words about things

What follows is my subtle attempt at honesty.

catching up with summer

I'm one of those annoying people who makes everything a habit. To the people around me I seem inflexible and no one has ever called me "spontaneous". I do lots of "new things" and I have a wide variety of interests but I make them part of my daily routine and I NEVER do something once (even if I hate it). People talk about the time they took a vacation and went snow skiing. "Oh it was great!" they exclaim. "You should try it!" No f-ing way. The effort and cost to do something for 2 days that I can't go back and do again on my own next week makes me sick to my stomach. Go to the bar or out to a restaurant? Not without planning and setting it as "that thing I do on that night every week." I feel anxiety going to birthday parties and get-togethers. I like to have a list of things to do and I like to check that list off as I do them. The idea of "be at this place as 8pm for fun" isn't fun. (If that makes sense.)

I have changed my diet, my exercise, my work responsibilities, my clothing, my hobbies, my budget, my entertainment, and even my drinking over the course of the last year but I committed to all those changes and made them habits. That's how I roll.

For instance, when it got super hot this summer I set aside my bicycle in favor of running. I've worked my way up to running 2-3 miles 2-3 times per week. I'm not setting any records but I made it part of my schedule and I am seeing improvements. I feel good physically and psychologically after I run so there's a reward for having this task on my list. I have also committed to several important projects at home that are consuming a lot of time but I'm getting them done and that feels good.

Now, on to something that's not all about me.

Today while listening to the latest Adam Ruins Everything podcast I heard about the American Panorama. (Which also led me to the Atlas of Historical Geography.)  This is some cool stuff.

The American Panorama has several interactive maps. One traces the forced movement of slaves from 1810's to 1850's including narratives from actual slaves and freedmen. Some of the narratives are harder to read then others.  I would like to see a map like this for the movements of the freed slaves after 1860's. I feel like there's another tale to be told there.

The map that interested me the most was the one that tracks foreign born people in the US from 1850 to 2000. Considering the one-sided narrative of "immigration" as of late I think it's good to have a visual reminder that people move around. I picked a nearby city and checked out the data that was available. It's worth noting that through the mid to late 1800's the area has a steady stream of Germans Scots and English. Then in 1890 there's a flood of immigrants that is dominated (almost 2:1) by Italians. 50 years later there are no Italians moving to my area. That sounds like a story doesn't it?

One last thing. The Atlas of Historical Geography is an amazing resource that shows (primarily) how long travel took across out country over the decades. I doubt if any of you have ever spent more than 2 days in a car let alone 3 months walking on a trail. Think about how mad we get when we're stuck, over night, at the airport.  Then consider that a 6 week journey from New York to St Louis in 1800 was only a 3 week journey in 1830. And a 1930 railroad trip from New York to East Texas was only 2 days........I ship dozens of pallets all over the country every week and thanks to certain unions/regulations it takes LONGER than 2 days to get ANYTHING to New York in 2016 by truck or train. But that's a rant for another day.

OK. I have work to do. I'll type more later.