Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Shortest Urban Hike Ever

Around the turn of the nineteenth century, movers and shakers built some standout homes on Lowry Hill, Minneapolis.

Last week I decided to get to know part of the neighborhood a little better. I'd had surgery the previous week, and the chosen day promised to be the hottest in four years. This would be my shortest urban hike, ever.

I walked from our home to the 1925 Elizabeth C. Quinlan House (pictured above). Quinlan operated a successful department store in the Young-Quinlan Building, a gracious structure that still adds heart to downtown Minneapolis.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lego Technic Therapy

My mind goes to a different place when I build models with Lego Technic and Mindstorms. This week, as I recover from surgery, a dose of Technic seemed like a good idea.

I decided to work on my Lego Technic design aesthetic. Yoshihito Isogawa produces wonderful Technic books that demonstrate a pleasing balance of form and function. He presents each model as a series of pictures: there are no words to explain the thinking behind the design.

I love to stare at the pictures and figure out why a model looks good.

I decided to build one of Isogawa's models, a "gripping fingers" mechanism. While building it, I would ask myself questions about the design choices.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Steps to Fitness After Prostate Cancer Surgery

This week I'll walk into a hospital feeling fit, with no symptoms.

Dr. "Zap" will sit at a console at the side of an operating room. Across the room, a da Vinci robot will carry out his instructions via five small incisions.

Good riddance to my prostate, a ticking time bomb. (I'll miss it, though.)

Next day I'll leave the hospital, feeling pretty weak.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Small Experiences on a Big Journey

We stood behind a crowd at Edinburgh Castle waiting for the one-o'clock cannon to fire. Many eyes were fixed on cell phones to catch the moment to share on Facebook. Bodies in Edinburgh, minds in other places.

Meanwhile, my nephews were determined to climb up rocks where climbing was not allowed.

Last month's trip to the UK with our nephews (7 and 8) and their parents was a series of small experiences. We saw some big sights, but the time spent between those sights, living in the moment, gave meaning to my journey.

A metal drain cover extending the length of the sidewalk outside our hotel in Edinburgh is a case in point. (See the picture at the top of this post.) On a rainy day it became a slide, made all the more dangerous by the higher center of gravity imposed by the boys' backpacks. Our protestations fell on deaf ears as they giggled and slid.

The previous evening they enjoyed the attention of the hotel bartender. She was from Catalonia, the boys chatted with her in Spanish, and I barely understood a word.