July 22nd, 2015

Wilco's new album is free at iTunes currently

Now, for the record, you should know that other than _Summerteeth_, which I found to be just about the most awesome album to make out to ever, most of Wilco's work has left me more meh than excited (which is entirely because of the aforementioned association -- that is just hard to live up to. I know you're thinking, wait, you're _old_, what were you doing making out to _Summerteeth_, perhaps you have confused it with some other album, ah, but no. I had my own place. I had an amazing liquor cabinet. I was in pretty good shape and I was between long term relationships. I had come out as both bi and poly in the wake of the end of the most recent relationship and I was having a lot of fun with some incredible people. Ahem.).


My husband told me that _Star Wars_ (the Wilco album, not something involving George Lucas) is free at iTunes. So you know, if you aren't actually opposed to Wilco, you might want to get it.

On the not free front, the Andy Grammer album is decent (hey, it's more than decent. There's a song celebrating male virginity on it. What's not to love about that?). Charlie Puth is, alas (and despite his vocals on Wiz Khalifa's single to the contrary), closer to Bobby Darin than Sam Smith (pity, but there's a chance he'll get better over time, and honestly, he's not hard to listen to, it's just some of the lyrics are a little insipid and he's trying too hard to generate excitement vocally). While I realize that by saying this, anyone with any self-respect will tune me out on the topic of music from here on out, Swift's _1989_ is actually incredibly good. The album works as an album and there are unbelievably excellent individual songs on it. I like that she is owning Teh Crazy at this point.

Going back a bit further: the latest from Mark Knopfler is absolutely nothing like the widely loved single off of it, "Beryl", and that's just fine because as far as I'm concerned, "Beryl" is the weakest track on the whole damn thing. The Dawes album, _All Your Favorite Bands_ is growing on me. I continue to worship at the shrine of Nate Ruess, and _Grand Romantic_ is permanently grooved into my brain at this point. Best of OMD is uneven (well, that's not surprising). Depeche Mode's _Music for the Masses_ aged well, with the exception of the ridiculously pretentious "Sonata No. 14" which is, blessedly, at the end of the album. If you haven't gotten Florence + The Machine's _How Big, How Blue_, I'm mildly jealous because it was fun from first listen.

Finally, I did get around to listening to Vampire Weekend, which I had been surprisingly good at evading to this point. If someone had pointed the lyrics to "Ya Hey" earlier, I would have paid attention sooner. When I heard the song, and I laughed out loud and promptly asked my husband (because I will never learn) why he hadn't mentioned that to me (come on -- it's entirely about the tetragrammaton and I was raised JW; how do you _not_ mention this to me?). He responded -- as he always does -- that he doesn't ever listen to lyrics.

A Few Remarks About Walking

It is just possible that at some point in reading this blog, you might have asked yourself, whyever the fuck does this woman post under the handle "walkitout"? And the answer is: because I find there are few problems that are not improved by walking and, ideally, talking about those problems with a friend.

I did not always feel this way. And I do not always have time to walk as much as I would like. For example, during the exhausting kids-really-young years, I was lucky to get a one mile walk in most week days. However, for the last couple years, I've been trying to get my mileage back up to What It Once Was. When I lived in Seattle, a lot of my walking was around Green Lake (just under 3 miles -- there were days when I'd meet a sequence of friends for walks and coffee or a meal, and wind up going around the lake three times), altho I eventually decided that flat was boring and started hiking. I had three glorious years of hiking before marriage/relocation/children destroyed my healthy habits.


Anyway. Back in March, IIRC, I got a FitBit, which put me on tilt. I'd been trying to consistently hit 10K steps using an Omron for years, but often was under or waaaayyy over (which did Un Pretty Things to my mood), but the FitBit ecosystem caused me to escalate. I then got the Apple Watch, and I have sort of quit paying attention to steps (no more FitBit ecosystem. Sigh) in favor of road miles. And I am pleased to note that I've been consistently hitting 4-6 miles per day, every day of the week, for a few weeks now (highest mileage day was 7). These aren't steps that add up to miles -- those are much higher. These are measured miles on the road and sidewalk.

To be utterly clear. I DO NOT RUN. This is all walking mileage. It hadn't really occurred to me that this was something to be impressed by, until my marathon running (altho that's gone by now) and century riding (he still does that occasionally) husband pointed out that his weekly running mileage never got much higher than the 30-35 I am now doing.

So there's that.

Here's how I did it. I added loops to my 1 mile walk, but not consecutively. So I'd go for a 1 mile walk in the morning, one after lunch, then one in the evening. I started consolidating, so I'd walk a mile myself, then a mile with my walking partner. Then I started taking a 3 mile loop walk in the evening, instead of multiple loops together. I have the early stages of arthritis in my feet and hands, so I can't suddenly increase -- I have to work up to everything slowly. And I'm heavy (over 200 pounds) so I replace my shoes regularly. It's good to have music and/or a headset that you can talk on the phone with a friend to help the time go by, when you don't feel like just thinking.

When it's hot and muggy, of course, you want a shower even after a slow walk, but if you just mosey along and the weather isn't too nuts, you really can break up a large volume of exercise throughout the day. I won't say that if I can do it, anyone can do it, because I couldn't have done this when the kids were younger. But if you are struggling to fit physical activity into your day, I'm a big fan of slow, steady and in bite-size chunks.