Two Desks

Two desks sat in a hall
each with its own color and tone
both in their boxes again
though this wasn’t the case earlier when
I had them uncased and they were compared
to other specimens in my home.

But they didn’t really compare
since they came from different worlds
Or did they compare?
Confusion sets in.
Does any of it matter anyway?
This process has more
back and forths
than any tennis match.

How many times did I seal them up
only to slide the knife down their box’s spine
and expose them to the air once more?
It’s so easy to forget
what something looks like
once it’s taped up in our memory.

But now I’m quite sure
neither of these will work
so it’s back to searching
for the perfect shade of veneer.

Beautiful Transformers

If you live in a neighborhood without overhead power lines, you likely live in a neighborhood with big, ugly, green transformers popping up out of cement pads. It’s not uncommon to have one every three or four houses.

Now, I understand the necessity for electrical transformers. I love electricity but even I know that 13000 volts is more than my toaster needs. But why do these utilities have to be so, utilitarian? Why do they all have to be the same olive drab green?

A nice alternative color scheme to mimic the neighborhood feel would go a long way toward removing these things as eyesores. I don’t blame the electric companies for not doing this. Sticking with one color is cheaper and easier to maintain. But I’d love to see them allowing customers to spruce them up.

So here’s an idea. Why not manufacture removable skins that can be stretched right over the top of one. Imagine the decorative possibilities. And it could be a great business. There are probably hundreds of thousands of these things in the U.S. alone and more are being put in all the time.

Overhead lines are coming down and being replaced with underground lines in many cities. In some ways, we are replacing ugly poles that everyone’s used to with ugly boxes right in people’s yards. It’s a ripe situation for a cosmetic solution. 

Of course this will never happen. Anywhere there’s a warning sticker (like on every transformer ever installed), there’s absolutely zero chance of having any fun. That’s just the world we live in today. But I might start coming up with some designs anyway.

Five Books for Friday

Every week I hit the library, yard sales, bookstores, kindle and my own collection in search of something interesting to read. I thought I could start sharing what I’m reading each week and let you know what I liked and didn’t like. So here’s the first installment.

  1. How to Read Nature by Tristan Gooley

Gooley is one of the world’s foremost experts on natural navigation. For those of you not familiar with the term, natural navigation is land navigation using ones knowledge of nature and nature’s patterns. This book will tell you things like what plants and can tell you about the direction you’re facing or how the presence of certain birds can indicate the time of day.

You’ll learn a lot about observation and how to use your surroundings to live a more engaged and fulfilling life.

2. Look Big: and other tips for surviving animal encounters of all kinds by Rachel Levin

Look Big is a fun, quick read. It’s not just about surviving life and death encounters with animals. Levin is also full of advice on what to do when you come across raccoons and turkeys. I’ve come across wild turkeys, skunks and deer right in my front and back yard. It would have been nice to have read this book before then. But better late than never as they say.

3. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos

I’ve written on this blog about the benefits of standing desks and the dangers of sitting too much. There’s really not a whole lot that needs to be added and I can’t believe there are so many books on the subject. Most of them can be boiled down “get up and move around more”. I mean, write a tweet or something but an entire book?

I’m also reading Get Up! : why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it by James A. Levine. I think the message is obvious from the title. Your chair is killing you! For goodness sake, get out of it; that’s what you can do about it! I might make a special trip to the library to return these two books early.

4. Mind Gym: achieve more by thinking differently by Sebastian Bailey

Your mind is like a muscle and you have to keep exercising it, blah, blah blah. I think the author needs to achieve a better book by thinking differently than all the other books saying the same thing. To be fair, I stopped reading this one early on so it might have been spectacular toward the end. However, you can buy it on Kindle for only $1.99 so it’s probably not spectacular toward the end.

5. Wits Guts Grit: all-natural biohacks for raising smart, resilient kids by Jena Pincott

I decided to give Jenna’s book a chance because it had the work hack in it. The premise is that the gut biome and the foods we put in it can affect our mood, memory and fortitude.

Most people understand that when you swallow medicine or a vitamin, it absorbs into your blood stream and affects your body and mind in extremely powerful ways. But then they shove their face full of sugar, colorings and artificial this-and-that without a clue these things act on us in the exact same way. This book looks at the foods we eat with a true understanding about how powerful they are.

This one was interesting, the writing was good and I liked the subject. But I never made it through the whole thing. Maybe someday I’ll come back to it.  It’s $11.99 on Kindle but free as an audio book so the jury’s still out on this books true worth.

There you go. Five books I’ve been reading (or just paging through and then putting down with good intentions) recently. What books are you into? Let me know in the comments.

It’s Better to Give

Today during lunch I went to the grocery store. I wanted a salad but needed to get a few things first including olive oil. A few days earlier I went to the same store and tried to buy olive oil on a buy-one-get-one sale but they were all out.

Thankfully, this time the shelves were stocked with oil. So I proceeded to unstock the shelves and loaded my cart with ten bottles of the good stuff.

I got to the checkout and handed the cashier a raincheck from the previous trip. Now, rather than BOGO, the oil was on sale for $2 off. The cashier rang all of the bottles up on the sale price and then gave me half off for the BOGO raincheck!

I was ecstatic about the great deal I was getting. I was also wishing I had grabbed the last two bottles of oil off the shelf and asked if they had another case in the back (I like olive oil).

But then my little shopping trip got even better. An older lady behind me in line walked up and handed me her coupon for $5 off my purchase. She said she wasn’t going to reach the $30 threshold for the deal so she wanted me to use it.

I wanted to thank her more than just saying thank you. The discount was great but it was the woman’s generosity and willingness to break the wall of separation and silence between strangers in public that impressed me.

The woman probably felt pretty good about the whole situation too. Giving has a way of lifting the spirit. Even though I was the one who received the savings, that woman who gave the coupon likely received much more.

Going For a Walk

Most mornings around 6:00am I go for a walk in my neighborhood. I always thought I was getting out fairly early and felt a little self-righteous that I was the only one out and about. I figured no one else was willing to get up and get out early like I was.

Then, this morning I woke up just a little earlier at 5:30 and decided to walk then. I was surprised to find, on every street I turned down, someone else out walking (and usually at a faster pace). Some were walking dogs and some were obviously just out for exercise.

It was a reminder that when you start to feel like you have a leg up on the competition, you need to take a hard look at yourself. You’re probably not as far ahead as you think. Someone always wakes up earlier and walks a little faster.

No More Saturday Posts

A few weeks ago I decided not to post to the blog on Sundays. Now I’ve decided to abstain on Saturdays too. I think I see a pattern here but it’s too early to tell for sure.

It’s not that I’m getting lazy or trying to do less. Quite the opposite. I want my Saturdays and sometimes Sundays to be times when I focus more on writing, photography and projects rather than posting something to a blog. Nobody reads blogs on the weekends anyway.

So this will be my last Saturday post. Not that anyone will care since they don’t read blogs on the weekend anyway.