Time well spent organizing the home office today. I’m tired of the dining room table and I need the additional flat screen.

Threw out a lot paper. Too much paper. Sorted some books I forget I had. Old photos. Old tech.

Some dormant projects I might revive. I wish I knew what I was thinking when I started some of it. Barely makes sense now.

No real money found (about 42 cents). But I turned up some interesting artifacts.

Could really use the money.

Home Front

Back to Michigan tomorrow after a brief sojourn home in St. Louis. Much has changed. A lot of people are missing. A few among the living. It’s strange how important it still is after all of these years to reconnect with familiar surroundings.

I wonder if the context will remain after those remaining have passed on or passed out of sight.

And I realize that it is presumptuous of me to assume that I’ll be the last one standing.

Ice Breaker

Meeting new family can be challenging. What do you talk about? There is no shared history. And current events being what they are, no one is really in a hurry to start in on the news. The first black president has moved on to greener pastures and his successor is continually mired in a scandal a week while simultaneously inspiring America’s most racist impulses.

So you’re left with brief periods of small talk – the weather, traffic, the few friends you may have in common (which you really don’t) and then silences punctuated by sighing and staring off into the middle distance.

And then the meal starts. Tongues loosen, shirt sleeves roll up, collars unbutton and the stories flow. By the time the pots and pans are done, everyone is laughing and backslapping and trading phone numbers. Good food has that effect. Raises blood sugar and communal spirit. Puts people at ease. Sets everyone on a common path.

My great aunt had such a meal today with a branch of her family I know little to nothing about. And I’m still not certain of the connection. But who cares? We have now shared food and have hopefully started our own history.

Fifty Fifty

I turn 50 on December 29th.

Several months ago, it occurred to me that I should find some way to mark the occasion. But I was uninspired. The other day, a childhood friend gave herself a big blow out birthday party. Another is taking a trip early next year. Still another is launching a book of poetry in a about a week.

Alas I am broke and uninspired. And in no real mood for a party. Nothing to do with my age mind you. It’s just that my birthday falls right in the sweet spot between Christmas and New Years. In good times people are nearly broke this time of the year, full to the brim with commitments, and generally lurching to the end of the holiday season and into the new year. Adding another “thing” to the already burgeoning list just doesn’t make sense. We’re in pretty lean times right now. Attempting a big blow out party during times like this would be be an act of reckless extravagance.

So what to do?

A couple of weeks ago, I came up with the notion of “Fifty-Fifty”. Put simply I will attempt 2500 minutes of exercise ¬†overthe next 50 days. I’ve been looking for a way to accelerate my weight loss. I’m pretty fit now, or at least a lot more fit than I was a couple of years ago, but I’ve plateaued after losing roughly 20 lbs. So, in concert with changing my eating habits, I’m going to attempt to exercise 50 minutes a day, 7 days a week, for the next 7 weeks in hopes of jump starting my weight loss. I’m also hoping to build a more consistent habit of exercise. Right now I work out about 4 days a week. I’ve read recently that to lose weight, one must exercise at a moderate pace for an hour a day, 6 days a week or 360 minutes. My total will be 350 minutes. I’m not particularly worried about the missing 10 and for the sake of symmetry, I’ll keep it at 50. Besides 50-50 sounds better than 60-50.

My current regimen burns anywhere from 600 to 1400 calories an hour.¬†I do not intend to maintain my that intensity for all my workouts The article I referred to suggested 450 calories as a target (exercising at a “moderate pace”). Depending on time available my “added” workouts may just entail walking on the treadmill (“at a brisk pace”) for 50 minutes. But I also look forward to coming up with some more creative ways to fill the time.

Today when I mentioned my impending half century of turns around the sun, a colleague remarked, “I never would have guessed you were that old.” Assuming he wasn’t blowing smoke, I’m hoping that my birthday challenge will help keep up the facade.

I’ll be tracking my progress, and generally whining, here. Feel free to follow along.