Wednesday Wandering Mind

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I have been loving everyone’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ series that was inspired by Amanda at Running With Spoons, but since I already do a ‘Throwback’ picture in the morning and a ‘Thought’ in the afternoon … I figured why not just take Wednesday for my random mental machinations. Hmmm … Mental Machination Monday, that could have worked as well… crap, my mind is already wandering off – better get started!

1. I am SO done with the ‘Polar Vortex’. – This morning was -8F when I started my run, and -10F when I finished (after I posted the picture up top to Instagram, so the moment was lost). Yes I know I live in the northeast, and it is SUPPOSED to be cold now.

But … we aer now SIX weeks into the new year and EVERY week I have had at least one sub-zero running day … and FIVE of the six weeks we have been dominated by sub-zero mornings! It isn’t that I can’t dress for it – between my layers and my awesome Under Armour Extreme Coldgear Infrared gloves (best ‘secret Santa’ gift ever!) I manage my 6.75 miles every day. It is just annoying. When 15F feels like a comfortably warm run and I end up sweaty … something is wrong.

And the thing that bugs me – it just keeps going. Last week the forecast had us seeing ~20F mornings by this week today or tomorrow. Monday they said it would warm up as the snow arrived Thursday or Friday; now today there is ONE morning forecast above 10F before next week – and the warm-up is now supposed to come next Monday or Tuesday. UGH!

2. I am so lucky to have such great readers / followers / fellow bloggers – I really don’t mean this as the suck-up it sounds like, it was just that over the last couple of days I have been referenced or linked or commented or emailed, and each time it was from someone very, very different than me. Older, younger, male, female, single, married, and on and on. And everyone has an amazing perspective that inspires me and makes me think.

For example, this week Sara posted her running story and linked to the last part of mine. She said she didn’t feel there was much of a story there – which is nearly identical to what I said in my middle part. But guess what – I loved reading her story, which reminded me of the great comments I have gotten on all three of my parts!

MY inspiration? The great backstory from Harold at Runnah.com!

3. Music is SO inspirational – I have always loved music. I started playing guitar young, stopped, restarted and then switched to bass. But I have always worked on composing, starting with a basic tape deck, then moving to a 4-track cassette recorder, and eventually to a MIDI studio in the early 80s – and picking up rudimentary keyboard skills.

I kept my studio going through the ore recently I have done a lot less, just enjoying playing around on guitar, bass and keyboards. But I have wanted to tap into some of my old compositions, and revisit them – and just not lose them in general. My goal? Get everything into Garageband so I can have access on the Mac or iPad.

Sadly they were in Digital Performer, which I last upgraded back before the Intel processor switch (I had actually kept up the versions starting in 1986 with Performer 2.0!). So I had two choices: either pay ($200) for an upgrade, or figure out how to get my music out of DP!

Garageband Dad

Chris grabbed this as I was working in Garageband

Unlike Microsoft Office, MIDI and audio programs have ALWAYS had crappy interoperability, as each company sought to lock you into their environment … which is ironic since both MIDI and audio file formats are industry standard. The good news? MOTU offers a 30-day demo for the latest Digital Performer! So I downloaded that, started opening files and exporting them as MIDI files. I plan to write up the full process at some point, but it has been a joy for me rediscovering things, and an eye-opener for my very musical kids.

4. There are few things more stressful than knowing there is tons TO do but not WHAT YOU should do! – I love my job at Corning, but the group I belong to is in corporate engineering and are essentially ‘guns for hire’. This often means (like this week) that I have loads of things piled on me, other times having nothing to do, and recently I have encountered something I had heard about but never experienced – being attached to a project but underutilized.

That feeling where you are busy but not stretched, where you don’t know how you will contribute next month … not great. Fortunately I was able to find ways to help and another project had a need for statistical coaching for a couple of engineers. Also fortunately another area on my project had a need that would carry me through the year – and looks wonderfully exciting and will use all of my skills.

5. What do you expect when you drop a bag at a house? – we had our local dry cleaners drop bags all around the neighborhood, along with coupons and great testimonials and so on. It was a great campaign and we really considered using them.

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‘2nd notice’ – bag left monday, by Wednesday morning we’ve gotten TWO of these?

Then the next day we had a sticky note on our door … and again the next day, and so on. The note said ‘missing bag’, and was pretty much saying ‘either use our service or return the bag’. Um, you came onto our property without us asking, and left something on our doorstep. NOW you want us to return it? OK, here is the deal – we’ll dump the bag back on our doorstep, but you will now NEVER get our business. FAIL!

6. I Know I am Lucky That Parent’s Night is a Joy – last night was parent’s night for the start of the new term. Some classes are full year and others are half-year, so some teachers were just meeting our kids. Yet we consistently hear wonderful things about our boys – smart, funny, engaged, great participation and so on. There are struggles over organization and completing tasks they don’t find interesting … but considering how many parents struggle with so many other academic issues, we know we’re lucky.

7. Did you know that February is Responsible Pet Owners Month? – OK, so most runners have had a heart-pounding experience with a dog at one time or other, but over at Run Eat Repeat Monica talks about a new runner – her mom – who was bitten by a dog while running. Definitely check it out.

Ironically yesterday I got an email from ‘Invisible Fence’, which we use and has been amazing for our dogs. The email talked about “Responsible Pet Owners Month” … and over at WebVet they have suggestions for the month, including:

1. Make an appointment with your vet or at a clinic to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered, if you haven’t already. Spaying and neutering not only helps control animal population, but it can also protect dogs and cats from various diseases, including cancer.

2. Encourage friends and family members to get their dogs and cats spayed and neutered. Make a list of the low-cost clinics and give them to any friends or family members that are struggling financially.

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8. The difference between COLD and WIND CHILL – yeah, so yesterday was cold but today is colder. As I was running, aside from doing what I call ‘self-assessment checks’ constantly to make sure I was OK to continue, I was thinking about the difference between when it is -15 with no wind and -20 or -30 WITH the wind chill.

Both are really, really cold – dangerously cold.

But whereas the wind chill days blast you and knock you around and sting your face and get everywhere, on a cold day you discover the strengths and weaknesses of your clothes and layering strategy. As I ran today my main focal point was my hands, which are always the coldest. My feet chilled for a bit at the start (never happens from the wind), and my thighs were cool by the end, but aside from my hands I was actually reasonably comfortable (calibrated to -15F of course!).

9. If you think __, just wait until you have kids! – I actually have a draft I pick at every now and then called ‘Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents RIGHT NOW!’

While we have two great kids, we spent years dealing with infertility and miscarriage … and during that entire time if we ever dared claim to be tired or busy, we would hear from siblings – well, really one in particular – that ‘we don’t know what tired/busy/stressed/whatever is’ – because we didn’t have kids.

Of course, for those people it is never enough – when you have one kid, ‘one is nothing, wait until you have two’. Or with two boys ‘you don’t know what __ is because you dno’t have a girl’. And whenever something happens good or bad you are bound to hear ‘been there, done that’. Note – if you ever say that to me in person, observe my jaw … it will be clenching because I will hate you in that moment.

Why is this such a thing for me? Because we are all individuals working through this life the best we can – and the LAST thing we need is for others to invalidate our feelings and experiences, to diminish our lives, and to otherwise actively make us feel less significant. So just stop.

And that is all for now … what is wandering through YOUR mind this Wednesday?!?

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11 thoughts on “Wednesday Wandering Mind

  1. Cannot believe that company – I am frequently surprised by what people do/say but this is a new one for me! That’d be the quickest way to ensure they’d never get my business!

    • I agree Laura – and it isn’t a big thing, just an annoyance. I would have assumed they came up with the idea and thought of it as a ‘cost of doing business’. And maybe they did – perhaps the annoying stickers are ‘phase 2’ of the plan, to make people feel guilty and get them to try the service. If so they must have assumed that there would be a split of people they would attract vs. repel. Or perhaps I am over-thinking it! πŸ™‚

  2. Now that was a stream of consciousness post, it meandered all over the place and I loved it. So often we get into gotta have this format or gotta do it this way of writing, that we lose what we want to say. Sometimes the best way is to just go with it and put it down! Thank you for the link back and kind words.

    I don’t know about you, but I am ready for temps in the 30-50 degree range, when the teens feel warm, you know that things have been rough.

    πŸ™‚

    • That was the joke this morning – “it is 30 degrees warmer than yesterday”! And it did feel much better than many recent days. But let’s be real – 15F is still pretty freakin’ cold! πŸ™‚

      And I agree on the structured vs. free styles. I like having some set things to do, and most times my stuff fits pretty well … but then there are times where this free-form thing is perfect!

  3. No. 5 kind of floored me. Wow. As to number 9, that resonated with me (married, no kids). I’ve read these studies about thins like “how much a housewife is worth per year” and it assigns value to things like doing the laundry and making meals — but um, no one pays me to do that, and I don’t have kids! And reading about how working moms complain about how their time is so precious and they have so much to balance and they have to eat at their desks — well, my time is precious too, I have things to balance myself, I don’t have time to go out for lunch either. I hope you finish your draft, it sounds interesting to me!

    • Thanks again! On #9, I kind of get what they are at with the studies – it is trying to assess whether or not you actually are making more money as a ‘dual income with kids’ than with one stay-home parent. And often times between daycare, eating out, gas & car expenses, laundry and clothing costs and so on … it doesn’t add up financially. But that is only one dimension of the decision-making process, and I think my ultimate point is that no one else should be making your decisions for you, or judging what is right or wrong for you.

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