on them. Acupuncture didn’t seem to make much of dent in the overall body soreness this time, maybe the body was simply overwhelmed.

Friday – I went up to take Dad out for his birthday – he has made it to 78, which is a lot better than the 28 that his father predicted for him all those years ago. He is doing okay and still has a few strong views on things – which I wouldn’t expect him to be any other way. We ate at Irvings Truck Stop in Newport. The food is very good and predictable – nothing fancy just decent food and great deserts. I had thought about running in Pittsfield on the way home, but with the winds pretty steady at 20-30 mph and some higher gusts, I decided to take a pass and headed to Augusta. I wasn’t feeling really all that great and that storm had taken its toll on my body, so when I got to Augusta, I drove by Planet Fitness and decided that the body needed the day off more than another 3-4+ miles on the treadmill. I went home and took a nap – always a good choice.

After getting my gumption back I decided to do an elliptical workout, I figured I would do 5-6 miles and call it good. I watched the Breaking 2 documentary from NatGeo and ended up going over 10 miles. It was sure motivating to watch it and I learned something about running form watching Kipchoge run. I will try the change over the next few weeks to see if it makes any difference.

Saturday – Weekends are for faster running, so it was still cold and breezy and I wimped out on going to the 5K Race in Rockland. I just am not into racing, when the temps and winds are in the toilet at this point in my life. So I went to gym, hopped on the treadmill and had a nice “faster” run where I pushed harder than I have in a while 4.0 / 29:56, especially the last 3.0 miles of the workout. Nice tempo run.

Sunday – Now before you jump all over me about running hard 2 days in a row, I really didn’t Saturday was at a comfortably hard effort level – harder yes, but it really did feel all that taxing and the recovery was pretty quick. So today I tried some new running music and found that some of the songs beat matched up really well to me running faster, so I did. All the longer intervals were at 9.0+ mph and the shorter ones were at 10.0+ mph, while the rest intervals were at 7.0 mph. Both felt good and I noticed when I focused on keeping my arms tucked closer to my chest that it was a lot easier to maintain form/pace. 6.0 / 47:44. No elliptical workout.

Running Shoes

The Gravity 3A’s now have over 200 miles on them and I will be doing the 200 mile review pretty soon. They are still working quite nicely for me, although they have become my second favorite shoes. Not because they are working any less effectively for me, it is just that the other shoes are working better for how I run. The G3’s are still a great running shoe and give me a nice change of pace to switch back and forth with.

Those other shoes are the Skechers GoRun Ride 7 and they are doing everything that I have asked of them and then some. Great running shoes so far.

The reality is that

It was a busy week and the snow did a number on the old body. However, by the weekend I had a pretty good couple of workouts that surprised me with how well I ran. While I don’t use music to run outside of the gym on the treadmill most of the time, find Heilung’s Lifa album to run in the background might persuade me to run with headphones on once in a while, if I am attempting to a specific workout on the track or rail trail.

Overall, my total workout volume was up, even though my running mileage was cut-back on purpose and I think that helped the quality of the weekend workouts.

However, I do know that I am ready for nicer weather to get here, but from the forecast next week, it probably won’t be until sometime in April. Oh well, just deal with the hand that Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are dealing.

Although last Monday when I cleared off the garage roof, the old body was not impressed and pretty much told me to kiss-off for the rest of the day. That was hard work and I have a feeling that I will get to do it again tomorrow, especially if that storm hugs the coast a little more than the forecasters think it will.

PI N’Oreastah 3-14-18

Finally, I have enough of a brain back to talk about the Pi N’Oreastah or should I say moved beyond being just a tad tired exhausted from snowblowing, snow blower breaking down, scooping snow and some shoveling, then driving pretty tough road conditions to deliver said snowblower to the repair shop.

We ended up with over 22 inches of snow, 18″ through the morning and then another 4″ plus of flurry activity.

I think that this photo pretty much sums up everything. I am looking out of the window of my Ford Ranger pickup truck looking towards the bedroom window. Usually I can look in and see Bennie or Elliott on the bed looking out as I drive off – Not Yesterday and not today and not for a while it seems.

This weekend I will have to shovel the garage roof again and then on Tuesday/Wednesday they are projecting/forecasting another 6-12 (at least) inches of the white shite. Hopefully, I get the snow blower back from the repair shop before it gets here, but I am not holding my breath. Just more upper body work to get me ready for the spring running season hehehe. Continue reading

Opting Out and Opting In

A little while ago, I deleted all my news apps, got rid of most of the newsfeeds that I could in Facebook, kicked more than a few political/newsy type blogs to the curb and guess what.

I don’t miss the hysteria, wailing, gnashing of teeth, how we are teetering on the brink of the end of the world as we know it.

It may well happen.

I will or will not be there when it happens.

Until it happens or I die, I plan to life a full and good life, that is not burdened by being constantly bombarded with all the ills and evil in the world according to the those who control the airwaves.

Since I did that dirty deed – that stop listening to or constantly reading the 24/7 news/blogging or hitting the next news link, I have noticed a huge change in myself.

I am calmer, more positive, I am not seeing everything as “is the the crisis that kills the camel” to hell with breaking its back. Even when given the opportunity to lash out at others that see things differently than I do, instead I am stopping to look at what purpose or who does it serve.

Usually it serves no purpose.

So I have opted out.

The news cycles are not the reason for my life and they are simply drowning the world in the use of words that emphasize the horrible, terrible parts of the news and make the vast amount of good that is in the world seem to be the tiny part, not the major part which I still believe that it is.

That does not mean that I have  buried my head in the sand about what is going on and the problems or issues that do exist in this Country or the World, but at the same time I have taken back my sanity.

I am returning to who I am.

That is part of the process I believe, that you get to take back who you are, when you stop letting others control the stories that you hear or read.

It was time

I could tell that I was getting pieces of me back when I started to read for pleasure again and become a part of the books that I was reading – a very good thing. Over the last week, I have re-read a couple of books – something that I did not have time or focus for before.

I was always too busy following.

No, I didn’t make a mistake where I ended the sentence, it was very purposefully done.

They were classic Sword and Sorcery Fantasy books – Robert Jordans’ First Book in the Wheel of Time series and Guy Gavriel Kay’s “The Summer Tree” the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy (one of my all-time favorites).

Over the past couple of years, I have not been able to sit down and just read for enjoyment, I was too busy paying attention, thinking that I might miss something and attempting to keep up with the latest horrible news cycle that would be forgotten, when the next crisis loomed large.

For me, it is time to stop following, take charge of the life I live and not let it be burdened or consumed by the stories others deem to be the crisis du jour.

I like this path that I am stumbling towards, it will present many challenges, but also more than a few more smiles and who knows where it will lead.

All I know is that I have opted in to something that is more me and maybe us.