The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

More iPhone Phonetography — January 13, 2014

More iPhone Phonetography

This new phonetography passion of mine continues to swirl around in my head.

Sunrise at Sloan's Lake
Sunrise at Sloan’s Lake

Check this link to get my drift and feel free to share your own photography thoughts here!

phonetography 101

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Early Morning iPhone Phonetography — January 10, 2014

Early Morning iPhone Phonetography

At five thirty a.m. I stepped out of my car and into the predawn chill. With an eye on the horizon, I searched for signs of first morning light. Suddenly, something heavy landed in the tree above me. I stopped in my tracks and slowly moved my eyes to where my ears had detected the landing.

There was an owl sitting there on the branch. I couldn’t believe my extreme good fortune as I stood there watching the owl watch me.

Facing Denver from South Platte River by REI
Pre-dawn Denver

Not wanting to appear the owl ogler I kept a cool demeanor and after a moment of appreciative observation, continued crunching through the frozen snow toward the river. I could hear her subsiding “whoo, whoo, whoo” as the distance between us grew.

SouthPlatteSunrise
South Platte Sunrise

Standing there on the path beside the river I turned myself slowly to get my bearings. Predawn is another world with its silence, its stillness, and its promise of the coming day.

LightsOnTheHill
Reflections in the Platte

Sort of spooky and mysterious, this situation puts me into a modified fight or flight state. I feel edgy yet calmed by it all. There I was all edgy and calm turning myself in a slow circle to get the feel of what was around me when a bicycle sped past me almost spinning me into the river.

ConfluenceAtDawn
Joining and the Journey Begins

That cyclist, passing within a foot of my black – clad body spinning in the predawn darkness brought me back to the real world of a Denver workday commute. So I shook off my nature buzz and pulled out my phone for some early morning iPhone phonetography.

Respect the Laws of Laundry or Don’t Blame the Fluffy Blue Towel — September 11, 2013

Respect the Laws of Laundry or Don’t Blame the Fluffy Blue Towel

I understand that towels should be washed only with other towels just the way I understand that dark clothes should only be washed with dark clothes and all of the other laundry laws that I swear I have obeyed my whole life.

I know too that obeying these laundry laws gets much easier as your loads get larger. But what if you need your white dress shirt and your black bike shorts washed today? And what if you have your fluffy blue bath towel there all lonely in your hamper too?

One fluffy blue towl all alone in the hamper
When will I get washed?

If you are a one-person household it could be a while before you have a legitimate load of towels to wash.

So you fold under the pressure, throw caution to the wind and toss everything in together. “What the heck,” you think. “What could happen?”

We all know what happens, and it isn’t pretty. There is now a line of fluffy blue lint along the seam of my stretchy black bike shorts that will take a long time to pluck out. And there are fluffy bits of blue towel hanging all over my white shirt, inside and out.

I made this decision knowing the probable consequences. Why would I ever break the laundry laws? In that split second I hung myself out to dry. You’ve done it too. You know you have and you paid the consequences and regretted it.

Towlie from South Park

Towlie from South Park teaches us many lessons. Dirty old towels need love too.

Oh well, I just look at this as a lesson review. And what did I really learn?

I learned not to wash my fluffy blue towel with anything else but towels.

Because if I do it’s eventually going to disappear.

Grinding It Out — August 1, 2013

Grinding It Out

Grindstone-300x241

How many times have you had to do something that was not particularly appealing but just plain had to be done? Stuff like this is usually important or you wouldn’t even consider doing it, so you’ve just got to get it done. That is one of those times when you’ve just got to put your nose to the stone and grind it out.

I recently heard this term from a guy who was considering a really difficult bike race with mega elevation gain. Somebody else was describing the difficulty of pieces of the ride and this guy said thoughtfully, “No, I can get through that. I am an extreme runner and I know how to just… grind… it… out.”

Since then I have been thinking about an individual’s anticipation and acceptance of just grinding it out. If you have ever done it you know how it’s going to be – really, really difficult. It’s going to be unpleasant. It’s going to hurt. But you know what to expect and you are sure you can do it, will do it, and will feel pretty darn good about it afterwards.

I usually think about this “grinding it out” when I am on my bike approaching one of those hills that go on forever at a grade that I know is going to be challenging for me. I get ready for complaining lungs and legs, but most preparation I need is for the challenges I will face inside my head. I frequently call upon the words that I have heard coaches and mentors say over the years. I use these words as a combination of prayer, meditation, and incantation; surprisingly to much success.

You can laugh, but “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it” and “Quitters never win and winners never quit” have gotten me and my bike over some tough stretches. I might as well admit to chanting to myself on a long 7% grade “bulldogish hangontiveness” over and over. It comes from my junior high school principal (We were the Trexler Bulldogs) and flows nicely over the other “I can’t do this” voices.

I have now reached a place where I truly grasp the beauty of just grinding it out, and I can do it; albeit, at my own level. I am surprisingly happy about this and about knowing that everyone can grind it out at his or her own level and that someday we will all tire of our perceived levels and grind it out even further.

Strong Women — May 24, 2013

Strong Women

Step back in time to 1940 and think of the statement “She’s a strong woman.” Just what did that mean back then? It may have been a positive statement lauding this woman’s ability to overcome adversity, or it may have meant that she was outspoken; overstepping the bounds of demure womanhood.

Fast forward to the 60s and “She’s a strong woman” would probably have made her a bra burner.
Either way, neither of these scenarios was expressing anything about physical strength.

Back in the 40s it was considered to be very unattractive for women to sweat. Searching the internet for women’s fitness photos from the 1940s I found this.

Unrealistic perhaps
Unrealistic perhaps

Then in the 60s the vibrating belt that claimed to “melt your fat away” became a mainstay in women’s spas and health clubs. It was thought that the jiggling would disrupt and melt away the fat.
We actually had one of these things in our house and it did jiggle your fat and it tickled.

Does anyone remember this?
Does anyone remember this?

Now fast forward to 2013. I know some women who possess superior physical strength. I take a core strengthening class on Sundays and the instructor for this class is insanely strong.

Karen1

Karen is the most positive, friendly individual you will meet. She smiles and chats as she leads the class through squats and lunges and push ups and crunches. Then we add some dumbbells and run through that set again. Her classes are 90% women sweating attractively and happily.

Karen3

Karen and her class make me a much stronger woman mentally as well as physically. This class is hard work and even though I have done it a dozen times I really have to push myself mentally to wrap my head around what Karen is so nicely asking us to do physically.

Karen4

Isn’t it fabulous to live in this time when women’s physical strength is so encouraged and appreciated? Lets take advantage of this opportunity to sweat and get strong together!

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver — April 21, 2013

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver

Yesterday, 4/20, I planned to visit my favorite urban garden, take a Zumba class at Studio Thrive Fitness, and ride my bike downtown to investigate the 4/20 celebration.  I checked off the first two items on my list, but at the last minute decided instead to get on my bike and head the other way to find a place to get on the Clear Creek trail from my new house. Two people and a dog were shot at that pot smoking 4/20 celebration. Really? Come on people. What the H E double toothpicks is going on here?

Denver is my all-time favorite city, and to honor her I offer here reason number 421 why I love Denver.

My favorite urban garden, Sunnyside Farm in North Denver opened yesterday so I stopped by. I wanted to see what they had to offer, but I was especially interested in some neighborhood eggs. I was greeted by a smiling garden crew, spent a few minutes perusing the breads and jams and fresh greens grown in their newly constructed hoop house, and departed this happy garden with a dozen browns and some fresh-picked greens.

Experiencing neighborhood agriculture renews me, and luckily there are plenty of agricultural endeavors growing up in neighborhoods all over Denver. Urban gardens are a wonderful place to meet the people who live around you. You don’t just grow vegetables in a garden; you grow relationships too. Studies have shown that urban gardens create an oasis of peace in the hubbub of the city that reconnects people back to the earth. And no matter how crotchety or detached a person is, “garden magic” transforms every individual who ventures between the hoed rows.

Our Denver urban agriculture basket holds fauna as well as flora and goats and chickens live among us all over the city.

ChargingChicken

I peddled past a house in Arvada with a guy working under his car and a couple of chickens pecking the dirt around his feet. Why did that sight make me feel so serenely happy?

Goats

I set out on my bike yesterday looking for a route to the Clear Creek bike path and came upon a small herd of goats grazing contentedly not two blocks from my place. Why do goats and chickens and gardens make me feel so good? Why does discovering a bucolic pocket in the metro area warm my heart? Because animals are therapeutic, and they don’t shoot you.

This is Denver; pot friendly, garden friendly, chicken friendly, goat friendly and bike friendly. To honor our fine town, I suggest a teeny toke and a trip around your neighborhood on foot or on bicycle wheels. You will love what you find there. I guarantee it.

Family Stories — March 9, 2013

Family Stories

I am going to see my family soon and will spend time talking about old times. These old times can be tricky and the way the stories develop and conclude, depend upon who is telling them. Details are all about perspective and current conditions it would seem.

My perspective is different from the overriding perspective of the group because they all live near each other and socialize on a regular basis. The old family stories have evolved for them as a group even though each one individually wonders how the group got it so changed from the actual event or incident that they remember.

My little brother, the baby of the family, turned fifty last year. So as we are all a little long in tooth these days the recollections could be a little less reliable; especially after dinner, over coffee, after wine.

kidsleepingattable

It will be interesting even though inaccurate. Luckily I’ll be there to set everybody straight. Wish me luck.