Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thought of the Day: Childhood playmates I use to know

When I was a little kid, before 1st grade even, I recall playing with some neighborhood kids.  They succumbed to White Flight moved away and I barely remember any names, let alone faces. 


In 3rd grade, I went to Hansen Park grade school for a quarter. My mom worked nearby and we had some cover story about us living in a nearby apartment, the address of which I could not remember at 7 or 8 years old. 

And then of course there are the zillions of classmates that I barely knew in grade school, high school and college.  I'm connected with a fraction of them through FB of course but there are always the few that didn't interact. 

I sometimes wonder how many times I've gotten on a crowded bus or train, or passed them on a busy street without either of us realizing that we once played tag on a street called Washtenaw nearly 50 years ago.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

November stats

Today is obviously the last day of November and barring a late evening run on the treadmill, I will finish Nov with 27 miles and need just as many for December if I want to crack 300 miles for 2017.  That isn't counting any rounding errors DailyMile apparently makes. The website says I'm at 272 miles but the app shows 269.91 miles.

This week was bad because we were on holiday Monday, Tuesday was too chaotic to bring running clothes to work (I swam) and my kids are sick.  I WFH yesterday but didn't want to take a break to run even though my mom was there.  I had got very little sleep the night before. 

Back in the day, 28 miles would have been one, maybe two weeks worth of work this time of year.  Sigh, those days are gone. 

Meanwhile, I've written 46 posts on ChicagoNow which means I need about 6 to keep my average of 1 a week.  I'm okay with missing that target since 46 is still a nice number.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Might be better this way

A couple of weeks ago, I finally took down the rest of the deck furniture for winter including the gazabo we bought this summer.  I have to remember next year that I need to start putting things away sooner than late October because the weather turns quickly.  It's better to do it and have a few wasted weeks were you could have still enjoyed sitting outside than to have to fight with bitter cold while you try to put everything away.



For any project I need the perfect storm of

  • Appropriate Weather (not to hot, cold, rain)
  • Sunlight
  • Materials (nothing like starting a project and finding out you don't have the right something)
  • Energy to do it (after work is not optimal)
  • Kids out of the way 


I need to repair the deck railing but that will be a 2018 project.  Depending on costs, we will either put in a permanent pergola or  continue to buy cheap $100 gazabos, though hopefully we do a better job of securing it so it doesn't get bent and broken like our last one and we can re-use it.

We still don't know how much longer we will live in this house or what to do about the kids and school. 




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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Winter Training Memories

I was thinking of someone I use to run with back in the day.  We were group leaders for Winter Training.  One winter I was going out for a 20 mile run and looking for some people to run me in.  I
was training for one the many spring marathons I've run as such, was doing the bulk of my training solo. 

SF volunteered but she only wanted to do 5 miles.  On the surface that sounds like a great thing.  SF is gonna help me with 25% of my run. 

Couple of things here..

First, most marathoners do their LRs by going out and back.  If you are running 12, you go six miles in on direction and then come back.  This is a little game we play with ourselves so that we finish without quitting or cutting our run short.  [unless injured, inclement weather or just having a really craptastic run.]

Second,  anyone who has ever trained for a marathon and has run 20 miles knows that the first 5 miles is the "easy" part.  Heck, if you are a marathoner and have run multiple marathons, I'd say the first 10 miles usually isn't so bad.  It's the second half where the struggle is real. 

Third, when someone asks you to Run Them In, it's just understood they are referring to meeting up with them closer to the end of the run so that they don't give up. 

But SF didn't want to wait 2 hours or come back, SF was already there.  And SF didn't want to run 5 miles with me and then turn around.  SF wanted to only do 5 miles total, which meant 2.5 out and 2.5 back which doesn't really help me at all.

What SF should have done was done some fuzzy math and figured that if I left at X time and ran an 8 minute pace, I'd be turning around at 1:20 minutes, give or take and meet me five miles from our base two hours after my start time.  But that is a lot of work and not fun.  She didn't want to flesh it out over email the days before, saying we'll figure it out on Saturday but when Saturday came she didn't want to stand around in the cold trying to figure it out.

What I should have done was said okay let's go 2.5 miles north, turn around and then head back to base and I'll run 15 south on my own.  But I wasn't thinking of making the best of what a flake had to offer, I was trying to figure out how to get what I wanted. 

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

About that Great American Novel

"The book I have had in my mind since 20 is still there instead of on pages. I tell myself I'll write everyday but then one day turns to two then three and I'm still here not working on it. Why? Because I'm afraid of not being perfect. Of disappointing myself."Mahjabeen Syed


At ChicagoNow the bloggers fall into three large buckets.  There are the main, vocal, interactive group that I'm friends with on FB who support one another.  There are the ones who blog for a short time then fade away because bloggin is hard.  finally there is the group of people who post semi-regularly but go about life without interaction with the rest of us.  Sure, they'll reply to a comment, but they don't join our reindeer games or read our blogs etc.  And that's fine.

I decided to scan all the hard copies of my draft stories from the 90s that I never finished.  if nothing else it will get rid of the paper trail.  I figure I can always print it again and hopefully saving it to The Cloud will be just as good as putting it in a binder on a shelf and ignoring it for another two decades.

I have to say this.  It is hard to re-read all these story drafts because....they suck.   I'm not being modest or fishing for encouragement or reinforcements.  The writing is sophomoric at best, pedantic at worse.  I was trying very hard to sound like other authors and weave a story with too many genres and influences. 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

That must be some discount

my neighbor is getting new siding.  He's using the same shit-for-brains assclown who I hired to repair my porch stairs posts.  I hired him because he had dome some carpentry work for Sam and seemed to do a decent job.  He must be some relative or something because he said he gave them a discount on the work and is working on and off, presumable between other paying jobs.





They started the work on Sept 29th.  It is now Nov 17th.  Call me spoiled but it would have to be a significant discount for me to go this long without the work being completed.

I don't like the guy because he never came back to finish the job, nothing major but he was supposed to put a cap on the top which would have looked nice and might have kept the wood from splitting.  He used cheap, untreated wood.  He convinced me that because he was painting it, it would be fine.
Wrong.   Because you don't paint the underside, moisture gets in and damages your wood.  Worse than that, he started ignoring my calls and when I called from a landline, he actually pretended his wasn't the right person. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

An Actual Mystery


I’ve been reading books of old
The legends and the myths
Achilles and his gold
Hercules and his gifts
Spider-Man’s control
And Batman with his fists
And clearly I don’t see myself upon that list




Today I scanned a few letters I received in the spring of 1990.  I feel like a spy at the office sneaking over to the copier to do the scanning, hoping no one comes along while I fight with the sometimes hard to feed letters.

It is interesting some of the things I've discovered while scanning these letters.  Pencil doesn't scan very well.  Also some people thought it was cute to write "Me" as the from or only their first name or nickname.  30+ years later I cannot always recall who Aslan was, although I don't believe anyone intended these letters would be re-read 30 years later.  Also some people folded their letters in such ways that it makes it hard to feed through the copier.  Some people used both sides of the paper, some only one.  Some left all the back pages blank except one.

Some people would write in a page in the class notebook and then tear it out and send to me.  I've had to cut those edges off so the feeder doesn't get jammed.

The one thing about many of these letters is that they respond to a previous letter, but unlike email, there isn't much history to go on.  A vague reference or one line sentence is sometimes all I get.  OF course at the time it was probably crystal clear what we were talking about, but 25 years later?  No chance.

"you sounded like you wanted to tell me something when we talked." 

I probably did, but if I was hesitant to open up before, you cutting me off because you had to go absolutely guaranteed I'd never speak of it again.


The one thing I have to remember is that I'm looking at these now with more Life Experiences, Wisdom and yes even Maturity under my belt  than I possessed back then.  I need to remember not to be so hard on myself for missing subtle hints and hidden clues like Aslan inviting me to come to St Louis to see a concert.  That probably wasn't about using her spare ticket, it was a casual safe way of asking me out. 

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