The love-hate relationship with October

philip

I love Halloween, it is my favorite holiday EVER, period. However, it is also the most painful month too.

Gone too soon, only 21 years old for a few months… I am reposting this because of the 33 yrs anniversary:

It is with great displeasure that I write this post. What I wouldn’t give to have my brother back these 30+ years. To see whom he would have married, his children, his choices in life. But instead he chose one of the most unselfish ways to spend his short time here among us, he joined the Army and became an elite Ranger. Consequently he was killed during the second wave in a very small town, on a very small Caribbean island called Grenada, giving coverage to many American medical students forced to return home during a hostile political event.

A devastating time for my parents; to be told you will never see your child again, to never say good bye one last time, to say I Love You one last time. It’s one of those things we take for granted I think, saying I love you, taking for granted you will see or talk to the person tomorrow and remember ‘next time we talk’. Even saying it in passing is great to hear, but not quite the same as if you knew it would be the very last time…the very last time… heart breaking, devastating, it goes beyond that. There is just no word for the amount of empty left behind.

He was just a great person, not because he is no longer here and fond memories can sometimes overshadow the bad times, he was truly one of those people who would go out of his way for you to make sure you were happy, to help if he could, a kind and gentle soul and so very funny. He loved music, was artistic, and put up with his kid sister always tagging along when he just wanted to hang with his friends.

Ah, his friends, they were bountiful and from so many different crowds; neighborhood, school, church, sports, he fit into all the groups with ease because there were so many different levels of him to love. I could go on for pages giving him accolades, and all would be true, but I won’t.

Recently I have been given the opportunity to have him, and his unit, honored for years to come as I have been requested to submit his picture (shown above) to the National Museum, United States Army for a permanent exhibit in their halls. How proud we of him, how much we miss him every day, how I would give anything to change that day and have him back.

Operation Urgent Fury

Operation Urgent Fury

#MemorialDay

In hot pursuit of failure….

ohm

“If you are not failing, you are probably not trying as hard as you should be” – George Church

A simple concept brought to a new level and makes me kick myself for not thinking it first. This isn’t your run of the mill daily failure –  this is the – kicking ass and trying thousands of different ways to achieve your goal, knowing deep down in your mind and heart that it will work, it will.

I read this great article about George Church, Ph.D., with whom I had never heard of before because I do not run in those circles, but was just inspired (and a bit jealous) of the life he has lived to this point. The ups and downs, the so-called ‘breaks’ he thinks he has been given, the passion for science and discovery….

If you have five minutes I strongly recommend this read,  if just for the glimpse of what life has to offer every single one of us, just keep pursuing it, for it is the successes and more importantly the failures, that push us to greatness.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/05/if-youre-not-failing-youre-probably-not-trying-as-hard-as-you-could-be/

“I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

Call me Quick Draw McGraw!

shootingrange

This is why I don’t own a gun. A decent shot and a short fuse doesn’t mix well and I don’t have the time or money to get bailed out.

It’s nice to see that I haven’t ‘lost it’ as shooting is a perishable skill. The far left was the practice sheet. I was aiming for the head (aim small miss small is what I was thinking). Then I figured why not go for the center mass.

I had never used a hand gun to shoot with so the .45 felt like a small cannon in my hand. The lane distance maxes out at 25 yards which was a bit disappointing but the experience was very cool. Many thanks to F-Troop’s Vanderbilt for his patience and a great idea!

Next time, I am using the Zombie sheet (and not the outline figure as shown above) as I don’t want their rotting flesh and goo to distract me when it’s ‘go time’!

Ambitchous….

poster

There is a fine line between a woman ‘standing up for herself’ and being a ‘bitch’. I have yet to find that line but I am sure it exists; more often than not, I get the ‘bitch’ label. For those of you that have said it to my face (on many occasions), you can agree that my response has always been, and will always be: stop kissing up.

I have to say that my super-cranky reaction to a situation is just that; a reaction. I am by no means searching out scenarios in which to wield my highly explosive intolerance for stupidity.

The first (and most repetitive interaction) typically involves me waiting in line and getting cut off, as though I have hit my ‘stealth button’ and instantly became invisible. The millisecond response from me is always an unwaivering, ‘are you kidding me?!”  For some reason that seems to startle the offender and wakes them up to the fact that they are no longer on their lonely planet of “I” and must abide by the simple rules of society and it’s strongly recommended guidelines of ‘wait your friggin turn’.

There are times where adults are not pointing out their children’s misbehaving and I have to take things into my own hands. Example: at a college open house for Goose, potential students (17-18 yrs) and their parents are sitting in an amphitheater getting the background on the school and what they offer, finances, etc. and the three young miscreants with their mother were talking loudly and laughing throughout the whole seminar. It was not until the continuously full-blown kicking of my chair, did I spin my head faster than Regan from the Exorcist, and gave my, “are you kidding me??!!” to which the young men horrified, stood up and said they would wait outside. Good call because next comes the pea soup vomit while talking in tongues and no one wants that.

Other times, a good friend needs to have that certain someone on their side, that friend with a bit more bravado then they do. So… while in a Chinese restaurant with my friend (we will call her Shrink because she is one) and her boyfriend were sitting at a crowded bar, I hear a woman complaining to her boyfriend that Shrink is being loud and obnoxious. Really? We are sitting three people away in a packed bar and the only voice you can hear is Shrink laughing and telling stories. Hold the phone and call Oscar Goldman because a new Jaime Sommers is in town! (that’s a late 70’s reference for you kiddos) but I digress. I walked over to her and called her out on it, citing the fact that it’s a loud bar and there is no way she should be calling my friend names without provocation. As she turned to her boyfriend and started to curse about me, I kindly noted that I was not using profanity in any way and name calling wasn’t necessary… just apologize to my friend. The boyfriend stood up (a good 6 inches taller than me) and became aggressive to which I stood my ground and said that he was not part of the conversation, I was talking to his foul mouthed girlfriend. He then called me a bitch (yes I had to say, stop kissing up, it’s a natural reaction) and then he poked me in the shoulder a few times. I nicely reminded him that unwanted poking is considered assault and that seemed to warrant him screaming me a few other choice words but stopped the poking. No better way to show your pea-sized brain than to scream profanities; boring, yawn, over it.

So you see, I have been mislabeled and misunderstood my whole life. I will not be walked on or overlooked. I demand as much space in this world as the big jerks that seem to be taking over.

(P.S. if you know to whom I owe credit for this awesome intro picture please let me know!)

Army Ranger and so much more

philip

It is with great displeasure that I write this post. What I wouldn’t give to have my brother back these 30+ years. To see whom he would have married, his children, his choices in life. But instead he chose one of the most unselfish ways to spend his short time here among us, he joined the Army and became an elite Ranger. Consequently he was killed during the second wave in a very small town, on a very small Caribbean island called Grenada, giving coverage to many American medical students forced to return home during a hostile political event.

A devastating time for my parents; to be told you will never see your child again, to never say good bye one last time, to say I Love You one last time. It’s one of those things we take for granted I think, saying I love you, taking for granted you will see or talk to the person tomorrow and remember ‘next time we talk’. Even saying it in passing is great to hear, but not quite the same as if you knew it would be the very last time…the very last time… heart breaking, devastating, it goes beyond that. There is just no word for the amount of empty left behind.

He was just a great person, not because he is no longer here and fond memories can sometimes overshadow the bad times, he was truly one of those people who would go out of his way for you to make sure you were happy, to help if he could, a kind and gentle soul and so very funny. He loved music, was artistic, and put up with his kid sister always tagging along when he just wanted to hang with his friends.

Ah, his friends, they were bountiful and from so many different crowds; neighborhood, school, church, sports, he fit into all the groups with ease because there were so many different levels of him to love. I could go on for pages giving him accolades, and all would be true, but I won’t.

Recently I have been given the opportunity to have him, and his unit, honored for years to come as I have been requested to submit his picture (shown above) to the National Museum, United States Army for a permanent exhibit in their halls. How proud we of him, how much we miss him every day, how I would give anything to change that day and have him back.

#MemorialDay

Every day is a second chance

 umbrella

Every day is a second chance, but unless you know what you missed or what you should have changed, the second chance will be for naught…so keep your eyes and mind open. 

I was well aware of this oversight two days ago. As I was pulling out of the parking lot at the super market, a young lady was standing in the very cold rain (about 38 degrees F) in just a hoodie, tshirt, and jeans, holding a sign asking for money for food. My initial reaction was, – what luck I actually have some change on me this time! As I handed it out the window and apologized that it was only about two dollars in change, she thanked me, and blessed me, but I still had a nagging sensation; an invisible someone giving me the dipshit slap in the back of the head.

It wasn’t until I drove away onto the highway that I realized if I stopped for just a moment to observe the situation as a whole, I could have given her my umbrella (IDIOT!!). I kicked myself the whole way home and it is still eating away at me several days later. There are few things worse than being cold, wet, tired, and hungry all at the same time and I know the feeling, which makes me feel worse.

I was hoping by sharing this incident it would be somewhat cathartic but to no avail and just wishful thinking.

I will just have to believe that ‘every day is a second chance’ and prove to myself that I am a much better person that just handing over change to solve a much more profound request.

 

Keep it healthy and try going vertical

keepcalm

I will preface this post by stating, I am 49 yrs old. (WOW! Hold on… when I say it aloud it makes me a bit dizzy!) I am sharing that information because if you choose to read on, it impacts the content. I am not 20 or 30 where one’s metabolism is higher and exercise comes a bit easier… ok, now continue…

Healthier living can sometimes lead to the domino effect… one healthy swap of double veggie instead of fries with the meal is an excellent example. Water or club soda instead of regular soda or even worse, diet soda, just a few times a day has a huge impact on your sugar, calorie, and chemical intake.

At first you may think, “it’s just one meal, seriously how much can that impact my weight or attitude toward eating and food?” but it does. Your body does not want to be filled with chemicals (yes you are taking in chemicals daily, stop it!) or too much food. It was built to run at an optimum weight with a specific fuel intake, just as any amazing machine or engine does. Your automobile will run much better on high octane fuel than the very low octane fuel option. It will take several tankfuls to notice but it does indeed happen. The same idea can be said for your body. Fueling it with ‘high octane’ and healthy choice foods will allow it to run more effectively and more efficiently.

One of my mantras — if I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. Trust me when I say this wasn’t easy for me either. Years ago I would stand in the cookie aisle and just stare at the Oreos (or ice cream pie) remembering their chocolatey goodness and devouring half a package without much thought (not in the aisle at the store, although the thought had occurred to me on more than one occasion). Present day, if I had one, it one be just that, just one. I don’t miss them and they are much too sweet. But how did I stop eating them? I stopped buying them; what a concept! What quenches my desire for chocolate these days without eating three pounds of it? Dark chocolate; not the high sugar content dark chocolate (typically distributed in the US) but something along the lines of Lindt chocolate. One or two bites and it satisfies the craving without packing on the high doses of poorly constructed chocolate.

As one small healthy choice will lead to another… you may become more aware of what you eat, how you feel, and take a second look at unhealthy foods and the price tag that comes with it. “Do I want to trade that delicious spinach/cheese/artichoke dip for an extra 2 miles walk?” “Do I really need 3 glasses of wine instead of 2? Tastes delicious now but my sleep will pay dearly for it”… It takes 3500 calories to burn off one pound of weight. EEK! Food will slowly start to become equated with exercise or other trade-offs without much forethought with that figure lingering in your head.

A body in motion stays in motion. I have started to be much more consistent with exercise this last month or so and in doing so I found it somewhat shocking that after a workout, even though I was exhausted, an hour later I didn’t want to just sit down, I wanted to keep moving in some way. I wouldn’t categorize it as having ‘more’ energy as some people do, but I did recognize that I didn’t want to just sit and watch television. It usually ended with the thought of, well guess I will do some chores that I absolutely hate (scrubbing the bathtub is always last on the list). This didn’t happen at first. At first all I wanted was to lay down, catch my breath, pray I would not be too sore to move the next day, and ultimately nap. It was a solid week and a half of exercising before I felt comfortable with it and then moved onto the ‘staying in motion’ feeling.

Looking forward to the ‘sore’. I have had to ramp up my workouts just so I can get that ‘sore’ feeling back. A feeling of- I’m not sure if I can walk let alone hold a spoon- may be alarming at first, but then I started looking forward to it because I knew it found a new muscle group that was in hiding. Simply using the treadmill (notice I didn’t say running, because I hate running, all I do is a fast paced walk and use the incline for more calorie burn), using the stair climber, or the yoga sessions plateaued and I needed to tweak it up. I needed to know I was testing and pushing my body to a different level. I didn’t want anything too extreme (I am looking at you CrossFit) but something to change things up to my weekly routine.

If you are already an avid fan of exercise, try something new. Bring your workout vertical! So here is your laugh of the day, pole exercise. It is not dancing, there are no sexy moves, it is using the pole as an instrument against your body and gravity to pull yourself vertical or push yourself horizontal against the pole. Not many forms of exercise will have you using a vertical plane and a multitude of different muscle groups, especially the tiny ones you didn’t know you had. Running, planking, weight training, all great exercise but they continue to use the typical horizontal plane that we all exist on. Start thinking pole exercise and aerial silks to change things up. Adding the new dimension of vertical against gravity in addition to requiring the extra balance (and being off the ground) is a whole new challenge you will welcome to your exercise routine.

sleeping
(imgbuddy.com/homersimpson)

A better night sleep. Who doesn’t want that? Once you take that first step to a healthier you, sleeping through the night can be a long lost welcomed friend. Walk up and down the stairs of your house a few times, around your house or yard, up and down the street, start small so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up with an unattainable goal. Don’t be afraid to push yourself that extra 5 steps because they will add up quickly and before you know it, you will want more; one step more is one step more.

Challenge yourself, not against others. Coming in last place means you were in the race! (metaphorically speaking) Just keep moving, that is the key to all this. The eating healthy and constant moving works hand in hand. You will find you won’t want to do just one or the other, they actually feed off each another and it becomes effortless; just be patient, give it time.

It is not easy, that is a given, but the rewards are huge. Will you live forever? Nope. But for those remaining years, you will definitely feel much better and more than likely, cut down on many diseases and health problems by doing so. The endorphins will rise to keep you feeling happier and make the tough times not so tough.

Keeping weight off is much easier than losing it. If this old body can do it, I know YOU can too!