Guys’ night with Neal
Greetings from sunny Chicago! Or at least it’s sunny in my office where I’m playing tropical beach screensavers on TV while I work. Anyways, here are 10 quick things that come to mind this week:
- What I’m Watching: “Great Art Explained” on YouTube. On this channel, art historian James Payne analyzes individual pieces of art and the lives of artists who created them. I’ve always been curious about the world of art if not mostly because I found it totally incomprehensible. “Great Art Explained” gives approachable context to the pieces of art we’ve seen throughout our lives and builds a true appreciation for why they are so loved. A great place to start is his piece on the “Mona Lisa.” Enjoy!
- What I’m Reading: A Sand County Almanac. I’m going to be honest with you. I just finished reading Dune, a 48-chapter science fiction fantasy about mining hallucinogenic spice on a desert planet ruled by giant worms. So I’m looking for a quick and quiet read to cleanse the pallet, and A Sand County Almanac is just that. It’s about nature and birds and plants and stuff in Wisconsin. Or at least I think it is; I don’t really know, I just started it.
- What I’m Listening To: Not my “Made for Mitch” Spotify playlists thanks to Emma and Lucy taking over my account. According to Spotify, my top listens are Peppa Pig, JoJo Siwa, Encanto, Disney’s Zombies, Disney’s Zombies II, and The Wiggles. And there’s apparently no way to reset the algorithm. I will say that Encanto music slaps, though.
- After five years of working from home, I’m back to being a commuter. Don’t get me wrong, I still work from home. My commute is now back and forth from preschool, peewee, kindergarten, swimming, field hockey, dance and gymnastics. I’m never more than a mile or two from my house but I’m putting hundreds of miles on the car each week. I’m coping with coffee, podcasts, audiobooks and loud cursing-at-the-city traffic when my kids aren’t in the car. Oh crap, I have to go pick up Lucy. Be right back.
- I’ve been taking my family swimming every weekend and it’s been making everyone so happy. It’s an hour of a half (which is when everyone starts to get cold) of pure fun and even relaxation sometimes. It’s a great escape, and it gets us out of the house and doing something totally different than we otherwise would in Chicago in January/February. Highly recommend!
- I happened to catch a glimpse of The Sound of Music the other day and I didn’t break my arm. Have I told you this? I’ve broken my arm three times, and every time it’s happened, I’ve seen The Sound of Music beforehand. (This is true.) Maybe the 15 seconds just weren’t enough to do it. OR MAYBE I’M ABOUT TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT. Oh dear.
- I’m continuing with the second month of New Years resolutions by doing 100 pushups per day and I’m exhausted. The benefits of lifting are well documented, but I’ve never gotten into a good routine with it. Recently I got stuck in a chair due to back pain so I decided to make a few changes for myself. First, I installed a simple counter widget on my phone to keep track. I then drop and do 10 pushups 10 times throughout the day in the hopes of improving my general fitness. Honestly, I love the challenge and the little bursts of exercise throughout the day do a lot for my energy levels. Also, my back pain has been reduced DRAMATICALLY. Let’s see how long I can keep this going for.
- I refinanced the house again. This is my third refinance and, now that I think of it, fourth mortgage on this house since we moved in. I keep telling myself that I’m done refinancing and then I refinance again. I’m addicted to paperwork I guess. But I keep getting incredible deals! I must be stopped. I wrote about the refinance process in this blog post if you’re interested… but you’re probably not.
- Is anyone else super stoked that January is over? I realize I’m not supposed to wish away my life, but as a born-and-raised Chicagoan, I can’t help myself. With only a short February (only 28 days!) and then March (the sun might even come out) and, okay sure, April left in the winter, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sort of?
- While we’re on the topic, I’m in a full on battle with the snow and ice on my sidewalk. I’m out there scooping and scraping that junk around two or three times per week. I’m not complaining, I appreciate the excuse to hide from my kids out in the snow and the opportunity to flex on other neighborhood dads with my immaculate sidewalk. We’re expecting up to 20″ of snow in the next couple days and I’m sitting by the window patiently waiting.