Mmm… A Melange of Musings on Monday

Sometimes there’s no one theme that presents itself for a post.  Instead, a mixture of many motifs manifests.  (Alliteration apparently attracts A Dude. )  I’ve noticed myself thinking about three main topics:   1) creativity, especially the art of writing, and the necessity of commerce; 2) all the bicycling I do (and to a lesser extent, walking and yoga), and 3) issues about nutrition and health.  Of course I also consider weightier things like the temporary end of the federal government shutdown, the sad passing of a former neighbor, and the goings on in the lives of friends, family and my town.  So I’m gonna touch on the three themes, and perhaps we’ll stumble upon some insight or wisdom useful to you.  But sometimes, a blog is just a web log of what’s going on, and its not going to change your life.  To quote the farmer in the movie Babe, “That’ll do, pig.  That’ll do.

Art & Commerce

I received the very good news this morning that I have been granted a respite from the gaping maw of poverty.  By that I mean some income is coming in, and will give me breathing room to figure things out.  Like should I stop or reduce blogging and try to finish the first draft of my book?  Would the logical thing to do get a regular job and try save up some money?  Just how am I going to continue to survive here in high-rent Austin, Texas without oodles of cash coming in all the time?

I don’t know those answers yet, but I think a combination of both working and writing makes sense.  To that end, I’m exploring the idea of doing freelance writing — if I can find places willing to take unpublished writers. is one.  Lauren Modery of Hipstercrite is a great writer, movie maker and funny Jewish lady I wish I’d known when she was in Austin.  She wrote a piece today that’s on Medium titled “13 Habits for Living a Perfectly Fine Normal Life”.  In it, she said:

“We have too many influencers vomiting their truths as fact, and subsequently creating a false paradigm of how one should live their life. It’s unhealthy and stressful; their message implies that you are not living properly, and that if you don’t post a staged photo of yourself laughing while casually getting squirted in the face with a water hydrant you are somehow unhappy.”

Like her, I just want to pass on my experience, and if it helps, great.  If not, have a nice chuckle at my expense.  In other creativity v. commerce areas over the last few days, I:

  • am reading Good Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins.  Thanks to Nori Rose of The Bluebonnet Witch for that tip;
  • signed up to volunteer at South by Southwest for the second year.  After working for free for four days at 2018’s EDU (Education pre-conference), I got to take in all the SXSW I could handle, and was truly inspired.  (You can read my blogs from last March by typing “SXSW” into the search bar.);
  • started an 8-day refresher job search class at the local community college.  My focus I think will be on finding freelance writing work if I can.  If not, I’ll be looking for things that pay and yet do not force me to give up my whole day and thus my writing;
  • recently picked up the instrument I played in high school and beyond, correctly guessed the key of a song that was streaming (“Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, with whom I actually performed the West Coast premiere of a work he wrote for chorus and jazz combo), and then played along somewhat decently, to my surprise;
  • have been watching alot of movies on DVD.  Tom Ford’s visceral novel within the story Nocturnal Animals, and The Post about the Pentagon Papers are two standout examples.  (To drop another name, at a protest at the Pentagon about 20 years ago, I attempted to be arrested with none other than author activist Daniel Ellsberg.);
  • attended the annual birthday gathering of KMFA 89.5 FM, Central Texas’s dedicated non-profit classical music station.  I had good chats with two of the on-air hosts I know and met a third.  Listening to the Austin Saxophone Ensemble play an incredibly tight and rousing set by new and old composers was thrilling.
  • attended an amazing concert by the Russian classical guitarist Irina Kulikova.  I won tickets to this Austin Classical Guitar performance from KMFA (after doing so last week to see the fanstastic Grammy-winning choir, Conspirare:  A Company of Voices).  She was engaging, funny and my lands, that woman can play!  From tear-inducing gentle melodies to rousing and fiery flamenco licks, we were transfixed.

So the juices are flowing, which is pretty cool.  There’s alot of work to be done as well, and that’s not so much cool, because it’s well work.  Either way, I’m on a path, but where it goes, nobody knows.

Biking, Walking & Yoga

latest rides on strava 012819
See all my rides on Strava

In December, I chose to make up a bunch of miles to reach and then blow out of the water my mileage goal.  It was a pretty vigorous, cold, wet and miserable.  To prevent having to play catch up next December, I’m still at it this January.  I’m averaging about 110 miles per week, riding every day since Christmas so far.  Here’s a shot of my recent rides.  You can see all my rides on Strava.

Sunday was my longest day of the year, at 32 miles.  Not huge, but I managed a nice series of strolls in the even nicer weather, and my legs felt good.  As if by not taking them on spins over 16 miles, they weren’t geting stretched out and warmed up enough.  That’s encouraging.  I’m still feeling limited in doing longer rides for health reasons and also the heavier bike that is Sophie the Fairdale.

As the weather warms and the sun stays out longer, I hope to increase the speed and the miles.  I still need a lighter bike, and that’s something that’s in the works.  I’m thinking that putting parts from good ol’ Sookie the Fuji on a new frame I could get by doing the Earn-a-Bike program at Yellow Bike Project.   We shall see.  Walking and yoga continue, although at times a leisurely pace.  I’m OK with that.  Taking an hour a day just for those two things is a commitment, but one that’s well worth it.

Food & Health

But with an added twist, I’m doing my activities for the last 10 days or so with cedar fever- induced creeping crud, chest cold or possibly infection.  It’s also compounded with mold, another common allergen that’s here all year.  All I know is, there’s lots of mucous spewing from my sinuses and lungs.  Coughing and forcing it out of my nose (when it’s not dripping) is a) gross, b) tedious, and c) did I mention gross?  Breathing has at times been strained.  Twice I used an inhaler and am taking antihistamine, herbs, cough drops and stuff.  I suppose if there’s any consolation to this is that at some point soon cedar fever season will be over.  Mold is the gift that keeps on giving, but is something that’s tolerable.

Beyond that is the usual fatigue and challenge of eating well.  With the illness I’ve had my appetite come and go, and sometimes do not make the best choices.  Whether it’s out of habit, rebellion, craving, addiction to sugar, or just being lazy and not cooking enough vegetables, eating better is always a challenge.  Not having the regular income of a job means I’m not going out to eat unless a friend persuades me.  Even then it’s nothing lavish, maybe a salad bar.  There’s the rare fast food when I’m ravenous, but often snacks out of convenience stores or vending machines.  Today’s treat got stuck so I had to buy another.  Well, I didn’t have to, but I did.  Sigh.

But I’m also not buying as nice a quality of food, and I’m eating less meat, so I think with my high caloric expenditures, I may be undernourished.  I’ve actually lost about five pounds, though expect it will return.  Much of the time I’m eating oatmeal, fruit, eggs, beans, or other decent things I do prepare at home.  I’m fueling my body enough to continue, but could do with better nutrients and as always, more rest.  Though I have had to take some naps recently.  Literally I did not have a choice, it was either lie down and get unconscious or fall over and get knocked out by my head hitting the ground.  Acupuncture one day was particularly strong but I think helped calm my chi.

Overall, I’m fortunate to have a good level of fitness and immunity so that I’m plowing through these allergies and associated ailments.  I have the chance to work through being sick without missing a job, to find a new place to live, eventually move, and to search for work that suits my talents, interest and experience, while continuing my activities.  In the end, I think the lesson is that I’m driven to stay active, but sometimes I ought to ease up.  Which I do, but not nearly enough.  And when I don’t, nature will do it for me.  Thus end the melange of musings on Monday.

What are you working on to express yourself?

What inspires you?

Do you get up and move?

How do you take care of your health?

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3 thoughts on “Mmm… A Melange of Musings on Monday

  1. Dude,

    You have lots going on!

    I’m on the B side of my gluttonous holiday intake, that put on the pounds and ended up making me feel like absolute crap. Slowly but surely working my way back from that, but jeez . . I gotta stop doing that holiday thing to such an extent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, you’re right. There is lits going on in some areas, that’s true. Making bank I’m not, though. And need to be. Also, taking better care of myself is something I gotta do, too. Focus on little things and hopefully they snowball into an upward trend. We do have better weather than where you are in New Pennsyltucky. Colder there too so unless you have a gym, harder to work out. One moment, one day at a time. Be Here Now. Etc. You can do it! I can too sometimes think I need need a coach or buddy or program. Maybe ill eat a freaking salad today! And you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I gave up the gym years ago when my uncle gifted me his soloflex. Well . . I lie My aunt gifted it to me because he never used it, LOL.

        The soloflex had its day, after which I never went back to the gym. Instead I keep to my own regimen, which includes running throughout the winter. Granted, I cut back on my running to twice a week right now, but by next month it’s three and then back to the regularly scheduled programming.

        I love a salad with plenty of mixed nuts, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It feels like I am cheating!

        You’re super active, which is more than can be said for most peeps.

        Liked by 1 person

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