Family

I’ll add that to my list

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Confession time: I am a list maker.

OK, not that I really need to confess that but what I have found is that I am perpetually making lists and sometimes I find that I am being held captive by my lists. Like, I look at a list and all I want to do is run away from it because it is overwhelming and though I have the list, I am not sure where I want to start.

I make lists at home.

I make lists at work.

I make lists on my phone. I make lists on little pieces of paper. I make lists in notebooks. I make lists in my head. I make lists on my computer. Grocery lists. Ideas to write about lists. Movies I want to see lists. Books I want to read lists. Places I want to go lists. Things I don’t really want to do but really should do lists. Things that need to get done ASAP and things that don’t need to get done ASAP.

I make lists.

Now, I might need to confess if I never really got anything done on my lists. I guess the real problem is the lists actually never end or go away. I get things done, but then add more things to the list – by creating a new list.

Example: I made of list of six things I wanted to get done over the weekend. I only get three of them done. So, I’ll add those three things to the list of things I want to get done next weekend. And the list goes on and on and on…it just grows!

Damn. I just realized as I was writing this blog that I have now created a list of my lists.

I am without a doubt – neurotic.

OK, I’ll just add that to my list of things that I am, and remove it from the list of things that I am not.

Sheesh.


So, how do you get through life? Are you a list maker? Do you feel overwhelmed by your lists or do you get freedom by making lists? 

Tell me what you do in the comments below.

Something personal…

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Two weeks ago I asked in a post if you were paying attention. Apparently, you aren’t, or at least most of you aren’t.

I had only one response in the comments to the “poll”. That one vote came from Bel at RoadsBelTravelled. Thanks for paying attention and playing along! So, since she was the only one to vote she wins the vote by default. She chose “something personal”…

Now the question is…what to share? How about I climb into the “way back machine”?

Desert Trek

Once upon a time I used to hike and backpack quite a bit. That is, until I got married and had a child. It slowly decreased after that and over the last few years I am lucky if I get in one hike. I actually did two last year, but they were fairly short. I am hoping to work back into more this summer! Anyway, on to the details of the desert trek.

It all started in college when I decided to go on a one week backpacking trek with some college friends and two professors from the college I was attending. I had never done this before, but I had a good friend who had done it a lot so it was fun to go to REI and purchase the essentials that I would use for years to come (I finally unloaded some of that old gear – though it was still good – two years ago).

We trained for the hike, during the winter months, in the nine story tower on campus. Up and down the stairs we went, walking, running, and at first maybe even crawling. Then with extra weight, in our hiking boots, etc. It was a good way to build stamina and leg strength. Most people don’t know, but going downhill and maintaining balance takes a different set of muscles than going uphill, so the walking down the stairs slowly and methodically was essential to the training too.

After months of preparing, we all piled into a 15 passenger van the professors borrowed from the school and we loaded up our gear. It was a little cramped in that van, but it was fun as we road-tripped it from Chicago to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. There isn’t much I specifically remember about the road trip other than I do know that we realized we were going to be going through Winslow, Arizona, so we played a lot of The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” in the van and when it came time…yes, we jumped out of the van and took some moments “…standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” and “it was such a fine sight to see…”

It ended up being perfect weather in the desert. We hiking in the sun. We relaxed next to a brook. We swam in the brook (the water was really cold!). We played Rook sitting around a camp fire or in the sun on a giant boulder next to the brook. I can’t describe what it felt like to be out there, feeling like you were the only people on the Earth. It was glorious!

Again, I don’t remember the particulars except on experience did leave an impression on me. There were some lessons to be learned one particular day.

We used camp as a base and took different hikes from there each day. So, one day, we decided to take a hike. It was supposed to be about a 10 mile round-trip hike and it was going to go near some of the Anasazi ruins in the surrounding valleys. The day hike started out rather normal but as we got farther into it, the guide book that the research was done from didn’t appear to be as accurate as we though. We were on Mile 6 and we hadn’t gotten even half way to the destination. So, part of the group decided to turn around and head back and part of the group decided to continue on.

We found the ruins and they were SPECTACULAR! It was really cool to see that kind of history and imagine what life would have been like at the time. It was hard to imagine, quite frankly.

I should mention that the ruins were about Mile 12 of the hike that day. Now we are well past mid-day and we have to return back to base camp. There are five of us (our group was a total of 12) and we have to make a decision – return the way we came or find another way back to base. This decision was key because we know what we just went through to get to this location and returning the way we came would be difficult to say the least.

We gathered around the map and saw there was another route back to base and it appeared that if we kept going ahead, instead of turning around, it would only be about 8 miles back to base. Mind you, we haven’t been on the trail and the sun is well past the high point of the day. We are all in pretty good shape and there was definitely some hill climbing to be done as we left the valley we were in, but we thought we could do it if we kept up a good pace. We refilled out water bottles in the creek through our filters and off we went. Through the bottom of the valley for a while and then…uphill.

The uphill part was not as steep as the route we came down through. There were no switchbacks and the trail, at least at first, was pretty clear. Yeah, you read that right – “at first.”

In many places, the trail had markers or signs to help point you in the right direction instead of just using the map. Up to a certain point, it was pretty useful until we came up to a spot where the trail split from one to three. The signs had been pulled out of the ground and thrown in a pile slightly off the trail. Great! Let’s hope our map reading skills are better than we realize because now we are solely relying on a compass and a detailed map that didn’t show a 1-3 transition. Really great. We knew where we were, approximately, and the three options didn’t really offer any sure-fire sense of which was the correct trail to take.

So, after studying the map and looking at the different trails, we decided that we would take the one that looked the most traveled, and by that I mean that there were hoof marks on the trail so we knew a mule or a horse had followed the trail. We assumed they knew where they were going…yeah, not so much! We followed the trail for about 45 minutes until it just kind of petered out and there was no trail to be found, just cacti and scrub. Super awesome! Not only did we pick the wrong trail, but we just wasted at total of an hour and a half of light going the wrong way! It was now late afternoon and we knew we were not getting back to camp before dark.

This was not a good situation since we were not prepared to hunker down for an overnight and our supplies were limited since this was just supposed to be a day hike. It left us no choice but to power on and hope for better results this time. So, we chose a different trail and started up the hill.

Needless to say, as you are reading this blog, we survived. LOL  Our legs were scratched from brushing against cacti we couldn’t see in the dark. Our flashlight and headlamp provided a little light, but only two of the five of us actually brought lights (not sure why we did for a “day hike”) and we discovered that the starlight provided better light as our eyes would get all whacked out when we used the bright lights, making it harder to see a small trail. We really only used the light to look at the map, which looking back was kind of dumb since we couldn’t see any landmarks, but once in a while we would come to a trail sign and we could reference the map to see where we were.

All in all, we made it back to the main trail we hiked to get into base camp and then followed it back to base that night. We ended up walking in the dark for four hours and we were back to camp well after dinner. We were all famished! And we were lucky.

Lesson learned: Be prepared for an overnight, even if it is just a day trip. Obviously, we were not prepared if something had really gone wrong. We weren’t prepared for a cold night in the desert and we weren’t prepared for injuries. Luckily, no one got hurt, and we didn’t end up having to huddle together for body heat. LOL But, it is better to be prepared than not to be. So, if you think you may be over packing, you probably are and that is OK.

I have never forgotten those lessons. So, even on those occasional day hikes I take now (and hope to do more of this summer) I may look a little funny with a bigger than normal pack, but I am ready for the end of the world! Wanna hit the trail with me?

Do you have any good hiking stories or lessons you want to share? Hit me up in the comments with your learned wisdom!

**Sorry I don’t have pictures to include with the post. That was back in the day when photos were taken with real film, had to be developed, and the printed. I haven’t had those pics digitized yet.**

Accountability of Weight: 1 year later

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This is the twelfth, and final, update on this project. I started a year-long project of returning my physical self to a much lighter, and healthier, version of the past.

I’ll try to keep it short so as to not bore you with lots of details and try to just cover some of the lowlights and highlights, cutting to the chase at the end.

Lowlights:

Not much gained…er, lost.

Yeah, that is incredibly discouraging. I mean really, the loss of weight over the last year really comes down to water (probably). I am disappointed. But, I guess I am not disappointed enough because, well, I didn’t really do the WORK needed to lose more weight than I did. I tried doing it via just monitoring what I ate and even then I didn’t really do a great job at it.

What I am trying to say is that I am disappointed in me, not the results. I made a commitment to myself to get healthier and I just didn’t follow through with it. I paid it lip service (as well as food, LOL) and just didn’t ever really make an effort. That realization sucks.

Highlights:

I learned some things about me and my aging body.

I can’t just watch what I eat, or how much, any more. I actually need to put some physical effort into it. My body doesn’t metabolize food like it used to and burning calories takes effort. I need to train my body to do it again.

As such, since the beginning of January, I have been on a pretty regular workout schedule. I am just building up stamina and getting some strength back, so I have a long way to go. BUT, that is the goal, right? To be consistent and to be mindful of the effort it takes to make things happen. I can already see changes in my physical structure – even if there isn’t evidence on the scale. I know it is important to keep that in mind!

Also, I visited my doctor to see what things, from their perspective would be good for me to change. This is kind of a big thing for me, since the last time I saw a doc was three years ago. So, there’s that. It was helpful and after a blood test I also learned that the cholesterol level is elevated and needs to come down. Nothing drastic at this point, but that adds additional motivation to the “diet and exercise changes” that have to happen.

Progress. Baby steps. One day at a time.

The Chase:

210.0  = official starting weight 2/15/18

    3.0  = pounds lost as of the morning of 2/19/19

207.0  = current weight

If you have stopped by during this journey, if you have offered encouragement during this last year, THANK YOU. I appreciated the support and appreciated the suggestions. It may not have turned out like I thought or intended it would, but I learned some things along the way. That is for sure!

The journey has not ended. It will continue, but I won’t be updating it on here any more. Well, maybe not on a regular basis. Obviously, once I achieve the desired goal, I will certainly do some celebrating here – so stick around.

 

I choose life

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There is so much to say about this topic and I just can’t process all there is to say, so I will say it in a rather short, blunt manner.

New York, you’ve got it all wrong. I suppose you were outraged by the news of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, but honestly this just puts you on a similar level – only now you make it legal.

Apparently, in New York, the definition of life involves which side of the vagina a baby is on, inside or outside. Outside the vagina, you’re good, kid! Inside the vagina, well, you’re SOL! Doesn’t anyone (ok that is a generalization) in New York recognize that mere seconds doesn’t make life? A baby is a baby. Inside or outside. There is no difference.

It hurts my heart to see that people actually cheered for this as it was signed. The level of stupid has reached new heights. You seriously need to question your morals if you think this is even remotely a good idea.

Get this contradiction: In New York, it is illegal to kill a convicted criminal but it isn’t illegal to kill a completely innocent baby.

Yeah, let that sink in.

Nice work, America. You have managed to tarnish that whole “LIFE, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” thing.

 

Accountability of Weight: Update #11

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This is the eleventh update on this project. I started a year-long project of returning my physical self to a much lighter, and healthier, version of the past.

I’ll try to keep it short so as to not bore you with lots of details and try to just cover some of the lowlights and highlights, cutting to the chase at the end.

Lowlights:

As I predicted, “eating season” didn’t go well. Man, it is hard to lay off all the treats. As such, the weight that had been lost was all back at the first of the year. No progress.

Yeah, that doesn’t feel good, even if it was only a little progress. I’d like to say the scale is a lier, but it only tells the truth. The truth is that painful.

Highlights:

Weight loss doesn’t just happen from changing your diet. Sure you can probably do one of those fad diets and lose weight, but will it stay off? Probably not. As soon as you go back to eating, it’s gonna come back. It is only a matter of time. So, ….

Time to add more effort. I have been working out on the elliptical 4-5 days a week and still watching what I eat. Already I can tell a difference in posture and how I feel afterwards (energy up a little?). I am sleeping better and I am drinking more water as a result. The scale doesn’t show much progress yet, but I am convinced that this is the only way to lose the weight. It isn’t gonna happen just from cutting calories. There has to be more effort. Sweat equity. Time to build it.

The Chase:

210.0  = official starting weight 2/15/18

    1.2   = pounds lost as of the morning of 1/14/19

208.8  = current weight

Your thoughts, encouragement, and good juju as the journey continues is much appreciated! If you have ANY words of wisdom, it would be much appreciated at this point.

 

Small Windows of My Daughter

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I was scrolling through articles on my Google news feed a while back and came across the article at the bottom of this post. I have to say that it struck a chord with me that I didn’t expect and I actually cried. The reason is because I can identify with what the writer was saying, but in different ways.

Social media is all we have and I honestly devour each and every post she makes because it feels like I am with her.

I too get a small glimpse of who my daughter is and of her daily life via “small windows” she posts on social media. Instagram and Facebook being the main avenues of those glimpses. I am sure she has other social media that she uses (and that scares me to tell the truth) and I also know that what I see on her accounts might not actually be what is going on in life since teens tend to have one account for everyone and then an account for just close friends where they can “be real.” I don’t know if she has any accounts like that for sure, but what I do know is that each time she posts something my heart jumps.

The author of the article (at least from what I can tell) RESIDES in the same home as her daughter and sees her on a regular basis, albeit as much as a teen likes to interact with their family. But, she does get the day-to-day interaction, even if not always the most pleasant.

For me, well, I am a divorcee and like many, many fathers I got the usual “short end of the stick” when it came to visitation. I probably get more than most fathers, but honestly is still isn’t enough. That is the reason the article resonated and was painful for me.

As a father who gets limited time with his daughter it just exacerbates the issue of trying to get to know your child. I think we have a pretty good relationship but it still is hard to KNOW her when she is going through the years of teen growing pains. I long for the discussions about life and for the discussions about what her future might hold and I long for the times of silliness when she was little and I long for…well, I just long for HER.

While most parents likely are tired of the mundane battles of getting kids up for school, and making sure homework is done, and making sure that their friends are “ok” to hang out with, and…I don’t get any of that. Or, at least,  I get very little of it. I want it. I want it.

So, when I saw this article and read the pain the author was experiencing trying to get to know her daughter, even when she lives in the same house, you can imagine how parents who are divorced and don’t get the same exposure to their children feel when it comes to truly seeing who their children are. Social media is all we have and I honestly devour each and every post she makes because it feels like I am with her. I am close.

It’s a consolation prize in a race I so desperately want to win. I hope the seeds I have sown will one day be fruitful and that one day she will feel like she can open up with me and show me the real her. Until then, I’ll keep looking through those small windows and watching my little girl grow. Watching as she reveals a little of herself in each post. Watching….and waiting.

**I recommend you read the article below to understand how this blog post was prompted.

Accountability of Weight: Update #10

This is the tenth update on this project. I started a year-long project of returning my physical self to a much lighter, and healthier, version of the past.

I’ll try to keep it short so as to not bore you with lots of details and try to just cover some of the lowlights and highlights, cutting to the chase at the end.

Lowlights:

I am sure you are all aware of this already, but we are getting into “eating season,” again, and it hasn’t been going well.

Cookies? Ok, I’ll eat those.

Donuts? Oh, sure why not.

Cake? Well, I haven’t had any of that today.

Going in the wrong direction anyone? I’ll take two steps back and a do not pass go, thank you.

Highlights:

I am thinking that I am gonna have to do something different and I am not sure what. This plan I had for the year just isn’t working like I was hoping it would and the results are just not there. No, wait, the results are there…just the wrong results. Right? So, the question is, I realize the way I am going about it now isn’t working so what am I going to do to change it?

Not sure that is a highlight, but a shred of something is a shred of something. I’m thinking that I am going to need some external help since the internal motivation just isn’t as high as I thought it was. Two months to go and something is really going to have to change!

The Chase:

210.0  = official starting weight 2/15/18

    4.0   = pounds lost as of the morning of 12/18

206.0  = current weight

Your thoughts, encouragement, and good juju as the journey continues is much appreciated! If you have ANY words of wisdom, it would be much appreciated at this point.

 

Why isn’t this reality?

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For just a short minute, my car hit max fuel economy.

I bought a new car a little while back. Like, a brand NEW car. Not a car that is new to me. I have never had one of those before so I was kind of fun.

I did my research and though I probably could have gone out and gotten myself a “mid-life crisis car,” I did not. I was relatively responsible and tried to keep it affordable when it comes to fuel since I drive over, on average, 2200 miles a month. Fuel economy is kind of important. However, I didn’t get the most fuel efficient vehicle because I did want something that was more attractive than the last vehicle.

Anyway, it occurred to me in my search that perhaps a hybrid would be better than an all electric (thought Tesla is intriguing), mostly because places to charge your vehicle are limited at this time.

So, why a hybrid? Well, it seems to me that it is the best of both worlds. The fuel obviously is needed to help supply energy to the car. But the electric motors also help with lowering fuel consumption at the same time. So, after doing some research I decided on a vehicle that I thought was most attractive and relatively efficient – a 2018 Kia Niro.

Now, I am not going to go into a sales pitch. That isn’t the point of this post.

The point is the picture at the top of the post. Why can’t we get max fuel economy all the time? It seems to me that 99.9 miles per gallon should be the standard. I believe the technology is out there to make it happen, so why doesn’t it?

My guess is that the oil industry/lobby has a great say in the matter. Of course they are protecting their profits, who wouldn’t want to do that? But, at the same time, perhaps investing in or creating engines that maximized their products for the consumer would be just as profitable if the consumer had the option? Oh, I am being silly. I am sure the oil industry is or has already been doing that. But, at the same time, we don’t see fuel efficiency in vehicle continually going up so someone is holding or killing the tech to make it happen.

I guess I am preaching to the choir here. I know you all want the same thing too. Just imagine, a small tank of fuel (10 gal?) and 100 mpg. Who doesn’t want 1000 miles on a tank? I know I do!

What do you think? How do you feel about the issue?

What if you could rewrite your life?

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Ever have one of those days?

Ever have one of those days where the “What ifs…” begin to wander in and you start to think about what you would have done differently? What you would do if you could go back and start over?

I may or may not be having one of those days; but, as my pen layed on the notepad in front of me, I had a moment of creative inspiration with an app on my phone so I decided to record it and create. I guess, for a moment, I was being philosophical.

So, tell me, have you had one of those days? Or, moments? Tell me your “blank page” moment/story in the comments – what would you do if you could rewrite your life?