Saturday, December 31, 2011

Amazed by the Unremarkable

This is the last entry for 2011.  Another year is done.

I suppose the tendency is to find something profound to say to mark the passing of another year but I really don't have anything much to offer except to share that I'm still constantly amazed by the unremarkable.  I really am.  I'm amazed by lots of things, and at this stage of life that's part of me that I hope never changes and I've made it a life goal to ensure that doesn't change.

This trip is a good example.  I'm in Rochester with my brother and sister and their families.  My flights yesterday went pretty much without incident although a delay in taking off on the first leg made my layover a little more dramatic than I like but it all worked out fine.  When I landed at 11pm it had already been a long day - a day at work, a 200 mile drive to Charlotte to catch my flight, then to Atlanta to catch my flight to Rochester.  And when I finally got to bed at 1:30 I didn't realize how tired I was.  I slept until almost 9 this morning.

My sister and I went out for a bagel run this morning.  A group of us went to see a folk group playing at a local coffee house - one of her friends' husbands plays the harmonica in it.  I took my brother-in-law to the Apple Store to deal with various Apple-related issued they've been having.  We brought pizza home for dinner.  I've been taking special notice of things that are changing around here - after having lived here for 15 years - stores that close or move, restaurants that change names, empty fields that now have something in them - that kind of thing.

But it's casual and comfortable and feels like it has always been like this.  That amazes me, especially given the difficulty it took to get over the hump that prevented me from ever having the chance to realize any of this.  Anyway - Amazement in the Unremarkable is a defining thing in life these days and that's certainly true of this year in particular.

My years tend to be defined by significant events that happen.  In 2010 I learned a lot about how I deal with a deep felt sense of betrayal, and I started wrestling.  In 2009 I was diagnosed with melanoma and I put a number of significant life efforts on hold while I tried to figure out what that meant in my world.  And at this point last year I had changed career directions.  But much of the direction in my life from a year ago has changed significantly.

This year I chose to go to Charleston in hopes that I could get a good enough sense of the area to gauge if I'd want to be (or, could manage to be) there longer.  It was my effort to try to gain a foothold in the thing that was my most significant need: a place that felt like "home" for a reason other than simply working there.

Today I'm still living there and I'm beginning to realize/hope that I'll be there for quite a while.  It feels a little like getting involved in a serious relationship and getting to the point where you dare to hope that you've found "the one".

There are so many other positive things popping right now.  I'm very much enjoying my career again.  I'm athletic and competing again.  I'm getting interested in bike riding, and I've got more life goals than at any time that I can remember.  It's all very exciting.  Most of it fairly unremarkable.  But still - most of it continues to amaze me when I take the time to stop and think about it.

I have also decided that part of the future of this blog will include more sharing of observations on everyday life things. Recently I've done quite a bit of research on a variety of topics.  I did research on various bikes, and whether the extra $$$ spent on a carbon frame was worth the money and, if so, how much.  I did research on various bike components.  I've done research on the question of buying an integrated system like an iMac vs an Apple component system (Mac mini + a monitor).  I've found quite a bit of people have weighed in on those topics in various blogs/forums and have found their explanations invaluable.

An example:

Earlier today I went to the bike store recently to buy some biking shoes to go with my new bike.  The specialist there was very kind and spent quite a bit of time with me to find the exact right pair.  At first she brought me my customary size 43 shoes  in the women's style.  Although the shoes fit ok and looked nice they did have a high arch and they were narrower on the heel and they weren't all that comfortable.

Women's feet are not the same as men's feet. While I was in the store I used my iPhone to do some research.  One website explains some of the significant differences:

"The female foot is not just a scaled down version of the male foot. In general, a women's foot has a higher arch, narrower heel and a shallower first toe. The ball of a women's foot has a smaller circumference than a males. The circumference on the instep of a women's foot is also smaller. Both the ankle length, and the instep length are shorter than their male counterparts."

If I walked barefoot along the beach guess which of those footprints is most like mine. There are some things that don't change throughout this entire process, and feet are one of them.

So, I suggested that she bring me the same size in the men's version of the same shoe to compare.  It wasn't nearly as attractive to look at, but given the anatomical realities of my skeleton the men's shoe fit better and was more comfortable.   I don't think I need to say which one I got....


I've got an iMac that's several years old.  In my world computer's have a useful life of 3 years or maybe a little more given the things I want to use it for, the growth in technology, and the changes in software/tools.  Although I'm not at a point where I'm ready to do anything yet I've started considering what to do next.

I'll stay with Apple.  That's a given.  And I suppose the most obvious and logical choice would be to a more current iMac model.  They've changed quite a bit over the years and are actually pretty impressive and have a good price point given what's included and what I want to use it for.  But I've started wondering about the actual difference between that, and a system built around a Mac mini computer and a good sized monitor.  And whereas I suppose many would consider the integrated nature of an iMac to be a positive thing the fact that it's all built together isn't necessarily always a plus.  So - I'll be putting together some requirements and the research will be on my radar over the coming weeks.

The annual monster that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas happens during the second week of January and sometimes involves new announcements so I'm always interested to see what comes out of that.  Rumors of new iPads - what they'll include, when they'll be available, etc. - are already pretty crazed so we'll see how things unfold in general.  If nothing else, I'm an interested observer.

Anyway - it's New Years Eve so I'll head downstairs to relax with my sister and gang.  Our family tradition is to eat ourselves silly while we do a large picture puzzle and I can already here them starting. Tomorrow I'm headed over to watch the Bills game with my brother.  A nasty storm bringing frigid temps, snow, and high winds is being forecast to hit anywhere between tomorrow night and later in the day on Monday.  At this point all I can say is that I'm here and will deal with what happens regardless...

To anyone who reads this - have a Happy and Safe New Year!


Caroline said...

There must be a fortune to be made by the first person to make properly designed shoes for our larger feet. I used to wear sports shoes for cycling long before they became a ubiquitous fashion item and was constantly told that the ones which I had chosen only came in women's sizes but that there were lots of clompy ugly "male" designs available to fit my feet!

The larger feet need design which makes them look smaller not larger, you don't need to be a smart as Einstein to work that one out!

Mae West said...

Thank you for sharing your research on the difference between men and women's feet, I had no idea! This reminds me of a place that I visited in Hawaii a few years ago called the CILHI. It is where the remains of service people who died in foreign lands are brought so that they can be identified and then returned to their families for closure and burial.

What I learned there is what a person's skull can tell you about them. Men have striated marks on the back of their skulls from all of the muscles in their necks, while the back of women's skulls are smooth. One can also tell a person's age and race by their skull.

Happy New Year to you and I hope you had a warm and relaxing time with your brother and sister in Rochester!

Sophie Lynne said...

I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

(I wonder if Dr. O can invent a TG foot surgery?) ;)