New year, new Janathon

How many emails did I get this week that said “New Year, New You”?  Each one offered a product:  makeup, exercise plan, clothing; a literal makeover inside and out.  No thanks.  I’m doing fine.  I resolve to be more organized this year, and to otherwise keep doing what I’m doing.  And blog more regularly.  It’s been awhile…no, okay, it’s been months.  But I’ve been busy while I was away.  I’ve missed blogging, though.


My first two days of Janathon were identical and routine for me:


I am finally reading On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.  I’m forming my own clear opinions on this book.  I’m not sure I will have the courage to write a review when I finish reading it.  But I’ll try to say something; knowing whatever I say about it has probably been said before.  It is quite a polarizing piece of literature.  I now see why.

New shoes and the camera on my Kindle

It was that time again–to get a new pair of running shoes.  Hooray!  I’ve stuck with ASICS the past 3-or-so years, because they’ve done well for me.   And yesterday was ASICS day at our locally-owned running store.  ASICS were 20% off.  So, I got a new pair of turquoise Gel Cumulus shoes.

Tonight I was messing around with my Kindle Fire HD and realized there was what looked like a little camera on the lower edge of the frame.  So I went in search of the camera function.  One would think I could just search through the apps until I found one called ‘Camera’.  Not so.  But I did learn that there are two camera apps on the device.  One of the apps is just a little button in the corner of the Photo app window.  The other camera app can’t even be located on the device unless you first download a file explorer app.  But thanks to this video:

and this one:

I located both apps and figured out how to use them.

So then, I took the Kindle on a mile run/walk, in which I begin breaking in my new shoes.  I had intended to listen to a book, but instead got caught up in experimenting with the two camera apps.  The camera is front-facing, such as for video Skype and selfies–neither of which I do.

But I did take this new-shoe-selfie!

(I’m not that tan; it just looks that way because it’s getting dark outside.)


And then I had fun trying to aim and shoot some sunset scenes.  Not easy.  The camera itself is low resolution.  Only the hidden camera app had zoom and adjustable settings for lighting and subject matter.  That app also has a video option.  The camera within the Photo app appears to be totally non-adjustable.





The book that I did not listen to, is True Sisters, by Sandra Dallas.  I’m not very far into the book yet, but so far it is a rather dark story about Mormon women who made the trek with their husbands and families to Utah in the 1850s.  Much of the journey was accomplished without horses or oxen.  Instead, they pushed their belongings in hand carts.  One of the couples in the story first made the voyage from Liverpool, England to the US, to then make the journey across the US.  I’ve loved every book I’ve ever read by Sandra Dallas, and I expect this one to be no different.  But the story has me bracing for a lot of heartache that appears to be looming ahead for these hard-working, loyal wives and mothers.

Juneathon, day 9

It was a very rainy morning, but we ended up with a delightful evening, in which I was able to do a 1.2 mile run in the early darkness.  June nights are magical.

I like this article sooo much.  It attributes children’s fidgety behavior in part on spending too much time sitting still in the classroom, and not enough physical activity.  I do believe kids need active recess periods every day.  I remember coming home from grade school with grass stains, mud and wood chips embedded in my tights.

An excerpt:  “Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement.  In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time.  Just like with exercising, they need to do this more than just once-a-week in order to reap the benefits.  Therefore, having soccer practice once or twice a week is likely not enough movement for the child to develop a strong sensory system.”

Juneathon, day 3

Did an early 1.2 mile run this morning.  As a consistent evening runner, it is a rare feeling to want to go out for a quick run in the morning.  Then a few steps into the run, when the heavy, sluggish feeling sets in, I remember why I am an evening runner.  But then I get warmed up and start feeling darn good about getting out there in the morning.

If you know you have to swallow a frog, do it first thing in the morning.  If there are two frogs, swallow the big one first.  

Mark Twain

Long Time Gone: the autobiography of David Crosby

By David Crosby and Carl Gottlieb.  First, a Crosby song to play while reading if you choose.

Man, I really disliked this book for the first 150 pages.  I’m not sure why I kept reading.  Those early pages covered his days growing up as a school boy, so it shouldn’t have bothered me so much.  Heck, nearly every memoir starts out with the childhood.  But I found him particularly cold and unlikeable as a youth, and that bothered me.  I felt the written account was either lacking something to make me see his human side, or that he had more problems than just the well-publicized addiction of his adult years.  I almost stopped and gave up on the book several times.  But then I started to get into it, and eventually it became a compelling read for me.

The book was co-written in a unique format.  It was a compilation of recollections from the people in David’s life, and then David’s take in his own words, on these same events.  This was often confusing, in that it required effort to keep track of who was telling the story at any given time.  But it was interesting, being able to read parallel versions of the same events; and sometimes hilarious, when two versions of the same story were wildly different.  There were many moments when I was reminded of this old SNL skit.

He wrote about his beloved boat and his love for sailing.  He wrote about the significant women in his life, the way he used them, and how they used each other, and the impact of a devastating personal loss.  He wrote about his guns, band mates, producers and managers.

This video opens with a taste of his stage persona in 1967.

The hardest parts of the book came in reading about all of the times David shafted his friends who reached out with their own personal resources and support, with staggering generosity, to save him from his addiction.  David has had some amazing, loyal friends in his life.

The most insightful parts of the book were his description of his progressing addiction from the addict’s point of view.  Those stark truths would give anyone cause to reflect.  The most fascinating aspects of the book were reading about all of the other famous rock and roll legends that David has worked with or hung out with in various settings throughout his career.  This book covered a mind-boggling who’s who of 1960s and 70s California rock music, and in David’s case the connections were real.

This book was published in 1988, not long after David’s release from prison.Long Time Gone cover

David has since written a second memoir that is still on my to-read list.

So long Janathon. Hello again Runner’s World.

Well, just when I’ve begun living with my decision to not renew my Runners World subscription, I stumbled on this offer to renew for $5.99 per year.  So what the heck, that’s pretty darn cheap.  I signed up for another two years.  This $5.99 offer is apparently good until midnight EST tonight, January 31, 2014.  To get the deal, click here, and then at checkout, enter the discount code “MAVIS“.  I don’t get anything out of this; I’m just passing along the discount for anyone interested.   Discount and link are courtesy of a very cool blog called  And a big thank you (or make that curse you), to the blog owner Mavis, for the discount.

I’ll miss Janathon.  It’s been a lot of fun this year, and I did pretty well until my 6-day travel odyssey.  Today and the next few days I’ll be wearing screw shoes and maybe even Neos again.  So Janathon may be over, but winter is still here.

Katniss cowl is complete

With 14+ days to spare, the Hunger Games-inspired cowl I was knitting for a Valentine’s gift for my Little Sis is complete.


The project was quick and fun.  The pattern was well-written and easy to follow.  However, I’m glad I tapered the body/wrap portion, because I think it more closely resembles the original from the movie.

Katniss cowl

To taper it, I cast on 40 stitches instead of the 85 prescribed in the pattern.  Then, I increased one stitch with every row.  I used the 3rd stitch in each row for the increase stitch.   By the end, I had 87 total stitches, which worked out great for the shape and size.  As an added bonus, that bit of tapering eliminated one entire skein of yarn from the project.  I have an unused skein to return to the store for exchange or refund.

I think I will order one of these Mockingjay pins to go with the gift.

Mockingjay pin-w


On the topic of running, with Janathon rapidly coming to a close, I’m trying to decide what kind of training program to begin.  I’m looking at a 3-runs-per-week program again, that I never really got off the ground last time.  I think it is the best option for my training level and working lifestyle.

Sneezing, shivering, head hurts when I cough.

After spending six consecutive days in enclosed classrooms, airplanes, crowded museums, restaurants and a trolley, wouldn’t you know, I’ve started feeling head cold symptoms.  What bothers me most is that I did not run for those six days.  I’ve long believed that my consistent running staves off the bad germs.  I rarely get colds and other illnesses.  I did do a 1.2 mile run tonight, bundled up more than the weather required.  I’ll try to do that each day to see if I can hold off the worst of the symptoms.

Meanwhile, I started this knitting project–a Katniss cowl for my teenage Little Sis for Valentine’s Day.

Katniss Cowl-600x286

She loves the Hunger Games books and movies.  I’ve followed the pattern exactly, except that I’m tapering the body segment to make it more fitted under the arm.  So far, the project has been easy and fun.  Finding the yarn color and the Size 35 circular needles for the cowl part wasn’t so easy.  The free-download pattern has been popular this year for Lion Brand, which may have led to shortages in that yarn color.  I found one skein of the Thick and Quick Grey Marble in town, but had to mail order the rest, along with the big needles.  Thankfully, Hancock’s was having a sale on the yarn, and had all of the skeins I needed.  *grin*

Katniss cowl-w

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream

By Neil Young.  Here is one of his songs to play while reading on if you choose.

I’ve never known very much about Neil, and have always had the idea that not many other people do either, and that he’s wanted it that way.  So now he’s written this memoir; clearly his own words, and on his own terms; not according to any formula.  If you want a straight chronological story, this book may drive you crazy.  I didn’t mind it a bit.  He used a stream-of-consciousness writing style, where he mostly compartmentalized stories into short chapters, but jumped from then to now and back, and to future goals, with the change of a short chapter or sometimes only a paragraph break.

He wrote about his goals for his Pure Tone/Pono listening technology.  I’m dying to experience it.  My years of running with ear buds has given me some tinnitus that may impact the experience, but I still want to hear the sound he is describing.

He wrote about his cars and his love for cars.  I remember when his Lincvolt was a project being constructed near my home, which was very cool.  But sadly, he doesn’t have positive things to say about that part of the project.

He had a nice way of writing about his family.  Whether I was reading something positive or heartbreaking about his family, his way of telling it made me not afraid to read on.

He wrote a lot about his bands Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and his earliest days as a musician.  He wrote about bandmates, managers and producers.  He described writing several of his most well-known songs, and sometimes provided back stories to them.  He wrote about living and creating music in Laurel Canyon.  He included a photo of the Laurel Canyon cabin he lived in when he wrote “Expecting to Fly.”  That is the song of his that touches me the most.

My biggest and maybe my only beef…is with the book’s front cover photo.  But first, about the back cover photo:  It is real, and wonderful, and by Linda McCartney.  His eyes, expression and features are captivating.  When I think of Neil Young, that is the way I’ve always seen him in my mind.  Then there is the cover photo; taken recently, head looking down, and partially shielded with a hat; no eyes showing at all, let alone eye contact, and then there is a prop; a card tucked into the hat band, that says, “Hippie Dream.”  A little too contrived for me.  No, make that way too contrived.  Unless I missed the point, or the back story, which is certainly possible.

The book is almost 500 pages long.  I enjoyed it from start to finish.Waging Heavy Peace

Thanks very much to my runner friend and fellow CSNY fan, Gary, for passing the book along to me.  I’m passing it on to my twentysomething-musician-nephew, who didn’t realize Neil was the ‘Young’ in CSNY.  He’s very much looking forward to the read.

And the incredibly beautiful “Expecting to Fly.”


 Janathon Update


Yesterday’s run was short and meant to cover the Janathon requirement but not damage my tender ankle.   I went out after dark, wearing my reflector vest.  There was a bitter cold wind, and it was snowing those mean little dry flakes that don’t accumulate but swirl around in the streets and parking lots.  Windchill was 5F/-15C.  Ankle did okay, but was a little stiff and tender.  I think it will be mostly back to normal in another day or so.