The mundane happenings of life

Yesterday I managed to leave work early and stop to pick up my new glasses. I have been without glasses for close to two weeks now. The trouble with my glasses started several months ago when Jewel somehow got my pair off the table one morning before I left for work and completely destroyed them. Plastic lenses and plastic frames were chewed into pieces. So I had to put my back up pair into service and the arranged to get a new fitting. My back up pair was my prescription from about 6 years ago. It had been several years since I was last at the eye doctor, and so it was long overdue.

Well that lasted about a week when Jewel somehow got this pair of glasses and managed to chew the frame. Scotch tape to the rescue. Yes I was really the geeky nerd and endured this for several months. Between travel and other distractions, it took me months to finally get an appointment to get an eye examination and new glasses. Unfortunately, I also made the appointment for son, who was also have vision trouble at school. Yet here it was in the middle of summer before he finally admitted to having problems.

Driving was ok because I had my prescription sunglasses to wear. Didn’t work too well at night but that was manageable. By then the scotch tape was too much. Lost the screws that held the frame together and had to resort to crazy glue. That too wasn’t enough. Supper nerd needed to see the eye doctor.

Yesterday I managed to get my new glasses. Skipped the bifocals this time. I really just need them for distance because I have become accustomed to read or work on the computer without wearing them.

I guess Jewel likes them too. Now I put them in a place where she cannot reach them.

We found ourselves inside on a Friday night. Watched some tv, which was more enjoyable with the new glasses. Didn’t really do much of anything. I didn’t even cook myself a delicious meal. Maybe Saturday. It was quiet. I could have sat down and read my book but even that didn’t excite me. Clearly this weekend was going to be very different compared to last weekend. For me, I was back to normal.

Today I find myself without the kids. It is just me and the dog. This Saturday morning started out well. I got up early and managed to get to the stable around 7 am. Stopped at Morning Glory Bakery for large coffee and two glazed doughnuts. Would have probably gotten a burrito but they were busy and they didn’t have my favorite: sausage green with cheese. Cold have gone elsewhere for a burrito but the doughnuts will be enough to keep me moving. Not to feed the horse. Rather, my task was to cut the grass and weeds around the stable.

Aside from that I needed to do some clean up around the stables because next weekend will be our first hay delivery for the year. For cutting the weeds, the old manual push mower just wasn’t working out. Tried sharpening the blade multiple times. Managed to cover the same path multiple times trying to cut the grass and weeds. While it was exercise, and I would cover a few thousand steps, it was never without difficulty. I needed power.

I bought a new mower to accomplish the task. I may have destroyed a new mower while mowing. At one point, I was mowing and must have hit metal. It immediately stopped. Looked underneath the mower to see wire wrapped around the blade and half of the blade bent. Removed the wire and resumed mowing. But it was now struggling to cut the weeds. After much starting and stopping, I somehow managed to stop and again, catch wire in the blade. This time I was mowing the back of the lot. After I managed to remove the wrapped metal wire, I figured that it was time to call it a day. Packed up and went home.

Of course, I had Jewel with me the entire time. I had her tied up at the front of the stable while I was cutting grass in the back. She had water, but it was hot and the day was warming up. By 10 am, we called it quits.

The morning sky started to show some nice white puffy clouds over the mountains as we drove home. By the time I got the car unloaded, it was lunch time and I was certainly hot and tired from mowing. Clean up may just have to wait another day!

Goofed around the house in the afternoon and ran some errands. By mid afternoon, it rained and cooled things off outside.

Much of what I do happens to be mundane anymore. Normal everyday things become more and more mundane. Is it because I am getting older? Is it because I am so set in my ways that I avoid going out, trying new things. Lots to do this weekend but can’t say that it really excited me. I really am becoming more and more of an old fuddy-duddy. I need to change that. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog. Try to read more and share more, learn and seek new ideas, stimulating conversation, meet new people who write some really great things. I don’t see myself as a writer, but I have been enjoying putting things down here for all to see. In the past I have written lots of scientific papers for publishing, two dissertations, and many papers in college for various classes. Writing has long been a struggle for me, yet I see how very important it is to communicate clearly, to express ourselves. Sometime the words just come out; other times I have nothing. I try to impress this upon my kids.

Often what I write starts out completely different than the final product. I need to work on spell checking and proofing the final words before I publish. Hopefully that will improve my style, my word choice, allow me to better articulate what I write and what I post.

I need more spontaneity.

Stimulating conversation

Often when I am home alone because the kids are with their mother, I find myself talking either to myself, or to the dog. I wonder what that means?

Naturally I performed a Google search on “talking to myself or the dog”. Top of the list was an April 2019 article “Your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet” by Haley Goldberg.

https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet/

Haley concluded that she was far nicer to her dog than to herself and thus we should talk to ourself like we talk to our pet. Haley’s Instagram page show lots of pictures with her rescued dogs. They look good and I am glad that she rescued them.

I can relate because I consider myself my own worst enemy. I don’t think that I can really talk to myself like the way I talk to Jewel. Somehow “no biting Steve, kisses” really will help me. My conversations are more about “well that’s a fine mess you got yourself in; how are you going to get out of it”? Or “ what shall I make for dinner”? Jewel’s kibble isn’t for me. For me, talking to myself helps me to analyze and to solve the problem that I am talking to myself about.

The next article in the search was a 2015 article entitled “What’s really going on when you talk to your pet” suggests that dogs can understand

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/whats-really-going-on-when-you-talk-to-your-pet

the emotions we are conveying from the tone of our voice. I can relate to that because Jewel can certainly tell when she is in trouble from the tone of my voice. So can my kids. So can my coworkers. One’s tone can convey positive and heartwarming thoughts. Conversely, anger and frustration can also be conveyed by the tone of one’s voice. The words can make it worse. And for the record, when I talk t o myself, I too can here the tone differences and how they convey emotion.

The third item in the search was a 2013 article from Psychology Today entitled “Is it crazy to talk to your dog”. It too talked about intonations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-in-mind/201304/is-it-crazy-talk-your-dog

and the responses of the dog.

The Atlantic had a 2017 article entitled “Why Do Humans Talk to Animals If They Can’t Understand?” This article suggested that the tendency to converse with dogs, cats, and hamsters ultimately says more about people than it does about their pets. I now have to admit that I also talk t9 the horse, and sons hampster Jonny. Neither one ever talks back.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/talking-to-pets/537225/

In addition, conversations with our pets are not one-sided. They give as much as they take. This is true because when I talk to Jewel, her tale wags. When she chases her tail and I ask her if she got it, or if I hold her tale, she will chase it some more.

OK so I think we have concluded that it is ok to talk to our pets, but what about ourselves? Well, I think that is also ok, and answering ourselves is also ok. After all, or at least in my case, I can really have some questioning conversation with myself about myself. And after all, who is best to tell me about me than me.

So here I am downstairs writing this posting. My past few posts never saw the light of day. They remain draft and need work. The kids are upstairs, presumably playing computer games. Jewel is here keeping me company. And I am talking to myself as I write this. In that context, I am sounding out my sentences so I don’t really think that it consititutes talking to myself.

The Google search also produced several article feeling with the subject about talking to yourself. In general, it doesn’t appear that talking to yourself puts you into a weekly visit to a therapist. I’m sure that psychologists have debated this topic for a long time. It looks like they have concluded every that it is ok, provided it is in moderation. In general, anything and everything in moderation is fine. Two articles, one in the New York Times and the other on CNN conveyed the importance of talking to yourself. There, all is well in the world.

At any rate, I hope this article stimulates you as it did me. I had fun writing it.

End of June…almost July

Nice weather. A quiet weekend. What more could one ask for? I have big plans in terms of getting work done around the house and at the stables. Unfortunately I woke up early Saturday with lower back pain that kept me hunched over. Took the dog for a walk, which was able to loosen it up somewhat but moving around the house most of the day proved to be difficult. A sausage green chile burrito didn’t reduce the pain. Thus, no work was accomplished. The day was spent resting on the sofa with Jewel.

In the case of Jewel, she wanted nothing to do with that. So there we were, back and forth, up down, inside, outside. Really didn’t help my back. Really didn’t allow for me to make progress on the book I am trying to read. Maybe I should have started with a book that I haven’t read with far fewer pages.

I find myself looking at my blog statistics. I have noticed a decline in visitors over the past week. Not the trajectory that I had envisioned. Not sure if it is because I have posted less this week. Or is it the subject of the last two postings? Both had tones of politics and just general comment by me on how bad things are outside my immediate closed world. Or is it the lack of a theme? A hobby, self-help? Should I write about chemistry? Project management? History? What is the purpose of this blog? What is my purpose? What… As I eat my burrito, it is clear that I will have to write a future post about who in Los Alamos makes the best breakfast burrito’s.

So there I was, all of Saturday. In pain because of my back. Stretches didn’t help. Just a completely wasted day. Perhaps Sunday will be better.

Sunday is starting off better. Stayed in bed longer than I should have. My back is feeling better. Now I find myself staring at many pairs of old blue jeans. They are in a corner of the bathroom closet. All are worn and have holes in them. I must have had collected them over the years, all with a rip at the inseam or knees. Thinking that I could repair them or something? Not that I need them at all, I think that just getting rid of them would be ideal. Yet some people claim that there is money in torn jeans. Not sure but I think that I should just get rid of the whole pile. Old shirts are in a different pile. I use these for cleaning rags, dust rags, and just whatever.

I guess this makes me a hoarder. I really do hate to get rid of things. I think of the cost and the number of times I get to use it. I look at the old jeans and the inseam tears and concluded that this was planned obsolescence by the manufacturer.

At least I am now up and moving about. Back pain, back spasm, whatever, is still there but not as bad as yesterday. I’ll take some more ibuprofen and hopefully that will help me stand up straight. I’m guessing if I could loose a few pounds that it might help. Add that to my to-do list.

Outside looks like another spectacular day. But by now I am looking at the title of this post and see that it has nothing to do with what I have written. What does “end of June…almost July” have to do with a pile of old clothes, back pain hat has me hunched over like the Hunchback of Norte Dame, hard work, sausage green chile breakfast burritos, no one having visited my blog in almost a week. The answer is quite simple: nothing at all. Just more rambling thoughts to tell a story. Then it dawns on me. Am I trying to be a writer? Is that What I envision for the next 50-plus years?

Actually, what I have written thus far represents snippets in time of another weekend. Plans that never come to fruition. Ups and downs, humor, stupid thoughts, boring weekend? As I come downstairs to put my shoes on, there is Jewel. She wants out. There is the dining room table. It is again cluttered, unable to use if the kids were here for dinner. Broken glasses sit on one corner. Jewel ate my current pair. The pair that I need for driving. Happened a few months back while I was in the shower. Was she bored, angry, did she miss me? The pair on the table are missing screws, lenses and part of the frame. Time for some crazy glue while I wait to get an appointment to get a new prescription. Coffee is brewing as I pound away on today’s post.

I stop and reread what I have written. Now I have gone through several cycles of post and deposit because I find errors. Write more, correct sentences and spelling. Add more mundane thoughts to the paragraphs. Does it have to be perfect? It never will be. It is all over the map in terms of my weekend. No correlations between the title and the paragraphs that follow. Let’s see where the rest of the day takes me.

First day of summer

Today marks the first day of summer. Started humming the Brian Adams tune “Summer of 69”, which I recall was big during the summer of 1983. I was back in Pennsylvania. I had graduated from college and was getting ready for graduate school. I recall that was a hot summer for some reason. And here in New Mexico, today is hot (mid-80’s) and windy. Low humidity, and blue sky. Yes, I was able to get back about midnight after the travel day from hell.

It was good that I was able to get home because I had lots of things to do. I had to feed the horse first thing in the morning, go to work on my day off to deal with some pressing things, pick up the dog from the kennel, take daughter riding and pick up son from nature camp. Horse and dog are fine, children are well, and I didn’t get sucked in on my day off.

Summertime usually coincides with the kickoff of the afternoon monsoon season. Monsoon season has been on again, off again over the past two decades. Monsoon season is usually when the rain clouds form above the mountains to the west during the day. By the afternoon, we have a thunderstorm with rain. They typically hit every afternoon and last about a half an hour at most. But the thunder and lightening can be quite impressive. They add their own unique set of colors to the New Mexico sky, which is a palette containing a variety of colors. The skies are often light blue or dark blue. They are some of the deepest blues that I have ever seen. And of course, the white puffy clouds. Often with the monsoons are large and very colorful rainbows. Sadly, I have yet to find a pot of gold. Another sky anomaly, depending upon the sunlight, the angle in the sky, and other weather conditions are the variety of other colors present in the sky: yellow, orange, red, and pink. These colors are often present at sunrise and sunset.

We have a quiet weekend planned. Daughter plans to work at Goose Downs. Son has nothing on the horizon but we have some work to do at the stables in terms of cutting weeds and getting the barn ready for the first delivery of hay shortly. Aside from housecleaning, perhaps I can read some more of my book.

Quiet is good. I never sleep well on travel, so I often return very tired and need the weekend to recover. Plans for July and August are starting to take shape. Two horse competitions; one in July and one in August. My 40th high school reunion is in a July. Still trying to decide if I will make it back. Sounds like a few folks that I haven’t seen in 40 years may be there. July is pretty busy already, making a long weekend trip back east difficult, but we shall see.

Tired

It’s about a quarter past nine as I sit and write this. Trying to write something every day. Kinda like Chemistry in graduate school. Equally important that I ran one experiment a day. Whether it was the necessary synthesis for starting materials, kinetics of chemical reactions, spectroscopic evaluations, or even modeling on the computer, I felt it necessary to do one reaction a day. So it is true with this new adventure. Just took son back to his mothers place; talked to daughter earlier as she is at Goose Downs working and riding in preparation for this weekends event.

I have been awake now for about 18 hours. A typical day. Never get much sleep on the weekdays. Three to five hours is the norm. Eight is sleeping in on the weekend. I usually start the day between 3 and 4 am. Hot tea or coffee, read, shower, take the dog for a walk. This morning we walked a little longer than normal and managed to come across 4 deer feeding in the yards around the place where we live. Got to work by 5:45 am. Usual day in terms of status and schedule meeting. Addressed questions about some equipment, worked with the quality assurance engineers on a new certificate of analysis for product specifications. Meeting on implementation of some new process monitoring to make us more efficient.

Left work after 4 pm to pick up son from summer camp. He didn’t want to go but I think he is actually have fun. It is tiring him out, a good thing. Cooked dinner, had to get dog food at the grocery store. Dropped him off at his mothers. Strangely, I too find myself very tired, having eye trouble. Looking at the dog who picks her head up from the sofa at the sound of the hospital lifeflight helicopter flying overhead.

That about does it it for me. It is hot this evening, not much of a breeze. Will make sleeping difficult. Until tomorrow.

Exercise

Over the years I have tried many different activities in order to construct an exercise program. There has been biking, hiking, running, weights, swimming, and of course walking. Of late, walking has been the one that has been the most consistent of these endeavors in getting exercise.

Walking allows me to get outdoors, to take the dog with, to go as fast and as far as I can. Of late, I find myself going to the stables, as there are many trails along the Mesa that allows me many different opportunities to cover as many miles as I like. Typically I am walking for about 35 minutes on average and cover about 2 miles based on the app that I have on my iPhone.

Still, it doesn’t appear to be enough to get my weight down. That stays fairly constant. Even as I watch my intake of food, limited soda consumption, and less junk food. But I figure that every day, if I go a little farther, go a little faster, then the pounds will begin to fall off. At least that is what I hope to accomplish this summer. Exercise for the body, reading for the mind. Now to figure out how to address the spirit.

I have several more things to return to and report upon during the course of my journey here. I hope you come back and follow my progress, or my lack thereof.

Ruby

When the kids were younger, we would often go to the local stables and slowly drive the roads and look at the animals. Chickens, goats, a couple of cows, a llama and some turkeys. The main residents at the stables are horses. All different sizes and colors. A coworker of mine had a stable and several horses and on one of our trips, he and his wife were there. We stopped. Big mistake. Shortly thereafter, daughter was sitting on the back of a horse. A big grin across her face, she was immediately hooked. At that time she was three.

Eleven years have passed, as has several loaner horses, two rented horses, the local US Pony Club horse. Today she has a horse, a stable, and rides regularly and in competitions. Her horse is named Ruby, and she has become another family pet, much like the dog.

Here she is, greeting us for her evening feeding. She gets fed twice a day, and depending upon daughter, ridden every day. Daily practices are often in preparation for dressage, show jumping and cross country. My daughter competes in all three at the beginner novice level.

She enjoys it. It keeps her and her friends out of trouble. Yet, when I see her with Ruby, she still has that big grin across her face.