Olfactory Floor

One of the two elevators at the building I work in is broken, and so the remaining elevator is usually pretty crowded.  It now stops at just about every floor, and on the way up this morning I was surprised to notice how each floor smelled different.  Ours smells like some kind of floral cucumber perfume.  I have no idea where this smell comes from.

Missing Ruby

Work is ramping up for a big release next week, and so I’m working longer hours than usual. And that means I’ll be spending less time with Ruby.

Right now my work hours are shifted a little early than in the morning so that I can come home and have dinner with my family. That tends to not work so well during crunch time, though, as the principals tend to work into the evening and things can really get interesting at work around 5pm or 6pm. So, for this week I’m working into the evening and not getting home until around Ruby’s bedtime.

Ruby’s day is only about 12 hours long, and with the bus ride I can easily be away from home for all of it. Today I managed to catch her for a few minutes at each end of her day but I could, theoretically, go an entire day (or days) without seeing Ruby.

It seems particularly hard to spend significant amounts of time away from Ruby — harder than it is to be away from Kate. I’ll think about Ruby and Kate spending time together and feel like I’m falling behind. I want to be just as important a figure in Ruby’s life as Kate is, but of course in reality that’s impossible. One of us needs to work (and actually, I’m quite happy to be the one earning a paycheck right now).

Overlapping Worlds

As I was walking towards my building this morning, a woman asked me if I knew where the DSHS was (DSHS = Department of Social and Health Services).  I didn’t.

Rumor has it there are lots of social services in this area, but I don’t know where any of them are.

However, I know the locations of at least three cookware shops within a few blocks of here.

Thirty Five

I’m 35 years old today!

Also, I’m currently growing a beard — as a temporary step on the journey to a moustache.  Care to voice an opinion on which style would suit me best?

http://www.americanmustacheinstitute.org/MustacheStyles.aspx

Put your vote in the comments.

Running to Stand Still

I’ve been working hard to get back in shape.  It’s difficult, and it’s not made easier by the fact that I’m just beginning and progress is still hard to see.  I’m not just trying to lose weight — I’m also trying to work my way back from debilitating spasms in my lower back in August, and then a sprained adductor muscle that put me off the soccer team for the rest of the year.  And then before that it was tendonitis in my ankles and then plantar fasciitis.  And before that it was more back problems.
Still, I’m not giving up.  I’ve got my diet under control, but if I don’t also exercise then my back will get worse.  Sitting all day isn’t exactly horrible, but it’s unpleasantly achey.  The simple fact is, I need to exercise just to keep the aches and pains at bay.  And, specifically, I need to run to keep my back in shape.

With that in mind, I went for a run this morning.  I got up extra-early, donned my runners and stepped out.  It felt great, and I was looking forward to catching the sunrise as I came around the far side of Green Lake.

Then, I stepped on a pine cone and sprained my ankle.  Immediately, as I hit the ground, I knew what it meant: no exercise for weeks.

I’m not a capable enough writer to express how frustrating this is.  I was sobbing as I limped back up the path.

I know what it takes to get myself fit again, and I’m eager to put in the time and sweat to make it happen, but I’m stuck in a cycle of injuries that keep knocking me off my stride.

Frustration.  Frustration.  Frustration.

Pop

My great-grandfather was John Keelty.  We called him “Pop”.  He had three daughters and so no one in his family carried the Keelty name until I was born and my parents named me Stephen Todd Keelty.

When my great-grandfather died I (as the last of his line to carry the name “Keelty”) was given his war medals.  He fought in both world wars, and received 5 medals for his service.

Today is Remembrance Day, and so I took the medals out, showed them to Ruby, explained what each medal was for.  Ruby’s full name is Ruby Joan Keelty.

On Poppies

I spotted a poppy pin lying on the ground today.  Serendipitous!  Poppies are a Canadian tradition — nobody wears them here — and the pin was probably accidentally dropped by a Canadian shopper taking advantage of the exchange rate.  I’m excited to be able to celebrate Remembrance Day properly.

In the US it’s Veteran’s Day; in Canada it’s Remembrance Day.  They’re both on the same day and nominally celebrate the same thing (the end of WWI), but they have slightly different flavors.  I can’t comment too much about the US since, not having grown up here, I don’t really know what happens at school assemblies and various memorials.  I do get a sense that there’s a mix of honoring veterans and general patriotism.
At home in Canada it’s about honoring veterans, but also tinged with regret and shame.  Not shame for the people or the country, but shame for all of us, all of humanity, that such a horrible thing as war should ever exist.  It’s called Remembrance Day because we should never forget the horror of war, and we should never forget that war is, fundamentally, a failure of that which makes us human.

Procrastination

I’m a decent procrastinator.  In fact, I’m procrastinating right now by writing this blog entry.

I’m trying to develop a different mindset about some of the things I procrastinate about.   For most of those things, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had after (but not necessarily during) the activity.  For example: I went for a run today, and it was kind of cold and drizzly while I was running, and I’m out of shape so it was slow and generally sucky.  But, now I’ve got that pleasant, warm, glow inside my body that I get after a run.  It lasts all day.  It feels good after, but not before or during.

The same thing goes for organizing your physical space.  It sucks to do the filing or clean the house, but when those things are done the sense of satisfaction afterwards far outweighs the grief of the actual task.

Unloading the dishwasher is another one.  Is there anything more awesome than putting dishes into a completely empty dishwasher?

The alternate (procrastinating) choices I make generally don’t have anywhere near the level of satisfaction when they’re complete.  Who feels pumped after watching an hour of television?  (Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, a truly inspirational program, notwithstanding).  It just doesn’t compare to an hour spent working in the garden, or fixing that squeaky cupboard door that’s been nagging at me for months.
I’m trying to keep that feeling of satisfaction in mind when considering what to do with myself.  I’m hoping to use it as a motivator to get more exercise and be more organized.  It’s tricky, though, especially after spending all day at work, then coming home to cook dinner and spend some quality time with Ruby.  After she’s in bed, the most appealing thing I can think of is to stretch out on the couch, remote control in hand.