While I wait for the Kid who is in her Saturday art class, I’m sitting in a McCafe drinking a $1 coffee an mooching free wifi to kill some time and to write some posts. I’m using a Bluetooth keyboard tethered to my iPhone which is plugged into a portable USB battery pack all while I track the time on my GPS enabled smart watch and listen to music on headphones so small I forgot I was wearing them. It struck me as worth writing here that the largest thing on my little bistro table is my coffee cup. I know we’re all all used to how small and clever things are these days, but every once in a while it still catches me off guard.
I may have warned readers that this was coming, but every year in December I try to write at least one blog post per day. It’s not anything official or endorsed or recognized in any way, but each year I pull thirty topics out of my hind-quarters and splot them onto the virtual pages of this website. On the last day of the month, day thirty-one (in case you were suddenly feeling a math headache coming on because of that last sentence) I post my big annual round up, year in review, New Years List of all my anecdotal thoughts and reflections on the year that was and hopes for the year that will be. For some reason these have been getting increasingly pessimistic. I wonder why. But, I digress… anyhow: December. A blog-a-day. No rules. No topics. No focus. No plan. Just me trying to write something to sum up my thoughts as the year comes in for it’s final approach and landing. Stay tuned.
…among other things. It has become increasingly clear that I’ve fallen off the running wagon this year. On Saturday I watched on the socials as dozens of my friends ran around the city and province, training and racing in events including five klick fundraisers, long training runs, late-evening party races, favourite mountain events, and even an epic ultra marathon trail run. I ate pizza and wandered around the science centre. Albeit it was my only daughter’s tenth birthday party and I was playing the role of the good dad, but I didn’t even go out for a modest morning jog on Saturday. It didn’t even cross my mind. I tell myself over and over and over that “I’m gonna pick it up” again soon, get back into some serious training and maybe even some serious distance… but there is a motivational element that isn’t clicking these days. It used to be that I wrote about it, ran it, and then wrote about it some more. Maybe that was it? Stay tuned, I guess… this slump can’t last forever.
Born April 2016… died September 2017. Sigh. For those who have been refreshing this page DAILY to read the next chapter in my sourdough bread making saga, I’m sorry to say it ended in tragedy. After a limp, bread-weak summer, we watched Homer the Sourdough (sour… d’oh!) starter goopify himself in the fridge. I’ll blame myself. It was largely neglect, and lack of due care and attention. But I hadn’t invested as much energy in the poor guy as I should have despite providing dozens of mixed-result loaves since we’d hatched him over a year ago. As far as starters go he was pretty solid, though I was never entirely, one-hundred-percent satisfied with his effort. I’m sure that was all my bumbling, novice opinion however and with a year and a half of sourdough experience upon which to draw I’m posting today as a marker in time of the bumbling counter-redemption. Last night I washed out Homer’s cage and set the trap for a new culture… and hopefully my yeast-hunting excursions will be fruitful. I should know by the weekend. My second-born starter may be announced in mere days. Stay tuned and feel free to suggest a name in the comments.
I understand that you probably get a little bit worried when I don’t post here for a while. But as the tens of you who read this blog have probably already surmised, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Usually that would mean plenty of fodder for posting in this space — race reports, travel photos, and hobby updates — but alas, I’ve been finding that the few spare moments I’ve had have been almost exclusively consumed with other little projects. Three weeks ago I dropped a couple random web comics into this feed and disappeared… but in the meantime I’ve run two major races, planted my garden, came into possession of a pretty slick new running watch, had a minor (but measurable) breakthrough in my violin studies, and launched a whole new side project involving those same web comics, which now has it’s own blog, instagram account, and twitter feed all of which have already started generating more traffic in a few weeks than this sixteen year old blog. I owe you an update, but let me get my feet under me first.
I was reminded recently of an insightful quote (and comedy bit) from the late-great George Carlin. He joked: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” The podcast where I heard it was using it as a metaphor for the current political era, in that it’s the same perceptual mistake we all make when was say something like “anyone who thinks right of me is a fascist and anyone who links left of me is a socialist.” We all think we’re driving the exact right speed, just like we all think we are the only person being perfectly rational in our political viewpoint. Unless you’re the fastest car on the road, you’re too slow for someone else, and unless you’re parked, you’re a maniac speeder. It’s all relative.
It’s not super serious, but with just two weeks until a double-header race season begins, I’ve been sidelined for a few days with a ankle injury. Two weeks AGO I went out and did some wilderness. It was an awesome, single-track trail run, with some challenging terrain. And an hour after completing it I could tell that my ankle had only just barely cooperated. Not rolled. Not sprained. But maybe a little bruised. I didn’t push myself for the rest of the week and it felt pretty much fine. Then I opted in on the group’s nineteen klick long run on this past weekend, and fifteen klicks in I could tell that my ankle was not fully recovered. I limped back to my truck after coffee and it’s been pretty sore since. Well, mostly. Five days later I can still sense that it’s not one hundred percent right, but it’s not hurting nearly as much. So the age-old runners question blossoms once again to the surface: which is more important two weeks prior to a race? The last long training run, or ensuring that an injury is completely mended? I think I just answered my own question.
I’s usually pretty tough to objectively judge the quality of one’s own playing, but it’s a good sign that while at my lesson after playing through one of my practice pieces, one that I’ve been working on for about a month now, Minuet 3 by Bach in fact, my instructor suggested we (finally) move onto another piece because that one is (apart from noting a few string bumps and scratches) pretty much “performance ready.” I’m not sure I’m performance ready, but I guess that’s a sign of progress, right?
Before you ask about it, some clarification: if you’re a diligent reader of this blog you may have noticed that I recently wrote and posted some odd quasi–anecdotes about some of my strange friends. You may have perused through and not really paid any attention to the categorization of those posts or the keywords stamped at the bottom. And then you may have thought, gee… Brad sure knows some weird people and why have I never met these folks or heard of them before? And again, before you ask about it, some clarification: as subtly stated on the metadata of these posts, they are fiction. I’ve been working on a little writing project to create some larger than life characters in the theme of exploring the writing of a personal mythos in the form of a series of tall tales. It’s weird, I know, but it’s just a writing exercise. What you might have read are just fun-house mirror personas and meant to purposefully exaggerate, mash together, and amplify along vectors of the imagination some of my real personal experiences, but they are ultimately fictitious and meant to be more faux than reality.
Exactly two years ago today the book I’d ordered for Miss C arrived in the mail and we started a three year epic project. We officially start lap three of “Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal” today, and when (at bedtime last night) I was asking her the question for May 4 I told her that we had finished two full years she got a look of panic in her eyes. “Are we going to buy another book when we’re done?” She asked. I shrugged and suggested that there may be one for older kids or teens or maybe just some other similar sort of project that we could pursue. “Yes.” She said flatly and with absolute conviction. So, parenting hack: your kid might complain virtually every day about something like this, but suggest that it might be coming to an end and their real feelings will burst out like a beautiful blossom of parenting awesomeness. I guess I’ve got a year to find our next book… or maybe just write my own.
It is supposed to be thirty degrees today. If you’re reading this from the US, I should note that I’m getting pretty tired of writing Celsius on the end of my temperatures so as not to confuse you further, so I’m officially phasing out my unit conversion service, trimming back the excess overgrowth and organic creep, just like I did in my flowerbed for and hour and a half last night. On hands and knees I clipped a good five centimeters of overreaching lawn from the edging around my tulip farm. With this and the other winter dead fall I filled nearly an entire composting bag… from one flower bed. It looks darn good, even though it has yet to fully emerge for the season, but it makes me realize just how much yardwork I have to do in the coming weeks to catch up. Can you believe we had ten centimeters of snow less than two weeks ago?
It’s the last Friday in April and before I start work for the day I thought I’d note that I’ll be ending it by pulling on a pair of sneakers, meeting up with my partner in crime near her office, and starting the latest season of the Commuter Runs. I think this is the third summer? I packed light for my day, left all the unnecessaries at home, hopped a bus (coincidentally joined by another runner, one of the new folks who also works downtown and who expressed an interest in the commuter run club) and made my way to the office. When the day ends, I’ll slip into my gear, leave my civvies under my desk (to be brought home on Monday) and boot up the Garmin. Sixteen klicks of post-work, pre-weekend run-bliss await. But now I’d better go earn it. (Well, as soon as I finish my coffee.)