Ponderings and Musings

Bleak.

We walked a mall again today. Unlike yesterday’s experience at the Cherry Hill Mall, this mall was a little depressing. Two missing anchor stores, closed up shops everywhere, and the JCPenney was downright depressing. There were blocked off areas where merchandise used to be and a less than enthralling selection of merchandise.

As a Gen-Xer that grew up during the “mall era”, I’m used to shopping malls that thrive with lots of stores, plenty of places to eat, and a variety of merchandise to be found in solid anchor stores at the end of each wing. ‘Tis not the way of the 21st century, where folks now focus on their phones, buying things online, their phones, and socializing via their phones.

While malls were the “fake community” of those earlier times, at least people still had to be frequently present. It’s important for humans to exchange energy in person, not just scream at each other through their little devices. Have conversations, not exchanges of 280 characters. Find the meaning.

And can someone please guide me to middle aged men’s fashions in a mall? Thank you.

Yelp.

I’ve been writing Yelp reviews for a long time. Starting in Central New York, through our years in Chicago, and now in Tucson, I write plenty of reviews. I also tend to check in and write reviews when we travel.

I know some are not a fan of Yelp but I still enjoy the idea of crowd sourcing data, especially when traveling. I was a Foursquare fan back in the day but then they went crazy with splitting up the app and the like. And wasn’t there another one called Gowalla or something like that?

Anyways, if you want to follow along with my Yelp reviews, here they are.

Familiarity.

It was nice to see a piece of familiarity at the mall today. Though not as big as the original stores, Macy’s seems to be doing a decent job bringing Toys ‘R Us back.

A Song Long Ago.

I first discovered the music of Anders Enger Jensen back when we lived in Chicago. I used to listen to his album “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3” with surprising regularity while walking the North Center and Lakeview neighborhoods surrounding our condo. His music is rooted in 80s and 90s synth pop and strikes very familiar chords in my love for music. His music continues to bring me joy.

One of his tracks on “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3” is called “A Song Long Ago”. The lyrics are melancholy but the production is beautiful. I can easily identify with the lyrics. The track reminds me of a lost ABBA track from the early 1980s. I enjoy the vibe.

From “Retro Grooves, Vol. 3”, here’s Anders Enger Jensen with “A Song Long Ago”. The track and album are also available through Apple Music and Spotify, as well as Band Camp.

Decorating.

This photo was taken yesterday during our decorating festivities. We are putting up four Christmas trees this year; the fifth tree may be put up closer to Christmas. We have contractors coming in during the month of December to replace carpeting and fix the drywall that’s missing due to all the leaks during Monsoon Season 2021. We’ve decided we’re done fighting with the home insurance company (something something about being “in good hands”, yeah right) and we’re going ahead and getting the water damage fixed.

Decorating the house has improved my mood a little bit; it’s hard for me to find the holiday spirit here in the desert southwest. I’m always in the mood to go hiking and sunbathing and such; ho ho ho just seems out of place here.

But the inside of our home is becoming quite festive.

Travel.

I love being able to say the phrase “back East”. I use it to describe where we were born and have lived the majority of our lives. When we first moved to Chicago I heard Bea Arthur use the term describing her first appearance as Maude on “All In The Family”. “I went to cousin Edith’s home, back East, where they were all sick as hell and had no one to take care of them…”. Of course, Archie and Edith Bunker lived in Queens and Maude lived in Tuckahoe, so I don’t know why Bea mentioned the character going “back East” but she did and the term stuck with me once we moved to the midwest and then when we moved to the desert southwest.

“Where are you originally from?”

I start with “back East” and then narrow it down to the region then the city then a smaller city then the small village when describing “back East”, depending on how invested I am in the conversation.

I bring all this up because on Wednesday my husband and I are headed “back East” to visit family on all side of the family tree. We haven’t been to his hometown since well before COVID and it’s been over a year since we’ve visited any of my family in snowy Upstate New York.

I’m thinking about my wardrobe here in the desert southwest and I’m realizing I don’t have that much in the way of cold weather clothing anymore, but I suppose I’ll make do with what I have.

Gotta dress for the snow when you head “back East”.

The 90s

There are some songs from the 90s that still make my heart very happy. I remember spinning this song a lot back in the day when I was working in a couple of clubs and it always filled the dance floor. It was fairly popular on the radio charts as well.

From 1991 (and 1992 in the U.S.), here’s Rozalla with “Everybody’s Free”.

Spaces.

We’re fortunate to live in a house large enough for many rooms. I have two places I can call “my office”. During the day I work in what would be typically thought of us the library. It’s on the main floor, has a wonderful view over the front landscaping, and keeps me productive all day long.

Upstairs we have a room that is dubbed “The Observatory” on the blueprints. The house was originally built by an astronomer and the room was designed to have a large telescope mounted, with lots of equipment and a large concrete pad in the shop below the room to support the telescope.

While we don’t have a large telescope, the Observatory serves as a “man cave” of sorts. I have been working on cleaning up the space. It’s in this room that I have my Mac mini setup, along with plenty of room for my flight simulator controls. I enjoy playing X-Plane from time to time and flying when I can’t get myself into an airplane.

The space is enjoyable and now that I’ve organized it better with shelves and the like, it’s more functional. Truman likes to sleep in his cat bed I’ve put in the corner for him. It’s his escape from the rest of the house as well.

Predictable.

I’m on a work call at 10:20 PM on a Tuesday night. This work call was scheduled earlier today, because the management team felt it was important to push code to the production servers tonight until waiting for a full week of work with a full staff. Because priorities.

This call is going as well as I thought it would be. My part of this effort will be changing one file at the very end of the call. But here I am, listening to people call other people spanned across three continents.