Heed not Steve

Time Sneaks Like A Cartoon Burglar 

two hours
’til sunset
summer solstice


© Steve Mitchell 2017

Baby, It’s Hot Outside

to the heat


© Steve Mitchell 2017

As I Put Off My Workout With a Rambling Blog Post…

I mentioned, in yesterday’s post, I wan’t to be all fit and buff when I turn 50.

That gives me six months.



I haven’t, really, specifically, defined my goals (other than joking I want to achieve the look of an athlete who’s let himself go.)

And I’m not, really, specifically, inclined to put much more work into achieving those ill-defined goals.

And I’m not, really, currently, fit or buff.

Ahh, boy.  This isn’t a recipe for success.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m reasonably trim.  I’m reasonably fit.

I can do a pull-up, for crying out loud!

At least, I thought I was reasonably fit.

Then I went and bought a body fat/muscle measuring device by a company called Skulpt.  It’s the Skulpt Chisel.  With it, you can specifically measure several different muscle groups and determine your overall muscle quality and your overall body fat percentage.

I bought it because online reviews said it was a pretty accurate body fat tester, not the most accurate, but more accurate than calipers or scales, and I wanted to know whether I was gaining or losing fat or muscle when my weight changed.

It’s too easy to think to yourself, Self, maybe this weight gain is muscle from all the working out!  Yeah, it’s probably muscle!

Pro tip:  It’s probably not muscle.

Anyhow.  Ill-defined goals aside, I want more muscle for health and for vanity.  So, I’ve started progressive, body weight training, with a focus on building overall muscle strength and mass.

And I’m slowly, sloooowly, gradually, oh-so-gradually, examining and adjusting my diet to help with that goal.

And, now, I’ve got another tool (besides how my clothes fit and the scale) to get feedback on my progress.

I’ve measured myself with the Skulpt and, while my body fat percentage isn’t amazing, it’s pretty good for a guy nearing fifty.  It’s in the healthy range of average.  I can, hopefully, shave a few points off the percentage.  That’s encouraging.

But, my muscle quality?  Sheesh!  The device uses a 0-100 point scale broken into the following ranges –  needs work, fair, good, fit, and athletic.

I measured a solid fair.


All the exercising I’ve done over the years and I don’t even rate good?  Years and years!

That was depressing.

What can you do, though?  You have to start somewhere.  As depressing as it was, I’m at least happy I’m not in the needs work range.

And, it’s oddly motivating.  Without consciously trying to, I’ve started exercising with more intensity.  It’s very easy to take shortcuts.  It’s very easy to convince yourself you’re working harder than you are.  It’s very easy to not push hard.  Now I have a fair designation always nipping at my heels.  It pushes me.

Okay.  But, I digress.

Let me think about this.  What do I really, really want?

I want to be healthy.  Sure.

Also, at 50, it’d be awesome to look like a fitness model or an olympic athlete.  But, in order to look like that, I’d have to train like that and eat like that and live like that.  In order to look like a high performance athlete, I’d have to be a high performance athlete.

I don’t really, really want to do that.

I need goals closer to my desired lifestyle.  Here’s where I’ll start.  I’ve got six months before I turn fifty.  In those six months, I want to:

  • lose two inches off my waistline, back down to 36 inches. (I was there a year ago but put the inches back on)
  • drop my total body fat percentage from it’s current range of 20-22 percent to about 18 percent
  • up my muscle quality into the good range! (or even the fit range – dare to dream!)


Six months.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Father’s Day! 2017

Hey Dad,

Happy Father’s Day.  I hope your day was good.  I had to work.  They want me to actually show up and do work before they’ll pay me.  It’s a heck of a thing.

But, I’m taking some time off.  Lucie and I are going to go to Laguna beach for a few days while Alec attends an academic camp in Orange, California.  I’m looking forward to it.

Back to Father’s Day, I didn’t get you a gift.  Sorry about that.  I imagine you pretty much have all the things you need or want right now.  But, I don’t know; maybe you needed just one more coffee cup!

Speaking of which, today, so far, after work, I’ve celebrated the day with two cups of coffee, some generic cheese nips, and a sofa-nap.

Alec (with Lucie’s help) got me a nice single-malt, Aberlour 16.  He picked it because it’s aged the same number of years as he has.   He didn’t know it, but I’ve wanted to try Aberlour for some time now.  I’m looking forward to that, too.

Lucie got me some cool gym clothes because I’d told her I want to head into my 50th year all buff and in shape.  We’ll see how that goes.  I might have to lay off the generic cheese nips.


Rufus got me nothing but dusty, old, dog farts.  He gets me that every year, it seems.

Double alas.

Anyhow, that’s been my day.

I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day!


Whoever smellt it, dealt it…





Caught On Film: Our Cat’s Secret To Successfully Sneaking Up On Birds

Crafty disguises!

Who is this ‘Basil’ you speak of?

Earliest Spring

he sits at the pond –
such vanity


© Steve Mitchell 2017


summer don’t

wait days

so hot


© Steve Mitchell 2017

Happy Birthday, Cos! 11100 Years Old!

Happy Birthday, Cos.  As I write this, I don’t know how your day has gone.  I’ll see you tomorrow at your aunt’s house, for your birthday dinner, and I’ll get all the scoop then.

And I’ll find out what your mother and I got you.


As you know, today is also flag day.

And, as you know, it is also the birthday of the president who shall not be named.


We didn’t get him anything.

But hey, here’s a nice gift for you (and for him.)  The media is abuzz with reports the aforementioned pseudo-president is currently, officially, under investigation for obstruction of justice.


Okay, enough politics stinking up the place.

I hope you had a good day.  There’s no shortage of people who love and cherish you, including your mother and me.

Enjoy the minutes.  Enjoy the days.  Enjoy the years.

Happy Birthday, Son.  I love you.


Cosmo at 100

Our Living Room Lit

this warm evening –
a running cricket
catches my eye


© Steve Mitchell 2017

Update: Blue Light Special

Hey Steve, you may be asking, whatever happened with those blue light blocking glasses you got?  Do they work?  Do you sleep better?  What’s the scoop, Steve?  What’s the deal?  Huh?  What’s the deal, Steve?  Come on!  What the hell gives?

Were you asking that?


No matter.

I’ll tell you, anyhow.

You might recall I bought some Swannick, blue-light-filtering glasses to wear in the evenings, until bedtime, as an aid to better sleep.  The blue light from TVs and computers and phones tricks the body into thinking there’s still sunlight and prevents the body from commencing with its various sleep hormones and doze humors and what-have-yous.

Do the glasses work?

Yeah, I think they do, enough that I continue to use them.  I don’t wear them on the my weekends and my tendency to drink the red wine close to bedtime doesn’t help the science.  But, the glasses have definitely, if subtly, improved the character of my sleep.

Here’s some of what I’ve noticed:

It took a few days of wearing them to readjust my body clock.  The first few days I’d wake up after four or five hours feeling like I’d had a long, afternoon nap (I’d fall back asleep, though.)  After a couple of weeks, I resumed mostly sleeping through the night.

Right away I noticed I was mentally ready for bed a little earlier than I’d usually been (not that I necessarily go to bed much earlier)

On the evenings I wear the glasses, when I hit the pillow, I drool more, my eyelids feel heavier and easier to keep closed, and I fall asleep faster.  If I do wake up in the night, I fall back asleep easier (again with the heavy eyelids.)

I sometimes forget and look over the top of the glasses like I do with my readers.  I’m rewarded with a startling, bright, blue flash of unfiltered light when I do.

Along those lines, I wish the glasses blocked more side light. When I sit to the side of a bright light source, I’m aware of the unfiltered light in my periphery.

Too early is still too early and getting up isn’t really any easier. How I feel when I wake up depends more on what time I’ve gone to bed and how much of a sleep deficit I’ve accrued.

So.  There you go.

I like the blue filter glasses.  They’re not a miracle cure-all for our sleep-deprived times, and I can’t say whether they’ve improved my overall health.  But I like how I feel and sleep after I’ve worn the glasses an hour or so before bed.

I think they help.


and I can see through walls…