Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year's Eve and Snowblower Exercise Plan

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!!!

I hope that everyone has a safe and great evening and that if you decide to enjoy the night too much or if it happens accidentally, that tomorrow when you wake up, you are not too much of a hurtin puppy.

Those days are well behind me and I can chuckle now at those who party too hearty.

We had a nice little dinner together, a glass of wine and are sitting here watching a FireFly re-run. I have a feeling that after we watch Oak Island it might be a struggle to make it to midnight, but you never know.



Well, the storm came and dropped about 5-6" of snow, nothing serious or anything. If anything it was more a pain in the butt, but it meant getting the snowblower out and taking 2-3 hours out of the day to get our and SD2's yards cleaned up.

This morning while doing Bennie's long walk, I decided that I was going to not run and end the year with a DNR. I figured that I would get more than enough exercise wrestling with the snowblower. My prediction proved to be the correct one.

The rest of the day has been spent finishing up my end of year reflections, adding post ideas to my futures area, and reading a lot of articles and new to me blogs that I have found over the last week.

What did I read today?

Enes Kanter Is the Most Underrated Signing of the Offseason
Google Veterans: The company has become 'unrecognizable'
Out With the Old, In With the New!
A Family Christmas
Review of 2019 - A Retirement Blog
A New Beginning & Something's Gone
Shopping, shopping, shopping
It is Finished
Blog - Going Gently
Yes, It's All Your Fault: Active vs Passive Mindsets
10 Powerful Things I've Learned This Past Decade
Is It A Brown Recluse Spider Bite?
Letters from an American
Not enough hours in the day? Well, finding more may not help
The Morning Shakeout
Crabby Old Lady Cuts Loose
The Rise of Skywalker
My Year of Running
If I had to Order All my Food Online, I'd Be Very Hungry
Memento Mori: The Reminder We All Desperately Need
Adharanand Finn-On Writing The Rise of the Ultra Runners
What Poverty Taught Me About Being 'Too Generous'

2019 - A Year of Loss and Change

I can't say that I will look fondly back on 2019, there were multiple losses of loved one or people we knew, but it is also the year that I came to know myself a lot better and made changes to make my life more in line with the direction I want to take it moving forward. Family life was stable and better than I believed it could be.

Yeah, it was another year of peaks and valleys, but we made it through and are looking forward to 2020 and the challenges that it will bring.

Family

I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than on the day I married her. That is a very good thing and we are looking forward to doing more together in 2020. We have been focused on the needs of others and the house renovation this year so we haven't had the opportunity to do much in the way of fun things or trips, so there were no really exciting happenings to write about there.




My youngest daughter and her husband came out in June to take the honeymoon they never had and allowed me to tag along for 3 days with them.



Unfortunately, the week before I had suffered a stress reaction/fracture in my left tibia and while I attempted to keep up with them for the most part, but it did affect what was able to at some points.

However, we had a good time together and she got to see my dad one final time before they went home.



We also continue to help out SD2 in her new home and with dog-sitting duties. Which has been something that we willingly do because Hunter is a great dog, but it has changed how we do more than a few things in our retirement, but it is the right thing to do.

Speaking of critters who I consider part of our family. Bennie, Isabelle, and Elliott have all had good years and even a few adventures over the course of 2019. I have a feeling that going forward you might hear a bit more about our critter's adventures under the new blog's format.

A Year of Loss

We lost my Dad on October 18th and while I am sad that I will not get another chance to have another of our always interesting conversations, I know that he is at peace now. When he died it was his time and he was ready to go. We were lucky enough to have family and friends around him the night before he died, which is the way that he wanted it. You can read more about his death here.

If you read no other blog post from me, this is one that I recommend you read, my Dad was...well you can read a little about him if you like.



Dad, I will miss you, until we meet again on the other side.

My step-daughters' father lost his significant other in October also, which has made some changes in their life and as a result ours as well. Then in December, our neighbor lost her long battle to cancer.

While some will roll their eyes, SD2 lost her dog Karma early in 2019 and it was a loss that all of us felt very strongly, because our critters are an important part of our family and deserve to be mentioned in this end of year reflection.

There were other deaths as well during the year of people that have been in our lives at various times and we have attended too many Celebrations of Life or funerals over the course of the year. However, as we age, that is part of life, you get to attend funerals of people you know who have died. Sad, but true.

Home Repairs/Renovations

We finally got around to updating, repairing and making things around the house better for us as we get older. The old kitchen cabinets were starting to fall apart, the linoleum was 30 years old, so we did a complete rehab of the kitchen and dining room area.



We both wanted a deck on back, the front steps were getting dangerous and the windows in the bedrooms worked - sometimes, so they were replaced. Finally, the master bath needed repairs and replacement of the tub and toilet. Needless to say, it beat the hell out of our savings, had several times where we were frustrated with the contractor and his idea of timeliness but the repairs and renovations had to be done and the house is much more livable going forward.

Running

I have had a better year than I thought I would at age 62! You can read more about my running here if you are interested.

However, the quick summary is that I ran over 1,700 miles, did only one race, was injured with a stress fracture in June and ran in over 20 running shoes again this year.



Yeah, in other words, it was your typical Harold being Harold year for running. ;-)

Technology

I did a lot of research and thinking about how I actually use a computer in today’s world and figured out that as much as I like the Apple universe, I am unwilling to pay their premium prices as a retiree. Sorry, Apple.

After a lot of experimenting and thinking through the pros and cons of my technology usage since I retired, I have moved back to primarily using Google's tech silo and am rocking a new to me Google Chromebook Pixel 2 from 2015. You can read more about it here.

Blogging

I moved back to Blogger this year, primarily for economic reasons, it was just costing too much per year to keep my blogs at WordPress.com for something that is a hobby. I enjoyed my Just A Runnah blog, but at the same time, that narrow running niche did limit my writing to some extent. So I am excited about the fresh start here and am feeling rejuvenated about writing again.

I have already noticed a more eclectic reading list compared to what I focused on just a month ago and feel better about the direction that I am going with my blogging. I can go about my day and write about how an old fart is getting older and no longer "Just A Runnah". Yeah, I can't believe that I did that either.

Reading

I read a lot about running and some Sword and Sorcery over the course of the year, but not much else. I think that my final total was somewhere around 45 books in 2019. I plan to keep better track of the books I read this year and branch out a little more to other genres. Who knows I might even read about writing to see if I can become a better storyteller with words, Lord knows I need the help.



The most personally influential book I read all year was "The Happy Runner" by David and Megan Roche. I have read it twice and will probably read it again this winter at some point. It just makes sense to me on how I need to view my running. "You are perfectly awesome. No matter what." is how the book ends and it is the correct way for that book to finish.


The reality is that

While 2019 was not a bad year and we got a lot accomplished around the house and I personally have grown quite a bit during the year, I will not be sad to let 2019 become more a part of history.

I am looking forward to the possibilities that 2020 will bring, though I am not looking forward to the contentious election, the divisiveness that seems to pervade all forms of media and politics that currently are too much a part of the headlines. However, I don't see anything along those lines changing and probably only see things getting worse before they might get better.

However, I am excited about the possibilities that 2020 will bring to me personally as I have started making and taking steps to figure out the meaning of life...errr not really, but I think that I am moving my life in the direction that I want it to go and you know something.

I think I am finally starting to actually like myself and who I am.

Yeah, finally.


Originally posted on One Foot in Reality and written by Harold L. Shaw.







How Did I Do On My 2019 Goals?

Every year we make goals and last year I focused primarily on my running goals. After all I was blogging mostly about my running, so that was all that mattered - right?

Not really, but at times that seemed as though that was the case.

I plan to change that more than a little in the 2020 goals.
So how did I do in 2019?
My goals were pretty simple:
Run over 1,500 miles -

  • Ended the year with over 1,700.

Eat mindfully and reduce the number of carbs in my diet. Not a Keto diet per se, but more cleaning up and getting back to eating “real” foods. If it comes from a box, bag or wrapper, it probably is going to be something I avoid eating this year.
  • Better than I thought I would, but the holidays and celebrations are still tough and when you live with great cooks, well you tend to eat what they make. I still have to work on baked goods, ice cream, and potato chips, but even with these "foods", I have reduced the amounts a great deal compared to how much "junk" food I used to eat.
Buy less running related “stuff”. I don’t need the newest, greatest technology, shoes or other gear. I need “stuff” that is going to work for me, not anyone else. My running shoe rotation is a good one, I have enough running clothes for a while (as long as the stench doesn’t get too bad) and once I get my heart rate monitoring stuff figured out so that it is fairly reliable, I really don’t need a bunch of other stuff. In other words stay away from eBay, unless I actually need something to replace what I have when it is worn out or doesn’t work for my purposes anymore. ;-).
  • I did better on the technology side of buying new running stuff and running clothes were not an issue. However, from August to October I got off on a tangent with my running shoes and went on an Altra and then Hoka binge. Now I am back to where I need to be in my New Balance shoes which seem to work well for me. I have some Nikes that work too and are still in the rotation, but New Balance just seem to fit my feet the best and they have come so far with their latest offerings.
Use the K.I.S.S. Principle whenever possible. Keep It Simple Stupid.
  • This actually covers most of my life and I think that other than running shoes, I did really well with making things simpler in all aspects of my life. 
For the most part, I did pretty well on my goals, but I need to work on my running shoe addiction a bit more and cut-back even more on the sugar i.e. baked goods, ice cream, cake, whoopie pies, well you get the picture.

Overall grade if I was still teaching - about a C+


Originally posted on One Foot In Reality and written by Harold L. Shaw

The Year in Tech - More Change

2019 was a year of change, simplification and reflection for me.

I guess it wouldn't be complete if I didn't make some major adjustments, changes and going backward to go forward with how I use technology. Over the course of the year, I have played around in all three of the major tech silos with varying degrees of frustration, success, and enjoyment.

Now I would like to believe that I am fairly tech-savvy and have a pretty good idea of how to use and abuse most operating systems quite nicely.



This year I have bounced between my iPad Pro 10.5 with three different Bluetooth keyboards, Apple iPhone 7, Nokia Windows Lumia Icon 929 (on a lark), Kyocera DuraForce Pro (the camera sucked), to an old Lenovo 2011 ThinkPad 230T that I have upgraded considerably. Along with a couple of Linux laptops and multiple other computers that I help to keep up and running around here.

In November, I found out that my iPad Pro's battery was and still is not doing all that great, plugged in it works fantastic. Unfortunately, for what it costs to get it replaced, I can get a very nice new computer. While the iPad Pro has done what I need, I am not completely happy with the Bluetooth keyboards that I have to use compared to a dedicated keyboard. There is lag and keystrokes do not always register, which slows me down when I am typing, frustrates me when it happens and it happens all too often.

How IOS works between my iPhone 7 and the iPad Pro has been nice, but as good as it is, when I need to use a non-Apple device, the Apple silo raises its ugly head and creates too much friction to whatever it is that I want to do on my other devices.

It also meant that it was time to look into getting another primary computer

At this point, my in-house options were going back to my 2011 Lenovo with the bad screen (the little white dot in the lower corner continues to keep growing larger), play on a couple of old Dells that have Ubuntu/Mint on them or attempt to resurrect a 2014 ASUS with a questionable motherboard. Not really too many real options for a primary computer going forward.

Since I was more or less in the Apple silo that was really my first choice, but when I got looking around the Internet for a used Mac (Air, Pro or Book), a new one was not an option at over a grand as a starting point. The pricing was still in the $600-$700 range for a 2015 Mac in good condition. Which to me is still pretty steep for what I actually do on a computer since I retired.

So that avenue really wasn't a viable option.

Then I thought about going all-in with Microsoft, but no dedicated phone and my experience using Windows 10 on my Lenovo as my primary computer, has reminded me of the many things I don't like about Windows-based computers. While my experience was better than it has been in the past, there are too many things that just feel clunky, I tend to get too far into the weeds with the settings (I know more than enough to be dangerous) and I wasn't all that thrilled about being back in the Microsoft silo. Though the wife likes it, so I will never be free of it completely. :-)

This really hit home when I was working on a blog post one morning and suddenly my Lenovo went into update mode. Now I am savvy enough that I had set all the settings so that auto-update wouldn't happen during the day - at least that is what I thought. Needless to say, I was just a bit frustrated by the whole thing and any thoughts about getting a newer Windows machine was DOA after that little episode.

Linux is a lot better than it used to be, but it is pretty much a last resort kind of OS for me. I can use the Terminal when I have to, but I am looking more for a turn on the computer, use it the way I want and not frig fart around with a bunch of back-end or under the hood management stuff.

This meant that I had to suck it up and pay the price with Apple or moving back to Google, which I had left due to security and privacy concerns when I got the iPad Pro a couple of years ago.

My biggest concern about Google has been and always will be that I was, am and will be the product.

The main purpose of their "free" services are more about enticing me to voluntarily allow Google to collect my personal data to ensure that they and their advertisers have access to information to help sell me stuff that I "need".

However, I am rather cynical in my old age and tend to believe that all the major tech silos, brands, and corporations collect our personal data, use it for their own purposes and other corporations, entities, and government agencies have more access to that data than we know or the companies would like us to believe. No, I am not a conspiracy theorist or anything like that. I just don't believe that I am all that naive about how much of our personal information is being collected, shared and used.

However, like I learned a long time ago if you use the internet or GPS device, hell just walking down a street in most cities and towns you do not have any privacy. With those thoughts in mind, I figured that I might as well go with the suite of products that I am most comfortable using and works best for my current needs and not my ego.

When I honestly took a close look at how I use computers today versus how I used to use them. I found that my computing needs have changed completely over the past 3 years and the idea that I need the same things a power user does is no longer the case.

Also, I have owned three Chromebooks and worked at a college where I did everything through Google products and knew the way things worked pretty darn well in the world of Google. I just had to get myself back up to speed with some of the changes that had taken place over the past couple of years.

The idea of moving back into a Google-based tech silo was a lot cheaper, probably almost as easy as setting up another Mac and the more I thought about it, the more I decided to test things out, before making a final decision. So for most of December, I have worked on moving things to a Google-centric technology base.

For me and how I do things, it was an easy switch back and whatever device I am using (it doesn't much matter if it is Microsoft, Apple, or Linux, I have the same documents/spreadsheets/bookmarks. There are a few things I that I tend to go Mmmmm, let's try that differently, but for the most part, the move back has been pretty dare I say easy.

So that is how I got back in the Google silo.

Based on that moving experience, I decided to get a used Google Chromebook Pixel 2 (2015) with the i7 processor and 16gb RAM for a fantastic price earlier in December and put it under the Christmas tree as a present from Santa. It was the computer that I really wanted when it came out, but at $1299 was simply too expensive. At this price and with the improvements to the Chrome OS and being able to use Android apps, it is more future proof than a used MacBook (line) would be, even though its end of life support with Google is in 2020.



Yeah, my tech life has had a major upheaval, but in the long run, I believe that it will simplify my workflows and work better with how I use technology now. Although at some point in the next year, I foresee a Pixel smartphone replacing my old iPhone 7, which is getting long in the tooth but still works pretty well for me even with most everything else being Google based. Google apps almost turn it into a Google phone with better security and updates-almost.

Let's hope that on the tech front 2020 is a nice and boring year, where at the end of next December, I simply say - I stayed with Google all year, didn't have any major meltdowns and love my Chromebook Pixel 2. Which after 6 days, I can say I am loving at this point.

Originally posted on One Foot in Reality and written by Harold L. Shaw.

Running in 2019 - A Very Good Year

Since it is snowing pretty good and I am going to have to play with the beast (snowblower) for two to three hours this afternoon, I don't anticipate getting another run in during what is left of 2019. So while I am waiting around for the snow to end, I figured I might as well finish up this post.

Running in 2019 was all about running consistently and figuring out where I want running and life beyond running, to take me in the future, after 8 years of having been so focused on "being a runnah".

We had a lot going on in our lives and our schedule in 2019 was not one where my running could be the priority it had been in past years. This meant that I had to focus more on consistently getting my runs done and not worrying about whether my training resulted in racing much if at all.

Even though I had a stress reaction/fracture back in June from my making a training mistake. I mostly ran well and was able to enjoy my running more than I have in a long time. No stress about having to get ready for this or that race seemed to help a lot.



Even so, I managed to get over 1,700 miles in for the year and other than June surpassed 100 miles each month. This was my best annual total since 2015, so I am still making some progress, though I have a feeling that I am slower than I used to be.

That part of getting old thing raising its ugly head again. Yeah, I struggle with that idea every so often, but it beats the alternative. :-)


My final totals for 2019


  • Miles: 1707.4
  • Time Running 250:32:19  (over 250 hours of running)
  • Average pace per run this year: 8:48
  • Average monthly mileage: 142.2
  • Average weekly mileage: 32.8


Running Shoes



As usual, I ran in too many running shoes, but I think that I have pretty much solved my gotta try the newest, greatest that I see in various running blogs or on my Facebook Shoe Geeks group - attitude or is that addiction. Plus those running shoes that I see where I gotta buy that great deal on eBay or Amazon.

My shoe of the year was the New Balance Beacon v1 and I put more miles in the Beacon line than I did any other shoe. I learned a lot about what I really want from my running shoes and even though I did get off on some tangents I kept coming back to New Balance shoes because they fit me the best and I run comfortably in them.

Although Hoka One One, Asics and Saucony are coming out with shoes in 2020 that really intriguing, However, when I am honest, I haven't had much luck with the actual fit in my hard to fit the right foot with those brands.

Harold stop.

Racing

The one thing that I didn't do very much was running in races this year. I trained as though I was going to run a 5K or 10K at any time during 2019, but due to so many factors, despite having plenty of opportunities, I never really got around to racing.

One race the entire year, but with everything going on, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do, so I didn't.



However, this is something that I want to change going forward and while it will take some juggling of schedules to make it happen, but I want to accomplish a couple of things and racing is the only way that I can do that.

The biggest thing I learned in 2019 about my running is that wearing trifocal glasses that transition to very dark lenses, does not work well when running trails or dirt roads. They might be great for snowshoeing or walking in bright sunshine, but I can't see worth a shit and have zero depth perception when I am running in them. :-)



Overall, my running in 2019 was really good. I ran consistently and only got injured in June because I was getting greedy and seeing delusions of grandeur on the horizon. The injury brought me back to reality, slowed my arse down to where I should be and the rest of the year went well. In December I decided to rest, recuperate (mentally as well as physically) and ran simply by how I felt. Which didn't mean that I didn't do some fast running, it just meant that I ran how I wanted.

Although I do have to admit that I struggled with how much harder it is to maintain the faster speeds that I "think" or believe that I should be running. That not wanting to admit how much aging is starting to affect the old body and how fast I can run.

Originally posted on One Foot in Reality and written by Harold L. Shaw.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Storm Ready and Getting 5.0 Miles in First - 12-30-19

Well, I woke up with the usual pounding head that seems to be my wont in life when a storm is coming our way. Yeah, we are supposed to get whacked with some ice and snow again, so I get to do the prep work for that...always fun, but necessary to be prepared. That Semper Paratus thing that was drilled into my head for over 20 years, I guess. ;-)

Even so, it was pretty chilly for both the early and long walks with Bennie, but that Northwind is supposed to keep the biggest part of the storm to the South, so it would be nice if the snow stopped somewhere around Augusta and all we get is a dusting. Fat chance, but a guy can dream - right.




I was all ready to head to the gym, to do a faster workout, when my wonderful wife informed me of a change of plans. We were going to do our shopping this morning, picking up SD2s vehicle and then I would be picking her up from work later. Not that I mind terribly the change of plans, I usually do play chauffeur in bad weather, but that meant completely changing around my running plans - oh boo hoo!!!

hehehehe

That meant that I wouldn't be heading to the gym as planned at all today and that I was going to have to run outside doing mile laps out in front of the house. At least the roads were still clear until just as we finished running. Yeah, the wife was out there also, doing her mileage in the cold.

It seems that as long as I cover my face the cold doesn't seem as bad, but it also means that I get to run without my glasses because when I cover my face, they fog up badly. I can't see all that great without my glasses, so I have to pay attention and not go off on some mind-bending tangent and lose touch with where I am on the roads.

I did 5.0 miles at an easy pace for 4.0 miles and picked it up a little during the last mile. In that kind of cold, I really do not attempt to run hard, even after I have warmed up because it is still too easy to pull a muscle or something. As one runner puts in his running log - Just another easy run.

After eating a quick lunch, Bennie and settled in for our afternoon nap and the next thing I knew SD2 was texting me letting me know that I had 25 minutes to go pick her up since they were closing early.

It takes 20 minutes to get there on a good day and today's freezing rain wasn't what I call a good day.

I got there safely, if a couple minutes later than closing time.

What did I read today?

Everyone Around You is Grieving. Go Easy
Quick Tips: How to know if you need wide shoes
How Disinformation Hacks Your Brain
Reebok Forever Floatride Energy SmackDown - 2.0 vs OG
2019 Running Review - Omni Running
Speed Work: Do I use my actual paces or equivalent?
Can Johnny Come Out and Play?
Brother Steps In 
Winter Solstice, Feeling Different...and is Aging So Bad?
Winter Solstice
My 2019 Year Rehashed
A Face at the Window
How Does the Brain Organize Memories Across Time

That is the best thing about my life now if I need to be flexible with my day, I can be without having to go through giant gyrations to get things done. Although I gotta be honest, I would have preferred to do the treadmill speed workout than my run outside in the cold and wind, but I got the miles in that I wanted.

Overall, a pretty good day.

Originally posted on Aging - My Thoughts and written by Harold L. Shaw. My daily adventures and thoughts about what is going on around me.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Still Sorting Things Out and Smiling More - 12-29-19

Today was the kind of day that I needed.

A comfortable day outside, well at least for winter and not a lot going on other than a nice run. Although I might have gotten in a longer than normal nap, a good dog walk over at UMA, delving into the rabbit hole of old blogs I used to follow and in the process found several new ones that sound interesting. Hell, I didn't have the TV on for more than a few minutes...my interest in professional football continues to wane and most shows outside of a very few don't make me stop what I am doing to watch them.

These two were waiting when we opened the door, it is time to be fed, what have you two been doing???
This morning's run was more to get out and stretch out the legs than any kind of serious training run. I only needed 2 miles to go over 1,700 for 2019, so I planned on running my test course to get the miles in. It did mean coming back up Philbrick Hill, but I am getting used to running up the darn thing at this point. Nope, it doesn't mean it is easy, just that it is part of running in winter when I run around the house.




It was very fitting that I chose to wear my New Balance Beacon 2s since I put more miles in that line of shoes than I did any other over the course of 2019.

This afternoon, we did something a bit different, we took both dogs (Bennie and Hunter) on a road trip to UMA for a walk. Usually, if those two get too close to one another for too long, there are problems with both attempting to prove their dominance of the other. Not fun or good, but today, they were well-behaved and I enjoyed walking around the old stomping grounds.


Mary asked if I missed working there and I told her that sometimes I do. Not so much the work, but more because the people at UMA were great to work with. It did bring back a lot of good memories.

Tonight I was reading an article and the author was someone who's blog I followed for several years, but lost track of somehow or another. So I followed the link back to Bob Lowry's Satisfying Retirement blog and read a few articles and added it back into my list of blogs I follow.

While there I got into his blog list rabbit hole and had about 20 tabs open with blogs that I wanted to get a closer look at. Some were other old blogs that I used to follow and others were new to me. I followed a few that seemed in line with the direction I am going or were just interesting on their own.

Articles that I read today:

How to Retire and Follow Your Own Path - podcast
Holiday Visitors
The Earth is Flat - this is the old blog that I used to follow, glad I found it again.
Simple Strategies That Will Help You Live Longer
3 Mindful Steps to Make Successful New Year's Resolutions
Recommended Reading 2019 - FS Blog
Spirituality and Aging: Lessons in Letting Go
Consistently Good Enough Beats Occasionally Great
Neuroplasticity And the Aging Brain
Seven Reasons We Should Be Amazed About Getting Older
The Summerhouse Year's role as a retirement influencer
What is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started - This is one of those blogs that I used to follow and something that I do attempt to follow to some extent. "The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not." Something I work hard at thinking about whenever I can or run into situations where I have to determine whether I can change something or not and if it is worth worrying about if I cannot. I will start following this site again and who knows to bring a few more of its ideas back into my life.
Glad to be alive - Sightings at 60...one of those new to me blogs I will be following.

One of those quiet days where I didn't really accomplish a lot, but I feel really great about the day that I had. Right now I am in one of those reflective moods that are brought on by the end of the year and also the end of the decade, during which my life and outlook on life have been challenged several times and changed for what I believe is the better.

Well back to reality tomorrow...the cat boxes need changing, a snowstorm is coming and depending on the track will give us somewhere between 3 and 8 inches of the lovely white stuff (I will be calling it white shite in March) to move around. I will do chauffeur duty on Tuesday morning/evening and whatever chores need to get done around the house before the storm hits.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Tough Start and a Good Run Later - 12-28-19

Well, the day started out pretty interestingly, at least according to Sun Tzu. For Bennie's first walk we encountered just a bit of ice on the roads from yesterday's bout of freezing rain. So it was a bit slippery out and even after the Town truck went through - they supposedly sanded, but it was a damned light effort, things were not a whole lot better.



Luckily for us, the temps quickly went up into the '40s and the ice on the roads was largely gone by the time we went out for his long walk, but down-back was still horrible and the only thing walking down there would have resulted in was a broken leg or arm. So I stayed up in front of the house and didn't risk playing on the ice down-back.



However, even after finishing the walk with Bennie, the road shoulders were still too icy to safely run out heah if I met traffic, plus I was planning on a longer run. So I decided discretion was the better part of valor and headed to Augusta to run from Planet Fitness. At least I knew the shoulders on Civic Center Drive would be runnable and even though there would be more traffic, it would still be safer than running in Sidney.

I was correct, although, in the shady areas, I still had to pay attention to the ice that had not melted yet.

I wasn't planning on going fast and the only thing I wanted to do was get some miles in and enjoy the run. Of course, when I got to Dunkins, I had to make a pit stop. It just seems that whenever I run lately that I have to make pit stops. All the way out I got to play into a headwind and when I turned around at Steve's Appliance, I enjoyed the tailwind a little more than I should have.



Unfortunately at about the 5.0-mile mark, the bottom of my feet started to bother, not sure what is up with that, but this is the first long run in the Propels in quite a while and I typically need to let my feet get used to running longer distances outside before I can run discomfort free. It wasn't really enough to stop me from finishing the run, it was more just there and it made it so I didn't want to do the extra 3.0 miles I had planned on originally. Just one of those things.



Actually, I was pretty happy with the run, other than the feet issues and the 9:16 pace overall felt really comfortable.

This afternoon was just doing chores around the house. However, breaking down all the boxes that appeared over Christmas took almost 45 minutes. Nope, I didn't give blood while using my box cutter for cutting the tape, which was unusual. That is is usually part of the deal, gotta give a little blood to get things done. I was impressed, even the Transfer Station worker was in a good mood and was willing to talk more than a grunt and helped me unload the truck for a change.

Small things matter more than we think they do sometimes.

What did I read today:

Stop Trying to Fix Yourself and Start Enjoying Your Life
20 Tiny Changes You Can Make in Your Home to Make Life Simpler
How Your Diet Affects Your Mental Health
This is How a Gift Wrapper Changed Her Life
Top stories: Bubbles in Google Message, Pixel 4a renders | 9to5 Google
Here are 9 great apps for your new Android device
How to Make the Switch from Windows to Linux


Friday, December 27, 2019

A Day to Stay Inside - 12-27-19

Today was one of those days where you stay in the house, read a lot, write a bit and if you have to go outside staying vertical is a damned big challenge. We had one of those miserable freezing rain storms today that is the one thing that I won't go drive or even think about running in.



When Bennie has a tough time staying upright on all fours just walking down the driveway, it ain't a day to do stuff outside in my opinion.

So I wrote a blog post, which you can read about here. However, it was a timely crawl into a few rabbit holes that resulted in me looking at how many apps I have on my iPhone and deleting/re-organizing the menu screens significantly. I plan to do the same on my other computers when I get time.

Then I spent the day relaxing and reading a lot:

Jeff Beck's McDowell Mountain Frenzy - 50 Mile Race Report - This was one of the most poignant race reports I have read in a long, long time. Excellent lead-up, great writing and I shed more than a few tears while reading it.
It's Not Going Away - Vets Still Seeing Cases of Dog Heart Problems Linked to Grain-Free Food
UCSF Leads National Research on Deprescribing Patient Taking Too Many Meds
The Work Required to Have An Opinion - The short version of this post could have been - In order to have an opinion, you need to know what you are talking about and what the other side is talking about too. Unfortunately, most of us do not do the work.
Why We Can't Tell the Truth About Aging - If you can wade through the first 2/3 of the article the rest is pretty good and makes you think.
The Value of Grey Thinking - Has nothing to do with gray hair or getting older, this is the most difficult kind of thinking - knowing that the answer lies along a continuum of "it depends". That right/wrong might be something different than what we have believed for so long is a tough nut to crack and many people do not even try.
More Boomers March Toward Old Age Without a Partner in Life
Ok, boomer": The catchphrase of 2019 has a blind spot on race - Not a fan of the phrase not just because I am a boomer, but more because of the stereotypical responses it evokes in both directions.
Why Kindness is the Key to Improved Well Being
The 80/20 Rule and How It Can Change Your Life - So, what 20% of your life drives 80% of how you live?
How to Remember What You Read
Why You Should Consider a Chromebook
How to Go Full-Time Chromebook, Save Money, and Ditch the MacBook and Window 10 and Switch to a Google Pixelbook

Quite the selection of articles I got to read today and this doesn't include the ones I read about the Celtics and their win.

I might have even gotten in my afternoon nap. :-)

No, I didn't run today or do anything other than walk Bennie a few times. This time of year I do not get too worried about days off or reduced mileage. It is time to cut-back, let the body heal and just run when I feel like it to the end of the year.

December is time for reflecting on 2019, thinking about 2020 goals and what I need to do to enjoy the life I have even more. I got to do a bit of that today as well.

However, I think that Bennie and Isabelle had the best ideas of what to do today





The Pareto Principle and Re-Organizing My Tech

This morning I was reading a blog post from the Farnum Street blog on "How to Remember What You Read" and it had a small section on the Pareto Principle. For the life of me I couldn't remember what it was, so I went down into the Pareto Principle rabbit hole for a while.

Yes, I had heard of the Pareto Principle before but had forgotten what it was actually about (it has been a few years since I had thought or read anything about it). The quick definition would be:

that "80% of results will come from just 20% of the action." which I copied from here

When I got to reading a bunch of the different links that I ended up following it got me to thinking about how I could use Pareto thinking to weed out some of my technology duplication, mindless additions, and apps/software on my phone or computers that no longer serves any real purpose to my daily life.

Especially, since I have retired and no longer have to worry about a lot of things that were part and parcel of the world of work.


When I got to looking at my old iPhone 7, I was pretty amazed to figure out that I had so many apps on it. When I stopped and looked at my menus it was rather overwhelming about how they were organized (more accurately - not organized) or if I even used/needed them.

The Principle worked pretty closely to form and I really only use about 20% of the apps that were on my phone.


Admittedly, I am still in the process of moving my tech silo from Apple's offerings along with a smattering of Microsofts over to Google's so there are more here I usually keep on my phone. However, this would be a great time to get rid of some of the overlap and apps that I really have never used and probably will not now that I have changed things up again.

Here is what the same iPhone 7 looks like after taking a closer look at what I use and need.


Quite a difference in my mind.

I can't really get rid of some of the Apple apps and I do use Microsoft's Authenticator a bit, so I kept those. I really didn't need three mail apps and since I got rid of my subscription to Apple Music and use Play Music for everything now, so why bother keeping it when all it was doing was just taking up space.

Really, I could probably get rid of Google Docs, Slides and Sheets and just access them through Drive, but I will wait a little while on those to see if I do use them or not. I don't really use tasks all that much and have never been much of one to use an online task management system, but I have a few things that repeat and I don't want to forget them so I will keep it around for those times.

So I made some progress on organizing my phone and mostly have the apps I use or need on it. While I see a couple more areas that I could create some folders, I will leave things alone for a few days to see how these changes work for me.

I will probably do the same thing on my iPad Pro, Lenovo Thinkpad 230T and even my new Chromebook which has some stuff that I really don't need hanging around over the next couple of days just to clean things up a bit.

All I can say is going down that little rabbit hole and re-reading about the Pareto Principle did make me stop and go down a different rabbit hole of my own to see what I could streamline, get rid of duplicates and stuff I just don't use anymore on my iPhone 7.

Who knows maybe when I upgrade next time it will be an Android phone and I won't have to worry about the Apple apps anymore.

I will figure things out I am sure.

What about you, what things or processes in your life are affected by the Pareto Principle - that wonderful 80/20 rule that is different now, but you haven't done anything about them? Can you streamline any of them so that you focus more on the 20% of things you actually need or use?






Thursday, December 26, 2019

Brrr, the Day After and RunLog 12-26-19

The day after Christmas is usually about trying out the new things we got as presents yesterday, putting things together and just recovering from the food-induced comas we ate ourselves into. Not all bad things, but some of the new things can be frustrating and raise the stress levels a bit.

One area where I zero stress was from my new to me computer. My Chromebook Pixel 2 is everything that I thought it would be and I am really enjoying using it. You can read more about my thoughts on it here.

Surprisingly, none of the things that needed to be put together were missing parts and went together smoothly, new items worked the way they were supposed and most everything fit nicely. Pretty much a great day after and I didn't even feel all that bad after eating way too much of the sweet stuff.



Luckily, today was one of those glorious winter days where the sun is shining, although the breeze was out of the North and definitely brought those temps from the teens to subzero around the house. This meant that Bennie's longer walk this morning was cut a little shorter than usual. He was shivering pretty good when we got back to the house.



After being out in the cold for his walk, I decided to head to the gym and play on the treadmill for an hour or so. Although Mary did make me feel a bit guilty when I drove by her and she was out running in the cold. I justified it by saying that I would have been outside for a lot longer, but the truth is that she is just tougher than I am.

I got to the gym and even though I did bring my outside running stuff, the breeze was a bit stiffer down on Outer Civic Center Drive, so I decided to wimp out and do my run on the treadmill.



Originally, I had thought about running my long run today, but when I saw the forecast for Saturday was going to be 40's and sunshine, I thought it would be a great day to get outside to my long run. So today was a little longer run with some speed surges thrown in on the treadmill to make me change my stride while running on the treadmill.

I did wear my old New Balance Beacon 2's, I am going to save my new shoes for after the new year and besides I am pretty sure I can get these up to 300 miles. They still feel good when running on the treadmill and I might as well use them for as long as I can run comfortably in them.

What did I read today:

Drones and robots won't make war easier
Kemba Walker lauds the Gordon Haywood Effect
Michael Ellenberger's 2019 Shoes & Gear of the Year
Sam Winebaum's Best of 2019 Running Shoes, Apparel and Run Tech
No second guessing, 2019 was a win
It's time to rethink the Chrom OS upgrade standard
The smart worker's guide to using a Chromebook offline

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Why A Chromebook Pixel 2 LS in 2019

Sometimes going against the grain, works to my advantage and I have a feeling that might be the case this time.



I needed a new primary laptop because my iPad Pro's battery is not doing well and to replace the battery (it works fine plugged in) would cost more than many new computers would cost. Plus I wanted something with a real keyboard so typing is not a chore like it is on the iPad's Bluetooth keyboards - let's just say I am not a big fan of the three I have used so far. When I prefer using my old 2011 Lenovo ThinkPad 230T for typing, there is something not quite right in my opinion.

After doing a LOT of research, thinking about how I actually use a computer now that I am retired and the costs involved, I came to a surprise choice.

Apple’s offerings start at $1,000 or new for a laptop and if I am honest that is more than I am willing to spend every 3-4 years to stay in their tech silo. Windows 10 machines, can be powerful and do more than I need, unfortunately, my recent experiences with it are that there is just something to about it that just doesn’t thrill me as an operating system. Linux is still too reliant on the terminal and command lines for my taste, although it is getting better.

I wanted more of a plug it in, turn it on and start using my laptop experience and have my other devices no matter what tech silo they come from - have a fairly frictionless experience to get to my data or information.

For Christmas, Santa brought me a Chromebook and I am very happy about it.

After all, it is what I asked for over something MacOS or Windows-based.

Now, why on earth would I ask for a Chromebook when I could have had a "real" computer?

Actually, a Chromebook is a "real" computer despite what some of the pundits might say. ChromeOS is a locked-down Linux distribution, which now has access to Android Apps and other Linux-based software.   If you have a newer Chromebook that is authorized, my computer does not have access to Linux software.

A Chromebook will do everything that I do on a computer at this time.

So what do I do on my laptop?

Browse the web, shop for stuff I really don't need, read news and blogs, check email, Facebook and Twitter, listen to music streaming or my playlists, podcasts, watch some videos and movies, use a spreadsheet, write blog posts, do some very minor photo or video editing, and play a few games.

All things that are right in the Chromebook's wheelhouse.

Another factor is that I tend to sign in from several different devices over the course of day or week and having the ability to have my work and profile available to me whatever device I am on, without a lot of friction is a big deal to me. It probably is the biggest reason why I chose to go with the Chromebook and Google.

Privacy

Yeah, I know what about privacy and Google's reputation. I have a feeling that I will address those questions/issues in a future post and how they relate to us older folk, but the simple answer is if you go on on the Internet, carry a phone/smartphone, walk down a city street, go in most stores or use a GPS device, you do not have privacy. You can plan on someone somewhere, some machine or network is monitoring and recording your activity. For the most part, we don't know who it is, what information is actually collected or how it is or will be used.

Unfortunately, it is part of modern life (the lack of personal privacy) under present laws, regulations and business practices. At least with Google, I have an idea of what they are doing and if I take the time to read their privacy statements and terms of service it is pretty clear - I am the product and in exchange for me being the product I use their services for "free". Not the best deal in the world, but at least I know they are doing it and I am getting some benefit out of their data collection efforts about me.

What Can’t I Do?

About the only thing that I can't really do on a Chromebook that I normally do is play Never Winter Nights 2 (I couldn't on my iPad Pro either and lived without it - though I did whine a bit) and I could probably figure out a way to do that if I get really motivated now that I can download Linux software. However, I can play Never Winter Night #1 and it looks great, so I can fulfill most of that need this way.

My days of being a power user or wanting to get deep under the hood of an OS are pretty much over. I just want to turn my laptop on, use it, not worry about having to keep frig farting around with settings and all the other systems admin stuff that goes along with other operating systems. I have been there done that for too many years and don't want to deal with it any more than I have to.

So for how I actually use a computer now, the Chromebook will work just fine for me.

Are you sure?

Yeah fairly certain.

I have owned two Chromebooks before and know from personal experience the limitations of the Chrome OS, which I mostly liked even when I had other priorities or needs. Also, over the past month, I have been moving to Google's services on both IOS and Windows, while doing research on the changes that have taken place since I got rid of my last Chromebook in 2017. I have learned a lot and Chrome OS has come a long way.

Thinking about it, I haven't had to go outside of the Google Silo for anything that I would be doing on a Chromebook for a couple of weeks now. The stuff that I went out of Google’s silo for was more system admin stuff that I will not have to worry about on the Chromebook.

I have been using Google's products off and on since they started rolling them out 15 or so years ago (it doesn’t seem possible), both as a teacher and admin specialist and find that most of the time things worked within the Google tech silo the way that I want them to.

So I am back in the Google silo once more.

What Chromebook did I get?

Finally, I am going to talk about which damn computer I got.

Google's Chromebook Pixel 2 LS from 2015. A used computer, WTFO???

YEAH, the i7 version with 16gb of RAM and 64gb hard drive, with actual ports, a keyboard that is top-notch and a screen that would still be near the top of the class if released today. My concerns will be the small 64gb hard drive, but I can plug in a good-sized SD card to take care of that issue and battery life. If I need to change out the battery, it might be a pain to do, but is not ridiculously priced and I have a feeling that I can probably manage the change out.

It is a laptop that I really, really wanted when it first came out, but I couldn't justify the $1299 price tag. I was able to get a deal on it for just over $275. Which I thought was a pretty good deal for a computer that I have wanted for a while and have been watching the prices come down on for a couple of years.

I have used it for a couple of hours now and it has impressed me tremendously. The LS is well-named as ludicrous speed. I love being able to use Android apps and it took me about 20 minutes to get things updated and set up the way that I wanted the computer. A lot different than my wife's new Windows machine which took over an hour to get set up and updated. I still have a few things left to do on hers and with my Chromebook, it is more about just using it.

Yes, I do know it is coming up on end of life soon, but at the same time the hardware is hard to beat and if Google stops updating it completely, eventually I will probably turn it into a Linux machine and keep smiling - the specs are that good.

The reality is that

I am excited about getting my Chromebook and seeing what it can actually do. Although after only a couple of hours tonight, I am sorry that I wasn't able to get it back in 2015. I know that putting it under the Christmas Tree was a tough decision, but the correct one. It forced me to do the prep work I would have ignored or had to do on the fly once I started using my new Chromebook which made the transition that much easier.

Now that I have it up and running, it is time to see if my initial impressions about what I think about my Google Chromebook Pixel 2 LS is correct or if I am way off base.

Hopefully, Google decides to extend the end of life for this Chromebook, it would be a shame to stop supporting such a wonderful computer.

I will find out.

Christmas Day 2019 - Now Its Time to Wind Down

I think you have heard this so many times today, so I guess one more time will not hurt you.

Merry Christmas!!!



The presents have been passed out, the food eaten (leftovers are still a thing), walks done, most of the guests are gone and it is the evening of Christmas Day. I do not know about you, but I am tired and it is time to relax a little.


Bennie helping to unwrap presents, he is one tired dog tonight after help Mary and I unwrap our presents

Santa was generous this year, lots of running gear, a couple pair of running shoes, way too many sweets and a new to me Google Chromebook Pixel 2 - 2015, that I am typing this post on.

I wish that I had gotten this computer back in 2015 when it came out, now that I have played with it for a while. What an amazing piece of hardware and the LS - ludicrous speed designator is accurate. It is fast with everything that I have used it for so far and makes other computers that I have used seem sooooo slow. The screen is pretty great too. To be honest, I didn't realize how good this computer really was, now let's see what I think in a week or so, after using it for a while.

No running today, which I kind of figured would happen, but I will get back to it tomorrow.

For the most part I behaved when it came to eating, but I gotta admit that Mary's homemade Coconut Cream pie did deserve my attention twice, especially with the homemade whipped cream that happened to end up on top.

Elliott playing with his new toy

Other than that, it was the usual Christmas Day - stressful to get through lunch and then slowed down as the day goes on.

Oh, by the way, did anyone notice that the Celtics won. :-)

How was your Christmas, hopefully, it was a good day for you and yours?







Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve 2019 - Pretty Quiet Around Heah

I wish all who celebrate it, a very enjoyable Christmas Eve, that you get to spend time with family and/or friends that your evening is a good one. Also, I will wish everyone a very Merry Christmas tonight as well. If you exchange gifts, I hope that you got some things that you needed and wanted, but remember the day is not about what you get, but more about who you are with and how much love you can share with your family and friends.

No, I am not being sappy, it is what I believe and as I get older, I believe it more each year.

I am not sure of when or if I will do a post tomorrow or not. It depends on what is going on.

Tonight we are in relaxation mode, Mary and the girls have been in baking mode and have got most everything ready for the Holiday festivities in the morning.



Today was more about getting little things done, like putting up towel bars in the bathroom, finishing my shopping for Mary (yeah, I know) and stuff like that.

I did my go faster workout, but I wasn't feeling all that great and pulled the plug after 4.0 miles. However, I was satisfied with the effort level and what I did accomplish while running on the treadmill.

1.0 mile @ 6.8 mph -- warm-up
1.0 mile @ 8.6 mph - 5K race pace
4 x .25 @ 8.7, 8.8, 8.9 and 9.0 mph
Recoveries were at 6.8 mph

At the last minute, I decided to do this workout versus the progression run that I had originally planned on. I have a feeling that I might have done better with the tempo and hills I had planned. Something was off and I struggled a lot more than I usually do on the last couple of faster quarters. Otherwise, I would have done a couple of more quarters and then a series of .10 strides at mile pace.

It was a good workout, but not the one that I wanted or expected. Some days are like that and you just have to smile then move on to the next workout.

What did I read today?

Reader Beware - Separating Fact, Fake and Fiction on the Internet
What Philosophy Can Teach Us About Endurance
These Will Be the Biggest Health Trends of 2020
27 Best Chrome OS Tips and Tricks You Should Use (2020)
What Is the Core of Masculinity
The Morning Shakeout | Issue 215
10 Ways to Live Longer

A pretty eclectic bunch of articles and none of them really made me go mmm enough to comment much about any of them.

Not a great day, but another day that wasn't all that terrible either.






Start the Day Off Right

How do you start your day?

If you are like a lot of people you look at the time from bleary eyes, try for an extra 5 minutes of sort of sleeping. Finally, you crawl out of bed, complain to yourself or whoever you woke up beside about how this or that hurts, head to the bathroom, then blindly head to the kitchen to make coffee or else throw on your work clothes rush out the door to head to work. If you have retired blop down in front of the TV to watch Sports Center or the news while you eat breakfast.

Sounds pretty familiar to a lot of us I bet. I did this routine for way too many years.

However, when we got the little bundle of joy named Bennie back in 2010, that all changed.


He is one of those dogs you cannot just let out the door to do his business, he has to be leashed and walked, otherwise you might not see him for a few hours and the stress of wondering where he is and if he is okay while searching for him until you find him, is a lot worse than getting the leash out and walking the little beastlet.

So over those years, I have turned into a walk first thing in the morning person. I know that I have to get up earlier in the morning, every day to ensure that I have time to walk Bennie and it has changed my life for the better.

Do I really want to every day?

Of course not, but on the rare day that I do not walk with him first thing in the morning, my day seems off and the old body just feels stiff and aches a lot more than usual. Bennie's enthusiasm and bouncing around over starting the day outside usually gets me through those blizzards, snowstorms, rain, hurricanes and other "interesting" weather. Those things might cut down how far we walk, but we always take the time to get outside and see how "bad" the weather actually is. Bennie is pretty smart, but he hasn't learned to use the toilet yet.



I really believe that I need my walk first thing in the morning, it gets the kinks out. I really don't consider this walking with him exercise, because there are so many stops for Bennie to sniff this or that, leave messages for his kingdom and it is done a pretty easy pace. However, I do add it to my daily cardio total, so I guess it might be considered exercise.

Walking first thing gives me a chance to ease into my day, think a little about what is going on and what needs to be done, appreciate nature's beauty, get lots of fresh air and actually see the changing seasons.

Now you might be saying I don't have time to get outside for a walk, which I say is bullshit. We make time for what we think is important. We all make choices about how we want to spend our day and one of the choices I make is to start most days with a little walk with my dog.

All I know is that it helps me start my day off on a positive note and it helps the old body loosen up a bit before breakfast. Which in turn allows me to have a better day overall.

How about you, do you exercise or go for a walk first thing in the morning?

If not, maybe it is time to try a short walk in the morning, you might have to get up a little earlier and go to bed sooner, but the benefits are there if you want them.

By the way, as an added benefit you might even catch a gorgeous sunrise and be amazed by the sights of the seasons, which you will become more in tune with.


Come on and join me for a morning walk, it does an old body good.

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Pretty Darn Good Day

Often we overlook the things we do daily as simply routine and nothing special.

Today I stopped and stepped back to take a look at my day from a slightly different perspective than usual. I didn't focus on oh crap I gotta get this done and then I have to do that as I jump from hoop to hoop to hoop throughout my day. I purposely looked at it from the idea that I get to do this.

What a difference a slightly different perspective made in how I felt during the day.

When we got up at 6:20 AM, I chose to wear clothes that I haven't worn in a while, then while doing my almost mile first thing in the morning with Bennie, instead of putting my head down and forcing myself outside. I got geared up, out the door and actually looked around for a change. As a result, I did notice some new tracks made by the coyotes, pretty spectacular sunrise and the reasons why Bennie does stop at certain places on most mornings.



During breakfast, I turned off the TV, I really didn't need to listen to ESPN droning on mindlessly in the background and went through my morning reading routine without the background noise. I found that I enjoyed the articles more and actually thought about them versus my usual oh I read that...well sort of kind of reading.

After doing some chores around the house, during which I thought about a couple of the articles I read, one bothered me a lot and I am not sure why, but while it seemed jumbled and disjointed, it made sense on why the author presented the information in that manner, although the point hit too close to home. I will probably read it again tonight to see if another reading helps me understand why it bothered me so much.

Walking the dogs on their long walk was not all that much fun this morning. I still had that article on my mind, Hunter was being particularly putzy and I wanted to get back, so I could go for a run. However, down on the flats, we encountered a very strange, almost skunky smell, that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Whatever it was, put me on high alert and the dogs were not all that happy in that area.

Nothing happened, but there are times when walking in nature that when that happens, it is best to trust your instincts and stay alert to what is happening around you versus closing yourself off to what nature is trying to warn you about.

Once we got back I headed into Augusta for a run. I didn't feel like running down-back, but the weather was too damn nice to be stuck on the treadmill. I will know that I will be doing plenty of time on it, so whenever I get a chance on a nice day, I head outside for my run.

I planned on doing 5.0 or so and decided to do the Planet Fitness-Leighton-Commerce Center 5.0 mile course. The run itself was pretty routine and I focused on just enjoying the run. Which I did until I was coming back out of Leighton and had to make a pitstop at the bus depot - no choices on that.

I was pretty amazed at the amount of traffic on Outer Civic Center Drive and was glad that I didn't drive in it, but it even though it is against the law to drive and use a handheld device (i.e. smartphone) several drivers were still doing whatever with their phones. On more than a couple of occasions, I had to move over onto the grass portions because some idiot was over the white line and in the breakdown lane while on their phone. At least I was not wool-gathering and stayed focused on what was ahead of me. Surprisingly, even though I muttered under my breath a couple of times, what the drivers were doing didn't bother me all that much. It was more me thinking about how stoopid they were and that I just needed to keep aware of what they were doing.

A good run.

Lunch was more leftovers

Then Mary and I decided that we would head into Augusta to do our usual Monday shopping expedition to Sam's Club and Tractor Supply. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but people were driving like idiots, but instead of getting all upset by their actions, I just let things go, nothing anyone was doing was worth stressing out over.

The rest of the day was pretty good and more of the same. However, my purposeful change of perspective about how I would react or look at things did make a huge difference in how I saw, what I saw and reacted to the actions by others. I was more positive and a helluva lot less stressed than I usually during this time of year.

Maybe being a crotchety old bastid is not the best way to go through life. Not that I really am all that crotchety, but it was a good reminder that a positive attitude is a good thing.

What articles did I read today?

Why Your Brain Needs Exercise
The Flag in the Whirlwind: An Update from CTs President
Winter Running Tips from the Coldest Places on Earth
The Gift of Hope
Stop Saying Driverless Cars Will Help Old People
Langford's Comfort Level Rising After Productive Weekend
Raymond Briggs: Everything takes so bloody long when you're old
34 Best Body Weight Exercises 
How Mental Models Unlock Your Thinking
The Art of Dying
The Smart worker's guide to using a Chromebook offline

A lot of interesting reading and The Art of Dying was the one that bothered me in many ways. I will be re-reading this tonight and trying to decipher why it affected me so much.

Actually a really good day and one where I learned or should I say experienced the reason why having a positive attitude is so important at any age, but especially as we get older and seem to have less patience than we used to.

I guess it is appropriate to also show the sunset from this afternoon since it was pretty spectacular also.